Unless the role and power of security forces is limited in Indonesia’s troubled Papua region, more young locals will end up dead and cases like the Paniai killings will remain unsolved, writes Andre Barahamin.
The young men were killed by shots that allegedly came from Indonesian security forces after police and military personnel fired on some 800 protesters. A further 12 people, including school children, were injured from the bullets.
The crowd had gathered to protest the beating of a 12-year-old Papuan boy by Indonesian security forces the day before. To further complicate the matter, Indonesian government officials offered conflicting reports of the violence, with some claiming that security personnel warned the crowd to disperse and fired because they had come under attack (as noted by Human Rights Watch).
From the results of a pre-investigation by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), According security forces had used live ammunition and firearms to break up the crowd, but there was no evidence that the crowd presented any threat to security personnel. In late December 2014, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo promised to solve the killing.
“I want this case to be solved immediately so it won’t ever happen again in the future,” the president said. “By forming a fact-finding team, we hope to obtain valid information, as well as find the root of the problems.”
But the investigation into the case has since been delayed.
At least eight government institutions have sent their respective fact-finding teams to look in to the case. This includes, the Army, the Air Force, the National Police, the Papua Police, the Papua Legislative Council, the Office of Coordinating Minister for Security, Political and Legal Affairs, the Witness and Victims’ Protection Agency (LPSK), as well as Komnas HAM.
But none of these institutions have published a public report of their findings. So, after more than two years, and a President’s pledge, those who seek answers and justice have only been given broken promises, and no significant progress.
Perhaps most disappointing is the failure of Komnas HAM to deliver any real insights into what happened on that fateful day. Expected to be the leading institution in solving the Paniai killings, the human rights commission has spectacularly failed. In March 2015, it formed an ad hoc team to conduct its investigation, but it was not officially inaugurated until October 2016. Nothing has happened since then, and two investigation team members have already resigned.
At the same time, the President’s determination to solve the case and make the perpetrators accountable under law would seem to have waned as well. In late 2016 Jokowi appointed Wiranto, a former general indicted for human rights violations in Timor Leste, as the country’s top security minister.
Jokowi’s decision to appoint Wiranto to such a contentious post has made the situation worse. Wiranto has openly said that he aims to solve all of these cases through non-judicial processes, which could mean impunity for any perpetrators.
Sadly Paniai isn’t even the latest case of violence. Papua Itu Kita have reported that 18 Papuan teenagers aged between 14 and 19 years have been shot by police and the military since October 2016. Eight of them were killed. Of these cases, only three were prosecuted by the institution to which the culprits belonged.
The cases include the Koperapoka shooting in Timika by members of the military that killed four Papuans, the Gorong-Gorong shooting against Fernando Saborefek (18) in Biak by the police force, and Sugapa of Intan Jaya where members of the Papua Police Mobile Brigade were involved with the shooting of Otinius Sondegau (15).
The trend of teen killings in Papua cannot be separated from pro-violence approaches by the Indonesia military and police to dealing with the complicated issue of Papua’s place in Indonesia. The excessive use of force continues because Jokowi has failed from the beginning of his presidency to limit the role and power of security forces in Papua.
Added to this volatile mix is ongoing discrimination towards Papuan youth. Young Papuans are racially targeted and labeled as troublemakers, primitive and potential future members of separatist movements. It would seem that being a young Papuan with dark skin and curly hair is more than enough to make you a target of violence.
Meanwhile, Komnas HAM have vowed to step up their investigation into the Paniai killings, claiming they will send out a team to interview “locals, victims, Papuan public figures and security officers from February 18 to 20.”
Only time will tell if it will achieve anything. It’s telling that it has already taken this much time.
Andre Barahamin is researcher of PUSAKA Foundation, and member of Papua Itu Kita (Jakarta-based solidarity campaign for Papua).
"The Australian Federal Police can confirm it arrested a 42-year-old man in the Melbourne suburb of Williamstown on Monday, January 30," the Australian Federal Police said.
The arrest comes just days before Attorney-General George Brandis, Justice Minister Michael Keenan and Minister for Defence Personnel Dan Tehan are scheduled to attend the Ministerial Council on Law and Security in Jakarta.
On January 26, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said a parliamentary commission requested the Australian government legally process the trespassing incident "because we know the faces of perpetrators, we have the pictures".
The incident featured a demonstrator waving the separatist West Papuan "Morning Star" flag, which is banned in Indonesia, while another person filmed the event. The video was posted on Facebook and distributed widely.
"The question is why has there been no arrest when 20 days have passed?" Ms Retno said on January 26.
"As close neighbouring countries, we have a very intense relationship and of course problems occur every now and then," Ms Retno said.
Another MP - Tubagus Hasanudin - went further than Ms Retno, saying Indonesia could take diplomatic measures if no legal action was taken.
Many Indonesians remain suspicious of Australia's intentions in Papua, even though it has signed the Lombok Treaty recognising Indonesian sovereignty over the restive province.
However the Indonesian Foreign Ministry stressed its concern was the trespass, which Ms Retno described as a criminal act that was "completely intolerable".
The AFP spokesman said the man had been charged with trespass of a protected premises, contrary to section 20 of the Protection of Persons and Property Act 1971.
Under the act, a person who trespasses on protected premises commits an offence, punishable on conviction by a fine of not more than 10 penalty units ($1800).
The man has been bailed to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on February 23.
"As the matter is now before the court it would not be appropriate to provide any further comment," the AFP spokesperson said.
3) INSIGHT: Indonesia-Australia relations and the perils of success
Jakarta | Mon, January 30, 2017| 09:06 am
Evan A. Laksmana Researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
Indonesia-Australia relations seem to have hit another snag this year. In early January, Kompas daily reported that the Indonesian military (TNI) was suspending all military cooperation with the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
As the news was confirmed by the TNI spokesman, the suspension made numerous domestic and international headlines. With the 24-hour news cycle, and the fact that Indonesia-Australia defense relations tend to be controversial, speculations ran wild and included some unnecessary ad-hominem attacks on the TNI commander.
It was only after the Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister clarified that the “temporary suspension” only covered language training activities — rather than defense-wide cooperation — that the dust began to settle.
At a deeper level, the incident underscores the perils of success in Indonesia-Australia defense relations, which stems in particular from an overemphasis on (and occasional “public sanitizing” of) the TNI-ADF relationship.
Given the geopolitical history between the two neighbors, Jakarta and Canberra understandably believe that the relationship between their respective militaries is vital to the broader bilateral relationship. The 1999 East Timor debacle and the centrality of the 2006 Lombok Treaty in restoring bilateral relations only served to reinforce this perception.
Indeed, since then, TNI-ADF relations have quietly flourished. Thousands of TNI officers have gone through numerous Australian schools and training programs over the past decade, while exercises and other cooperative activities grew. The presence of an alumni association for graduates of both Indonesian and Australian military education and training programs, IKAHAN, seemingly solidified the defense relations.
These successes, however, may have had unintended consequences.
First, they have created, perhaps unconsciously, the impression that defense relations had matured by 2016. This may have led to complacency in some instances; such as not carefully and transparently managing every detail of the various education or training environments.
In other instances, it could lead to “tunnel vision” during crisis. We can see this in one of the narratives sprung from the latest incident: rogue generals with political ambitions and anti-Australian sentiments are to blame. After all, the argument goes, defense relations have been so successful in restoring military trust that the suspension could not have possibly reflected deeper insecurities within the TNI over separatism or its own history.
Needless to say, such narratives were inaccurate and counterproductive. But perhaps more importantly, they also sidetracked potential opportunities to better review existing defense cooperation programs.
Second, the over-emphasis on and extra care of the TNI-ADF relationship may have inadvertently hindered the broader integration of defense cooperation into the wider bilateral relationship.
Paradoxically, military-to-military relations have been consequently more susceptible to the waxing and waning of the domestic politics in Jakarta and Canberra. One government source told me that during the 2013 wiretapping crisis, some considered defense cooperation more expendable (i.e. able to be temporarily suspended) because there were no “real and practical” ramifications in other areas of the bilateral relationship.
As such, we might want to stop seeing TNI-ADF relations as inherently unique and therefore needing “special status” or “protection”. Instead, moving forward, we could consider ways to expand and deepen the integration of defense cooperation within the broader bilateral relationship, rather than relying on the former to strengthen the latter.
We can do so by deliberately integrating multiple non-military stakeholders — from the police, Foreign Ministry, to scholars and industry players — into pre-existing defense cooperation activities or create new ones to accommodate them. This could integrate the TNI further within the strategic community and create additional stabilizing layers into the bilateral relationship.
We can consider, for example, renewing engagement and institutionalizing partnerships between the civilian defense and strategic communities from both countries that could act as counterparts and counterweights to — and perhaps even communication channels between — the TNI and ADF.
In counterterrorism and maritime security, we could expand joint exercises and training specifically designed for multiple agencies to work together simultaneously. To counter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, for example, we need the Navy, coast guard and the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, among other institutions. Similarly with counter-terrorism, there are numerous activities that should involve elements of the army, police and intelligence community, as well as civilian agencies such customs or prison authorities.
Developing and expanding various bilateral joint multi-agency activities — from education to exercises — involving both military and non-military elements might also help alleviate some of the bureaucratic infighting and stove-piping prevalent on some of those issues.
Additional cooperation between the legislative and judicial branches of both countries over military policies — such as defense planning and budgeting, or the military justice system— could provide an additional layer too. After all, defense establishments tend to be wider than military organizations alone.
We can also perhaps consider possible joint defense industrial projects — whether bilaterally or regionally with other ASEAN members — to strengthen the business side of defense relations. This might, in the long run, help us jumpstart the relatively sluggish economic relations between the two countries.
Strengthening defense relations by focusing on non-defense policies may seem paradoxical but if done properly it might stabilize both TNI-ADF cooperation as well as the Indonesia-Australia relationship.
Shares in Freeport McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX), the world’s largest listed copper miner, were down on Monday despite reports indicating that Indonesia may issue a temporary permit valid for up to six months to the company's local unit, which could pave the way for the mining giant to resume exports of concentrate from its Grasberg mine in Papua.
The temporary authorization could be issued "in one or two days", Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said according to Reuters. Such permit is being considered to avoid a stoppage to Freeport's exports while it completes the requirements for a new special mining licence, he noted.
Indonesia’s fresh ban on concentrate exports kicked in on January 12 as part of the South East Asian nation's comprehensive change to mining regulations and ownership rules.
Some of the freshly introduced legislation require Freeport to obtain new mining rights before being allowed to resume exports.
The Grasberg mining complex in the remote Papua region of Indonesia is responsible for more than a quarter of Freeport's total output. Before the current troubles, it was set contribute an even greater proportion in 2017 as copper grades improve and gold production is boosted.
But in light of the export ban the company has said it may have to suspend planned spending of around $1 billion per year through 2021 to transition the mine to underground operations.
Last year, the iconic mine produced more than 500,000 tonnes of copper and over 1 million ounces of gold.
Shares in the company were down 1.9% to $16.06 in New York at 11:27AM local time.