West Papua Report
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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
demonstrated that the Indonesian military orchestrated
|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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
In its periodic series of
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
The leader of the Papuan People's Assembly, Hana Hikoyabi, has bluntly
criticized the role of the military in exploiting and victimizing Papuan women.
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
often run by or protected by security
authorities, have been an important factor in
the transmission of HIV/AIDS in West Papua.
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
(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.)