Sunday, August 10, 2014

Summary of events in West Papua for July-beginning August 2014

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

Summary of events in West Papua for July-beginning August 2014
There were a number of clashes between the security forces and armed groups in West Papua in the past month. 

On the 16 July an armed group of about ten people were involved in an attack on a convoy of vehicles at Dagobak Village in the Kalome Sub-district of Puncak Jaya Regency. Two people were killed and one injured. The three men were drivers of lajuran, which is a delivery company that transports staple food from Wamena to Mulia, the capital of Puncak Jaya regency. The armed group also set four cars on fire. The Military District Commander, Lieutenant Infantry Luqman Arief confirmed the incident to JUBI, 
“It is believed that they were attacked by the armed group who usually operated in Puncak Jaya and surrounding areas.

On the 28 July a group of armed men, alleged to be OPM, shot at eight police officers in a village in Lanny Jaya, resulting in two officers been killed and six injured. Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Pudjo Sulistyo said the officers were involved in a community-counseling program at Indawa village when the armed group attacked them. The village of Indawa is around 10 kilometers from Pirime and 45 km from Tiom, the municipal town of the regency of Lanny Jaya. Also on the 28th, three soldiers suffered gunshot wounds following an attack on a military outpost in the Tingginambut area of Papua’s Puncak Jaya district. The men were reportedly patrolling near the post when a group of armed men attacked the post, leading to an exchange of fire that eventually forced the attackers back into a nearby forest.

On the 1 August five OPM members were killed and two Indonesian soldiers injured in a firefight in Pirime in the Lanny Jaya district. The clash occurred as the troops were on the way to a military post. The five OPM members were believed to be involved in the ambush of the eight Indonesian police earlier in the week. The National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) has called for full investigation and prevention of more violence in Lanny Jaya District of Papua and use of excessive security approach. "Komnas Perempuan regrets the recurrence of armed violence between armed civilian groups and security personnel, which has caused casualties, wounded and displaced persons in Lanny Jaya district," the National Commission said in a press statement.
Tempo also reported that the Free Papua Organization (OPM) ambushed a convoy of Police Mobile Brigade on the 4 August, injuring one police member. "We opened fire. I request the government to pull back the troops from Papua. Papua wants freedom," said Purom Okiman Wenda, OPM Commander of Lanny Jaya.

Presidential election
Joko Widodo (or Jokowi as he is commonly known) has won the presidential election.  The KNPB had called on the West Papuan people to boycott the election. According to KNPB reports, approximately 80% of all Papuans refused to vote in the elections Jubi reported that the Papua Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) said poor public information was to blame for the poor turnout in last week’s presidential election. “This is due to lack of information campaign conducted by the Papua Election Commission, including in Jayapura. According to a report from the field, only about 50 percent of eligible voters voted in the presidential election,” a Bawaslu commissioner, Anugrah Patah said on Wednesday (16/7). Similar low turnouts were also seen in other regencies like Nabire, where only about 40-45 percent of voters participated. Prabowo Subianto who lost the election has claimed fraud and that he should have won the election.  Mr Prabowo’s lawyer, Maqdir Ismail said he was denied his rightful victory by cheating and manipulation. According to Mr Maqdir, cited in an article in the SMH,  “In 14 local administrative areas in the country’s easternmost provinces, Papua and West Papua, nobody actually voted at all”.

Leading up to the election the KNPB was targeted because of its call to boycott the election. Six of their activists were arrested, beaten and taken to the Jayapura Police Station on the 3 July. They were arrested simply because they were distributing leaflets calling on the West Papuan people to boycott the presidential election on the 9th July. Local media has reported that In Timika the Police were also searching for people who distributed leaflets urging voters to boycott the 9th July for presidential election and demanding a referendum. In Timika on the 4 July seven KNPB activists were also arrested and beaten for handing out leaflets calling for a boycott.  The TNI caught the activists and handed them over to the police.  A woman was also arrested in Kaimana for distributing leaflets calling for a boycott.

More KNPB arrests
In Manokwari two members of KNPB, Robert Helemaken and Oni Weya were arrested and beaten on the 8 August. The incident occurred after a number of KNPB members were painting on walls calling for a boycott of Indonesian Independence Day celeberations (17 August) in the city of Manokwari. Amnesty International has released an urgent action in relation to the incident which people can respond to.

French journalists arrested
Two French journalists were arrested on the 7 August by the police in West Papua. Thomas Dandois, 40, and Valentine Bourrat, 29, were working for Franco-German television channel Arte when they were detained. Police said Mr Dandois was arrested on Thursday at a hotel in the city of Wamena with three separatists from the Free Papua Movement (OPM). No details were given about the arrest of Ms Bourrat.

Just the previous week Catherine Delahunty (MP) got a motion passed in the NZ Parliament concerning media freedom in West Papua.    Video of motion at Motion. I move that this House call upon the new President of Indonesia to commit to genuine media freedom in West Papua including the right of local and international journalists to report on the political situation there without risk of imprisonment or harassment by the Indonesian State. (It was passed)  A conference 'West Papua - The Pacific's Secret Shame' was also held the previous week at Auckland University looking at the issue of West Papua. Victor Mambor who is the editor of the West Papuan newspaper Tabloi Jubi discussed the media in West Papua at various events in Wellington and Auckland. He was also keynote speaker at the conference.  A report at

In a RNZI report Victor said that the KNPB is the leading pro-independence organisation in West Papua and, as such, is the subject of much attention from security forces and  "Police have a good way to stop KNPB propaganda. They try to influence many journalists in West Papua to stop covering the KNPB news. I think all of the newspapers in West Papua, they cannot publish the news about KNPB."
Catherine Delahunty and Maire Leadbeater were also presented with their John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award for 2014 at the conference. Photos at

The Region
RNZI reported (3/7) that The Vanuatu Prime Minister Joe Natuman says the government is still looking at pushing the West Papua issue at the United Nations level. Mr Natuman also said the Vanuatu government is considering seeking an International Court of Justice opinion on the legality of the UN-sanctioned process under which the former Dutch New Guinea was ceded to Indonesia. and  every effort should be made to facilitate West Papuan self-determination aspirations. Markus Haluk who visited Vanuatu said “We are not Indonesian or Asian but Melanesian. Whether the MSG accepts Indonesia into the MSG family is up to the MSG but we as West Papuan must apply for full membership of MSG because it is our birthright as a people of Melanesia, to claim our rightful place in the Melanesian family. We believe strongly that MSG will support our application because instead of removing us from the list, they asked us to form a new body and submit a new application under a new umbrella”. The Vanuatu daily post's interview with Markus at West Papuan meeting in Vanuatu. The Chairman of the organizing committee said that the meeting of West Papuan representatives which was to take place in August has been shifted to the beginning of October.

Smuggling on the West Papuan –PNG border
Antara News reported on Smuggling in the West Papuan –PNG border area in a feature (17 July).  According to the report the provinces geographical location provides easy access to drugs via the sea, air, and land transportation routes, and thus, the police and intelligence officials should be directed to intensify early detection of drug distribution networks.

The 45th Pacific Islands Forum and related meetings will be held from 29 July to 1 August 2014 in Koror, the Republic of Palau. AWPA had written a letter to the PIF leaders asking that they discuss the human rights situation in West Papua at its Summit in Palau. It also urges the PIF leaders to make a public statement of concern regarding the human rights situation in the territory in its official communiqué as did the MSG leaders did in their official communiqué in Noumea in 2013. However, yet again the PIF leaders let down the West Papuan people by ignoring the issue.

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo visited Indonesia and  pledged to pursue the West Papua issue through the Solomon Islands’ newly establish diplomatic office in Indonesia.  “He met with the out-going president of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and talked with the president elect Joko Widodo on this issue.”

Mr Lilo said his meeting with the outgoing president has been fruitful on that matter, and agreed to allow Solomon Islands permission into West Papua on a common understanding.

In brief
New police chief for West Papua
Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian will leave West Papua. He has been promoted to general planning and development assistant at the National Police.  Brig. Gen. Yotje Mende replaced Tito Karnavian. In relation to the recent incidents in West Papua, the newly appointed Papua Police chief said he would take stern action against armed criminals in the province because their actions threaten the stability of the nation-state. In a report in the Jakarta Post (19/7) he said   “We will always adhere to our unitary state and nation. We will act firmly against anyone who undermines security and we will obviously work together with the Indonesian Military (TNI) and provincial administration to stamp out the separatist acts that damage the national structure,” said Yotje in Jakarta on Friday after accepting a report from outgoing Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian. The comments made by Yotje, who was installed as Papua Police chief just three days ago, came on the heels of a series of violent acts carried out by armed civilian groups in Papua in the Tingginambut district, Puncak Jaya and Tiom, Lanny Jaya, where two civilians were shot and killed.

Papua to build hospital for HIV/AIDS patients
The Jakarta Post, August 04 2014. The Papua provincial administration plans to build a hospital especially for the treatment of HIV/AIDS patients, an official has said. "So far the treatment of HIV/AIDs patients has been discriminatory. There must be a hospital specifically to treat those infected by HIV/AIDS," head of the Papua Health Office Aloysius Giyai said in Jayapura on Monday as quoted by Antara news agency. Papua is one of the country's regions most infected by the deadly disease. "Patients had thus far received little attention, which was why the hospital had to be built for them,” he said. “The location [for the project] has already been chosen,” Aloysius added. Construction is expected to begin in 2015. “Not only AIDS/HIV positive patients, the specialized hospital will also be treating patients with leprosy and other diseases like 'frambusia' skin,” he said. The Papua provincial administration also plans to build a general hospital in Jayapura. Construction of the general hospital will start after the construction of the HIV/AIDS hospital, Aloysius said. (hak/hhr)

Jokowi Criticized for Hendropriyono’s Appointment as Team Advisor
The Jakarta Globe (10/8) reported that President-Elect Joko Widodo appointed former Intelligence Chief Abdullah Mahmud Hendropriyono as one an advisor in the transition team that will prepare his power-transfer from outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, raising concerns from a human rights organization. “I was appointed as an advisor,” Hendropriyono told news portal on his appointment on Saturday. “I will prepare myself to give advice on intelligence.” Joko, also known as Jokowi, last week established a transition team that would smooth the transfer of power in government from Yudhoyono’s administration. The office hosts a team of experts and officials, led by former Industry and Trade Minister Rini M.S. Soewandi, to help him prepare the upcoming state budget and provide recommendations on potential ministerial positions. The appointment of Hendropriyono — who is allegedly linked to the murder of human rights campaigners Munir Said Thalib, a case that took place when the former still held his position as chief of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) — had activists raising their eyebrows. Hendropriyono has never stood trial over the incident. Haris Azhar, coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), deplored the move, saying that Joko, who is seen as breath of fresh air in Indonesian political landscape, should not fall into the dark era of the New Order.

Anniversary of the Biak massacre On the 16th anniversary of the Biak massacre a small remembrance ceremony was held on Waverley Cliffs in Sydney. West Papuan supporters gathered to cast white carnations and jonquils into the ocean in memory of the scores of victims of the Biak Massacre.  The victims, included women and children who had gathered for a peaceful rally and were killed at the base of a water tower flying the Morning Star flag. Other Papuans were rounded up and later taken out to sea where they were thrown off naval ships and drowned. Las year on the 15th anniversary a Citizens Tribunal was held into the1998 massacre in Biak. Its verdict was released last December. Full details of the tribunal and its findings at reported that a West Papuan activist Tineke Rumkabu has fled to Australia, claiming that Indonesian forces attempted to abduct her earlier this month. Rumkabu is a survivor of the Biak massacre, when scores of West Papuans were murdered and tortured by Indonesian police and military officers in 1998. Rumkabu says the abduction attempt was made after she participated in a remembrance service on the 16th anniversary of the massacre in Jayapura. The next day, she told Crikey, she was approached in the nearby town of Wamena by three cars, which she alleges held members of Indonesia’s military. She says she was approached by two men, one of whom tried to pull her hands behind her back and punched her in the stomach. She says she picked up a large stone and threw it at her attackers. Although she missed, they retreated

West Papuan political prisoners released
Five West Papuan political prisoners were released after serving three-year sentences in a Jayapura prison. The activists were arrested in October 2011 for reading out a “declaration of independence” from Indonesia. Those released included prominent tribal leader Forkorus Yaboisembut, who was declared “president of the Federal Republic of West Papua” during the 2011 declaration of independence event; Edison Waromi, who was declared prime minister; as well as Agustinus Sanany Kraar, Selpius Bobii and Dominikus Sorbet. Forkorus Yaboisembut, now age 59, told local media that the group had only been released because they had served their full jail terms 
Victor Yeimo, Chairman of the West Papua National Committee has also been released after serving more than a year in jail.  Victor gave a press conference outside Abepura prison saying that he was arrested and jailed simply because he lead a peaceful demonstration. He confirmed that during the process of his arrest, he was terrorised and terribly beaten by the Indonesian security forces. There are still nearly 70 political prisoners in West Papuan jails.

Opinion pieces/reports/press releases etc.
Palm oil company clears rainforest in New Guinea

Time for Jakarta to afford Papuans the dignity they deserve

Dams, Dam Lies and Corruption

A Secret Genocide in July-September issue of AQ -


Amnesty International- Indonesia: New President Widodo must make good on human rights pledges

“Isolated” Follows Surfers As They Encounter Untold Human Rights Atrocities In West Papua For more information visit

An In-depth Investigation from the West Papua Media team
Evidence of death squads emerge after Youtefa market riot sparked by corrupt police shakedown of gamblers

West Papua’s MSG membership bid is still alive

AWPA media releases
Media release -Six KNPB activists arrested and beaten

Media release- West Papua on “Siaga Satu” (full alert). West Papuan leaders call for a boycott. tube footage
PIF leaders should discuss West Papua at its Koror Summit

Woman in Kaimana arrested for distributing leaflets calling for a boycott

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