Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088
Summary of events in West Papua for October 2012
In the past month the security forces have been cracking down on members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and targeting peaceful rallies organized by the KNPB. On the 29 of September eight members of KNPB were arrested by the security forces (including by members of Detachment 88). They were arrested during a raid on the KNPB Regional Secretariat in Wamena and were accused of been involved in bomb incident in Wamena. The KNPB claim the explosives were planted and that they were being framed to justify the squads (Detachment 88) activities. Victor Yeimo of the KNPB said “We are the non-violent activists in West Papua. We will fight for our right of freedom according to the peaceful means in West Papua. We demand our right of self-determination to a referendum to be held in West Papua by UN peacefully and democratically”. Report on incident by 7.30 report at http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3604232.htm
Also of concern are statements from the deputy chairman of Commission 1, Tubagus Hasanuddin, reported in the Jakarta Globe “House bangs drum of war in Papua” Statements such as
“To keep Papua integrated with the country we must encourage the TNI to do what they have to do in Papua”
” that the House was yet to give political support for any TNI offensive against the separatist movement in Papua, but it would not hesitate to back it if the occasion demanded”.
These statements must create fear in the West Papuan people who have already suffered so much from Indonesian military operations. AWPA media release at
On the 16 of October a group of Indonesian intelligent agents raided a boarding house to arrest Danny Wenda and Fanny Kogoya, a human rights defender from the Papuan women’s network TIKI. This is part of the security forces strategy to intimidate human rights defenders and civil society organisations in West Papua. In an article translated by Tapol, Yan Christian Warinussy reported that “The Government of Indonesia is lacking political commitment and has failed to take a clear stand in providing a safe, comfortable working environment for human rights defenders in Indonesia. They are not protected while carrying out their professional activities in various areas in Indonesia, particularly in conflict areas such as the Land of Papua (Papua and West Papua)” http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/1-poor-protection-of-human-rights.html
AWPA letter to Sen. Bob Carr at http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/media-release-cause-for-concern-for.html
On the 18 October the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) released an urgent action concerning the arbitrary arrest of five Papuan activists in Jayapura on the 12 October 2012. The five activists were arrested on the allegation of involvement in importing or distributing explosive materials. The police did not have any evidence to arrest and detain them and they were later released. The police, however, copied several documents belonging to the activists related to their political movement. Details at http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-185-2012
On the 23 October the security forces cracked down on peaceful rallies that were held in a number of towns throughout West Papua including in Timika, Sorong, Biak, Merauke, Yahukimo Jayapura and Manokwari. http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/papua-police-shut-down-knpb-protest-in-manokwari/551931
A solidarity rally took place in Manado. The rallies were organised by the KNPB to draw attention to the UN the human rights abuses suffered by the West Papuan people and in support of the IPWP meeting in London. http://www.freewestpapua.org/index.php/news/2036-london-photos-news-knpb-demo-supporting-ipwp-meeting-in-london-2012
Video footage and photos of rallies and crackdown at http://suarabaptis.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/photos-and-video-of-police-violence.html
In Manokwari eleven people were arrested
Human rights organisations protested at the crackdown including Amnesty International http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/indonesia-end-police-violence-against-demonstrators-papua-2012-10-26
AWPA letter to Sen. Carr
Senator Richard Di Natale also raised concerns in a press release
Also, received from Georgia Webster at Sen. Di Natale’s office .
“In addition, last week Richard questioned representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade during Senate Estimates regarding the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties recommendations re. the Lombok Treaty, and I thought you may be interested in the transcript of that hearing”http://greensmps.org.au/content/estimates/estimates-richard-di-natale-questions-dfat-about-human-rights-west-papua
Earlier in the Estimates week, Richard also asked questions of the Australian Federal Police about D88 training, which you may have seen already but again for those who may have missed that the transcript and a video is here on Richard’s website: http://greensmps.org.au/content/estimates/estimates-questions-afp-regarding-training-indonesian-military
In response to questions at the hearing the Australian Federal Police (AFP) commissioner Tony Negus said the AFP was taking precautions to ensure it wasn’t supporting activities unacceptable to the Australian community
And “If there was ever any taint of anyone we have trained, being involved in inappropriate activity, we would certainly have to review that level of support that we would provide,” he told the hearing in Canberra.
During the rallies on the 23rd a Jakarta Globe stringer and SuaraPapua.com reporter Oktovianus Pogau was choked and beaten by police as he attempted to report on the protest. Oktovianus was videotaping the scene when he was approached by a plainclothes officer and told to leave. When he refused a second officer attacked him from behind. http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/papua-police-shut-down-knpb-protest-in-manokwari/551931 Freedom House statement at
Thanks to the media again who questioned Australia’s Attorney-General Nicola Roxon who was on a visit to Indonesia about the crackdown on the rallies. She told Radio Australia that any cases of alleged abuse by security forces must be properly investigated. Ms Roxon says Australia’s ambassador and Foreign Affairs department is looking into the latest reports of the West Papua violence.
“Any incidence of conflict and violence in the Papuan province is of a real concern both to us and to the Indonesian government,” Ms Roxon said.
“Australia is very firmly committed to making sure that any abuses or any alleged abuses by security forces in Papua will be properly investigated and punished.”
AWPA also wrote to the PNG Prime Minister to thank him for raising concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua with the Indonesian Government and urging him to support those representatives of the West Papuan people involved in the self-determination struggle being granted full membership at the next MSG Summit.
The Indonesian president is visiting the UK and will receive a prestigious honor from the Queen in spite of a plan by activists for Papua to make a “citizens arrest” against him. http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/10/30/sby-receive-knighthood-uk-despite-citizens-arrest-plan.html
Tapol commented “This is an insult for all Indonesians who have suffered for so many years at the hands of the SBY government and previous Indonesian governments which have done nothing to bring perpetrators of grave human rights crimes to justice”. A Briefing paper by the NGO Forum for Indonesia and Timor-Leste released a report to coincide with the president’s visit (below) “Rights violations over-shadow Presidential visit”. Briefing by NGO Forum for Indonesia and Timor-Leste 18 October 2012. http://www.tapol.org/reports/Rights_Violations_Overshadow_Presidential_Visit.pdf
Papuan women are equally capable
Bintang Papua, 13 October 2012
Speaking on behalf of the Women’s Group in the Majelis Rakyat Papua (Papuan People’s Council), Ibu Rode Ros Muyasin said that indigenous Papuan women are as equally capable as Papuan men. However, the problem is that they have never been given the space to display their capabilities. One example is that although a quota has been set for women to occupy thirty percent of the seats in the legislature, this quota has never been achieved. She said that as a result of the fact that women extremely rarely occupy positions of strategic importance, either in government or in other areas, such as political affairs, they have not been given the opportunity to show their capabilities. She went on to say many dirty tricks were being played, making it very difficult for women to compete with men. She called on all elements in society to foster the involvement of women in society. because they need the space to be able to compete on an equal footing in all activities, adding that this was stipulated in the Special Autonomy Law for Papua which endorses the principles of protection, support and empowerment of indigenous Papuan women. With regard to the quota of thirty percent of seats for women in the legislature, she said that according to the principles of justice, this should be 50:50. But the fact is that even the thirty percent quota has not been achieved. Women’s position within the special eleven extra seats in the legislature is also not at all clear. She urged all people in Papua to make sure that women enjoy the same proportionate role as men. ‘There must be an end to gender discrimination, to the continuing stigmatisation of Papuan women as being of incapable. [Translated by TAPOL]
Indonesian rebuffs UNHCR requests on Papua
RNZI Posted on 16 October, 2012
Indonesia has told the United Nations Human Rights Council, or UNHRC, that it cannot allow foreign journalists free access to Papua and West Papua provinces.
The Jakarta Post reports that a UNHRC Universal Periodic Review in May made a number of requests of the Indonesian government, including a proposal by the French review delegation for access to the eastern region.
The Foreign Ministry says it has abided by the Constitution in its response which includes a list of items that the government is unable to support.
A Ministry spokesman says foreign journalists are allowed to enter Papua region as long as they follow all the regulations laid out by the government.
Jakarta also rejects a recommendation to halt human rights violations by military personnel and police officers, and put an end to the general state of impunity in Papua, as recommended by Japan. The government says the recommendations do not reflect the actual situation on the ground.
2600 kampungs in Papua have no health clinics
JUBI, 22 October 2012
According to the Health Service in the province of Papua, only one thousand kampungs have a clinic, while there are no clinics is the other 2,600 kampungs. This is because of the lack of any medical personnel.
According to Josef Rinta, head of the Health Service, ‘there are 2,600 kampungs without any medical services at all because of the lack of medical personnel to run the clinics. This creates many difficulties for people living in these kampungs, but we hope that the Special Autonomy Law for Papua [which was adopted eleven years ago] will be properly implemented.’
He said that people living in those kampungs are very keen to have competent medical personnel . ‘But this will not be done by bringing in medical personnel from outside Papua; instead the government is depending on the indigenous Papuans to get the necessary help themselves to deal with the problem.’ [Nothing is said about how he expects the villagers to fill this terrible gap']
Translated by TAPOL
[COMMENT: This dreadful lack of such a basically important service has persisted for so long in a territory that is endowed with hugely profitable natural resources which provide the Indonesian government with huge earnings year on year in taxes, dividends and revenue from the profits of the US-owned Freeport mine which mines gold and copper in West Papua and the British owned Tangguh LNG natural gas.project. TAPOL]
Renewed call for Australia to send diplomats to Indonesia’s Papua
RNZI 22 October, 2012
An Australia non government organisation says diplomatic observers would help the world learn about alleged human rights abuses in Indonesia’s Papua region.
The Human Rights Law Centre was responding to reports of arbitrary arrests by Indonesian security personnel ahead of last Friday’s commemoration of the Third Papuan Peoples Congress in 2011. That event, in which West Papuans proclaimed their independence from Jakarta, was violently shut down by police and soldiers. The Human Rights Law Centre’s Tom Clarke says sending diplomats would be a practical step given the international media is effectively banned from the region. “If it would help Australians and indeed the wider international community to gain a better picture of the human rights abuses that are occurring in West Papua. It is very hard to verify a lot of reports that are coming out of the province and if the more international observers on the ground, watching events, being able to report back to their governments and journalists, I think that’s all helpful.”
Flash Flood Hitting Indonesia Causes the Evacuation of 1000 People
Indonesia Moderate // Flood
A flash flood hitting Papua in eastern Indonesia on Sunday night displaced around 1000 people and left at least 200 houses along with other public facilities damaged, an official of disaster relief agency said. A spokesman of the National Disaster Management and Mitigation Agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, explained that heavy rains at mountainous area led to the overflow of Eranouli river which caused eventually the flash floods in Eranouli village in Panja district at about 21:00 p.m. local time. Waters flowing above up to 2 meters high also damaged a health clinic and clean water facility of the village. (22 Oct UBALERT)
PNG vague about fate of refugees from Indonesia’s Papua region
RNZI 29 October, 2012
Papua New Guinea’s foreign and immigration minister, Rimbink Pato, says he is yet to determine whether PNG will accommodate the about 9,000 refugees from Indonesia’s Papua region. Many fled decades ago amid a crackdown on separatists. The issue was raised by the opposition’s Sam Basil as PNG is about to get some of the asylum seekers who Australia wants to process abroad.
Mr Basil has asked what the status is of the West Papuans based on the Human Rights Convention, the United Nations Refugee Commission and PNG’s own laws.
Mr Basil also wanted to know if the refugees from Indonesia will be allowed to become citizens. The minister says the matter will be looked in the overall context of PNG’s policy.
Reports/press releases/opinion pieces etc.
UK – Indonesia:
Rights violations over-shadow Presidential visit
Briefing by NGO Forum for Indonesia and Timor-Leste 18 October 2012
West Papuan Leaders Forced Underground
By Alex Rayfield 22 Oct 2012
The Diplomacy Of Decolonisation
By Nic Maclellan
Decolonisation might not look like a hot-button issue but after our Security Council win we’ll have to start taking it seriously in the Pacific, writes Nic Maclellan
Siding With France In The Pacific
Part two of Nic Maclellan’s series on decolonisation
Australia has remarkably strong ties with France in the Pacific – and they are stifling the drive toward independence of countries like New Caledonia. Nic Maclellan on how Australia is holding back decolonisation
A nightmare in the modern world
West Papua has been under Indonesian rule for more than fifty years. Vivien Durant talks to Jamie Nicolai, a co-producer of a new West Papuan documentary.
Everyone profits from West Papua, except for Papuans
As a child growing up in the remote highlands of West Papua, we often heard stories from the elders about how our ancestors’ spirits lived in the mountains and forests. How they would cry if they saw what is happening today…
West Papuan activists find a musical voice in Australia
Tuesday, 16 October 2012
Produced by Anokhee Shah
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: No relief for flood-affected refugees
IRIN humanitarian news and analysis a service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
BANGKOK, 17 October 2012 (IRIN) – Environmental damage caused by copper mining in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has affected thousands of refugees from the neighbouring Indonesian province of West Papua who have not received any support from PNG or the mining company, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and NGOs.
West Papuan National Flag Day. 1st December
A simple way of raising awareness in local communities is to ask councils, unions and NGO’s to flying the Morning Star on the 1st December.
Individual could also wear a West Papuan T-shirt .
via regwestpapua list
MIFEE: New Videos and Report published.
A New Video “Mama Malind su Hilang” has been released by Gekko Studio based on interviews with the people of Kampung Zanegi near to Merauke. Villagers tell of how they were deceived by Medco, an Indonesian company which has cleared forest for a 169,000 hectare acacia and eucalyptus plantation, and how the loss of their forest has affected their possibilities to provide the most basic necessities of life: harvesting sago and hunting wild animals, and also how infant malnutrition is now on the rise. http://vimeo.com/51801331
Papuan Voices has a new website.
Papuan Voices is a video advocacy initiative working with Papuan activists to more effectively tell their stories to the world. In 2011-12 EngageMedia and Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation collaborated with local organisations in Jayapura and Merauke to teach Papuan activists video production and distribution skills.
Papuan Voices aims to bring the everyday stories of West Papuans to a wider audience. Importantly, these stories are not just framed around West Papua’s political struggle for independence; they are not the stories of conflict that are more often circulated. Rather, they are the stories behind the conflict: the struggles for education, the environment, equality and dignity. Several videos document the problems that plantation companies are causing in Merauke and Jayapura, and how local people have tried to refuse the companies’ operations.
New Report: Land Grabbing for Food and Biofuel – Merauke Integrated
Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) Case Study
Published by Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA) and Pesticide Action
Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP) The establishment of the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) will sieze 2.8 million hectares of land away from indigenous peoples in Merauke Regency, Papua Province. The MIFEE is being developed as the biggest food estate in Asia, with a total of 60 trillion IDR. The government is willing to lease the land to private companies for up
to 90 years. Much of the land still covers primary forests, savannahs, and swamps. These are areas for hunting and food gathering of the indigenous tribes of Papua, which still number more than 70,000. According to Yohanes Petrus Kamalaka of the Kimaam sub-tribe, “We usually take sago in the forest and fish in the swamp. If all of that is lost, what then can we eat?” They hunt deers, pigs, crocodiles, and kangaroos as well. Aside from being food sources, the forests are also intricately linked to their culture.
But this self-sufficient way of life is fast disappearing. Forty-six
companies already have permits to operate within the MIFEE. The Singapore-based Wilmar International, one of the biggest palm oil companies in the world, for instance, is permitted to convert 200,000 hectares of Papuan forest into a sugarcane plantation.
As a result, land conflicts have erupted in almost all areas in the food estate, with tribes fighting over land ownership and protesting unfair land compensation. The hiring of “outsiders” to work in plantations have also increased conflict. On a positive note, the group Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA) said, “The indigenous tribes of Papua are getting more aware of lies and manipulations regarding permits and forest delineations as the legal mechanisms in grabbing their lands.” AGRA added, “This is a good start to raise the level of their struggle for land rights. The next level of their struggle is to stop these land grab projects done in the name of solving food and energy problems.”
Dowload the case study, Land Grabbing for Food and Biofuel conducted by AGRA in close partnership with Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP).