Pacific Scoop

AWPA Update. – October 2011

Press Release – Australia West Papua Association

The two main stories out of West Papua in the past month are the crackdown on delegates who were attending the 3rd Papuan People’s Congress and the ongoing strike at the Freeport Copper and Gold mine. The 3rd Papuan People’s Congress which was held between …
The two main stories out of West Papua in the past month are the crackdown on delegates who were attending the 3rd Papuan People’s Congress and the ongoing strike at the Freeport Copper and Gold mine.

The 3rd Papuan People’s Congress which was held between the 17 and 19 October and at the end of the Congress the Morning Star flag was raised and a declaration of Independence read out. Indonesian security forces accompanied by armored vehicles immediately moved in to break up the gathering firing live rounds resulting in six people been killed. The security forces also used batons, bamboo poles and the butts of rifles during the arrest of up to 300 delegates resulting in serious injuries. Six people were charged with treason. There may be more casualties as many of those attending the congress fled into the bush in fear of their lives from the security forces. 5000 people are reported to have attended the Congress.

A report in the Jakarta Globe (25 October) said that human rights groups believed that there were strong indications that security forces committed human rights abuses during the deadly crackdown on delegates in Abepura . An extract from the Jakarta Globe article
Ridha Saleh, deputy chairman of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), said it appeared likely that officers assaulted and fired at participants at the Papuan People’s Congress, which took place last week. A day after the incident, the bodies of six participants were found near the local military headquarters, reportedly with gunshot wounds. “The participants did not put up any kind of resistance, yet they were taken down, beaten and shot at,” Ridha said. “That this resulted in fatalities clearly makes this a serious rights violation.”

Media reports said that up to 300 extra members of the security are being sent to West Papua which will only increase fear amongst the West Papuan people who are already traumatized by the numerous military operations that have taken place in the past, particularly in the Puncak Jaya region. Human rights organizations around the world condemned the heavy handed response by the security forces to a peaceful congress. AWPA wrote to Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd twice concerning the crackdown:

Greens Senator Richard Di Natale was a lone voice amongst Australian politicians in raising concerns about the situation and calling for a halt to ties with the Indonesian military AWPA also called on the Foreign Minister to t hold an inquiry into how our aid and training to the Indonesian military impacts on the lives of the West Papuan people

Human Rights Watch reported that Police have since released all of those arrested except for the six men below.
Forkorus Yaboisembut, chairman of the Papua Customary Council,
Edison Waromi, president of the West Papua National Authority.
Dominikus Surabut, secretary of the Papuan Customary Council in La Pago region.
Selpius Bobii, a social media activist, who organized the Papuan Congress. He eluded the police crackdown, but surrendered to police on October 20, accompanied by his lawyers and a Papuan journalist.
August M. Sananay of the West Papua National Authority.
Gat Wanda, a member of PETAPA, charged with possessing a sharp weapon.
West Papua Media Alerts reports that a demonstration by hundreds of people began this morning (31 Oct) at Waena, near Jayapura, closely shadowed by hundreds of police, including anti-riots and paramilitary units. Rolling civil resistance activities have also been planned in other parts of Jayapura and other Papuan centres in coming days, partly to support the outcome of the congress, where a newly independent state of West Papua was declared.

Freeport Strike

The strike at the Freeport Copper and Gold mine which began on the 15 September is continuing with a number of shootings occurring around the mine. In one incident Petrus Ayamiseba,, a striking worker was killed when Indonesian security forces fired on striking workers in Timika. A number of other workers were seriously injured. Seven people have been reported killed in clashes between workers and police and unknown assailants. Production at the mine has been crippled and infrastructure sabotaged including a pipeline.

Freeport McMoran is a US company which controls over 90 percent of PT Freeport Indonesia while the Indonesian Government holds the remaining 9.36 percent. Rio Tinto also has a share in Freeport investing US $500 million of new capital in Freeport for a 12 per cent stake in the US mining business. Rio Tinto also agreed to finance a US$184 million expansion of the Grasberg mine and in return received 40 per cent of post-1995 production revenue that exceeded certain output targets, and from 2021 a 40 per cent stake in all production. in addition, Rio Tinto would receive 40 per cent of all production from new excavations elsewhere within West Papua. Although the company’s revenue is $30 million a day, Freeport workers receive between $1.50-$3.00 per hour. This is the lowest wages of any Freeport mining facility and the striking workers have been simply asking for an increase in their pay level. Freeport makes huge profits and its Grasberg mine and it is the world’s largest single reserve of both copper and gold. In the first half of this year, the company paid US $1.4 billion in financial obligations to the Indonesian government. From 1992 to June 2011, the company paid $12.8 billion to the Indonesian Government. In 2008, Freeport admitted it had paid around “US$1.6 million through wire transfers and checks to provide ‘monthly allowances’ to police and soldiers at and around the Grasberg mine,” (reported by Agence France-Presse). The payments were made “in contravention of a series of legal measures aimed at stopping military units working as paid protection.”

In a report in the Jakarta Globe (28 Oct) the police admitted that they accepted millions of dollars from Freeport to provide security for the mine. According to the human rights group Imparsial, the police received $64 million from Freeport between 1995 and 2004. An article in the SMH (1st Nov) reported that Freeport has offered striking workers a pay increase of 30 per cent but unions have rejected the upgrade, saying it is still vastly below comparable salaries for other Freeport McMoran employees. ”We want $US7.50 per hour,” said Virgo Solossa, a union official.

The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) accused the Police of a Conflict of Interest in Papua. Kontras said it found that senior police had threatened a labor organizer from the All-Indonesian Workers Trade Union (SPSI). It said Sudiro, SPSI’s chief workplace organizer for Freeport’s Grasberg mine, had reported that Timika Police Chief Denny Siregar called him and made a death threat. Sudiro also said Papua Police chief Bikman L. Tobing had harassed him with insulting language. According to Kontras, such aggressive language and threats constituted violence against the unionist. The state secretary under former president Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid, Bondan Gunawan, says he believes the daily allowances that PT Freeport Indonesia gives to the police have an indirect effect on the conflict in Papua. “It will make the law enforcers side with the foreign company,” Bondan said on Saturday during a discussion called “A Never-Ending Conflict in Papua”.

AWPA wrote to the US Ambassador in Canberra asking that the US Government investigate the killing of Petrus Ayamiseba to see if Freeport management is using the security forces and its own security staff to intimidate workers to return to work. AWPA believes industrial action should be dealt bilaterally, between the company and workers and not involving the security forces. There have been numerous incidents of human rights abuses reported around the Freeport mine and AWPA urges the US Government to investigate these abuses.

An article in Bintang Papua (28 Oct) said a number of student organisations along with the KNPB, the National Committee for West Papua announced the establishment of a movement to oppose Freeport. They regard this company as having been the cause of many problems in Papua. The students unfurled two banners, one of which depicts the US flag intertwined with the logo of Freeport. The new organisation is called People’s Movement Against Freeport Crimes – Gerklaf. The co-ordinator of the new organisation is Fanny Kogoya and Bovid Defa is the secretary.At the end of the ceremony, the US flag was set on fire. This opposition movement regards the presence of Freeport as having come about as the result of a political contract between the USA and its allies in order to ensure the continuance of Papua within the Unitary Republic of Indonesia.

ANTARA News reported (31 Oct) that PT Freeport Indonesia said it was ready to refer its dispute with workers affiliated to the All-Indonesian Workers Union (SPSI) to the industrial relations court if its latest pay raise offer was not enough to satisfy them. However, There is cause for concern that the situation around the mine could deteroiate as in a report in the Jakarta Globe (31 Oct) the union representing striking Freeport workers in Timika, sais “that a number of police armored vehicles and heavy loaders were on their way to break up the labor action. In a statement released by the All-Indonesian Workers Union (SPSI), secretary Albar Sabang said “four panzers, one backhoe and one bulldozer are on the way to mile 27 of the Freeport area in Mimika” with the intention of breaking the strike by Tuesday, when a delegation from the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions is scheduled to meet with the Freeport unionists in Jakarta”.


Opinion pieces/press releases/urgent actions etc.
There have been a large number of articles/opinion piece on the situation in the past month. A few below.
Increased Pressure On Freeport Strikers
By Setyo Budi 25 Oct 2011
Workers at West Papua’s Grasberg mine have been in intense negotiations for wage increases with Freeport Indonesia management since July this year. To break the strike, Freeport management yesterday issued a statement offering to provide a financial incentive for those who can convince striking workers to go back to work.


Indonesia Stands By Papua Crackdown
By 25 Oct 2011
Last week, New Matilda published a breaking report on the violence at the Third People’s Congress in West Papua. Indonesian military and police opened fire on participants and took civilians and leaders into custody. As reports of fatalities and injuries continued to emerge from Jayapura, NM has been in contact with local sources and provided up to date information and footage. Now, Jakarta has given its side of the story — and it stands by the violent crackdown


It’s Time To Take A Stand On Papua
By Richard Di Natale 21 Oct 2011
Yesterday afternoon news reached my office that unarmed Papuans — women, young people, church leaders, academics, tribal elders — and at least one Australian citizen, were being shot at by the Indonesian security forces. We now know that at least four people are confirmed dead, scores severely wounded and hundreds have been detained at the police station in Jayapura, the capital of West Papua………………………………

Lush Campaign
A chain of shops run by Lush have today launched a huge UK and Ireland
nationwide campaign to increase awareness and support for the Free West
Papua movement.

West Papuan Futures – part three, the independence struggle is here to stay
15 October, 2011 By Setyo Budi*
This is the third part of an article that looks at a fragmentation that appears within the Indonesian government and West Papuan Independent Movement on the issue of West Papuan independence. Click to read the first part and second part of the article. This article has been published in Arena Magazine,
Theologians & Franciscan Friars about recent post-Congress Indonesian violence affecting their communities
Pacific media freedom report with a focus on West Papua
Full report here:


Food vs. Forests, Profits vs. People
By Octo Mote and John M. Miller
The town of Merauke in West Papua, Indonesia, holds a special place in Indonesian national history. The Dutch sent the first generation of Indonesian nationalists to the Tanah Merah prison camp in Merauke, where some of them died and were buried during the colonial period. Merauke’s mythic stature will make the Indonesian government all the more sensitive to opposition. Land grabbing is not new in West Papua; it has happened since colonial times (see sidebar). Every acre of Papuan land that has been claimed for a national project was taken by force. In a sense, there is nothing new about the Indonesian government’s latest project, Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE), nor is there anything new about West Papuan resistance.

Amnesty International
The Indonesian authorities must immediately investigate the use of deadly force by police at a mining protest, Amnesty International said today after one protester was killed and at least six injured. Indonesian security forces opened fire on striking workers of a gold and copper mine in the eastern province of Papua run by US company Freeport-Mcmoran on Monday

INDONESIA: Jayapura city district police and military arbitrarily torture and arrest Papuan civilians
Urgent Appeal Case October 11, 2011
We have received information regarding the arbitrary arrest and torture of 15 Papuan villagers, including several minors, in Horas Skyline village, Jayapura, Papua, committed by a joint team of Jayapura city district police and Cenderawasih military area command on 31 August 2011. Until now, there is no investigation into the incident.………………..

from tapol

LP3BH: Police and army chiefs must be held responsible for attacks on Papuan Congress participants
Statement by Yan Christian Warinussy, executive-director of LP3BH/Manokwari

The attack by members of the Indonesian Police/Polri and the Indonesian Army against partiipants at the Third Papuan People’s Congress on 19 October was a gross violations of human rights because it was perpetrated against ordinary civilians who were unarmed and were not involved in any acts of resistance. This is abundantly clear from video which I and the LP3BH-Manokwari have in our possession and which have been shown to government officials and members of the European Parliament as well as to members of the German Parliament last week in Berlin.

The videos clearly show that the attacks that were launched by members of Polri and the TNI were acting under the command of the chief of police in Papua and in Jayapura. There were no acts of resistance whatever by members of the public or by any of the participants at the Congress, including members of the special defence group for the Congress, the PETAPA. The videos also show a number of persons in civilian clothing, wearing short pants and shirts who are clearly intelligence agents of the police and the army, who can be seen holding pistols as well as rifles and who can be seen firing their weapons into the air, and even show some members of the security forces firing in the direction of the large crowd of people who were running away towards the mountains or to places in Abepura, in fear of their lives. The discovery of six dead bodies following the tragedy of the Third People’s Congress is a clear indication of the use of ammunition being aimed against the mass of people.

As a human rights activist in the Land of Papua, I saw no actions aimed at dispersing the people or attempts to prevent chaos. The Congress was already over and one hour later, members of the security forces who were under the command of Police Commissioner Imam Setyawan SIK can be seen trying to prevent a vehicle which was driving along Jalan Yakonde with the lawyer Edison Waromi on board, which was damaged by the security forces who pulled the people of the vehicle and started beating them and then pushed them into a police van to be driven to police headquarters where they are now being held in custody. Following the arrest of Waromi, the security forces starting firing their weapons and chasing participants of the Papuan Congress as they were leaving the location of that event.

I herewith, as Executive Director of LP3BH/Manorkwari and a human rights defender in the Land of Papua, urge Komnas HAM, to investigate the matter and to bring formal charges against the Papua chief of police and the police chief in Jayapuara, as well as the commander of the 1702 military command in Jayapura who were in command of the operation to be held fully accountable for the bloody incident that occurred on 19 October 2011.



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