Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088
Summary of events in West Papua for November –beginning Dec. 2013
On the 4 November thousands of students marched to protest against the Draft Bill on the Special Autonomy Plus law. The students from a number of organisations jointly known as (Uproar) marched from Abepura to Jayapura, carrying banners and shouting Special Autonomy Plus will bring no change to Papuans. After arriving at the office of the governor of Papua which was protected with a barbed wire fence, the authorities allowed a small number of student representatives to meet with the Governor to convey their concerns. After the meeting with the Governor the rally dispersed quietly. The students protested again on the 6 November outside gates of Cenderawasih University in Abepura and Waena. In Abepura the rally was disbanded. However in Waena the students made speeches and blocked the gate with banners. The protest continued with a silent protest held by the students on the 12th outside the university gate in Waena to protest the arrest of a number of students on the 7 November in Kotaraja, Jayapura.
A number of rallies organised by the KNPB took place in various towns in the territory. On 26 November police cracked down on a peaceful rally in Jayapura. Up to 28 people were arrested. Local journalists covering the rally were also intimidated. In a statement by Amnesty International it reported that “According to a human rights lawyer who saw them in detention at the Jayapura City police station, there were indications that they had been beaten after they were arrested. Some of the detainees had bruises or swelling on their mouth, eyes, forehead and body. At least 12 people are still in police custody”.
A press release from KNPB at http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/1-press-release-knpb-police-shoot-dead.html In Timika 31 people were arrested at a rally calling for the right of self-determination for the people of West Papua. http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=80900 A report and photos from West Papua media at http://westpapuamedia.info/2013/11/29/shootings-killings-beatings-arrests-as-hundreds-flee-to-jungle-after-indon-police-open-fire-on-peaceful-knpb-demo/
Statements from the national police chief shortly after the rallies raised great concern for West Papuans that might take part in future rallies. The National Police chief Gen. Sutarman said "that the police would crack down on groups that intended to separate from the unitary state of Indonesia, including by strictly enforcing a ban on flying the Morning Star (Bintang Kejora) separatist flag, which West Papuans often try to raise in a special ceremony each Dec. 1" AWPA release at http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/media-release-bintang-kejora-flag.html
West Papuan National flag day
On the 1 December, West Papuan national flag day, the Morning Star was raised in West Papua and at rallies around the world to celebrate the first official flying of the flag in December 1961. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1311/S00398/west-papuan-national-flag-day-1st-december.htm AWPA would like to thank both Leichhardt and Marrickville Councils for allowing the flag to be raised on their town halls. Anthony Craig of the DLP also organized a protest outside the Indonesian Consulate in Sydney. Flag raising and actions also occurred in Newcastle, Melbourne, Darwin, Adelaide and in countries in the region including New Zealand, Vanuatu and PNG (Apologises to those left out).
There was a series of events in PNG starting with the presentation of the John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award' for 2013 to Powes Parkop. the Governor of Port Moresby and the National Capital District. On the 28 November Governor Parkop hosted a meeting of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua. http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/powes-parkop-receives-award.html
On the 1st December the West Papuan national flag flew alongside the PNG flag at City Hall as part of celebrations to mark 1 December. The event was not without controversy and three of the event organisers were arrested. Benny Wenda and Jennifer Robinison were warned by the authorities that would be arrested, prosecuted and deported if they attended the meetings. A report in the Guardian by Jennifer at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/05/a-historic-flag-raising-event-signals-an-awakening-to-west-papuas-plight
There was also a lot of media coverage on Australian Indonesian relations over the spying scandal. A number of opinion pieces below. Julie Bishop flew to Jakarta at the beginning of December to mend relations with Jakarta. AWPA urged her to raise concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua with the Indonesian Government. AWPA release at http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/media-release-julie-bishop-should-raise.html
Papuans Behind Bars reported that there were at least 71 political prisoners in Papuan jails at the end of Nov. (At the end of October there were 54).
Papuans Behind Bars: November 2013
At the end of November 2013, there were at least 71 political prisoners in Papuan jails. 112 political arrests were made this month in three separate cases, bringing the total number of arrests so far this year to 537. This represents a 165% increase in the number of political arrests as compared with the same period in 2012, signaling a significant deterioration in the environment for free expression and assembly in Papua.
The police response to increasingly organised and coordinated demonstration activities across Papua is of concern this month, including several mass arbitrary arrests, repeated use of excessive force, blocking lawyers from accessing detainees, cruel and degrading treatment of detainees, and arrest and coercion of student activists to sign agreements to stop demonstrating.
Students of Cenderawasih University (UNCEN) have become locked in a bitter battle with university authorities over the involvement of lecturers in the drafting of a controversial revamp of the Special Autonomy bill. University authorities appear to be actively inviting police to suppress political activity on campus, leading to numerous arrests and beatings of students. A number of Papuan leaders have expressed concern at what they perceive as police efforts to systematically close down political space, particularly ahead of significant dates such as 1 May and in this case 1 December.
On 26 November 80 people were arrested in four different cities during demonstrations in support of the opening of a Free West Papua Campaign office in Papua New Guinea and the Sorong to Samarai campaign. One demonstrator was killed and three others have disappeared.
The trial for the six 1 May Biak detainees continue and mentally ill prisonerYohanes Boseren remains in detention despite his condition. Human rights lawyers and NGOs have called for his release. Investigations continue into the case of four community leaders in Sorong who face charges of conspiracy to commit treason. http://www.papuansbehindbars.org/?p=2326
The Jakarta Globe reported on attack on Yongsu village (about 25 kilometres from Jayapura) on the 30 November. http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/military-not-involved-in-deadly-raid-tni/ Villagers said that a man was shot during the raid and he was the village secretary, identified as Eduard Bunyan. “However, officers claimed the victim was an OPM member Brig. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw, Papua’s deputy police chief, said that police had received reports that Adranus Apaseray, said to be an OPM leader, had been fatally wounded in the shootout. “But his body has not been discovered,” Metro TV quoted Paulus as saying. Markus Haluk, a Papuan human rights activist and a member of the Papua Customary Council, told the Jakarta Globe that several military personnel were involved in the attack on a house in Yongsu village, about 25 kilometers west of Jayapura, on Saturday morning. Markus said following the attack, most of the village’s 200-odd residents fled, hampering investigations. “The villagers have evacuated and some houses were reportedly burned after the incident,” he said. Markus said villagers who wanted to return home were not allowed to enter their own village, and the victim’s family were denied access to their relative’s body by military personnel. “The victim’s body has been taken to the police hospital [in Jayapura], but the family is still not allowed to see him,” he said. Papua Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Sulistyo Pujo Hartono said his officers undertook a raid on the village based on initial suspicions it was being used as a separatist military training ground. The OPM said the raid was to intimidate local people into not taking part in celebrations of their national flag day on the 1st December
The Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses brought the issue of West Papua to the Commonwealth Heads of Governments meeting in Sri Lanka. He said the people of West Papua are still bound by the whim of imperialism and colonialism so “we cannot continue to deny them their rights thus I call on our collective efforts to support their cause.” http://www.dailypost.vu/content/pm-carcasses-asks-commonwealth-“listen”-west-papua
RNZI 15 November 2013 . An Indonesian parliamentarian, Eva Sundari, says there should be no restriction for foreign journalists wanting to go to Papua. Ms Sundari, who is a member of the Human Rights and Security Committee, says she was surprised to hear that foreign journalists were banned from the easternmost province. She says the chief of the military had assured her that Papua was as free as other regions. “Why if you have freedom for press for Indonesian journalists, but not for foreign journalists, what is the point here? Is there anything you want to hide from foreigners? I cannot accept this because if we employ a democracy it must be all over Indonesia at the same time, and also if you employ a freedom for press it must also be applied for Papua.” Eva Sundari says from her point of view, the situation for human rights is bad all over Indonesia
RNZI 2 December, 2013. The most senior commander in the OPM rebel force in Indonesia’s Papua region is in Vanuatu to thank that country for its support for the indigenous people’s push for independence. Commander Richard Joweni slipped surreptitiously out of Indonesia, through Papua New Guinea to reach Vanuatu. He has met with the Prime Minister, Moana Carcasses, and thanked him for his backing in speeches at the United Nations General Assembly and at the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Sri Lanka. But a spokesman, Rex Rumakiek, says he also wanted to convey the importance of a planned visit by a Melanesian Spearhead Group ministerial delegation. “Since the decision by the MSG in June the people are ready to welcome the foreign ministers’ delegation to West Papua. So it is a big issue in West Papua where everybody is waiting for them.” Rex Rumakiek.
Accident at Freeport, one dead
One person died and another injured in an incident at an underground deep ore (DOZ) mining zone belonging to gold and copper mining company PT Freeport Indonesia (PT FI), on Sunday 1 Dec. (The Jakarta Post, December 01 2013)
Indonesian soldier shot in Papua
The Jakarta Post reported that on the 28 Nov. an Indonesian soldier, Chief Sgt Wandi Ahmad was shot by a group of armed civilians in Papua. Wandi was shot in the head when he was on duty in the regency of Puncak Jaya at 10 a.m. local time He was hospitalized at the Army Hospital Marthen Indey in Jayapura. Besides Wandi, a driver by the name of David was killed and his car was set on fire by the shooters. Chief Maj. Gen. Christian Zebua said that both military and police would hunt for those who shot a soldier in Ilu market, Puncak Jaya regency, in Papua. “We will seek and destroy those who are armed and disrupt public security, perpetrate shootings and disturb the government,” he said on Friday. “
Alleged Papuan Separatist Killed in Clash With TNI
The Jakarta Globe reported that on the 4 Nov an alleged member of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) was shot dead by soldiers in Papua’s Puncak Jaya province. “One member of an armed group was shot and a firearm was confiscated,” Maj. Gen. Christian Zebua, the top Indonesian military (TNI) officer in Papua, told the Jakarta Globe. Kiwo Telenggen, the alleged OPM member, was shot in front of the Mulia district offices and died instantly.
Opinion pieces/reports/press releases etc.
Churches join fight against HIV in Indonesia’s Papua
Free healthcare overwhelming Indonesia's Papua
Tackling indigenous unemployment in Indonesia’s Papua
Photos of Sydney flag raisings
UN inquiry must be NZ's first step
Another policy solution for Papua?
West Papuan activists lobbying Pacific leaders
We Can't Afford To Be Ignorant On Indonesia
Indonesia Spies On Its Own In Papua
Australian consular staff threatened West Papuans with police, Dfat admits
Year of dangerous living
West Papua activist says PNG is threatening him with arrest
Asia’s Palestine? West Papua's Independence Struggle