West Papua Report
This is the 118th 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 by the East Timor and Indonesia Action
Network (ETAN). Back issues are posted online at
Questions regarding this report can be addressed to Edmund McWilliams at
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The Report leads with
"Perspective," an analysis piece; followed by "Update," a summary of some developments during
the covered period; and then "Chronicle" which includes analyses, statements,
new resources, appeals and action alerts related to West Papua. Anyone interested
in contributing a "Perspective" or responding to one should write to
email@example.com. The opinions expressed
in Perspectives are the author's and not necessarily those of WPAT or ETAN.
For additional news on West Papua see the reg.westpapua listserv
archive or on Twitter.
PERSPECTIVE examines the decision of the Melanesian states, minus
Vanuatu, to endorse Jakarta's control of West Papua and to forego
criticism of its repression there. In UPDATE the
report describes continued "sweeping operations" in the Puncak Jaya region,
Papuan criticism of the Melanesian Spearhead Group's visit to
Indonesia, Jakarta's linking of "Special Autonomy Plus" to
repression, and testimony about human rights in West Papua before the
European Parliament. In CHRONICLE, we report
planning for another plantation project in West Papua along the lines of
Merauke Integrated Fuel and Energy Estate (MIFEE). A prominent Papuan
criticized both the substance and process of "Special Autonomy Plus"
planning. Human Rights Watch, in its annual report, notes the
continued trampling of rights in West
Papua. Noted analyst and activist Noam Chomsky says conditions in West
Papua amount to genocide. A report in the Guardian describes a
travesty of justice in the prosecution of six Papuans for peaceful
MSG Sells Out
by Ed McWilliams
Foreign Ministers from the Melanesian Spearhead Group
(MSG), with the important exception of Vanuatu,
have betrayed their fellow Melanesians in West Papua.
Given this disheartening
turn of events, it is all the more interesting to consider the
singular courage of Vanuatu which asserted its principled
objection to the course chosen by its Melanesian Spearhead Group
Following meetings with senior
Indonesian officials in Jakarta and an abbreviated visit to West Papua,
the delegation capitulated to Indonesia's insistence that the
neighboring Melanesian states acknowledge Indonesian control of West
Papua. In its January 17 statement in Jakarta, the Foreign Ministers
"We respect Indonesian's
sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity as well as the
non-intervention principle into a country's domestic affairs as
stated in the United Nation's Charter."
The language employed by the
Melanesian diplomats rejects longstanding appeals by Papuans for respect
for their the right of self determination, as recognized by numerous
international covenants and agreements (including the United Nations
In voicing support for a so-called "non-intervention principle," the
Melanesian diplomats also appear to have abandoned their right (and
obligation) to speak out regarding the violation of human rights
suffered by their fellow Melanesians in West Papua at the hands of
Indonesia, notably from its security forces and intelligence operatives.
As if to underscore their abandonment of any sense of obligation to
support human rights, the Melanesian states have ignored the arrest of
47 Papuans who sought to meet with them during their brief visit to Jayapura
(see report below).
|MSG delegation meets with
Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) in his
office in Jakarta on Jan. 15. Photo: Antara/Andika Wahyu
The embarrassing capitulation by
the Melanesian governments (minus Vanuatu) to Indonesian pressure
is a demonstration of the power of realpolitik in international affairs.
Papua New Guinea's long undefended border with Indonesia, Indonesian
trade and development blandishments, perhaps inevitably, led to the
Melanesian's cynical betrayal of the West Papuans.
The MSG's July
2013 summit meeting agreed to send a delegation to Indonesia and
West Papua as part of the organization consideration of the application
for full membership from the West Papua National Council for Liberation
(WPNCL). The summit also "fully" supported "the inalienable rights
of the people of West Papua towards self-determination" and endorsed
raising concerns about "human rights violations and other forms of
atrocities against the West Papuan people."
Given this disheartening turn of
events, it is all the more interesting to consider the singular courage
of Vanuatu which asserted its principled objection to the course chosen
by its Melanesian Spearhead Group partners.
Vanuatu's Foreign Minister Edward Natapei told
Radio Australia's Pacific Beat that he believed the agenda for the
foreign ministers' meeting had been "hijacked" by Indonesia. He added
that Vanuatu could only participate in the MSG delegation visit if the
it was given the opportunity to meet Papuan civil society groups,
pro-independence groups, church leaders and other groups concerned with
human rights violations in West Papua. Such a stand is not only logical
and fair, in the context of Indonesian pressure, it is courageous and
It remains a painful reality that Papuans
must look first to their own courage and secondly to the growing support
they are earning among solidarity groups around the world as they seek
to assert their rights, including the right to self-determination.
Criticism of MSG
Delegation Visit to West Papua
The Vanuatu Daily Post (January 29) underscored West Papuan
disappointment with the results of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG)
delegation (see above). Andy Ayamiseba of the
West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation told the Vanuatu Daily
Post that (MSG) fact-finding mission to Indonesia and West Papua fell
far short of its mandate. "To me and the West Papuan National Coalition for
Liberation (WPNCL), the so- called Melanesian Spearhead Group
ministerial delegation visit to Indonesia and West Papua was a conflict
of interest for Fiji and the Solomon Islands," Ayamiseba said.
|Demonstrators greet MSG
delegation in Jayapura.
"I condemn the spirit of the visit and I salute
Vanuatu for her stand in boycotting the so-called MSG ministerial
delegation mission, he added.
He accused Fiji and the Solomon Islands of using the delegation to
promote economic ties with Indonesia.
On January 13, the Indonesian police
arrested 47 Papuans who were gathered at the office of the Papuan
Legislative Council (DPRD) to welcome and meet with the MSG delegation.
Demonstrations also took place in Jakarta.
Papuans Behind Bars: "While protestors targeting the MSG delegation
in Jayapura were manhandled, arrested and dispersed, protests targeting
the delegation in Jakarta were not subject to these repressive tactics,
despite getting far closer to members of the delegation than their
colleagues in Papua."
The visit was originally designed to assess the plight
of Papuans living in West Papua and to provide a basis for these Papuans
application to join the MSG which was presented at the July MSG summit
meeting (see July 2013 West Papua
Local Media Reports Continued "Sweeping
Operations" in Puncak Jaya
Step Magazine on
January 28 reported that Brimob police burned three houses in Kelurik village in the Puncak Jaya region on January 26 as part of an
ongoing "sweeping operation." The Brimob forces brutality has led many
civilians in the area to flee into the forests.
Meanwhile, the local publication
Jubi reported (January 27) security forces had also assaulted
civilians in Dondobaga, also in the Puncak Jaya District. According to
the report, Indonesian security forces attacked a GIDI church on January
The Jubi report quotes Yunus Enumbi, a local OPM commander, who
claimed that Brimob had "persecuted [the] church congregation and
minister. "They were beaten up with rifle butts."
Simeon Daby, Chairn of
the National Committee of West Papua, mountain region, called on the
“Military/ Police, please do not blindly fight against ordinary people.
Your enemy is clearly TPN/OPM and not the ordinary people or civil
The Chief of Puncak Jaya Police, Marselin Sarimin and Pangdam, and Maj.
Gen. Christian Zebua, Commander of Cenderawasih Military Area XVII ,
the report of violence at the church. The authorities did confirm that
there had been two arrests of persons in the church.
The ongoing sweeps in Puncak Jaya have included
casualties to Indonesian security forces.
On January 24, First Private Sugianto was killed in a battle between
TNI personnel and "armed civilian men." A few days later, Indonesian
police reportedly arrested one of those involved in the shooting. National Police Chief General Sutarman said that the suspect was
"strongly believed to be a member of the separatist Free Papua Movement
Earlier in January there were also violent incidents
in the Mulia area of Puncak Jaya.
Jubi reported on January 18 that a "string of shootings" and the
theft of state security force arms. In the attack, unknown elements
struck the Puncak Jaya Military Command Post in Kota Lama, Mulia. Two
security force members were injured in the attack.
reports that while senior level
review of plans for "special autonomy plus" legislation is
continuing, implementation of the policy initiative depends on the
success of efforts to repress dissent.
Plus" Tied to Success of Repression
assessment was offered by Legal and Security Affairs minister Doko
Suyanto after a meeting involving President Yudhoyono, senior ministers, and
the Governors of Papua and West Papua provinces on "special autonomy
plus." Djoko stressed to the media that while the proposed law would
"yield improvements in forestry, maritime, energy and transportation
sectors," it was important to suppress armed movements. "The two
efforts must be parallel," he said.
WPAT Comment: As noted in
January's West Papua Report, failure of Jakarta authorities to
address the real West Papuan problems and demands, particularly related
to self-determination, renders Jakarta's efforts to resurrect "special
autonomy" moribund. The Indonesian government attempt to criminalize
OPM resistance and to contend that such armed resistance is related to
"local issues" fundamentally misunderstands the nature of the challenge
Jakarta faces in West Papua.
Human Rights Advocates Testify Before European
Parliament about Rights Denial in West Papua
Members of the European Parliament stressed that the
situation in West Papua had too long been ignored in discussions
and called for closer involvement.
testified before the European Parliament's Subcommittee on
Human Rights on West Papua:
Zely Ariane from
National Papua Solidarity
(NAPAS), Victor Mambor from the Jayapura chapter of the Alliance of
Independent Journalists (AJI) and Norman Voss from the
and Peace for Papua: International
Coalition for Papua (ICP). Indonesia's Ambassador to Belgium,
Luxembourg and the European Union Arif Havas Oegroseno also addressed the subcommittee.
The human rights advocates detailed unresolved in
West Papua and the restrictions enforced on foreign journalists and NGO's seeking to visit
the region. The parliamentarians also heard
appeals for the release of political prisoners and calls for a dialogue
between Papuans and Jakarta.
According to the ICP, "Members of the European Parliament stressed
that the situation in West Papua had too long been ignored in
discussions and called for closer involvement."
The activists also criticized restrictions imposed on foreign
diplomats who want to assess the situation in West Papua, citing the
recent closed visit of foreign ministers from Melanesian Spearhead Group
(MSG) member nations as an example.
New Plantation Project Similar to MIFEE Planned for FakFak
According to a
January 29 report
from Awas MIFEE planning is underway to establish a major plantation project in
FakFak on the southern coast of West Papua. The plan is similar in
vision and scope to the Merauke Integrated Fuel and Energy Estate
being implemented in the Merauke area. The
new plan includes a transmigration component where non-Papuans will be
brought into Papuan lands. The transmigration areas will be in sections
identified as "SP 1 to SP7, in and around the Tomage area.
A Prominent Human Rights Advocate
Opposes "Special Autonomy Plus"
Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive Director LP3BH Manokwari,
speaks out in opposition to "Special Autonomy Plus" or "enhanced
Special Autonomy" (see January 2014 West Papua Report). Warinussy raised
specific objections to both the substance of the plan. He calls the process through which the plan is being developed
illegal, because it is taking place outside the
appropriate legislative process.
Human Rights Watch Annual Report Underscores Plight of Papuans
Human Rights Watch in its
World Report 2014 described conditions in the easternmost province
of Papua as characterized by state security force excesses. HRW
"Conditions in Papua, still virtually off-limits to foreign
journalists, remain volatile, with security forces enjoying virtual
impunity for abuses, including excessive and at times lethal use of
force against peaceful proponents of independence."
Chomsky Speaks Out on West Papua
activist and scholar
Professor Noam Chomsky talks about West Papua, a cause he supports. He
calls the situation there "genocide."
Guardian Reveals Corruption of Justice in West Papua
The Guardian describes the
repression of West Papuans' civil and political rights in the case of
the prosecution of six Papuans who engaged in peaceful political
dissent. On May 1, 2013, Indonesian security forces responded with
violence to a peaceful flag raising ceremony in Biak. One of the six defendants
was so badly beaten in the security force assault, he is no longer
mentally competent to stand trial. The others face jail terms of 15 to
18 years. See also Tapol's
Urgent Appeal: Release Biak prisoners
Link to the is issue: http://etan.org/issues/wpapua/2014/1402wpap.htm