Sunday, March 6, 2016

Summary of events in West Papua for February 2016

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

 PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088

Summary of events in West Papua for February (–6 March) 2016

ULMWP opens office in Wamena
The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) opened an office in Wamena on the 15 February. A number of the human rights defenders and peaceful activists who attended the opening have been threatened by members of the security forces.  A Catholic priest, Father John Djonga faces possible treason charges simply because he led a prayer service on the 15th to inaugurate the office building of the Papuan Customary Council, where a banner of the ULMWP was unveiled. Father Djonga has maintained that his presence at the ceremony to open a community service building was purely pastoral. Uncan news (4 March) reported that the police may question Father John Djonga for a second time on treason charges. Father Djonga appeared at the police station in the district's capital on Feb. 26 after consulting with Franciscan Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar of Jayapura. Accompanied by a lawyer, he answered 55 questions from two police officers during the four-hour meeting. Police have said they may call on Father Djonga for further questioning.  In a protest on the 2nd March dozens of young Catholics in West Papua protested in the provincial capital Manokwari demanding that police to stop harassing Father John Djonga.

Installation nameplate ULMWP office in Wamena by one announcer U
LMWP, Edison Waromi - Jubi / Victor Mambor

People who had gathered to attend the inauguration 
of the office ULMWP - Jubi / Victor Mambor

The Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister, Luhut Pandjaitan has also told the ULMWP to leave the country as it could pose a threat to the country’s territorial integrity. The Jayawijaya Resort Police have questioned a number of activists who attended the opening.  The security forces are trying to tarnish the ULMWP representatives as separatists.  These threats raise grave concerns for their security as human rights defenders and peaceful activists are regularly arrested because of accusations that they are so-called separatists. A number of NGO organisations have raised concerns at the intimidation of Father Djonga and the other activists by the police. It has been reported at least 7 people have been questioned because of their involvement in the opening ceremony. AWPA wrote to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop concerning the matter. Letter at

This is not the first time that representatives of the ULMWP have been targeted by the security forces.  In July 2015 the ULMWP Secretariat in Fakfak was raided by the Indonesian military and police just because the people of Fakfak were celebrating West Papua being granted observer status at the MSG.  According to information received from local activists nearly 100 people were brought to the police station including the elderly and women and children. They were interrogated about the ULMWP and many of their personal belongings were stolen by the police.

The ULMWP was granted observer status at the MSG Summit held in the Solomon Islands in June 2015.  Although Jakarta has tried to discredit the ULMWP by stating the ULMWP only represents West Papuans living abroad, the opening of ULMWP offices in FakFak and Wamena proves otherwise.  

A representative of the ULMWP has also called for an open discussion on Papua's issues with President Joko Widodo’s administration. Markus Haluk called on the government to hold an open discussion on Papua, including about current and past human rights, since an equal discussion between Papuans and the government has not taken place in more than 50 years (Jakarta Globe 4 March).  Rather than starting an open discussion with stakeholders in Papua, the government under Joko’s leadership has maintained a repressive approach by placing the military face Papuans, said Markus. According to the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), around 700 Papuans were detained, tortured and killed during Joko’s first year.

 Leaders of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) leaders Markus Haluk, center, addresses the press. (Antara Photo/ M. Agung Rajasa)

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) released an urgent action dated 11 February regarding updated information on the police investigation process in relation to the Tolikara case “Indonesia: Police yet to show progress in the Tolikara case investigation”.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information regarding the police investigation process in relation to the Tolikara case. A total of 11 people became victim to the violence on 17 July 2015 in Tolikara Regency, Papua Province. However, so far there has been no notable outcome to the investigation undertaken by the police. Likewise there appears to be no serious effort undertaken by the government to solve and prevent recurrence of conflict in the future. And, this is despite the initiative taken by representatives of the Evangelical Church of Indonesia (GIDI) and the Muslim community, namely Nahdatul Ulama (NU).

The International Coalition for Papua (ICP) also released an urgent appeal concerning the Health Crisis in Nduga Regency where at least 51 children and 3 adults died due to Pertussis (whooping cough) in the districts Mbua, Dal and Mbulmu Yalma, Nduga Regency, Papua Province, Indonesia since November 2015. Appeal published on the17 February at

Police Maltreat a 23 Year Old Man in Manokwari
Statement by the Executive Director of the LP3BH 21 February 2016
On Saturday 20th February, Bertho Rumbas (23 years old) was severly beaten by two police officers in violation of Law/39 on Human Rights. One of the two police officers was Brigpol Fredi Kaiway who is on regular duty with Polsek Anggi in the Regency of the Arak Mountains.
Jordan Rumadas, the father of Bertho Rumadas and another member of his family were very distressed by what had happened to Bertho
Rumbas, so they visited the home of the Chief of Police in Manokwari, where they met AKBP Johny Eduard Isir, to inform him that they were extremely unhappy about what had happened because he had defended the actions of the perpetrators of this treatment by his subordinate officers who had acted with such brutality.    They then visited the home of the Executive Director of the LP3BH, Yan Christian Warinussy in Swafen-Manokwari on Saturday evening. They told Yan Christian Warinussy that Bertho Rumbas had been beaten, kicked and dragged behind the Manokwari Plain and then taken to Mapolres Manokwari. After the young man had been thrown into a cell, other police officers entered his cell and started threatening him, using their rifle butts and saying that they were acting on the orders of Brigpol Erol Wanma and Brigpol Agus Marani.  As a result of all this, Bertho Rumbas was seriously wounded and his left leg is believed to have been fractured. The LP3BH sent a report to the Chief of Police of West Papua, a copy of which has been sent by SMS to the Chief of Police in Jakarta.  Furthermore, the report of the incident has been sent to the National Human Rights Commission and to several ambassadors in Jakarta as well as to NGOs in London and the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.   Berthol Rumadas has not been visited by anyone to examine his physical condition, as is required by law.  Nor is it known what Bertho Rumbas will be accused of, nor has there has been any contact with any member of his required is by law and other regulations.
Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive Director of the Institute of
Research, Anaysis and Development of Legal Aid, Recipient of the John
Humphreys Freedom Award 2005.Canada.Translated by Carmel Budiardjo, Recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, 1995.

In brief

The National, Friday February 26th, 2016 
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill is continuing dialogue with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on the issue of West Papua.“As Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, and as current chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, I am maintaining ongoing dialogue with the Government of Indonesia and with President Joko Widodo,” he said. “We will continue this dialogue in a respectful manner with a focus on building mutual understanding in relation to the safety and security of our millions of Melanesian brothers and sisters across our border.” He said this after a meeting with Solomon Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in Port Moresby where the issue was discussed. Sogavare is visiting in his capacity as the chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. O’Neill said PNG remained a strong supporter of the work of the MSG Secretariat located in Vanuatu. “The work of MSG has to stay relevant for the people of the region,” O’Neill said. They also discussed the disaster in Fiji following Cyclone Winston. “The disaster from the cyclone in Fiji was widespread, and the region expresses its sympathies for the unfortunate loss of life,” he said. “MSG, as well as the Pacific Islands’ Forum, and individual countries look to requests for assistance that will come from Fiji in the recovery phase of the disaster. “For PNG, we will deliver any support direct to where it is needed, as has been the process with drought relief in PNG, instead of sending this through bureaucratic channels.”

Indonesia snubs MSG chair 
The Solomon Star paper (22 Feb.) reported that the Indonesia president Joko Widodo had turned down Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s request for a meeting to discuss the West Papua issue. Sogavare revealed this in Noumea during a meeting with officials of the Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialist (FLNKS). The prime minister is on a 13-day tour of Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) capitals as chair of MSG. FLNKS is a member of MSG. “My current trip to MSG capitals should have concluded in Jakarta,” Sogavare told his FLNKS counterparts. This was to discuss the possibility of arranging a meeting between Indonesia and members of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), who want independence for West Papua. But Sogavare said: “The Indonesian president has indicated he was not interested in discussing the issue of West Papua. “The decision by the Indonesian president raises a lot of questions as to why it ever wanted to be an associated member of the MSG when he does not want to cooperate in addressing issues of concern to the MSG.

Papuan protesters want local control of Freeport mine

Papuan protesters call for local control of the Freeport-McMoran copper mine during a Feb. 18 protest outside the governor's office in Jayapura, Indonesia. (Photo by Benny Mawel)

Protesting tribal youths in Papua urged the Indonesian government to seize operations of the U.S.-based PT Freeport McMoRan copper mining company and install a Papuan as the company's head. "Other people from Indonesia and the U.S. gain benefits, but the Papuan people only receive the leftovers," Decky Ofide of the National Papuan Youths, who organized the Feb. 18 protest, said in a speech outside the governor's office in Jayapura, the provincial capital. About 300 people participated in the protest. He said the central government should take concrete steps to give more opportunities to local people in managing the company, which has operated in the province since 1967.
Freeport’s former president Maroef Syamsuddin resigned last month following an extortion scandal involving House Speaker Setya Novanto, who allegedly asked for shares in the company, an action leading to a probe by the parliament's ethical commission. "The vacant post of president director must be given to a Papuan. The Papuan people must manage the company," Ofide said.

Father John Djonga, a human rights activist in the region, noted that the Papuan people have seen little benefit from the billions of dollars reaped from the mine.
"If the company says that the Papuan people aren't capable of managing the company, so what has the company been doing for more than 50 years? Well, we can say that the company steals from the Papuan people," he told
Papuans would not stage protests if the company benefitted them ... so now the company must respond to the Papuan people's aspirations," he said.
Freeport-McMoRan obtained its first contract to operate in the region in April 1967, two years before Papua was annexed by Indonesia following a controversial 1969 referendum. The second contract was given in December 1991. In 2014, the company obtained its third contract, which will expire in 2021. Freeport-McMoRan's mining operations have drawn frequent criticism for various environmental, human rights and workplace safety abuses. Benefits the company promised to local indigenous communities have never fully materialized, leading to frequent protests and clashes between local residents and security forces.

Numerous Trans-Papua road sections prone to landslides
Jayapura (ANTARA News) - Numerous sections of the Trans-Papua road in Papua and West Papua are prone to landslides during the rainy season, according to spokesman of the Jayapura transportation office Oesman Marbun."Several sections of the Trans-Papua road are prone to landslides during the rainy season, and therefore, we have appealed to the head of the working unit to ready heavy equipment on these roads to anticipate disasters," Marbun remarked here on Monday.He pointed out that the disaster-prone locations are the sections of Nabire to Enarotali, Wamenta-Karubaga-Mulia, and Wamena to Elelim in Papua; and Sorong to Klamono, and Manokwari to Kebar in West Papua.Marbun acknowledged that these road sections were prone to disaster, but the authority has anticipated it by stationing heavy equipment there. He said that there was a landslide at the Wamena-Tolikara section recently, but the debris has been cleared, and it is now open for traffic. (Antara news Senin, 29 Februari )

Vatican`s Foreign Minister Lauds Indonesia`s Religious Tolerance
Vatican’s Foreign Minister Mgr. Paul Richard Galagher has conveyed his appreciation toward Indonesian people tolerance, despite minor incidents of intolerance. The message was conveyed by Foreign Minister Paul Richard Galagher to the new Indonesian Ambassador to The Holy See, Antonius Agus Sriyono at the office of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, said Third Secretary of Indonesian Ambassador to Vatican, Sturmius Teofanus Bate, on Thursday, as reported by Antara (26 Feb.). With regard to Papua, The Holy See’s policy has not changed as it continues to recognize Indonesia’s sovereignty over Papua. However, Mgr. Galagher hoped that the Indonesian Government could give more attention to the issues of freedom of political activity, prosperity and respect to human rights. Ambassador Sriyono explained that the Indonesian Government has thus far given huge attention to Papua’s development through, among others, granting of special autonomy, infrastructure development and improving education in Papua. Pope Francis plans to visit Indonesia in July 2017 to attend the Asian Youth Day organized by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese Semarang, Central Java, an official has said.

Papua`s economy grows 7.97 percent far above national average
Rabu, 2 Maret 2016
Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA News) - Papua, one of the countrys most backward and impoverished provinces recorded a strong economic growth of 7.97 percent in 2015. The growth recorded by Papua was well above the countrys economic growth of 4.79 percent in 2015, head of the representative office of Bank Indonesia for Papua Joko Supratikto said here on Wednesday. In the last quarter of 2015, the economy of the province grew 14.08 percent driven by net exports that surged 252.65 percent, Joko said.  He said consumption that grew 5.87 percent on religious and New Year celebrations, also contributed to jacking up the economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2015. In addition, the investment sector that grew 7.41 percent on government projects also contributed considerably to the economic growth,  Joko said the economy of Papua is expected to expand in 2016 driven by brisker mining industry.  "Estimate by Bank Indonesia puts Papuas economic growth at 8.59-9.59 percent in 2016," he said.

Joko quoted reports by mining companies, that Papua exported 1.2 million ounces of gold and 744 million pounds of copper in 2015. The exports bare predicted to rise to 1.8 million ounces of gold and 1.8 billion pounds of copper in concentrate.  U.S. mining company PT Freeport Indonesia, the countrys largest copper and gold producer, has large copper and gold mines in Papua. (*)

Special Autonomy Fund and Authority Issue Trigger Conflict of Papua and Central Government
Jayapura, Jubi/BenarNews – Since the Special Autonomy Law was ratified in 2001 on the land of Papua – both Papua and Papua Barat provinces – the Central Govenrment has delivered Rp 42 trillion to both regions. However the development has not been marked on this land. This year, Papua set 11,756 trillion in its Regional Budget. For the last four years, during the period of 2012-2015, Papua has set the respectively amount of 7.3 trillion, 8.184 trillion and 13.26 trillion rupiahs in Regional Budget. However, Papua Provincial Government considered the amount of funds was not enough while the Central Government blamed the Provincial Government not capable to manage the fund properly. Consequently the recriminations feared to raise new conflict between Papua and the Central Government.
 “In 2002-2015, the funds (for Papua) was nearly Rp53 trillion, special autonomy fund was Rp42 trillion and infrastructure funding was Rp 12 trillion. So, where were those funds go?” said the Minister of Politic, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut B. Pandjaitan. He conveyed the statement during the meeting to discuss Papua and Papua Barat Special Autonomy Fund with the Commission I of the Indonesian House of Representative in Jakarta few times ago. He said the amount of funds delivered to Papua and Papua Barat was not in small amount, but until now good quality infrastructure has not been seen in Papua. His statement has made the Papua Governor Lukas Enembe furious; because it seems blaming the local authority is not capable. Because of this accusation, he also thought better to return the fund to the Central Government. Because, Enembe said, the Special Autonomy Fund is too small and do not give benefit to the development in Papua. Even the fund has profited as a political commodity by the Central Government to intimidate both provincial and regional/municipal  (Victor Mambor Jubi)

49 Children Suffer Dengue in Merauke
Merauke, Jubi – Merauke Health Office chief Steven’s Osok said the number of patients with dengue fever from January-February reached 49, mostly children. There are 17 cases in January while 32 cases in February occurred in some villages with details as follows: 6 children in Maro, 6 children in Mandala, 1 patient in Karang Indah, 3 patients in Seringgu, 2 patients in Banpel, 2 patients in Sakai, 6 patients in Rimba Jaya, 5 patients in Kelapa Lima, 2 patients in SP and 2 patients in Tanah Miring, 5 patients in Rawa Sari, 1 patient in Kurik, 7 patients in Kumbe, 2 patients in Padang Raharja and 1 patient in Semangga Jaya. Those patients, he said, were treated at Merauke Public Hospital and a private hospital, Bunda Hardpan and the Navy Hospital. “They are mostly treated at Merauke Public Hospital,” Osok told Jubi on Monday (22/2/2016). Most are already undergoing treatment and recovery, so they can go home. But some are also on recovery treat. “So far none are reportedly died of dengue fever,” he said. Further Osok said the regional health office has repeatedly warned people to keep their environment clean. Dirty environment and puddles would be places for mosquitoes to hide. Merauske Sub-district Chief Hasan Matdoan has instructed the village chiefs to mobile residents to clean their environment considering many children have being treated at hospital due to dengue outbreaks. (Frans L Kobun/rom)

Nine Die of Malaria in Yahukimo Regency
Jayapura, Jubi – Nine Yahukimo residents have died of malaria because of poor health services, ineffectiveness of mobile clinics and the closing of the health services including hospital and community health centre, said the chief of Papua Health Development Acceleration Unit (UP2KP) Yahukimo Region told reporters on last week in Jayapura. “In December 2015, four died of malaria, then five died of malaria in January 2016,” he said. He said initially it was occurred due to lacking of medical staffs in this region. “It was also an impact of the strike conducted by midwives and nurses. At that time 30 doctors who deployed the hospital were out of office,” he said. The strike has been occurred since Tuesday (12/1/2016). No job placement for medical staffs in respective community health centres in Yahukimo, all doctors were appointed in Yahukimo General Public Hospital. “It’s all the same with the nurses. They do not support the services in the health centres but only being centered in Yahukimo Public Hospital, while the hospital is currently dominated by temporarily employees or contract workers,” he said. Along with these cases, UP2KP Yahukimo Region expected the hospital has the integrated health services pact with Yahukimo natives to avoid the unexpected cases leading to the death. “UP2KP is ready to push the better health services according to its task and responsibility and also to support the regent’s priority program,” he said. The priority program of elected regent Abok Busub and Julianus Helukka is to optimizing the medical services at regional, sub-district and rural levels in particular to provide the health facility and circulation of medicine supplies, medical staffs placement and the increment of allowance. “In order to improve the community health services, we will provide a special flight subsidy for health. We will work with several aviation services and flight subsided members in health sector to assist patient who needs medical referral to get transportation,” he said. (Roy Ratumakin/rom)

Opinion pieces/ urgent actions/ press releases etc.

Run it straight
Set in a rugby league clubrooms, 'Run It Straight' tells the story of a Maori community who open their hearts and minds to the story of West Papua.

The Mahuzes, film about plantations in Merauke, now with English subtitles

Punks For West Papua event shirt DVD for sale

An open letter to the people of West Papua

Dr Budi Hernawan – Pacific’s solidarity for Papua

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