Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Summary of events in West Papua for February 2014

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

Summary of events in West Papua for February (beginning of March) 2014

Vanuatu PM raises West Papua in Geneva
Congratulations to the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Moana Carcasses Kalosil who raised the Human Rights situation in West Papua at the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on the 4 March.
Extract from PM’s statement
My country is here in this meeting to amplify the concerns for human rights inWest Papua. We are very concerned indeed about the manner in which the international community had neglected the voices of the Papuan people, who’s human rights have been trampled upon and severely suppressed since 1969.  Mr. President, you are presiding over the noblest organ of the United Nations- the Human Rights Council. But what do we do when rights of the Melanesian people of West Papua is challenged with military interventions and presence? Since the controversial Act of Free Choice in 1969, the Melanesian People of West Papua have been subject to on-going human rights violations committed by the Indonesian security services. The world has witnessed the litany of tortures, murders, exploitation, rapes, military raids, arbitrary arrests and dividing of civil society trough intelligence operations. The Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM) concluded that these acts constitute crimes against humanity under Indonesian Law No. 26/2000 (KOMNAS HAM 2001,2004). In this climate of fear and repression of political dissent, and blatant negligence by the international Community including the UN and the powerful developed countries since 1969, we find this forgotten race still dare to dream for equality and justice. Yet the democratic nations have kept silent.  In full + Video footage at

Vanuatu has announced that Nikenike Vurobaravu will be the new High Commissioner to Fiji. A report in the Vanuatu Daily Post   said he will have to deal with the sensitive issue of West Papua in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) level. “He will take up the difficult task of trying to keep Vanuatu's economic and political aspirations at the fore in negotiations with the rest of the MSG member countries, while advocating Vanuatu's strong stance on self determination for West Papua”.

The chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Victor Tutugoro, says the group's special meeting to discuss the outcome of a visit to Indonesia's West Papua has been put off.  The trip, which was boycotted by Vanuatu, was meant to discover more about the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation, which is seeking MSG membership. The meeting had been scheduled for this week but Islands Business reported last week that Fiji was unhappy Vanuatu was to host the meeting. Mr Tutugoro, who represents the New Caledonian Kanak group on the MSG, has not explained the reasons for the delay but he says the meeting will be held on the island of Santo in Vanuatu's north, rather than at the MSG secretariat in Port Vila. (RNZI 10 Feb).
At the beginning of March, an Indonesian delegation arrived in Fiji the country last night to strengthen the growing relations between Indonesia and Fiji. The eight-member delegation is also here to hold public lectures at the three higher education institutions in Fiji- the University of the South Pacific, Fiji National University and the University of Fiji. On the visit agenda would be moves to improve trade, investment, economic relation and even higher education prospects between the two nations. The delegation includes two Papuans, Franzalbert Joku and Nicholas Simeone Messet who will be talking about the reality of the much talked about Papuan situation in Indonesia. Indonesian Minister Counsellor with the Foreign Affairs Pratito Soeharyo said Fiji could always regard Indonesia as a friend. “We are here to see the future of the relationship between Indonesia and Fiji. It is the main purpose of our visit. Through this visit, we will have a clear idea of what is expected in the future regarding the relationship between the two countries. “Indonesia is also part of the Pacific also, therefore, we will develop and strengthen our relationship.” This meeting is a result of an invitation extended to the delegation by Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola. Joku said: “There is a realisation in Indonesia that we are not just an Asian nation, but also a Pacific nation by the virtue of our geographical location spanning between mainland Asia and Oceania region in the Pacific.”
A report in Jubi (3 March) said Fiji’s opposition has accused an Indonesian delegation planning to visit the Pacific country of intervening in Fiji’s internal politics by supporting Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama in his campaign for reelection.   United Front for a Democratic Fiji accused Indonesian Ambassador Aidil Chandra Salim of having offered support to Commodore Bainimarama to be reelected prime minister in the upcoming elections. 
“In media interviews, the Indonesian Ambassador showed they were behind the offer of support to Commodore Bainimarama to become Fiji’s prime minister,” Mick Beddoes, the United Front for a Democratic Fiji’s spokesman, told Jubi on Monday night (3/3). He further said that the government of Indonesia also gave half a million dollars to the Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG) in exchange for betraying the sub-regional group’s commitment towards the West Papuan people. The Indonesian embassy in Fiji has denied the accusations, which have been voiced by pro-West Papuan groups in the Pacific.
The Feb edition of Islands Business also reported that Vanuatu is forcing the rest of the MSG to take a stand on West Papua—something that is bound to test the integrity of the grouping in the months and years to come. Its boycott of the leaders’ visit to Indonesia, which incidentally has observer status in the MSG grouping—is rooted in its conviction and clearly not mere politicking’
The apparent cohesiveness among the MSG (Melanesian Spearhead Group) member nations suffered a body blow last month when Vanuatu firmly and unambiguously boycotted an MSG leaders’ official tour of Indonesia.
This is the first time that such open dissent in the group has hit the news headlines since the formal establishment of the inter-governmental organisation in 2007, though there have been rumblings of dissent on other issues before.

News in brief.
Five sentenced over flag raising.
The district court of Biak sentenced Oktavianus Warnares, defendant in the separatist "Morning Star" flag raising case in Biak Timur, Papua, on May 1, 2013, to three years imprisonment.  The Chief Judge Demon Sembiring stated, while reading the verdict, that the defendant was legitimately found guilty of violating Article 106 in conjunction with Criminal Code Article 110 in conjunction with Law Number 1 of 1951 as well as Article 55 of the Criminal Code. Earlier Markus Sawian, a defendant on the same case was sentenced to two years in jail. George Simyapen 2.6 years, Yosef Wamaer two years and Yosef Arwakom 1.8 years, in jail.

Arrests in connection with attack on the Kurilik police station
The Police arrested a 16-years old boy, Wekiles Kogoya on suspicions he took part in the attack on the Kurilik police station in Puncak Jaya in January. He was arrested on the 15 February. Another suspect, 19 year old Yemiter Murib was also arrested in connection with the attack. He was arrested on the 19 January. 

Firefight in Kampung Angkasera in the Yapen Islands
A firefight occurred between the security forces and the military in Kampung Angkasera in the Yapen Islands District on the 28 February. The police claimed they were attacked by an OPM group. There was no loss of life. Jubi reported that a resident had reported previously that there has been tension in Serui, Yapen Islands and some residents in villages in Serui had fled to the forest due to sweeps by a combined military and police force and people were in fear and are starving in the woods. Many children had also dropped out of school. (Jubi, 28 Feb.)

NZ says it will keep police in West Papua and look into allegations
After criticism over New Zealand's police training programme in Indonesia's remote Papua province, the foreign minister says he will take reports of police violence seriously. Murray McCully says there's no point criticising Indonesia from afar, and that is why the three-year, 5 million US-dollar programme is still in place, despite calls for it to be stopped. Pax Christi Aotearoa New Zealand wants the programme to end, saying peaceful pro-independence events in the provinces are being brutally disrupted by military and police. He says he will take up issues of concern with the Indonesian government should he have any as a result of the regular ministry reviews of the programme. "Our default position on this is that by having our people participate in West Papua we are significantly assisting the law enforcement authorities in lifting standards there. But since some allegations have been made we will look at them as we always do and if there are issues of concern we'll take them up with the Indonesian government who in my experience have been very open to that sort of process." Murray McCully says if New Zealand was to pull police out as soon as allegations are made then many police efforts in the Pacific would be worse off. (RNZI 6 March)

 Bazoka Logo is the new spokesman for the KNPB
Bazoka Logo, was elected as the new spokesperson of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB). The change was made because Wim Medlama (the previous spokesman) is on a police wanted list.  The KNPB is also calling on Papuans to boycott the 2014 elections.

Komnas HAM finds human rights violations in Freeport tunnel cave in
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Archipelago | Fri, February 14 2014
The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has released its findings regarding serious human rights violations in the Freeport Big Gossan tunnel cave in that claimed the lives of 28 workers and injured 10 others. “PT Freeport had the ability to prevent this from happening but didn’t. The lack of effort jeopardized the lives of others. The gravity of this case is serious,” Komnas HAM commissioner Natalius Pigai said on Friday as quoted by He therefore suggested that the government follow up the commission’s report by thoroughly investigating the incident to uncover any indications of negligence. The Big Gossan training facility at Freeport’s Grasberg mine collapsed on May 14 last year, trapping 38 workers inside a tunnel during a safety course. (idb)

Freeport may get lower duties after force majeure threat 
Raras Cahyafitri and Satria Sambijantoro, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Tue, March 04 2014, 11:58 AM
US-based mining giant PT Freeport Indonesia may finally get lower duties for its concentrate exports after intense lobbying of the government over a regulation on progressive export duties on semifinished minerals. The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s director general for minerals and coal, R. Sukhyar, said that his office would inform the Finance Ministry, which issued the controversial progressive export duty regulation, on Tuesday about “committed” mining firms, such as Freeport Indonesia, so they could receive an adjustment to export 
duties. “We are not in a position to give a percentage number. However, we need to give input on the calculation and evaluation [of the export duties],” Sukhyar said on Monday. The government fully banned exports of unprocessed ore as of Jan. 12 as part of the implementation of the 2009 Mining Law, but has decided to allow semifinished mineral makers, including concentrate producers, to continue exporting until 2017. In return, the government has asked the semifinished mineral producers to pay export duties.  Under a Finance Ministry regulation, semifinished products are subject to progressive export duties of 20 percent this year, with the number set to increase to 60 percent by mid-2016. Mining firms have been calling for an adjustment to the challenging duty scheme as their profit margins are only around 15 percent. Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of US mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., said last week that it might declare a force majeure as the company had yet to resume its exports following the implementation of the law, and continued to object to paying the high duties.
Deputy Finance Minister Anny Ratnawati said on Monday that an adjustment to the export duties was possible as long as “there is a commitment to establishing a smelter” made by firms. Meanwhile, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry is also working on two export recommendation requests from Freeport Indonesia and PT Sebuku Iron Lateritic Ores, according to Sukhyar. Such recommendations are necessary to obtain an export license from the Trade Ministry, which has so far issued export licenses for nine companies. Sukhyar said his office would screen Freeport Indonesia’s detailed plans of partnerships with other companies to build smelters.  Freeport Indonesia has said it is working with state-owned PT Aneka Tambang on a feasibility study for building a copper smelter and has also signed agreements to supply its concentrates to two other firms planning to build smelters, namely PT Indosmelt and PT Nusantara Smelting Corporation. “Freeport has yet to determine the amounts of concentrates it will supply to its partners,” Sukhyar said. He added that Freeport Indonesia would also have to put aside a security bond worth around 5 percent of the investment for the development of future smelters, before his office issued an export recommendation. “The export recommendation will be issued should the company meet the requirements [...] perhaps in the next two weeks.”

Jayapura, 2/13 ( Jubi) – Asmat which is known for its unique culture, has oil and gas reserves. Head of Geological Agency, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources R Suhyar, said there are reserves of oil and gas in the block Asmat, southern region of Merauke, Papua. Furthermore, as quoted from, information collected by the team is a combination of field surveys that have been done before. This study is part of the exploration, but only in the surface level. The other important task is to attract business entity to explore the potential of oil and gas in Papua. Suhyar mentioned oil and gas reserves in the block of Merauke was previously not detected due to geological modeling in the Papua region is not well developed. As known that Papua has still little data of geology and geophysics. ” In the same geological conditions, Papua New Guinea has discovered reserves of mineral, oil and gas on a large enough scale,” Said Suhyar, comparing the development of geological modeling in Papua New Guinea and Papua, in Jakarta (2/13). Even though, it has not been known yet how much potential content that can be exploited. He believed that there is more gas than oil. ” We will soon conduct an investigation to have more data in order to ease exploration process and reduce the risk of investment,” added Suhyar. The ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has allocated Rp 80 billion from the state budget funds for some activities such a seismic survey. The amount will likely increase up to Rp 130 billion in 2014 to support the exploration of natural resources nationwide. Papua Land has very large potential oil reserves, even up to 45 billion barrels of oil and needs to be maximally explored into the deep sea (offshore). Secretary of the Geological agency of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (KESDM), Yun Yunus Kusumabrata said, although the potential is quite large, but the exploration process is still lacking. ( Jubi / Victor Mambor/ Tina )

Five Papua Fishermen Missing after PNG Military Allegedly Sets Boat on Fire
The Jakarta Globe reported (9 Feb.) that the PNG Military are accused of stopping and setting a boat on fire.  Five Indonesian fishermen remained missing as of Sunday after military officers in neighboring Papua New Guinea allegedly told them to jump off their boat before setting it on fire.  Ten fishermen from Merauke were on board the fishing boat searching for sea cucumbers in waters near the border between Papua and PNG Thursday and were accused of breaching the border. Dozens of PNG military soldiers stopped the boat, and brought the men on board a military ship, before setting the boat. The 10 fishermen were then told to jump into waters approximately 5 kilometers from the Merauke coast. Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Pujo Sulistyo said. According to the report five of them survived with the other five missing. The Indonesian Navy, the National Search and Rescue Agency and local volunteers searched for the five missing fishermen.
However, Jubi (26/2) reported that the head of the Merauke Border Agency, Albert Muyak, said he had received a letter from the Secretary of Moheb district in PNG a few days ago informing him that Ferdy Tjoa, Robin Rachel, John Kaize and Fikra are alive and are now staying there. The letter has been handed in to the Merauke regent, Romanus Mbraka, Muyak told on Wednesday (26/2). While searching for the missing fishermen Indonesian soldiers were accused of having crossed into PNG, in what the Commander of the PNG Defence Force, Gilbert Toropo, has described as a total disrespect of the country's sovreignty. General Jerry Singirok, spokesman for the PNG Flag Officers League which represents all former commanders of the PNG Defence Force, told Radio Australia that he'd been warning for years that more effort must go into building up proper border protection.

The Jakarta Post February 18. The Sorong District Court in West Papua sentenced on Monday police officer Adj. First Insp. Labora Sitorus to two years in prison and fined him Rp 50 million (about US$4,100) for illegal logging and fuel stockpiling. Presiding judge Martinus Bala dismissed the charge of money laundering. Prosecutors had demanded the court sentence Labora to 15 years in prison and fine him Rp 100 million. Labora made headlines in June last year after the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre discovered suspicious transactions of Rp 1.5 trillion in his name over the past five years. The light Sentence caused outrage in Indonesia

Torrential rains cause flooding and landslides in Jayapura
Torrential rain caused landslides in a number of districts in Jayapura, resulting in the death of 11 people and damage to at least 50 houses.  Water supplies to parts of Jayapura were disrupted for some days after flooding with residents struggling to get access to clean water. The torrential rains started on Saturday 22 February.

There were a large number of articles in the local papers concerning health and education issues. Jubi in one article reported that four residents in Siriwo are infected with HIV- AIDS. The director of the Community Welfare Development Foundation (YAPKEMA) in Paniai said “It is worrying to find out that even in an isolated area like the Siriwo region, HIV/AIDS exists. The director said that the government must come up with a strategic plan to fight the spread of HIV- AIDS and discrimination and stigma on patients with HIV-Aids. The Jakarta Post did report that in the Merauke region AIDS Prevention Commission (KPA) is successfully tackling HIV/AIDS and that Infected individuals have gained access to antiretroviral [ARV] drugs.    

An article in Jubi (17/2) reported that many teachers in Deiyai regency are avoiding their duties and prefer to stay in the cities, leaving many students abandoned, an education official said. Adii Natalis, Secretary of the Department of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (Dikbudpora) of Deiyai regency, on Sunday (2/16) urged schools there to address the problem of teachers’ absenteeism seriously. 
“At the moment, we are gathering data. As soon as we are done, we will start to analyze data and visit the schools,” Natalis, an alumnus of Cenderawasih University, said. He said many schools have been built but lacked facilities.
“That is fine if you want to pursue infrastructure. Yet, the most important is how to provide essential facilities in order to produce good quality of human resources in the area.” he added. Previously Jubi reported that four elementary schools are threatened with closure because of a lack of teachers. Those schools are SD Inpres Digibagata, SD YPPGI Widuwkiya, YPPK Wagomani SD, and SD YPPGI Deemago.
“I don’t know whether there is no single teacher in Deiyai regency or all teachers run away from duty and prefer to stay in town,” Domingoes Pigay, a lecturer of WalterPost Divinity School, told Jubi in Post 7 Sentani, on Saturday afternoon (2/15). ( Jubi/ Hom/ Tina)
Jubi also reported that as many as 296 soldiers based in Papua had received teaching certificates allowing them to teach in remote areas. “The soldiers will undergo training in teaching for more than a month in order to make them ready to teach,” said Commander (Pangdam) of Millitary Area XVII of Cenderawasih, Maj. Gen. Christian Zebua in Sentani on Saturday (2/15). The Head of the Education and Teaching Department of Paniai regency, Drs. Amatus A Tatogo confirmed, schools in Paniai region do not need more additional teachers The Paniai regent also confirmed that the Education and Teaching Department in Paniai prefers prioritizing teachers who have a teaching education background rather than soldiers. 

Traditional houses burned in Kulirik village, Muara Mulia District.
 Jubi reported that a number of traditional houses, known as honai-honai, were burned by an unidentified group on Thursday afternoon (27/2). The chief of Muara Mulia district, Puncak Jaya, Samianto Wonda said soldiers and police first thought there was an attack on a group of unarmed civilians, but it turned out to be residents who were looking for firewood in the forest around the porthole. “It was thought forest people were coming into the porthole area, the military wanted to attack but decided not to,” Samianto said on Thursday (27/2). He said when security forces entered the forest, they encountered an armed group and the officers chased them. “At the porthole,  honai – honai were burnt and we did not know who or how many people did it,” he said
A following report in Jubi said a housewife was shot in the leg during a clash between an armed group and the security forces in Pintu Angin, Muara Mulia Sub-district on Friday 27 February.  She was working in her garden when the shooting occurred.  It is known there were 48 honai (highland traditional house), 3 houses and other properties including animals were burned and destroyed in this incident without knowing who was responsible. The Chief Village of Muara Mulia Sub-district, Samianto Wonda earlier said to that the army thought there was an attack by the armed civilian group, but it was only a group of people who gathering the firewood in the forest near to Pintu Angin. But when they entered the forest, they met the armed group. He appointed the armed civilian group which he called the “Forest People” was responsible to the burning of residents’ honai and houses. “Now the Forest People has took the honai and they burned it all. I don’t know how many honay they have burned,” Samianto said.

West Papua - Indonesia dialogue is essential
Comment by Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive Director of the LP3BH on 11 February 2014. 
It is clearly apparent that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is no longer able to take any initiatives either personally or in his role as the head of state to resolve the problem of West Papua, either by means of dialogue or in other ways. I speak as the executive director of the LP3BH. after seeing how the Papuan people as well various groups in Indonesia and abroad have stressed the need for a peaceful solution of the social and political conflict in west Papua. This unresolved conflict continues to involve armed operations by the TNI/Polri  [Indonesian Army and Police Force] as well as the TPN/OPM [National People's Army and the OPM] It is crucial for this conflict to be resolved by peaceful dialogue facilitated by a neutral third party. As a human rights defender working in West Papua, I wish to make it clear that this conflict dates back to the presidency of Sukarno who promulgated his Trikora Command - the Triple People's Demand - on 19 December 1961 in Yogyakarta. Since 1969, military activities have resulted in many deaths. According to some sources, that there have been as many as 100,000 deaths in West Papua. According to the stipulations in articles 8 and 9 of Law No. 26, 1969 regarding human rights courts, as well as articles 45 and 46 of Law No 21, 2001 on special autonomy for the province of West Papua as amended by Law No 35, 2008, the conflict should be resolved by peaceful means. However, the Indonesian Government does not have the political will to push for and support the resolution of all the grave human rights violations that have been perpetrated in West Papua. The military units which are believed to be involved in these operations appear to be functioning without any clear command and some of those involved are even putting themselves forward as candidates in the forthcoming presidential election which is due to take place in 2014. The numerous human rights violations which have been occurring in West Papua since 1961 have been going on for more than fifty years. This is according to a report issued by the Papuan Peace Network [Jaringan Damai Papua] which states that this should be used to draw up an agenda for a peaceful dialogue between the Papuan people and Indonesia.
In my role as the executive director of LP3BH, I would like to submit my proposals to the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for its consideration for a peaceful dialogue with the Papuan people. The decision taken by the central government, as proposed through the intermediary of the governor of Papua, Lukas Enembe and the governor of West Papua, Abraham Atururi along with the Provincial legislative assembly [DPRP] and the Papuan Peoples Council (MRP) in the form of a special law known as OTSUS Plus [an amended version of the Special Autonomy Law of 2001] is clearly unconstitutional and is in violation of the basic rights of the Papuan people as citizens of Republic of Indonesia in accordance with the 1945 Constitution and Law No 24, of 2003 regarding the Supreme Court [Mahkamah Konstitusi] and Law No. 10 of 2004. The Indonesian Government should be reminded of the fact that the idea of holding a peaceful dialogue is based on historical facts and the customary and cultural life style of the Papuan people. Their aspirations should be welcomed by the Indonesian Government which has stated in the past that it is willing to hold dialogue with all those living in the Land of Papua. However, it is clearly evident that the President has never adopted any legal measures which would provide the basis for holding a peaceful dialogue with the Papuan people. [Translated by Carmel Budiardjo]

Opinion pieces/reports/press releases etc.
Medco in Manokwari: stepping up the pressure on land and community


SKP: An Oil Palm Plantation is Threatening the Kamoro People in Mimika
PT Wahana Samudra Sentosa: Another Industrial Forest Plantation in Merauke?

Manokwari Tastes the Bitterness of Oil Palm
Little by little, people start to taste the bitterness of oil palm.

It’s easy to blame the central government for all of Papua’s problems, but it’s also inaccurate

Special Autonomy has crippled health services in the Papuan Highlands

US Gov: Indonesia Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for

Greenpeace Palm Oil report
P&Gs Dirty Secret
Media briefing on Greenpeace International’s investigation of how P&G’s palm oil suppliers are pushing Sumatran tigers and orang-utans closer to extinction February 2014 

Papuan children taken to Jakarta to be converted to Islam
Note. Previous article "They're taking our children" at

Papuan activists’ webcast silenced – was Indonesia behind it?

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