Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Summary of events in West Papua from 13 September -(5 October 2016)

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

Summary of events in West Papua  from 13 September -(5 October 2016).

Seven  Pacific leaders raised the issue of West Papua at the  71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu all raised concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua.

Pacific leaders at the UN General Assembly expressed concern about human rights abuses in Papua. Left to right: Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai; Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare; Tonga Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva; Nauru President Baron Waqa; Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine; Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga Photo: UN Photo (in RNZI report 27/9)

From the Solomon Islands Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Manasseh Sogavare statement in relation to West Papua.

“Solomon Islands is gravely concerned about the human rights violations against Melanesians in West Papua. Human rights violations in West Papua and the pursuit for self-determination of West Papua are two sides of the same coin. Many reports on human rights violations in West Papua emphasize the inherent corroboration between the right to self-determination that results in direct violations of human rights by Indonesia in its attempts to smother any form of opposition.

The principle of sovereignty is paramount in any institution whose core rationale is the respect for sovereignty. If the justification of sovereignty rests on a series of decisions that are questionable, then there is a case to challenge the legality of the argument of sovereignty as is the case of the New York Agreement and the Act of Free Choice.

Solomon Islands adds its' voice to those of other member countries and civil society organisations who are concerned about human rights violations in the Papua and West Papua regions of Indonesia. As the chair of the Melanesian Spearhead Group that includes Indonesia as an associate member and the United Liberation Movement of West Papua as an observer, Solomon Islands affirms the need for constructive engagement with Indonesia and looks forward to cooperating with Indonesia to address the violations of human rights in West Papua”.

Jakarta was not happy and in its first Right of Reply the Indonesian representative accused the Pacific Leaders of politically motivated statements designed to support separatist groups.
Statements by Pacific leaders  to the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly mentioning West Papua and right of replies at

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua's spokesman Benny Wenda said  the response  was typical of Jakarta's defensiveness whenever international support for Papuans' rights were raised.

The Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) also issued a statement condemning the Indonesian government’s “denial of reports of human rights violations in Papua” during the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 26. The legal rights defender, which has previously advocated on behalf of several Papuan groups, says that the violations really took place. 
From Jakarta Post report (Jakarta Post October 4 2016)
Stop denying human rights violations in Papua: LBH Jakarta
The Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) has issued a statement condemning the Indonesian government’s “denial of reports of human rights violations in Papua” during the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 26. The legal rights defender, which has previously advocated on behalf of several Papuan groups, says that the violations really took place. LBH Jakarta data show that between April and Sept. 16 this year, the government has arrested 2,282 Papuans staging non-violent rallies. Most of these arrests took place from May 28 to July 27, in which 1,889 protesters were arrested, LBH Jakarta said in a release made available Monday. “Indonesia, through its representative, Nara Masista, said problems in Papua were related to separatists seeking to disrupt public order. She also said Indonesia’s commitment to human rights was solid,” the release said. “But the reality begs to differ. LBH Jakarta and our network has recorded human rights violations from arrests, murders and dispersal of rallies,” the statement said. The data show that from 2012 until June 2016, 4,198 Papuans were arrested. “The arrests were made in different places and involved intimidation,” it said. The violations continued with the Papua Police chief’s order on July 1 this year, which limited freedom of expression by stigmatizing rallies with the label of separatism, LBH claimed, adding that since then, every rally had been dispersed and the protesters arrested.           
“From Aug. 13 to Sept. 16, 112 protesters were arrested while carrying out non-violent rallies in several places in Papua and Jakarta,” LBH Jakarta went on. (eve)

Papua is non-negotiable: Minister
In a report in the Jakarta Post (5 October) a minister told journalists that Papua’s place in the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia is not up for negotiation. In diplomacy, several things are negotiable but some others cannot be negotiated. When it comes to the issue of support toward separatism, I think not only diplomats, but all of us, know that this is a point where we should stop," Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi told journalists on Tuesday.  The minister was responding to criticism of Indonesia's strong response to six Pacific Island heads of state, who conveyed their allegations of human rights violations in Papua and West Papua provinces during the recent UNGA in New York.

The 47th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Meeting was held in the Federated States of Micronesia between the 8 - 10 September (covered in last update). West Papua was mentioned in the official Communique  although no mention of a fact finding mission.
From communiqué in relation to West Papua
18. Leaders recognised the political sensitivities of the issue of West Papua (Papua) and agreed the issue of alleged human rights violations in West Papua (Papua) should remain on their agenda. Leaders also agreed on the importance of an open and constructive dialogue with Indonesia on the issue.

Although AWPA was encouraged that the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) leaders decided that human rights violations in West Papua should remain on their agenda, it was disappointing that no mention of a PIF fact-finding mission to West Papua was mentioned in the official communiqué. It is hoped that all the PIF leaders will fall in behind  the seven courageous  Pacific Leaders that raised West Papua at the UN Generally assembly and will not only continue to call on Jakarta to allow a PIF fact finding mission but to support civil society organisations in their call for the re inscription of West Papua  on the decolonisation list.

For the first  time non-self governing territories were granted full membership at the PIF.   French Polynesia and Kanaky (New Caledonia) were granted full membership.   In both Kanaky and French Polynesia independence activists opposed their integration as their membership  comes under French colonialism and not as independent countries in their own right.  One security analyst believes  one of the key motives for France's effective addition to the PIF is to stem the impact of Fiji's Frank Bainimarama. RNZI report at

Sydney supporters held a rally and march on the 2 October 

The March began  at Sydney Town Hall and made its way to the NSW parliament in a show of solidarity with West Papua. and to show support for 
West Papua's bid for full membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
Press for human rights monitoring and open access to foreign journalists in West Papua.
Press for an Independent Fact Finding mission into West Papua.
Remembering West Papua's efforts in the Pacific war.
Abolish or Amend the Lombok Treaty.
Global Assistance for the West Papuan Refugees in PNG.
United Nations intervention in West Papua.

Congratulations to Selai and team for her organisation skills and to all who attended
Photos of  March at (lots more on Facebook)
youtube footage in bottom section of update

Global Rocking for West Papua also kicked of in Australia on the 30 September in Sydney.

A quick wrap of the opening weekend of Rocking for West Papua in Sydney & Newcastle, Australia

More arrests of KNPB activists in Yakuhimo

The Yakuhimo Police arrested 21 members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) as they distributed leaflets about a peaceful rally to be held on Monday the 19 September. 8 activists were arrested first, followed by another 13 when over 200 people protested outside the local police station at the arrests. One protestor was taken to hospital after been hit by a police officer.  Jubi reported that the protestor said he was beaten after an unknown person threw stones at the police station.  Chairman of the KNPB Victor Yeimo said the rally on Monday was to show support for the Pacific countries who are members of the Pacific Islands Coalition on West Papua (PICWP) who will be raising West Papua at the UN General Assembly. AWPA release at

Papuan rallies across Indonesia stopped by police
RNZI 21 September 2016
Thousands of Papuans rallying yesterday across Indonesia were reportedly dispersed by police and at least 75 were arrested.

                                                    Photo: Supplied/ Whens Tebay

The rallies were in support of the *Pacific Coalition on West Papua's bid to make a call at the UN General Assembly for an intervention into human rights abuses in West Papua. Translated reports from various Papuan news sites paint a sketchy picture of arbitrary arrests carried out by authorities over the weekend leading up to Monday’s demonstrations. 

 In the regency of Yakuhimo, rally coordinator Yallenang Wakla said security forces were out even before people were able to gather, and their attempts to march were blocked at every turn. Mr Wakla said in the end organisers were given only 35 minutes to make a speech before the gathering was dispersed by authorities. RNZI report at
However, Yakuhimo police chief Anthony Maring said they had already rejected an application for the demonstration, because of previous incidents where things got out of hand. Mr Maring said he simply wanted to avoid any unrest, and he did not condone involving minors in such rallies, especially when they did not understand what it was about.

Teachers condemn West Papua injustices
The COOK Islands Teachers Institute has initiated strong condemnation by regional educators of atrocities reportedly committed by the Indonesian government in West Papua.
 The formal stance was adopted at the recent 21st Council of Pacific Education Conference (COPE) held in Fiji by CITI representatives, president Thomas Taurongo Wynn and executive member Apii Napa. CITI is understood to be the first national organisation to independently make a formal submission at regional level regarding the West Papua situation and for that submission to be unanimously endorsed by 12 Pacific nations.
Taurongo Wynn says COPE has formally denounced the atrocities committed by the Indonesian government against the indigenous people of West Papua and that “…we stand in solidarity with all educators, education staff and students affected.”

Melanesian Solidarity for Decolonisation
By Godwin Ligo 4 October 2016
The Melanesian Wantok Summit organized by Vanuatu Free West Papua Association (VFWPA) and supported by the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Association (PIANGO) to coincide with the October, 2016 Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) brought together 43 representatives of Civil Society from Vanuatu, West Papua, Fiji, Kanaky, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. “The objective of the summit was to revisit and strengthen Melanesian identity, culture, languages, heritage and ethnic and to hear from the solidarity movement of what is happening on the ground in the MSG countries in regards to supporting Decolonization processes for members of our Melanesian family still facing colonization especially the case of West Papua,”the Murray Centre Communiqué read.

The Summit was opened by Pastor Alan Nafuki, Chairman of the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association who is also the Chairman of the Vanuatu Christian Council. He explained in his opening address that the struggle of the Vanuatu decolonization process and the involvement of the Church and the significance of the name and meaning of Vanuatu as “ the land raising” which came from a Chief involved in the conference to determine post-independence of Vanuatu. In his spiritual reflection, Pastor Nafuki reminded the meeting that, as Melanesians we have the power of faith in Jesus and not money. In the same way, Pastor Nafuki said, West Papua will one day be free because of Jesus.

The keynote address was delivered by Mr. Rene Sore, Secretary to the MSG Chairman who is the Solomon Islands Prime Minister. He reaffirmed that the positions of the MSG members-Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and Kanaky Government in support of the West Papua struggle for Independence remains firm. Representatives of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) confirmed that West Papuans both from inside and outside are united in support of ULMWP as the true and rightful Leaders for their struggle for Self-determination and Independence. The ULMWP representatives strongly urged that MSG granted full membership to ULMWP which will further gain international recognition of their cause.

The Summit received reports of initiatives in Vanuatu, West Papua, Fiji, Kanaky, PNG and Solomon Islands undertaken by the Solidarity Movements and the Civil Society Sector. In his brief remarks during the signing of the Murray Centre Communique yesterday afternoon, the Chair of the Summit, Pastor Nafuki, said he was proud of the 3-day summit which he described as successful. It will be presented shortly to the MSG Leaders in Port Vila he said. He also said that the MSG Chairman, the Solomon Islands Prime Minister is expected to arrive in Vanuatu today, but the Daily Post could not get comment from the Government authorities on this at the time of going to press. Pastor Nafuki said every MSG Leaders will receive copies of the Communique while at the same time expressed his disappointment for what he termed “ ongoing delay for an MSG Meeting to discuss the West Papua issue and full membership application into the MSG” .

However, he is thankful to the present Vanuatu Government support towards the West Papua constant call for full membership recognition into the Melanesian Spearhead Group ( MSG). He expressed his appreciation to the Government, and the people of Vanuatu at all levels for continues support and prayers for West Papuan Melanesian People.

Three shot on military truck in Puncak Jaya
Nether Dharma Somba The Jakarta Post Saturday 24 2016 
Three people were injured when a military truck was shot at in Kota Mulia, Puncak Jaya, Papua, on Saturday. A civilian identified as Winingga Tabuni, 25, was shot in the chest, while Second Sgt. Susanto was shot in the left arm and Second Sgt. Suparman, the driver, was hit in the left leg. The truck, belonging to the Puncak Jaya Military Command, was returning to base in Kota Mulia from Puncak Senyum after fetching timber that was to be used to build honai (traditional Papuan houses). “There were no fatalities, only injured victims,” Cenderawasih Military Command spokesperson Col. Teguh Rahardjo said Saturday. The civilian was a local contracted to build honai for the people. Indonesian Military chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo had ordered soldiers to build honai in cooperation with locals, Teguh said. On Sept. 12, a contract teacher, Ezra Patatang, 27, was shot dead in Kota Baru, Puncak Jaya. The police are hunting down the unidentified shooters, Teguh said. (eve)

18 Young Papuans Reportedly Shot by Security Forces Since Paniai Incident
Tabloidjubi report 24 September 2016
Jayapura, Jubi – Since the shooting incident in Karel Gobay Square, Enarotali, Paniai, that killed four students, security forces have shot 18 Papuans aged 14–19, eight of them fatally. It has become a new trend of violence in Papua.

The incident at Karel Gobay Square on 8 December 2014 killed Yulian Yeimo (17), Simon Degei (18), Alpius Gobay (18) and Alpius Youw (17).  Some civilians were also injured by bullets during the violence. The Police have not name any suspect even after though more than eight investigation teams have been involved in this case.

A teenager called Inter Segenil (16) also been shot by security personnel in Yahukimo on 21 March 2015 after the dissolution of fundraising event held by the West Papua National Committee.  Besides him, Isai Dapla (37), Salomon Pahabol (47), Titus Giban (39),Simson Giban (42) and Obang Sengenil (48) also hit by the bullets in this incident.

On Thursday, 25 June 2016, a teenager Yoseni Agapa (15) was dead and the rest of seven was injured when some ununiformed people opened fire towards eight civilians in Ugapuga, Kamu Timur, Dogiyai Sub-district. Five of seven injured victims are teenagers, namely Melianus Mote (16), Podepai Agapa (14), Yulius Agapa (17), Yunias Agapa (16), Feri Goo (15). Two other victims, Neles Douw and Menki Agapa were accused for being blocked the street that triggered the shooting.

On 17 July 2015, another incident occurred during the Ied praying at Karubaga, Tolikara when the Evangelist Church Youngster in Indonesia (GIDI) held the church event from 13 to 19 July in Karubaga intended to negotiate with the Muslims to not using the speakers during the Ied praying in the yard, have been shot by security forces that also in the scene for praying. As the result, Edi Wanimbo, 15 years old teenager was dead with the bullet hit on his stomach. Eight people were also wounded in this incident.

The shooting incident that murdered another teenager was occurred in Timika on 28 August 2015. Student Martinus Imaputa (17) was shot on the left chest, while Amalia Apoka (girl, 19) was shot on right foot by military personnel from Military District Command 1701 Timika. Two were dead in this incident that was occurred after the Kamoro tribe art festival in Koperapoka. Two dead victims are Imanuel Herman Mairimau (23) and Yulianus Okoware (23).

Kalep Zera Bagau (18) and Efrado I. S. Sabarofek (17), the students of Vocational High School (SMK) Petra, Timika and Efrando I.S.Sabarofek (17) are the next victims. The police shot both students on 28 September 2015 in Gorong-Gorong Timika. Kalep was dead. The Police said both students were involved in the attack on the house of Timika resident. But the family denied they were involved in the attack and burning of the resident’s house.

In 2016, Mobile Brigade personnel shot Otinus Sondegau (16) in Sugapa. He was killed in front of his own house on 27 August 2016 for the accusation being involved in a blockage in Sugapa traditional market. As the result of this shooting, his family was irritated and Sugapa people burned Sugapa Police Station.

Another incident happened in this September. On 14 September, two personnel of Water and Air Police (Polairud/Polair) beat Melky Balagaize (19) in Wanam Wogikel, Ilwayab Sub-district, Merauke Regency after return from the Karaoke Club with his friends. The Police said he was drunk and made noise as well as brought the sharp weapon to run after the local resident. But the family declined the police’s statement. Melky’s brother, Seimon Petrus Balagaize, said the officers who beat his brother were also drunk.

Of these cases mentioned above, only three cases that reportedly taken to the court for legal and ethics process by each institution of the perpetrators. The three cases are Koperapoka case that involved the military personnel, Gorong-Gorong case that involved the police officer, and Sugapa case that involved the Papua Mobile Brigade personnel. (*/rom)

Human rights activists remain prone to threats: Komnas HAM
jakarta Post Jakarta | Tue, September 27 2016
Threats and criminalization still plague human rights activists in recent years despite a guarantee of freedom of expression in the reform era, the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) said on Tuesday.
Human rights activists still receive threats while providing aid to people or for staging protests, Komnas HAM commissioner Siti Noor Laila said. There were at least three threats from 2012-2015 aimed at human rights activists, such as murder, death and kidnapping threats, according to data collected by Komnas HAM. Even though Indonesia's democracy began after the fall of Soeharto's dictatorship in 1998, there has not been a significant improvement toward protection of human rights activists in the reform era, Siti said noting several cases of criminalization aimed at activists in recent years.

"In the democracy era, freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution, crimes against human rights activists must never happen," Siti said at a press conference in Jakarta on Tuesday. She cited examples, such as Yogyakarta-based activist Raden Mas Aji Kusumo who spent three and a half months behind bars in 2015 for staging a  rally to reject the construction of an apartment in Kaliurang, Sleman regency of Yogyakarta believed to cause environmental degradation.
Two public lawyers from Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta)  Tigor Gempita Hutapea and Obed Sakti Andre Dominika have also been arrested for disobeying police orders when assisting laborers in a rally in front of the State Palace in October last year. Samsul, known as Salim Kancil, was a farmer and anti-mining activist who was beaten to death in September last year for organizing a protest against invasive sand mining in his village in Lumajang, East Java. (wnd/rin)

Amnesty International Urgent action
UA: 218/16 Index: ASA 21/4893/2016 Indonesia Date: 27 September 2016
On 24 September at around 3am, the house of Agustinus Aud, the spokesperson of KNPB’s (the West Papuan National Committee) Sorong branch, was surrounded by at least 10 plain clothed men whose faces were covered with scarves and claimed to be police officers. They banged on his door and windows, shouting orders for him to come out. After some of the men had smashed some parts of his window, Agustinus Aud saw that two of the men were armed with rifles. He refused to come out and managed to make a phone call to his friends asking them to immediately come to his house. Agustinus Aud thought that he would be abducted and later be killed as happened to Martinus Yohame, another KNPB Sorong member, in August 2014.

UN to grill RI on rising rights abuses
Hans Nicholas Jong Jakarta Post September 29 2016 

The government is expected to have a hard time defending its human rights record in front of the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) after a group of civil society organizations submitted a condemnatory report to the UN. The group, consisting of human rights organizations such as the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) and the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR), submitted last week 15 reports, which detailed the government’s failure to protect human rights. The UPR is the first international human rights mechanism to address all countries and all human rights by periodically examining the human rights performance of all 193 UN member states every four-and-a-half years. It is a compulsory mechanism for any UN member, regardless of its size or influence. The UPR working group is expected to use the submitted report from the civil society groups as a reference for when Indonesia’s human rights record will be reviewed in its third session, to be held in Geneva in May 2017. “The first report is a general report that highlights human rights violation cases in Indonesia,” HRWG executive director Muhammad Hafiz said.

In general, the government has done a poor job in protecting human rights as it only followed up 20 percent of the UPR’s recommendations, made after Indonesia was last reviewed in 2012, he said. Indonesia received 180 recommendations, of which 144 were accepted by the government and the remaining 36 recommendations are set to be reviewed for further consideration.  There were some recommendations that were fully implemented, such as ratifying international conventions on migrant workers and on disabled people, Hafiz said. Other recommendations, meanwhile, were only partially implemented, such as revising the bill on religious harmony, which was undertaken by the Religious Affairs Ministry in 2014, only for the revision process to get bogged down, he added. Another recommendation that was not followed up was related to the issue of abuse of the freedoms of expression and religion, a problem that has been escalating in recent years. A religious freedom watchdog, the Wahid Institute, recorded 190 violations of freedom of religion and faith in 2015, a 23 percent increase from 154 cases in 2014. The violations were mostly in the form of sealing places of worship and the prohibition of their construction, as well as obstructing celebrations or the performance of rituals of certain faiths.

Abuse of freedom of religion also comes in the form of discriminatory bylaws, as there are 57 bylaws across the country that discriminate against certain religious groups and could endanger the country’s pluralism, according to data from rights group Setara Institute. With the government failing to implement most of the UPR’s recommendations as well as recent developments on human rights violation cases, such as the government’s decision to expedite the execution of death row convicts, Indonesia will have an even more difficult time answering questions from the UPR, ICJR executive director Supriyadi Widodo Eddyono said.

“There must have been a lot of critical questions for Indonesia, such as the use of the death penalty and makar [treason] in Papua,” he told The Jakarta Post. Supriyadi was referring to the Indonesian authorities’ decision to use articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code to criminalize dozens of peaceful Papuan pro-independence political activists over the last decade. During the 71st session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Pacific countries expressed their deep concern over continuing human rights violations in West Papua and called on the UN to take concrete measures to address the matter and urged the Indonesian government to solve the problems. The statements were strongly rejected by Indonesia’s delegation, saying that the criticism was politically motivated and designed to draw attention away from problems in their own countries. Nara Masista Rakhmatia, an official at Indonesia’s permanent mission to the UN, accused the countries of interfering in Indonesia’s national sovereignty. “Their politically motivated statements were designed to support separatist groups in the said provinces, who have consistently engaged in inciting public disorder and in conducting armed terrorist attacks,” she said.

Opinion pieces/press releases/reports etc.

Recent youtube footage
Year 5 Students at St Francis of Assisi

Politics in the pub

Winds of change for West Papua

West Papua’s Forgotten Struggle for Independence

Black Sisters honored to be part of PNG’s Independence celebrations


Listening to the Pacific beat on Papua

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