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West Papua Report

January 2010

This is the 68th 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 with the East Timor and Indonesia 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 edmcw@msn.com.
 
Summary

The police killing of renowned pro-independence leader Kelly Kwalik is reminiscent of the Kopassus murder of Papuan leader Theys Eluay and has prompted calls for an investigation of police conduct. The death of former President Abdurrahman Wahid, whose Presidency was brought to an end by an undemocratic show of force by the military, is widely mourned, especially in West Papua. A formal rendering of the history of Indonesia's annexation of West Papua published by the U.S. State Department is significantly flawed. A Papuan forestry official has warned that Indonesian decentralization/autonomy policies threaten West Papua's forests. A senior Papuan official condemns the Indonesian Government's failure to protect the rights of Papuan women who fall victim to development schemers and their Indonesian military enforcers. West Papua is the epicenter of an HIV/AIDS crisis.

Contents

Extra-judical Killing of Papuan Patriot Kelly Kwalik

On December 16, 2009 Indonesian police shot Kelly Kwalik. He died shortly later due to a thigh wound. The Indonesian security force team that shot Kwalik was composed of members of the notorious Mobile Brigade (BRIMOB) and the U.S.-funded Detachment 88. That much is clear.

 

The immediate police commentary regarding their killing of Kwalik lends support to those who suspect a police conspiracy to murder Kwalik.


The rest is subject to intense discussion and dispute. Kwalik died of his wound shortly later, apparently due to blood loss. It is not clear that police took necessary medical action to address, i.e., to tourniquet, the wound. As a consequence of this apparent inaction the wound proved mortal. Equally unclear are the circumstances that brought this leading pro-independence figure into reach of Indonesian security authorities. Less than two months earlier he had met cordially with senior Indonesian security authorities at their behest. That meeting has prompted speculation that Indonesian security authorities lured Kwalik into a trap on the pretense of another friendly meeting. It was just such subterfuge which lured another renowned Papuan, Theys Eluay, to his murder at the hands of Kopassus in 2001.

The immediate police commentary regarding their killing of Kwalik lends support to those who suspect a police conspiracy to murder Kwalik. Police spokesmen pronounced Kwalik guilty of orchestrating the months of violence that have jeopardized the operations of the Freeport-McMoran mine. This claim, offered in apparent defense of the police killing of Kwalik, contradicted Kwalik's profession of innocence and, more troublingly for the police, the police's earlier public acknowledgement that Kwalik was not involved in the crime. Police claims that the dead Papuan leader also was responsible for the killing of U.S. and Indonesian citizens in a 2002 shooting incident in the same area similarly lack credibility. Initial police statements at the time and subsequent exhaustive investigation by independent researchers (see http://skyhighway.com/~ebenkirksey/writing/Kirksey-Harsono_Timika.pdf) demonstrated that the Indonesian military orchestrated those killings.

 
Kelly Kwalik with Australian journalist Mark Davis in West Papua.ABC Four Corners photo.  

The killing of Kwalik was all the more tragic because for many years Kwalik had honored the appeal of Papuan human rights leaders such as John Rumbiak who have urged to seek redress of Papuan grievances through peaceful means.

The killing of Kwalik, like the 2001 murder of Papuan leader Theys Eluay by the Indonesian military (Kopassus) forces has prompted strong criticism from many quarters. The following December 29 statement by the Indonesian Human Rights Network, translated in abridged form by Tapol, underscores the injustice of this killing and the urgency of action by Indonesian President Yudhoyono to address rogue security force actions in West Papua.

Bintang Papua, 29 December 2009

Human Rights Network Questions Kelly Kwalik's Involvement

The lack of any firm evidence of the involvement of General Kelly Kwalik in a series of recent terrorist actions in Timika, Papua has led the Network of Human Rights Defenders in Papua to call on the President of Indonesia to take action against members of the security forces.

In a press release issued by Poengky Indarti of Imparsial, Andreas Harsono of Yayasan Pantau, Muridan Widjojo of LIPI, Amiruddin Ar Rahab of Activists Concerned about Papua, Markus Haluk of AMPTPI, Miryam Nainggolan of PPRP and Suryadi Radjab of PBHI, they called on the President of Indonesia to instruct the Chief of Police of Indonesia, the Commander of the Armed Forces, the Attorney General and the Minister for Law and Human Rights to take firm action against all those members of the security forces who perpetrate acts of violence in Papua.

The Network also called on the Chairman of the Constitutional Court to take firm action against those who continue to try and sentence Papuans for giving expression to their basic rights. The government should also repeal Government Regulation No 77, 2007 [banning the use of symbols] which is in violation of Law 21, 2001 on Special Autonomy for Papua.

They also questioned allegations of the involvement of Kelly Kwalik which had resulted in his murder on the grounds that he had offered resistance to the police when they raided the place where he was staying, because this was in violation of the law and human rights which the police are required to uphold.

The Network also said that the case has been further complicated by police allegations that Kelly Kwalik was responsible for a series of incidents in the vicinity of PT Freeport between July and October 2009, although such allegations had been rejected by police-commissioner FX Bagus Ekodanto. who was the chief of police at the time.

The district police chief said at the time that the OPM was not responsible for the acts of violence in the vicinity of Freeport, and that there was no clear evidence implicating Kelly Kwalik.

The members of the Network were deeply concerned that all this has led to fears among Papuans that acts of state violence could victimise anyone in Papua, who could be branded with the stigma of separatism and the OPM.

These allegations also represented a violation of the Papuan people's right to freedom of expression: they included the dispersal of people taking part in peaceful actions, the banning of books, the arrest, detention and incrimination of Papuans, including the murder of Papuans in the name of the OPM stigma. Such things must stop, they said. These actions not only violate the rule of law and human rights but also perpetuate the culture of violence and enhanced the authoritarian nature of the security forces, which was comparable to what happened during the New Order of Suharto.

Such developments were taking Papua further and further away from an atmosphere of peace and the desire of Papuan people to make Papua a Land of Peace.

see also ETAN/WPAT: Statement on Killing of Papuan Leader Kelly Kwalik

Former President Abdurahman Wahid, A Friend of Papuans, Couped by The Military, Dies

 

Papuans will remember Gus Dur as the only senior Indonesian political figure to befrend them. In a highly symbolic gesture, he celebrated the new millennium, the 21st century, in West Papua.


Abdurrahman Wahid, better known as Gus Dur, died on December 30. Gus Dur was unique among Indonesian leaders, personally generous, self-effacing and prepared to act on behalf of those who were victims of the policies of the Suharto dictatorship and its military. Though long a member of Indonesia's political elite, he mocked it for its self pretention and corruption. He was also courageous. During his presidency (October 1999 to July 2001) he sought to reduce the power of the military over Indonesia's political life. He fired the military chief General Wiranto who was later indicted by a UN-supported panel in East Timor for war crimes for his leadership role in the massacres which the military and its militias carried out in East Timor. The military exacted its revenge: in 2001, seizing the opportunity afforded it by a political crisis between the Parliament and President Wahid over corruption allegations (never proven), the military ringed the Presidential palace with tanks, guns facing inward. The President fired then Security Minister Yudhoyono for refusing to declare a state of emergency, but to no avail. President Wahid became the second president after President Sukarno to fall to the pressure of the Indonesian military.

 
Gus Dur escorted out of Merdeka Palace after his impeachment.  

Papuans will remember Gus Dur as the only senior Indonesian political figure to befrend them. In a highly symbolic gesture, he celebrated the new millennium, the 21st century, in West Papua. After meeting with West Papuan leaders, including Theys Eluay and Tom Beanal, the President issued a formal decree changing the official name of the province from "Irian Jaya" to "Papua." Irian Jaya was the name Suharto imposed after the Indonesia's coercive annexation of the region. The following June, President Wahid acknowledged the right of Papuans to use their traditional symbols including their flag, the Morning Star/Kejora flag, insisting only that it be flown in conjunction with the Indonesian flag. In a gesture that had both symbolic and real meaning, he made a substantial, personal financial contribution to the Second Papuan Conference which convened May-June 2000. That meeting, attended by thousands of Papuans, set in motion the current peaceful struggle by Papuans for their fundamental human rights. As a private citizen, Gus Dur also gave support to Papuans' calls for a dialogue with Jakarta over Papuans many outstanding grievances.

More than any other Indonesian political figure Gus Dur bequeathed to the people of the archipelago the vision of a future in which democracy reigns and human rights are respected.

U.S. State Department Distorts West Papua History

In its periodic series of "Background Notes" regarding Indonesia, the U.S. Department of State in October 2009 provided a deficient and incorrect account of the Indonesian Government's long-troubled course in West Papua. The flawed document also ignored other key developments in Indonesian history including the military's role in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Indonesian citizens in the late 1960's and Indonesia's invasion of East Timor.

In a December analysis by the West Papua Advocacy Team and the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network offered corrections to the flawed account. The review observed inter-alia that the "Notes" inaccurately portrayed the electoral fraud through which Indonesia annexed West Papua in 1969 and the killing of tens of thousands of Papuans by Indonesian security forces from the Indonesian assumption of administrative control in 1963 to the present.

Jakarta's "Autonomy" Policies for West Papua Jeopardizes Papuan Forests

A December 14 article by Nethy Dharma Somba appearing in the Jakarta Post underscored the threat to the environment in West Papua posed by the current Indonesian government's approach to "decentralization." The analysis argues that Jakarta's decentralization policies, and specifically its autonomy initiative in West Papua ('special autonomy"), pose a direct threat to Papuan forests. The article cites Papua Forestry Office head Marthen Kayoi as warning that "(t)he forested areas currently available would unlikely still be there five to 10 years from now if regional autonomy continues as it would lead to physical development."

The Papuan official added that while the current area of intact Papuan forests totaled 31.5 million hectares, only 24 million hectares would remain based on the current autonomy approach which entails the rapid designation of new administrative districts and development of infrastructure. In addition to normal development, there is, the official noted, the constant threat of illegal logging. (WPAT note: Much of this illegal logging is carried out by the Indonesian military or under its protection.)

The Papuan official called special attention to the Lorentz National Park which, despite its national park status, hosts operations by the Freeport-McMoran copper and gold mining operation. (WPAT comment: Freeport-McMoran gold mining operations not only extend into the Lorentz. The devastating consequences of its mining operations in the Timika district also extend to the Lorentz by virtue of its tailing disposal which spread to the Lorentz through Ajkwa river system which serves as Freeport's tailings sewer system into the Afura sea).

The Indonesian Government Fails to Protect Papuan Women's Rights

The leader of the Papuan People's Assembly, Hana Hikoyabi, has bluntly criticized the role of the military in exploiting and victimizing Papuan women.

In a December 2 Jakarta Globe report, Hikoyabi noted that women are forced to leave their homes due to pressures from developers often backed by the military. "It hurts them so much because they depend on the land to live and eat, find materials for housing and to cook for their families," Hikoyabi said, adding that military officers conducting the land clearing activities had been known to sexually assault Papuan women who refused to move out of their homes. "They are raped by the military personnel and suffer deep trauma, which is not easily healed," Hana said. "The government has failed to provide either trauma support or legal aid for these victims of violence and has not done enough to investigate the cases and punish the perpetrators" she added. "Women's rights remain abandoned in Papua," Hikoyabi concluded.

West Papua Suffers Highest Rate of HIV/AIDS

 

Prostitution rings, often run by or protected by security authorities, have been an important factor in the transmission of HIV/AIDS in West Papua.


A December 2 Tempo Interactive report notes that West Papua continues to suffer the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS. The Indonesian National AIDS Commission said Papua island still holds the highest HIV/AIDS rate - at 2.4 percent - compared to any other regions within the archipelago. Constant Karma head of the commission's office in Papua Province told media representatives (2/12) that the number of people with HIV/AIDS in Papua and West Papua Province as of March 2009 was 6,245. Papua province has 4,745 with HIV/AIDS while West Papua has 1,500. Timika, the seat of Mimika Regency where the Freepot McMoran's gold mine complex lies, ranked number four among the cities with highest transmission rate after Bandung (West Java), Jakarta, and Denpasar. Constant said over 90 percent of HIV/AIDS spreadings in the region were transmitted through sexual relations, with male sufferers become the main source of transmission.

(WPAT Comment: The Tempo Interactive report fails to note that prostitution rings, often run by or protected by security authorities, have been an important factor in the transmission of HIV/AIDS in West Papua. The high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Timika can in part be explained by the large number of non-Papuan workers brought to the site by the Freeport McMoran mine, most of whom are not accompanied by spouses. Freeport's failure to address this problem, a direct consequence of its employment practices entailing migration of non-Papuans to West Papua, is only one aspect of the painful Freeport legacy. The widely noted failure of the Indonesian Government to provide a minimally adequate health infrastructure in West Papua exacerbates the explosion of HIV/AIDS in West Papua.)
 

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