This is the 52nd in a series of monthly
reports that focus on developments affecting Papuans This
series is produced by the non-profit West Papua Advocacy
Team (WPAT) drawing on media accounts, other NGO assessments
and analysis and reporting from sources within West Papua.
This report is co-published by the East Timor and Indonesian
Action Network (ETAN) Back issues are posted online at
http://etan.org/issues/wpapua/default.htm Questions regarding this report can be addressed to Edmund
McWilliams at email@example.com.
40 Members of U.S. Congress Force Look at
Justice in West Papua in the Cases of AI Prisoners of
Conscience Filip Kamra and Yusuf Pakage
New Report Reveals Evidence of TNI Role
in 2002 Murders of U.S. and Indonesian Civilians and U.S.
Indicted War Criminal Removed From Post
in West Papua ... and Promoted
Police Killing of Peaceful Papuan
Protester Draws International Protest and Calls for
Human Rights Victims' Families in West
Papua Meet to Discuss the Absence of Justice
Papuan Tribal Chief to Sue Freeport over
U.S. Court Action Regarding Exxon-Mobil
Collusion with TNI Could Expose Freeport to Court Action
UK Environmental Justice
Group Urges UK
Government to Press for Ecological Justice and Human
Rights Protection in West Papua
Local Papuan Community Points to Central
Government's Violation of "Special Autonomy" in Awarding
40 Members of U.S. Congress Force Look at Justice in
On July 29, 40 members of the
U.S. Congress, in support of
an initiative by Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI),
signed a letter to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono which called attention to injustice
in West Papua. Specifically, members of the U.S. Congress
asked President Yudhoyono to free imprisoned Papuan rights advocates
Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage.
The letter prompted intense criticism from various
Indonesian politicians, many of whom
mis-portrayed the letter as an assault on Indonesian
sovereignty and territorial integrity.
None addressed the persistent security force abuse of
prisoners documented by the United Nations or the serial impunity accorded security
forces involved in human rights
abuse, also documented in UN reporting and by the U.S.
State Department in its annual
human rights report.
Ultimately, the Indonesian Government chose largely to
dismiss the letter, assigning responsibility for a response to the Indonesian Embassy
Dino Jalal, spokesperson for the President told the
media that the members of Congress who signed the letter
did not understand Indonesian issues and that "we’ve had
our fill of such incidents." Jalal in 1999 served as
spokesperson for the infamous military-sponsored
Timorese militias that wrecked havoc in East Timor after
the Timorese people voted for independence from
Amnesty International USA, East Timor and
Indonesia Action Network (ETAN), and the West Papua Advocacy
a joint statement on August 19, responding to the criticism.
The letter is about universally recognized human
rights and therefore it is appropriate and even required
that those rights be addressed by members of the global
community, such as the United States Congress, without
dismissing these legitimate concerns as merely
Given efforts to misrepresent the letter, the West Papua
Report here presents the full text of the letter:
Dear President Yudhoyono:
We the undersigned members of the U.S. Congress respectfully call to your attention the cases of Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage who, in May 2005, were convicted and sentenced for their involvement in the legitimate and peaceful exercise of their freedom of expression in Abepura, Papua on December 1, 2004. Amnesty International has declared the two 'prisoners of conscience.'
We also call your attention to reports by reputable sources that Mr. Karma was beaten by the police following his arrest. There are also reliable reports that police at the scene of the demonstration beat a human rights defender who sought to photograph the
violent police action against peaceful demonstrators.
The unjust imprisonment of Mr. Karma and Mr. Pakage
occurs in the context of a crackdown on Papuan human rights defenders, which has included general
public threats by senior military officials and intimidation directed at individuals by anonymous
figures. This campaign of threats and intimidation has targeted Papuans who met with and gave testimony
about human rights abuse to a senior UN human rights representative when she visited Papua at your
government's invitation in June 2007.
We urge you to take action to ensure the immediate and
unconditional release of Mr. Karma and Mr. Pakage. Any security officials who mistreated Mr. Karma or
who may have employed inappropriate force against peaceful demonstrators should be prosecuted. Such
steps would be an important indicator that Indonesia,
as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, takes its
international obligations to fully respect universally
recognized human rights.
In accordance with all applicable rules and regulations,
we thank you for your attention to this matter.
New Evidence of Indonesian Military Involvement in
Murder of Americans; Bush Administration Helped Cover-up
A new report accuses the Indonesian military (TNI) of
being behind the murder of two United States school teachers and an Indonesian colleague and the
wounding of eight others near Timika in West Papua in August of 2002. It also presents evidence that the
Bush Administration ignored evidence of the TNI's
The report, which appeared in the peer-reviewed South
East Asia Research Journal, said military agents had helped organize an ambush that killed three staff of
giant Freeport McMoRan near its massive Grasberg gold
and copper mine.
On the basis of findings presented in the article,
reform elements within Indonesia's security forces are
calling for the leadership to prosecute soldiers involved in the
2002 murder. "At this time it is unclear if a new
Indonesian investigation will commence," said Dr. Eben Kirksey, an
anthropologist and co-author of the article. Dr. Kirksey
is also a member of the West Papua Advocacy Team.
Indonesian courts, in a badly flawed court process,
sentenced seven Papuan villagers of the murders. Among those convicted was the alleged ring leader,
Antonius Wamang, a guerilla fighter in Papua's
independence movement who also had ties to the TNI. Dr. Kirksey has
dismissed the credibility of the courts. He observed
that "three of the (jailed) men weren't even at the scene but
had confessions extracted after the FBI detained them
and handed them over to Indonesian authorities."
Human rights advocates and others who have researched
the incident on the ground have long argued that the FBI failed to pursue evidentiary lines that pointed to
Indonesian military (TNI) involvement which would have
complicated plans by the U.S. Administration to resume military to
military engagement with the TNI.
Anthropologist Kirksey, noted that while it had been
widely reported that the Indonesian military was involved, the new report for the first time identifies
the probable field agent who actually set up the
Over the years following the murders, analysts presented
several possible motives that would explain why agents
would target U.S. civilians. Chief among those was that
the TNI was seeking to extort more money from Freeport
McMoRan which pays the TNI for security. The murders
were carried out shortly after Freeport McMoran had
begun significant reductions in the amount of money it
paid to the TNI.
The report accuses the
U.S. Government of participating in
a cover up, specifically naming senior U.S. officials including the
U.S. Secretary of State and the
Attorney-General. Dr. Kirksey noted that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a Senate
hearing there was no evidence of Indonesian military involvement, even though the FBI possessed such
information at the time.
The article, titled "Criminal Collaborations: Antonius
Wamang and the Indonesian Military in Timika", draws on over 2,000 pages of Indonesian-language courtroom
documents, recently declassified U.S. State Department
cables, and over 50 interviews. The full article is
available through university libraries and can be
New Study Links Indonesian
to 2002 Murder of U.S. Schoolteachers
Indicted War Criminal Out of West Papua, But Promoted
Instead of Prosecuted
Following mounting international calls for his removal,
Colonel Burahanuddin Siagian, indicted for crimes against humanity in East Timor in 1999, has finally been
removed from his post as regional military commander in West Papua. His new position will place him as third
ranking military figure in East Java. In the reality of Indonesian military promotion politics Siagian has
moved up. For senior TNI officers, a record of extraordinary abuse of human rights has
never been a barrier to advancement. In 2003, Timbul Silaen was appointed chief of police in
Papua despite being indicted on charges arising from his occupation of the same position in East
Timor in 1999. Major-General Adam Damiri, former military commander of the East Timor region, was
subsequently promoted to a senior command position in
The West Papua Advocacy Team renews its call for
prosecution of Siagian and his active duty and retired TNI officers who continue to evade justice
for their records of abuse and criminality.
ETAN called the removal of Siagian from Papua "a welcome
move," but has also urged that Indonesia "take the next
steps and suspend him from any command and then hand him
over for trial for the crimes he committed in East
Siagian's record is notorious:
On February 3, 2003, U.N.-backed Special Panel for Serious
Crimes of Dili, the capital of Timor Leste, indicted Siagian ('the Cailaco indictment') and on July 10, 2003 ('the Maliana indictment'). He was charged with crimes against humanity: torture, murder, persecution,
and deportation or forcible transfer of a civilian population. The creation of the Bobonaro
militia system that became one of the most repressive in the whole of East Timor was also
attributed to him.
Siagian in May 2007 publicly threatened to "destroy"
anyone who "betrays" Indonesia in response to the Papuan activists who demanded a
review of their history. The statement is reminiscent of Col. Siagian's statement in Maliana as
military commander of the Bobonaro district of East Timor. As commander of the Bobonaro
District Military Command (Kodim 1636), Maliana in pre-independence East Timor, Col. Siagian was
quoted threatening to kill East Timorese independence supporters, which appeared to
have directly led to a number of deaths among Timorese civilians.
Amnesty International Calls for Investigation of
Police Shooting of Peaceful Papuan Protester
An August 18 Amnesty International (AI) statement called
on the Indonesian Government to investigate the police shooting of Opinus
Tabuni, a participant in a peaceful Papuan demonstration celebrating World Indigenous Day, August
9. Police used live ammunition to fire what police claimed were "warning shots" after some members
of the crowd raised the banned “Morning Star” flag, regarded by Indonesian authorities as a symbol of
the Papuan separatist movement. The crowd members also raised the UN and Indonesian
flags, and one bearing the letters "S.O.S." the international symbol for distress. Tabuni was not
among those crowd members who raised the flags.
Indonesian security authorities initially sought to
deflect blame from themselves, speculating that Tabuni might have died as a result of a stab wound, noting that
some in the crowd carried traditional weapons. The AI statement made clear however that after police
fired the shots into the crowd, "Opinus Tabuni was discovered dead by members of the crowd with a bullet
wound clearly visible to his chest. The AI statement
"Indonesian authorities must ensure a prompt,
impartial, independent and transparent investigation to
determine how it is that a peaceful protester was shot
to death. The investigators should publicize the results
of forensic tests, including an autopsy if it is
performed,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s
Asia-Pacific director. “This incident highlights the
heavy hand with which Indonesian authorities use in
dealing with the people of Papua.”
AI placed the incident in the context of a
"deteriorating human rights situation (in West Papua)
over the past few years noting that:
"The indigenous population, ethnically distinct from
other parts of Indonesia, has increasingly questioned
the Indonesian government’s policies regarding
Papua’s natural resources and the migration of
non-Papuans into the area. The Indonesian government
maintains a heavy police and military presence, whose
members are accused of repeatedly intimidating and
threatening members of the local indigenous community
who support greater autonomy or independence from
Indonesia through peaceful means. Attacks are
increasingly targeted against human rights activists and
church leaders. Amnesty International recognises the
numerous Papuans convicted or awaiting trial for
displaying the banned “Morning Star” flag in a peaceful
manner as Prisoners of Conscience."
No Progress in Human Rights in West Papua
Tapol has forwarded the following report:
A two-day workshop in Jayapura at the end of August which
was attended by victims of abuses and relatives of victims
said in a statement that there had been no significant
improvement in the human rights situation, which remained
unchanged despite enactment of Law 39/1999 on Human Rights,
Law 26/2000 in Human Rights Courts, Law 13/2006 on
Protection for Witnesses and Victims, and Law 21/2001 on
special Autonomy for the Province of Papua.
The workshop was attended by among others Yonas Masoka, the
father of Aritoteles, the chauffeur of Theys Eluay -
murdered in November 2001 - who disappeared after he was
seen entering the local unit of Kopassus, apparently to inform them of what had happened to Theys,
Penias Lokbere, a victim of the Abepura 2000 incident, and
Gayus Yomaki, the father of Herman Yomaki, who disappeared
in Bonggo in 2000.
All these cases had not been followed up by legal
proceedings, nor have such cases as the Mapunduma 1998
case, the Bloody Biak incident in 1998, the 2001 Wasior case
and the 2003 Wamena case.
The workshop came to the conclusion that the central
government was not interested or was not capable of
resolving these cases, nor had it ratified the Rome Statute
on the International Criminal Court. It called on the
government to set up an inquiry by KPP-HAM into these
disappearances. It also said the local government, DPRP,
should draw up local regulations - perdasus and perdasi - to
restore people's rights in relation to gross human rights
perpetrated in West Papua.
Papuan Tribal Chief Challenges
U.S. Mining Giant over
An August 11 AFP report notes that a
tribal chief in West Papua has begun a David and
Goliath campaign to win compensation from U.S. mining giant Freeport McMoran for its decades of
environmental damage to his homeland.
Fabianus, chief of the Kapiraya tribe, said tailings
from Freeport's huge gold and copper mine in West Papua were causing more widespread ecological
damage than was known. The tribal chief said several rivers in his tribe's Kaimana
district had been polluted, killing wildlife and poisoning water sources for local people. Mine waste
was also fouling parts of the Etna Gulf coastline. "The local village communities were now
facing water shortages as their rivers were contaminated
by the chemical pollutants from the company," he told
local Indonesian media. Fabianus said he had hired lawyers to file a law suit against PT Freeport
Indonesia over the alleged environmental damage.
Ed McWilliams of the West Papua Advocacy Team who has
visited the mine site on several occasions noted that in addition to chemical
pollutants, acid mine drainage has seeped into the
ground contaminating local water sources. The drainage is
created when massive fissures, created by mining and
road construction servicing the mine exposes mineral
laden rocks to monsoonal rains. He added that miles of massive tailings flow had
smothered trees along the Ajkwa river system which acts as a giant sluice. Among the trees destroyed
is the sago, a key food source for local Papuans. As the tailing flow has
now reached the Arafura Sea, tailings have been extended east and west by tidal action smothering
mangroves which line the coast, he noted.
Environmentalists say the Papua mine pollutes the World
Heritage-listed Lorenz National Park and dumps
copper-rich ore around the edge of its operations.
Critics accuse Freeport of not giving enough to the
people of Papua in return for the mine. They also allege
that the military's protection of the site leads to human rights
abuses, a conclusion supported by findings of the
Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights
Freeport operates concessions totaling 3.6 million
hectares (8.9 million acres) stretching from the coast
to the central mountain range at Timika, with its copper reserves
estimated at 2.6 billion tonnes.
Precedent for Legal Action against Freeport McMoran
over Human Rights Abuse by Hired TNI Personnel?
In a development which could have negative implications
for the giant Freeport McMoran copper and gold mining
operation in West Papua, a U.S. Federal court ruling in late
August ordered that a trial could proceed against U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil, which stands accused of supporting the
Indonesian military's alleged killings and torture in
Aceh. The decision would appear to expose
multinationals regularly paying the Indonesian Military
for protection to similar legal challenges.
Specifically, the decision may open the way for suites
by victims in West Papua to seek justice for violence
inflicted by the military on behalf of Freeport McMoran
over many years. Freeport McMoran, in its latest annual
report, acknowledged that it had paid nine million
dollars in 'support costs' to the Indonesian military
and police in 2007 to protect its operations.
UK NGO Calls on British MP's To Defend Climate
Justice and Human Rights in West Papua
In its August newsletter, "Down To Earth," an NGO
pressing for ecological justice in Indonesia, reports
that in June, it met with UK parliamentarians and called
on the British government to take action on a range of
issues related to human rights and development. The
meeting focused in part on developments in West Papua.
Its recommendations to the UK Government regarding West
Papua included the following:
The UK government is urged to help improve the
situation for Papuans by encouraging the Indonesian