West Papua Report
This is the 87th 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
email@example.com. If you wish to receive the report via e-mail, send a note to
U.S. Congressmember Eni Faleomavaega has been
named the 2011 winner of the John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award. The
award is given annually by the West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) to an individual
or organization who has made significant contributions to the defense of human
rights in West Papua. Congressmember Faleomavaega has long been active in the
defense of human rights in West Papua, using his influential position in the
U.S. House of Representatives to advance justice, good governance and
development in West Papua. Thousands of workers at the Freeport McMoran mining
complex in West Papua have gone on strike over wages, the firing of the union's
leaders, and other Freeport union-busting efforts. The strike takes place at a
time of continued security concerns arising in part from the recent murder of
two senior Papuan Freeport officials, possibly with military involvement. Papuan
human rights organizations and religious groups have called on the Government of
Indonesia to address issues of injustice arising from security force assaults on
Papuans and also to protect human rights defenders and journalists from attacks
by security forces. An Indonesian government minister's visit to West Papua
signals that a widely criticized development plan in the Merauke area is moving
forward. Tapol notes that there has been no indication that Papuans whose lands
will be seized for the project will be compensated. Amnesty International has
appealed on behalf of a Papuan who was beaten by military personnel. Melanesian
human rights and youth groups have issued an appeal on behalf of five Papuan
youths detained since December 2010 for their roles in a peaceful protest. The
Australian West Papua Association (AWPA) has called for Pacific Island Forum
leaders to include the plight of West Papua on the agenda for their September
2011 meeting. The AWPA message also offers a harsh critique of Jakarta's
"special autonomy" policy.
Congressman Eni Faleomavaega
Is Awarded "John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award"
The West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) is pleased to announce that it is awarding
the 2011 "John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award" to the Honorable Eni F.H.
Faleomavaega (D-AS), a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Congressmember Faleomavaega has been an articulate and effective advocate for
the defense of human rights in West Papua, and has long worked for a peaceful
resolution of the serious problems confronting Papuans.
Honorable Eni F.H. Faleomavaega (D-AS)
His extensive knowledge regarding West Papua and his
manifest sincerity and good will have enabled him to draw on the respect
accorded him by his Congressional colleagues and members of successive
Administrations to alert them and the U.S. public more broadly to justice, good
governance and development concerns in West Papua.
Congressmember Faleomavaega continues
to do all he can to hold the Indonesian government accountable so that a
better way forward may be found for and on behalf of the people of West
On September 22, 2010, in his capacity as the Chairman of
the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global
Environment, Congressmember Faleomavaega convened the first hearing in the
history of the U.S. Congress to include testimony from West Papua's traditional
and religious leaders. The hearing, Crimes
Against Humanity: When Will Indonesia's Military Be Held Accountable for
Deliberate and Systematic Abuses in West Papua, also included testimony from
scholars and administration officials from the U.S. Departments of State and
Driven by a sense of personal responsibility to carry
forward the work of his Samoan relatives who are buried in West Papua and in
honor of all those who have lived the struggle, Congressmember Faleomavaega
continues to do all he can to hold the Indonesian government accountable so that
a better way forward may be found for and on behalf of the people of West Papua.
Past recipients of the award include
Carmel Budiardjo (UK)
and TAPOL (2008);
John M. Miller
(U.S.) and the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) (2009),
Harsono (Indonesia) of Human Rights Watch (2010).
The award includes a plaque and a financial prize which Congressmember
Faleomavaega has directed be donated to a charity selected by him. The award is
named in honor of Papuan John Rumbiak, a renowned champion of human rights and
founder of WPAT.
Congressman Eni Faleomavaega accepts John Rumbiak
Human Rights Defenders Award from Eben Kirksey
Labor Actions Could Shut Down Operations at Freeport
Freeport workers help a colleague after walking about 37.3 miles from a mining
site to the town of Timika, to join thousands of other workers on strike.
According to sources in Timika and
media accounts over 13,000 workers at the giant Freeport McMoran copper and
gold mining complex have gone on strike. The labor action threatens to shut down
operations at the problem-plagued facility. Workers of the SPSI (Serikat Pekerja
Seluruh Indonesia) PT Freeport Indonesia left the Tembagapura mine site and
headed to the town of Timika over 40 kms from the mine. More than 20 buses
transported striking miners from the site while others marched to Timika.
Marchers from Tembagapura were at one point blocked from proceeding by police.
Workers are protesting over salary issues but have also raised security
concerns. The murder of two prominent Papuan Freeport management level personnel
on April 7, has raised tensions in the area (see WPAT's
West Papua Report June 2011.) The
Straits Times' John McBeth reported that two military personnel have
been questioned after one of them was discovered to be in possession of a cell
phone belonging to one of the murdered men.
Workers are also protesting Freeport McMoran's
termination of the union's leaders and are reportedly angry about Freeport
McMoran's formation of a company union which they regard as an attempt to "bust"
their legitimate union.
As of July 4, reports from Timika indicate that the protests have been peaceful
although workers are constructing barricades in some areas.
Papuan Organizations Seek Justice for Past
Security Force Assaults on Papuans, Demand Government Protection for Human
ETAN, Tapol, WPAT:
Statement shows global support for human rights and
human rights defenders in West Papua
In recent weeks, highly regarded West Papuan non-governmental and religious
organizations have spoken out forcefully regarding the deteriorating human
rights situation in the territory. In two separate statements, the organizations
decried the failure of the Indonesian government to ensure justice for or
protect Papuans who have been the victims of security force brutality, including
extra-judicial killing, torture, abduction and imprisonment. The organizations
have also called for protection of human rights defenders. The continuing
violation of human rights starkly demonstrates the limits of 'democratization'
In a June 14 press conference, two human rights NGOs,
BUK (United for Truth) and
KontraS-Papua (Commission for the Disappeared and the Victims of Violence),
underscored the failure of the Indonesian justice system to address endemic
violation of human rights by the military and police. Some cases have languished
for over a decade they said and years of inaction by the Indonesian government
regarding these cases have compelled them to appeal to "international
mechanisms" to ensure that the Indonesian government brings these incidents
before a court of law.
The NGOs described the consistent failure of justice in West Papua:
NGOs made reference to particularly egregious incidents in which Papuans
were killed, brutally tortured or disappeared. These include the Waisor and
Wamena incidents, a police rampage in Abepura, and repeated military
"sweeping operations" in West Papua's central highlands in which civilians
were driven from their homes into nearby forests where many died from a lack
of food, shelter and access to medical care.
"With regard to the human rights violations that have
been perpetrated in Papua at the hands of members of the Indonesian army (TNI)
and the Indonesian police (POLRI), in all these cases, it has been virtually
impossible to bring them before a court of law. In the case of those incidents
that were actually taken to court, nothing was done to side with the victims;
the perpetrators were protected with the argument that what had been done was in
the interest of the security of the state."
The NGOs made specific reference to particularly egregious incidents in
which Papuans were killed, brutally tortured or disappeared. These include the
Waisor and Wamena incidents, a police rampage in Abepura, and repeated military
"sweeping operations" in West Papua's central highlands in which civilians were
driven from their homes into nearby forests where many died from a lack of food,
shelter and access to medical care. The NGOs also detailed policies and
practices which subject "many Papuans to discrimination, intimidation and
extra-judicial punishment based" on groundless charges by government agencies
that these Papuans or their family members are "separatists."
The two NGOs issued the following demands:
1. The President of Indonesia should immediately
resolve the Wasior and Wamena cases and in doing so recognize the fact that
Papuans are citizens of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia, NKRI, which means
that their standing and dignity within the state is in keeping with the
values of the Papuan people as citizens of Indonesia.
2. The attorney-general's office should end its machinations with regard to
the Wasior and Wamena cases and co-ordinate with other state institutions
and in so doing halt their activities which have resulted in reinforcing the
cycle of impunity.
3. The administration of the province of Papua, along with the DPRP
(Provincial Legislature of Papua), KomnasHAM-Papua and the MRP (The Papuan
Peoples Council) should act together as quickly as possible to ensure that
the Wasior and Wamena incidents are brought before a human rights court in
the Land of Papua.
4. A Papuan human rights court should be set up immediately.
5. If the government fails to deal seriously with the Wasior and Wamena
cases, we, as representatives of all the victims of human rights violations
in the Land of Papua, will bring these matters before an international court
In a separate June 17 press conference, the Coalition of
Human Rights Defenders in the Land of Papua, consisting of leading human rights
and religious organizations,
spoke out against "acts of violence and terror that have been perpetrated
against human rights defenders as well as against journalists."
The coalition consists of KomnasHAM-Papua, the Synod of the Kingmi Church in
Papua, the Synod of the Baptist Church in Papua, Foker NGO (NGO Working Group)
Papua, KontraS Papua, LBH - Legal Aid Institute in Papua, and BUK. The groups
were especially critical of the Indonesian military whose members were involved
in five recent incidents of violence against Papuan civilians and whose actions
they noted, contradict claims that the Indonesian military is reforming.
The Coalition of Human Rights Defenders in the Land of Papua statement called
for the following:
1. Protection is needed for human rights defenders
in Papua in carrying out their humanitarian activities throughout the Land
of Papua. Such protection can be provided by the introduction of a special
law, while at the same time setting up an independent commission at state
level for the purpose of monitoring and advocacy as well as taking sanctions
against those individuals who commit violence against human rights
2. As a short-term measure, we regard it as important to set up a special
bureau within KomnasHAM to focus on the protection of human rights
3. In view the many acts of intimidation and violence perpetrated by members
of the armed forces, we urge the military commander of Cenderawasih XVII
military command (in West Papua) to take firm measures in the law courts and
administration against all violations perpetrated by members of the TNI on
4. To provide moral guidance to all officers of the armed forces as well as
disseminate an understanding of human rights so as to ensure that acts of
violence perpetrated by members of the armed forces are not committed
against civil society or against human rights defenders in the Land of
Plans for Massive Land Grab Move Forward in
The June 27 issue of the
Papuan daily Jubi reports that Marie Pangestu, Minister of Industry
and Trade, on a visit to the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE),
has claimed that the customary rights of the local community should be dealt
with first, by issuing certificates, in connection with the MIFEE project."
Pangestu also indicated that the project is moving forward: "Companies planning
to invest can now go ahead to acquire the necessary licenses and start planting
their crops." He said that it was "now necessary to build the necessary
infrastructure, in particular harbors to support the project once it gets
underway." For instance, he said, investors who intend to establish palm oil
plantations will need harbors of their own.
TAPOL commented on the plan to issue "certificates" to those Papuans who
will be displaced by the project:
"The central government will clearly be investing huge sums of money to
promote the interests of companies planning to invest in MIFEE. Not at all clear
what is meant by issuing certificates to the local communities whose customary
rights to the land will be sacrificed as investors are invited to grab their
land with little regard for the loss of their livelihoods based on hunting and
fishing. No mention either about whether the rightful owners of the land will be
granted any compensation for the loss of their land and the destruction of their
Amnesty International Issues Alert Regarding
Military Beating of Human Rights Activist
Amnesty International (AI) on June 17 issued
a special alert on the beating of a human rights activist by military
officer a few days earlier. According to Amnesty, Yones Douw was beaten by
military officers and then denied medical treatment.
AI noted that Douw fears for his health and safety, based
in part on the fact that he was previously detained and assaulted as a result of
his human rights activities. Douw was part of a protest that took place at the
1705 District Military Command (Kodim) base in Nabire, Papua province, on the
morning of 15 June. The protest focused on accountability for the stabbing and
killing of Papuan Derek Adii on 14 May 2011, reportedly by military officers
from the command (see West Papua
Report June 2011).
Douw was struck on the head many times
and also sustained injuries on his shoulder and wrists from the beatings. As
he was beaten, he heard the military threaten to shoot the protesters saying
"these animals should be taught a lesson."
According to AI, some of the demonstrators attacked the
military center prompting Douw to go to the base to calm the protesters. (WPAT
Note: It is not clear whether those attacking the center were demonstrators
or possibly provocateurs organized by the authorities. According to the AI
report, the violent "demonstrators" arrived in three trucks after the
demonstration was underway.) Responding to the assault, the military fired
shots into the air and started beating the protesters. Douw was struck on the
head many times and also sustained injuries on his shoulder and wrists from the
beatings. As he was beaten, he heard the military threaten to shoot the
protesters saying "these animals should be taught a lesson." A military officer
also hit the father of Derek Adii, Damas Adii. After the beatings, Douw
travelled to the Siriwini hospital for treatment and to obtain a medical report,
but was told by medical staff that he required a letter from the police before
they could treat him. He then decided to go home and is still suffering from the
Amnesty notes that Yones is a respected human rights activist in Papua and has
been documenting human rights violations by the police and military over the
Amnesty International called for messages to Indonesian officials that:
- Urging the authorities to take immediate action to
ensure the safety of Yones Douw, in accordance with his wishes, and ensure
his immediate access to medical care;
- Calling for an immediate, effective and impartial
investigation into the beatings and the threats against Yones Douw, with the
results made public and those responsible brought to justice in fair trials;
- Calling on the authorities to initiate an
independent investigation into the possible unlawful killing of Derek Adii,
and ensure that, should the allegations be verified, those responsible be
brought to justice in fair trials and the victims receive reparations; and
- Calling on the authorities to ensure that all
members of the police and military are made aware of the legitimate role of
human rights defenders and their responsibility to protect them, as set out
in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
A Plea From Melanesians On Behalf
of Detained West Papuan Students
In a demonstration of the growing concern among across Oceania regarding the
plight of the Melanesian Papuan people, a group of youth and human rights
organizations in Melanesia, based in Fiji, wrote an "open
letter" to the "government of Indonesia, Indonesian Youth Activists,
Indonesian Human Rights Defenders and Organizations, and the People of West
The letter expressed concern about the imprisonment and secret court proceedings
surrounding the arrest of five young activists arrested last December 14 for
raising the West Papua Liberation flag during
peaceful demonstration by approximately 200 people in Manokwari. When the
Papuan flag was raised, Indonesian military attacked the crowd, firing shots and
beating people with batons. The five young Papuans, and two others, were
arrested at that time.
five are charged under the notorious "subversion" and "rebellion" articles
(106 and 110) of the Indonesian Criminal Code which date to the Dutch colonial
era. The articles were key tools for repression during the Suharto dictatorship.
The Melanesian groups noted that the health and safety of these five young
Papuan activists was a concern as was media censorship and intimidation of
witnesses related to the incident. They also said that there was a heightened
sense of fear fueled by the continued presence of a 1000 plus military presence
that were ordered into the area after the incident.
The Melanesian organizations urged intervention to "ensure the release of the
five youth activists and to make a public commitment that there will be no
further arrests of individuals purely for the peaceful exercise of their right
to freedom of expression, opinion, belief or association." Specifically, the
letter added, "we seek to ensure that laws concerning 'rebellion' (Articles 106
and 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code) are not used against people who have
engaged only in peaceful activities."
Emphasizing that the groups "do not seek to advocate a particular position on
the political status of West Papua," they nonetheless asserted their belief that
"the right to freedom of expression includes the right to peacefully advocate
referenda, independence or other political solutions under a free media."
"These rights must be upheld and respected," the letter concluded.
AWPA Calls for Pacific Islands Forum to Discuss West
Papua; Criticizes "Special Autonomy"
The Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) has written to the Pacific
Islands Forum (PIF) leaders urging them to discuss the human rights situation in
West Papua at their summit in Auckland in September.
We believe that it is pointless for
governments to keep saying the autonomy package is the best way forward.
Even a revised Special Autonomy in whatever form it might take will never
satisfy West Papuans demand for self determination. West Papuans have lost
trust that Jakarta will ever develop West Papua for the sake of the Papuans.
In a June 30 letter,
AWPA asserts, "the time is now right to bring the Melanesian people of West
Papua back into the Pacific community. (A West Papuan representative attended
the first SPC Conference, and West Papuans continued to participate in the SPC
meetings up until the Dutch ceded their authority to the United Nations
Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) in 1962.)" This year is the 40th
anniversary of the Forum.
AWPA urges the PIF Leaders to include the West Papua on its agenda at the
September summit and to make a public statement of concern regarding the
"deteriorating human rights situation" in the territory as well as "send a fact
finding mission to West Papua to investigate the human rights situation." AWPA
also urges the PIF to raise human rights concerns human rights with the
President of Indonesia and "to urge the Indonesian President to release all West
Papuan political prisoners as a sign of good faith."
AWPA said PIF should "grant observer status to genuine representatives of the
West Papuan people who are struggling for their right to self determination."
Finally the group offered a strong critique of Jakarta's "special autonomy"
A number of governments have supported the autonomy package for West Papua
stating that it is the best way forward for the West Papuan people. Although
funding for the autonomy package has flowed to West Papua it has only benefited
some elites and the bureaucrats with no benefit for the majority of West
Papuans, which is why it has been rejected. We believe that it is pointless for
governments to keep saying the autonomy package is the best way forward. Even a
revised Special Autonomy in whatever form it might take will never satisfy West
Papuans demand for self determination. West Papuans have lost trust that Jakarta
will ever develop West Papua for the sake of the Papuans. The Forum can help by
urging Jakarta to dialogue with the Independence Movement to find a lasting