August 15, 2015 – Protest outside Indonesian Embassy, Washington, D.C
From a participant – Jaytee. Merdeka West Papua
Post protest lunch at the park
On August 15, 2015, friends of West Papua gathered in front of the Indonesian embassy in Washington, D.C, to show their support for ‘West Papua.’ Though only a protesters arrived, they were happy to wave signs calling for the release of ‘political prisoners’ and the immediate end to Indonesian occupation of West Papua and killing of innocent people. For more than five decades, innocent West Papuans were imprisoned, tortured, and someone murdered by the Indonesian military. Their crimes ranged from ‘raising the West Papuan flag’ and for speaking out against police brutality and colonization of West Papua. To date, half a million people died in the hands of Indonesian military. Today, supporters around the world gathered in front of Indonesian embassies to show their support for the people of West Papua and to raise awareness of Indonesian ‘human rights abuse’ and ‘crimes against humanity’ and against West Papuans. My name is Johnny (known to many as Jaytee) and I was one of the protesters at the scene in front of the Indonesian embassy in Washington, D.C and this is my account of the event.
From Suffolk, Hampton Roads
I left my house around 4:30 am (Saturday) and drove up to Washington, D.C to join the protest in front of the Indonesian embassy. It is a 3 hr 30 minutes drive. At 7:30 a.m I stopped at a gas-station somewhere in Fairfax, to gas up and to clean my car then proceeded to the capital. I was extremely anxious to get to Washington, D.C where friends of West Papua would gather to protest; waving signs in front of the Indonesian embassy. I drove like a mad man to the city :).
I arrived at the Indonesian embassy around 10 am then drove to the other side and parked. I could feel the heat building up as I exited the car. The temp was expected to reach at least 91 degree Fahrenheit. It took me about five minutes to arrive at the embassy on foot. There were signs of uneasiness from the embassy. As I stood there taking pictures and videos, a car pulled out of the embassy and left, a few minutes later a SUV filled with Indonesians drove in, they waved at me. They probably thought I was a Filipino or an Indonesian tourist marveling at the beauty of the embassy. Wrong! I walked around and familiarized myself with the neighborhood – places to rest, restrooms, and restaurants. As I made my way back to the car, tourists already filled every inch of the street. Homeless people were all over the place asking for coins – they asked for “unwanted changes,” whatever that was! I gave the only two Quarters I had in my pocket to a disabled guy and then made my way to CVS pharmacy to cool off. I bought a bottle of water and cold Starbucks coffee. I was all pumped up for the protest!
At 11:15 am, I made my way back to the embassy. I didn’t see any sign of protesters so I stood at the opposite side of the road, facing the entrance to the Indonesian embassy; taking pictures and texting. A few minutes later, I noticed two United States Secret Service vehicles passed me and made a U-Turn and parked near the Indonesian embassy. They appeared to be in a hurry. Two officers exited and were greeted by embassy staff members. They escorted the two gentlemen – a tall blank man and a huge white officer – into the Indonesian compound. As I was about to sit on the sidewalk, I spotted the leader and former ‘political prisoner’ from West Papua, Mr. Herman Wainggai, with a friend a few feet away from the Indonesian embassy’s main gate. This was the first time I met Mr. Wainggai. We embraced and he introduced me to his friend. She heard about the issues of West Papua from Mr. Wainggai and decided to support the ‘Free West Papua’ cause.
We spoke for a few minutes then walked toward the entrance of the embassy. There, we met the two Secret Service officers. Obviously, the embassy notified them about the event and wanted to collect information about our planned protest. They first asked about the event: name of the group, how many people planned to attend, how long we’d planned to protest etc. The officers were kind enough to say that they didn’t want to hinder our protest and that we had the right to protest as long as we stayed off Indonesian embassy’s properties and not impeding public peace. When I asked the taller officer if he heard of West Papua, he said that the name West Papua was brought to his attention for the first time about 10 minutes earlier, which suggested that he and Indonesian ambassador or staff may have discussed the planned protest before they met us.
We started waving out signs in front of the embassy and to passing tourists and vehicles when some Indonesian staff members showed up pretending to be tourists who were interested in what we were doing. They began asking questions that ordinary tourists don’t usually ask. One of them asked about certain “abbreviations” and examined, as intelligent officers would, our fliers – signs etc. One of them placed a sign over West Papuan flag and the other wanted to take selfies with protesters. A few minutes later, those tourists were seen on the opposite street behind cars taking photos of us. One of the officers who had a cap and pair of sunglasses obviously ran into protesters a year earlier, but he told us that he’s from Malaysia. This time, he tried to conceal his face and hair but failed. We know these men were Indonesian officers trying to blend in to collect information about the participants.
The arrival of Mr. Wainggai’s friend, mentor and a professor of nonviolent studies at the George Mason University (GMU), Professor Lester Kurtz, and Mary Harding, PhD – founder of TASSC International, boosted our confidence. They chatted up passing guests and also showed Americans we weren’t alone that we had people of tremendous credentials standing with us. Some of us waved signs; others spoke to curious onlookers and tourists, while I documented the event with my Canon camera.
We were civil. We didn’t yell, scream, nor did we agitate embassy staff, but we were firm in waving our signs and the ‘West Papuan’ flag in front of the Indonesian embassy, a country that is responsible for the death of so many innocent West Papuans, and imprisoned innocent leaders for decades.
Protesting alongside Mr. Wainggai
The biggest motivation for me was meeting Mr. Wainggai himself and people who have no connection with West Papua yet they showed up to stand with him. Mr. Wainggai is a man with a tremendous story. He may not be as big and powerful as a superhero, but he is a man of tremendous, unparalleled courage and vision; a man with a profound mission – to tell the world what is going on in West Papua. He was a ‘political prisoner’ himself who had spent a couple of years in jail for simply flying the West Papuan flag. I asked him why he served only two years, he replied that his lawyers argued vehemently on his behalf and he was only sentenced to two years. Indonesian police tortured him physically and mentally for two years but they were unable to break him. After spending two years in jail, he was released and went back to his “nonviolent” activities, but then he knew that he had crossed a line. Fearing for his life, he escaped to Australia on a canoe with his wife, two children and fellow West Papuan activists. Just when the Indonesian government thought they got rid of him, Mr. Wainggai showed up outside the Indonesian embassy in Washington, D.C. on August 15, waving the West Papuan flag. This time, however, he is protected by the wonderful US Constitution, which empowers “free speech”. It must have been a painful experience for the Indonesian embassy stuff to realize that the man they incarcerated for raising West Papuan flag and protest peacefully in West Papua was now leading a protest outside their embassy in Washington, D.C!
Speaking to him toward the end of the protest, Mr. Wainggai praised the US constitution for giving him the freedom to protest, which is something he couldn’t do in West Papua without being treated as a violent criminal or terrorist. He talked about his “nonviolent” approach toward Indonesia and his hope that one day his people will be freed to live a normal life. He also said that West Papua is a Melanesian nation devoid of any social and cultural connection to the people of Indonesia, but before they declared their independence in after the Dutch government left, Indonesian military rolled in and annexed West Papua using military force.
I also asked Harding, a professional nonviolent advocator and ‘Truth Speakers Coordinator’ why she was there and what her message was to the viewers of our videos, she replied that there shouldn’t be any violence against anybody, anywhere, and for any reason. And for West Papua, she said that they deserved to be free; they deserved the same freedom we have. She expressed her desire for the people of the world to live freely and denounced all forms of violence.
Professor Kurtz also expressed similar sentiments and when asked what his wants our viewers to learn, he stressed that things should not be resolved with “violence” and that the Indonesian’s suppressing of human rights and free speech in West Papua should end. This is a man who embraced Mr. Wainggai’s struggle because they both hold the same philosophy on ‘nonviolent’ approaches to world’s major conflicts. He explained that ‘awareness’ is extremely important that is why he supported his daughter’s desire to join the protest that day. When asked – between violence and nonviolent approaches to conflict, what produced better results, he shot back that violence produced massive awareness but terrible results. He said history is filled with leaders who produced tremendous results through the application of peaceful means of protest. He referred to the man he obviously studied thoroughly, Mahatma Gandhi, as an example of how effective nonviolent methods are when applied properly and effectively. Other protesters expressed similar views; they all agreed that Indonesian military activities in West Papua must end and ‘political prisoners’ should be released immediately!
As we wrapped up our protest, I joined the group and waved the “West Papuan” flag. It was my first time to wave the “Morning Star” flag. It was something always wanted to do, and I had my chance on August 15 to not only wave it on a special day, but to wave it alongside Mr. Wainggai who had given half of his life fighting against Indonesia using peaceful methods.
My message to Americans
There are more than three hundred million Americans living on this planet and they need to know what their government is doing. The US government holds the power to free people either through force or influence and the American people need know what their government is doing with that huge power. In fact, US military invaded country in the name of “Freedom,” yet, when it comes to West Papua, the US government refuses to acknowledge the truth. And for the most part, the government is the wrong side. Americans must know that there is a group of people being subjected to torture and murder everyday by a US ally, Indonesia. For more than five decades, about half a million people died in the hands of the Indonesian military and their main crimes are often ‘peaceful protest’ and ‘raising of the West Papuan flag.’ Even singing their “freedom song” is punishable by arrest and jail. Freedom and free speech are things that are dear to the hearts of the American people, and they need to know what and who their government supports in Asia. They need to know that their government just recently armed the brutal and repressive Indonesian military with military hardware and billions of dollars in military aid, all have been used against innocent West Papuans. I know if Americans knew this, they would be outraged. This is why we gathered in front of the Indonesian embassy on August 15 to wave the ‘West Papuan flag’ and thank God we are in America where we are free to so.
Our hope for West Papua
We hope one day West Papuans will raise their own flag, speak their own language without being harassed, pray to their own God without being intimidated, walk their own streets without fear of being arrested or kidnapped. We hope that one day, West Papua will gain its independence.
The Indonesian government can put a spin on everything related to West Papua, but the fact is, Indonesia has no business in West Papua! They don’t share the same culture, language, and ethnicity. West Papuan people were forced to learn and live as Indonesians for decades! Not its time to put this to an end!
The sad thing is, colonialism is a thing of the past. It should reside in history books and in libraries, but in West Papua, it is a reality! It is time for Indonesia to give up West Papua!
MERDEKA WEST PAPUA!
Report by Peter Arndt “WEST PAPUA: The Irrepressible Struggle for Freedom” at
At the end of July 2015, there were at least 51 political prisoners in Papua.
Information received from the Central Papuan Highlands Coalition for
Peace, Law and Human Rights (Koalisi untuk Kedamaian, Hukum dan HAM
Pegunungan Tengah Papua) reported an increasing climate of intimidation
and harassment against human rights defenders and lawyers in Wamena.
Coalition members providing accompaniment to Roby Erik Pekey, a victim of
arbitrary police violence in Wamena, have been subject to harassment due
to their role in addressing impunity. An increased number of reports of
intimidation faced by human rights defenders underscores the need for the
state to take urgent measures to ensure their protection.
Reports from the Coalition describing how Jayawijaya police were able to
freely mistreat Roby Pekey while he sought medical treatment in Wamena
Hospital is yet another example of open police brutality in public spaces.
In our April 2015 update, we recorded two other cases of victims who were
arbitrarily detained, tortured and cruelly treated in hospitals.
In Tolikara on 17 July, a 16-year-old teenager was shot dead and at least
11 others injured when security forces shot into a crowd that were
protesting the use of loudspeakers during an Eid al-Fitr prayer session.
The shootings provoked the burning of several kiosks, which spread quickly
to amusholla (a prayer room) where the prayers were taking place. While
police were quick to secure the arrests of two men who were allegedly
involved in the arson, perpetrators of the shootings from the security
forces have so far not yet been identified or brought to account.
Investigations into the incident are currently ongoing.
At least 40 members of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua
(ULMWP) were arrested for participating in a prayer session giving thanks
to the outcome of the June summit of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
Since May this year, 264 people have been arrested for expressing their
support or being involved with the ULMWP. The targeting of ULMWP members
and its supporters for arbitrary arrest demonstrates Indonesia’s
zero-tolerance policy towards peaceful aspirations of West Papuan
You can read the full update here:
The full Update is also attached – we hope you find this information useful.
With best wishes,
Papuans Behind Bars team
(translated via google translate)
Jakarta, Indonesia CNN – Coordinating Minister for Political, Law and Security, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, ensuring political prisoners from Papua who will soon breathe free air, Filep Karma, freedom of speech.
Luhut statement addressing this out Filep plan called reluctant exit from Abepura Penitentiary because it is not going to get their basic rights like the right to speech and expression.
"If he does not want to come out, no problem. But the matter of freedom of speech, I love to know him, I will protect him, all follow the rules of the game," said Luhut Kemenko Polhukam while in office, Jakarta, yesterday evening.
Luhut said he was referring to the rules should not spread false news to the public. Luhut that today the status of the Chief of Staff of the Presidency said, false news or slander in contrast to the complaint.
"You do not slander. If you talk in the context of the complaint and data are available, please," he said
Luhut said the government will not do any preparation ahead of the release of Filep from prison. He says, though found guilty for raising the Morning Star flag (the symbol of the Free Papua Organization), Filep what was not in the category of the crime of treason.
"Makar was right to be armed," said Luhut.
Although one can not say treason, Luhut hope there will be no raising of the Morning Star flag in the two eastern provinces in Indonesia, Papua and West Papua.
Filep free news last week reported one of the major media of Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald. In that article, Filep referred to as leader of the Papuan people’s struggle for independence.
The article also contains a statement Filep are reluctant to breathe free air before getting bail would not be under threat of violence and intelligence agents under surveillance.
Filep was jailed for 15 years for raising the Morning Star flag on 1 December 2004. On 17 August, Filep receive remission of independence that makes future criminal exhausted.
CNN Indonesia, last May, an assistant Filep named Ruth Naomi declared Filep would not appeal for clemency to the President Joko Widodo.
At that time, Jokowi recently visited Papua and released five political prisoners Papua Merdeka detained in prison Abepura, Jayapura. They are Linus Hiluka, Numbungga, Apotnagolik, Kimanus Wenda, and Yaprai Muri.
"If clemency right (like) apologized. You did not want, "said Naomi.
Something similar is said Papua Peace Network Coordinator, Peter Father Neles Tebay. "Filep Karma did not want a pardon because he thought no longer need to admit mistakes as a condition (asking for clemency)," said Neles..
Pacific Media Watch’s Alistar Kata reports on West Papua and Octo Mote’s visit to New Zealand. Video: PMC
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
AUCKLAND (Pacific Media Watch): The Pacific Island Forum (PIF) leaders meeting in Papua New Guinea is a few weeks away and the secretary-general for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Octovianus Mote, has visited New Zealand to lobby the government to support human rights.
The Indonesian-ruled region of West Papua is now on the agenda at the PIF and Mote says the ULMWP wants Pacific leaders to set up a fact-finding mission.
“West Papua has had 53 years of human rights violations and there is an ongoing genocide. There are so many academic reports and human rights reports about it,” he says.
“We are really calling for the Forum to form a fact-finding commission and to conduct a human rights assessment of West Papua.”
Earlier this year the liberation movement was granted observer status to the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
Despite not gaining full membership, Mote said it was a victory for West Papua.
This year’s Forum is on September 7-11 in Port Moresby.
August 14, 2015 – 9:55PM
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National Affairs Editor
Filep Karma gives away his daughter last year while on day release. Photo: Michael Bachelard
Jakarta: Papuan independence leader Filep Karma is due to be released next week from prison, even as he resists freedom until guaranteed he can agitate for self-rule without any threat to his safety or monitoring by intelligence agencies.
Imprisoned in 2004 for 15 years for flying the banned symbol of Papuan sovereignty, the Morning Star flag, Mr Karma has been told he will be freed from Abepura prison on Indonesia’s Independence Day, August 17, due to the usual remissions in his sentence for good behaviour.
But a defiant Mr Karma is bridling at the prospect of his release on the national holiday, although he says he would be happy to walk free the day after as long as his release was "unconditional".
"Giving me remission is only to avoid international pressure and to create a good image," he told Fairfax Media.
"My point is that Indonesia must realise that it must free me unconditionally, restore my good name.
"It should also free other political prisoners in Papua and elsewhere in Indonesia and stop chasing those who are on wanted list for expressing their freedom of speech."
Mr Karma also vowed to keep campaigning for independence if he is released.
A spokesman for Indonesia’s ministry of law and human rights, Ansharudin, said there were no regulations in the case where a prisoner won’t leave jail.
"It’s illogical. People don’t like to be imprisoned. Normally people are happy to be released," he said.
He said authorities may have to convene a special meeting to determine how to respond to Mr Karma’s demands.
Mr Karma’s arrest for raising a flag prompted widespread international consternation, with the United Nations identifying him as a political prisoner. His sentence was three times that requested by prosecutors.
The Papua region – located to the western half on the island of Papua and sharing a border with Papua New Guinea – is rich in resources but remains one of Indonesia’s poorest and most corrupt regions.
A Dutch colonial outpost even after Indonesia became a nation, it was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a controversial plebiscite of 1025 hand-picked Papuans held in an Indonesian military camp.
Separatist sentiment remains among many of Papua’s traditional Melanesian population while the military and security services have a heavy presence, as well as widespread business interests.
About half of Papua’s population are now migrants from other parts of Indonesia who dominate commercial activity.
Mr Karma rejected clemency from Indonesian president Joko Widodo earlier this year on the grounds it would require a tacit admission of guilt.
Mr Joko has said he wants to improve the welfare of Papuans, sentiments that have drawn qualified praise from Mr Karma in the past.
Ilustration – Suplied
In the 1960s, West Papuans were sacrificed in the name of Cold War politics – and the United Nations have done nothing about it according to Jennifer Robinson, a London-based human rights lawyer.
In the weekend, West Papua independence leader and international Free West Papua lobbyist, Mr Benny Wenda described the reality for his people.
“For over 50 years, my people have lived under illegal occupation and endured brutal oppression from the Indonesian state which has killed over 500,000 Melanesian Papuans in a ruthless genocide.
He pointed to the UN’s failure to uphold and protect the rights of West Papuans more than 40 years ago.
“Indonesia illegally occupied West Papua in 1969 by forcing 1,026 people at gunpoint to vote for Indonesian rule. Indonesia calls this ‘The Act of Free Choice’ but we West Papuans call this ‘The Act of NO Choice’ and continue to peacefully struggle for the restoration of our own independence and for the fulfilment of our fundamental right to self-determination.”
It once again brings to light that no matter how hard the United Nations pound the human rights pulpit, they are too compromised to right their 1969 West Papuan failure, today.
It is at this failed UN juncture that Pacific leaders in 2015 head to Papua New Guinea for the 46th sitting of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). A juncture where they can choose to champion West Papua and make a difference.
Earlier, in May this year, Dame Meg Taylor, the head of the Forum’s Secretariat stood in Wellington and replied with clarity on the issue of West Papua. She said that if the Forum’s 16 leaders choose to do so, they could take a leadership role in West Papua’s case.
“The West Papua issue is very important,” she told senior government officials, academics, civic and Pacific community leaders in her first official visit to Wellington, also the birthplace of the Forum back in August 1971.
She quantified how “important” West Papua’s human rights and self-determination issues are when she highlighted the reason why the Forum was founded originally.
“…in the origins of the Pacific Islands Forum, it always stood for the self-determinations of people,” she said.
“This [West Papua] is a matter that the leaders of the Forum will have to deal with. If it is raised as part of the Framework for Pacific regionalism then it will be considered by the Leaders.”
Dame Tayor, who is Papua New Guinean pointed to PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill’s comments in support of West Papua in February 2015 as a possible indicator that PNG could spearhead a discussion on West Papua when the Forum convenes next month.
“The PM for PNG has made comment on West Papua on human rights perspective and has not retracted that statement,” Dame Meg told the packed audience at Wellington’s Victoria University.
The comments she referred to are in Mr O’Neill’s speech at a leadership summit on 5 February at Port Moresby. It was the first time that an incumbent PNG prime minister has spoken directly about the rights of West Papuans in a public forum:
“Papua New Guinea today is a respected regional leader. After 40 years of undisturbed democracy, we are in a unique position to lead mature discussions on issues affecting our people in the region.
“Our leading role in encouraging Fiji to return to a democratically elected government and voicing our concerns about the plight of our people in New Caledonia are examples of our growing influence. We have also participated in the restoration of democracy and law and order in countries like Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.
“But sometimes we forgot our family, our brothers and sisters, especially those in West Papua.
“I think as a country the time has come for us to speak about oppression our people. Pictures of brutality of our people appear daily on social media and yet we take no notice. We have the moral obligation to speak for those who are not allowed to talk. We must be the eyes for those who are blindfolded. Again, Papua New Guinea, as a regional leader, we must lead these discussions with our friends in a mature and engaging manner.”
The following month, on a 31 March interview with Radio Australia, Mr O’Neill pressed his support further by saying he hoped current Indonesian president Joko Widodo would keep former Indonesian leader Mr Yudhoyono’s promises made to PM O’Neill when in Indonesia on a state visit.
“We will try and hold the Indonesian government to that, to make sure that the current government also has the same view about a reduction of presence of military on the island, and of course more autonomy for the people of West Papua,” Mr O’Neill told Radio Australia.
The likelihood West Papua will make it onto the 2015 Forum agenda was turbo boosted on 26 June when the five-country Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) granted “observer” status to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).
Gaining ‘Observer status’ means the ULMWP now sits on the inside of the MSG organization alongside Indonesia. It is seen as an historic step toward addressing the human rights atrocities committed against West Papuans by the Indonesian army.
The significance of the decision was outlined by ULMWP Secretary General, Octovianus Mote after the 26 June vote.
“Despite not getting full membership [at MSG] we welcome the decision of the leaders as it is our first step to full political recognition.”
Full political recognition would be realized if ULMWP gains ‘Observer status’ in the Pacific Islands Forum. And these are the
The questions that may be given talk time in September: West Papua’s independence movement? And prospects of ULMWP gaining PIF ‘observer’ status? Topics that PNG’s Peter O’Neill seem very likely to push when he takes over the Chairmanship of the Forum.
Dame Taylor, heading the Forum’s operational arm hinted that both are doable.
She stated that self-determination is one of the core reasons for establishing the PIF back in 1971. And added that if the West Papua issue is raised as part of the Framework for Pacific regionalism, then West Papua will be “considered by leaders”.
Since Dame Meg’s Wellington visit, organisations supporting the Free West Papua movement from New Zealand and Australia have sent open letters to the Forum.
The Australia West Papua Association (Sydney); and West Papua Action, Auckland letters call on the 16 Forum leaders to discuss the human rights situation in West Papua and acknowledge the concerns in their official communiqué.
INFORMATION ABOUT WEST PAPUA SITUATION
West Papua has been subjected to a brutal repression by the Indonesians since 1962. Prior to that, the island of New Guinea (the eastern half now known as Papua New Guinea and the western half now known as West Papua) as well as Indonesia had been Dutch colonies until Indonesia’s own war of independence in 1949.
In 1936 while still under Dutch rule an erstberg (ore mountain) was discovered in the southwest region of New Guinea, and in 1959 alluvial gold was found just off the West Papuan coast. Another massive ore mountain was yet to be discovered deep in the West Papuan forest.
In the 1950s, plans were made by the Dutch to prepare for withdrawal including plans for West Papua to revert to indigenous rule by 1972.
Despite a West Papuan congress on independence in 1961 and the raising of the national “Morning Star” flag, Indonesia had claimed New Guinea as part of its territory. A United Nations intervention resulted in the New York Agreement in 1962 which placed the territory in UN trusteeship (without consent of the population) and required that West Papuans hold an independence vote under UN supervision.
But by the time the vote was conducted in 1969 the Indonesian military had handpicked 1,026 representatives to vote on behalf of the entire population. Having been threatened with the death of their families the vote was unanimous for Indonesian rule. The so-called “Act of Free Choice” is known to this day by indigenous West Papuans as the “act of no choice.”
When the West Papuans were making plans for independence in 1961, unbeknownst to either they or the Dutch, then-Indonesian army general Suharto was negotiating a mining deal with the American mining company Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold. Subsequent discoveries resulted in the notorious Grasberg mine—one of the largest reserves of copper and gold in the world—and is today at the center of the conflict between Indonesia and West Papua.
The Free West Papua Movement claims that over 500,000 civilian West Papuans have been killed to date. (*)
2) ULMWP welcomes recommendation to make West Papua a Forum Leaders agenda
By Online Editor
00:12 am GMT+12, 14/08/2015, Fiji
The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) has today welcomed the recommendation set by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s Special Sub-Committee on Regionalism (SSCR) and the Forum Officials Committee for West Papua to be one of the top priority issues of the regional agenda.
ULMWP Secretary General, Octovianus Mote, attributed the increasing awareness on the state of West Papua to growing ground swell of people solidarity movements in the Pacific, reflected by the media coverage of the issue, and the three submissions from various solidarity groups around the region advocating the peaceful resolution of the struggles of the people of West Papua.
“The Forum Officials Committee which considered the issue of West Papua yesterday we understand has taken a decision to endorse West Papua as one of the five top regional issues that will be considered by forum leaders next month in PNG during the leaders’ summit,” said Mote.
“In the words of the current Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor, the forum has a history and regional role in assisting territories achieve self-determination, and we are certain our leaders will act on our plea to address the growing human rights abuse in West Papua by establishing a fact finding mission, and supporting the call by Vanuatu for the UN to appoint a special envoy to West Papua,” added Mote.
Mote also welcomed the decision by the Solomon Islands Government to appoint a Special Envoy on West Papua and seek West Papua’s admission to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
“On behalf of the ULMWP, I extend our deepest gratitude to the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare, and the solidarity movement in the Solomon Island. I would also like to thank other solidarity movement partners in the Pacific for their continued support for standing up for the people of West Papua.”
He said he is confident in Prime Minister Sogavare as the current chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, and under his leadership, he will steer a peaceful path for West Papua. ULMWP respectfully urges Pacific Island leaders to join with PM Sogavare to steer a peaceful path for West Papua.
3) West Papua for Pacific Islands Forum agenda depends on ‘thin down’ process of topics: McCully’
The Island Sun (Solomon Islands) 14 August
4) Papua New Guinea’s military denies Indonesia border incursion to bring down flag
By Girish Sawlani
Posted about an hour ago
The Papua New Guinea Defence Force has denied reports from a senior Indonesian official that its soldiers claimed part of Indonesian territory in the bordering Papua province.
According to the Jakarta Post, Indonesia’s Papua border and International Relations chief Suzana Wanggai said 14 uniformed PNG soldiers arrived in Yakyu village in the Merauke regency and
ordered residents to lower the Indonesian flag.
Ms Wanggai said she received the report from the head of a neighbourhood unit who alleged the PNG soldiers moved in because they thought it was part of their country’s territory.
She said the matter should be resolved through diplomatic channels.
But chief of staff of the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) Colonel Mark Goina told Pacific Beat the incident did not happen.
“We have not received any information around PNGDF troops going to Merauke to conduct any form of activity or operation, and therefore we categorically deny any involvement of our
service men and women and that information is not true," he said.
"I confirm there is no Papua New Guinean soldiers in or near Merauke, they are all stationed outside of the border doing their normal border duties."
The Jakarta Post also reported the incident was confirmed by Papua’s Cendrawasih Military Command chief Syafei Kusno, who said it deployed 10 soldiers to the village to prevent residents from lowering the flag.
Mr Kusno told the newspaper the Indonesian troops argued the village was in a neutral area that should hoist Indonesian and PNG flags together.
PNGDF’s Colonel Goina was uncertain whether Yakyu village was a part of Indonesian or PNG territory.
"At this point in time I need to confirm that, we need to confirm that on a map."
Pacific Beat contacted Ms Wanggai from the Papua Border and International Relations unit for further comment, but she is yet to respond.
The border between Indonesia’s Papua provinces and Papua New Guinea largely follows the 141st meridian on New Guinea island, with one 64 kilometre break following the Fly River.
A flow of people and contraband across the porous border is not uncommon, with occasional military incursions by Indonesia occurring as recently as 2008, but border treaties signed
in 1979 and 1986 have largely kept the peace.
5) New military chief must tackle abuses: HRW
thejakartapost.com, Jakarta | National | Fri, August 14 2015, 1:52 PM –
The Indonesian Military (TNI) should take necessary and appropriate action to prevent human rights abuses by its personnel and furthermore hold perpetrators accountable, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says in a letter to the new TNI commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo.
“General Nurmantyo is now the responsible man for making sure that the Indonesian armed forces stop committing abuses and improve their respect for human rights,” said HRW deputy Asia director Phelim Kine in a statement on Friday.
“It’s his responsibility to ensure the military meets its international legal obligations throughout Indonesia,” he said.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo named Nurmantyo, the former Army chief of staff, as TNI commander on July 8.
Kine said Nurmantyo should ensure prompt, transparent and impartial investigations into abuses in which military personnel have been implicated, and that he should also take appropriate action against such personnel.
HRW says among the measures the new TNI commander must take is the immediate ban of so-called virginity tests. The tests are mandatory for all female recruits and fiancées of military officers in the Indonesian armed forces. However, HRW has stated that the tests violate the prohibition of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment that is enshrined in international human rights law.
Another step HRW says Nurmantyo needs to take is to publicly show his support for President Jokowi’s decision to lift access and reporting restrictions on Indonesia-based, accredited foreign media entering, or trying to enter, Papua. He also needs to ensure that all armed forces in Papua are aware of, and fully respectful of, the freedom of the press, HRW says.
President Jokowi announced a complete lifting of those restrictions on May 10.
HRW says Nurmantyo should also publicly support investigations into serious human rights abuses, particularly in Papua, such as the killing of five peaceful protesters in the remote town of Enarotali on December 8, 2014.
“The new military chief should also fully cooperate with government plans to investigate the 1965-66 mass killings of alleged communists and others, as well as other past atrocities, including the Talangsari incident, the Trisakti and Semanggi I and II killings, the abduction of pro-democracy activists in 1997-98, and the May 1998 rioting,” said Kine.
He said military cooperation was crucial to determining responsibility for these abuses in order to provide justice and redress for the victims and their families. (ebf)(+++)
6) Islands in focus: Indonesian flag burned in Timika –
The Jakarta Post, Jayapura | Archipelago | Fri, August 14 2015, 8:28 AM –
An unidentified person burned an Indonesian flag in Mimika Baru, Timika city, Papua, on Thursday ahead of the 70th anniversary of independence.
“The red-and-white flag was burned at approximately 1 a.m. at the home of local resident Marthen Sulle, 54, on Jl. Seroja, Timika. The flag had been raised on a pole in front of the house on Monday,” said Papua Police chief spokesman Sr. Comr. Rudolf Patrige in Jayapura on Thursday.
“The police are investigating the incident,” said Patrige.
Separately, an Indonesian flag hoisted in Yakyu, Rawa Biru village, Sota district, Merauke regency, Papua, was taken down by 14 Papua New Guinea soldiers who arrived in the village on Aug. 7.
The soldiers claimed that they had lowered the flag because it had been hoisted in a neutral zone and that a PNG flag should be flown alongside it.
Cenderawasih Military Command intelligence assistant Col. Syafei Kasno confirmed on Thursday the lowering of the flag by PNG soldiers, adding that a post had been set up in Yakyu to prevent a similar incident.
7) No Justice in Sight for Rights Abuse Victims as President Touts Reconciliation Over Prosecution
By Jakarta Globe on 02:49 pm Aug 14, 2015
Category Featured, Front Page, Human Rights, News
Tags: Indonesia human rights abuses, Joko Widodo, Komnas HAM
Jakarta. President Joko Widodo has indicated that the Indonesian government has no intention of prosecuting perpetrators of past human rights abuses, in a state of the nation address that only briefly touched on the issue.
Speaking before the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) in Jakarta on Friday, Joko said his administration was working on setting up a “reconciliation committee for severe rights violations.”
“The government is at the moment trying to find the most judicious and noble way to resolve human rights abuse cases,” he said.
“The government wants there to be a national reconciliation so that future generations will not have to bear the burdens of history. Our children have to be free to face the wide future.”
The president’s statement fell far short of calls from human rights groups for an official apology for all past rights abuses, including the 1965-66 anti-communist purge in which up to two million people were summarily killed or disappeared by the military and state-backed militias.
Survivors and families of victims of the military’s myriad massacres and other rights abuses over the decades have long demanded that the masterminds, many of whom now occupy positions of power in Joko’s administration, be brought to justice for their crimes.
Among the latter is A.M. Hendropriyono, the former intelligence agency chief linked to, though never charged for, the 2004 murder of prominent human rights activist Munir Said Thalib. Hendropriyono, involved in the military’s massacre of 27 civilians in Talangsari, in southern Sumatra, in 1989, is close to Joko’s political patron, former president Megawati Soekarnoputri, and served as an adviser to the president-elect when preparing to take office last year.
The current intelligence chief, Sutiyoso, now the chairman of a party in Joko’s coalition, also has a checkered record, primarily stemming from his role in overseeing a deadly military raid on an opposition party compound in Jakarta in 1996.
The government’s own National Commission for Human Rights, or Komnas HAM, issued a landmark report in 2012 denouncing the anti-communist purge and other incidents as gross human rights violations, and recommended criminal inquiries into the cases. However, the Attorney General’s Office has repeatedly refused to initiate an investigation into any of the cases, saying instead that the perpetrators should be let off the hook for the nation to move forward.
“The option of reconciliation should only be available if the judicial process is technically [unfeasible],” Hendardi, the head of the Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy, said in June.
“The attorney general has not yet done anything [in the way of an investigation], yet already it is choosing the path of reconciliation. Don’t try to simplify the problem, don’t be lazy and unjust.”
He warned that a national reconciliation committee “should not serve to whitewash the perpatrators’ [crimes] or provide false satisfaction for the victims. [Such a committee] would be a fraud.”