Thursday, January 26, 2023

1) Eight-year old West Papuan pleading




2) PAHAM Papua regrets terror against journalists
3) Indonesian soldier gets life for killing Papuan Christians
4) Family demands police to take responsibility in Second Brig. Diego Rumaropen’s death 

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1) Eight-year old West Papuan pleading
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Left to right: Interim President Benny Wenda poses with Malvatumauri President, Chief Willie Plasua on each side of the namele plant marking the birth place of ULMWP eight years ago

Over one million West Papuans are standing behind a young ‘boy’ from West Papua who was born at the entrance of the Malvatumauri Nakamal eight years ago. Now he is pleading to be accepted into the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Interim President Benny Wenda led a three-man delegation to the President of the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs, Chief Willie Plasua, yesterday to plead with him to use his traditional network to enable the ‘boy’ to become a full member of MSG and not continue to sit on the fence as a an “observer” with no legal powers to take part in the official decision making processes of the Melanesian Organisation.

Speaking for the Interim President, West Papua Interim Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Morris Kaloran explained, “As President of the Malvatumauri (Chief Willie Plasua), you are aware of the birth of the ‘baby’ called United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) eight years ago, which was witnessed by both local and regional dignitaries and marked by the planting of a namele tree which is still growing at the entrance of your Nakamal today”.

Despite Vanuatu’s now common stand which was first voiced by the then Prime Minister of Vanuatu, late Father Walter Lini, who said, “As long as West Papua and Kanaky in New Caledonia are not free then even though Vanuatu is a sovereign nation, it will not be really free until all of Melanesia is totally free from colonialism”.

Now over 40 years later the Interim President of ULMP, Benny Wenda, has arrived at his Office opposite Crow’s Nest from London to remind the Malvatumauri, Vanuatu Christian Council, MSG Secretariat as well as the relevant Government Authorities, to recognise the right of ULMWP to be offered its rightful place in the MSG.

In response the Malvatumauri President and his Chief Executive Officer, Jean Pierre, both agreed to work with relevant authorities towards facilitating the ULMWP Application for full membership of MSG.

They also noted all the unsuccessful applications to date and indicated that there are other ways to explore towards making sure that the current application is accepted.

“The boy is struggling still outside the official organization of MSG after its first attempt to enter MSG in 2013 but it was rejected. It was rejected again in 2017 and yet again in 2019 while the one who was supposed to have been rejected from entering MSG continues to remain an Associate Member. This is Indonesia”, said Kaloran.

He holds his post in ULMWP with commitment as he has been in the West Papua struggle for the last 23 years.

“Malvatumauri President, while it seems a struggle to recognise ULMWP here in Melanesia, this ‘boy’ is recognized internationally by 83 Asia Caribbean Pacific countries”, says Kaloran.

“So here we are with you in your high Office seeking your assistance to find the best way to get the ‘boy’ to be accepted into his rightful place in MSG”.

In conclusion he reminded the Malvatumauri that all members of the Vanuatu Government are its children therefore, it has a right to tell the Government to grant the ‘boy’ his wish to become a full member of MSG.

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2) PAHAM Papua regrets terror against journalists
 
News Desk - Violence Against Journalists In Papua 
26 January 2023

Jayapura, Jubi – Intimidation and terror are still being experienced by journalists in Papua. Most recently, a bomb explosion allegedly targeted the home of Jubi journalist Victor Mambor in Jayapura City on Monday, January 23, 2023.

The police found explosion residue and the fuse of the bomb that exploded with a loud noise. The residue will be examined in a forensic laboratory to confirm the material of the bomb.

Gustaf R Kawer, director of the Papua Human Rights Advocates Association (PAHAM Papua), regretted the terror. “This is the umpteenth incident. Journalists and media workers in Papua have been treated like this, as well as activists. However, there has never been a follow-up from the police,” Kawer said in Jayapura City on Wednesday.

Kawer said journalists and the media are important pillars of a democratic country, therefore they needed special protection from the state. Moreover, journalists have been protected by Law No. 40/1999 on the Press.

Kawer said there should be no more threats, terror and intimidation against journalists. “If terror against journalists still occurs, there is an impression of negligence, even the impression that the State is behind the terror,” he said.

Kawer asked the police to be really firm in revealing the perpetrators and completing the legal process of the case. “If in the legal process there is involvement of members of the military, police, or other institutions, there must be strict sanctions,” he said.

“If all of that is done, of course there will be a deterrent effect for the perpetrators, and in the future the media and civil society will be in a better place in democracy. That way of course the country will be better,” he added. (*)


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3) Indonesian soldier gets life for killing Papuan Christians
Local residents found the victims’ dismembered bodies on the Pigapu River, floating in bags

Human rights organizations and activists have welcomed the life imprisonment awarded to an Indonesian soldier accused of murdering four Protestant Christians in the strife-torn Papua region.

A military court in Jayapura, the capital and largest city of the Indonesian province of Papua, sentenced Major Helmanto Francis Dakhi to life imprisonment and dismissed him from the military on Jan. 24.

He is one of the five soldiers accused of the "premeditated murder" of four Protestant Christians in Nduga, Mimika Regency of central Papua province, in August last year.

Father John Djonga, a prominent human rights activist in the Jayapura diocese, said the verdict "signals that there are efforts to take firm action against the state apparatus who are perpetrators of crime in Papua."

"This is at least a bit of relief that there is a government commitment to protecting the rights of the Papuan people," he told UCA News on Jan. 26.

The punishment is the heaviest so far given by the military court to the security officers who commit atrocities in the easternmost region of the country. The life imprisonment is harsher than the military prosecutor's demand for a four-year prison term for Major Dakhi.

Major Dakhi told the judge that he was planning to file an appeal to the higher court.

Four other soldiers are currently under trial, while another person died last month.

Indonesia maintains a large military presence in the resource-rich but underdeveloped easternmost region of Papua, where conflict between the army and the pro-independence separatists has claimed thousands of lives.

The victims' dismembered bodies, packed in sacks, were dumped in the river.

Father Bernard Baru, chairman of the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Commission of the Augustinian Order in Papua, said execution of the verdict is also important as it is awarded by a military court.

He said that the verdict still did not meet the demands of civil groups which wanted the case to be tried by a civil court.

“Don't let this verdict only improve the image of the state in the public eye. We want the soldier [Major Dakhi] to be imprisoned in the Papua region so that he can be monitored," Father Baru told UCA News.

"Our reason is that their [soldiers’] brutal actions are criminal, not in the context of carrying out their duties as state apparatus," he said.

Atnike Nova Sigiro, chairwoman of the National Human Rights Commission, welcomed the verdict in a statement on Jan. 25.

"We hope that this verdict can signal a step forward in upholding human rights in Papua," she said.

Aptoro Lokbere, brother of Arnold Lokbere, one of the victims, told local news portal Jubi, "A life sentence is appropriate, given what the convict did to our family members." 

The military court’s verdict was met with surprise as the Indonesian government acquitted a soldier in December last year over the 2014 shooting of four Christian students in a case known as the Paniai shooting.

A former Dutch colony, Papua declared independence in 1961, but Indonesia annexed the territory soon. An independence referendum that followed was widely manipulated in favor of Indonesia.

Local residents of Iwaka village in Mimika district found the bodies of Arnold Lokbere, Irian Nirigi, Lemanion Nirigi, and Atis Tini in floating bags on the Pigapu River on Aug. 26.

The five soldiers had targeted their Christian victims accusing them of having links with the separatists and allegedly killed them on Aug. 22 in the guise of selling weapons to them.

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4) Family demands police to take responsibility in Second Brig. Diego Rumaropen’s death   
News Desk - Bripda Diego Rumaropen Death Case
 26 January 2023

Jayapura, Jubi – The Papua Coalition of Law Enforcement and Human Rights as the legal representative of the family of Second Brig. Fernando Diego Rumaropen asked the Papua Police to completely investigate Diego’s death and bring the responsible party to court. Diego was a member of Yon D Wamena Mobile Brigade (Brimob) who died along with the missing of two Brimob firearms in Napua VillageJayawijaya Regency on June 18, 2022.

Helmi, a member of the Coalition, said the family demanded criminal proceedings against Adj. Comr. Rustam as Diego’s commander.

“On August 2, 2022, Adj. Comr. Rustam underwent an ethics trial and was declared guilty of negligence that resulted in Diego’s death and the loss of two guns,” said Helmi.

Helmi said the Police’s Ethics Commission also recommended Adj. Comr. Rustam dishonorable discharge. “Therefore, it is appropriate for Adj. Comr. Rustam to be criminally processed because his negligence caused the death of Fernando Diego Rumaropen in accordance with Article 359 of the Criminal Code,” Helmi said in a press conference held in Jayapura City on Monday, January 23, 2023.

Helmi said there were many irregularities in the chronology of Diego’s death and the disappearance of the two firearms including a sniper rifle.

The location of the incident was an open field visible from the military post. There were at least eight people who were around the location as stated by Adj. Comr. Rustam. However, there were no eyewitnesses to Diego’s murder. The Coalition also questioned why Rustam did not report to the military post near the location.

Helmi emphasized that the family had reported Diego’s death to the Jayawijaya Police. According to Helmi, his office had received Jayawijaya Police Chief Letter Number: B/633/IX/2022/Res Jawi dated September 10, 2022 stating that the case of Diego’s death had been transferred to the Papua Police.


Helmi asked the Papua Police to announce the progress of the investigation and the obstacles experienced by investigators to carry out criminal proceedings against Adj, Comr. Rustam.

Meanwhile, Gustaf R Kawer, another member of the Coalition, said he appreciated the ethics trial that had been carried out against Adj. Comr. Rustam. However, Kawer emphasized that it should be followed up with criminal charges for Diego’s death. “We hope our report will be followed up proportionally and professionally,” Kawer said. (*)


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Wednesday, January 25, 2023

1) Victims’ Family of Mimika mutilation accept life sentence for perpetrator

 




2) Mutilation defendant Maj. Helmanto Dakhi sentenced to life imprisonment

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1) Victims’ Family of Mimika mutilation accept life sentence for perpetrator
 News Desk - Murder Of 4 Nduga Residents In Mimika 
25 January 2023 

Jayapura, Jubi – The families of victims of the murder and mutilation in Mimika Regency accept the verdict of the panel of judges of the Surabaya High Military Court III, who sentenced Maj. Inf. Helmanto Fransiskus Dakhi to life imprisonment. The verdict came as a relief to the victims’ families as previously, the prosecutor charged the defendant with only four years in prison for withholding information from his superiors.

In a trial at the Military Court III-19 Jayapura on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, the panel of judges led by Col. Chk Sultan and member judges Col. Chk Agus Husin and Col. Chk Prastiti Siswayani found Dakhi guilty of committing premeditated murder.

One of the family members, Aptoro Lokbere, said he was grateful that the panel of judges had given what the family wanted by sentencing Helmanto Dakhi to life imprisonment.

“The panel of judges decided the case as we wanted. The life sentence is appropriate, given what the defendant did to our family members,” Lokbere said in Jayapura City on Tuesday evening.

Aptoro assessed that the verdict had looked at various aspects, including the psychology of the victim’s family. “On behalf of the victim’s family, I would like to thank the panel of judges who have given the just sentence,” he said.

Lawyer of the victims’ families Gustaf R Kawer said his party accepted and was satisfied with the verdict. “The facts of premeditated murder were all proven in the trial and the sentence is appropriate,” Kawer said after attending the trial on Tuesday.

Kawer assessed that the panel of judges of the Surabaya High Military Court III was brave in examining and trying the case of the murder and mutilation of four Nduga residents. He said the verdict should be an example in the general and military courts.


“With a good verdict like this, it will certainly elevate the image of the State, the Indonesian Military (TNI), as well as public confidence in the judiciary process,” Kawer said.

Helmanto Fransiskus Dakhi is one of six soldiers of the Raider 20/Ima Jaya Keramo Infantry Brigade who are defendants in the Mimika murder and mutilation case that occurred in Settlement Unit 1, Mimika Baru District, Mimika Regency on August 22, 2022.

The other five suspects are Capt. Inf Dominggus Kainama (who died on December 24, 2022 due to heart disease), First Pvt. Rahmat Amin Sese, First Pvt. Rizky Oktaf Muliawan, First Pvt. Robertus Putra Clinsman, and Chief Pvt. Pargo Rumbouw. The four victims were Arnold Lokbere, Irian Nirigi, Lemaniel Nirigi, and Atis Tini. (*)


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2) Mutilation defendant Maj. Helmanto Dakhi sentenced to life imprisonment
   News Desk - Murder Of 4 Nduga Residents In Mimika 
25 January 2023

Jayapura, Jubi – The panel of judges of the Surabaya High Military Court IIIfound the defendant in the murder and mutilation of four Nduga residents in Mimika, Maj. Inf Helmanto Fransiskus Dakhi, guilty of premeditated murder. In the verdict read at the Jayapura Military Court III-19 Jayapura on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, Dakhi was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Helmanto Fransiskus Dakhi is one of six soldiers of the Raider 20/Ima Jaya Keramo Infantry Brigade who are defendants in the Mimika murder and mutilation case that occurred in Settlement Unit 1, Mimika Baru District, Mimika Regency on August 22, 2022.

The other five suspects are Capt. Inf Dominggus Kainama (who died on December 24, 2022 due to heart disease), First Pvt. Rahmat Amin Sese, First Pvt. Rizky Oktaf Muliawan, First Pvt. Robertus Putra Clinsman, and Chief Pvt. Pargo Rumbouw. The four victims were Arnold Lokbere, Irian Nirigi, Lemaniel Nirigi, and Atis Tini.

Major Dakhi was tried at the Surabaya High Military Court III but the location of the trial was moved to the Jayapura Military Court III-19. The case was examined by chief judge Col. Chk Sultan and member judges Col. Chk Agus Husin and Col. Chk Prastiti Siswayani.

When reading out the verdict, the chief judge said the sentence given to Helmanto Dakhi was in accordance with the evidence presented by witnesses in the trial. He was proven to have committed the joint premeditated murder as stipulated in Article 340 jo 55 paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code.

The reading of the verdict was witnessed directly by the families of the victims and the Nduga community. From Jubi’s observation at the Military Court III-19 Jayapura, the verdict reading session took place safely.

The verdict handed down by the panel of judges was heavier than the Military prosecutor’s demands. On January 19, 2023, the Military prosecutor demanded that Helmanto Dakhi be found guilty of withholding and concealing information from superiors, and asked the panel of judges to impose a criminal sentence of four years in prison and dismiss Dakhi from the Army. (*)

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1) Indonesian army major gets life for role in murder of Papuan civilians


2) Papuan journalist Victor Mambor says bomb attack likely due to his reporting

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1) Indonesian army major gets life for role in murder of Papuan civilians
Victor Mambor and Dandy Koswaraputra 
2023.01.25 
Jayapura, Indonesia, and Jakarta




Papuans cremate relatives who were allegedly killed by Indonesian soldiers, in Mimika regency, Papua province, Sept. 16, 2022. Six Indonesian soldiers were arrested after being accused of killing four indigenous Papuans and mutilating their bodies, authorities said on Aug. 30.


The Indonesian military said on Wednesday that a tribunal sentenced an army major to life in prison for his involvement in the murder of four Papuan civilians, whose mutilated bodies were found in August in the restive region. 

Human rights activists and victims’ relatives welcomed the conviction of Maj. Helmanto Fransiskus Dakhi before the military tribunal in Surabaya as progress in holding members of security forces accountable for abuses committed in Papua.

“The defendant … was found guilty of premeditated murder,” Herman Taryaman, spokesman for the Indonesian military command in Papua, told journalists. The tribunal also dismissed Helmanto from the military, he said.

Four other soldiers charged in connection with the killings are being tried by a tribunal in Papua province’s capital, Jayapura. A sixth military suspect – a captain – died in December after falling ill, Herman said.

Four civilians are also facing trial in a civilian court in the case, police said.

The four victims were beheaded and their legs cut off before their bodies were placed in sacks and tossed into a river in Mimika Baru, a district in Mimika regency.

Activists had said the violence degraded the dignity of indigenous Papuans amid allegations of ongoing rights abuses by government security forces in Papua.

The largely underdeveloped and impoverished region at the far-eastern end of Indonesia is where a separatist insurgency has simmered for decades. Both the Indonesian security forces and rebels have been accused of committing atrocities against civilians. 

Helmanto is the third Indonesian Armed Forces member to be sentenced to life by a military court in a murder case since June.

In September, police said that the killings were linked to an illegal arms purchase and that the motive was “economic.” The suspects were posing as gun runners and the victims came to them with 250 million rupiah (U.S. $16,500) in cash to purchase the weapons, officials had said.

However, rights advocacy group KontraS said that the police’s allegation that the victims tried to buy firearms was not backed by evidence because a homemade rifle, which was cited as evidence, was missing. 

Police investigators had said that the suspects threw the gun into a river along with the victims’ bodies.

‘Good decision’

A spokesman for the victims’ families, Aptoro Lokbere, said he was “satisfied” with the conviction and sentence.

“On behalf of the victims’ families, I would like to thank the panel of judges for handing the sentence in accordance with the wishes of the families,” he said.

Gustaf Kawer, an attorney for the victims’ families, said the life sentence for Maj. Helmanto was a “brave” decision that should be emulated by military and civilian courts in similar cases.

“I think that a good decision will certainly positively affect the image of the state, the TNI [armed forces], and the public’s trust in the judiciary,” Gustaf told BenarNews.

The verdict could raise public confidence that perpetrators of rights abuses could be held accountable, said Atnike Nova Sigiro, chair of the National Commission on Human Rights.  

“This decision also shows that the public’s wish for justice in Papua is beginning to become a reality,” she told BenarNews. 

“This can increase public confidence in military justice.”

Pizaro Gozali Idrus in Jakarta contributed to this report.

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2) Papuan journalist Victor Mambor says bomb attack likely due to his reporting
  

Pacific Media Watch

A prominent Papuan journalist has said a recent bombing near his home is the latest in a string of attacks against him, reports ABC Pacific Beat.

Victor Mambor said he heard motorbikes ride past his home before a bomb exploded about 3 metres from his house on Monday.

He suspects his attackers wished to scare him.

“It’s not the first time, I have had more threats before,” Mambor said.

“They broke my my car, they threatened me through SMS texts and WhatsApp messenger.”

Mambor, editor of the Papuan news website Jubi, suspects the work he has done reporting on Indonesian-ruled West Papua has led to these threats.

I think they think I’m a journalist who supports the West Papua freedom movement,” he said.

Presenter: Prianka Srinivasan


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Tuesday, January 24, 2023

1) Journalist Victor Mambor’s home bombed in Papua, Indonesia



2) Jayapura City Police investigate explosion near senior journalist’s house 

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 Committee to Protect Journalists

1) Journalist Victor Mambor’s home bombed in Papua, Indonesia
January 24, 2023 11:45 AM EST




Journalist Victor Mambor’s home was recently targeted in a bomb attack in West Papua, Indonesia. (Screenshot: Voice of America/YouTube)



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2) Jayapura City Police investigate explosion near senior journalist’s house   
News Desk - Explosion 
24 January 2023

Jayapura, Jubi – Jayapura City Police are investigating the explosion on Monday morning, January 23, 2023 at the Bak Air Complex, Jl. Pasir 6, Angkasapura Village, Jayapura City, about five meters next to the house of Papua’s senior journalist Victor Mambor.

“We are currently investigating the crime scene. Hopefully, the results can be obtained soon,” said Jayapura City Police chief Sr. Come. Victor Dean Mackbon in Jayapura City.

He emphasized that this was an act of terror as it used explosives. “Officers have secured the remains of the explosion residue. It will be taken to the Papua Police Forensic Laboratory to find out the shape and content of the explosives,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mambor said the incident occurred at around 04.00 a.m. Papua time.

“I happened to be watching TV at the time. The sound was so loud that my house also shook as if there was an earthquake,” said Mambor.

He admitted that after hearing the sound he did not immediately leave the house to check. However, neighbors saw thick smoke and flames from the scene.

“There were neighbors from the top of the Capela Pilamo worship building who came because they thought there was a fire as there was thick smoke. Two minutes later, I came out of the house and smelled a very strong sulfur odor,” he said.


According to Mambor, the explosion damaged the road asphalt about 2 centimeters deep.

“Indeed, before the sound of the explosion, I heard the sound of a motorcycle from the road towards Pasir 6. Not long after, I heard the sound of a motorcycle right next to the house towards the big road, and one minute later there was a big explosion,” he explained.

With this incident, Mambor hoped that the police could immediately reveal the motive and perpetrators of terror.

“I hope this can be revealed soon because this is the second time I have experienced terror like this. Last year my car was vandalized by people. Until now it is not clear who the perpetrators are,” said Mambor.(*)

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1) ‘Terror’ bomb explodes near Papua journalist Victor Mambor’s home

1) ‘Terror’ bomb explodes near Papua journalist Victor Mambor’s home


2) Wenda only West Papuan to have successfully escaped from an Indonesian prison


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1) ‘Terror’ bomb explodes near Papua journalist Victor Mambor’s home

By Pacific Media Watch -  January 24, 2023

By Dandy Koswaraputra and Pizaro Gozali Idrus

A veteran journalist known for covering rights abuses in Indonesia’s militarised Papua region says a bomb exploded outside his home yesterday and a journalists group has called it an act of “intimidation” threatening press freedom.

No one was injured in the blast near his home in the provincial capital Jayapura said Victor Mambor, editor of Papua’s leading news website Jubi, who visited New Zealand in 2014.

Police said they were investigating the explosion and that no one had yet claimed responsibility.

“Yes, someone threw a bomb,” Papua Police spokesperson Ignatius Benny told Benar News. “The motive and perpetrators are unknown.”

The Jayapura branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) condemned the explosion as a “terrorist bombing”.

In Sydney, the Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) and Pacific Media Watch in New Zealand protested over the incident and called for a full investigation.


Mambor said he heard the sound of a motorcycle at about 4 am and then an explosion about a minute later.

‘Shook like earthquake’
“It was so loud that my house shook like there was an earthquake,” he told Benar News as reported by Radio Free Asia.

“I also checked the source of the explosion and smelt sulfur coming from the side of the house.”

The explosion left a hole in the road, he said.

The incident was not the first to occur outside Mambor’s home. In April 2021, windows were smashed and paint sprayed on his car in the middle of the night.

Mambor is also an advocate for press freedom in Papua. In that role, he has criticised Jakarta’s restrictions on the media in Papua, as well as its other policies in his troubled home province.

The AJI awarded Mambor its press freedom awardin August 2022, saying that through Jubi, “Victor brings more voices from Papua, amid domination of information that is biased, one-sided and discriminatory.”

“AJI in Jayapura strongly condemns the terrorist bombing and considers this an act of intimidation that threatens press freedom in Papua,” it said in a statement.

‘Voice the truth’ call
“AJI Jayapura calls on all journalists in the land of Papua to continue to voice the truth despite obstacles. Justice should be upheld even though the sky is falling,” said AJI chair Lucky Ireeuw.

Amnesty International Indonesia urged the police to find those responsible.

“The police must thoroughly investigate this incident, because this is not the first time … meaning there was an omission that made the perpetrators feel free to do it again, to intimidate and threaten journalists,” Amnesty’s campaign manager in Indonesia, Nurina Savitri, told BenarNews.

The Papua region, located at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago, has been the site of a decades-old pro-independence insurgency where both government security forces and rebels have been accused of committing atrocities against civilians.

Foreign journalists have been largely barred from the area, with the government insisting it could not guarantee their safety. Indonesian journalists allege that officials make their work difficult by refusing to provide information.

The armed elements of the independence movement have stepped up lethal attacks on Indonesian security forces, civilians and targets such as construction of a trans-Papua highway that would make the Papuan highlands more accessible.

Human Rights Watch, meanwhile, has accused Indonesian security forces of intimidation, arbitrary arrests, torture, extrajudicial killings and mass forced displacement in Papua.

Security forces kill 36
Last month, Indonesian activist group KontraS said 36 people were killed by security forces and pro-independence rebels in the Papua and West Papua provinces in 2022, an increase from 28 in 2021.

In Sydney, Joe Collins of the AWPA said in a statement: “These acts of intimidation against local journalists in West Papua  threaten freedom of the press.

“It is the local media in West Papua that first report on human rights abuses and local journalists are crucial in reporting information on what is happening in West Papua”.

Collins said Canberra remained silent on the issue — ‘the Australian government is very selective in who it criticises over their human rights record.”

There was no problem raising concerns about China or Russia over their record, “but Canberra seems to have great difficulty in raising the human rights abuses in West Papua with Jakarta.”

Republished from Free Radio Asia with additional reporting by Pacific Media Watch.

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2) Wenda only West Papuan to have successfully escaped from an Indonesian prison
By Len Garae  3 hrs ago

Benny Wenda is both an International Lobbyist for Independence of West Papua as well as Interim President of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) Provisional Government. But he is much, much more than that. His future was prophesied by his people to go to school in order to carry the message to the world with his “pencil” for West Papua freedom.

At the beginning he was a displaced child with his mother and Lani Tribe for seven years fending for themselves in the jungle and mountains of West Papua, while hiding from the Indonesian soldiers.

In his latest revelation, the Interim President tells me he saw with his own eyes what the Indonesian soldiers did to his mother. Out of Melanesian decency, it cannot be mentioned in this article.

His uncle insisted on sending him to school and Wenda was sent to school in Jayapura. “I was seated next to an Indonesian female student who immediately spat in my face. I wiped away her spittle with my hand and suspected that coming from the jungle, perhaps I needed to shower properly. So the next morning I showered three times before class. As soon as I sat down on my chair, she spat in my face again. My Indonesian teacher turned a blind eye as though nothing had happened,” he says.

Despite the mistreatment in his own country, he bravely struggled to get an education for the freedom of his people. Between 1977 and 1983 Benny and his family, along with thousands of other highlanders, lived in hiding in the jungle. He was appointed leader by the elders in his tribe, and later after the Lani people surrendered to the Indonesian military he attended Cenderawasih University in Jayapura, studying Sociology.

Benny went on to complete a degree in sociology and politics in Jayapura. While at university, he initiated discussion groups for Papuan students in Jayapura – of all ages and from all tribes from both the highlands and coastal regions – so they could come together and talk about what it was to be Papuan.

Without going into detail, Benny said he was jailed for 25 years for raising the Morning Sun West Papua Flag.

While in jail, he recalls that he missed being assassinated once. “I knew that I had to pray for God’s intervention to help me escape from prison. I also called on all my ancestors to intervene. Then one night in the middle of the night, I went to the toilet and executed my escape plan without knowing as to what the security lights searching the perimeter every few seconds should shine on me, as well as without knowing what awaited me on the other side of the wall,” he said.

There were three walls to jump and the security lights came on and off when he executed his escape.

Benny became the only West Papuan to have successfully escaped to freedom from an Indonesian prison.

He says he walked to his people and the news of his escape astonished both Indonesian and West Papuan.

Asked if he has any wish for a permanent job, he replies with his knockout smile that this is it – to free his people. He has never enjoyed another job.

news@dailypost.vu

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Monday, January 23, 2023

Statement -AWPA condemns the bomb attack on the home of Papuan journalist Victor Mambor.

  Australia West Papua Association (Sydney) 


 

AWPA condemns the bomb  attack on the home of Papuan journalist Victor Mambor.

Statement 24 January 2023

 


                                  (From FWPC FB page)


Although no one was injured in the blast near Victors home on Monday (around  4.00 am) , Victor reports that  the low-powered explosion  “ was so loud that my house shook like there was an earthquake,” 

 

The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) strongly condemned the bombing as a threat to press freedom in Papua. AJI urged the Indonesian Police to thoroughly investigate the perpetrators behind the terror.   

 

Amnesty International Indonesia also urged the police to find those responsible.“The police must thoroughly investigate this incident, because this is not the first time … meaning there was an omission that made the perpetrators feel free to do it again, to intimidate and threaten journalists,” Amnesty’s campaign manager in Indonesia, Nurina Savitri, told BenarNews.


Joe Collins of AWPA said, “ this is not to the first time Victor has been targeted and intimated.  In April  2021 his  car was vandalised, the windows were smashed and paint sprayed on his car  by unknown persons. These acts of intimidation against local journalists in West Papua  threaten  freedom of the press.  It is the local media in West Papua that first report on human rights abuses and local journalists are crucial in reporting information on what is happening in West Papua”. 

 

 

As the situation in the territory continues to deteriorate with ongoing clashes between the security forces and the OPM (the Free Papua Movement),  the West Papuan people continue to be arrested, intimated and killed by the security forces. Military operations continue to take place and these military operations  have also created  large numbers of internal refugees.  


Canberra remains silent on the issue. The Australia Government is very selective in who it criticises

over their human rights record. No problem raising concerns about China’s, or Russia’s record but Canberra seems to have great difficulty in raising the human rights abuses in West Papua with Jakarta. 


Its only when the media ask a question about WP that we get a response.  This is why,  “now more than ever it is crucial that journalists both local and international  can report without fear and intimidation on what is happening in West Papua” .


Hopefully in the coming year Canberra will start paying more attention to what’s  happening on its doorstep and try and improve the lives of Papuans who are one of our nearest neighbours.

Ends.

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Victor Mambor received the 2022 Udin Award from the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) on AJI’s 28th-anniversary celebration. Victor has dedicated his life for decades to the field of journalism.  The Udin Award is AJI’s annual award to promote press freedom and freedom of expression in Indonesia. Through it, AJI wants to recognise journalists (individuals and groups), who are dedicated to the field of journalism, and become victims of physical or psychological violence because of their journalistic activities.


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