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Four teenagers were shot at a protest in Papua. Eight years on, only one suspect is facing trial

October 2, 2022


Four teenagers were shot at a protest in Papua. Eight years on, only one suspect is facing trial
Heather Chen – Friday

Even by the bloody standards of Indonesia’s decades-long Papua conflict, one massacre stands out for its brutality – and the seeming impunity of those behind it.

On December 8, 2014, a crowd of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators in Paniai district, Papua province, were fired upon – allegedly by Indonesian soldiers – in an incident that left four teenagers dead and injured more than a dozen other people, including women and children.

Their supposed provocation? Daring to protest over the assault of a local 12-year-old boy beaten into a coma a day earlier, allegedly by Indonesian special forces.

Nearly eight years have passed since those events, yet nobody has been held accountable. The Indonesian military has in the past claimed Papuan rebels were responsible for the shootings – an account even the government seems to doubt.

Last week, a retired military official, Maj. Isak Sattu, who served in Paniai, went on trial in a long-delayed case organized by the Indonesian Human Rights Commission, a government backed body.

However, few in Paniai believe the trial will give them the answers they are seeking.

The trial, which began on September 21, is not being held in Papua – the restive province where Indonesian forces have been fighting separatists ever since the Dutch colonial power withdrew in the 1960s. Instead, it is taking place 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) away in Makassar, on Sulawesi island, which the families of victims say has made it hard for them and witnesses to attend, and critics have already labeled the proceedings a whitewash.

Prosecutors have charged Maj. Isak Sattu with four offenses that contain penalties of up to 25 years in prison, accusing him of crimes against humanity and failing in his command responsibility by not stopping his men from taking guns from the arsenal.

The families are boycotting the trial, saying they do not trust that justice will be served and expressing disbelief over the government’s identification of a single suspect.

“It does not match the facts,” the families said in a joint statement released on September 14. “The Indonesian government is only protecting perpetrators of gross human rights violations in Paniai. It is a theater court.”

“But the truth will never be defeated or covered up.”

CNN sent multiple email requests for comment to Indonesian government officials including President Joko Widodo’s office, the military, and Indonesia’s Human Rights Commission but received no response.

A history of abuse
Allegations of human rights abuses by Indonesian government forces against indigenous Papuans surface frequently.

Earlier this year, UN-appointed rights experts said that between April and November 2021 they received allegations of “several instances of extrajudicial killings, including of young children, enforced disappearance, torture and inhuman treatment and the forced displacement of at least 5,000 indigenous Papuans by security forces.”

However, pursuing allegations against the Indonesian military has traditionally proved difficult. International rights bodies have complained of being unable to access the region. UN experts have urged the Indonesian government to conduct “full and independent investigations into the abuses.”

But even against this background, the Paniai massacre stands out as particularly sensitive because it took place just two months after President Joko Widodo – popularly known as Jokowi – first came into power, promising change and “open dialogue.”

“I want to listen to the people’s voices, and I’m willing to open dialogue for a better Papua. The people of Papua don’t only need health care, education, the construction of roads and bridges, but they also need to be listened to,” Jokowi said as part of his inauguration speech in December 2014.

“One of the first promises that the President made to the Papuan people was to resolve this case,” said Indonesian human rights lawyer Veronica Koman at Amnesty International.

“He also expressed a desire for a dialogue to end the conflict – but these promises have still not been met, and many other Papuan children have since been killed or tortured by Indonesian forces.”

According to Human Rights Watch, the 2014 protest shooting allegedly took place the day after a unit of special forces soldiers assaulted Yulian Yeimo, apparently to punish him for shouting at one of their vehicles that had driven through his village at night without its headlights on. Yeimo and his friends had been reportedly decorating a Christmas tree and a nativity scene at the time.

CNN has been unable to independently verify the details about the incident.

Authorities have failed to acknowledge or address what happened to Yeimo, noted rights groups.

The beating sparked a fierce outcry that prompted hundreds of villagers to protest in the public square in Enarotali. Four teenagers were killed when the crowd was fired upon: Simon Degei, 18; Otianus Gobai, 18; Alfius Youw, 17; and Abia Gobay, 17.

Eyewitnesses said the gunmen were Indonesian soldiers, and weeks following the attack, while on an official visit to Papua, President Widodo promised the military and police would conduct a full investigation.

However, in the aftermath of the killings, army chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo denied that soldiers shot the protesters and claimed that the gunfire came from Papuan guerrilla fighters.

Yeimo, the 12-year-old whose beating preceded the massacre, died from his injuries in 2018 having never recovered from his coma, according to his family. To this day, nobody has been held accountable for his death – or for the deaths of those killed in the ensuing protests.

Sophie Grig, a senior research officer at Survival International, a London-based charity campaigning for Indigenous rights, said progress for the victims of the Paniai massacre had been “glacial” and called the situation “appalling.”

“The culture of impunity for human rights abusers in West Papua must end,” Grig said.

Four teenagers were shot at a protest in Papua. Eight years on, only one suspect is facing trial
Four teenagers were shot at a protest in Papua. Eight years on, only one suspect is facing trial
© Provided by CNN
Indonesian President Joko Widodo reviews members of the military’s special armed forces. – Antara Photo Agency/Reuters
Independence movement
Fueling the tensions in Papua, say rights groups, are divisions along both ethnic and religious lines. Indigenous Papuans tend to have darker skin than other Indonesians, and are usually Christian rather than Muslim – the majority religion in the country.

“There is certainly an element of racist discrimination in the way the Indonesian security forces treat the Papuans as deserving of abuse,” said Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division.

“Papuans’ political demands for independence also bring out the worst in successive Indonesian governments and the military,” he said.

“The underlying problem is discrimination and racism from Indonesian officials – the military, police, judges – against indigenous Papuans, and the result is rights abuses and the culture of impunity that protects the abuses.”

Papua, a former Dutch colony, was formally absorbed into Indonesia following a controversial referendum in 1969. Advocates of Papuan independence say that vote was neither free nor fair.

Separatist sentiment remains, finding its expression not only in the armed Free Papua Movement but in wider public protests. Huge student protests erupted in 2019 and grew into a civil resistance campaign demanding Papuan independence from Indonesia. Public anger has also been stoked by a contentious law passed in July by Indonesia’s Parliament to create three new provinces in Papua – a move critics said would take power away from the indigenous population.

Four teenagers were shot at a protest in Papua. Eight years on, only one suspect is facing trial
Four teenagers were shot at a protest in Papua. Eight years on, only one suspect is facing trial
© Provided by CNN
Hundreds of Papuans demonstrated in front of the Jakarta Palace in 2019. – Donal Husni/NurPhoto/Getty Images
Will justice finally prevail?
Despite the opening of the trial, many unknowns surrounding the events of December 8, 2014, remain.

The Indonesian government bans independent reporting from inside Papua, and the region has been off-limits to foreign journalists for decades. CNN was unable to independently verify several accounts highlighted in this story.

“The big question is whether this trial is the beginning of something different or just an effort to offer up a scapegoat to deflect international attention before world leaders go to Indonesia for the G-20 (meeting in November),” said Robertson of Human Rights Watch.

“Foreign leaders should press Indonesia hard on what is happening in Papua, and not be deflected by a trial that just scratches the surface of what needs to be done to right wrongs in Papua.”

Four teenagers were shot at a protest in Papua. Eight years on, only one suspect is facing trial
Four teenagers were

shot at a protest in Papua. Eight years on, only one suspect is facing trial
Andreas Harsono, an Indonesia researcher with Human Rights Watch, added: “Yes – this (trial) is long awaited, but it’s still a show trial, and I am not hopeful that it will be independent or fair.”

“One retired military officer is due to stand trial, but many lives were lost that day,” he said.

“Who was the commanding officer who gave orders to shoot protesters? Where are the others responsible?”

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AWPA Update No 6/ 2022

October 1, 2022

AWPA Update No 6/ 2022
2 October 2022

There has been no improvement in the human rights situation in West Papua.
The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence has urged the Indonesian Government urged to account for Papua violence. (RNZ Pacific 27 September 2022)
From article
Violence in West Papua continues to escalate with the Indonesian government being urged to be transparent about the situation. The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence claims the government has been covering up and restricting the international community’s access to information. Commission co-ordinator Fatia Maulidiyanti said this was in relation to the murder and mutilation of four civilians in August which were not reported within the legal framework. "Instead of continuing to cover up the actual violence in Papua with various narratives, the Indonesian government must open the widest possible access to the international community.”…….

Indonesian govt threatens to deploy troops against supporters of beleaguered Papua governor

September 30, 2022

Indonesian govt threatens to deploy troops against supporters of beleaguered Papua governor
Arie Firdaus
2022.09.29 Jakarta

The Indonesian government on Thursday threatened to deploy the army to remove supporters of the Papua governor who have gathered outside his house to stop his potential arrest as a suspect in a bribery case.

Hundreds of residents in the restive province in Indonesia’s far east, who have rallied in recent days in support of Gov. Lukas Enembe, say the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has targeted him with trumped-up charges.

“If they are under the influence of Lukas Enembe, the TNI [the Indonesian Armed Forces] may need to be deployed if necessary. What else can we do?” Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko told reporters in Jakarta.

Enembe had failed to answer two summonses from the KPK in connection with a case in which he is charged with accepting 1 billion rupiah (U.S. $65,798) in bribes tied to a government project, according to Mohammad Mahfud MD, the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs.

Enembe’s lawyers said he did not answer the summonses because he had been ill, adding the governor had had strokes, and heart and kidney problems. Moeldoko said Enembe should respect the legal process instead of mobilizing his supporters to obstruct the investigation.

On Wednesday, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo urged Enembe to “respect [the] summons and the legal process at the KPK” after Enembe failed to show up for questioning for a second time.

“This is a purely legal issue, not political. Anyone must be held accountable before the law. There are no exceptions,” Moeldoko said.

One of Enembe’s attorneys, Stefanus Roy Rening, said Tuesday that charges against his client were politically motivated. He added that his client had rejected a candidate for vice governor proposed by two close aides of Jokowi after his deputy died last year.

A spokesman for Enembe did not immediately respond to a request for comment. KPK spokesman Ali Fikri said investigators would again summon Enembe for questioning. “We hope that the suspect will cooperate,” Ali said.

Ali said if Enembe was ill as claimed by his lawyer, he still could still come to Jakarta and undergo medical checks with supervision from the Indonesian Medical Association.

Separately, the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) said it had frozen 71 billion rupiah (U.S. $ 4.7 million) in Enembe’s bank accounts after it found that U.S. $55 million had been transferred through overseas casinos in a suspected money laundering scheme.

Enembe’s lawyers have dismissed the accusations as fabricated.

“The public statements by Mahfud MD and the PPATK chairman are tantamount to defamation against Governor Lukas Enembe and are hoaxes,” Enembe’s legal team said in a statement Monday.

Last week, thousands of people took to the streets of the provincial capital Jayapura in a show of support for Enembe.

Papua has been the scene of a separatist insurgency since the mainly Melanesian region was incorporated into Indonesia in a United Nations-administered ballot in the late 1960s.

Only about 1,000 people voted in a 1969 U.N.-sponsored referendum, which locals and activists said was a sham. But the United Nations accepted the result, essentially endorsing Jakarta’s rule.

Human rights groups have accused Indonesian authorities of intimidation, arbitrary arrests, torture, extra-judicial killings and mass forced displacement in Papua.

‘An inappropriate threat’

Moeldoko’s statement was not well thought out and could fuel hostilities against Jakarta among Papuans, according to Ujang Komarudin, a lecturer in political science from Indonesia’s Al Azhar University.

“Moeldoko did not consider his statements carefully. It was an inappropriate threat,” Ujang told BenarNews.

“Although I think deploying troops is unlikely, it can increase negative perceptions of the government. Relations between Papua and the government can become increasingly uncomfortable,” he said.

Another analyst criticized Moeldoko’s “poor” communication.

“The [statement] about deploying troops may be spontaneous, but it is a bit excessive because it is vulnerable to politicization,” Wasisto Raharjo Jati, a political analyst at the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), told BenarNews.

In addition, officials shouldn’t have been commenting publicly on Enembe’s case, said Adnan Topan Husodo, an activist with NGO Indonesia Corruption Watch.

“Now it’s getting more chaotic because some members of the elite in Jakarta have waded into the legal matter, resulting in strong reactions in Papua,” he told BenarNews.


2) Indonesian prelate invites Pope to Papua
By Katharina Reny Lestari Published: September 29, 2022 10:47 AM GMT

Archbishop Petrus Canisius Mandagi of Merauke in South Papua province says he is seeking “the voice of peace”

Sacred Heart Archbishop Petrus Canisius Mandagi of Merauke in Indonesia’s South Papua province says he has personally invited Pope Francis to visit his archdiocese, calling him “the voice of peace.”

The 73-year-old prelate arrived in Jakarta on Sept. 28 after visiting Rome last week along with several Indonesian members of the St. John Paul II Foundation, a Catholic apostolate proclaiming the Good News about life and family through education and formation, for their international meeting.

Speaking to UCA News on Sept. 29, Archbishop Mandagi said he had a chance to meet with Pope Francis during a weekly general audience at St. Peter’s Square on Sept. 21.

“It was not long, only about one or two minutes. As an Indonesian bishop from the Papua region, however, I used the chance to deliver my personal invitation for the pope to visit Indonesia in general and Merauke in South Papua province in particular,” he said.

“The Catholic Church must raise voices for peace. And the pope continues to speak about love, forgiveness and tenderness.”

Archbishop Mandagi, who served as bishop of Amboina diocese in the conflict-scarred Maluku province since 1994 before he was appointed to Merauke in November 2020, asserted that the Church must not stay silent.

“The Catholic Church must be in the front line, meaning that the voice of peace must be raised without having to get involved in practical politics. So, my focus is to bring peace to the Papua region where there has been much violence in relation to the independence movement,” he said.

Even though South Papua almost never faced violence, he believed that a visit by Pope Francis to his archdiocese will affect the four other provinces in the Papua region.

“I do not want to be egoistic. At least there is a bishop in the Papua region who continues to raise voices for peace,” he said.

It was Archbishop Mandagi’s second invitation to Pope Francis. Last year, he called on the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference (KWI) to invite the pope to visit his archdiocese in order to help foster peace in the restive easternmost region.

KWI executive secretary Father Paulus Christian Siswantoko said all Indonesian Catholics have long waited for a visit by Pope Francis.

“But such a visit should be managed by the state in cooperation with KWI. In this case, Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas had delivered an official invitation for Pope Francis to visit Indonesia,” he told UCA News.

The minister delivered President Joko Widodo’s invitation to the pope to visit Indonesia during an audience at the Vatican on June 8.

“As far as I know, there is no official invitation yet from KWI,” the priest said, mentioning that Pope Francis was supposed to visit Indonesia, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea in 2020 but the trip was canceled when the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thomas Kimko, a parishioner from Redeemer Church in Merauke district, welcomed the prelate’s personal invitation to Pope Francis.

“I believe there will be a huge impact on the peace effort in the Papua region. Pope Francis is a figure whom all religious followers admire,” he said.

There are five provinces in the Papua region – Papua, North Papua, Central Papua, Central Mountainous Papua and South Papua. Some areas have endured a bloody insurgency waged by the West Papua National Liberation Army and Free Papua Movement since its annexation by Indonesia in the 1960s after the end of Dutch colonial rule. Thousands have been killed and tens of thousands displaced in the conflict.

From 2010 to March this year, the Papua region recorded 348 acts of violence, according to a study by Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta. At least 464 people including 320 civilians were killed and 1,654 people, mostly civilians, were wounded.


3) Trial In Indonesian Human Rights Court Brings Hope Of Justice For West Papuans
Chris Fitzgerald September 29, 2022

An Indonesian human rights court has begun a trial to determine whether a former army commander is guilty of crimes against humanity in West Papua. This represents an opportunity to ensure that the rights of West Papuans are protected from state violence and racial discrimination.

The trial, in Indonesia’s rarely used human rights court, began on 21 September 2022. However, the trial is not being held in West Papua, where the events took place, but in Makassar, a city over 1,400km away, on the island of Sulawesi. This presents a barrier for witnesses and the families of the victims to attend the trial.

Indonesia’s human rights court was established under Law No. 26 in 2000. Under this legislation, the court has the “duty and authority” to examine and decide cases of gross human rights violations, specifically genocide and crimes against humanity. Since its inception, however, the court has rarely been used.

Isak Sattu, a retired Major in the Indonesian military, is charged with crimes against humanity. On 8 December 2014, in Paniai Regency, West Papua, the Indonesian military fired on a crowd of approximately 800 protesters for up to seven minutes in the town of Enarotali, resulting in the deaths of five people, including four teenagers, Simon Degei, Otianus Gobai, Alfius Youw and Yuilian Yeimo. The gunfire also wounded between 17 and 21 others. The initial protest was in response to an attack by Indonesian authorities on Yulian Yeimo on 7 December 2014. Before the gunshots, it was reported to be a peaceful protest in the town square of Enarotali in front of the Indonesian military command office.

The prosecutor of the trial released a statement outlining the charges against Sattu, arguing that the troops under his command “committed serious human rights violations by inaugurating a wide and systematic attack” and that “the defendant did not take appropriate and necessary actions within the scope of his power to prevent or stop the crimes.”

If convicted, Sattu would face up to 25 years in prison.

After the killings, President Joko Widodo promised to conduct an investigation into the events. However, the Indonesian military, who undertook the investigation, denied that troops fired on protesters and instead, without evidence, blamed West Papuan independence fighters.

While the motivation for the timing of the trial is unclear, it has been welcomed by independence and human rights activists as a positive step in bringing Indonesian authorities to justice for crimes committed against West Papuans. Still, others are skeptical. Many witnesses and family members of the victims are questioning why only one suspect has been brought to trial, and some are even refusing to attend the hearing altogether. They believe that the Indonesian judicial system is stacked against them.

Indonesia’s justice system lacks the transparency and independence to adequately hold offenders to account. This is because the system divides military and civilian jurisdiction for alleged crimes. Under the 1997 Military Tribunal Law, soldiers on trial must appear before a military tribunal, often resulting in the military resisting or preventing investigations and prosecutions.

This points to a larger problem in the treatment of West Papuans under Indonesian rule.

The Indonesian military has been documented committing numerous cases of human rights abuses in West Papua, including torture and extrajudicial killings. West Papuans continue to experience excessive use of force and racist violence from the military and police, limiting their access to the justice system. Indonesian authorities frequently arrest, detain, and prosecute West Papuan protesters. These crimes are almost never prosecuted, let alone investigated.

Between July and August 2022, Indonesian authorities used excessive force, water canons and batons, and racially abused protesters peacefully opposing the Papuan Special Autonomy Law. On 16 August 2022, police fired on protesters in Yahukimo Regency, injuring one, with water cannons and beatings reported on the same day at another protest in Jayapura. Amnesty International reports that authorities used discriminatory, excessive force in response to these protests.

Under international law, it is legal for authorities to use intentional lethal use of firearms only when it is necessary to protect life and only after all other measures are exhausted.

The protests in West Papua are organized for legitimate concerns with racism, state violence, and autonomy. These protests are overwhelmingly peaceful. It is vital, then, that West Papuans are treated as per the guidelines of fundamental human rights under international and domestic law.

West Papuans have a right to freedom of assembly and association under articles 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and article 8 (1)(a) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Furthermore, the right to freedom of assembly and expression is guaranteed under the Indonesian Constitution and article 24 (1) of Law No. 39 of 1999 on Human Rights.

The Indonesian government, which is a signatory to the above conventions, needs to adhere to its obligations and respect the human rights of its citizens. This includes allowing peaceful protests and ending the arrest, detention, and abuse of protesters. The use of force by authorities, and any resulting injuries or fatalities, should be punished according to Indonesian law without fear or favour.

The government also needs to protect West Papuans from racially motivated attacks and discrimination from authorities, including the military, police, and judges. Indonesia prohibits discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity in civil, political, economic, social, and cultural life under Law No. 40 of 2008. The government, therefore, needs to adhere to its own legislation and ensure that the rights of West Papuans are protected under law.

Finally, the government should open West Papua to international human rights monitors and organizations to allow for investigations of past and current abuses. This will increase transparency in a remote region, where authorities continue to act with impunity.

While the trial of Isak Sattu offers hope to West Papuans that justice might be served for prior crimes, it equally represents the fundamental problems West Papuans face in accessing justice and enjoying their human rights.

After years of discrimination and state violence, West Papuans no longer trust the judicial system. This will only be rectified if the Indonesian government respects the human rights of all its citizens, including West Papuans, as per international and domestic law. Only then will West Papuans receive the justice they deserve.


4) Papua Legislative Council visits Ministry, explains special autonomy fund management
Special Autonomy Fund – News Desk
29 September 2022

Jayapura, Jubi – A number of Papua Legislative Council members visited the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs in Jakarta on Tuesday, September 27, 2022. The lawmakers explained the use of Papua’s Special Autonomy Fund to the Ministry’s Assistant Deputy I, Brig. Gen. Danu Prionggo.

Lawmaker John NR Gobai said that during the meeting, his party clarified several reports regarding the amount of Papua’s Special Autonomy Fund disbursement, as well as Minister Mahfud MD’s statement regarding wide corruption in Papua.

Gobai told Jubi via WhatsApp on Tuesday, Special Regional Regulation (Perdasus) No. 25/2013 and Perdasus No. 4/2019 stipulated that 80 percent of the Special Autonomy Fund received by the Papua Provincial Government was directly distributed to regency and city administrations in Papua. The remaining 20 percent is managed by the Papua Provincial Government to finance five joint affairs related to Papua Special Autonomy.

Gobai also mentioned the Village Fund, which since 2015 has been sent directly to local governments. According to him, the Ministry of Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration can directly check the management of the Village Fund by the local governments.

Further, Gobai explained that the Additional Infrastructure Fund had been used for the construction of roads, bridges, and various other infrastructures. He said regional funds that have entered the Papua Provincial Budget would be transferred according to the specific account code to each regional office to carry out development and public services.

Gobai questioned the government’s statement that hundreds of billions of Papua Special Autonomy Funds were misused. “It is wrong to call the funds misused in hundreds of billions of rupiah,” said Gobai.

Gobai asked the central government through the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs to improve the control system on the use of the Special Autonomy Fund. “In the regions, there are Treasury Claims and Claims for Compensation, as well as the Inspectorate, Supreme Audit Agency, and Regional People’s Representative Council. We should not blame each other because the government is a system,” said Gobai.

Mahfud made this statement amid the polemic over the alleged gratuity of Rp 1 billion received by Papua Governor Lukas Enembe, which was currently being investigated by the Corruption Eradication Commission KPK.

“The funds issued by the government during the Papua Special Autonomy amounted to Rp 1,000 trillion, and to no avail. The Papuan people remained poor. We cannot accept this. The State has been spending money but the people are still poor. Since Lukas Enembe took office, more than Rp 500 trillion has been disbursed. And yet, the Papuans are still poor,” Mahfud said in Malang, East Java, on September 23, 2022.

After this statement, various media reported Special Autonomy Fund of Rp 1,000 trillion had been corrupted worth Rp 1,000 trillion.

However, data compiled by Jubi shows that the total value of the Papua Special Autonomy Fund received by the Papua Provincial Government from 2002 to 2022 amounted to Rp 104,636 trillion. Meanwhile, the total value of the Papua Provincial Budget from 2002 to 2022 reached Rp 173,210 trillion.

On September 25, 2022, Special Staff of the Minister of Finance for Strategic Communication Yustinus Prastowo said on his Twitter account that Rp 1,092 trillion of state funds had been disbursed for local governments in Papua and West Papua Provinces from 2002 to 2022.

Prastowo further said the Additional Infrastructure Fund for Papua and West Papua from 2002 to 2022 was Rp138,65 trillion. In addition, there is the Transfer to Regions and Village Funds (TKDD) to Papua and West Papua from 2002 to 2022 of Rp 702,30 trillion. There is also the Ministry and Agency Expenditure to Papua and West Papua from 2002 to 2022 of Rp 251,29 trillion, managed by the central government through relevant ministries and agencies. (*)

Seven convicts of raising Morning Star released

September 29, 2022

Seven convicts of raising Morning Star released
Treason Convicts For Raising Morning Star Free – News Desk
28 September 2022

Jayapura, Jubi – Seven students who raised the Morning Star flag at Cenderawasih Sport Center, Jayapura on December 1, 2021, were released from Abepura Penitentiary on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, at 10:32 Papua time. They were released after serving 10 months in prison.

The seven students are Melvin Yobe (29), Melvin Fernando Waine (25), Devio Tekege (23), Yosep Ernesto Matuan (19), Maksimus Simon Petrus You (18), Lukas Kitok Uropmabin (21), and Ambrosius Fransiskus Elopere (21).

Upon their release, the students were immediately greeted by their families and lawyers. Their release was also closely guarded by police officers. A number of policemen were seen holding firearms.

Melvin Yobe was grateful that he and his friends were able to survive ten months of detention in good health. They also expressed their gratitude to everyone who has supported them so far.

Melvin Yobe said he would continue his fight for truth and justice in Papua. He said the struggle must continue because injustice continues to occur in Papua.

Helmi, the lawyer of the seven students, said it was time for them to be released. “The verdict was in August 2022 while they were arrested and detained in December 2021. Today is exactly ten months after their detention in prison so today they are free,” Helmi told Jubi

Helmi hoped that in the future, allegations against the Morning Star fliers could be resolved through non-court mechanisms. “Papua Special Autonomy Law No. 2/2021 stated that Papua has distinctive characteristics in the form of a regional symbol and its own flag, the Morning Star. So raising the Morning Star should not be a problem as long as it is interpreted as a cultural symbol,” he said.

Previously, on August 28, the panel of judges at the Jayapura District Court found the seven Morning Star raisers guilty of treason. They were each sentenced to 10 months in prison and required to pay compensation for state losses worth Rp 5,000.

However, the panel of judges stipulated that the sentence is fully deducted by the detention period that has been served. Therefore in September, Melvin Yobe and his friends are declared free for they have served 10 months in prison.

In the verdict, the panel of judges stated that the defendants’ actions of marching while shouting “Free Papua” and “We are not Red and White (Indonesian flag)” had fulfilled the elements of treason, as well as their action of unfurling banners with the words “Self Determination For West Papua, Stop West Papua Militarism” and “Indonesia Immediately Open Access for the UN Human Rights Commission Investigation Team to West Papua”.

The ruling also stated that the defendants’ call for the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) did not need to involve raising the Morning Star flag and marching while shouting “Free Papua”.

The panel of judges then returned the evidence of a koteka (male sheath), three noken (traditional woven bag), two bead necklaces, four jeans, five shirts, a jacket, two cellphone chargers, and three cellphones to the defendants.

However, some evidence namely a slingshot, two Morning Star flags and a banner were confiscated for destruction. (*)


2) Indonesian Red Cross presses for more volunteers in Papuan provinces
12 hours ago

Wamena, Papua Pegunungan (ANTARA) – The Indonesian Red Cross Society (PMI) Office in Papua pushed for more volunteers to be deployed in all cities and districts in Papuan provinces to optimize medical services for residents.

Head of the PMI Office in Papua Zakeus Degei stated that his office was currently collecting the data of PMI volunteers in the region.

"We want to ensure that (Red Cross) volunteers will be available throughout the Papuan regions, while we still collect data for the Papua Pegunungan region, as new volunteers in the region have just been inaugurated," Degei stated here, Tuesday.

He remarked that the Papua PMI also organized training sessions for volunteers expected to provide basic medical assistance for residents in their localities.

He pointed out that while training sessions had been organized in Mimika District, Central Papua, and Jayawijaya District, Papua Pegunungan, volunteers in Jayawijaya have received training on first aid and handling of dead bodies.

"This is only the beginning, as we will organize and encourage more training, particularly for ambulance crews and on basic first aid, as they will be the backbone of Red Cross Society activities in districts," Degei noted.

The regional PMI head affirmed that with the support of the International Red Cross Society, his office is ready to register volunteers in the online database system.

Meanwhile, Assistant I of Jayawijaya Regional Secretary Tinggal Wusono lauded PMI’s efforts to boost the capacity of residents, who volunteered in the Red Cross Society, to provide basic medical assistance for residents.

"We positively viewed this (development) as an effort to enhance our coordination to our collective duty to ensure that (PMI) activities can proceed effectively. We also support residents’ enthusiasm to partake as volunteers for PMI," Wusono stated.

Related news: PMI finds 514 blood bags contaminated with Hepatitis, HIV
Related news: PMI coordinates with Red Crescent to help Afghan quake victims

Reporter: Marius Frisson Y, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati


A Google translate.
Original Bahasa link

3) Brimob from North Sulawesi and Maluku Deployed to Jayapura, Papua
A total of three Brimob SSKs were assisted in securing Jayapura City

PengamananNews Desk
27 September 2022

Jayapura, Jubi TV– A total of three Company-level units or SSKs of the Maluku and North Sulawesi Brimob Units have been brought to Papua since 20 September 2022. The three Brimob SSKs were seconded in securing the City of Jayapura.

Head of Public Relations of the Papua Regional Police, Kombes Ahmad Mustofa Kamal said the addition of Brimob troops in Jayapura City was carried out to anticipate changes in the security situation after the appointment of the Governor of Papua, Lukas Enembe as a suspect in receiving gratuities worth Rp. 1 billion.

Nevertheless, Kamal emphasized that until now Jayapura City has remained conducive, even though Enembe’s supporters had rallied.

“We from the Police are always on standby to anticipate changes in the situation. However, we hope that we will maintain a safe and conducive situation. I’m sure the community will also be happy if the situation remains safe and conducive," said Kamal in Jayapura City, Tuesday (27/9/2022).

Kamal stated that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) would continue the law enforcement process in the case of alleged receipt of gratuities by the Governor of Papua. According to him, the Papuan Police are ready to help meet the needs of the KPK.

“We are always ready if the KPK asks for help. But we the police have the main task of protecting, nurturing, and serving the community," he said.

Kamal stressed that the police will try their best to provide a sense of security and comfort to everyone. He stated that all people have the same right to feel safe and comfortable in the Land of Papua.

"We always coordinate and communicate with all elements of society, leaders, and the TNI," he said. (*)


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The struggle of Freeport Papua workers enters its sixth year, which has claimed hundreds of lives

September 26, 2022

The struggle of Freeport Papua workers enters its sixth year, which has claimed hundreds of lives

Neglect of human rights violations without law enforcement

With an open heart and mind.

For the sake of upholding labor law in Papua;

For the sake of saving tens of thousands of human souls;

For the sake of justice and humanity inherent in .

PT Freeport Indonesia has violated business ethics and violated the law. Rights are based on human dignity and the dignity of all human beings is the same. Because rights are very compatible with the atmosphere of democratic thought. PT Freeport Indonesia is very unethical where the obligations to employees have not fulfilled the basic rights of workers. Even though PT Freeport Indonesia is an international mine. As a founding member of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), Freeport-McMoRan adheres to the ICMM Sustainable Development Framework, and this commitment underlies our efforts to recognize and manage challenges and opportunities across our operations and are committed to operating in accordance with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Indonesian laws and regulations. As is known, a violation of Human Rights is any act of a person or group of persons including state officials whether intentional or unintentional or negligent, restricting, and or depriving a person or group of people of human rights guaranteed by law, and not obtaining, or fearing that it will not obtain a fair and correct legal settlement, based on the applicable legal mechanisms. (article 1 number 6 of Law 39 of 1999 of the Indonesian Human Rights Law).

Background to the Strike

The strike is the result of a long-term dispute between Freeport McMoran and the Indonesian government over control of the Grasberg mine, which accounts for almost 98 per cent of Freeport’s gold production and 25 per cent of its copper production globally. The Indonesian government had demanded to enforce a Mineral and Coal Law that mandated the government to renegotiate and change the basis of operation from Contract of Work (CoW) regime to the Special Permit (IUPK) and take over a 51 per cent stake in the mine. To achieve these purposes, the Indonesia n government had banned Freeport’s export following the rejection of the Company. In response, Freeport slowed production and began laying off workers, triggering the strike. Specifically, PTFI put approximately 10% or 12.000 of its workforce on furlough (long-term leave) to cut costs. CEMWU (the Chemical, Energy and Mines Workers Union) –PUK SPKEP SPSI PT.FI began a strike action against the Company’s imposition of the furlough policy, which violates the collective agreement, and in protest against the Company’s repeated refusal to negotiate over essential labor matters such as compensation and job security. Freeport refused to recognize the legality of the strike and said it would consider striking workers to be absent without leave and considered as “voluntary resignation.” As of late June, in total PTFI had dismissed 3274 workers when the company deemed they had “voluntarily resigned” by participating in the strike.

Jokowi’s unfulfilled promise

On 13 February 2019, after nine days of demonstration in front of the presidential palace, Jokowi finally allowed the representative of the workers to meet him. In the meeting, Jokowi promised to call the PTFI to find the win-win solution for all parties. However, until now, there is no progress on this. As a majority shareholder in PTFI, Indonesian government also has responsibility to resolve the case and respect the workers rights.The facts of the legal acts of the Government (Ruler) are structured systematically and massively as follows:

  1. 2 (two) recommendation letters from the national human rights commission to the President of the Republic of Indonesia in 2017 and 2018 have not been followed up.
  2. Recommendation letter from the Ministry of Law and Human Rights through the Director General of Human Rights 2022.

State violations by omission occur when the state does not take an action or fails to take further action necessary to carry out its obligations.

Examination of the Strike Case by The State Labour Inspectorate of the Province of Papua

The striking case of the Freeport’s workers has been examined and declared fully legal by the Labour Inspectorate of the Province of Papua. Previously, in communications That commenced in June 2017, the Trade Union submitted to the Labour Inspector a complaint on the allegation of the violation of Freedom of Association and the right to strike. From that time until August 2018, however, the Labour Inspector refused to investigate without any formal explanation to the Union.

According to the Union representative, there was informal communication between Union and the Inspectorate Officer that revealed the real problem behind the inactiveness of the Inspectorate. The Labour Inspector was told by the Union that they required technical assistance and agreement from the central office to launch the
pro-judicial inquiry.

In September 2018, the Office of Labour Inspectorate in Papua released its preliminary inquiry and concluded that the strike action was entirely lawful. Their legal examination to the strike and the dismissal of the strikers found that contradict with the claim of the Company, the Inspectors found that the strike complied with the article 137 and Article 140 Para 1, 2 and 3 Law No. 13/2003 on Labour. In addition, they also fund that the claim of the Company to decide that the strikers voluntarily resigned has no legal basis and breached article No. 151 Para 1, 2 and 4 Law No. 13/2003 on Labour. They alerted the Company to respect the right of workers and the Union to strike. In response to the result of the inspectorate’s inquiry, the Company, however, refused to recognise that conclusion and insisted on challenging the workers to settle the dispute at the Industrial Relations Court.The refusal of the Company to comply with the inspectorate inquiry may bring serious legal consequences. According to the Indonesian Labour Law, since the strike was declared admissible, the Company has no right to dismiss the workers. The company’s refusal to respect this declaration should be recognised as a crime.

As a responsible shareholder in Freeport-McMoRan, we urge you to consider:
• Entering into dialogue with Freeport-McMoRan and engaging it on the alleged human rights abuses at its Indonesian subsidiary PTFI.
• Asking Freeport how it is ensuring that the rights of workers at PTFI are respected.
• Asking the Company why it is not reinstating the workers that its subsidiary, PTFI, fired for exercising their right to strike;
• Asking the Company how to settle the case of striking workers immediately based on win-win solution option;
• Asking the Company how it is ensuring that its mass firing and the attendant loss of income and basic services for thousands of families don’t generate a humanitarian crisis.

On this basis, we expect the support of various relevant parties to conduct public education on the importance of protection and respect for workers' rights. They are not just "development machines", but in fact they are dignified human beings.
# Fiat justitia ruat coelum.' -justice must be realized regardless of the consequences.
# Fiat justitia et pereat mundus.' -let justice be upheld even though the world must perish. 


Coalition of strike worker Papuans concerned about human rights




 John M. Miller Coordinator, East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) PO Box 1663, NY, NY 10035-1663 USA Phone: (917)690-4391 Twitter/Instagram: @etan009 

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wp 1) Benny Giay: The reality behind West Papua’s ‘land of peace’ facade

September 21, 2022

Benny Giay: The reality behind West Papua’s ‘land of peace’ facade

By APR editor – September 20, 2022

Indonesian police manhandle Reverend Dr Benny Giay as they remove him from in front of the Papuan People’s Representative Council in Jayapura last month. He is heard on a video saying to the security forces: "Listen, listen – if Indonesia is a good and upright country, then obey its constitution". Image: Screenshot from a TikTok video/@picturegami_photoAPR

OPEN LETTER: By Reverend Dr Benny Giay

The notion that Papua is the “Land of Peace” has no substance.

Many feel that this phrase “Papua Tanah Damai” or “Papua Land of Peace” only conceals the reality of Papua. In recognition of that, we would like to convey our observations about the current crisis in Papua.

Besides reading media news reports about today’s planned rally supporting Papua Governor Lukas Enembe, I also read a letter from the People of Indonesia’s Archipelago urging its followers living in Papua to arm themselves, guard the mosque, and give their children a holiday on Monday.

It is important to note that these developments can be viewed from two perspectives — the “criminalised” Enembe became a symbol of resistance by Indigenous Papuans who have been treated like second-class citizens for 59 years; and the Nusantara militias backed by “bigwigs” (as seen in the Racism Protests of 29 August 2019).

Who are the bigwigs? And how do they operate?

Papua was managed by Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI) — the Indonesian National Armed Forces — during the Suharto era.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, however, is more concerned with the role of the Indonesian National Police.

‘Criminalising’ Enembe
According to the Papuan Council of Churches, in 2021 the Indonesian National Police took over in Papua and it was led by Tito Karnavians, the Head of the State Intelligence Agency (Budi Gunawan), and Paulus Waterpauw, the Papua Police Chief.

Currently, central government officials are involved in criminalising Enembe, including the Chief of State Intelligence Agency and the anti-corruption agency KPK, as well as Ferdy Sambo, who is the focus of media attention in Jakarta and Papua.

Taking into account the current crisis in Papua, from the perspective of the state actors, and in particular the alarming letter of Nusantara, an armed group that was part of the August 29 anti-racism protest, we ask: Is tomorrow any better?

Perhaps the political party opposing the Democratic Party, is criminalising Governor Enembe (as its chairman) in order to gain votes in the 2024 elections for its party?

A candidate for governor, an ambitious successor looking to depose Enembe prematurely before the 2024 elections? Another instance of the central government interfering in Papua’s affairs.

The victims behind Enembe
Who is behind Enembe? Recently activists (and their relatives) who have been protesting against racism — which has now been branded as “treason” — are the victims of state violence (by officials).

These headaches for the Papuan victims have occurred since early December 2018 in Nduga regency, Intan Jaya, Puncak, Pegunungan Bintang, Maybrat Sorong, and Surua Yahukimo; families and relatives of four mutilated residents of Nduga who were only cremated two days ago; and families and relatives of Mapi residents who were murdered on 30 August 2022 among others.

The victims of these episodes of violence ask: How can KPK criminalise governor Enembe when they failed to arrest [current regent] Romanus Baraka in Merauke, who alleged in the name of Jesus that (Representative) Jan Mandenas and he were involved in corruption?

Why hasn’t the KPK arrested PDIP [Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle] official Komarudin Watubun? Why?

It is common for the parties we mentioned above, particularly the strong ones, to play together. Parties like these enjoy destroying weaker opponents. The actions of Ferdy Sambo in Jakarta illustrate this.

Reverend Dr Benny Giay’s West Papua Council of Churches open pastoral letter in Bahasa yesterday – a plea for genuine peace. Image: APR

Promote peace, dialogue
Therefore, we invite all members of the congregation and the community here to promote peace, dialogue, and communication.

It is only natural that we demand our dignity and respect. However, do not demand sharp tools and weapons — not with anarchy and savagery. Whenever possible, keep the area free of turmoil and bloodshed.

In Jayapura, Abepura, Sentani and throughout the Land of Papua, we ask security forces to grant the victims a voice today and tomorrow. We want to see the security forces escorting the masses on September 20, 2022, to be more humanist to ensure the safety and well-being of the masses.

Reverend Dr Benny Giay is a West Papuan theologian, social anthropologist, and an activist. He is ordained as a pastor in the Kemah Injil Church (KINGMI) (Gospel Tabernacle Church) and in 2010 assumed leadership of the Kingmi Synod of the Evangelical Christian Church of West Papua. This open letter was written yesterday as an appeal for peace ahead of today’s planned rally in Jayapura and has been translated by Yamin Kogoya, a contributor to Asia Pacific Report.


2) Alleged persecution of Mappi residents uses wood, electric cables, bamboo, and water hoses
Persecution Of Mappi Residents By TNI –
News Desk 20 September 2022

Jayapura, Jubi – The Papua Office of the National Commission on Humans Rights (Komnas HAM Papua) has released the results of its investigation into the alleged persecution by soldiers of the Raider 600/Modang Infantry Battalion that led to the death of a resident of Mappi Regency named Bruno Amenim Kimko.

Bruno Amenim Kimko and Yohanis Kanggun were tortured for eight hours using wood, electric cables, bamboo, and water hoses. This was stated by Head of Komnas HAM PapuaFrits Ramandey in Jayapura City on Monday, September 19, 2022.

According to the chronology of the persecution compiled by Komnas HAM Papua, on August 30, 2022, Bruno Amenim Kimko was reported by AY on charges of attempted rape against his female relative. AY reported to the soldiers of the Raider 600/Modang Infantry Battalion who were on guard at the Bade Post.

AY’s report was received by Second Pvt. Achmad Roof, who immediately reported to his superior, Second Sgt. Diki Wahyudi as the squad commander. Achmad Roof then invited nine other soldiers to arrest Bruno Amenim Kimko and Yohanis Wem Kanggun, and brought them to Bade Post.

“They reported to the deputy commander of the Post that they were leaving,” Ramandey said.

Yohanis Wem Kanggun ran away but was eventually caught and brought to Bade Post as well. From 8 a.m to 4 p.m., Kanggun and Kimko were tortured by the soldiers repeatedly in the yard. Kanggun even told Komnas HAM Papua that he and Kimko were put into a muddy pond.

“The persecution was repeated over and over again. Someone came, hit them, then left. Other people came, hit them, and left again. Then they were immersed in a muddy pond. That was the testimony of the survivor Yohanis Wem Kanggun. The two of them were initially put in one place but Kanggun was then moved to another place at around 5 p.m. Kanggun saw Kimko already in a helpless state, even suspected to have died at 5 p.m.,” said Ramandey.

Ramandey said Kanggun and Kimko were beaten in turn by more than 10 soldiers from the Bade Post. Diki Wahyudi, for example, admitted to torturing the victims using bamboo seven times.

“They were told to lie on their stomachs down and tortured. Diki admitted to hitting them seven times. The others committed the same torture using the same bamboo and bua wood from a mangrove tree. Kanggun claimed they were tortured using bua wood, electric cables the size of a finger, bamboo, and a water hose. It is suspected that the victim died due to repeated abuse,” Ramandey said.

According to Ramandey, Bruno Amenim Kimko’s post-mortem revealed that the victim suffered head and neck injuries. The victim’s left shoulder and right shoulder were bruised. There was an open wound on the victim’s chest. There was also a bruise on the victim’s abdomen. Black bruises were also found on the victim’s back and right and left thighs.

Kanggun did not suffer any head or neck injuries but his right and left shoulders were bruised and full of scratches. Kanggun’s chest was also purplish-blue. His thighs were scratched and blackened, his back was injured, and the rest of his body was bruised.

The two were also forced to rub their genitals with balsam. “The TNI members brought balsam, then they were forced to rub their genitals with it and apologize to the complainant. It was very sadistic. Yohanis Kanggun is now traumatized to see members of the TNI,” Ramandey said.

Komnas HAM Papua urged the TNI Commander and Army Chief of Staff to evaluate the assignment of Yonif Raider 600/Modang from VI/Mulawarman Military Region Command in Papua.

Komnas HAM Papua also requested that the legal process against the Commander of the Yonif Raider 600/Modang Task Force, Commander of the Bade Post, Deputy Commander of the Bade Post and the soldiers involved in the persecution be carried out in Papua.

“Law enforcement against all members, whether it is 10, 18, or 22 soldiers, must be carried out within the territory of XVII/Cenderawasih Military Command. Until now their status has not been determined as suspects,” said Ramandey. (*)


3) Police deployed in sensitive areas of Papua’s Jayawijaya
6 hours ago

Wamena, Papua (ANTARA) – Chief of the Jayawijaya Resort Police in Papua Adjunct Senior Commissioner Hesman Napitupulu informed on Tuesday that he has deployed personnel in sensitive areas of Jayawijaya in response to ongoing developments in Jayapura.

By doing so, residents will hopefully not be easily incited by the current situation outside Jayawijaya, he said.

Related news: Gov’t disburses Rp214 bln in fuel cash assistance in West Papua

"We are deploying our personnel in busy and vulnerable areas while monitoring the activities of local residents. They also advise the residents to remain calm while carrying out activities," he informed.

In addition, the police will continue conducting patrols across Wamena, the capital of Jayawijaya district, he said.

The security situation in the city has so far remained under control, he added.

Related news: Papua to provide Rp10 billion grant for three new provinces

"So far, the security situation is still under control with the public carrying out their activities as usual," he said.

He called on the public to help the police maintain the conducive situation.

According to information received by ANTARA, scores of residents in the provincial capital Jayapura had gathered to stage a rally on Tuesday. Both Jayawijaya police and the community have expressed concern that a similar situation may develop in Jayawijaya.

Related news: Enembe corruption includes irregularities worth billions of rupiah

Related news: Enembe graft probe not a political fake out: minister

Reporter: Marius Frisson Y, Suharto
Editor: Fardah Assegaf

West Papua atrocity – a warning to Jakarta for impartial investigation

September 5, 2022

West Papua atrocity – a warning to Jakarta for impartial investigation
By APR editor – September 5, 2022

COMMENT: By Robbie Newton of Human Rights Watch

Authorities arrested six Indonesian soldiers last week suspected in the killing and mutilation of four Indigenous Papuans in Indonesia’s West Papua province.

The bodies of the four men were discovered on August 26 by local residents of Iwaka village, outside the town of Timika, in sacks floating down the Pigapu River.

The victims were identified as Irian Nirigi, a local village leader, Arnold Lokbere, Atis Tini, and Kelemanus Nirigi. It is not clear why the men were killed.

The authorities claimed they were insurgents and were allegedly on their way to meet someone in Timika to purchase weapons.

The men’s families deny this, saying they were carrying money from the village fund to purchase agricultural equipment. What is clear is the money the men were carrying is gone.

The killings come at a time of rising tensions between the Indigenous people of Papua and the Indonesian security forces, with incidents of violence becoming increasingly frequent and deadly.

Last month, unidentified persons shot dead nine non-Papuan civilians in Nduga, where the Indonesian government maintains a heavy military presence.

Anti-racism protests
This violence follows a series of anti-racism protestsusing the hashtag #PapuanLivesMatter, responding in part to President Joko Widodo’s contentious move to divide Papua and West Papua into four separate provinces.

Activists are raising concerns that the plans will lead to the further militarisation of the region, with critics describing it as a ploy to “divide and conquer” the Indigenous Papuans.

President Jokowi, once celebrated for releasing Papuan political prisoners in 2015, leads a government responsible for systemic discrimination against Papuan

Last week he was in Timika, in part to visit the Freeport project and surrounding areas, which is the site of the largest gold mine in the world.

It is important that the authorities fairly and appropriately prosecute the soldiers arrested and any others implicated in the killings.

But the Indonesian government needs to address the deteriorating human rights situation in Papua by conducting an independent and impartial investigation into the involvement of the security forces more generally in atrocities against Indigenous Papuans, and keeping its promise to invite United Nations human rights monitors to visit the region.

Robbie Newton is Asia coordinator of Human Rights Watch.

Security approach in Papua should be reevaluated in light of latest murders: Observer

September 3, 2022

Security approach in Papua should be reevaluated in light of latest murders: Observer – September 2, 2022

Aryo Putranto Saptohutomo, Jakarta – Military observer Al Araf believes that the case of the Army personnel who were involved in the mutilation and murder of four civilians in Mimika should be used as a consideration for the government to reevaluate the military approach in resolving the conflict in Papua.

"It is important for the government to reevaluate the security policies and military operations in Papua as an approach to settle the conflict", said Araf when contacted by Kompas.comon Thursday September 1.

The chairperson of the Centra Initiative management board and senior investigator with Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) said that the government must focus on preparing other solutions to settle the conflict in Papua other then deploying military force.

He believes that the military approach which has been employed for years and years has still never resolved the roots of the problem.

"The government must focus on developing a new way to settle the Papua conflict by peaceful means and through peaceful dialogue", said Araf.

Araf believes that the most objective mechanism to try the murder and mutilation case is through a public trial. This however cannot be applied because trying military personnel and civilians has to be done separately.

"Although there is the obstacle of active military personnel being subject to a military trial, this does not mean that they cannot be tried in a public trial", said Araf.

According to National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), there have been 1,182 incidents of violence in Papua between 2020 and 2021.

Komnas HAM has stated that the parties committing the violence in Papua over this period were the TNI (Indonesian military) and the Polri (Indonesian police) along with the Free Papua Organisation (OPM) or armed criminal groups (KKB).

Out of this total, as many as 41.31 percent of cases were related to the work of the police.

According to Komnas HAM Commissioner Choirul Anam, the forms of violence against civilians in Papua include armed contacts, shootings, assault with sharp weapons, fires and damage to goods and property.

In addition to this, the acts of violence committed by the TNI/Polri and the OPM/KKB have also claimed lives. According to Anam’s records, 24 people died out of 47 people who were victims of violence in Papua in 2020-2021.

There is also concern that the recent case of the murder and mutilation of civilians by members of the Army will trigger new tensions between the security forces and local populations.

Speaking separately, Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) public defender Teo Reffelsen believes that the actions of those who committed the mutilations were general crimes so they must be prosecuted in a public trial as regulated under Article 65 Paragraph (2) of Law Number 34/2004 on the TNI.

"We emphasise that all of them must be prosecuted and tried through a judicial process which is fair, free and unbias, so that the entire process can be monitored by the public and to ensure the fulfillment of the victims’ and the families’ rights along with preventing impunity from happening", said Reffelsen during a press conference on Wednesday August 31.

Aside from urging that the six TNI personnel to be tried in a public court, the LBH Jakarta is also urged that the involvement of independent institutions such the Komnas HAM.

"Or if necessary the government could form a joint fact finding team (TGPF) which is directly responsible to the president to ensure that the entire process is transparent and accountable", said Reffelsen.

The Komnas HAM has also conveyed a view on the desire for openness in handling the case. Choirul Anam has praised the TNI for moving quickly to deal with the case, declaring several people as suspects and announcing this to the public.

To reinforce this however, Anam hopes that the legal process against the TNI personnel who are suspects in the mutilation case will be open and transparent.

"A good intent must be shown by our TNI friends, in what way? A legal process (which is) transparent, accountable", Anam told on Tuesday August 30.

According to TNI commander General Andika Perkasa, so far the number of Army personnel who were allegedly involved in the robbery, murder and mutilation of the victims has grown to eight people.

Two other rogue members from the Army are suspected of accepting 250 million rupiah in stolen money belonging to the victims.

"From the results of the investigation which is being conducted, there are two more people who we have questioned. These two also enjoyed the proceeds of the crime", said Perkasa on Wednesday evening.

According to Perkasa, the six TNI members who have now been declared as suspects in the case are two infantry officers, namely Infantry Major HF Infantry Captain DK, along with Master Private PR and Privates First-Class RAS, RPC and R.

The four civilian suspects meanwhile are APL alias J, DU, R and RMH, who are being dealt with by the police.

“Meanwhile their motive was money", said Army military police central commander (Danpuspomad) Lieutenant General Chandra W Sukotjo when contacted by on Tuesday evening.

While the case is being developed, the six Army personnel will be detained temporarily for 20 days from August 29 to September 17. The six are being held at the Mimika XVII/C Military Police Sub-Detachment detention centre.

Sukotjo said that the six are being temporarily detained in order to facilitate questioning and the investigation, as well as to resolve the case sooner. "We are endeavoring to fully resolve this case as quickly as possible", asserted the three-star general.

The suspects are believed to have intended to rob the victims by luring the four with the enticement of selling AK-47 assault rifles. The four victims brought money amounting to 250 million rupiah in accordance with the value of the weapons to be sold.

The victims and the perpetrators then met in New Mimika district on August 22 at around 9.50 pm local time. The perpetrators however, killed them instead of making the exchange.

The bodies of three of the victims have been identified as Arnold Lokbere, Irian Nirigi and Leman Nirigi. The forth body meanwhile, has not yet been identified. One of the victims is said to be a village head in Nduga district and a KKB sympathiser.

Following the murders, the perpetrators loaded the bodies onto the victims’ truck and took them to the Pigapu Village River in Iwaka district for disposal.

Prior to being disposed of in the river, all the bodies were mutilated and placed in sacks. The perpetrators then headed to the road leading into Galian C Kali Iwaka to burn the Toyota Calya car rented by the victims.

The next day, the perpetrators again gathered at a warehouse owned by APL and divided up the 250 million rupiah.

On the same day, police found the victims’ burnt out vehicle and on Friday August 26 local community members and police found one of the victims known by the initials AL.

One day later, on Saturday August 27, local community members found another body in the Pigapu Village River. Police then found yet another mutilated body in the river on Monday August 29.

It is now reported that all the bodies of the victims have been found and a forensic team has been brought in from Jayapura to carry out the autopsies.

AWPA condemns the brutal killing of 4 West Papuan civilians +Photos from todays rally in Sydney.

August 30, 2022

Statement – AWPA condemns the brutal killing of 4 West Papuan civilians

+ Photos from todays rally in Sydney. The International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances

Australian West Papua Association (Sydney)

Statement – AWPA condemns the brutal killing of 4 West Papuan civilians

30 August 2022

AWPA condemns the brutal killing of 4 West Papuan civilians in Pigapu-Logopon Village in the Mimika Regency in Papua. The victims were residents of neighbouring Nduga district where there are regular clashes between the Indonesian security forces and the Free Papua movement.

Local media has reported that the mutilated bodies were found in sacks. Residents from the local village were shocked to find four sacks in the nearby river. The sacks contained headless and legless torsos.

Joe Collins of AWPA said, “although six elite troops who are accused of involvement in the killing were arrested, it should be remembered that it’s rare for Indonesian security forces to be put on trial for human rights abuses in West Papua. Those that are usually receive very light sentences." An example is the killing of Chief Theys Eluay in 2001 by Kopassus officers. In the end four Kopassus soldiers were convicted and sentenced to just a couple of years for the killing. The Commander in Chief of the Indonesian army at the time said, the soldiers should be considered heroes . What did they do wrong? all the did was kill a rebel leader.

Joe Collins said, "it should also be remembered that Australia is involved in training and aiding the Indonesian security forces. If the idea is to make the Indonesian military more professional, the behaviour of the Indonesian troops in West Papua shows it is a total failure.?

The 30 August is the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

In March of these year UN human rights experts expressed serious concerns about the deteriorating human rights situation in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua, citing shocking abuses against indigenous Papuans, including child killings, disappearances, torture and mass displacement of people.

Joe Collins said, "According to Canberra we have a special relationship with Indonesia. It’s time for Canberra to use its good will with Indonesia to call on Jakarta to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to be allowed into West Papua to conduct an urgent independent investigation into the human rights situation as other Pacific leaders have done."

Lawyer reads out defense memorandum, asks court to release seven Morning Star raisers

August 24, 2022

Lawyer reads out defense memorandum, asks court to release seven Morning Star raisers
Alleged Treason Trial – News Desk 24 August 2022

Jayapura, Jubi – Emanuel Gobay of the Papua Coalition for Law Enforcement and Human Rights, the legal counsel for the seven Morning Star raisers charged with treason, read out their defense memorandum in a trial at the Jayapura District Court on Monday, August 22, 2022. In the defense memorandum, the coalition asked the panel of judges to acquit the seven defendants from all charges and demands.

The seven defendants are Melvin Yobe (29), Melvin Fernando Waine (25), Devio Tekege (23), Yosep Ernesto Matuan (19), Maksimus Simon Petrus You (18), Lukas Kitok Uropmabin (21), and Ambrosius Fransiskus Elopere (21). They were charged with treason for raising the Morning Star flag at Cenderawasih Sports Centre in Jayapura City on December 1, 2021.

The trial was led by a panel of judges at the Jayapura District Court presided by RF Tampubolon, with member judges Mathius and Iriyanto T.

The coalition stated that the Public Prosecutor could not prove legally and convincingly that the seven defendants committed treason as referred to in Article 106 of the Criminal Code Jo Article 55 Paragraph (1) to 1 Criminal Code.

The coalition elaborated that the action carried out by Melvin Yobe and his friends on December 1, 2021, was no other than celebrating a cultural birthday for the Papuan people, especially when there were no efforts by the Indonesian government to reconstruct Papua’s history as Papuan people pleased.

“The Morning Star-raising and the march were part of the demand for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to clarify the history of Papua, as mandated by Law No. 2/2021 on the Second Amendment to Law No. 21/2001 concerning Special Autonomy for Papua,” said Gobay reading out the memorandum of defense.

The memorandum of defense further stated that the defendant’s actions did not disrupt public activities or public order. The defendants also did not resist when arrested by the police.

The coalition also argued that the Morning Star flag was part of the expression of a cultural symbol. Whenever the flag is raised, does not necessarily mean Papua separates itself from Indonesia.

The coalition stated that five of the 17 witnesses presented by the public prosecutor did not know about the legal basis that prohibited the Morning Star flag in Indonesia. The witnesses also said that the raising of the Morning Star by the defendants did not immediately free Papua.

In the defense memorandum, the coalition emphasized that the public prosecutor was also unable to present an expert witness to explain the treason article charged against Melvin Yobe and his friends.

“Therefore, the treason article charged against the defendants cannot be proven by the public prosecutor, on the grounds that the public prosecutor was unable to present an expert witness in the trial,” said Gobay.

The memorandum of defense stated that the treason charge against Melvin Yobe and his friends was part of the police’s attempt to misuse the treason article and criminalize freedom of expression in public, which is the spirit of the 1945 Constitution. The coalition also questioned the police who arrested the seven Morning Star fliers without a warrant.

Gobay asked the panel of judges to acquit the seven defendants from all charges and demands of the Public Prosecutor. “As well as rehabilitating the good name of Melvin Yobe and his friends in the community, and charging the costs of the case to the state,” read Emanuel Gobay.

After listening to the defense memorandum, the panel of judges adjourned the hearing until Wednesday, August 24. In Wednesday’s hearing, the public prosecutor will submit a response to the defense memorandum of the Papua Coalition of Law Enforcement and Human Rights. (*)

Writer: News DeskEditor: News Desk