etmnlong.gif (2291 bytes) spacer

West Papua Report

July 2012

This is the 99th 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://www.etan.org/issues/wpapua/default.htm Questions regarding this report can be addressed to Edmund McWilliams at edmcw@msn.com. If you wish to receive the report via e-mail, send a note to etan@etan.org.


SUMMARY
 
The West Papua Advocacy Team gives its annual John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award to Anne Noonan and Joe Collins and the Australia West Papua Association (Sydney). Detachment 88 forces gunned down leading Papuan activist Mako Tabuni in what witness describe as an extrajudicial killing. Tabuni was a key official of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), an organization pressing for a referendum on West Papua's status. Indonesia's security forces and Detachment 88, a purportedly anti-terror unit supported by the U.S. and Australian governments, are ratcheting up pressure on KNPB and other Papuan groups at a time of growing tension in the territory. That tension derives in part from an early June assault on the village of Honai Lama by Indonesian military personnel which led to the death of at least one Papuan civilian, the beating of others, and destruction of villagers' homes. The Asian Legal Resource Center warned the UN Human Rights Council of "escalating violence" in West Papua and the failure of Indonesian authorities to arrest the perpetrators of this violence. WPAT urges the U.S. government to suspend support for Detachment 88. WPAT also endorses a Human Right Watch call for the Indonesian government to admit the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions.
 
CONTENTS

Australia West Papua Association Wins Annual West Papua Advocacy Team Award
 
The West Papua Advocacy Team is pleased to announce that Anne Noonan and Joe Collins and the Australia West Papua Association (Sydney) are winners of the Team's 2012 John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award.

The Australia West Papua Association (Sydney) is a non-partisan, non-religious organization which has supported the Papuan people in West Papua for over a decade. The association works to disseminate information about the situation in West Papua. It produces a regular news bulletin and manages an extensive resource collection. AWPA (Sydney) is also engaged in practical solidarity work, raising money for youth groups, student and health organizations, and West Papuan refugees living in Papua New Guinea. The association also works to influence the government of Australia to change its policy of "friendship politics" towards Indonesia, and to urge the immediate stop to Australian weapons export to Indonesia. The association is a key member of the international solidarity network seeking to address critical problems in West Papua in close collaboration with sister organizations in Papua New Guinea, Sweden, The Netherlands, The Philippines, UK, USA, and Japan. In Australia, the association co-operates with committees for East Timor and groups working on related problems.

The AWPA, Sydney joins past winners of this award: Carmel Budiardjo and Tapol (2008), John M. Miller and the East Timor and Indonesian Action Network (2009), Andreas Harsono (2010), and U.S. Congressional Delegate Eni Faleomavaega (2011). The award includes a plaque and a $500 cash stipend.

KNPB's Mako Tabuni Assassinated by U.S.-Backed "Detachment 88"

Mako Tabuni  
Mako Tabuni. West Papua Media Alerts.  

On June 14 a security unit led by the so-called "anti-terror" Detachment 88 shot and killed Mako Tabuni, the Secretary-General of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB). Tabuni, who was unarmed, was shot at least six times by the security element in the Cenderawasih University area in Abepura. Detachment 88 purportedly was seeking to arrest Tabuni. Eyewitness accounts contend, however, that Tabuni was gunned down by assailants who fired from vehicles. Detachment 88 is U.S. and Australian-funded and supported.

The extrajudicial killing of prominent Papuan political leader Mako Tabuni adds to the legacy of Indonesian security force murders of Papuan leaders that includes Arnold Ap, Theys Eluay and Kelly Kwalik (who was also killed in the course of a purportedly botched arrest attempt).

Detachment 88 (Densus 88) has an egregious record of human rights violations throughout the Indonesian archipelago that extends back to its founding in . Those abuses have included well documented charges of extrajudicial killings and torture. The formation of this organization and its subsequent development was as a direct result of extensive U.S. Government funding, training and organizational assistance. (see ETAN/WPAT: Suspend Training and Funding of Indonesian Police Unit Detachment 88)

 

The incident bore all the hallmarks of a police hit: plainclothes officers, unmarked cars and nothing to indicate -- not before, during or after the shooting -- that these were police officers.


KNPB has organized many peaceful demonstrations advocating Papuans' right to self-determination. Among other positions, it has called for a referendum so that the Papuan people can exercise their right to self determination: A right denied them since Indonesia's coerced annexation of West Papua over four decades ago.

According to witnesses who spoke with church sources in Jayapura, Tabuni was shot and wounded by heavily armed Indonesian security personnel as they stormed the area outside the student dormitories at the Cenderawasih University in Abepura. Senior members of KNPB have told West Papua Media Alerts that Tabuni had been walking with friends near the University. Tabuni was shot at least six times, according to both witnesses and journalists in Jayapura.

Haris Azhar, executive coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) is among respected human rights officials who have publicly disputed the official accounts of the killing. He told media on June 22 that witnesses told his organization that none of them saw Mako put up a fight when officers cornered him, as the police claim. 

"According to our investigation, three cars approached Mako outside the university and shots were fired at him directly from the car," Azhar told a hearing at the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) in Jakarta. "The police account, however, is that they attempted to negotiate with him first." Haris said the incident bore all the hallmarks of a police hit: Plainclothes officers, unmarked cars and nothing to indicate -- not before, during or after the shooting -- that these were police officers. "This was a fast and mysterious killing," Haris added.

For its part, the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) called for full police accountability in Mako's shooting. "We hope this incident doesn't become politicized but is instead treated as a criminal offense," Komnas HAM chairman Ifdhal Kasim said.

In the wake of the killing there were widespread protests in West Papua. In retaliation for these demonstrations, some of which were violent, security forces, including Detachment 88, reportedly began raiding dormitories of Papuan students at the Cenderawasih University in Abepura. Security forces especially targeted students of highland origin who are the traditional support base of the KNPB.

In sweeps, security forces have confiscated books, bags, clothing, computers, phones, and cameras. Security forces are also conducting searches across Abepura, Jayapura, Kotaraja, Waena, Sentani and several other places. Many students have been severely beaten and arrested in dormitories in Waena and Asrama.

KNPB sources expressed fear that the students, already beaten severely and taken to Rusunawa police centre, will be tortured and possibly killed by the security forces. Security forces were reportedly on the streets with orders to shoot "rioters" dead on sight, and the situation was described as extremely tense. It is not clear if those who have caused property damage are in fact members of the pro-independence movement, or are undercover Indonesian intelligence officers.

A senior highland human rights activist in Jayapura, told West Papua Media Alerts that "the entire Papuan population is living in a state of constant trauma and fear due to the escalation of Indonesian repression."

The June 14 incident, only the latest in a long record of abusive actions, constitutes an extra judicial killing. Moreover, this incident has dramatically escalated what has been already growing tensions in West Papua as a result of abusive actions by Detachment 88 and other Indonesian security forces.
 
Growing Detachment 88 Repression in West Papua
 
In addition to the Detachment 88 direct involvement in the assassination of Mako Tabuni (above) there are credible reports of Detachment 88 repression in West Papua, apparently specifically targeting Papuans affiliated with the West Papua National Committee (KNPB).
 
The Institute for Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights (IPAHR) reported that a KNPB member Zakeus Hupla was arrested by Detachment 88 in Jayapura on 23 June 2012. IPAHR also reported Detachment 88 arrests of KNPB members Wayut Aspalek and Niel Kogoya on 24 June 2012 in Perumnas III Waena, Jayapura, and that Niel Wolom and Ishak Elopere were tortured badly before being arrested and taken away as well, by Detachment 88.

 

The central U.S. Government role in the creation and subsequent funding of Detachment 88 renders the U.S. Government complicit in the unit's egregious crimes in West Papua and elsewhere in the archipelago.


Detachment 88 personnel were said to be wearing civilian clothes during these arrests. According to witnesses and families there were no arrest warrants issued by Indonesian police in these cases.
 
West Papua Advocacy Team comment: The central U.S. government role in the creation and subsequent funding of Detachment 88 renders the U.S. government complicit in the unit's egregious crimes in West Papua and elsewhere in the archipelago.
 
We strongly urge that the U.S. Departments of State curtail its support for Detachment 88 unless and until tangible steps are taken by the Indonesian government to rein in that rogue unit. Specifically, those involved in the killing of Tabuni must be arrested and charged with the crime of murder. Those Papuans who have been disappeared by Detachment 88 operating outside the bounds of normal police procedures, should be afforded rights as provided for under normal police procedures, including being formally charged or released without further delay. All those charged should have access to family and legal counsel.

Moreover, the U.S. government should not consider further support of Detachment 88 until a thorough Indonesian government investigation of that unit's history of illegal actions is completed and those responsible for illegal acts are brought before a court of law.

It is also imperative that the U.S. government press the Indonesian government to cease ongoing sweep operations in Abepura, the capital, the Central Highlands and elsewhere which imperil the lives of innocent civilians. It is unclear whether Detachment 88 personnel have been involved in these sweeps.

Indonesian Military Attacks Papuan Villagers

The Asian Human Rights Commission on June 18 issued an urgent appeal regarding an Indonesian Military (TNI) assault on Papuan civilians in the Wamena area of West Papua. According to the appeal Battalion 786 attacked civilians residents of Honai Lama west of Wamena on June 6. The attack occurred after civilians there attacked two members of the Battalion following an incident in which the two hit a 10 year old boy while they were riding a motorcycle at high speed through the village. Armed military personnel indiscriminately shot and stabbed villagers, burned houses, and destroyed village property during their retaliatory assault. Villagers fled their homes into nearby forests as a result. A Papuan civil servant, Elianus Yoman, reportedly died from bayonet wounds.

An Indonesian military spokesman in Jayapura initially denied that soldiers had injured anyone. However, President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, conceded that the Indonesian security forces actions were "inappropriate." Yudhoyono told reporters on June 12, "The action [attacks in Papua] can be said to have happened on a small scale with limited victims.... The figure is far [lower] than the violence in the Middle East, [where] we can witnesses, every day, attacks and violence with huge numbers of deaths."
 
Human Rights Watch's Elaine Pearson took sharp exception to the dismissive tone of the President's remarks. In a June 14 statement, she called on President Yudhoyono to "stop making excuses for his government's failure to investigate the violence. Allowing full access to the province for UN rights experts, the press, and other monitors could curtail the rumors and misinformation that often fuel abuses."
 
No disciplinary measures against the personnel staging the assault have been reported.

UN Human Rights Council Hears of "Escalating Violence" in West Papua
 
The Asian Legal Resource Center on June 28 expressed its "grave concern" regarding the "escalating violence" in West Papua. ALRC Spokesperson Juliette Thibaud told the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva:

The ALRC is also gravely concerned by escalating violence in Indonesia's Papuan provinces, notably several recent fatal shootings, including peaceful demonstrator Tarjoli Weah on May 2nd, a German tourist on 29 May, and shootings and physical attacks against civilians in Wamena on June 6, in which one person was killed, 13 others were injured and 87 houses were burned. Papuan activists are being targeted by the security forces, with the Secretary General of the West Papua National Committee, Mako Tabuni, having been killed after being shot six times on June 14, while other committee members have been arrested. To date, no action has been taken to investigate and arrest anyone responsible for these acts.

WPAT Calls On Indonesian to Admit Special Rapporteur to West Papua
 
Over the past two months there has been an alarming rise in violence in West Papua. Unknown gunmen have fired on non-Papuan migrants; on May 29 a German tourist was shot by an unknown assailant and was hospitalized; police used force to break up a peaceful June 4 protest by the National Committee of West Papua (KNPB), reportedly killing three Papuan students. [A church report on incidents of recent violence in West Papua during May through mid-June can be found here.]

 

This repression follows a pattern repeatedly seen in West Papua and previously in East Timor, Aceh and elsewhere in the archipelago. Mysterious killings and assaults, often bearing signs of government security force authorship, are used to justify government crackdowns.


On May 1 a KNPB member was shot, and Deputy Chairman of the KNPB Mako Tabuni was brutally killed by security forces on June 14 (see above). Military personnel attacked villagers in Honai Lama on June 6 (see above). The violence has coincided with the decision by the Indonesian government to invest the notorious Detachment 88 with new authority in West Papua. That body has detained without warrant members of the leadership of the KNPB, apparently the central target of new government pressure on Papuan protesters.

This repression follows a pattern repeatedly seen in West Papua and previously in East Timor, Aceh, and elsewhere in the archipelago. Mysterious killings and assaults, often bearing signs of government security force authorship, are used to justify government crackdowns. The latest target appears to be the KNPB which has made the case for a referendum on West Papua's future with increasing effectiveness.
 
WPAT calls strongly endorses Human Rights Watch's call urging the Indonesian Government to immediately issue an invitation to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions to visit West Papua.
 

Link to this issue: http://etan.org/issues/wpapua/2012/1207wpap.htm

Facebook

ETAN Cause on Facebook
---
ETAN Group on Facebook

Twitter
ETAN Blog ETAN's Blog

ETAN listservs

Subscribe to ETAN's e-mail Listservs

    WWW http://www.etan.org
     
bar
  spacer

 

make a pledge via credit card here

Bookmark and Share

Background | Take Action | News | Links | What You Can Do | Resources  | Contact

ETAN Store | Estafeta | ImagesHome | Timor Postings | Search | Site Index |