Thursday, April 21, 2016

U/A-Indonesia: The arbitrary arrest of West Papua activists

Franciscans International 

Mr. Maina Kiai
UN Special Rapporteur the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association

Mr. David Kaye
UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Palais Wilson
United Nations Office at Geneva
CH 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

19 April, 2016 

Urgent Appeal

Dear Mr. Kiai and Mr Kaye

Indonesia:  The arbitrary arrest of West Papua activists

Franciscans International would like to submit an urgent appeal case regarding the two recent arbitrary arrests of West Papuan activists (there were also other arrests but we are still collecting the information). The first arrest was April 12th in Yakuhimo which allegedly was committed the Yakuhimo Sector Police were five indigenous Papuans were arrested. The second incident was on 13th, 2016, in Merauke, Papua Provinces of Indonesia allegedly committed by members of the Indonesian Police Force of Merauke Unit.  14 person who were arrested in Merauke are members the West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat – KNPB) and People’s Regional Parliament (Parlemen Rakyat Daerah - PRD) of Merauke Regency.

Chronology of the incidents

Incident 1:
Date       :                 April 12th, 2016
Location:              Dekai junction, Yakuhimo Regency, Papua Province

Alleged perpetrators
Members of the Mobile Brigade (Brimob) of Indonesian Police Force and Police officers from Yakuhimo district who came with two police vehicles.

Victims of the arrest:
  1. Mr. Yupi Sobolim (23 y.o),
  2. Mr. Unyil Kobak (24 y.o,),
  3. Mr. Erson Suhun, (age unknown)
  4. Mr. Natu Dapla, (age unknown)

We still do not get the name of the fifth person nor the age.  We also received information that two minors two minors Mr. Joshua Sobolim (8 y.o) and Anderson Suhun (12 y.o) also were initially taken to the police vehicles but were removed before being taken to the Police station.

On 12 April 2016, from 8 o’clock in the morning, around 10 West Papua activists who support KNPB distributed leaflets in the intersection of the hill in Dekai, Yakuhimo town. The leaflet was an invitation to attend a demonstration organised by KNPB to support the effort of United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) to be a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). Around noon, local time, when they took a break for meal, two cars belonging to the Mobile Brigade of the Indonesian Police from the Yakuhimo district came, with members of Brimob and police officers. They took the gun and pointed to the members of KNPB and shouted to them to stay and not two run.  Shockingly, three activists succeeded to escape and run to the forest, while five others were arrested and taken into the Brimob vehicles. Two minors who were in the place of the incidents were also taken to the vehicles.  However, the KNPB activists told the police to release the minors since they were not involved in the distribution of the leaflets.

The police confiscated one KNPB flag, 7 motorcycles, and 3 million Indonesian Rupiah who was donated by passer-by who supported the initiative. The five members of the KNPB were taken to the Police Station in Yakuhimo. There is an allegation of torture against the activists, where they were forced by the police to do push-up as punishment, their heads and face were beaten with weapons, they were bleeding, they were forced to sing the Indonesian anthem, and forced to stay under the sun for several hours.  At the end, they were released.

Incident 2:
Date       :                 April 13th, 2016
Location:              Office of People’s Regional Parliament (PRD) of Merauke Regency and Secretariat of KNPB, Merauke City, Papua Province

Alleged perpetrators
Members of the Indonesian Police Force from Merauke Unit lead by Police Commander Marten Kuagow with estimated of 100 members of Indonesian Police Force.

Victims of the arrest:
1.     Hon. Ms. Panggrasia Yeem MP (Chairperson of PRD)
2.     Hon. Mr. Petrus Katem MP (General Secretary of PRD)
3.     Hon. Mr. Idelfonsius Katop MP (1st Secretary of PRD)
4.     Hon. Mr. Yohakim Gebze MP (Chairperson of PRD Makleuw)
5.     Mr. Gento Emerikus Dop (Chairperson of KNPB Ha-Anim)
6.     Mr. Charles Sraun (Chair KNPB Ha-Anim)
7.     Mr. Emilianus Nemop (Treasurer, KNPB Wil. Ha-Anim)
8.     Mr. Rikardo Pisakai (Chair of Political Division, KNPB Ha-Anim)
9.     Mr. Oktovianus Warip (Member, KNPB)
10.  Mr. Petrus P. Koweng (Member, KNPB)
11.  Mr. Lukas Arawok (Member, KNPB)
12.  Mr. Simon Taulemi (Member, KNPB)
13.  Mr. Paustinus K. Metemko (Member, KNPB)
14.  Mr. Moses Pasim (Member, KNPB)

In the morning of 13 April 2016, at 08:00 local time, a team of Indonesian Police Force from the District of Merauke lead by Pollice Commander Mr. Marten Kuagow came to the Office of Parliament of People of Merauke Regency (PRD) and  Secretariat of West Papua National Committee (KNPB) with an estimated of 100 police members. They came fully armed as well as with two specific police vehicles meant to control demonstration, despite the fact that there was no demonstration.

Several members of the KNPB and members of PRD were in the secretariat. The police entered the room and confiscated several equipment including six motorcycles, one computer hard disc, two loud speakers, one hand phone, one donation box, one white board, one box Referendum’s stimulation and several posters, 14 persons were arrested and brought to Merauke police station for further interrogation.

We received a report that there was no torture case during the interrogation. The 14 persons were then released and the confiscated equipment were returned back to the office of KNPB.

The KNPB is a West Papua movement which is pushing for a referendum on Papua’s political status, and is seen as primarily non-violent, comprising mostly youth and students. In the last four years, until the end of 2014, more than 40 KNPB members have been assassinated. Eight have allegedly been killed in 2014 only by Indonesia Security Forces, either by members of the Indonesian Police Force or the Indonesian Army.

KNPB openly supports the work of the ULMWP with the MSG, a group of Melanesian States in South Pacific. In 2015, ULMWP was accepted as an Observer of MSG despite the opposition of the Government of Indonesia. Indonesia is an Associate member of MSG.

After the acceptance of ULMWP within MSG, several civil society groups in West Papua, including KNPB, have been very active in promoting the work of ULWMP. However, there Government of Indonesia strongly oppose it. Several demonstrations held by KNPB in different cities and towns were responded by reprisals by the Indonesian Police Force.  The last incident took place on February 15, 2016 in Wamena, the highland in West Papua, where several people were briefly arrested and interrogated after a blessing ceremony of a traditional house which was also meant as the office of ULMWP. The organizer of the event was accused of organizing a meeting of treason (makar) which is penalized according to the Indonesian Penal Code.

In April 2016, KNPB mobilized its members to participate in demonstrations across Papua to support the candidacy of ULMWP to be a full member of MSG instead of observer. The demonstration took place on 13 April 2016 in different places involving the estimated of 5’000 people. 

On 15 April 2016, the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) released made a press statement[1] condemning the reprisal against the members of KNPB. Within 9 days prior to the demonstration of 13 April 2016, the Indonesian security forces arrested at least 61 Papua activists, including  15 activists in Timika on 5 April 2016,  5 activists in Yahukimo and 15 activists in Kaimana on 12 April 2016; 14 activists in Merauke, 3 activists in Sorong and 11 activists in Jayapura on 13 April 2016.  As 15 April 2016, most of them were released except 2 who were still under arrest in Timika.

  1. We urge you to send a communication to the Government of Indonesia to conduct impartial investigation on the cases of arbitrary arrest in Yakuhimo and Merauke, as well as in several other places in Papua.
  2. To guarantee the right of freedom of expression and freedom of association and assembly for all Papuans.
  3. To open access to Papua for the international community.
  4. To decide the dates of the visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, as it was agreed, and to allow open access to Papua.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Submitted by and for further information:

1.     Franciscans International
Contact person: Mr. Budi Tjahjono
Address: 37-39, rue de Vermont, PO BOX 104, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 779 40 10

2.     Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation
Contact: Fr Anselmo Amo MSC, Director of JPIC of the Catholic Diocese of Merauke
Jalan Raya Mandala No.30, Kec. Merauke, Papua Province, Indonesia
Tel: +62 971 321011

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