West Papua 2014 Year in Review
Regional support Rally in Port Vila 1 Dec 2014
Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
This report details incidents of human rights abuses and events that occurred in West Papua during 2014. It is by no means exhaustive. In the report AWPA uses the name “West Papua” to refer to the whole of the western half of the Island of New Guinea. However, “West Papua” at this time is divided into two provinces, Papua and West Papua.
Summary of events
There was no improvement in the human rights situation in West Papua in 2014 The West Papuan people continued to suffer human rights violations from the Indonesian security forces throughout the year which ended tragically when the security forces fired into a crowd of approximately 800 peaceful demonstrators in Enarotali in the Panai regency of West Papua on Monday 8th December, killing five (one dying later from their injuries). Up to 20 others were reported injured some critical in hospital.
Photo in. suarapapua.com 8 Dec.14
The climate of fear in Papua inhibits local people from publicly discussing security force abuses. The Witness and Victim Protection Agency can help Enarotali residents who wish to give their account to do so with greater safety. (Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director Human Rights Watch)
We continue to hear from governments that there is an improvement in the situation in West Papua. That Indonesia is now a democracy and human rights abuses are something that occurred in the past. Where is the improvement in West Papua?
Throughout the year there were regular clashes and shooting incidents between the Indonesian security forces and armed gangs and although many of the clashes were with the OPM, some were with armed groups who were not identified. These incidents usually resulted in security sweeps by the military and police resulting in human rights abuses against the civilian population in the areas of operations. Many reports have pointed out the security forces have great difficulty distinguishing between what the term separatists and the general public. It is not uncommon during these operations for houses, food gardens and livestock to be destroyed leaving the local people traumatized and in fear for their lives.
There was also a crackdown by the security forces on the numerous peaceful rallies called by civil society groups in 2014 and in particular on the West Papua National Committee (KNPB). These peaceful rallies were met with an excessive use of force by the security forces with arrests and incidents of police brutality against the demonstrators. In fact, all aspects of society in West Papua including lawyers, human rights defenders, activists, clergy and journalists faced regular intimidation or the threat of arrest.
In its end of year report, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) said that the majority of human rights violations in 2014 were committed by police officers. In a Jakarta Post article (15 Dec.) Kontras deputy coordinator Chrisbiantoro said the police were the dominant actors in violations throughout the year, particularly in cases related to natural resources, or in conflict zones like Papua. “Police did many repressive acts on people and they always supported businessmen and state authorities instead of ordinary people,” Chrisbiantoro told a press conference on Sunday. Kontras revealed there were 67 cases of violations that occurred in Papua in 2014, a large number of which were perpetrated by police officers. “We found out as many as 27 cases [in Papua] were involving police members,” Chrisbiantoro said, adding that other perpetrators were military, civilian, or from unidentified groups.
Election of Joko Widodo as President
There was some hope that the election of Joko Widodo as President (or Jokiwi) as he is popularly know) would bring an easing of tension in West Papua. However, there is concern with a number of appointments in his cabinet. Ryamizard Ryacudu appointment as Defense Minister is of concern to West Papuans. The new Minister for Defense Ryamizard Ryacudu was Army chief of staff between 2002 and 2005 and chief of the Army’s strategic command (Kostrad) between 2000 and 2002. He was involved in operations against the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Free Papuan Movement (OPM). He has held a hardline view on what are termed separatists in Indonesian. When Chief Theys Eluay (chairperson of the Papuan Presidium Council) was killed by Kopassus soldiers on 10 November 2001, shortly after attending an event at the Kopassus base near Jayapura, General Ryamizard Ryacudu who was chief of staff at the time is quoted as saying, 'I don't know, people say they did wrong, they broke the law. What law? Okay, we are a state based on the rule of law, so they have been punished. But for me, they are heroes because the person they killed was a rebel leader.
The Minister for Home Affairs Tjahjo Kumolo said that Papua would be a priority for the government and could be divided into one or two provinces. Tjahjo said the reason for choosing Papua as a priority was because of the need for a good control of the region. Moreover, the reach of the people to the government is getting closer to be able to ensure better service. "I think this region is essential for equitable development. I will try to consult with all parties. Adding at least one or two provinces in Papua," he said. (A case of divide and rule). However, the Jakarta Post (29 Dec.) reported that the government announced that it would halt the establishment of new administrative regions in Papua as the current ones had yet to improve people’s welfare. The Minister for Home Affairs said, “The establishment of new [administrative] regions will be postponed to avoid a greater burden on the state budget.”
It was also reported that the Minister of Rural Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration, Marwan Jafar is considering encouraging more migration to West Papua. Marwan believes that people are not interested in going to West Papua because of tribal conflict but with the help of the security forces a stable atmosphere could be created. "
Jakarta Globe 10 Nov. JG Graphics/Modina Rimolfa)
It is not only activists in West Papua that reject such a policy but also the Governor of Papua Province, Luke Enembe, also rejected the proposed transmigration program plan (Jubi 2 Nov.). Jubi also reported (2 Nov.) that the Governor of Papua Province, Luke Enembe also rejected the proposed transmigration program plan. The Governor believes a transmigration program from outside Papua would have a big impact on communities, especially indigenous Papuans. They would be marginalized and become a minority in their own land and could also as a result, there lead to conflict between indigenous Papuans and non-Papuans.
West Papua Leaders ‘Summit on Reconciliation and Unification in Vanuatu
At a historic meeting of West Papuan leaders in Port Vila, a new organisation called the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) was formed. The new organization will re-submit a fresh application for membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). The groups who have united include the Federal Republic of West Papua (NRFPB), National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) and the National Parliament of West Papua (NPWP). An external secretariat consisting of five elected members from the various groups will co-ordinate the ULMWP activities. Octovianus Mote has been elected as General Secretary, while Benny Wenda is the spokesperson and three other elected members are Jacob Rumbiak, Leone Tangahma and Rex Rumakiek. The meeting was moderated by the Pacific Council of Churches. The “West Papua Leaders ‘Summit on Reconciliation and Unification” was in response to the MSG leaders inviting all West Papua groups to form an inclusive and united umbrella group to work on submitting a fresh application for membership after their (MSG) special summit in Port Moresby in June 2014.
Crackdown on peaceful rallies
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. (Article 19)
Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
Article 20 (1) The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Throughout the year peaceful rallies organized by civil society organisations were targeted by the security forces. The KNPB in particular has been targeted because of its ability to orgainse large rallies bringing international attention to the situation in West Papua. This is the last thing the Indonesian Government and the security forces want, international attention on the abuses in West Papua. For the same reason human rights defenders and journalists have also been intimidated. There is some concern in Jakarta that they could lose West Papua.
MSG visit to West Papua
On the 13 January a demonstration was held before the West Papua Provincial Legislative Council (DPRP) in Jayapura during a visit by a delegation of Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) leaders. A large number of demonstrators were arrested by the police who 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 (Note. The WPNCL had applied to the MSG for full membership at its June summit and the visit by the MSG was partly to assess the application by WPNCL to become a member. 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).
Protest concerning the drafting of the Special Automy Plus bill
On the 11 March approximately 350 police were deployed to maintain security during a rally called by the Movement of Youths, Students and People (Gempar). Personnel from the Jayapura city police, Papua Police and the Mobile Brigade Unit stood guard in locations in Jayapura. The demonstrators were protesting the drafting of the Special Automy Plus (Otsus Plus) bill Jayapura police chief Alfred Papare told reporters after the demonstration that the large police presence was intended to maintain stability. “We wanted to avoid clashes and conflicts between students and security forces,”
As many as three 350 personnel of Jayapura city police, Papua Police and Mobile Brigade were deployed to secure the demonstration (Jubi)
International day of action to free West Papuan political prisoners
The 2nd April was an International day of action to free West Papuan political prisoners. Rallies were held in cities around the world organized calling for the immediate release of the 76 political prisoners in West Papua. In West Papua the security forces crackdown on a peaceful rally called by students from various colleges in Jayapura. The students were also calling for the release of the 76 Papuan Prisoners in a prison. The police forcibly dispersed the students firing a number of shots and arresting two. In a report in Jubi the students said they were beaten before they were released. “We were beaten like animals. Our bodies were covered with blood. Another rally held in Timika passed peacefully,
Rally commemorating the annexation of West Papua
On the 1 May the West Papua National Committee (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 Abepura, police confiscated banners and intimidated students.
KNPB members intimidated
On the 18 June the military and police intimidated members of the KNPB Secretariat Building and the PRD Regional Office in Merauke, People arriving at the building were checked and sent home Election Papua
KNPB Secretariat in Digoel was raided by the police on the 28 June. At the time KNPB members were holding a regular meeting in order to address the emerging political situation in the country and abroad and talk about self-determination. Twenty people were detained and police destroyed articles related to the self-determination struggle. The 20 activists were released.
Security forces intimidate West Papuans leading up to the 1 July.
The 1st July is a very important day in the West Papuan struggle for self-determination and independence. On 1st of July in 1971, West Papuan leaders Brig. Gen. Seth Rumkorem and Jacob Prai (exiled in Sweden) made a proclamation of independence. However, leading up to the 1st July, the military made statements threatening and intimidating the local people not to take part in any rallies to celebrate this special day in their history. Local media also reported that three members of the KNPB were arrested and the Morning Star flag which had been painted on Kelly Kwalik’s memorial had been painted over. Members of the security forces are believed to be responsible.
Leading up to the election the KNPB was targeted because of its call to boycott the election. Six of its activists were arrested, beaten and taken to the Jayapura Police Station on the 3 July. They were arrested simply because they were distributing leaflets calling on the West Papuan people to boycott the presidential election on the 9th July. In Timika on the 4 July seven KNPB activists were arrested and beaten for handing out leaflets calling for a boycott. The TNI caught the activists and handed them over to the police. In Kaimana a woman was also arrested for distributing leaflets calling for a boycott.
From a KNPB posting
More KNPB arrests
In Manokwari two members of KNPB, Robert Helemaken and Oni Weya were arrested and beaten on the 8 August. The incident occurred after a number of KNPB members were painting on walls calling for a boycott of Indonesian Independence Day celebrations’ (17 August) in the city of Manokwari.
Rally to denounce the New York Agreement
On the 15 August members of the Student Movement, Youth and People of Papua (Gempar) or Uproar held a peaceful rally at Cenderawasih University Campus (Uncen), Jayapura in order to denounce the New York Agreement. A number of activists were arrested. The Jayapura police chief, Superintendent Alfred Papare said the arrests were made because Uproar is an illegal organisation and they did not have a permit to hold the rally. A spokesperson for Uproar said that permission to hold the rally was presented to the Papua Police at the beginning of August.
Journalists covering the rally on the 15th were also intimidated by the police. One reporter from Jubi, was grabbed by the police while taking photographs of the rally. Reporters from other media including Suara Papua, Majalah Selangkah and Metro Online were also intimidated. The police tried to stop photos being taking, asking that images be deleted. The Chairman of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Jayapura City, Victor Mambor criticized the police action to intimidate journalists while covering demonstrations, noting that police should be able to distinguish between journalists and protesters. Peaceful rallies to protest the New York Agreement were also held in Yogyakarta, Solo and Semarang although heavily monitored by the security forces.
Intimidation of journalists. Local and international
The media (including alternative media information) is an important part of democracy and threats against the media should always be of concern. In West Papua the local media are on the ground and can be first with reports of violence and intimidation of civil society, of military attacks and with reports of the crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.
Two French Journalists, Valentine Bourrat and Thomas Dandois who were arrested on the 6th of August in Wamena were sentenced to two and half months in prison. However, they were released at the end of October as they had already served that time in custody. Numerous rallies were held by solidarity groups around the world calling for their release during their time in detention. In West Papua, rallies called by civil society organisations to demand their release were banned by the security forces. The rallies went ahead on the 13 October and 29 West Papua National Committee (KNPB) members were arrested in Merauke and 17 in Jayapura. They demonstrators were eventually released.
29 (KNPB) members were arrested in Merauke (Photo: Ilustrais), suarapap.com
A lot of media attention was focused on their case during their time in detention and it is hoped that the media will continue to focus on the issue of West Papua. The Indonesian President, Jokowi who visited West Papua twice in the lead up to the election promised to open West Papua to foreign journalists and non-government organisations if he won the election. "Why not? It's safe here in Papua," he was quoted as saying. "There's nothing to hide." Hopefully he will keep his promise.
One of journalists sources, Areki Wanimbo who was with the journalists when they were arrested is still in prison. He has been charged under under Articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code. These articles are regularly used to imprison individuals in West Papua for their peaceful political activism.
A report in Jubi said that The Indonesian government had issued permits for 39 foreign journalists to undertake activities in Papua and West Papua since last year and only nine foreign journalists were refused permission to cover Papua since 2013. Victor Mambor, Chairman of AJI Kota Jayapura said detail clarification is needed. “Is it true 39 foreign journalists were allowed cover the issues in Papua? It is true that some of them got permission to cover political issues, such as Mark Davis. But I have to say he was strictly watched while doing his reporting,” said Mambor. Additionally, he said most foreign journalists who came to Papua only got permission to report on tourism issues such as events in Raja Ampat Island, or Lembah Baliem Festival or about the handover of Japanese soldiers’ skeleton. “But, it’s not only about getting permits or not, but the process is too long and complicated. It may be called clearinghouse. The government must be aware, if the permit takes too long, they will lose their momentum,” said Mambor.
RI Asked to Open Press Access to Papua
A Tempo article (5 Dec.) reported that the International Partnership Mission to Indonesia, an international and regional organization working in the freedom of expression, urged the government of Indonesia to open more access for foreign journalists to cover news in Papua. In a meeting organized by the Independent Journalist Alliance (AJI) and Tifa Foundation, several organizations signed the statement, namely: Article 19, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Freedom House, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), International Media Support, Open Society Foundations Programme on Independent Journalism, and Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA).
Jane Worthington from IFJ Asia-Pasific said there had not been official policy that banned foreign journalists from entering Papua. "However, the government tends to complicate foreign journalists with visa and other requirements," said Jane. Michael Karanicolas from Canada-based Center for Law and Democracy (CLD) confirmed that such policy would end up disadvantaging Indonesia.
KNPB- 6th anniversary
The 19 November was the 6th anniversary of the KNPB) which was formed on the 19 November in 2008. Rallies were held in a number of areas in West Papua to celebrate the anniversary and in support of the International Lawyers for West Papua (ILWP) meeting in the Netherlands. In Moenamani, the capital of Dogiyai sub-district in the Papuan central highlands, one demonstrator was shot in the leg after security forces broke up a KNPB demonstration and 11 KNPB members were arrested. In addition to the arrests, police also seized KNPB flags and other material evidence. In Nanire 13 activists were arrested.
A brief chronology of shooting incidents and other events in West Papua
There were a large number of shooting incidents (particularly in the Puncak Jaya region) at the beginning of the year. The security forces responded to many of the incidents with security sweeps
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. “ 19 year old Yemiter Murib was arrested in connection with the attack on the 19 January and a 16-years old boy, Wekiles Kogoya was arrested on the 15 February on suspicions he took part in the attack.
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.
Five sentenced over flag raising (11 Feb)
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.
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. 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 ”.
The security forces also conducted a search of Dondobaga church in Kulirik looking for OPM members. A Puncak Jaya resident told Jubi that some people who were worshiping in the Dondoboga church were abused by the Indonesian Security Forces. “Some officers of the 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 Chief of Puncak Jaya Police admitted that they had arrested two people suspected of being members of the TPN / OPM. “ The Jakarta Globe (27 Jan) also reported on the ongoing fighting in the area. “Local residents in the Mulia subdistrict of Puncak Jaya, Papua, have yet to resume their normal activities due to an ongoing firefight in the area between forces from the Indonesian Military, or TNI, and members of the separatist Free Papua Organization, known as the OPM”.
“The situation in Puncak Jaya is uncertain; the people are in a state of panic because of a shooting in Kota Mulia,” a resident of Mulia, said in a text message to the Jakarta Globe. 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”.
Another church incident occurred on the 8 February, when 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.
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.
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 in the woods. Many children had also dropped out of school. (Jubi, 28 Feb
A joint police and military patrol killed a suspected separatist and arrested four others on the 15 March in Puncak Jaya. The military and police were on a joint patrol heading to Kota Mulia when the officers encountered a group of armed men who started shooting at the patrol. One of the men was wounded in the encounter and died en route to a local hospital Two of four arrested had also been injured but had received treatment at hospital. The Papuan Governor Lukas Enembe said the attack on the security patrol was purely criminal. “They are not fighting for independence. This group’s action is purely criminal,” In a report in Jubi the governor said that The Yambi group has always engaged in extortion and all that stuf
An army soldier and a police officer were injured in a clash with an armed group on the PNG border on the 5 April in the Skouw-Wutung area. Approximately 40 people were involved in the incident at the border post. The group blocked the road and lowered the Indonesian flag and raised the West Papuan and UN flags. They also lighted a fire. The firefight continued for sometime and according to a local resident it was Mathias Wenda’s group involved in the incident. The group eventually fled across the border into PNG. Cendrawasih District Military Command (Kodam) chief Maj. Gen. Christian Zebua said during a visit to Skouw-Wutung on Sunday that the border crossing has been temporarily closed. Aside from maintaining security ahead of the legislative election and on Election Day itself, the closure is also aimed at securing the area after a shoot-out between security officers and armed civilians,”
West Papuan-PNG border incident
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 involves other government departments. He says PNG officials will work closely with Jakarta to try and resolve the issues. In a RNZI report 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 Namah.
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.
The PNG department of foreign affairs sent a protest note to Indonesia concerning an incident along the Wutung border in West Sepik. According to a report in the National (16 May), four PNG soldiers were ambushed by an Indonesian military patrol while they were conducting a clearance patrol along the PNG side of the border. The PNGDF Commander said the TNI mistakenly fired shots at the officers thinking they were OPM militants.
An ANTARA news report (12 May) the cross-border trade from PNG with Indonesia includes food, beverages, clothes, construction components and electronics, with total transactions worth U.S. 13 million dollar per year. Antara also reported that the Papua Police Department suspect that cannabis was traded for weapons in the border areas between PNG and West Papua. Narcotics and Drugs Director Senior Commissioner Tornagogo Sihombing said in Jayapura, Papua, on Monday, the police forces presumption was due to the investigations of three suspects believed to be members of a narcotics and drugs networking syndicate, who were arrested on May 2, 2014. "We presume that the cannabis from PNG was sold recently through barter with weapons or other goods, according to the deal," Sihombing said (Antara 12 May).
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.
A police officer was shot dead on the 30 May in Tiom, the capital of the district of Lanny Jaya. The spokesman of the Papua Regional Police Command, Senior Commissioner Pudjo, confirmed the incident to ANTARA, saying that Second Brigadier Irvan was shot by armed civilians while passing a fuel oil retail shop on his motorbike.
An Indonesian military officer was shot in the border area between Skouw and Wutung, on Tuesday 3 June. Mathias Wenda said it was his group that was responsible for the shooting.
Shooting incident in Jayapura
A shooting incident occurred in Jayapura, on Saturday 14 June. The shooting occurred as T. Sinaga and his family was travelling from Abepura, Jayapura, to their home in Arso, a district in Keerom regency which is around 40 kilometers from Abepura. Together with his wife and their child, Sinaga who is a teacher in Arso Swakarsa was on his way home when their vehicle was shot at in a location around 17 kilometers from Abepura. A bullet hit the right-hand side of the rear of his car.
On the 16 July an armed group of about ten people were involved in an attack on a convoy of vehicles at Dagobak Village in the Kalome Sub-district of Puncak Jaya Regency. Two people were killed and one injured. The three men were drivers of lajuran, which is a delivery company that transports staple food from Wamena to Mulia, the capital of Puncak Jaya regency. The armed group also set four cars on fire. The Military District Commander, Lieutenant Infantry Luqman Arief confirmed the incident to JUBI, “It is believed that they were attacked by the armed group who usually operated in Puncak Jaya and surrounding areas.
West Papuan political prisoners released
Five West Papuan political prisoners were released on 21 July after serving three-year sentences in a Jayapura prison. The activists were arrested in October 2011 for reading out a “declaration of independence” from Indonesia. Those released included prominent tribal leader Forkorus Yaboisembut, who was declared “president of the Federal Republic of West Papua” during the 2011 declaration of independence event; Edison Waromi, who was declared prime minister; as well as Agustinus Sanany Kraar, Selpius Bobii and Dominikus Sorbet. Forkorus Yaboisembut, now age 59, told local media that the group had only been released because they had served their full jail terms
Victor Yeimo, Chairman of the West Papua National Committee was also released (5 August) after serving more than a year in jail. Victor gave a press conference outside Abepura prison saying that he was arrested and jailed simply because he lead a peaceful demonstration. He confirmed that during the process of his arrest, he was terrorised and terribly beaten by the Indonesian security forces.
On the 28 July a group of armed men, alleged to be OPM, shot at eight police officers in a village in Lanny Jaya, resulting in two officers been killed and six injured. Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Pudjo Sulistyo said the officers were involved in a community-counseling program at Indawa village when the armed group attacked them. The village of Indawa is around 10 kilometers from Pirime and 45 km from Tiom, the municipal town of the regency of Lanny Jaya. Also on the 28th, three soldiers suffered gunshot wounds following an attack on a military outpost in the Tingginambut area of Papua’s Puncak Jaya district. The men were reportedly patrolling near the post when a group of armed men attacked the post, leading to an exchange of fire that eventually forced the attackers back into a nearby forest.
On the 1 August five OPM members were killed and two Indonesian soldiers injured in a firefight in Pirime in the Lanny Jaya district. The clash occurred as the troops were on the way to a military post. The five OPM members were believed to be involved in the ambush of the eight Indonesian police earlier in the week. The National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) has called for full investigation and prevention of more violence in Lanny Jaya District of Papua and use of excessive security approach. "Komnas Perempuan regrets the recurrence of armed violence between armed civilian groups and security personnel, which has caused casualties, wounded and displaced persons in Lanny Jaya district," the National Commission said in a press statement. Tempo also reported that the Free Papua Organization (OPM) ambushed a convoy of Police Mobile Brigade on the 4 August, injuring one police member. "We opened fire. I request the government to pull back the troops from Papua. Papua wants freedom," said Purom Okiman Wenda, OPM Commander of Lanny Jaya.
On the 26 August the body of political activist Martinus Yohame was found dead in a sack, floating near the Sorong in West Papua. Martinus was the leader of the Sorong branch of the KNPB and had gone missing on 20 August. He had spoken out about the visit to the area by the outgoing Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. He had held a press conference opposing the visit and raising the issue of illegal logging.
A member of the OPM was killed and several were wounded in a firefight with security officers at an airfield in Lanny Jaya district on the 17 September. The shootout is believed to have involved about 30 OPM fighters from a group led by Puron Wenda.
Statements on Papua Delivered before Human Rights Council
The International coalition for Papua (ICP) consisting of over 18 international and national organisations raised concerns about the situation of human rights defenders and freedom of expression in Papua on the 15 and 16 September during the 27th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The coalition pointed out that Papuan human rights defenders are often confronted by intimidation from Indonesian authorities and brought the Council's attention to the case of intimidation of Papuan human rights lawyer, Mr Gustaf Kawer. Mr Kawer is an independent lawyer from Papua who has been involved in numerous human rights litigations. In its statement the coalition recommended that the Government of pointed out Indonesia should immediately:
1. End the legal intimidation against human rights lawyer Mr Gustaf Kawer.
2. End the criminalization of human rights lawyers and human rights defenders.
3. Ensure the safety of Papuan human rights lawyers and defenders in doing their work in accordance with the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
A soldier was killed in an armed attack in Puncak Jaya Regency in Papua on Sept. 25. A spokesman for the Papua military command Lt. Col. Rikas Hidayatullah told the Jakarta Globe that four members of the Indonesian Military (TNI) were ambushed at a traditional market in Ilaga on Sept. 25. The soldiers, who were picking up supplies for the inauguration of Ilaga district’s new chief, were fired at by a group of 10 men, he said. A soldier identified as Second Private Abraham was reportedly shot in the head. The attackers then snatched Abraham’s weapon before fleeing into the jungle. No other soldiers were injured.
Papua Police Raid Separatist Group’s Headquarters
On the 11 October the security forces attacked the headquarters of the OPM in Papua’s Pantura Yapen district. Papua ‘s Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Sulistyo Pudjo Hartono said “A special team from the Yapen Islands district police, lead by the local police chief and assisted by a team from the military, launched a raid at the Free Papua Movement’s headquarter.” Members of the movement, however, managed to escape the raid and reportedly fled into the forest. The police found some 20 rounds of ammunition, five firearms, a Vixon motorbike and a camouflage uniform on the premises.
Clash between military and police
A clash occurred between members of the military and Brimob on Monday the 13 October in Pirime, Lanny Jaya regency. The Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Yotje Mende deployed a team of investigators to investigate the incident in which a soldier was injured. The incident occurred when Brimob personnel conducted routine road checks for illegal arms in Pirime and stopped a truck carrying passengers. During the check, a uniformed soldier refused to be examined. He instead went to a nearby military post. “All of the sudden, the sound of gunfire came from the direction of the post. Brimob personnel then became involved in an exchange of fire with the soldiers, during which Lt. Ali was injured. For that, I sincerely apology to Lt. Ali,” Yotje said on Tuesday. A different statement was issued separately by Cendrawasih Military Commander Maj. Gen. Fransen G Siahaan, who said it was the Brimob personnel who fired first. Commenting on this, Yotje said that he did not want speculate and had therefore formed the team to find out what had really caused the incident. The National Police withdrew 60 Brimob members from Pirime and moved them to Jayapura following the clash. The Brimob personnel were replaced with colleagues from another Papua Police Brimob division.
Two Indonesian soldiers interrogated over sale of ammunition
ANTARA News reported (30 October) that investigators from the Army Military Police questioned two personnel from the Indonesian Military for their alleged involvement in selling ammunition to armed civilian group. The two soldiers from the Cenderawasih Military Command are to be dismissed for having sold the ammunition.
Two Brimob personnel killed
Two Brimob personnel were killed on the 3rd December by an armed civilian group in Ilaga, the capital of Puncak regency. The attackers removed the rifles that the Brimob members were carrying.
The security forces fired into a crowd of approximately 800 peaceful demonstrators in Enarotali in the Paniai regency of West Papua on Monday 8th December, killing 5 (1 dying later from their injuries). Up to 20 others were reported injured some critical in hospital. The incident began the previous evening over an altercation between children and security members in a security car. A number of young children were looking after a Christmas cottage that had made when the car (without lights) approached the children who asked them to turn their lights on. They refused and returned to their headquarters in the Madi. They returned with another truck filled with Indonesian soldiers to chase the children and beat them. The security members were from a Special Team 753, a unit attached to the Nabire-based Army Battalion 753. The next morning, residents gathered in Paniai, to go to district police office in Madi to ask officials to account for the attack on the children. Before the security forces fired at the crowd the protesters are reported to have destroyed a military vehicle. There were calls from human rights organisations for the authorities to investigate the incident. A team from the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) is to conduct an investigation.
Protest at Jokowi’s visit to West Papua
Dozens of protestors were arrested in Sentani on the 27 December and taken to the Jayapura police station. They were calling on Jokowi not to visit Papua in response to the killing of civilians Paniai.
On the 31 December A police officer was shot by unidentified persons in Dagokebo village, West Tigi district, Deiyai regency as he was on his way from Paniai to Dogiai. The victim was shot as he was passing through Dagokebo village on a motorcycle wearing plain clothes. The victim received treated at Enarotali Hospital.
Beginning of 2015 more shooting incidents and arrests
Two policemen and a security officer killed
Two policemen and a security officer at Freeport-McMoRan were killed on the 1st Jan 2015. According to security sources, the three victims were shot dead and tortured by their attackers. Their whereabouts were known after a group of policemen conducting a routine patrol found their car near the bridge of Utikini Village or Mile-68 of Tembagapura area. The attackers also removed rifles and ammunition from the victims. A platoon of mobile brigade officers from the Timika detachment has been deployed to find an armed group led by Ayub Waker who they believed to be responsible for the fatal shootings. In all 13 people of the armed group were arrested. 11 on the 7 January and two in the previous days. It was reported that security forces deployment in response to the killings had arrested up to 116 people living in the region. They were taken by bus from Mile 32 Tembagapura to the Timika Police. On 7 January 7 after a day at the police 49 women and children were freed by police while 77 men were detained.
Death of a freedom fighter
John Ondawame who died in Port Vila on the 4 September from a heat attack was one of the founding members of the Australia West Papua Association in Sydney. John had dedicated his life to the liberation of West Papua. He will be sorely missed. John was from the Amungme tribe in Mimika regency in the territory of West Papua.
John was from the Amungme tribe in Mimika regency in the territory of West Papua. He was the vice-chairman of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL). After Indonesia's take over of the former Dutch colony of Netherlands New Guinea and seeing first hand Indonesia's brutal occupation, John eventually took to the bush and became a member of the OPM, the Free Papua Movement. After crossing the border into PNG to discuss an incident of hostage taking (by the OPM) with the PNG Government, he was arrested and eventually accepted by Sweden as a refugee, gaining Swedish nationality.
During his time in Australia he made many friends while campaigning to raise awareness about West Papua. He was with his first wife Dolly Zonggonau while studying here. He obtained his PHD degree in political science from the ANU in Canberra in 2000, MSc degree from the University of Western Sydney in 1995, Graduate Diploma from the University of Sydney in 1994. He was one of the founding coordinators of the West Papua Project at the University of Sydney's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies and also one of the founding members (with Rex Rumakiek) of the Australia West Papua Association in Sydney. His PhD resulted in his book, "One People One Soul" West Papuan Nationalism and the Organisasi Papua Meredka (2010)
In 2003 he gained residence in Vanuatu, one of the few countries supporting West Papua in international fora. He died on the 4th of September 2014 in Port Vila, Vanuatu from a massive heart attack. He leaves behind his second wife Leisani from FIJI and his young son Jacob. It says something of John’s stature that at his burial in Vila the Prime Minister of Vanuatu Joe Natuman, with other politicians attended the ceremony. The Prime Minister of Vanuatu also mentioned John in his statement delivered at the 691h Session of the United Nations General Assembly 29th September 2014, UN Headquarters, New York
“I cannot close this section of my speech without paying tribute to late Dr. John Ondowame, a Freedom fighter from West Papua who passed away last month while in exile in my country. He was laid to rest in my country as a hero who had fought for the rights to self-determination for the people of West Papua. He and other martyrs had a dream that one day the United Nations and all nations advocating and promoting the democratic principles will, hear their cries and deliver the promise of a self-determined future. At his funeral service, I stated that his struggle for freedom and justice will continue to be our struggle until colonialism is eradicated”.
Memorial services were held in West Papua and the region in his memory.
The West Papuan people will eventually achieve their own self-determination. There are many ways forward and the West Papuan people are using all avenues to achieve their freedom. Various West Papuan organisation are lobbying the UN and regional
organisations such as the MSG. The Government and people of Vanuatu in particular are supportive of the West Papuan struggle for self-determination. The former Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Moana Carcasses Kalosil raised the Human Rights situation in West Papua at the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on the 4 March. Vanuatu was also very supportive of the West Papuan leaders summit in Port Vila where a new organisation called the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) was formed. Events in Vanuatu began on the 30 November with a welcome ceremony and ended on the 5 December. There was excellent local media coverage on the week’s events in Vila which shows the support the Vanuatu people and all political parties in Vanuatu have for West Papua. On the 1st December an inspiring march to celebrate West Papuan National Flag Day took place along the main Street of Port Vila.
March in Port Vila 1 Dec 2014
Civil society organisations in the Pacific have committed to enthusiastically take up the fight for the people of West Papua The issue is also being raised around the world by solidarity groups and individuals, too numerous to mention. There are many West Papuan lists, web and facebook pages where one can receive updates and respond to urgent actions.
Sources. The information in the report is based on the many urgent actions and reports released by civil society organisations and human rights defenders in West Papua and from reports from international NGO’s and information received. AWPA also monitors the Indonesian and the local media in West Papua.
The report did not touch on the environment, the exploitation of the natural resources of West Papua by international companies and health and education. However, regular postings covering these issues can be seen on daily postings on the reg.westpapua - lists - Riseup.net and http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au A West Papua Media web page for updates at http://westpapuamedia.info
For further information contact, Joe Collins. AWPA (Sydney) email: firstname.lastname@example.org