Indonesian Police Shoot to Death Peaceful
Election Boycott Proponent
On the eve of Indonesia's April 5 parliamentary
elections, Indonesian police shot dead a Papuan who urged fellow
villagers to protest the elections by boycotting the vote.
Police officials said they shot Marius Kogoya for
allegedly trying to discourage people from voting in the legislative
election. According to police accounts Kogoya was shot as he
attempted to flee with three other pro-boycott advocates. The four
Papuans had been detained by police in the remote Bokondini area for
allegedly distributing leaflets to local people, asking them to
abstain from voting on April 5.
More than 40 percent of the voting irregularities
that required re-balloting in the April 5 nation-wide election
transpired in Papua. Moreover, many Papuan communities were
prevented from exercising their franchise because they did not
receive the necessary voting equipment in time for the ballot.
Five Shot Dead near British Petroleum Base Camp
in Extortion Bid
Indonesian officers with the Mobil Police Brigade
(Brimob) shot five people dead near the British Petroleum liquid
natural gas project in Papua on April 20. According to a recent
story (4/27) in the leading Indonesian-language newspaper Suara
incident was staged by Indonesian security forces ìin hopes of
gaining accessî to the BP project.
Indonesian officials claimed that their troops
killed the five after being attacked by guerrillas from the Free
Papua Movement (OPM) who were wielding bows and arrows. However,
there has not been any historical or recent activity of the OPM in
this region, according to the human rights NGO ELSHAM. The
Pos reported that
those killed were followers of Manase Furima, an indigenous
religious leader. Furima was wounded in the attack. Among the dead
was a 25-year-old woman.
BP has trained local Papuans to guard their base
camp in an attempt to avoid contracting Indonesian security forces.
Officers from the elite Brimob police unit were briefly employed by
BP to guard explosives, but this contract was not renewed.
Noted Policy Analyst Issues Damning Criticism of
Megawati Administration's Actions in Papua
Sidney Jones, Southeast Asia Director of the International
Crisis Group, told Australian media in early April that Jakarta
had grossly mishandled the troubled province of Papua and now
appeared to be prepared to watch it disintegrate.
Jones said: "Of all of the issues confronting the
Indonesian government, there isn't a single one at the moment that
is as sensitive as Papua." She added, "There's no area of the
country that is in more need of good governance, and no part of the
country that is less likely to get it. I don't think there's
anywhere in Indonesia where the policies of the Megawati government
have been so misguided..."
Jones described Special Autonomy for Papua, enacted
by the Indonesian legislature but blocked by the Megawati
Administration, as "dead," notwithstanding strong support for the
plan from the U.S. government and the rest of the international
community. She described the Megawati Administration and Indonesian
military's plans to divide Papua into three provinces and the
creation of 14 lower-level district administrations across Papua as
having divided the people. She added that the fragmentation of Papua
raised the danger of ethnic conflict.
Lawyers for Leading Human Rights Group ELSHAM
Walk Out During Defamation Suit Proceedings
The Indonesian military is suing the Papuan human
rights NGO ELSHAM in relation to the August 2002 ambush at the
Freeport copper and gold mine in Papua that left two American and
one Indonesian schoolteacher dead and eight other American civilians
injured. ELSHAM (the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy)
investigated the ambush and released publicly its findings that
there was evidence of Indonesian military (TNI) involvement in the
The judge presiding over the Rp 50 Billion (US $5.5.
million) defamation suit refused requests by ELSHAMís defense team
to recall witness Decky Murib to the stand on April 14. Murib was a
key witness in the initial ELSHAM inquiry into the attack who had
provided evidence of military involvement to investigators. On March
31, 2004, when Murib was brought to the stand as a witness by
military prosecutors, he changed his testimony and alleged that
ELSHAM investigators coerced him into giving false information about
military involvement in the attack. ELSHAM lawyers told reporters
that the judge had not granted them sufficient opportunity to
cross-examine Murib on the stand.
Indonesian military commander in Papua Maj. Gen.
Nurdin Zainal initially called the recantation by Decky Murib a
"victory" for the TNI. Observers strongly suspect, however, that
Murib changed his account under strong pressure from the TNI (see March
2004 Papua Report). Murib first testified in September 2002
about TNI involvement in the ambush, termed by the U.S. Embassy as a
"terrorist attack" on American citizens. Murib has worked as an
informer for Indonesian Special Forces (Kopassus) personnel in the
Freeport mining area for a number of years.
The military is demanding that ELSHAM pay it damages
and make a public apology through the local and international media.
ELSHAM stands by its findings, which were supported by the
Indonesian police investigation of the incident and that now
reportedly have been confirmed by the U.S. government. On April 28,
proceedings against ELSHAM resumed.
AFL-CIO Backs New York City Shareholder
Resolution on Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc., as Key Vote for
The AFL-CIO, the U.S.'s largest trade union
representing more than 14 million American workers, has urged
Freeport (FCX) shareholders to vote in favor of a shareholder
resolution brought by the New York City Teachers' Retirement Service
(NYCTRS) and the New York City Employees Retirement Service (NYCERS).
The resolution, which was approved by the U.S. Securities & Exchange
Commission, will come before Freeport shareholders at the company's
May 6 annual general meeting, to be held in Wilmington, Delaware.
Rising out of concerns regarding the Indonesian military's reported
involvement in the August 2002 ambush at Freeport in which American
citizens were killed and seriously injured, the NYCERS/NYCTRS
resolution calls on Freeport management to end its direct financial
payments to the Indonesian military (which totaled some $10.3
million for 2001 and 2002).
Papuan Pastor Appeals for Human Rights
Protections in Visit to Washington
Reverend Isaak Onawame, leader of 92 Evangelical
churches with a combined congregation of 92,000 parishioners,
visited Washington, D.C., in April, meeting with State Department
and Congressional officials. Accompanied by members of the RFK
Center's Indonesia Support Group, Reverend Onawame detailed the
plight of thousands of Papuans in the southern highlands whose lives
have been disrupted and endangered by military operations that began
in 1996. He also spoke on behalf of several Christian pastors whose
advocacy of peace, non-violence and human rights has led to their
incarceration. (These pastors are the subject of an Amnesty
International appeal which identifies them as "prisoners of
conscience," see item below.)
Reverend Onawame also described in detail the threat
of HIV/AIDS now spreading rapidly throughout Papua (see additional
Papuan Human Rights and Democracy Activists Canvass
Europe to End Repression in Papua
During April, three prominent Papuan human rights
and democracy activists traveled extensively in Europe to update
governments and local activists about the situation in Indonesia's
easternmost province, and to ask for support for implementation of
Indonesia's Special Autonomy Law for Papua.
According to John Rumbiak, ELSHAM International
Advocacy Coordinator and RFK Indonesia Support Group member, "About
100,000 Papuans have perished in the 40 years during which Papua has
been under Indonesian rule.î Rumbiak was accompanied by Tom Beanal,
a Papuan tribal leader from the Body for Traditional Law (Dewan
Adat) and the Acting Chairman of the political mass organization
Papua Presidium Council (PPC), as well as by Viktor Kaisiepo, the
European PPC representative.
Rumbiak appealed for European Union support of
Papuans' efforts to persuade the government of President Megawati
Sukarnoputri to engage in constructive dialogue with Papuans.
Rumbiak has been speaking about Papua internationally since
Indonesian military pressure forced his departure from Papua in
Kaisiepo's and Beanal's pacifist mass movement PPC
brings together different Papuan faith-based groups, women's and
youth organizations, tribal leaders, urban professionals, students,
civil service functionaries, and non-governmental organizations. The
legendary Amungme tribal leader Beanal, whose community's lands were
expropriated by the Indonesian government and New Orleans-based
Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc., for the company's mining
operations in Papua, took on leadership of the PPC after the
Indonesian military abducted and assassinated PPC chairperson and
prominent moderate Papuan civic leader Theys Eluay in November 2001.
Papuans are arguing internationally for support of
the concept of Papua as a 'Land of Peace' and are asking the
international community to pressure Indonesia to pull Indonesian
military troops such as Special Forces (Kopassus) personnel out of
Papua because of their enormously destabilizing activities and their
well-documented record of crimes against humanity against indigenous
HIV/AIDS Rampant in Papua; Military-run Brothels
and Inadequate Government Health Services are Sources of the Problem
An April 13 report by the Jakarta Post claimed that
the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Papua has reached
1,398. Of that number, 912 people have been diagnosed HIV-positive
and 486 have developed AIDS. According to the Papua Administration
health office, the disease has killed 172 people in Papua since it
was first detected in the province in 1992.
Executive Director John Rahail of the Indonesian
Planned Parenthood Association (PKBI) in Papua was quoted as saying
that the number of people who had contracted the deadly disease
could be much higher and that the current figure may only be the tip
of the iceberg. He estimated that the actual number of people with
HIV/AIDS could be 10 times the current estimated figure and if the
estimated figure -- 1/17 of the 2.4 million-strong Papuan population
was correct, it meant that Papua was overrun by the disease.
Rahail said the virus had spread evenly across
almost all areas in the province, including remote areas. Rahail
said the spread of HIV/AIDS in remote areas was mostly caused by
villagers who procured the services of sex workers in towns, after
which they returned to their home villages and passed on HIV/AIDS to
their partners. Studies undertaken by international researchers have
identified prostitution centers established and run by the
Indonesian military to service migrant workers and others as a
principal source of the infection. The military is also reported to
be moving HIV-infected prostitutes from other parts of Indonesia to
Government-provided health care in Papua is the
worst in Indonesia, further exacerbating conditions that facilitate
the transmission of the disease. Another factor contributing to the
high number of people infected with the lethal disease is the lack
of public awareness and knowledge on HIV/AIDS.
A recent report by University of Victoria Professor
Dr. Leslie Butt and colleagues, published in Pacific Health Dialog,
notes that government efforts to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS and
promote condom usage have been largely ineffective. Condom promotion
is restricted to mainly urban areas, where more migrant Indonesians
live. Nation-wide stigmas about condom use also adversely affect
prevention efforts in Papua.
Most of the promoters are non-indigenous migrants.
There are essentially no condom outreach initiatives in rural
locations, where the majority of indigenous Papuans live. As a
result, infection rates in the province are skewed, with higher
infections reported among indigenous Papuans in the Freeport mining
town of Timika and in Merauke. Indonesian government spokespersons
attempt to blame the spread of HIV/AIDS on risky sexual behavior of
Papuans, without also recognizing that non-indigenous Papuans also
engage in risky behavior. They also downplay deficiencies in
government outreach efforts.
Amnesty International Condemns Incarceration of
Papuan Pastors and others
Amnesty International (AI) has issued a "Prisoners
of Conscience Action 2004" appeal on behalf of nonviolent Papuan
activists, including Christian pastors Reverend Obeth Komba and
Reverend Yudas Meage. The appeal also included Amelia Yiggibalom and
Murjono Murib, who like the two pastors are members of the Wamena
Panel, the local branch of the Papua Presidium Council.
The AI appeal identifies 17 other Papuans now in
detention whom AI notes were subjected to beatings and racist abuse,
denied food and water and prevented from sleeping. AI's appeal
reports that interrogations of the 17 were carried out "without the
presence of a lawyer, and (that) at least two of the detainees are
known to have been forced to sign statements without first being
permitted to read them." According to AI, several of the detainees
claimed to have witnessed the torturing to death of Yohanes Udin, a
young photographer from Flores, Nusa Tenggara, who had been in Papua
on a documentary project.
On December 21, 2003, 12 of the prisoners, including
Reverend Obeth Komba, Reverend Yudas Meage and Murjono Murib, were
transferred from Wamena Prison to Abepura Prison in
Jayapura District without prior notice to their
lawyers or families (see January 2004 RFK Papua Report).
There is concern that the failure to allow the prisoners to inform
their families at the time of their transfer may be contrary to the
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
(Standard Minimum Rules).