Sunday, August 4, 2013

Summary of events in West Papua for July 2013

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088
Summary of events in West Papua for July 2013

Biak Anniversary
The 6 July marked 15 years since the Biak Massacre when the Indonesian security forces massacred scores of people in Biak, West Papua. The victims, included women and children who had gathered for a peaceful rally. They were killed at the base of a water tower flying the Morning Star flag. Other Papuans were rounded up and later taken out to sea where they were thrown off naval ships and drowned. The Australian Government who knew about the massacre turned a blind eye and did not protest to the Indonesian Government. (Between July 11 - 14 an Australian Army Captain arrived in Biak to carry out an official investigation on behalf of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs)
A Citizens Tribunal for the 15th Anniversary of the Massacre was held on Saturday July 6th at the University of Sydney. Full video footage from the Tribunal is now available on the site. A Memorial Concert was also held on Sunday 7th July 
Featuring David Bridie, Rize of the Morning Star, and John Gordon
 at the Cafe Church in Glebe.

PM Rudd visits Indonesia
In early July Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visited Indonesia for the third Indonesia-Australia Annual Leaders Meeting.  He reiterated his government’s recognition of Indonesia’s sovereignty over Papua “I would like to publicly reaffirm here, what successive Australian prime ministers have said in the past, that Australia recognizes, recognized in the past and will recognize in the future, the territorial integrity of the Republic of Indonesia that includes Papua,” Rudd said.
Surprisingly, Prime Minister Rudd did raise the issue of West Papua. “Issues concerning Papua were not expected to be broached by those attending the media conference. “According to information I received, it was Prime Minister Rudd who raised the issue,” presidential spokesman for foreign affairs Teuku Faizasyah told the Post. President Yudhoyono at the joint press conference expressed concern over rampant “propaganda” spread by Papuan separatist activists in many countries who advocate independence by “exaggerating alleged human rights violations by Indonesian military and police”. 

West Papua Media reported that four activists were arrested by police and nine de-arrested by West Papuan women at pro-independence rallies in Jayapura. According to witnesses, twenty West Papuan women jumped into a police truck as police prepared to take three men and six women to the police station. A witness told West Papua Media via phone that “the police were confused” by the women’s spontaneous response and immediately released the seven detained activists.
WP Media also that in Serui, Yapen Island In dramatic scenes local community forced the Indonesian police to release to two independence activists jailed on charges of rebellion.

News in brief
More shootings occurred in West Papua during July.
On the 1st July Arlince Tabuni, an 11 year old girl from Tion City was killed during a sweep by the security forces who were looking for members of the OPM. A full report on the incident at

On the 12 July, unidentified gunman shot and killed a motorcycle taxi driver in Wandigobak village, near the Semen River in the Puncak Jaya region. The attack occurred at approximately 8:30 in the morning. The victim was Muhammad Saleh, 43 and was originally from Makassar in South Sulawesi.
On the 19 July two armed groups entered Mulia and attacked the TNI post on Friday afternoon. Two of the attackers are reported to have been killed before the rest fled into the bush.
On the 31 July an armed group shot at an ambulance in the Puncak Jaya region killing one and injuring two others.  The ambulance was carrying 11 passengers and on route from Tingginambut to Mulia General Hospital in Mulia sub district, when the armed group opened fire. 
The bullets hit three people sitting in the front seats, while eight others were uninjured. The incident killed passenger Heri Yoman and injured two medical officers, Darson Wonda and Frits Baranzano. A platoon from the Papua Police Mobile Brigade was sent to Mulia the following day to pursue the attackers.  There is always a concern when the security forces conduct sweeps in response to shootings as in the past these operations have left the local people in fear and traumatized by such operations.

A group of civilians raised the banned Morning Star (Bintang Kejora) flag in Kampung Wandenggobak, Mulia, Puncak Jaya regency, Papua, on Monday, while officers from the Puncak Jaya Police precinct were celebrating the National Police's 67th anniversary, which fell on July 1. Intermittent gunfire was also heard in the lead-up to the Morning Star flag being raised.

Papuan Plea 1 July. Photo. Papua students rally in front of the State Palace on Monday, demanding the implementation of real democracy. Demands have been mounting for the government to fully implement the special autonomy provisions enacted by their own laws in 2000 and remove all military personnel from the region. (JP/Jerry Adiguna)

Candlelit protest to remember abuses in Wasior and Wamena. 
Dozens of Students who are members of the National Papua Solidarity held a candlelit protest in front of the Diponegoro University campus on Sunday 14 July to commemorate the human rights abuses that occurred in Wasior and Wamena. The action was in memory of the victims of the human rights violations that took place in Wasior and Wamena, West Papua, in 2001 and 2003.

Five Papuan freedom activists arrested and mass demo dispersed by the police
Bintang Papua reported that five Papuan Freedom activists were arrested while taking part in a demonstration on 29 July, in support of the discussion on Self-Determination for the people of West Papua which took place at the United Nations Human Rights Committee which met in Geneva, Switzerland earlier this month. The names of the five people arrested are: Usamah Yogobi, chairman of SHDRP, who is also the chairman of National Reconciliation Team for General Mobilisation and the co-ordinator of the peaceful demonstration, as well as Alius Asso, who helped to organise the demonstration, Johannes Elegani and Benny Hisage. People from many parts of the territory who took part in long marches towards the meeting place were forcibly dispersed by the police for failing to have a permit. According to investigations by Bintang Papua, the police dispersed the demonstration because the actions were not in accord with what had been stated in the request for permission to hold the demonstration. Two of the five activists who were arrested were taken to police headquarters in Jayapura City while the other three were taken to the police headquarters in Abepura.
Health. Photo. Action needed
Residents of Mumugu village in the district of Sawa Erma, Asmat regency, Papua, pose on Tuesday. About 40 of the 300 people residing in the village have been diagnosed with leprosy. Up till now, there have been no efforts to evacuate the lepers from the village, which is worrisome as the disease could spread. (JP/Nethy Dharma Somba)

The freedom flotilla has started its journey
A freedom flotilla left for north Queensland today after spending several days in Brisbane. In Cairns, the protestors will take to their boats for the long voyage to the province now controlled by Indonesia. SBS report

Papuan rebel leader Danny Kogoya vows to keep fighting Indonesia despite amputated leg
Video: Danny Kogoya says his leg was amputated without his permission (ABC News) Speaking from a rebel training camp just inside the Papua New Guinean border, Danny Kogoya says he was unarmed and surrendering when police shot him below the knee last year

Nabire Boxing tragedy
Seventeen people were trampled to death and 39 others sustained injuries when approximately 1,500 spectators scrambled for the door at the overcrowded Kota Lama stadium to escape a riot which broke out after the final match of the Nabire Regent Cub boxing championship Nabire on July 14 An investigation by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) concluded that the Youth and Sports Ministry was responsible for the deadly stampede by failing to provide sufficient information about safety standards and regulations in sporting events. (hrl)

Britain also recognizes Papua as an integral part of Indonesia. Millie Mc Devitt, Second Secretary in the Political Section of the British Embassy and a group of other officials of the British embassy in Jakarta were on a working visit to the Cendrawasih Regional Military Command. They met with the regional military commander Maj. Gen. Christian Zebua and other regional military officials in this provincial city.
Parliament challenges UK Government over rights abuses in West Papua
 Members of the House of Lords held a debate about West Papua on 24 July in which they raised serious concerns about the human rights situation and called on the British government to take a stronger stand. Lord Harries, who initiated the debate, noted the alarming pattern of ongoing political arrests in West Papua, citing evidence collected by TAPOL, and challenged the UK government about its funding of Special Detachment 88, the elite counter-terror squad which has allegedly been used in the arrest, torture and shooting of political activists in the Papua provinces. He questioned whether the training provided by the UK and others was doing anything to improve the human rights record of the unit.
The debate started at 6.52 pm

Press Freedom
Just days of the distribution of its first edition, Pelita Papua magazine encountered problems with the police for portraying the symbol of the Free Papua Movement on its cover.  Previously, 2,000 copies of the 64-page edition were already been distributed. Fidelis Jeminta, chief editor of Pelita Papua in Jayapura, said this case would restrict freedom of the press in Papua again. 
"We feel we are being treated unjustly. Out there, many media outlets show pictures of the Bintang Kejora (symbol of the movement) but are not examined by the police," he said. HTTP://EN.TEMPO.CO/READ/NEWS/2013/07/04/055493689/POLICE-BAN-FIRST-EDITION-OF-PELITA-PAPUA-MAGAZINE
In a Tempo report The Press Council says the ban on the first edition of Papua’s Pelita Pelita Magazine is considered as an attempt to block the press.  "If the police really did come and prohibit the distribution of information, that is a form of blocking the press," Press Council member Imam Wahdyudi told Tempo on Sunday.  Imam said that according to Press Law No. 40/1999, blocking the press is defined as the forceful or unlawful prohibition of publishing, distributing and/or broadcast of information. 
Imam also said that that freedom of the press is clearly regulated in the law and 1945 Constitution, and is a guaranteed right of the people. 
"Basically, if the police do not approve the contents of the publication, they can report it to the press council," he said. Imam criticized the police for immediately going to the publisher’s printing office and prohibiting the sale of the magazine.

Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post July 03 2013
Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian said the police would soon commence a community policing program that was aimed at improving the relationship between the police and the public.

He said the program was provided by the Dutch government via the International Organization for Migration (IOM). He added the program had a three-year duration and would be started with series of research projects conducted by the state-owned Cendrawasih University.

“We will use the research results for the program,” he said.

He said the research was expected to be finished by the end of this year.

The program has been designed to provide police officers with additional skills and knowledge on health, teaching, agriculture and religion. As many as 4,000 police officers throughout Papua will participate in the program. (fan/dic)

Free West Papua opens office in Netherlands
The Hague West Papua --- The Free West Papua Campaign is to open a new office in the Netherlands. Earlier this year the Campaign, which is fronted by exiled West Papuan Independence leader Benny Wenda, opened an office in the British city of Oxford.Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa voiced disappointment that the British government was unwilling to take steps against the office. The Campaign’s Oditek Ap says the new office in the Hague will be opened on August 15th, the 51st anniversary of the New York Agreement between the Netherlands and Indonesia under which control of the former Dutch New Guinea was ceded. “It is our task to inform the youth in the Netherlands about their own history, about our history, the West Papuan story, by opening an office so that people will know that there is an office where we can get more information about the situation in West Papua and about why the people in West Papua are struggling for freedom.”

Papua Has Most Child Laborers in Indonesia
TEMPO.COJakarta - The National Commission for Child Protection has released a data concerning children for the first semester of 2013. The commission secretary general Samsul Ridwan said the number of child laborer has reached 4.7 million children. "Mostly in Papua. Child laborers covered 34.7 percent of the total laborers (there)," said Samsul on yesterday, July 18. The second position was taken by North Sulawesi with 20.46 percent of child laborers, and followed by West Sulawesi at 19.82 percent of child laborers.
Based on location and the total number, about 1.1 million children work in the city area while the remaining 2.3 million work in villages.
For comparison, the data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) recorded 1.7 million child laborers consisting of 674,000 children are aged below 13. As many as 321,000 aged between 13 and 14, and 760,000 aged between 15 and 17. Indonesia has set a target to be free of child laborers by 2020.  TIKA PRIMANDARI  HTTP://EN.TEMPO.CO/READ/NEWS/2013/07/19/055497779/PAPUA-HAS-MOST-CHILD-LABORERS-IN-INDONESIA

New Indonesian law expected to hit NGOs strongly in West Papua 
RNZI 21 July, 2013. Human Rights Watch has voiced alarm at a new law in Indonesia that gives the government wide powers to shut down NGOs in West Papua. The Law on Mass Organisations imposes a broad range of obligations and prohibitions on NGO activities, and severe limitations on freedom of expression and association. In West Papua, tight restrictions are already maintained on civil society as well as freedom of expression and association. The deputy director of the Asia division of HRW, Phil Robertson, says the new law requires all NGOs to apply through the Home Affairs Ministry for permission to operate, making it easier to prevent NGOs working in the region.
“The way that these regulations have been brought out through this law. They are so broad and so big that the government of Indonesia can essentially go after anyone they want and make up the reason afterwards. It’s a very dangerous law. It’s one that isn’t neccessary and frankly it’s one that harks back to a past era of restrictions under former President Suharto.” Phil Robertson.

Statement by LP3BH on the Need for Dialogue between Papua and Indonesia
Statement by the Executive Director of LP3BH 31 July, 2013
LP3BH-Manokwari, an organisation which advocates human rights for the people of the Land of Papua, strongly supports the move, which has been taken by the MRP (Papuan People's Council)  to call for peaceful dialogue between Papua and Indonesia. This move is very much in accord with Law 21/2001 on Special Autonomy for the Province of Papua which grants full powers to the MRP as the cultural representative of the indigenous Papuan people. It is crucially important for the dialogue to take place in 2013 because this is the best way to secure a peaceful and dignified solution to the conflict and the many substantial problems in the Land of Papua. A number of leaders of countries such as the UK, the USA, New Zealand, Australia and several European countries, as well as the United Nations, have also called on the Government of Indonesia to agree to a peaceful dialogue as the way to resolve the problems in Papua. Bearing all this in mind, the LP3BH believes that there are strong reasons for the Government of Indonesia under the leadership of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to provide the space for such a dialogue to take place. Moreover, it is unconstitutional for the Ministry of the Interior and other government ministries in Jakarta to press for an evaluation of of the Special Autonomy Law as this is in violation of Articles 77 and 78 on the evaluation or amendment of the law. The LP3BH once again expresses full support for the moves by the MRP for Papua and West Papua for the holding of a dialogue between Papua and Indonesia and various people's representative bodies bodies such the DPR-Papua and the DPR-West Papua to support such a move. Peace. Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive Director of the LP3BH [Translated by TAPOL]

Report about the visit of an Indonesian naval officer to Papua
From Tapol. The following report was received from the Executive-Director of LP3BH, Yan Christian Warinussy
Monday 15 July 2013. At 11am, someone came to see me who said that he wanted to meet an official of Belantara Papua (This could be translated as the 'Papuan Jungle') He was riding on a motorbike  which he parked in front of the office. Because the front door was closed, he went to the back of the house and opened a side door and shouted: 'There's someone here who wants to meet you.'……………

Opinion pieces/press release/reports etc.
The large number of opinion pieces in recent months (not necessary always pro Papuan) indicate the growing interest and awareness of the issue of WP)

MSG aims ‘to restructure the Pacific landscape’
Summit supports Kanak and West Papuan self-determination
By Nic Maclellan 
As the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) celebrates its 25th anniversary, last month’s MSG Summit in New Caledonia showcased renewed purpose and a range of initiatives by the largest islands nations. The outgoing MSG chair, Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, told the summit: “I believe that MSG solidarity has never been stronger.

Refugees and rebels set to dominate Rudd’s PNG visit

A Win For West Papua In Melanesia
By Jason MacLeod 1 Jul 2013 

Kevin Rudd and Indonesia's Obama
Eureka Street Vol 23 No 13 Pat Walsh |  03 July 2013

Jul 2013 By Iain Henry 

Jul 2013 By Peter Jennings

Australia at risk of becoming an island as Pacific prospers
The Australian July 05, 2013 12:00AM
FIRST it was the Pacific Century, then the Asia Pacific Century, then the Asian Century with a recent nod towards the Chinese Century. Now we are hearing of the Indo-Pacific Century. Hollywood to Bollywood, as one US military officer put it recently.

Stories from Papua’s political prisoners show life at the edge of freedom.  

Students walk a rough road to secondary education in Papua province, Indonesia By Michael Klaus
In a part of Indonesia in which the only way for children to attend secondary school is to leave home and live in large boarding homes, UNICEF, NGOs and the provincial government focus on youth like Markus in their programmes – and include them in their planning.

Index: ASA 21/026/2013        31 July 2013
Indonesia: Human Rights Committee makes recommendations on civil and political rights

Ronny Kareni
Australia has used Manus Island for decades as a tool to exert colonial power over PNG. West Papuan activist Ronny Kareni on the bigger picture of refugees and domination in the Pacific

Recalibrating Jakarta’s Papua diplomacy

Your letters: Human rights violations in Papua
Letter in response to above article (slightly edited)

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