Wednesday, September 25, 2019

1) Australia urges restraint in West Papua amid ongoing violence

2) Repainting Kelly Kwalik’s grave to shift the issue of worship ban
3) Police identify group spreading rumors in Timika

4) Get out, churches tell Indon troops

5) Death Toll Climbs in Indonesia’s Papua Protests 

1) Australia urges restraint in West Papua amid ongoing violence
6:47 am today  
Australia's government has urged restraint by all relevant parties in West Papua amid ongoing unrest in the Indonesian ruled region.
The death toll from violence in the Papuan cities of Jayapura and Wamena on Monday hasrisen to 26.
Violence erupted in both cities as Indonesian security forces cracked down on student protests.
This follows weeks of unrest triggered by large protests in the region last month.
Outside the UN headquarters in New York, Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne told SBS that her government was seeking updates about the situation.
"Well we are obviously very concerned about the reports of violence in Papua and West Papua. And they are matters which our post in Jakarta is obviously following up with authorities there. We urge absolute restraint from both sides in actions that are happening on the ground there.”

Monday's unrest in Jayapura led to the arrest of over 700 Papuan students.
Many of them had recently returned home early from study in Javanese cities, where racist attacks on Papuan students last month prompted widespread protests in the Papuan provinces, and also raised fears for the students' safety.
An additional 6000 Indonesian police and military personnel were deployed to the heavily restricted region by early September as unrest sparked by the protests left at least ten people dead.

Since last year, Indonesian security forces in Papua have also been preoccupied in the Highlands region by a protracted armed conflict with a pro-independence guerilla unit named the West Papua Liberation Army.
The ongoing unrest, as well as issues of human rights abuses and self-determination in Papua, is expected to be raised by some Pacific Islands leaders at this week's UN General Assembly.
2) Repainting Kelly Kwalik’s grave to shift the issue of worship ban
Published 1 day ago on 25 September 2019 By pr9c6tr3_jube

The grave of a leader of the National Liberation Army Kelly Kwalik in Timika, Mimika Regency is now painted in red-white colours. – IST

Jayapura, Jubi – The repainting activity on the grave of Kelly Kwalik by the Police is to shift their action to dissolve the worship ceremony on Thursday (19/9/2019). It is also considered hurting the sense of justice among Papuans.
The Rev. Deserius Adii, the Justice and Peace Department Chief of Kingmi Church for Puncak Selatan Region, asserted that the security forces in Timika repainted the grave of Kelly Kwalik, a leader of West Papua National Liberation Army into red-white colours. Further, he considered the repainting by the security forces to shift the issue of forced dissolution against the local community by the Mimika Police on Thursday.
“Kwalik’s grave was painting with the colour of morning star because he died to fight for justice and peace for his people. But the security officers repainted it with red and white,” Adii told Jubi on Friday (20/9/2019).
Also, the police did it after they dissolved the workship ceremony involving Papuan students who returned from other Indonesian cities and towns, he said. However, he assumed the police had planned it for quite a long time. Before the dispersion, many unknown people have settled around the grave of Kelly Kwalik.

“After the police dissolved people in the worship ceremony, the number of people around the grave was increased. Three residents arrested while watching the police did their job and took them to the Mimika Police station,” said Adii.
He further thought that the repainting of Kwalik’s grave had hurt the sense of justice of West Papuans. “Kelly Kwalik killed by the security forces because fighting for the rights of his people. Now, they repainted his grave with red-white colours. Do they ashamed of their actions or not? Adii questioned.
Meanwhile, a legal officer of LEMASA Patrick Wetipo considered the security forces had made a big mistake by dispersing the worship ceremony and repainting the grave of Kelly Kwalik. “They banned the “Bakar Batu” (stone-roasting) ceremony. It’s harassment towards the Papuan culture,” he said.
Moreover, Wetipo stated that the security forces should be responsible for the death of Kelly Kwalik, who’s shot when surrounded by the police on 16 December 2018. However, they are now changing the colours of his grave into red-white.
“Kelly Kwaling were fighting for the independence of Papuan people. The colours of the morning star are for respecting his fight. But by repainting his grave indicates that the security forces continuously showed injustice against Papuans,” he said. (*)
Reporter: Hengky Yeimo
Editor: Pipit Maizier

3) Police identify group spreading rumors in Timika
8 hours ago

Timika, Papua (ANTARA) - The Mimika Police in Papua has identified the group allegedly spreading rumors to create unrest in Timika, Mimika Police Chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Agung Marlianto said here Wednesday. The group comprising some 30 to 40 members had attempted to create tension and anxiety among the people by systematically spreading fake news, Marlianto said.

"Based on information from witnesses, they claimed to be students. They are relatively young," he added.

Related news: PLN Power Recovery Team again electrifies Wamena

Marlianto has called on Timika residents to be fully aware of the group's nefarious attempts.

The group has spread rumors about security personnel distributing poisoned food to Papuans in Timika, according to Marlianto.

It also intimidated some Papuans school students in Limau Asri Village and Kwamki Narama District with messages on their mobile phones.

Related news: Deployment of two TNI aircraft to evacuate riot victims in Wamena

The group provoked students to set fire to some buildings in Timika including vital and strategic installations, shops, and kiosks, he said.

The Mimika Police has positioned its personnel in some schools, especially those with majority Papuans students in anticipation of any unwanted incidents.

"We have also deployed Community and Society Development Unit (Binmas) personnel to counsel students from being provoked by the irresponsible group," he said.

Related news: Police puts Wamena riot death toll at 23

Nearly 23 people died and a dozen others sustained injuries when a violent rally erupted in Wamena, Jayawijaya District’s capital city, Papua on Monday, September 23.

The violence might have been fueled by rumors spread through social media platforms that angered residents, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Rudolf A. Rodja said while speaking in connection with the rioting.

The riot was instigated by rumors about a teacher's racist slur against native Papuan students, according to several local media reports. (INE)

Related news: Thousands seek refuge at Jayawijaya Police Headquarter after riots

Reporter: Evarianus Supar, Sri Haryati
Editor: Azizah Fitriyanti


PAPUAN churches want Indonesia to withdraw troops as violence escalates in the disputed territory.
And they want the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently visit and see the human rights abuse in Papua - mainly by security forces and the military-backed armed civilian militia.
In a letter to Pacific churches, four Papuan church leaders, called on regional governments to seek Indonesia's agreement to hold a dignified and peaceful dialogue through a neutral third party, with The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).
"The main objective of this should be to move towards a permanent positive peace in the land of Papua which has been the hope of the people of Papua since 1961, so that our children and grandchildren do not experience the oppression, pain and suffering that we have lived through," the statement said.
"Mobilise your communities to pray and stand in solidarity with the people of Papua and put pressure on your political leaders to act on the call to action."
Reverend Andrikus Moku of the Gereja Kristen Injili (Evangelical Christian Church) signed the statement with Reverend Benny Giay of the KINGMI Church. The statement was also signed by Rev Dorman Wandikbo of the Evangelical Church of Indonesia and Rev Socratez Yoman of the Fellowship of Baptist Churches in Papua.

Here is the full statement:.
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good – Proverbs 15: 3

Greetings from Papua,
We are writing as leaders of the Church in Papua to appeal to you for your urgent help in raising awareness about the current deteriorating security and human rights situation in our land.
The last two weeks has seen an escalation in the conflict here. It initially ignited from an incident of racial abuse directed at Papuan students who were students on the Island of Java in Central Indonesia. This incident mobilised thousands of Papuans to gather and join peaceful demonstrations in towns and cities across Papua. However, there have also been some small breakaway groups that have burnt and destroyed property in protest. The Government of Indonesia then responded with disproportionate aggression by militarising the island and allowing armed civil militia groups to be active on the streets. 

The situation is extremely critical, and we believe that urgent international intervention is needed to help protect the Papuan people from the escalating violence.
Our aim in this document is to outline the current situation in Papua, as well as offer the context of injustice and conflict facing our communities. We also proffer a specific appeal to the international community, for solidarity and also to action to stand alongside the Papuan People in their call for justice and peace in the land of Papua.

We offer context to this situation based on the Bible text above and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination ratified by the Republic of Indonesia:

1. Racial Discrimination: The recent occurrence of racial discrimination against Papuan students in Surabaya, Malang, Semarang and Makassar is a repetition of racism and discrimination experienced by indigenous Papuans since Papua was integrated into the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.
2. Excessive Military Force: The excessive deployment of thousands of army and police from other areas of Indonesia, in response to the peaceful mass demonstrations of the Papuan people is causing widespread fear and trauma in communities across Papua.
3. Arrests and Violence: Mass actions and protests against racism in various cities in Papua have been met with arrests and violent countermeasures by red and white militias supported by Indonesian security forces. This shows a clear intention to create horizontal conflict in the heart of Papuan society.
4. Injustice: In the city of Deiyai, at least 8 civilians and one policeman were killed when the police turned their guns on a peaceful protest. This shows a complete lack of restraint or respect for the right to peacefully protest in the face of racisim and injustice. Since then the government has tried to cover up these killings and refuses to release the names of civilian victims.
5. Humanitarian Crisis: Military operations in Nduga since December 2018 have totally isolated the area preventing humanitarian assistance from reaching desperate communities. The militarisation of and the severe humanitarian situation of Nduga communities and refugees, illustrates the utter lack of integrity from the government. On April 1, 2019 at the Swissbel Hotel in the city of Jayapura, the President promised to withdraw military forces from Nduga. However, as of today no action resembling this promise, has been taken. This further demonstrates to the world, that the Indonesian government does not care about, and is not serious concerning dealing with the critical humanitarian situation in Papua.
6. Severing Access to Communication and Information: The internet network for personal mobile users throughout Papua remains inaccessible due to it being blocked on August 20th 2019. This action also limits the ability of Papuan Journalists to carry out their duties and therefore violates the community's right to information and freedom of expression.
7. Human Rights Violations: There are still many unresolved cases of human rights violations in Tanah Papua such as bloody Biak, bloody Wasior, bloody Wamena, bloody Abepura, Bloody Paniai. None of these have been properly investigated by authorities and to date there have been no prosecutions. This shows an extreme neglect and lack of interest on behalf of the state to resolve any of these situations justly or to look after the rights of indigenous Papuans.

On 26 of August 2019, The Ecumenical Forum wrote a pastoral appeal outlining our concerns above and presented it to government, police and military representatives. To date we have received no response.
In the days since we released the initial appeal, the following events have taken place:
1. Troops Deployed: The demonstrations carried out by the Papuan people to oppose incidents and attitudes of racism were met with an extreme overreaction from the Indonesian Government. They have, to date, now sent almost 6000 troops to Papua. As of the 3rd September there is an armed soldier or armed police officer every 100 meters on the streets of Papuan cities.
Subsequently, the National Chief of Police (KAPOLRI) and the Indonesian Army Commander (Panglima TNI) have arrived in Papua and set up a control center in Jayapura, the capital of Papua Province. At 4pm on 3rd September, military intelligence entered the Synod office of one of the main indigenous Papuan churches - the Gospel Tabernacle Church of Papua (Kingmi Papua), and intimidated and terrorised the church staff who were present.
2. Restricted/UnsafeTravel: From the 30th August to the 2nd September, the main street between Entrop to Jayapura, (an area inhabited by a majority of people who call themselves “Warga Nusantara” or “Citizens of the Archipelago”), was taken over by local residents armed with sharp instruments who started to restrict access to the road and check all vehicles that pass this route. This attitude and action has made the Papuan people feel very unsafe when travelling through this area.
3. Increased Violence and Killings: There have been increased killings and violence towards civilians including that of Evert Mohu (22 years old) who was killed on 30th August 2019 and Maikel Kareth (21 years old) who was killed on 1st September 2019. Pastor Daud Aulwe and 7 other people experienced severe injuries after they were dragged from their vehicle on 30th August by civil militia and badly beaten. Their car was then set alight. Attacks on local people in Apepura, and students of the Nayak hostel have resulted in severe wounds and many involved are now in a serious condition in hospital. Laus Rumayom, a professor in the University of Cenderawasih and Abetius Wenda, a medical student were also stabbed in another altercation. All of these acts of violence were carried out by the Nusantara civil militia group, the members of which, are migrants from other parts of Indonesia.
4. Public Services in Crisis: We are currently experiencing a complete breakdown of public services across every sector: Supplies of cooking fuel have run dry and there are long queues everywhere to obtain basic goods and food. Shops and markets have closed, causing difficulties for the local population in getting basic living supplies. Electricity is cut for long periods every day and banks and ATM points have been closed. Schools, universities,colleges and government and private offices are shut. These restrictions to food, education, money and ability to communicate make life exceptionally difficult. In addition, any legal accompaniment to those that have been arrested by the police has been restricted.
5. Lack of Transparency by The State: Wiranto the Minister for Political Legal and Security Affairs has accused Benny Wendy, the leader of ULMWP as the person who is behind the demonstrations. This stance by the state aims to bury the real roots of the very issues that Papuan people are demonstrating against. 
Observing the above developments, we are forced to conclude that we are experiencing a critical situation of both direct and structural violence in Papua. The historical and ongoing systematic and long-term oppression, racism and impunity continues to have a serious impact on our people, causing us to suffer low self-esteem and social and moral disorientation, with devastating impact on our communities.
We are desperately concerned for our safety and the safety of our people. Human rights violations are nothing new in Papua, but we are observing exceptionally dangerous tendencies taking place at this time in addition to a significant risk of a rapid escalation of violence. The Government of Indonesia continues to call for peace, but we believe that there cannot be real peace in Papua without justice. Justice must take place for sustainable, lasting peace to be established. Without justice there will simply be ‘peace in name only’ which will only serve to keep Papuans trapped in the current cycle of oppression and violence.
For this reason, we the Church leaders in the Land of Papua appeal to Indigenous Communities around the world, The Christian Church and National Governments to carry out the following actions:
1. Call for the Government of Indonesia to withdraw their military troops, including those that are present in the area of Nduga and other areas across Papua.
2. Call for the Government of Indonesia to hold a dignified and peaceful Dialogue facilitated by a neutral third party, with The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) on the future of Papua. The main objective of this should be to move towards a permanent positive peace in the land of Papua which has long been the hope of the people of Papua (since 1961), so that our children and grandchildren do not experience the oppression, pain and suffering that we have lived through.
3. Call for the UN Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently visit Papua to investigate the human rights situation.
4. Mobilise your communities to pray and stand in solidarity with the people of Papua and put pressure on your political leaders to act on the call to action mentioned above.

With Respect,
Signed by Church Leaders in Papua (Ecumenical Forum of Churches in Papua),
Jayapura 4 September 2019,
Members of Ecumenical Forum of Churches in Papua


5) Death Toll Climbs in Indonesia’s Papua Protests 

The death toll from violent protests in Indonesia’s restive Papua province has risen yet again.

By Niniek Karmini September 26, 2019
The death toll from violent protests in Indonesia’s restive Papua province has risen to 32 after several bodies were found under burned buildings, officials said Tuesday.
An angry mob torched local government buildings, shops and homes and set fire to cars and motorbikes in Papua province’s Wamena city on Monday in a protest by hundreds of people sparked by rumors that a teacher had insulted an indigenous student.
Papua police spokesman Ahmad Musthofa Kamal said Tuesday that 12 more bodies were found in and around the burned-out wreckage of buildings engulfed in the fires set by rioters. Seventy-two other people were hospitalized, many with burns or head injuries.
He said the number killed is expected to rise as authorities search through affected areas in Wamena.
National Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said earlier that police were questioning 733 university students involved in another protest in Jayapura that left one soldier and three civilians dead.
Kamal said police have named five students as suspects accused of assaulting the officers. They could face 5 1/2 years in jail if found guilty. Police have been releasing the other students.
Police also arrested two men suspected of orchestrating the violent protests, Kamal said.
He said about 5,000 people fled to temporary shelters at local police and military headquarters inWamena after their homes were burned in the riots.

The students were among those studying in other Indonesian provinces who returned home during previous protests last month. Those protests were triggered by videos circulated on the internet showing security forces calling Papuan students “monkeys” and “dogs” in East Java’s Surabaya city when they stormed a dormitory where Papuan students were staying after a torn Indonesian flag was found in a sewer.
The students had forced a local state university to accommodate them, and their protest turned violent on Monday as a mob of angry students attacked a soldier and several police officers with machetes and rocks, resulting in security forces responding with gunfire, killing three civilians. The soldier died on the way to a hospital. At least five police officers were in critical condition.
National Police Chief Tito Karnavian told a news conference Tuesday in the capital, Jakarta, that most of victims in Wamena were non-indigenous Papuan people.
He said the situation was brought under control on Tuesday after more police and soldiers were deployed to restore security in the region.
He accused separatist leader Benny Wenda of orchestrating the previous unrest in Papua and West Papua provinces ahead of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting on Sept. 9 and the annual U.N. General Assembly on Monday, to draw international attention to Papua.
Wenda, who has been living in exile in Britain for years, is known as the leader of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, a political wing of the Free Papua Movement in exile.
Sebby Sambom, spokesman for the West Papua National Liberation Army, the military wing of the Free Papua Movement, denied Indonesian accusations that it was involved in the violent protests.

“We have not taken a stand in this people’s protest over racism against indigenous Papuans,” he said in a statement. “This is purely an action carried out by the entire society.”
During Tuesday’s news conference, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for politics, law and security alleged that separatist groups were trying to foment conflict by exposing a mistake made by security forces that does not represent most Indonesian’s attitudes or behavior.
Conflicts between indigenous Papuans and Indonesian security forces are common in the mineral-rich but impoverished Papua region, a former Dutch colony in the western part of New Guinea that is ethnically and culturally distinct from much of Indonesia.
The region was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a U.N.-sponsored ballot that was widely seen as a sham. Since then, a low-level insurgency has simmered in the 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.
By Niniek Karmini of The Associated Press. 

SMH 26 Sept 2019

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