Summary of events in West Papua for April (to the 4 May 2014)
There were a number of armed clashes and shooting incidents in West Papua during April. On the 5 April there was a clash between the security forces and approximately 40 civilians on the West Papuan - PNG border in the Wutung area. The border crossing was closed following the shoot-out. The group blocked the road and lowered the Indonesian flag and raised the West Papuan and UN flags. A number of buildings were damaged as a result of the incident. A soldier and a police officer suffered minor injuries in the clash with the civilians and Mathias Wenda’s OPM group. PNG's Defence Minister Fabian Pok said an investigation into the incident would be led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and involve other government departments. He says PNG officials will work closely with Jakarta to try and resolve the issues.
RNZI reported that Belden Namah, who is PNG's opposition leader, said that “the government has failed to provide adequate military and police capabilities to protect the border”. From the RNZI report, Ongoing Indonesian efforts to hunt down members of the OPM Free West Papua Movement recently spilled over into PNG again with another shootout between Indonesian troops and the rebels. Mr Namah says Indonesian military have established their presence at various points in PNG including Vanimo. "On some occasions, if not most of the occasions, they go and burn down houses. They threaten PNG citizens with guns whether for shielding OPMs or for whatever reason. So our people on the border, they live in fear all of the time. Papua New Guinea (government) should come out and make an open statement. Because, if we do not make a clear cut decision on the issue of West Papua, this problem is still going to exist."Belden Nama. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/241598/vanimo-people-live-in-fear-of-indonesian-army,-says-png-mp
There was another shooting in the border area on the 16 April. A civilian was shot on his way to a traditional market located near the border area and was treated at Bhayangkara Police Hospital. A team of soldiers was deployed to pursue the attackers. The Skouw border market is located 400 meters from neutral zone between the two countries and is held three days a week on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. A number of traders temporarily closed their stalls due to fear after the shooting incident.
In other news about the border area a report said that “smuggling at the Papua New Guinea-Indonesian border is fast becoming a lucrative business and both countries are missing out on taxes, import and export duties in the range of millions of kina and billions of rupiah” http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2014/April/04-22-01.htm
Puncak Jaya Region
On the 9 April there was a clash between soldiers from Cendrawasih Military Command's Battalion 751and an armed group in Mulia, the capital of Puncak Jaya regency. One man was shot dead by the security forces in the clash and six others fled. An SSI rifle and ammunition was also found at the scene.According to the police the perpetrators were not from the OPM but belonged to an armed civilian group.
On the 25 April two soldiers from the 751st Raider Infantry Battalion were wounded in a clash at a military post in Mulia district. First Sgt. Rahman Hakim, died later from his injuries. The Army is continuing the hunt for the armed gang believed to be responsible for the fatal shooting and had increased patrols in the area. The victim was buried with full military honors led by the military command chief of staff Brig. Gen. Hinsa Siburian at Kusuma Bangsa Heroes Cemetery in Jayapura.
The military claim that they found/confiscated 28 rifles from the Free Papua Movement between January and April during their operations.
A member of the Air Force in Biak was shot dead by a local police officer on Sunday 27 April after a dispute at a night fair. Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Sulistyo Pudjo Hartono has confirmed the fatality. “There was a misunderstanding due to the alcohol [they consumed],” Sulistyo explained.police officer who allegedly killed an airman in Biak has been flown to the Papua Police Headquarters in Jayapura for further investigation.
Presidential hopeful visits West Papua
The Presidential candidate from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), Joko Widodo said the problem in Papua only can be solved through hard work and compassion. He visited West Papua at the beginning of April. “The reason I come to Papua because Papua is part of Indonesian regions where the sun initially rises. Much potential are clearly here in Papua. But those potentials should be used for the welfare of the people of Papua. I do want to make a lot of promises, because a real work is more important,” said Jokowi when giving a public speech in the grand campaign at PTC Ground of Jayapura City on Saturday (5/4) Jubi)
A KNPB report (23 April) said the military were seen painting over graffiti calling for a boycott of the presidential elections. The Regional Commander had ordered its members to paint over the writings which read "BOYCOTT PILPRES 2014 SOLUTIONS REFERENDUM " A member of the military who was removing the writing on the wall said, " We paint and erase the writings on the orders of the Regional Commander as there are guests coming through.
Papuans behind bars
According to Papuans behind bars there were 73 political prisoners in Papuan jails at the end of March. Papuans Behind Bars also reported that Indonesia’s top-down approach to development in Papua, as well as its unwillingness to consider a range of Papuan views, appears to be causing increasing unrest. When criticisms are expressed through peaceful protest, these actions are met with heavy-handed tactics leading to further unrest. Intransigent government approaches to development are in this way becoming a significant factor in fuelling instability Papua. http://www.papuansbehindbars.org/?p=2853
The Asian Human Rights Commission released two urgent actions that people can respond to.
Peaceful protesters arrested & tortured by police in Papua
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the arbitrary arrest and the torture of two Papuans participating in a peaceful protest. The protesters are reported to have been electrocuted and beaten while being transported to the Jayapura police station in a police truck. They have been forced to sign a falsified police investigation report and have been denied medical treatment and access to lawyers. http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-057-2014
Two Papuans assaulted for preventing police brutality
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received the information regarding an assault by members of the Mobile Brigade of Nabire District Police on two Papuans in Nabire. The two Papuans were assaulted when they were trying to stop a brutal attack by the police against another Papuan. They were both stabbed and slashed about the back and head, and beaten with guns and wooden sticks by the police http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-064-2014
Papuan activist intimidated
Jubi reported (1 May) that 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. Tapol report on incident at http://www.tapol.org/reports/terror-and-intimidation-papuan-rights-activist-yones-douw
AWPA wrote to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop re the situation in West Papua
On the 1 May the KNPB and PRD commemorated the annexation of West Papua (1 May 1963). The Commemorative activities were observed by the security forces Members of the KNPB unfurled banners rejecting the illegal Indonesian occupation of West Papua. At a student rally at the university in Jayapura police confiscated banners and intimidated students.
Solomons Jakarta embassy only weeks away
RNZI Updated 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.
Freeport Agrees Terms for Mining Contract Extension
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The government and PT Freeport have agreed several terms in the renegotiation of Freeport's mining contract extension. There are three terms that have been agreed, according to Mineral and Coal Director, Gen. R. Sukyar, which are: the area of mining region, increased royalty rate to 3.75 percent, and smelter development plans. "The negotiation is still underway," he said, Friday, April 11. Although they have agreed a number of points, he said, the organization still has not agreed to divest its stake. "In regard to divesting, we have not made a deal," he said. He explained that the government has urged the American mining company to divest 30 percent of its stake to Indonesia. The figure is lower than what was required in Regulation Number 4 of 2009 regarding the obligation to divest 51 percent of stake. According to Sukyar, the request to merely divest 30 percent is because Freeport still requires the underground mining investment in Grasberg, Papua. "The government requests 30 percent. 51 percent is the maximum figure depending on investments." Previously, he said, the government will extend the contract with Freeport that will expire in 2021 if the company agrees to divest 30 percent of its stake. Up to this moment, the Freeport management has not confirmed whether they agree or not. ALI NY | PINGIT ARIA (13 APRIL, 2014 Tempo)
Papuan female traders banned from Kajase Market
South Sorong, 28/4 ( Jubi ) – Papuan women traders have been banned from selling their goods at Kajase market, with shops now dominated by non- Papuans, their representative said.A representative of Maybrat women, Wensi Safakaur said that they are disappointed because they feel treated like strangers on their own land. “We are very sad and disappointed at Papuan officials in this district. How dare, non- Papuans expel the Papuans. It is unacceptable. I hope the local Papuan officials will take action on this matter and do not close their eyes ” she said.She said most Papuan women traders sell typical Papuan crops such as taro, sweet potatoes, cassava,bananas, vegetables and fishery products. They have been selling at the market since 2002 when South Sorong regency was established.Previously, there was a dispute between Papua women and non- Papuan traders, who claimed to have bought the area from the Revenue Office. Now, some Papuan women traders are forced to sell their crops in the driveway of Kajase Market. (Jubi / Nees/ Tina) tabloidjubi.com Apr 29th, 2014
Indonesia handing out mosquito nets in Papua to combat malaria
RNZI 28 April 2014. Indonesia's Ministry of Health says it's determined to distribute 6.3 million mosquito nets in 2014 to prevent the spread of malaria. Antara news says there are high cases of the deadly disease in five provinces. Hundreds of people in Papua, West Papua, East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku and North Maluku are still at risk for malaria infection. The Health Ministry's Tjandra Yoga Aditama, says so far 3.6 million mosquito nets have been distributed as part of the program. He added that besides mosquito nets, preventive measures were being taken by spraying almost 50,000 houses in 2013.
Statement by Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive-Director of LP3BP on 7 April 2014
Speaking as a human rights defender working in the Land of Papua, I urge the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) in Jakarta to immediately investigate the maltreatment and torture by members of the Indonesian police of Yali Wenda (20) and Alvares Kapissa (25) on 2 April. Such actions are regarded as being grave human rights violations as stated in Article 9 (f) of Law 26/2000 on Human Rights Courts and the most serious form of human rights violations according to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment. As a recipient of the John Humphreys Freedom Award 2005 in Canada, I call on the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to place this case of treatment of the two students both of whom are civilians on its agenda for discussion and the adoption of a resolution regarding the government of Indonesia in its session in May this year. The Secretary General of the United Nations should also press the Indonesian government to allow his Special Representative on Maltreatment and Torture to enter the Land of Papua in order to ensure that this case is handled transparently and in accordance with the mechanisms and principles of international law. As Executive Director of the LP3BH Manokwari, I call on the international community, in particular the governments of the members of the European Union to review the bilateral accords on co-operation which they have entered into with Indonesia, in the context of developmental activity in the Land of Papua. Respect for human rights is regarded as the foremost feature of law in any bilateral accord between state members of the European Union and other countries such as Australia, Canada, the United States of America, New Zealand and Japan and Indonesia. The LP3BH also urges the Government of Indonesia to give unfettered access to the Land of Papua to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group to investigate the current state of human rights in the Land of Papua and what may happen there in the future. Peace [Translated by Carmel Budiardjo]
Reports/media release/opinion pieces etc.
New book. Don't Spoil My Beautiful Face: Media, Mayhem and Human Rights in the Pacific by David Robie
The Asia-Pacific issues behind the book Don't Spoil My Beautiful Face
West Papua: Indonesia Ignores Indigenous Expertise In Fight Against HIV
West Papua faces the highest HIV prevalence rates in Indonesia, 15 times the national average, and the epidemic is fast growing. Although the indigenous population is particularly affected, the government fails to address cultural factors that influence http://www.unpo.org/article/17099
Politics hinders the fightagainst HIV in West Papua
(Geneva, May 1st, 2014) On April 30 and May 1st, 2014, the UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights in Geneva assessed the level of implementation of these rights in Indonesia. The review process covered access to health care and education, the problem of land-grabbing, and the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples. In the discussion the Committee showed particular concern to the situation in Papua.http://www.humanrightspapua.org