Thursday, August 22, 2019

1) Jakarta scrambles to bring order to Papua

2) Protests against racial abuse of Papuans kick off in Jakarta
3) Govt accused of 'digital repression' after suspending internet access in riot-stricken Papua
4) Police arrest 34 suspected rioters in Timika after protests against racist abuse
5) West Papuans protest following racist attacks in Surabaya
6) Indonesia shuts down internet in Papua to stem ongoing unrest
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1) Jakarta scrambles to bring order to Papua

Benny Mawel and Karina M. Tehusijarana The Jakarta Post
Jayapura/Jakarta / Thu, August 22, 2019/ 09:11 am 

Tears and gas: A police officer escorts a crying woman at the location of an ongoing street rally in Mimika, Papua, on Wednesday. Over the last three days, Papuans, mostly students, have held demonstrations in several cities to protest physical and racial abuse against Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, by security personnel on Saturday.(Antara/Sevianto Pakiding)
The Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police have deployed additional forces to Papua and West Papua in an attempt to restore order amid the ongoing protests and rioting in the region.
National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo said that the police had already deployed 10 Mobile Brigade (Brimob) company-level units totaling 960 personnel to Manokwari, Sorong and Fakfak as of Wednesday afternoon, with an additional five units soon to be deployed to Sorong, Timika and Fakfak.
“The presence of police, TNI and regional administration personnel is to support the efforts to create a calm situation in Papua and so that residents are not provoked by hoaxes spread on social media,” he said.
Meanwhile, TNI spokesperson Maj. Gen. Sisriadi said that three company-level units consisting of a total of 325 soldiers had been deployed from the Army Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) to West Papua on Tuesday.
“Yesterday, two units landed in Manokwari and one in Sorong,” Sisriadi said on Wednesday. “At the moment there is no plan to deploy more units because, based on our observations, the situation has calmed down and the military command has used a cultural approach.”
Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto said that he would visit Papua on Wednesday night in an effort to further calm the waters.
“I will go to Papua to rekindle a sense of empathy and peace and to invite [Papuans] to unite as a nation, because we are the only ones who lose when we fight [among each other],” he told reporters on Wednesday evening.
While police and the military claimed that the situation in West Papua was “generally calm”, protests continued in several cities and regencies in the province, with violence breaking out in Fakfak regency.
On Wednesday morning, protesters set fire to kiosks and stalls in the Fakfak traditional market, laying waste to public facilities along the road into the market.
The Mbaham Matta Customary Council office was also set on fire after protesters clashed with a local nationalist mass organization.
One of the Fakfak protesters, Siswanto Tigtignaweria, said that the clash occurred after protesters raised the Bintang Kejora (Morning Star) flag, a symbol of Papuan independence, in front of the council office.
Siswanto told The Jakarta Post that, after seeing the flag, members of the mass organization started to attack the protesters, which included women and children, while yelling, “The Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia] is nonnegotiable!”
“Then the police came and shot tear gas,” he said.
Protesters also clashed with police in Timika, Mimika regency, where more than 1,000 residents took to the streets in an antiracism protest.
The protesters assembled peacefully in the front yard of the Mimika Regional Legislative Council building in Timika.
However, clashes occurred in the afternoon as police tried to disperse the members of the crowd who were waiting to meet Mimika Regent Eltinus Omaleng.
“Residents were told to disperse and were shot at with tear gas, as well as bullets,” Timika rights activist Patricia Wetipo told the Post. “Protesters then went out of the yard and retaliated by throwing projectiles at police and police vehicles.”
Demonstrations also continued in the city of Sorong, where residents held a long march from the municipal council office to the mayor’s office on Wednesday morning.
Sorong resident Robert Prawar told the Post that the protesters demanded the government take legal action against the military and police personnel who racially abused Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, on Friday.
The government suspended internet access in Papua and West Papua on Wednesday. The suspension, according to the Communications and Information Ministry, is effective until the situation in the region “returns to normal”.
Military expert Mufti Makarim said that the deployment of additional security forces could be effective depending on the approach they take.
“If the forces are there to support local troops and stand by at the base, then there should be no problem, as long as they are not immediately deployed to conduct repressive actions,” he told the Post. “But so far it’s not very clear what the reinforcements are there for.”
Mufti added that the TNI and police forces should follow President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s policy of nonrepressive action in Papua.
“Security forces should follow the government line and not make their own decisions,” he said. “The concern is that violent, repressive actions will only make the situation worse, because the current situation is also a reaction to the violence that occurred in Surabaya and Malang.”
The protests, which started on Monday, came in response to incidents in which Papuan university students living in Malang and Surabaya were subjected to physical and verbal attacks between Thursday and Saturday.
Brawijaya military commander Maj. Gen. Wisnoe Prasetja promised that he would investigate the allegations that military personnel were involved in the racist abuse.
“I will look into it and examine the evidence,” he said on Wednesday as quoted by kompas.com.(rfa)
— Ghina Ghaliya contributed to this story from Jakarta

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2) Protests against racial abuse of Papuans kick off in Jakarta

Seto Wardhana The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, August 22, 2019   /   04:31 pm


A protester participating in anti-racism rally in Central Jakarta holds banner that reads “Papuans are not monkeys”. The protesters hold the rally to urge the government to solve the racial abuse case against Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

A string of protests condemning the recent racial abuse against Papuan students has spread nationwide, with Thursday seeing hundreds of Papuans and activists staging an anti-racism rally in Central Jakarta.
The protesters initially gathered and started the rally in front of the Home Ministry building and the Army headquarters near the State Palace on Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara at around 11:30 a.m.
They held banners that read “Papuans are not monkeys” in apparent protest of the recent incident in which security personnel called Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, “monkeys” and stormed the students’ dormitory with tear gas before arresting them.
“We are condemning security officials who have used excessive force when arresting our friends in Surabaya,” said Albert Mungguar, one of the participants of the protest.
“We demand that the police […] immediately arrest security personnel who have shouted racist remarks against our friends,” he went on.
Some of the men involved in the rally were topless while some were seen wearing traditional Papuan clothes. Some protesters brought items bearing the Bintang Kejora (Morning Star) symbol, which is associated with a movement that supports the independence of Papua.
Clashes initially broke out between the protesters and security personnel who guarded the rally when the crowds wanted to march toward the State Palace.
However, the protesters were finally allowed to stage their rally across the Palace and the police were seen guarding the area despite being not too close to the crowds. The rally was still going on at the time of the writing.
The protest in Jakarta was the continuance of protests now in their fourth consecutive day that initially broke out in cities and regencies across Papua and West Papua on Monday morning.
The rallies, which caused unrest in some areas of Indonesia’s easternmost provinces, came in response to incidents in which Papuan university students living in Malang and Surabaya, East Java were subjected to physical and verbal attacks over the weekend. (afr)


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3) Govt accused of 'digital repression' after suspending internet access in riot-stricken Papua
Jakarta / Thu, August 22, 2019/ 02:08 pm
Karina M. Tehusijarana The Jakarta Post
A number of human rights groups and civil society organizations have called on the government to lift the internet blackout on Papua and West Papua.
On Wednesday night, the Communications and Information Ministry announced that it would completely block data access in the country’s easternmost provinces in order to “accelerate the process of restoring security and order in Papua and surrounding areas”.
Previously, the ministry had only slowed down internet access in Jayapura, Manokwari and Sorong.
In response, the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) started a petitionon Change.orgurging the government to restore internet access in the provinces.
SAFEnet executive director Damar Juniarto said that the blackout violated Papuans’ digital rights, which are protected under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
“The blocking and limiting of internet access means that residents are hampered from reporting their safety situation and obtaining information,” he said in a statement on Thursday, adding that it also hindered journalists from reporting in the areas.
Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) commissioner Yati Andriyani echoed Damar’s sentiments, adding that the blackout would only worsen the crisis in Papua.
“The decision shows that the state is not balanced or proportionate in its response toward the ongoing problems in Papua,” she said.
She added that following the deployment of additional security forcesto the region, the government should have ensured easy, widespread access to information.
“The blocking of access makes it seem that the government is avoiding oversight and transparency in managing the situation in Papua,” she said.
National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) commissioner Beka Ulung Hapsara also called the policy "counterproductive".

"The government should ensure that it takes the right approach instead of limiting the right to information about Papua," he tweeted on Wednesday night.

4) Police arrest 34 suspected rioters in Timika after protests against racist abuse

News Desk The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, August 22, 2019   /   03:35 pm
Mimika Police in Papua have named 34 people suspects for rioting in the town of Timika, where rallies protesting racism and violence against Papuan students escalated into extreme unrest on Wednesday.
Police officers arrested on Wednesday morning 13 people who had allegedly blocked roads and forcefully demanded several repair shops to hand over car tires, which were later believed to have been set on fire during the protests, Mimika Police chief Adj. Comr. Agung Marlianto said.
Authorities also found fuel, sharp weapons and a Bintang Kejora (Morning Star) flag, which is associated with the Free Papua Movement (OPM) and its supporters who campaign for the independence of Papua.
After protests in Timika descended into riots on Wednesday, the police apprehended another 31 suspects, 20 of whom had allegedly attacked and damaged the Grand Mozza Hotel located nearby the Mimika Regional Legislative Council (DPRD).
“We will only continue legal processes against 34 of the 45 arrested individuals,” Agung said, adding that the police believed that there were “free-riders who wanted to exploit the initially peaceful protest”.
Agung claimed that as of Wednesday evening the situation in Timika had been kept under control and calm, kompas.comreported.
No fatalities and few injuries had been reported during the turmoil: only three security personnel who suffered light injuries. “They had received medical treatment,” Agung said.
Protests broke out in cities across Papua and West Papua starting Monday morning as people took to the streets to vent their anger over the racist abuse suffered by Papuan students at the hands of a mob over the weekend in Surabaya, East Java.
Besides Timika, violent unrest was reported on Wednesday in the West Papua regency of Fakfak, where protesters set fire to kiosks and stalls and conflicts erupted between a local mass organization and some protesters. (vny/afr)
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5) West Papuans protest following racist attacks in Surabaya
Peter Boyle & Susan Price August 22, 2019
 Issue 1234 West Papua
On August 17, Indonesian Independence Day, armed Indonesian police, soldiers and radical Islamic militia stormed a student dormitory in the Indonesian city of Surabaya (on the island of Java), which housed West Papuan students, arresting 43. The attack reportedly took place because the students had allegedly refused to raise the Indonesian flag.
Indonesia invaded West Papua in 1962 and has continued a brutal occupation since. It has conducted military attacks in areas populated by civilians, under the cover of targeting West Papua’s pro-independence forces. Reports of human rights abuses, extrajudicial killings, torture and displacement are rife.
West Papuans are regularly subject to racism and according to eye-witness reports, students were tortured and called "monkeys" during the attack on August 17.
Joe Collins from the Australia West Papua Association told Green Left Weeklythat during the raid on the student dormitories police fired teargas. Collins said the raid followed rumours that someone had thrown an Indonesian flag into a sewer.
“A crowd had gathered outside the dormitory yelling racists remarks such as ‘Monkey! Pig! Dog’,” Collins said.
In response to the attack, rallies in support of the West Papuan students took place in West Papua, including in Sorong, Jayapura and Timika, where it was reported that 5000 people had taken to the streets. In the Indonesian cities of Medan and Bandung the students also received local support, said Collins.
In the protests, West Papuans raised slogans against Indonesia's systematic racism, demanding freedom and a referendum on independence.
In response to the protests, Indonesia sent an extra 1000 troops to West Papua.
Collins told Green Leftthat Indonesia’s notorious Detachment 88 was reportedly involved in the attack in Surabaya. “Australia, with the United States and Britain help train Detachment 88,” Collins said.
“The unit was originally set up after the Bali bombing to hunt terrorists. However, in conflicts such as West Papua they would be used in a counter-insurgency role.
“Locals have reported that [West Papuan independence leader] Kelly Kwalik was killed in a raid by Detachment 88 a number of years ago.”
The raid and protests took place following some successes by West Papuans at the recent Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).
Collins told Green Leftthat when the PIF’s foreign ministers met in Suva, Fiji in July, to lay out the agenda for the Pacific leaders summit in Tuvalu, they decided West Papua would be on the agenda. “Australia was the only country to oppose the inclusion of West Papua as part of the agenda.
“It was encouraging that West Papua was included in the official communiqué and that leaders urged Jakarta to finalise a visit [to West Papua] by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“This is what the West Papuans are always calling for: fact-finding missions to the territory, so people can see for themselves that the human rights situation is getting worse.”
While the PIF communiqué reaffirmed recognition of Indonesia’s sovereignty over West Papua, it acknowledged the escalation in violence and continued allegations of human rights abuses there and requires the UNHCR to report back on the human rights situation before the next PIF leaders meeting in 2020.

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Photos in article


SMH
6) Indonesia shuts down internet in Papua to stem ongoing unrest
By Laode Mursidin August 22, 2019 — 2.33pm

Manokwari:Indonesia has imposed an internet blackout in the Papua and West Papua provinces, after sending 1500 officers, in an attempt to stem unrest triggered by the heavy-handed treatment of Papuan protesters on Java island from spreading, an official says.
Data communications have been shut down since Wednesday in the provinces "until the situation gets back to normal," Communications and Information Technology Ministry spokesman Ferdinandus Setu said on Thursday.

Police sent 1200 reinforcements to three West Papua districts, where most of the violence has taken place this week, spokesman Muhammad Iqbal said on Wednesday. The military has also sent 300 additional troops.
In the latest unrest, protesters torched a traditional market and government buildings in the town of Fakfak on Wednesday, police said, but insisted the situation was under control.

There were no reports of fatalities during the three days of sometimes violent protests.
Protesters also torched a section of a prison in Sorong in Papa province, prompting a riot that led to the escape of more than 250 inmates.

Protests sparked by accusations that security forces had arrested and insulted Papuan students in East Java's Surabaya city turned violent on Monday, when demonstrators torched a local legislative building and set fire to cars in Manokwari, the provincial capital.
The protests were triggered by videos circulated widely on the internet showing police, backed by soldiers, calling the Papuan students "monkeys" and "dogs".
Papua is a former Dutch colony in the western part of New Guinea that is ethnically and culturally distinct from much of Indonesia. It was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a UN-sponsored ballot that was seen as a sham by many.

Since then, a low-level insurgency has plagued the mineral-rich region, which is divided into two provinces, Papua and West Papua. In recent years, some Papua students, including some who study in other provinces, have become vocal in calling for self-determination for their region.

Since then, a low-level insurgency has plagued the mineral-rich region, which is divided into two provinces, Papua and West Papua. In recent years, some Papua students, including some who study in other provinces, have become vocal in calling for self-determination for their region.

Nahak said protesters also destroyed parts of an airport and destroyed ATMs and shops in the Fafak market on Wednesday.
Videos posted by residents in Fakfak and circulated online show demonstrators chanting "Freedom Papua" and holding banners demanding a referendum for independence. The crowd, including a man holding the morning star flag that is a separatist group symbol, are seen throwing rocks at police, who respond with tear gas as smoke billows from the burning market.

Several thousands of protesters, many wearing headbands with a separatist flag, also staged peaceful rallies Monday in Jayapura, the capital city of Papua province.
Papuan activists said they were also subjected to racist abuse.
AP, DPA
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