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West Papua Report January 2014: Special Autonomy Plus, Danny Kogoya, TNI road building, education

January 9, 2014

West Papua Report
January 2014

This is the 117th 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.


This edition’s PERSPECTIVE examines the Special Autonomy Plus plan under consideration by Jakarta. It draws in part on comments made by an Indonesian delegation to the U.S. made up of key planners associated with the concept.

This edition’s UPDATE examines the mysterious death of a prominent Papuan, Danny Kogoya. A Papua New Guinea court has said his death should be treated as murder. The Indonesian media severely misrepresented the views of Jeremy Bally, a prominent campaigner for Papuan human rights. We publish here his thus far unpublished letter to the Jakarta Post correcting the record. Indonesia plans to send additional military personnel to heavily militarized West Papua. A prominent Papuan has criticized the role of the military in the construction of 900 kms of road in West Papua. A local OPM commander denied Indonesian claims of a mass surrender of guerrillas. A representative of the Catholic Church condemned human rights violations in Wamena.

In CHRONICLE, we note an analysis which contends that the Indonesian state, and not local Papuans, are responsible for the failure of education services in the Papuan highlands. An article underscores the critical role to be played in Papuans’ future by the Melanesian Spearhead Group. A report describes the plight of Papuans who have returned to West Papua from self-imposed exile in PNG only to face chronic unemployment. There was a significant increase in violence against journalist in West Papua.

Special Autonomy Plus
by Ed McWilliams

Velix Wanggai, Special Staff to the President of the Republic of Indonesia on Regional Development and Regional Autonomy, visited Washington, DC, and New York City early in December to describe progress on President Yudhoyono’s Special Autonomy Plus (otonomi khusus plus, also known as Enhanced Special Autonomy) plan. Wanggai was accompanied by a retinue of officials from the central government and the office of the Papua provincial Governor Lukas Enembe.

The following account is drawn from a December 9 meeting between the author of this Perspective and Wanggai, and his assistants, as well as from Wanggai’s presentation at a December 10 briefing organized by the United States-Indonesia Society (USINDO), Additional observations come from a meeting in New York with WPAT and ETAN members.

Special Autonomy Plus is supposed to replace Special Autonomy (otonomi khusus, OTSUS), passed in 2001 and widely rejected in West Papua. The official Majelis Rakyat Papua (Papuan People’s Council, MRP) passed a broad resolution in June 2010 rejecting Special Autonomy and calling for a referendum on Papuans’ political future, among other demands.

Planning for Special Autonomy Plus is still very much a work in progress with principal drafting organized by the Central Government, under Mr. Wanggai’s leadership, but with Papuan input as well. The two provincial-level administrations of West Papua ("Papua" and "West Papua") had been working independently of each other and made significantly different recommendations. The Papua province (Manokwari) draft appears to be more radical than the West Papua province (Jayapura) draft.

The staffs of the two governors are working to reconcile the two proposals and plan to send a combined draft to Jakarta in January. The central government will have the final say on the content of any proposal.

At the USINDO briefing, a representative from the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) observed that some of the elements of the two Papuan drafts "have some senior people in Jakarta very worried." The official also noted that there was concern that the whole project "may not get off the ground before SBY leaves office."

Wanggai acknowledged the two competing Papuan drafts and spoke generally about some of the differences including over the level of investment in indigenous communities, calls (from the "Papua-Manokwari" administration) for "limited authority in the area of foreign affairs," and the right of Papuans to ownership shares in Freeport (the U.S. based Freeport McMoRan cooper and gold mine). He said without explanation that the "West Papua-Jayapura" administration draft looks at "social cohesion issues."

Wanggai told the USINDO gathering that there were three timing scenarios for rolling out the final plan: The first is before the parliamentary elections (scheduled for April); the second is on Independence Day (August 17), and the last is during September-October, prior to Yudhoyono relinquishing office. After Wanggai had finished his presentation, Francis Mote, spokesperson for Governor Enembe, insisted on speaking. Enembe confided to the USINDO gathering that Governor Enembe was concerned that whoever succeeds SBY may ignore any plan for Special Autonomy Plus.

Wanggai acknowledged one USINDO questioner’s point that it was essential to have metrics by which any new autonomy plan could be judged. Wanggai said that currently money had been transferred without long- or even medium-term planning. As a result, it had not been possible to measure performance. Wanggai claimed that both President Yudhoyono and Governor Enembe were working on plans to address the problem of efficient use of funds.

Another questioner at USINDO observed that Wanggai had spoken of the success of Special Autonomy in Aceh and asked if Special Autonomy Plus would allow local Papuan parties as in Aceh. Wanggai said the concept of local parties would not work because unlike in Aceh there is great cultural diversity in Papua, so parties would not be able to unite around one banner (as with GAM in Aceh). He added that many Papuans were already committed to the national parties.

Both in his December 9 discussion with author and his USINDO presentation, Wanggai appeared unready to address key issues affecting Papuans. Refusing to engage with the author about Papuans right to self-determination, Wanggai said that President Yudhoyono supported dialogue but that no dialogue agenda could include anything that violated the President’s constitutional obligation to protect Indonesia’s national integrity.

In both his December 9 and 10 presentations, Wanggai was asked about the difficulty faced by foreign journalists, human rights and humanitarian workers, and UN personnel in visiting and travelling within West Papua. Wanggai (with the support of an Indonesian Embassy official) argued that security concerns justified access restrictions. Wanggai offered no comment on questions related to Jakarta’s failure thus far to follow-up on Jakarta’s invitation to Melanesia Spearhead Group Foreign Ministers or various UN Special Rapporteurs to visit West Papua.

Responding to questions about political prisoners Wanggai said that "reconciliation" is an element in Special Autonomy Plus that could have tangible reality in the release of political prisoners. Wanggai was not prepared to respond to a call for Indonesia to end criminalization of "treason" and "subversion," aspects of the Indonesian criminal code that is used to curb peaceful dissent, as during the Suharto dictatorship. Responding to author’s questions about "transmigration," Wanggai said that one proposal in the drafting for Special Autonomy Plus was to permit district heads to determine whether their districts should receive transmigrants.

Regarding the Indonesian military and the militarization of West Papua, Wanggai told this author that the TNI in West Papua was no longer operating as under the era of the New Order of Suharto. "DOM is finished," he said. When this author questioned this assessment, pointing to continuing " sweeping operations" in the central highlands and the November 26 arrests of KPNB supporters in Jayapura and the killing of at least one of those demonstrators, Wanggai stated that Special Autonomy Plus would attempt deal with "security issues." He said that consideration was being given to giving Papuan officials a voice in deciding deployment levels for of TNI — except on the border with Papua New Guinea.

Wanggai did acknowledge however, that the creation of new districts and possibly three new provinces in West Papua would provide the basis for yet additional TNI deployments. The Papuan officials expressed the hope that Special Autonomy Plus would emphasize the veto that existing provinces in West Papua have over the establishment of new ones. That provision in current law was violated when West Papua was divided in two in 2003.

WPAT Comment: One of the concerns Wanggai was unwilling to address was how efforts to develop Special Autonomy Plus appeared to be a tacit acknowledgement that Special Autonomy, in force for over a decade, had failed, as proclaimed by many leading Papuan figures and in repeated, large demonstrations by ordinary Papuans. The new version of Special Autonomy, if it materializes at all, will likely succeed or fail on the basis of whether or not it addresses fundamental Papuan concerns about militarization of West Papua and the continued denial of Papuans right to self determination. The original Special Autonomy approach foundered on its failure to address such basic Papuan concerns.


Apparent Murder of Prominent Papuan Tied to Indonesian State

Human rights activists, media and other sources have reported on the suspicious death in Vanimo, Papua New Guinea, of Danny Kogoya, a regional commander of the Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, OPM). According to these sources, the cause of death was liver failure, believed caused by the presence of unusual chemical substances in his body. A Vanimo court has classified his death as a possible murder and called for an autopsy. However, Indonesian authorities intervened to prevent an autopsy from taking place, raising the suspicion of Indonesian state involvement in Danny Kogoya’s death.

Kogoya died on December, 15 2013, in the Vanimo General Hospital where he had been seeking medical treatment for complications associated with the amputation of his right leg. Doctors at a police hospital in Bhayangkara Kotaraja, West Papua, had amputated the leg without his consent, while treating him for gunshot wounds to the leg inflicted by Indonesian security forces at the time of his arrest on September 2, 2012.

Kogoya was released from Indonesian custody when his detention period ran out. He had stayed in Kamp Victoria at the border of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea initially, but he fled to Papua New Guinea out of fear of being re-arrested.

In addition to providing medical treatment for his amputated leg, the doctors in Vanimo unsuccessfully sought to identify the cause of the swelling in some parts of Danny’s body. Doctors described the results of four blood tests run on Kogoya as "complicated."

A Papua New Guinea court, after reviewing hospital medical records, concluded that Kogoya’s death should be treated as a murder and called for an autopsy. A doctor at Vanimo General Hospital alleged that the chemical substances which likely caused the liver failure were introduced into Kogoya’s body when he was held at the hospital.

A relative of Kogoya who was present for the court-ordered autopsy has claimed that four individuals met with the management of the hospital and prevented the autopsy from taking place. Two of the four were identified as staff of the Indonesian Consulate in Vanimo, one of whom was known as Bapak Hari.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) issued an Urgent Appeal about this case. The commission noted allegations by Kogoya’s lawyer of a forced confession regarding OPM attacks in 2011. The AHRC also observed that the Indonesian human rights activist Said Munir Thalib was poisoned to death in a murder tied to the Indonesian Intelligence Agency (Badan Intelijen Negara, BIN).

Correcting The Record: What Jeremy Bally Really Told the Jakarta Post

Jeremy Bally, a Canadian activist who has cycled the world on behalf human rights in West Papua, gave a press conference during his visit to West Papua in December. Bally’s comments, as reported in the Jakarta Post , were seriously distorted. Bally responsibly sought to correct those distortions through a letter to the editor of the Jakarta Post. To date, the newspaper has refused to publish his letter. With Bally’s permission, we provide the text of that letter as submitted:

On December 16, 2013, I visited Abepura Prison in West Papua to deliver postcards and video bearing messages of support and solidarity to West Papuan political prisoners. The messages were collected throughout the Pedaling for Papua campaign, during which I rode my bicycle 12,000 kilometers through seven countries raising awareness about human rights issues and political imprisonment in West Papua.

On December 16, Nethy Dharma Somba of the Jakarta Post wrote an article about the action at Abepura prison. I was appalled to see how this article explicitly mis-characterizes both me and the action. I am critically misquoted as having said, regarding the political prisoners I met that day, "They are healthy and have no problems. I’m sure that officers in the prison have treated them well."

While it was indeed the case that the prisoners I met that day, who included KNPB General Secretary Victor Yeimo, Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience Filep Karma, and President of the Federated Republic of West Papua Forkorus Yaboisembut, were in good spirits, the situation of them and their colleagues at this prison and other prisons is anything but "free from problems."

Victor Yeimo was severely beaten with rattan canes upon his arrest, and is currently serving a sentence 3 times longer than was originally reported by his lawyers. Filep Karma required a lengthy and difficult campaign by Amnesty International and other NGO’s to receive critical medical care.

Forkorus Yaboisembut, at 57 years old, was kicked and beaten after being arrested for peaceful actions in 2011.

All of these men, along with the dozens of others at Abepura prison and elsewhere, are in jail for peaceful protest, raising flags, and speaking openly about their political beliefs. The article in question is an insult and offense to these men, as well as all those who risked arrest and deportation to make this action happen. It is also damaging to the efforts made by Papuans Behind Bars, the Pedaling for Papua campaign, and many other organizations and individuals who stand in solidarity with West Papuans who have sacrificed their freedom in the fight for peace and justice in their homeland

Whether through political motivation or journalistic incompetence, this article stands as an explicit example of Indonesian propaganda in national media.

Jeremy Bally
Pedaling for Papua Campaign
December 17, 2013

see also Media misrepresents human rights campaign for West Papua, an interview with Jeremy Bally

Indonesia to Send Additional Troops to West Papua

A media report claims that Indonesia plans to send 650 military personnel to the border area between West Papua and Papua New Guinea. The planned February 2014 deployment apparently is not part of a regular rotation, but will augment the troops presence in the heavily militarized region. The deployment is reportedly scheduled to last for nine months. According to the report, the troops will undergo training in ambush and other combat training. They also will be provided with photos of dozens of high ranking personnel of the Free West Papua Movement (OPM).

Papuan Official Objects to Military Role in Road Construction

The Indonesian central government has assigned the Indonesian military (TNI) to construct 14 roads, amounting to more than 900 kilometers, in West Papua over the next six months.

Soldiers from the 10th/Ksatria Yudha Dharma (KYD) Combat Engineering Detachment (Denzipur) were officially deployed by Kodam chief Maj. Gen. Christian Zebua in early December. The project is to be managed by the Papua and West Papua Development Acceleration Unit (UP4B).

In September 2013, national parliament members raised questions about the appropriateness of using the TNI for the road construction project in West Papua. Among other concerns, some lawmakers pointed out that the massive deployment of troops into West Papua’s rural area would stoke tensions among local Papuans.

Papua Indigenous Entrepreneurs Chamber (KAPP) chairman John Haluk, opposing TNI involvement in the construction, emphasized that KAPP was ready to provide contractors. "It would be better if the soldiers return to their barracks instead of getting involved in the road projects," he said. "Papuans are traumatized by the Army’s presence and its involvement [has the effect
of] intimidating Papuans." Haluk was also critical of the UP4B which he said had never involved native Papuan entrepreneurs in its policymaking.

WPAT Comment: The decision to resort to the Army for this project raises questions about the purpose of the roads. The military has been employed in previous road "development" schemes that have had as their principal intent, the facilitation of military movement and the opening of lands for exploitation, often by companies with military ties. This was typical during the years of Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor as well as in West Papua. Not addressed in the recent report is why the project, which in March and again in September the Jakarta Post reported that the construction would consist of 1500 kms of roads. This appears now to have been trimmed to 900 kms.

False Claim of Major OPM Surrender

Anton Tabuni, Secretary General of the armed wing of the Free Papua Organization (OPM) in Puncak Jaya, has strongly denied a claim by a local official that 100 fighters serving under commander Goliat Tanumi had surrendered. Punjak Jaya District head Henock Ibo claimed in December that the 100 surrendering OPM personnel would be integrated into district service.

Catholic Church Decries 2013 Human Rights Abuse in West Papua

Father John Jonga, told the Tabloid Jubi that the Catholic Church had recorded many violations of human right in in Wamena, Jayawijaya, in 2013. Most of the violations concerning involved loss of life, and that most of these were the result of action by the armed forces or the police.

Jonga also said "economic life has become increasingly difficult, because of economic programs that create dependence on government. Traditional economic life was destroyed as many gardens were abandoned." He also called the conditions at hospitals in Wamena "very bad."


Article Points to Indonesian State as Responsible for Failures in Highlands

An Inside Indonesia article by Jenny Munro provides a detailed critique of a recent analysis by Bobby Anderson, that previously appeared in Inside Indonesia. Anderson, according to Munro, incorrectly placed blame for severely inadequate educational services in the Papuan highlands on Papuans. Munro agrees with Anderson that Special Autonomy has been "a boon for the powerful and a disaster for the majority, including school children." But Munro argues that Anderson’s analysis ignores the "broader context of historical mistreatment, state repression, and power dynamics that implicate state and corporate actors" in the dearth of adequate services in the highlands, especially in education.

Munro also challenges Anderson’s perspective on pemekaran (the policy of breaking up administrative districts into smaller units) and decentralization in the context of "Special Autonomy." She writes that "the reality of these policies show us that development is not really aimed at improving the lives of Papuans in remote, rural spaces but rather at shifting them to regional centers and cities where they can be better managed by the state, leaving remote areas open to resource exploitation."

Article Considers Role of MSG in Papuan Future

Inter Press Servicehaspublished a lengthy review of developments affecting West Papua with a detailed focus on the growing involvement of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) members. The article points out that time is running out for the Jakarta to fulfill its pledge to invite a delegation of MSG foreign ministers to Papua. The initial offer of an invitation was made at the MSG Summit in July 2013 and was to have been followed up with a specific invitation within six months. The article also notes that poverty levels remain remarkably high in West Papua, especially when compared with levels in East Java and Jakarta.

Papuans Return Home from PNG Face Unemployment

A December 5 report carried by IRIN describes the disillusionment of Papuans who in 2009 were lured back to West Papua from self-imposed exile in Papua New Guinea, They now lack jobs despite promises of employment. Papuans interviewed regret their decision to return to West Papua.

Violence Against Journalists

The Jayapura branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists ( AJI ) reported 20 cases of intimidation and violence against journalists in West Papua in 2013. This was a "significant increase" from the previous year’s 12 cases.

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