Pacific Scoop

AWPA update July 2011: A snapshot of events for July

Column – Australia West Papua Association

The people of the Puncak Jaya region have suffered another military operation with reports of up to 600 Indonesian military involved in sweeps through the region. In one incident four civilians , one women and 3 children were wounded when Indonesian …

AWPA update July 2011: A snapshot of events for July

Puncak Jaya
The people of the Puncak Jaya region have suffered another military operation with reports of up to 600 Indonesian military involved in sweeps through the region. In one incident four civilians, one woman and 3 children were wounded when Indonesian troops from the Infantry Battalion 753 , who are based in Nabire fired into huts in the village of Kalome while searching for members of the Free Papua Movement (OPM). The incident occurred on the 12 July. AWPA wrote to the Minister for Foreign Affairs concerning the military operation DFAT reply here

In May the military began a “socialising programme” in Puncak Jaya involving up to 300 Army, Air Force and Navy personnel . The programme is proposed to run for four months and is to include the renovating of homes, churches and markets. However, local people believe it is simply a shield and a cover-up of the violation of human rights abuses that have occurred in the region. It is all reminiscent of the US programme to win the “hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people.

AWPA also received a reply from the PM’s department to its letter concerning the Pacific Islands Forum to be held in Auckland in September.

A conference held by the Papua Peace Network (JDP) at the Cendrawasih University and coordinated by Pastor Neles Tebay stated that dialogue should be the top priority in seeking solutions to misperceptions between Papua and the central government. “We have made a pledge to seek solutions to the various conflicts through dialogues between Papuans and the Indonesian government, mediated by a neutral third party,” Neles said. The AHRC also forwarded on the declaration from a group of Papuan organisations, indigenous and political Papuan stakeholders issued at the conference which was held between 5-7 July 2011.

The Asian Human Rights Commission ( AHRC) issued an urgent action concerning the assault on Yani Meage on 31 May, 2011 in the Kurima district, Yahukimo. After a quarrel between the victim and the TNI members, the soldiers threatened and attacked the victim by beating and kicking him which resulted in several injuries. The victim reported this incident with the support of a local NGO. While the deputy post commander (wadanpos) of the 756th Wimaneseli infantry battalion accepted responsibility for the violence in a statement letter, no further action has been taken against the perpetrators to-date. Impunity for military violence is widespread in West Papua.

Organizations based in more than a dozen countries today issued a statement of support for West Papuan organizations appealing for justice and human rights. The Papuan organizations have “decried the failure of the Indonesian government to ensure justice for or protect Papuans who have been the victims of security force brutality, including extra-judicial killing, torture, abduction and imprisonment,” the statement said. The international organizations expressed their “support for these courageous appeals” by the Papuan organizations and pledged “to pressure our individual governments and international organizations to press the Indonesian government to act positively and immediately on these demands for justice and the protection of human rights defenders.” They said that the “continuing violation of human rights starkly demonstrates the limits of ‘democratization’ in Indonesia.” The statement was endorsed by 54 international, regional, national and local organizations, based in more than a dozen countries. It was initiated by Tapol , West Papua Advocacy Team and East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)

ETAN wrote to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to condition U.S. security assistance to Indonesia on real improvements in human rights by Indonesia government and genuine accountability for violations of human rights.

Two articles by Alex Rayfield in the New Matilda online reveal show how A leaked letter from an Army General reveals Indonesia’s attempts to disband a West Papuan church with threats of “assertive action”
and how The chief of the Indonesian Army in West Papua has taken the unprecedented step of issuing a public apology to the Kingmi Papua Church over a leaked letter first published in New Matilda.

Upcoming event.
While the Indonesian army continues to dominate the indigenous inhabitants of West Papua, the making of this album saw five West Papuan musicians and singers gather in Melbourne to record the outlawed folk songs of West Papuan freedom fighter and musician Arnold Ap with Australian musician and film composer David Bridie.
In Strange Birds in Paradise, David Bridie interweaves his original score with the songs of Ap, carried by the remarkable voices of West Papuan performers Hein Arumisore, Jacob Rumbiak and Gillius Kogoya, and features musical collaborations with Airi Ingram and Phil Wales. These artists will also come together for the launch, joined onstage by West Papuan musicians Ronny Kareni, Frederick Yawandare, Adrianus Birif, Anselmus Pisakai and led by West Papuan leader Jacob Rumbiak.
Tickets $18 Presale / $22 on Door / (Concession available at door only – $15) / / Itunes

In brief
Workers at Freeport-McMoran’s gold and copper mine called a strike which lasted eight days. Approximately 8-thousand workers had been demanding higher wages and were protesting against the dismissal of six union leaders. RNMZI report here.

Congressman Eni Faleomavaega was the recipient of the 2011 John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award. In honoring Faleomavaega, the West Papua Advocacy Team said Congress member Faleomavaega has been an articulate and effective advocate for the defense of human rights in West Papua, and has long worked for a peaceful resolution of the serious problems confronting Papuans.

A question on West Papua was asked in the House of Lords
Asked By Lord Harries of Pentregarth . To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to encourage the government of Indonesia to enter into dialogue with representative leaders of the West Papuan opposition.

Further call to make Papua more peaceful
RNZI 11 July, 2011
There’s been another call by West Papuans for dialogue with Indonesia’s government towards making the Papua region peaceful. The call came from the more than 500 participants at the Papua Land of Peace Conference at Jayapura’s Cenderawasih University. They included religious and customary groups, women, youth, academics, students and resistance groups from throughout Papua region.
Among those speaking at the conference were Indonesia’s Minister-Coordinator for Politics and Law, the Governor of Papua province, Papua’s Chief of Police and the local military commander. One of the five Papuans nominated to a negotiating team for the dialogue is Rex Rumakiek. “But still we have to wait for Jakarta to respond and whether they accept this proposal from the conference to go ahead. If this is the path that they want to take, then we can proceed from there. But peaceful negotiation is the only way to go. I think we have been generous to offer Indonesia a win-win solution. This is the clearest message. That they were willing to attend the conference, that is the only positive thing that ever happened.” Rex Rumakiek

More soldiers shot in Puncak Jaya
The Jakarta Post 07/14/2011
JAYAPURA: Five soldiers were wounded in a gunfight with a group of armed people in Puncak Jaya, Papua, on Tuesday. The five, who were evacuated to Jayapura, were identified as Jefry Satria, Nahor Awate, Heiberd Rivo Sipir, Sitorus and Manuel. Most of them were shot on the arms. They were reportedly raiding a group of Free Papua Movement (OPM) members under Goliat Tubuni in Monia village, Tingginambut district, when they met with opposition. “Gunfire later took place, and five soldiers were wounded,” a source who requested anonymity told The Jakarta Post. Cendrawasih Military Command denied that the soldiers had been wounded in an exchange of fire with armed civilians. “They attacked the soldiers who were carrying out social work. It’s unacceptable,” intelligence officer Imam Santoso said in a text message to the Post. The incident came two days after three soldiers were shot while patrolling the area Sunday. The military has been carrying out non-combat social work since May and has been attacked by armed civilians 10 times. On May 25, a soldier had his rifle stolen and he was shot in the head at close range.

Low-Ranking Soldiers Indicted Over Torture, Killing in Papua’s Puncak Jaya
RNZI 25 July, 2011
A military tribunal in Papua has indicted three low-ranking Indonesian soldiers for the killing of a civilian in Puncak Jaya district last year.
The Jakarta Globe reports that the soldiers serve in the Army’s Nabire Infantry Battalion, the same unit as four soldiers sentenced in November for torturing two Papuan civillians.
The torture incident, footage of which was widely accessible on the internet and caused international condemnation, occurred in the same district as the killing, two weeks later.
A military prosecutor has charged the three defendants in this latest case with torture.
They are accused of beating and shooting to death a civilian, identified as Kinderman Gire near a military checkpoint.

Soldier Killed in Another Ambush in Papua
Banjir Ambarita | July 21, 2011
An Indonesian soldier was killed in an ambush at Puncak Jaya district in Papua on Thursday. The incident took place when a group of armed men ambushed a military security squad patrolling Angin village at 9.30 a.m. One of the soldiers, First Private Lukas Yahya Kafiar, was shot in the head and died instantly. A military spokesman in Papua, Lt. Col. Inf. Ali Bogra, said the identity of the attackers was still unconfirmed. “We are still doing the investigation and we are chasing the perpetrators, believed to be members of a separatist group,” he said, referring to the Free Papua Movement (OPM). First Private Yahya’s body was flown to the military headquarters in Jayapura. A military ceremony will take place before the body is handed over to the family for burial. It was the second attack against military personnel in Papua this month. On July 6, three soldiers were shot during a clash with unknown attackers in Kalome village, Tingginambut district. The ambush occurred as a group of Indonesian Military (TNI) officers patrolled the village.

Kontras urges govt to rethink strategy in Papua
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta 07/20/2011
The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) says the government needs to evaluate its military operations in Papua, as more soldiers and civilians are injured by gunfire. “We know there are threats from separatists. However, if we use a military approach to solve the separatism problem, we also have to evaluate the approach’s impact on civilians, especially children,” Kontras Coordinator Haris Azhar said on Wednesday. He said that the government might evaluate the military operation, but it still had to solve the security problem. “We need a guide for conducting military operations that reduces the number of victims, especially civilian victims. Evaluations will also contribute to handling the security problem in Papua,” he said. Haris said that the dialogue approach, which was accepted by all Papua citizens, would help handle the security problems in Papua, especially those caused by separatists. A series of armed conflicts ignited in Papua recently. On June 25, five people allegedly from the Free Papua Movement (OPM) attacked First Brig. M. Sumar Yazin in Mulia Airport, Puncak Jaya regency, Papua. On July 5, people from the OPM attacked soldiers patrolling Kalome village, Puncak Jaya regency. Another fight between the military and the OPM in Kampung Kalome on July 12 injured a mother and three children. A gunfight a day later in Monia village, Tingginambut district, left five soldiers wounded.

PT Rajawali to establish sugar factory in Merauke
JUBI, 16 July 2011
PT Rajawali is planning to establish a sugar factory in two areas in Merauke, Malind district, in Kampung Kaligi and Kampung Domde. The government has already agreed to hand over 37,500 hectares for this purpose. The company is waiting for an agreement on the release of forestry land which is expected to be issued by the Director of Panology (?).This is likely to happen in August this year. The project manager of PT Rajawali, Abdul Wahab, told JUBI that they were waiting for the AMDAL license. Speaking for the company, Abdul said they had carried out tests on 200 hectares and this will be followed by the hand over of 1,000 hectares. Abdul said that laboratory tests have not yet been conducted because the sugar cane must have grown for at least one year, but he said that, considering the results of the seedling tests, the prospects are very good indeed. Tests in the nursery have indicated that from one hectare of seedlings, the sugar cane can cover an area of seven hectares. Asked about the work force, Abdul said that their priority would be to employ indigenous people. He said that for the initial tests, local people had been employed for planting the seeds and other jobs. He said that they were urging the company to commence its operations as soon as possible. (from tapol)

Alstom to equip West Papua mining railway
Railway Gazette 28 July 2011
INDONESIA: Mining company PT Freeport Indonesia has awarded Alstom a contract worth around €90m to supply railway systems and train control equipment for a mining railway in West Papua. Alstom said on July 28 that it would supply track, catenary, electrical substations, signalling and telecoms equipment for the internal railway at PTFI’s Grasberg gold and iron ore mine. An initial 19 km single-track line is envisaged, of which 15 km would be underground. Situated at an altitude of 4 000 m in a mountain range, Grasberg is already one of the world’s largest opencast mines, extracting 240 000 tonnes per day. Staff and materials are currently transported around the site by lorry, conveyor or cable car, but PTFI plans to expand by exploiting nearby underground seams. The proposed railway would be used to move workers, mining equipment, explosives and rubble between three railheads beneath the mountain range and a logistics base on the surface. Alstom has been contracted to ensure the railway operates 24 h/day, seven days a week, with availability of 99% or better. Maximum line speed would be 40 km/h. Alstom’s Atlas communications-based train control equipment will provide interlocking, train location and train protection functions. ‘This is a first for Alstom Transport’, commented Dominique Pouliquen, Executive Director for Asia-Pacific at Alstom Transport. ‘We have never worked for a mine before in this region. We hope this project could become a standard-setter in Indonesia.’ The first trains are scheduled to run in July 2013.

Reports/press releases/opinion pieces etc.

Conflict Management in Indonesia – An Analysis of the Conflicts in Maluku, Papua and Poso.
Also available in Bahasa Indonesia

Report on the practice of torture in Indonesia for the International Day of Support for Victims of Torture from the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) in Indonesia forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission INDONESIA: Torture: A heinous act which is not seriously addressed. Download the full report here.

Comprehensive Report of Human Rights Violations in Papua since 1969
Bintang Papua, 23 July 2011
Jayapura: With the help of an NGO in the USA and the European Union, ELSHAM-Papua has drawn up a comprehensive report of cases of human rights violations that have occurred in West Papua during the period since it became part of the Republic of Indonesia. ELSHAM co-ordinator in Papua, Ferdinand Marisan S.Sos told Bintang Papua that they had already completed their collection of data. ‘We have collected data about human rights violations in Papua from the year 1969 up to 2010,’ he said. He said that they had been doing the work since February this year and had completed it in April. They are now going through the process of putting all the data together in a book. ‘We plan to produce the data in a book which we hope to publish in October this year.’ He said that the compilation had been done together with the ICTJ, the International Center of Transitional Justice, a body that has the support of the European Union. (from tapol)

Indonesia: Debate Over a New Intelligence Bill, the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, looks at the debate that the draft law has produced over the role of the intelligence services in a democracy, many of whose citizens are still sceptical that once repressive institutions have actually changed. It also examines the process that led to the bill’s moving to the top of Indonesia’s legislative priorities.


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