Thursday, May 28, 2015

1) Indonesia police arrest dozens at rallies in Papua

2) French journalist jailed in West Papua says he doubts Indonesia will lift reporting ban

3) Threats detected after  Papua shooting


1) Indonesia police arrest dozens at rallies in Papua

Gatherings called to support secessionists' move to join Melanesian Spearhead Group

Police arrest Papuan activists in Jayapura on Thursday morning (Photo courtesy of Oktovianus Pogubau)
  • Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • May 28, 2015
    Police arrested at least 71 members of the pro-independence West Papua National Committee (KNPB) during two peaceful rallies on Thursday in Wamena of Jayawijaya district and Jayapura, the provincial capital of Papua.
“Forty-six activists were arrested in Jayapura. Five of them suffered serious injuries after being hit by police when they were giving speeches at the entrance to the University of Cendrawasih,” Victor Yeimo, chairman of KNPB, told
“One was hit in the head by a rubber bullet,” he added.
In Wamena, 25 activists were arrested as they were about to start their rally, he added.
The rallies were to show support for the application by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
The MSG is an intergovernmental organization comprising the states of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu, as well as the Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front, a political party from New Caledonia
“What happened clearly shows that promises given to us are nothing but empty words,” Yeimo said.
“The president recently released five Papuan political prisoners, but such arrests continue,” he said.
President Joko Widodo granted clemency to several political prisoners on May 9 during a visit to Papua.
Oktovianus Pogubau, who attended Thursday’s rally in Jayapura, said the police moved in almost as soon as the rally started.
“The activists were speaking. Suddenly the police came and started to hit them,” he told
Andreas Harsono, Indonesia researcher for the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said Widodo "has to tell his own police commanders not to criminalize peaceful speeches".
"It sends the wrong message if the police keep on arresting peaceful protesters in Papua," Harsono added.
However, Brigadier-General Andogo Wiradi, deputy for data analysis and strategic information in the Presidential Office, said the arrests were part of an investigation.
“Such arrests by police often happen, not only in Papua, but elsewhere including Jakarta. Some people are arrested at protests. They will be released if no crime has been committed,” he told  
Asked about the alleged heavy-handed approach used by police to make the arrests, he said past acts of violence meant that police had to be careful.
“There have been cases in which some police personnel and soldiers have been shot dead. So the police were very cautious,” Wiradi said.
Poengky Indarti, executive director of the Jakarta-based watchdog Indonesian Human Rights Monitor (Imparsial), said the situation in Papua has become more sensitive since the ULMWP’s application to join MSG.
“Ordinary people support the move. On the other hand, the authorities see as an attempt to make the security situation unstable,” she told


2) French journalist jailed in West Papua says he doubts Indonesia will lift reporting ban

A French journalist who was jailed in West Papua last year for not having the correct entry permit says he doubts Indonesia will follow through with its promise to lift the region's media ban.
Thomas Dandois, along his colleague Valentine Bourrat, was jailed for two-and-a-half months last year while in the province filming a documentary on the Papuan separatist movement.
"I think it will not change dramatically overnight," he told Radio Australia.
"The reports won't please the Indonesian government. There will be things they do not want to hear."
Since Mr Widodo's announcement, a senior Indonesian official said that foreign journalists would still have to apply for permits and would be subjected to screening.
"Is West Papua definitely opened to journalists, will they be able to do their job? We don't know it yet and we must stay extremely careful about it," Mr Dandois said.
Mr Dandois has returned to France but still closely follows events in the resource rich area.
"I have the feeling that if I request a visa, I will not get it," he said.
"That was the first idea that came to my mind when I heard the news. I thought, well, let's see how they will react if I ask for one."
Mr Dandois had already been in prison in Niger before his arrest in Indonesia.
The father of two had vowed "not to go back into a war zone, not to take that risk."
But the possibility of the ban being lifted has made him think again.
"We did not have enough for a full report. But it could be interesting, today ... or a year and a half later, to complete our report by interviewing both parties," he said.
"This would allow us to do a full report, not a biased one against the Indonesian government."

3) Threats detected after  Papua shooting
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Archipelago | Thu, May 28 2015, 10:38 AM -
The police in Papua have yet to identify those responsible for the shooting of a pro-independence leader in Nabire on Tuesday, but they detected a threat on migrants following the incident.
Papua Independence Movement (OPM) leader Leo Yogy was fatally shot in a raid on the resistance group’s hideout.
“Regarding the shooting, we have yet to learn who was behind it. But a threat was detected after Leo Yogy was shot and later died,” Papua Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Patrige Renwarin said in Jayapura on Thursday.
According to police data, Leo was an OPM leader in Paniai. Police raided his hiding place and shot him on April, 30. Leo died after being treated at the Nabire regional hospital.
Tension escalated in Nabire following’s Leo’s death. Two other OPM leaders, Puron Wenda and Enden Wanimbo, voiced opposition to the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the police and threatened all migrants in the province.
Commenting on the threat, Patrige said it was nothing new and that the police were ready to respond to any situation and keep local residents, including migrants, safe.

“Therefore, we are using a persuasive approach with rebels. To help alleviate fear among local residents and migrants, the Mulia Police chief met with residents to create a feeling of security among them,” he said as quoted by (rms)

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