Monday, June 4, 2012

AWPA update May 2012

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088
AWPA update May 2012

The Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), held its thirteenth session from 21 May to 4 June 2012. The review of Indonesia was held at the 5th meeting on 23 May 2012. A number of countries used the session to question Indonesia on the human rights situation in West Papua including questioning the Indonesian government on its handling of human rights violations, such as the torture of civilians, shootings and killings in Papua. The Draft report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on Indonesia can be found at
Amnesty International in its annual report for 2012 also criticise the Indonesian security forces stating  “Security forces faced repeated allegations of torturing and otherwise ill-treating detainees, particularly peaceful political activists in areas with a history of independence movements such as Papua and Maluku. Independent investigations into such allegations were rare” The country report on Indonesia at

The Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) also alleged that the National Police made widespread use of torture in their detention centers to extract information from detainees. ELSAM claimed in its quarterly report that at least 10 detainees, out of 22 cases of torture it investigated, had died in police detention. The ELSAM survey, conducted between January and April, found that 32 individuals had been tortured. 

“We found that 12 of the 22 cases of torture against detainees were committed by active-duty police officers. This shows that despite massive media reporting about the practice the police have not yet learned their lesson and still resort to violence to collect information,” said ELSAM researcher Wahyudi Djafar.

More shootings took place in West Papua in the past month.  
Anton Arung Tambila, an elementary school schoolteacher in Puncak Jaya was fatally shot by an unknown person on Tuesday evening, May 29, 2012. On the same day a German tourist, Dietmar Pieper was shot by an unknown person while walking with his wife Eva Medina at Base G beach near Jayapura.  Dietmar was evacuated to a Singapore hospital on Saturday morning. He was transported by a Medivac aircraft that also stopped in Denpasar, Bali, to pick up portable oxygen needed by Helmut during the flight.

On the 17 May a motorcycle taxi driver was shot dead by an unknown person in Mulia, Puncak Jaya. The victim was identified as Arkilaus Refwutu, said Sr. Comr. Wachyono, head of the Papua Police’s general detective department. 

“The shooting took place as the victim was taking his customer home to Yalinggua village in Mulia,” Wachyono said. Wachyono accused the OPM for the attack although no one has been arrested. Following the attack a joint police and military patrol was dispatched to search for the assailants. 
During the operation they security forces discovered three more civilians who had also been shot and the three men were immediately taken to Mulia Hospital, where they were placed under intensive care for gunshot wounds.  

Sr. Comr. Wachyono 

 said “All we know for now is that three civilians were shot, but we don’t know how the incident played out”. 

The injured people have been identified as Tarinus Tabuni, 17, a high school student who was grazed in the head by a ricochet; Teringgen Murib, 55, a farmer who was shot in the leg; and Yuniter Murib, 20, another farmer who was shot in the leg and grazed in the arm by a bullet’s ricochet. 

On 15 May 2012, an Indonesian Police Mobile Brigade shot dead a young tribal leader Melkianus Kegepe and injured 4 other people of the Wolani tribe, in a billiard hall in Location 45 (the gold panning location) in Paniai District.
The shooting occurred when Melkianus and four of his friends were involved in an altercation at a billiard lounge.  In a report in JUBI (22 May 2012) the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor, Imparsial in Jakarta urged the police in Papua to arrest those members of Brimob who had shot five Papuans. The director of Imparsial Poengky Indarti said that the involvement of Brimob in this matter was a violation of the regulations, and even more regrettable was the fact that people had been shot and wounded, one of whom had died. She said that Brimob is a force which was set up to handle major conflicts, not to deal with minor infringements like unauthorised panning of gold, and to face the possibility of attack from abroad. Brimob is regarded as para-military. The five men who were shot and hit on Wednesday were: Melianus Abaa, 40 years old, who was shot from behind, the bullet penetrated his chest and he died as a result; Lukas Gegepa, 30 yrs, who was shot in the stomach, Alpius Kegepa, who was shot in the right arm, Amos Kegepa, 30 yrs, who was hit in one of this legs, The fifth man who was shot was Yulianus Wegepa, who was shot in the back. A detailed report on the incident can be found at can be found at

A university student was stabbed and beaten to death by a group of men on his way home in Jayapura, Papua, late on Sunday 5 June. The victim, identified as Jimi Ajudh Purba, 19, was driving his motorcycle heading to his boarding house in a neighborhood in Abepura, Jayapura, when a convoy of men driving motorcycles was heading in the opposite direction. Seeing the group, Ajudh pulled over, but the gang suddenly attacked him, stabbed him in the ribs and left hand several times. The convoy immediately fled the scene.

In another incident a black Toyota Avanza exploded in Jayapura, without warning, killing the vehicle's sole passenger. Police identified the victim as Syaiful Bahri, 24, who worked as a driver in the Jayapura area. Syaiful died inside his Toyota when it exploded at a cemetery in Jayapura on Tuesday 22 May. It took authorities an hour to extinguish the vehicle's flames. They discovered Syaiful's body in the backseat.
AWPA wrote an open letter to the Pacific Islands Forum leaders concerning the human rights situation in West Papua.

In brief
Jakarta never listens to Papuans
JUBI, 3 May 2012
The central government in Jakarta has never bothered to listen to anything about Papua, even though Papuans have many problems which have been brought to the attention of Jakarta. The Revd Jhon Jonga  was speaking at a discussion being held in Abepura. 'We have repeatedly submitted a number of problems to  Jakarta  but we have never received any response.' He went on to say that  whenever people visit Papua as representatives of the government, they have never given any these problems He said that the development work now going on in Papua is full of injustices for the Papuan people in all facets of life. 'The Indonesian government has completely failed to win the confidence of the Papuan people. All these developments also represent a violation of the rights of the  Papuan people, he said. In response to these remarks, Michael Manufandu, Senior Adviser to the ambassador for Papuan affairs said that  he would convey all this to the central government in Jakarta. He said that he very much hoped that this would change. 'Besides raising all these issues with the government I will also press them about these matters, because the government has given me the authority to act as its adviser in Papuan affairs.'

RNZI 09 May, 2012
The Health Department in Indonesia’s Papua region says the authorities have recorded more than 10,000 people with HIV/AIDS. Of those, 778 have died. The department says more than 4,400 people have HIV and just over 6,300 have been diagnosed with AIDS. It says in most cases, the virus was spread trough heterosexual sex, with about an equal number of men and women being victims.
According to the report, the largest number of cases was recorded in the Mimika district, with 2180 sufferers. The incidence of HIV/AIDS in Papua is a multiple of that in the rest of Indonesia

Papuan Peace Network continue to make preparations for dialogue
JUBI, 26 May 2012
According to Muridan Widjojo of the Papuan Peace Network (JDP), the network is still working on the correct format for a dialogue between the Indonesian government and the Papuan community. 'We are still preparing the best format for the dialogue. The Revd  Neles Tebay is working on consolidation in Papua and we here in Jakarta are trying to find the correct format. It may seem as though the JDP  is now stagnant but this is because  we are not revealing everything we are doing to the general public,' Muridan told JUBI. He went on to say that the JDP is doing everything it can to reach the maximum possible consolidation regarding all the components within the network so as to make sure that the situation doesn't go backwards, as well as trying to consolidate components  which are not yet involved in the dialogue.' He said that there was still a question about who will be invited to take part in the dialogue. 'Will it be with Forkorus and his colleagues? Will it be with the West Papuan National Authority? Or who will it be with? And will the Papuan people  accept the results? These are questions that we are still discussing.' Asked about the influence on Indonesia of the session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations which took place in Geneva from 23 - 25 May this year, he said that it would certainly have an influence on the government as well as on the implementation of the dialogue itself. 'Particularly with regard to the security situation, this must be the priority of the  Indonesian government,' said this senior academic of LIPI, the Indonesian Association of the Sciences.
Translated by TAPOL


RNZI Posted 14 May, 2012
A member of the United States Congress is urging Washington to encourage Indonesia to release political prisoners in Papua such as the so-called ’Jayapura Five’. The five Papuans were jailed for three years on treason charges after declaring an independent state at last October’s Papuan People’s Congress.
This peaceful gathering was stormed by Indonesian security forces, resulting in at least three deaths. American Samoa’s Congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, has confirmed US concern about the actions of security forces.
He says a group of congressmen have petitioned the President and Secretary of State. “And our request, those of us who are very supportive of the political rights and human rights conditions pertaining to West Papua in Indonesia, and the assurance at least that the State Department has given us is that they’re working towards it. Although part of the problem is that you can’t just make demands and expect that the host country is going to do it.”
Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin


Posted at 18:52 on 15 May, 2012 UTC
Around two dozen people have been arrested in Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila after staging a protest against the arrival of an Indonesian military aircraft. The Hercules aircraft was reportedly carrying assistance equipment for next month’s Port Vila meeting between African Carribean and Pacific countries and the European Union.
Protestors say that the arrival of Indonesian officials and military personnel in the country is unacceptable given the longstanding support of ni-Vanuatu for West Papuan self-determination. Under a recently signed co-operation agreement, Indonesia is to provide police and paramilitary training to Vanuatu which in turn is to refrain from getting involved in the West Papua issue.
Johnny Blades reports.
West Papuan leaders living in exile in Vanuatu have called on the government to reconsider its foreign policy in regard to Indonesia.
Indonesia last year became an observer of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, which includes Vanuatu. In view of the Papuans’ plight over the years, the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation’s John Ondawame says Vanuatu should revisit its dealings with Jakarta. “We firmly believe that the Vanuatu government signed a co-operation agreement with a very brutal regime in the Asia Pacific region that killed thousands of my people in West Papua.” Among those arrested at the airport protest was the West Papuan Andy Ayamiseba. Speaking on the issue from the police holding cell, he described the arrangement with Indonesia as a mockery.
“Simply talking we say what interest is there for Indonesia in Vanuatu? There is no market for trading. It’s to silence Vanuatu on the issue of West Papua, that’s all. That’s all that Indonesia is interested in Vanuatu, nothing else.”

The arrival of the Indonesian military aircraft comes just days after the Kilman government expelled Australian Federal Police from Vanuatu.
The Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot says Vanuatu can survive without Australia’s assistance, saying it has new donors, such as Indonesia.
Meanwhile, Andy Ayamiseba questions the suitability of police training from a Force with a poor human rights record.
“If there is any such force to train Vanuatu police, Indonesia should be the last on the list. These people, they’re committing atrocities on other Melanesian people. So the excuse of kicking the AFP out was to have the Indonesian military and police to come in here?”
An opposition MP, Sela Molisa, says the people of Vanuatu are very strongly against the co-operation deal.
“The government can get assistance from anywhere including Indonesia. But people have different opinion from the government. In as far as the NGOs and members of the public are concerned, they do not agree with the government making any deals with Indonesia, that’s in opposition to the situation in West Papua.”
Mr Molisa witnessed the arrests and has condemned police and government over them.
He says people have the right to express themselves and that no permit is required for holding banners in a peaceful way at the airport.


Papuans ‘should have their identity recognized by govt’
Margareth S. Aritonang, The Jakarta Post 05/31/2012
Papuan activists and scholars have called on the government to allow the use of the region’s traditional symbols and stop prosecuting locals who promote them.

Franz-Magnis Suseno, a Catholic priest and philosophy professor at the Driyarkara School of Philosophy, said that the Indonesian government should stop treating the hoisting of the Bintang Kejora (Morning Star) flag as an act of treason. The flag has long been associated with the Papuan separatist movement.

“Why not let Papuans fly the flag as a symbol of their land? We must also allow them to express their opinions in an assembly,” he said.

Papuan peace activist Neles Tebay said that the close association between the flag and the Papuan separatist movement had often been used as an excuse to abuse the human rights of native Papuans.

Neles also said that the central government should drop its security approach and start a dialogue with the locals. 

“All elements in Papua from the local governments, the natives, and the business community, must sit down and start a dialogue. Dialogue is the key to end what has been happening there,” he said.

Farid Hussein, a former mediator in the talks between the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) said that the dialogue should also include discussion about the flag. 

“One of the most arduous issues [in the Aceh talks] concerned the GAM logo,” he said.

Papuan activist Filep Karma is serving a 15-year prison sentence for promoting separatism. Filep was first detained in 1998 when he led a ceremony to raise the Bintang Kejora flag in Biak.

In the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Universal Periodic Review last week, Germany in particular challenged the government on whether it intended to release Filep and other political detainees who have been held arbitrarily and accused Indonesia of violating Article 20 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which states that “everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association”.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday that Indonesia continued to promote and protect human rights in the country, including in Papua, and that some foreign governments had changed their views on the issue.

“Several countries have changed their stance regarding our policies in Papua. The Republic of Vanuatu, for example, has encouraged us to continue implementing the special autonomy program there,” he said.


Indonesian Government Claims Successes in Overseas Diplomacy
Jakarta Globe June 01, 2012
Indonesian diplomacy to allay international concerns about its policy of special autonomy for the province of Papua is slowly bearing fruit, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa says. 

Speaking at the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Marty said several countries had softened their stance on the policy, including Pacific island nations such as Vanuatu that have traditionally been opposed to Indonesia’s administration of Papua. 

“Vanuatu has changed its position and now supports special autonomy in Papua,” he said. 

Vanuatu and Sweden are the only two countries with international offices of the Free Papua Organization (OPM), a separatist group. The OPM’s office in Port Vila was set up in 1987 by an activist from the office in Stockholm. 

At the time, Vanuatu was also the only country in the region to support the right of East Timor, another area taken over by Indonesia, to self-determination. 

But in a statement published by the Vanuatu Daily Post on May 22, the prime minister’s office said its stand on Papua for the past 30 years “has not achieved the intended result.” 

“The country has made enormous sacrifices by not being able to establish relations and closer cooperation with Indonesia and being able to source aid and assistance from Indonesia,” it said. 

It also said that “Indonesia and West Papua will always be intricately connected in a manner which defies the true meaning of independence.” 

Tubagus Hasanuddin, deputy chairman of House Commission I, which oversees foreign affairs, suggested that opposition to Indonesia’s policies in Papua could be tackled by addressing the human rights violations and discrimination of the region’s ethnic Melanesian residents. 

“Stop the rights violations and discrimination, because this is what makes Papua” a cause for concern for the international community, he said.

Freeport Indonesia Workers Plan June Demonstration
Jakarta Globe June 01, 2012
Timika. Workers at Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold’s Grasberg mine in Indonesia are planning to protest this month against the dismissal of three employees and security problems, a union official told Reuters on Friday.

The official gave no details about the protest, and it was unclear how it would affect operations at the remote mine, which holds the world’s largest gold reserves and second largest copper reserves.

Last year, thousands of unionized Freeport workers halted production at Grasberg in the country’s longest ever strike. The company’s profits were hit and copper prices rose as a result of the protest.

“In the near future in June we will hold a demonstration in connection with security issues and the dismissal of three employees, which we regard as not in accordance with procedure,” said Virgo Solossa, spokesman for Freeport Indonesia’s union.

“This action will be firm or ... we will stop completely,” he said, without saying whether this meant a halt to mining operations.

Freeport officials were not immediately available to comment.

Solossa said three workers were dismissed after being taken to court for being involved in a fight. Workers are also concerned about the security situation because of frequent shootings near the mine in the Papua region, he added.

Gunmen have killed 15 people and injured about 50 others since July 2009, according to Freeport figures this year. The toll includes workers, security officers and illegal miners but it is unclear who is behind the attacks.

Police Chief: 'I will arrest OPM people  who cause disturbances'
Bintang Papua, 23 May 2012
Jayapura: In response to the announcement by the TNI/OPM Revolution Co-ordinator, Lamberth Pekikir, that they intend to fly the Kejora - Morning Star - flag  on 1 July, the anniversary of the OPM and also when Indonesia's President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visits  West Papua on 25 June, the police chief of Papua, Inspector-General Bighman Lumban Tobing said that the police force would take firm action. He said that the general situation in Papua is general speaking  'conducive'  though there have been some security disturbances  recently in Puncak Jaya by elements who intend to break away from the NKRI - Unitary Republic of Indonesia. The police chief said that all components in society  including the media are responsible for keeping the situation in Papua conducive.As the hosts of the National Raimuna Xth event [which the president will attend]; we are jointly responsible for maintaining a conducive atmosphere, ensuring that the news from Papua will be about tranquillity in the area. The chief of police also said that they would take firm action against any group that attempts to cause security disturbances in Papua. He said: 'I will arrest and take firm action against any group that intends to cause disturbances in this place. '

He said that there were no plans to bring in additional troops and they will rely on the organic TNI troops and the police force now in Papua to keep order. He repeated his conviction that all components of society will ensure that the National Raimuna event will proceed smoothly. The Raimuna event will take place in Waena and will last from 25 June till 1 July and will be officially opened by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Ten thousand members of the youth organisation Pramuka all 16 - 20 years old and of Pandega, 21-25 years old  [the Indonesian boy scouts movement] from PNG, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei will also be taking part. [Abridged in translation by TAPOL]


New technology means West Papuans’ plight won’t fade away, says author
RNZI May, 2012
A new book about the indigenous people of Indonesia’s Papua region says Papuans have seemingly never-ending reserves of hope for self-determination.
Freedom in Entangled Worlds is the culmination of almost 15 years of research about the West Papuan freedom struggle by American cultural anthropologist Eben Kirksey. His book documents the way West Papuans have collaborated with outside forces to further their cause rather than continue resistance against the Indonesian military forces in the region. Mr Kirksey says a lot has changed since last century when he witnessed atrocities by the security forces against Papuans in Biak. “Whereas in 1998 I witnessed this massacre (in Biak) and nobody knew about it, nobody knew how to represent it. This book that’s just come out is the first time I’ve published anything about it. I was afraid to talk about it for fear of being killed myself. Now we have people instantly uploading videos, we have people sending text messages in real time. This isn’t something that can be hidden from the international community anymore.”
Eben Kirksey


Solomon star  22 MAY 2012
Solomon Islands for West Papua, an advocacy group for free West Papua movement call on Melanesian leaders to speak up against human rights violation and abuses of West Papuans by the occupying Indonesian forces.
In a statement, the group said the position taken by Melanesian leaders regarding continuous human rights abuses suffered by Melanesians of West Papua is a crucial step to the determination of indigenous West Papuans for a referendum. “On this token the Solomon Islands for West Papua joined other pro-west Papuans supporters in condemning the action of the government of Vanuatu to sign the sign military pact with Indonesia.
“Last week about two dozen Pro-West Papuan supporters were arrested in Vanuatu for protesting against the military ties Vanuatu government develop with Indonesia. “It is becoming a common defence by  Melanesian government leaders that government and the people always hold different views and opinion on issues, be it domestic or diplomatic but one thing our leaders fail to understand is that even diplomacy need to have a human face and not solely on absolute check book diplomacy bases.”
The group therefore said Melanesian countries of Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and New Caledonia need to stand united and condemn the suffering faced by West Papuans at the hands of Indonesian forces.
“Support from Melanesian countries is crucial and the firm step our leaders take against human rights abuses in West Papua is an important step forward in assisting indigenous West Papuans getting closer to their ultimate objectives of self-determination. “Human rights abuses in West Papua cannot be stopped unless we stand united against it to have it stopped. “Melanesian solidarity is an important platform that West Papuans can count on to realize their aspiration.”
The groups said “in the light of the ongoing violence suffered by Melanesian brothers and sisters of West Papua, the Solomon Islands for West Papua appeal to the Solomon Islands government to take a proactive role in discussing issues relating to human rights violation in West Papua at the 43rd Pacific Islands Forum meeting in August”. “We also appeal to leaders of MSG to grant special observer status to West Papua in regional organization like MSG and Pacific Islands Forum.
The group Solomon Islands for West Papua stressed that Indonesia must be stripped off its status as observer with MSG. “We call on our parliamentarians to join international pressure groups like International Parliamentarian for West Papua [IPWA] along with other MPs from Australia, Vanuatu, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea to deal with the challenges facing the Melanesian people of West Papua.”   The group said certain local MPs have confirmed to them their support for West Papua independence movement. “We therefore are planning to hold dialogue with our leaders on issues relating to the plight of West Papuans.”

PNG Governor urges Indonesia to recognise rights of West Papuans
RNZI 22 May, 2012
The Governor of Papua New Guinea’s National Capital District says pressure must be brought to bear on Indonesia to address the West Papua issue. A long-time advocate of West Papuan rights, Powes Parkop says the West Papua issue remains the obstacle to good relations between Indonesia and the Pacific islands community.
He says if his Social Democratic Party is part of the next government after the June election, he will push for recognition of the long-denied right to self-determination of West Papuans.
Mr Parkop says Indonesia must allow the proper exercise of that right to proceed. “We have a plan to work with the Indonesian government to give them assurance and, if you like, security of their investment and so on, if West Papua should choose to become a nation of independence. We want to see more political and economic integration between Papua New Guinea, West Papua and Indonesia.”
Powes Parkop

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