Papuan worker disappears as armed conflict near the Freeport Mine escalates - Amnesty International launches Urgent Appeal

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The international human rights organisaton 'Amnesty International' has launched an urgent appeal in relation to the disappearance of Martinus Beanal, on 7 November 2017. The disappearance occurred as the armed conflict near the Freeport mine in Tembaggapura of Mimika Regency intensified. According to 'Amnesty International', the Police announced that Martinus was dead and buried by his family, a claim that has been refuted by his family. Martinus Beanal's whereabouts are still unknown.



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5th December 2017


Martinus Beanal, a Papuan worker has disappeared since 7 November in the midst of alleged escalated armed clashes in Utikini village, Tembagapura District, Mimika Regency, Papua Province. The Police have announced that he was dead and buried by his family, a claim that has been refuted by his family. His whereabouts are still unknown.

Martinus Beanal, a worker in Pangan Sari Utama company, a food supplier firm of Freeport McMoran company was missing on his way home in the morning of 7 November. He departed from the company’s compound in Tembagapura district to his village in Opitawak village in Mimika Regency, Papua Province at 5am. According to his family, Martinus said that he was stopped by armed forces that forbid him to pass because the military and police operations in the area. Because of the blockade, Martinus went through an alternative route to his village that should take him around 2 to 3 hours walking. Around 6.30am he called his family members informing that he was resting near a telecommunication tower. He told his family members that he was unsure about which route to take because the road had intersections and they had some tracks of military shoes along the way. The call was cut off when one of his family heard a series of gunshot in the telephone.

Subsequently, Martinus’ wife called some villagers from Opitawak village to find and bring Martinus back to the village. However, the villagers decided to run back to their village after hearing gunshots around 7am in the area near Martinus’ last known location. After contacting Martinus’ wife and family, at 8am the villagers decided to go to the area near the telecommunication tower, but were stopped by the armed forces and told to turn around.

According to the police and military force, there has been ongoing armed conflict in Tembagapura district, Mimika  around Freeport Indonesia company compound since August 2017. The police and military forces operated in the area claimed that they were fighting an armed pro-Papuan independence group (Free Papua Movement or OPM). One police officer was killed and several civilians were injured on 21 October. However, Papuan human rights groups could not confirm that there were armed clashes between the security forces and the armed pro-independence group in Tembagapura area. On 10 November, a police spokesperson announced to the media that Martinus was found dead on 9 November in an area that had been occupied by armed pro-independence group and subsequently buried by his family, a claim that had been refuted by his family.

Enforced disappearance is a serious human rights violation and a crime under international law which violates the rights of the persons who were disappeared and of their loved ones. The Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1992, provides that an investigation “should be conducted for as long as the fate of the victim of enforced disappearance remains unclarified” (Article 13(6)). It also states that “enforced disappearance shall be considered a continuing offence as long as the perpetrators continue to conceal the fate and the whereabouts of persons who have disappeared and these facts remain unclarified” (Article 17(1)).

The Indonesian military has a long history of perpetrating enforced disappearances. Yet the Indonesian government has done little to establish the fate and whereabouts of those who were disappeared or went “missing” during the rule of Suharto or the subsequent political reform period (from 1998), including during the conflicts in Timor-Leste and Aceh. According to its 2012 Annual report, the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) holds information on 162 outstanding cases of disappearances in Indonesia, while there are a further 428 outstanding cases in Timor-Leste which mostly occurred during the period of Indonesian occupation (1975-1999). Further, the Indonesian government has yet to accept a request from the WGEID, pending since 2006, to visit the country.
Families of the disappeared and missing have for years called on the Indonesian authorities to establish the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones; however, to date, little progress has been made, prolonging their suffering. A national truth commission could undertake such a role but there has been a lack of political will by the central government to enact a new national truth commission law after it was struck down by the Constitutional Court in 2006.

Following an inquiry by the Indonesian Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) in 2009, the Indonesian House of Representatives recommended that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. In September 2010, the Indonesian government signed the Convention; and, currently, Commission I of the Indonesian House of Representatives is discussing a bill to ratify it.

In October 2014, six military personnel were convicted by a military court in Medan, North Sumatra Province of the abduction and ill-treatment of Dedek Khairudin and sentenced to between 14 and 17 months’ imprisonment. Dedek Khairudin was subjected to enforced disappearance in November 2013 after being detained by a military intelligence officer from the Army Resort Military Command (Korem 011/LW) and at least eight marines from Pangkalan Brandan region in North Sumatra Province. His whereabouts is remained unclarified up to date.

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