Sunday, February 16, 2020

Summary of events in West Papua (20 Jan-16 Feb 2020)

AWPA update
Summary of events in West Papua  (20 Jan-16 Feb 2020)

The Indonesia President Joko Widodo visited Canberra and addressed the Australian Parliament on Monday the 10th. This was only the second time an Indonesian president spoke to an Australian Parliament, the first being President Yudhoyono. Its also 70 year of diplomatic relations between the two countries.  Jokiwi was here to ratify the Indonesia-Australia comprehensive economic partnership agreement (IA-CEPA) i.e. a trade deal. Civil society groups and human rights organisation called on the Australian Government to raise the human rights situation in West Papua with Jokiwi.  The visit by the Indonesian President would have been an excellent opportunity for Australia to show its commitment to human rights in our region by a making a strong statement of concern on the issue of West Papua. However,  only "The Greens” showed support by hosting a press conference in Parliament House although  there are individual politicians in all parties  who are concerned about the human rights situation in West Papua.


A letter written by West Papuan activists and signed by Greens leader Adam Bandt and Senator Richard Di Natale was  personally handed to the  Indonesian President in Canberra . A PMC report , "WEST PAPUA: Activists give Indonesian leader details of deaths, political prisoners” at at 

AWPA also called on Canberra to raise the situation in West Papua with Jokiwi.  

Australia's government has been urged to discuss human rights abuses in West Papua with Indonesia's visiting president........

Rights advocate says security chief’s ‘garbage’ slur will open Papua wounds
Lawyer and human rights activist Veronica Koman says Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD “garbage” comment will only deepen the Papuan people’s wounds. Earlier, Mahfud had referred to data on Papuan political prisoners and civilians killed in Nduga, which was handed over to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo during his visit to Canberra this week as “garbage”. The document contained data on 57 political prisoners as well as 243 civilian victims who have been killed in Nduga regency, Papua, since December 2018.

A number of rallies were held around Australia on the 10th calling for the release of all political prisoners in West Papua.
Photos at

Sydney Rally    

The growing support for West Papua in the Pacific region is obviously a concern to Jakarta. During his visit the  Indonesian President told the Australia's parliament on Monday that “he wanted to work with the traditional Pacific power to expand influence in the region in the face of China's stepped-up efforts to do the same”. 

Aligning with Australia and not its giant Asian neighbor is a major step for Indonesia, which is the second-most populous country in the region and has been trying to provide aid and build alliances with smaller Pacific countries.Indonesia last year said it would establish diplomatic relations with several Pacific island nations, pursue trade deals with Fiji and Papua New Guinea and create a Rp 3 trillion (US$219.06 million) fund to provide development aid or disaster relief to smaller countries. The country wants a larger role, Jokowi said, as the Pacific increasingly becomes the focus of diplomacy, aid and military investment by Western powers trying to counter China."Indonesia and Australia must become the anchors for developing partners in the Pacific region. Indonesia understands the development challenges," the Indonesian president said in his speech………..

Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), held in Suva from February 10-12

ULMWP Delegation to the MSG: (from left) Rex Rumakiek, Benny Wenda & Paula Makabory

                Chairman Wenda and the Melanesian foreign ministers gather during the FM&SO meeting of the MSG    

‘West Papua has no future in Indonesia’: Chairman Wenda’s Speech to MSG Foreign Ministers
February 12, 2020 in Statement
Speech delivered by Chairman of the ULMWP, Benny Wenda, during the Foreign Ministers & Senior Officials meeting of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), held in Suva from February 10-12, 2020. 

Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I greet you all in my own language, wa wa wa wa. I acknowledge also Ambassador Amena Yauvoli Director General of the MSG Secretariat and his dedicated Staff for their  tireless service to the Melanesian community. Our gathering here marks 34 years of our founding fathers’ vision, backed by the Melanesian way of a shared cultural and political desire, for the entire decolonization and freedom of Melanesian countries and territories. Decolonisation may seem less intrinsic today, but the sad truth is, the people of Melanesia are far from exercising our full sovereignty. In West Papua, my homeland, 2.5 million people are Melanesians, not Indonesian. Like the Melanesian people of Bougainville and Kanaky New Caledonia, my people also calling for our basic right to vote in referendum on independence. Fifty-eight years of human rights violations which include suppression of political dissent, discrimination, torture, extrajudicial killings, and systemic police and military violence..............

2020: A year of meaningful diplomacy over Papua?

Ronny Kareni.  Canberra   Jakarta Post  February 3 2020   

The year 2020 dawns with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s continued blatant avoidance of human rights violations and willful ignorance of West Papuans’ right to self-determination. But with Papuans’ increasing commitment to realizing peace with justice in their homeland, the time has come for Indonesia to act swiftly and decisively over the issues that are important to Papuans. The next 12 months will determine whether Jokowi’s multi-party coalition is capable of finalizing the timing of the visit of the United Nations high commissioner for human rights (currently Michelle Bachelet), which aims to address the Nduga humanitarian situation, and of entering into a third-party mediation with Papuan independence leaders for a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict in the territory. These events are pivotal as they will make or break Jakarta’s diplomacy over West Papua in the coming decade.
Indonesia has in principle committed to granting the UN Human Rights Office access to Papua. But little progress toward this end is apparent. Despite issuing an invitation to the office in February 2018 to visit the territory, the government flounders when it comes to setting an actual date. Invitations mean nothing until genuine action is taken. Jakarta still maintains, contra to the evidence, that economic development in Papua is the solution to the human rights crisis. It is a stalemate. Overcoming the requires courage, and courage requires action from Jokowi, rather than the willful blindness toward Papua that he has so far shown during his presidency, which is flailing under the influence of nationalist heavyweights — Indonesia’s oligarchs, political elites, and the national security apparatus. But if a date is set during Jokowi’s presidency for the UN visit, this will soften decades worth of persistent criticism of human right violations in Papua, violations that include suppression of political dissent, torture, extrajudicial killings and systemic police and military violence. It will also go some way toward improving Indonesia’s global standing. Pacific leaders, including those in Australia and New Zealand, have urged Jakarta to set a clear timeframe for the UN visit to Papua to address allegations of human rights violations and the root causes of the conflict.
Since Jokowi took on the presidency, nothing has been achieved toward resolving human rights cases and nothing has changed in the pattern of violations by the Indonesian armed forces. Foreign journalists seeking to report on Papua are restricted with specific regulations. Even worse is Jokowi’s deliberate negligence toward ending the 13-month old conflict in Nduga. Jokowi must pull his head out of the sand: The Nduga crisis will not fade away if he only improves infrastructural development in the region. Although economic development is a state obligation, it is not the solution for Papuans’ outcry. Neither is deploying thousands of troops in the name of stability and security.  If Jakarta is serious about human security, it needs to demilitarize Nduga and engage the local government and rights groups to help Nduga residents return home safely to rebuild their lives.  It must also invest in the future of Papuan students. Following the racial slurs and harassment of Papuan students in Surabaya by out-of-control military officers in mid-August 2019, an exodus of Papuan students fled home, their right to education in limbo. These are future leaders of a nation. 
Political imprisonment must cease. Many of Papua’s brightest citizens are behind bars. A record number of arrests between August and December 2019 has landed 84 prominent leaders with suspected treason charges.  It’s self-evident that Jokowi must do everything in his power to resolve the Nduga crisis and respond to the Papuan provincial government and Pacific regional leadership, including the urgent call of the 79 member states of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States. 
Third-party mediation is the best way forward, not the tried and failed methods of dialogue and special autonomy.  Jokowi has met Papuan public figures numerous times, visited the region more often than any of his predecessors and received countless recommendations from ministerial authorities who have put forward solutions to the problems in the territory.  Why then has Jokowi failed to defuse Papuan grievances? Whether Jakarta recognizes it or not, at some point in the near future, as West Papuan activism builds toward a crescendo, Indonesia will have to enter into negotiations about West Papua’s future. Jokowi could be the president that takes the negotiations forward. 
The time is ripe for meaningful engagement without pre-conditions over Papua. Should Jokowi turn his attention to setting a date for the UN visit, resolving the Nduga humanitarian situation and arranging third-party negotiation, this would be a win-win solution for Jakarta and Papua.
Papuan musician and activist, and has worked as a fixer and programmer in Australia for the past 10 years. He graduated in diplomacy studies at Australian National University, and is cofounder of Rize of the Morning Star, a musical and cultural movement, and consults the Pacific Mission of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.

Armed conflict continues in West Papua's highlands
 RNZ Pacific 31 January 2020 
Indonesian security forces say a West Papuan was shot dead in a clash with police and military forces in Intan Jaya regency of Papua province.
 It's the latest in a series of deadly violence in Papua's highlands region where a proliferation of guns is fuelling ongoing conflict. Police say the man killed last Sunday in Intan Jaya's Sugapa District was a member of an armed criminal group, a euphemism used by security forces to describe the West Papua Liberation Army. However, a Liberation Army spokesman, Sebby Sambom, said that the victim was not one of their members. Mr Sambom said that two other Papuans sustained gunshot wounds in the attack by the Indonesian security forces.
It followed numerous exchanges between the Liberation Army and Indonesian security forces in the region in recent months. In December, the Liberation Army claimed to have shot dead eight Indonesian troops in Intan Jaya. Indonesian police and military have been conducting numerous raids in the regency in recent weeks. Two weeks ago, Papua Police chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw said a cache of firearms had been found in a Papuan village in Tigi district of Intan Jaya regency. He told the Jakarta Post that the guns originated from East Java.

                                         West Papua Liberation Army fighters in Nduga regency. Photo: Supplied

Police said Indonesian military personnel had mobilised around the region during the Christmas period, visiting many Papuan villages, to help maintain peace. A police spokesman, AM Kamal, said the three Papuans shot last Sunday in Sugapa were attacked in an armed clash with the "armed criminal group".
But the Liberation Army claims the shots were made by a military sniper. According to Mr Sambom, West Papuans were constantly at risk due to a massive troop build-up by the Indonesian military. Rights advocates have said that villagers in Intan Jaya and Nduga regencies have reported being fired on or bombed from the air by the Indonesian military. But Mr Sambom said that the Liberation Army's leader, General Goliath Tabuni, had accepted full responsibility for attacks on Indonesian forces carried out by its divisions throughout West Papua.

Jokowi urged to withdraw troops from Papua’s Nduga
The Jakarta Post  Jakarta   February 3 2020   
Activists are calling on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to withdraw troops from the conflict-prone Nduga, Papua, and take a humanitarian approach instead.
The Indonesian Military (TNI) has maintained a strong presence in the regency since December 2018, following the killing of more than 30 workers of state-owned company Istaka Karya in the regency by an armed group linked to the Free Papua Movement (OPM). The construction workers were assigned to build a 275-kilometer section of road to connect Wamena and Mamugu as part of President Jokowi’s flagship trans-Papua road project. The killings led to a protracted security crisis in Nduga, forcing civilians to hide in forests or to seek refuge in the neighboring regency of Wamena. As many as 139 refugees had died from starvation and illness caused by poor living conditions in the shelters, as reported by the Nduga Solidarity Civil Society Coalition in July last year. The government vehemently rejected the figure and claimed that only 53 displaced people had died.

The executive director of Amnesty International, Usman Hamid, recently said that the death toll has risen to 263. “We’re not saying that the security threat was absent, but we demand a proportional approach,” Usman said at a press conference in Jakarta marking the first anniversary of the Nduga conflict on Jan. 21.
“The TNI can’t just be deployed as it is. Also, a softer approach is needed to take care of the refugees who need humanitarian help.”
“Remember that during the Abdurrahman ['Gus Dur'] Wahid presidency, the approach toward Papua was softer. The people were given welfare through proportional economic development. Without deploying any troops, peace was there and Papuan society respected Gus Dur a lot because he listened to them,” he added.

The Papua Justice and Welfare Foundation chairman, Theo Hesegem, particularly directed his attention to the deployment of nonlocal soldiers who came from outside Papua. “These nonlocal troops didn’t know anything about Nduga’s mountainous terrain; as a result their operations are ineffective. It’s better for them to retreat since their ineffectiveness only worsened the conflict,” he said. The Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) also criticized Jokowi’s militaristic approach to Nduga. “The current militaristic and security approach in Papua is not working well. Jokowi’s cultural approach campaign is nowhere to be seen in Papua,” PGI head Gomar Gultom said at the press conference. He encouraged the government to partner with the local administration, communities and civilians to bring stability to the regency. “The government needs to involve church and local leaders using the cultural approach. Like it or not, the church has a special place in society in Papua,” he added.

In August 2019, then-House of Representatives speaker Bambang Soesatyo also voiced his concern over the military presence in the region. “The tension over security measures in Nduga must be lowered so the residents don’t feel scared anymore,” he said, as quoted on the House’s official website. The situation in Nduga remained unstable until Dec. 20, 2019 when Hendrik Lokbere, the close aide of Nduga deputy regent Wentius Nimiangge, was shot dead by an unidentified perpetrator on a road in Kenyam district. Days after Hendrik’s death, Wentius publicly declared his resignation in front of locals at the regency’s Kenyam Airport. “I don’t have a position anymore. I am done. My duty is finished, along with Hendrik’s life,” he said in his speech, a video of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post. Wentius also said he had asked the central government a year ago to withdraw military and police personnel from Nduga so people could return to their villages and resume their normal lives. However, he claimed he had received no response. “We are an extension [of the central government] in the region, but we have no dignity; we are not respected,” he said, “The central government has never responded to our request.” TNI spokesperson Maj. Gen. Sisriadi defended the military presence in Nduga, saying that the soldiers had been professionally trained to protect civilians in the conflict situation. “Our Army won’t hurt civilians. The demand to retreat the Army from Nduga will further endanger the residents’ safety. There is no functional government running and the OPM is still there,” he told the Post, while declining to reveal the number of soldiers deployed in the region. (trn)

Another report on Nduga  
“West Papua: Sad plight of the Nduga internally displaced children” 

 Ndugan internally displaced children in Wamena pray for their safety and family after the volunteers bring doctors to check their health. Image: Febriana Firdaus/Voice of Papua

SPECIAL REPORT: By Arnold Belau, Ligia Giay, Febriana Firdaus and Belinda Lopez of the Voice of Papua newsletter
Everything about what happened in the Papuan provincial regency of Nduga just over a year ago is still a blur and closed off. It remains an elephant in the room, just like another mass killing case in West Papua during the 1970s. No case has been brought to justice. The killing is still happening until now. Let us start explaining what happened there by showing this map of where Nduga is located (the red loop marked Papua).............

Stop criminalization over Papuan activists and free political prisoners
Published  22 hours ago  on  12 February 2020 By  Admin1

 Seven Papuan political prisoners in Balikpapan taking a picture with a representative of Papuan People’s Assembly and their legal counsel team. – Jubi/SPC

Jayapura, Jubi – The rights of freedom of expression in the second administration period of President Joko Widodo have still in concern to human rights activists. Democracy index 2019 released by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) put the democracy in Indonesia is the category of flawed democracy with index 6.48.
“One of the factors contributing to this low rate index is control and repressive acts such as the restriction over freedom of assembly and expression. The restriction of civil movements including student’s rally, criminalization against activists, farmers and students to restriction on freedom of expression on political free choice of indigenous Papuans,” said the Deputy Director of ELSAM (Institute of Human Rights Studies and Advocacy) Andi Muttaqien in a release received by Jubi on Saturday (8/2/2020).

According to him, the restriction against the freedom of political expression of indigenous Papuans has raised an assumption that the Government of Indonesia had been placing Papuans as “the second-class citizen” who has no rights to express their political view and opinion.
“The human rights issue and conflict in Papua has endured for decades and never been solved until today. The central government seems to neglect indigenous Papuans to be minorities and marginalized in their own land. The security forces have acted repressively to any forms of the political expression of indigenous Papuans by giving them a stigma as a separatist,” he said.
Based on monitoring and documentation conducted by ELSHAM in the second quarter (August-December) of 2019, the criminalization against the Papuan political activists has increased drastically. The security forces have massively seized Papuans on many occasions. These acts have mostly ended in the arrestation and detention of Papuans.
ELSHAM’s data showed that as per 28 January 2020, there are 100 Papuan political prisoners behind bars.

Earlier, Papuan Behind Bars confirmed 26 political prisoners detained in Papua in 2018, consisted of 25 indigenous Papuans and a journalist of Poland national Jakob Skrzypski. But, the number of political prisoners in 2019 has sharply increased to 77 new prisoners who arrested in civil demonstrations during August and September 2019. The increase happened concerning the incident of racist taunts towards Papuan students on Monday, 16 August 2019.
There are also some cases against Papuan political activists which seized public attention. It includes the case against Septi Meidogda (Gempar Papua Chairman) arrested in Manokwari on 18 September 2019 and charged with Information (ITE) Law by accusing him to provoke the public on Facebook dated 17 September 2019.

Then, the case of Mispo Gwijangge who accused to murder 30 construction workers in Nduga on 2 December 2018. There are flawed aspects related to his arrest, such as he does not understand Indonesian and only speak his local dialect. Mispo is illiterate. He cannot write, read and count nor able to specify the day or date. He does not know his date of birth and his age. During the investigation, he even did not understand any questions posed by the police officers.
Next, the case involved six political prisoners Surya Anta, Charles Kossay, Dano Tabuni, Issay Wenda, Ambrosius Mulait and Ariana Elopere who currently detained at Salemba prison, Jakarta for treason because of raising the Morning Star in front of the Presidential Palace on 28 August 2019. The police arrested them two days after the rally. Currently, most political prisoners are undergoing the trial at court. However, some prisoners are now in home-detention, while others are still in prison.
“The use of treason article and ITE Law against Papuan political prisoners are exaggerated and not necessary. Therefore, each person who considered doing the treason act and brought to court should be released,” he said.

ELSHAM considers that the restriction to the rights of freedom of expression imposed by the treason article has gone beyond the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which ratified by the Indonesian Government. The detention against citizens by state because of their political view also considered violating the rights to freedom of expression and opinion in which protected by Article 28 of the 1945 Constitution and other laws.
“President Jokowi should instruct the Attorney General to immediately stop or withdraw all charges against defendants and or Papuan political prisoners who accused with treason and ITE articles,” he said.
ELSHAM also asked the Indonesian Police Chief to order his staff to use a dialogical approach and stop all forms of discrimination against Papuan activists. (*)
 Reporter: Yance Wenda Editor: Pipit Maizier

Cop testifies at Jakarta Six trial, says defendants flew Morning Star flag
Tempo – February 4, 2020
M Yusuf Manurung, Jakarta – East Jakarta Metropolitan District Police Chief Senior Commissioner Ardian Rishadi was presented as a witness by the prosecution at the trial of six Papua activists charged with treason at the Central Jakarta District Court on Monday February 3. Rishadi gave testimony about when he was watching over a protest action in the vicinity of the State Palace in Central Jakarta that was held on August 28, 2019. At the time, Rishadi still held the post of Central Jakarta Metropolitan Police Deputy Chief. He claimed to have seen the demonstrators singing songs or shouting things which went against the principal of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia or NKRI. “Papua is not the red-and-white, Papua is the Morning Star, I apologise, but that’s what I heard”, said Rishadi singing the verses that he heard being sung by the demonstrators at the rally when testifying in front of the panel of judges on Monday.

Rishadi also stated that the demonstrators brought Morning Star flags to the protest and that the symbol of the Morning Star was painted on several of the demonstrator’s faces. The symbol was also painted on the road. Rishadi claimed that he heard the defendants singing and shouting these things. He also said that the defendants made problematic speeches.
“They [said they] wanted to separate from the unitary state, and declared that Papua is not part of Indonesia. Then a referendum was also discussed”, he said.
On the question of the Morning Star symbols, one of the defendants’ lawyers took the opportunity to ask Rishadi which regulation prohibits the Morning Star flag from being flown. Rishadi however expressed the view that the lawyer was testing him and refused to answer the question.

“What’s clear is that the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia only has one flag, the red-and-white, there are no other flags”, said Rishadi, who at the time of the demonstration still held the rank of assistant superintendent of police.
The six defendants in the treason case are Paulus Suryanta Ginting, Charles Kossay, Ambrosius Mulait, Isay Wenda, Anes Tabuni and Arina Elopere. They have been indicted on two alternative articles, namely Article 106 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) in conjunction with Article 55 Paragraph 1(1) of the KUHP on makar(treason, subversion, rebellion) and Article 110 Paragraph 1 of the KUHP on criminal conspiracy.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Saat Eks Wakapolres Jakarta Pusat Bersaksi di Sidang Makar Papua”.] Source:

Court hears Red-and-White Militia leader reported Papua treason case to police
Tempo – February 4, 2020
M Yusuf Manurung, Jakarta – The name of the person who reported a case of treason to police following a Papuan demonstration in Central Jakarta on August 28, 2019 was revealed during a court hearing yesterday. The person was the Red-and-White Militia (LMP) General Chairperson Adek Erfil Manurung. “I made a report with the Metro Jaya Polda [Jakarta regional police] while it was still August 28”, said Manurung when testifying at the Central Jakarta District Court on Monday February 3. Manurung said that he made the report after he was informed by a friend that there was a flag raising action at the State Palace. Manurung then watched a video of the action on a YouTube channel belonging to the internet media group After watching the video he claimed to have felt compelled to report it to police. “For us [raising] the Morning Star is an act of separatism”, he testified.

According to Manurung, he also saw the demonstrators in the video calling for a referendum. In addition to this, there were requests for the withdrawal of the TNI (Indonesian military) from Papua. According to Manurung, the action in front of the State Palace was a movement to separate Papua from the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).
“We cannot accept those things. Because we love the NKRI”, he said.
Nevertheless, the leader of the group which once besieged the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) offices in Central Jakarta in September 2017 claimed that he could not identify any of the individual defendants in the Papua treason case from the video he watched. “It’s just we couldn’t see the people clearly”, said Manurung.

The six defendants in the treason case are Paulus Suryanta Ginting, Charles Kossay, Ambrosius Mulait, Isay Wenda, Anes Tabuni and Arina Elopere. They have been indicted on two alternative articles, namely Article 106 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) in conjunction with Article 55 Paragraph 1(1) of the KUHP on makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) and Article 110 Paragraph 1 of the KUHP on criminal conspiracy.  [Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Pimpinan Ormas Ini Lapor Kasus Makar Papua Setelah Nonton Youtube”.]

Jakarta Six’s lawyer tells court defendants acted according to the law
Tempo – January 21, 2020
M Yusuf Manurung, Jakarta – The lawyer representing six Papua defendants, Oky Wiratama Siagian, has criticised a statement by the prosecutor who said that acts of separatism disguised as free speech must be cracked down on. According to the prosecution, freedom of expression is limited and regulated under Article 28J of the 1945 Constitution. Siagian responded by stating that the limits on expressing an opinion in public are regulated under Law Number 9/1998 on Freedom of Expression. According to Siagian, his clients obeyed the stipulations of this law. “The six political prisoners submitted a written notification of the action with the Metro Jaya regional police, meaning they acted in accordance with the law”, said Siagian at the Central Jakarta District Court on Monday January 20. “If the intent of these comrades was criminal, then why did they submit a prior notification of the action [with the police]”, he continued.
The agenda for today’s hearing was to hear a response from the prosecution to a note of objection or demurrer presented earlier by the lawyers representing the Papua defendants.

The public prosecutor refuted all of the arguments in the demurrer, including the argument on the need to include Article 87 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) in the charges because the indictment is already complete with locus and tempus (time and place of an incident). Siagian then criticised the prosecutor’s reasons for this, saying that in order that the case be clear, the prosecution must include Article 87 which explains the concrete form that an act of makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) takes. It must be in conjunction with this article. Makar is an attack, correct, what was the form [of the alleged attack]”, asked Siagian.
The six defendants in the case are Paulus Suryanta Ginting, Charles Kossay, Ambrosius Mulait, Isay Wenda, Anes Tabuni and Arina Elopere. They were arrested by police for flying the Morning Star independence flag during a demonstration demanding a referendum for Papua in front of the State Palace on August 28, 2019. The prosecution has charged Suryanta and his colleagues with two alternative articles. Namely, Article 106 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) in conjunction with Article 55 Paragraph 1(1) of the KUHP on makar and Article 110 Paragraph 1 of the KUHP on criminal conspiracy.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Pengacara Kritik JPU: Aktivis Papua Sudah Beritahu Aksi ke Polisi”.]

Light sentence for racism sparked defendant Mak Susi shows racism in the courtroom
Jubi. 4 February 2020 By Admin1

Gustaf Kawer, the Chairman of the association of Papua human rights advocates (PAHAM), said through her racism taunts, Mak Susi has caused public clashes in both provinces of Papua and West Papua. -Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – Tri Susanti a.k.a Mak Susi gets twelve months sentence on Wednesday (29/1/2019). The public prosecutor from Surabaya District Prosecutors Office charges her with Article 14 verse (1) and (2) in conjunction with Article 15 Law No.1 of 1946 of the Criminal Law Code. Gustaf Kawer, the Chairman of the association of Papua human rights advocates (PAHAM), said through her racism taunts, Mak Susi has caused public clashes in both provinces of Papua and West Papua. Although Mak Susi is legally and convincedly proven to commit a crime as covered in those relevant articles of the Criminal Law Code, the prosecutor Mohamad Nizar only accuses her of twelve months punishment from the maximum sentence that she might get.

Article 14 Verse 1 says a maximum sentence for defendants is ten years, whereas Verse 2 says three years. Meanwhile, Article 15 says defendants could get a maximum of 2 years in prison. However, the prosecutor only charges her for twelve months. “He charges for the minimum. Indeed, it is the minimum punishment. In my opinion, it does not fair referring to she has done and its impact on the public. The prosecutor should charge her with the maximum punishment,” said Kawer. According to him, the application of Law No. 1 of 1946 is very much outdated, despite it can also show how ignorant the prosecutor towards justice. “This law has established since the colonialization era with some adjustment to the current situation. Why does it still be used? It is an easy option for them to use,” said Kawer. Moreover, Kawer argues that because of the widespread impact of her taunts, it caused demonstrations and mass riot, dead victims as well as dozens of indigenous Papuans get arrested in Balik Papan, Jakarta and other towns in Papua. The sentence over Mak Susi, according to him, should be the maximum to bring a sense of justice to the victims. Kawer also assumes Mak Susi will have a light sentence for less than twelve months.
In the case of another defendant Syamsul Arifin, a civil servant who shouted racism expression in the incident occurred at Papuan Student Dormitory in Surabaya in last August, he sentenced 5 months in prison on Thursday (30/1/2020). His sentence is lighter than the prosecutor’s charge of 8 months. Syamsul charged with Article 16 of Law No. 40/2008 on the Elimination of Discrimination, Race and Ethnic. “From this process, we should be aware that racism has not happened in public. But on the last 16 August, we can see that racism also occurred in law enforcement. From the police, prosecutors to judges in the court, they do it through such articles,” said Kawer.

By contrast, he saw different treatment occurred in Papua. For example, the police arrested the perpetrators in Papua only one day after the incident happened, but they got Mak Susi two months later. Related to this issue, Kawer asks all political elites and civil authorities in Papua to aware of the racism issue. It is time for all parties to fight racism, especially when it happens in law enforcement institutions. “If not, it would turn to human rights violation because it occurs in massive and structured ways. While we focus on its impacts, the perpetrator who triggered the incident can go easily. Furthermore, we do not have support from law enforcement,” he said. For him, the racism incident that occurred in mid-August 2019 should be a momentum for Indonesia to change, to ensure that there would not be racism acts towards Papuans or others in this country. “Unfortunately, we just wasted this momentum. As a result, racism will continue. We should pay attention to it and must We must agree that it is time to stop racism. People, law enforcement officers, the government must stop racial discrimination against indigenous Papuans or anyone in this country.” (*) Reporter: Angela Flassy Editor: Pipit Maizier

Lawyers question commitment over Papuan political prisoners’ right
Jubi 27 January 2020 By Admin1

                              Three of seven Papuan political prisoners. – Jubi/Piter Lokon

Nabire, Jubi – The Papua Coalition for Law Enforcement and Human Rights urges the attorney general to fulfil the right of health for seven political prisoners detained in Balikpapan, Kalimantan Timur and consider it as a neglection of the prisoners’ rights. “We release this statement after one of our clients experienced vomiting blood. He had an internal disease issue,” said the Coordinator Emanuel Gobay on Friday (24/1/2020). The coalition team asks the Papuan Attorney General’s commitment to providing the right of health to the prisoners as previously promised. It never occurred. Indeed, the Attorney General has neglected their family’s right to visit. “If the seven detainees were in Papua, of course, their family can come to visit and find an alternative for health treatment.
Therefore, Gobay urges the Attorney General of Papua to recall the seven political prisoners to Jayapura. He said the security issue is no longer relevant as a reason to allocate their trial outside of Papua. “It is unfair (for the seven detainees) referred that all the trial hearings of anti-racism case held in Papua. All those trials are going well and safe,” asserted Gobay. Meanwhile, a coalition member Oktovianus Tabuni added that in principle the seven political prisoners are respecting their legal process. However, they want to have their trial in Papua. “The principle of a trial is to have a timely and low-cost process. Do not let it (the trial) float up like what has been happening now,” said Tabuni. (*) Reporter: Titus Ruban Editor: Pipit Maizier

Indonesian Army Deploys 700 Additional Soldiers to West Papua
Translator: Ricky Mohammad Nugraha   
Editor: Petir Garda Bhwana  12 February 2020 
TEMPO.COJakarta - The Indonesian Army (TNI AD) has officially deployed 700 military personnel to fill a number of ‘preparation military commands’ (Koramil) freshly established across the West Papua region.  This was announced by the Army Deputy Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Tatang Sulaiman in his visit to the XVIII/Kasuari military district command (Kodam) in Manokwari. His presence at the location was also to brief the soldiers who were freshly deployed to the region.  In his speech to the soldiers present; “You are all now in Indonesia’s most-eastern region. Strengthen your willingness to commit to the task. You will find many experiences here. First and foremost, understand the local Papuan customs and meet local people,” said Tatang. Tatang also encouraged the soldiers in the Manokwari Koramil, which is at its third year of operation, by accentuating the country’s appreciation toward the 700 under operational control (BKO) soldiers tasked at the new military commands from promotions up to assignment pay. 
Prior to the additional troops, the 3-year old military command’s personnel fulfillment was at 39 percent capacity. These Indonesian Army soldiers will spend one year in West Papua

West Papua, KontraS Condemns Deployment of 700 Troops
Translator:   Ricky Mohammad Nugraha Editor: Petir Garda Bhwana
13 February 2020 
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) deputy coordinator, Feri Kusuma, disapproves of the government’s decision in mobilizing additional Indonesian Army troops (TNI AD) to a military district command (Koramil) in West Papua.  Feri argues that this move asserts that the Indonesian government lacks new breakthroughs in helping solve the Papua issue.  “Uninnovative. The government is further establishing its security approach [for Papua]. This old strategy will certainly worsen the condition regarding human rights in Papua,” said Feri to Tempo on Wednesday. 
Feri argues that the mass mobilization of army troops will do nothing to fix the situation in the region that often heats up. The presence of a new military district command will also intensify local tension.  “What should be done [by the government] is to pull all security troops from Papua and put forth peaceful dialogue,” said Feri.  Reported on Wednesday, the Indonesian Army (TNI AD) officially deployed 700 military personnel to fill a number of ‘preparation military commands’ (Koramil) freshly established in West Papua.  EGI ADYATAMA

Civil groups sue government over Papua internet ban
Marchio Irfan Gorbiano The Jakarta Post Jakarta, January 22, 2020   

Papuan students under the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) rally to commemorate Dec. 1, the day pro-independence activists regard as Papuan independence day, on Dec. 2 in Yogyakarta. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)

Civil society groups have accused the government of misconduct in its decision to restrict internet access in restive Papua last year as part of efforts to contain the spread of hoaxes, according to a lawsuit filed at the Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN). The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) is suing President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and the Communications and Information Ministry over the internet access restriction imposed in Papua and West Papua between August and September last year. Government officials argued that the move was taken to prevent the spread of hoaxes following incidents of racial abuse suffered by Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, which had heightened tensions in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces.

In their lawsuit, which was read by presiding judge Nelvy Christin, the plaintiffs asked the court’s panel of justices to declare the defendants’ actions unlawful and to order the government to refrain from imposing similar measures in the future, as well as paying the plaintiff’s fees incurred by the case. “The government’s policy to extend the internet blackout […] was an act against the law [carried out] by government bodies and/or government officials. The acts of the defendants were flawed in their authority, procedure and substance,” said Nelvy in Jakarta on Wednesday. The government throttled back internet access in parts of Papua and West Papua on Aug. 19, 2019 between 1 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. local time, shortly after the incident in Surabaya, according to the lawsuit. It went on to impose a full blackout between Aug. 21 and Sept. 4, affecting 29 cities and regencies in Papua and 13 cities and regencies in West Papua.
“As a result of the actions the defendants, journalists in Papua and West Papua could not go about their daily jobs of meeting the public’s right to information because of the lack of or limited internet access,” Nelvy said. The AJI and SAFEnet said in the lawsuit that they considered the internet blackout to have violated stipulations set out in, among other pieces of legislation, the 1999 Human Rights Law and the 1999 Press Law. Only legal representatives from the Communications and Information Ministry attended the hearing on Wednesday, President Jokowi was not represented at the hearing. In its defense statement, the ministry said that the decision to limit internet access in Papua and West Papua was made within the existing law and carried out according to principles of good governance. “The defendants emphasized in their petition that their acts […] were not acts against the law because they were in line with regulations and the principles of good governance,” Nelvy said, reading the ministry’s response to the plaintiff’s lawsuit.

The ministry also filed an exception, arguing that the plaintiffs did not have an interest in the lawsuit and therefore did not have legal standing in the case.
The hearing was adjourned on Wednesday and scheduled to resume on Jan. 29 to hear the arguments from representatives of President Jokowi. Indonesian Legal Aid Institute Foundation (YLBHI) head of advocacy Muhammad Isnur – who represents the plaintiffs in the case – said after the hearing that the plaintiffs also included their respective track records in advocating the rights of the press and therefore had proper legal standing in the case. The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) deputy coordinator of advocacy Putri Kanesia – who also represents the plaintiffs – said the case served as an important lesson for the government to act in accordance with principles of accountability in their policy of restricting internet access. “When the government said [the internet blackout] was imposed to avoid the spreading of hoaxes in Papua, it meant journalists in Papua were not able to provide clear information to the public, not only those in Papua but also wider Indonesian citizens who are entitled to their right to access correct information on the situation in Papua,” said Putri. She added that hopefully the government would refrain from unilaterally restricting or throttling internet access in the name of containing the spread of hoaxes without providing accountability and transparency to the public

Man carrying bullets in Biak gets four years sentence
Jubi. 31 January 2020 By Admin1
 Jayapura, Jubi – The panel of judges at the Biak District Court, Papua, convict thirty years old defendant Imanuel Wayeni who carried sixty-four pieces of 5.65-millimetre ammunition from Jayapura to Biak with four years in prison. The judges read the verdict against Wayeni in a hearing trial held on Monday (27/1/2020). His sentence is lighter than previously charged by the prosecutor to five years sentence.

The defendant’s lawyer Imanuel Rumayom said the panel of judges give his client seven days to consider whether he will accept or summon the sentence to the High Court in Jayapura. However, Rumayom said he would challenge it after discussing it with his client.
“In our point of view, the Emergency Law no. 12 of 1951 about the ownership of ammunition and sharp weapon as accused by the prosecutor is a rubber article which commonly used to arrest indigenous Papuans,” Rumayom told Jubi via his cellphone on Monday (27/1/2020).
According to him, his client repeatedly stated to the judges that someone set him a trap. “From the start, from the investigation by police to the Court’s trial, we have asked (the authorities) to investigate the owner of these bullets,” he said.

Regarding this, he explained that when his client was at Jayapura Port to Biak, someone gave him a package to carry. His client did not know if it contained ammunition. Moreover, he said the defendant’s statement already proven in the Court. “The prosecutor also has not been able to prove where did the ammunition come. But, due to a relevant article in the Emergency Law about the bullet’s carrier, it is so relatable to the defendant, although we are sure it did not belong to him,” he said. Imanuel Wayeni was arrested by Biak Numfor Police at Biak Port on 4 September 2019 while en route from Jayapura City to Serui, Yapen Islands Regency on the passenger ship KM Ciremai. At that time, the Police Chief of Biak Numfor Mada Indra Laksanta said that beside dozens of bullets, the police also seized a bayonet, camouflage pants, a camouflage shirt with Star-Flag emblem, a camouflage jacket, a camouflage hat and a pair of black shoes. “He was arrested in the police raid at Biak Port when passengers of KM Ciremai arrived from Jayapura at around 06.30 a.m. Papua time on Wednesday (4/9),” said Police Chief Laksanta. (*)   Reporter: Arjuna Pademme   Editor: Pipit Maizier

Indonesia Rebels Say They Took Weapons From Crashed Chopper
By The Associated Press
Feb. 15, 2020, 1:23 a.m. ET

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Rebels in Indonesia's Papua province said Saturday they had seized weapons and ammunition from a military helicopter that crashed eight months ago in jungle-covered mountains. 
The cause of the crash that killed a dozen soldiers on board the Russian-made Mi-17 remains under investigation. The soldiers' remains were retrieved on Saturday, after villagers found the wreckage last week. 
Sebby Sambom, a spokesman for the West Papua National Liberation Army, the military wing of the Free Papua Movement, told The Associated Press that they had located the wreckage in September and managed to seize weapons and ammunition in December. "It has become our target and natural forces had helped us to take it down," Sambom said, "Their weapons are a treasure trove of our struggle.”

Photos sent by Sambom from the wreckage site showed several assault rifles, pistols, magazines and a large cache of ammunition next to a flag of the West Papua's independence movement, the Morning Star.
Papua military chief Maj. Gen. Herman Asaribab acknowledged that 11 weapons —seven SS-1 assault rifles, three pistols and a grenade launcher — had been stolen from the crash site. But he denied the rebels claim, saying the weapons might have been taken by hunters and “we will approach them to return all the 11 weapons immediately." The helicopter lost contact five minutes after takeoff from Oksibil, the capital of the district of Bintang Mountain on June 28. It was traveling to the provincial capital, Jayapura. The helicopter was taking troops and supplies to a border post in Okbibab near Papua New Guinea and had refueled at Oksibil before it was reported missing by the control tower, the military said.

Flying is the only practical way of accessing many areas in the mountain and jungle-clad easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua where an insurgency has simmered since the early 1960s, when Indonesia annexed the region that was a former Dutch colony.  Papua was formally incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a U.N.-sponsored ballot that was seen as a sham by many.

Opinion pieces/reports/media releases etc.

Latest report  on the West Papua human rights and conflict situation by the International Coalition for Papua

The Vanishing Tribes / Crying Freedom project is proud to announce a totally redesigned website to dazzle and inspire. is a website that provides facts and evidence for the illustrated story Crying Freedom: Heroic tales from the unstoppable nation of West Papua, which was created as a commemoration of 50 years of peaceful protest in Papua. The purpose of both the website and the eBook are to present a more truthful perspective on history, and to generate global interest and support for a chronically under-reported struggle.

How the world failed West Papua in its campaign for independence

NZ has stuck up for the rights of the small before. Today, West Papua needs us

Hip-hop: a missed opportunity

Scientists in Indonesia fear political interference
After living and working in Indonesia for about 15 years, French landscape ecologist David Gaveau suddenly left the country on 28 January. Indonesian immigration authorities had ordered Gaveau, a research associate with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Bogor, on Java, to leave because of a visa violation.

The four compass points of Australia–Indonesia relations 

Storms brewing: Pacific outlook for 2020

As a new decade dawns much of the Pacific is grappling with major upheavals from climate and health crises to political disruption and self-determination struggles. RNZ Pacific's Jamie Tahana and Johnny Blades look at the state of play across the region's countries and territories and what's on the cards for 2020.

Obituary James Dunn
Campaigner for East Timor during Indonesian occupation
James Dunn, who died on January 31 at the age of 92, was similarly unruffled by heated attacks and official freezes when, as an isolated official, he stood up against Australia’s foreign policy establishment over its endorsement of Indonesia’s invasion and annexation of East Timor.

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