Thursday, January 15, 2015

1) West Papua villagers flee from police to mountains, says activist

2) West Papuan activist: 'Take a stand for justice'
3) Papuans flee brutal military crackdown

1) West Papua villagers flee from police to mountains, says activist

Updated at 2:56 pm today

An exiled West Papuan independence leader says people from a remote village near the Freeport mine have fled into mountains for fear of the Indonesian military.
Benny Wenda says Indonesian authorities have conducted mass arrests and burned down homes in the village of Utikini.
The police have confirmed that a 500-strong joint police and military force has been deployed to the Timika region in response to the shooting of two officers and a Freeport mine security guard on New Year's Day.
However, Mr Wenda -- who says he has spoken to people from the village -- says the military has beaten and tortured innocent people in their hunt for the perpetrators and burned a number of houses after finding independence flags.
"[in the] last four days, most of the people in the villages have run, and some of them are still hiding because this village, the Indonesian police and military have occupied and all the roads are blockaded and there is no way to go out."
Benny Wenda has questioned the speed of the response to the shootings, when there is still no resolution over the deaths of five protesters allegedly shot by the military in Paniai last month.


2) West Papuan activist: 'Take a stand for justice'

Friday, January 16, 2015

Green Left Weekly’s Chris Peterson spoke with Jacob Rumbiak, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of West Papua -- a government-in-exile of the Papuan terrritory occupied by Indonesia since the 1960s. Its new foreign affairs office is in Melbourne.
Rumbiak is one of five officials of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, a new consultation body set up at a conference in Vanuatu in December.
On January 9, reported: "Several days ago, the Indonesian military and police arrested scores of West Papuans in Utikini village near Timika, which is very close to the world’s largest goldmine. According to reports, up to 116 West Papuan men, women and children were arrested and tortured.
“Recently there has been a surge of Indonesian military activity in the Timika area of West Papua with over 1000 military and police personnel having assembled to look for members of the banned Free Papua movement.
“They raided Utikini village and found banners in the basement of one house calling for an independence referendum for West Papua and a rejection of the so called ‘Act of Free Choice’ in 1969. Many of the villagers in Utikini were also carrying cards supporting self-determination for West Papua. For the Indonesian police, this was enough to warrant the arrests of the villagers and burning of their houses."
This follows the shooting of five teenagers by the Indonesian military in December last year. The five were killed when military and police opened fire at a crowd of people who were demonstrating against the torture of a 12-year-old boy by Indonesian soldiers.
Could you explain some of the context to this violence?
These soldiers are part of security. Security are seeking to create a problem to increase military in Papua. When we look at link in official with new Indonesian President Joko Widodo, [a] problem is created to prepare a big military operation in the name of safety.
This is very sad. Before the election of Widodo, he got most of Papuan support, believing that Widodo would hear their voice and help them. But the reality is the opposite.
Some of the recent violence is being targeted at people for raising the Morning Star flag. Could you explain what the flag represents to Papuans and what are the penalties from Indonesia for displaying this?
This flag is the identity of West Papua. The flag was created by Papuans themselves by their own parliament elected by the democratic system in April, 1961. The parliament prepared for independence and created our flag and national anthem.
But on December 1961, West Papua was occupied by Indonesia. Until now, Indonesia is very scared when people keep this flag.
When someone raises this flag, they can be jailed for 15 years. When I was a political prisoner, they said death sentence, or 20 years in jail, or torture because of the flag.
In the preamble of the Indonesian constitution, it says independence is the right of all people in the world. Because we are Melanesian, our right of independence is renounced.
East Timor has become independent. Why won't Indonesia allow Papua to be independent?
Indonesia claims [it is because their] history is different. Timor was a Portuguese colony; but both Indonesia and West Papua were Dutch colonies. Indonesia were controlled by Dutch for 350 years. West Papua only for 64 years. Difference is when Indonesia under Dutch were real slaves. In Papua, we had prepared for independence. We have the same right to independence.
It was wrong for Indonesia to occupy Timor. The morality of annexation is part of Indonesian culture. West Papua is granted the right to independence under the Indonesian constitution of 1945. What is the difference between Papua and East Timor?
Some of the recent violence happened near the world's largest gold mine. Freeport-McMoRan, which reported a profit of $562 million last year. Is there a connection with mining and the occupation? Do ordinary people in Papua see benefit of mining?
Two mobile brigades have been killed by West Papuan liberation movement. Also, one security guard for Freeport Gold Mine.
It is part of three things. One is this are used by Indonesian government and military to protect their friends' interests. Twenty five countries invest in Freeport mine.
In the name of Freeport, Indonesian security protect foreign interests. Second the security use military operations to stop the owners of the land and resources to not participate in exploiting of the resources.
Third, it is part of political violence. It is very complicated, but the occupation of Papua is connected with the economy. The effect of the economy is great human rights disaster.
Its impact is on the children. Indonesian children are dead because of wrong policy from Jakarta. Also, children of Papuans are killed for global interests.
There are 84 countries involved in Papua. This should not be seen as just violence between Indonesia and Papuans. [The] international community should be involved in this situation.
Indonesia is trying to use violence in Indonesia between different religious communities as a cover for increased military. In reality, this military is to crush the Papuan independence movement.
The Indonesian military and police are trained and funded by the Australian government, this money comes from tax. I don't think Australians would want their money spent on guns and bullets for the Indonesian military. I hope people in Australia see that West Papuans need help.
Could you talk about the recent Free Papua conference in Vanuatu?
West Papuans met last December in Vanuatu. It was the first ever gathering of West Papuan leaders from all of the separate independence movement factions.
The aim of this historic gathering was to try to unite the struggle and factions inside West Papua and form a united front moving forward
The new Papuan independence movement body is called The United Liberation Movement for West Papua. Representatives came from around the Pacific and from Europe. This was part of setting up a West Papuan embassy for Melanesia.
It was an opportunity to come together, consult an unite. We put out a declaration signed by three key groups. The summit elected five officials of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.
We have lots of civil rights groups supporting that have affiliated to these three groups. We have made sure to include people of all religions, from students, from youth, from women. We also work closely with people working for democracy in Indonesia.
I feel independence for West Papua can help Indonesia win freedom and justice.
[Visit the Republic of West Papua’s new Department of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade office, Level 2, 838 Collins St. Docklands.]
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3) Papuans flee brutal military crackdown

15 January 2015

Hundreds of Papuan tribal people have fled their homes following a brutal military operation in the Papuan highlands. The crackdown is happening close to Grasberg – the world’s biggest copper and gold mine.
On January 7, hundreds of police and soldiers targeted the highland village of Utikini following the killing of two police officers and a security guard from the mine.
Pictures have emerged, probably taken as ‘trophy photos’ by soldiers or police, of Papuan men stripped to their waists with their hands tied behind their backs. Villagers report that 116 Papuans were arrested, including 48 women and 3 children. The police interrogated and tortured many of them. Twelve remain in police custody.
Survival International has received reports that, in a nearby village, Jekson Waker was shot twice in the feet, to ‘keep him still’. The soldiers and police have burned houses and tents belonging to members of the Dani, Amungme, Damal and Moni tribes.
Police allegedly found that many of the villagers had cards supporting Papuan self-determination. Such political expressions can be dangerous in West Papua, where people are jailed for up to 15 years for simply raising the West Papuan flag.
Activists have reported that during a press conference on January 7, an Indonesian Police chief said, “I ordered [them] to burn the civilians’ houses in Utikini village. This was deliberately done to trim the movement. I will annihilate them’.
The presence of so many police and soldiers has spread terror in the region and many have fled their villages and are hiding out in the jungle. Military sweeping operations such as these are commonplace in West Papua, where soldiers and police kill, rape and torture with impunity.
This incident comes just weeks after the fatal shooting of five Papuan teenagers by soldiers and police. Indonesia’s new President condemned the killings and called for a fact-finding team to investigate the deaths. However, many Papuans remain unhappy that it took the President 20 days to make a statement, and have little faith that justice will be done.

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