[ETAN-key] West Papua Report - July 2007
John M Miller
fbp at igc.org
Wed Jul 11 08:52:12 PDT 2007
The West Papua Report - July 2007
This is the 38th in a series of monthly reports that focus on
developments affecting Papuans. This reporting series is produced by
the West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) drawing on media accounts, other
NGO assessments and analysis and reporting from sources within West
Papua. The West Papua Advocacy Team is a non-profit
organization. Questions regarding this report can be addressed to
Edmund McWilliams at edmcw at msn.com
Summary: The US House of Representatives has called for cuts in US
assistance to the Indonesian military (TNI) and has insisted on
genuine reform within the TNI. A UN human rights official has
expressed concern about the human rights enviornment in West
Papua. Her visit prompted Papuans to demonstrate peacefully in
suppor to UN action to protect fundamental Papuan rights. In the
wake of the UN visit, security forces have cracked down on human
rights defenders. A prominent Papuan political prisoner/prisoner of
conscience has been beaten in prison following his revalation of
criminal behavior by guards. Thirty Papuan, Indonesian and
international human rights organizations have written to President
Yudhoyono calling for removal of a TNI official indicted by the
UN-supported Dili special crimes unit who, as a senior commander in
West Papua, has threatened to "destroy" Papuans who press for their
rights. End Summary.
Congressman Eni Faleomavaega Barred from Visiting West Papua
As the July edition of the West Papua Report was being finalized for
publication we learned that the Indonesian Government has reneged on
its invitation to Congressman Eni Faleomavaega to visit West
Papua. An Indonesian spokesperson claimed the visit was canceled
over fear that it could provoke riots. The Indonesian government has
offered no evidence for this purported concern. In fact Papuans were
preparing a warm welcome for this consistent champion of human rights
in West Papua.
For over one year the Indonesian government has engaged in a massive
international propaganda campaign aimed at convincing critics that
its policies in West Papua are benign. Its refusal to allow
Congressman Faleomavaega to see the situation for himself speaks
volumes about the mendacity of the Indonesian propaganda campaign and
about the urgent need for the international community to address the
plight of Papuans.
U.S. Congress Demands Indonesian Military Accountability for Human
Rights Crimes in West Papua and Elsewhere
On June 22, the U.S. House of Representatives renewed its past
statements of concern about human right abuse and corruption in the
Indonesian military (TNI). Specifically, it inserted requirements
into legislation funding U.S. assistance to the Indonesian military
that demand military reform and accountability. Several provisions
in the Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2764) require
reporting on progress in these areas prior to the release of certain
military assistance funds. The provisions include reporting on the
impact of U.S. assistance on Indonesian security forces and any
connections between US assistance and human rights violations by these forces.
The bill would cut the administration's request for Foreign Military
Finance (FMF) funds nearly in half from $15.7 million to $8 million
and would delay the release of $2 million of those funds until the
State Department reports on: "steps taken by the Government of
Indonesia" to prosecute and punish, "in a manner proportional to the
crime," members of the Armed Forces who have been credibly alleged to
have committed gross violations of human rights; cooperation with
"civilian judicial authorities and international efforts to resolve
cases of gross violations of human rights in East Timor and
elsewhere"; and military reforms "to increase the transparency and
accountability of their operations and financial management."
In addition to reflecting the Congress's exasperation with the
continued failure of the Indonesian military to end corruption,
submit to civilian direction and end human rights abuses, the
Congress also renewed expressions of concern about developments in
West Papua. Among these, the legislation would delay provision of
International Military Education and Training (IMET) until the
Secretary of State reports on steps taken by Indonesia to "to deny
promotion to and to remove from service military officers indicted
for serious crimes." This provision reflects growing concern in
Congress and elsewhere that Jakarta continues to promote those
indicted for war crimes. For example, Colonel Burhanuddin Siagian,
regional military commander in West Papua, recently threatened to
"destroy" any Papuans seeking their political rights. He has been
twice indicted for crimes against humanity by the UN-supported
serious crimes court in East Timor. The congressional initiative
also renewed calls for West Papua to be opened to unimpeded travel by
U.N. and diplomatic personnel, journalists, researchers and
non-governmental organization personnel.
The Senate has yet to take up its version of the Foreign Operations
Appropriations Bill. Before becoming law, any differences between the
House and Senate bills must be reconciled.
UN Human Rights Official Visits West Papua And Expresses Concern Over
Human Rights There
A June 12 UN report described the visit earlier in June of the
Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of
human rights defenders, Hina Jilani. The report, issued by the
Secretary General's office, noted that the purpose of the June 5-7
visit was to assess the situation of human rights defenders in the
light of the principles set forth in the Declaration on Human Rights
Defenders adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1998.
During the mission, the Special Representative visited Jayapura in
West Papua. The visit was important and welcome as Jakarta has
heretofore often blocked visits by UN and other human rights-focus
people to West Papua.
In general, the Special Representative observed that prospects for
the promotion of human rights had been considerably improved in the
recent past. She also however observed shortcomings including a lack
of interagency cooperation and coordination among institutions
created to address human rights concerns. She also described
resistance to changing attitudes and institutional culture which has
made it difficult for these institutions to make a full commitment to
eliminate impunity for human rights violations. She observed that
there was "even less commitment to removing impunity for past
abuses." In this context, she said she was mindful of the several
cases she has communicated to the government in the past six years on
which there is still no progress.
The Special Representative was particularly concerned by developments
in West Papua on which the June 12 report focused:
"The Special Representative is deeply concerned by the testimonies
that she has heard indicating the continuing activities of the
police, the military and other security and intelligence agencies
that are aimed at harassment and intimidation of defenders or to
restrict their access to victims and to sites of human rights violations."
"She found this trend more pronounced in the Province of West Papua.
She has heard credible reports of incidents that involve arbitrary
detention, torture, harassment through surveillance, interference
with the freedom of movement and in defenders' efforts to monitor and
investigate human rights violations. She was also informed of cases
where human rights defenders were threatened with prosecution by
members of the police and the military. It was alleged that when
defenders have attempted to register their complaints, this has been
denied and the defenders threatened. She is also concerned about
complaints that defenders working for the preservation of the
environment and the right over land and natural resources frequently
receive threats from private actors with powerful economic interest,
but are granted no protection by the police. She is particularly
disturbed by allegations that when defenders expose abuse of
authority or other forms of human rights violations committed by the
security apparatus, they are labeled as separatists in order to
undermine their credibility. The Special Representative believes that
this trend places human rights defenders at greater risk and must be
discouraged by the concerned authorities."
"The concerns of the Special Representative regarding the situation
of human rights defenders in West Papua persist despite the assurance
to her by the Military Commander and the Chief of police in Papua
that there was no institutional policy to target defenders. She has
recommended improvement in the mechanisms in order to ensure more
credible oversight and accountability of police, the military and the
intelligence apparatus. She has also recommended the creation of
special complaint cells for registering and redressing incidents of
harm or threats to human rights defenders."
The Special Representative will present her report on this mission to
the United Nations Human Rights Council, and will make detailed
recommendations for the consideration of the government. She called
for a sustained dialogue with the Indonesian government, and
expressed hope that there would be "more uniform progress on the
protection of human rights defenders in all parts of the country".
Papuans Rally to Win UN Support for Political Rights
An Agence France Press report noted that Hundreds of people rallied
June 8 in West Papua, to urge the United Nations to press Jakarta to
overturn a 1969 referendum that Jakarta has used to justify its
annexation of West Papua. The rally transpired during a visit by UN
envoy Hina Jilani (see separate reports above regarding the UN
official's visit). The demonstrators call on the UN to reconsider
the 1969 "Act of Free Choice" in which 1,022 Papuans, chosen by the
Indonesian Government and operating under military pressure "voted
unanimously" for annexation. Independent international observers,
including UN monitors from the period, have labeled the act a sham
and a fraud as do recently declassified US and UN documents.
"We urge the United Nations to accept the Papuan people's aspiration
to review the Act of Free Choice," rally organizer Jek Wanggai told
AFP by phone. "The United Nations must register Papuan areas as
colonized zones and organize an immediate referendum vote," Wanggai
said. According to the AFP report, Wanggai said about 900 people
took part in the rally in Manokwari, located 500 miles from the
provincial capital Jayapura, where UN Special Representative Jilani
was meeting with officials. Wanggai called on her to meet
representatives of his movement while in West Papua. "We no longer
believe in the corrupt Indonesian justice system and hope an
international court will deal with human rights violations in Papua," he said.
Wanggai's comments and actions place him in danger. A senior
Indonesian military official in West Papua who was indicted by the
UN-supported Special Crimes Unit publicly threatened to "destroy"
Papuans who spoke out for their rights, including political
rights (see separate report in June edition of the West Papua
Report). Following report documents security force pressure on
Papuans in wake of UN official's visit.
Papuans Face Threats and Intimidation in Wake of UN Official's Visit
On June 28 the Asian Human Rights Commission issued and "urgent
appeal" on behalf of Papuan human rights defenders who were targeted
by the Indonesian security forces and intelligence units in the wake
of a visit by a UN human rights official to West Papua (see above).
In its appeal, The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said it
has received "credible" information of ongoing attacks,
intimidation, surveillance and threats, including death threats,
against human rights defenders from West Papua that occurred in
mid-June 2007, following their meeting with Ms. Hina Jilani, the UN
Special Representative to the Secretary General on Human Rights
Defenders." The appeal stated that members of the Indonesian
military (TNI) appeared to be targeting people who met with Ms.
Hina Jilani during her visit. The appeal added that although a
formal letter has been issued to the chief of the national police
and the regional military commander of Papua province, no action had
been taken by the authorities and that the defenders continue to
feel threatened while conducting their work.
The appeal cited the following cases:
The first case reported involves two persons: Frederika Korain,
Priest Perinus Kogoya. They all work for the Peace and Justice
Commission for the Diocese of Jayapura (SKP Jayapura). They attended
a public hearing with Ms. Hina Jilani in Jakarta on June 7, 2007.
They returned to Jayapura on June 8, 2007. Sentani airport, where
their plane landed, was being heavily guarded by the police, military
and intelligence services, as Ms. Hina Jilani was scheduled to visit
Papua. As their vehicle departed Sentani airport they were rammed by
a vehicle bearing a police license plate. As a result of the crash,
the SKP car was damaged and the passengers were in shock. The SKP
driver attempted to stop the car that had hit them, at which point
two men got out of the car and stated that they were intelligence
commanders for the military regional command. The police, who saw the
entire incident, allowed them to leave the scene of accident without
being questioned. Local groups believe that this incident was no
accident, but was for the direct purpose of intimidating the two
defenders, notably as they had been being followed by the same car
since they had left the airport.
The second case involves Yan Christian Warinussy, the Executive
Director of the Institute of Research, Analysis and Development for
Legal Aid (LP3BH) in Manokwari, who has reported that he is under
surveillance both at his home and office. On June 8, 2007, Mr.
Warinussy met with Ms. Hina Jilani in Jayap ura, and he came back to
Manokwari on June 9, 2007. Beginning that evening he was surveiled
from a vehicle both at home and at his office. Mr. Warinussy
requested protection from Peace Brigade International (PBI) and asked
them to accompany him from Friday June 15, 2007 onwards.
The third case concerns Mr. Albert Rumbekwan, the head of the
National Human Rights Commission (Komnas Ham) in Papua Province. On
June 11, 2007, Albert received a text message "You who are reporting
about the human rights situation in Papua are trying to destroy the
people. You want evidence of people being killed, I will kill your
tribe, your family and your children will become only bones to show
that there is only a zone of peace in Papua." On June 14, 2007, Mr.
Albert Rumbekwan received five more text messages from the same
number, again containing death threats. AT around 8am on the same
day, unidentified persons parked three cars some 20 meters from Mr.
Albert Rumbekwan's office. The perpetrators were shouting, allegedly
to get Mr. Albert Rumbekwan to come outside and see them, but he
ignored them, as a result of which they remained in the area and
monitored his offices until around 4pm. These telephonic threats have
continued as have surveillance.
The Commission for Disappeared Persons and Victims of Violence
(Kontras) has already issued complaint letters concerning the three
afore-mentioned cases to the Chief of Police for the Province of
Papua (Kapolda Papua), Regional Military Commander of Trikora, chief
of National Police (Kapolri), Foreign Affairs Minister of Indonesia,
and the Head of Komnas HAM in Jakarta. However, no effective action
has yet been taken to investigate these incidents.
Papuan Prisoner of Conscience Beaten for Revealing Guards' Criminality
Reliable reporting from inside West Papua indicates that in June,
Filep Karma, recognized by Amnesty International and other human
rights organizations as a "political prisoner" and prisoner of
conscience" in June was attacked by guards as a consequence of his
reporting of criminality by local guards.
On the 12th June 2007, TOP TV (Papuan Local TV), Cenderawasih Post
and Papua Post (newspapers) published Filep Karma's report about
violence and extortion which is being committed by Indonesian prison
officers. Included in the report, he reported that the prison
officers receive bribes and also have stolen the prison's tools and
equipment which were used by prisoners for training and practical
activities. He reported that the prison officers took them and used
them as their personal belongings.
In addition, he reported about a list of names of the prisoners who
have bribed the prison officers and who are now enjoying freedom
outside the prison.
As a result of Filep Karma's report which was published by the
media, two prison officers dragged him by the collar of his
shirt. As a result of their action his shirt was torn , his feet
were injured and his back bone and his coccyx (tailbone) which was
injured when he was arrested in 2004 are now very painful again.
Until the publication of Filep Karma's report, he had twice
weekly health checks. Prison authorities ended this practice
following publication of the report sourced to Karma.
International Groups Expose Criminal Past of TNI Officer Now Issuing
Threats against Papuans
On June 28 30 Papuan, Indonesian and international human rights
organizations called attention to the the presence in West Papua of a
senior Indonesian army officer indicted on crimes against humanity
charges in East Timor (now Timor-Leste). The groups underscored that
the officer's presence in West Papua endangers human rights defenders
and political activists and is a sign of the Indonesian government's
lack of commitment to justice and accountability.
In an open letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia
(see http://tapol.gn.apc.org/news/files/let070628.htm), the
organizations called for Col. Burhanuddin Siagian, commander of the
Jayapura sub-regional military command (Korem 172) in Papua, to be
withdrawn immediately and suspended from active duty. They urged the
Indonesian government to review all evidence against Col. Siagian and
other high-level East Timor suspects to determine whether proceedings
should be commenced and to extradite to East Timor those indicted by
Dili's Special Panel for Serious Crimes.
A June 28 Tapol media release quoted Paula Makaboury as stating "It
is shocking that a government supposedly committed to military reform
and fighting impunity would appoint an indicted officer to a
sensitive senior post in Papua." said Paula Makabory, the exiled
coordinator of the International Human Rights Campaign for the Papuan
rights group, ELSHAM. "Papuans will continue to have their rights
trampled on until the civilian authorities exert control over
military behavior and ensure accountability for past abuses," she added.
As reported in the June issue of the West Papua Report, Siagian
publicly threatened to "destroy" anyone who "betrays" Indonesia. His
threat was targeted at those Papuans demanding their political
rights. His statements ominously echoed statements he made when
serving as Maliana as military commander of the Bobonaro district of
East Timor in 1999. Two indictments issued in 2003 state that he
made speeches threatening to kill East Timorese independence
supporters and was responsible for the deaths of
seven men in April 1999 (See
The organizations in their letter underscored that Papuans who
campaign peacefully are not betraying Indonesia as alleged by Col.
Siagian, but simply asserting their right to express their political
views. They called upon President Yudhoyono to show his commitment
to freedom of expression and support this right.
The organizations concluded their letter as follows: "We are
dismayed by Indonesia's lack of respect for the rule of law and its
apparent determination to perpetuate a cycle of impunity that
encourages military personnel to believe they will escape justice for
past and future violations of human rights," said Matthew Jamieson
Secretary of the Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights in
Australia. "Indonesia has failed to keep its obligations under
international law and Indonesian domestic law to prosecute Col
Siagian for his alleged crimes."
Indonesian Government in West Papua Replicating Infamous East Timor Strategy
Reliable accounts from West Papua report Indonesian agents are
suborning Papuans along the lines of efforts in East Timor a decade
ago aimed at creating pro-Jakarta elements in support of a propaganda
campaign. As with militia and pro-Jakarta Timorese, those recruited
will wear T-shirts printed with pro-integration logo's. More
ominously, Indonesian security officials will train these recruits to
"defend" Indonesia against "separatists." Similar militias in East
Timor and Aceh were employed by the military and police to terrorize
local critics of Jakarta. It is not clear whether these Papuan
militias will be armed, although in the past, the Indonesian military
has armed migrant-based units, raising communal tensions.
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