Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
18 July 2018
Media release. AWPA urges Julie Bishop to raise human rights situation with Jakarta
AWPA has written to the Australian Foreign Minister concerning recent worrying events in West Papua (letter below).
Joe Collins of AWPA said "we are very concerned about the security operation in the Nduga regency. There has been a number of shootings in the past few weeks and as a result of these incidents extra security forces have being deployed to the area and are conducting a security operation to find those responsible for the shootings. Local people have reported that indicate that a police helicopter supporting the sweep was used to attack villages in the area. Large numbers of local people have fled because of the security operation. Up to 1000 security personnel are reported to be involved".
AWPA is urging the Foreign Minister to not only raise the ongoing human rights abuses committed by the Indonesian security forces in West Papua with the Indonesian Government but urging her to raise again the matter of a PIF fact-finding mission to West Papua at the upcoming PIF summit in Nauru in September.
Fact-finding missions by the international community to West Papua can only help improve the human rights situation in the territory”.
The Hon Julie Bishop MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs
House of Representatives
Canberra ACT 2600
18 July 2018
Dear Foreign Minister,
On behalf of the Australia West Papua in Sydney, I am writing to you concerning recent worrying events in West Papua. There have been a number of shooting incidentsin the past few weeksin the territory resulting in a number of deaths including the death of three residents who died in a clash between security forces and the OPM at Kenyam airportin the Nduga regency. As a result of these incidents extra security forces have being deployed to the area and are conducting a security operation to find those responsible for the shootings.
A police helicopter supporting the sweep is reported by local people to have attacked villages in the area. Large numbers of local people have fled because of the security operation. Up to 1000 security personnel are reported to be involved.
The Jakarta Post (15 July) reported that human rights activists have urged the National Police and the Indonesian Military to withdraw their joint operation from Alguru in Kenyam, Nduga regency. The human rights organisations include the Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua) and the Papua chapter of the Indonesian Forum for Environment (Walhi Papua).
Amnesty International has also just realised a new report which claims that the Indonesian security forces have unlawfully killed at least 95 people in little more than eight years in the eastern provinces of Papua and West Papua, with the majority of perpetrators never being held to account for the crimes.
The report, “Don't bother, just let him die": Killing with impunity in Papua, describes how police and soldiers have shot dead peaceful independence activists and protesters, as well as dozens of other Papuans in non-political contexts. Amnesty said killings have shown no sign of letting up since President Joko Widodo came to power in 2014.
Usman Hamid, who is Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director, said:
“Papua is one of Indonesia’s black holes for human rights. This is a region where security forces have for years been allowed to kill women, men and children, with no prospects of being held to account. “Our research reveals that almost 100 people have been unlawfully killed in little more than eight years – about one person every month. This is a serious blot on Indonesia’s human rights record. “Now is the time to change course – unlawful killings in Papua must end. This culture of impunity within the security forces must change, and those responsible for past deaths held to account.”
In an opinion piece in the Jakarta Post (2 July) Usman wrote
“The tactics used by the country’s security forces may have changed since the fall of military rule in 1998, but in Papua — Indonesia’s easternmost, restive region — deadly violence from the use of excessive force by police and military personnel remains a constant threat “
Because Papuan students planned to show a film called ., 100 police and military personnel raided the student dormitory. For all the talk about Indonesia being a democracy, it would appear democracy does not apply to West Papua or the West Papuan people.
The 6th July was the 20thanniversary since the tragedy of the Biak Massacre. On the 6 July in 1998 the Indonesian security forces attacked peaceful demonstrators in Biak, massacring scores of people. The victims included women and children. They were killed at the base of a water tower in the town where the West Papuan people had raised their national flag. No security force personal were ever charged over the killings.
We urge you to raise the ongoing human rights abuses committed by the Indonesian security forces in West Papua with the Indonesian Government.
At the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) forum meeting in Port Moresby (2015), the PIF leaders requested Jakarta to allow a PIF fact-finding mission to West Papua.
We also urge you to raise again the matter of a PIF fact-finding mission to West Papua at the upcoming PIF summit in Nauru in September. Fact-finding missions by the international community to West Papua can only help improve the human rights situation in the territory”.