Thursday, August 3, 2017

Summary of events in West Papua for July 2017

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

Summary of events in West Papua for July  2017

(This update coves the last two weeks of July up to 4 August. Previous update ended 16 July).

Security forces open fire on villagers in Deiyai district
One person was killed and up to 17 injured including a number of children when the security forces opened fired on a crowed when responding to an incident in Deiyai district. The incident occurred when one of a number of men swimming in a river got into difficulty.  The villager asked a group of workers at a company’s construction site to take the person to the hospital. A worker refused the request, as he feared he would be blamed if the patient died on the way to hospital. This angered the locals, who gathered at the site to confront the workers. The security forces deployed to handle the incident fired at the villagers killing one and injuring others. Indonesia's human rights commission has sent its members to Papua to investigate the incident. In a Reuters report on the incident a “Police spokesman Kamal said its internal investigation unit and commission members had begun questioning construction workers on Thursday. They would interview police officers involved in the incident on Friday” 

Unlike pass shootings this incident is receiving mainstream coverage from many media outlets including RNZI, Reuters, AFP, and local media Tabloid Jubi.   A Guardian report on the incident at

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) released an urgent action on the incident.  The AHRC has released a number of U/As in the past weeks and this is a way supporters  can help the people of West Papua by responding to these urgent actions. A number of West Papuan events 
are upcoming and  people are also encouraged to support these events (details at end of update). Another way people can help is to sign the petition and support the swim at  Sign & Share the Global Petition for West Papua here

An extract from the an editorial in the Jakarta Post (2 August) mentions the back the swim campaign
"The campaign for an independent Papua has been relentless and has made significant gains in past years. In January this year, the Free West Papua Campaign launched with great fanfare a global petition demanding an internationally supervised referendum for the region. The petition will remain open until August this year and once it closes will be carried by a team of swimmers across Lake Geneva to be personally handed to the secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres. The campaign itself appears to have been designed by a techsavvy public relations team who also posted a YouTube video featuring pro-independence activist Benny Wenda calling for viewers to join the campaign".

Responding to U/As, supporting events and signing petitions are away individuals can easily do and support the people of West Papua in their struggle for self-determination.

INDONESIA: Alleged brutal shooting and violence by the Paniai Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) in Papua

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-106-2017   
2 August 2017
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from our local partner in Papua Province. It speaks about an alleged brutal shooting and violence committed by the Paniai Police Mobie Brigade. It was carried out against local indigenous Papuans in Oneibo, South Tigi District, Deiyai Regency, Papua. Without any proper warning, the Police forcibly dispersed and shot the local indigenous Papuans who protested against the Putra Dewa Paniai Company. The protest was caused by the Company’s refusal to help local residents to support the life of an indigenous Papuan. He was in a critical condition after near drowning in the Oneibo River. Full U/A at

Relatives of Papua shooting victims call on police to take responsibility
RNZI 4 August 2017
A relative of villagers in Indonesia's Papua region caught up in a fatal police shooting says they're calling for the police to take responsibility for the incident.
Amatus Douw's relatives were among victims shot in a confrontation with paramilitary police in the Deiyai district on Tuesday.
According to reports up to 16 people were also injured, some of them critically, among them teenagers. Mr Douw is a pro-independence activist for West Papua and lives in Australia after obtaining political asylum in 2006.
He had been in contact with his family and he said the dead man's body was placed in front of the police office in Deiyai yesterday after the shooting.
"Without asking, without advocat(ing) the issue, they just shoot and shoot. Uncompromised. They are really sad and very worried," Said Amatus Douw.
Mr Douw said his people were worried because more police and military have been deployed to the district. According to a BBC report police say warning shots were fired in the incident and they are investigating. The parliament of the Deiyai area has called for the arrest of officers involved in the shooting and the withdrawal of the mobile brigade.

INDONESIA: Papuan human rights defender insulted and intimidated by military command
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-096-2017
27 July 2017
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that Mr. Theo Hesegem, a coordinator of Advocacy Network for Law Enforcement and Human Rights (JAPH-HAM) in Wamena, Papua, was intimidated and insulted by military officers of Jayawijaya regent, due to his advocacy efforts in the torture case of Mr. Niko Hisage. While there has been no military or police action to prosecute the military officers responsible for torturing Hisage, the military is now attempting to dissuade Mr. Hesegem for his efforts to seek justice for the victim. …………………


INDONESIA: Teenage indigenous Papuan brutally assaulted
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-093-2017
 24 July 2017
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from its local partner in Papua about the torture of Albert Nawipa (15), a junior high school student. Nawipa was illegally taken by the police and brought to a police station near Potikelek market in Wamena. The police accused him of attacking a dancing show in Potikelek market. He was tortured by three police officers and subsequently hospitalized. His serious injuries have prevented him from enrolling in the Senior High School in Wamena regent. The police have yet to comprehensively examine the case, and no adequate remedies have been provided to Nawipa. 

Editorial Jakarta Post-Open Papua to the world
Jakarta | Wed, August 2, 2017 

The campaign for an independent Papua has been relentless and has made significant gains in past years. In January this year, the Free West Papua Campaign launched with great fanfare a global petition demanding an internationally supervised referendum for the region. The petition will remain open until August this year and once it closes will be carried by a team of swimmers across Lake Geneva to be personally handed to the secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres. The campaign itself appears to have been designed by a techsavvy public relations team who also posted a YouTube video featuring pro-independence activist Benny Wenda calling for viewers to join the campaign.

The publicity stunt is a follow-up to the progress the movement has made in recent months. Last year, Free Papua activists managed to enlist an impressive cast of characters to support their cause, ranging from figures like Tongan Prime Minister Akilisi Pōhiva, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson. The PR campaign followed what could be deemed as a coup for the independent Papua movement. In September last year, seven Pacific island nations raised the issue of human rights abuses in Papua to the UN General Assembly. Anecdotal observations have also shown evidence that the campaign to promote an independent Papua has gained steam in Australia and New Zealand. A senior Indonesian diplomat told of his experience of being confronted by a Pacific island student who was campaigning for a free Papua during a graduation event.
So, at almost every turn, we are being outmaneuvered by campaigners who want to see Papua separate from Indonesia. And yet the Indonesian government has done very little to counter it.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has made efforts to hasten development in Papua including rolling out the one-fuel price policy, which was aimed at boosting economic growth in Papua. Jokowi also signed off on a series of massive infrastructure projects in the region. Early in his administration, Jokowi made a gesture of reconciliation by releasing five political prisoners, a decision the President said was to aid conflict resolution in the restive region.
But none of these efforts have been viewed positively by the outside world because the government continues to cordon off Papua. Despite Jokowi’s pledge early in his administration to give foreign journalists greater access to Papua, his government has maintained a policy that makes it difficult for members of the international media to operate in the region. Today, an interagency “clearing house” continues to operate to vet requests from foreign journalists and researchers before they are permitted to travel to the country’s easternmost province. Earlier this year, two French journalists were deported from Timika, Papua, after failing to obtain a reporting permit.

By maintaining this restriction, the government is operating like a paranoid regime, afraid the outside world may find the skeletons it hides in its closet. If the government has done much to improve the lives of Papuans, why not show it to the world?

Students rally for West Papuan independence in Bali
Ni Komang Erviani The Jakarta Post
Denpasar, Bali | Wed, August 2, 2017 

Call for independence: Members of the Papua Student Alliance (AMP) Bali call for West Papua's independence in a rally in Denpasar, Bali, on Aug. 2. (JP/Ni Komang Erviani)

Around 30 students of the Papua Student Alliance (AMP) Bali held a rally on Wednesday to demand West Papuan independence.
They staged the demonstration at a location near the US Consular Agency office in Denpasar, Bali, as the police did not allow them to hold the rally in front of the office as initially planned. AMP spokesman Wolker said the rally was held to commemorate the 48th year of the Papuan People’s Free Choice (Pepera) in 1969. “The Papuan People’s Free Choice was not democratic; [it was] full of terror, intimidation and manipulation. Severe human rights violations also occurred at that time,” Wolker said.

In a statement, AMP said that 175 out of 809,337 Papuans cast their vote in the Pepera in 1969 and that all of them had been "quarantined" before the voting day. “Since then, [acts of] colonialism, imperialism and militarism have been committed by the Indonesian government,” it said in the statement.

The group’s activists held the rally at the US Consular Agency as they believe the US government interfered in the Pepera. “Papua should get freedom,” they yelled during the rally. They also demanded that the government shut down multinational companies' activities in Papua, such as those of Freeport, LNG Tangguh and Medco. Furthermore, they called for the release of Obby Kogoya, a Papuan student in Yogyakarta who was sentenced to one-year probation with four years' imprisonment if he reoffends during probation for resisting police arrest during a protest in Yogyakarta last year. (ebf

Call for ACP-EU Resolution on West Papua
By Jonas Cullwick Jul 28, 2017 Vanuatu Daily Post

The Co-president of the EU, Cecil Kashetu Kyenge, addressing the opening session of the Pacific regional meeting of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly last week. By Jonas Cullwick

Last week’s 14th Pacific Regional ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Port Vila issued a five-point position of the issue of West Papuan independence.
It says Parliamentarians of the ACP-EU Parliaments can voice their concern and they can support Papuan rights, including the right to self-determination by rallying to the call from the 8 Pacific Island Countries for justice and respect for the right to self-determination.
They can get regional and global intergovernmental bodies such the African Union, CARICOM and other regional and sub-regional multilateral bodies to pass resolutions and restrict commercial and other relations with Indonesia.

As member states of the United Nations ACP–EU countries can insist on an internationally supervised referendum on independence (or at least the re-listing of West Papua as a non-self-governing territory).

Support with one voice the proposed resolutions in the upcoming Joint ACP-EU parliament meeting in month of October and also the resolution on West Papua to be adopted at ACP Council of Ministers meeting in November 2017; And call on ACP-EU Parliamentarians to urge their respective governments to address the issue of West Papua at the multilateral level and assist Indonesia to resolve this 54 year crisis.

NZ govt rejects West Papua human rights petition
RNZI 3 Aug 2017
A parliamentary committee in New Zealand has turned down a call to push for a UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression to visit West Papua.

A human rights petition, organised by West Papua Action Auckland and supported by other human rights groups and Catholic and Anglican church leaders, had sought for New Zealand to condemn the arrest and intimidation of peaceful protestors. A spokesperson for the petitioners Maire Leadbetter said the Foreign Affairs Committee had instead opted for what she calls a 'business as usual approach that will mean little more than occasional inoffensive chats with Indonesian authorities and comments during the UN Universal Periodic Review process'. Ms Leadbetter said she was pleased the committee doesn't deny human rights breaches in West Papua, but she was appalled Foreign Affairs officials told the committee that there was doubt about whether torture occurs in West Papua. She said this flies in the face of extensive documentation from numerous human rights, church and academic reports all of which describes the use of torture in West Papua as endemic.

Jul 31, 2017

      Antonius Uwamang while undergoing trial in Jakarta court 11 years ago – Getty Images

Jayapura, Jubi – Legislator of Papua, Wilhelmus Pigai stated that after the lifelong sentence of the convicted, Antonius Uwamang from Cipinang Prison, Jakarta to Abepura Prison, Jayapura City, Papua succeeded, they are now trying to get the remission (reduction of punishment) or pardon fom the president to Uwamang. Member of Commission I in the field of politics, law and human rights said, since last week, Anton Uwamang has been transferred to LP Abepura. The next struggle is to seek remission or pardon for Uwamang. “Regarding remission, which is in the process, the submission of a criminal change from a lifetime to a temporary penalty, has been submitted and hopefully on August this year there is a certainty,” said Wilhelmus Pigai to Jubi, Sunday (July 30).

According to him, the transfer of Anton Uwamang to Papua will facilitate the family to monitor his condition and to visit him. “For nearly 12 years Anton has been detained at the Cipinang prisons, the family has never visited him, we are grateful that our efforts and the family have asked Anton to be moved has been successful, he has arrived at LP Abe since Tuesday (July 25),” he said. .
He said, in addition to the transfer efforts from LP Cipinang to LP Abepura and the remission (reduction of punishment), he will also fight for pardon or pardon from the president for the convicted person who was charged for shooting in Mimika in 2002. “So there are three things that we are fighting for: the transfer of detentions has succeeded, then the remissions and pardons are now in process and pending,” he said.

While Vice Chairman of Commission I, Orwan Tolli Wone said when one checked Uwamang track record during his time in Cipinang prison, he should naturally got remission.
“Uwamang is entitled to a remission like any other prisoner, that’s the right of citizens, especially during the duration of the sentence Uwamang has never been in trouble,” Orwan said.
Anton Uwamang was sentenced to life for the shooting of a convoy of employees of PT Freeport Indonesia, on August 21, 2002 which resulted in two Americans, Ricky Lynn Spier (44) and Leon Edwin Burgon (71) and Indonesian citizen Bambang Riwanto killed. In addition to Anton, his colleagues Yulianus Deikme and Agustinus Anggaibak were convicted 15 years in prison. Yairus Kiwak, Rev. Isaac Onawame, Esau Onawame and Hardi Sugumol were charged eight years in prison.

A test for Jokowi
The struggle for clemency for Uwamang will be a test for Indonesian President, Joko Widodo. Although he once freed five Papuan political prisoners in May 2015, none of them are a lifelong convict. The president who is familiarly called Jokowi is also considered to never prove his government’s commitment to solve the problem of alleged violations of Human Rights in Papua, along with democratic space in Papua.

Setara Institute some time ago mentioned in the policy span, it is proven that President Joko Widodo has no policy in solving cases of human rights violations and democratic conditions in Papua. This can be seen from the absence of any regulations or legislation concerning human rights issues.
In contrast, Jokowi only political maneuvered by attempting to open partial democracy taps such as granting pardons to political prisoners, lifting up restrictions on foreign press, and forming a team to resolve human rights cases in Papua, have not solving the problems of Papua holistically.
“The presidential political steps seem ambiguous and contradictory. On one hand, the president grants clemency to five political prisoners and grants foreign press freedom. But on the other hand, the government made a massive arrest against the peacefull demonstration of the people of Papua. In fact, the President is actually planning to build a new territorial command and police mobile brigade, Navy base, and add more troops to Papua. This further demonstrates that governments is still present his militaristic and repressive approach to Papuan society, “said Bonar Tigor Naipospos, Deputy Director of Setara Institute. In international forums, continued Naipospos, Jokowi runs a diplomacy ‘turn a blind eye’ by denying all complaints and information about human rights violations in Papua.

In many forums, the government is more defensive without adequate foundation. The international government’s arrogance by ignoring the human rights situation report is evidence of a denial of the humanist policy that Jokowi had promised.(*)

Papuan student jailed for resisting arrest in Yogyakarta
 Yogyakarta | Thu, July 27, 2017 | 06:00 pm

Dozens of Papuan students stage a rally in support of Obby Kogoya in front of the Yogyakarta District Court on July 27. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)

Obby Kogoya, 22, a Papuan student in Yogyakarta, has been sentenced to jail for resisting arrest by police officers during a protest in July last year.
Yogyakarta District Court sentenced Obby to four months’ imprisonment suspended for one year during a hearing on Thursday. The judges said the Papuan activist was found guilty of committing violence against police officers, a violation Article 212 of the Criminal Code (KUHP).

“The defendant does not need to serve his four-month imprisonment but if he breaks the law during his one-year probation, he must serve his jail sentence,” presiding judge Wiwik Wisnuningdyah said.
Obby, deputy coordinator of the Tolikara Student Group in Yogyakarta, is now the first Papuan student in the City of Students to have received a prison sentence because of political activism.
Obby refused to obey police orders when they asked him to stop his motorcycle on his way to the Kamasan Papuan Student Boarding House compound on Jl. Kusumanegara, Yogyakarta, to attend a peaceful rally to celebrate the Papuan People’s Free Choice (Pepera) anniversary on July 15, 2016.
The sentence was lower than that demanded by prosecutors, who sought a six-month sentence suspended for one year for the Respati Yogyakarta University (Unriyo) student.

Obby, via his lawyer Emanuel Gobay from the Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH), said he would first consider the sentence before deciding whether to file an appeal. (ebf)

AdminJul 27, 2017

Jakarta, Jubi – The highest child poverty rates is in the provinces of Papua, West Papua and East Nusa Tenggara, respectively 35.57 percent, 31.03 percent, and 26.42 percent. While the lowest rates were in the provinces of Bali, DKI Jakarta and South Kalimantan, respectively at 5.39 percent, 5.55 percent, and 6.06 percent. This was revealed in the launching of Child Poverty Analysis Book and Deprivation of Basic Rights of Children in Indonesia by BPS (Central Bureau of Statistics) with The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Jakarta, Tuesday (July 25).
 Head of the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) Suhariyanto emphasized the importance of database related to child poverty so that policies taken by the government can be effective to overcome the problem.
According to him, poverty is one of the root causes of children’s obstacles to grow and develop based to their maximum potential. Growing in poverty affects children’s health and nutrition, educational attainment and psychosocial well-being of children.

As of March 2016, the poor population in Indonesia reached 28.01 million people where 40.22 percent of them are children that is 11.26 million of people.
Based on the National Socioeconomic Survey (Susenas) March 2016, nationally, the percentage of poor children in Indonesia is 13.31 percent. Almost half of poor children in Indonesia are in Java, which is 47.39 percent.

Demographics and household characteristics are also very influential with child poverty in Indonesia.  Children living in households with five or more household members are at a higher risk of becoming poor than those living in households with fewer than five households. Child poverty is measured through a broader and mulitidimensional aspect, such as the difficulty of access to adequate housing, nutritionally adequate food, health and education services, and the right to receive birth registration. Head of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), Bambang Brodjonegoro, said that sustainable development should start with the children.

Freeport Indonesia mine workers extend strike for fourth month
 JAKARTA/TORONTO (Reuters) - An estimated 5,000 workers at the giant
July 22, 2017
Grasberg copper mine operated by Freeport-McMoRan Inc's (FCX.N) Indonesian unit will extend their strike for a fourth month, a union official said on Friday, in an ongoing dispute over layoffs and employment terms.  The escalating labor issue comes as Freeport, the world's largest publicly traded copper miner, is snarled in a lengthy and costly dispute with Indonesia's government over rights to the Grasberg copper and gold mine.  Freeport resumed copper concentrate exports from Grasberg, the world's second-largest copper mine, in April after a 15-week outage related to that row, but a permanent solution is yet to be found. 
Copper prices CMCU3 hit a 4-1/2 month peak on Friday, fueled by strong growth in top consumer China, a weak dollar and worries about supply disruptions. 
Freeport is pushing back against revised government rules that require miners to pay new taxes and royalties, divest a 51-percent stake and relinquish arbitration rights. The Arizona-based miner wants an 'investment stability agreement' that replicates the legal and fiscal rights under its existing agreement. 

Freeport Indonesia union industrial relations officer Tri Puspital told Reuters on Friday that the strike was extended because there is still no solution for worker concerns.  The strike began in May after Freeport laid off some 10 percent of its workforce to cut costs.  In May, Freeport said that mining and milling rates at Grasberg were affected by the strike, and investors will look for more information when the company reports second-quarter financial results July 25. 
Indonesia said last week it would invite Freeport chief executive Richard Adkerson to Jakarta this month to try to settle a dispute, but a company spokesman would not confirm whether he would attend.  Freeport shares were down about 1 percent on New York at $12.93 Friday morning.  Reporting by Wilda Asmarini in Jakarta, Susan Taylor in Toronto and Maytaal Angel in London; Editing by Andrea Ricci

Global Union Heads for Indonesia for Freeport Worker Cause
 Representatives from some of the biggest unions in the world are heading to Jakarta to try to pressure Freeport-McMoRan Inc. to reinstate thousands of workers who have lost their jobs and, according to the local union, are now blocked from accessing hospitals, schools and banks.
Officials from Geneva-based IndustriALL Global Union and local unions are scheduled to meet with senior management from Freeport’s Indonesian unit, PT-FI, on Aug. 10, IndustriALL’s Adam Lee said by email.

Workers at Freeport’s flagship mine in Papua province downed tools on May 1 to protest layoffs and enforced furloughs that began during a government-imposed ban on the export of copper concentrate. In June, more than a month after exports had resumed, Freeport confirmed that 4,000 people, including 3,000 permanent workers and 1,000 subcontractors, had been “deemed to have resigned” after not showing up for work. Last month, the local union said about 5,000 workers will extend a strike until the end of August.......


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