West Papua Report
This is the 38th in a series of monthly reports that focus on
developments affecting Papuans. This reporting series is produced by
the West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) drawing on media accounts, other
NGO assessments and analysis and reporting from sources within West
Papua. The West Papua Advocacy Team is a non-profit organization.
U.S. Congressman Eni Faleomavaega Barred from Visiting West
As the July edition of the West Papua Report was being finalized
for publication, we learned that the Indonesian government has
reneged on its invitation to U.S. Congressman Eni Faleomavaega to
visit West Papua. A government spokesperson claimed the visit was
canceled over fears that it could provoke riots. The Indonesian
government has offered no evidence for this purported concern. In
fact Papuans were preparing a warm welcome for this consistent
champion of human rights in West Papua.
For over one year the Indonesian government has engaged in a
massive international propaganda campaign aimed at convincing
critics that its policies in West Papua are benign. Its refusal to
allow Congressman Faleomavaega to see the situation for himself
speaks volumes about the mendacity of the Indonesian propaganda
campaign and about the urgent need for the international community
to address the plight of Papuans.
U.S. Congress Demands Indonesian Military Accountability for
Human Rights Crimes in West Papua and Elsewhere
On June 22, the U.S. House of Representatives renewed its past
statements of concern about human right abuse and corruption in the
Indonesian military (TNI). Specifically, it inserted requirements
into legislation funding U.S. assistance to the Indonesian military
that demand military reform and accountability. Several provisions
in the Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2764) require
reporting on progress in these areas prior to the release of certain
military assistance funds. The provisions include reporting on the
impact of U.S. assistance on Indonesian security forces and any
connections between US assistance and human rights violations by
The bill would cut the administration's request for Foreign
Military Finance (FMF) funds nearly in half from $15.7 million to $8
million and would delay the release of $2 million of those funds
until the State Department reports on "steps taken by the
Government of Indonesia" to prosecute and punish, "in a manner
proportional to the crime," members of the Armed Forces who have
been credibly alleged to have committed gross violations of human
rights; cooperation with "civilian judicial authorities and
international efforts to resolve cases of gross violations of human
rights in East Timor and elsewhere"; and military reforms "to
increase the transparency and accountability of their operations and
In addition to reflecting the U.S. Congress's exasperation with the
continued failure of the Indonesian military to end corruption,
submit to civilian direction and end human rights abuses, the
U.S. Congress also renewed expressions of concern about developments in
West Papua. Among these, the legislation would delay provision of
International Military Education and Training (IMET) until the
Secretary of State reports on steps taken by Indonesia to "to deny
promotion to and to remove from service military officers indicted
for serious crimes." This provision reflects growing concern in
Congress and elsewhere that Jakarta continues to promote those
indicted for war crimes. For example, Colonel Burhanuddin Siagian,
regional military commander in West Papua, recently threatened to
"destroy" any Papuans seeking their political rights. He has been
twice indicted for crimes against humanity by the U.N.-supported
serious crimes court in East Timor. The congressional initiative
also renewed calls for West Papua to be opened to unimpeded travel
by U.N. and diplomatic personnel, journalists, researchers, and
non-governmental organization personnel.
The U.S. Senate has yet to take up its version of the Foreign
Operations Appropriations Bill. Before becoming law, any differences
between the House and Senate bills must be reconciled.
UN Human Rights Official Visits West Papua And Expresses
Concern Over Human Rights There
A June 12 U.N. report described the visit earlier in June of the
Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Hina Jilani, on the
situation of human rights defenders in West Papua. The report,
issued by the Secretary-General's office, noted that the purpose of
the June 5-7 visit was to assess the situation of human rights
defenders in the light of the principles set forth in the
Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the United Nations
General Assembly in 1998. During the mission, the Special
Representative visited Jayapura in West Papua. The visit was
important and welcome as Jakarta has heretofore often blocked visits
by U.N. and other human rights-focus people to West Papua.
In general, the Special Representative observed that prospects
for the promotion of human rights had considerably improved in the
recent past. She also, however, observed shortcomings including a
lack of interagency cooperation and coordination among institutions
created to address human rights concerns. She also described
resistance to changing attitudes and institutional culture which has
made it difficult for these institutions to make a full commitment
to eliminate impunity for human rights violations. She observed that
there was "even less commitment to removing impunity for past
abuses." In this context, she said she was mindful of the several
cases she has communicated to the government in the past six years
on which there is still no progress.
The Special Representative was particularly concerned by
developments in West Papua on which the June 12 report focused:
"The Special Representative is deeply concerned by the
testimonies that she has heard indicating the continuing activities
of the police, the military and other security and intelligence
agencies that are aimed at harassment and intimidation of defenders
or to restrict their access to victims and to sites of human rights
"She found this trend more pronounced in the Province of West
Papua. She has heard credible reports of incidents that involve
arbitrary detention, torture, harassment through surveillance,
interference with the freedom of movement and in defenders' efforts
to monitor and investigate human rights violations. She was also
informed of cases where human rights defenders were threatened with
prosecution by members of the police and the military. It was
alleged that when defenders have attempted to register their
complaints, this has been denied and the defenders threatened. She
is also concerned about complaints that defenders working for the
preservation of the environment and the right over land and natural
resources frequently receive threats from private actors with
powerful economic interest, but are granted no protection by the
police. She is particularly disturbed by allegations that when
defenders expose abuse of authority or other forms of human rights
violations committed by the security apparatus, they are labeled as
separatists in order to undermine their credibility. The Special
Representative believes that this trend places human rights
defenders at greater risk and must be discouraged by the concerned
"The concerns of the Special Representative regarding the
situation of human rights defenders in West Papua persist despite
the assurance to her by the Military Commander and the Chief of
police in Papua that there was no institutional policy to target
defenders. She has recommended improvement in the mechanisms in
order to ensure more credible oversight and accountability of
police, the military and the intelligence apparatus. She has also
recommended the creation of special complaint cells for registering
and redressing incidents of harm or threats to human rights
The Special Representative will present her report on this
mission to the United Nations Human Rights Council, and will make
detailed recommendations for the consideration of the government.
She called for a sustained dialogue with the Indonesian government,
and expressed hope that there would be "more uniform progress on the
protection of human rights defenders in all parts of the country".
Papuans Rally to Win UN Support for Political Rights
An Agence France Press (AFP) report noted that hundreds of people
rallied June 8 in West Papua, to urge the U.N. to press Jakarta to
overturn a 1969 referendum that Jakarta uses to justify its
annexation of West Papua. The rally transpired during a visit by U.N.
envoy Hina Jilani (see separate reports above regarding the U.N.
official's visit). The demonstrators called on the U.N. to reconsider
the 1969 "Act of Free Choice" in which 1,022 Papuans, chosen by the
Indonesian Government and operating under military pressure "voted
unanimously" for annexation. Independent international observers,
including U.N. monitors, have labeled the act a sham and a fraud as do
recently declassified U.S. and U.N. documents.
"We urge the United Nations to accept the Papuan people's
aspiration to review the Act of Free Choice," rally organizer Jek
Wanggai told AFP by phone. "The United Nations must register Papuan
areas as colonized zones and organize an immediate referendum vote,"
Wanggai said. According to the AFP report, Wanggai said about 900
people took part in the rally in Manokwari, located 500 miles from
the provincial capital Jayapura, where U.N. Special Representative Jilani was meeting with officials. Wanggai called on her to meet
representatives of his movement while in West Papua. "We no longer
believe in the corrupt Indonesian justice system and hope an
international court will deal with human rights violations in
Papua," he said.
Wanggai's comments and actions place him in danger. A senior
Indonesian military official in West Papua who was indicted by the
U.N.-supported Special Crimes Unit publicly threatened to "destroy"
Papuans who spoke out for their rights, including political rights
(see separate report in June edition of the West Papua Report). The
following report documents security force pressure on Papuans in
the wake of the U.N. official's visit.
Papuans Face Threats and Intimidation in Wake of UN Official's
On June 28 the Asian Human Rights Commission issued an "urgent
appeal" on behalf of Papuan human rights defenders who have been
targeted by the Indonesian security forces and intelligence units in
the wake of a visit by a UN human rights official to West Papua (see
In its appeal, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said it
received "credible" information of ongoing attacks, intimidation,
surveillance and threats, including death threats, against human
rights defenders from West Papua, which occurred in mid-June 2007,
following their meeting with Ms. Hina Jilani, the UN Special
Representative to the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders."
The appeal stated that members of the Indonesian military (TNI)
appeared to be targeting people who met with Ms. Hina Jilani during
her visit. The appeal added that although a formal letter has been
issued to the chief of the national police and the regional military
commander of Papua province, no action had been taken by the
authorities and that the defenders continue to feel threatened while
conducting their work.
The appeal cited the following cases:
The first case reported involves two persons: Frederika Korain
and priest Perinus Kogoya. They all work for the Peace and Justice
Commission for the Diocese of Jayapura (SKP Jayapura). They attended
a public hearing with Ms. Hina Jilani in Jakarta on June 7, 2007.
They returned to Jayapura on June 8, 2007. Sentani airport, where
their plane landed, was being heavily guarded by the police,
military and intelligence services, as Ms. Hina Jilani was scheduled
to visit Papua. As their vehicle departed Sentani airport they were
rammed by a vehicle bearing a police license plate. As a result of
the crash, the SKP car was damaged and the passengers were in shock.
The SKP driver attempted to stop the car that hit them, at which
point two men got out of the car and stated that they were
intelligence commanders for the military regional command. The
police, who saw the entire incident, allowed them to leave the scene
of accident without being questioned. Local groups believe that this
incident was no accident, but was for the direct purpose of
intimidating the two defenders, notably as they had been being
followed by the same car since they had left the airport.
The second case involves Yan Christian Warinussy, the Executive
Director of the Institute of Research, Analysis and Development for
Legal Aid (LP3BH) in Manokwari, who has reported that he is under
surveillance both at his home and office. On June 8, 2007, Mr.
Warinussy met with Ms. Hina Jilani in Jayapura, and he came back to
Manokwari on June 9, 2007. Beginning that evening he was placed
under surveillance from a vehicle both at home and at his office.
Mr. Warinussy requested protection from the Peace Brigade
International (PBI) and asked its members to accompany him from
Friday June 15, 2007 onwards.
The third case concerns Mr. Albert Rumbekwan, the head of the
National Human Rights Commission (Komnas Ham) in Papua Province. On
June 11, 2007, Albert received a text message stating: "You who are
reporting about the human rights situation in Papua are trying to
destroy the people. You want evidence of people being killed, I will
kill your tribe, your family and your children will become only
bones to show that there is only a zone of peace in Papua." On June
14, 2007, Mr. Albert Rumbekwan received five more text messages from
the same number, again containing death threats. At around 8am on
the same day, unidentified persons parked three cars some 20 meters
from Mr. Albert Rumbekwan's office. The perpetrators were shouting,
allegedly to get Mr. Albert Rumbekwan to come outside and see them,
but he ignored them, as a result of which they remained in the area
and monitored his offices until around 4pm. These SMS threats have
continued as have surveillance.
The Commission for Disappeared Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras)
has already issued complaint letters concerning the three
aforementioned cases to the Chief of Police for the Province of
Papua (Kapolda Papua), the Regional Military Commander of Trikora,
the Chief of National Police (Kapolri), the Foreign Affairs Minister
of Indonesia, and the Head of Komnas HAM in Jakarta. However, no
effective action has yet been taken to investigate these incidents.
Papuan Prisoner of Conscience Beaten for Revealing Guards'
Reliable reporting from inside West Papua indicates that in June,
Filep Karma, recognized by Amnesty International and other human
rights organizations as a "political prisoner" and prisoner of
conscience" was attacked by guards in June as a consequence of his
reporting of criminality by local guards.
On June 12, 2007, TOP TV (Papuan Local TV), Cenderawasih Post and
Papua Post (newspapers) published Filep Karma's report about
violence and extortion which are being committed by Indonesian
prison officers. He reported that the prison officers received
bribes and stole the prison's tools and equipment which were used by
prisoners for training and practical activities. He reported that
the prison officers took them and used them as their personal
belongings. In addition, he reported a list of names of the
prisoners who have bribed prison officers and who are now
enjoying freedom outside the prison.
As a result of Filep Karma's report which was published by the
media, two prison officers dragged him by the collar of his shirt.
As a result of their action his shirt was torn, his feet were
injured and both his backbone and his coccyx (tailbone), which was
injured when he was arrested in 2004, are now very painful again.
Until the publication of Filep Karma's report, he had twice
weekly health checks. Prison authorities ended this practice
following publication of the report sourced from Karma.
International Groups Expose Criminal Past of TNI Officer Now
Issuing Threats against Papuans
On June 28, at least 30 Papuan, Indonesian and international human rights
organizations called attention to the presence in West Papua of
a senior Indonesian army officer indicted on crimes against humanity
charges in East Timor (now Timor-Leste). The groups underscored that
the officer's presence in West Papua endangers human rights
defenders and political activists and is a sign of the Indonesian
government's lack of commitment to justice and accountability.
In an open letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
the organizations called for Col. Burhanuddin Siagian, commander of
the Jayapura sub-regional military command (Korem 172) in Papua, to
be withdrawn immediately and suspended from active duty. They urged
the Indonesian government to review all evidence against Col.
Siagian and other high-level East Timor suspects to determine
whether proceedings should be commenced and to extradite to East
Timor those indicted by Dili's Special Panel for Serious Crimes.
"It is shocking that a government supposedly committed to military
reform and fighting impunity would appoint an indicted officer to a
sensitive senior post in Papua." said Paula Makabory, the exiled
coordinator of the International Human Rights Campaign for the
Papuan rights group, ELSHAM, in a media release on June 28. "Papuans will continue to have their
rights trampled on until the civilian authorities exert control over
military behavior and ensure accountability for past abuses," she
As reported in the June issue of the West Papua Report, Siagian
publicly threatened to "destroy" anyone who "betrays" Indonesia. His
threat was targeted at those Papuans demanding their political
rights. His statements ominously echoed statements he made when
serving as Maliana as military commander of the Bobonaro district of
East Timor in 1999. Two indictments issued in 2003 state that he
made speeches threatening to kill East Timorese independence
supporters and was responsible for the deaths of seven men in April
The organizations in their letter underscored that Papuans who
campaign peacefully are not betraying Indonesia as alleged by Col.
Siagian, but simply asserting their right to express their political
views. They called upon President Yudhoyono to show his commitment
to freedom of expression and support this right.
The organizations concluded their letter as follows: "We are
dismayed by Indonesia's lack of respect for the rule of law and its
apparent determination to perpetuate a cycle of impunity that
encourages military personnel to believe they will escape justice
for past and future violations of human rights," said Matthew
Jamieson Secretary of the Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human
Rights in Australia. "Indonesia has failed to keep its obligations
under international law and Indonesian domestic law to prosecute Col
Siagian for his alleged crimes."
Indonesian Government in West Papua Replicating Infamous East
Reliable accounts from West Papua indicate that Indonesian agents
are suborning Papuans along the lines of efforts in East Timor a
decade ago, aimed at creating pro-Jakarta elements in support of a
propaganda campaign. As with militia and pro-Jakarta Timorese, those
recruited will wear T-shirts printed with pro-integration logo's.
More ominously, Indonesian security officials will train these
recruits to "defend" Indonesia against "separatists." Similar
militias in East Timor and Aceh were employed by the military and
police to terrorize local critics of Jakarta. It is not clear
whether these Papuan militias will be armed, although in the past,
the Indonesian military had armed migrant-based units, raising