Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Reply from DFAT to AWPA letter re 1st Dec.

Reply from DFAT to AWPA letter re 1st Dec.

Australian Government
Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Dear Mr Collins

Thank you for your letter dated 28 November 2011 about the 50th anniversary of the Morning Star flag. I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs , Mr Rudd.

The Australian Government follows closely developments in the Papuan provinces and Prime Minister Gillard discussed Papua with Indonesian President Yudhoyono during their most recent meeting in Bali on 20 November 2011. President Yudhoyono has made clear his determination to act firmly on human rights abuses by Indonesia's armed forces.

Our Ambassador in Jakarta has raised Australia's concerns with violence in the Papuan provinces with the Indonesian Government and has highlighted the need to investigate all abuses by the Indonesian security forces. On 1st December 2011 , our Ambassodor spoke with Indonesioan authorities and underlined the need for restraint. We understand that President Yudhoyono reiterated to security force commanders on 30 November his strong expectation that security forces would handle incidents in Papua on 1st December appropriately. We note that demonstrations on 1st December were relatively calm compared to previous years.

The Australian Government has discussed with Indonesia the issue of flag -raising in the Papuan provinces and the importance of safeguarding freedon of expression for all individuals. The Indonesian Government takles a firm stance against separatist activity , not least the display of what it perceives to be separatist symbols . Accordingly, a significant number of Papuan activists are currently imprisoned in Indonesia for raising the Morning Star flag.

You raised the specific case of Mr Filep Karma, a prominent Papuan activist gaoled under charges of subversion for his role in such a Morning Star flag raising .In May 2010 , Embassy staff in Jakarta made representations to the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs , urging them to provide Mr Karma with access to additional medical care and legal representation , which he received a short time later. We have raised his case in the broader human rights context on subseqwuent occasions.

The Australian Government supports a vigorous and free press as a key feature of modern Indonesian democracy and will continue to highlight the importance of vibrancy and diversity within its media. Australia continues to underline the value to Indonesia of being seen to be open to international media.

Yours sincerely
G Ralp
Indonesian Political and Strategic Section
Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

AWPA update. November - beginning December 2011

AWPA update. November - beginning December 2011

It is with sad news that we hear Clemens Rumawery passed away in Port Moresby on the 6 December. Condolences to his family and friends.

Human rights organisations continued to condemn the brutal crackdown on the 3rd Papuan Peoples’ Congress in October. The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) reported on Thursday that it had found that 96 out of 387 participants at the third Papuan Peoples Congress had been assaulted by police officers. The commission’s investigation found that police officers had seized millions of rupiah from participants, four cars and several pieces of electronic equipment. According to the investigation, police officers also destroyed seven motorbikes. The commission reported that participants had also lost 50 cellular phones. Julles said that the commission had urged the Papua Police to return any property belonging to the participants. Komnas HAM also recorded several deaths. Amnesty International also called on the Indonesian government to act on Komnas HAM’s findings that human rights violations were committed by Indonesian security forces at the Congress.

Amnesty also criticized an internal police disciplinary hearing in Jayapura, which found the former Jayapura Police Chief Iman Setiawan guilty of violating the Disciplinary Code for “his inability to co-ordinate police officers under his command”. 

 Amnesty in its statement said “The fact that eight Indonesian police officers involved in a violent crackdown on a peaceful gathering that left three dead have only been given written warnings, is a failure of human rights accountability”‘slap-wrist’-police-violence-papua-accountability-failure-2011-11-23

Ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit to Bali, members of Congress called upon him to make West Papua one of his top priorities during his talks with Indonesian President

On the 14 November thousands of people marched in Jayapura demanding their right to self-determination and calling for a referendum. On ABC VIDEO: West Papuans march on Jayapura to demand referendum

Photos at

A number of military operations continued in the highlands and a google translate of an article in Jubi concerning an operation in Paniai can be found below. (Beware google translate can be erratic).

Operations continued into the beginning of December with security forces hunting rebels after two police were killed in an attack. West Papua Media also reported that entire villages were forcibly evacuated by Brimob forces .

Tension was high in West Papua leading up to West Papuan national flag day on the 1st December with extra troops being brought into West Papua for security operations. Many organisations wrote to their governments calling on them to contact the Indonesian Government urging it to control its military in West Papua. AWPA letter to Kevin Rudd at

The majority of rallies marking the 50th anniversary of the first raising of the Morning Star flag in 1961 went off verily peacefully, however in Timika the security forces opened fire on the unarmed crowd injuring a number of people critically. Five people who were involved in the flag-raising incident are to go on trial.

In a show of solidarity with the West Papuan people, Leichhardt and Marrickville Councils raised the West Papuan national flag on their town halls in Sydney AWPA supporters and West Papuan representatives Rex Rumakiek and Octo Mote were in attendance.

AWPA also wrote to AusAid asking that it assist with food aid for the people in the Intan Jaya district of West Papua (letter below). Media reports indicate that thousands of Papuans are suffering from a lack of food for the past four months. The report said that 19 villages in Homeo, Intan Jaya district, Papua, have been suffering from a lack of food and the people have been forced to eat tubers from the forest to survive. Australia is one of the best-resourced countries in the region and we urge the Government to offer assistance to the Papuan Governor for those affected by the food shortages. West Papua is one of our nearest neighbors.

The Strike at the Freeport is continuing with workers saying that their industrial action will extend until at least 15 December.


Violence against Papuan Women High

Thursday, 10 November, 2011 TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:

Violence against women in Papua has remained high over the past two years. There were 80 cases between 2010 and 2011, higher than the period between 1963 and 2009 (261 cases).

Sylvana Apituley, the Papua taskforce chief at the National Commission for Women, said the cases were dominated by sexual, physical and psychological violence. “This was not only committed by civilians but also security personnel,” she said in Jakarta yesterday.

There were four cases in Jayapura, 37 cases in Merauke and 39 cases in Wamena.

The violence, she added, was encouraged by the political, social, economic and security situation in the area.

Between 1963 and 2009, there were 81 cases committed by state security personnel and 98 cases of domestic violence. In the same period, there were 25 violence cases involving the state and households.

According to Sylvana, the commission has reported the date to the government, the House of Representatives (DPR) and the police but there has not been a response. Sylvana said it was hard to reduce the number of cases with a heavy security approach in Papua.

Jeirry Sumampouw, from the Indonesian Church Representative’s Women and Children Department, said the only solution was to reduce the number of security personnel.

He said the personnel’s attack after the third Papuan Congress on October 19 killed three people. At that time, said Jeirry, the personnel did not differentiate between men, women and children. “The congress results will legalize security personnel committing acts of violence,” he said.

Chief of the National Commission for Women, Yuniati Chuzaifah, said the government did not have good intentions in terms of resolving human rights abuses in Papua.

“The government must hear and respond to human rights issues in Papua,” she said.



Govt to screen media for separatist, radical content

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 11/10/2011

The Communication and Information Technology Ministry has announced plans to begin screening media following an earlier finding that media reporting was prone to misinformation, as well as separatist and radical propaganda. “We want to be proactive in reminding the media so they don't drift off course,” ministry spokesman Gatot S Dewabroto said Thursday as quoted by Gatot added that the Religious Affairs Ministry and National Education and Culture Ministry would assist in efforts to monitor media, but said any judgement would be made by his own ministry. “We won't ban either the media or its content, but we are doing this so that people don’t say the government lets the media do whatever it wants,” he said.


Appeal for food aid

RNZI on 24 November,

The Australian West Papua Association has written to the Australian government aid agency, AusAID, asking that it provide food aid to the people in the Intan Jaya district of Papua in Indonesia. It says thousands of people in the region have been suffering from a lack of food for the past four months. The association says 19 villages in Intan Jaya district are short of food and people are relying on tubers found in the forest to survive. It says Australia is one of the best resourced countries in the region and it’s urging Canberra to offer assistance to the Papua Governor.


Interpol criticised over attempt to arrest Asian separatist leader

Oxford-based Benny Wenda fears return to Indonesia, where he is wanted for promoting West Papua independence


Army officer, employee shot at Freeport mine

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 11/23/2011

An army officer and an employee of PT Freeport Indonesia were shot on Tuesday at the Freeport mining area in Mimika, Papua. Army officer chief private Mardi Tekad and Freeport employee Abu Bakar Sidik were driving a Freeport security car when they came under fire at Mile 51 at 12:30 p.m., according to the National Police, as quoted by on Wednesday. The car, carrying 13 security personnel, was en route from Mile 50 to Mile 64. Praka suffered wounds to his left hand, while Abu was wounded on his left cheek. The Mimika Police and Freeport security task force are currently investigating the incident.


Police to let KPK probe funds received from Freeport

The Jakarta Post 11/06/2011

The National Police said Sunday it will allow the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to scrutinize police officers regarding funds they may have received from mining firm PT Freeport Indonesia to guard the company area in Papua. National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo said he supported any actions to help police uphold their public accountability and the truth in the Freeport fund case, reported. National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Boy Rafli Amar recently said police received US$14 million from Freeport to guard the firm area in Papua. Among the beneficiaries are 365 police officers who each received Rp 1.25 million (US$130) per month from Freeport. The agreement was made between Freeport and the Papua Police in 2004.


Fresh Freeport Attack in Papua; Police Officer Shot in Face

Banjir Ambarita | November 07, 2011

Papua. An unidentified group of assailants opened fire on a police patrol vehicle near the Freeport-operated Grasberg mine on Monday, leaving one police officer with gunshot wounds to the face.

Papua Police Spokesman Sr. Comr. Wachyono identified the victim as First Brig. Marselinus, from Kelapa Dua in Depok.

Marselinus, on patrol with a with other officers, was shot in the left side of his face, he said.

The patrol, still being fired on, managed to escape and drive to the nearest security post.

Wachyono said the unidentified attackers were still being hunted.

The condition of Marselinus was not available.


Residents Afraid to Leave Homes After Papua Shooting Incident

Friday, 18 November, 2011 TEMPO Interactive, Jayapura, Papua:

The residents of Tagapige, the Nomouwodide village in Paniai Regency, Papua, are still afraid to leave their houses following a fatal shooting incident. “The people are afraid of being accused as members of the OPM [Free Papua Organization],” said Elias Petege, the Chairman of the Papua People’s Solidarity for Anti-Militarism, on Thursday.

Elias claimed that the shooting, which occurred on Sunday and claimed the life of Matias Tenouye, 32, was allegedly committed by officials. Elias also disputed the information received from the Papua National Commission for Human Rights which stated that eight people were killed.

Elias said the shooting began when Matias, who was with seven other residents of the Tagapige Village, was suspected of being a member of the West Papua National Liberation Army.



Neles Tebay welcomes the readiness of the government to enter into dialogue with Papua Bintang Papua, 9 November 2011

Jayapura: Pastor Neles Tebay, co-ordinator of the Papua Peace Network has stated today that he has received information that the central government is willing to have a dialogue with the Papuan people. He said that the offer from the goverenment, by the Minister-Coordinator for Politics and Law to enter into construction communications with the Papua people was welcome. 'We Papuan people should welcome the constructive communications being offered by the government, as the way to resolve all the crucial problems in Papua. Even though it is not entirely clear, the willingness to communicate with the Papuan people is a sign of good will and means that the government is very concerned about Papua.' However, he said that the government must explain to the Papuan people what it means by constructive communications, and what form the government intends this to take. Are there phases through which this will pass This needs to be clarified.We have only been hearing recently about Constructive Communications without it being made clear what this means. This needs to be brought within the context with the perception of the Papuan people for entering into dialogue between Jakarta and Papua. He said that a meeting should be held with the Papuan people who want dialogue. In such a meeting, it should be possible to clarify the substance of a Jakarta-Papua Dialogue and Constructive Communications. This meeting should discuss the format of dialogue and the format of constructive communication that would be acceptable to both sides.He expressed his optimism that there will be a resolution to the problem for the Papua people.


Melanesian spearhead group to let west papua apply for observer status

RNZI Posted 11 November, 2011

West Papua will be given the opportunity to apply for observer status within the Melanesian Spearhead Group. The Director General of the MSG secretariat in Port Vila, Peter Forau, has told Radio Vanuatu that this was agreed upon at last week’s MSG Foreign ministers meeting. However, Mr Forau says the observer status of the West Papuans has to be established as part of the group representing Indonesia.

At the last MSG summit in Fiji in March, Indonesia was granted observer status . One of the MSG members are the Kanaks of New Caledonia’s FLNKS Movement.


Freeport tailings have affected the depth of the water along the south coast of West Papua JUBI, 21 November 2011 (from Tapol)

The disposal by Freeport-Indonesia of its tailings along the south coast of West Papua stretching several metres from the coastline has resulted in the sea water becoming much shallower than it was before. The secretary of Kampung Kaokanao, Frans Kawai said: 'Formerly, the coastline was very different from what it is now. This used to be covered by the sea.We here are feeling the consequences of the impact of the tailings from Freeport being dumped here.' Frans Kawai, who runs a popular Kaokanao music group, said that this has damaged the ecosystem and the natural habitat in the vicinity. 'Because of the impact of the tailings, the fish in the sea now taste very different. This is the result of contamination by chemicals which are contained in the tailings. He said that global warming has also affected the depth of the sea. 'This has had an impact as well on the houses in the area and their surrounding land. We need to watch this development closely in the coming weeks ad years,' he said.


Another report in JUBI also talks about the sedimentation in the estuaries of the Aijkwa and Otomana rivers caused by the tailings from the Freeport mine which has resulted in the district of Kaokamao becoming flooded. 'Along here,' he told JUBI, 'there used to be sea water. The ebb and flow of the water is not at all the same as what it used to be and the water now flows into some of our kampungs.


Gunmen kill Freeport guard, wound 2 men near mine

Associated Press, Timika | Fri, 11/18/2011

Police say gunmen killed a mining company guard and wounded two policemen in a patrol car near the large Freeport-McMoRan gold mine in eastern Indonesia. Papua province police spokesman Col. Wachyono said unidentified gunmen attacked a patrol car carrying the victims Friday from the mining town of Tembagapura to Kuala Kencana. The guard killed was driving the car. The passengers included another officer and another guard. The mine in remote Papua is un by a subsidiary of the Phoenix, Arizona-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. Most of the mine's 12,000 workers have been striking since Sept. 15 to demand higher salaries. Last month, two workers were shot by police trying to control a crowd and three were killed by unidentified gunmen


Call for Brimob persnnel to be withdrawn from Paniai

JUBI, 16 November, 2011

The shooting which is believed to have resulting in the deaths of eight local residents in Bayabiru who were illegally panning for gold in Degeuwo in the district of Bogobaida, Paniai, took place three days after Brimob troops arrived in Enarotali from Timika. Full details of the incident along with a chronology and the reasons for the shooting are not yet known. 'If this is true, no one can accept what happened. We herewith demand that the Brimob troops be withdrawn from Paniai,' said Yakobus Dumupa, a member of the MRP, the Majelis Rakyat Papua. The chairman of the Paniai district Customary Council (Dewan Adat Daerah Pania)i, John NR Gobai, asked in a press release what was the reason for sending 120 Brimob troops to Paniai where the security situation can be described as conducive. 'We are seeking an explanation about this from the local Brimob chief as well as the chief of police in the district.' He said that the Brimob troops that had been deployed to Enarotali had for the first three days caused a great deal of anxiety and trauma among the local people.'There needs to be some campaigning and advocacy from the NGOs and we need to set up a fact-finding committee to prove that this is true,' he said. (from tapol)


8 traditional miners shot dead in Paniai, Papua

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta 11/16/2011

Eight civilians were reportedly shot dead at a traditional gold mining site on the Degeuwo River in Paniai regency, Papua. The shooting allegedly took place at about 10 a.m. on Sunday, Matius Murid, the deputy chief of the Papua office of the National Commission on Human Rights, said Wednesday in Jakarta. “We’re still investigating what caused the shooting and what actually happened. Some people have given some information, but it’s still not clear yet,” Matius said as quoted by “We still don’t know what motivated the shooting or exactly how [the victims] died,” he said. The eight dead victims were allegedly shot while panning for gold on the river, Matius said.

The victims were Matias Tenouye (30), Simon Adii (35), Yoel Ogetay (30), Petrus Gobay (40), Benyamin Gobay (25), Marius Maday (35), Matias Anoka (40) and Yus Pigome (50). Matius added that dozens of people near the scene of the incident had fled after being traumatized by the shooting. Meanwhile, Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Wachyono said his office had not received any reports on the shooting.


Press releases/reports/opinion pieces etc.

New Report Human Rights in Papua 2010/2011


Papua-Indonesia peaceful dialogue needs a neutral mediator

Socratez Sofyan Yoman

We have followed the latest developments in Papua through various media reports as well as direct observation, in which violence and crimes against humanity were committed by the Indonesian Military (TNI), the National Police (Polri), Free Papua Organization (OPM) rebels and their fostered groups, as well as unidentified gunmen.


Senator Richard Di Natale West Papua - Question and Motion to the Senate

A question and motion that Senator Richard Di Natale, Greens spokesperson for West Papua, put to the Australian Senate this week, on Tuesday 1 November.

You can watch and share a video of Senator Di Natale’s Senate question and motion here:

You can also follow Richard’s work as Greens spokesperson for West Papua here:


Police Back Down At Freeport Picket Line

4 Nov 2011 By Setyo Budi

Indonesian police cancelled a plan to forcibly break up a blockade at Freeport's Grasberg mine - but workers have been issued with a new deadline to resolve the long-running dispute, writes Setyo Budi



The Human Rights Situation in West Papua -Podcast

TIN has spoken to Mr Joe Collins, Secretary of the Sydney Australia West Papua Association, about the current human rights situation in West Papua and the way forward. The podcast is now online and you can listen to it here.


Papua Miners' Strike: Everyone's a Loser

John McBeth - Straits Times Indonesia | November 22, 2011

A three month-long strike has paralyzed Freeport Indonesia's giant copper and gold mine in the Central Highlands of Papua. It has so far cost the company and the Indonesian government an estimated US$1.3 billion (S$1.7 billion) in lost revenues.

But there may be a lot more at stake than that. The Freeport Trade Union of Chemical, Energy and Mine workers, a branch of the nationwide All-Indonesia Workers Union (SPSI), initially demanded eye-popping base pay of between US$17.50 and US$43 an hour for non-staff, up from US$2.10 to US$3.50.


Troop withdrawal necessary to start peace talks: Komnas HAM

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 11/05/2011 9:32 AM

The government must first withdraw its military and police personnel from Papua if it really wants peace talks to start, says the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM).