Monday, December 24, 2018

1) Papuans wish to celebrate Christmas in peace as nationwide security beefed up

2) Massacre in Nduga: Indonesia’s Papuan Insurgency
3) Benny Wenda: The Indonesian president must immediately withdraw the Indonesian military from West Papua


1) Papuans wish to celebrate Christmas in peace as nationwide security beefed up
Jakarta, Surakarta, Pekanbaru, Malang, Batam, Medan   /   Mon, December 24, 2018   /   06:28 pm

Ganug Nugroho, Apriadi Gunawan, Fadli, Rizal Harahap And Aman Rochman
Religious figures in the predominantly Christian Papua have joined the provincial government’s calls for the central government to withdraw security troops from Nduga regency ahead of Christmas, arguing that the presence of security forces and potential armed conflict with the rebel group have prevented civilians from celebrating Christmas in peace.
The Kemah Injili (Kingmi) Church of Papua recently issued a statement demanding the withdrawal of the joint security force, which had been deployed to hunt separatist rebels with ties to the Free Papua Movement (OPM) after the latter killed construction workers in the regency recently.
Rev. Deserius Adii, one of the church leaders, expressed concern that the churches may not be able to hold Christmas services due to military operations that aim to hunt down the National Liberation Army of West Papua (TPNPB).
Amid the security crackdown, many villagers who were members of 34 churches under Kingmi Church’s authority had fled to the forests to seek shelter and some of them remained in the jungle to this day, he said.
“There is a high possibility that the 34 Kingmi churches will not celebrate Christmas in our church buildings because [of the armed conflict],” Adii said recently.
Adii said the troops’ withdrawal was necessary to protect civilians. He cited unverified reports which claimed that at least two civilians, including a member of Kingmi Church, had been shot dead when security apparatus launched attacks from helicopters. 
All troops must be withdrawn from Nduga and Papua, Adii said. “This is to ensure the safety of all the people of God from any slaughter.”
Christian figure in Papua Rev. Hogenboor also called on all parties to refrain from violence and to follow the Christmas message of “Peace on Earth”, including in the effort to build inclusive peace for the region.
Previously, Papua Governor Lukas Enembe also called on Jokowi to withdraw the security troops, arguing that residents want to enjoy Christmas services and festivities peacefully in their own villages.
“We grieve for both previous and recent deaths, but that is enough. There cannot be any more civilian casualties,” Enembe said.
Just like all Christians across the country and the world, residents who celebrate Christmas in Papua have begun preparing for the joyful day.
Christian and Protestant churches in Timika, for instance, have been decorated with Christmas ornaments, including Christmas trees and rows of colorful lights outside, Antara reported.
Security forces across the country have stepped up measures to ensure the safety of everyone who will attend Christmas services, especially to anticipate terror attacks which targeted churches.
In Surakarta, Central Java, teams from the city and provincial police conducted sweeps of 16 churches on Monday. Authorities gave special security to the three largest churches, including Bethel Injil Sepenuh Church (GBIS) Kepunton, Santa Perawan Maria Regina Purbowardayan Church and Elsaday Church.
“Kepunton Church was a target of suicide bombing in 2011, while the other two churches have received terror threats over the phone,” Surakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Ribut Hari Wibowo said.
The police prohibited anyone attending Christmas services from bringing their bags into the churches across the city, he said.
Antiterrorism measures are also now the focus of the Riau Police, which saw a bomb explode at the Batak Protestant Christian Church during a Christmas celebration in Pekanbaru in 2000.
Riau Police chief Insp. Gen. Widodo Eko said they had devoted 940 personnel to secure more than 300 churches in 12 regencies and cities in the province. “The personnel are in the field to monitor the movement of any suspected terrorists,” he said.
The Riau Islands Police, similarly, have deployed its antiterror task force to secure Christmas celebrations, chief Insp. Gen Andap Budhi Revianto said.
The North Sumatra Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) have deployed a team of 12 bomb disposal personnel to several churches ahead of scheduled Christmas services on Monday evening.
“The team will sterilize all churches across Pematang Siantar to anticipate bomb attacks, so that Christmas services can go smoothly without disruptions,” Brimob official Adj. Comr. Yudiana Syahputra said.
In East Java, 18,000 joint personnel of police, military and local administrations had been deployed to secure Christmas and year-end celebrations in the province, East Java Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Frans Barung Mangera said.
Police personnel would stand on guard to secure churches, especially in large churches with many members, Frans said. (swd)

2) Massacre in Nduga: Indonesia’s Papuan Insurgency

By Rob Attwell December 24, 2018

The recent killings highlight how Indonesia’s attempts to use economic inducements to secure peace in Papua are failing.
In early December 2018, separatist militants killed about 20 people in the Nduga Regency of Indonesia’s easternmost Papua Province. Those killed included at least 19 construction workers employed by a state-owned firm, PT Istaka Karya, which was engaged in various infrastructure development projects in the region, and one Indonesian soldier. According to an eyewitness, who is reportedly a survivor of the massacre, the militants abducted 25 workers from their camp. The workers were marched for a short distance, and then shot. Four of the workers managed to escape by pretending to be dead. The others remain unaccounted for.
In the days following the massacre, the Tentara Pembebasan Nasional Papua Barat (West Papua National Liberation Army, TPNPB), claimed responsibility for the incident. The TPNPB is an armed wing of the Organisasi Papua Merdeka (Free Papua Movement, OPM), an umbrella term referring to the disparate groups which comprise Papua’s pro-independence movement. The TPNPB alleged that the victims were Indonesian military personnel dressed in plainclothes rather than civilian construction workers, and demanded that the government pave the way for an independence referendum. Support for independence from Indonesia is reportedly widespread among Papuans. For example, in a September 2017 independence referendum petition, which was rebuffed by the United Nations, around 70 percent of Papuans polled said they favored independence. 
Papuan separatist groups have waged a low-intensity insurgency since at least 1969, when the region, which had previously been a Dutch colony, was formally incorporated into Indonesia. This was controversially accomplished through the Act of Free Choice, sarcastically dubbed the Act of No Choice by Papuan independence activists, in which the Indonesian military forced 1,026 tribal leaders to vote in favor of incorporation on behalf of the entire Papuan population. Given this history, many Papuans see Indonesia as a foreign occupier. They also accuse the Indonesian authorities of committing widespread human rights abuses against the local population. According to activist groups at least 500,000 Papuans have been killed by security forces. Prior to the massacre in Nduga, Indonesian authorities arrested some 537 Papuan protestersparticipating in countrywide December 1 rallies marking the 1961 West Papua congress, in which the pro-independence “morning star” flag was first raised. 
Since coming to power in 2014, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has arguably paid greater attention to improving relations between the Papuan community and central authorities than any of the country’s previous leaders. His approach has primarily focused on economic inducements, including increasing funding for poverty alleviation to the extent that Papua receives a greater proportion of Indonesia’s development budget than any of the country’s other regions. It has also included increased spending on infrastructure development projects. One of the most notable of these is the Trans Papua Highway, an ongoing road construction drive spanning some 4,325 kilometers across West Papua and Papua provinces. The 19 construction workers allegedly killed were building a bridge connected to the highway in Nduga.
Economic inducements are, however, unlikely to improve the security situation in Papua. Local opposition to Indonesian rule is fundamentally driven by the aforementioned historical and political factors. While undoubtedly welcome in Indonesia’s poorest province, economic development will not make these long-standing grievances disappear. In fact, infrastructure development drives have been met with suspicion by separatist activists and militants alike. The Trans Papua Highway, in particular, is seen by the OPM as an attempt to expand Indonesia’s reach into remote regions in Papua’s interior, which had previously been inaccessible due to the mountainous jungle terrain. In the wake of the massacre, the Indonesian military announced it would take control of construction projects due to security concerns in the region. However, this seemingly validates the separatist opposition to these projects. It will be easier to characterize infrastructure development as part of a plot to expand Indonesian influence into remote areas if the security forces, which are already negatively perceived in Papua, are directly involved. As a result, despite Jokowi’s economic inducements, instability will likely remain prevalent throughout the region. 
Rob Attwell is an Asia-Pacific Analyst at S-RM, a global Corporate Intelligence, Crisis Management and Cyber-security consultancy.

3) Benny Wenda: The Indonesian president must immediately withdraw the Indonesian military from West Papua
by Benny Wenda

As chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), I hereby call upon Indonesian President Joko Widodo to immediately withdraw all Indonesian military personnel from West Papua.
The world is currently witnessing the escalating crisis in the Nduga region as just one example of the deteriorating human rights situation in West Papua. It is time for the Indonesian president to show real leadership and genuine concern for human rights by withdrawing the Indonesian military from all corners of West Papua, a country under illegal Indonesian occupation.
This human rights emergency is reaching a critical level, with over 500,000 men, women and children having already been killed in what experts have described as a genocide. Under illegal Indonesian occupation, West Papua has become the most militarized country in the Pacific.
The latest victims of this genocide are innocent West Papuan villagers, killed in Indonesian military attacks in Nduga earlier this month, which have left over 1,500 West Papuans fleeing into the jungle as internally displaced refugees.
Enough is enough. From the 1960s until today, the presence of Indonesian military personnel in West Papua is and always has been illegal. The responsibility is now with the Indonesian president to do the right thing and withdraw all his troops from West Papua in order for a genuine peace process to start.
As chairman of the ULMWP, I also call upon Indonesian President Joko Widodo to immediately begin discussions around implementing a referendum in West Papua, as the only means of ensuring a peaceful conflict resolution in West Papua. West Papua is not an internal or domestic issue for Indonesia but it is increasingly becoming recognized as an international issue.

The responsibility is now with the Indonesian president to do the right thing and withdraw all his troops from West Papua in order for a genuine peace process to start.

The truth and reality of West Papua and the history of how we were illegally and fraudulently occupied by Indonesia cannot simply remain hidden from the eyes of the world anymore.
Now is the time for true maturity to be shown and for a referendum to be discussed. If President Joko Widodo truly believes in democratic principles, he will allow the people of West Papua to democratically decide our own fate in accordance with our fundamental right to self-determination.
It is becoming increasingly obvious to all parties and in the eyes of the international community that the only legitimate way to address the long-standing grievances and successfully end the conflict in West Papua is for the Indonesian government to agree with the ULMWP to hold this referendum as an internationally supervised vote on the future of West Papua.
As the internationally recognized representative body for the West Papuan people, the ULMWP is committed to entirely peaceful efforts in ensuring a lasting peaceful solution for the crisis in West Papua. It is now time for the Indonesian government to show maturity too and to agree to also work towards the same, genuine solution.

As chairman of the ULMWP I also call for a United Nations Human Rights Fact-Finding Mission to be sent to West Papua, to investigate the state of human rights and to help to identify key recommendations in addressing the situation. All relevant Indonesian state actors must work with the relevant U.N. officials with this visit and must not to obstruct or in any way hinder their vital mission.
The message from the people of West Papua is clear: Time is running out, we need immediate international intervention. At least three villages have already been emptied by Indonesian military attacks in the last few days and hundreds of displaced West Papuan people are now facing severe difficulties, unable to go to their gardens to get food.

The message from the people of West Papua is clear: Time is running out, we need immediate international intervention.

With Indonesia’s foreign media ban on West Papua still in place, the need for international investigation and exposure becomes all the more crucial. With an escalation in extrajudicial killings, it is all the more concerning that the Indonesian government continues to block international efforts to document what is really happening in West Papua.
This is a highly serious situation. The ULMWP urges President Joko Widodo to consider the trauma, pain and suffering of all those affected, not only in Nduga but across West Papua. Under Indonesian occupation, West Papuans live their whole lives in trauma and die in trauma. The situation is going from bad to worse.
Therefore, in summary, on behalf of the ULMWP I call upon the Indonesian President to:
  • Immediately withdraw all Indonesian military personnel from West Papua in order to start the process towards peace in the country.
  • Immediately agree with the ULMWP in implementing a referendum process as a means of addressing the root cause of the conflict, fulfilling the United Nations’ requirement of a peaceful conflict resolution in West Papua which addresses our right to self-determination.
I also call upon the United Nations to
  • Organize a Human Rights Fact-Finding Mission to be sent to West Papua to investigate and document the human rights situation and to make key recommendations for all parties in addressing human rights in West Papua.
In West Papua, time is running out. Immediate action must be taken to ensure the future survival of the West Papuan people and the respect for our fundamental right to self-determination.
Benny Wenda
Chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP)

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