Thursday, September 5, 2019

1) Outcry as Indonesia seeks to arrest renowned West Papua rights lawyer

2) Yasonna Responds to UN Human Rights Call for Dialogue with Papuan
3) Restoration of internet in Papua to be gradual, says Jakarta
4) Indonesian gold miners killed in West Papua

5) Indonesia Closes Door on Papuan Referendum


1) Outcry as Indonesia seeks to arrest renowned West Papua rights lawyer

Kate Lamb in Jakarta Thu 5 Sep 2019 12.26 AEST

Veronica Koman faces charges after being accused of spreading ‘fake news’ and inciting unrest

Indonesian police have named human rights lawyer and well-known West Papua advocate Veronica Koman as a suspect in the spreading of “fake news”, accusing her of provoking widespread unrest in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces.
In a move slammed by Amnesty International Indonesia, the human rights lawyer faces charges under the country’s controversial electronic information and transactions law, and faces up to six years in jail if found guilty.
Police specifically mentioned Koman’s posts about an incident in Surabaya in mid-August where military and nationalist militia were captured on video calling Papuan students “monkeys” and “dogs”.

East Java police said the lawyer had provoked and inflamed anti-racist riots that have swept across West Papua in recent weeks, and accused of her spreading fake news and provocative material.
Indonesian police say they have also contacted Interpol to seek assistance in locating the Indonesian lawyer, who they believe is abroad.
Indonesia’s National Commission of Human Rights slammed the move, saying Koman had attempted only to provide “necessary information from a different point of view”.
Usman Hamid, the executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia, said the move was deeply misguided. “The root of the real problem is the act of racism by some members of the TNI [Indonesian army] and the excessive use of force by the police in the student dormitory in Surabaya,” Usman told

Since unrest has flared across West Papua – divided into the two Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua – in some cases erupting in violent and fatal clashes, Koman has proved a critical source of information, regularly updating her Twitter account with photos and videos that have provided a rare insight into the realities on the ground.
It comes at a time when internet access has been cut for more than two weeks in the remote area, which is restricted to foreign journalists.
Meanwhile in Geneva, Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, who until now has been blocked from the visiting West Papua, said on Wednesday that she was concerned about escalating violence.
“There should be no place for such violence in a democratic and diverse Indonesia, and I encourage the authorities to engage in dialogue with the people of Papua and West Papua on their aspirations and concerns, as well as to restore internet services and refrain from any excessive use of force,” she said, “Blanket internet shutdowns are likely to contravene freedom of expression and limiting communications may exacerbate tensions”.

2) Yasonna Responds to UN Human Rights Call for Dialogue with Papuan


Petir Garda Bhwana

TEMPO.COJakarta - Legal and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly has responded to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s call for dialogue between the Indonesian government and Papua and West Papua people.
Yasonna asserted that the government is still prioritizing to hold a dialogue in dealing with the conflict in Papua and West Papua. “The government concerns about it. We will hold dialogues,” said Yasonna in Gadjah Mada auditorium of the National Resilience Institute (Lemhanas), Jakarta, Thursday, September 5.

“Let the Coordinating Minister make statements about it,” he said.
On September 4, through a written statement published on the UNHR’s website, Michelle Bachelet said there should be no place for violent acts in a democratic and diverse Indonesia.
“I encourage the authorities to engage in dialogue with the people of Papua and West Papua on their aspirations and concerns,” said Bachelet.
She claimed to have been disturbed by the escalating violence in the past two weeks in the country’s easternmost province, especially the deaths of some protestors and security forces personnel. 
Bachelet also demanded the authorities to restore the internet service and refrain from using excessive power in handling the public unrest in Papua and West Papua.
Yasonna refused to comment further. He said Coordinating Minister of Politics, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto has the authority to deliver statements regarding Papua.


3) Restoration of internet in Papua to be gradual, says Jakarta

7:01 pm today 

Restoration of internet networks in Papua will be gradual, Indonesia's government says.
The government cut internet access in Papua two weeks ago in what it billed as a move to stop the spread of disinformation during ongoing protests in the region.
But the Minister of Communication and Information has now revealed the block has been partially lifted.
Rudiantara said internet data services would be gradually restored in Papuan cities and districts according to their security situations.
It had to be a gradual process in order to stop the spread of hoax news and provocative messages, he said.
Rudiantara claimed that as of Monday, the ministry had detected over a half a million URLs or channels used to spread hoax reports.
Yesterday, the UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet called for Indonesia to restore internet services in Papua.
She said internet shutdowns were likely to contravene the freedom of expression, and that limiting communications may exacerbate tensions.


Amnesty International said Indonesia was cracking down on West Papuan activists during the protests.

Police have charged six activists with treason for their role in organising a pro-independence rally in Jakarta last week.
On Wednesday, human rights lawyer Veronica Koman was named as a criminal suspect for allegedly spreading fake news online.
Amnesty International Indonesia researcher Papang Hindayat said activists were being made scapegoats for the unrest.
"There's no need to prove the intention to do violence, so it's a general pattern of the failure of Indonesian authorities, in particular, the Indonesian security forces, to differentiate the peaceful political activism and acts of violence," he said.
Police should drop all charges against the activists and action against Ms Koman, Mr Hindayat said.
The case against Ms Koman was intended to limit awareness of abuses in West Papua because her posts on Twitter, shared mostly in English, had "opened up a door to the international community", he said.

4) Indonesian gold miners killed in West Papua
4:56 pm today 

Five gold miners in West Papua's central highlands were killed by local residents on Monday.
National police spokesperson Dedi Prasetyo said 74 miners were evacuated from Yahukimo regency after being attacked.
Three miners were also injured by the residents, who were armed with machetes, bows and arrows.
Mr Prasetyo told Reuters it was unclear whether the incident was linked to growing unrest across Papua.
A spokesperson for the West Papua Liberation Army, a rebel group operating in the highlands, said the gold miners were Indonesian immigrants, killed because they "came to Papuans lands and stole the gold from indigenous Papuans lands".
The Liberation Army did not claim responsibility for the attack but warned against further gold mining in the region.


5) Indonesia Closes Door on Papuan Referendum

SEPTEMBER 03, 2019 
Jakarta. Indonesia has closed the door on an independence referendum for Papua, Chief Security Minister Wiranto said on Tuesday.
He said according to international law, an independence referendum is not an option for Indonesia's two easternmost provinces, Papua and West Papua.
The two provinces are located on the western side of Papua Island. Papua shares a land border with Papua New Guinea.
The retired Army general said Papua and West Papua are recognized by the United Nations as parts of the Republic of Indonesia.
A referendum for what was then called West Papua – before the area was split into two provinces – was held in 1969 and overseen by the UN, which resulted in the area becoming part of Indonesia.
What is happening in Papua now is different to what happened in East Timor, which broke away from Indonesia following a UN-sponsored act of self-determination in 1999, according to Wiranto who was the Indonesian Military commander at the time. 
Since East Timor was a Portuguese colony, the country had the right to hold a referendum that led to its independence as East Timor or Timor Leste.
"Dialogue [to discuss the issue of Papua] is important but it needs to be constructive. We've closed the door on the referendum [for Papua and West Papua]. There will be no dialogue on [Papua] independence," Wiranto said at a press conference in Jakarta.
During pro-independence rallies in several cities in Papua and West Papua in the past two weeks, demonstrators carried the banned Morning Star flag of the Papua independence movement.
In a rally in Sorong on Aug. 27, protesters handed the Indonesian national flag to the district head and called for a referendum. 

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