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Commemorating Papua Land of Peace Day

February 7, 2023

Commemorating Papua Land of Peace Day

Ridwan (The Jakarta Post)
PREMIUM Jakarta ● Mon, February 6, 2023

On Feb. 5 each year in Papua, people commemorate the day the Gospel was spread in Papua and the declaration of Papua Tanah Damai (Papua as Land of Peace, or PTD). The day represents a distant hope for many people in the restive region, which is still experiencing a protracted violent conflict, where blood and tears of sorrow are shed.

We know that since being incorporated into Indonesia via a United Nations-sponsored Act of Free Choice (Penentuan Pendapat Rakyat) in 1969, the mountainous half-island of Papua has had a troubled relationship with the Indonesian government. Local opposition to the widely criticized referendum led to the emergence of the Free Papuan Organization (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, OPM) in 1965, which has led to a low-level armed insurgency over several decades. In response, the government has suppressed the separatist movement with violence.

Other causes for resentment on the part of the indigenous population include Papua’s poverty relative to other parts of the archipelago, as well as the large-scale influx of Muslim migrants that have tipped the demographic balance in some areas against the predominantly Christian Papuans. Various efforts to comprehensively solve the Papuan problem have not yielded results.

The non-security approach also fails to make a difference. Infrastructure development to improve welfare, from the reform era of 1998 until the reign of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, along with the implementation of special autonomy and regional expansion, have yet to ease the level of violence in the region. Recent data on violent conflicts show an upward trend, with no sign of easing.

It is also worth noting that the rate of violence has escalated even after the signing of a humanitarian pause agreement in Geneva last year. This essay looks into the origin of Papua’s Land of Peace declaration, from which we can learn about ways to make the idea of Papua as a land of peace and harmony a reality. To understand the PTD framework holistically, it is important to understand its genesis.

The PTD peace framework, which was launched on Feb. 5, 2003, did not emerge in a historical vacuum. It is rooted in the experience of Papuans who have a real desire for peace. At the outset, the indigenous Papuan youth, including students, wanted to nurture a culture of peace by promoting the idea that Papua is “a Zone of Peace”. At that time, they did not use the term PTD, or “Papua the Land of Peace”.

The initiative was broached in a meeting in Serui, Yapen Waropen, in June 1999 because Papuan people wanted peace in Papua. I contend that the violent approach by the Indonesian government during the New Order regime against Papuans, including the Biak massacre, which had happened only 11 months earlier (July 6, 1998), gave impetus for that meeting.

The participants wanted to ensure their meeting was not regarded as subversive against the Indonesian government. In a ceremonial meeting, Marthen Tanawane, a Papuan tribal leader, declared Yapen Waropen as “a Zone of Peace” on Sept. 17, 2000. In 2001, Theo van den Broek and his companions reflected on the Papua Zone of Peace concept in Jayapura.

Forty organizations representing almost all government and civil-society stakeholders met to explore the philosophical aspects of the Papua Zone of Peace. At the end of the conference, the participants agreed with the slogan “Papua as a Zone of Peace”, referring to a situation in Papua where its people feel free from physical and psychological conflicts.

The notion of “Papua as a Zone of Peace” received a good response from various parties, including religious leaders in Papua. The religious leaders, including Muslims represented by MUI Papua, church leaders, Hindu and Buddhist leaders, strongly supported the notion of Papua as a Zone of Peace due to the Papuans and Indonesian migrants’ mutual desire for peace. However, in the later reflections, those religious leaders considered that the concept of Papua as a “zone” of peace might be misused or misunderstood.

For instance, they considered that several regions in Papua could be categorized as peace zones, while other regions could be deemed war zones. Instead, they proposed a more accurate term, the “land of peace”. It is useful to note that the historical and political context of the PTD declaration, especially the communal conflicts that erupted in some areas in Indonesia (such as in Ambon, Sambas, and Sampit). In 2001, a Peace Agreement was reached to resolve the conflict in Ambon, the Moluccas, causing Laskar Jihad to lose its influence.

It was reported that Ja’far Umar Thalib, a commander of Laskar Jihad, had initially sought to wage jihad in Papua, taking advantage of the turmoil that had arisen because of the call for self-determination for Papua. The PTD project aims to respond to the absence of civil and political rights (CPR) and economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR), excessive security approaches and welfare gaps in Papua. Because the concept of PTD can be interpreted differently by community organizations, it can be used to achieve different goals by different organizations.

As dialogue is key to overcoming political conflict in Papua, Neles Tebay, for instance, developed the framework of PTD through a program called “Jakarta-Papua Dialogue”, elaborating on elements of “truth and justice” under the architecture of Papua Land of Peace by promoting the idea of dialogue to make the slogan a reality. Dialogue, for Tebay, is a way to erode the culture of violence.

Tebay not only articulated his ideas through writings but also translated his ideas by establishing Papuan Peace Network (Jaringan Damai Papua, JDP) in 2010, in collaboration with the Indonesian Institute of Science (Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia, LIPI) led by Muridan Widjojo. JDP has been the architect of numerous initiatives to promote dialogue.

Unfortunately, their activities are viewed by the Indonesian government as a guide for the Papuan independence movement. In an ironic twist, the OPM suspects JDP of working for the Indonesian government. As a result, suspicions about the intentions of JDP have severely undermined its efforts.

In this light, Tebay noted that the Indonesian government often fell into the trap of viewing peace initiatives in Papua as part of the broader struggle for Papuan independence. On April 14, 2019, Neles Tebay died, making the future of “Jakarta-Papua Dialogue” and JDP’s mission increasingly blurred.

To conclude, PTD day should not be a ceremonial event only. There should be a political will from the warring parties to engage in a dialogue for peace and finally bring a lasting peace to the Land of Papua.
— The writer is a faculty member at the Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia (UIII)

Papuan journalist Victor Mambor wins “Oktovianus Pogau” journalism award

February 1, 2023

Papuan journalist Victor Mambor wins “Oktovianus Pogau” journalism award
News Desk – Journalism Award
1 February 2023

Victor Mambor in Jayapura (Engelbeth Wally/Jubi)

Jakarta, Jubi – Victor Mambor, a journalist born in Muara Enim, Sumatra, the chief editor of Papuan newspaper Jubi who often covers discrimination against indigenous Papuans, received the Oktovianus Pogau Award from the Pantau Foundation for courage in journalism.

“Victor Mambor’s decision to return to his father’s homeland and defend the rights of indigenous Papuans through journalism, as well as being steadfast in the face of intimidation after intimidation, made the jury agree that he was a courageous journalist,” said Andreas Harsono from the Pantau Foundation.

Victor Mambor’s name was recently mentioned in the media after a bomb was detonated outside his house on January 23 in Jayapura. Mambor suspected the terror was related with Jubi’s coverage of the murder and mutilation of four indigenous Papuans from Nduga in Timika in October 2022, wherein four soldiers were charged with “premeditated murder”.

Victor Mambor was born in 1974. He is the son of Rachmawati Saibuna and John Simon Mambor, a poet from Rasiey, Wondama Bay and a leader of the Papua Council Presidium, who died as a political prisoner in Jakarta in 2003 at the age of 55. Presidium Chairman Theys Eluay who was killed by Indonesian soldiers in November 2004 in Sentani, Papua, was a colleague of John Mambor.

Victor Mambor grew up in Muara Enim until he graduated from SMAN 1. In 1992, he moved to Bandung, where he later worked as a journalist for Pikiran Rakyat daily. In Bandung, he was mentored by Suyatna Anirun, an actor and director from the Bandung Study Theater Club.

In 2004, after his father died, young Victor Mambor decided to work as a journalist in Jayapura. He was appointed editor of Jubi, later general manager, expanding into television and using drones.

On his blog, Victor Mambor posts important texts he created or translated between 2005 and 2017, including the abduction of Papuan children to Java and his criticism towards Jakarta journalists’ perspectives, which often only talk about Indonesian nationalism and not giving much space for Papua’s perspectives.

In May 2015, Victor Mambor interviewed President Joko Widodo in Merauke about restrictions on foreign journalists entering Papua since 1967. Jokowi replied that all foreign journalists are free to enter Papua without restrictions. Ironically, to this day, President Jokowi’s statement has not come true. Foreign journalists are still restricted from entering Papua.

In 2019, together with several journalists in Pacific island countries, he founded the Melanesian Media Freedom Forum. Mambor has also increased coverage of the Pacific region through Jubi, a natural thing for Papuan media, as well as working with media outlets such as Radio New Zealand, Solomon Star, Vanuatu Daily, Melanesia News, Fiji Times, Islands Business, Cook Islands News, Post Courier, and Marshall Islands Journal.

Victor Mambor was one of three producers of an investigative video entitled “Selling Out West Papua” broadcast by Al Jazeera in June 2020. He collaborated with Mongabay, The Gecko Project and the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism. It was about how a South Korean company, Korindo, seized land and destroyed Papua’s forests. He received the Wincott Award for Video Journalism.

On May 21, 2021, Mambor was intimidated. His car glass was broken, and the door was spray-painted, while parked at night in front of his house in Jayapura. The police have yet to find the perpetrators of this vandalism.

In September 2021, António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, issued an annual report on international cooperation in the field of human rights. Guterres named Victor Mambor as one of five human rights defenders who frequently experience intimidation, harassment and threats in covering issues in Papua and West Papua provinces.

Yayasan Pantau calls on the Indonesian police, especially in Papua, to keep Victor Mambor safe, and to find the people who damaged his car and placed a bomb in front of his house.

As a person with a Palembang mother and Papuan father, Mambor is both Indonesian and Papuan, and he could see human rights violations and environmental destruction in Papua. Mambor often quotes his father saying, “Be proud of yourselves as Papuans who have never begged on their rich land.”

In Papua, Victor Mambor is also often accused of not defending the non-Papuan people who have come to Papua since the 1960s. However, Mambor once wrote on Facebook, “My mother is Sumatran, my wife is Sumatran, in my workplace there are more non-Papuans than Papuans. We work in harmony, there is no different treatment. Am I racist and discriminatory when I am outspoken about fighting for the rights of Indigenous Papuans?”

Victor Mambor certainly knew the late Oktovianus Pogau. When Pogau died on January 31, 2016, Mambor wrote, “Oktovianus Pogau was not just a friend and brother to me. He was both a partner and a rival to me. He was my ‘left brain’ in journalism. He is ‘half of my soul’ in journalism. He has no equal. He has no match. He opened the eyes of many people to what was really happening in Papua. He deserves to be remembered as a liberation fighter, because he is a legend.”

According to Andreas Harsono, Victor Mambor not only closely knew Oktovianus Pogau but also supported and continued Pogau’s ideals about the responsibility of indigenous Papuan journalists, Indonesian journalists and international journalists to be brave in reporting what is happening in Papua.

About the Pogau Award

The award is named after Oktovianus Pogau, a Papuan journalist and activist born in Sugapa on August 5, 1992. Pogau died at the age of 23 in Jayapura. The award is given annually to commemorate Pogau’s bravery.

In October 2011, Pogau reported on violence against hundreds of indigenous Papuans during the Third Papuan Congress in Jayapura. Three Papuans died and five were jailed on treason charges. Not a single Indonesian official was questioned or punished. Triggered by the condition that not many Indonesian media were reporting these violations, Pogau launched Suara Papua on December 10, 2011.

Pogau is a writer and activist who uses words to discuss and hone his political ideas. This choice has often gotten Pogau into trouble. He was sympathetic to the West Papua National Committee, a Papuan youth organization, which challenged Indonesia’s control of West Papua. He was once a member of this organization while studying at the Indonesian Christian University in Jakarta, but knew he had to maintain his independence.

Pogau also frequently wrote about restrictions on international journalists covering West Papua and helped translate a 2015 Human Rights Watch report, “Something to Hide: Indonesia’s Restrictions on Media Freedom and Human Rights Monitoring in Papua.”

He also protested restrictions on Papuan journalists as well as the use of journalists’ work for spying. He indirectly led President Joko Widodo in May 2015 to ask the Indonesian bureaucracy to stop restrictions on foreign journalists covering West Papua. Unfortunately, Jokowi’s order has not been fully complied with.

His courage in journalism and siding with marginalized people led the Pantau Foundation to recognize Oktovianus Pogau as a model for brave Indonesian journalists covering human rights violations and environmental destruction. The award has been given annually since January 2017.

This year’s Pogau Award jury consists of Andreas Harsono (Jakarta), Alexander Mering (Pontianak, Bogor), Coen Husain Pontoh (New York, Bolaang Mongondow), Made Ali (Pekanbaru), and Yuliana Lantipo (Jayapura). (*)

2) Benny Wenda’s daughter in Port Vila

  • By Len Garae
  • Jan 31, 2023

Left to right: West Papua’s Interim Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Morris Kaloran, Koteko Wenda, Koteko’s dad Benny Wenda and Head of Mission Freddy Warome inside Terminal

Koteko Wenda was invited to a Tannese community at Teouma Bush for lunch on her first arrival in the country last week. As the main guest at the time, she was asked to serve her lunch before anyone else. She did by serving all those present first and herself last. She is a true Melanesian!

The guest is the first born daughter of the Global Lobbyist for the freedom of West Papua and now Interim President of United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), Benny Wenda.

Koteko Wenda, 21, is his first born daughter who was born in a refugee camp at Vanimo in Papua New Guinea.

Wenda has three daughters and two sons who are all British citizens and live in London with their mother and father, after he was granted political asylum by London following his escape from 25-year prison sentence in Jayapura.

His crime – raising West Papua’s Morning Star Flag.

Asked how his daughter travelled to Port Vila, her father said she was in Australia attending an international conference when she decided to join him in Port Vila.

“I was in prison and never met her until she was about nine months old when I asked the guard to allow her in to see me and they agreed and she came and was playing in prison for about two hours, without knowing why I was in prison,” he recalled.

“My life in prison changed when Indonesia wanted to assassinate me so I escaped at night. My daughter and her mother did not know anything and even with the news that Benny Wenda had escaped, my wife refused to believe the news after my other colleague was killed.

“I escaped across the border into Papua New Guinea and my people smuggled my wife and daughter to PNG too and hid them in the bush for six months. I wrote a note and sent it to my wife saying I was safe in England. She recognized my handwriting and believed that I was still alive.

“In 2003, one of my friends smuggled my wife and daughter who was then one year three months old to UK. Gradually I groomed her to understand why I am always away from her and her mother, that it was not money or a better life that I was searching for but, that I was on a mission.”

In 2004, the Global Campaigner again left them to come to Vanuatu. “When she grew up then she started asking, ‘Why daddy, are you always going to Vanuatu?’ he said.

“I started to explain to her that Vanuatu understands our struggle in line with our godfathers’ promotion of our struggle.”

She has arrived in Vanuatu to connect to understand the Vanuatu struggle and how it is linked to the West Papua struggle.

Asked what message he has for parents in Vanuatu, Wenda replied, “I am not in England because it is a good place or I am looking for money, but because my people are oppressed and people like me need to tell the world what is happening at home in West Papua.

“In the same way, I am telling my children to understand my mission so that when they grow up then they will continue the struggle.

“My first born daughter is already representing the next generation in the struggle, and I am proud of her every time I see her address an international forum in London or wherever concerning the plight of the West Papua people. She is telling her story and I am proud of her.”



3) Melkias Ky Trial Verdict Due

31 JAN 2023. By: TAPOL & PAHAM

Melkias Ky (23), a civilian who lives in Insum Village, Maybrat District, West Papua, has become the victim of a wrongful arrest by the police, during the trial surrounding the events that took place in Kisor, Maybrat, on 2nd September 2021. For more information on the background of this event and the broader situation in Maybrat, please take a look at our video series and our briefing.

He has already gone through four months of the trial session at Sorong District Court from October 2022 to January, and this happened after his arrest and detention, which has been since 31st January 2022.

During the trial, when called to give evidence, none of the witnesses testified that they had seen Melkias Ky directly involved in the killings. The testimony of witness IW was changed and should not be trusted.

Melkias Ky testified that during the detention and investigation in the police station, he was not accompanied by his legal team, and also that the investigator threatened him with force to confess to being an perpetrator and to sign a police investigation report that was made by the investigator. Under this threat, Melkias signed the report.

During the session, although none of the evidence produced was valid or strong, the Public Prosecutor called for a sentence of life in prison.

The defendant’s legal team asked for the judge to free him, as he had not been proven to have been guilty of the crime.

The sentencing will take place on Friday 3rd February 2023.

The arrest and trial process for Papuans are often arbitrary, showing bad practices in law enforcement in Papua. Bad practices in the law underline and strengthen the discriminatory policy of the state against the people of Papua, contributing to an increase in violence against the Papuan people, and in the conflict in Papua.


‘Terror’ bomb explodes near Papua journalist Victor Mambor’s home

January 31, 2023

‘Terror’ bomb explodes near Papua journalist Victor Mambor’s home

By Pacific Media Watch – January 24, 2023

By Dandy Koswaraputra and Pizaro Gozali Idrus

A veteran journalist known for covering rights abuses in Indonesia’s militarised Papua region says a bomb exploded outside his home yesterday and a journalists group has called it an act of “intimidation” threatening press freedom.

No one was injured in the blast near his home in the provincial capital Jayapura said Victor Mambor, editor of Papua’s leading news website Jubi, who visited New Zealand in 2014.

Police said they were investigating the explosion and that no one had yet claimed responsibility.

“Yes, someone threw a bomb,” Papua Police spokesperson Ignatius Benny told Benar News. “The motive and perpetrators are unknown.”

The Jayapura branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) condemned the explosion as a “terrorist bombing”.

In Sydney, the Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) and Pacific Media Watch in New Zealand protested over the incident and called for a full investigation.

Mambor said he heard the sound of a motorcycle at about 4 am and then an explosion about a minute later.

‘Shook like earthquake’
“It was so loud that my house shook like there was an earthquake,” he told Benar News as reported by Radio Free Asia.

“I also checked the source of the explosion and smelt sulfur coming from the side of the house.”

The explosion left a hole in the road, he said.

The incident was not the first to occur outside Mambor’s home. In April 2021, windows were smashed and paint sprayed on his car in the middle of the night.

Mambor is also an advocate for press freedom in Papua. In that role, he has criticised Jakarta’s restrictions on the media in Papua, as well as its other policies in his troubled home province.

The AJI awarded Mambor its press freedom awardin August 2022, saying that through Jubi, “Victor brings more voices from Papua, amid domination of information that is biased, one-sided and discriminatory.”

“AJI in Jayapura strongly condemns the terrorist bombing and considers this an act of intimidation that threatens press freedom in Papua,” it said in a statement.

‘Voice the truth’ call
“AJI Jayapura calls on all journalists in the land of Papua to continue to voice the truth despite obstacles. Justice should be upheld even though the sky is falling,” said AJI chair Lucky Ireeuw.

Amnesty International Indonesia urged the police to find those responsible.

“The police must thoroughly investigate this incident, because this is not the first time … meaning there was an omission that made the perpetrators feel free to do it again, to intimidate and threaten journalists,” Amnesty’s campaign manager in Indonesia, Nurina Savitri, told BenarNews.

The Papua region, located at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago, has been the site of a decades-old pro-independence insurgency where both government security forces and rebels have been accused of committing atrocities against civilians.

Foreign journalists have been largely barred from the area, with the government insisting it could not guarantee their safety. Indonesian journalists allege that officials make their work difficult by refusing to provide information.

The armed elements of the independence movement have stepped up lethal attacks on Indonesian security forces, civilians and targets such as construction of a trans-Papua highway that would make the Papuan highlands more accessible.

Human Rights Watch, meanwhile, has accused Indonesian security forces of intimidation, arbitrary arrests, torture, extrajudicial killings and mass forced displacement in Papua.

Security forces kill 36
Last month, Indonesian activist group KontraS said 36 people were killed by security forces and pro-independence rebels in the Papua and West Papua provinces in 2022, an increase from 28 in 2021.

In Sydney, Joe Collins of the AWPA said in a statement: “These acts of intimidation against local journalists in West Papua threaten freedom of the press.

“It is the local media in West Papua that first report on human rights abuses and local journalists are crucial in reporting information on what is happening in West Papua”.

Collins said Canberra remained silent on the issue — ‘the Australian government is very selective in who it criticises over their human rights record.”

There was no problem raising concerns about China or Russia over their record, “but Canberra seems to have great difficulty in raising the human rights abuses in West Papua with Jakarta.”

Republished from Free Radio Asia with additional reporting by Pacific Media Watch.

Indonesian army major gets life for role in murder of Papuan civilians

January 25, 2023

Indonesian army major gets life for role in murder of Papuan civilians
Victor Mambor and Dandy Koswaraputra
Jayapura, Indonesia, and Jakarta
Papuans cremate relatives who were allegedly killed by Indonesian soldiers, in Mimika regency, Papua province, Sept. 16, 2022. Six Indonesian soldiers were arrested after being accused of killing four indigenous Papuans and mutilating their bodies, authorities said on Aug. 30.

The Indonesian military said on Wednesday that a tribunal sentenced an army major to life in prison for his involvement in the murder of four Papuan civilians, whose mutilated bodies were found in August in the restive region.

Human rights activists and victims’ relatives welcomed the conviction of Maj. Helmanto Fransiskus Dakhi before the military tribunal in Surabaya as progress in holding members of security forces accountable for abuses committed in Papua.

“The defendant … was found guilty of premeditated murder,” Herman Taryaman, spokesman for the Indonesian military command in Papua, told journalists. The tribunal also dismissed Helmanto from the military, he said.

Four other soldiers charged in connection with the killings are being tried by a tribunal in Papua province’s capital, Jayapura. A sixth military suspect – a captain – died in December after falling ill, Herman said.

Four civilians are also facing trial in a civilian court in the case, police said.

The four victims were beheaded and their legs cut off before their bodies were placed in sacks and tossed into a river in Mimika Baru, a district in Mimika regency.

Activists had said the violence degraded the dignity of indigenous Papuans amid allegations of ongoing rights abuses by government security forces in Papua.

The largely underdeveloped and impoverished region at the far-eastern end of Indonesia is where a separatist insurgency has simmered for decades. Both the Indonesian security forces and rebels have been accused of committing atrocities against civilians.

Helmanto is the third Indonesian Armed Forces member to be sentenced to life by a military court in a murder case since June.

In September, police said that the killings were linked to an illegal arms purchase and that the motive was “economic.” The suspects were posing as gun runners and the victims came to them with 250 million rupiah (U.S. $16,500) in cash to purchase the weapons, officials had said.

However, rights advocacy group KontraS said that the police’s allegation that the victims tried to buy firearms was not backed by evidence because a homemade rifle, which was cited as evidence, was missing.

Police investigators had said that the suspects threw the gun into a river along with the victims’ bodies.

‘Good decision’

A spokesman for the victims’ families, Aptoro Lokbere, said he was “satisfied” with the conviction and sentence.

“On behalf of the victims’ families, I would like to thank the panel of judges for handing the sentence in accordance with the wishes of the families,” he said.

Gustaf Kawer, an attorney for the victims’ families, said the life sentence for Maj. Helmanto was a “brave” decision that should be emulated by military and civilian courts in similar cases.

“I think that a good decision will certainly positively affect the image of the state, the TNI [armed forces], and the public’s trust in the judiciary,” Gustaf told BenarNews.

The verdict could raise public confidence that perpetrators of rights abuses could be held accountable, said Atnike Nova Sigiro, chair of the National Commission on Human Rights.

“This decision also shows that the public’s wish for justice in Papua is beginning to become a reality,” she told BenarNews.

“This can increase public confidence in military justice.”

Pizaro Gozali Idrus in Jakarta contributed to this report.


2) Papuan journalist Victor Mambor says bomb attack likely due to his reporting
By Pacific Media Watch
January 25, 2023

Pacific Media Watch

A prominent Papuan journalist has said a recent bombing near his home is the latest in a string of attacks against him, reports ABC Pacific Beat.

Victor Mambor said he heard motorbikes ride past his home before a bomb exploded about 3 metres from his house on Monday.

He suspects his attackers wished to scare him.

“It’s not the first time, I have had more threats before,” Mambor said.

“They broke my my car, they threatened me through SMS texts and WhatsApp messenger.”

Mambor, editor of the Papuan news website Jubi, suspects the work he has done reporting on Indonesian-ruled West Papua has led to these threats.

I think they think I’m a journalist who supports the West Papua freedom movement,” he said.

Presenter: Prianka Srinivasan

Lukas Enembe’s Arrest Prompts Riot; Papua Police Arrest 19 People

January 11, 2023

Lukas Enembe’s Arrest Prompts Riot; Papua Police Arrest 19 People
Translator Dewi Elvia Muthiariny Editor Petir Garda Bhwana
11 January 2023 14:44 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Papua Regional Police Chief Ir. Gen. Mathius D Fakhiri confirmed that at least 19 people were detained in riots following the arrest of Governor Lukas Enembe on Tuesday, January 10, 2023.

Mathius explained that the arrest of the governor prompted riots in two locations, namely Papua Mobile Brigade HQ (Mako Brimob) and Sentani Airport, Jayapura.

“There were small incidents due to yesterday’s [incident] arrest. But we managed to quell the riot,” he said in an online press conference, Wednesday, January 11, 2023.

He outlined that two people were detained in the riot in Mako Brimob, and the rest 17 people were secured at Sentani Airport. “They are being questioned by the police,” he added.

One of the protestors, he went on, died from a gunshot wound. “We offer condolences to the family. We are also taking measures to handle it,” Mathius said.

According to him, the riot was a response act of the public because the governor is one of the respected figures in the country’s easternmost province.

“I think it’s reasonable considering bapak (Mr.) Enembe has many sympathizers, supporters, and family,” Mathius said.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) named Lukas Enembe as a suspect in the alleged bribery case related to a number of infrastructure projects in Papua. To date, the anti-graft body has named two suspects in the case, the governor and Rijanto Lakka.



2). Government to name acting Papua governor following Enembe’s arrest
7 hours ago

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD stated that the government would name an acting official to succeed Lukas Enembe as Governor of Papua following his arrest on corruption charges.

"Yes, there will be alternative measures. In principle, the government must not stall and its continuity must be assured," Mahfud noted at a press conference, as observed through the coordinating ministry’s YouTube channel here, Wednesday.

He made assurance that the government is ready to take judicially appropriate alternative measures to respond to Enembe’s legal cases.

"We have discussed this issue with the Home Affairs Ministry, the TNI commander, the police, the health ministry, and others. We have talked about this, just wait for the next step," the coordinating minister remarked.

Earlier, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) named Enembe and Director of PT Tabi Bangun Papua (TBP) Rijatono Lakka as suspects in bribery and gratification cases pertaining to infrastructure development in Papua where Enembe served as governor.

Lakka is suspected of providing Rp1 billion (US$64 thousand) for Enembe after winning the tender for three infrastructure projects organized by the Papuan provincial authority.

The three projects are the Entrop-Hamadi road improvement project valued at Rp14.8 billion (US$947.2 thousand), Rp13.3-billion (US$851.2 thousand) rehabilitation of integrated early-age educational institutions (PAUD) facilities, and the Indonesian Air Force outdoor shooting range facility improvement valued at Rp12.9 billion (US$825.6 thousand).

The KPK also suspected Enembe of receiving gratification valued at billions of rupiah. Investigations into the gratification are ongoing.

The anti-graft agency arrested Lakka on January 5, and he is expected to remain behind bars for at least 20 days until January 24.

Related news: Papua conducive after Governor Enembe’s arrest: National Police
Related news: Enembe’s arrest a legal process, must be respected: Widodo
Related news: Government officials must abide by national laws: VP Amin

Reporter: Syaiful Hakim, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati

Weapons export permits granted by Defence to send lethal technology to accused human rights violators – ABC News

January 6, 2023

Weapons export permits granted by Defence to send lethal technology to accused human rights violators

Exclusive by defence correspondent Andrew Greene
Posted 15m ago

The Defence Department has granted dozens of weapons export permits over the past two years to nations accused of mass human rights violations and war crimes.

The ABC can reveal approval is routinely given for Australian-made lethal technology to be sent to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia, but the federal government insists careful consideration has been given to each decision.

Official figures from Defence confirm 200 permits for "military or dual-use" exports were issued in total for the three nations between 2021 and 2022, although during the same period thousands of approvals were also given to countries such as the US and New Zealand.

Number of permits issued for military or dual-use exports

Country 2021 1 January 2022- 9 November 2022

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 17 21

United Arab Emirates 36 25

Indonesia 52 49

Greens senator David Shoebridge, who has pursued details of the deals during budget estimates, claims Australia is doing business with "some of the worst human rights abusers on the planet".

"Australian weapons are helping to fuel the brutal war in Yemen, causing the world’s largest humanitarian catastrophe forcing millions of children into hunger," he said.

"It’s a war on children and these shocking new weapons export figures show Australia has blood on its hands."

Defence has declined to offer any other details of the weapon sales to the Middle East and Indonesia, but the ABC understands they include remote weapon stations, small arms, ammunition and armoured transport equipment.

"What is concerning is just how little transparency there is on Australia’s defence exports. We’re told almost nothing," Senator Shoebridge says.

Human rights activists have long accused Saudi Arabia and the UAE of committing mass atrocities while leading a coalition fighting a war against Houthi rebels in Yemen, one of the poorest nations in the Middle East.

For decades evidence has also emerged of alleged torture and massacres of innocent people by Indonesia’s military while trying to suppress the West Papuan Independence movement.

Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy says all exports to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia have been dutifully "assessed against Australia’s export controls legislative criteria".

"The Australian government takes its export control obligations seriously, including as a member of the international export control regimes," he said.

"The Department of Defence assesses all defence export applications on a case-by-case basis.

"This includes careful consideration of a broad range of factors, including Australia’s international legal obligations, as well as human rights, regional and national security, and foreign policy considerations."

During 2021 and 2022 Defence Export Controls approved close to 3,500 military and dual-use export permits to multiple destinations around the world, with the top five recipients being the US, New Zealand, UK, Germany and Canada.

Mr Conroy insists "if overriding risks to Australia’s security, defence, or international relations had been identified, the permits would have been refused".

Calls for Australia to follow US and Europe to increase transparency

The Defence Department consistently refuses to release details of individual weapons exports citing "commercial sensitivities", despite Australian defence companies regularly promoting their overseas sales, and other comparable nations publishing data.

Across Europe and the United States governments have moved to publish detailed information about their weapons sales, often including the precise arms involved, and their value.

John Blaxland from the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre argues the new figures on weapons exports are not surprising given the existing economic and security cooperation this country has with Saudi Arabia, UAE and Indonesia.

"Australia trades with these countries, there’s aspects of the trade that some people aren’t going to be all that comfortable with, but this is standard fare," he said.

"We can’t help but do business with these countries. To pretend that we are going to engage with them on one level and then disengage with them on another is not realistic."

However, Professor Blaxland says he shares Senator Shoebridge’s concern about the lack of transparency over Australia’s global arms industry.

"Australia can afford to be a lot more open and transparent about its transactions, absolutely," he said.

"We have a bit of a complex, we’re a middle power with small power pretentions and we sometimes need to get over ourselves."

Police break up International Human Rights Day rallies in Papua, scores arrested

December 29, 2022

Police break up International Human Rights Day rallies in Papua, scores

Suara Papua – December 10, 2022

Jayapura — The commemoration of International Human Rights Day on
December 10 was marked by protest actions across Papua. In many places
rallies had only just began when police disbursed the actions. Scores of
people were arrested and detained at local police stations.

Based on information gathered by Suara Papua from a number of sources,
at least 85 people were arrested by police in various parts of Papua
when they tried to commemorate 74 years since the United Nations
proclamation and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
on December 10, 1948, with peaceful actions

The forced dispersal of protesters and mass arrests occurred in Sentani,
Jayapura regency, Wamena, Jayawijaya regency and Abepura and Waena in
Jayapura city. According to West Papua National Committee (KNPB)
spokesperson Ones Suhuniap, police arrested as many as 108 people.

"Earlier as many as 108 people were arrested. First in Wamena there were
30 people. Then in Sentani 51 people and in Jayapura city there were
four people", he said on Saturday when sought for confirmation by Suara
Papua via WhatsApp.

Quoting from reports from the field, Suhuniap said that forced
dispersals, arrests and the assault of peaceful demonstrators occurred
in several cities in Papua.

"Peaceful actions commemorating International Human Rights Day were held
in nine cities in Papua, including Jayapura city, Jayapura regency in
Sentani, the Star Highlands regency in Oksibil, Jayawijaya regency in
Wamena, Tolikara regency, Lanny Jaya regency, Manokwari and Sorong", he

Outside of Papua, Suhuniap explained that peaceful actions were held by
Papuan students centred on Indonesian consulates in Manado and


Peaceful actions in Sentani, Jayapura regency, began at 6.15 am at the
Sentani Post 7 intersection.

"At 7.30 pm local time, police from the Jayapura Polres [district
police] approached them and the protesters were forcibly disbursed.
Several demonstrators were assaulted. Arrests also took place. 51 people
were arrested", he explained.

Suhuniap confirmed that the action was facilitated by the Sentani
regional branch of the KNPB to commemorate International Human Rights
Day and at the same time to urge the Indonesian government to settle
cases of human rights violations in Papua and demand that a referendum
be held as a democratic solution.

Out of the 51 people arrest by police at the Sentani Post 7
intersection, five suffered injuries.

"The names of the injured are Agustina Darla Kobak (head injuries), Zeth
(head injuries), Insu Ina Su (arm injury), Nodi Tepmul (hand injury) and
Frangki Kogoya (hand injury)”, he said.

Meanwhile the names of people who were arrested by the Jayapura district
police are Agus Bahabol (liaison officer), Sadrack Lagowan (field
coordinator), Demi Tabuni, Silis Uopdana, Nando, Agn, Malis Uopkulir,
Dortius Tenget, Saugas Lokon, Oktovianus Wakel, Betok Uropmabin, Eleck
Tepmul, Gaulin Balingga, Inzu Ina Su, Frengky Kogoya, Menis Siep,
Agustina Darla Kobak, Yosua, Yopina Pahabol, Ance Yoku, Milka, Hinus
Siep, Ektam Kalakmabin, Melly Tepmul, Kurus DM Felle, Oviana Kha Websa,
Meksi Taplo, Eiko Taplo, Yan Itlay, Imer Matuan, Elison Pahabol, Eco
Passe, Bella Wesapia, Berto Taplo, Gerry Matuan, Steven Tengket
(Wakorlap), Mario Kassar, Miles Itlay, Fehri Molama, Elli Sugun, Man
Waker and Charles Kogoya.

"We have yet to get data on 10 other people", said Suhuniap. "The
protesters who were arrested have already been taken to the Jayapura
Polres in Doyo", he continued.

The police also confiscated protest materials such as a billboard,
megaphone, pamphlets, a command rope and seven KNPB flags. In addition
to this, a cellphone belonging to Sadrack Lagowan was also seized.


The forced dispersal of actions and mass arrests also occurred in
Wamena, the capital of Jayawijaya regency. Aside from a gathering point
at the Wouma Mission Market, police also dispersed protesters at the
Jibama Market. It was reported that 30 people were taken to the
Jayawijaya Polres.

"At the Wouma Mission Market 12 were arrested, from the Jibama Market 13
people, and from the Potikelek [Market] 5 people were arrested and taken
to the Jayawijaya Polres", he explained.

The protesters who were arrested at the Wouma Mission Market were Nopius
Asso, Jhon Iksomon, Nahason Pahabol, Niel Asso, Wene Kabak, Niris
Pahabol, Abet Kabak, Tolak Asso, Nikon Kabak, Wei, Sini Ulunggi and
Alimos Pahabol.

And from the Jibama Market Othen Gombo, Mau Iaba, Wilem Kenelak, Ima
Alya, Pokemon Wantik, Masongan Endambia, Fakalis Kisa, Yalince Wandikbo,
Lidia Wandikbo, Yos Logo, Yosael Gombo, Aten Jaga and Junani Sibak.

Meanwhile those arrested at the Potikelek were Erik Aliknoe, Wenealem Y
Kabak, Aten Asso, Lani Yikwa and Rosyan Zine Kogoya.

"All of them are KNPB members", said Suhuniap, adding that 25 of them
are currently being questioned.

Prior to being disbursed by police, Suhuniap received a report that
demonstrators had begun to move off from several different points at 8
am. Aside from those arrested, protesters at other gathering points were
blockaded by police.

"Meanwhile the demonstrators from Sinakma that moved off at 9.56 pm
succeeded in holding a long-march to the Jayawijaya DPRD [Regional House
of Representatives], but the front gate was closed. They sat in front of
the DPRD offices on Jalan Yos Sudarso Wamena", he said.

Student actions

A commemoration of International Human Rights Day by the Greater
Jayapura Student Executive Council (BEM) Alliance at the Cendrawasih
University (Uncen) campus in Abepura was also dispersed by police.

An action by students in front of the Uncen Auditorium was blocked and
several students were arrested by the Jayapura municipal police
(Polresta). The names of those who were detained are Engel AP You, Tayai
Kotopa Keiya, Olison Pakage, Iso Pekei and Yosep Douw.

According to a report Suhuniap received from field coordinator
Fransiskus Yobee, several of the students were treated roughly and even

Seven people were assaulted, namely Nando Boma (struck in the head),
Okto Mote (swollen backbone, injured finger), Yoten Mirin (hand injury),
Hendrik Muyapa (hand injury, cellphone confiscated), Yabet Degei
(swollen back, torn shoulder), X Dogomo (ear injury) and Olison Pakage
(bleeding from the head).

Meanwhile a peaceful student action at the Waena State Housing Company
III on the Uncen campus was also dispersed by police. After being
dispersed, the students moved off to the State Housing Company I to join
up with demonstrators from the Waena Expo.

Once again police blockaded the protesters and broke up the rally on the
Waena Expo Bridge.

Protesters from Waena Expo, Buper and nearby areas who gathered at the
Papua Museum at 9.30 am until 10.30 am were also dispersed. Others who
gathered at the Abepura traffic circle suffered the same fate.

At 1 pm protesters from the Jayapura University of Science and
Technology (USTJ) and the lower Uncen campus headed off towards the Mimi
Dormitory. Demonstrators who had been dispersed at the Abepura traffic
circle also joined them.

Gathering at the Mimi Dormitory volley ball field, the protester gave
speeches and read out a statement.

Manokwari and Sorong

In Manokwari, a peaceful action starting at 9 am and intending to
commemorate Human Rights Day at the West Papua DPRD was blockaded by
police from the Manokwari Polres and the Amban sectoral police (Polsek).
Rallies in Amban as well as other points were blockaded since morning.

In Sorong, protesters planned to hold a peaceful action in front of the
Ellin Maranata. But police were on alert at the location from 7 pm even
before the demonstrators had arrived.

Despite this, protesters from the KNPB still unfurled banners, handed
out pamphlets and put up two KNPB flags. Starting with prayers, they
took turns giving speeches between 9 pm and 10 pm.

Police then tried to halt the action because it had exceeded the time
limit. On several occasions KNPB leaders, led by Dengky Pagawak, tried
to negotiate with police saying they had already submitted a written
notification of the planned action.

The planned long-march to the DPRD offices however was canceled after
police refused permission. They were then given two minutes to disperse.

In order to avoid the possibility of something bad happening, the action
was ended after police moved in to remove the command rope and seize
pamphlets, banners and the KNPB flag.

They were unable to hold their ground because of the number of armed
troops and the protesters disbanded peacefully. "The protest action was
forcibly broken up at around 10.58 am local time”, said Suhuniap.

Rallies in four regencies proceed smoothly

Commemorations held in four other regencies, Lanny Jaya, Tolikara,
Pegunungan Bintang and Paniai however proceeded smoothly.

In the Lanny Jaya regional capital of Tiom a commemoration was held in
front of the Nirigi Hotel. Protesters had been arriving from the
districts and heading towards the central gathering point since 8 am.

Although the action was initially blocked by police, in the end all of
the demonstrators were able to gather by 1.10 pm. They then took turns
in giving speeches and the action ended peacefully with the reading out
of a statement.

A similar action was held in the Tolikara regency capital of Karubaga.
The commemoration of Human Rights Day began at 9.46 am and in general
proceeded safely and smoothly.

Likewise in Oksibil, the capital of Pegunungan Bintang regency, where
hundreds of people commemorated Human Rights Day from 9 am until the
rally finished.

In Paniai regency, an action centred on Karel Gobay Square in Enarotali
was attended by people from several districts that came to take part in
the free speech forum. The action was closely watched over by police
from the Paniai Polres.

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski. The original title of
the article was "Aksi Peringati Hari HAM di Papua Dibubarkan Paksa,
Ratusan Orang Diamankan".]


West Papuan campaigners want a ‘green state’. Could it help the planet?

December 20, 2022

West Papuan campaigners want a ‘green state’. Could it help the planet?

OPINION: Independence activists want to combine the best parts of liberal democracy with indigenous traditions
Ben Wray 20 December 2022, 11.20am

Due to the strength of their diverse indigenous traditions and the unique biodiversity of their lands, it is axiomatic for West Papuans that human life and nature are inseparable.

Now, the leaders of the province’s independence movement have a proposal to make it “Earth’s first green state”.

As Benny Wenda, exiled leader of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), told a conference at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) on 9 December: “The forest is our friend, our supermarket, our medical cabin. You cannot separate West Papua from our environment. We have always been at peace with nature.”

Unfortunately, the Indonesian government, which has maintained a bloody and brutal occupation of West Papua for almost 60 years, and the global corporations they invite to “develop” its lands, does not abide by such values.

West Papua, which is home to more than 250 tribes with their own languages and cultures, has the third largest rainforest in the world. But it is imperilled by gold mines, logging companies, palm oil plantations and many more forms of resource extraction that strip the land bare. Mine sedimentation kills off plants and natural life for hundreds of kilometres around.

According to Lisa Tilley, a political ecologist at SOAS University of London, these ecological “dead zones” are a “paradise for pathogens”.

“Genetic diversity is usually the firewall which prevents pathogens spreading and making those zoonotic [animal-to-human] shifts,” Tilley says.

The Indonesian government claims to want to be part of an “Opec for the rainforests” – along with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Brazil – a rival to the club of oil-producing nations, promoting conservation rather than fossil fuels. But the reality on the ground is that rainforest destruction is ramping up.

A gold mine the size of Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, is being planned. In the ongoing construction of the Trans-Papua Highway, a forest area the size of Denmark could be cleared by 2036. The BBC reported in 2020 that Korean palm oil giant Korindo has cleared nearly 60,000 hectares of West Papuan forest, an area the size of Seoul.

An eco-revolution in West Papua, to protect this valuable landscape, is in all of our interests.

We have the solution to the global climate crisis. Indigenous people should be able to manage their lands as they have done for thousands of years
Benny Wenda, United Liberation Movement for West Papua

Wenda and the ULMWP have a plan for such a transformation. The Green State Vision is part of their programme for independence.

“The Green State Vision is our offer to the world,” Wenda said. “We have the solution to the global climate crisis. Indigenous people should be able to manage their lands as they have done for thousands of years.”

The Green State Vision was developed based on the values of the indigenous Melanesian tribes of West Papua, where living in balance and harmony with nature are core values, and collectivity is emphasised over individualism. There are “three pillars” to the vision: environmental and social protection; customary guardianship; and democratic governance.

Measures would include making ecocide a serious criminal offence and compelling resource extraction companies to work within an ecologically sustainable framework. Guardianship of the forests, lands and rivers will be restored to “customary authorities at family, clan and tribal level”.

The political model is an attempt to combine “the best features” of a liberal democratic state – a legislature, an independent judiciary, and so on – with approaches rooted in holistic indigenous practices that prioritise community-based decision making and collective land rights. Could other parts of the world benefit from a similar approach?

Lessons for the rest of the world

As Joan Martinez-Alier, author of ‘Environmentalism for the Poor’, pointed out at the conference, while 5% of the world population is officially considered to be indigenous, they appear in 40% of known environmental justice disputes in the world.

The fact that indigenous communities tend to live off lands that hitherto have not been the object of ‘development’, and thus tend to be resource-rich, makes them targets for extractivist modes of capital accumulation. As such, environmental violence and resistance usually follows.

“Indigenous people are defending their rights at the extraction frontiers, motivated by their own cultural values and interests – sacredness, identity and livelihood – against coloniality and racism,” Martinez-Alier added.

But even in the non-indigenous world, where workers have long since been torn from the land and survive via the market, inspiration can be taken from the Green State Vision’s willingness to criminalise ecocide and challenge the apparently sacred ‘right’ of capital to ruthlessly exploit nature.

David Whyte, director of the Centre for Climate Crime and Climate Justice at QMUL, said struggles for environmental justice in West Papua and countries like the UK are more intimately connected than we might think.

“If we don’t protect the world’s major forests from predatory business investors, then we have no chance at all to prevent global warming,” he explained. “Without the Amazon, the Congo and the New Guinea forests, the world stops breathing. London-based companies are major beneficiaries of this. The likes of BP and Unilever, heavily invested in West Papua, quite literally profit from our asphyxiation.

“The West Papuan Green State Vision offers us a way out of the predatory cycle. It offers the most viable way for us to keep us all breathing and to keep us all alive.”

Indonesia president supports plan to scale back troops in restive Papua

December 19, 2022

2 minute readDecember 19, 20226:42 PM GMT+11Last Updated 11 hours ago

Indonesia president supports plan to scale back troops in restive Papua

JAKARTA, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Monday he supports plans to scale back the presence of troops in the eastern region of Papua, where the country’s military has been accused of human rights abuses in tackling a long-running independence movement.

Jokowi, as the president is known, said "the reduction of military troops in Papua is good, but we need to continue to be stern," after appointing a new chief of armed forces.

Otherwise, he said, armed rebel groups will always continue to operate there and "the problem will never end".

It was unclear when and by how much the military presence in Papua would be scaled back.

Indonesia’s easternmost region of Papua has seen a long-simmering separatist movement, which has intensified in recent years. The military maintains a heavy presence in the impoverished region, and has been accused by activist groups of human rights abuses, which it denies.

Former military chief Andika Perkasa had in 2021 advocated for a "humanistic approach" in Papua that emphasises communicating with rebel groups, according to state news agency Antara.

When asked whether troops in Papua would be reduced, newly-installed military chief, Yudo Margono, told reporters on Monday that he would go to Papua and evaluate the situation before making a decision but did not provide details.

Jakarta-based research group, the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, said in a report this year that the frequency of insurgency-related violence in Papua had increased from an average of 11 incidents a year between 2010 to 2017 to 52 incidents a year from 2018-2021.

Reporting by Stanley Widianto; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor

2) TNI’s humane approach welcomed yet stay firm in Papua: Jokowi
9 hours ago
Jakarta (ANTARA) – President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) welcomed the new Indonesian National Defence Forces (TNI) Commander Admiral Yudo Margono’s plan to prioritize a humane approach in the Papua region.

Despite the commitment to accord priority to a humane approach, the president reminded Margono to remain firm against armed criminal groups disrupting security in the region.

"I think the humane approach is good. The reduction of TNI personnel in Papua is also good, but we must remain firm. If we fail to be firm, the armed criminal groups will continue their actions, and the issue will not be resolved," Jokowi stated after inaugurating Margono as the new TNI commander at the State Palace here, Monday.

Meanwhile, Margono said that the TNI would remain firm against violations threatening national sovereignty in Papua. He added that the military would emphasize territorial operations in Papua instead of engaging in military operations.

The new TNI commander said he, along with the TNI chiefs of staff, would visit Papua soon in order to evaluate conditions in Papua.

"(The visit) is to observe the actual conditions there (and to receive) inputs from personnel deployed in the region as well as from regional authorities and community and religious groups about what the military must do," Margono affirmed.

He added that a report on the action plan will be submitted to Jokowi after the conclusion of the visit.

President Jokowi earlier inaugurated Admiral Yudo Margono as the new TNI commander, succeeding General Andika Perkasa, who entered the mandatory retirement age of 58 this month.

Margono’s inauguration was conducted based on Presidential Decree of the Republic of Indonesia No. 91 TNI concerning the Dismissal and Appointment of the Commander of the Indonesian Defense Forces enacted on December 19, 2022.

The Admiral also promised to conduct his duties and uphold the ethics of his position as TNI commander.

Related news: New TNI chief should defend national territory, ideology: Minister
Related news: Admiral Margono must maintain public trust in TNI: Jokowi
Related news: Jokowi officially inaugurates Admiral Margono as TNI commander

Reporter: Indra Arief P, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati


3) Rights group says security forces unlawfully killed 72 people in past year
12:15 pm on 19 December 2022
A West Papua rights group claims Indonesian police and soldiers have carried out at least 72 extra-judicial killings over the past year.
The report by the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence – or KontraS – said the police were responsible for 50 of the unlawful killings, with the remainder committed by military personnel.
The latest report situated the unlawful killings in the context of a "narrowing of democratic space" and "massive violations of rights related to the basic principles of democracy" by President Joko Widodo’s administration.
"The widespread practice of extrajudicial killings throughout 2022 by security personnel shows that they are like wolves in sheep’s clothing who are ready to pounce when there’s an opportunity," KontraS researcher Rozy Brilian told reporters, according to a report by BenarNews.
The article quoted Rozy as saying that most of those allegedly killed by police were under criminal investigations and at least 12 of the cases involved torture.
While six Indonesian soldiers were arrested recently for their involvement in the deaths of four Papuans in Mimika regency in the unsettled Papua region, the report claims the security forces still enjoy a high degree of impunity for illegal behavior.
"This is a reminder of the considerable degree of continuity between Suharto’s military-backed New Order, in which the security forces enjoyed political prominence and vast power, and the democratic system that was established after the regime’s fall in 1998," the authors said.
KontraS said far from investigating or prosecuting those responsible for past rights outrages, the Indonesian government has often promoted them to key positions in government.
In particular, KontraS pointed to the appointment of Maj. Gen. Untung Budiharto, the alleged perpetrator of enforced disappearances during the terminal crisis of the Suharto government in 1997 and 1998, as commander of the Greater Jakarta Command Area.

4) Papuan man shot during riots in Mappi dies
News Desk – Police Brutality
19 December 2022

Jayapura, Jubi – A 35-year-old Papuan man named Moses Erro died after got shot during the riots that broke out in Mappi Regency, South Papua. Erro’s family member Rovin Sirmi said Moses Erro was shot in the thigh and knee.

“Moses Erro died on Saturday, December 17, 2022. The family ask that the perpetrators of the shooting be punished according to law,” said Rovin Sirmi when contacting Jubi in a telephone call on Saturday.

Rovin Sirmi, who is a youth leader of the Wiyagar Tribe in Merauke Regency, also clarified the Papua Police’s statement that the riot in Mappi was triggered by a dispute between two groups of residents who were under the influence of alcoholic beverages on December 14, 2022.

The statement was previously conveyed by the Papua Police Liaison Officer in South Papua Province, Sr. Comr. Erick K. Sully. Rovin Sirmi explained that the incident began when a resident, Mohan Bapaimu, extorted a teenager named Martinus Base on December 14.

The incident occurred in front of Obaa 1 Vocational School in Mappi. The victim was going to the market to buy fish. However, on the way, the victim was extorted by someone who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol.

“Martinus Base did not comply with the request because he had no money other than the one given to him to buy fish. There was an argument before the alleged perpetrator injured the victim with a sharp object. The alleged perpetrator then ran to the Mappi Police Station seeking protection,” he said.

Martinus Base’s family came to the police station and asked the police to hold the perpetrator accountable. “But the police asked them to go home,” said Rovin Sirmi.

According to him, when the victim’s family were on their way home from the Mappi Police Station, someone recorded them and that angered the victim’s family. That was when the conflict escalated.

“At 17:40 Papua time the dispute got bigger that the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police officers who were on standby issued warning shots upwards. Hearing the sound of gunfire, the people ran towards the sound of gunfire,” said Rovin Sirmi.

He said that the victim’s family, who were angry with the perpetrator, spontaneously damaged the police car that just came. One police officer was hit by a sharp object.

According to Rovin Sirmi, the security forces started firing uncontrollably and hit several residents at the location. As a result, ten residents were shot. Several police officers were also injured.

He said that the eight victims who were shot are still being treated at the Mappi Regional General Hospital. Two other victims, Soni Pasim and Yohanes Sedap, are being treated at the Community Health Center.

“We as the family need to clarify the news based on police information that the incident was triggered by two groups of drunk residents. My brothers were victims of stabbings and shooting, they were not drunk,” said Rovin Sirmi.

Among the victims were Basil Boy (27), shot in the right leg; Ferdi Boy (15), shot in the back through the chest, and an elementary student named Roni Kamagai (11) who was shot in the right thigh.

High school student Soni Pasim (17) was shot in the thigh. He was also allegedly hit in the head by security forces using a gun butt four times, and handcuffed to a hospital bed while undergoing treatment.

Other victims were Sabinus Sedap (18), a high school student shot in the right hand and left thigh; Martinus Kamagai (18), another high school student shot in the left thigh, Moses Erro (35) shot in the knee and thigh; Willem Jeji Somagai (20), shot in the left thigh; Otniel Somagai (24), shot in the palm of his hand; and Yohanes Sedap (19) who was shot in the right thigh and buttock as well as getting handcuffed to the bed while undergoing treatment. (*)

TNI/Police and TPNPB must comply with 1949 Geneva Conventions and protect civilians

December 16, 2022

TNI/Police and TPNPB must comply with 1949 Geneva Conventions and protect civilians: LBH Papua
News Desk – Armed Conflict In Papua
16 December 2022

Jayapura, Jubi – The Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua) calls on all conflicting parties in the armed conflict in Papua, including the Indonesian Military (TNI), the National Police, and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), to protect all civilians in the conflict area as obliged in the 1949 Geneva Convention.

LBH Papua Director Emanuel Gobay in a written statement on Thursday, December 15, 2022, said his party saw that armed conflicts between the TNI and police and TPNPB continued to occur. Civilians often fall victim to these conflicts, contrary to the principles of the 1949 Geneva Convention which demand conflicting parties to ensure that civilians do not fall victim.

Indonesia has ratified the 1949 Geneva Conventions through Law No. 59/1958 on the Participation of the Republic of Indonesia in All Geneva Conventions dated August 12, 1949. The Indonesian government has a legal obligation to apply the principles of the 1949 Geneva Convention in the armed conflict in Papua.

“The TNI, police, and the TPNPB must protect civilians in the conflict area as stipulated by Article 3 number 1 of the 1949 Geneva Convention 1949,” he said.

Based on data compiled by LBH Papua, from 2018 to date, armed conflict continued to occur and took civilians’ lives, as well as displaced civilians in Nduga Regency (2018), Intan Jaya Regency (2019 – 2020), Mimika Regency (2020), Maybrat Regency (2020), Puncak Regency (2021), Tambrauw Regency (2021), Bintang Mountains Regency (2021), and Yapen Waropen Regency (December 2022).

According to Gobay, by holding the principles in the 1949 Geneva Convention, the impact of conflict on civilians could be reduced. (*)


2) Interim President Benny Wenda’s December 9th Speech at Queen Mary University of London
December 15, 2022 in Speech

Below is the speech that ULMWP Interim President Benny Wenda gave at Queen Mary University of London on December 9th, 2022.

Interim President Wenda opened the “Resisting Ecocide: Restoring Balance and Harmony to West Papua” conference with a reflection on the Green State Vision, Indonesian ecocide, and his own upbringing in West Papua. Featuring speakers including Raki Ap, Chris Saltmarsh, Joan Martinez Alier, and Lisa Tilley, the conference explored the link between Indonesian state violence and environmental destruction in West Papua.

The Green State Vision was a focal point of speakers’ contributions. Its combination of customary guardianship, environmental protection, and modern democratic governance was discussed as both a model for an independent West Papua, and a solution to the climate crisis at large. As Benny Wenda put it, the Green State Vision is West Papua’s offer to the world.

Thank you to everyone here for their contributions. Thank you to Roy Lee and David White for organising this conference. Thank you to everyone who is speaking, and thank you to everyone watching here and online.

This is an important day. The people of West Papua need to be heard by the world. For sixty years, Indonesia has tried to shut down our speech, to prevent us from protesting against their illegal occupation.

Academics have a big role to play in securing the West Papuan vision. This conference should be the opening for a wider discussion of Indonesian ecocide in West Papua. The world needs to know our struggle, the hidden genocide we are suffering, the destruction of our beautiful country by Indonesia. You can help us by using your voice and showing solidarity with our struggle.

West Papua is a green land in a blue ocean, the Pacific. We have thousands of miles of rainforest, the third largest in the world. We have hundreds of animals and plants that can’t be found anywhere else on earth. But Indonesia is tearing up our forest, destroying our mountain and poisoning our river.

The world needs to know that there can be no climate justice without West Papuan freedom. That is why we announced the Green State Vision for an independent West Papua, free from Genocidal and Ecocidal Indonesian colonialism.

The Green State Vision says that we need to reclaim and restore our nature, otherwise we will become voiceless and separated from our being. The Green State Vision means peace and harmony. It means self-determination, independence, and freedom.

But the Green State Vision is also our offer to the world. We have the solution to the global climate crisis. Indigenous people should be able to manage their lands as they have done for thousands of years. If you support us, you are making history in this global struggle against global warming.

The forests of West Papua are the lungs of the world. Growing up in nature, the forest is our friend. It is our supermarket, our medicine cabinet. You cannot separate West Papuans from our environment. We have always been at peace with nature and with all beings in our land.

I grew up in the forest, but Indonesia’s illegal occupation forced me to move to the town. This was a different world. And while I was growing up in the town, our forest was being destroyed.

In West Papua, climate change and colonialism are connected. By removing indigenous West Papuans from our land, Indonesia is able to build big new developments, like the Trans Papua highway and Wabu Block gold mine. Wabu Block is a gold mine the size of Jakarta. Business and military are connected –removing West Papuans from our land also allows Indonesian military to control us.

Since 2019, the Indonesian Military occupation has become more violent, causing a crisis of displacement in West Papua. 25,000 new Indonesian troops have been deployed to West Papua since then. Between 60,000 to 100,000 West Papuans have been displaced by Indonesian militarisation in the last four years. In so many regions, like Nduga, Maybrat, Intan Jaya, and Puncak Jaya, West Papuans are refugees in their own land.

My people have had to abandon their homes, churches, schools, and flee into the forest. Young children have been shot dead, women have given birth in the bush, people do not have food or medical care. Hundreds have died. Hundreds have fled across the border to Papua New Guinea refugee camps.

Indonesia says that they are doing this for our own good. They say West Papuans need colonial development, that we need palm oil plantations and gold mines.

This is racism. It is the same racism that calls us ‘monkeys’. They want the world to think that West Papuans cannot manage our own land – the land we have been custodians of for thousands of years.

We are not asking for development, we are asking for freedom.

The world needs to understand. Indonesia doesn’t want the West Papuan people. They only want our resources. That is why they are committing genocide – to clear us away from our land and take our gold, copper, gas. Over 500,000 West Papuans have died since we were colonised in the 1960s.

Who caused Global Warming? The big powers and big corporations – not the indigenous people. We do not intend to destroy our forests, our environment. Our environment makes us who we are.

When we become independent, we make these promise to the world. We will be the first country to make ecocide a criminal offence. We will fight for it to be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court. We will tell corporations operating in our land that they must stop destroying nature or their license will be revoked.

In a free West Papua, the rights of all beings will be placed above the rights of private corporations.

The struggle of the West Papua liberation movement is growing in strength. We have our provisional government, our temporary constitution, and our cabinet. With the Green State Vision, we have the solution, for us and for the world. We are ready to take control of our country, for the good of all our people – not just for profit.

Now is the right time for everyone – ordinary people, academics, world leaders –to stand behind us. On behalf of the people of West Papua, I invite you to support us in our fight for independence and climate justice.

Benny Wenda
Interim President
ULMWP Provisional Government