AWPA Summary of events in West Papua for January -5 Feb. 2015
Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088
Summary of events in West Papua for January -5 Feb. 2015
On the 1 January two policemen and a security officer at Freeport-McMoRan were killed. Second Brig. Riyan Hariansah and First Brig. Muhammad Andriad, both aged 22, and a 33-year-old security guard Suko Miartono were found dead shortly after carrying out a patrol in Utikini, Tembagapura. The bodies were found after a group of policemen conducting a routine patrol found their car near the bridge at Utikini Village or Mile-68 in the Tembagapura area. The attackers had removed rifles and ammunition from the victims. Over a thousand security force members were deployed to find the armed group led by Ayub Waker who they believed to be responsible for the fatal shootings. In all 13 members of the armed group were arrested. Eleven on the 7 January and two in the previous days. During the sweeps to find those responsible the security forces arrested up to 116 people living in the region. They were taken by bus from Mile 32 Tembagapura to the Timika Police. After a day at the police station 49 women and children were freed by police while 77 men were detained.
During the sweep by the security forces houses were burned and some of those arrested beaten. The Papuan police confirmed the arrests but claim only 13 people had been detained by the joint police and military team.
Jubi reported that Pastor Jhon Djonga said that the deployment of security force to chase the group led by Ayub Worker at Utikini Village caused resentment among the local residents towards the security forces. “The Papua Police Chief, please do not act like that. Now the people of Papua, whether live in the forest or city, the OPM or civilians, they are annoyed with the Police, there is no sympathy towards the Police,” Pastor Djonga said on the phone in Jayapura on Sunday (11/1). A report in Jubi on the 26 January gave another slant on the killings that occurred on the 1 January. Jubi reported that contrary to the information that had been submitted by the police, local residents and activists said the killing of the two members of the Papua Police Mobile Brigade originated from the liquor business. The report said security officers from various units in December 2014 until the beginning of January supplied alcohol to Freeport employees. According to the report the killings were the result of a quarrel between citizens and the suppliers. Whatever the reason behind the killings, the results was the police deployed thousands of troops in sweeps to find those responsible for the killing of the two Brimob members. As a result of the sweeps a number of residents were wounded, dozens of people arrested, homes burned, farm animals killed and residents fled from their villages into the woods.
Also near Utikini village, the Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Yotje Mende said a joint security team of National Police and Indonesian Military personnel had removed about 1000 miners working in illegal gold mining operations along the Kabul river and sent back to their homes. The Jakarta Post (14/1) reported that the Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Yotje Mende said “As many as 51 security posts have been set up in illegal gold mining areas along the Kabul river basin so that they will not return. This is for the sake of their own safety because the areas are prone to landslides,” He went on to say that illegal gold miners in Utikini village had become an extortion target for armed civilian groups. “The illegal gold miners were not aware that they had become financial sources for the armed civilian groups, which had regularly visited them and asked them to give money and food,” said Mende. “This was why we decided to remove the illegal gold miners, hoping that this would cut the chain of money and food for the armed civilian groups in the area,” and "We’ve repatriate about 1,000 miners in order to avoid casualties due to the current security forces still continue to chase to catch the armed groups that kill and take the guns belonged to members of Brimob," said Inspector General of Police Yotje Mende in Jayapura, Friday (16/1).
There has been a lot of attention on West Papua in the Indonesian media recently. An editorial in the Jakarta Globe (23 Jan.), reflecting on the violence in West Papua states in relation to the OPM “For one thing, we have long been made to believe it is the Free Papua Organization, or OPM, that threatens the area and its people, but we wonder just how many they number and why thousands of security officers have failed to deal with them after years hunting them down. Our guess is that the unrest is deliberately perpetuated because it benefits the ruling elites in Papua and Jakarta”. Also in relation to the OPM, A member of the Papua Legislative Council’s Commission I, Ruben Magay, said (Jubi 2 Feb.) the Free Papua Movement is not using violence anymore but diplomacy to express their political aspirations. “So the Free Papua Movement has ceased the fire. Now their level is upgraded. They might have used violence in the past, but not anymore,” Magay said on Saturday (31/1). He said a group called by the security force as the Armed Criminal Group (KKB), Armed Civilian Group (KSB) or separatists are not the Free Papua Movement, but they are a group groomed by certain parties for their own interests. “Groups called KKB, KSB and so on have economic motives. This damages Papuans, but it all will be uncovered,” he said.
ULMWP submits application to MSG
The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), has submitted their application for membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) in Port Vila, Vanuatu. During a historic ceremony on the steps of the MSG Secretariat, ULMWP Secretary General Octovanius Mote on behalf of the three main resistance groups, formally handed the application to the MSG’s Director General, Peter Forau. The ULMWP has now lodged both an application for full membership, as well as a Constitution to guide the newly unified Papuan resistance as it continues its diplomatic push for self determination. Full release athttp://freewestpapua.org/2015/02/04/west-papua-resubmits-application-for-msg-membership/
Papua province to Establish Relations With Pacific Countries
tabloidjubi.com Feb 5th, 2015
Jayapura, Jubi – Papua province is seeking to strengthen relations with some Melanesian countries in the pacific region this year. “The provincial government has conducted exploratory cooperation with countries in the Pacific region and it is based on cultural relations,” head of the Border and International Relations of Papua, Suzana Wanggai told reporters in Jayapura Papua on Sunday (01/02/2015). “We’ve got the permission of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and we also had communication with the Indonesian ambassador to the Philippines as the ambassador of the Philippines is still in charge of dealing with the Republic of Palau,” she said. She said if there were no agreements of Indonesian maritime boundary with neighboring countries, it may cause problems of mutual claims, in particular the management and utilization of fishery resources. However, the central government will see this relations as a part of cultural relations between each countries and not as political. “This can be beneficial for those who would like to work in various countries in the Pacific region,” she said. Earlier, Ahmad Subadri said this aspirations would be addressed at a meeting of members and the relevant ministries.“Our aspiration is to be heard we continue to center for follow-up,” Ahmad Subadri said during a meeting, the government of Papua Province with team of committee I DPD RI on Thursday (29/1) . (Alexander Loen/ Tina)
Freeport has come under a lot of criticism in the past month over its proposed commitment to developing a copper smelter. Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of US-based giant miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc., is required to build a copper smelter in the country as a consequence of the 2009 Mining Law that requires mining firms to process and refine their minerals in domestic facilities.
Lawsuit. The Jakarta Globe (2 Feb) reported that four activists from ProDem, an activist group, filed a citizen lawsuit against President Joko Widodo and Freeport Indonesia, the local unit of US mining giant Freeport-McMoRan, at the Central Jakarta district Court on Monday for allegedly failing to comply with the 2009 Mining Law’s requirement on domestic smelting. The lawsuit includes a demand that could disrupt Freeport Indonesia’s production process for at least two months. People Lawyers Union, or SPR, acted as the counsel for the four plaintiffs, namely Arief Poyuono, Kisman Latumakulita, Iwan Sumule and Haris Rusly. ProDem is a network of activists from organizations that advocate for democracy around Indonesia. Arief, who is also the chairman of the State-owned Enterprises Labor Union, said they want the court to “cancel Freeport Indonesia’s permit extension to export concentrate for six months and its contract extension.”
The Jakarta Post (3 Feb.) reported that the Indonesian House of Representatives was also pushing the government to make Freeport establish its smelter in Papua, increasing concerns over whether the company will be able to complete development by 2017 when a full ban on ore exports will be implemented. The House’s leaders brought up the Papua smelter issue during a meeting with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Monday. The House’s deputy speaker, Agus Hermanto, claimed that the President had agreed that Freeport Indonesia should build its smelter close to its mine in Papua instead of following its plan to build in Gresik, East Java. “I say many problems will arise if the smelter is built in Gresik,” Agus said after the meeting, without elaborating.
Uncertainty shrouds talks on Freeport
Raras Cahyafitri, The Jakarta Post February 02 2015 . The government has not decided on the future of PT Freeport Indonesia’s operations, although it understands investors need certainty. In July last year, the government and Freeport signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in which both sides agreed to complete the draft of an amendment to the miner’s contract of work (CoW) within six months, or January 2015. However, they failed to meet the January deadline and eventually agreed to extend it another six months. Despite the deadline extension, whether Freeport will continue operations in the country remains unclear. Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of US-based Freeport McMoran Inc., will see its contract expire in 2021 — around six years from now. The company has been trying to secure a contract extension so that it can ensure the payback period for its massive investment in the development of underground mining and a mandatory copper smelter in Indonesia. However, under existing law, any request for a contract extension can only be made two years before expiry, which in the case of Freeport will be in 2019. “We have to change views, particularly concerning worries over whether Freeport Indonesia closes for operation. We have no fear. Even the President and Vice President have stronger views; if there is no deal, let them go. That’s a political position,” Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Sudirman Said said at a hearing with the House of Representatives recently.
“Reality in the field, however, shows that Freeport Indonesia is a big institution and contributes both directly and indirectly to local income. There are also thousands workers, making this a tough issue,” he added. Sudirman emphasized that through its MoU with Freeport, the government was seeking more benefits from the operation of the giant miner in the country, particularly contribution to industrial development in the Papua area, where company’s main operations is located. Freeport Indonesia, which has been operating the world’s largest gold mine Grasberg since the early 1970s, is seeking a maximum operation extension of 20 years until 2041. Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) head Franky Sibarani suggested the government not extend Freeport Indonesia’s operations. “We should thank Freeport Indonesia for developing the Grasberg mine. However, time has passed a long and operations should have been handed over,” Franky, who was inaugurated as BKPM head last November, said last Friday. He argued the country has the means to develop the mine, particularly through state-owned diversified miner PT Aneka Tambang (Antam), which also operates gold mines in the country. BKPM is involved in the renegotiations of a number of mineral and coal CoWs in the country.
Considering that a number of mining firms have been operating in the country for years and aim to make use more of natural resources, the government, through the 2009 Mining Law, aims to adjust a number of mineral and coal CoWs in the country, including the one involving Freeport Indonesia. The adjustment covers six main issues, namely royalty increases, reduction of mining-area size, continuity of operations under a mining license instead of a contract, obligation to give added value to mining products, divestment and the obligation to use local goods and services. Last year, when the government forced Freeport Indonesia to principally agree on adjustments to its CoW despite future operations uncertainty, the primary MoU stated that the government would not unreasonably withhold or delay the continuation of its operations if the company met all of its commitments, including the establishment of a copper smelter in the country. The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s director general for mineral and coal, R. Sukhyar, said the primary MoU remained valid and became the basis for the extended MoU last January. Details of agreements will be followed up in the amendment to the CoW.
An editorial on Freeport from the Jakarta Post (4 Feb.) below
Freeport’s lack of commitment
The Jakarta Post | Editorial | Wed, February 04 2015
PT Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of US-based mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Inc., deserves a strong rebuke from the government and the House of Representatives for its utter lack of commitment to developing a copper smelter to comply with the 2009 Mining Law. The government had compromised in early 2014 by lowering the purity levels of copper, nickel, bauxite and other minerals to fall below those stipulated in the law to allow them to continue mineral exports after the 2014 deadline for the ban of unprocessed mineral exports. The compromise was meant to prevent substantial worker layoffs and sudden falls in export earnings and state revenues for the central and regional governments, from royalties and other taxes. But the export permit, issued during the transition period until 2017 when a total ban will be slapped on unprocessed minerals, is tied to higher export taxes of 20 to 60 percent, royalty payments and clear timetables for the development of smelters in the country. So far, Papua-based Freeport Indonesia, the largest producer of copper and gold in the country, has failed to show any concrete progress in the development of its US$2.3 billion smelter project with an annual capacity of two million tons. The company only reached a memorandum of understanding with state-owned PT Petrokimia Gresik on its plan to lease an 80-hectare plot of land in Gresik, East Java, for the plant project. It is rather impossible for Freeport to complete the plant within the next three years, as the required feasibility study has yet to be made and dozens of other permits have yet to be obtained from the central and local governments. The House was especially irked by Freeport’s plan to build its smelter in the Petrokimia Gresik industrial complex in East Java, a corporate action seen as ignoring the interests of the Papuan people. But Freeport’s plan is understandably more commercially viable because the smelter project requires at least 600 megawatts of power and other supporting infrastructure that is unavailable in Papua. Gresik can easily fulfill those requirements. Petrokimia Gresik can also process sulfuric acid, a byproduct of the smelter. The government should be forceful in ensuring that Freeport develops its smelter, but given the tight schedule, the company could be allowed to go ahead with its original plan to build the smelter in Gresik but with stricter timetables for each stage of construction and much higher export tax, as stipulated in the January 2014 regulation. Freeport-McMoRan has a big stake in Papua as its Indonesia concession holds 30 billion pounds of proven and probable copper, 29.8 million ounces of gold and 308.5 million ounces of silver. Its mining operations in Papua have been highly profitable due to low (open pit) mining costs. Hence, the only alternative for Freeport is pushing ahead with the smelter project, otherwise it will lose those huge mineral reserves if its mining license is not renewed after 2021. –
Areki Wanimbo is still in prision in Wamena
Although the two French journalists, Valentine Bourrat and Thomas Dandois were released after serving 2.5 months in prison, Areki Wanimbo who was arrested with the journalists is still in Wamena prison facing trial for treason under Articles 106 and 110 of the Indonesian Penal Code. He’s a teacher and the Lanny Jaya tribal chief. Other Papuans arrested at the same time were released without charge.
Two civilians wounded in Lanny Jaya regency
Two civilians who worked for a private company PT. Nirvana were shot in Kampung Popome in the Lanny Jaya regency, on the 29 January. They were evacuated to the hospital in Wamena to receive treatment. The police said the perpetrators had managed to escape and had also destroyed an excavator by burning it.
Papua-PNG border rife with smuggling
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Archipelago | Wed, January 07 2015,
Border areas between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (PNG), especially Merauke, Papua, and Daru, PNG, are prone to smuggling, says a local military commander. Merauke naval base commander Brig. Gen. Buyung Lalana told Antara news agency on Tuesday that the areas were prone to smuggling due to limited equipment, such as motorboats. The smugglers, added Buyung, were mostly Indonesians and smuggled goods from PNG, usually in the form of marine resources, such as sea cucumbers and fish stomach as well as marijuana. “Many Indonesians enter PNG to buy marine yields from PNG residents as they are lured by the price, which reaches millions, such as for sea cucumber,” said Buyung. He added that his command was only able to monitor the traffic of people from Indonesia and PNG if they reported at the Torasi border crossing manned by a platoon of marines.(***)
Warning over security on PNG/Indo border
RNZI 29 January 2015
A former Governor of West Sepik province in Papua New Guinea says both the national government and Australia’s need to do more to help protect PNG’s land border with Indonesia. John Tekwie’s comment comes after another reported Indonesian military incursion into PNG, in Bewani, West Sepik. Indonesian military pursuits of Free West Papua rebels spilling over into PNG have become common over the years, as have complaints by PNG citizens living near the porous border about their treatment by the Indonesians. Mr Tekwie says PNG and Australia need to wake up over the security situation caused by the continued subjugation of West Papuans by Indonesia. "And you know, when a man is pushed to the end of a table, what do they do? They gonna fight back. I think the West Papua issue is boiling up to that point soon and something is going to happen. And Indonesia is adamant as you know, that Indonesia will fight to protect and prevent West Papua breaking away." John Tekwie
Fiji opposition announces support for West Papua
Updated at 8:13 pm on 17 January 2015
Fiji’s opposition parties have rallied behind the Free West Papua Movement in a move they hope will put pressure on authorities to act. The Opposition leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa, says the Melanesian people of West Papua have been terrorised for years and hopes for freedom have been suppressed. The Fiji Times reports the opposition is hoping authorities will be pressured to hold the Indonesian government to account for human rights abuses in the restive province.
40 people found infected with HIV in Jayapura
Sabtu, 17 January 2015. Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA News) – At least 40 people were found to have been infected by HIV in the city of Jayapura, the capital of Papua until November in 2014. Head of the Reproduction Health Center of Jayapura Toma Heppy said here on Saturday the HIV carriers are treated only as outpatients with regular control. "But AIDs carriers have to be sent to the Abepura state hospital for more intensive treatment," Toma said. He said most of the 40 people known to have been infected by HIV were women. "There are few men coming for the test," he said, adding every month more than 300 people including children coming for the test. Earlier, the Southeast Sulawesi Health service said the number of the HIV/AIDs carriers in that province grew in 2014 from the previous year. Head of the regional health service Asrun Tombili said the number of people infected by the fatal disease in the province reached 158 in the first 10 months of 2014 as against only 103 in the whole of 2013. (Uu.H-ASG/F001)
Editorial: Open Up Papua to The Light of Truth
By Jakarta Globe on 12:27 am Jan 23, 2015
Papua remains a big mystery to the Indonesian public. Even Papuans don’t know what exactly happens in their own homeland. For one thing, we have long been made to believe it is the Free Papua Organization, or OPM, that threatens the area and its people, but we wonder just how many they number and why thousands of security officers have failed to deal with them after years hunting them down. Our guess is that the unrest is deliberately perpetuated because it benefits the ruling elites in Papua and Jakarta. Another mystery is what is it the authorities are keeping hidden in Papua such that the news media, especially the foreign press, is denied a peek. Are they concealing the mass graves of native Papuans? Or crimes such as illegal logging and the destruction of the environment? If there are no human rights violations, environmental destruction or illegal logging taking place there, then why the fear of opening up? We got a glimpse of what really goes on there when in 2013 a low-ranking police officer, Labora Sitorus, was linked to Rp 1.5 trillion ($120 million) bank transactions. He was eventually convicted of illegal logging and fuel smuggling — rackets that could not have been carried out for years without his superiors being aware or involved. Papua is blessed with abundant natural resources, but its people have benefited little as a result. The biggest single taxpayer in Indonesia, Freeport Indonesia, which operates a copper and gold mine there, has paid $15.2 billion in taxes, royalties, dividends and other direct payments, and $26.1 billion indirectly, from 1992 to 2013 — yet Papua remains the poorest region in the republic. It is high time we draw back the curtain on these mysteries and bring the truth to light.
Three more members of armed group arrested in Jayapura
Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post, Jayapura Wed, January 28 2015
Three more members of an armed group led by Puron Wenda were arrested at a trade center in Jayapura, Papua, on Wednesday. The three, identified as Rais Wenda, 27, Albert Jikwa, 29, and Fredi Kagoya, 15, were arrested as they traveled on a minibus in the Papua Trade Center in the city. Papua Provincial Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rudolf Patrige said the three were still undergoing an intensive interrogation in connection with their alleged involvement in recent bloody assaults in Timika and Jayapura.“But the three are being grilled on their status as witnesses to the incidents,” he said. The arrest of the three was conducted by the police following the arrest of two other members of the armed group in Wamena on Saturday. Patrige denied spreading rumors that an Army soldier had been arrested for selling guns and ammunition to the armed group. Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Fransen G. Siahaan, chief of the Cendrawasih Military Command overseeing Papua and West Papua, also denied the rumors and said that only the three members of the armed group were arrested in a joint raid launched by the police and the military in the province. (rms)(+++)
TNI to severely punish weapon sellers
Nani Afrida, The Jakarta Post January 29 2015
The Indonesian Military (TNI) will impose severe punishments on any of its personnel who try to sell weapons or any other military equipment to members of the separatist movement in Papua. “Selling bullets and military weapons are totally forbidden for military personnel. It’s almost like they want to kill their own comrades. So, if we discover this, the personnel will be automatically discharged and must be brought before a military court,” TNI spokesperson Maj. Gen. Fuad Basya told The Jakarta Post in Jakarta on Thursday. It has been reported that a soldier was arrested for selling guns and ammunition to members of the Free Papua Movement (OPM). Fuad said the military was very careful in storing its ammunition and it was impossible for soldiers to simply grab the bullets from the armory. He assumed the illicit ammunition had been misappropriated during range training. “Perhaps the soldier uses only 10 bullets during training, but reports having used up more. It is the only possibility,” he explained. According to Fuad, one soldier has been arrested and the military police will try to discover whether there are other soldiers involved in the case. (nfo)(+++)
Air Force to beef up presence, at air bases near borders
Extract from Jakarta Post (5 Feb.)
The Indonesian Air Force plans to increase operations at bases near its borders in an effort to deter threats of incursion. “We must pay attention to several air bases and put more forces in those areas so that other countries will not infringe upon our territorial integrity,” newly installed Air Force chief of staff Chief Marshal Agus Supriatna announced after a leadership meeting in Cilangkap, East Jakarta, on Wednesday. Agus said the Air Force would focus on five military air bases; the Soewondo military air base in Medan, North Sumatra; the Ranai military air base in Natuna, Riau Islands; the Tarakan military air base in Tarakan, East Kalimantan; the El Tari military air base in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara; and the Jayapura military air base in Papua.
Opinion pieces/reports/press releases etc.
Papuans Have Heard Jokowi’s Promises, but Is the President Listening?
Book. The Incubus of Intervention (Conflicting Indonesia Strategies of John F. Kennedy and Allen Dulles) Author/Editor: Greg Poulgrain
From mongabay.com (includes maps/photos)
DFAT reply to AWPA letter re 8 Dec. killings
AWPA report – West Papua 2014 Year in Review
PANIAI SHOOTINGS – MAKE INVESTIGATION FINDINGS PUBLIC AND BRING PERPETRATORS TO JUSTICE AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC STATEMENT
Papua’s Hidden Past Haunts Jokowi Presidency
A NEW HOPE FOR PAPUA
Human Rights Watch World Report 2015
Indonesian country report at http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2015/country-chapters/indonesia?page=1
Full report at http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2015
UN presses Indonesia on human rights progress report