Saturday, June 16, 2012

1) Police likely to intensify Densus 88’s role in Papua: Watchdog

1) Police likely to intensify Densus 88’s role in Papua: Watchdog

2) Police Watchdog Warns Against Dispatch of Anti-Terror Unit to Papua
3) Approach on Papua slammed
4) Papuans Refute Yudhoyono’s ‘Small’ Claim
5) Mourners for Mako Tabuni under heavy police guard

1) Police likely to intensify Densus 88’s role in Papua: Watchdog

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Following recent shootings and arson incidents in Papua, police are likely to intensify the role of its Densus 88 anti-terror squad in the province – a move that could provoke a negative reaction from local residents, the Indonesia Police Watch (IPW) says.
“The effort is marked by the installment of the National Counterterrorism Agency [BNPT] chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian as the Papua Police chief,” IPW chairman Neta S. Pane said Saturday.
“If [the installment] happens, the IPW is worried that Papua will become an operations area of Densus 88, meaning that there will be tougher security measures, whereas all that the province really needs is persuasive dialogue-based approaches,” he added.
The IPW urged the police to improve mass guidance programs and intensify the role of intelligence instead.
“Otherwise, it is not implausible that outsiders would use the moment to provide further support to separatist groups in Papua,” he said.
The province has seen a spike in shootings and arson incidents recently, most of which remained unsolved. On Thursday the police allegedly shot a Papua independence activist, Mako Tabuni, who was reportedly involved in a number of provocative and violent incidents. Police claim that Tabuni attempted to escape when they tried to arrest him.
Tabuni died in the hospital an hour later. The incident triggered mayhem in Jayapura, Papua.
2) Police Watchdog Warns Against Dispatch of Anti-Terror Unit to Papua
June 16, 2012Indonesia Police Watch has cautioned the National Police against increasing the presence of its anti-terrorism unit in Papua, saying that move would instead worsen conflict in the restive province.

The chairman of the watchdog, Neta S. Pane, said there had been indications that the police would bolster anti-terror unit Densus 88’s ranks in the province, including through a reported plan to appoint Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian, the deputy head of the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), as the new Papua Police chief.

Tito was the head of Densus 88 before he started his term at the BNPT early last year.

“Due to the escalating tension in Papua, there are some efforts now by some elites in the National Police to intensify the roles of Densus 88 in the land of cendrawasih [birds of paradise, a mascot of Papua],” Neta said in Jakarta on Saturday.

“The IPW is rejecting these efforts. … What’s been happening in Papua is not a terrorism problem, but a problem of a prolonged socioeconomic gaps,” he added.

Neta said if Densus 88 made Papua an area of its operations, repressive actions would be used in security approaches to handle the region.

He said this would be counterproductive, as the presence of the anti-terror unit would trigger more resistance among Papuans. Neta also further expressed his worry that Papua would be declared a new Military Operation Region (DOM), a military policy of the New Order regime to handle conflict regions that is infamous for its record of large-scale human rights abuses.

“It wouldn’t be impossible then for some outsiders to throw their support behind the potential separatist force in Papua. And in the end, Papua will separate from the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, like East Timor.”

Neta suggested that the police instead intensify the roles of public counseling and intelligence units to deal with Papua, saying what was needed was “persuasive, dialogic and social approaches.”

He also expressed his agreement to replace the current Papua Police chief, Insp. Gen. Bigman Lumban Tobing, who critics say has failed to secure Papua, with increasing violence, especially in the capital Jayapura, racking the region in recent weeks.

Neta emphasized, however, that the replacement should be an individual who could foster constructive a dialogue with the people of Papua.



3) Approach on Papua slammed

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The streets of Abepura and Sentani in Jayapura regency looked deserted on Friday, a day after riots erupted in nearby Waena district after the death of local activist Mako Tabuni.

Traders chose to close their shops along the main roads in both cities for security reasons.

“I won’t go to the office today. I am afraid a similar incident might occur. I chose to accompany my kids to school,” said Damaris, a civil servant at a local administration office.

Meanwhile, Tabuni’s family collected the activist’s body from the Bhayangkara Police Hospital, ahead of the burial planned for Saturday in Wamena.

For Tabuni’s family, his death is not the end of what he had been fighting for, because whether or not he was murdered, the struggle to free Papuans from their suffering is not over.

“Although Tabuni was shot and killed, this is not over. Tabuni was taken, but this does not reduce anything, as the struggle will continue,” said a family member, moments before Tabuni’s body was brought home to his family. 

The government has denied that its actions had triggered a series of violent incidents in Papua, which have so far claimed 17 lives in the past month.

The government blamed the difficult geography of the country’s easternmost region and the sensitivity of the issue surrounding the independence movements.

According to Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto, security officers were not responsible for the killings in several locations in Papua. 

“I really regret such allegations [that the incidents have been part of military or intelligence operations], including those suggesting the government has been ignorant and negligent,” he said.

Activists and experts have condemned the government for ignoring the escalating violence in Papua and have called for the establishment of an ad hoc human rights court and a Commission for Truth and Reconciliation (KKR) to reveal past violations committed by state agents as a way of settling the ongoing conflict in the province.

“The government must be consistent in its approach to resolving the conflict in Papua. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered an ambivalent approach — he wants a cultural approach on one hand, but maintains the Police Mobile Brigade there on the other hand,” National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) chairman Ifdhal Kasim said on Friday.

In addition, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) emphasized the urgency of setting up an ad hoc human rights court and a KKR to gradually resolve the enduring conflict in Papua. 

According to LIPI historian Asvi Warman, all recent killings in Papua are inseparable from past military operations that have claimed the lives of many Papuans. 

“All of the abductions, torture, and murder of their fellow Papuans, which took place during the military operations in the past, abide in their memories because nothing has been done about any of those cases,” Asvi told the audience of a discussion on Papua at the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) on Friday. 

He cited the Wasior massacre, during the 2001 Tumpas (Annihilated) Operation, as an example of a human rights violation in Papua that the government had yet to resolve.

Besides Wasior, rights violations had also occurred in Abepura in 2000, when the Mobile Brigade unit under the Papua Regional Police was reported to have arrested and tortured students accused of attacking a police station; and in Wamena in 2004, when the police and military conducted a brutal raid in search the Free Papua Movement (OPM) members who allegedly looted a police arsenal. 

“We will never resolve the violence in Papua unless the government humbly admits its role in the unending conflict there, and sets up an ad hoc human rights court and a KKR to repair its past wrongdoings,” Asvi said.

Echoing Asvi, fellow researcher Adriana Elizabeth also urged the House of Representatives Commission I overseeing defense and foreign affairs to immediately set up a working committee to thoroughly investigate the escalating violence in Papua and search for peaceful solutions.

“Leaders of the Commission have acknowledged the urgency of the working group. It’s best to start now because we can’t wait any longer. The situation in Papua is becoming more intense, especially after the police shot dead Papuan activist Mako Tabuni,” she said. 

“Additionally, we also urge President Yudhoyono to waste no more time and take the initiative to hold a peace dialogue with representatives from Papua at once,” she added.

4) Papuans Refute Yudhoyono’s ‘Small’ Claim
Banjir Ambarita & Markus Junianto Sihaloho | June 16, 2012
Jayapura. A day after the president described the scale of violence in Papua as “small,” a coalition of Papuan churches called the situation in the province an emergency and urged the international community to intervene.

Rev. Benny Giay, chairman of the Kingmi Papuan Evangelical Church, a member of the Working Coalition for Papua, said on Wednesday that Papua had become an emergency zone because of a surge in unresolved shootings and violence.

“International humanitarian bodies, including the United Nations, should intervene because the TNI [Indonesian Armed Forces] and the police have failed to end the violence and crimes against humanity here,” Benny said in Jayapura, the provincial capital.

While the Indonesian authorities have pointed to the Free Papua Organization (OPM) as the group behind the shootings, Benny said they had been unable to prove their claims and arrest the perpetrators.

“If the OPM is the perpetrator, then arrest them, don’t just shift the blame and look for a scapegoat,” said Benny, a respected religious leader and human rights advocate in the province.

The Rev. Socrates Sofyan Nyoman, chairman of the Papuan Baptist Church Council and a member of the coalition, accused the government of deliberately allowing the violence to continue.

“It seems like a systematic move to create horizontal conflict among Papuans by spreading rumors that it’s the Papuans who are behind the shootings,” he said.

The coalition demanded an international observer to mediate a dialogue between Jakarta and Papuan representatives in a bid to foster permanent peace in the province.

Socrates said special autonomy, which has channeled trillions of rupiah each year to the province, had failed to quell aspirations to break away from Indonesia.

“The state has failed to make Papuans feel part of Indonesia,” he said.

Poengky Indarti, chairwoman of the rights group Imparsial, also demanded that the TNI and the police prove their accusations against the OPM. 

“The president has accused the separatist movement of the shootings. So why have the police failed to arrest the perpetrators?” she said.

At least seven people have been killed and nine injured in a series of unresolved shootings across Papua in the past two months. TNI soldiers attacked a village in Wamena last Thursday, reportedly in retaliation for the killing of a fellow soldier by an angry mob after he and another soldier almost hit a child while riding a motorcycle through the village.

A German tourist was also shot and wounded on May 29. In the latest case, a security guard at Cendrawasih University in Jayapura was killed.

Despite the attacks, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Tuesday that the scale of the violence in Papua was “limited and small,” adding it was nothing compared to the bloodshed in the Middle East. His remark drew criticism from members of the House of Representatives.

“Yudhoyono should express regret and directly apologize to the Papuan people,” said Paskalis Kossay, a coordinator of the Papuan caucus at the House, adding that the statement showed a lack of seriousness in addressing the problem.

5) Mourners for Mako Tabuni under heavy police guard
JUBI, 15 June 2012

Heavy security forces guard mourners for Mako Tabuni

Illustration: The head of the deceased resting on a pillow

The burial parlour where the body of Mako Tabuni, deputy chairman of the KNPB (National Committee of West Papua), was laid out was under heavy guard by the security forces. Mako was shot by members of the security forces on Thursday, 14 June at a road junction at Perumnas, Waena

The place where the body of Mako Tabuni was laid in Jalan Pos 7, Sentani, Jayapura, was overflowing with  relatives and friends of the deceased. They were all shedding tears for the decease but the tears could not capture the sense of loss deep in the hearts of all those present.

A number of yong women were standing round the coffin as if they were trying to embrace the body of deceased which was dressed in a black jacket.

The body of the deceased had been handed over by the police to his family at the Bayangkara Hospital where it has been taken before he died.The handing  over of the body was witnessed by a number of Papuan leaders, including religious leaders, traditional leaders and intellectuals. The funeral will take place on Saturday, 16 June at the Polomo Cemetery, Sentani.

'We feel like we are in a state of war,' said one of the mourners who was carrying the body but who did not want to give his name..

Along the road leading to Pos 7 where the body had been found, two police trucks  were on guard up to late in the evening.. The police were taking careful note of the identities of everyone among the crowd of mourners. Not only that. At a number of places such as the tomb of Theys Hiyo Eluay, army and police personnel were on guard. There were eight trucks with personnel at the cemetery. There were two small police trucks along the way. At Expo Waena, there were three police trucks on guard, including a Baracuda police truck.

[Translated by TAPOL]

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