Papua: Pricking our national conscience

Jakarta, Wed, May 18 2016

When outsiders think of Papua, it may be to puzzle over why protests there seem never-ending. They may assume the main frustrations of Papuans stem from poverty and lack of development.

That is true to some degree. However, the main reason is simpler and neatly illustrated by comparing two figures: In early May, 2,109 Papuan independence protesters were arrested by police – and that number is more than double the 1,025 who were press-ganged into legitimizing Indonesia’s rule of Papua through the 1969 “Act of Free Choice”.

Despite our embassy in the UK denying in The Guardian that the arrests took place, the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute documented them all, and holds the names of every one of the 2,109 demonstrators. Compare the figure with the 1,025 who cast ballots in what Papuans refer to as the “Act of No Choice”, out of an estimated population of 800,000 at that time.

This is the historical reality that underpins today’s grievances about state violence, environmental degradation and suppression of free speech in Papua. Until it is addressed, the protests will continue and the numbers will continue to add up. As of May the figure stands at 2,282 peaceful demonstrators detained by police, according to the institute’s records.

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Urgent Appeal - Unlawful Mass Arrests of at least 1,783 West Papuans in April and May 2016

To the attention of:
Mr. Maina Kiai,
UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association

Mr. David Kaye
UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

 

Introduction

A record high of mass arrests including the use of torture and ill-treatment of peaceful political protesters related to political aspirations for West Papua1 took place in early May in different parts of Indonesia, mostly in West Papua. This urgent appeal provides updated information on growing tensions in West Papua, which have resulted in an increase of cases of arbitrary arrest and torture, as described in a previous urgent appeal on the torture and extrajudicial execution of Arnold Alua in Wamena on April 24/25, 2016, submitted by Franciscans International on May 3, 2016. We are writing to you on behalf of the International Coalition of Papua (ICP), Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta), Franciscans International (FI), Westpapua-Netzwerk (WPN), VIVAT International-Indonesia, Geneva For Human Rights (GHR) – Global Training, Jubi Association, Sekretariat Keadilan, Perdamaian dan Keutuhan Ciptaan Fransiskan Papua (SKPKC Papua), Aliansi Demokrasi Untuk Papua (ALDP), Jaringan Kerja Rakyat Papua (JERAT Papua), Jaringan HAM Perempuan Papua (TIKI), Papua Customary Council (DAP), Indonesia’s NGO Coalition for International Human Rights Advocacy (HRWG – Indonesia) in relation to the unlawful arrests of at least 1,783 persons, mostly indigenous West Papuans, between 25 April and 2 May 2016.

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Delegation of 20 Bishops from the Pacific Region visit West Papua

Bishops from Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands have participated in the 57th Annual General Meeting (AGM) between April 4 and 15, 2016, in Vanimo. During the two weeks conference a delegation of 20 bishops also visited Jayapura, where they met with bishops from West Papua to discuss ways and means of future cooperation between the dioceses in West Papua, PNG and Solomon Islands. The bishops crossed the PNG-Indonesian border under military escort in a vehicle convoy across.

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Ceremony and pomp in Papua

by Hipolitus Yolisandry Ringgi Wangge

Ministerial visit by Luhut shows that Jokowi's government still lacks genuine solutions when it comes to Papua.

Luhutpapua2016smallRecently, Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security, Luhut Panjaitan, made a three-day visit to Papua. His trip to the nation's easternmost region stood out for two key reasons.

First, Papua is a priority for the current administration, and the visit by one of Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's closest trustees follows the President's earlier travels to the disaffected area. Clearly, this latest trip was important — not only for the central government but also for Papuans.

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Report From LBH Jakarta On The Unlawful Arrests Of 1,783 West Papuans Between 25 April - 2 May 2016

A. INTRODUCTION

This report is based on testimony collected on location by members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), Papuan Students Alliance (AMP) and United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). The information has been verified by Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) to be consistent with its own telephone witness interviews. The number of people arrested on 2 May 2016 has little difference with local media reports due to the high number of arrestees. The rest is consistent with local media reports. Until the report is made, some names have not been obtained yet due to the high number of arrestees.

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Punks for West Papua documentary released

punksforwestpapua-smallPunks for West Papua is a movement in Australia which was started by musician Jody Bartolo and his punk band "Diggers with Attitude". The aim is to raise awareness and money for the Free West Papua cause.

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Police Officers try to Stop Papuan Journalist from Taking Pictures of Demonstration

According to local news platform Tabloid Jubi, police officers from Jayapura city district police have intimidated Papuan journalist Benny Mawel, as he tried to take pictures of Cenderawasih University students, protesting against the visit of the Indonesian minister for coordination of politics, law and security, Luhut Panjaitan, to Papua. The incident occurred end of March 2016. A group of police officers suddenly approached the journalist and said that he should immediately stop to take pictures of the protest. After Benny Mawel had shown his press id card, police officers allowed him to continue his journalist duties. However some  police officers continued to intimidate him asking him if he wants to challenge the officers.

 

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Indonesia's Forgotten Political Prisoners

Johan Teterisa went from school teacher to political prisoner on June 29, 2007. On that day, he led a group of 27 Moluccan independence activists to join in the annual Family Day festivities at Merdeka Stadium in Ambon, the capital of Maluku province. The activists scandalized then-President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who was in the audience with a group of foreign diplomats, by performing the Moluccan cakalele traditional war dance and unfurling the officially banned Republic of South Maluku (RMS) flag.

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Police Officers try to Stop Papuan Journalist from Taking Pictures of Demonstration (2)

According to local news platform Tabloid Jubi, police officers from Jayapura city district police have intimidated Papuan journalist Benny Mawel, as he tried to take pictures of Cenderawasih University students, protesting against the visit of the Indonesian minister for coordination of politics, law and security, Luhut Panjaitan, to Papua. The incident occurred end of March 2016. A group of police officers suddenly approached the journalist and said that he should immediately stop to take pictures of the protest. After Benny Mawel had shown his press id card, police officers allowed him to continue his journalist duties. However some  police officers continued to intimidate him asking him if he wants to challenge the officers.

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Indonesian House of Representatives Criticizes Government for Lacking Initiative Towards Separatism in West Papua

Members of Commission I of the Indonesian House of Representatives criticized the government during a public for their lacking initiative in handling the independence movement  West Papua. Commission I is responsible for Defense and foreign affairs. According to members of Commission I the government, in particular the foreign ministry, has failed in setting up a unified approach against the human rights based international campaign for independence, which would slowly but surely gained ground in foreign countries all over the world.

 

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More Articles...

  1. Solomon Islands' Statement on Human Rights Situation in West papua during 31st Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva
  2. Is the Pacific’s solidarity for Papua on the rise?
  3. Urgent Appeal - Health Crisis in Nduga Regency
  4. Update Papua Roadmap - New LIPI Press Release
  5. US Ambassador Robert Blake Visits West Papua
  6. German Human Rights Commissioner Visits West Papua
  7. Indonesian Government Plans Ambitious Road and Railroad Project in West Papua
  8. HRW releases Report on Media Freedom in Papua
  9. 54 Children Have Died of Infectious Disease in Nduga Regency During Past Months
  10. Indonesian Military Members Shoot Palm Oil Laborer in Keerom Regency
  11. Killings, Arrests and Torture Overshadow the 54th Commemoration of 1st December in West Papua
  12. Urgent Appeal - Indonesia: Killings, torture, mass arrests and excessive use of force against Papuans commemorating 1 December
  13. Filep Karma released from jail
  14. ICP Releases New Human Rights Report 2015
  15. Food estate project may turn Papua into forest fire hotbed
  16. The young Papuans risking life and limb in the name of resistance
  17. Tell Obama to Support Human Rights in West Papua
  18. Haze crisis spreads with hot spots found in Papua
  19. Pacific Island Forum To Seek Fact-Finding Mission to West Papua
  20. France urged to comply with UN decolonisation process
  21. Papua now on Pacific radar
  22. Papuan church leaders respond to Tolikara incident
  23. West Papua MSG Observer - Indonesia's status elevated
  24. AI Urgent Action: Papuan activists detained and charged
  25. AI Statement: End mass arbitrary arrests of peaceful protesters in Papua
  26. Government unwilling to genuinely protect freedom of expression
  27. May 2015: While Jokowi releases five, nearly 500 are arrested
  28. Papuan journalist arrested as world calls for Papua press freedom
  29. ICP Brussels Appeal 2015
  30. Open Letter: Promoting human rights, peace and democracy in Indonesia

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