Saturday, August 1, 2015

Neles Tebay-The Extraordinary Tolikara Case

2) Top Spook Says Media Need to Be Kept in Check

3) Civil Society Coalition to Hold Joint Prayer at Parliament’ Office

4) Police Should Be Fair in Handling Misunderstanding at Tolikara
5) Political Interests Involved in Tolikara Insident, Councilor Says


The Extraordinary Tolikara Case
Neles Tebay
TEMPO English, Friday, 31 July, 2015 | 21:02 WIB

TEMPO.COJakarta - On July 17, violence exploded in Karubaga, capital of Tolikara district in Papua province. Dozens of stalls and houses were set on fire, which spread to a nearby mosque. One youth was killed and 11 civilians were injured in the shootout that followed. Let us name this incident as the 'Tolikara Case'.

Based on past experience, we noted a number of elements that deserve mention because they have never happened in the history of Papua, and according to our observation, the first time these things happened were in Tolikara.

As far as we know, no violence has ever occurred in Papua during religious holidays, whatever the religion may be. Papuans respect the celebration of all religions. The violence that occurred about two weeks ago, when Muslims around the world were celebrating Eid of the Islamic year 1436, was the very first time that such an incident ever occured in the history of Papua. Therefore, Papuans are now asking: how can something so sacrilegious happen in Tolikara? This is incredible given that indigenous Papuans are totally against disrupting, let alone burning, sacred places, such as churches or mosques.

Although the incident took place in a remote area that can only be reached by a small, single-engine airplane, the Tolikara Case attracted nationwide attention and reaction. The reaction came from a diverse range of people, from common citizens to the President himself, including all the religious organizations. But they came mostly from outside Papua. This is again amazing, because it is the first time in history that violence in the land of Papua has attracted so much attention.

To Papuans, the violence at Tolikara is not the only one that has occurred on this land; our history is marked by a variety of violent happenings. Papuans have gone through different kinds of conflicts, during which many people have been killed. Right up to today, violence continues to happen. As a result, Papua has become synonymous with conflict. Even so, Papuans have never seen the tremendous reaction to what happened at Tolikara.

Compare Tolikara with the time when four young men were shot dead and 18 other civilians suffered gunshot wounds, on December 8, last year at Enarotali, capital of Paniai district. The case remains unresolved. Many in Papua reacted strongly to this act of violence, but little was heard about it outside of Papua. We concluded it was not because people refused to express solidarity with the victims, who are fellow Indonesian citizens, but because the shooting incident itself was not publicly known.

Conversely, the Tolikara incident attracted such wide attention as to warrant visits of high-ranking officials from both the Papua provincial administration as well as those from central government in Jakarta. Among them were the Papua Police Chief and and the Army Commander of Cenderawasih XVII battalion, followed by the ministers of home and social affairs.

No one as important ever came when other incidents happened in Papua in the past. All these visits to Tolikara should be appreciated because they show sensitivity and a commitment to resolve the case comprehensively.

Eight government institutions announced they will conduct investigations: the National Police, the National Commission on Human Rights, the Religious Affairs Ministry, Commission II of the House of Representatives (DPR), the Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI), the Indonesian Christian Student Movement (GMKI), the Tamir Masdjid Silahturrahmi Forum and Mushala Indonesia (Fahmi Tamami), and the Tolikara Papua People's Committee. Perhaps there are more, without publicly announcing it. Notably, they are all from outside of Papua. So far, no single institution in Papua has announced any plans to investigate the Tolikara incident.

Admittedly, it is the only case of violence in Papua to be investigated by so many institutions. We highly appreciate the intention, because it indicates that all parties seek the truth in a transparent manner.

The central government should take the initiative to coordinate the different investigations, seek differences in the findings and find a common ground for future reference. There should also be a shared commitment stating their willingness to accept the truth with a cool head and a calm heart.

Hopefully, the investigation will englighten all parties to see the problem clearly, and gain a true understanding of what really happened in Tolikara.

Neles Tebay:  Lecturer at the Fajar Timur Institute of Theological Philosophy at Abepura and coordinator of the Papua Peace Network.

2) Top Spook Says Media Need to Be Kept in Check
Observer says BIN should be given authority to make arrests
Jakarta. In the current era of easily accessible information, the Indonesian government needs to keep ‎an eye on the media, the recently appointed head of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) said at a book launch on Thursday.
BIN chief Sutiyoso explained that because everybody can find news everywhere these days, it is important to make sure no false information is being disseminated.
“Media control is necessary so that there is no information bias,” said Sutiyoso, a retired general and former governor of Jakarta.
The chief spook was speaking at the launch of a book written by his predecessor at the helm of BIN, Marciano Norman, on the role of state intelligence in Indonesia’s democratic consolidation.
Sutiyoso said that in the current situation, one of the main challenges for the intelligence agency is that it remains very difficult to control the flow of information.
‘Toothless tiger’
Also speaking at the book launch was Tjipta Lesmana, a political communication professor at Pelita Harapan University (UPH), who said BIN should get the authority to arrest people.
“An intelligence agency without the authority to make arrests is like a toothless tiger,” Tjipta said. “I think BIN’s authority should be expanded.”
The observer added that certain safeguards are needed to make sure agents cannot just arrest whoever they want, like in the days of the Suharto regime. But Tjipta also stressed that BIN’s operations should be as secretive as possible.
“If it’s open, it’s not intelligence,” he said. “Look at the American CIA, they’re all around the world, working underground.”
Foreign meddling in Papua
Tjipta reportedly also criticized the decision by the administration of President Joko Widodo to allow foreign journalists to enter the restive Papua region.
“In Tolikara there definitely was foreign [meddling], 1,000 percent,” he said, referring to a recent riot in the Papuan district during which dozens of stalls and a small mosque were burned down and a protester was killed after police opened fire. Eleven others were injured.
The incident triggered fears of sectarian violence throughout the country.
“Jokowi’s policy to allow foreign media into Papua is wrong, a big mistake,” the professor was quoted as saying by RMOL, a local news portal.
“Foreign intelligence agents can enter with press IDs. Seriously, who are his advisers?”

3) Civil Society Coalition to Hold Joint Prayer at Parliament’ Office 

Jayapura, Jubi – The Civil Society Coalition for Peace will conduct a joint prayer at Papua’s Parliament Office’s field on Friday (30/7/2015) at around 13:00 Papua time.
Chairman of Kingmi Church Synod in Papua, the Rev. Benny Giay said the worship is part of series of resolution process between GIDI and Muslim communities at Tolikara, two weeks ago. Kingmi Church Synod invites some parties to participate in the event from both sides, Christian and Muslim communities.
“The spirit to resolve the misunderstanding becomes our reference. People outside of Papua do not be provoked and take benefit on the dispute involving Muslim and GIDI communities in Tolikara for their interest. Do not make us as object for getting something. We are grateful that on Wednesday night (29/7/2015) both sides agreed to resolve that misunderstanding. We are Papuans, Muslims or Christians can resolve this problem,” the Rev. Benny Giay said when give the press conference at Kingmi Church Synod Office, Kota Jayapura on Thusday (30/7/2015).
Coordinator of worship Dominggus Pigay said the coalition has sent an announcement letter to the Papua Police with a copy to Jayapura Municipal Police related to the event.
“We will also send a letter to Papua Legislative Council for announcement. We have several agenda including theater performance on that occasion,” said Pigay.
Meanwhile Nahdatul Ulama Papua Regional Board, Ustad Rasyid Mayang said religious leaders and stakeholders in Papua could solve this misunderstanding without having to involve the outsiders. He said they know the current situation in Papua than others.
“This agreement indicates that religious communities and religious leaders in Papua could solve this problem. So, people live outside of Papua do not easily be provoked with the situation that they don’t know. Tolikara incident was an accident because of miscommunication,” Ustad Rasyid said. (Arjuna Pademme/rom)

4) Police Should Be Fair in Handling Misunderstanding at Tolikara
Jayapura, Jubi – An academic from Cenderawasih University, Marianus Yaung, urged the Papua Police to be fair in handling the conflict at Karubaga, Tolikara, two weeks ago.
“I ask the Papua Police to investigate the witnesses both from the police and civilians, as well as to question GIDI leaders and highly respect the professionalism and principle of justice for every party. Do not make the impression there’s discrimination against GIDI leaders,” Yaung said when the Coalition of Civil Society for Peace in Tanah Papua held the press conference at Kingmi Church Synod Office in Jayapura City on Thursday (30/7/2015).
According to him, those who are found guilty should be punished according to the Law and the shooting perpetrator against 12 civilians also must be revealed. He further said at that time civilians had no weapon.
“It’s hard to find the projectile on the scene couldn’t be a reason. The Papua Police must uphold the principle of justice for both sides, Muslims and Christians. People in Papua are able to solve their own problem. They have local wisdoms to solve it,” he said.
At the same place, the Chairman of the Alliance of Independent Journalist (AJI) Kota Jayapura, Victor Mambor said he highlighted more to media coverage when the misunderstanding was occurred in Tolikara.
“Tolikara incident became a lesson. At that time, before doing clarification, media has published the news that likely triggered this misunderstanding to be a national issue,” said Mambor.
Further, Mambor who is also the editor in chief of and Koran Jubi also regretted the police’s act broadcasting the short message to the press and likely triggered the incident as a national issue.
“At the end, we are all getting the impact. The police shouldn’t too rush to send the short message without verification. The sort message was forwarded from Papua Police Spokesperson, and we don’t know what the purpose is,” he said. (Arjuna Pademme/rom)
5) Political Interests Involved in Tolikara Insident, Councilor Says
Jayapura, Jubi – A deputy chairman of the Papua Legislative Council’s Commission I for Politics, Government, Foreign, Legal dan Human Right Affairs, Orwan Tolli Wone, said political interests were involved in the incident that occurred at Karubaga, Tolikara Regency two weeks ago.
The councilor from the Tolikara electoral region said both sides need to concentrate on conflict resolution and that the incident had no connection with a particular religion.
“It’s only a group of people who have an interest in local and national politics. I susect the incident involves both local and national issues. I can make this conclusion because for decades Muslims and Christians in Tolikara have lived in harmony. There’s never a problem. Why did it just happen right now?” Wone said on Thursday (30/7/2015).
However, he also regretted the shooting over 12 civilians at that time. according to him, it shouldn’t be happened if the security forces are professional and could be persuasive in solving the problem.
“The incident shouldn’t be happened. It’s happened because of lack of communication. The regent has made coordination with the local Police Chief but it was likely not well socialized among communities. The shooting incidents are always happened in several regions of Papua. Do not know whether it is an order or else,” he said.
He affirmed at that time there’s no attack on Muslim communities who were at they prayer. According to him, if the attack was real, they must be injured hitting by stones or arrows and so on.
“But I am disappointed because the media was also making the situation unclear. This problem cannot be drawn. All religious leaders and chairmen of religious institutions should sit together in taking the next step to solve this problem,” he said.
Earlier, the Chairman of Human Right Investigation Team of Papua Legislative Council, Laurenzus Kadepa said he doubted the police could reveal the shooting perpetrator over 12 civilians at Karubaga. (Arjuna Pademme/rom)

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