Thursday, May 16, 2019

Summary of events in West Papua (9 April-17 May 2019)

AWPA update

Summary of events in West Papua  (9 April-17 May 2019)

Indonesia's Papua Issue in Focus with High-Level Court Review
Lawyers are challenging Indonesia’s incorporation of the volatile Papua region into its territory in 1969 with a judicial review at the country’s highest court. A spokesman for a group of 15 Papuan lawyers, Agus Sumule, said Thursday the “Act of Free Choice” referendum violated Indonesia’s Constitution because it was conducted in a way that grossly violated the human rights of Papuans.The 1969 referendum, supervised by the United Nations, was carried out in an atmosphere of heavy intimidation and only 1,026 hand-picked Papuans were allowed to vote on whether their region should be part of Indonesia. The vote was unanimous in favor.  The referendum was also backed by the United States, which in the Cold War era was eager to maintain warmer ties with Indonesia following massacres of communists and leftists in 1965 that shifted the country into the Western-allied fold.  Full  Associated Press report in Diplomat at
And a Jakarta Post report  (15 April) “ Lawyers, local leaders file for judicial review of Papuan referendum”. Dozens of lawyers, academics, local Papuan leaders, churches and women’s organizations under the Coalition of Advocates for Truth and Justice in Papua filed an application for a judicial review of the 1969 Law No. 12 on the establishment of the West Irian autonomous province and autonomous regencies in West Irian province at the Constitutional Court on Friday.
 Representatives of the Coalition of Advocates for Truth and Justice for Papua file a petition for a judicial review of Law No. 12/1969 on the establishment of West Irian autonomous province and autonomous regencies in West Irian province at the Constitutional Court on Friday. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

UK Government calls Act of Free Choice ‘utterly flawed’ during historic parliamentary debate   
May 9, 2019 in News

ULMWP Chairman, Benny Wenda, with Robert Courts MP, Alex Sobel MP & Helen Goodman MP following Wednesday’s debate
The UK Parliament held a comprehensive hour-long debate into West Papuan human rights on Wednesday. Members of Parliament (MPs) from numerous political parties in the UK noted the historic violation of West Papua’s right to self-determination, raised concern over system human rights abuses by Indonesian security services, and called for the UK government to review its position on West Papua.

Tabled by Robert Courts, Conservative MP, the UK Parliament heard how the 1969 Act of Free Choice ‘was not a free consultation’ and ‘those who were selected for the vote were blackmailed into voting against independence by means of threats of violence’. The British Government’s representative, Mark Field, Minister for Asia and the Pacific, admitted that the 1969 Act of Free Choice was ‘utterly flawed’. Mr Courts noted that ‘fundamental questions about the legitimacy of the so-called Act of Free Choice undermine the very legitimacy of Indonesian rule in West Papua’. The 1969 Act of Free Choice was the fraudulent processupon which Indonesia bases its right to occupy West Papua. 

MPs from other parties raised similar concerns. Stephen Gethins of the Scottish National Party, for example, declared that ‘self-determination goes to the heart of this issue’. The UK MPs also spoke of rampant human rights abuses in West Papua. Alex Sobel, Labour MP and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on West Papua, noted that, ‘in the 50 years of Indonesian control, there is significant evidence of genocide.’ Several speakers discussed the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Nguda: John Howell, Conservative MP, raised the fact that ‘as a result of Indonesian activities in Nduga, 30,000 refugees have been created in just that area’. Helen Goodman MP, part of the Labour Party’s Shadow Foreign Affairs team, told the House that ‘white phosphorous was used inappropriately’ in Nduga by the Indonesian military.

The event was the first-ever debate on West Papua held in the UK House of Commons, and came a day after the issue of human rights abuses against Papuan women was raised in a Parliamentary debate by Alex Sobel MP.
Responding to the debate, the British government’s representative, Mark Field, told the House that the British government is ‘concerned by […] reports of alleged human rights violations by the [Indonesian] security forces’, and noted that ‘there has been no real accountability for the serious abuses of the past’. The Minister also called ‘for all political prisoners to be released immediately’, drawing particular attention to the ongoing trial of KNPB members Yanto Awerkion, Sem Asso and Edo Dogopia, who were arrested after ‘taking part in a peaceful prayer event’. More at  

Robert Courts MP Speech on West Papua in UK Parliament

West Papuan speaker ‘silenced’ when trying to raise UN agenda issue
By PMC Editor - 

 West Papuan speaker John Anari ... silenced at a General Assembly forum discussing indigenous self-determination issues. Image: UNwebcast/PMC screenshot

By Andrew Johnson
Since 2004, a number of university papers have raised the question of genocide in the Pacific territory of West Papua administrated by Indonesia subsequent to a 1962 United Nations General Assembly vote to occupy the colony in defiance of the territory’s objections.
Although the United Nations claims to be opposed to genocide, it was was quick last week to silence a speaker at a General Assembly forum concerning self-determination.
The speaker, John Anari, ambassador for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) was stating that West Papua was under a UN-appointed occupation and that the UN had a legal obligation under article 85 part 2 of its charter to place the issue of the UN occupation authorised in 1962 by General Assembly resolution 1752 on the agenda of the UN Trusteeship Council.

The moderator interrupted Anari and then when he tried to raise the issue again, she cut him short and went on to the next speaker.
This is not the first time the UN has censored information and requests about West Papua.
The same request was stated clearly at the 2016 Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII), yet the forum made no mention of the request in its report to the UN Economic and Social Council, which has the power to place issues on the agenda of the Trusteeship Council.
This year, in addition to again presenting West Papua’s request to the PFII, Anari was making use of an invitation from the President of the General Assembly to attend a forum concerning indigenous self-determination when the forum’s moderator tried to silence him.
Anari resumed asserting his request for the UN to comply with its charter obligations and acknowledge its responsibility for the consequences of the General Assembly authorisation of UN military occupation in Papua. There may be additional opportunities this week for the United Nations to live up to its charter and the promise of advancing human rights, but if the past week and years are any indication the prospects are not good.
Andrew Johnson is a 20-year veteran with the Australia West Papua Association, specialising in historical research and analysis.
UN webcast of the ‘shutdown’ of John Anari speaking at the UN General Assembly on April 25. Source: ULFWP

Indonesian election
Indonesian President Jokiwi is on track to be relected again although Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto said he will reject the official electionresult arguing that a "structured, systematic and massive" vote-rigging had plagued both the presidential and legislative elections on April 17. The official result is set to be announced by the General Elections Commission, or KPU, on May 22.  

Benny Wenda as chairman  of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) declared a boycott of the presidential and general elections. 
As ULMWP Chairman, I urge all West Papuans and all those sympathetic with the West Papuan cause to boycott the April elections. We don’t want a new Indonesian colonial ruler – we want our freedom. We have tried participating in the elections of the colonial master before – but we are still killed, tortured and discriminated against every day. Instead of playing the games of the imperialist, the ULMWP declares April 5, 2019 a global day of action for West Papua: the Rally for Referendum. These elections are not for the Papuan people – they are for Indonesia. I’m calling on all of my people, whether rich or poor, civil servant or worker, military or civilian, from village or city, to peacefully boycott the Indonesian elections on April 17. We know what we want – our freedom. I call on you all to prepare for an inevitable referendum on independence and intensify the struggle against the Indonesian occupation. We respect Indonesia’s right to hold elections in its own territory, but we will oppose the elections of the coloniser when they are forced upon us.

In a statement on 18 April  the ULMWP estimates that 60% of voters had boycotted the 2019 Indonesian elections in West Papua. While voting did not take place in many polling stations on Wednesday 17 April as the ballots had not been delivered, it is the boycott by voters that has reduced participation to record lows.  Benny Wenda, Chair of the ULMWP said “This is the first time in our history that 60% have boycotted the Indonesian elections in West Papua. It’s a great achievement, and the second time that the West Papuan people have not joined the Indonesian presidential elections.”   “The boycott is growing – more people boycotted this year’s elections than the previous 2014 Indonesian elections. There is growing confidence in West Papua that we will be an independent state.”

Media banned
The Indonesian Immigration Office in West Papua has warned that it will take firm action against foreign journalists trying to cover the elections in the Melanesian region. This was emphasised by Manokwari Class II Non-TPI Immigration Office West Papua representative Bugie Kurniawan at a meeting on foreign surveillance at the Bintuni Bay regency last week.
“We will act firmly if there are foreign media [journalists] reporting on April 17. Report them to us if there are foreigners covering TPS [polling stations], we will secure and deport those concerned and enter their names on the banned list,” he said.

However, in an Antara news report  (12 April) it said foreign journalists and monitoring institutions could monitor the general elections in Indonesia, particularly Manokwari, West Papua province, if they secure permits and immigration documents.

“The permits can be obtained from the Foreign Ministry, Chief of the Manokwari Immigration Office Bugie Kurniawan said in a press briefing here on Friday.
The foreign monitoring institutions must be official institutions accredited by the Election Supervisory Board (Bawaslu)."Foreign monitoring institutions can monitor the elections through two ways. One of them is that they are invited by the elections' organizers such as KPU (General Elections Commission) and Bawaslu," he said.The second way is that they can file applications, while they must meet qualifications as monitoring institutions, he said.Foreign journalists wishing to cover the elections must secure a permit from the Foreigners' Visits Coordination Team (Tim Pora) at the Foreign Ministry. The team is made up of representatives from the State Intelligence Board (BIN), the National Police (Polri), immigration office and other related supervisory elements.

Papuan students arrested at rally in Bali calling for election boycott
 Kumparan – April 15, 2019

           Arrested Papuan students being taken away in truck – April 15, 2019 (Kanal Bali)

Kanal Bali, Denpasar – Scores of Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) protesters from the AMP Bali City Committee (AMP KK Bali) were arrested by the Denpasar municipal police (Polresta) on Monday April 15 for holding an action during the cooling off period before the April 17 presidential and legislative elections. The students were holding an action calling on the public to golput– to abstain from voting – and rejecting the 2019 presidential election (Pilpres). The action had only proceeded for a short time before police moved in and took them away in a waiting police truck. “We also secured a banner with the message ‘Reject the Pilpres 2019” and ‘Golput’. This is what they were conveying”, said Denpasar municipal police Chief Senior Commissioner Ruddi Setiawan at the Denpasar police headquarters on Monday April 15.
Setiawan explained that right now it is the cooling off period before the elections and claimed that police had already told the action coordinator not to hold the action. But the protesters still took to the streets and held the demonstration. Setiawan also explained that police will conduct an investigation into what they were intending by holding the action.
“We know that the Balinese are a society that is full of tolerance, and want peace. By the holding of the action earlier, I saw that they did not want peace”, he explained. Setiawan also explained that the action did not have a police permit and the group had only provided a written notification of the protest. “They didn’t have a permit. Expressing a view in public must have a permit. But they only provided a letter (notification). We explained the situation to them but they still held it and pushed ahead [with the protest]”, said Setiawan. (kanalbali/KAD)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Aksi Tolak Pilpres, Mahasiswa Papua Diamankan di Polresta Denpasar”.]

Papuan students protest arrest of demonstrators at election boycott rally in Bali
Detik News – April 15, 2019
Protest in Bali calling for election boycott – April 15, 2019 (Detik)

Aditya Mardiastuti, Denpasar – The Papua Student Alliance (AMP) is protesting the arrest of student demonstrators at Renon Park in the Balinese provincial capital of Bali. The AMP said that it was a peaceful action rejecting the April 17 elections and they already had a police permit. “The APM and the Bali YLBHI-LBH [Legal Aid Foundation] declare that there must be an end to the massive criminalisation of Papuan students. End all forms of violence, intimidation and discrimination against Papuan students in Bali”, Bali YLBHI-LBH Deputy Director Ni Putu Candra Dewi told journalists in Denpasar on Monday April 15.
Candra also condemned the seizure of protest materials, violence and intimidated allegedly committed by police against the Papuan students. He also urged Bali Regional Police Chief (Kapolda) Inspector General Reinhard Golose to take legal action against officers alleged to have committed the violence. “[We are] urging the Bali Kapoldato take legal action (disciplinary and criminal) against police for acting violently against seven of the protesters. [We] urge the government and law enforcement officials to protect freedom of expression, opinion, organisation and association which are a human right belonging to everyone without exception”, asserted Candra......

Two West Papuans have been sentenced to more than a year in an Indonesian prison over a rebellion.  (RNZI 14 May 201 09)

Yakonias Womsiwor and Erichzon Mandobar. Photo: Facebook/ Veronica Koman

The jail terms come as several cases are being levelled against West Papuan activists and rebels in the restive region. Yakonias Womsiwor and Erichzon Mandobar were detained in September when authorities raided the office of a Papuan independence group. According to their lawyer, on Tuesday a judge in the Timika district court sentenced Mr Womsiwor to one year and six months jail. His co-defendant got one year and three months in prison.
Both were sentenced under a criminal law for coercion and rebellion.

Lawyer Veronica Koman says she's considering an appeal of the judgement.
During their arrests in Timika, the defendants were shot several times and denied medical attention until rights groups brought attention to their case.
Mr Womsiwor was shot six times in total, while Mr Mandobar was shot once, according to Amnesty International and Ms Koman. "They were shot without warning as the law required," Ms Koman said, adding that they were later allowed to be treated by their families. Their arrests were part of a raid on the Timika secretariat of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), which was later seized by police.Earlier in the trial, police and prosecutors had claimed the men were found with ammunition and guns, which the defendants denied was theirs, according to Ms Koman. She said during the trial two police officers, including a deputy police chief, called as witnesses testified that military personnel had placed the ammunition and guns at the KNPB offices. Ms Koman added that the sentencing on Monday did not give proper consideration to statements made by the defence. The sentences come just days after a Polish tourist was jailed for five years for plotting to sell arms to West Papuan rebels.

Polish tourist jailed in Indonesia's West Papua files appeal
A Polish tourist in Indonesia jailed for five years after meeting West Papuan rebels has filed an appeal of his sentence.

                            Jakub Skrzypski (L) and Papuan student Simon Magal in court Photo: Supplied

 Jakub Skrzypski was sentenced last Thursday on treason charges for plotting to sell arms to the West Papua Liberation Army. His lawyer, Latifah Anum Siregar, said she filed an appeal at the Wamena High Court on Wednesday. She said the appeal also included Mr Skrzpyski's co-defendant Simon Magal, who was given a four-year jail sentence. Ms Siregar said the public prosecutor has filed a separate appeal, seeking to extend both men's sentences to 10 years. Rights groups have decried Mr Skrzyspki's sentence as a blow to freedoms in restive Papua, where the Liberation Army is waging a bloody war with the Indonesian state. Mr Skrzypski said last week there were issues with translations in the trial and the presenting of possessions that weren't his as evidence. RNZI 9 May 2019 

Two West Papuan people tortured to death by Indonesian prison guards
FWPC MAY 4, 2019
On 24th April, ten West Papuan people were brutally tortured by Indonesian prison guards for allegedly trying to escape Abepura prison. 25 year old Maikel Ilinmaton was killed on the day, while his friend Selyus Logo died from his injuries on 3rd May.

According to West Papuan media outlet Tabloid WANI, after trying to escape, the ten people were handcuffed by the security guards and were then each taken to individual 2 x 2 meter rooms which made it difficult for them to breathe and get fresh air. They were then kicked and beaten with sticks and wood and shocked with electric voltage.  Nine others were in critical condition. They were taken to the Bhayangkara hospital where Selyus Logo tragically died from his injuries on 3rd May. Tabloid WANI is reporting that the Abepura Prison authorities are tying to cover up the incident and may have paid local media to do the same.  Those responsible for the deaths of Maikel Ilinmaton and Selyus Logo and the torture of the other inmates must be prosecuted and there must be a full investigation into this appalling abuse of human rights.  The Free West Papua Campaign calls upon Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and all human rights groups to help investigate and document this terrible case. 
Rest in Peace Maikel Ilinmaton and Selyus Logo.

A google translate of article in Jubi. Be-aware google translate can be a bit erratic.Original bahasa link

The prosecutor sued three KNPB activists with a third alternative indictment
Jubi   May 15 2019 

                               Suasana sidang tiga aktivis KNPB di PN TIMIKA – jubi/ dok

The atmosphere of the session of three KNPB activists at PN TIMIKA - jubi / dock
Jayapura, Jubi - Criminal hearing for alleged treason cases against West Papua National Committee (KNPB) Activists Yanto Awerkion, Sem Asso, and Edo Dogopia with the agenda of reading the demands by the public prosecutors were held in the Timika City District Court, Tuesday afternoon (14/5 / 2019). The defendants were initially indicted for three alternative articles, namely first Article 106 of the Criminal Code jo Article 87 jo Article 88 of the Criminal Code concerning treason, second Article 110 paragraph (2) jo Article 88 of the Criminal Code concerning treason, and third Article 169 paragraph (1) and (3) The Criminal Code concerning involvement in associations that intend to commit a crime.

In the end the prosecutor only sued the defendants for the third alternative indictment, namely Article 169 paragraph (1) and (3) of the Criminal Code because they were administrators of associations that were considered to have committed crimes. The defendant Yanto was charged with one year in prison, Defendant Sem was charged with ten months in prison, while the defendant Edo was charged with eight months in prison. "For these demands, we welcome the use of the treason article in the prosecution, because it is evident from the fact that the testimony of the Defendants and witnesses was presented that there were no treason efforts carried out," Veronika Koman said through a release posted to Jubi, Tuesday (05/14/2019). Patris Wetipo from Lemasa who has been accompanying explained. The Papuans want the discussion service to be made treason even though the Papuan people do it according to the Law. And according to him the Freedom of Expression Act does not work in Papua. In fact, it tends to be silenced. Freedom to gather as if forbidden. There will be no more because to seek justice in the court played by this country. "The law in Papua is blunted above sharply below," explained Patris.

He also regretted the issue of freedom of assembly and argued that the KNPB as a peaceful organization was accused of being an association that intended to commit a crime. Therefore, the Legal Counsel will submit a defense on Friday, May 17, 2019, he explained. (*)
Editor: Syam Terrajana

Two soldiers injured in renewed violence from Papuan rebels
Rebel fighters in West Papua's Central Highlands shot and wounded two Indonesian soldiers on Wednesday.    (RNZI 25 April 2019) 

 West Papua Liberation Army unit, led by Egianus Kogoya. Derakma, Nduga regency. Photo: Supplied

It's the latest violence in troubled Nduga regency, where a war has killed dozens on both sides since December. Indonesia's military says a helicopter was unloading 10 soldiers and supplies at a compound in Nduga when rebels sprang an ambush. A military spokesperson, Colonel Mohammad Aidi, said two soldiers suffered gunshot wounds in the hit-and-run attack on Wednesday morning . He said they were in a stable condition at nearby Timika General Hospital. Claiming responsibility for the attack, the West Papua Liberation Army said it killed three soldiers and injured three others. The rebel group, which is frequently at odds with the military over incident reports, claimed to have killed another two soldiers on Tuesday in a separate attack in Nduga. Colonel Aidi said the military forces tried to retaliate during Wednesday's attack but that the rebels had attacked suddenly before disappearing into a forest.

One killed during shootout in Nduga in Papua
News Desk The Jakarta PostTue, May 14, 2019   
At least one Indonesian Military (TNI) officer was killed in a clash with West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) freedom fighters in Nduga regency, Papua, on Monday morning. Papua Cendrawasih Military Command spokesman Col. Muhammad Aidi said around 20 TPNPB personnel attacked TNI soldiers who were patrolling Mugi district airfield at 11:15 a.m.
“We have identified that the attackers were a faction of the TPNPB led by Egianus Kogoya,” Aidi said in the provincial capital of Jayapura on Monday as quoted by Antara. The victim, identified as First Pvt. Kasnum, was shot in the back, Aidi claimed. “He died at 1 p.m. when being transported to Chiritas Timika Hospital by helicopter. His body will be flown to his hometown in South Aceh [on Tuesday],” Aidi said. He added TNI personnel stationed at Mugi post provided assistance to the patrol squad. The TPNPB personnel eventually retreated to the forest. In pursuit of the TPNPB fighters, military personnel reported they found traces of blood, thus it was concluded that a number of freedom fighters were shot during the clash. (kuk)

Papuan students call for independence at May Day protest in Yogyakarta
 Java Post – May 1, 2019

Papuan students join May Day rally in Yogyakarta – May 1, 2019  (Java Post)

The commemoration of Labour Day or May Day in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta was centred at the Zero Kilometre point in front of the Central Post Office. Along with the hundreds of protesters, students from the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) used the rally to call for independence. In addition to giving speeches, the demonstrators also brought paraphernalia such as symbols of the Morning Star which they wore while articulating their demands. “There is a different history between Indonesia and Papua. Papua should not go begging to Indonesia. We students from Papua demand that Indonesia provide space for democratic dialogue”, said Papuan student Opik during a break in the action on Tuesday May 1. Opik said that after decades of being part of Indonesia, the people of Papua still feel that they have not gained a reasonable level of prosperity. According to Opik, even though there has been infrastructure development, this has still not brought prosperity to Indonesia.
“Just come to Papua, right now one person in Papua dies every day due to violence. Indonesia should provide economic, political and cultural independence to Papua”, he said. Aside from using the rally to call for independence, the protesters also called for better social welfare guarantees for workers. “We demand the abolition of outsourcing and labour contract systems”, said action coordinator Lutfi Mubarok.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Ikut Peringati May Day di Jogja, Mahasiswa Papua Minta Merdeka”.] Source:

May Day rally Sydney

May Day, or International Workers Day, is celebrated every year on 1 May around the world  . May Day recognises the achievements of working people and acknowledges the significance of the eight-hour working day


May Day rally in Papua demands reinstatement of sacked Freeport workers – May 1, 2019

                  Papua Labour Movement May Day rally in Jayapura – May 1, 2019 (Antara)

Chandra Iswinarno – A commemoration of International Labour Day which was held at the Imbi Park in Jayapura, Papua, was only allowed to proceed for around 30 minutes. Nevertheless, the protesters who came from the Papuan Labour Movement (GBP) were still able to articulate a number of demands.
The GBP, which is made up of the Papua Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Papua), the Papua Human Rights Lawyers Association (PAHAM Papua), the Papua Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras Papua), the Democratic Alliance for Papua (ALDP Papua), the Papua Independent Student Forum (FIM Papua), Papuan Voices, the Papuan People’s Democratic Movement (Garda Papua), the PT Freeport Indonesia Striking Workers (Moker Buruh) as well as Papuan labour, student and social coalitions, demanded that the government conduct an audit of workers’ wages throughout Papua.
“There were several demands conveyed during the action. First, that the government immediately audits workers’ wages in all companies operating in the land of Papua. Second, that the government and PT Freeport Indonesia immediately resolve the strike by 8,300 PT Freeport Indonesia workers”, said LBH Papua Director Emanuel Gobay as quoted by the Antaranews agency on May 1.

Third, that the government abolishes outsourcing in the land of Papua. Fourth, that workers be allowed to establish trade unions in their respective work places. Fifth, that companies be obliged to give workers a holiday every May 1. And sixth, that the government immediately form a labour desk to resolve labour disputes. Seventh, that employers be obliged to pay wages in accordance with the Papua provincial minimum wage (UMP) and eighth, that companies be prohibited from employing underage workers.
The GBP also demanded that PT Freeport reinstate the 8,300 striking workers whose right to strike has been pirated. Gobay revealed that police initially prohibited them from commemorating May Day but they still tried to lobby and communicate with them. “But we established communication and lobbied until the police allowed us to hold a peaceful action to commemorate International Labour Day at the Imbi Park in Jayapura, North Jayapura district”, he said. According to Gobay, the police only gave them permission to hold the action for 30 minutes so the GBP held the rally between 2-2.30 pm. “The action was closely watched over by police, although our colleagues in the Papua Labour Movement were still able to give speeches and display a variety of messages about workers on placards and unfurl two banners filled with demands”, he said. (Antara)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Aksi May Day di Papua, Pemerintah Dituntut Selesaikan Kasus Buruh Freeport”.]

Freeport to fully operate 500-km underground mine in Papua
News Desk The Jakarta Post May 6, 2019   
Mining giant PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) will close its open-pit mine this year and will soon fully operate an underground mine, which features a 500-kilometer tunnel the company had been building since 2015. The company has started to produce gold and silver from Deep MLZ.
“It is not a straight [tunnel]. It has branches [and] there are mines that are spiral deeper into the ground,” PTFI vice president corporate communication Riza Pratama said as quoted by on Sunday. He was speaking to officials from the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry who visited the underground mine last Friday. Riza explained that the air inside the underground mine was clean because each corner of the mine had been equipped with large fans that ensure air flow by pumping out the air from inside the mine and bringing in fresh air from outside. At about 7 kilometers from the entrance, Riza said the walls of the 7-meter-wide and 10-m-high tunnel were made of concrete. “This location is in safe and stable condition,” he added. Meanwhile, light sources inside the tunnel were bright enough to support the operation of heavy equipment. The underground mine is also equipped with a mosque and church, toilets and clean water facilities. Currently, PTFI has 7,096 permanent employees, but including contract-based workers and vendors, the figure goes up to 30,542 people. (bbn)

Papuan armed group lambasts death penalty demand for member
Ivany Atina Arbi and Benny Mawel  The Jakarta Post May 6, 2019   
The National Liberation Army of West Papua (TPNPB) has lambasted the government for demanding the death penalty for a TPNPB member arrested over the killing of military personnel. The armed group demanded that the prosecution retract the death penalty demand, as Yogor Telenggen was a political defendant, not a criminal one. “The shooting happened in a conflict area, military against military. It was not murder of a civilian,” TPNPB spokesperson Sebby Sembom said in a press release made available on Monday. “He is a political defendant, not a criminal one,” he said. Yogor was a “fighter” of the armed wing of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) that had been fighting for Papuans’ right to self-determination, Sebby went on.

On Friday, prosecutors at the Manokwari District Court had demanded the death sentence against Yonggor for premeditated murder in violation of Article 340 of the Criminal Code. He stands accused of killing Indonesian Military (TNI) member First Pvt. Sandi Novian at Sinak Market in February. Yogor’s lawyer, Christian Warinusi, told The Jakarta Post on Monday that his client also stood accused of four other shootings, but Yogor only admitted guilt on the shooting of a Trigana plane in Mulia in Puncak Jaya, Papua, on orders of the armed group.
The lawyer said that, contrary to the accusation, Yogor had not shot Sandi. Rather, Yogor’s friend had borrowed his weapon and used it to shoot the soldier, before snatching Sandi’s weapon. The weapon is one of the pieces of evidence put forward against Yogor in the case. The lawyer also said Yogor was a political defendant. “He is a combatant, so he should not be charged under the Criminal Code. Yogor shot someone who was armed, the enemy,” Christian went on.
He raised questions about the punishment of Indonesian Military personnel who shot unarmed civilians. Several Papuan activists have accused the TNI of hurting civilians in their attempt to eradicate the rebels. The 30 year-old suspect had been sentenced to life imprisonment in another case in 2013 for alleged involvement in various lethal attacks against TNI and police personnel. In January 2016, he escaped from Abepura prison and was rearrested in May last year, according to the TPNPB. The group said police had shot Yogor in the knee during the arrest last year. He was later detained at the Police’s Mobile Brigade building in Jayapura and sent to Manokwari for the trial in January, TPNPB said. (evi)

Vale Father Neles Tebay

AWPA offers its condolences to the family and friends of Neles Tebay who died of cancer in Jakarta on 14 April.

 An obituary  In Memoriam Father Neles Kebadabi Tebay - ‘a pioneer’” by Theo van den Broek  

West Papuan Franzalbert Joku who advocated compromise with Jakarta dies 
(Johnny Blades, RNZ Pacific )
A former West Papuan independence campaigner who became an Indonesian government supporter, Franzalbert Joku, has died in Jayapura.
Mr Joku, who controversially advocated autonomy for Papua within Indonesia rather than independence, died yesterday aged 66 after illness linked with heart disease and kidney failure.He was a prominent landowner from Sentani and formerly the spokesman for the Papua Presidium Council which galvanised momentum in the West Papuan independence struggle at the turn of the century. But the 'Papua Spring' was short-lived, while the Presidium lost ground after Indonesian military special forces assassinated its charismatic leader Theys Eluay. Although a key supporter of Eluay, Franzalbert Joku eventually threw his support behind the Special Autonomy Status which Indonesia granted Papua in 2001 in response to the demands for independence. After fleeing Indonesian rule in his homeland as a younger man, Mr Joku returned for good in 2008......

Sogavare on West Papua
 Solomon Star 25 April 2019  Author  Editor
 NEWLY elected Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, once a staunch advocator for West Papua independence says he’ll be taking friendlier approach to the issue. He was responding to a question on his government’s foreign policy on West Papua during his first press conference on Wednesday. This was just after he received a call from the Indonesia’s Embassy in Port Moresby congratulating him on his victory. Sogavare told reporters that his government will actively engage more with Indonesia on the issues surrounding human rights violation in West Papua. “The Indonesia’s Embassy in Port Moresby just called me and said they are looking forward for a friendly dialogue and consultations on the issues of West Papua as friendly neighbours,” Sogavare said. He clarified that at the early stage the stand that he took as the prime minister and also as the Chair of the Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG) was because it was the position MSG took all along. “Well nothing stops individual Melanesian States to have their own foreign policy on West Papua issues but it will be really nice if we take it as a collective body to fighting against human rights violation,” Sogavare said. But he added that it is a sad story when 600,000 Melanesians died, all because their rights were suppressed.  He further added that as a coalition government he will certainly discuss this issue with their partners and come up with a friendly way to address the issues of our Melanesian brothers in West Papua. By ANDREW FANASIA

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