The International Coalition for Papua (ICP) has received the information concerning the stabbing of two men in Jayapura, Papua, by an unidentified member of the Indonesian military. One of the stabbed men is a member of West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB) while the other victim, his brother, is a student at Cenderawasih University.
KNPB is an organisation promoting the independence of West Papua from Indonesia, established in 2008. Its members have been repeatedly subjected to arrests, attacks and killings by Indonesian police and military. Demonstrations held by the organisation were repeatedly dispersed, often by the use of violence. In 2012, KNPB leader Mako Tabuni was shot to death by an Indonesian police counter-terrorism unit, despite being unarmed and not posing any harm.
We are calling for the relevant Indonesian authorities to investigate the allegation on the recent attacks against the two brothers in Jayapura, and wish to invite you to join our urgent action. A demand urging the Indonesian police and military to halt the assaults and summary killings of West Papuans promoting independence should also be made.
Facts of the case
On 2 September 2014 at 4 p.m., Rigo Wenda and his brother, Digi Wenda, were riding a motorbike at Perumnas III Waena. As Rigo and Digi Wenda got off the bike and started walking, three unidentified military men allegedly attached to Abe 1701/JYP sub-district military command approached and beat the two brothers.
Rigo Wenda is under treatment at Dian Harapan Hospital after being stabbed by military members. Photo: local activist
Rigo and Digi Wenda fought back, but the military men were reported to use their bayonets and stabbed them. Rigo Wenda was stabbed on his thigh, knee, chest, and stomach, whereas Digi Wenda was stabbed on his left leg. As of time of writing, Rigo Wenda’s condition is critical and he is receiving medical treatment at Dian Harapan Hospital at Perumnas II, Waena, Jayapura, whereas Digi Wenda is being treated at home by his family. The motive of the attack remains unclear.
Following the stabbing, a number of Cenderawasih University students held a spontaneous protest and blocked the road towards Entrop and the university.
Both Rigo and Digi Wenda are students at Cenderawasih University. It has been reported that Rigo is also a member of West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB), which promotes the independence of West Papua from Indonesia. Labelled as a separatist movement by the Indonesian government, KNPB political activities have been unnecessarily restricted, with many of the organisation’s protests having been violently dispersed. A number of its members and leaders have also been arrested, assaulted, and even killed.
With a heavy military presence in Papua, abuses perpetrated by military members seem to be more severe and to take place more often in the region than in other parts of Indonesia. Following the stabbing of two military members who hit a 10-year old boy in June 2012, members of Batallion 756 Wimane Sili opened fire against civilians at Kampung Honai Lama, beat and stabbed a number of the villagers, and set their houses on fire. Two Papuan men were previously tortured by members of the Indonesian military, as depicted in a disturbing video released in 2010. In the Universal Periodic Review session on Indonesia in 2012, a number of countries expressed their concerns on the human rights violations perpetrated by the Indonesian military. Japan specifically called for the halt of such abuses.
Despite the abuses, military members responsible are hardly brought before court, or adequately punished. This is partly caused by the fact that, under the existing Military Tribunal Law, it is the military itself which has the sole authority to try its members who commit crimes, regardless the nature of the crimes. The criminal procedures held against the military members are therefore lacking of independence and tend not to be transparent.
How to help
Please write to the Indonesian authorities listed at the end of this Urgent Action, urging them to take the following measures:
1. To conduct investigation on the stabbing against Rigo and Digi Wenda, allegedly perpetrated by three military members attached to Abe 1701/JYP sub-district military command; and
2. To revise the existing Military Tribunal Law, that military members who perpetrated crimes shall be tried in a civilian criminal court.
Urgent action targets
Commander of Indonesian Military
Mabes TNI Cilangkap
Telp: +62 21 8459 5576, 8459 5326
Fax: +62 21 8459 1193
Maj. Gen. Christian Zebua
Commander of Cenderawasih Military Command
Jl. Polimak IV Atas
Jayapura, Papua, 99000
Telp: +62 967 931 405
Mr. Mahfudz Siddiq
Chairperson of the 1st Commission
Indonesian House of Representatives
Gedung Nusantara III
Jl. Jend. Gatot Subroto
Telp: +62 21 575 5048
Fax: +62 21 575 6379
Ms. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo
General Director for Human Rights
Ministry of Law and Human Rights
Gedung Direktorat Jenderal Hak Asasi Manusia
Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav 4-5
Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan
Telp: +62 21 252 1344
Fax: +62 21 4555 55676
Mr. Hafid Abbas
National Human Rights Commission
Jl. Latuharhary No. 4-B
Tel: +62 21 392 5230
Fax: +62 21 392 5227