Monday, April 4, 2016

Summary of events in West Papua for March 2016

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

 PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088

         Summary of events in West Papua for March (–5 April) 2016

The Region
The Solomon Islands diplomat in Geneva, Barrett Salato, raised concerns about human rights abuses in West Papua at the United Nations Human Rights Council (39th Meeting, 31st Regular Session Human Rights Council, 15 March).  He told the Council that the human rights violations in West Papua needed urgent attention by the world community and the Solomon Islands remains concerned by arbitrary arrests, summary executions, tortures, ill treatments and limitations of freedom of expression committed by Indonesian security forces. He encouraged Indonesia to establish a dialogue with West Papuan representatives and highlighted the request made by the Pacific Island Forum to allow for a human rights fact-finding mission to be sent to West Papua. Video, Ch.36 at

  RNZI. A meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Photo: AFP


Solomon Islands Prime Minister
The Solomon Star (14 March) also reported that the Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said that while the MSG respects the sovereignty of Indonesia over West Papua, it will still vigorously pursue the reports of the violation of human rights in the country that is struggling for self-determination. Allegations of gruesome human rights abuses perpetrated by Indonesian armed forces on West Papuans have been widely reported, however, no concrete action has been taken to bring those responsible to justice. But MSG chairman and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said the abuses were something they could not shy away from, even though they recognised that Indonesia had authority over West Papua.

"The matter of self-determination is a matter between the West Papuans and Indonesia to discuss,” Sogavare told the Fiji media during his visit there last week.  “But when it comes to human rights violations, I think we can and we have a duty as members of the UN to express our views and concerns and we hope the President of Indonesia will respect that for the good of all. "All right thinking people of planet earth should be able to express concern when a race is persecuted for what they believe in for expressing their thinking and expressing how they want to organise themselves," Sogavare said. He said they continued to encourage the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to send an independent fact-finding mission made up of NGOs and churches to West Papua to find out more about the human rights violations.

Rex Horoi to be appointed Solomons’ West Papua envoy
Radio NZ International reported (22 March) that Former Solomon Islands diplomat Rex Horoi is expected to be appointed his country’s special envoy on West Papua at the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Solomons Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogovare, has intimated that Mr Horoi - the outgoing Director of the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific - will take up the post shortly. Mr Horoi will be responsible for ensuring MSG support for West Papua's inclusion in the United Nations Decolonisation list. Under a Solomon Islands plan designed last year, the country was to have appointed a special envoy to lobby Pacific island governments to support West Papua's inclusion on the list.

Support for West Papua raises concerns in Jakarta
The continuing support for West Papua by a number of countries in the Pacific has raised concerns in Jakarta. To counter the growing support Indonesia is considering strengthen its ties with South Pacific countries by appointing a special envoy to the region with a portfolio including West Papua. Indonesia sent a delegation to Fiji and PNG to strengthen bilateral relations with the countries in the South Pacific region. Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Security and Legal Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said that Indonesia will be consistently present in the South Pacific by sending ministers to the 16 countries in the region. "To Prime Minister Josaia Bainimarama and foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola I have conveyed that we will be consistently present in the region," he said during his visit to Fiji (Antara News 31 March).

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) has objected to the move by Indonesia to commission an envoy to the Pacific on behalf of its Melanesian population. The Liberation Movement's ambassador for Oceania and the Pacific Islands region, Amatus Douw, pointed out that he already serves the role as envoy for Papuan interests in the Pacific. The Australia-based diplomat warned that Indonesia's envoy plan was about expanding its colonialist agenda and nothing to do with representing the interests of Papuans.

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua's Pacific ambassador Amatus Douw (third from left) and secretary-general Octo Mote (second from right) talk to New Zealand MPs. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

During the visit Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Security and Legal Affairs met with Prime Minister Bainimarama, the Minister of Agriculture, Resettlement, Maritime and Disaster Mitigation Affairs Ina Seriaritu and had a lunch with minister Kubuabola.  The Minister said he reiterated Indonesia’s commitment to help and cooperate with Fiji, in the economic, fishery, agricultural, cultural and military fields.

Regarding the Melanesian Spearhead Group issue, Luhut said that it had been touched upon in the meeting with Foreign Minister Kubuabola. Minister Kubuabola revealed the wish of the government of Fiji to propose upgrading the status of Indonesia at the MSG from an associate member to a full member to strengthen Indonesia’s position in the group of Melanesian countries, he said.  He would report it to President Joko Widodo and discuss it with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on his arrival home, Luhut said in response to it. After completing his agenda in Fiji, minister Luhut left Suva Thursday evening for Port Moresby for a two-day official visit to Papua New Guinea.

In Fiji the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan symbolically handed over aid worth US$5 million to  Fijian Prime Minister J.V. Bainimarama to help rebuild the country after Cyclone Winston. Pandjaitan also expressed his sympathy and condolences to the Fijian government and people over the disaster that devastated the South Pacific country last February. Bainimarama held a closed-door meeting with Pandjaitan, who was accompanied by Indonesian Ambassador to Fiji Gary R.M. Jusuf, the vice governor of Papua, and the governor of Maluku.

RNZI (I April) reported that the Pacific Conference of Churches saying that donors and foreign governments must treat victims of disaster with dignity and not attach conditions to relief efforts. The call coincides with this week's visit to Fiji of Indonesia's Co-ordinating Minister for Political Affairs, Law and Security, Luhut Binsar Padjaitan. Mr Padjaitain is reportedly to give Fiji an assistance package worth up to 5 million US dollars and a contingent of engineers for the country's rehabilitation efforts in the wake of the devastation caused by Cyclone Winston last month. PCC General Secretary, Reverend Francois Pihaatae, said Indonesia's offer should be welcomed but noted that Padjaitan's visit had glaring political overtones. He noted the minister had been "extremely vocal against groups seeking self-determination in Papua" and had publicly called for West Papuan activists to be removed from the country. In Jakarta, a senior government official told Indonesian media earlier this week that the ministerial visit was to suppress regional support for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua. As the ULMWP was recently granted observer status at the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Jakarta has increased its diplomatic overtures to the region. But Reverend Pihaatae said that any bilateral talks between Indonesia and Fiji on the issue of West Papua should not be influenced by assistance to cyclone victims.

The Indonesian delegation also visited PNG and at a bilateral meeting the PNG Foreign and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato Pato discussed various cooperation opportunities including in the fields of economy, investment, trade, and energy, particularly LNG, and flights connecting the two neighboring countries. They also discussed cooperation between the two nations police and military, especially to guard the border areas. PNG, which will host an APEC Summit in 2018 and is eager to take a cue from Indonesia on ways to organize a major international meeting. The Government of PNG supported Indonesia to get the status of associative member of MSG. The two countries have signed 11 memoranda of understanding and three agreements to strengthen bilateral partnership based on mutual respect.

News in brief

Congratulations to Ash, director of “Punks for West Papua” on his latest award of recognition. Well deserved. The Doco will be showing at the at Wayward Brewing Co. on Wednesday April 6. Doco showing  at 7pm. Wayward Brewing Company Unit 1-3 Gehrig Lane, Annandale

Church report
A delegation of church and lay people went to West Papua and Jakarta in February this year.  The purpose of the delegation was to build links and
to listen to the stories of Papuans about their human rights concerns so the fact finding mission  could report on this to the wider community, governments, the UN and other major bodies and organisations. During their fact-finding mission they interviewed more than 250 community leaders in Japapura, Merauke, Timika and Sorong. ALLEGATIONS of recent military and police intimidation, beatings and torture, kidnapping and murder in West Papua, have been documented in the new Church report.
The report documents religious, social and economic discrimination including how the carve up of land for major development has benefited multinationals and excluded Papuans from ownership and jobs. It refers to a slow motion genocide happening 250km north of Australia. The report has not yet been publicly released.

Benny Wenda visits Ghana

                                     Benny Wenda meeting with His Excellency President Jerry John Rawlings

Benny Wenda visited Ghana to join Ghanaians in celebrating the 59th anniversary of their country’s independence. Benny met with prominent people and top officials like former Presidents J.A Kuffuor and J.J Rawlings to dialogue on how effectively they could help liberate west Papua from Indonesia. Former President Jerry John Rawlings has also pledged his support to fight for the independence of the West Papuans. He said "we are honored to fight for your people. We share a similar history." "It is no surprise to me that you had support from Ghana at the UN in 1969 and that we accepted West Papuan refugees in the 1980's. West Africa has seen slavery, colonial struggles and independence" "Chief you find yourself in a very painful situation. I suggest that you contact and lobby every congressman, senator and parliamentarian. The European Commission, the AU and all organisations. Keep knocking and knock again, don't let them sleep" "We will contribute by reminding them who is still colonised" "Keep fighting"

Stand in solidarity with the West Papuans demanding a free and fair vote to determine their future.
On May 3rd, 2016 there will be a meeting of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua in the UK Houses of Parliament.
This meeting is very important, as it will mark the official call for an internationally supervised vote in West Papua by the end of the decade. 
Please Join the international online CALL FOR ACTION and stand in SOLIDARITY with the West Papuan people 
starting APRIL 01 – MAY 03, 2016.

Take Action from your computer, phone or tablet
1) Download and print the SIGN below
2) Take a photo of yourself holding THE SIGN YOU HAVE JUST PRINTED; include your name and location at the bottom (e.g. Mary, NSW, AUSTRALIA). 
3) Post your photo to twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Be sure to include the hashtags #LetWestPapuaVote #IPWP #ILWP #WESTPAPUA #INDONESIA #BREAKTHESILENCE 
On Twitter include @UN
4) After you post, email your photo to us at or post on our Facebook page FREE WEST PAPUA CAMPAIGN AUSTRALIA and on your State pages.

Community policing training programme
The deputy head of political affairs at the Netherlands Embassy in Indonesia, Maarten van den Bosch, visited West Papua region where he checked on the progress of a community policing training programme it supports in West Papua. The programme jointly operated by the International Organisation for Migration with Dutch funding is training over five thousand personnel in community policing across three provinces: Papua, West Papua and Maluku.
The Dutch Government says it's received positive feedback about the training programme which began in 2013 and will end later this year (From RNZI 8 March).

Four highway construction workers were killed 
Four highway construction workers were killed by an armed group in Mulia, Puncak Jaya on the 15 March at around 13:45local time. Three were killed during the attack with one dying later in hospital. The attackers also burned an excavator and a bulldozer belonging to PT Modern, the contractor building the road. The Chief of the Puncak Jaya Resort Police, Senior Commissioner Adjunct Marcelis confirmed the incident occurred in Agenggen Village of Sinak Sub-district, Puncak Jaya Regency. The Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw told Tempo that forty police and military personnel were deployed to the scene to find the perpetrators According to the Jakarta Globe (16 March) The West Papuan National Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack, “We are responsible for the shootings. Now, [every movement] has been under one command,” WPNLA spokesman Sebby Sambom said on late Wednesday, as reported by Republika on Wednesday (16/03). Sebby said the attack was intended to end the construction of Jalan Trans Papua — a major piece of President Joko Widodo's infrastructure plan — calling the 4,000 kilometer long road a type of colonialism.
Antara News reported (18 March) the Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu as saying that armed rebels have no place in the country, including those attempting to free Papua from Indonesia, because allowing them to keep existing would only create fear among the people.  "Their existence cannot be tolerated," he told journalists in response to the separatist movement in Indonesia and the need to promote a state defense program.
Ryamizard said he believed in the involvement of parties in foreign countries in every separatist movement. Therefore, he warned that their unlawful acts would not be tolerated.  For the armed rebels in the Indonesian province of Papua who launch attacks, they would be stopped to avoid the people feeling terrorized. "We have been patient enough and this must be stopped in the best way," he said.

Foreign Minister visits Indonesian
The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop is visited Indonesian (20 to 23 March).  In Jakarta, the Foreign Minister met with her Indonesian counterpart, Foreign Minister Retno Maraud, and other senior ministers. She formally opened Australia’s newly constructed embassy in Jakarta and a new Australian Consulate-General in Makassar. However, no mention of West Papua during her visit. AWPA’s release at

LIPI Urges Jokowi to Hold National Dialogue on Papua
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta-Papua Study Team of Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) has urged President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to immediately convene national dialogue to end atrocities in Papua which have been happening for over 50 years. According to the Study Team chief Adriana Elisabeth, President Jokowi has already expressed his willingness to hold dialogue with all parties during his visit to Papua in 2015. “However, the concept of dialogue intended by President Jokowi was unclear. Papuan people are waiting,” Adriana said in a media briefing at LIPI office, Jakarta on Monday, March 14, 2016. Adriana believed that Jokowi is the only figurehead who could bridge the dialogue with Papuans. Therefore, the study team has called for national dialogue to be realized this year. “This year is the best momentum to convene national dialogue. Next year, [politicians] will be preoccupied with elections,” she said.  Meanwhile, Papuan diaspora are doubling down on their efforts to voice human rights violations suffered by the Papuans and their demands to free themselves from Indonesia. Adriana admitted that many parties are reluctant to hold dialogue as it is often associated with separatism. However, she is optimistic that dialogue could be held if the parties involved eliminate suspicions among themselves. “Dialogue might be an alien concept in Indonesia. But don’t be afraid to hold dialogue.” MARIA RITA (Tempo !5 March)

Eight Revelations From Tony Abbott’s Openly Pro-War Crimes Quadrant Essay 
From a New Matilda )
Extract in relation to West Papua.

Australia Sent West Papuans Seeking Asylum Overseas And Blocked A Peace Flotilla
Incredibly, after the Sri Lanka boast, Abbott does it again, bragging about secretly sending activists back to Papua New Guinea and blocking a peace flotilla.
“As a very early sign of good faith to the Indonesians, I had West Papuan activists, who’d arrived in the Torres Strait claiming asylum, quietly returned to Papua New Guinea. A protest boat seeking to sail from Australia to Indonesian West Papua was prevailed upon never to leave. Quite rightly, the Indonesians regarded vessels leaving Australia for Indonesia without lawful purpose as an affront to their sovereignty—and that exactly matched my government’s attitude to vessels bound for Australia in defiance of our law.”
West Papuan independence was prevented by a sham referendum in 1969, and subsequent domination by Indonesia. A 2004 paper headed by Yale academic Allard K. Lowenstein noted widespread evidence of disappearances and killings at the hands of Indonesian police, finding “even if the acts described in the paper were not carried out with intent to destroy the West Papuans as a group, a necessary element of the crime of genocide, many of these acts clearly constitute crimes against humanity under international law.”
The startling thing about the Wes Papua passages in the Quadrant essay is how proud Abbott appears to be of this complicity in human rights abuses. This is not a justification, it’s an open celebration.

ULMWP Public Discussion Canceled due to Police’s Attendance
JUBI 15 March

Police stand in front of Mimika student dormitory at Jalan Kamp Wolker Perumnas I Waena, Jayapura – Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – On 8 March 2015 at 22:05 Papua time, the Internal Affairs working team of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), Markus Haluk and the Central Executive Board of the Indonesia-Highland Student Association (DPP-AMPTPI) agreed to hold a discussion forum to update the current situation and latest development occurred in Papua.
DPP-AMPTPI was assigned to create a team to facilitate the public discussion with Markus Haluk as resource person. The working team member Hendrikus Madai said since 8 March to 11 March 2016, the working team has done any relevant preparations for the success of discussion. Madai who’s also the Deputy Secretary General of DPP AMPTPI, said the discussion was planned to be held in Mimika student dormitory at Jalan Kamp Wolker Perumnas I Waena, Jayapura.

“After obtaining permission from Mimika student dormitory board, and chairs were set for the invitees, the invitation was sent to the activists, students and public via printed invitation letters, facebook, WhatsApp and SMS with expectation about 300-500 people would participate in the forum,” said Madai to Jubi in Mimika student dormitory’s yard on Saturday (12/3/2016).
He said several issues to be raised in the discussion are including the unity among Papuans, controversy on the opening of ULMWP Office in Jayawijaya Regency, and the extent of support by international community towards the struggle of Papuan people that represented by ULMWP to the update on current situation in Papua, which is through the seminar it would provide a good and factual understanding for Papuan people.
“But, unfortunately on the day the forum should be implemented, on Saturday (12/3/2016) at 08:40 Papua time, five equipped police officers came to Mimika student dormitory’s yard,” Madai explained.
Then, he added, they guarded the entry of student dormitory blocking the participants to enter the room. Meanwhile, police officers were standby at the outside of student dormitory. The Police parked 5 cars at dormitory’s yard while a car (Avanza) and police truck were parked at Perumnas 1 intersection.

“There were also officers not wearing the uniform and taking radio HT. I suggested they are police intelligent,” he said. Deputy Committee Antonius Yohame said looking at the situation, he promptly made coordination with Markus Halus as key resource person from ULMWP and Secretary General AMPTPI as person in charge of the seminar and public discussion. “And they requested us (the committee) to cancel the event and people who were already in the room to dissolve themselves,” he said. Jubi’s reporter had inquired to the police officers guarded in front of Mimika student dormitory, but they didn’t give any answers. (Abeth You/rom)

China eyes Papua sago investment
RNZI 22 March 2016

Chinese investors are keen to be involved in the sago processing industry in the Papua region. Indonesia's investment co-ordinating agency, BKPM, said an initial investment of $US62 million dollars was being planned. Tabloid Jubi reported the BKPM chief Franky Sibarani saying there was a strategic value in the sago processing investment because the sector was categorized as labour-intensive and this development was expected to employ about 1500 workers in Papua. He said the Chinese investors were positive not only in terms of increasing investment in Indonesia, but also in taking an important role in Papua's development. Franky Sibarani said investment was being planned in more sago processing, wood processing and a biomass electricity power plant.

Special Autonomy Stuck due to Jakarta Interventions
4 April 2016

 The Special Autonomy Law has not solved the social gap between Papua and other regions in Indonesia – Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – After almost 16 years, the Special Autonomy Law has not solved the social gap between Papua and other regions in Indonesia.
The Special Autonomy Law is also a materialization of the highest recognition from the Indonesian Government towards Papuan people, especially the indigenous people.

It is expected to provide opportunities and broaden the participation of indigenous Papuans in all areas of development. However, in reality, many Papuans believed it has not achieved its purpose. But Papua Governor Lukas Enembe wanted to retain it. The Second Secretary of Papua Customary Council, John NR Gobai said the authority of Special Autonomy Law wasn’t running optimal because of overlapping rules or double standard.
“We are really different with Aceh, for instance in the use of full authority of Special Autonomy. In Papua, it is not firmed, and so many interventions from the Central Government to Papua,” he told Jubi in Abepura on Saturday (2/4/2016).
According to Gobai who also the Paniai Regional Customary Council Chief, that each Perdasus (Special Regional Regulation) or Perdasi (Provincial Regulation) always need to be consulted to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, therefore speaking on Papua Special Autonomy is clearly to be cut by the Central Government. He said the Central Government much believes on ‘spies’ in Papua than the Regional Government. He gave example on the conflict of mining permits that are still overlapping between the authority of Papua Governor and the regents.

“It is happening because of the appliance of two regulations, namely the Law of Regional Government and Special Autonomy Law in Papua Province,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian councilor of Papua representative the Rev. Charles Simaremare firmly said in line with the rejection of Special Autonomy by Papuan people, and Papua provincial civil servants was happened because of the implementation of Papua Special Autonomy has not been run properly as the authority has not been fully given to the Provincial Government as the administrator. As its reference is not clear, he added, many Special Regional Regulations are certainly not running yet. “Because if talking about Papua Special Autonomy, it should involve a huge authority and the important role of people is also need to be improved to prosperity,” he said. (Abeth You/rom)

Opinion pieces/reports/ press releases etc.

INDONESIA: Judicial and legal systems have failed to address torture

Indonesia cannot ignore its Papuan problem

Eliminate the “Smoke” ULMWP

PT Selaras Inti Semesta continues logging, but isn’t giving work to Zanegi villagers

Government approach in Papua criticised in Human Rights Commission Indigenous People’s Inquiry findings.

Palm Oil Plantation Invades Sacred Sago Forest, Customary Leader Says

Doubts linger over Jokowi’s  call for Papuan development

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