Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088
AWPA update July 2012
A snapshot of events for July 2012
On his trip to Indonesia in mid July, Foreign Minister Bob Carr confirmed Australia recognised Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua. However, thanks to the media the issue of West Papua was raised. In a doorstop interview journalists questioned Bob Carr on the human rights situation in West Papua.
From the Jakarta Post.
The Australian Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, raised sensitive issues relating to alleged human rights abuses and violence in Indonesia’s poorest province, Papua, during a meeting with his Indonesian counterpart, Marty Natalegawa, on Monday. Marty said that Carr told him that Australia wanted the Indonesian government to promote transparency in matters concerning Papua. “But he also reiterated the principal position of Australia: that it recognizes Indonesia’s integrity and sovereignty which includes Papua,” Marty said at his office after the meeting with Carr. The Australian media had reported that Carr was aware of the human rights issues in Papua, and would bring the issue up in his Indonesian visit. Carr arrived in Indonesia on Friday, and has since visited several projects funded by the Australian government in Yogyakarta, including a village hit hard by Mount Merapi’s eruption in 2010. “We’ve quietly worked with the Indonesians to see that there, as elsewhere, reasonable standards of human rights protection are maintained,” Carr said in Yogyakarta. http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/07/17/australia-wants-transparency-tni-sends-troops-papua.html
A small step and hopefully raising concerns about the situation in West Papua will become the norm on all visits by our politicians to Indonesia. AWPA’s letter concerning Detachment 88 at http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/awpa-calls-on-foreign-minister-bob-carr.html and Statement by the West Papua Project, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney at http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/is-australia-funding-indonesian-death.html
RNZI 16 July, 2012
A group of parliamentarians from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Vanuatu has condemned what it says is Jakarta’s suppression of political activity in the Papua region. The International Parliamentarians for West Papua say they are concerned at the escalating violence in the region, especially in Wamena and Jayapura. In an open letter they say they are saddened by the recent murder of independence leader Mako Tabuni. The MPs also ask that imprisoned activists, including Filep Karma, be freed and charges against them dropped. The group says it supports West Papua’s call for a genuine act of self-determination, a right which was not recognised in the controversial 1969 Act of Free Choice. http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=69588
The group of parliamentarians included, Member of Parliament for Port Vila, Ralph Regenvanu, Andrew Smith, MP (United Kingdom); Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion House of Commons (United Kingdom); Lord Richard Harries (United Kingdom) Dr. Russel Norman, MP (New Zealand); Jamie Hepburn, MSP (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, Scotland) Catherine Delahunty, MP (New Zealand); Bill Kidd, MSP (Glasgow Anniesland, Scotland); Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, MP (Port Vila, Vanuatu); Cllr Alex Sobe (Leeds City Council); Eugenie Sage, MP (Aotearoa); and Cate Faehrmann, MLC Green MP (Australia). http://www.dailypost.vu/content/regenvanu-joins-international-mps-voice-concern-over-west-papua
UK holds media operations training programme for Indonesian military
Mon, July 23 2012
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence will hold a training program on media operations for Indonesian military officers, starting Monday through Friday (July 27), as part of an effort to improve the defense forces` ability to work in the modern media environment. Deputy British Ambassador to Indonesia Rebecca Razavi noted that media had the power to influence people`s opinion and the way history was written. Therefore, she added, such training programs were essential for a good democracy.
"I am pleased that the UK is continuing to work closely with the Indonesian Armed Forces to help develop skills in the area of media operations. This will help the military personnel work effectively with the media for accurate reporting and improved information flow," Rebecca said in a press statement received by ANTARA News here on Monday. Meanwhile, Indonesian Military (TNI) spokesperson Rear Admiral Iskandar Sitompul said human resources were an important asset of TNI. In the current media environment, he added, the military organization needed to respond quickly to every incident. "This training is part of the efforts to improve the ability of the TNI information personnel to communicate in an ever-changing strategic environment," Iskandar explained. The training was organized with the Royal Military Academy Sandhurs in order to enhance the Indonesian military's ability to work in a variety of operational environments. (T.F013/INE/KR-BSR/H-YH) Editor: Priyambodo RH
Concern about journalists alleged to be serving TNI interests
Bintang Papua, 17 July, 2012
Eleven journalists working in Papua are alleged to be passing on information to TNI, the Indonesian army. In response to this report, the Jayapura branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists, AJI, said: 'AJI is very concerned that a number of Papuan journalists may be agents of the military. If this is true, it would significantly damage the reputation of journalists who are neutral and who consistently serve the interests of the general public,' said Viktor Mambor, chairman of AJI-Jayapura. He said that journalists should carry out their activities in the interest of the general public, in conformity with Press Law/1999 and should not be acting for certain groups or institutions. According to the Press Ethics Code, they must at all times be objective, accountable and transparent.'
The fact that eleven journalists may be assisting the TNI is having a detrimental impact on those journalists who work in conformity with the ethical code because people may very well suspect these other journalists of working in the interests of certain interests or institutions. 'This is serious precedent and the public could very well regard all journalists as failing to be neutral and transparent. This is very serious indeed,' he said. He went on to say that AJI has carefully investigated the claims that some journalists are serving the interests of the military. 'We will investigate these claims while at the same time warning all journalists to work clearly within the terms set by UU/1999.' Earlier, the website Umaginews.com reported that a number of journalists in Papua are suspected of being military agents.. They include journalists in the print media, the radio, online, as well as in local and national TV. As a result, many journalists were worried, fearing that they could be suspected of not being neutral or independent. [Translated by TAPOL]
A number of killings occurred in the past month.
A police officer died from his wounds after being found beaten and stabbed in Keerom, Papua, on Tuesday 17th. Police have yet to establish a possible motive for the stabbing. A joint team from the Keerom district police and the Papua provincial police is investigating.
Three people were killed, one soldier and two civilians on Saturday 7th July 7t. The latest killings took place at Ndeotadi village in Bogobaida district, Paniai regency. The three victims have been identified as Chief Warrant Officer Sunaryo, 51, a member of Paniai Military District Command; Rosmini, 28, and Aco, 18. They were found dead with wounds all over their bodies and the case is still being investigated.
Yudhoyono: “No Need for Large Scale Operations in Papua”
13 July, 2012 TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:
The disorder in Papua has led President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to speak up again. The authoritiesmust crack down firmly on separatist movements, but they must also be careful not to violate human rights. However, the President confirmed that there was no need for a massive military operation. "The government is using the community approach," he said while at a briefing to young officer candidates (capaja) at the Army and the Police Academy 2012 at the Military Academy, Magelang, on Wednesday evening, July 11, 2012, as quoted by Antara. The president made the statement in response to a question by one of the cadets about the dilemmas of soldiers on duty: they are performing their duty yet people accuse them of committing human rights violations. Yudhoyono said the land of Bird of Paradise is often referred to as one of the bases of separatist movements. Handling separatist movements requires special skills on the part of the authorities. The Chair of the Board of Supervisories of the Democrat Party firmly states that any forms of separatism in Indonesia must be stopped because it threatens the unity of the nation. "Any talk of wanting to be free, to leave the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia(NKRI), is not about freedom of speech; it is separatism; it must be stopped," said Yudhoyono. The President was speaking before 836 cadets of the army (Military, Naval, Airforce Academy) and the police, Level IV. They have completed their education and become capaja. He will appoint them with a military officer rank of second lieutenant (letda) and a police officer rank of second inspector (ipda). ARYANI KRISTANTI
Separatism must be stopped: Yudhoyono
July 12 2012
Magelang, C Java (ANTARA News) - Separatism of any kind in Indonesia must be stopped because it poses a serious threat to national integrity, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in Magelang, Central Java, on Thursday. "The attempts of those who want to secede from the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) are best described not as the freedom of speech but as separatism. It must be stopped," the President said during his speech to the National Defence Forces (TNI) and the National Police (Polri) cadets at the Magelang Military Academy. Yudhoyono made the statement in response to a question from one of the cadets with regard to the problems that TNI and the Polri personnel faced when carrying out their duties.
The head of state said the nation`s security personnel should take the strongest possible action against separatist forces without violating human rights. Citing an example, President Yudhoyono talked about the approach taken by the security forces to tackle separatism in Papua. "The government took the strongest possible action against the separatist forces in Papua without resorting to massive military operations," he stated. "The government has taken a societal approach to deal with separatism in Papua," the President said before 836 military and police cadets who had just finished their education and training at Magelang Military and Police Academy.(*)
15 human rights activists arrested in Jayapura
JUBI, 21 July 2012
Human rights activists arrested in West Papua
Following arrest of 15 members of the SKHP, Solidarity for Victims of Human Rights Abuse, the organisation has announced that it would seek to take action to bring members of the police force to trial for this round-up The 15 SKHP members were arrested while they were engaged in collecting money from the general public to cover the costs of medical treatment for political prisoners and other prisoners now being held in Abepura. The police claim that they had taken action against these SKHP activists on the grounds that the organisation was not formally recognised and that they had no permit to carry out the action they were involved in. Spokesman for the SKHP, Peneas Lokbere, said that regardless of the actions taken by the police, they would continue to collect money. Another member of SKHP, Bovit Bovra, said that the police and others should be grateful to their organisation for taking on the burden of caring for prisoners who are in need of medical care and attention.
A former deputy chairman of the National Commission for Human Rights in Papua, Matius Murib said that these arrests appear to be connected with the actsof violence that have been occurring in West Papua over the past two months. These actions had led to the arrest and shooting dead of Mako Tabuni, a human rights activist on 16 June, and threats made against Socrates Sofyan Yoman, the chairman of the Alliance of Baptist Churches in Papua. He drew attention to acts of intimidation against human rights activists. He said that these arrests meant that the police were closing the space for activism by human rights activists and represented an assault against their democratic rights. [Translated by TAPOL]
Failure in renegotiation reflecting freeport`s arrogance:legislator
Sat, July 28 2012
Semarang (ANTARA News) - Failure in contract renegotiation between the Indonesian government and PT Freeport reflects arrogance of the US gold and copper mining company, a lawmaker said. The government has sought to renegotiate revision of the contract of work held by Freeport which has large copper and gold mine in Papua. Talks have failed as Freeport has no intention of changing its contract, Dewi Aryani of the Commission VII of the House of Representatives said. "The country`s dignity has been trampled on and nothing could be done facing Freeport," the legislator from the opposition PDIP faction told Antara news agency here on Saturday. Dewi said the government wants revision of the contract concerning six points : concession area, extension of contract, royalty , regulation requiring processing and refining of mineral ores in the country , share divestment and the requirement to use domestic mining goods and services. She said Freeport agrees only on one point that is an increase in gold royalty from 1 percent to 3.75 percent of selling prices.
Royalty is not important for the country compared with other points points, she said. She said success in the renegotiation with Freeport could have served as a good momentum for reposition of various sectors in dealing with foreign investors. She cited unclear orientation in the management of the country`s energy sector, which has a complex inter-connectivity with various other vital sectors . The government has issued a new law on coal and minerals ruling change of the contract of work but implementation has been as protracted as in the re-negotiations. A regulation has also been issued banning exports of mineral ores forcing mining companies to have their ores processed in the country before being exported. With the regulation to be effective in 2014 a number of mineral producers have planned to build own processing plants or smelters. The policy is to create more jobs to ease the country`s unemployment problem. (H-ASG/O001) Editor: Jafar M Sidik
Human rights activist tried for vandalism
Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post, Jayapura | July 19 2012
The trial of Buchtar Tabuni, 32, human rights activist and leader of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) , began at the Jayapura District Court. He is accused of violence and vandalism at Abepura Penitentiary on Wednesday. This hearing might raise eyebrows since Buchtar was arrested on June 5 by Papua Police for allegedly being linked to a series of violent protests in Jayapura in May and June. He was detained after attending a meeting of the Papua legislative council, suspected of involvement in a string of shootings in the city. During the first hearing, presided over by Judge Haris Munandar, prosecutor Ahmad Kobarubus said that the defendant was accused of violating articles 170 and 406 of the Criminal Code which carries a maximum sentence of five years.
The defendant and his colleague, Dominggus Pulalo, allegedly tossed rocks at the hall, office and workshop of the Abepura prison as warden Liberti Sitinjak announced to inmates that a convict was shot and killed as he attempted to escape. “The defendant and his colleague Pulalo yelled to other inmates to throw rocks at the office as he picked up rocks and tossed them at the prison hall, office and workshop, causing glass panes to shatter,” said Kobarubus. Gustav Kawer, Buchtar’s lawyer, said the indictment had nothing to do with the reasons behind his client’s arrest on June 5. “Buchtar was arrested in connection with shootings in Jayapura and his position as KNPB leader, but this indictment was for another case. I guess there is a plot to divert the charges,” Gustav told reporters after the trial. The trial was adjourned until July 23 to allow the examination of witnesses. Prosecutors promised to present ex-Abepura prison warden Liberti Sitinjak, who has now been transferred to Ambon, Maluku, as a witness. Human rights activists have called for the police to pursue the perpetrators of shootings and terror in Jayapura, saying that Buchtar must not become the scapegoat for the violence. Manokwari Education, Research, Investigation and Legal Aid Institution (LPPPBH) executive director Yan Christian Warinussy said that he believed that neither Buchtar nor the KNPB was behind the shootings that terrorized Jayapura residents. Papua Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Johanes Nugroho previously said Buchtar was arrested not because of the shootings but the incidents that took place followed the protests held by KNPB in Jayapura.
Jubi reported on the 23rd that the second hearing in the trial of Buchtar Tabuni did not proceed as planned because a witness who was due to appear failed to turn up. This witness was the former director of the prison, Liberti Sitnjak who is now the director of a prison in Ambon. Gustaf Kawar, one of the lawyers of the defendant, called on the judge to insist that the prosecutor guarantee that witnesses appear as planned and ensure that the next hearing is not postponed. It will be on 26 July.
At the hearing on the 26th Jubi reported that Filep Karma who has diligently fought for the basic rights of the Papuan people refused to take the oath when summoned as a witness in the ongoling trial of Buchtar Tabuni. He said that the court was a full of people who know only how to deceive and trick the Papuan people. He said that his own declaration that he would speak the truth was enough. Both the prosecuting counsel and the judges urged Karna to take the other on the Bible but he refused to do so. Karma did not budge from his position and the judge therefore dismissed him as a witness and adjourned the hearing. The next hearing in the trial will be held on 30 July.
Reports/opinion pieces etc.
INDONESIA: MIFEE: The stealthy face of conflict in West Papua
Contributors: Selwyn Moran July 19, 2012
West Papua, the easternmost island under Indonesia's control, is a land beset by troubles. Rarely a week goes by without news of some new tragedy in a relentless conflict that has endured and evolved over fifty years.
The statement by President Yudhoyono that recent violent incidents in Papua are ‘small-scale incidents compared to those in the Middle East’ (Jakarta Post, 12 June 2012) is worrying. The worry is not only that, by comparing Papuans and people in the Middle East in this way, he appeared to confuse his constitutional duty to protect Indonesian nationals with his role as observer of world politics. It is also because his comment suggests the president views Papuans as living ‘bare lives……………………….
What Is Indonesia Trying to Hide in West Papua?
Posted: 07/11/2012 3:56 pm Written by Eben Kirksey
West Papua is one of the most difficult places to access on the planet. Still a steady trickle of adventurous travelers is being drawn there by images of highlanders wearing penis sheaths and birds of paradise. In the words of Lonely Planet this place has a mystique that "piques the imagination of the explorer... The diversity in lifestyle and culture of the indigenous people, who speak more than 250 languages, is matched only by [the area's] biodiversity and geography." Part of this mystique has been created by the Indonesian government
The Paradise Prison
A 15 page story on West Papua on The Star (Malaysia)'s iPad section by Martin Vengadesan and and Lim Chia Ying.
Indonesia: Will The Jakarta-Papua Dialogue
By: IPCS July 17, 2012 By Navrekha Sharma
Tensions on the rise in West Papua The unseen resistance
Jul 9th 2012, 14:20 by The Economist online
RECENT violence in West Papua has highlighted the ongoing conflict between Indonesia's rulers and native Papuans struggling for independence
TV Papua Network@ BT River of music festival London
The sound of West Papua was brought to the people of London at the official
pre-Olympic concert in Greenwich Park, London, July 21st 2012. As part of David Bridie's Wantok Music Sing Sing, the flag of West Papua was raised as George Telek was joined on stage by exiled musicians Mambesak and independence leader Benny Wenda, as the crowds of British citizens in the crowd
sung along. The voice of West Papua will never be silenced and this will be the first of many West Papua flagraisings to be held during the London 2012 Olympic Games, all directed to bring the worlds attention towards the ongoing human rights violations that Indonesia is committing against the Papuan population.
West Papuan chapter from e-book People Land Truth
PEOPLE LAND TRUTH
Our first major online publication, People Land Truth features more than three dozen stories, including 37 revised and updated articles from the website and some very generous contributions from the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Sacred Land Film Project.
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Groups Respond to Mystery List of Papua Supporters
A list is currently circulating on the internet which purports to list international supporters of the OPM (Organisasi Papua Merdek) in West Papua. (See for example, http://politik.kompasiana.com/2012/07/08/daftar-organisasi-pendukung-gerakan-papua-merdeka-di-luar-negeri/.) This list includes our organizations among others. We speak here only for our own groups and not necessarily for any others listed………………….