West Papua Report
This is the 124th 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
Network (ETAN). Back issues are posted online at
Questions regarding this report can be addressed to Edmund McWilliams at
email@example.com. If you wish to receive
the report directly via e-mail, send a note to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Link to this issue:
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
For additional news on West Papua see the reg.westpapua listserv
archive or on Twitter.
PERSPECTIVE takes the form of West Papua
Advocacy Team's (WPAT) open letter to President-elect Joko "Jokowi"
Widodo urging him to address fundamental problems in West Papua.
UPDATE notes that Widodo
won substantial majorities in West Papua, but that many Papuans boycotted the election. A
prominent Papuan activist fled West Papua to
Australia following attempts to abduct her. The Asian Human Rights
Commission called the President-elect's
attention to outstanding human rights problems in West Papua and
elsewhere. Leaders of the "Federal State of West Papua"
were released after serving nearly three years in
prison for their roles in the Third Papuan People's Congress. Planning
is under way for a meeting of Papuan groups in
Vanuatu. President-elect Widodo has criticized a
deal with Freeport McMoRan signed by outgoing president Yudhoyono.
West Papuan students staged coordinated protests
in Java over the denial of Papuan rights, including the right to
self-determination. Recent shootings have raised
concerns over a possible "sweeping operation" as a retaliatory
"collective punishment" response. The new Army Chief of
Staff has a record of provocative statements which point to an
intent to defame and persecute rights advocates.
a motion by the Green Party's Catherine
Delahunty in the New Zealand Parliament concerning the absence of media
freedom in West Papua. A new documentary
reveals repression in West Papua. Amnesty
International urged Widodo to address human rights abuses and
security force impunity. A new article focuses on
institutional racism in West Papua. Groups write
urging Indonesia to implement the UN's Universal Periodic Review
recommendations concerning West Papua.
The following "perspective" comprises an open letter to President-elect
Joko Widodo from the West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT).
Dear President-elect Joko Widodo:
candidate Joko “Jokowi” Widodo at campaign rally in
Jayapura in June. Photo: AP/Djefri Pattirajawane
Congratulations on your victory in
Indonesia's presidential election. The triumph of your campaign gives
strong evidence that Indonesia is on a democratic path.
Your administration will face many daunting challenges, among them those
associated with violations of human rights, most committed by Indonesian
security and intelligence forces, and the broad impunity enjoyed by
those accused of perpetrating these abuses.
Nowhere in the archipelago have human
rights violations and impunity been more numerous or more flagrant than
in West Papua. (We use here the preferred term those in the region
encompassing Indonesia's easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua.)
We note with concern that some of your own former-military supporters
face serious charges for violating human rights, including crimes
committed in West Papua.We also are
concerned that during the presidency of your party's leader,, Megawati
Sukarnoputri, the Papuan leader Theys Eluay was assassinated by Kopassus
and the broadly rejected
plan was imposed.
We welcome your decision to visit Jayapura early in your campaign. In
you campaigned there during the parliamentary election and you
returned to West Papua in June while campaigning for president. At that
time you, made welcome pledges to improve both education and healthcare
for Papuans. You also promised support for
development of economic infrastructure, especially in the east. In your campaign Action Program, ("A Path for Change for an Indonesia
That Is Sovereign, Self-Sufficient and Full of Character") you also
pledged to address deep-seated environmental and resource extraction
problems throughout the archipelago, problems that especially burden the
As President you must move definitively to end the security
approach as a means of addressing peaceful, legal dissent in
West Papua. We urge you to order a demilitarization of West
Papua, a demand long voiced by Papuans.
While West Papua ranks very poorly in
health, education, employment and other critical indices, we urge you
not to consider such "development" concerns at the cost of more pressing
ones. In the past "development" schemes originated in Jakarta have
failed to address the plight of Papuans who have been systematically
disadvantaged by central government programs primarily designed to
assist non-Papuan migrants and transmigrants. Such "development"
programs only deepen the marginalization of the Papuan population.
Moreover, your welcome pledges to improve health services and education
and to end the destructive exploitation of West Papua's environment fail
to address more fundamental issues confronting West Papua. For decades,
Indonesian security forces and intelligence agents have employed a
genocidal security approach involving systematic repression and
intimidation. As a consequence, Papuans face unrelenting marginalization
and humiliation within their homeland. They have suffered torture and
assassination. They have endured displacement by the thousands and the
destruction of homes, churches and schools in "sweeping operations."
Previous Indonesian administrations have been complicit in this abuse by
either ordering such policies or because they have failed to end the
abuses or to prosecute the perpetrators. We urge you to bring to justice
those responsible for these crimes.
As President you must move definitively to end the security approach as
a means of addressing peaceful, legal dissent in West Papua. We urge you
to order a demilitarization of West Papua, a demand long voiced by
We also urge immediate reforms to the Indonesian criminal code to remove
penalties for "subversion," a holdover from the period of Dutch colonial
rule, often used to punish those exercising rights guaranteed under
Indonesian and international law. We also call on you to release the
scores of Papuan political prisoners currently imprisoned under these
and similar laws which have criminalized peaceful protest.
It is high time that the Indonesian government accepted
long-standing Papuan pleas for a direct, high level,
internationally-mediated dialogue with West Papua involving
leaders of Papuan civil society. These talks should address
long-denied Papuan fundamental civil and political rights,
including their fundamental right to self-determination.
We commend your June 5
public pledge to allow foreign journalists and international
organizations to enter West Papua.
this context, we condemn the policies of previous Indonesian
administrations which sought to conceal the human rights tragedy of the
Papuan people by preventing access to travel, or work within West Papua
by journalists, the UN, and other international and humanitarian
organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross. We
urge you to take action to end these restrictions upon entering office.
long-delayed visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to West
Papua would be a clear indicator of your intention to open the region.
The concerns detailed above are certainly important, but it is more
vital that your administration address as its first priority the
fundamental, historical political problem at the root of the Papuan
With the exception of former President Abdul Rahman Wahid, no Indonesian
President has given serious consideration to Papuans' fundamental civil
and political rights including the right to self-determination. The "Act
of Free Choice," through which Indonesia annexed West Papua in 1969, is
widely recognized as a grotesque violation of Indonesia's commitment to
the United Nations to afford Papuans their right to self-determination.
Scholars such as
John Saltford and Peter Drooglever. as well as UN officials involved
in this fake plebiscite, have detailed the deeply fraudulent nature of
the "Act of Free Choice." It is high time that the Indonesian government
accepted long-standing Papuan pleas for a direct, high level,
internationally-mediated dialogue with West Papua involving leaders of
Papuan civil society. These talks should address long-denied Papuan
fundamental civil and political rights, including their fundamental
right to self-determination.
During your campaign you said that you plan to hear the voice of the
people. For decades succeeding administrations in Jakarta have ignored
the voice of the Papuan people, who have cried out for justice and
recognition of their fundamental rights.
We urge you to listen to the voices of West Papuans and seize the
initiative: Engage with them, so that the tragedy that has afflicted the
Papuan people for over a half century can finally end.
Widodo Does Well with Papuans
But Many Boycott
Presidential candidate Joko Widodo
received majorities in major Papuan districts and both Indonesian
provinces, although the number
of Papuans boycotting the July 9 election appeared to be significant.
According to the Indonesia's election commission, in Papua province,
26.84% of voters supported Prabowo Subianto compared to
73.16% for Widodo; in West Papua province, Widodo
received 67.63% versus 32.37 for Prabowo.
In Jayapura, Widodo picked up 96,780 votes, compared to the 69,220 votes
for Prabowo. Yeremias Numberi, who was responsible for the
vote count, told media on July 10 "The presidential election in Jayapura
has been peaceful since the beginning of the campaign period. However,
the number of voters decreased by 40 to 50 percent."
In Yahukimo, Widodo
won 189,076 votes compared to Prabowo's 72,537. Widodo also
led in Nabire with 90,541 votes to Prabowo 41,061 votes. In Paniai,
Widodo had 82,970 to Prabowo's 7,662. Widodo also prevailed
Jayapura regency with 61,353 votes in comparison to Prabowo's 30,378
Papuan Activist Flees to
Australia after "Abduction" Attempt
speaks 2014 commemoration of Biak massacre in
an exclusive report for Crikey, the Australian online news
site, Sally Whyte writes that a West Papuan activist fled to Australia
fearing for her safety. Tineke Rumkabu said that members of the
Indonesian military attempted to abduct her earlier in July after she
participated in an NGO commemoration of the 1998 Biak massacre.
Rumkabu has been especially outspoken as a witness to the 1998 massacre
On July 6, 1998, hundreds of peaceful demonstrators gathered on a
prominent hill in the town of Biak were deliberately attacked by members
of the Indonesian military and police. The Papuans
were asserting their
right to self-determination after more than three decades of Indonesian
military occupation of West Papua. Bodies of many of those slaughtered
were dumped at sea.
A 2013 civilian
found that "On July 6, 1998 a peaceful demonstration in Biak was
attacked by military and police forces under the control of the
Government of Indonesia which resulted in the deaths and injuries of
scores of people and the detention of a further group of the
demonstrators by the military forces, police and members of the
Indonesian Naval forces," and that the Indonesian government has
attempted to "downplay the seriousness of the actions perpetrated by"
its forces." Rumkabu
testified before the tribunal.
July 2013 West Papua Report:
Recalling the 1998 Massacre
Asian Human Rights
Commission Highlights Rights Challenges for
We are calling for the end of the
approach, and for the new administration to prioritize a
constructive dialogue with the people of West Papua. The AHRC
further demands the upcoming administration put an end to
the isolation of West Papua and give access for international
journalists to the region.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), in a July 23
statement, welcomed the formal announcement of President-elect
Widodo election victory but noted that the new President's commitment is
"yet to be tested." The AHRC observed that some in Widodo's circle have
been tied to major human rights abuse cases, including former General
Wiranto, pointing out that AHRC pointing out that Wiranto "was named by
the citizen's tribunal as the person responsible" for the 1998 Biak.
Also in Widodo's circle is
Hendropriyono, former Chief of the State Intelligence Agency
(BIN). AHRC pointed out Hendropriyono's involvement in
the assassination of a prominent human rights activist Munir, who was
poisoned to death in 2004. (WPAT notes that Hendropriyono is also linked
to numerous major human rights violations in West Papua, including the
assassination of Papuan political leader Theys Eluay.
The AHRC statement concluded with a lengthy focus on the human rights
challenges posed by the situation in West Papua:
"An important human rights issue, the abuses in West Papua, appears to
have been left out of the campaign of Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla. The
AHRC is hoping that the failure of the President-elect to discuss the
matter does not reflect his intention to continue Indonesia's current
policy on West Papua, which is mainly the use of militaristic approach
to respond to the ongoing conflict in the region. We are calling for the
end of this approach, and for the new administration of Jokowi-Jusuf
Kalla to prioritise a constructive dialogue with the people of West
Papua. The AHRC further demands the upcoming administration of
Jokowi-Jusuf Kalla to put an end to the isolation of West Papua, and to
give access for international journalists to the region."
Ryamizard Ryacudu (left) with Presidential candidate
Widodo. Photo via New Mandala.
statement ETAN noted several other rights violators on Jokowi's
campaign team: Former BIN deputy chief retired Major General
Muchdi Purwoprandjono is also accused
in the murder
of Munir. Former Jakarta Military Commander Lieutenant General
is accused of
torture in Timor-Leste.
was Jakarta military commander when thugs backed by troops and police
attacked the headquarters of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) in 1996.
General Ryamizard Ryacudu is a hardliner known for his xenophobic
remarks and criticism of rights activists. As army chief of staff, he
oversaw the implementation of martial law in Aceh beginning in May 2003.
After the conviction of several Kopassus members for the murder of Theys
Ryamizard said that “the law says they are guilty. They are
punished. But for me they are heroes.”
Leaders of the "Federal State of West Papua" Released
The "President of the Federal State of West
Papua" Forkorus Yaboisembut, and "Prime Minister of the Federal State"
were released from Jayapura Prison on July 21. Also released were
three other senior Federal State officials Selfius Bobii, Dominikus
Disebut and Agus Learn. Thousands of Papuans reportedly welcomed
the release with a "long march." The five were arrested and
imprisoned in October
2011 following the Third Papuan People's Congress in Jayapura where
they were elected as leaders of the "Federal Republic."
Papuans To Meet in
Vanuatu to Discuss West Papua Application to Join
Jubi reports that Pastor Alain Nafuki, a member of Vanuatu
Church Council, has been appointed as the chair of the committee
organizing the "Conference of Papua Liberation Groups" which will be
held in Port Villa, Vanuatu,
later this year. Nafuki
"The purpose of this meeting is to facilitate various groups of
Papuan Liberation in order to discuss and set West Papua's membership
application at the Melanesian Spearhead Group."
Andy Ayamiseba, representatives of West Papua National Coalition for
Liberation (WPNCL) in Vanuatu said that the Government of Vanuatu "will
invite three major factions, WPNCL, NRFPB [Negara Republik Federal Papua
Barat/Federal Republic of West Papua], and KNPB/Free West Papua
Campaign, to form an organization umbrella to submit a new application
In June, the Melanesian Spearhead Groups (MSG)
rejected the membership application submitted by WPNCL and called on
Papuans to submit a "fresh application" from "an inclusive and united
Outgoing SBY Cuts Last Minute Deal with
The Jakarta Post reports that the lame duck Yudhoyono administration
has concluded a "strategic deal" with Freeport McMoRan that will
allow the U.S. mining giant to continue operations after its license
expires in 2021. The deal violates a pledge by Yudhoyono to consult with
the president-elect before approving a deal. The new memorandum of
understanding (MoU) will serve as the basis for amending the miner's
contract of work (CoW).
Widodo reacted to the MoU signing by noting that Yudhoyono had not
consulted him. "The Freeport contract will expire in 2021. The current
administration should not have sealed the deal," Widodo said.
Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry director general for minerals and
coal R. Sukhyar
said that if Freeport meets its commitments under the MoU, “the
government will not unreasonably withhold or delay the continuation of
The MoU will not only constrain incoming President Widodo in his
dealings with Freeport, but could form a template in dealings with other
Among the key provisions of the MoU:
Freeport will have its "taxes eased
when it exports semi-finished products once it agrees to provide
US$115 million in surety bonds as part of its commitment to build a
The company's export tax will be 7.5
percent, significantly lower than the industry average.
will pay slightly
higher royalties for copper -- 4 percent up from 3.75 percent -- and
3.5 percent for gold up from 1 percent.
Freeport will also "gradually sell a
further 21 percent stake to the government," and the company's
"concession area will decrease to 122,000 hectares from 212,000 ha."
WPAT Comment: Special Treatment for
Freeport by Indonesian administrations is nothing new. Neither is the
common practice of not engaging Papuans in the negotiations with
Papuan Students Protest
1969 Annexation of West Papua in Java
West Papuan students, under the leadership of the Papuan Students
staged protests on July 15 in Semarang, Yogyakarta and Bandung. The
main theme of the coordinated demonstrations was rejection of the
"Act of Free Choice," the fraudulent plebiscite through which
Indonesia annexed West Papua in 1969. The demonstrations called the act undemocratic and a gross human rights violation.
The AMP demonstrators demanded:
a referendum of the Papuan people,
because the 1969 "Act of Free Choice" (Pepera) was
the withdrawal of all organic and
non-organic military and police (TNI-POLRI) from West Papua in order
to end crimes by the Indonesian state against the Papuan people;
an end to all exploitative activities
by multinational corporations throughout Papua, including
those of Freeport McMoRan and BP, which runs an LNG plant at Tangguh, as well as
companies like Medco and Korindo that are involved in the
MIFEE food and
energy plantation project in Merauke.
Unknown Gunmen Kill
Police; Sweeping Operation Feared
A group of armed men, alleged to be part of a Papuan separatist
group, shot at eight police officers in Indawa village in mountainous Lanny Jaya
district on July 28, Two died and six were injured. A police
spokesperson Sr. Comr. Pudjo Sulistyo
said the officers were training residents of Indawa village when
they were attacked. The assault came on the same day an unidentified
armed group attacked a military post in the Tinggi Nambut area of
Papua's Puncak Jaya district.
The police said that they would take the lead in pursuing the attackers, but it
appears that the military will also be involved. Major General Christian Zebua head of the Papua Regional Military Command, said the military was
ready to assist the police. "We are ready to offer our services in
overcoming the armed groups that have recently attacked civilians as
well as security personnel," he told
ANTARA. At the beginning of August, the
Indonesian military reported killing five "separatists" in Lanny Jaya.
told the press: "We have shot five OPM members, and two of our
personnel were also grazed by bullets," said Pa.
(WPAT Comment: The formation of "special teams" presumably
incorporating military personnel into police units could be a precursor
to launching of "sweeping operations" purportedly to target the
shooters. However, past such operations have taken a heavy toll on local
villagers, destroying civilian homes, churches, and displacing civilians
into surrounding forests where people have no access to food, shelter or
medical support. These operations appear to constitute
collective punishment meted out against civilians, a specific war
crime under international law.)
New Anti-Reform Army Chief of
|Lt. Gen. Gatot
Nurmantyo. Photo: TEMPO/Subekt
The anti-reform Lt. Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo
became Indonesia's Chief of Staff of the Army on July 25,. He will likely
continue in that position for two years notwithstanding the transition to
a new President in October. Nurmantyo was previously Chief of the Army
Strategic Command. He has served as Brawijaya Military Command in East
Java, as well as governor of the National Military Academy.
Nurmantyo's promotion appears to represents a further blow to hopes
for reform of the Indonesian military, an idea that has withered under
the presidency of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Nurmantyo's public comments
suggest a reversion to attitudes that challenge the principle of
civilian supremacy over the military. He has called Indonesia's
democracy "empty" and said that "popular will expressed through
elections is not always right."
These comments, made last October at a Pancasila Youth (PP) rally,
reflect the strength of TNI hardliners who oppose reform, including
restrictions on military involvement in politics.
May Kompas quoted Nurmantyo warning against "proxy wars" in
which foreign interests would seek to use third parties within Indonesia
to endanger national unity. Such third parties, he said, could include
"separatist movements," workers or students. In an August 30 public
lecture on "The Role of Youth in Confronting the Proxy War," he
warned that "enemies will utilize and control non-state actors such as
non-government organizations, mass organizations or individuals." He
cited "the loss of East Timor" as an indication of such proxy wars.
WPAT Comment: Nurmantyo, for some time, has sought to create a
context for retribution against those seeking to assert their civil and
political rights in Indonesian public space. By asserting
unsubstantiated nefarious ties to foreign agents, he has sought to
create a mind set that would countenance such repression. Presumably
rights campaigners in West Papua and elsewhere would be targets for such
Motion in New
Zealand Parliament on Media Freedom in West
Recent John Rumbiak Human Rights Award recipient New Zealand MP
Catherine Delahunty submitted a motion supporting media
freedom in West Papua to parliament. The July 30 motion passed unanimously on
voice vote. The motion said:
"I move that this House call upon the new President of Indonesia to
commit to genuine media freedom in West Papua including the right of
local and international journalists to report on the political situation
there without risk of imprisonment or harassment by the Indonesian
See video here:
Exposes Abuses in West Papua
A new film, "Isolated," documents human rights abuse in West Papua.
The film was initially intended to focus on surfing. but the filmmakers
unexpectedly encountered the human rights violations that are
common in West Papua, especially in isolated areas beyond the scrutiny
of foreign visitors. The film also exposes unethical mining operations.
The filmmakers Ryan Phillippe and Geoffrey James Clark have encouraged
people to sign their White House petition. The award-winning film is in
theaters, iTunes, Xbox, Vudu, Playstation and on DVD. The new PIVOT
network will premiere the documentary in September. For more information
Amnesty International Urges
Widodo to Make Good on Rights Pledges
Amnesty International on July 22
called on President-elect Joko Widodo to keep his "promises to
improve Indonesia's dire human rights situation." Amnesty specifically
mentioned his pledges to address "serious past human rights abuses,
protecting freedom of religion, reforming the police and opening up
access to Papua for international observers."
"Institutionalized Racism" in
An July 21
article in The International (now Record) describes the
"institutionalized racism" as lying at the heart of Indonesian policy in
West Papua. The report also notes the round up, torture, and continued
imprisonment of KNPB activists who campaigned for a boycott of
Indonesia's presidential election.
Groups Write on Rights
Violations in West Papua
A number of international and other organizations
concern "about the serious and ongoing violations of human rights
that are taking place with impunity in the easternmost provinces of
Indonesia Papua and West Papua. The letter urged Indonesia "to implement
the recommendations that Indonesia accepted at
its Periodic Review with regard to respecting human rights in Papua
and West Papua, and to also reconsider the recommendations that
Indonesia rejected." The letter, organized by VIVAT International, was
supported by 25 other organizations, including ETAN.