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Statement by the Executive-Director of the LP3BH on 22 May 2015
The recent visit by President Jokowi to the Land of Papua when he
visited the Province of Papua and the Province of West Papua can be
described as being unproductive or meaningless.
This is so because, although the President took a good step by
granting clemency to five political prisoners who were being held at
Abepura Prison, after his visit the security forces continued to
arrest activists who were taking action for the political rights of
the Papuan people here in the Land of Papua.
As has already been reported, four political activists from the
KNPB (National Committee of West Papua) were arrested on 21 May and
will be held in custody until 9 June this year by Sub Den 3 Den
Pelopor C. Manokwari of the Regional Police in West Papua.
They were arrested on the charge that they took an act of
Incitement to Break the Law on 20 May this year at 10am in front of
the Unipa campus, in Manokwari, according to Article 160 jo Article 55
of the Criminal Code.
In my opinion, as the Executive-Director of the LP3BH Manokwari,
this action was in violation of basic human rights , specifically the
right to freedom of expression and freedom of opinion of the Papuan
people as stipulated in Law 12/2005 on the Ratification of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
According to the right to democracy there should be good
communications between activists on the one hand and the security
forces and the local government people which means that people should
not be arrested as is happening so frequently, and moreover with
people being tortured or maltreated as was experienced by the people
who held a demonstration on 20 May.
Moreover, President Jokowi recently declared that foreign
journalists would be allowed access to visit all parts of West Papua.
However, this decision was not made absolutely clear in writing for
the security forces to act accordingly. This means that the good
things done by the President in fact become unproductive, as is
obvious from the situation recently confronted by KNPB activists in
Manokwari, Sorong, Biak, Fakfak, Nabire, Merauke, Wamena and Jayapura.
The arrest and taking into custody of a number of KNPB activists is
an important sign showing the international community that freedom of
expression and freedom of opinion is always being blocked whenever
Papuan people take a position in opposition to the Government of the
Republic of Indonesia, which means that their political opinions are
These actions to block the freedoms of expression and opinion are
always accompanied by destructive actions by the security forces and
the police who treat all this as being criminal and as acts of
subversion (see Article 110 of the Criminal Code.
President Jokowi should take firm action at the very least by
issuing a Presidential Decision regarding the granting of clemency or
amnesty or abolition for people struggling for their political rights,
instead of people becoming ‘tapols’ according to the police while
saying that there is freedom of access for foreign journalists to
enter West Papua and report on the situation there.
If all declarations made by President Jokowi were made absolutely
firm as lawful regulations, it would ensure that there would be real
implementation which could then be followed up by the security forces,
in particular the Indonesian Police and the TNI (Indonesian Army),
which would be properly recognised by the Papuan people and the
Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive-Director of LP3BH
[Translated by Carmel Budiadjo]
Islands in focus: Hundreds rally for West Papua liberation
The Jakarta Post, Jayapura | Archipelago | Fri, May 22 2015, 6:39 AM –
Around 700 members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) at the Papua Legislative Council (DPRD) supported on Thursday the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) by proposing that Papua become a member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
“West Papuans from Sorong to Merauke fully support the ULPWP to bring Papua into the MSG,” said KNPB spokesperson Basoka Logo at the Papua DPRD on Thursday.
During the rally, the crowd, using trucks and motorcycles, was escorted by about 400 police officers from Wamena, some 20 kilometers from Jayapura, to the Papua DPRD office, and escorted back to Wamena after the rally.
According to Jayapura Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Jeremias Rontini, they allowed the KNPB to hold the rally to maintain security and prevent violence.
“They applied for today’s rally permit but it was rejected. However, to respect the instruction from President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo to prevent chaotic rallies, if I were to act repressively, there would be many victims. So I gave them the chance to hold the rally and I will no longer issue rally permits in the future,” Jeremias said. –
West Papua’s rightful place
By BENNY WENDA
In one month’s time, the eyes of the Pacific will turn to Melanesia as our leaders gather in Honiara to decide on West Papua’s membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
For more than 50 years, my people have suffered a creeping genocide under a repressive Indonesian military occupation that is estimated to have claimed 500,000 West Papuan lives.
Next month’s meeting is a critical opportunity to give my people a voice, and to allow us to take our rightful place in the Melanesian family.
West Papua’s request for MSG membership is grounded firmly in the group’s founding principles: respect for and promotion of Melanesian cultures, traditions and values, the inalienable human rights of the indigenous peoples of Melanesia, and most of all, the spirit of Melanesian solidarity.
These principles are enshrined in the MSG’s2007 constitution, which all MSG members are bound to respect.
West Papuans with their flag as they continue to fight for recognition. Picture: voiceofmelanesia.com
This year’s MSG Summit won’t be the first time the region’s leaders have had West Papua on their agenda. In recent years, they have expressed serious concerns about human rights and the atrocities committed against my people. And perhaps most importantly, the Melanesian leaders said in 2013 that they “fully support” West Papua’s right to self-determination.
Throughout the Pacific, there is a real sense that the time is right to stand with West Papua, and to bring us into the Melanesian family.
At the same time, Indonesian diplomacy has escalated, beginning withForeign Minister RetnoMarsudi’s chequebook tour of the region in late February, and a visit by President Widodoto Port Moresby last week.
With West Papua’s natural resources continuing to be a significant driver of the Indonesian economy, they will say and do anything to suppress support for our homecoming.
Ultimately,Indonesia has no right to stand in the way of a decision by Melanesian leaders for Melanesia, and only Melanesia.
Any suggestion that Indonesia must approve or consent to West Papua’s MSG membershipruns counter to the spirit of Melanesian solidarity that lies at the heart of the MSG, and is an insult to Melanesians everywhere.
Remember, Indonesia has already broken its promise to Prime Minister Peter O’Neillthat it would withdraw its military forces from West Papua, and has done nothing to hold out a genuine hand of friendship to West Papua and the people that have long suffered under the regime’s brutalityand campaign of terror.
The fact that President Widodo requiredan additional 6,000 armed personnel to accompany him to West Papua en route to Port Moresby demonstrates his lack of confidence and trust he feelsfromamong the people in what Jakarta calls its ‘provinces’, and his government’s attempts to stymie our MSG membership will do nothing to improve the situation.
With all of this in mind, we were very concerned to hear recent suggestions that Prime Minister O’Neill would prefer to avoid consideration of West Papua’s full MSG membership, and instead look at upgrading Indonesia’s own status to become an “associate member”.
Allowing Indonesian provincial leaders a seat at the MSG table risks isolating Papua New Guinea on the question of West Papua, and casts significant doubt on whether he truly has Melanesia’s best interests at heart.Clearly, the only legitimate representatives for West Papua are the West Papuans themselves.
We of course understand Prime Minister O’Neill’s concern about the need for West Papuans to have a united front at the MSG table, which is why we came together in December last year to form the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.
We havebeen making our case for MSG membership with a united voice, and wrote directly this week to MSG Leaders to reiterate our strong claims for membership. We look forward to reinforcing the point in person when Foreign Ministers and then leaders gather in Honiara next month.
For too long, the world has turned a blind eye to the plight of my people.
Our brothers and sisters in Melanesia now have an opportunity to take a stand, and allow us to take our rightful place in Melanesia’s pre-eminent political grouping.
This is not only a question of Melanesian solidarity, but a test of Melanesian leadership.
- Benny Wenda is a West Papuan independence leader and the spokesperson of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.
In a statement yesterday afternoon, the Executive-Director of LP3BH
said that he had received information about the demonstration from
the parents of children from the Amban elementary school which is
located near the junction in front of the campus of the University of
Papua (Unipa) Manokwari.
They told the LP3BH that their children had been hit by tear gas
bombs that were thrown by members of the security forces (Polri and
Brimob) when they were forcing the demonstrators to disperse in the
morning. Several witnesses said that police did not shoot directly
towards the demonstrators but directed the tear gas bombs to the left
and right of the demonstrators.
The police alleged that some people had thrown stones and bricks at
the police but whether the demonstrators had done so is not yet clear.
As a result of the use of tear gas, the eyesight of many of the
youngsters as well as some of the Unipa students was affected. It not
only damaged their eyesight but also causing breathing difficulties.
Furthermore, not only were the demonstrators dispersed but one of
the organisers of the demonstration, thirty-year old Alexander Nekenem
was arrested. Nekenem is chairperson of KNPB-Manokwari.
He was taken into custody along with about seventy others who were
all taken to police headquarters where they were subjected to
questioning by police officers until late in the evening. As yet, none
of these people have been released.
It should be made clear that the police chiefs are accountable
for the actions by their subordinates who used tear gas which resulted
in many of the demonstrators feeling sick as well as sustaining
The police chiefs also failed to ensure that Alexander Nekenem is
accompanied by a lawyer of his own choice while he is being
interrogated. This violates the stipulations in articles 54 and 55 of
Alexander Nekenem and his seventy or so colleagues are still being
held at police headquarters and have not yet been allowed to have the
assistance of their own lawyers.
Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive-Director of the LP3BH
Translated by Carmel Budiardjo
On this day 20 May 2015,in the early morning, members of the the
resistance movement of Papuan people in Manokwari, acting on behalf of
the Federal State of the Republic of West Papua, the West Papua
National Coalition for Liberation and the National Committee of West
Papua (KNPB) were planning to hold a peaceful demonstration to give
expression to their aspiration – through the intermediary of of the
United Liberation Movement for West Papua – to become a member of the
Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
Already very early in the morning, at 5.30am, the LP3BH received an
SMS saying that several members of the TNI (Indonesian Army) and Polri
(Police) had arrived in a truck that was parked in front of Office of
of the Papuan Traditional Council (DAP) of the District of Manokwari,
and had unfurled a banner the wording on which was not clear.
Thereafter, several activists came along and dismantled the banner.
According to another SMS received by the LP3BH, nine Papuan
activists were arrested by members of Brimob and were taken by truck
to a place in Kwaki. They were arrested while getting ready to march
towards the office of the DAP-Manokwari.
Then half a hour later, at 10’30am, another thirty activists were
arrested at the junction between Ambon-Manokwari and were subjected
to mal-treatment by members of Brimob, then transported in the
direction of Brimob headquarters.
According to a report from witnesses which was received by the
LP3BH, they were maltreated by members of Brimob. Another witness
report received by LP3BH stated that the detainees were struck hard
by members of Brimob, in some cases with rubber truncheons, hit on the
back of their heads or in their faces. One of the persons arrested was
27-year old Alexander Nekenem, the chairman of the KNPB.
One of the arrestees appears to have been seriously injured and
kicked. The witness was able to take photographs which showed that
tear gas had been by the security forces, which blinded their eyes.
One of the arrestees appears to have been struck by a rubber
truncheon on his neck, which appears to have been very painful and
These reports would seem to suggest that altogether 39 or 40
activists were arrested and driven away to Brimob headquarters or by
This is a preliminary report from Yan Christian Warinussy,
Executive-Director of LP3BH-Manokwari.
[Translated by Carmel Budiardjo.]
New Mandala – May 12, 2015
Flying the flag of reform?
James Giggacher — This weekend has seen some possibly big developments in Papua,
where Indonesia President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo has released five political prisoners
in the disaffected provinces.
He’s also promised long-shut out foreign journalists full access to the region, which
has been home to a decades-long separatist movement.
The call for independence has seen an almost 50-year insurgency between poorly-armed
locals and government forces in the eastern edge of Indonesia’s sprawling
nation-state. Claims that locals are unfairly targeted by Indonesian security forces
are not uncommon.
The five prisoners — Kimanus Wenda, Jefrai Murib, Apotnalogolik Lokobal, Numbungga
Telenggen and Linus Hiluka — were arrested in 2003 for a raid on a military arsenal.
In a ceremony at Abepura prison in the provincial capital Jayapura, Jokowi shook
their hands and gave them their tickets home — letters of clemency waiving their
remaining jail time.
"Today we are releasing these five detainees to stop the stigma of conflict in Papua,"
Jokowi said. "We need to create a sense of peace in Papua. This is just the beginning."
Building on earlier assurances to improve the livelihood of locals who are heavily
reliant on development assistance from Jakarta, these latest moves seem to indicate
that Jokowi is loosening Indonesia’s tight grip on the mineral-rich Papua. But as
with most things, the devil is in the detail — or lack of it.
While the release of prisoners in the name of peace might be a welcome move, there
is one big unanswered question; what is now the status of the Morning Star flag and
other explicit rallying points of pro-independence sentiment?
The Morning Star has become the potent symbol of Papua’s calls for independence —
a ‘freedom flag’ that sings to the soul with all the lyrical and symbolic stir of
a tartan-clad Mel Gibson facing down an army of English pikemen and Welsh archers
in Scotland. It was the flag that flew when the colonial Dutch finally clogged it
back to their dikes way back in 1961.
Jakarta takes a dim view of it at the best of times. In 2013, six men were arrested
for raising the flag to mark the 50th anniversary of Indonesian occupation of the
territory. They faced a possible 15 years in jail. One of the men was so badly beaten
by police his trial was delayed.
So the question remains; with the Morning Star shining a light on Papua demands to
break away from the sovereignty-sensitive Jakarta, will prosecutors and judges
continue to charge and convict Papuans who peacefully raise flags (whether for
treason or some lesser charge)? If yes then nothing has changed and there will
continue to be political prisoners.
Even if all current prisoners are released, they are likely to be replaced by new
ones in no time, a delegation of pro-independence Papuans was charged with treason
as they landed in Jayapura airport after a mysterious meeting with Minister of
Defence, Ryamizard Ryacudu.
According to rights monitors, who have slammed the arrests as spurious, the five
men have been charged with treason under article 106 of the criminal code for wanting
to secede from the Republic of Indonesia and could face anywhere between 20 years
and life in prison.
This also raises the question of what happens if the raising of the flag and
pro-independence speeches doesn’t see Papuan activists arrested. Will Jokowi and
his government have the stomach for louder calls for independence in Papua? There’s
also the question of how he will react to foreign leaders calling for change in Papua.
In all of this, Jokowi once again shows that substance cannot be substituted for
a smile and a photo-op. He’s not given any indication on how he would like authorities
to react the next time the Morning Star flag is hoisted again — as it will inevitably
Unlike in 1998, when the release of the New Order’s political prisoners was
accompanied by the abolition of the notorious Anti-Subversion law, there has been
no discussion of how judges and prosecutors should interpret the treason articles
that Papuan activists are currently jailed for. This is therefore about more than
a question of political prisoners; this is about legal processes and how activists
end up in jail in the first place. This is about reformasi — or lack thereof.
Releasing current prisoners does not resolve the policy question of how the
government responds to non-violent pro-independence speech. And it hardly draws a
map to long-term reform.
If the current 90 or so prisoners currently locked up re-engage in peaceful protest
will they be thrown back in jail? Or is clemency contingent on becoming a loyal
citizen? Authorities appear to assume the existence of an implicit bargain:
prisoners are released, but Papuans should in return stop voicing pro-independence
It is very possible that Jakarta will try to have it both ways — release some, or
even all, current inmates, but continue to declare the Morning Star a "banned" flag,
and allow security forces to act against pro-independence activists.
The fact that they gave clemency to this particular group, who were involved in an
ammunitions raid in 2003, rather than a flag raising, is telling. The five had already
served 12 years of their 20-year sentence, and it is very possible they were up for
release soon in any case.
It would seem that in Papua, there is a long way to go before anyone can pin their
flag to the mast of reform.
[James Giggacher is editor of New Mandala and associate lecturer in the Coral Bell
School of Asia Pacific Affairs.]