AI: Investigate security forces’ use of lethal force against Papuans in Paniai

Amnesty International is extremely concerned about reports that Indonesian security forces opened fire and killed at least five men, all students, in Paniai, Papua province. The new government must put an end to the climate of impunity for perpetrators of such abuses. Amnesty International is calling for an investigation into the killings.


HRW: Security Forces Kill Five in Papua

(Jakarta) – Indonesian authorities should promptly and impartially investigate the apparent use of unnecessary lethal force by security forces against peaceful protesters in Papua on December 8, 2014, Human Rights Watch said today.

Police and military personnel fired live ammunition at about 800 peaceful demonstrators, including women and children, in the town of Enarotali in Panai regency. Five protesters – Simon Degei, 18; Otianus Gobai, 18; Alfius Youw, 17; Yulian Yeimo, 17; and Abia Gobay (age unknown) – died from gunshot wounds. At least 17 others, including five primary school children, were wounded and required hospitalization. Human Rights Watch interviewed two witnesses to the incident, as well as journalists and a human rights activist in towns closest to this remote area.

“The Indonesian government needs to investigate why security forces found it necessary to fire into a crowd of peaceful protesters,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Ordinary Papuans are too often victims of security force abuse for which no one is ever punished.”

The protest was sparked by a brawl several hours earlier, on the evening of December 7, when members of Tim Khusus 753 (Special Team 753), a unit attached to the Nabire-based Army Battalion 753, assaulted 12-year-old Yulianus Yeimo. The attack was apparent retaliation after a group of children and young people, including Yeimo, shouted at a Tim Khusus 753 vehicle to turn on its headlights as it passed the group, whose members were decorating a Christmas tree and nativity scene in Enarotali’s Ipakiye neighborhood.

The Tim Khusus 753 vehicle soon returned with another truck filled with Indonesian soldiers, who chased the group and caught and beat Yeimo with their rifle butts. Yeimo’s condition is unknown. The others alerted nearby adults, who began throwing stones at the military personnel, prompting them to flee.

Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that on the morning of December 8, about 800 Papuan young men, women, and primary school children gathered on Enarotali’s Karel Bonay football field in front of the local police station (Polsek) and military command (Koramil) to demand an explanation for the attack on Yeimo. The protesters, some carrying ceremonial Papuan hunting bows that have a purely ritual function, expressed their grievance through a traditional Papuan waita dance, which involves shouting, running in circles and mimicking birdsong.

The police ordered the protesters to disperse and then struck them with batons and sticks when they refused to comply, witnesses said. The Papua police chief Inspector General, Yotje Mende, told the media that his officers were only “securing” their station because it was under attack. A witness told Human Rights Watch that he saw six or seven Indonesian officers chasing protesters, who ran to a nearby airfield. Between 9:30 and 9:40 a.m., the witnesses heard gunshots and saw security force personnel, including police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) officers, bearing rifles. Some of the shots were fired from the nearby police and military posts, about 50 meters from the field, witnesses said. It was only around seven minutes, according to a witness in the field. It is unclear if the police fired any warning shots before firing into the crowd.

Indonesian government officials offered conflicting accounts of the violence. Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno said that the security forces had warned the protesters to disperse and that security forces had fired into the crowd “to defend themselves” from “a bunch of people fighting the authorities.” The Papua police spokesman, Sulistyo Pudjo, indicated that the violence was the security forces’ response to an attack on local police and military posts, but said he was unaware of the circumstances of the protesters’ deaths. "Suddenly there were victims, and we did not know who shot them,” Pudjo told Agence France Press.

Witnesses said that when the shooting stopped, women and children on the scene immediately called for emergency medical assistance. They helped bring the wounded to the public hospital in the town of Madi, about 6 kilometers from Enarotali. The witnesses said they did not see any police or military personnel provide medical assistance to the wounded or help them to get to the hospital. There are no reports of injuries to security forces on the scene.


WPAT/ETAN West Papua Report December 2014

This edition's Perspective is the first part of an article by Made Supriatma about Indonesian security force deployments in West Papua. In Update: Papuan leaders from around the world gathered in Vanuatu. Peaceful Papuan demonstrators were detained and shot during events commemorating the founding of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB). Papuan Behind Bars reports that 69 West Papuan political prisoners are currently in Indonesian government custody. The U.S. government plans to expand its support for "modernization" of the Indonesian military (TNI). Reform of that deeply corrupt, human rights abusing and unaccountable institution is not on the U.S. or TNI "modernization" agenda. Indonesia's new defense minister plans to re-institute military influence in civilian sectors. The plan would undo much of the limited post-Suharto reforms with specific negative consequences for West Papua. Another military plan, apparently endorsed by President Widodo, would put new military commands in West Papua. In Chronicle, Papuan political prisoner Filep Karma is interviewed by Michael Bachelard. A review of the 2001 Bloody Waisor incident provides important context to new logging plans. Budi Hernawan revisits the murder by Kopassus of Theys Eluay and the disappearance of his driver. Finally, we note a timely analysis of Indonesia's growing efforts to wield influence in Melanesia where support for West Papuan self determination is growing.

West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) and the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)

The full report is available at:

Launching of Filep Karma’s book ‘As if We’re half Half Animals.’

President Joko Widodo must end all racism and discrimination in the Land of Papua, from impunity for human rights violators to restrictions on access for independent journalists to visit Papua, said publisher Deiyai.

Dr. Benny Giay, chair of the Deiyai publishing company, said that the racism and discrimination in question is highlighted by Filep Karma, a political prisoner in Abepura prison, in his book ‘As If we’re Half Animals: Indonesian Racism in the Land of Papua,’ launched today in Jayapura. It is 10 years to the day since Karma was jailed for a speech about the marginalisation of ethnic Melanesians in the Land of Papua on 1 December 2004.


KNPB remain most targeted Papuan civil society group

Papuans Behind Bars reports that at the end of November 2014, there were at least 65 political prisoners in Papuan jails.

The West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB) remains the most heavily targeted civil society group in Papua. So far this year, there have been 101 arrests of KNPB activists or those suspected of being affiliated to the KNPB. The pattern of mass arrests of KNPB members continued this month with 28 KNPB members arrested for participating in peaceful commemorative activities celebrating the 6th anniversary of the formation of the KNPB in 2008.


Not a mere case of bad apples: Acts of state terrorism

Thirteen years ago on Nov. 10 — Heroes’ Day — the Papuan leader Theys Eluay was found dead in the vicinity of Jayapura city after attending an event at the local headquarters of the Army’s Special Forces, Kopassus.

His body was left abandoned in a public place. His driver, Aristoteles Masoka, went missing, and remains unaccounted for.


Urgent Appeal: Extrajudicial and summary execution of five Indigenous Papuans by Indonesian National Army

We, the Papuan Customary Council of Paniai (Dewan Adat Paniai), the Coalition of Human Rights NGOs in Papua, Franciscans International, VIVAT International and the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) Indonesia with the support 6 other organizations hereby submit an urgent appeal to UN Human Rights Council Special Procedures regarding the killing of four Indigenous Papuan civilians on the 8th December 2014 (and the subsequent death of two more indigenous Papuans injured during the incident) in Paniai District, Papua Province by members of the Indonesian National Army.


New Report on Yotefa Market Incident

We have received a detailed report from the JPIC desk of the Protestant Church in Papua (GKI-TP) about the violent murders of three Papuan men and the arbitrary arrests and torture of four further Papuans in July 2014.


UN OHCHR: Papua killings press briefing

We are alarmed at the reported killing of five Papuan teenagers in the highlands region of Paniai in Indonesia yesterday. While the exact circumstances are unclear as there are conflicting accounts of the events leading up to the killings. reportedly, a group of young people gathered outside a police station in the town of Enarotali yesterday to protest against the beating of a local boy by security forces on Sunday night. The police then reportedly opened fire and five teenage boys were killed. A number of other people were injured.


JFCC : Statement on Access to Papua, Detention of Journalists

The Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club is concerned about the continued detention without charge of two French journalists in Papua province since early August. Of particular concern are indications that Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat, who were arrested in the highlands town of Wamena and are being held in the provincial capital Jayapura, could face a five-year prison sentence for a visa violation, or even a much more serious charge of sedition.


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