etmnlong.gif (2291 bytes) spacer
The Papua Report
March 2004

The following is the third in a series of monthly reports prepared by the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights ñ Indonesia Support Group providing updates regarding developments in Papua. The RFK Center has monitored and reported on the human rights situation in Papua since 1993 when Bambang Widjojanto received the annual RFK Human Rights Award.

Senior U.S. Official Confirms Indonesian Military Involvement in the Killings of Americans; FBI Team Back In Indonesia to Probe Attack on U.S. Teachers;

Majority of Irish Parliamentarians Call for United Nations Review of Controversial Process Allowing Indonesian Take-over of Papua;

Instigator of Papua Division Plan Installed in Powerful New Post

Contents/Summary

  • Senior U.S. Official Confirms Indonesian Military Involvement in the Killings of Americans; FBI Team Back In Indonesia to Probe Attack on U.S. Teachers
  • Majority of Irish Parliamentarians Call for United Nations Review of Controversial Process Allowing Indonesian Take-over of Papua; U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy Voices Concern Regarding Human Rights Situation in Papua
  • Catholic Bishop of Papua Warns Papuan Civil Society Could Demand "Freedom"
  • Instigator of Papua Division Plan Installed in Powerful New Post
  • 1,000 Tribal Leaders Oppose Papua Division; Call for U.N. Investigation of Human Rights Abuses
  • RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights
  • Indonesia Support Group Calls on USG to Take up Abuses in Papua at U.N. Human Rights Commission
  • Franciscans International Calls on U.N. to Press for Disbanding of Paramilitary Terrorists in Papua
  • Indonesian Government Officials Turn Blind Eye to Illegal Logging of Papua's Unique Forests

Senior U.S. Official Confirms Indonesian Military Involvement in the Killings of Americans; FBI Team Back In Indonesia to Probe Attack on U.S. Teachers

As reported by the Associated Press on March 3, a senior U.S. official has confirmed that elements of the Indonesian military (TNI) were involved in the August 2002 ambush by gunmen at the U.S.-owned Freeport copper and gold mine in Papua. The gunmen killed Freeport school Principal Ted Burgon of Sunriver, Oregon, and teacher Rick Spier of Littleton, Colorado, and wounded eight other U.S. citizens.

The AP report cites two U.S. officials as stating that local TNI commanders ordered the ambush and quotes "a senior U.S. official familiar with the investigation as stating 'It's no longer a question of who did it.'" The official told AP, "It's only a question of how high up this went within the chain of command." The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta subsequently "corrected" the report, stating that the FBI investigation was continuing.

The AP report notes that "privately, U.S. officials say little doubt remains about who was responsible for the attack," and further cites FBI investigators as believing local army commanders were trying to extort protection payments from Freeport after the company reduced its regular contributions to them. Underscoring the serious policy implications associated with what the Embassy described as an act of terrorism, the AP report explains that any U.S. finding against the military could jeopardize the Bush administration's desire to restore U.S.-Indonesian military ties, which were suspended after army atrocities in East Timor in 1999.

Rick Spier's widow, Patsy Spier, who suffered multiple gunshot and shrapnel wounds in the attack, told AP: "Why would we want to improve ties with Indonesia and re-establish ties with the military if the police have accused them of being behind the killing of Americans? The people who carried out that ambush were arrogant enough to think they could get away with it because they've gotten away with so many crimes in the past."

In a Mother Jones article (March 2004) focused on Patsy Spier's fight for justice, former U.S. Embassy Political Counselor and RFK Indonesia Support Group member Ed McWilliams supported Patsy Spier's concerns and cautioned that the U.S. should not allow the TNI to evade justice by offering up low-ranking scapegoats as they have done in other instances when, as rarely happens, the international community has demanded accountability for TNI abuses.

"For the U.S. Government to acquiesce in such a subterfuge," he said, "would make the U.S. conspirators in the cover up of the murder of U.S. citizens."

The Indonesian police also have concluded that the TNI was likely involved in the incident. Local police commander Brig. Gen. Raziman Tarigan specifically blamed Special Forces soldiers, a unit whose members had carried out ten months earlier the "torture-murder" of Papua's leading civic figure Theys Eluay. The TNI denied the police report's accusation and blamed instead the primitively armed Papuan resistance.

After long negotiations with the Indonesian government and military regarding terms of reference for its activities, U.S. FBI agents in early March returned to Indonesia to investigate the August 2002 attack at Freeport. They have visited Indonesia four previous times to investigate the ambush.

Majority of Irish Parliamentarians Call for United Nations Review of Controversial Process Allowing Indonesian Take-over of Papua; U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy Voices Concern Regarding Human Rights Situation in Papua

In an unprecedented act of international support for Papuans' right to self determination, more than half the Irish Parliament called on March 25 for U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to initiate a review of the controversial 1969 Act of Free Choice by which the territory of Papua (West Papua) was incorporated into the Republic of Indonesia. In a letter congratulating his Irish counterparts, U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) stated: ìI continue to be disturbed by the process through which West Papua was incorporated into the Republic of Indonesia. In particular, I have noted the overwhelming evidence that suggests that the ìAct of ëFreeí Choiceî was neither free nor fair. That just 1,022 individuals out of a population of nearly a million Papuans were permitted to participate in the Act speaks volumes.î He added: îI also continue to be disturbed by ongoing reports of systematic human rights violations at the hands of the Indonesian military in West Papua."

Note: Members of Parliament from around the world as well as non-governmental organizations have called on the U.N. Secretary General to review the "Act of Free Choice" by which Papua was incorporated into Indonesia. A senior U.N. official at the time, Chakravarthy Narasimhan, has since called the process a "whitewash". An estimated 100,000 indigenous Papuans have died since the Indonesian military take-over.

Instigator of Papua Division Plan Installed in Powerful New Post

The Indonesian Government has replaced Coordinating Minister for Security and Political Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with Home Minister Hari Sabrano. Sabrano and the chief of the Armed Forces Intelligence Body (BIA) Hendropriyono, both retired Army lieutenant generals, are widely viewed as the key instigators seeking to divide Papua into three provinces, absent consultations with the Papuans, and in apparent violation of existing law. The Jakarta Post, in a March 17 analysis, noted that "the splitting up of Papua is supported by the Indonesian Military (TNI) for business reasons and by Megawati's Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which wants to end the Golkar Party's domination of the province."

Catholic Bishop of Papua Warns Papuan Civil Society Could Demand "Freedom"

Testifying before the Indonesian Constitutional Court on March 17 regarding Indonesian Government plans to divide Papua into three separate provinces, Roman Catholic Bishop Leo Labalaja of Jayapura warned, "If the government is reluctant to implement the special autonomy of Papua, intellectuals and bureaucrats may join with the people to form a freedom movement." The Bishop explained that the separatist movement in Papua already has support from people at the grassroots level. "The government must listen to the people," he cautioned. "Papua has very complicated problems and a wrong step from the government could fuel bigger conflicts," the Bishop said.

He also explained "there would be less conflict in Papua if the central government implements the special autonomy status." "Let the people and the MRP manage themselves," he said, referring to the "Papua People's Council" which the Government has thus far refused to establish despite requirements that it do so in accordance with a 1999 law.

1,000 Tribal Leaders Oppose Papua Division; Call for U.N. Investigation of Human Rights Abuses

More than 1,000 tribal leaders who gathered in Biak, an island off Papua's northern coast in February, publicly opposed the Indonesian Government's actions to split Papua into three provinces. They called for the U.N. to investigate past human rights abuses, including the murder in November 2001 of the prominent Papuan leader Theys Eluay by Indonesian Special Forces personnel. Eluayís military killers were given short sentences and later described by the Army Chief of Staff as "heroes."

RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights

  • Indonesia Support Group Calls on USG to Take up Abuses in Papua at U.N. Human Rights Commission

    In a March 12 memorandum to Lorne W. Craner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights Indonesia Support Group called on the U.S. Government to raise Papua at the annual convening of the U.N. Human Rights Commission. The Indonesia Support Group will be co-sponsoring a Papua-focused panel on April 6 in Geneva.

    The memorandum and its upcoming interventions in Geneva seek the following:

    Persuade the Government of Indonesia to:

    • Act immediately to ameliorate the deteriorating human rights environment in Papua;
    • Immediately commit itself to a genuine dialogue process with respected Papuan community leaders and other sectors of Papuan society with the goal of peaceful conflict resolution;
    • End its restrictions on access to Papua by United Nations, international NGO humanitarian and human rights personnel, journalists and researchers, and to ensure an invitation and safe passage to Papua for the UN Special Rapporteurs on Torture, and Extra-judicial Killing;
    • Immediately reverse the executive order to divide Papua into separate provinces noting that this order is illegal and has already sparked violent confrontations in which Papuans have been killed;
    • End harassment and intimidation of Papuan human rights and humanitarian personnel, especially personnel associated with the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (ELSHAM);
    • Remove indicted war criminal Brig. General Timbul Silaen as police commander in Papua and extradite him to East Timor to stand trial;
    • End efforts by convicted war criminal Eurico Guterres to organize armed militias in Papua and extradite him to East Timor for trial;
    • Immediately seek genuine accountability and justice for crimes against humanity committed by Indonesian security forces, including the murder of US citizens in Timika on August 31, 2002; the murder of moderate Papuan leader Theys Eluay in November 2001; the murder of Papuan students in Abepura in December 2002 and other well-documented crimes. The Indonesia Support Group also has urged the U.S. Government to:
    • Publicly commend the work of Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) regarding its investigation of the Abepura incident and other human rights violations in Papua, and urge full support from the GOI for the Commission's work.
    • Publicly condemn the GOI's long history of crimes against humanity in Papua and call on the international community to support investigation of possible genocide by the GOI against Papuans.

    Franciscans International Calls on U.N. to Press for Disbanding of Paramilitary Terrorists in Papua

    Franciscans International (FI), in a March 16 statement, urged the United Nations to put pressure on Indonesia to disband terrorist-run paramilitary groups it says the government supports in Papua. It called the presence there of Eurico Guterres, one of the architects of militia terror in East Timor in 1999, a cause for grave concern.

    The Franciscans also called on the U.N. Commission on Human Rights to "urge the government of Indonesia to immediately ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights".

    Indonesian Government Officials Turn Blind Eye to Illegal Logging of Papua's Unique Forests

    The two most prominent human rights groups in Papua, ELSHAM and the Legal Aid Institute (LBH), on March 11 published the results of a three-year study of illegal logging in Papua. The study found that many foreign investors are currently conducting logging operations in the region often without permits and frequently in flagrant violation of forestry legislation. The organizationsí research showed that police, prosecutors and the courts do not enforce the law against illegal logging and noted that high ranking government officials based in Jakarta have colluded with the illegal loggers, making it difficult for regional officials based in Papua to bring an end to the practice

    Thousands of hectares of old-growth rainforest have been clear cut in recent years, and the indigenous people living on the land have been displaced.

    The report recommends that civilians report illegal logging to the authorities. It called on Indonesian police to take action and on the justice system to ensure that strict penalties are handed down. It urged that logging concessions be revoked for companies that do not adequately compensate indigenous people for logging their land and that employment of foreign workers be limited by the Labor Ministry. The two human rights organizations also urged the National Parliament (DPRI) and the Ministry of Forestry to enact new legislation to promote just and sustainable logging practices.

    Though not specifically noted in the report, the Indonesian military is a major player in the illegal logging trade in Papua and elsewhere in the archipelago.

  •  

     
     

    Google
    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 |