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.
Papua Association Wins Annual West Papua Advocacy Team Award
The West Papua Advocacy Team is pleased to announce that
Anne Noonan and Joe Collins
Australia West Papua Association (Sydney) are
winners of the Team's 2012 John Rumbiak Human Rights
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),
M. Miller and the East Timor and Indonesian Action
Andreas Harsono (2010),
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. 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Indonesian Military Attacks Papuan
The Asian Human Rights Commission on June 18 issued
urgent appeal regarding an Indonesian Military (TNI) assault
on Papuan civilians in the Wamena area of West Papua.
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,
the Indonesian security forces actions were "inappropriate." Yudhoyono told reporters on June 12,
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
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
"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
WPAT Calls On Indonesian to Admit
Special Rapporteur to West
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
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
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
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.
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