Thursday, May 1, 2014

1) Mirroring West Papua

1) Mirroring West Papua
3Terror and intimidation of Papuan rights activist Yones Douw

4) Solomons Jakarta embassy only weeks away


1) Mirroring West Papua

By Rohan Radheya on 01:02 pm Apr 29, 2014
In 1969, Indonesia took over West Papua with the now infamous Act of Free Choice, a mock referendum where West Papuans were forced to relinquish their independence through intimidation and threats.
Today, fifteen years after a democracy replaced President Suharto’s dictatorship, West Papua is still one of the most policed places on the planet — with approximately 30,000 security personnel dealing with an indigenous population of around two million.
Human rights records speak of atrocities, with disappearances and tortures happening on a daily basis. What is even more troubling is that some Indonesian military officers who committed and supervised tortures and genocide in East Timor are now serving in West Papua, and they are committing the same crimes.
What triggered Indonesia’s annexation of West Papua are its rich natural resources. The US and other Western countries have huge investments in West Papua’s copper and gold. The US giant McMoran operates in Freeport, the largest mine in the world, making the company Indonesia’s largest taxpayer.
For decades now, parts of West Papua and the Grassberg mine especially have been restricted to foreign journalists, making any assessment of the humanitarian crisis almost impossible.
I first became interested in West Papua a year ago when I had the chance to visit the capital Jayapura. When I arrived at the Sentani airport, I was told by the Indonesian immigration officers to go to the police station and pick up a “surat jalan”, or visiting permit, which is issued to all foreigners.
At the police station, the head commissioner who was going through my passport noticed previous journalist visas from other countries. He asked me if I was a journalist. I thought it would be useless to deny it and I confirmed that indeed I was a journalist, but that for this particular trip I had no intention of working.
What came after was most surprising. He quite simply Googled me and imposed upon me to leave my photographic gear at the police station. I could pick it up again on my way out of the country.
And so it is that I went through West Papua without a camera. I visited Wamena, Jayapura and Vanimo. I met with key leaders of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), the freedom movement for the liberation and independence of West Papua. I spent time with them at their headquarters hidden in the jungle, where their military wing is still fighting a low scale guerrilla campaign against the Indonesian military in the jungles of West Papua. OPM is designated as a terrorist organization by the US state department.
When I came back to my home in the Netherlands, I looked for a way to bring forward the plea of West Papuans. I visited the International Criminal Court in The Hague and talked to Simon Sapioper, the President of the National Government of West Papua in exile.
Simon sat down with me and told me about the horror of the 1998 Biak Massacre, where hundreds of West Papuans were chained and then dumped in the ocean by the Indonesian Special Forces Command (Kopassus). When their bodies washed ashore, the Indonesian authorities claimed they were victims of a tsunami that occurred one thousand miles away somewhere in Papua New Guinea.
Simon hinted this could be a strong case for the International Criminal Court to start investigating crimes against humanity in West Papua. Fatou Bensouda, the head prosecutor of the ICC, told him to gather as much evidence as possible.
I wanted to help and this is where my photos came into play. I needed strong pictures and I was inspired by the work ofJames Mackay and his project Abhaya, about political prisoners inside Myanmar. I was introduced to many West Papuan political refugees and started photographing each of them holding a board of a place in West Papua where war crimes have taken place.
This is only a humble first step towards understanding, representing and offering exposure to West Papua’s independence struggle that would be strengthened if it gains an international awareness.
See more photos here.
Rohan Radheya is a Dutch Surinamese contract photographer and videojournalist. He is one of the very few press photographers from his country of origin covering stories on an international scale. With his work he hopes to reach out to the younger people in his community and to motivate them to explore their artistic side. Rohan is currently represented by Zumapress. Visit his website here.
This article originally appeared on Warscapes



Jayapura, 30/5 (Jubi) – A report released by JPIC Synod GKI, Papua, states that on 23 April Papuan human rights activist Yones Douw was intimidated by police as he was going about his work monitoring the security situation at the local electoral commission.
Yones Douw states that human rights defenders in Nabire have to face the continuously growing attention of security forces, who monitor Mr. Douw’s as well as other human rights defenders’ activities and often respond with intimidation, threats, acts of terror, and negative comments towards civil society activists. Yones Douw currently feels threatened and demands that local police authorities carry out strong disciplinary sanctions against officer SUKIFRI.

3) Terror and intimidation of Papuan rights activist Yones Douw

Terror and Intimidation against Human Righst Activist in Nabire on 23 April 2014 at 11:30 (WIT), as Yones Douw, a human rights defender from the Human Rights Desk of the Tabernacle Church Papua (Kingmi Papua), was walking on Merdeka street in direction to Ojehe in Nabire town, he was intercepted in front of  Nabire Finance Department by a police officer named IMAM M.
The police officers asked Yones Douw: "Where are you going?" Yones Douw replied: "I want to go to Ojehe. I just stopped by and wanted to monitor the situation here at the election commission (KPU)." The police officer asked again: "What institution do you work for", so Yones Douw replied: "I 'm a human rights activists." Subsequently IMAM M asked: "Where is your human rights card?" Yones Douw replied: "I do not have any card. I am human rights activists from Kingmi Church.” The police officer said: "No, you can' t pass. You must turn around". Yones Douw replied: "But I want to head straight down the road." As the police officer still blocked the way, Mr. Dow said: "I'm carrying out my duties as you are carrying out yours, in order to secure the plenary meeting." The statement made the police officer angry, so he began to physically holding off Yones Douw from walking on. As the officer became physical Mr. Douw shouted: "Go on, hit me!"
As five other DALMAS police officers saw the incident, they approached Yones Douw and told him to immediately go back. One of the police officers intimidated Mr. Douw by placing his hand on the gun holster, as if he would want to draw his weapon. As Yones Douw was ordered to turn around, another Police officer named SUKIFRI yelled from a nearby police vehicle to the other officers "JUST KILL HIM, SHOOT HIM OR BEAT HIM UP!"
Police Officer SUKIFRI already knew Yones Douw from a previous incident at the Tumartis Market Nabire in 2009. At that time the officer had threatened Yones Douw at gunpoint, and then released several shots in another direction, because Mr. Douw complained against the excessive use of violence of police officers against a Papuan man during the attempt to resolve a conflict between two local residents. When Yones Douw followed the officers' directions to leave the site immediately and passed behind the grand Mosque at Nabire, other police officers shouted at him with the words:
1. You unclear human rights defender,
2. Human rights provocateur,
3. We are the ones who have to work hard and you just give us a busy time
Yones Douw reported that human rights defenders in Nabire have to face the continuously growing attention of security forces, who monitor Mr. Douw' s as well as other human rights defenders' activities and often respond with intimidation, threats, acts of terror, and negative comments towards civil society activists. Yones Douw currently feels threatened and demands that local police authorities carry out strong disciplinary sanctions against officer SUKIFRI.


3) Solomons Jakarta embassy only weeks away

Updated at 6:51 pm on 30 April 2014

The Solomon Islands prime minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, says his government hopes to open an embassy in Indonesia in June to further strengthen bilateral ties.
He was speaking in Honiara during a visit of a parliamentary delegation from Indonesia.
Mr Lilo says he has been impressed by Indonesia's initiative to connect Pacific Island countries to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Last September, Mr Lilo made a state visit to Jakarta in September amid plans for a Melanesian Spearhead Group delegation to visit Papua whose separatists want to join the MSG.
On the Papua question, Mr Darcy Lilo has described Indonesia's legitimacy over the region as unquestionable.
However, he has also said Jakarta has taken heed of his call for an end to abuses by Indonesian security forces in Papua.

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