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West Papua Report July 2013: Biak massacre, MSG, youth, development disasters

July 2, 2013

West Papua Report

July 2013

This is the 111th 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 at edmcw. If you wish to receive the report directly via e-mail, send a note to etan. Link to this issue:

The Report leads with "Perspective," an opinion piece; followed by "Update," a summary of some developments during the covered period; 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. The opinions expressed in Perspectives are the author’s and not necessarily those of WPAT or ETAN.For additional news on West Papua see the reg.westpapua listserv archive or on Twitter.


The West Papua Advocacy Team announces the granting of the 2013 John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award to Port Moresby Governor Powes Parkop. This month’s "PERSPECTIVE" provides an account of the 1998 Biak Massacre by an observer who visited the scene days after the Indonesian Navy’s brutal assault on peaceful civilians there. UPDATE offers a detailed account and analysis of the Melanesian Spearhead Group’s consideration of Papuans’ application for membership. UNICEF examines the Indonesian government failure to address the needs of Papuan youth and also reports on Indonesian exploitation of Papuan youth. The report notes that the police in West Papua have honored two of their own, notwithstanding their involvement in brutality targeting West Papuan civilians. The "CHRONICLE" section notes a new report on the Indonesian military’s plans to build a massive highway system in West Papua, and cites two reports on the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) "development" scheme that has already severely damaged local people’s interests. The International Coalition for Papua has a new report on human rights violations in the territory.

WPAT’ 2013 John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award Goes to PNG’s Powes Parkop

The West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) is pleased to announce that it is giving its 2013 John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award to Powes Parkop, Governor of the Port Moresby and the National Capital District of Papua New Guinea. Governor Parkop is also a member of the Papua New Guinea Parliament. For many decades, Governor Parkop has sought to improve the plight of refugees in Papua New Guinea who have fled repression in Indonesian-controlled West Papua. His advocacy for West Papuan’s human rights, including the right to self-determination, within Papua New Guinea and in the wider international community has been eloquent and consistent.

Since 2008 the West Papua Advocacy Team has annually honored organizations and individuals with the John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award, named in honor of the West Papua Advocacy Team founder. The award consists of a plaque and a $500 stipend.

Carmel Budiardjo and Tapol (UK, 2008), John M. Miller and the East Timor and Indonesian Action Network (U.S., 2009), Andreas Harsono (Indonesia, 2010), U.S. Congressional Delegate Eni Faleomavaega (American Samoa, 2011), and the Australia West Papua Association (2012).


This month’s "Perspective" by Edmund McWilliams, a member of WPAT, describes his visit to Biak in West Papua in the immediate aftermath of the July 1998 Indonesian military’s massacre of peaceful demonstrators there. At the time, McWilliams was working at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta. He has since retired from the U.S. Foreign Service.

Recalling the 1998 Massacre in Biak

In July 1998, I was serving as the Political Counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta. Throughout the archipelago, it was a time of turmoil but also of great hope. In May, the three-decade old Suharto dictatorship had been overthrown by a popular uprising led largely by courageous young people, notably university students, who held massive, largely peaceful demonstrations. Indonesians were united by the dream of "reformasi": determined not only to put an end dictatorial rule but also to end corruption in the governing elite; and a determination to end security force abuse of human rights and to secure accountability of those forces for their crimes.

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