Saturday, January 4, 2014

West Papua 2013 Year in Review

West Papua 2013 Year in Review

January 2014

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28 Spit Junction NSW Australia 2088


 of events                                                                                              3                                                                                             

Australian - Indonesian relations                                                                         5

Melanesian Spearhead Group                                                                                         7

Pacific Islands Forum                                                                                                     9

Crackdown on peaceful rallies                                                                                       9

A brief chronology of other events in West Papua for 2013                                        16

The Future                                                                                                                    25

AWPA report - West Papua 2013
This report details incidents of human rights abuses and events that occurred in West Papua during 2013. In the report AWPA uses the name “West Papua” to refer to the whole of the western half of the Island of New Guinea.  However, “West Papua” at this time is divided into two provinces, Papua and West Papua.

The fiftieth anniversary of the handover of West Papua to Indonesian administration occurred in May 2013. On the 1 May in 1963, the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) transferred administration of the Dutch colony of Netherlands New Guinea to Indonesia. From the moment Indonesia took over the administration from UNTEA, the oppression of the West Papuan people began and 50 years later the oppression continues and so does the struggle of the West Papuan people for self-determination. 

 of events
There was little improvement in the human rights situation in West Papua in 2013. A number of military operations took place in 2013 and the security forces cracked down on peaceful rallies called by various civil society organizations.

In the crackdown on the rallies called to commemorate the tragic event of 50 years ago when West Papua was handed over by UNTEA to Indonesian administration, two people were killed and three seriously wounded in the town of Sorong.  The police shot and killed two protesters on the 30 April as they prepared to mark the 50th anniversary of the handover. Another activists, Salomina Kalaibin who was also shot died of her wounds in hospital on the 6 May.   In Timika fifteen people were arrested for simply raising their national flag, The Morning Star and six were arrested in Biak. In the town of Fakfak, the police hauled down the Morning Star flag which had been raised in a local school. Local people were also intimidated by the security forces during these rallies.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay expressed concern in relation to the crackdown on the demonstrations stating   “These latest incidents are unfortunate examples of the ongoing suppression of freedom of expression and excessive use of force in Papua,” and. “I urge the Government of Indonesia to allow peaceful protest and hold accountable those involved in abuses.”


“There has not been sufficient transparency in addressing serious human rights violations in Papua,” she said, urging Indonesia to allow international journalists into Papua and to facilitate visits by the Special Rapporteurs of the UN Human Rights Council.

Amnesty International also raised concerns about the tragic events that occurred on the 1 May.

 “It is imperative that authorities in Indonesia urgently set up a comprehensive and independent investigation into allegations of unnecessary use of firearms by security forces during the protests, make the results available to the public, and bring those responsible to justice.” “Failure to take action will send a message that the security forces in Papua operate above the law.”

Many of the rallies called by civil society organisations through out the year were banned by the security forces although permits had been applied for permission to hold the rallies. More details of the crackdown on the rallies follow in the report. The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association (Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) does not apply in West Papua.

A number of indicators point out the worsening situation in West Papua. The increasing number of political prisoners is one.
Papuans behind bars in their January update stated that
“At the end of January 2013 there were 33 political prisoners in Papuan jails.”  

By the end of November there were al least 71.
Extract from November update.
“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”.

Intimidation of journalists is another.
The media (including alternative media information) is an important part of democracy and threats against the media should always be of concern. In West Papua the local media are on the ground and can be first with reports of violence and intimidation of civil society, of military attacks and with reports of the crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.
In a press release the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Jayapura stated there were  “20 cases of intimidation and violence against journalists in Papua. The number of these cases showed a significant increase from the year 2012” Of the 20 cases, 4 cases occurred in West Papua and 16 cases in Papua. Much of the attack on journalists occurred directly through verbal and physical intimidation such as threats and insults, vandalism, entering the editorial office without permission and beatings.  Although police officers appear to have been responsible for a large part of the violence against journalists, the AJI noted a number of cases were also by civil society, carried out by a group of people with the aim of defending the interests of certain officials.  AJI did note that the relationship between police and journalists was improving. In relationship to the Governor of Papua inviting foreign journalists and international organizations to enter into Papua, the AJI noted that the reality was permission had to come from the central government and not local authorities. In one incident the Governor of Papua, Luke Enembe accused the local paper Jubi of being a mouthpiece for the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) while visiting Abepura prison.  

It is encouraging that the international community is becoming more aware of the issue of West Papua and there was a lot of media coverage of the issue in the region, mostly related to the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).  The Melanesian Spearhead Group  (MSG) held its Summit in Noumea from the 13 to the 21 June. Although it was disappointing that the issue of membership for West Papua at the MSG was deferred, (The WPNCL applied to the MSG for full membership), a number of decisions by the leaders of the MSG in relation to West Papua are to be welcomed. In the officially MSG Communiqué
Leaders “endorsed that the MSG fully supports the inalienable rights of the people of West Papua towards self-determination as provided for under the preamble of the MSG constitution” and “endorsed that the concerns of the MSG regarding the human rights violations and other forms of atrocities relating to the West Papuan people be raised with the Government of Indonesia bilaterally and as a Group”.

The Vanuatu Government in particular has shown great support for the West Papuan people.  The Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil raised the issue at the United Nations General Assembly calling for investigations into alleged cases of human rights abuses in West Papua.  He also raised West Papua again at the Commonwealth Heads of Governments meeting in Sri Lanka.  He called on all members of the Commonwealth to listen more closely to the cries and heartaches of the people of West Papua. 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.”

The following reports highlights some of the major events that occurred in relation to West Papua. It shows the continuing struggle of the West Papuan people for their right to self-determination.

Australian relations with Indonesian

There was a change of government in Australia with the Liberal National party collation gaining power in September. However there will be no change from the mantra of previous governments (of all persuasions) of  “we recognize Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua (although there are individual politicians’ in all parties that are concerned about the human rights situation in West Papua).

At the end of September Prime Minister Abbott visited Indonesia and no surprises that asylum seeker boats and trade were top of his agenda. Also no surprise to hear the mantra of “we respect Indonesian sovereignty” or the statement from the PM "I admire and respect what you and your government have done to improve the autonomy and the life of the people of West Papua and I am confident that they can have the best possible life and the best possible future as a part of an indissoluble Indonesia, as an integral part of Indonesia."

There was a lot of media coverage on our relationship with Indonesian mostly over the asylum seeker issue and the spying scandal. However West Papua also received a good share of the coverage and in particularly around the three West Papuans who occupied the Australian consulate in Bali.  Markus Jerewon, Yuvensius Goo and Rofinus Yanggam scaled the two-metre high fence of the Australian compound in Bali’s Renon district on Sunday morning the 6 October. They called on the Abbott government to pressure Indonesia to release all Papuan political prisoners, open West Papua to foreign journalists and for the Indonesian government to treat them like human beings. The Guardian Australia originally broke the story. The West Papuans left the compound and went into hiding just hours after entering it.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) denied that the Australian consul general in Bali threatened to call in the Indonesian military and police to expel the three West Papuan students. However, in an ABC report Associate Professor Clinton Fernandes had a different interpretation of events. In the ABC report “He says he heard a phone conversation in which an Australian official threatened the trio, leading them to fear for their lives if they were handed over to Indonesian authorities”. "They had the phone on while they were being berated by whoever it was, with an Australian accent," he told ABC News Breakfast. 

In November an article in the Guardian (21 Nov.) reported that
“Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have now confirmed consular staff in Bali threatened to call the police if a group of West Papuan activists did not leave the Australian compound”. The article reported that DFAT officials conceded the West Papuans were in fact told police would be called if they refused to leave the consulate. They officials were appearing before a Senate estimates hearing in November and that answer came in response to a series of questions from the Greens senator Richard Di Natale, who has expressed concern about the safety and wellbeing of the activists since the incident. Other Senate crossbenchers, including the Democratic Labour party senator John Madigan and the South Australian independent Nick Xenophon, have also raised concerns about the safety of the three men.

At the time the West Papuans were climbing into the Australian compound, world leaders were gathering in Bali for the APEC summit.

Prime Minister Abbott who was in Bali for the APEC conference made the usual statement we have come to expect from Australian governments i.e. he reiterated his support for Indonesia's sovereignty over West Papua.  He also insisted the activists left the consulate of their own accord after a “lengthy discussion” and warned Australia would not be party to protests aimed at undermining Indonesia's authority over West Papua. “We have a very strong relationship with Indonesia and we are not going to give people a platform to grandstand against Indonesia,” On his first visit to Indonesia the Prime Minister said the ''government of Australia takes a very dim view, a very dim view indeed, of anyone seeking to use our country as a platform for grandstanding against Indonesia. We will do everything that we possibly can to discourage this and to prevent this.''

However, before it lost office, Labor was also attacking activists who support West Papua. Sen. Bob Carr accused people who advocate self-determination rights for West Papuans of misleading the indigenous people of Indonesia’s Papua region. Carr made the comment during a Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee hearing on his government’s response to ongoing human rights abuses in West Papua.

Melanesian Spearhead Group 
The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is one of the two main regional organisations in the pacific and is composed of the four Melanesian countries of FijiPapua New GuineaSolomon Islands and Vanuatu as well as the Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) of Kanaky (New Caledonia). The organisation celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2013. The West Papuan people and their supporters have been calling on the MSG to grant membership to represantives of the West Papuan people for years. In 2013 The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) applied for full membership of the MSG. Representatives of the group toured the region lobbying the MSG membership and it was encouraging that they were invited to the MSG Summit in Port Vila (13-21 June). Although it was disappointing that the issue of membership for West Papua at the MSG was deferred, (a number of decisions by the leaders of the MSG in relation to West Papua are to be welcomed.

From MSG Communiqué
(In relation to WPNCL application for Membership)

20. Leaders noted that a roadmap in relation to the application by West Papua National Council for Liberation (WPNCL) for membership should be based on clear and achievable timelines. Leaders acknowledged that the human rights violations need to be highlighted and noted that to progress the WPNCL’s application, it was important to continually engage with Indonesia. Leaders agreed to establish a process of dialogue and consultation with Indonesia. Leaders noted and welcomed the invitation from Indonesia to invite a Foreign Ministers’ Mission to be led by Fiji and that confirmation on the timing of the Mission was being awaited. The outcomes of the WPNCL’s application would be subject to the report of the FMM mission.

21. Leaders:
(i) endorsed that the MSG fully supports the inalienable rights of the people of West Papua towards self-determination as provided for under the preamble of the MSG constitution;
(ii) endorsed that the concerns of the MSG regarding the human rights violations and other forms of atrocities relating to the West Papuan people be raised with the Government of Indonesia bilaterally and as a Group;
(iii) noted the application received from the WPNCL to be a member of the MSG and that the application will be reviewed after the submission of the Ministerial Mission’s report; and
(iv) approved the Roadmap as recommended by the FMM which included:
a) that the MSG send a Ministerial Mission at the FMM level to be led by Fiji’s Foreign Minister to Jakarta and then to West Papua in 2013 and accept the 
invitation of the Government of Indonesia;
b) the Ministerial Mission to present its report to the Leaders at the earliest 
opportunity within the next six months;
c) the WPNCL to be officially informed of the MSG Leaders’ decision regarding 
its application; and
d) the Mission would be part of a process in determining WPNCL’s membership 

The Prime Minister of Vanuatu, The RT. Hon Moana Carcasses Kalosil in a statement said  “Mr. Chairman, we are aware of the concerns of West Papuans, who long for a day when they as Melanesians, could achieve self-determination. But also Dear Colleague Leaders and friends, we are aware of the human rights violations and atrocities being committed against West Papuans in their motherland. And so therefore, I join the many voices of peace loving citizens around the world, across all continents and oceans, to call for an end to the abuse of human rights. We urge that any continuation of abuse of human rights should be immediately brought to the attention of the international community.  

It is encouraging that the MSG will go on a fact-finding mission to West Papua and undoubtedly the MSG leaders are only too well aware that such missions may be controlled or manipulated as to where, when and whom they are permitted to see by the authorities. It is to be hoped the MSG mission will be accompanied by journalists as a way of showing the openness of the process. It was also encouraging to see the large amount of media coverage in the region (before and during) the MSG Summit in relation to West Papua.  

However there are some concerns and The Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo visited Indonesia to strengthen ties between the two island nations. Prime Minister Lilo has faced strong criticism from civil society groups and others for not giving reasons for the trip.  There is a danger that Indonesia may try and invite the MSG leaders individually as a tactic to divide the MSG instead of the original invitation as a group. 

Pacific Islands Forum
The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) is the other regional organization and consists of the    16 independent nations in the pacific. They are Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The PIF was founded in 1971 as the South Pacific Forum. In 2000, the name was changed to the Pacific Islands Forum to better reflect the geographic location of its members in the north and south Pacific. 
 Other categories include Forum Observers and associate membership. New Caledonia and French Polynesia, previously Forum Observers, were granted Associate Membership in 2006. Forum Observers include Tokelau (2005), Wallis and Futuna (2006), the Commonwealth (2006), the United Nations (2006) the Asian Development Bank (2006), Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (2007), the World Bank (2010), the ACP Group (2011), American Samoa (2011), Guam (2011) and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (2011), with Timor Leste as Special Observer (2002). 

The West Papuan people and their supporters have also lobbied the PIF leaders yearly asking that West Papua be granted observer status at the PIF and that concern for the human rights situation in West Papua be mentioned in the PIF’s official communiqué. Concern for the situation in West Papua has been mentioned in the communiqué in the past but has been dropped from the PIF’s agenda in recent years, probably due to pressure from Australia, Indonesia and to a lesser degree PNG.

Although its unlikely that observer status will be granted in the coming year at the PIF, progress at the MSG in raising concern about the human rights situation in West Papua might encourage the PIF to do likewise. It should be noted West Papuan has always been considered part of the pacific community and a West Papuan representative attended the first South Pacific Commission  (SPC) Conference and West Papuans continued to participate in the SPC meetings until the Dutch ceded their authority to the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) in 1962.) It is time for the Forum to bring the Melanesian people of West Papua back into the Pacific community. A campaign worth continuing.

Crackdown on peaceful rallies
Peaceful protest plays an important part in the political life of many countries including our own and the right of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression should be viewed as a sign of a health democracy. Not so in West Papua and another indicator of little progress in the territory. The crackdown on rallies indicates the security forces are taking a hard line approach to peaceful demonstrations to try and stifle any dissent.

On the 13 May the security forces cracked down on a rally which had been called to protest the attack by the security forces on the peaceful demonstrators on the 1 May which resulted in the killing of three people and the arrest of up to 20. The rally on the 1 May was called to protest the handover, 50 years ago of West Papua by UNTEA to Indonesian administration.  During the rally on the 13th, the security forces arrested four protesters, Yongky Ulimpa, Ely Kobak, Marten Manggaprouw, and Victor YeimoChairman of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB).

On the 10 June a number of rallies were called in support of West Papuan membership at the MSG. The security forces broke up the rally and three activists were arrested and taken to the Jayapura police chief for questioning The former chairman of the KNPB, Buchtar Tabuni was also arrested on the 12 June and later released but not before he was beaten up by the police.

On the 1 July a group of civilians raised the banned Morning Star (Bintang Kejora) flag in Kampung Wandenggobak, Mulia, Puncak Jaya regency, Papua 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.

Bintang Papua reported that five Papuan 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. 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.

KNPB organized rallies for International Day of Democracy
The KNPB called for rallies to be held throughout West Papua to celebrate International Day of Democracy (15 September) and also to show support for the MSG and for the policies of the Vanuatu Government in relation to West Papua. Although banned the rallies went ahead on the 16th in Biak, Nabire, Sorong, Wamena, Timika, Merauke, Manokwari, JayapuraDogiya, and Yahukimo. The response from the security forces varied in different towns. In Jayapura the rally was forcibly disbanded by the TNI and police using tear gas to break up the rally According to the KNPB records over 200 were arrested although eventually released.   A brief summary of the rallies in the various regions based on KNPB reports and articles in local media

In Wamena although they did not get permission from the police, the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) with thousands of people in held a peaceful protest in commemoration of the International Day of Democracy

KNPB mass and Society in Wamena when peaceful protest in Tiananmen Sinapuk. (JUBI / ISLAMIC)

In Timika the security forces monitored the gathering including conducting patrols in the area and checking IDs and taking photos of those taking part. They had also parked and armored car next to the gathering.

                                        More photos at

In Merauke activities included a rally and the signing of a petition. It was also to show support for the policies of the Vanuatu Prime Minister and the MSG urging the MSG to follow up on its statements at their forum.


In Biak although forbidden by the police the rally went ahead. The action was to support the Government of Vanuatu to bring West Papua to the annual General Assembly of the UN and to also urge the MSG countries to follow up on the MSG final decision in June in Kanaky in relation to West Papua. The action was under the watchful eye of the police but the rally   remained peaceful.

In Nabire, 14 KNPB activists were arrested and beaten. Equipment belonging to the organisers was confiscated by the police. They activists were finally released from the police station at the urging of the Speaker of Parliament Nabire Meepago region, Abel Nawipa. The rally was also to show support for Powes Parkop governor of Port Moresby campaign " Sorong to Samarai".

In Sorong the peaceful demonstration was forcibly disbanded by the military and police. A total of 27 demonstrators were arrested and intimidated, including the Chairman of the Regional KNPB Sorong. Police also confiscated the entire organisers equipment. Those arrested were taken to the police station but were released in the afternoon. 

The rallies in Jayapura was forcibly disbanded by the TNI and police. The police used tear gas to break up one rally.

                                             TEAR GAS fired  (PHOTO: ARNOLD Belau) Jubi

 Rallies also took place throughout West Papua on the 16 October. The rallies were called to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the IPWP, to urge the United Nations sent a team of representatives to West Papua and to thank the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Moana Kalosil Carcasses for Vanuatu’s support.  After the rally in Kaimana 3 people were arrested, shots fired, various items confiscated and property damaged. According to the police they were investigating a previous murder case although the KNPB say its general intimidation to keep the West Papuan people in fear. 

The Police banned another rally called by the KNPB and NFRPB for the19 October.  The rally was to commemorate the 3rd Papuan People’s Congress which was held in Oct 2011.  The 3rd Papuan People's Congress was held between the 17 and 19 October. Shortly after the Congress and as part of a celebration, the Morning Star flag was raised and a declaration of Independence read out.  Indonesian security forces accompanied by armored vehicles immediately moved in to break up the gathering firing live rounds resulting in six people been killed. The security forces also used batons, bamboo poles and the butts of rifles during the arrest of up to 300 delegates resulting in serious injuries. Five of the delegates were charged with treason. Forkorus Yaboisembet, Edison Gladius Waromi, Agust M. Sananay Kraar, Selpius Bobii, and Dominikus Surabat, 
However, despite the ban the rallies went ahead.  A heavy security presence disrupted the peaceful rallies across West Papua. In Fak-Fak 22 people were arrested while going to commemorate the anniversary of the 3rd Papuan peoples congress. A heavy security presence in Sentani at the grave of chief Theys Eluay blocked the commemoration. Local media (Tabloid Jubi) reported that the security forces consisted of Police patrol cars and motorcycles, water canon, trucks from Brimob including two Brimob logistics trucks. 

In Fak-Fak 22 people were arrested while going to commemorate the anniversary of the 3rd Papuan peoples congress. A heavy security presence in Sentani at the grave of chief Theys Eluay blocked the commemoration. Local media (Tabloid Jubi) reported that the security forces consisted of Police patrol cars and motorcycles, water canon, trucks from Brimob including two Brimob logistics trucks.

Dozens of Papuans were arrested and searched, gathered in the Hall of Fakfak police for interrogation.  ( Jubi / Alex Tethool )

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

The student protest -rejection of Special Autonomy Law in 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 Timika 31 people were arrested at a rally calling for the right of self-determination for the people of West Papua.  A report and photos from West Papua media at

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.

 Buchtar Tabuni and Wim Rocky Medlama have been put on the wanted list simply because they were involved in leading the rally on the 26 Nov.

Wim Rocky Medlama and Buchtar Tabuni. Photo : Ist
Majalah selangkah

A brief chronology of other events in West Papua for 2013.

1 Jan A gunman shot and wounded a man not far from the Papua Police headquarters. Malage Tabuni, 43, was waiting for a public minivan with four friends at he was shot in his right shoulder. A friend rushed him to Jayapura’s Dok II General Hospital, where he was treated. 

7 Jan. At the beginning of January a security operation (sweep) took place in the Paniai district. The sweep was partly in response to a shootout that occurred in Pugo Village, East Paniai. The firefight took place in the village on the afternoon of the 7 Jan causing some villagers to flee to Madi, Enarotali, and other nearby villages. During the operation by the security forces who were searching for an OPM group led by John Magai Yogi, fences and plants in the gardens of local residents were damaged and a number of houses in Pugo village were burned.

10 Jan. An unidentified gunman shot dead a civilian and seriously injured a soldier in in the Puncak Jaya district. The Police sent a team to Mulia to investigate the shooting. Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian said that the attack was launched by the armed gang behind several such attacks in the region. 

The OPM claimed responsibility and also said that the civilian (a motorcycle taxi driver) was a member of Indonesia's intelligence

21 Jan. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the torture of twenty prisoners at the Abepura Correctional Facility, Papua, on 21 January 2013. Information gathered by local activists reveals that the torture was conducted by three prison guards with the acquiescence of the head of the prison. The victims were beaten with bare hands as well as whipped with thick wire until some parts of their bodies were bleeding. Despite the injuries suffered the prison guards did not give any medical treatment to the tortured prisoners.
In a follow up report dated the 6 March, the AHRC reported that the Head of Abepura Correctional Facility, has been replaced.  

31 Jan.  A motorcycle driver was shot in the neck in Tigi Timur, in the district of Paniai.  The shooter was a passenger of the motorcycle taxi and was shot in the neck. " said Sr. Com. Agus Rianto, the head of the National Police general information department Bahar was left injured after the bullet went through his cheek and was treated in a hospital in Paniai.

7 Feb.  A joint force of the Indonesian National Police and the Indonesian Military raided Ipakiye Village in East Paniai District, Papua. The joint force consisted of members of Papua Regional Police’s Mobile Brigade, Community Control Unit of Paniai District Police and the 753 Battalion of the Indonesian Military. The aim of the operation was to find members of the pro-independence group, Free Papua Movement (OPM). At around 9.30pm, the joint force raided the house of Stepanus Yogi, a civilian who is married to Dorpina Gobai and the father of a 18-month old baby. Just prior to the raid some other villagers of Ipakiye told Stepanus that the joint force was coming to his house so he ran for his life, leaving his wife and baby at the house. Six civilians were arrested and four officers of the joint force also molested Dorpina and physically assaulted her 18 month old baby during the raid.

15 Feb. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the arbitrary arrest and torture of seven Papuans which took place on 15 February 2013. The victims were driving home in two cars when the police stopped them as they were looking for two pro-independence activists. The victims were later brought to the police station where they were further questioned on the whereabouts of the activists. They were severely beaten, kicked and electrocuted before being five of them were released without charge the next day.

21 Feb An attack on the security forces resulted in 8 soldiers and 4 civilians killed in two separate incidents in Sinak and Tingginambut in the Puncak Jaya region. A helicopter trying to evacuate the bodies of the victims was also shot at the following day, injuring the pilots which halted the evacuation.  A lot of media coverage of the incidents and of West Papua itself (causing outrage in the Indonesian press) with editorials   and opinion pieces offering solutions. If President Yudhoyono opts for what he calls the welfare approach (at the time) other government officials did not. Antara News reported that Indonesia`s Deputy Minister of Defense Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin said that the TNI will take a firm stand by conducting tactical action against the armed groups that killed the soldiers and civilians in Papua last week.  "The tactical action includes to chase, apprehend and destroy". Statements such as this create fear in the West Papuan people who are well aware of what sweeping operations against so call separatists mean. At first media reports referred to the attackers as unknown gunmen and Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian’s linked the shootings to the recent regional elections. However, the military arm of the OPM under Goliat Tabuni did claim responsibility.  The security forces had also been building military posts in the region and encroaching close to OPM areas. Although the OPM are committed to peaceful ways forward they reserve the right to self defence and the protection of their people.   The attacks occurred in Sinak and Tingginambut in the Puncak Jaya District.

25 Feb.  In Paniai, the police arrested two teenagers, Alpons Gobay (15 year old) and Menny Gobay (18 year old) based on fabricated charges after finding a woven bag filled with a cartridge and other materials associated with pro-independence movement, which did not belong to either of them but was left by a stranger just before the police came. The police told the media that the two teenagers are members of a pro-independence group yet the spokesperson of the group has claimed that the arrested individuals are not members. The police and military officers kicked and beat Alpons and Menny. The officers also hit Alpons and Menny with their guns before taking them to Paniai District Police Station in a car. The beatings continued during the journey from Bobaigo Village to the police station as well as during the interrogation process. As a result, both victims’ forehead, lips, head and arms were wounded. Alpons and Menny also suffer from pain in their ribs. Alpons and Menny were released on 11 March 2013. (Info from an AHRC u/a dated 22 March)

26 Feb. Two members of John Yogi’s OPM group were arrested in Kampung Ayaigo Kebo in the Paniai district. They were arrested by a joint military-police patrol.

2 March. A priest named Jonah Gobay (55 years) was tortured and abused and then released after the families of the victims handed over a ransom of Rp. 1 million to the police in Enarotali City Police, Paniai. During the time that Pastor Gobai was the priest at the KINGMI Church in Nabire he suffered a number of illnesses as well mental disorders. During his time in Enarotali he again suffered from mental disorders, running and shouting things that no one can understand, acting like someone who is mad. But the police refuse to acknowledge that the priest is suffering from a mental disorder.

4 March. Another four members of the OPM were arrested in the Sarmi district. The security forces claimed they found explosive powders and OPM membership cards.

5 March.  Crackdown in Paniai. West Papua Media reported (March 5) on a crackdown in Paniai after guerrillas from Paniai commander Jhon Yogi's Paniai unit of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB) were involved in armed engagements with the Indonesian army (TNI) and Police throughout February. Jubi also reported that during the police sweeps the phones of local people were checked and if the memory cards contained folk songs in the Papuan language the police would smash the memory card with stones.

11 March Indonesian police have been accused of torturing three civilians in Lanny Jaya Regency of Papua province. Suara Papua reported that the three Papuans, who are members of the Baptist Church in Pirime, were arrested after returning from a trip to Sinak. Sinak is part of the region where a massive military and police operation is underway in response to last month's shooting deaths of eight Indonesian soldiers. It is not yet clear why the three men were arrested but they were taken to Wamena Police Station. The Chairman of the Fellowship of Baptist Churches in Papua, Socratez Sofyan Yoman, says the three men, aged 23, 30 and 46 have been tortured.

26 March.  Unidentified gunmen fired shots at a helicopter in Puncak Jaya region. There were no fatalities in the incident but two bullet holes were found in a window near the cockpit. The helicopter was on a flight to pick up two missionaries from Lumo village.  The police claim separatists are responsible for the attack. 

“Based on our investigation, the attackers fired from the hilly area in Puncak Senyum and the only people who live in the area are an armed group led by PW [Puron Wenda],’’ Papua Police Chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian told reporters on the 28 March. However, the OPM has denied responsibility for the attack.

17 April. The Asian Human Rights Commission released an urgent action concerning the detention of two activists by the Sausapor Sub-District Police in Papua. The activists were taken from their house to the police station and were being interrogated in relation to an investigation they conducted regarding the death of villagers in Tambrauw Regency due to the lack of medical treatment. It was reported that the two activists as well as others who were engaged in the investigation were previously followed by police officers.    

27 April. Jubi reported that a combined force of Military and police did a sweep in three villages in the district of Angkaisera, Serui, Yapen Islands regency. One person was arrested. The sweep caused fear in the local people. West Papua media reported that the Angakaisera district has been a pro-independence hotspot, and subject to an ongoing blockade and village raids by Indonesian security forces. Targeted non-violent activists have reported that they have "always experienced ongoing terror, intimidation and fear tactics conducted by Indonesian police."

16 June The Freeport Mining Facility was attacked by up to 70 people on the 16 June. The Jakarta Globe reported that dozens of people vandalized Freeport facilities and looted ore concentrate at the copper and gold giant’s mining district in Mimika, Papua. Witnesses said that around 70 people came to the mining area, looting and vandalizing cars and a security post.  A RNZI report raised the possibility that the reason for the attack was because people were starving as a result of not having any work.

25 June. Two people were killed in a shooting incident on the 25 June. The victims were a TNI infantry lieutenant named Wayan Sukarta and a civilian named Tomo. "The shooting was done my members under my command," said Gen. Goliath Tabuni. Tabuni also said that the civilian they killed, reported by local media as a taxi driver was actually a military intelligence of the TNI 753. A third civilian died after jumping into a ravine while trying to escape the ambush. 

Killings in the Puncak Jaya Region
In May reports that about forty West Papuans had been executed by military or paramilitary police in Papua's Puncak Jaya region appeared in a number of media articles. The West Papua National Committee also reported that mysterious killings have been ongoing in the Punncak Jaya Region since April with up to 11 people dead and up to 40 people missing. Indonesia’s Kopassus troops are believed to be involved .An article in the Jakarta Post on the 30 May reported titled  " Disappearances, rumors of killings haunting Puncak Jaya"  West Papua Media also reported that there were “Credible and disturbing reports are continuing to emerge from Tingginambut, Puncak Jaya, in the West Papuan highlands, detailing evidence of another violent rampage by the Indonesian army special forces (Kopassus) against civilians throughout May, allegedly by Kopassus officers stationed in the district which has been suffering war conditions since February.” Full report at

8 MAY. The National Intelligence Agency (BIN) reported that the (OPM) organisation had political activities in a number of other nations aside from the United Kingdom. BIN reported that OPM activities in European nations are backed by local non-profit organizations. Therefore, the government must foster a relationship and gain support from OPM based nations.

14 May. Freeport Mine. An underground training facility at the Freeport mine collapsed leaving 28 workers dead and 10 injured.  The National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) says the earth movement detector at the collapsed underground facility of PT Freeport Indonesia mine in Papua was not functioning.

3 May. A hearing of a United States Congressional Human Rights Commission has taken note of the deteriorating human rights situation in Indonesia’s Papua region. The hearing, which was chaired by Representative James McGovern and heard from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Indonesia’s Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence. John Miller of ETAN salso attended. Octovianus Mote also made a statement to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) of the US Congress hearing on Human Rights in Indonesia on 23 May

1 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.
Pupome village, Lani Jaya regency

6 July. 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.  A Citizens Tribunal for the 15th Anniversary of the Massacre was held on Saturday July 6th at the University of Sydney. All details including the verdict at

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.

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.

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.  A newspaper in Papua published a letter in September from the OPM apologising to the Indonesian Red Crescent for the attack on the ambulance The letter in Bintang Papua was signed by two commanders of the movement’s military wing, the OPM. They say shots were fired at an ambulance at a time when the Indonesian army was carrying out operations in Puncak Jaya. The commanders say the person who did the shooting thought the vehicle belonged to the Indonesian military.

14 May. Soldiers damage St Mary Magdalene Parish Church
Asia reported that Special Forces carried out an operation against arms trafficking for the local independence movement. The desecration took place at the end of a Sunday Mass. Catholics are surprised and bewildered by the insult. A search in the building yielded no weapons. According to local activists, early on Sunday May 14 the security forces inspected the parish church but came up empty handed. An officer ordered a parishioner to open the doors to the sacristy, where vestments and other sacred objects are kept. However, because finding the key was taking its time, one of the soldiers decided to kick down the door. Nothing was found in the building's attic and basement, no weapons, ammunitions or explosives. The soldiers eventually went away, leaving parishioners under shock, bewildered and angry for the damages caused to their place of worship.

8 August.  Irwan Wenda (elsewhere reported as Irwan Yanenga) was shot to death by a police officer in front of a cyber cafe on Ahmad Yani Street, 15 meters away from Jayapura Sub-District Police Station. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) released an urgent action concerning the incident. Two people who witnessed the shooting were beaten up and detained at a police station.

11 August.  A man was wounded after being shot at when trying to grab a weapon from a patrolling police officer in Timika. According to authorities the incident occurred after patrolling police asked a group of four men who were consuming alcoholic late that night to stop and told them to go home. 

However, after the police returned from their patrol their way was blocked by a larger group of local people, Papua police spokesman Sr. Comr. Gede Sumerta Jaya said. 

A police officer came out of the car and walked toward the people, but the people attacked him trying to grab his weapon which fired wounding one of the local people.

31 August.  A soldier from Task Force 753 Infantry Battalion was killed while patrolling in the Tingginambut area in Puncak Jaya.  Tabuni of the TPN/OPM claimed responsibility for the shooting but said the army fired first and his group were responding to the attack. In response to the attack members of Task Force 753 conducted searches causing some of the local people to flee to the forest. The military said there were no sweeps but they were only focusing on routine activities such as helping the community.

10 Sept. The Asian Human Rights Commission realized an u/a concerning the shooting of a Papuan man in Nabire, Papua. The victim, Marthen Gobai, was shot in the head on 5 September 2013. Whereas the identity of the perpetrator is yet to be confirmed there is an allegation that the shooting was carried out by the police.

In September the Freedom Flotillia completed its journey. Evading the Indonesian Navy, a ceremony to reconnect the indigenous peoples of Australia and West Papua near the Australia-West Papuan border and holding The ceremony was the pinnacle of a 5000km journey beginning in Lake Eyre, in which sacred water and ashes were carried and presented to West Papuan leaders.

3 Oct. The Asian Human Rights Commission realized an u/a concerning the torture of a Papuan man by police and military officers. The victim was detained for 12 hours and subjected to beatings and whippings from which he suffered various injuries on his body. It has been reported that the victim now has difficulty in walking and using his right arm as a result of the assault.

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.  The alleged OPM member, was shot in front of the Mulia district offices and died instantly.

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.  

1 Dec. 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.   In PNG, there was a series of events 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 also hosted   a meeting of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua.
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.

2 Dec. The Jakarta Globe (2 December) reported on attack on Yongsu village (about 25 kilometres from Jayapura) on the 30 November.   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. An activist reported that 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. 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

8 Dec.   An unidentified group fired shots at a Toyota Kijang Innova, driven by Chief Pvt. Warsidi, a Mimika Infantry Brigade personnel. The incident took place at around 12:55 p.m. local time when the car was on its way from Timika to Mile 50. As the car arrived at Mile 41 it was shot at by unidentified persons.  There was no casualty in the incident.

12 Dec.  A bus carrying Merauke Military Commander Brig. Gen. Bambang Haryanto and other military officers was fired upon by unidentified assailants near Freeport Indonesia’s Grasberg mine in the Mimika regency.  Of the six bullets fired only one hit the bus.

15 Dec. Danny Kogoya died in Vanimo on Sunday 15 December. Danny was a regional commander in the OPM. There is some concern that he may have been poisoned by the Indonesian security forces.  It was initially reported that Mr. Kogoya had succumbed to an infection as an aftermath of a leg amputation although the operation was performed without his permission. He was shot in September last year by the Indonesian Security forces although he had offered to surrender. After his release from the military hospital in Jayapura, the police threatened to re-arrest him and to escape certain death Mr. Kogoya fled across the border to PNG. The Asian Human Rights Commission released an appeal about the situation on the 23 Dec.

27 Dec. A group of gunmen fired on a convoy of trailer trucks owned by US mining giant Freeport Indonesia in Timika. The trucks were driving from Timika to Tembagapura. During the convoy’s journey, a group of shooters opened fire from both sides of the road, but the trucks continued onward. No casualties were reported in the incident. The trucks kept driving despite being shot at although each truck suffered damage from the gunfire.

At the beginning of 2014 (4 Jan.) Jubi reported that a Police Station in Kulirik village, District of Puncak Jaya was attacked by a group of unidentified person. also reported that only 2 personnel were on duty at the time as the other 5 personnel were on patrol in the surrounding area. According to the report about 20 people entered the post and removed some weapons.

The Future
The West Papuan people will eventually achieve their own self-determination. There are many ways forward and the West Papuan people are using all avenues to achieve their freedom. Various West Papuan organisation are lobbying the UN, regional
organisations such as the MSG and calling on Jakarta to hold dialogue with West Papuan representatives. It is encouraging that regional governments are showing support by raising the human rights abuses in West Papua with Jakarta.

The issue is also being raised around the world by solidarity groups and individuals, too numerous to mention. There are many West Papuan lists, web and facebook pages where one can receive updates and respond to urgent actions.

The information in the report is based on the many urgent actions and reports released by civil society organisations and human rights defenders in West Papua and from reports from international NGO’s and information received. AWPA also monitors the Indonesian and the local media in West Papua.  Many of the photos are from the West Papua National Committee’s (KNPB) own web page. and from West Papua Media’s web page which is quick in responding to events with reports and photos.  West Papua Media web page at
The photo on the cover is from 25/11 SuaraPapua .com  (25 Nov.)

The report did not touch on the environment, the exploitation of the natural resources of West Papua by international companies and health and education. However, regular postings covering these issues can be seen on daily postings on the reg.westpapua - lists - and

For further information on lists that can be subscribed to
contact, Joe Collins.  AWPA (Sydney) email:

About the Australia West Papua Association (Sydney) 
The Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) is a human rights organisation focusing on the territory of West Papua.  AWPA’s role is to lobby both the Australian Government and the International Community to raise concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua. The West Papuan people face great challenges including ongoing human rights abuses, the exploitation of their natural resources with little or no benefit to themselves, the danger of becoming a minority in their own land and a HIV/AIDS epidemic. AWPA raises awareness in the international community about the historical wrongs and history of West Papua and supports the right of the West Papuan people to self-determination.

No comments:

Post a Comment