Monday, December 31, 2018



DECEMBER 31, 2018

Please be advised that Timika police have arrested six Komite Nasional Papua Barat (KNPB)members, including KNPB Timika chapter’s Deputy Chairman Yanto Awerkion, Many may be familiar with Awerkion from his previous arrest that resulted in the highly publicised #FreeYanto campaign.
We ask that all human rights advocates please call Victor Dean Mackbon, Head of police in Timika +62081217705813 Birawa Jaksa Prosecutor, +62 085234348458 and Timika Prison officer Adam LP+62 08124049900 to demand the immediate release of:
1. Yanto Awerkion
2. Finsen Gobay
3. Eman Dogopia
4. Yohana Kobogau
5. Ruben Kogouya
6. Epesus Usage
According to initial reports, on December 31st, 2018, Timika police raided the KNPB office, vandalised property, and arrested the groups’ members who were peacefully gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the opening of their Timika office.

Indonesian police vandalised the offices by destroying the groups’ sign with a sledge hammer, spray painting the words Indonesia and NKRI on the building, and affixing the flag of Indonesia. See videos and photos below:

Indonesian police officer vandalising the KNPB’s sign with a sledgehammer

Police graffiti on the building of the KNPB Timika office

An officer putting up the flag of Indonesia on the KNPB building

About Yanto Awerkion
In May 2017, the Indonesian military raided a peaceful prayer gathering and arrested Yanto Awerkion for collecting signatures for the West Papuan People’s Petition. Banned by the Indonesian government, the petition was signed by over 1.8 million West Papuans calling for the United Nations to give them an internationally supervised vote on self-determination.
Awerkion was held without any formal charges for more than six months. During Awerkion’s detainment his rights to due process were denied many times over. Indonesian police and the courts used a series of no shows and delay tactics to keep his case from moving forward. At one scheduled court appearance the judge himself didn’t show up for the hearing. After making 17 court appearances, over one year after his arrest, Awerkion was finally charged and convicted for treason. He received a 10 month jail sentence and was released in April 2018.
Story regarding the police raid and arrests in Timika are still developing. More details and updates to come when available.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

PNG Welcomes 195 New Citizens

115 West Papuans, mainly from the northern part of the country, have been made Papua New Guinean citizens.
They were among 195 people who were welcomed last week, also including 64 dual citizens and 16 naturalised citizens, according to the Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority.
Minister for responsible for immigration and border security, Petrus Thomas said the applications received showed the authority’s processes and timely manner was a testimony of the hard work put in place.
“This number shows the confidence our clients and the public have in the integrity and transparency of our process,” Mr Petrus said.
“I am proud that this process has commenced successfully and the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority is now receiving more applications for citizenship than ever before.”
Mr Petrus said that globally, recognition of migration was an important process for economic and social development “if managed well in the interest of the country”, adding that the process welcomes “social cohesion and growth in all sectors” contributed by the new citizens.
“The process of dual citizenship is one such important initiative. We have to get our citizens who are now outside to reconnect to the home country without losing the citizenship of the country they reside in and enable those who wish to remain become PNG citizens,” he said.
“Papua New Guinea is no longer an island on its own. We are multi-ethnic and multi-racial…and this process recognises that diversity that we already have.”
A citizenship ceremony held last week, which saw 41 awarded was the third for dual citizenship and the fourth for naturalized in which four ceremonies were performed for West Papuans in Lae, Madang, Vanimo and Wewak.
During the ceremony, Mr Petrus reminded the recipients that as Papua New Guineans they had an obligation to the country.
“You must respect the laws of this country and be loyal. This country has given us a lot and it is time to give to the fullest,” he says adding that they were already Papua New Guineans by heart and “this is just a process to formalise that.”

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

1) GUEST BLOG: Maire Leadbeater – December Violence in West Papua should be a wake-up call

2) Freeport Issue, Gerindra: We can Invite Other Countries


1) GUEST BLOG: Maire Leadbeater – December Violence in West Papua should be a wake-up call

By   /   December 26, 2018  /   1 Comment

Vanuatu is leading the way in promoting a peaceful diplomatic solution for West Papua  and plans to take a resolution to the UN General Assembly next year calling for the West Papua to be restored to the UN list of nations still to be decolonised. New Zealand could be a game changer by ending military ties and instead opting to support Vanuatu’s  principled diplomacy. There isn’t much time to waste.

This December has seen a dangerous escalation of violence in West Papua, culminating in a major military operation in the remote Nduga region in the  highlands.  There are reports – vehemently denied by the Indonesian military- that some kind of explosive has been used against the civilian population.  Most disturbingly, Australia’s ‘The Saturday Paper’  carried a story from  Mark Davis and John Martinkus  who had received photographs of unexploded shells and of victims with burns eating deep into their flesh.  Experts who have seen the images believe it is possible that these wounds resulted from the use of some kind of chemical agent, possibly white phosphorous.[1]  Independent verification is impossible in the absence of independent observers or journalists.
On 2 December in the Nduga regency in the remote highlands,  at least 16 Indonesian construction engineers were killed.  The West Papua National Liberation Army has claimed responsibility for the deaths, describing the workers as military personnel who were carrying out surveillance of the community while they built bridges on a controversial project – the 4,300 km Trans Papua highway.  The Indonesian Government’s response was swift – President Joko Widodo vowed that the road building project would continue, and crack police and military units were dispatched to track down the perpetrators. As soon as the military began its sweeping operation hundreds of local people fled to the surrounding forest where they risk illness and starvation.
In the last couple of decades the freedom movement has largely prioritised peaceful resistance and favoured diplomacy over armed struggle.  But now a new cycle of violence seems set to overwhelm the voices proposing negotiation and peaceful resistance. Papuan   Governor, Lucas Enembe, clearly regards the situation as critical. After meeting with  Provincial Parliamentarians,  tribal and  Church leaders  he took the unusual step of calling for the military to leave the Nduga area and for an independent local team to investigate the killings.  Local  military chief  of information, Colonel Muhammad Aidi firmly rejected the call saying Enembe was ignoring his legal  responsibility to uphold the integrity of the unitary state of Indonesia.
Two contextual factors stand out.  First, the day before the attack over 500 peaceful demonstrators were arrested as they and their Indonesian supporters attempted to mark the 57th anniversary of the first and last date when their national Morning Star flag was raised in an officially sanctioned ceremony.   Back in 1961 the   Dutch colonial authority was preparing to hand over power to their indigenous subjects, but not long after Indonesia took control – aided and abetted by western powers.  When armed guerrilla resistance to Indonesian rule began in 1965 its leaders could see no alternative, their appeals to the UN having fallen on deaf ears. Perhaps some of today’s youthful demonstrators are also starting to despair that peaceful resistance and diplomacy will ever bring change?
Second, the Trans Papua Highway represents environmental devastation on steroids. Set this alongside the growing evidence that the indigenous Papuan population is experiencing ‘slow genocide’ thanks in part to the corporate land grab that has disrupted traditional food harvesting.  Researchers from James Cook University in Cairns have made a study of the Highway’s likely impact on the remaining tracts of pristine tropical forest in West Papua.  They point out that the route threatens peatlands and it opens the way for the spread of a forest pathogen, Phytophthora cinnamomi, Papua’s kauri die back equivalent.  It will also secure access to oil and gas extraction, mining and conversion of forests to food and biofuel/ palm oil   plantations.  Development projects inevitably bring in migrants – threatening the last bastions of traditional Papuan way of life with the impact of entrepreneurial newcomers.
New Zealand’s role towards West Papua amounts to nothing less than betrayal.   We went along with the crowd back in the 1960s when Indonesia annexed West Papua under the fig leaf of an Act of Free Choice –  a phoney act of self-determination since conclusively exposed as a coercive process. Our political leaders know that the Indonesian security forces have a free hand in West Papua and are almost never brought to account for their crimes.   For example in December 2014,  4 schoolboys were killed by security forces in Paniai – a fifth died of his injuries earlier this year.  Despite official undertakings to take the case to the office of the General Attorney, none of the perpetrators have faced charges. Their grieving parents and leading Church and human rights figures have just released a new plea for justice in a film, in which Yones Douw , a peace and justice advocate with the  Kingmi Church  says that the nations who ‘encourage and assist the Indonesian police and military are also  implicated in their human rights violations.’
It is alarming that  New Zealand’s aid to Indonesia  includes highly questionable support such as the supply of equipment to the para-military counter-terrorism unit: Detachment 88, a unit  notorious in West Papua for its use in violent repression against Papuan civilians engaged in peaceful acts of free expression. For at least 10 years the New Zealand Government has given approval for the export to Indonesia of military aircraft parts including engines propellers and components for P 3 Orion, C 130 Hercules and CASA military aircraft.  This is on top of bilateral officer exchanges and the regular participation of  senior Indonesian military personnel at the six month  NZ Defence Force Advanced Command and Staff Course.
Vanuatu is leading the way in promoting a peaceful diplomatic solution for West Papua  and plans to take a resolution to the UN General Assembly next year calling for the West Papua to be restored to the UN list of nations still to be decolonised. New Zealand could be a game changer by ending military ties and instead opting to support Vanuatu’s  principled diplomacy. There isn’t much time to waste.
Maire Leadbeater – Human rights activist and author of ‘See No Evil: New Zealand’s betrayal of the people of West Papua, OUP 2018

2) Freeport Issue, Gerindra: We can Invite Other Countries

Translator: Dewi Elvia Muthiariny   
Editor: Petir Garda Bhwana 
26 December 2018 12:27 WIB
TEMPO.COJakarta - Gerindra Party Central Board (DPP) member Andre Rosiade responded to the statement conveyed by a professor of the Economy and Business Faculty at the University of Indonesia Rhenald Khasali who deemed Freeport could take away its technology should the contract does not extend in 2021. According to Andre, that is not a problem for Indonesia.
“If we have the mine and money, what technology we cannot buy? We can invite other countries who have similar technology to help us, but the management under our control,” Andre told Tempo, Tuesday, December 25.
Thus, he believed, the fund disbursed by the country would not be as much as that to pay the share divestment of PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI). Earlier, PT Indonesia Asahan Alumunium or Inalum acquired 51.2 percent of the company’s shares that worth US$3.85 billion or Rp55.8 trillion (in the exchange rate of Rp14,500 per US dollar).
“Not only Freeport that has such technology, but we can also adopt technologies of other countries,” Andre added. Moreover, he continued, the US has yet paid a large amount of several taxes and fines which could be used for investment. “So, we can acquire [the share] 100 percent. That’s logic.”
The Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) previously reported its findings that PT Freeport Indonesia allegedly damaged the ecosystem due to its mining waste in Papua which caused the loss of Rp185 trillion.
Andre further opined that if the government later decides to cut off the contract of Freeport, the country should have spent less money than before, as long as they wait for 2019 or two years prior to the contract ends.

1) NZ govt says it wants info on reports of Papua chemical attack

2) West Papuans in exile: A conversation with Corry Ap

1) NZ govt says it wants info on reports of Papua chemical attack
3:38 pm on 24 December 2018  
New Zealand's government says it's seeking information on reports the Indonesian military dropped chemical weapons in Highlands villages.
Australia's Saturday Paper reported over the weekend on the suspected use of white phosphorus weapons, which are banned under international law, in Nduga regency.
Indonesia's Foreign Ministry said the story is "totally baseless" and that Indonesia possesses no chemical weapons.
In a statement on Twitter, it said it will take "necessary measures" against the newspaper.
A spokesperson for New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said they were aware of the report and are following up.
"MFAT, through our Embassy in Jakarta, continues to seek information on the unverified reports of incendiary weapons use in Papua.”

2) West Papuans in exile: A conversation with Corry Ap

DECEMBER 25, 2018
Corry Ap is the widow of assassinated West Papuan cultural leader, musician, and anthropologist Arnold Ap. She is also the mother of Ordek Ap, Chairperson of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua EU, and Raki Ap, Spokesperson for the Free West Papua Campaign. Now living in exile in the Netherlands, we recently sat down with Mrs. Ap to have a conversation about her very long and complicated journey.

PART I Growing up Melanesian

Free West Papua Campaign (FWPC): It’s interesting that you have lived during the transfer of power between the Dutch, the U.N.’s short administration, and witnessed all 57 years of Indonesia’s occupation of West Papua. What was your family life like growing up before all of that happened?
Corry Ap (C.A.):  I grew up on Biak island with my parents, my 2 brothers and 3 sisters. My father taught primary school, and Sunday school. Strong community. Happy times.
FWPC: Today is Christmas. What was Christmas time like for you as a child?
C.A: Oh Christmas was a very happy time. We would start preparations in September or October. We didn’t have a (pine) tree. We would decorate the banana trees.
FWPC: How did you spend Christmas day?
C.A.: We would always start at church service. Then gather for lots of food and singing. 
FWPC: You speak so many languages now, what was you first language at home?
C.A.: Biak and Malaya (what is now Bahasa/Indonesian)
FWPC: Is BIak what you call your indigenous language?
C.A.: Yes, it’s just the “Biak” language.
FWPC: When your family would sing Christmas songs did you sing in your native language?
C.A.:  Yes mostly in both Biak and Malaya.
FWPC: What kind of schools did you go to?
C.A.: First primary school then to a Dutch run school for women. At the school for women I was trained to be a midwife, and after graduation I started doing that work since 12 years old.  
FWPC: When did you first leave Biak?
C.A.: As a teenager I went to work at the Dutch military hospital in Sentani (Sentani is in Jayapura, now the capital of Indonesia). 

Part II Indonesian invasion

FWPC: At that time in West Papua there was a lot of political turmoil happening between the Dutch and Indonesia. Were you aware of what was going on? 
C.A.: I was a teenager. We were just being young, living and preparing under the Dutch to be an independent country. 
FWPC: How did you find out Indonesia had invaded West Papua?
C.A.: It was announced on the radio and newspapers. 
FWPC: At what point did the invasion come into your life to affect you personally? What was your first sign up close when you realised it was happening?
C.A.: We saw the helicopters. Being at work at the hospital, wounded Indonesian soldiers started to be brought in. Our supervisor, a Dutch military doctor, told us we were to treat everyone, even them. So that’s what we did. 
FWPC: How did you find out that the United Nations had given Indonesia administration of West Papua and the Dutch would be leaving?
C.A.:  At work. We were brought in and the Dutch explained it to us. 
FWPC: Did you stay and work under the Indonesian administration when it changed over?
C.A.: Yes. We kept doing our jobs like we were trained to do. 
FWPC: Did things stay the same when Indonessia started to run the hospital?
C.A.: No. Things declined quickly. 
FWPC: How so? What was the first sign that things were changing?
C.A.: Well, under the Dutch, the hospital was very clean. Very structured. It started to be not taken care of and we had no medicines to give people. 
FWPC: How did things change outside of the hospital?
C.A.:  The stores quickly ran out of food and supplies. There was nothing to buy. There was no food. 
FWPC: What did Indonesia do about it?
C.A.: They gave out government rations. We had to eat what they gave us.
FWPC: Being that you were only around 16 and 17  years old at the time, what did you think about your situation and what might happen to you?
C.A.: All we could think about was voting for our independence. We were holding out hope for the referendum.
FWPC: All you could do was just ride it out until you could vote in the Act of Free Choice?
C.A.: Yes. We were waiting for referendum.
FWPC: By the time of the Act of Free Choice in 1969 you were eligible to vote. Was there any instruction about how and where to vote? Did any representatives from the United Nations tell the people when the vote was going to happen? 
C.A.: No. Nothing. We thought we might be able to vote at work, but no one gave us any information. 
FWPC: Did you find out anything about how to vote in the newspaper or on the radio?
C.A.: No. 
FWPC: Where were the Papuan leaders who had made up the New Guinea Council that was formed to take over and run an independent West Papua? Were any of those leaders out communicating information to the people about voting?
C.A.: The Dutch had taken all of the leaders to Nederland. There was no one left to organise the people. 
FWPC: Instead of holding an open vote for hundreds of thousands of Papuan people eligible for voting, we know now that only 1,026 men were handpicked to vote for Indonesian rule. How did you find out the vote had happened and that you were staying under Indonesian occupation?
C.A.: On the radio. 
FWPC: What was the reaction of Papans to the news?
C.A.: Papuan resistance started right away. So did Indonesian intimidation, imprisonment, and killings. 

PART III Becoming the AP family

FWPC: During this time of cvil unrest and panic in West Papua you found love and met the man you would marry. How did your husband come into your life?
C.A.: As medical professionals we would go to tend to the prisoners. That’s where we met, in the jail. At this time he was already involved in speaking up about independence in his music. He was being targeted by Indonesian police and in jail because of his songs. His songs would give the people hope, and their identity. He would tell them they were not Indonesian.
FWPC: How old were you both when you got married? 
C.A.: I was 19 and he was a year older than me.
FWPC: You would get many more years of seeing your husband in prison. What was family life like when he wasn’t in jail.
C.A.:  Our house was full of our 3 boys, with people visiting and working on music. As an anthropologist he was very dedicated to preserving our cultural identity and the languages of West Papuan People. People would come from all over so he could transcribe their native words and put them in song. Our family would travel to their villages too. 

Members of Mambesak 

FWPC: He had such an intellectually rich life. He curated the museum at Cenderwasih University, hosted a radio show, and traveled with his band Mambesak. What would happen when he would be arrested?
C.A.:  Over the years he was jailed for different lengths of time. Sometimes 3 months. Sometimes 6 months. We didn’t know how long he would be there, but me and our children would go to visit him every day.  
FWPC: Do you remember what his charges were?
C.A.: No. There were no [formal] charges. They would just take you and lock you up.
FWPC: Did he have a lawyer, or did you go to his court dates or any trial?
C.A.: No. There was nothing like that. No lawyer.
FWPC: After a decade of going through this cycle of being arrested and held in jail, when did things change to becoming dangerous for him?
C.A.: It was always dangerous, but it became clear they were going to kill him and possibly our whole family. I wanted all of us to leave together, but it was too dangerous to stay. He told us we had to go. He had made arrangements for people to pick us up and take us out of West Papua. We went to see him in the jail at 4pm, then we were in a car being taken away by 6pm. 
FWPC: You had 3 boys and were pregnant too?
C.A.: Yes. 
FWPC: What was your goodbye at the jail like?
C.A.: We knew when or if he got out of jail he would come to us. He wanted us to take our family to a place where our sons could become educated and return to fight for West Papua. He told our boys “Right now you don’t understand what is happening, but someday you will.” 
In 1983 Ap was arrested and imprisoned along with fellow musician Eddie Mofu for singing freedom songs and on suspicion of being sympathetic to the independence movement. While in custody he was shot in the back and died from the fatal wound on April 26th 1984. There was no investigation into his murder, and to this day the Indonesian government has not acknowledged any wrongdoing, nor prosecuted anyone for his death.  

Part IV Life in exile

FWPC: You only had 2 hours until you were in a car to be taken out of West Papua. Did you have time to pack?
C.A.: No. just a small bag of clothes for the boys..
FWPC: Family photos? Valuables?
C.A.: No. Just the one bag, the little bit of money we had, and our lives.
FWPC: Where did the car take you?
C.A.: We were put into a boat with 3 other families to go to Papua New Guinea. They gave us 3 days worth of food and pushed us out into the dark. 
FWPC: What happened when you arrived in PNG?
C.A.: We made camp with the other families we were with and spent the first night sleeping in the jungle. Then the next day I went to an administration building.
FWPC: Run by the PNG government? 
C.A.: Yes. They sent us to Blackwater camp. They gave us a plot of land to build a house on. You could stay, but you had to build your own house. 
FWPC: You were pregnant and had 3 boys under the age of 8. How did you build a house? 
C.A.: With the other families in the camp. We all helped each other.
FWPC: Did you have your baby in that house?
C.A.: No. The baby (Raki) was born in hospital. As a midwife I would help deliver the babies when there was no time to make it an hour away to the hospital, but if there was time the police would take you. 
FWPC: The PNG police would drive you an hour away to have your baby?
C.A.: Yes. There were police there to protect the camp. When someone needed care they would take you to the hospital and also give you a ride back. 
FWPC: At the camp were you waiting for your husband?  
C.A.: Yes 
FWPC: How did you find out he wasn’t coming to join you?
C.A.: Another family arrived at the camp and brought the message that he had been killed by Indonesia.
FWPC: You weren’t able to bury him, or have a funeral. What did you do?
C.A.: The people in our village all came to our house. We cried, and sang, and prayed together. I met my husband in a jail, and we had to say goodbye in a jail. 
FWPC: How long did you stay in the camp after that?
C.A.: For one year then we went to Nederland. 
FWPC: What made you decide to leave PNG?
C.A.: I wanted to honor my husband’s wishes for the boys. He wanted them to go to a safe place and receive a good education. 
FWPC: How did you get to Nederland?
C.A.: At the time the Red Cross was there. You could apply for asylum. 
FWPC: Could you afford plane fare for a family of 5?
C.A.: No. The Red Cross provided our fare. 
FWPC: Where did you live when you got to Nederland?
C.A.: A niece of my husband’s was already here so we were able to stay with her.
FWPC: Was there family around to teach your sons their father’s music? 
C.A.: We have family here, but they mostly learned from listening to cassettes he made.
FWPC: All 4 of your sons are now very active in the independence movement with 2 working as organizers and the other 2 having stepped up front as public leaders. What did you tell them growing up that led to their activism?
C.A.: I always tell them to feel the spirit of their father is to carry on his work.  

Part V: The Ap family today 

Tonight Corry Ap is spending Christmas in Nederland with her and Arnold’s 4 sons and spouses, and their 6 grandchildren. The Ap brothers continue their work as leaders within the independence movement to Free West Papua, and as the caretakers of their father’s musical legacy. 
Before his assassination Arnold Ap asked a relative to bring him a cassette recorder and his guitar. He penned his final song  ‘Life is a mystery.’ Sensing his impending death, his last known words to the world were captured in song as he sang …
What I am longing for  
What I am waiting for
Nothing but freedom
If only I were an eagle
I’ll fly high
My eyes slip
But dear what a sad fate of the bird
Becoming prey
Being killed eventually
What I am longing for
What I am waiting for  
Nothing but freedom
What am I longing for
What I am waiting for
Nothing but freedom
Arnold Ap’s music remains popular and inspirational to West Papuans. His songs of freedom continue to be covered by artists all over the world.