Sunday, February 9, 2014

Summary of events in West Papua for January beginning of February 2014

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

Summary of events in West Papua for January beginning of February 2014

There were a large number of shooting incidents (particularly in the Puncak Jaya region) since the beginning of the year with the military responding to many of the incidents with security sweeps. The various clashes and shootings around Mulia caused fear in the local people, disrupting their normal activities. In a Jubi report on the 7 Feb the Commander of Military Area (Pangdam) XVII Cenderawasih, Maj. Gen. Christian Zebua denied information about a clash between TNI- Police and an armed group in Puncak Jaya had caused hundreds of people to flee the area because of fear.  “That is not true. The situation in Puncak Jaya is fine. Nothing to worries. Community activities run as usual. So, the information or news which is spread out is not true, “said Zebua on Friday (2/7). He stressed the Information about hundreds of people evacuated from the area of Puncak Jaya was deliberately created for a specific purpose. 
“This statement intentionally made by a certain group or party ” he said. 

However, in the same Jubi report one of the residents of the area  reported that about 200 residents including himself had to leave Puncak Jaya because of fear.
“I am a Dondobaga resident who live in Kulirik village. I chose to flee to Nabire with other people because the TNI-Police frequently conduct incursions. This made us feel unsafe, uncomfortable and afraid ”.

It is not only the residents of Puncak Jaya who are traumatized but also locals in the Yapen Islands District because of security forces sweeps in the area.  On the 1 February the Indonesian security forces killed one member of the OPM during a firefight in Yapen Waropen district.  Ten others were arrested. A joint security force of police and TNI conducted a raid on a meeting of the OPM in Yapen Waropen. When the security forces attempted to storm the meeting the OPM members allegedly opened fire, injuring three people. The security forces claimed to have seized guns, bows and arrows, camouflage clothing and two Morning Star flags from the scene.

In the latest sweep on the 8 February, the security forces entered the Karubate Church in Puncak Jaya claiming the OPM had stored weapons in the building. The Chairman of the Fellowship of Baptist Churches of Papua, Socratez Sofyan Yoman condemned the act of intimidation.

Jubi (27/1) reported on another church incident when the security forces conducted a search of Dondobaga church in Kulirik.   Puncak Jaya resident, Ely Tabuni told Jubi that some people who were worshiping in the Dondoboga church were abused by Indonesia National Security Forces. “At that time, they were raiding the residents that suspected as members of Liberation Papua Movement in the church. Some officers of TNI hit and expelled residents who did not accept this disruption during worshiping. Luckily, there were there officers who managed their fellows to stop this violence”. The security forces were looking for a person involved in a shooting incident.  The Chief of Puncak Jaya Police admitted that they had arrested two people suspected of being members of the TPN / OPM. “The church was empty at that time. Both of them were detained in the church at six o’clock. If in the investigation process they are not guilty, they will be released. There was no military punishment of citizens. So it is not true. So there is no story of violence by the security forces against citizens.” he said.

The Jakarta Globe also reported on the ongoing fighting in the area. It reported in the article a resident of the area saying,  “People in the villages of Kulirik, Dondobaga, Talileme, Karubateand Yalingga are terrified and they’re scared of going to church.

Other incidents
On the 4 Jan a police station was attacked in the Kurik district of Papua’s Puncak Jaya regency by a group of armed men. At the time of the attack only two personal were on duty in the station. The other five personal were out on patrol in the surrounding area. The group of attackers consisted of approximately 20 people who removed eight weapons and ammunition from the station. The Puncak Jaya district police chief, Sr. Comr. Marselis claimed that the perpetrators responsible for the attack were members of the Yambi Group under the leadership of Leka Telenggen. Leka is affiliated with the leader of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), Goliat Tabuni, who resides in Tingginambut district. 

On Tuesday morning the 7 Jan, an unidentified group killed an ojek driver in the Wuyuneri hamlet, located in the Puncak Jaya district of Papua. Abdul Halil, a 43-year-old motorcycle taxi driver who originated from Makassar, South Sulawesi. He was taking a customer from Mulia to Wuyuneri. As they arrived at state high school SMU 1, someone shot him in the face. It’s not yet clear how many people were involved in the shooting.

On the 9 January a member of an armed group was killed by the security forces between miles 45 and 50 at PT Freeport Indonesia’s mining area by a joint team of Indonesian Military (TNI) and police personnel who also seized an M-16 assault rifle and its magazine. 

 Papua’s Police deputy chief Brig. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw said “the deceased is believed to have been a member of an armed group that has been operating between the Mile 41 and Mile 50 area of 
Freeport’s mining zone in Timika,”.

On Saturday the 18 January an armed group attacked a military post in Kota Lama, Mulia. The post was manned by personnel from the 1714/Puncak Jaya Military District Command (Kodim). Two soldiers were injured.

On the 24 Jan, four people were killed in a clash during a security operation in Puncak Jaya. An Indonesian military officer was shot dead in an ambush in Mulia at 10.50 am local time. The incident took place when the officer was heading toward an earlier shoot-out scene between the security forces and an armed group in Mulia. It was reported three OPM were also killed.

MSG visits West Papua
A delegation of Melanesian Spearhead Group  (MSG) leaders visited West Papua on the 13 Jan. At the MSG Summit in Noumea in June 2013, the issue of membership for West Papua at the summit was deferred. (The WPNCL had applied to the MSG for full membership at the June summit). The visit by the MSG was partly to assess the application by WPNCL to become a member.  

The MSG delegation included the foreign ministers of Fiji, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Papua New Guinea’s Rimbink Pato, Solomon Islands’ Clay Forau Soalaoi and representatives from the FLNKS and Vanuatu. Vanuatu's Foreign Minister Edward Natapei did not join the delegation saying the program which was received just a day before the delegation left did not include meetings with civil society organisations in West Papua. 
"Just one day before we were to depart Vanuatu to travel to Indonesia, we got the program of the visit, which neglected, it did not involve a meeting with civil society, it did not involve a meeting with the West Papuan people, the leadership in West Papua, who are concerned about human rights and who could give us more information about the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation that is based in Vanuatu. We realised that in fact it was being hijacked by the government of Indonesia to work on another issue, which was to promote economic ties and development cooperation with the government of Indonesia. We felt that we were going to fail in the mission". 

During the visit the head of the delegation, Fijian Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said. “We fully respect Indonesia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and we further recognize that West Papua is an integral part of Indonesia”. (Note. this is not the Vanuatu Governments position).

During the MSG visit a demonstration was held before the West Papua Provincial Legislative Council (DPRP) in Jayapura and a large number of demonstrators were arrested. The police claimed the activists were arrested because they did not have a permit for the demonstration. The activists said they simply wanted to meet   with the delegates from the MSG and to show support for West Papua’s application for membership of the MSG. They also wanted the MSG to meet with civil society groups to discuss the human rights situation in West Papua.   After leaving West Papua the delegation met with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta. A group of West Papuans held a protest outside the hotel where the delegation was staying and blocking the delegates’ car for a short period. 

Although the trip was tightly controlled John Ondawame of the WPNCL said the trip by the MSG was still worthwhile. In a RNZI report (22 Jan) he said about the visit
"They witnessed themselves Indonesian behavior, they have to build their own opinion on the visit so I'm sure that Melanesia is Melanesian, not Indonesians, Melanesians have their own opinion on these matters."

Membership for West Papua is not looking hopeful as Yvon Faua, who took part as an envoy of New Caledonia's FLNKS said there are other groups that also claim to represent West Papuans and the people would be better served if they worked together. "The report FLNKS has to make to the leaders is that it is not possible to accept the application. I think the Melanesian Spearhead Group has to join all the others because as we know there are also other organisations."  Yvon Faua says it might be possible for an umbrella West Papuan organisation to apply for MSG membership (RNZI 22 Jan).

However, a hopeful note is the Vanuatu's foreign minister suggestion that the Melanesian Spearhead Group may have to meet Papuan civil society leaders elsewhere "Another option would be to actually organise to meet with the leaders of West Papua at a different venue to establish the legitimacy of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation."(RNZI 17 Jan). At the end of January Fiji 's Foreign Minister briefed the secretariat of the MSG on the trip by the MSG delegates to West Papua and Indonesia.

Political prisoners
A report in a local paper in West Papua said that a number of Papuans who had raised the Morning Star in Biak in May 2013 had received jail term of 15 and 18 years. However, this is incorrect and the 15 and 18 years is what the prosecutor is calling for. However the trial is continuing and the verdict is yet to be announced.
From Papuans behind bars
“The extremely heavy sentences proposed by the Prosecutor for defendants in the 1 May 2013 Biak case crystallised the trial into a critical test case for Indonesia’s policies in Papua. Five of the six defendants are threatened with 15-18 year sentences for peacefully raising the Morning Star flag in Biak”. PBB also reported in its January update that at the end of January 2014, there were at least 74 political prisoners in Papuan jails.

 Opinion pieces/reports/press releases etc.

Jakarta Globe Editorial: Time to Deal With the Papua Pebble

Hearing Should Focus on Killings, Impunity, and Political Prisoners

Kiwis accused of providing 'aid that kills'

Police and Company Security Guard beat a man to Death while in Police Detention.
By ADMIN | Published: JANUARY 5, 2014
A man was beaten to death while in police detention by a local police officer and a man working for the Astra Group as head of security. The assault took place on New Year’s Eve in Okaba near Merauke. The Astra Group has plans for a massive sugar cane plantation which has met with opposition from local residents.

PT Agriprima Cipta Persada Planting Oil Palm Without a Permit.
By ADMIN | Published: JANUARY 21, 2014

The Communion of Churches in Indonesia (Pesekutuan Gereja-Gereja Indonesia or PGI) has asked the Indonesian Government to call a halt to the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) project, because it will mean the indigenous Marind people’s local wisdom will be lost.

Indonesian Partnership of Churches calls for MIFEE to be stopped!
By ADMIN | Published: JANUARY 21, 2014
The Communion of Churches in Indonesia (Pesekutuan Gereja-Gereja Indonesia or PGI) has asked the Indonesian Government to call a halt to the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) project, because it will mean the indigenous Marind people’s local wisdom will be lost.

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