West Papua Report
This is the
72nd 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.
Indonesia's Special Forces (Kopassus) and U.S.-backed
Detachment 88 troops joined in an assault on peaceful demonstrators in
Manokwari. It is unclear if any of those initial detained remain in custody. The
Jakarta Post reports chronic malnutrition among Amungme and Kamoro children who
live in the shadow of the massive Freeport McMoran copper and gold mine. A
prominent leader of PDI-P has called for creation of truth and reconciliation
commissions for Aceh and West Papua. Pressure appears to be building for a
military response to dissent in West Papua, including the targeting of NGOs.
Leading human rights organizations and churches have called for an end to
mistreatment of political prisoners in West Papua and an investigation of
security force killing of activists. Indonesian intelligence and special forces
are attempting to create a false front organization in Biak to replace a
legitimate one established by the local people.
What is democracy if you can't have a rally? Where is Yudhoyono? Why doesn't
he pull back his security forces?
Security Forces Attack Peaceful Demonstrators in Manokwari
Sources in West Papua reported on the
latest security force assault on
peaceful demonstrators. The U.S.-organized and -funded Detachment 88
attacked peaceful protesters in Manokwari on April 22. The attacking force
also included BRIMOB (militarized police) and Dalmas (a special security
unit). Video of the attack revealed plainclothes officials also assaulting
the demonstrators. (The plainclothes officials may have been Kopassus or
military intelligence (BIN) which often work out of uniform.)
According to a report from the scene, at least 17 of the estimated
700 protesters were arrested. Most of this number, which included women and
youths, were subsequently released though there is some indication that some
of these were re-arrested, notably Mark Yenu, the leader of the Manokwari
contingent of the West Papua National Authority.
Video of the incident noted that demonstrators carried a banner calling for
a referendum for West Papua and rejecting dialogue as a means of resolving
the Papuan crisis.
Rally speaker Reverend Yoku called for the immediate release of those
"political prisoners" detained at the demonstration. The President of the
National Congress of the West Papua National Authority added, "What is
democracy if you can't have a rally? Where is Yudhoyono? Why doesn't he pull
back his security forces?"
"As a recognized leader in West Papua, I call on the US and the Netherlands,
Australia and the 84 UN-member countries that recognized the Act of No
Choice in 1969 to take responsibility for the decision they made. Let me say
this, because 816,896 West Papuans were never asked whether they wanted the
Indonesian occupation. Forty-seven years later, we still don't want them."
Freeport Ignores Childhood Malnutrition at Its Doorstep
An April 9 Jakarta Post article
describes the inauguration of a
program to provide supplemental food for schoolchildren in the Timika area.
The "Provision of Food Supplement to Schoolchildren" project is intended to
address chronic malnutrition among schoolchildren that contributes to poor
learning and equally chronic illiteracy.
Local education official Benny Tsenawatne said the Kamoro and Amungme tribal
communities generally lacked access to schools or health clinics, and
suffered from low human resource development.
The Post alludes to but does not explore the savage irony that this
malnourishment is a chronic concern in a community which serves as the base
for the Freeport McMoran gold mining enterprise which has channeled billions
of dollars to the U.S. corporation and to the Indonesian government. The
Kamoro and Amungme peoples whose land was expropriated by the mining
operation have long protested the devastation of their natural resources by
the mining operation and the human rights violations meted out by Indonesian
security forces acting in service of the mining giant.
To this litany of grievances can be added the plight of the local Papuan's
children. Freeport has ignored the Kamoro and Amungme children suffering
chronic malnutrition on its doorstep for decades. (On
April 21 Reuters noted
that Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc had reported a twenty-fold jump in
first-quarter earnings and that it was doubling its dividend as global
demand for metals has soared.)
Call for Truth and Reconciliation
Commission in West Papua
Indonesia's Democratic Party of
Struggle (PDI-P) has
publicly called for creation of a truth and
reconciliation commission to address the violation of human rights in Aceh
and West Papua. Karimun Usman, the chairman of the Aceh branch of the PDI-P,
told the media April 22 that the proposal was intended to address the
government's reluctance to deal with past human rights violations.
The failure of Jakarta to take these steps underscores the continued
unwillingness of the central government to confront the powerful Indonesian
military which operate with impunity before Indonesia's deeply flawed
The 2005 internationally-mediated
[PDF]which ended conflict between the Indonesian
military and the Acehenese independence organization (GAM)
required the Indonesian Government to establish both a "human rights court"
and a truth and reconciliation commission. The failure of Jakarta to take
these steps underscores the continued unwillingness of the central
government to confront the powerful Indonesian military which operate with
impunity before Indonesia's deeply flawed judicial system.
The call for a truth and reconciliation commission for West Papua to deal
with decades of ongoing security abuses and criminality targeting Papuans is a notable
acknowledgement by a non-Papuan official of the need for an official review of security
force performance in West Papua. The call for such a commission for West Papua provides tacit
support for an internationally-mediated dialogue between Jakarta and Papuans. That
proposal, which has drawn broad Papuan support as well as some backing from Indonesian
academics and political leaders, is aimed in part at addressing decades of military abuse
Pressure Grows For Military Response to Political Dissent in West Papua
In recent weeks an apparently orchestrated effort has emerged aimed at
building support for increased military action to address growing peaceful,
political dissent in West Papua. Targets for a repressive "security
approach" to political problems are not simply the small armed resistance,
the "OPM," but also civilian political dissenters and human rights
defenders. Concern about military-on-civilian violence has been prompted in
part by Pucak Jaya District Chief Lukas Enembe who
has called publicly for
government action against unnamed NGOs, "domestic as well as foreign," whom
he alleged have been involved in recent attacks in the district by armed
groups. He claimed the activity amounted to efforts to "undermine the
The District Chief resorted to the central government's rhetoric of labeling
critics as separatists, contending without evidence that the OPM was
"supported by NGOs and individuals who are in favor of a Free Papua." He
also sought to raise fears about a strengthening OPM, contending, again
without evidence that OPM personnel were equipped with modern automatic
The remarks made by district chief Enembe alleging that NGOs are supporting
the separatist OPM have been challenged by the NGO community.
Director of the Institute for Civil Strengthening
told the media that in
fact the NGO community is dedicated to nonviolence. He noted that NGOs had
long been accused of supporting OPM activity in the Puncak Jaya and
challenged those like Enembe who make such false claims: "If there is any
evidence that NGOs have supported the OPM, please say which NGOs are
involved and who it is within these NGOs who are involved. If what they have
done amounts to a criminal act, then the persons should be charged in court.
He explained further that the government itself often established NGOs which
lacked the 'common vision of the NGO movement." (Note item below which
describes just such Government efforts in Biak during April.)
The District Chief's comments coincided with what appeared to be propaganda
efforts to increase tensions, including especially ethnic tensions between
migrants and Papuans. Sources in West Papua have reported posting of fliers
in and around the Papuan capital and main airport at Sentani that proclaim
OPM a "terrorist" and "criminal" organization. Curiously, the fliers bear
information indicating they were produced by two NGO's in Jayapura, both of
which stoutly deny any involvement in the propaganda.
Assessing these efforts to increase tensions using false claims and
clandestine propaganda, a respected analyst believes that the effort is the
work of the Indonesian military, particularly those such as the special
forces, Kopassus, and the military intelligence, BIN, which engages in
intelligence and covert operations. That analyst notes that Kopassus has
around 1,000 soldiers operating in civilian clothes and stationed throughout Papua's more than 30 regencies (districts). BIN personnel tend to be
positioned in West Papua's cities.
Indications that groundwork is being laid for a broad security force
crackdown is also reflected in aggressive security force actions against
peaceful demonstrations such as those in Manokwari, April 22, where film
shot of security forces clearly reveal beating of unarmed protesters. (See
report on that incident above.)
Rights Groups Decry
Mistreatment of Political Prisoners and Failure to Investigate Killing of
rights defenders in an April 22 press conference appealed to the Indonesian
Government to end discrimination targeting Papuans. The appeal, offered by
the Indonesian NGOs Kontras (the Commission for The Disappeared and Victims
of Violence) and Imparsial (the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor) as well as
the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch among others was published by CathNews
involving all social and governmental elements is the solution to overcoming
disagreements in Indonesia's largest province, they said.
Rights groups and
churchmen have urged the Indonesia government to cease what they call its
discriminatory treatment of Papuan nationalists.
"We see the government and law enforcement officials still stigmatize and
single out those who allegedly favor Papuan independence, including
political prisoners," several rights groups said in statement issued at an
April 22 press conference, UCA News reports.
The groups included the
Commission for the Disappeared
and Victims of Violence (Kontras),
Indonesian Human Rights
and Human Rights Watch.
involving all social and governmental elements is the solution to overcoming
disagreements in Indonesia's largest province, they said. The groups also
questioned what they called lack of government action over the death of Yawan Wayeni,
a Papuan political activist. Wayeni was shot dead by local
police in a sweep against nationalist activists in Serui on Yapen Island.
The groups also raised the lack of medical treatment for Filep Karma, a
Papuan political prisoner who suffers from severe prostate problems. They
urged the Department of Justice and Human Rights to allow Karma to undergo
surgery at a Protestant-run hospital in Jakarta. "Law Number 12/1995 of
the penal code stipulates the directorate general of the department is
responsible for the healthcare of all prisoners in jails across Indonesia,"
They revealed that 68 political activists are being held in different jails
in Papua. "But they are not treated properly. They face discriminatory and
violent treatment including beatings," they said.
During the press
conference, Reverend Benny Giay, a Papuan Protestant pastor, said such
discrimination was the result of a belief that most Papuans want
independence. He said many churches and NGOs in Papua come under scrutiny because of their vocal defense of human rights.
"We hope that rights groups
outside Papua, especially Jakarta, will support us in speaking out against
human rights abuses in Papua," he said.
Speaking with UCA News, Dorus Wakum, a Papuan human rights activist, agreed
that human rights activists were often seen as separatists. "Being labeled a
separatist is a character killer," he said.
Indonesian Intelligence and Special Forces Seek to Create a Stooge
Traditional Council in Biak
According to a report translated and released by TAPOL from an
report, efforts are underway in Biak to
create a false front organization to replace the East Biak Traditional
BiakNews reports that the Indonesian State intelligence organization
(BIN), the notorious Indonesian Special Forces (Kopassus), and the local
military command (Korem) are orchestrating the effort. The initial effort to
organize a stooge East Biak Traditional Council was launched at an April 7
meeting held at Kopassus Post 08 in Biak Papua. The meeting was closed to