Friday, December 30, 2016

West Papua Report 2016 Year in Review

West Papua 2016 Year in Review


West  Papua rally Monday 19 September 2016. 
Photo: Supplied/ Whens Tebay (In RNZI report 18 Oct.   

Support grows in Melanesia, A new generation of activists for West Papua marching in Port Vila. 
Photo: AWPA in Vanuatu Daily Digest April 29 2016

January 2017

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

AWPA report - West Papua 2016

This report details incidents of human rights abuses and events that occurred in West Papua during 2016. It is by no means exhaustive. In the report AWPA uses the name “West Papua” to refer to the whole of the western half of the Island of New Guinea. However, “West Papua” at this time is divided into two provinces, Papua and West Papua.


There was no improvement in the human rights situation in West Papua in 2016. The West Papuan people continued to suffer from human rights violations committed by the Indonesian security forces throughout the year. 

The year began with a sweeping operation by the Indonesian security forces in Sinak subdistrict in the Puncak Regency. The security operation was in response to an attack by an armed group on the Sinak Police station in the Puncak Regency which killed three personal and wounded one other. The attack on the police station occurred on the 27 December 2015. The group also took a number of weapons and ammunition from the police station. An article in the local media Tabloid Jubi (9 Jan) reported that about 150 police personnel were deployed to hunt for the perpetrators of the attack. Jubi also reported that the Papua Police Spokesperson said that three platoons of Mobile Brigade from Timika, Jayapura and Puncak Jaya along with Papua Police Special Forces were deployed to the scene to look for the perpetrators “dead or alive.” The rebel group has an estimated 25 members. During the operation a number of residents’ houses were burned and a man was shot dead.

The year ended with over 400 people being arrested in at a rally on the 19 December. The Rally was to show support for the application by the  United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) for full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) but also to remember that on the 19 December in 1961, the then President Sukarno issued the “People’s Triple Command” (Trikora) calling for what he termed the liberation of Dutch New Guinea but in fact was the call to invade Dutch New Guinea. Jubi reported that on the 19 December a combined force of police and military arrested at least 405 people in Jayapura, Nabire, Merauke and Wamena.

Throughout the year the security forces cracked down on the numerous rallies held in West Papua with thousands of West Papuans arrested simply for taking part in the rallies. Although the majority of activists were eventually released, during the arrests activists are regularly beaten and in some cases faced torture. A number were also charged with treason. A chronology of rallies and arrests are in the report.

These arrests go against the principles laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states,

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. (Article 19)
Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. (Article 20)

It is time that governments dropped the mantra of “Indonesia is now a democracy and human rights abuses are a thing of the past”. The mass arrests of peaceful activists throughout the year proves otherwise.

The Australian Government in particular should realize the issue of West Papua is not going away and should be doing all it can to raise concern about the human rights situation with the Indonesian Government and not be training the Indonesian military. In an article in the Antara News (27 October 2016) Indonesia’s Defense Minister said that Indonesia and Australia would discuss efforts to deepen their military relations at the 2+2 meeting scheduled to be held in Bali,  "We will discuss how to deal with the South China Sea issue as well as the threats of terrorism which are our common enemy. The talks will be aimed at deepening our relations," he stated after a press conference on "Two Years of Concrete Work by Jokowi-JK," at Bina Graha, the state secretariat, and  "I will never meddle in the affairs of other countries and similarly other countries also must not meddle into our affairs," he stressed (West Papua?).

The Australian Government should also note that it’s now 53 years since Indonesia took over West Papua and West Papuans are still marching in the streets risking arrest and torture. West Papua as an issue is not going away.

If there was no improvement in the human rights situation in West Papua, the good news is the internationalization of the issue. 

Increasing support
There is increasing support for West Papua internationally and particularly in the Pacific region. In our region much of the awareness of the issue has come out of the lobbying of the two regional organisations, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) by West Papuan leaders, Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and churches. Seven Pacific leaders raised the issue of West Papua at the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2016. The Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu all raised concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua. The groundswell of support is extremely encouraging although West Papua has always been on the agenda in the Pacific region and much of the groundwork was laid by West Papuan leaders exiled in Vanuatu where an office was opened. West Papua was also on the agenda of the NFIP movement based in Fiji. 

                                                       Pacific leaders raise West Papua at UN

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.

Recently a new “Pacific Coalition on West Papua” was formed.  The initial membership comprises the Solomon Islands Government, Vanuatu Government, Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) and the United Liberation Movement of West Papua and the Pacific Islands Alliance of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO). Two new members are the governments of Tuvalu and the Republic of Nauru. The other two parties who indicated support for the initiative when it was introduced in Honiara at the margin of the 4th Pacific Islands Development Summit are the Kingdom of Tonga and the Republic of Marshall

The 47th Pacific Islands Forum Meeting was held in the Federated States of Micronesia between the 8 - 10 September. CSO’s presented a position paper concerning Human Rights violations in West Papua urging the PIF Leaders to:

a) Actively engage with the Indonesian Government to halt the deteriorating human rights violations and 
b) Discuss with the UN Secretary-General at their annual meeting (Forum Update in New York on the margins of UNGA) to appoint a special envoy to conduct human rights assessment in West Papua. 
c) Sponsor the re-instatement of West Papua on the United Nations Committee for Decolonisation and enquire into past actions for its removal. 

West Papua was mentioned in the official Communiqué. From the 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

Melanesian Spearhead Group 
The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is one of the two main regional organisations in the Pacific and is composed of the four Melanesian countries of   Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu as well as the Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) of Kanaky (New Caledonia). The organisation celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2013.

Although the MSG granted Observer Status to the ULMWP (Indonesia has associate membership) the ULMWP has been lobbying the MSG in the past year for full membership.  Foreign Ministers of the MSG countries met in Port Villa in December to discuss guidelines for membership at the request of the MSG leaders who wanted legal clarification on guidelines for membership. The MSG has postponed the decision until next year.

An Indonesian captures the Melanesian Spearhead Group proceedings, 20 December 2016 in Port Vila, on device. West Papuan representatives Benny Wenda and Octo Mote (MSG observers with the United Liberation Movement) in foreground. Photo: Supplied (In RNZI 27 Dec.).

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. 

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). 

Indonesian officials had made a number of trips to the pacific region offering various aid packages in an attempt to influence MSG leaders not to grant full membership to the ULMWP. Indonesia has also warned Melanesian leaders they risked undermining trade and unity if they get “hijacked” by the “negative propaganda” of the West Papua independence movement and that by elevating the ULMWP membership it would threaten regional stability. “The ULMWP’s continuing disruptive and destructive practices in the MSG process are dangerous for its unity and integrity,” says Sade Bimantara from Indonesia’s Embassy in Canberra.

Because of this growing support Indonesia’s Defence Minister also asked  Australia to pass a message to Solomon Islands that it should refrain from interferring in the internal affairs of Indonesia, including the issue of West Papua.

International Parliamentarians for West Papua
An historic step on the road to freedom for West Papua was made in London today. At a meeting of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua in the Houses of Parliament, (3 May) a new declaration was signed calling for an internationally supervised vote on the independence of West Papua. Delegates came from around the world to attend this historic meeting on West Papua’s future. The meeting was briefed by parliamentarians, lawyers and academics, all of whom discussed and affirmed the West Papuan people’s fundamental right to self-determination. The declaration reads as follows: We the undersigned Members of Parliament, being members of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua: I. Declare that continued human rights violations in West Papua are unacceptable. II. Warn that without international action the West Papuan people risk extinction. III. Reiterate the right of the people of West Papua to genuine self-determination. IV. Declare the 1969 ‘Act of Free Choice’ to be a gross violation of this principle. V. Call for an internationally supervised vote on self- determination in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolutions 1514 and 1541 (XV). Palace of Westminster, London, the 3rd of May, 2016

Progress under Jokowi?

Joke Widodo (popularly known as Jokowi) became president in October 2014 and has been in power just 2 years. At first many people saw him as a man of the people.  He was not one of the old guard and did not come from a military background.  In an early interview with Fairfax Media he said in relation to West Papua (Article in SMH 19 Oct. 2014 titled ”Indonesia’s Joko Widodo focused on solving West Papua problems”, John Garnaut, Michael Bachelard).
 “I want to give special attention to West Papua,” and “I think the most important thing is education, health care, and infrastructure,”   “If we can deliver on these programs, I’m sure, the political tension will drop.” 

So he was basically taking a development approach to solving Jakarta’s so called Papuan problem.

Some Papuans welcomed the election of Jokowi, He had visited there during his election campaign and they were hoping he would bring genuine change to west Papua. However, not everybody believed that the development approach would work. The Reverend Socratez Yoman, head of the Baptist church in Papua, said Mr Joko would fail unless he dealt directly with political concerns.  “The core problem in West Papua is political,” he said. “ before you talk about economic development, the first part has to be to have genuine and peaceful dialogue.” (in SMH article, 19 Oct).)

Also, Father Neles Tebay, a Papuan activist priest said that in the two years since Widodo took office he has not brought any significant improvement in human rights.
“The president presented a new paradigm in dealing with Papua by using welfare and various infrastructure projects, such as the construction of rail, bridges and highways that cost trillions of rupiah,” he said. (UCA News 18 Oct. 2016)

The human rights group, The Setara Institute said in relation to West Papua (reported in the Jakarta Post 14 Oct. 2016) 
Extract from article
the number of reported human rights abuses in Papua continues to increase. This has underscored Jokowi’s hesitancy to promote peace on the island, hurting Papuans who have put their faith in him, the human rights group Setara Institute said Thursday. Setara Institute data shows that 45 human rights abuse cases were reported in the first nine months of the year, ranging from murders and arrests of activists to torture carried out by Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) personnel. The number is a steep increase from the 16 rights abuse cases recorded last year. “Jokowi’s biggest failure is that he simply thinks improving Papua can be done through economic and infrastructure development. The problem in Papua is not only about prosperity but also the dignity of its people, which can be realized by treating them equally, not promoting violence,” Setara vice chairman Bonar Tigor Naipospos told a press briefing”.

Statements from a number of Jowiki’s government ministers also started to raise concern amongst West Papuans.

The new defence minister Ryamizard Ryacudu  was chief of staff at the time  Theys Eluay was killed by Kopassus soldiers. Chief Theys Eluay was the chairperson of the Papuan Presidium Council and was killed by Kopassus soldiers in November 2001. At the time he praised the soldiers as heroes because the person they killed was a rebel leader.   Theys Eluay was a bit like a Prime Minister to West Papuans and the low ranking soldiers who were tried for his murder received jail terms of just 2 and 3 years, showing yet again to the Papuan people that the military can act with impunity in West Papua and they will receive no justice under Indonesian rule. 

 Then the Minister for Home Affairs Tjahjo Kumolo said that West Papua could be divided into one or two more provinces   and the Minister of Rural Development of Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Marwan Jafar said he would consider encouraging more migration to West Papua.  These statements show how little the situation in West Papua is understood by officials in Jakarta.

If Jokowi had hoped that the development approach would ease tensions, these statements by his ministers would only increase the tensions already in the territory, particularly the statement on transmigration.  In the 2010 the population was basically divided 50/50, 50% Papuans and 50% migrants. But now West Papuans are becoming a minority and in fact this demographic shift is one of the major issues of concern that West Papuans have and could certainly make it more difficult for them to achieve Independence. When Johnny Blades of RNZI visited West Papua in 2015,  he was told by  the secretary general of the Papua Customary Council, Leo Imbiri, that every week up to four ships arrived in Papua with migrants. "One big ship can bring about one to three thousand people. So if one week, there are four big ships coming to Papua, it means in one week we have up to twelve thousand people come to Papua," he said (RNZ Insight Programme 11 August 2015).

But to a certain degree Jowiki did appear to respond to the concerns of West Papuans.

1) The Papuans had been calling on Jakarta for years on to Release all Political prisoners.
2) Open West Papua to journalists, NGOs and researchers
(3) To hold dialogue with West Papuans representatives about the future of the territory. International Human Rights organisations have also being urging Jakarta to respond along similar lines.   

It should be remembered that since the Indonesian takeover of West Papua in 1963, it has been a closed province for much of the time with Jakarta been suspicious of anybody and in particularly of the media, academic researchers, or NGOs that wanted to visit or work in the territory.

In May 2015 Jowiki visited West Papua and did release 5 political prisoners and said foreign journalists were now free to enter West Papua. Now this seemed an encouraging move and received lots of media coverage.  However, first thoughts in relation to Jowiki’s statement were,

1) Is this just an image making exercise or stunt? Because it should be remembered that at this time The Indonesian President was receiving international criticism because of his policy on the death penalty for drug offences. 
2) Would his decisions be actually implemented? Jakarta’s or Jokiwis policies aren’t necessarily carried out by officials and security forces in West Papua unless it suits them
3) and if journalists  were allowed in would official minders or BIN (intelligence)  agents follow or  control their movements.

Journalists seeking official permission to visit West Papua required 12 separate government agencies to sign-off on their applications. It was called the clearinghouse at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The agencies included the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) and military intelligence.  ‘The clearing house’ is now know as  ‘a monitoring’ unit and has been renamed ‘Foreign Affairs Monitoring Team of Indonesia’ although its tasks and responsibilities remain the same, to monitor foreign journalists,” 

Shortly after he made these statements a number of officials contradicted Jokiwi 

The Indonesian Parliament’s Deputy Chairman Taufik Kurniawan has already suggested that President Jokowi should reconsider his policy to open access for foreign press in Papua. “I think it’d be better to reconsider because the issues in Papua which are currently are very sensitive could be easily politicized either its poverty or social aspects if there is no filter”. Indonesia’s Military Chief General Moeldoko said his institution was considering implementing a policy of having security personnel accompany foreign journalists in Papua to ensure their safety. 

It is hard to imagine West Papuans discussing the human rights situation with journalists while the Indonesian security forces are in attendance.  Also,
The country’s chief security minister, indicated nothing had changed in Jakarta’s stance, in allowing the foreign press to report from the region. “We’ll allow it, on condition that they report on what they see, not go around looking for facts that aren’t true from armed groups,” said Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno, the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, effectively ruling out any attempt by foreign journalists to contact OPM members and other separatist sympathizers. He added that journalists would also need permission from the authorities to report from the country’s mountainous hinterland — the heart of the insurgency. (Jakarta Globe10/5/15).

Even the executive director of the Indonesian news agency Antara. Saiful Hadi said that Indonesia should penalize journalists, including those from abroad, who broadcast biased and imbalanced news about Papua. "We should subject journalists to a strict penalty if they broadcast news on Papua that is based on fiction information and data,” so Jokiwi was appearing to be a bit of a one-man band in relation to west Papua. 

In relation to the Politics prisoners
The men were granted clemency or a pardon. The prisoners were disappointed because they did not receive an amnesty. Later it came to light that some of the prisoners had been urged to sign a letter of request for pardon, something they personally were reluctant to do. To receive clemency or pardon, prisoners have to admit guilt before it is granted.  A lot of Political Prisoners refused clemency as they refuse to admit any guilt in return for a release.  Filep Karma one of the most well known political prisoner in West Papua had also refused clemency although he was released because of a sentence reduction for good behaviour.

In July this year  ’Jokowi’ appointed a former New Order General, Wiranto who has been accused of human rights abuses in East Timor as Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs.  In February 2003, the UN-backed Serious Crimes Unit (SCU) indicted Wiranto for his role in the security force violence surrounding Timor-Leste's 1999 UN-organized referendum on independence.

Jowiki also declared that the controversial transmigration program to Papua would be stopped, although the minister for transmigration, contradicted the President saying Papua Transmigration Will Continue. This has been pretty standard i.e. Jowiki would make a statement on what might seem to be a positive policy only to have it contradicted by officials later. Jowiki is still surrounded by hardliners and conservatives and while they remain in power it’s going to be difficult for jowiki to improve the lives of West Papuans 

Papuan leaders want a dialogue with Jakarta. In an interview while he was in West Papua he was asked will you conduct a political dialogue with the people of Papua?
He replied: No more problems in Papua. What is dialogue for? I’ve often come here and talked with the customary leaders, religious leaders, regents, and the mayor as well. What is that mean? It’s a dialogue, isn’t it? So at this stage it would appear there is no real interest in Jakarta for dialogue with Papuans.

Security forces crackdown on peaceful rallies

Jakarta is becoming increasingly concerned at the internationalisation of the issue of West Papua which is why the security forces have been cracking down on peacefully rallies called by by civil society organisations in the territory.

If the image of resistance in West Papua in the past  was of an OPM fighter in the jungle with a bow and arrow, now it’s of thousands of activists and students marching in the towns and cities, probably organised by the KNPB the West Papua National Committee although all aspects of civil society in West Papua have held, and are involved in the rallies.

The KNPB has been very successful in mobilising thousands of people in almost all regions of West Papua to come out and take part in rallies. The KNPB have been accused of been a militant group but they are totally committed to peaceful ways forward as are all aspects of society in West Papua including the OPM. The Papuan police chief said the KNPB should be banned but instead of blaming civil society organisations for alleged violent incidents he would be better of controlling his own security forces. 

The success of the rallies organised by the KNPB has caused a bit of a backlash from anti-independence groups. In June a demonstration of mainly non-Papuans carrying Indonesian flags called for authorities to ban groups pushing for an independence referendum. Shades of East Timor? 

A Papuan church leader warned of a new wave of militia units were being created by the security forces to counter the surge in Papuan civil resistance and in a Radio NZ report 6 June 2016, the President of the Fellowship of Baptist Churches in West Papua, the Reverend Socratez Yoman, said that the groups had been formed largely by non-Papuan settlers who claimed that West Papua no longer belongs to Papuans, but to Indonesia.

On the other hand in an encouraging development a new civil society group, The Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-West Papua), consisting of non-Papuan Indonesian activists and intellectuals, was established as a form of solidarity from non-Papuans regarding the constant oppression suffered by Papuan activists who have fought for independence. "There is no happiness for Papuans as long as they are part of Indonesia," the alliance’s spokesperson, Surya Anta, said in a press conference held at the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH) (Jakarta Post 29 November)

Fight for freedom: Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua spokesperson Surya Anta speaks to reporters at the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH) on Tuesday to declare the group’s support for Papuans to exercise the right to self-determination. (JP/Fachrul Sidiq) in Jakarta Post 29 Nov.

On the 5 April a number of activists were arrested including the chair of the KNPB Steven Itlay in Timika.  It was reported they were beaten and kicked during the arrests. The Timika branch of the KNPB were simply holding a prayer meeting (“Prayers for the Papuan People’s recovery”) with local people from the area and also in support of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). The  Jakarta Globe (6 April) reported that at least 12 activists from the KNPB, were detained. Mimika. Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Yustanto said the protest was forcefully dispersed after the rally coordinator Steven Itlay gave a speech about Papua independence. A report from a local human rights activists said the Mimika police and soldiers from the District Military Command (including members of  Densus 88) arrived in armoured vehicles and removed all KNPB material, flags, banners including the flags of the MSG countries.

Dissolution of worship Papuans committed by the joint military and police in Timika, on Tuesday (05/04/2016) - Doc. KNPB.
 Photo from reported the arrest of up to 40 KNPB activists in Jayapura on Friday 29 April. The activists were arrested simply because they were handing out leaflets informing people of a rally to be held on the 2nd May. The purpose of the rally on the 2 May was commemorate and protest the tragic betrayal of West Papua by the international community when West Papua was handed over by United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) to Indonesian administration on the 1st of May 1963, 53 years ago. The KNPB also called on people to show support for the meeting of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua in London.

On the 2 May up to 2000 people were arrested including KNPB members, student activists and pro independence supporters at rallies held throughout West Papua. Local media Jubi reported (3 May) that activists were detained in Jayapura, Sentani, Merauke, Manokwari, Timika and Sorong. The rallies were called to show support for the bid by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) for full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and to support the International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) who were meeting at the Houses of Parliament in London to discuss the issue.  Although the majority of activists were eventually released, during the arrests in Jayapura a large number of activists were taken to the Mobile brigade (BRIMOB) headquarters and made to remove their shirts and were put in a field in the extremely hot midday sun. Seven activists were also tortured.  Jubi reported (article 6 May) that the torture against the seven activists took place in a special detention room named Karel Satsuitubun in the police headquarters.

Demonstrators supporting the Liberation of West Papua were dried in the field Mako Brimob Papua Police, Monday (02/05/2016) - Jubi.

KNPB peaceful demonstrations supporting IPWP meeting, Monday (02/05/2016) - Jubi

500 people were arrested in the days leading up to and on the 31 May.  According to the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta), more than 300 Papuans were arrested after the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) organized rallies on Tuesday the 31 May calling for the release of political prisoners and to show support for the ULMWP to be granted full membership at the MSG. The activists were also calling on the leaders of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP) who were meeting in PNG for the 8th Summit of the ACP to support the right of the people of West Papua to self-determination. The intimidation of KNPB activists started on Saturday when 50 were arrested in Sentani and Jayapura. Although they were released the mobile phones of a number of activists were confiscated.  On Monday 30 May local media (Jubi) reported three members of KNPB in Yahukimo and 21 people in Wamena were arrested for distributing leaflets about the rallies to be held on the 31 May. 

KNPB action today (Tuesday, 05.31.2016) to provide support to ULMWP - Jubi


                                                  A photo posted by Victor Yeimo on Facebook

On the 10 June approximately 30 KNPB activists were arrested in Jayapura. Those arrested were simply handing out leaflets informing the public about an upcoming rally to be held on the 15 June. The Director of Manokwari LP3BH Yan Christian Warinussy protested the arrests, "The deeds of the Jayapura police chief clearly violates the principles of respect for human rights set out in the Criminal Procedure Code and Law No. 39 of 1999 on Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which has been ratified by the Government of Indonesia," he said. (Jubi 13 June).

On the 13 June another 65 KNPB and student activists were arrested in Sentani and 4 in Nabire, again simply for distributing leaflets about the rally to be held on 15 June.  They were released in the afternoon after being held for several hours by the police.

On the 15 June a large number of rallies took place with over 1000 people being detained. It was also reported that over 700 security force personal were brought in to control the demonstrators. The  rally was to oppose the Human Rights Investigation Team set up by the Ministry of Political, Legal and Security Affairs. The protesters were also calling for an internationally monitored referendum for independence.

Photo in Jakarta Globe. 16 June

The West Papua National Committee called for a national action to be held over two days on the 13th and 14th July  in West Papua. The action was to celebrate the meeting in Honiara in the Solomon Islands of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) leaders to consider the application of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) for full membership at the MSG. The activities were to take the form of a peaceful demonstration, prayer and feasting to show support for the ULMWP’s application. Hundreds of activists were arrested leading up to and on the days of action to support the ULMWP’s application at the MSG. 

Photos from 

The Jakarta Post also reported (July 15 2016) that Police officers surrounded Papuan students in their dormitory in Yogyakarta to prevent them from attending an event organized by the People’s Union for West Papua Freedom (PRPPB). Police officers secured the dormitory on Jl. Kusumanegara on Friday from morning to evening and arrested seven of the students. The PRPPB event was in support of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua’s (ULMWP) bid to become a full member of the Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG)

Over 50 KNPB activists were arrested leading up to the commemoration of the New York Agreement on the 15 August. The activists were arrested simply because they were handing out leaflets informing people of the peaceful rallies to be held on the 15th to commemorate this tragic event. 
In Jayapura hundreds attended a rally organized by the KNPB. A report in the Jakarta post said about 100 KNPB supporters were rounded up in a police truck but later released although subjected to some violence while in the truck. During the rally a number of food stalls and tyres were burned and although the security forces blamed the KNPB the KNPB denied their involvement.

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.

On the 19 September thousands of activists took part in rallies in West Papua. The rallies were in  order to support the raising of the West Papua issue by the  Pacific Islands Coalitions for West Papua (PICWP) at the UN General Assembly. The  KNPB reported that  75  activists  were arrested leading up to and during the rallies.

One of the peace rallies in support of the Pacific Coalition on West Papua representation at the UN General Assembly. Monday 19 September 2016 Photo: Supplied/ Whens Tebay (In RNZI report, 21 September 2016)

                                      Pacific leaders raise West Papua at UN
Seven  Pacific leaders raised the issue of West Papua at the  71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York  in September 2016 . The Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu all raised concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua

In Sorong on the 19 November a total of 106 activists of the West Papuan National Committee (KNPB) were arrested by the police as they celebrated the eight anniversary of their founding of the KNPB. The KNPB said the police took those arrested to Sorong Police office for questioning. Later, they released 99 people and detained the other seven.  The Sorong Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Edfrie Maith said the seven were detained for 24 hours for questioning and then released but they had to report daily to the police. 

On the 26 November, 14 activists from the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) were arrested in Manokwari for handing out leaflets about an upcoming rally to be held on the 1st December. 

RNZI reported (2nd December) that Police arrested over two hundred people in Jakarta yesterday for participating in a rally to mark the West Papuan nationalist day, 1st December.A public interest lawyer who was present, Veronica Koman, said police subsequently released those arrested, without charge, a few hours later. But she said the arrests follow the pattern seen in the large demonstrations across Papua region in May and June, where authorities violate citizens' right to freedom of expression.

Indonesian police turn water canons on protestors who were mostly university students from Free Papua Organization and the Papua Student Alliance in Jakarta on December 1, 2016. Photo: Supplied (RNZI 2 Dec.)

There were a number of gatherings in In West Papua itself. In Wamena up to 3000 people gathered for a large prayer event at the Traditional Council headquarters (RNZI 2 Dec.) At an event in Jayapura hundreds of people signed a petition in support of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua with its growing representative role in the Pacific region.

Jubi reported that 17 members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) were arrested  for acts of graffiti  painting slogans campaigning for Papuan independence.
                                                                                    In Jubi 9 December

Thousands of people held rallies in West Papua for Human Rights day on the 10 December. RNZI reported (12 Dec.) that at  least 6000 West Papuans demonstrated in the Papuan Highlands town of Wamena. 

On Friday the 16 December four members were arrested at the Police station when they went to inform the police of a planned peaceful demonstration to be held on the 19 December. Two other members were arrested when the security forces  raided the home of resident  Zadrak Kudiai.  The planned rally on the 19 is to show support for West Papua becoming a full member of the MSG but also to remember that on the 19 December 1961, the then President Sukarno issued the “People’s Triple Command” (Trikora) calling for what he termed the liberation of Dutch New Guinea but in fact was the call to invade Dutch New Guinea. Jubi reported that on the 19 December a combined force of police and military arrested at least 405 people in Jayapura, Nabire, Merauke and Wamena.

The arrests followed the banning of a peaceful demonstration called by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) protesting the Trikora statement in December 1961  In Merauke as many as 126 people were arrested, in Nabire 74 people were arrested, in Jayapura 40 people were arrested and in Wamena around 165 people were arrested.

The Jakarta Post (20 Dec.) reported that the  Jakarta-based human rights watchdog , the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (Elsam) and its local partner in Papua, Elsham Papua, condemned intimidation and violence by police officers against activist Whens Tebay during the  rally in Jayapura on Monday. The two groups said Whens went to monitor the rally, which was held to promote West Papuan independence, before the police forcibly dispersed it. The police arrested 10 protestors and physically attacked several people attending the rally, the activist said. Elsham Papua said in a press statement that the police had arrested, interrogated and hit Whens during the rally. The police later confiscated his camera and forced him to erase all photos taken during the rally.
“This is deeply regretful,” said Elsham Papua director Ferdinand Marrisan. “The police did not give Whens a chance to speak as he was immediately arrested”.

The group said the police had also arrested Papuans in other parts across the country during the commemoration of Trikora Day, during which they protested what they consider to be the illegitimate annexation of the region into Indonesia.

Controversial demands -- Activists joining with the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua and the Papuan Students Alliance stage a rally in front of the UN headquarters in Jakarta on Dec. 19. (Antara/M.Agung Rajasa) (in JP 20 Dec.)

West Papua is one of the most militarized areas of the archipelago. 

In a 2 part series on the security forces in West Papua by Made Supriatma (Editor at Joyo Indonesia News Service) in the “West Papua report", Dec 2014 and Jan 2015.

He estimates the total number of security forces in West Papua as 36,254 personnel. These consist of 21,400 TNI personnel (18,950 army, 1,050 navy, and 1,400 air force) and up to 14,584 personnel of Indonesian police.  According to the 2010 population census, Papua Province’s population is 2,851,999 and Papua Barat Province’s population is 760,855. There is one security person (police or soldier) for every 99 people. This is much higher than the one to 296 ratio of security personnel to population in Indonesia. The ratio between TNI soldiers and the population in Papua is one to 168. Overall in Indonesia that ration is one soldier to 558 people.  The ratio of police to population is one to 247 people in West Papua. Nationally, it is one to 631. 

Many reports have pointed out that it is in the interest of the military to provoke and prolong conflict in West Papua as well as in other areas of the archipelago in order to prove that they are needed to maintain law and order and control so called separatists groups. At one stage The Indonesian military receive only 30% of their budget from the government and had to raise the other 70% themselves. Most of this is done through illegal means such as illegal logging, mining and offering to provide security to international companies such as the Freeport copper and gold mine. Although there has been an increasing in the budget to the security forces it is hard to find what percentage they security forces now receive from the government.

Increase in personal
 President Joko Widodo has agreed to a proposal to expand the army’s territorial command in West Papua. The army proposed two more territorial commands (Kodam) in eastern Indonesia. One is in Manado and the other is in Manokwari. The navy will also expand its command by adding an Armada Command.

It should also be remembered that In December 2010, cables released by WikiLeaks in relation to West Papuan human rights confirmed what NGOs have been telling their governments for years, that it is the Indonesian military that are one of the main problems in West Papua.  The cables revealed that US diplomats blame the government in Jakarta for unrest in West Papua due to neglect, corruption and human rights abuses.  That Indonesian military commanders have been accused of illegal logging operations and drug smuggling from West Papua into Papua New Guinea. 

Special Autonomy 
In 2001, President Megawatt and the Indonesian Government approved a Special Autonomy package for West Papua.  It was hoped this autonomy package would dampen West Papuan support for independence.  Although the package appeared generous in that the central government would return up to 70% of the province’s revenue, its been a failure and special autonomy was rejected by the West Papuan people. In one rally the image of a coffin being carried with the word OTSUS on it showed symbolically that Special autonomy was dead and they were handing it back to Jakarta.

Special Autonomy funding has only benefited the elite, the bureaucrats and the military with little or no benefit for the majority of West Papuans.  It created lots of opportunity for corruption. There are many reasons for its failure including no real direction from Jakarta about its implementation. It appears the distribution of funds is not directed by law so it can promote corruption and there is only a general understanding about the percentages that should be spent on health and education etc. it is understood that the autonomy bill is valid up to 2022 and then the amounts from Jakarta to West Papua will be reduced.

Treasure island -Resource extraction

Freeport Indonesia 
Freeport Indonesia operates the Grasberg Mine in West Papua. It is probably one of the largest gold mines and the second or third largest copper mine in the world. Freeport-McMoran owns 90.64% of PT Freeport Indonesia. The Government of Indonesia owns the remaining 9.36% of PT Freeport Indonesia. Freeport is the largest taxpayer in Indonesia. In 2014, Freeport contributed a massive US$1.5 billion to the Indonesian state coffers. Rio Tinto has a 40 per cent share of production above specific levels until 2021, and 40 per cent of all production after 2021

The Tangguh Liquid Natural Gas project in West Papua province, operated by the UK multinational BP, is one of Indonesia’s largest foreign investment projects. According to BP, it involves the extraction of around 14.4 trillion cubic feet of gas from six fields near Babo in the Bintuni Bay area of the Bird’s Head region over a period of 25-30 years, at a cost of between US$5.5 to US$6 billion.  BP gained final investment approval this year for an $8 billion expansion of the Tangguh liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Indonesia clearing the way for a third train to start operations in 2020. The investment will boost annual LNG production capacity at the Tangguh project in Indonesia's West Papua province by 50 percent to 11.4 million tonnes.

The MIFEE project, or the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate was an agricultural mega-project proposed for the Merauke region in Papua province. It was proposed as a response to the food and fuel price crises of 2008 and to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s appeal to “feed Indonesia, then feed the world”.  The Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) program in Papua is expected to cover a 1.6 million hectare area. It has attracted dozens of investors, including Wilmar International, Artha Graha and Medco Group, that are interested in growing a wide array of food crops, including rice, corn, soybean, sugar cane and palm oil.

In an article in the Jakarta Post 16 April 2015, it reported that
With its high food self-sufficiency target, the government is considering reviving the stalled food estate program of the prior administration by involving private and state-owned companies. Similar to the food sovereignty agenda formulated by President Jokowi' administration, the former government also underlined the need of attaining self-sufficiency in key corps and beef by 2014, which, in fact, it failed to achieve.

Extract from article
“MIFEE has proven to be a tough project to implement, particularly because of land issues, as the multi-billion project threatens conservation areas, such as virgin forests and water catchment areas, as well as the habitat of indigenous peoples in Papua. Concerns over human rights abuses, including violations of land rights and of the requirement to obtain free, prior and informed consent, and also over the displacement of local people by inflows of workers from outside the region have also lingered. By last year progress had stagnated in the completion of an environmental analysis (Amdel) and in provincial spatial planning, Agriculture Ministry director general for agriculture infrastructure and facilities Gatot Irianto told The Jakarta Post”.
Despite the snail-paced progress in the past, Minister Ferry said the planned project could, nevertheless, begin as soon as the second half of this year

A new report was released in September titled
“Burning Paradise,” Palm Oil in the Land of the Tree Kangaroo
The report documents the activities of Korindo, a company whose name constitutes a composite of the words Korea and Indonesia, and is the largest palm oil company in Papua. Full report at

The Straits Times (3 Sept) reported that the investigation by Indonesian and international green groups led by a new US-based watchdog known as Mighty.
The group, which is affiliated with Washington-based think-tank Center for International Policy, was officially launched on Thursday. Using satellite imagery, hot spot data and aerial photographs, the group alleged that "no less than 894 fire hot spots" were detected in the company's oil palm concessions during 2013-15. The findings, released on Thursday in a report called Burning Paradise, have been submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, according to Mighty's Southeast Asia forest director Bustar Maitar, a veteran Indonesian environmental activist. Korindo, whose main businesses include pulpwood and oil palm, and which is the biggest palm oil company in Papua, had "contributed significantly to Indonesia's haze disaster in 2015", said the report, referring to the regional haze crisis that affected millions across South-east Asia, including Singapore.

Korindo knows that burning these native forests is illegal under Indonesian law, so they do everything they can to keep journalists out. They block the roads, lie to the press, and blame the Papuan people, the majority of whom never consented to the brutal destruction of their land in the first place.

The report found that over 50,000 hectares of tropical lowland forests –– have been devastated by the group. Satellite imaging indicate Korindo was responsible for illegal forest fires, with 164 hotspots observed, at Korindo's Donghin Prabhawa palm oil plantation in Merauke, in 2015. The unique and endangered wildlife endemic to Papua, such as the birds of paradise and tree kangaroos, are threatened by the constant habitat degradation.

Below is an extract from article in Jakarta Globe, 2 September titled
“Korindo Responsible for Human Rights Violations, Deforestation, Haze Explosive Environmental Report Finds”

Conflict among local tribes have been triggered by the loss of access to the forest, particularly with regards to land compensation. Rights abuses highlighted in the report found Korindo failed to obtain consent from local communities to build concessions upon their land. Pastor Anselmus Amo, a religious leader and director of SKP KAMe Merauke, said many of the licenses obtained by palm companies on Papua are signed by people who do not represent local communities. In other cases, consent is forced through military pressure. "Most of the times they come with the military to scare the locals. Their presence is not even necessary, the locals don't mean to do any harm, so why are they there?" the pastor told the Jakarta Globe during the press briefing in Jakarta on Thursday. Corporate social responsibility programs are run by Korindo, with schools, clinics and housing built in some areas. Many communities affected y the concessions miss out. "Business is business, but it still needs to follow the principles of human rights. They cannot be covered up by the corporate social programs. It's a social responsibility, not a blanket for human rights violations," Amo said. Papuans traditionally rely on sustenance hunting and so shy away from the agrarian customs forced by palm companies.

"Papuans should be the kings on their own land. If they become laborers, they become slaves of theses corporations," he said. Pusaka, a local NGO protecting the rights of Indigenous communities in Merauke, said the loss of forests is the same as losing the livelihood of the Papuan people.

               The devastation has affected communities across the region. (Photo courtesy of the Mighty), in Jakarta Globe.

Below are incidents of shootings and urgent actions in response to some of the incidents.  Again by no means exhaustive

Attack on the Sinak Police station
On Sunday the 27 December an armed group attacked the Sinak Police station in the Puncak Regency killing three personnel. The group also took a number of firearms and ammunition from the police station. Police claim they have identified two suspected members of the group. In the Jakarta Globe (2/Jan) Gen. Badrodin Haiti, the National Police chief, named the suspects as Kalenak Murib and Iris Murib Badrodin.  He told the Jakarta Globe that a joint team of police and military personnel had raided the two men’s homes in Sinak subdistrict and seized a large stash of ammunition, some of it stolen from the Sinak police station. The houses’ occupants had fled prior to the raids.
An article in Jubi (9 Jan) reported that about 150 police personnel were deployed to hunt for the perpetrators of the attack.  The sweeping operation took place in three villages, Nigilome, Pamebut and Weni at Sinak Sub-district.

Houses Burned
One villager said that due to the Police operation, some residents’ houses were burned and a man was shot dead. “The security personnel who conducted the operation shot down a man suspected to be a member of Free Papua Movement on 3 January. The victim was Gombane Telenggen’s brother,” said a resident who declined to be named due to security reasons. Gombane Telenggen is one of 25 persons suspected attackers on Sinak Police Headquarters. He added the Police also burned a kunume (man’s house) and some honai (houses). “Four honai were burned in Agenggen Village, while in the village of Pamebut, the entire residents’ honai were burned down, except for a church,” he said to jubi on Wednesday, 6 January. Jubi reported that the Papua Police Spokesperson admitted he received information about a citizen shot for been a suspected member of Free Papua Movement, but after checking, it was not true. According to him, searching the victim, the Police and people were not found the body. He also denied the accusation said the Police burned houses during the raid. Paniai Customary Council, John Gobai, regretted the Police’s operation that caused the loss of people’s houses in Sinak. He said the security personnel are often not professional in doing operation that resulting victims among civilians. “It has repeatedly happened all the time. In 2013, the similar thing was also happened in Paniai. 

Papuans hide in the woods after the death of TNI officer
The Jakarta Post (7 Jan) reported that hundreds of villagers in Mamberamo Raya in Papua have fled into the woods to live as they fear the Indonesian Military (TNI) will blame them for the death of an officer killed in November last year. A member of the Papuan House of Representatives (DPRP) Tan Wei Long said that at least 120 families from three villages -- Namunaweja, Anggreso and Kasonaweja all in Mamberamo Raya regency -- had fled into the forest in early December. The villagers were afraid of being arrested after the murder of Maj. John De Fretes by a group of people suspected of being part of an armed group in Namunaweja village in Mamberamo Tengah subdistrict on Nov. 30, 2015. "They are afraid of being arrested for involvement in the criminal act. It [the murder] was carried out by rogue individuals, but they are scared of being dragged into the case so they ran away into the woods," he said in Jayapura on Thursday. During the DPRP's recess, Tan visited Memberamo Raya to meet with local officials, religious and community leaders as well as local security officers to discuss ways to persuade the 120 families to return to their village. "All parties have agreed to use the persuasive approach with the people hiding in the forest," he said. 

Separately, Papua's Indonesian Christian Church’s (GKI) Rev. Albert Yoku urged the local government and security officers to find a solution soon considering that the villagers had been living in rough conditions in the forest for more than a month. "The forest in Mamberamo Raya is not suitable for humans to live in. There are many leeches and not much food in the forest. They could starve," he said. Yoku also urged that a persuasive approach be used to convince the villagers to return to their homes. He said that if the government did not take immediate action, it would cause other problems such as health issues and the children skipping school. He suggested that the authorities search the forest carefully as the villagers were spread out in several locations in the forest. (Jakarta Post 7 Jan).

Victor Mambor Jan 27, 2016
Jayapura, Jubi – Chairman of the Customary Council of Wolani, Mee and Moni tribes (LMA SWAMEMO) has accused gold miners of stealing Degeuowo gold and creating conflicts at the site.“The illegal businessmen are creating a conflict to achieve their goals there,” said Bagubau to Jubi in Sentani, Papua on last week.
He said conflicts are created through entertainment facilities such as karaoke, bar and sexual business. Communities are then to compete using existing entertainment facilities. “Order a women means one package with liquor. This can cause people to fight till they die,” he pointed out the murder of a mobile brigade conducted by a miner in the Blue Baya location at the end of December 2015. He said, the stabbing occurred when the two men competed for a commercial worker at that location and when they were arguing the police came.
“The perpetrator took his machete out and stabbed the chest of victim. After that he fled into the woods. I got this report from Yohanes Kobepa, my secretary, ” he said. He continued, at the same time, there was combustion event of heavy equipment owned by the company, PT. Quarta Air at 81 site.
He said the burning was very detrimental to the company but also the local community, including the institution he leads. We never teach communities to resolve the existing problems in the region by force despite the company harm indigenous peoples. “If you are furious, let’s take it into the court. We, as the institution are working to find out why it was happened. I think the company and people who live in the surrounding areas do not want the customary council institution to control Degeuowo area, “he added. Yohanes Kobepa confirmed it and said that this conflict was full interests motives that want to dominate Degeuwo area. “The area is a region full of gold. People want to get rid of the control of indigenous peoples in the name of security management. That’s all they want by sacrificing others, “he said through a short message. (Mawel Benny/Tina)

ULMWP opens office in Wamena
The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) opened an office in Wamena on the 15 February. A number of the human rights defenders and peaceful activists who attended the opening have been threatened by members of the security forces.  A Catholic priest, Father John Djonga faces possible treason charges simply because he led a prayer service on the 15th to inaugurate the office building of the Papuan Customary Council, where a banner of the ULMWP was unveiled. Father Djonga has maintained that his presence at the ceremony to open a community service building was purely pastoral. Uncan news (4 March) reported that the police may question Father John Djonga for a second time on treason charges. Father Djonga appeared at the police station in the district's capital on Feb. 26 after consulting with Franciscan Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar of Jayapura. Accompanied by a lawyer, he answered 55 questions from two police officers during the four-hour meeting. Police have said they may call on Father Djonga for further questioning.  In a protest on the 2nd March dozens of young Catholics in West Papua protested in the provincial capital Manokwari demanding that police to stop harassing Father John Djonga. AWPA wrote to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop concerning the matter. Letter  at

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) released an urgent action dated 11 February regarding updated information on the police investigation process in relation to the Tolikara case “Indonesia: Police yet to show progress in the Tolikara case investigation”.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information regarding the police investigation process in relation to the Tolikara case. A total of 11 people became victim to the violence on 17 July 2015 in Tolikara Regency, Papua Province. However, so far there has been no notable outcome to the investigation undertaken by the police. Likewise there appears to be no serious effort undertaken by the government to solve and prevent recurrence of conflict in the future. And, this is despite the initiative taken by representatives of the Evangelical Church of Indonesia (GIDI) and the Muslim community, namely Nahdatul Ulama (NU).

The International Coalition for Papua (ICP) also released an urgent appeal concerning the Health Crisis in Nduga Regency where at least 51 children and 3 adults died due to Pertussis (whooping cough) in the districts Mbua, Dal and Mbulmu Yalma, Nduga Regency, Papua Province, Indonesia since November 2015. Appeal published on the17 February at

Police Maltreat a 23 Year Old Man in Manokwari
Statement by the Executive Director of the LP3BH 21 February 2016
On Saturday 20th February, Bertho Rumbas (23 years old) was severly beaten by two police officers in violation of Law/39 on Human Rights. One of the two police officers was Brigpol Fredi Kaiway who is on regular duty with Polsek Anggi in the Regency of the Arak Mountains.

Jordan Rumadas, the father of Bertho Rumadas and another member of his family were very distressed by what had happened to Bertho
Rumbas, so they visited the home of the Chief of Police in Manokwari, where they met AKBP Johny Eduard Isir, to inform him that they were extremely unhappy about what had happened because he had defended the actions of the perpetrators of this treatment by his subordinate officers who had acted with such brutality.    They then visited the home of the Executive Director of the LP3BH, Yan Christian Warinussy in Swafen-Manokwari on Saturday evening. They told Yan Christian Warinussy that Bertho Rumbas had been beaten, kicked and dragged behind the Manokwari Plain and then taken to Mapolres Manokwari. After the young man had been thrown into a cell, other police officers entered his cell and started threatening him, using their rifle butts and saying that they were acting on the orders of Brigpol Erol Wanma and Brigpol Agus Marani.  As a result of all this, Bertho Rumbas was seriously wounded and his left leg is believed to have been fractured. The LP3BH sent a report to the Chief of Police of West Papua, a copy of which has been sent by SMS to the Chief of Police in Jakarta.  Furthermore, the report of the incident has been sent to the National Human Rights Commission and to several ambassadors in Jakarta as well as to NGOs in London and the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.   Berthol Rumadas has not been visited by anyone to examine his physical condition, as is required by law.  Nor is it known what Bertho Rumbas will be accused of, nor has there has been any contact with any member of his required is by law and other regulations. Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive Director of the Institute of
Research, Anaysis and Development of Legal Aid, Recipient of the John
Humphreys Freedom Award 2005.Canada.Translated by Carmel Budiardjo, Recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, 1995.

Special Autonomy Fund and Authority Issue Trigger Conflict of Papua and Central Government
Jayapura, Jubi/BenarNews – Since the Special Autonomy Law was ratified in 2001 on the land of Papua – both Papua and Papua Barat provinces – the Central Govenrment has delivered Rp 42 trillion to both regions. However the development has not been marked on this land. This year, Papua set 11,756 trillion in its Regional Budget. For the last four years, during the period of 2012-2015, Papua has set the respectively amount of 7.3 trillion, 8.184 trillion and 13.26 trillion rupiahs in Regional Budget. However, Papua Provincial Government considered the amount of funds was not enough while the Central Government blamed the Provincial Government not capable to manage the fund properly. Consequently the recriminations feared to raise new conflict between Papua and the Central Government.
 “In 2002-2015, the funds (for Papua) was nearly Rp53 trillion, special autonomy fund was Rp42 trillion and infrastructure funding was Rp 12 trillion. So, where were those funds go?” said the Minister of Politic, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut B. Pandjaitan. He conveyed the statement during the meeting to discuss Papua and Papua Barat Special Autonomy Fund with the Commission I of the Indonesian House of Representative in Jakarta few times ago. He said the amount of funds delivered to Papua and Papua Barat was not in small amount, but until now good quality infrastructure has not been seen in Papua. His statement has made the Papua Governor Lukas Enembe furious; because it seems blaming the local authority is not capable. Because of this accusation, he also thought better to return the fund to the Central Government. Because, Enembe said, the Special Autonomy Fund is too small and do not give benefit to the development in Papua. Even the fund has profited as a political commodity by the Central Government to intimidate both provincial and regional/municipal  (Victor Mambor Jubi)

Indonesian Densus 88 police shoot dead student, reports West Papua Media
Australian-supported Indonesian police special forces have shot dead a teenage Papuan high school student in central Nabire city, West Papua, reports West Papua Media. The shooting took place on Monday in an “apparently premeditated ambush without provocation, according to credible reports and witnesses from the scene”. The student was unarmed.

Officer Shoots Dead Boy in Sugapa, Residents Torch Police Station
Jayapura, Jubi – A teenager died after being shot allegedly by a Mobile Brigade officer in Sugapa. Angry residents set fire to the Sugaba Police Station in response to the news. A local resident contacted by Jubi said the shooting occurred on Saturday (27/8/2016) at around 10:25 Papua time and followed a previous shooting on Thursday (25/8/2016). “On Thursday, Nope Sani and Nole Sondegau offered the firewood but rejected by the Company Tigi Jaya that paved the Papua Trans road. Don’t know why the company then called the Mobile Brigade whose officer came and shot the two boys three times but missed,” said Sugapa resident on Saturday evening. 

Angry residents set fire to the Sugaba Police Station – Jubi. Jubi report at
A report by the International Coalition for Papua on the incident at 

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)

A chronology of a number of recent shootings by tabloidjubi

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)

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.

Asia Human Rights Commission statement on Paniai case (28 October)
INDONESIA: Investigation into the Paniai case in Papua goes nowhere
Ever since the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) established the Ad Hoc investigation team for the Paniai case, under the decision 1 March 2016 letter of the Chair of the Komnas HAM (Number 009 / Komnas HAM / III / 2016), there is no progress in this case (see case details at AHRC-UAC-089-2015 and a related joint statement here). The case reflects the failure of Indonesian government in upholding human rights in order to protect civilians, as mandated by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Indonesia is a state party. The Covenant obligates the government to protect the right to life as fundamental and non-derogable rights of its citizens. In line, the government is also mandated under Paragraph 28A of the Indonesian Constitution (UUD 1945) on the protection of the right to life.

Indonesian military officer shot in shootout with separatists in Papua
Minggu, 23 Oktober 2016. 

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA News)- An Indonesian military officer was shot in an exchange of gunfire with separatists in Philia, Gurage, Puncak Jaya District, Papua Province, on Saturday. "Thats right, one military officer was shot in an exchange of gunfire with armed group members," Major General Hinsa Siburian, commander of the Cenderawasih XVII Military District, said here, Sunday. The shootout occurred in Philia, Gurage, when several military officers were on patrol. First Private Yani was shot at his right hand and left leg, Siburian said. The injured officer was rushed to Mulia Hospital.

The Future

The West Papuan people will eventually achieve their own self-determination. It is now 53 years since Indonesia took over the administration of West Papua and the courageous West Papuan people   are still marching in the streets risking arrest and torture and calling for their right to self-determination. As long as the West Papuan People continue to protest the injustices they suffer under Indonesian rule and their supporters continue to help in raising awareness of the issue, they will be successful.  The West Papuan people and their representatives have achieved great victories in the past few years and the international community is beginning to realise that West Papua is truly back on the agenda and won’t be going away.

What can be done.
There is information on the various web and facebook pages (below) where people can receive further information such as urgent actions that people can respond to. Information on events and rallies  are also posted on these sites as well as upcoming campaign information. They are just a few of the  information sites which are to numerous to mention.

                                          Sydney rally 4 Dec. 2016    Free Papua Movement    

Sources and further information
 The information in the report is based on the many urgent actions, reports released by civil society organisations and human rights defenders in West Papua and from information received.
AWPA  monitors the Indonesian, International and  local media in West Papua which is obviously a valuable source for information on  all  issues related to West Papua. Regular postings covering these issues of concern can be seen at

There are numerous websites and facebook pages on the issue. Just a few below.
Free Papua Movement Australia

West Papua information kit

Australia West Papua Association

United Liberation Movement for West Papua

West Papua media alerts

West Papua Project      

Free West Papua Campaign

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