Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Open letter to Pacific Islands Forum leaders concerning West Papua

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, Sydney, Australia 2088

Open letter to Pacific Islands Forum leaders concerning West Papua

15 May 2012

Dear Pacific Islands Forum leaders,

On behalf of the Australia West Papua Association (Sydney) I am writing to you concerning the issue of West Papua[1]

AWPA believes that since the last Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) summit in Auckland, the situation in West Papua has deteriorated further. We would like to bring your attention to a number of incidents and reports that raise grave concerns about the human rights situation in the territory.

In October 2011 there was a crackdown on the 3rd Papuan Peoples congress where security forces used excessive force when arresting up to 300 Papuans. Up to six people were reported killed and five of the organisers arrested and charged with treason. They received three years in prison for subversion.  At no time did these men commit violence and they have been jailed solely for peacefully expressing their political views as is their right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As opposed to the three year sentence given to the five activists, no action was taken against the security force personal who were involved in the brutal crackdown and they received only written warnings. 

Amnesty International in its annual report 2011 on Indonesia states  

“The security forces tortured and otherwise ill-treated detainees, and used excessive force against protesters, sometimes leading to death. No adequate accountability mechanisms were in place to ensure justice or act as an effective deterrent against police abuses. The criminal justice system remained unable to address ongoing impunity for current and past human rights violations. Restrictions on freedom of expression were severe in areas such as Papua and Maluku”.

Amnesty International also believes there are at least 100 political activists in prison for peacefully expressing their views in areas seeking independence such as Maluku and Papua.

An article in the Jakarta Globe (4 January 2012) titled “2011 a Busy Year for Human Rights Investigations in Papua” quotes the head of the Papua office of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) as saying they “looked into 58 alleged violations of human rights in 2011, and was anticipating investigating at least that many cases in 2012”, and, 
“In almost 65 percent of human rights violation cases in Papua, the perpetrators are TNI [Indonesian Armed Forces] and National Police members,”

The Freeport mine is a symbol to West Papuan people of the exploitation of their natural resources from which they receive little benefit.  A three-month strike began on the 15 September with workers asking for better conditions.   During the strike a number of shootings occurred around the mine.  In one incident Petrus Ayamiseba, a worker was killed when Indonesian security forces fired on striking workers in Timika.

A number of military operations occurred in West Papua in the past year.
A Military operation in the Paniai region caused the displacement of thousands of people and villages burned.  According to a report in Jubi (29 December) referring to a military operation in November and December 2011,  “The operation has been on-going ever since Brimob troops from East Kalimantan were sent to Paniai in the second week of November” Jubi also commented that this operation will continue as the security forces hunt for the OPM who have moved from Eduda  (one of their base camps into woodland areas following an attack by the security forces. The Free Papua Organization says 14 of its members were killed during the attack. At one stage approximately 500 inhabitants of Dagouto village in Paniai Regency had to leave their homes and seek refuge following the deployment of 150 Mobile Brigade officers to their area.

It is now 49 years since Indonesia took over the administration of West Papua from the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) in 1963 and the people of West Papua still continue their struggle for self -determination.   This can be clearly seen by the thousands of West Papuans who marched peacefully in the past year in numerous rallies calling for their right to self-determination and for a referendum. The most recent rallies took place on the 1st May when thousands marched to protest the UN handover of West Papua to Indonesian administration in 1963.

In light of the ongoing human rights abuses in West Papua, AWPA urges the PIF Leaders 

to discuss the human rights situation in West Papua  at the 43rd Pacific Islands Forum in  August in Rarotonga.

to raise the human rights situation in West Papua with the Indonesian President and to urge the Indonesian Government  to release all West Papuan political prisoners as a sign of good faith to the West Papuan people.

to request permission from the Indonesian Government to allow a PIF fact finding mission to West Papua to investigate the human rights situation in the territory.

to encourage the Indonesian Government to allow greater access for human rights monitors and the international media to West Papua.  

to grant observer status to  genuine representatives of the Melanesian  people of West Papua who are struggling for their right to self determination . We note that the PIF has granted observer status to Tokelau, Wallis and Futuna, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the United Nations, the Asian Development Bank, the Word Bank, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas, and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States Secretariat.  New Caledonia and French Polynesia, previously Forum Observers are now Associate Members with Timor Leste having Special Observer status.
We believe that the time is now right to bring representatives of the Melanesian people of West Papua back into  the Pacific community .

The issue of West Papua will not disappear and AWPA believes that it should be of great concern to the Forum that the situation in West Papua could deteriorate further. The West Papuan people have been calling for dialogue with Jakarta for years (under third party mediation ) and  AWPA believes the PIF can play an important role in helping facilitate such a dialogue between genuine representatives of the West Papuan leadership and the Indonesian Government. The PIF should place pressure on Jakarta to resolve West Papuans’ issues of concern. Otherwise we will see increasing conflict in West Papua which in turn could affect the region

Yours sincerely
Joe Collins
AWPA (Sydney) 

[1] AWPA (Sydney) uses the name “West Papua” to refer to the whole of the western half of the Island of New Guinea. However, “West Papua” at this time is divided into two provinces, Papua and West Papua.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Papua Paper No 3- The West Papua Project, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies April 2012

New West Papua Project paper by Jason MacLeod and Brian Martin on International Lawyers for West Papua

Papua Paper No 3- The West Papua Project, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies April 2012 


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Statement by Mr. Barak T.Sope Maautamate

FWD on by Rex Rumakiek

Statement for immediate release

The President of the International Human Rights Protection Association in India Mr SHAMIM AHMED had appointed Mr Barak Tame Sope Maautamate, former Prime Minister of Vanuatu as President of the South Pacific Branch of IHRPAI. In his acceptance speech Mr. Sope stated that he was deeply honoured with the appointment. He further stated that he will do his best to advance the work to protect human rights in the South Pacific. 

In particular he would be able to advance the causes such as West Papua and others that are often ignored because of state interest and cheque book diplomacy. When dealing with human rights political boundaries are irrelevant Mr. Barak Sope said.

Mr. Sope was invited to India by IHRPAI on 30th of April 2012 and spoke in a number of meetings involving members from other affiliates. In his addresses Mr. Sope stated that affiliation with this major Human Rights Protection association will bring direct benefits to human rights work in the South Pacific. IHRPAI is the fastest growing human rights organization in India. It has 500,000 members and 25 branches throughout India.

Mr. Sope was satisfied with the discussions he had with leaders of HRPA in India. In particular he valued their understanding and willingness to cooperate with the Pacific region. One major concern and priority for Mr. Sope who is also the President of the Melanesian Progressive Party is to advance the current preparations by the West Papua Decolonization Committee to petition the UN Decolonization Committee. We need the support from International human rights organizations including IHRPA of India.

In a meeting in Sydney with Mr. Rex Rumakiek, Secretary General of West Papua National Coalition for Liberation and Ms. Paula Makabory, human rights activist representing Institute for Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights. Mr. Sope stressed his grave concern for the ongoing human rights abuses in West Papua where there is no International access.
Mr. Barak Sope is very concern that despite International calls for Indonesia to stop the violence nothing has changed. This violence has been going on for almost 5 decades and had taken over 200,000 precious lives; this is unacceptable Mr. Barak Sope said.

Mr. Sope was particularly happy that he made the Indian connection because the great leader of India, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was one of the first leaders who voiced his concern for the Papuans right during the dispute between the Dutch and Indonesia at the United Nations in the 1950s.

For further details contact, Mr. Barak Sope, Ph +6785419272
Mr Rex Rumakiek ̧+61414149001; Ms. Paula Makabory, +61401957082 


Mr. Barak T. Sope Maautamate (Seated) Ms. Shaesta Bano, President of West Bengal IHRPAI, Mr. Amarendra Nath Gosh Vice President, Mr. Shamim Ahmed President National IHRPAI 

Mr. Barak T. Sope Maautamate being welcomed to the Office of the Human Rights Protection Association. Kolkata, West Bengol, 29/4/2012

Mr. Barak T. Sope Maautamate being presented with an Award by the Vice President of West Bengal IHRPA,
Mr. Amerendra Nath Gosh at Rotary Club of Charnock City function, Kalkota, 30/4/2012 

Mr. Barak T. Sope Maautamate (left) presenting IHRPA Book to Mr. Rex Rumakiek, Secretary General, West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCLl), Ms. Paula Makabory,
Institute of Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights (IPAHR). 


Saturday, May 5, 2012

AWPA- update April-beginning of May 2012

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088

AWPA- update  April-beginning of May  2012

A number of shootings occurred in West Papua in the past month.
A convoy of Freeport Indonesia cars was attacked twice on the road linking Tembagapura and the company’s Grasberg mine although no one was injured.  The Jakarta Globe reported that 

“A group of unidentified men shot the convoy at mile 26. The bullets hit the back windows of cars. The mobile brigadier and the Indonesian military were quick to aid the convoy. The cars, however, were shot again a second time at mile 36”.

Another shooting occurred on the 8 April when gunmen fired on a small plane as it landed at Mulia Airport, Puncak Jaya.  One passenger was killed and four people wounded including both pilots. The management of Trigana Air said they would suspend services to the regency until the authorities could guarantee security at the airport. The military accused the OPM for the attack but the OPM has denied they were responsible. More than three weeks after the attack airlines are still not flying to the destination

The West Papua National Committee (KNPB) held a number of rallies to protest the handover of West Papua by the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) to Indonesia on the 1st May in 1963.  One person was killed and 13 protesters arrested by the security forces at one rally held at the grave of Chief Theys Eluay. The Indonesian Human Rights Monitor (Imparsial) condemned this latest shooting in Papua. Photos of the rally that took place in Manokwari at

Amnesty International released an urgent action concerning the need of medical treatment for Filep Karma
AWPA also wrote to the Director General of Prisons

 re Filep Karma 
Amnesty released a report  Indonesia must end impunity for police violence”

Human Rights Watch has criticized British Prime Minister David Cameron (who visited Indonesian) for his statements about Indonesia’s democracy, saying he overrated it while neglecting reports of ongoing rights abuses. 

Cameron praised Indonesia during his Jakarta visit earlier this month, saying Indonesia’s transition to democracy could be a model for other Muslim majority nations.
AWPA also wrote to the British Prime Minister urging him to rethink the possible sale of military equipment to Indonesia as AWPA believes any equipment sold to Indonesia could be used against the West Papuan people
DFAT replied to AWPA’s letter of concern re the Jayapura five who were sentenced to three years imprisonment foe subversion.

In brief
Catholic youth organisation calls for an end to further transmigration to West Papua
JUBI, 21 April 2012
The Jayapura branch of the Association of Catholic Students of the Republic of Indonesia, the PMKRI,  has expressed its firm rejection of government plans to  bring more transmigrants to Papua and West Papua because it believes that this will mean the further marginalisation of the indigenous Papuan people. The organisation believes that more transmigants will result in further expansion of the population and will lead to unhealthy competition  that could result in horizontal conflicts. 'The indigenous Papuan people have already become a minority in their own homeland. We strongly reject plans to bring in more transmigrants,' said the chairman of the Jayapura branch of  the PMKRI,  Benyamin Lokobal. He went on to say that if the government nevertheless goes ahead with this plan, they will organise demonstrations in collaboration with other youth organisations in Papua. They also intend to undertake research by holding one-day seminars in order to firm up opposition to the arrival of more transmigrants. Simon P. Bane of the general secretariat of the PMKRI said that if more transmigrants come to West Papua, they very much fear that the  Papuan people will be further marginalised because the trsansmigrants will get all the attention. 'This will automatically mean less attention being paid to the indigenous Papuan people. Last Friday, the Papua Post reported that the head of the Office of Labour and Transmigration in the province of West Nusatenggara, Mokhlis, speaking in Mataram, said that they would be sending more transmigrants to Papua and West Papua. The chairman of Catholic Youth in Jayapura, Kristian Bame said that in addition to resulting in a rapid expansion in the population, more transmigration has the potential to lead to land grabbing. He said that up to the present, the contribution of transmigrants in Papua is not at all apparent. On the contrary, their presence has only led to social jealousy. [Translation by TAPOL]


From INDOLEFT News service
Intel in Papua operating under independent chain of command
Kompas - April 19, 2012
Jakarta -- Speaking in Jakarta on Wednesday April 18, Indonesian Military (TNI) headquarters information centre chief Rear Admiral Iskandar Sitompul said that intelligence personnel on duty in Papua do indeed have its own chain of command. Intelligence operatives do not report to the Papuan chief-of-police despite the province currently being under a state of civil administration, where jurisdiction for security lies with regional heads and is implemented by the police. "Intelligence operations if they're found out, yeah, they would be in the wrong", said Sitompul. Earlier, the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) questioned why numerous shooting incidents in Papua are not followed by the arrest of suspects. The government invariably claims that the perpetrators are from the Free Papua Organisation (OPM). Komnas HAM Commissioner Joseph A Prasetyo said that based on information obtained by the commission, there is a group of people referred to as "angel troops" (pasukan malaikat). They are not TNI and also not OPM. "We are therefore asking for transparency, [so that] all operations in Papua are reported to the police chief because Papua is under a state of civil order", he said.
According to Sitompul, boarder security and security operations in unstable areas are coordinated with regional governments or under the authority of local police. Intelligence [operations] however, although they do indeed require coordination, are conducted through intelligence channels above them. "If they don't need coordination, yeah, they aren’t conducted", said Sitompul. Speaking at the Papua Regional House of Representatives (DPR) in Jayapura on Wednesday, DPR Commission A chairperson Ruben Magai said that security personnel, particularly the police, have been unable to maintain order and security in Papua. Shootings in the area of PT Freeport and Puncak Jaya for example, continue unabated. Yet the security forces have proven incapable of shedding any light on the perpetrators. Although there are many TNI and police personnel, as well as agents from the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) and the Army's Strategic Intelligence Agency (BAIS) that are assigned to Mulia, Puncak Jaya regency, a civil aircraft was still fired during a landing at the Mulia Airport resulting in the death of one passenger. The shooting has resulted in pilots being unwilling to fly to Mulia and this has impacted upon the mobility of local people and the supply of foodstuffs. Since the shooting of the Trigana Air Twin-Otter aircraft on Monday April 8, no aircraft have flown back to Mulia. (JOS/EDN) [Translated by James Balowski.]

28th anniversary of the death of Arnold Ap to be commemorated
JUBI, 24 April 2012
SKPHP plans to commemorate the 28th anniversary of the death of Arnold Ap
Jayapura: The chairperson of Solidaritas Korban Pelanggaran HAM Papua (SKPHP)- Solidarity for Papuan Victims of Human Rights Violations,  Lokbere Peneas has announced that they will be commemorating the 28th anniversary of the death  of Arnold Clemens Ap, the Papuan human rights leader who is thought to have been murdered by the Indonesian Government. 'We wish to inform the general public in the city of Jayapura and its environs that SKPHP will commemorate the 28th anniversary of the death of Arnold Clemens Ap who is believed to have been murdered by the Indonesian government. During the anniversary we will organise a number of actions, ' Peneas. told JUBI.He said that the agenda of the anniversary would include campaigning as well as the performance of Mambesak music in various places in Jayapura and throughout the district of Sentani. Prayers will be said at the grave of Arnold Ap and there will be a press conference, as well as speeches being delivered in front of the UNCEN (Cenderawasih University) Museum. Arnold Ap (1 July 1945 - 26 April 1964) was a Papuan leader, a cultural worker, anthropologist and musician. Arnold Ap was the leader of the Mambesak group and Curator of the Museum of the Cenderawasih University . He also performed Papuan music during weekly programmes on the radio. In November 1983, Ap was arrested by a Kopasus unit, imprisoned and tortured. He died from a shot in the chest in the month of April. The security forces said at the time that  he had made an attempt to escape, but it is clear that he was  executed by Kopassus. To this day, Arnold Ap and his Mambesak music are very popular throughout West Papua and his creations are  regarded as symbols of Papuan  identity. [Translated by TAPOL]

Medical personnel seriously lacking in Papua
JUBI, 2 April 2012
Taking into account the vastness of the territory of the Province of Papua, there is a serious shortage of medical personnel here. Moreover, the ratio between the number of medical personnel and the number of hospitals and clinics is also far too low. 'If you take into account the  number of hospitals, clinics and medical centres, I reckon that the shortage of medical personnel amounts to as much as 2,700,' said the Head  of the Provincial Medical  Services in Papua, Josef Rinta Rachatmaka. He said that as a way of reducing this shortage, the Provincial Medical Services  intends, in co-ordination with the Agency for Personnel Education and Training in the Province of Papua, to look more closely at the data about healthcare personnel in the area. 'On the basis of our present calculations, the number of healthcare personnel in Papua is very low indeed.. With 20 hospitals, 310 clinics and  760 healthcare centres, we need a further 2,700 medical personnel,' he said. He said in particular that there was a need for more medical personnel in the medical health centres that are spread right across the territory.

He said that the shortage would become even more acute  if new hospitals were built. The medical personnel includes the number of doctors, midwives, dieticians and so on. The key factor in any healthcare provision is that there is the right number of personnel. However many medicaments and however much money is available, if there are not enough personnel, then nothing will function properly. While agreeing that there are enough facilities, the most important thing is to have enough medical personnel. 'Many of the facilities we have here are standing empty.' He went on to say that whenever there are plans to build new hospitals, if the personnel are simply taken from those at the already existing facilities, this would only lead  to a further lack of personnel. He said that they plan to open up new diploma courses  for nurses, midwives and dieticians.'We very much hope that, as new healthcare facilities are built, there will be a sufficient number of personnel and not continue with the situation as it is at present.' [Abridged in translation by TAPOL]

Reports/opinion pieces/press releases/urgent actions etc

 Amnesty International
We are writing at this time to raise our concerns about human rights violations committed by the police in Indonesia. Amnesty International has received ongoing credible reports of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (other ill-treatment). We highlight below some recent cases that have occurred over the last year………….

 Tempo Investigation
 THE plantation and forest production projects under way in Merauke Regency at the southern tip of Papua, are in danger of unraveling. Last year, a wood-processing factory of PT Medco Papua Industri Lestari stopped operating for two months as a result of heated protests from local residents. Clearing of land for planting sugarcane by PT CenderawasihJaya Mandiri, a subsidiary of the Rajawali Group, also ran into trouble. Two tribal groups disputed over the amount of land to be used by the company. Similar confl icts have taken
place in many other areas in Merauke, affecting over a dozen companies there.

Conference New Guinea Council, the first step.
The conference took place in International Presscentre Nieuwspoort in The Hague/the Netherlands.

Report "Enough is Enough
ICTJ, the Women Commission, and the Women Working Group of Papuan People Assembly
“We women of Papua have been bruised, cornered, besieged from all directions. We are not safe at home, and even less so outside the home. The burden we bear to feed our children is too heavy. The history of the Papuan people is covered in blood, and women are no exception as victims of the violence of blind military actions. We have experienced rape and sexual abuse in detention, in the grasslands, while seeking refuge, no matter where we were when the army and police conducted operations in the name of security.”…………………….

Activists dodge police as they unfurl independence flags in West Papua
Reports are today filtering out of the Indonesian-controlled province of West Papua describing significant protest activity. Many west Papuans have never accepted Indonesian sovereignty over their land. The protests on May 1st mark the anniversary of the day in 1963 when Indonesia assumed control of West Papua.

New report into a major land grab in West Papua
“An Agribusiness Attack in West Papua: Unravelling the Merauke
Integrated Food and Energy Estate”
is now online at:
(direct pdf download:

Politics: Papua and t”he big wink”
A link with JFK and 50 years of lost freedom
Islands Business   Jason Brown 

Raise Religious Freedom and Peaceful Political Expression
(New York) –The European Union should press Indonesia to act against growing religious intolerance and to release all political prisoners during the EU-Indonesia human rights dialogue on May 3, 2012, Human Rights Watch said today…………………………….