Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for
The West Papua Report
The following is the 13th in
a series of regular reports prepared by the Robert F.
Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights (CHR)-West Papua
Advocacy Team providing updates on developments in West
Papua. The CHR has monitored and reported on the human
rights situation in West Papua since 1993 when Indonesian
lawyer Bambang Widjojanto received the annual RFK Human
- TNI’s Destabilizing Actions in West Papua Continue with
Announcement of Major Troop Build-up
- TNI Misusing International
Development Assistance to Conduct Military Operations in
- Members of U.S. Congress
Call for U.N. Review of "Act of Free Choice" [Cite Ongoing
Human Rights Abuses in West Papua as Reason for Opposing
Resumption of U.S. Training to Indon Military (TNI)]
- RFK Advocacy Team Member
testifies at Congressional Hearing on Human Rights in
Indonesia - West Papuan Religious Leaders Press "Land of
Peace" Designation for West Papua
- Scholars See Tensions
Rising in West Papua; Offer Recommendations for Achieving
Peace and Progress
- Amnesty International
Renews Calls for Release of Prisoners of Conscience; End to
Indonesian Abuse of West Papua People’s Political Rights
- World Council of Churches
and Franciscans International Press for Papuan Human Rights
at U.N. Commission on Human Rights
- Necessary Preparations for
Regional Elections in West Papua Problematic
The Jakarta Post Friday, April 1, 2005
Papua gets Rp 1.7t (US$183 million) for special autonomy
JAYAPURA, Papua: The provincial administration said on
Thursday it would receive some Rp 1.7 trillion (US$183
million) allocated by the central government for this year's
implementation of special autonomy in Papua.
This represents an increase of Rp 200 billion compared to
"Out of the Rp 1.7 trillion, around Rp 350 billion will be
used to finance local direct elections, the establishment of
the Papuan People's Council (MRP) and the building of a
hospital," Papua Governor Jaap Salossa said.
He said that part of the money would also be allocated to
Cendrawasih University's Medical School as otherwise the
school might have to close.
Under Article 34 (3) of the Papua Special Autonomy Law (No.
21/2001), the province must receive 2 percent of national
general allocations from the state budget. --JP
Actions in West Papua Continue with Announcement of Major
Lt. General Hadi Waluyo, commander of the military’s
strategic forces (KOSTRAD) announced on March 16 that
KOSTRAD would construct a new division built around the
existing 3rd Brigade, now based in Makassar, South Sulawesi.
The new 3rd Division, he said, will be based in West Papua.
The KOSTRAD commander said the creation of a new division
and its deployment to West Papua was based on Indonesia's
"defense needs." Earlier in March, a TNI spokesman claimed
the armed opposition in West Papua (Free Papua Movement, or
OPM) consisted of 650 fighters possessing 150 weapons.
In a statement on March 19, Indonesian Army spokesperson
Brig. General Hotmagaradja Panjaitan added that the first
deployment of 5,000 troops would be to the Sorong area from
their current base in Makassar. Panjaitan then said that the
deployment would secure Indonesia's border with Papua New
Guinea, 750 miles to the east.
(Sources: Kompas, March 17 Cyber Media website; Jakarta
Post, March 19; and BBC Worldwide Monitoring Service, March
TNI Misusing International Development Assistance to
Conduct Military Operations in West Papua
Papuan religious leaders in contact with the RFK Memorial
Center's West Papua Advocacy Team have confirmed reports
from West Papuan officials and others that the TNI is using
international aid funds designated for humanitarian purposes
and development within West Papua to fund its ongoing
military operations in West Papua’s central highlands. The
military reportedly is also utilizing the funds to create
militias along the lines of the thug groups it created and
employed in East Timor in 1999 to devastating effect.
The military has also continued its ban on travel to the
area, even by church officials seeking to deliver
humanitarian assistance to thousands of people who have
sought refuge in the forests to escape the TNI’s violent
assaults on local population centers.
A senior religious figure in West Papua has told the West
Papua Advocacy Team that financial interests, particularly
gold exploration and extraction, are one factor motivating
TNI interest and activity in the area. A March 22 report in
the Queensland, Australia, Courier Mail noted that within
the central highlands "there are 10,000 non-Papuans mining
alluvial gold which is [then] flown out by helicopter to
Jayapura and then sent to Jakarta."
Members of U.S. Congress Call for U.N. Review of "Act of
Free Choice"; Cite Ongoing Human Rights Abuses in West Papua
as Reason for Opposing Resumption of U.S. Training to
Indonesian Military (TNI)
In March, members of the
Congressional Black Caucus, at the initiative of Congressman
Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa), took action calling on
the U.S. government and the UN to address the human rights
situation in West Papua and to support Papuans’ right to
self determination. In a March 17 letter to U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, 36 Caucus members urged the
U.N. to review its role in the "Act of Free Choice." That
procedure, by which Indonesia formally annexed West Papua in
1969, is seen by many observers, including the U.N.
officials charged with overseeing it, as fraudulent. The 36
Congress members join more than 170 parliamentarians
worldwide in urging the U.N. to review the Act.
The Caucus members also wrote to U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleeza Rice opposing her decision to resume provision of
the International Military Education and Training (IMET)
program to the Indonesian military (TNI). Members noted
continuing human rights abuse in West Papua and urged that
the U.S. government support Papuans’ right to
RFK Advocacy Team Member testifies at Congressional
Hearing on Human Rights in Indonesia
The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Asia
Pacific Affairs held a March 10 hearing on human rights
concerns in Indonesia. The TNI’s record of human rights
abuse and impunity was the focus of speakers’ testimonies,
and some lawmakers attacked Secretary of State Condoleeza
Rice’s decision to resume IMET for the TNI.
Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Jim Leach, cited Indonesia’s
record in holding elections as evidence that the country is
successfully transitioning from corrupt to democratic
governance. However, he also noted the importance of
improving Indonesia’s human rights record and the
accountability of its security forces and of resolving
peacefully separatist conflicts such as the decades’ old
situation in West Papua.
The U.S. government was represented at the hearing by Deputy
Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Marie Huhtala.
She stated that "Indonesia's human rights record is mixed
and there is much to be done. That said, there has been
progress, including an increased willingness among the
Indonesian army to hold their own service members
accountable for human rights violations.”
Rep. Eni Faleomavega spoke out eloquently against the
decision to resume IMET for the Indonesian military. "Even
in the aftermath of the devastation caused by the recent
tsunami, the media has reported that the Indonesian military
has withheld food and humanitarian assistance from those
believed to be pro-independence. The U.S. must not and
cannot turn a blind eye to these abuses or Indonesia's
repression of the people of Aceh and West Papua," he
RFK West Papua Advocacy Team member Edmund McWilliams
testified concerning the major challenges to resolving the
human rights situation in West Papua and elsewhere
throughout the archipelago. McWilliams, a retired U.S.
Foreign Service Officer who headed the U.S. Embassy’s
political section in Jakarta from 1996 to 1999, stated that
"We have in Indonesia a new government, a fragile, fledgling
government, that unfortunately is not prepared or not
capable of defending fully the fundamental human rights of
their own people. The principal menace to those fundamental
human rights and also to this government is posed by
essentially the Indonesian military." (Testimony available
online at: www.rfkmemorial.org).
Also testifying was former U.S. Ambassador Alphonse La Porta,
who now heads the corporate-funded U.S.-Indonesia Society
West Papuan Religious Leaders Press "Land of Peace"
Designation for West Papua
During a March visit to Washington, D.C., Reverend Herman
Saud, President of Synod for the largest Protestant church
in West Papua, told the RFK West Papua Advocacy Team that he
has joined with Catholic and Islamic leaders in West Papua
to resume efforts to secure Indonesian government
designation of West Papua as a "Land of Peace." The plan,
which will be announced formally in Geneva during the U.N.
Commission on Human Rights, prioritizes the demilitarization
of West Papua.
This effort by religious leaders runs counter to the TNI’s
plans to base thousands more troops in West Papua (see above
Scholars See Tensions Rising in West Papua; Offer
Recommendations for Achieving Peace and Progress
“Irian News” (March 7) provided summaries of four papers
recently published as part of the East-West Center’s
project, "Management of Internal Conflicts in Asia - Policy
Papers on Papua." One paper commenting on Jakarta's control
over West Papua observed that " . . . the fragility of
Jakarta's authority and the lack of Papuan consent for
Indonesian rule are both the cart and the horse of the
reliance on force to sustain central control." (http://www.eastwestcenter.org/res-rp-publicationdetails.asp?pub_ID=1458&Searc
A second study explored whether special autonomy could
resolve the secessionist challenges in West Papua. The
analysis noted that Jakarta had "backslid" on special
autonomy offers and instead adopted more coercive measures
to respond to separatist demands. The paper concludes that
the coercive approach failed to address the underlying
causes of injustice fueling the conflict and assessed that
"it is not conceivable, therefore, that the government may
once again turn to special autonomy as a means to address
separatism." The paper encourages Jakarta to consider
instead linking concessions offered in the original special
autonomy legislation and genuine dialogue. Failure to pursue
the course of concessions and dialogue, the paper concludes,
would mean West Papua would likely remain "a continuing
source of conflict and secessionism for the Indonesian
A third study examined the ways in which large-scale
migration and rapid economic change have fueled separatism
and ethnic conflict in West Papua. This research notes that
three quarters of a million migrants from other parts of
Indonesia have resettled in West Papua since 1970. Rrapid
modernization and demographic change have resulted in the
displacement and dislocation of West Papua's indigenous
population, provoking Papuan resentment and demands for
independence. The report adds that these dynamics have led
to growing competition for land and resources between
settlers and Papuans. The research foresees the threat that
this social dynamic could trigger a larger outbreak of
communal and ethnic violence as occurred recently in
neighboring areas such as the Malukus and Central Sulawesi.
It concludes that unless the Indonesian government reverses
many of its divisive policies and brings woefully lacking
services to remote indigenous communities, the "continuing
inflows of migrants into the province may well overwhelm the
mechanisms for social management that have so far kept
conflict from spiraling out of control." (http://www.eastwestcenter.org/res-rp-publicationdetails.asp?pub_ID=1567&Searc
The fourth paper examines the development of Papuan
nationalism. It contends that a pan-Papuan identity has been
forged from a mosaic of tribal groups. It explores the
possibility that the Special Autonomy Law of 2001, if fully
implemented, might provide a framework in which Papuan
national aspirations could be realized. (http://www.eastwestcenter.org/res-rppublicationdetails.asp?pub_ID=1458&Search
Amnesty International Renews Calls for Release of
Prisoners of Conscience; End to Indonesian Abuse of West
Papua People’s Political Rights
In a February 1 statement, Amnesty International (AI)
charged that "... [S]ince early 2001, repressive legislation
has once again been used with increasing frequency against
government critics, including labour and political
activists, journalists, and independence activists in
Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD) and Papua Provinces." The
statement also underscored that "Amnesty International
believes that the right to freedom of expression includes
the right to peacefully advocate referenda, independence, or
other political solutions and that these rights must be
AI noted that many Papuans have been convicted for just such
peaceful political appeals and called on the Indonesian
government to "immediately and unconditionally release Filep
Karma and Yusak Pakage, and all other prisoners of
conscience in Indonesia." Karma and Pakage were detained in
December 2004 for their role in a peaceful political
demonstration in Abepura, near the West Papuan provincial
capital of Jayapura (see the February 2005 West Papua
AI also called on the Indonesian government to "conduct
effective and independent investigations into the
allegations of human rights violations by members of the
security forces in Abepura in relation to the events of 1
December 2004, including the unnecessary use of force
against peaceful demonstrators, and the ill-treatment of
detainees; and to prosecute those found to be responsible.
World Council of Churches and Franciscans International
Press for Papuan Human Rights at U.N. Commission on Human
The World Council of Churches (WCC), in a statement at the
convening of the 61st session of the U.N. Commission on
Human Rights (UNCHR), stated that "the economic, social, and
cultural rights of the Papuan people will be the main focus
of the WCC’s involvement in this year's 61st session." The
WCC has called on the UNCHR to inform the government of
Indonesia that "its present measures to divide the province
[of West Papua] against the wishes of the people can only
lead. To further denial of their socio-economic and cultural
rights." More information on WCC work is available at:
Meanwhile, Franciscans International, together with
other NGOs with Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC,
submitted a document to the UNCHR that expressed deep
concern over the "ongoing practice of torture, arbitrary
arrest and detention, and displacement reportedly committed
by the security apparatus . . ."
It emphasized that "cases of extra-judicial killings
reported in the villages of Mariedi, Bintuni District where
BP Tangguh Gas project is located, and in Mulia, District of
Punjak Jaya cause us deep concern." It added that the
situation in Punjak Jaya, scene of military operations since
late summer, "exemplifies the gravity of the general
situation." It also concluded that the Indonesian judicial
system had proved its "inability to convene fair trials
owing to the pervasive influence of the security apparatus."
The statement stressed that human rights defenders in West
Papua are "under threat," noting that staff of the Institute
for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (ELSHAM), Aliansi
Demokrasi Papua (ALDP) , TRITON Foundation and the Catholic
Church’s Office for Justice and Peace had been "arrested and
detained due to their work to protect and promote human
rights in different parts of Papua."
- Necessary Preparations for Regional Elections in West
Papua Problematic According to the Jakarta Post (March 8),
provincial offices of the General Elections Commission (KPUD)
in West Papua claim to be unprepared for the direct
elections for regional heads set nationwide for June. Local
administrations have not finished compiling data on eligible
voters, despite a February 28 deadline. Moreover, election
materials remain unavailable. One solution under
consideration is to delay the elections until November when
they can be held in conjunction with the gubernatorial
Recent Report on the Situation in West Papua
By Socratez Sofyan Yoman
President of the Fellowship of Baptist Churches of West
28 March 2005
1. Puncak Jaya The military used the Special Autonomy Fund
which total Rp. 2.500.000.000,-[two and a half billion
rupiahs](my own direct field observation in Puncak Jaya on
21st October 2004).
The official report from the Papuan Provincial Parliament
team mentioned that the Special Autonomy Fund that was used
by the military totalled Rp. 3.000.000.000,- (3 billion
A report from the Regional Secretary of Puncak Jaya, Dr.
Enock Ibo, mentioned that a total fund of Rp.
19.000.000.000,- (19 billion rupiahs) has been used to fund
health services and food for the people [in Puncak Jaya].
However, the people acknowledged that they did not know the
fund exists and that they had never had any health or food
assistance. A strong assumption was that the money had been
given to the military for their operation in Puncak Jaya.
The Indonesian army (TNI) has built 13 military posts in
The native people of Puncak Jaya are still in the forests
until now and no one has returned to their villages.
There is a strong impression that Goliat Tabuni’s case is
purposively maintained by the military in order to justify
their presence (which has increased highly) and their
operation in Puncak Jaya.
The church building in Monia is used as TNI barracks where
they the soldiers can cook their meals inside the building.
They have also destroyed the church‘s walls (which were
mostly wooden) and used them as firewood.
General Situation In West Papua
1. Special Autonomy has not been implemented properly. The
Government of Indonesia has not seriously taken care of the
West Papuan people. The Indonesian government’s expansion
of provinces and regencies was strongly supported by the
2. A battalion camp has been built in Elagaima village in
the Jayawijaya regency.
3. In a short time a strategic army division (KOSTRAD) will
be formed in West Papua.
4. In a short time a regional military headquarters will be
established in Merauke.
5. Six big passenger ship take Muslim Indonesians and
Indonesian soldiers to West Papua every week.
6. Special Autonomy and the Papuan People Assembly (MRP) are
a great disaster for the native West Papuans. Special
Autonomy has been implemented for 4 years but the West
Papuans have suffered more and have not had a chance to
develop themselves and make progress on their land.
7. In two or three more years the people of West Papua will
be annihilated because of the military operation and the
domination of Muslim migrants.
8. The Muslim people have built an Islamic centre in
Hitigima, Wamena. This is the embryo for the biggest Islamic
centre in the Asia-Pacific region.
28 March 2005
Socratez Sofyan Yoman President of the Fellowship of Baptist
Churches of West Papua
The Reading Evening Post (UK) 23 March 2005
Green MEP backs “Free West Papua”
Green Euro MP Caroline Lucas has given her backing to the
Free West Papua Campaign, launched by human rights activist
Benny Wenda. Dr. Lucas, who represents the South East, wants
an immediate withdrawal of Indonesian troops from Papua,
situated on the western half of the island of New Guinea.
She has also urged United Nations Secretary General Kofi
Annan to launch an investigation into the role of the UN in
She said: “The people of West Papua deserve an end to the
Indonesian military occupation, the exploitation of their
rich natural resources and real self-determination.
“Only this will bring long-term peace to the island and an
end to the violence and human rights atrocities to which we
bear witness to today”.
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