Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088
Summary of events in West Papua for February 2015
Support for West Papua by civil society groups continues to grow in the pacific region. On the 20 February in Suva, church, civil society groups and individuals marched to mark World Social Justice Day. In Fiji the march was dedicated to the sufferings of the West Papuan people. The president of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma, Reverend Tevita Banivanua said "for too long, we have failed to speak out against Indonesia's brutal oppression of the West Papua people," Mr Banivanua also launched the Fiji Solidarity Movement for West Papua's Freedom petition signing at Sukuna Park after the march. "We are here to speak out in love to our families, our community, our nation about the oppression of our brothers and sisters in West Papua and to call on all Fijians to join us in prayer and in solidarity," he said (Fiji Times online 21/2) The Fiji Rugby Union also posted a photo of four Pacific players holding the flag of West Papua on social media in a show of support for West Papua. Flying Fijians players Akapusi Qera and Jim Nagusa both play for the French provincial team Montpellier, and are seen holding the flag with teammates Naama Leleimalefa and Alex Tulou. Originally from American Samoa, Alex Tulou says the presence of the campaign on social media is what brought the issue to his team's attention (Radio Australia 19/2)
This growing support for West Papua in the region and not only from civil society groups is causing concern in Jakarta. At the end of February the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi visited three Pacific countries, PNG, Solomon Islands, and Fiji, to strengthen relations between Indonesia and the Pacific nations. Antara News reported that in 2013, Indonesia committed to donate US$20 million to the Pacific countries to be used in various fields. "The ministers visit to the Pacific countries is also aimed to gain a better understanding about what they need". Radio Australia reported (27 February) that at a joint Press conference in Port Moresby by the PNG Minister for Foreign Affairs Rimbink Pato and the Indonesian Foreign Minister Mrs Retno Marsudi, journalists were not allowed to ask about the issue of West Papua. However, the PNG Prime Minister says the issue of human rights in West Papua and Papua was raised in talks with Indonesia's foreign minister. He also raised the issue in a speech at the beginning of the month when he told a local PNG leaders summit that the time has come to speak about the oppression of brothers and sisters in West Papua. He also urged the Indonesian government to support the application by the Papuan provinces to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group. He repeated his statement that his views on Papua were to do with human rights and “not sovereignty’’. This follows the announcement by PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato that neither he nor his Indonesian counterpart would talk about those issues at their press conference in Port Moresby. http://www.pngloop.com/2015/03/01/pm-raises-human-rights-indonesians/ After visiting the three Pacific countries, the Indonesian Foreign Minister went to New Zealand to attend the 7th Joint Ministerial Commission in Auckland, on March 2-3, 2015.
Papuans behind bars
Papuans behind bars reported that at the end of January 2015, there were at least 38 political prisoners in Papuan jails. The notable apparent decrease in the number of political prisoners is due to updated information on cases where news is often inaccessible or hard to come by. As timely information is often difficult to obtain, it is at times challenging to confirm if a political prisoner has been released. Additionally, news was also received this month of the release of six political prisoners in the Aimas 1 May case last November, following the end of their 1.5 year prison sentences. While the number of political prisoners recorded this month is comparably lower than those recorded in previous months, reports of mass arrests, ill treatment and torture continue. Full update at http://www.papuansbehindbars.org/?p=3399
Papua Governor Says Freeport Royalties Unfairly Distributed
tabloidjubi.com Feb 12th, 2015 . Jakarta, Jubi / Merdeka.com – Papua Governor Lukas Enembe and four regents visited the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM), Sudirman Said in his office on Friday (02/06/2015) to discus the future of PT Freeport Indonesia and its smelter development plan. During the meeting, Enembe commented about the low royalties received by Papuans from Freeport Indonesia. A total of 80 percent of Freeport royalties are paid to the local government and 20 percent go to the central government. The royalty for Papua is then divided into several regencies and Mimika regency gets only 32 percent. He admitted, the distribution of royalties to several regencies in Papua seems uneven and the people who live around the mine or Mimika are treated unfairly because their portion is equal to those in other areas. Mimika regent, Eltinus Omaleng reported the royalties received by Mimika regency is only Rp 200 billion per year and this number is too small. (*/Tina)
Police Officers Allegedly Back Up the Palm Oil Company and Intimidate Local Residents
tabloidjubi.com Feb 12th, 2015. Jayapura, Jubi – Yerisiam Tribal Chief Simon Petrus Hanebora said he was expecting the attention from Papuan NGOs for investigating and doing advocacy on the palm oil plantation issue at Sima and Wami villages of Yaur Sub-district in Nabire Regency, Papua. “We have tried to terminate the activity of PT. Nabire Baru through an official letter, but the company is still conducting its operation and get support from the Police Mobile Guard officers,” Hanebora said through email to Jubi on Wednesday (11/2/2015). He further said on behalf of Yerisiam Tribe, he has sent letter to the Nabire Legislative Council and local government asking them to follow up their aspiration to shut down the company. However, both parliament and local government have not given their answer until now. “Why do government and law enforcement keep silence about Yerisiam’s trouble? Though an intimidation, human rights violation and genocide towards Yerisiam tribe are on going. If we fought them back, they would accuse us as separatist, rebel and so on. What is truly happening?” said Hanebora. For that reason, he expected both environmental and humanitarian NGOs could take part in the palm oil plantation issue in Nabire, in particular to conduct investigation and advocacy. Meanwhile, as published in surapapua.com, as land tenure right owners whose land used palm oil plantation by PT. Nabire Baru, some Yerisiam tribal residents always been terrorized and threatened by police officers by accusing them involving with the Papua Free Movement (OPM) although it never existed. “So we can make conclusion that those officers only made an argument to justify their acts to arrest and intimidate to customary landowners,” a coalition member of Nabire palm oil company’s victims, Charles Tawaru told suarapapua.com on Tuesday afternoon (3/2/2015). “People protested the company for not being concerned towards their rights, including hire the police officers to intimidate and arrest them. There’s really no OPM headquarter here,” Tawaru said. (Arnold Belau/rom)
Indonesian Police Will Continue to Build Mobile Brigade’s Headquarters in Wamena.
Jayapura, Jubi/Antara – Papua Police Chief Inspector General Yotje Mende confirmed the Indonesian Police will continue to build the Mobile Brigade’s Headquarters in Wamena following the shootings by some armed groups. “Many considerations were taken before deciding to build it at Wamena,” the Chief confirmed during the meeting with some community and religious leaders in Jayapura on Thursday (12/2/2015). He said the armed groups are currently becoming a threat that potentially growing into a serious danger for the future if it was tolerated. Moreover, these groups were often shooting against the security force as well as civilians around this region, such as the groups led by Enden Wanimbo and Puron Wenda. “The headquarters will help the mobile brigade officers to overcome these troubles,” Chief Mende said. He further revealed currently the operational cost covered by State is very high, especially when it should send a troop. But, if there is a headquarters in Wamena it will help accommodating the troop’s delivery as well as reducing the operation cost,” the Chief said as he promised to keep eye on the plan. Further he admitted during their acts, the armed groups were recorded conducting seventy-three shootings that have killed nine police officers, four soldiers and seven civilians. “I ask for your support to avoid any casualties in the future,” said the chief. He promised ensuring his officers to act properly in carrying their duty as law enforcement: they will not only strict but also be humanist. (*/rom) tabloidjubi.com Feb 15th, 2015
Protection for Lawyers and Human Right Defenders Sought in Papua
tabloidjubi.com Feb 18th, 2015 . Sorong, Jubi – Lawyers and human right defenders are particularly exposed to intimidation and physical threats due to their rights advocacy, a legal aid activist said. “Lawyer and Human Right Defender thought it’s very important and critical to immediately establish a network to protect their life and work in the entire Papua regions,” the Executive Director of Research, Assessment and Legal Assistance Development Office (LP3BH), Yan Christian Warinussy on Tuesday (17/2/2015) in Sorong. He was speaking during a focus group discussion on the efforts to develop a protection system for lawyers and human right defenders in Papua in Sorong from 16 to 17 February 2015. The partnership network for Lawyer and Human Right Defender Protection in Papua is located in LP3BH Manokwari Office with four contact persons base in Manokwari, Fakfak, Sorong and Jayapura. “The contact persons are responsible to follow up action plans and strategic plans of the network,” he said. Some lawyers who recently involved in the human rights violation cases and human right defenders from Fakfak, Sorong, Jayapura and Manokwari participated in the FGD. Lawyers and human right defenders in Papua realized the level of threat to their life, their clients and families and as well as there works are consistently increased. Some lawyers in Papua have experienced many physical threats. Lawyer Helene Olga Hamadi has been terrorized by a group of people when she defended her client in the case against the Jayawijaya Police Chief at Wamena District Court in 2013. Meanwhile Lawyer Eliezer Murafer often got the physical pressure and threat while working on the subversion case in Timika and Serui in 2013 to 2014. And the Director of Democratic Alliance for Papua, Lawyer Anum Siregar was attacked by unknown person who also robbed her bag and stabbed her left hand, which cause her to must taking two times of neurosurgery and bone surgery. Meanwhile Lawyer Damus Usmany in Sorong has also got physical assault by a group of unknown people. He also experienced to be excluded in the legal practice by some lawyers who involved in collusion with other law enforcement from the local police, prosecutors and district court. The case to criminalize against the lawyers and their works were often occurred when they were dealing with the cases related to human right violations such as Lawyer Gustav Kawer who took the court experienced in Jayapura in 2014 and Simon Bunudi in Manokwari who got the similar experience in Manokawari in 2010. (Nees Makuba/Rom)
Demiliterization is the essential condition for dialogue in Papua
Statement by the Executive Director of LP3BH. 19 February 2015
If President Joko Widodo wishes to enter into dialogue with all components of the people of the Land of Papua, as he has indicated, there must first be a reduction in the number of military personnel in the region. As a lawyer and defender of human rights in the Land of Papua, I think that this is an essential condition for dialogue to take place. And the place to start this would be in those regions where conflict is still widespread in the Central Highlands and along the border between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea as well as in the regions surrounding the massive Freeport mine in Tembagapura and Timika. This would help to create a peaceful atmosphere and lessen the feelings of terror and anxiety among the Papuan people, so that dialogue could take place in an atmosphere of peace. As the Executive-Director of the Institute of Research, Investigation and Development of Human Rights - LP3BH - and recipient of the John Humphrey Freedom Award in 2006, I urge President Joko Widodo as Supreme Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces to cancel his decision to create more territorial regions [KODAM] in the Land of Papua. All groups of the community in the Land of Papua, including the religious organisations, should press for this. There is no reason for any increase in the number of Kodams which would simply reinforce the impression that the security approach isstill the government's priority in the Land of Papua. I firmly believe that this positive move by President Widodo to enter into dialogue with the Papuan people should be welcomed by all the stake holders, including the TNI [Indonesian Army]
Peace. Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive-Director of the LP3BH -Manokwari (Translated by Carmel Budiardjo)
Another Hearing Postponed in Trial of Four KNPB Members
Jubi reported (19 Feb.) that a hearing in the trial of Four KNPB Members accused of making explosives to sabotage the 2014 Presidential Election was postponed for the second time due to the absence of witnesses. The trial is resume on 25/02/2015. The four members are Ibrahim Marian, Yali Walilo, Joni Marian and Marthen Marian. The Jayawijaya arrested them on 11 July 2014 at Wara Village of Pisugi Sub-district, Jayawijaya Regency accusing for the possession of exploisive materials to mess up the Presidential Election 2014. “The Prosecutor postponed the trial due to problem of presenting the witnesses. The presiding judge will ask the motive of the witnesses’ absence and the prosecutor should be able to prove the letter of summon. There were three or four witnesses have been summoned but they didn’t come to the trial,” Attorney Simon Patirajawane told Jubi at the Wamena District Court on Wednesday (18/2/2015).
KNPB denies 14 of their activists arrested
West Papua National Committee (KNPB) denied the claims of Papua Police that 14 of their activists were arrested in the Port of Nabire for allegedly carrying information about the West Papuan movement (political educational materials). KNPB spokesman Center, bazookas Logo told reporters in a press conference said the Papua Police had misled the public through a media statement that was not true. A spokesperson for the KNPB said only one person was arrested and he was later released.
Opposition to Mobile Brigade Headquarters Grows
tabloidjubi.com Feb 24th, 2015. Jayapura, Jubi – The head of the Papua Legislative Council (DPRP) voiced his objection to plans to build the Police’s Mobile Brigade Headquarters in Wamena, Jayawijaya Regency. DPRP speaker Yunus Wonda said the plan was an attempt by some members of the political elites to pave the way for a Papua Central Highland Province. “This discourse is intended to serve the political elites’ strategy to materialize the Papua Central Highland Province by creating a controversy among the people. We’re more concerned about the public trauma. More security forces on the ground would increasingly traumatize people. We disagree with the Mobile Brigade Headquarters and the province split proposal,” Wonda said on Monday (23/2/2015). He said the province split would only marginalize the indigenous Papuans, furthermore in Wamena. He asked the political elites for not just thinking about themselves, their own group or class, but they must think about the indigenous Papuans. “Because most of them have officiated for two periods and it would be ended soon, these elites started to throw the idea of new province, though people’s need is more important. Please just set up the infrastructures, human resources and another good points,” he said. According to him, the Papua Governor, Papua Legislative Council as well as the Papua People’s Assembly never agreed on the province split proposal. “It is their strategy to bargain a position without thinking about the indigenous Papuans whether they would be able to compete with non-Papuans or not. Moreover there is a moratorium on Civil Servant. If the split was occurred, the civil servants were certainly recruited from outside of Papua. The State has already provided the regencies split. It should be managed first. The extension is not an answer,” he said. He further said the Papua Governor Lukas Enembe also has appointed an attorney to sue the alleged forgery of his signature stating his approval on the extension of Papua Central Highland Province. (Arjuna Pademme/rom)
Opinion pieces/reports/press releases etc.
MIFEE and other top-down developments in Papua will continue under Jokowi administration.
Struggle and survival in West Papua
High tension in Papua and West Papua
Papuan Voices: Everyday stories from West Papua
Book. By-Lines, Balibo, Bali Bombings: Australian Journalists in Indonesia
Book. The Incubus of Intervention
(Conflicting Indonesia Strategies of John F. Kennedy and Allen Dulles)
Amnesty International Report 2014/15
Indonesia country report
Film review: Tanah Mama