Tuesday, July 8, 2014

1) Papuans Urged to Boycott Polls in Protest

1) Papuans Urged to Boycott Polls in Protest




1) Papuans Urged to Boycott Polls in Protest

By Rebecca Lake on 11:07 pm Jul 08, 2014
Category FeaturedNewsPolitics
Jakarta. England could hardly be any further from the Indonesian province of West Papua but for the exiled leader of the Free West Papua movement, Benny Wenda, the people in his homeland absorb almost all of his energy and thoughts — now more than ever.
“I want to send a message to the people of West Papua wherever they may be. This is time to choose your own future, own destiny,” Wenda told the Jakarta Globe ahead of the presidential election. “We are going to boycott the vote, we must boycott the vote.”
For the former political prisoner, and many other Papuans like him, the struggle for equality in their restive and poverty-stricken province has cumulated in disdain for the Indonesian political system. Instead of succumbing to yet more “empty promises,” several factions within the Papuan community including Wenda’s Free West Papua movement and the National Committee for West Papua (KNPB) are using this election as a platform to make their demands for independence known.
“We are considered subhuman, second-class citizens so we never feel confident in the government … for the last 50 years we have voted and in return all we have had is the military and killing.”
In an attempt to quell the anti-state sentiment brewing in the region, Indonesian security forces are making their presence in the province known. Thousands of police officers have provided security in the lead-up to the election in designated areas; Jayapura (the provincial capital), throughout the highlands and along the border with Papua New Guinea.
Yet the “security” status of the military personnel deployed throughout the province is becoming increasingly questionable as instances of killings, imprisonment and beatings are being reported.
According to an article published on Berita Satu.com, police in the Mimika district arrested 30 protestors on Friday who were distributing flyers to encourage the election boycott. Lt. Raffles Manurung, of the Indonesian Military (TNI), told the news portal that the protestors face a maximum penalty of 10 years behind bars for their actions.
“Mimika is now secure,” the commander confirmed, adding “we must be vigilant over security concerns especially since the presidential election is such a big moment.”
Moreover, in the lead-up to the vote, numerous cases of reported beatings and killings throughout the West Papuan region are being published by pro-independence blogs such as Suara Duka Dari Papua as well as the Free West Papua Facebook page. While these cases are difficult to independently verify, according to Oktovianus Pogau, the editor in chief of the Jayapura-based news site Suara Papua, targeted attacks on supporters of the boycott movement are happening on a daily basis and he reports that many Papuans have been threatened to vote.
“It’s difficult to estimate how many attacks have occurred,” Oktovianus told the Jakarta Globe, “but they are frequent.”
For Wenda, who receives messages around the clock alerting him of abuses inflicted on his people, his message is clear. “If there was any democratic space for us in West Papua we would be able to freely express our political opinions,” he said, adding that the military has threatened “destroy” Papuans who refused to vote.
This lack of faith in Indonesian democracy is often expressed by many Papuans, especially the youth, who question what they feel is a contradiction.
“I do not feel any democracy even though Indonesia is said to be a democratic country,” says Ruth Otegay, a 27-year-old Papuan student and rights activist living in Jakarta.
“People who declare expressions and certain beliefs are still arrested, tortured, killed or jailed. So even though Indonesia is declared to be democratically free, it is not valid,” she said.
While he can understand why many of his people feel disheartened, Karel Phil Erari, deputy chairman of the Alliance of Churches in Indonesia — who last month delivered an address to a human rights panel in Geneva urging the international community to acknowledge the persecution happening in West Papua — says it’s important for the Papuan community to remain engaged in Indonesian politics despite how jaded they may feel.
“I encourage all Papuans to use their right to vote,” the outspoken Joko Widodo supporter said, who recently met with the presidential candidate, better known as Jokowi, to discuss his commitments to Papua.
“We are tired of fighting so we must find ways to have a peaceful dialogue with Jakarta, and Jokowi has promised this,” Karel said, adding: “Jokowi is a new hope for the Papuan people.”
Andreas Harsono, of Human Rights Watch in Indonesia, agreed that it is important for the Papuan people to use the political process as a tool to better their lives but he says he is not entirely convinced by Joko’s capability.
“I can totally understand if Papuans will vote for Jokowi mainly because of human rights abuses. But I am afraid Jokowi cannot deliver as much as the Papuans want in Papua,” Andreas said, adding that long-held allegations of vote buying and rigging have further discredited democratic ideals in the region.
Additional Reporting by Raisha Vierginia


The appeal by the Free Papua Movement leaders circulated through a video clip titled “Boycott the 2014 presidential election.”
The video was uploaded on Youtube by Rize of Morning star on July 6. In a two-minute video, Papuan dissidents such as Filep Karma and John Otto Ondowame said that the presidential election in 2014 is not for the people of West Papua.
“We call on you not to participate in the presidential election bKarma, a leader of Free Papua said the Papuans have nothing to do with the presidential election.
“The presidential election is only for Indonesia’s colonial interests. Our focus is to ensure that the people and nation of Papua get independence,” Karma said.
Benny Wenda, Victor Yeimo and Forkorus Yoboisembut also appear in the video making similar calls.
“For the citizens of the nation of Papua who do not vote, do not get involved in intimidation or conflict with each other.” Forkorus said. Here is the link to the video Boikot Pilpres 2014. (Jubi / Victor Mambor/ Tina)



Jayapura, 7/7 (Jubi) – Two months after the fall of the New Order regime in 1998, a massacre occurred over the Papua on the island of Biak, Papua. Many have forgotten the tragedy but the victims still remember it vividly.
The Advocacy and Human Rights Studies (Elsham), Kontras Papua, KPKC of GKI Synod and United for Truth (BUK) in Papua commemorated the tragic events triggered by the raising of the Morning Star flag in the Water Tower in Biak,16 years ago.
“Leaders after leaders in Indonesia but no one spoke about justice for the victims of human rights violations in Papua. The state may forget and be indifferent but we can not forget,” Thineke Rumkambu said in his testimony at the office of Elsham Papua in Padangbulan, Jayapura on Sunday (6/7).
The Bloody Biak Tragedy on July 6, 1998 has been engraved in the hearts of Papuans. It is a human tragedy in which the local people were the victims simply for peacefully unfurling the Morning Star Flag at the top of a 35 meter water tower near the Biak Harbour. This peaceful actions in which between 500 to 1000 people took part ended in arbitrary arrest, maltreatment, torture and other dreadful things.
Morning Star flag-raising action is considered as an act of unlawful violence to be dealt with by military / police. Hundreds of unarmed civilian demonstrators who lingered around the water tower were surrounded and shot at dawn on July 6, 1998.
The civilians from Pna, Waupnor, and Saramom villages at Biak city district were escorted by officers to Biak seaport and persecuted.
“Some victims were transported by Mobile Brigade truck and also a container car to Biak Public Hospital and Naval Hospital but they did not get serious medical service,” she explained
She continued, there were about 6 people dead which were transported to the Naval Hospital, yet the bodies have not been returned to the hands of the family yet.
Some time after the incident, dozens of bodies were found in Biak waters (coastal). Ironically, without an investigation, officials stated that the bodies were victims of the Tsunami disaster in Aitape, PNG on July 17, 1998, although among the corpses, there were bodies wrapped in scout uniform and Golkar costumes.
“From this incident, recorded 230 casualties of whom eight people were killed, three disappeared and many seriously injured casualties were taken to Makassar for treatment, while 33 people were taken into custody, 150 people were maltreated and 32 mysterious bodies were found, ” Sandra Mambrasar, the Women’s division of Elsham Papua said.
For a variety of human rights abuses worsened in Papua, the components of the civil society urged the Republic of Indonesia to be responsible for all cases of human rights violations in Papua. The government must investigate and prosecute perpetrators of human rights violations on the incident of Bloody Biak 1998 via Ad-hoc Human Rights Court by reopening the report of Joint Fact Finding Team that coordinated by the National Commission on Human Rights.
“In the framework of a legal settlement, the state must provide protection and security of the victims and their families, as well as provide rehabilitation and restitution to the victims,” ​she said. (Jubi / Aprila/ Tina)

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