West Papua Report
This is the 86th 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
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The daughter of prominent Papuan political
prisoner Filep Karma has written about the failure of justice in West Papua. In
spite of democratic progress in much of Indonesia, she notes that "the old
regime dies hard in West Papua." Amnesty International's annual report on human
rights trends in Indonesia documents continued human rights abuse, notably in
West Papua, where AI cites the poor performance of security forces. The failure
of the Indonesian government to afford justice in a number of outstanding cases
of security force abuse in West Papua is exemplified in a recent case in which a
civilian was killed by security forces who deny responsibility. The Indonesian
government's intervention to prevent an elected member of the Papuan Peoples
Council from taking her seat is only the latest example of discrimination
against Papuan women. The Indonesian military appears to be reassuming a major
role in providing security for the Freeport mining complex. HIV/AIDS infections
in West Papua continue to rise dramatically with the Freeport mine complex town
of Mimika recording the largest increase. Observers continue to comment on the
failure of "special autonomy" in West Papua.
Daughter of A
Papuan Political Prisoner Calls for Justice in West Papua
Audryne Karma, daughter of Filep Karma,
one of West Papua's most prominent political prisoners, published
May 23 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
Ms .Karma, while praising the
democratic advances under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono throughout much of
Indonesia, observed that for West Papuans "the old regime dies hard. Indonesia
has yet to realize the promise of democracy and human rights for all of its
citizens," she writes. After ten years of failed "special autonomy" policies,
Ms. Karma writes that West Papuans were "systematically persecuted" as they
sought to call attention to special autonomy's "broken promises."
The piece by Ms. Karma, boldly and articulately explains that in West Papua,
those members of the security forces who commit torture targeting innocent
Papuan civilians receive the lightest of sentences (if prosecuted at all) while
Papuans who engage in peaceful protest demanding their human rights are locked
up for years.
She persuasively describes the case of her own father, Filep Karma, who is
serving a 15 year sentence for his peaceful protest. She describes how a
notoriously biased judge sentenced her father to three times the sentence
recommended by prosecutors and that his Christian faith was openly mocked in the
courtroom. During his imprisonment he has suffered repeatedly at the hands of
his jailers, denied urgent medical care and punished for his efforts to mediate
a dispute within the prison where he is incarcerated.
Ms. Karma notes that her father is one of at least 130 political prisoners who
suffer torture and other abuses within a penal system strongly criticized by UN
and other international observers.
In a an affront to justice, Ms. Karma writes that in 2007, Indonesia's Supreme
Court struck down the sedition provisions of the Indonesian Criminal Code under
which her father and many other political prisoners were prosecuted. None of the
political prisoners convicted under these overturned provisions has been
Recalling President Obama's November 2010 visit to Indonesia and his appeal that
"every child born in this country be treated equally, whether they come from
Java or Aceh; Bali or Papua," Ms. Karma hopes that the international community
would hold President Yudhoyono to this standard. "The Indonesian government
cannot be an exemplar of democracy, human rights and the rule of law while it
persecutes those who peacefully insist that it live up to those very
(Note: also see
Pacific Scoop's May 5, 2011, "Jailed Leader Filep Karma And The Fight For
Papua's Future." a detailed and compelling analysis by renowned scholar Dr.
Richard Chauvel of Victoria University in Australia.)
Amnesty International Calls Attention to
Continuing Violations of Rights in Indonesia
annual report for 2011, released in May, Amnesty International issued a
broad condemnation regarding the performance of Indonesian security forces and
of the Indonesian judicial system, singling out for particular criticism their
role in West Papua and Maluku:
security forces tortured and otherwise ill-treated detainees, and used excessive
force against protesters, sometimes leading to death. No adequate accountability
mechanisms were in place to ensure justice or act as an effective deterrent
against police abuses. The criminal justice system remained unable to address
ongoing impunity for current and past human rights violations. Restrictions on
freedom of expression were severe in areas such as Papua and Maluku."
Security forces "tortured and otherwise ill-treated detainees, particularly
criminal suspects from poor and marginalized communities, and those suspected of
pro-independence activities in Papua and Maluku provinces."
Two videos which emerged during 2010 revealed "members of the police and
military torturing and otherwise ill-treating Papuan men. The first video
showed Yawan Wayeni, a Papuan political activist, just before his death in
August 2009." Amnesty International observed that despite severe abdominal
injuries, Wayeni "was denied medical assistance by the police." The second video
"showed Papuans being kicked and otherwise physically abused by members of the
Indonesian military, and two Papuan men being tortured during interrogation."
The AI report noted also that "Indonesian officials confirmed the authenticity
of both videos."
The AI writes that "freedom of expression continued to be suppressed." For
example, Ardiansyah Matra, a journalist covering corruption and illegal logging
in Papua, was found dead in the province in July. "At least 100 political
activists were in prison for peacefully expressing their views in areas seeking
independence such as Maluku and Papua." AI calls attention also the case of
Filep Karma (see above).
AI reports that "Impunity for past gross human rights violations in Aceh, Papua,
Timor-Leste and elsewhere continued... Most past human
rights violations against human rights defenders, including torture, murder and
enforced disappearances, remained unsolved and those responsible were not
brought to justice."
Failure of Justice in West Papua: A
The Papuan Customary Council, DAP, expressed its disappointment with the
rule of law in West Papua, including the number of cases in Papua that have not
been solved, according to a
May 14 report in Jubi, translated by Tapol.
DAP's Forkorus Yaboisembut expressed
disappointment that "the shooting of Opinus Tabuni on August 9, 2009 on
International Indigenous People's Day in Wamena has not yet been solved.'
Yaboisembut explained that "incidents like this result in the marginalization of
the Papuans. They are being exterminated in their own homeland.'
The same Jubi article reports that Markus Haluk, the secretary-general of
the Association of Students of the Central Highlands, complained that "a huge
number of cases in Papua have remained unsolved. He mentions the Wasior case
(2001), the Biak case (1998) and the Abepura case (2000).
These complaints about fractured justice in West Papua were made as yet another
case of a Papuan killed by security forces was surfacing. According to a May 18
Jakarta Post report, a dispute involving members of the Indonesian military (TNI) allegedly led to the death of Papuan Derek Adii, 26, from Manokwari regency.
The article cites a news release by the synod of the Papuan KINGMI church which "said the incident erupted as a passenger ferry was about to
leave the Samubase Port in Nabire."
The synod report claimed that Adii called on soldiers blocking access to the
ferry to make way after some children had reportedly fallen and been
trampled by other passengers. The offended soldiers, who were part of the Nabire
Military Command, then assaulted him. "One of the soldiers, Chief Sergeant Hans Aru, drew his bayonet and stabbed Derek in the eye and he died. His body was
later thrown overboard," according to the synod.
When asked for confirmation, the Jakarta Post wrote that Nabire Military
commander Lt. Col. Tatang Suyatna denied the reports. "It's slander," Tatang
said, who claimed that the soldiers were securing the ferry while it was docking
when the incident took place. He alledged that the victim was fighting with
other passengers who had accused him of stealing and the victim turned on the
soldiers as they separated the fight and fell to the sea by accident. The
commander did allow that the victim "could have been injured when he was falling
A conflicting military account alleged that the victim was drunk.
WPAT Comment: The failure of Indonesian authorities to pursue justice in
instances when Indonesian security forces kill or maim Papuans is common place
as noted by Yaboisembut and Haluk. The May 18 incident offers an illustrative
example of security force impunity in matters where death and injury to
Indonesian State Interference in Papuan Woman
Leader's Election to the MRP Underscores Discrimination Against Women
May 23 Bintang Papua report, translated by TAPOL, notes that
representatives of number of women's organizations in Papua demonstrated
peacefully to protest Indonesian government blocking of the swearing in of Hana
Hikoyabi to her seat in the Papuan Peoples Council, the Majelis Rakyat Papua (MRP).
Hana Hikoyabi. Eveert/Jubi.
The women complained that no legal justification for
Hikoyabi's suspension had been given. They demanded transparency regarding the
government's action and insisted that the selection of the chairperson of the
new MRP should not take place until there were clarity about the membership of
all its 75 members. The demonstrator met with the acting-chair of the MRP, Joram
Wambrauw, who said that he lacked the power to take a decision on this matter
but promised to pass the women's concerns to the governor of Papua.
Separately, in a
May 10 interview with the Jakarta Post, Papua Human Rights Working Network
coordinator Fien Yarangga observed that the barring of Hikoyabi from the MRP was
an example of Jakarta's intimidation targeting Papuans. The Indonesian
government "frequently intimidates Papua in the name of the unity and integrity
of the Republic of Indonesia, even though such a stance creates a culture of
fear among Papuan officials with strategic positions in regional
administrations," she says.
Fien made the remarks at a press conference in connection with the government's
rejection of Hikoyabi as a member of the Papuan People's Assembly (MRP) for
the 2011-2016 term. Fien added that "a culture of intimidation has curtailed
the development of democratization in Papua." Fien cited the Home Minister's
refusal to accept Hikoyabi as a member of the MRP after she was declared
not loyal to the state ideology Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution, even
though Hana had met all the requirements for the position. "There was no legal
basis for this. It is more political intimidation and character assassination
against Hana and even against all the Papuan people who selected Hana," she
said. Fien added that "the way taken by the Home Minister was also aimed at
curbing critical Papuan women in defending their own people.
Writing in the
May 1 Bintang Papua, Hikoyabi called her rejection "unlawful."
"This places me in the difficult position of having been
responsible for an act of treason - makar - whereas at the time that I
nominated myself for member of the MRP from 2011 - 2016, I received an official
confirmation from the local police and from the local court of law that I am
well-behaved and have never been found guilty of anything or convicted of
Indonesian Military To
Provide Security For Papua's Freeport Mine
May 13 report published by
national daily Republika,
TNI Commander Suhartono told reporters that
security at the massive Freeport copper and gold mine in West Papua would become
a collaborative effort involving the military and police. He told the media that
"TNI continues to support Polri in providing security at the vital installation,
PT Freeport Indonesia." Suhartono comments came following a meeting between TNI
and police personnel in Timika, the major town in West Papua nearest the mining
A group carries the remains of PT
Freeport Indonesia security manager Daniel Mansawan on arrival at
Kuala Kencana in Papua.
separate report by
says that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has asked the
Indonesian military and police to give security guarantee to businesses and
investments in Papua as part of efforts to accelerate economic development. A
presidential spokesman said that the President had listened to the views of PT
Freeport Indonesia regarding security, suggesting that PT Freeport welcomed and
may have sought the joint TNI-police security arrangement.
The expanded military role in securing Freeport comes in the wake of repeated
violence. Freeport security personnel Daniel Mansawan and Hari Siregar
were killed on the key mountain road to the mine site in early April.
attack followed by only a few days an unsuccessful attack on Freeport personnel
and a January 2010 attack on a convoy that injured nine.
Local authorities report no progress in apprehending the perpetrators.
The killing of Mansawan in particular has raised concerns among Papuans.
Mansawan was one of the few Papuans to reach a senior position on Freeport's
staff. The failure of security forces and Freeport to pursue his killers
aggressively has been the source of protest by local Papuans.
WPAT Comment: In the recent past, the Indonesian police had been assigned the
role of protecting PT Freeport with the option of seeking TNI assistance as
conditions warranted. This new arrangement, which comes on the heels of renewed
violence targeting Freeport personnel in the past two months would appear to restore the TNI security role of previous
years when the TNI had come under strong criticism over what many saw as
extortion of PT Freeport with cash flowing from Freeport to senior TNI
HIV/AIDS Infections Rise Sharply in Papua with Area Near Freeport Leading
May 6 report in Banjir Ambarita says that the number of people living
with HIV/AIDS in Papua and West Papua has risen more than 30 percent to over
17,000 in just four months as compared to 13,000 in August of 2010.
Kostan Karma, head of the Papua AIDS Prevention Commission (KPA), told the media
"that the spike in infections was very worrying, and blamed it on the prevalence
of unprotected sex." He said that if the number of people living with the virus
rose to one percent of the population of both provinces -- which the 2010 census
put at 2.8 million -- the KPA would begin imposing mandatory testing for all new
mothers in the region. He explained that this would at least help identify
infected newborns, who could then get early treatment.
Kostan said that Mimika, adjacent to the PT Freeport copper and gold mining
complex had shown the highest increase and overall number of infections.
The Papua AIDS Prevention Commission blamed the proliferation of new districts
over the past 10 years as a factor for the spread of the virus.
"What's happened is that there's been more money spreading around, which
encourages people to break with the traditional way of life and adopt a more
modern lifestyle, including sexual promiscuity," Kostan said. "What we're trying
to do is get churches to spread the message to get people to stop having casual
sex, or if they must, to at least use a condom."
WPAT Comment: Single male workers recruited by Freeport from outside West
Papua to work at the mining complex have long fueled prostitution, gambling and
alcohol and drug abuse in Mimika. This illicit activity operates under the
protection of security forces in the area.
More Observers Comment on The
Failure of Special Autonomy
An article in the
May 15 issue of Jubi underscores the continuing unhappiness of
Papuans with the "special autonomy" law (OTSUS). Olga Helena Hamadi, Director of
the Commission for Disappearances and the Victims of Violence (KontraS) told the
media that since the enactment of special autonomy, West Papua has been beset
with problems. She noted that many buildings have been constructed that are of
no benefit to the indigenous population, for example, the construction of
commercial premises. 'These buildings are for other people,' (i.e., migrants)
"As for the demands for permanent premises for Papuan businessmen, they are
still struggling for this to happen. Their future is still very much in the air.
The kind of premises they have been calling for have not been built by the
government. The premises that have been built do not last long even though they
have been calling for this since 2004, she said."
OTSUS makes provision for a Commission of Truth and Reconciliation to be set up
but all that has happened since OTSUS, she says, has been the creation of a
National Human Rights Commission which "means that human rights violations, acts
of violence and shootings are only dealt with by the Komnas HAM. The result is
that many cases have got stuck, some of which got no farther than a court
hearing. There has been no follow-up."
Also, there has been no proper accounting for OTSUS funds. "There is no
accountability because no procedures have been put in place," she added,
All of this point to the failure of OTSUS.
For its part, the
May 14 Jakarta Post carried a report by Nethy Dharma Somba that focused on
problems with the special autonomy law. The article notes that the chairman of
the special autonomy evaluation committee at the Papuan legislative council,
Weynand Watori, told a forum in Jayapura that an evaluation on special autonomy
implementation was needed to avoid both the failure of special autonomy and to
address the continued poverty suffered by most Papuans.
He noted that special autonomy was designed to help improve education, health,
economy and infrastructure for indigenous Papuans.
In August 2005, Papuans held a rally at which they asserted that special had
failed to bring prosperity to the people. Rallies were also held in July 2010
where protesters called on the legislative council to revoke special autonomy.
The forum agreed that an evaluation of the implementation of special autonomy
was needed by involving all stakeholders with the council's special committee as
facilitator. Cenderawasih University in Jayapura and the Papua University in
Manokwari, should be entrusted to prepare the right evaluation method.