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April 22, 2015

21 April 2015


by Nithin Coca

It is a region rich in natural resources, the biggest source of tax revenue for the fourth most populous country in the world and, under de-facto military rule, it is a place where activists are jailed, tortured, disappeared and assassinated.

So why doesn’t the world know more about West Papua?

Quite simply, because Indonesia’s restive, easternmost region is home to “one of the least covered armed conflicts in the world,” said Bob Dietz, Asia-Pacific director for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), of the more than 50-year conflict.

There are no official statistics but estimates put the number of Papuans killed by Indonesian authorities at anywhere between100,000 and 500,000 people.

Four decades of heavy restrictions on media and human rights groups’ access to West Papua has resulted in a near media blackout.

Linked to all this is a United States-based mining giant, Freeport-McMoRan.

Though its Phoenix, Arizona headquarters is almost 15,000 kilometres away from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, it is the country’s largest taxpayer.

In 2014, Freeport contributed a massive US$1.5 billion to the Indonesian state coffers.

Not surprisingly, a huge percentage of its profits and revenue depends on its Papua operations – and this has wider implications.

“Freeport needs a lot of government security support to operate,” said Andreas Harsono, Indonesia researcher with Human Rights Watch.

“In remote areas like Papua, this means less monitoring and more potential rights abuses taking place in their mining operations.”

In fact, national police and military are in charge of ‘maintaining order’ so that copper and gold can be safely extracted, and tax revenues can flow into Jakarta.

Freeport’s massive Grasberg mine – one of the largest open-pit mines in the world, with a minority stake held by global mining giant Rio Tinto – is essentially closed off to outside access.

“I like to joke that even if Jesus Christ wanted to visit [West] Papua, I don’t think he would get a permit,” said Harsono, noting that official permission requires signatures from 18 separate ministries and security agencies – an impossible task.

“Any bureaucracy that requires so many signatures to get a permit means there must be something terribly wrong in the area they want to enter.”

A history of oppression

West Papua (known by the Jakarta administration simply as Papua) forms the western half of the island of New Guinea (the eastern half being the independent nation of Papua New Guinea) and has long been a crown jewel for aspiring global powers.

It has, at various times, been controlled by Germany, The Netherlands and Australia, before it was annexed by Indonesia in 1969 in a military-run election in which about 1,000 hand-picked representatives were forced to vote for ascension.

West Papua was then ruled with the strongest of iron fists during Indonesia’s ‘New Order’ era under General Suharto.

“Suharto was a brutal dictator who savagely treated Papuans like animals and ordered many bombings and massacres in West Papua,” Benny Wenda, leader of the Free West Papua campaign toldEqual Times.

These attacks were aimed chiefly at destroying the region’s independence aspirations and forcing its people to become Indonesians.

Wenda currently lives in exile in the United Kingdom, travelling around the world to raise awareness of the brutal atrocities committed by Indonesia against his people.

He witnessed this personally, when, as a child, the Indonesian military bombed his village and killed members of his family.

Natural resources have played a crucial role in the trajectory of Papuan history.

Just four years after its annexation, Freeport arrived, marking the beginning of a long relationship which has proved prosperous for the company, the Indonesian government and few others.

Meanwhile, the people of West Papua have endured great pain and suffering.

There was hope when Suharto’s dictatorship fell in 1998, bringing free elections to the archipelago, and even an independence referendum in East Timor, which was itself invaded and annexed by Indonesia in 1975, and faced similar, bloody oppression.

It turned out to be false hope for West Papua.

“It looked as though an independence referendum was imminent but the new Indonesian government became incredibly scared of losing West Papua,” said Wenda.

“So [Papuan independence leader] Theys Eluay was murdered by the Indonesian authorities, and ever since then, the situation in West Papua has only declined. There have been no real attempts to help with human rights or self-determination from any Indonesian government since.”

What has changed, however, has been an even greater investment in resource development, and the continued inflow of migrants from Java and Sumatra, Indonesia’s two most populous islands, into West Papua to manage resource development.

“Indonesia’s in-country migration is coming close to making Papuans a minority in their traditional homeland,” said Dietz.

Of a population of 3.5 million, only about half are from the hundreds of Melanesian Papuan ethnic groups, with the remainder of the population coming from Javanese, Sundanese, Malay and Madurese migrants, nearly all of whom have arrived since 1969.

Moreover, Indonesia plans to further exploit Papua by expanding palm oil plantations into traditionally-held forested land, and increasing downstream mining revenue by building smelters and other industrial facilities along the coast.

“I’m concerned with how the government uses [all this] tax money,” said Eric Samudra, a Jakarta-based governance researcher. “Is it being used for the good of the people, especially Papuans? The answer, obviously, is no.”

Disengaged public

Despite the news of police killing four protesters in December, many Indonesians remain silent on their government’s occupation of a minority, mostly non-Islamic people who have been waging a low-level insurgency for freedom and justice.

“The problem is most people choose not to do anything about it, while some others believe that nothing can be done,” said Samudra.

However, recent documentaries such as the Oscar-nominated The Act of Killing are slowly opening Indonesians eyes to the country’s troubled past, which includes a bloody repression of its nascent Communist Party in the 1960s.

John M. Miller, the National Coordinator of the East Timor & Indonesia Action Network, who publishes a monthly update on the situation in West Papua, believes that while public awareness is growing, it still has a long way to go before real change can occur.

“The silence is beginning to be broken, but a broad understanding isn’t there yet.”

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo promised to bring greater development and autonomy to Indonesia’s outer islands, and the December killings brought Papua to the forefront of his administration’s efforts.

But questions remain about whether he will really be able to change the Papua situation.

“We believe President Jokowi would like to make a difference in Papua, and he has already made some moves to do that,” said Harsono, pointing to the president’s pledge to visit Papua frequently and listen to local concerns.

“But moving the security and civilian bureaucracy over [West] Papua is not easy.”

That is one reason why many Papuan activists, including Wenda, are tired of empty words and want a referendum.

“We do not believe that any outcome other than full independence for West Papua can ever be a solution.”

On the ground, government policy seems to be going in the opposite direction.

A case in point: the recently-announced smelter, to be operated by Freeport and an Indonesian partner, will be built on traditional Kamoro lands in the Arafura coast, south of Freeport’s existing mining operations in the region.

The smelter was negotiated directly between the Indonesian government and Freeport, with no say or consultation from the local people.

Not surprisingly, locals groups oppose the smelter, which they fear will further pollute their lands and destroy their traditional way of living. If plans move forward, tensions will likely rise.

Dominikus Mitoro, acting chair of the Kamoro indigenous consultative organisation leadership council, stated publicly that “Freeport or any other investor will encounter endless problems,” and that “no business will run smoothly until it leaves [our lands]."

According to activists, now more than ever, media access to West Papua is crucial in order to bring global attention to the planned smelter, and to give the world a true understanding of the human rights situation in the region – and Freeport’s role in it.

But that access seems unlikely for now.

“Indonesia’s leaders appear determined not to lose another part of its far-flung archipelago by having troublesome reporters, international or Indonesian, expose what is happening in Papua,” said Dietz.

Freeport McMoRan declined to comment on this story.

Lest We Forget

April 22, 2015

West Papua –“Lest we forget”

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

West Papua –“Lest we forget”

As Anzacday approaches and Australians and New Zealanders remember those who fought and lost their lives on ANZAC day, it is hoped we will also remember the unfree people of the Pacific region and in particular those who are still suffering from human rights abuses in the ongoing conflict in West Papua.

Lest we forget. The five protesters who were killed and at least 17 others injured when Indonesian security forces opened fire on approximately 800 peaceful demonstrators, including women and children in Paniai district on the 8 December 2014.

Lest we forget. The Assassination of Chief Theys Eluay


Chief Theys Hiyo Eluay, the chairperson of the Papuan Presidium Council, was abducted by Kopassus soldiers on 10 November 2001, shortly after attending an event at the Kopassus base near Jayapura. His body was found the following day showing signs of strangulation. Although at first the military denied its involvement in the killing eventually members of the army’s special Kopassus forces were put on trial. A military court on Monday the 21 April 2003, found seven Kopassus special forces soldiers guilty of involvement in the death of Chief Theys Eluay. However, the soldiers received light sentences of imprisonment ranging from two to three-and-a-half years.

The new Minister for Defense Ryamizard Ryacudu in Jokowi’s government who was chief of staff at the time of Theys assassination was quoted as saying, ‘I don’t know, people say they did wrong, they broke the law. What law? Okay, we are a state based on the rule of law, so they have been punished. But for me, they are heroes because the person they killed was a rebel leader.

Lest we forget. Yustinus Murib


In November 2003, Papuan independence leader Yustinus Murib and nine of his men were killed by Indonesian Kopassus troops. Yustinus Murib had sent a letter to various heads of state and the United Nations, calling for a sovereign country to act as mediator between President Megawati Sukarnoputri and the West Papuan independence movement. Although Murib had called for peaceful dialogue with Jakarta to discuss the political status of Papua, he was still killed by Kopassus troops.

Lest we forget. Those arrested at peaceful rallies, many beaten and tortured.

clip_image008.png 29 (KNPB) members were arrested in Merauke Oct. 13 2014( Photo:Ilustrais)

Lest we forget. The Biak Massacre-6 July 1998

The Indonesian security forces massacred scores of people in Biak , West Papua. The victims, included women and children who had gathered for a peaceful rally. They were killed at the base of a water tower flying the Morning Star flag. Other Papuans were rounded up and later taken out to sea where they were thrown off naval ships and drowned.

Lest we forget. The Indigenous people who died in Australia’s frontier wars

Lest we forget. The great challenges the West Papuan people face, the ongoing human rights abuses, the exploitation of their natural resources with little or no benefit to themselves, the danger of becoming a minority in their own land and a HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Joe Collins of AWPA said, "if the Australian Government has ignored the plight of the West Papua people, the same cannot be said for the Pacific countries. The growing support for West Papua by civil society and church groups continues to grow in the Pacific region and hopefully this support is being noted by the Pacific leaders, especially the MSG Leaders. It is time to ‘Bring West Papua back to the Melanesian” family’.


EU: Answer to quesiton about killings of Papua civilians

April 21, 2015

Subject: Killing of four indigenous Papuan civilians
[] Answer(s)

Can the Commission confirm that it is aware of the killing of four indigenous Papuan civilians on 8 December 2014 in the Paniai District, Papua Province, by members of the Indonesian National Army?

Can it say whether it has had any contact with the Indonesian authorities or whether any contact will be made in relation to these deaths?

Can it also confirm the level of bilateral agreement with the EU?

West Papua Report April 2015: WPAT award to Vanuatu, Indonesia’s diplomatic blitz, human rights, Freeport smelter, Bishop Tutu

April 8, 2015

West Papua Report
April 2015

This is the 131st in a series of monthly reports that focus on developments affecting Papuans. This series is produced by the non-profit West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) drawing on media accounts, other NGO assessments, and analysis and reporting from sources within West Papua. This report is co-published by the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN). Back issues are posted online atedmcw. If you wish to receive the report directly via e-mail, send a note toetan<a href="mailto:etan. Link to this issue:

The Report leads with PERSPECTIVE, an analysis piece; followed by UPDATE, a summary of some recent news and developments; and then CHRONICLE which includes analyses, statements, new resources, appeals and action alerts related to West Papua. Anyone interested in contributing a PERSPECTIVE or responding to one should write to edmcw. We also welcome suggestions of resources and analysis to for listing in the CHRONICLE section. The opinions expressed in Perspectives are the author’s and not necessarily those of WPAT or ETAN.For ongoing news on West Papua subscribe to the reg.westpapua listserv or visit its archive; the list is also available on Twitter.

Please note that the March 2015 issue was not published.


This edition’s Perspective is an interview with Octo Mote, General Secretary of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, on the prospects for MSG membership.

In UPDATE (covering February and March) the West Papua Advocacy Team announces that it has awarded its 2015 "John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award" to the people and government of Vanuatu. Security forces in Yahukimo District have fired on civilians who were raising funds for humanitarian relief in cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu, killing one and wounding four. Indonesia’s Foreign Minister was dispatched to three Pacific island states to try to dampen growing support for West Papua’s application to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Archbishop Tutu urged the United Nations to investigate the fraudulent "Act of Free Choice" through which Indonesia forcibly annexed West Papua. Rights groups have called for Indonesia to address outstanding human rights cases in West Papua. Four youths were beaten by security forces in Jayapura. Plans by Freeport to construct a smelter in Papua have not involved the Kamoro on whose land the smelter will be located. The Kamoro have long suffered from the effects of Freeport’s mining operations.

In CHRONICLE, we note upcoming demonstrations in London and New York; an in-depth analysis of Jakarta’s security approach to West Papua; an argument that human rights violations fuel Melanesian support for West Papuans, and a look at ongoing media restrictions.


Interview with Octo Mote, General Secretary of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua

The ULMWP has presented a formal request for West Papua membership in the MSG. What are the prospects that West Papua will become a member at the MSG’s next meeting in July?

AI Urgent Action: 4 Papuan Students in Danger after Police Torture

April 7, 2015

Papua Mobile Brigade Beat Students for Wrongly Accused

Jayapura, Jubi – Police have been accused of torturing four Papuan youths, a human rights group said .
The victims of abuse allegedly by members of the police Mobile Brigade last week were identified as Timotius Tabuni (18), Lesman Jigibalom (23), Eldi Abimael (18) and Mies Tabo (15) at Cigombong, Kotaraja.
“Yesterday (Sunday, 22/3/2015), KontraS (Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence) reported this case to Papua Police Provost Department. It is said the case couldn’t be processed unless we could have the perpetrators. At the same day, based on their family’s request, we accompanied them to Papua Police Office to meet the Police Chief in order to report this incident,” KontraS Papua Coordinator Olga Hamadi told reporters at Padang Bulan on Monday (23/3/2015).
She explained this incident had no connection with a conflict involved Mobile Brigade officers and highland-origin residents at Abepura Mall on Wednesday night at 21:00 on 18 March 2015. “These boys intended returning home at Kotaraja Dalam but interrupted by officers who then torture them in front of Cigombong Market,” Hamadi said.
She further said several attorneys have signed a statement letter to provide a legal assistance to the victims and their family. “This can not be tolerated because it was inhuman act,” she said.
Meanwhile, Timotius’ sister Lis Tabuni said the boys had no idea when the officers interrupted and bullied them. Then a witness came by to our house telling his brother with his friends were beaten.
“So, my uncle went to the Mobile Brigade Headquarter at Kotaraja that night. But the officers told him the boys were under their custody and fine. They will be send home tomorrow after their parents come and give them advice. So my uncle just went home because he thought they were just fine,” she said.
In fact, she added, his brother and his friends needed emergency treatment because they were seriously injured as the result of beating. The torture committed by Mobile Brigade officers was occurred two hours after a clash involved Mobile Brigade officers and highland-origin resident at Abepura Mall while the four boys were wrongly accused. Because they are also highland-origin, the officers thought they were also involved into the clash.
As a result of beating, Edi Kogoya (18) got fractured ribs and bruises on the back and scuffed knees as a result of being dragged on the asphalt path, while Timotius Tabuni lost his lost front teeth, had injured head and mouth, scratched back for being stabbed, bruises face and scuffed knees.
Further Lesman Jigibalom (23) was stabbed with a bayonet on the right shoulder to the lungs and bruises on the entire body. He is now still in critical condition after lungs surgery and hospitalized at Bhayangkara Hospital. While Mies Tabo (15) got bruises on the front and back head as well as shoulders as result of being dragged on the asphalt path. His forehead and knees are also scratched.
The Papua Mobile Brigade Deputy Chief Adjunct Commissionaire Tono Budiarto denied his officers committed to the action. He said it was his officers who came to save the boys from the raging mass at Cigombong Market.
“And now my officers who actually saved them were being accused. That night at 21:00 we were still concentrated at the Abepura Police Office reconciling people who involved in the dispute in front of Abepura Mall. And at 23:00 my officers was reported there was a clash and amok against these four students and they secured them to the office and brought them to the Bhayangkara Hospital,” he revealed as reported by a daily news in Jayapura. (Arnold Belau/rom)

Benny Wenda interview

April 7, 2015

Australian Rock N Roll Party – FREE WEST PAPUA Benny Wenda

Published on Apr 7, 2015
Ash Brennan from the Australian Rock N Roll Party interviews West Papua Independent Leader Benny Wenda. Hired Gun TV.

Summary of events in West Papua for March 2015

April 6, 2015

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088

Summary of events in West Papua for March 2015 beginning April

KNPB targeted again.

Throughout the week (11 to 18 March) the Yahukimo Regional Branch of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) held a fundraising campaign in support of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). On the morning of Thursday 19 March, as preparations were underway for the closing ceremony in Dekai, Yahukimo regency the Yahukimo District Police and a mobile brigade arrived and started tearing down the stage, confiscating KNPB banners, megaphones, speakers, microphones and cameras. They used force to disband the crowd. According to the police the organisers did not have a permit to hold the event. The crowd became angry at the heavy -handed approach by the security forces and in the melee that followed Brimob members fired at the crowd resulting in one person killed and 3 wounded. AWPA release at

The Papuan Police Chief, Inspector General (Pol) Yotje Mende said that the KNPB should be banned, as it is not an official organisation, it’s an underground organization. The spokesperson for the KNPB Bazooka Logo rejected the claim. Jubi reported that approximately 200 students from Yahukimo held a peaceful protest in front of the Papua Parliament Office on Monday (30/3/2015). The protestors, who called themselves the Yahukimo Student Community, urged the Papua legislative council to form a team to investigate the violence that occurred in Yahukimo during the KNPB’s fundraising event. Protest coordinator Olmek Nawa said the students wanted their representatives and NGOs to be involved in such a team and that the Papua Legislative Council should urge the Yahukimo Police Chief’s removal as he could not control his officers.

Because of the strong connection between the people of Vanuatu and West Papua, the West Papuan people organized fund raising activities for the people of Vanuatu because of the devastation caused by Cyclone Pam. It is tragic that even humanitarian activities are seen as a threat by the security forces who stopped and arrested three people who were coordinating the activity. KNPB Spokesperson Bazoka Logo told reporters in Abepura that the Papua Mobile Brigade under the command of Yahukimo Police Chief Adjunct Police Commissionaire Ade Djaja Subagja raided the KNPB secretariat in Dekai and during the raid residential houses near the secretariat were also ransacked and damaged and that in the operation the officers also seized people’s money.

Solidarity meeting in Brisbane.

Over 40 delegates representing 13 West Papuan solidarity groups from across Australia and Aotearoa, New Zealand met in Brisbane (28-29 March) with three leaders of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). Benny Wenda, Octovianus Mote and Rex Rumakiek were in Brisbane to brief the solidarity groups on the progress of UNLMWP and to network and develop resources for the campaign for ULMPW to gain full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) for West Papua. The meeting was hosted by the solidarity group in Brisbane. Media release at

The West Papuan leaders and solidarity groups also joined in the Palm Sunday rally which had a peace and a refugee theme. Benny Wenda was a guest speaker at the rally. Photos at

Melanesian Anglicans co-launch group advocating West Papua freedom

Support for West Papua by church and civil society groups continues to grow in the pacific region A one day consultation to discuss and highlight issues concerning West Papua’s struggle for freedom and independence from Indonesia on Friday 20th March 2015, led to the formation of the “Solomon Islands Solidarity for West Papua Freedom”. The consultation was jointly organized and hosted by the Pacific Council of Churches (PCC) and the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) and was held at the Melanesia Haus, St. Barnabas Cathedral grounds, in Honiara.

The Methodist Church in Fiji also supports West Papua.. Approximately 50 Methodist Church heads of divisions signed the solidarity movement for West Papua’s petition at Suva’s Centenary Church in support of the call for the freedom of the natives of West Papua. This petition drive headed by the Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy would be handed to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at the end of April.

Benny Wenda detained in PNG

Before arriving in Australia Benny Wenda was detained by immigration officials in Port Moresby due to technical issues. Benny’s intention had been to thank the PNG people and government for their support for the West Papuan issue. Mr Wenda confirmed that there were technical issues leading to his detention and it had nothing to do with politics. "The government of Papua New Guinea, Prime Minister himself, has already stated that West Papua is their family so based on that we strongly believe that the government level already supports West Papua. Also now the building of the grassroots level to support West Papua bringing into the Melanesian family but my deportation has nothing to do with this movement." (RNZI 27 March)

The PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in an interview said that the former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had told him he would reduce troop numbers stationed in West Papua. The PNG Prime Minister told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program that Mr Yudhoyono had discussed this intention with him during a bilateral meeting when the PNG prime minister was in Indonesia for a state visit. He said he hoped current president Joko Widodo would keep the former leader’s promise. "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,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.(Note. for all the minor hiccups in the PNG -West Papuan relationship, it should always be remembered that the people and government of PNG have been good friends to the West Papuan people accepting large numbers of West Papuan refugees in their country).

Launch the PNG Union for Free West Papua (PNGUFWP)

The Hon Gary Juffa, Governor of Oro Province launched the PNG Union for Free West Papua (PNGUFWP) on the 3 April Port Moresby.

Extract from the Hon Gary Juffa’s statement on the launch. “The event is that of the actual launching of our small but powerful organization PNG Union for Free West Papua. Our effort does not counter any of the other movements created in existence and also working for the Freedom of our people of West Papua, our organization is focused on the fundamental belief that the people of West Papua, are a free people living imprisoned on their own land…and MUST be FREE…we are supported by Partners with Melanesia and Protection of Human Rights West Papua Movement”.

As mentioned before this growing support for West Papua in the region is causing concern in Jakarta. At the end of February the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi visited three Pacific countries, PNG, Solomon Islands, and Fiji, to strengthen relations between Indonesia and the Pacific nations. Antara News reported that in 2013, Indonesia committed to donate US$20 million to the Pacific countries to be used in various fields. RNZI (13 March) reported that the Foreign Ministers from Fiji and Indonesia recently agreed to have greater cooperation in relation to United Nations peacekeeping forces of both countries. As part of this, Fiji peacekeepers are to undergo training at a centre in Indonesia. Mr Baledrokadroka says Indonesia’s military has extensive peacekeeping experience and that training with them is a natural progression.

News in brief

Amnesty International (AI) released an urgent action (26 March) concerning four students, three of them children who were arbitrarily detained and tortured or otherwise ill-treated by police on 18 March 2015, according to their lawyer.

We urge people to respond to Amnesty’s recommendations writing letters of concern. Indonesia: Four students in danger after police torture

According to Amnesty Eldi Kogoya, aged 17, Timotius Tabuni, aged 17 and Lesman Jigibalom, aged 23, were going home, on their motorcycles, on the night of 18 March, when they were followed and stopped by plainclothes armed members of a special police unit, the Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob), near the Cigombong market in Jayapura city, Papua province. When they asked why they were being detained the police accused them of committing a crime and at least 11 Brimob officers stabbed, beat, punched and kicked them. A fourth student, Mies Tabo, aged 14, who was nearby and witnessed the attack, called out for help but was kicked, slapped and threatened by the police to stay silent. All four were then dragged along the road to the nearby Brimob headquarters. They were detained there briefly before being sent to hospital. All four have been released without charge.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu renews call for UN review of West Papuan self-determination

On 27th February 2015 Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu met with West Papuan independence leader and founder of the Free West Papua Campaign, Benny Wenda, in Cape Town, South Africa. He has released the following statement renewing his call for the UN to instigate an investigation into the so-called Act of ‘Free’ Choice in which Indonesia unlawfully annexed West Papua in 1969. “I’m shocked to learn that West Papua is still not free. I didn’t think that things like this still happened. I call on the United Nations and all the relevant bodies, please, do what is right, as they know, for West Papua.” “We can’t have some people in the world free and others not free. As long as there is one person not free, we are all not free.” “I am very, very distressed and pray that Indonesia and other countries will do what is right, because it is not their (West Papua’s) gift, it is their right as the children of god.” Full release at

Papuans behind bars

At the end of February 2015, there were at least 38 political prisoners in Papuan jails. The latest update raises concerns about the legal process for Areki Wanimbo and the case of the Pisugi Election Boycott detainees which were fraught with irregularities. The Pisugi detainees were forced to confess and sign fabricated police investigation reports. Full report at

Media restrictions in Papua underscore Indonesia’s wider problems

In a media statement the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) pointed out that with more than 50 years of restricted media access, West Papua is one of the least covered armed conflicts in the world and “Without open media access in the Papua and West Papua provinces, alleged abuses by security forces operating without media scrutiny will hound any bid by President Joko Widodo to bring peace and prosperity to the resource-rich region: a promise he made on assuming office in October”.

Editorial: Sunshine Needed on Sweetheart Deals

By Jakarta Globe Mar 04, 2015

The government needs to explain clearly and honestly why it wants to allow miners to renew contracts more than two years before they expire. Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Sudirman Said’s recent suggestion that contracts ought to be extended up to 10 years before their expiry makes little sense. Such a move seems to only satisfy demands from Freeport-McMoRan, which has announced that it would proceed with its plan to invest a total of $17 billion to turn its Grasberg copper and gold mining complex into the world’s biggest underground mine after 2016, while also building a copper smelter in Gresik, East Java. Freeport’s current deal is due to expire in 2021. The government should not be under pressure to quickly extend Freeport’s contract just because it has announced to invest big and build a smelter. While we should welcome foreign investment, especially as huge as Freeport’s, and we agree that every company needs certainty on its investment, it’s the government’s duty to review carefully and comprehensively whether the investment really benefits the country and its people as a whole — in this case because it’s in Papua, the native Papuans. Contract extensions as big as Freeport’s have always been a controversial issue among the public. We are not demanding the contract not be extended; we simply want transparency. Despite Freeport’s claims that it has contributed trillions of rupiah directly and indirectly — on top of the government’s disbursement of trillions in special autonomy funds over the years — the big question remains: Why are Papuans still among Indonesia’s poorest, despite these huge investments? Where has the money gone? Only honesty and transparency will quash suspicion surrounding Freeport’s renewed contract.

Legislators urge Papua Police to Complete Paniai Case Mar 24th, 2015

Timika, Jubi / Antara- A legislator urged the Papua Police to thoroughly investigate the shooting case of a number of civilians in Paniai on December 8, 2014. The deputy chairman of House of Representatives’ Commission III, Benny K Harman, made the statement during a working visit to Jayapura to the Papua police chief, Inspector General of Police Yotje Mende. 
“We urge the police chief to fully investigate it. Anyone who is allegedly involved must be prosecuted legally and imposed severe penalties, ” he said in Timika on Sunday (22/03/2015)

Mende said the police would continue to investigate the case even though the perpetrators have not been caught. Previously, the Forum of the Papua Ecumenical Churches urged President Joko Widodo to immediately establish a Commission of Inquiry and Investigation (KPP HAM). 
“It is been the fourth month since the shooter has not been revealed and seems like the investigation has not shown any progress, “chairman of the Synod Fellowship Baptist Churches in Papua Socrates Soyan Nyoman added. Therefore, churches in Papua urged Jokowi to immediately form KPP HAM, because the incident is serious human rights violations. “We ask the President to seriously uncover Paniai case, by forming KPP HAM with a mandate to examine all the parties involved, and it must be carried out before the President visit Papua again, “Nyoman said. He also pointed out that there was an indication of officers to intentionally protect its members and even seemed like in internal security forces did not the identity of two people who were on duty in the top of Enarotali Airport tower. Chairman of the Synod Kingmi, Benny Giay, also urged President Jokowi to appoint a person to act as a mediator in order to create dialogue Papua-Jakarta.

Indonesia criticised by UN over Papua torture

The United Nations special rapporteur on torture has criticised the Indonesian government’s breakup of demonstrations in West Papua last year, saying it breached international conventions on torture. In a report tabled in Geneva overnight, the rapporteur, Juan Mendez, says two student demonstrators, Alfares Kapisa and Yali Wenda were arrested and tortured in Jayapura in April during the violent breakup of a protest. Jakarta did not respond to communication from the office. The report says there is substance to the pair’s allegations and the Government of Indonesia has failed to protect Mr Kapisa and Mr Wenda from torture and inhuman treatment. (RNZI 10 March)

JDP To Facilitate Papua Internal Dialogue Mar 23rd, 2015

Jayapura, Jubi – Papua Peace Network (JDP) coordinator Dr. Neles Tebay said as a mediator JDP will facilitate internal dialogue among Papuans to prepare for talks with Jakarta proposed by President Joko Widodo. “Based on schedule, the Papuan internal dialogue will be held in Papua in August 2015,” Tebay told reporters at Fajar Timur Theologian College, Padang Bulan Abepura last week. According to him, the president’s commitment to promote Papua as Peaceful Land and to resolve conflicts through a dialogue showed the government has changed its stance on Papua. “So, Jakarta-Papua Dialogue will lead to the establishment of peace in Papua. It means its agenda is to grow peace in Tanah Papua,” he said. He further said Papuan residents in Papua should welcome the government’s openness with joy. The government’s commitment is a golden opportunity provided by government to discuss a peace development in Papua through a process of dialogue. “To welcome this opportunity, JDP took the initiative to facilitate the Papuan internal dialogue as a preparation ahead to Jakarta-Papua dialogue because we believed it’s very important to be held in order answering the Papuans’ aspiration,” Tebay told reporters. “Papuan internal dialogue would be held to involve the entire elements of Papuans to discuss about the concept of Peace Papua and to define a purpose of dialogue between Jakarta and Papua according to Papuans. Within this dialogue, people’s aspiration will be asked and consulted, therefore they would feel to be involved in the effort to develop Peace Papua through dialogue,” Tebay said. Meanwhile, the Indonesian President Joko Widodo in his visit to Papua in December 2014, he confirm his commitment to develop Papua as Peaceful land and resolve many conflicts in Papua through a dialogue. (Arnold Belau/rom)

Member of armed group shot dead in Puncak Jaya

Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post, Tue, March 31 2015 Agustinus Tabuni, a 24-year-old local identified as a member of an armed criminal group led by Militer Murib, was shot dead when a number of Indonesian Military and National Police personnel conducted a patrol in Kampung Jenggernok, Gome district, Puncak Jaya, around 10 a.m. local time on Tuesday. “A joint team comprising 30 police and military personnel led by Adj. Comr. Syahwal Halim was conducting a patrol in Kampung Gome when they spotted three people carrying Mauser and revolver rifles,” said Papua Police spokesperson Sr. Com. Rudolf Patrick in Jayapura on Tuesday. “The team then pursued the three armed people. Two people fled while one suspect was shot as he attempted to shoot two police personnel involved in the patrol,” he went on. Security personnel confiscated one revolver, 12 bullets with a caliber of 7.62 x 51 mm and two bullets with a caliber of 3.8 mm. Rudolf said the Gome district head who was with the patrol managed to recognize the man that was shot. “Both Gome district head and village officers joining the patrol confirmed that the dead victim was Agustinus Tabuni, a member of the Militer Murib group,” he said. After the identification process, Agustinus was cremated in a procession held at the site of the incident, and witnessed by the Gome district head and village officers. (dyl/ebf)(++++)

Member of armed civilian group in Puncak Jaya arrested

(Extract from The Jakarta Post, Jayapura March 25 2015)

Officers of the Puncak Jaya Police arrested Lanus Murib, 24, an alleged member of the armed civilian group Militer Murib from Gome, in a kiosk in Ilaga district, Puncak Jaya, on Tuesday. “At around 7:10 a.m. local time on Tuesday, the police arrested an alleged member of the Gome armed criminal group led by Militer Murib on the terrace of the HH Kiosk in Kampung Kago, Ilaga district, Puncak Jaya regency,” Puncak Jaya Police chief Adj.Sr.Comr.Marselis told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday. He said a Papua Police special team led by Adj.Sr.Comr Budi Basra had been closely watching the suspect before the arrest. “Earlier, the special police team had received reports about the suspect and his weapons. They later conducted an espionage operation and arrested him in a raid,” he said.

Number of Native Papuans Drop to 40 Percent in Merauke Mar 25th, 2015

Merauke, Jubi – Merauke Regent Romanus Mbaraka said non-native Papuans now account for 60 percent of the regency’s population, while indigenous people make up the rest. The majority of native Papuans live in the villages and some of them are on the Kimaam island, he said.
“We must not allow Papuans to live as it is. We need to motivate and encourage them continuously,” Merauke regent said on Saturday (03/21/2015). Therefore, One of the programs to improve Papuans’ live is by distributing hundreds of millions rupiah to the villages.
“I also want to thank the people of Tanimbar who have entered in this area and have provide guidance and ongoing motivation to Papuans, “he said. Chairman of Tanimbar fellowship, Soleman Jambormias added, in any event, it has always built good communication with all the Tanimbar here in order to motivate Papuans to work and to encourage their children to pursue education to a higher level. (Frans L Kobun/ Tina)

Jubi (25 March) also reported that the number of villages in Papua had increased significantly according to the new Home Affairs Ministry data. There are 524 districts, 107 sub-districts and 5,118 villages in Papua. The Earlier data from the ministry indicated there were 467 districts, 90 sub-districts and 4,766 villages.
“Some of new villages are in Lanny Jaya and in Keerom,” the head of Governance of Papua province, Sendius Wonda told reporters in Jayapura, Papua on Monday (03/23/2015).

Freeport’s Indonesia Grasberg Copper Mine Opens After 5-Day Blockade

Jakarta Globe. By Andrew Janes Mar 23, 2015

Freeport McMoRan’s Grasberg copper mine in Indonesia, the world’s second-largest for the metal by capacity, reopened Saturday after a worker roadblock stopped production for five days and helped push the metal’s price to a two-month high. Access to the site, located in the mountains in Papua province in eastern Indonesia, was restored this morning and normal operations are resuming, Daisy Primayanti, a spokeswoman at Freeport Indonesia, said in a phone interview. The roadblock has been cleared, said Juli Parorrongan, a spokesman for the Freeport Indonesia workers’ union. “The union has said to the workers that they should go back to work,” she confirmed on Saturday. Grasberg has been plagued by labor strife in recent years. Workers seeking higher wages held a strike in 2011 and the mine was closed for months following a tunnel collapse in 2013. The protesters, who the union said numbered around 100 on Friday, had been demanding bonuses as an incentive for not taking part in a work stoppage last year. Shipments of concentrates from stockpiles continued during the closure. Copper for delivery in three months rose 3.3 percent to $6,045 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange on Friday, following a 3.3 percent advance the day before. The metal touched $6,082.5 on Friday, the highest since Jan. 12. Freeport Indonesia didn’t reach any agreement with the workers on their demands and dialog is continuing, spokeswoman Primayanti said. Shares of Phoenix-based Freeport, the largest US miner, rebounded 6.7 percent in New York on Friday to close at $18.41, recouping a 5.3 percent loss on Thursday. Bloomberg

Opinion pieces/reports/press releases etc.

Tony Abbott has an Indonesian problem he doesn’t want to talk about

The Price of Protest in West Papua

published in the Griffith Journal of Law and Human Dignity (Vol 3 issue 1)

Griffith Journal of Law and Human Dignity!volume-3-issue-1/c1z2j

West Papua: Melanesian Spearhead Group has a tough decision to make

New book. Merdeka: Hostages, Freedom and Flying Pigs in West Papua

Addressing the Papua issue in the Pacific

In Indonesia, local communities lose out as oil palm expands

Kamoro people take a stand against Freeport smelter plans

Pacific Institute of Public Policy. launch of new look website

West Papua Return.

Australian taxpayers are paying millions for Indonesian military officers to study Down Under


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