Saturday, December 12, 2015

1) Indonesia: Meet Paul: Restoring the human rights of indigenous Papuans amid on-going conflict



1) Indonesia: Meet Paul: Restoring the human rights of indigenous Papuans amid on-going conflict
10 December 2015, Manokwari, West Papua (Indonesia) — Even in West Papua, the easternmost and least populous province of Indonesia, is torture used to crush and silence. Even there people like Paul Mambrasar have dedicated their lives to fighting it.
 Home to the world's largest gold and third-largest copper mines, West Papua has abundant natural resources including timber and palm oil that make it a coveted region. This has generated continuing conflict and made it one of Asia’s sorest spots in terms of human rights violations. From the 1960s on, Indonesia has maintained heavy military presence, resorting to extrajudicial killings, torture and abuse to crack down on activists in an attempt to crush the Papuan independence movement, whether peaceful or violent, leaving locals deeply resentful and suspicious of the national Government.
 Indigenous Papuans marginalized in their homeland, suffer state violence and stigma, while their natural resources are exploited by others and compromise their ancestral way of living. The on-going conflict with separatists merely exacerbates discrimination against Papuans, who have been repressed by decades of institutional racism and Indonesian occupation. This is the vicious cycle of violence that Paul has to deal with in his daily fight for the respect of the human rights.
 “Torture worsens the distrust West Papuans have in the State which, by failing to uphold the rule of law, merely fuels more separatist sentiments,” sums up Paul, Secretary of the Institute of Human Rights Studies and Advocacy (Elsham), a non-governmental organization defending human rights in Wet Papua.
Decades of abuses, layers of grievances
Paul’s challenging working environment is the result of decades of quasi-institutionalized abuses resulting in many layers of deep-felt and pervasive grievances of West Papuans against the Indonesian Government. He is, however, gradually managing to build networks in his country, also thanks to support from organizations such as OMCT, and gradually drawing attention to the regular violations committed.
When the Dutch Government granted independence to Indonesia in 1949, Papua was not part of it. At the end of the Dutch colonial rule, Papua was first administered, and then absorbed, by Indonesia in 1969, following a sham “referendum” requested by the United Nations
This so‑called “Act of Free Choice” was in fact a vote by just over a thousand selected Papuans (out of a population of 800,000 at the time) who had been pressured to agree to integration within Indonesia.  
This vote has been the bone of contention between Papuans and the Republic of Indonesian. Papuans have ever since agitated for independence, and have been conducting a still ongoing, low-level guerrilla warfare against Indonesian forces, in turn engaged in bloody repression and unpunished human rights violations. 
 Papuans – who are Melanesian and whose ancestors arrived in the New Guinea region tens of thousands of years ago – do not identify culturally with the Asians. They see their Papuan identity and indigenous culture based on customary subsistence-based agriculture threatened by the arrival of migrants who, in turn, see the traditional Papuan way of life as backward.
Discrimination and marginalization of Papuan have therefore worsened the situation. According to the West Papua 2000 census, its population consisted of twice as many indigenous Papuans as non-indigenous migrants from other parts of the archipelago, but economic injustice and disadvantage limit the indigenous population’s access to wealth. Poverty rates in West Papua are twice the national average, and between 2002 and 2013, income inequality increased by 24 per cent, according to UNDP.
Government policies have also contributed to the problem. The arrival of migrants, fostered by transmigration programmes, has upset the demographics and social and cultural heritage of the people of West Papua and exacerbated competition over land and resources. Compounded with the socially and environmentally destructive development projects pushed in the region by Indonesia, this has caused widespread social disruption and environmental damage, forcing Papuan tribal groups to relocate, according to researchers from Yale Law School cited by Elsham in a 2003 Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights session.
Persevering to fight silence and impunity 
Unreported exactions keep occurring as foreign eyes and independent international observers are barred from West Papua. It is therefore only thanks to the work of local organizations and human rights defenders such as Paul, who runs Elsham’s office in West Papua and attends international advocacy meetings at the Human Rights Council in Geneva communicating regularly with donors, that the world can know what is happening there. 
“Impunity has allowed the security force, the police and the army, free access to inflict fear and terror through torture and other physical abuses,” Paul explains his motivation. “In order for torture to end the Indonesia State must take a strong action to punish those involved in its practice.” 
 Despite these odds and the many challenges of his job including being under Indonesian intelligence surveillance being as an “independence sympathizer”, Paul, 51, trusts that the human rights conditions in West Papua will improve.
 “It will come although things will change one at a time,” he says. “Perseverance with good strategies in work will yield results.” 
-- by Lori Brumat in Geneva
To know more about the "10 December, 10 Defenders" campaign, click here. 



Jakarta, Jubi – Reinforcements have been sent to 10 areas to secure simultanous elections, which were held on Wednesday (9/12/2015).
“Based on our mapping, reinforced regional police are located in areas prone to electoral conflicts,” said Eddy in Jakarta on Tuesday (08/12/2015).
The ten of the Police Headquarters were Gorontalo, North Sulawesi, East Java, North Sumatra, Jambi, Central Sulawesi, North Maluku, Papua, West Papua, and West Nusa Tenggara.
According to him, about 100 to 900 personnel Brigade (Brimob) have been deployed to secure in each region.
Eddy explained that the ten areas are in the vulnerable category based on the history of the conflict, the existence of multiple political party officials, and potential conflicts of the candidate.
“In addition, border disputes, community characteristics, and the level of vulnerability to security and public order disturbances also into consideration the police to tighten oversight,” he said. (*/Tina)


Jayapura, Jubi – Ten months following the Tolikara shooting incident, the decree on the formation of an ad Hoc team on the case has been finally issued by the National Human Rights Commission.
“It’s such an irony. It’s just yesterday when the commission, through Ansori Sinugan said the Ad Hoc team has been formed since October 2015,” PapuaItuKita Coordinator, Zely Ariane told Jubi by phone from Jakarta on Wednesday (9/12/2015).
She said the decree included several names that were announced to the crowd in front of the Human Rights Commission Office.
“Of several mentioned names, we recognize them. We can have high expectations of this independent process,” she said.

She also said the case will continue to be monitored.
“This is only the one stage. The next step is to ensure the team work promptly and appropriately, call upon the suspects immediately, enable the human rights tribunal as well as to fulfill the justice for the victims,” she said.
Separately, the human rights commissionaire Natalius Pigai promised to resolve the Paniai Tragedy. Pigai who joint into Ad Hoc team is ready to work as much as possible.
“Resolution of Paniai case may not be intervened by anyone. It is the severe human rights violation,” he said.
According to Pigai, to prevent the case treated like the kidnapping case of Theyis Eluay, which is the perpetrators only got light punishment, he encouraged the victims’ families to allow the autopsy towards the dead victims. Pigai thought the State has enough capacity to complete the Paniai case appropriately. This case is the severe human right violation perpetrated by security force, but the Central Government has not serious attention to resolve it.
“The State intends not to settle the Paniai case. It doesn’t want to resolve the severe human right violation of Paniai case, because –except to the National Human Rights Commission, the Military and Police as State’s apparatus were involved,” he said.
Paniai Regional Customary Council Chief, John NR. Gobai who is persistent in voicing the settlement of Paniai case, asserted the case indicates the State’s dishonest. Paniai case likes a ball kicked by the Military and Police to protect the perpetrators. A lot of information has received by the National Human Rights Commission when it came to Paniai.
“Military and Police Headquarters should immediately announce the result instead of being silence. I also see the National Human Rights Commission is protecting the perpetrators. If not, as the customary council chief, I will ask the international community to intervene the case settlement,” he said. (Abeth You/rom)


Jayapura, Jubi – Human rights activists said President Joko Widodo has not been able to resolve cases of human rights violations in Papua a year after he took officer. 
Acts of violence by security forces are still happening in Papua, said the Coordinator of Solidarity for the Victims of Human Rights Violation in Papua (SKP HAM Papua), Penehas Lokbere.
SKP HAM Papua said it recorded 11 incidents of violence that occurred after Jokowi assumed office, killing ten people and injuring 39.

Security forces arrested at least 268 people, Lokbere said during peace rally to commemorate the International Human Rights Day in front of the Papua’s Parliament office, Jayapura City on Thursday (10/12/2015).
In front of hundreds of crowd, Lokbere revealed the list of violence that occurred in Papua since November 2014:
1.  1 December 2015, shooting incident occurred in Serui, 1 dead, 1 in critical condition at hospital, up date condition of 2 victims has not clarified yet.
2.  8 October 2015, dissolution over peace rally in front of the Catholic Church Gembala Baik Abepura held by SKP HAM Papua. 18 were arrested.
3.  09 October 2015, three KNPB activists were arrested in Sentani.
4.  28 September 2015, shooting incident occurred in Mimika, 1 dead, 2 injured.
5.  28 August 2015, shooting incident occurred in Mimika, 1 dead, 4 injured.
6.  17 July 2015, shooting incident occurred in Tolikara, 1 dead, 11 injured.
7.  25 June 2015, shooting incident occurred in Dogiyai, 1 dead, 1 in critical condition.
8.  22 June 2015, 14 members of Student Independent Forum were arrested in Jayapura.
9.  28 May 2015, 47 KNPB members were arrested in Jayapura.
10. 21 May 2015, dissolution over peace rally in Biak, 25 arrested.
11. 20 May 2015, KNPB activists were arrested in Biak.
12. 30 April to 1 May 2015, the arrest against 178 Pro-Democracy activists.
13. 14 April 2015, the arrest against 4 delegations of Papua Independent Committee.
14. 08 March 2015, shooting incident occurred in Yahukimo, 1 dead, 5 injured and 11 arrested.
15. 08 December 2015, shooing incident occurred in Paniai, 5 dead (4 high school students and 1 civilian), 17 injured.
16. 19 November 2014, the arrest against 8 KNPB activists in Nabire.
“The data shows that the Jokowi’s government is still carrying the security approach in tackling the situation in Papua. It indicates the new ruler is making the same mistake of former SBY’s administration for a decade. The promise to build the peace dialogue between Jakarta and Papua and to realize the Peace Papua is nonsense that merely used as the polish imagery tool,” said Lokbere.
With many actors involving in security situation in Papua, instead of protecting the civilians, the fact is they used their power and improper discretion excessively.
In order to materialize peace dialogue that he promised during the presidential election campaign, Jokowi’s Government must take a promptly action in tackling the violence and human rights violation issues given those could not only resolved through a promise but clear instruction towards the State’s instrument to act.
Pastor of St. John and Peter Parish of Jayapura Diocese, Father Paulus Tumayong read the joint statement before hundreds of crowd and parliament’s members. “We are from Solidarity for the Victims of Human Rights Violation in Papua (consisting of SKPKC Franciscan Papua, BUK-Papua, KontraS Papua, FIM, FPP, AMPTPI, PMKRI, GMKI, Catholic Youth, SEMA STFT Fajar Timur, BEM USTJ, BEM Uncen, Gempar, KPKC Kingmi Papua, KPKC GKI, and Marinus Yaung (Academician of Cenderawasih University Papua), urge the President of the Republic of Indonesia to fulfill his promise to Papuans as stated in the National Christmas Celebration event on 27 December 2014 at Mandala Stadium, Jayapura to solve the human rights violation case occurred in Paniai, 8 December 2014. The President of the Republic of Indonesia to immediately instruct the National Human Rights Commission to endorse the the Human Rights Investigation Team to lead the legal process against the shooting perpetrators in Paniai,” said Father Tumayong getting applause from the crowd.
He said the Indonesian Government must immediately open the space of democracy for Papuans and open the access for international media to come in Papua. “Papua Legislative Council to escort the Ad Hoc team that already formed on 15 October 2015 to work in revealing the shooting perpetrators in Paniai on 8 December 2014,” he said.
He further said the parliament also must immediately invite the Papua Police Chief and Cenderawasih Regional Military Commander to conduct an official evaluation on the security situation in Papua and to terminate the impunity of security forces who commit the human rights violation in Papua. (Abeth You/rom)
Jayapura, Jubi – The Chairman of Papua Legislative Council, Yunus Wonda said he would risk his life to solve cases of violence in Papua, especially the incident which killed four students in Paniai on 8 December 2014.
He said the parliament would not stay silence and would contunue to push for a thorough  investigation into those cases, including the Paniai shootings.
“As the chairman, I will risk my life for Paniai case. It could be a gate to reveal the all cases in Papua. We also have some data. We knew who are the perpetrators, but we don’t have authority to reveal it. We expected those who have authority could reveal this case. We do not remain silence, we will keep fighting for all cases in Papua,” Yunus Wonda said in front of the Papua human right activists who conducted rally in the parliament office’s yard on Thursday (10/12/2015).
According to him, if the Indonesian Government does not care about Papua, there are some parties who care and listen the voice of Papuans. “Thank you for supporting us. We hope the president’s visit to Papua that planned in this month would have an answer for Paniai case. We never remain silence,” he said.

The activist of Student Movement for People (GempaR), Samuel Womsiwor said if the state was not able to solve the cases in Papua, GempaR would endorse the Pacific Islands Forum to come to Papua to conduct investigation whether human rights violations had occurred or not. “It’s one of solutions. Indonesia must accept the way of the international community to resolve the cases in Papua,” said Womsiwor.
Meanwhile the General Secretary of West Papua National Committee, Ones Suhuniap said the Paniai case is one of many cases in Papua that never been revealed until now.  Indonesia doesn’t want to responsible towards many incidents occurred in Papua during the time. “If this country has no ability to reveal the cases, we certainly don’t need it. We will appealed to the international community,” said Suhuniap.  (Arjuna Pademme/rom)

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