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Papua pro-independence activist found dead after apparent drowning

November 1, 2022

https://www.benarnews.org/english/news/indonesian/activist-drowns-11012022134548.html

Papua pro-independence activist found dead after apparent drowning

Victor Mambor and Nazarudin Latif
2022.11.01
Jayapura, Indonesia, and Jakarta

Filep Karma, a prominent Papuan pro-independence activist and longtime former political prisoner of Indonesia, was found dead on a Jayapura beach Tuesday after apparently drowning during a diving trip, police said. He was 63.

Police and Filep’s family said they had no reason to believe that his death resulted from foul play. Filep had been released from an Indonesian prison in 2015 after serving nearly 11 years for raising the Morning Star flag of the Papuan separatist movement.

“I followed the post-mortem process and it was determined that my father died from drowning while diving,” Filep’s daughter, Andrefina Karma, told reporters.

The activist’s body was found early Tuesday at Base-G Beach in North Jayapura district.

Filep had made frequent diving trips to the area recently, his family and friends said. Last year he was found alive on Skouw Beach near the border with Papua New Guinea after a current swept him away during a dive.

Victor Makbon, the Jayapura city police chief, said Filep’s body showed no signs of violence, but he would not comment on a potential cause of death.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Filep Karma. Please don’t speculate,” Victor told BenarNews.

Papua, on the western side of New Guinea island, has been the scene of a low-level separatist insurgency since the mainly Melanesian region was incorporated into Indonesia in a United Nations-administered ballot in the late 1960s.

In 1963, Indonesian forces invaded Papua – like Indonesia, a former Dutch colony – and annexed the region.

Only about 1,000 people voted in the U.N.-sponsored referendum in 1969, called a sham by locals and activists. The U.N. accepted the vote, essentially endorsing Jakarta’s rule.

Mourners line streets

On Tuesday, thousands of people filled the streets of Kotaraja in Jayapura to mourn for Filep as his body was transported back from the Bhayangkara Police Hospital.

“We have come to pay homage to the deceased and escort him to his home,” Jayapura resident Domi Lani said.

Markus Haluk, executive director of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, said Filep’s death was a big loss for the Papuan people.

“Filep Karma was one of those who persevered in the fight for the liberation of Papua. His life was dedicated to the nation and people of Papua,” Haluk said. “He was even willing to live in prison for his fight for Papuan independence.”

Usman Hamid, executive director of Amnesty International in Indonesia, called for an investigation into the death “because many activists who have spoken out about Papua have become targets of violence.

“This is especially considering the deceased’s work in defending the human rights of indigenous Papuans,” he told BenarNews.

Taking a different view, Beka Ulung Hapsara, a member of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), said Filep’s family said he had died from drowning and their statement “should be respected.”

Nonviolence advocate

Filep, a former civil servant and son of former Wamena Regent Andreas Karma, was sentenced to 15 years in prison after participating in the raising of the Morning Star flag on Dec. 1, 2004.

He was released in November 2015 after rejecting an offer of clemency from President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

“If I accepted it, it would mean that I admit guilt. I had expected to be released in 2019 because I refused all sentence cuts,” Filep told reporters at the time while attributing his release to international pressure on the government over treatment of political prisoners.

“They forced me out of prison because I didn’t want to accept clemency,” he said.

Filep was tortured and subjected to other degrading treatment while in prison, including being denied access to proper medical care, according to Amnesty International.

Before the flag incident, Filep led what started as a peaceful rally in Biak in 1998 to demand a referendum on self-determination, but it ended in violence when police used force to disband the protesters.

At least eight Papuans were killed, dozens were injured and three went missing, according to a 1999 investigation by Papuan human rights group Elsham.

“I heard stories that people were asked to board an Indonesian Navy ship. It was not clear where they were taken. Later there was news that mutilated bodies were thrown into the sea,” Filep told local media in 2020.

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2) Amnesty International Indonesia is calling for investigation on the death of Filep Karma

A Google translate.
Original Bahasa link
https://www.amnesty.id/negara-perlu-selidiki-sebab-utama-kematian-filep-karma/

The state needs to investigate the main cause of Filep Karma’s death

Responding to the death of former prisoner of conscience, Filep Karma, who was found dead at Base G Beach, Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid said:
“Today we mourn the passing of a Papuan human rights defender who has been known to be persistent in voicing justice and peace in Papua. We send our deepest condolences to the family."
“The struggle of the deceased has inspired many people, including young people, to be honest and dare to speak the truth. He was not afraid to face threats. We really lost.”
"On the discovery of the body of the deceased at Base G Beach, Jayapura, today, we urge the ranks of law enforcement and human rights institutions to investigate the cause of the death of the deceased."
“This investigation is important to answer whether there are indications of criminal acts or human rights violations behind the death of the deceased, because many vocal activists in Papua have become targets of violence. Especially considering the actions of the deceased as a role model in defending the human rights of indigenous Papuans.”

Background
On Tuesday, November 1, 2022, Filep Karma was found dead at Base G Beach, Jayapura. His body was found with his wetsuit torn apart, especially in parts such as his thighs and legs. His body was then taken to Bhayangkara Hospital, Jayapura.
According to credible information received by Amnesty, diving has been Filep’s regular activity for some time. However, given the pathetic condition of Filep’s body, Amnesty considers that there is a need for an investigation to determine the exact cause of his death.

Filep is noted to have held the status of prisoners of conscience from Amnesty International, which is based in London, United Kingdom. He was given this status after he was detained and sentenced to 15 years in prison for participating in a peaceful activity in the form of a Morning Star flag-raising ceremony on December 1, 2004. In November 2015, he was a breath of free air after spending more than a decade behind bars for his peaceful expression of politics. While in prison, Filep was subjected to torture and other degrading inhumane treatment, including not being given proper medical access.
Most of his life, Filep was a civil servant, following in the footsteps of his father, the former Regent of Wamena, Andreas Karma. Filep is active in expressing his political views peacefully.

Amnesty’s rationale for requesting an investigation refers to an investigation into potential extrajudicial deaths by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2016 (Minnesota Protocol). This protocol states that in the event of an individual or group death in an incident, the family should be involved and well informed about the identification process. In many cases, this is not only for identification purposes, but also increases the likelihood that the family will accept the process, which is an important part of the accountability process for investigating potential extrajudicial deaths.
Topics

Vale Filep Karma

November 1, 2022

Papuan ex-political prisoner Filep Karma found dead on Jayapura beach
By APR editor – November 1, 2022

Asia Pacific Report

0

Ex-political prisoner and Papuan human rights leader Filep Karma . . . a father figure to West Papuans who revered him. Image: Veronica Koman/Twitter

Human rights campaigner Filep Karma, the most famous West Papuan former political prisoner, was found dead early today on a beach in the Melanesian region’s capital Jayapura.

His death has shocked Papuans and the grassroots activist communities in Indonesia and around the Pacific.

“It is true that a body was found by a resident on the beach at Bse G, suspected to be Filep Karma, but to be sure, the police are still waiting for confirmation from his family,” North Jayapura police chief Police Adjunct Commissioner Yahya Rumra told Antara News.

The head of the Papuan Human Rights Commission, Frist Ramandey, confirmed Karma’s body had been found on the beach, reports CNN Indonesia.

However, he said his group was still investigating the circumstances of Karma’s death.

“He was a father figure for West Papuans and respected by many Indonesian people. He was gentle, loving, courageous, and full of wisdom,” said human rights lawyer Veronica Koman in a tweet………

https://asiapacificreport.nz/2022/11/01/papuan-ex-political-prisoner-filep-karma-found-dead-on-jayapura-beach/

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https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/477830/papuan-activist-dies-in-apparent-diving-incident-in-jayapura

2) Papuan activist dies in apparent diving incident in Jayapura
4:00 pm today

Filep Karma, the most prominent pro-independence Papuan activist to have been imprisoned in Indonesia has died in an apparent diving incident in Jayapura, Papua.
The head of the Papuan Human Rights Commission Frist Ramandey said his body was found on a beach in Jayapura on Tuesday morning.
However he said his party is still investigating Mr Karma’s death.
Filep Karma was a father figure for West Papuans and was respected by many Indonesian people.
He led the raising of the Morning Star flag in Biak in 1998 and was eventually imprisoned and released two years later.
In 2004, he again carried out a similar act and was accused of treason.
On this occasion he was jailed for 15 years but released in 2015.
– CNN Indonesia

Urgent Notice: Buchtar Tabuni and two ULMWP Ministers arrested by Indonesian Police

October 28, 2022

https://www.ulmwp.org/urgent-notice-buchtar-tabuni-and-two-ulmwp-ministers-arrested-by-indonesian-police?fbclid=IwAR3tHcxYBpPjnAuvPhaxXPGItXpXEuLiq6BSLQrSSt9CXg0j1lXow7W-L0w

Urgent Notice: Buchtar Tabuni and two ULMWP Ministers arrested by Indonesian Police

October 17, 2022 in News

Indonesian Police have arrested Buchtar Tabuni, one of West Papua’s most important liberation leaders, along with three other ULMWP Ministers. Indonesia are once again suppressing freedom of expression and assembly in West Papua, in an attempt to crush our spirit and commitment to our struggle.

Buchtar Tabuni is the Chairman of the West Papua council, and a member of the ULMWP Council Committee. He was arrested along with Bazoka Logo, Minister of Political Affairs, and Iche Murib, Minister of Women’s and Children’s Affairs. The trio were arrested at Mr Tabuni’s house in Jayapura, following an annual ULMWP meeting, and interrogated at a nearby police station. What is their crime? What possible justification can there be for this crackdown? This was after a peaceful meeting at a private residence. The right to assembly is a basic human right, enshrined in the constitutions of countries around the world, including Indonesia.

Every year, the National Parliament of the ULMWP meets to share information on events in their regions and discuss the situation of the struggle. West Papuans have the right, under international law, to peacefully mobilise for our independence. I call on anyone concerned by these arrests to call the Indonesian Police chief in Papua on 081217705813, and the Chief of Police in Jayapura on +6281217705813, to express their disgust at this development.

These arrests are in breach of basic principles of international diplomacy and human rights. Both the ULMWP and Indonesia are members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, a regional forum. We sit around the table together as equals. Imagine if British police arrested a Scottish Parliamentarian following a peaceful meeting in their own home – there would be international outcry. This is the brutal reality of Indonesia’s colonial occupation.

This is not the first time Mr Tabuni has been targeted by the Indonesian state. He has spent much of his life behind bars, and was previously arrested and charged with treason for his involvement in anti-racism protests in 2020. This is political persecution: the harshness of Buchtar’s treatment is due only to his position as a respected leader of the independence struggle. History tells us that there is no such thing as a fair trial for West Papuans in Indonesia. Victor Yeimo is still gravely ill in prison, where he has been held on spurious treason charges since May 2021. We urgently need the assistance of all international solidarity groups and NGOs – you must pressure your governments to help secure Mr Tabuni’s release, and all other West Papuan political prisoners.

Mr Tabuni is a leading advocate for a peaceful solution in West Papua: a true peacemaker, both for West Papuans and Indonesian migrants. As Chairman of the West Papua Council, and a founding member of the KNPB, he has advocated relentlessly for an internationally-mediated independence referendum. We demand that Indonesia immediately release him, along with Bazoka Logo and Iche Murib. Their freedom is essential in order to keep the peace.

Indonesia cannot arrest their way to peace in West Papua. The longing for freedom we hold in our hearts is too powerful: we will continue our struggle until we have won our liberation. But there is yet a peaceful resolution to this issue. Instead of more arrests, more human rights abuses, President Joko Widodo must sit with me to discuss the path to an internationally-mediated referendum.

Benny Wenda
Interim President
ULMWP Provisional Government

——————————————
A google translate. Original Bahasa link

https://jubitv.id/polisi-tangkap-yan-waris-sewa-dpo-penyerangan-posramil-kisor-maybrat/

2) Police Arrest Yan Waris Hire DPO Attack Posramil Kisor Maybrat

There were 6 arrests from employees of PT Bangun Kayu Irian and 17 people at the TKP

Maybrat – News Desk
October 16, 2022

Jayapura , Jubi TV– The wanted list or DPO suspected of attacking the Kisor Koramil post, Yan Waris Sewa, was arrested on Friday (14/10/2022).

The arrests were made by a joint team consisting of the West Papua Police Mobile Brigade, South Sorong Police and Maybrat Police, at 06.00 WP in Susumuk Village, Aifat District, Maybrat Regency, West Papua Province.

The West Papua Police Mobile Brigade joint team was led directly by Dansat Brimob Kombes Pol. Men Premos SIK MM together with the South Korean Police Chief AKBP Dr. Choiruddin Wachid SIK and Maybrat Police Chief AKBP Gleen Rooi Molle SIK.

"Together with the team, we managed to catch one DPO who attacked the Kisor Posramil," said the Head of Public Relations of the West Papua Police, Kombes Pol. Adam Erwindi SIK MH in a written statement received by Jubi, on Sunday (16/10/2022).

Adam explained that the suspect, Yan, at the time of the attack on the Kisor Posramil, and along with the other perpetrators, were waiting outside the post when his friends carried out the murder at the Kisor Posramil. The impact on the Kisor Posramil on September 2, 2021 resulted in the death of four Indonesian Army soldiers.

"The suspect is subject to Article 340 of the Criminal Code, Subsidiary Article 338 of the Criminal Code in conjunction with Articles 55, 56 of the Criminal Code. So a total of 11 DPOs have been arrested in connection with the attack on the Kisor Posramil, some of whom have already undergone the criminal process, from a total of 21 attackers resulting from the development of the case," he said.

According to him, during the arrests there were 6 employees of PT Bangun Kayu Irian and 17 people from the community at the scene, and they were asked for information. However, on the same day, all of them were returned to their respective villages.

"Thank you very much for the information from the community that was given to the police, in order to find the perpetrators of the murder," he said.

Meanwhile, Willem Assem from the Maybrat Humanitarian Coalition Team said the police used around 16 vehicles including a barracuda when arresting civilians in Kisor Village, Susumuk Village, Fan Kahrio Village, and Sampika Village in Maybarat Regency.

“Brimob from Company C Sorong they use about 4 barracuda cars and plus other cars that use 16 vehicles. They entered the village at dawn, they arrested a number of residents from women, men, young and old, minors," said Willem Assem to Jubi, on Saturday (15/10/2022) night.

Assem explained that at least 23 residents were arrested by the police. Including Yan Waris Sewa who was arrested in a serious condition. The police also arrested a resident who worked at the PT Bangun Kayu Irian timber company.

"He (Yan Waris Sewa) has been sick for two months, they arrested him whether he is alive or dead, we haven’t confirmed yet. They (police) also later arrested employees consisting of native Papuans who worked at PT Bangun Kayu Irian," he said. (*)

This news has been published on Jubi.id with the title: DPO attacker Posramil Kisor arrested

TAPOL’s Latest Report – West Papua 2021: criminalisation, collusion and broken promises

October 22, 2022

https://www.tapol.org/press-statements/tapols-latest-report-west-papua-2021-criminalisation-collusion-and-broken-promises

TAPOL’s Latest Report – West Papua 2021: criminalisation, collusion and broken promises

Press Release

London, 21st October 2022

“Reports of intensified violence… (have) result(ed) in unknown numbers of civilian casualties and fatalities and internal displacement” and shock at “reports of the dismembered bodies of four indigenous Papuan civilians found outside Timika in West Papua Province (sic) on 22 August”. These are the words of the UN Acting High Commissioner For Human Rights, Nada Al-Nashif, at the opening of the 51st Human Rights Council at the UN in Geneva last month. Al-Nashif’s inclusion of West Papua highlights further recognition of the worsening human rights situation on the ground by the UN.

Our contribution to the 4th cycle of Indonesia’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) highlighted Freedom of Expression and Assembly in this forum. We stated that the possibility for the West Papuans "to challenge the implementation of the Special Autonomy Law had been severely repressed by the security forces who have carried out arrests and had criminalized protest activities".

As TAPOL’s latest report, ‘West Papua 2021: Freedom Of Expression And Freedom Of Assembly‘ shows, this declining situation has gone hand in hand with the erosion of free expression and assembly in West Papua and on West Papua-related issues in 2021, with activists subject to criminalisation and security forces engaged in collusion with non-state actors. Steve Alston, TAPOL’s chairperson said: "The security forces have carried out 45.9 per cent more arbitrary arrests compared with 2020, with a total of 671 arrested, only 17 of which were outside West Papua. The security forces are arresting more people and using various excuses to do so. They are closing down expression in public spaces where Papuans and Indonesians should not feel that they risk being treated as criminals for exercising their rights."

The report provides a record of security force repression against those speaking out in support of West Papua’s self-determination and against the Indonesian Government’s treatment of West Papuans, including arbitrary dispersals, arbitrary arrests, terror and intimidation and internet shutdowns or cyber attacks. As the report notes, “2021 saw the continuation and, in certain cases, the intensification, of attacks on the rights of West Papuans and Indonesians to assemble and express their opinions”.

The authorities have used excuses to restrict free expression: Covid-19 has c​​ontinued to be used to shut down demonstrations they do not agree with; the Government has maintained that its arbitrary definition of “separatism” does not warrant its protection of freedom of assembly; and the military has labelled the armed resistance as ‘terrorists’ claiming that innocent civilians are involved in ‘terrorism’.

After an unusual year under the shadow of Covid-19 lockdowns and quarantine measures, the report makes clear that it has been “back to work” for the Indonesian authorities in their silencing of protest in West Papua. The number of arbitrary arrests and people dispersed in protests increased compared to 2020, there were continuing violations of the dignity of political prisoners and online meetings by activists who speak out for West Papua were targeted. This gives the lie to both the authorities’ assurances to the international community that it is addressing human rights concerns through trainings, and the military’s promise of an alleged new ‘humanitarian’ approach.

ENDS

For media enquiries, contact: Ian Moore, TAPOL Campaigns, campaigns

Take a look at our full report here.

———————

https://www.tapol.org/reports/west-papua-2021-freedom-expression-and-freedom-assembly-full-report

London, 20th October 2022

Executive Summary

Criminalisation, collusion and broken promises have been the main issues in regard to the state of freedom of expression and assembly in and related to West Papua in 2021. After an unusual year affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns across the world, there has been renewed pressure from the Indonesian government which has criminalised, imprisoned and intimidated activists who have spoken out on West Papua-related issues, with increasing numbers of arrests and increasing incidents of police and militias acting together. The police have been involved, either solely or in concert with other actors, in a staggering 85.3 percent of all incidents. The report further shows:

  • That there were a t​​otal estimated number of 671 people arrested over the course of 2021, a 45.9 percent increase on numbers compared with 2020, which may in part beexplained by the easing of Covid-19 restricti​​ons and by the ability and desire to assemble for protests on the streets again.
  • At the same time as total arrests have increased, total arrest incidents have declined, meaning that mass arrests are being used more frequently by the security forces. Mass arrests indicate an attempt to disrupt and make further free association difficult.
  • In common with previous years, the authorities have continued to use treason charges to criminalise activists who are promoting the right to self-determination for the people of West Papua. The fact Indonesia have stated they do not recognise activities that, in their arbitrary definition, promote “separatism”, directly leads to the chilling effects these criminalisations bring.
  • The military used anti-terror laws to classify armed groups as ‘terrorist’. Despite a claimed new ‘humanitarian’ approach at the end of 2021, a ‘terrorism’ reasoning was used by the security forces and intelligence operatives to disrupt and criminalise nonviolent civilian groups.
  • The authorities still used Covid as the most common reason for dispersing protests, despite official restrictions easing. It was used on no fewer than 10 occasions, mainly in dispersals outside West Papua. By far the most targeted group were students, who were the primary targets in 29 ​​of the reported cases, making up over 69 per cent of the total incidents.
  • The authorities have carried out violations by commission – arbitrarily breaking up demonstrations and arresting perpetrators, and torture, beatings and cruel treatment of those arrested – as well as omission, such as deliberately neglecting prisoners who needed treatment.
  • On several occasions, assemblies were confronted by militia groups whose members physically assaulted, intimidated and harassed demonstrators, as police stood by. Student demonstrations in particular outside West Papua were subject to this tactic.

PDF iconWest_Papua_2021_Freedom_of_Expression_Assembly_Report.pdf

Full PDF report
https://www.tapol.org/sites/default/files/sites/default/files/pdfs/West_Papua_2021_Freedom_of_Expression_Assembly_Report.pdf

Bloody Wasior survivors ask for the case to be resolved through the Human Rights Court

October 21, 2022

https://en.jubi.id/bloody-wasior-survivors-ask-for-the-case-to-be-resolved-through-the-human-rights-court/

Bloody Wasior survivors ask for the case to be resolved through the Human Rights Court

Bloody Wasior Human Rights Violation – News Desk

Jayapura, Jubi – The Manokwari Institute for Research, Assessment and Development of Legal Aid (LP3BH Manokwari) on October 17 and 18, 2022 met with survivors, families of victims, and witnesses of the alleged 2001 Bloody Wasior gross human rights violations in Wondama Bay Regency. The survivor and families of victims asked the government to resolve the case through the Human Rights Court.

“The survivors and families of victims do not wish it to be resolved through a non-judicial channel. It must go through the Human Rights Court,” said Executive Director of LP3BH Manokwari Cristian Yan Warinussy when contacted by Jubi via WhatsApp message service on Wednesday, October 19, 2022.

The meeting was held by LP3BH Manokwari following the issuance of Presidential Decree No. 17/2022 on the Establishment of a Team for the Non-Judicial Resolution of Past Gross Human Rights Violations. Warinussy said the survivors and victims’ families rejected it because many victims had been revictimized by being made suspects, arrested, detained, persecuted, brought to court, and convicted as guilty people even though they were not involved in the attack on June 13, 2001, that killed five mobile brigade members.

“In addition, the case files have been submitted by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) to the Attorney General’s Office, and there has never been a termination of the investigation. The families of victims also fear that with the non-judicial resolution, they will be forced to accept a settlement outside of legal channels. They do not want it,” Warinussy said.

He emphasized that in the Wasior case, it was suspected that gross human rights violations had occurred in the form of crimes that tend to lead to genocide as stipulated in Articles 7, 8, and 9 of Law No. 26/2000 on Human Rights Courts.

“This is implied by the Komnas HAM’s Investigation Report on the Wasior tragedy in 2006. The investigation was done from December 17, 2003, to March 17, 2004,” he said.

Warinussy said President Joko Widodo should take legal steps to ensure that Komnas HAM and the AGO carry out the legal process of the Bloody Wasior. He said the criminals against humanity in the incident are still alive and must be tried in the Human Rights Court.

“The survivors of the Wasior case and the families of victims truly expect the State to fulfill their sense of justice,” he said. (*)

Witness testimonies at Paniai massacre trial reinforce calls for wider investigation

October 10, 2022

https://suarapapua.com/2022/10/03/tidak-berani-memproses-pelaku-pelanggaran-ham-berat-paniai-2014/

Witness testimonies at Paniai massacre trial reinforce calls for wider

investigation

Suara Papua – October 3, 2022

Jayapura — The witnesses testimonies by Polri (Indonesian police
officers) that were presented during the hearings into the 2014 Paniai
massacre case at the Makassar District Court in South Sulawesi on
Wednesday September 28, reinforce the grounds for the Attorney General
and the court not to just prosecute a single defendant.

This is also in accordance with the identification of the perpetrators
by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM).

Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid says that
after monitoring two of the court hearings, in his view the process has
not proceeded in an optimal manner.

Aside from only four out of 12 witnesses requested by the public
prosecutor’s (JPU) team appearing in court, there was not one civilian
witness presented.

The four witnesses — which all had police backgrounds — were First
Brigadiers Andi Richo Amir and Abner Onesimus Windesi, Chief Brigadier
Riddo Bagaray and Second Deputy Police Inspector Haile ST Wambrauw.

The hearing schedule was also hampered because copies of the case
documents, including the police investigation reports on the witnesses,
had not been received by the defendant and their team of lawyers.

"These facts show that it is appropriate to question the Attorney
General’s seriousness [in trying this case]", said Hamid on Monday
October 3.

Hamid also believes that the prosecution team did not adequately try to
prove the elements of a systematic and widespread crime which is a key
element of Article 9 on humanitarian crimes as regulated under Law
Number 26/2000 on Human Rights Courts.

This could be seen from the first hearing when the prosecution presented
the indictment, which departed from the concept of the event and the
concept of a gross human rights violation.

This view was reinforced during the second hearing when there was no
comprehensive discussion about the Aman Matoa V operation which served
as a background to the incident in the Komnas HAM investigation report.

During the hearing in which the witnesses were questioned, Hamid noted
that the testimonies cited two perpetrators that were directly involved
in the Paniai incident.

This emerged from the testimony of the first witness, First Brigadiers
Andi Richo Amir, who mentioned the name Gatot (a Provost member) who
shot a person dead in front of the Paniai sub-district military command
(Koramil) and Jusman (a TNI member) who stabbed a person to death.

Based on this testimony and the results of the Komnas HAM investigation,
Hamid said that there were at least three problems with the second
hearing into the Paniai case.

First, the prosecutor was not serious or show that they sided with the
victims and the public over the case.

Second, Human Rights Courts are obliged to dig into the facts from other
parties other than the narrative which is developed by witnesses
presented by the prosecution.

Third, Human Rights Courts are obliged to follow up on testimonies and
cite the names of other alleged perpetrators for further questioning who
could be held liable.

In a press release on September 21, the 2014 Bloody Paniai Monitoring
Civil Society Coalition urged the Attorney General to immediately
investigate all of the individuals, other than sole defendant in the
case, retired Major Isak Sattu (IS), who were directly liable or had
command responsibility, and bring them before the courts.

According to the coalition, the indictment of a sole defendant in the
construction of the 2014 Paniai case as a crime against humanity that
occurred through "a widespread or systematic attack" and that he knew
the attack was directed directly against the civilian population, is
inappropriate because it certainly must have involved more than one
perpetrator.

Based on international law and standards which apply in crimes against
humanity, it clearly states that both those who have command
responsibility as well as those who directly commit a crime must be held
liable and tried in court.

The Komnas HAM investigation into the case divided the perpetrators into
several categories, namely field actors, policy makers, effective
commanders in the field and perpetrators by omission. Logically, the
person in command is responsible for humanitarian crimes committed by
their subordinates.

The coalition emphasised that the context of command responsibility does
not end with the person who gave the orders, but also includes the
accountability of superiors who did not prevent or stop the gross human
rights violation from occurring or hand the perpetrators over to the
authorised official for investigation, criminal investigation and
prosecution as stipulated by Article 42 of the Law Number 26/2000.

"Because of this, it would be appropriate for the indictment not to just
target Major Sattu who was the liaison officer at the time, but also
target his superiors who in this case are alleged not to have prevented
or stopped [the incident from occurring] or handed the perpetrators over
to authorised officials", explained Hamid.

Based on these facts, the Coalition says that the impression is that the
Attorney General is protecting the perpetrators by not prosecuting
others who also very clearly violated human rights.

"It would be appropriate for the prosecutor to also charge the TNI
leadership which was responsible and the head of Aman Matoa V Operation
as was clearly explained in the Komnas HAM investigation report", said
the Coalition.

More than that, the prosecutor should begin by first proving that the
field actors committed a humanitarian crime. If the prosecutor starts
from the command responsibility, then if supposing the court releases
the person with command responsibility, then the field actors will
automatically not be then indicted by the prosecutor.

The Coalition again reminded people about a statement by Komnas HAM
about obstruction of justice in the process of seeking criminal
liability involving TNI personnel who are senior to the defendant Major
Sattu. They also questioned why the crime of obstruction of justice was
no included in the indictment.

Based on this, the Coalition believes that the Attorney General’s
indictment obscures the legal construction of the crime against humanity
in the case. One of the ways it does this is by only declaring Major
Sattu as the sole defendant which even harms his rights because he is
being used as a "scapegoat".

The Coalition even explicitly raised the question of who the prosecution
is protecting if it is only indicting a single person in the Paniai
case.

The Papua Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) meanwhile has asked the Attorney
General to immediacy explain the grounds for only trying one defendant
in the case.

In a press release on September 23 the LBH Papua pointed out that in the
indictment read out by the public prosecutor in court also cites several
military units and rogue officers.

First, from the police the names were witness Police Commander H, as the
Paniai deputy police chief who was in command of the head of the Paniai
district police operations division, witness Police Commissioner S, the
head of the Paniai district police tactical police unit, witness Deputy
Police Commissioner AT, the head of the Paniai district police social
guidance unit, witness Deputy Police Commissioner LRB, and the head of
the East Paniai sectorial police witness Deputy Police Commissioner PGB.

Second, from the Nabire Raiders/Special Team 753/Battalion 753/AVT the
names were witness First Flight Lieutenant PIB (Battalion 753/AVT
company commander) and around seven or eight subordinates, and witness
Captain HH.

Third, from the 1705-02/Enarotali sub-district military command
(Koramil) the names were witness Captain J as the 1705-02/Enarotali
sub-district military commander.

From these three facts, according to LBH Papua, there were three
security institutions which were present at the scene of the incident
(TKP), namely the Paniai district police, the Nabirie Raiders/Special
Team 753/Battalion 753/AVT and the 1705-02/Enarotali Koramil.

"That only one institutional legal subject, namely Koramil
1705-02/Enarotali was cited by the public prosecutor in the indictment
in itself immediately gives rise to questions. Because in the brief
chronology given by the public prosecutor it shows the individual roles
played by each security institution at Togokotu hill in the Ipakiye
[neighborhood] on December 7, 2014 and at the Karel Gobai Square on
December 8, 2014", said LBH Papua Director Emanuel Gobay in a press
release.

"Specifically, the roles of the three legal security institutions are
very clearly seen on December 8, 2014 at the Karel Gobai Square [in
Enarotali] which ended with the fact of the shooting of four students
named Alpius Youw, Alpius Gobay, Yulian Yeimo and Simon Degey", the
group said.

Two of the brief chronologies made by the public prosecutor in the
indictment, said LBH Papua, directly show the location of the different
events involving the witness Police Commander Hanafiah from the Paniai
district police institution and the Nabire Raider/Special Team
753/Battalion 753/AVT (totaling 8-12 people) led by Witness First Flight
Lieutenant PIB below the end of the road in the direction of the Karel
Gobai Square and the defendant Major Sattu and members of the
1705-02/Enarotali Koramil at the Koramil Headquarters located in front
of the Karel Gobai field.

"This further reinforces questions about why the only defendant being
tried is retired infantry Major Isak Sattu, and why the legal subjects
of the other security institutions which were also in the vicinity of
the TKP, right at the Karel Gobai Square, Enarotali, on December 8,
2014, have not been declared defendants?".

In addition to this, the LBH Papua also examined two chronologies in the
indictment which also gave rise to suspicions there are certain alleged
irregularities which originate from hidden interests, which seem to
interpret the legal facts which occurred subjectively.

Manokwari Legal Aid Assessment, Research and Development Institute
(LP3BH) Executive Director Yan Christian Warinussy hopes that the
hearings at the Makassar District Court will be able to answer the
demands for justice by the Papuan people.

"The December 8, 2014 Paniai human rights violations case occurred eight
years ago and to this day has attracted the attention of the
international community. With this trial process, hopefully it will
answer the demands for justice by the people of Papua, especially the
families of the victims and victims in Paniai regency", he said.

Warinussy admits that the case has attracted the attention of many
people in Indonesia and the world. He regrets however that victims of
the incident are not going to give their testimonies. Because, according
to the senior advocate, it was very much hoped that their testimonies
could provide clarity on the position of the Paniai case.

The hearings to hear the testimonies of witnesses presented by the
public prosecutor only heard from four people out of the 12 that should
appear. According to prosecutor Erryl Prima Putra Agoes, out of the 12
witnesses that have been summoned, five are civilians and seven are
police officers. The civilian witnesses will not attend and only four of
the police officers attended.

They are Andi Richo Amir as the driver and Paniai assistant aide, Abner
Onesimus Windesi as the Paniai district police deputy chief’s driver,
Riddo Bagaray and Haile ST Wambrauw who were on guard duty at a police
post.

The hearing to examine the witnesses for Isak Sattu will be charred by
presiding judge Sutisna Sawati with judges Abdul Rahman Karim, Siti Noor
Laila, Robert Pasaribu and Sofi Rahma Dewi.

Today’s hearing meanwhile, on October 3, will still be hearing the
testimonies of the witnesses presented by the public prosecutor. The
South Sulawesi prosecutor’s office legal information section head said
that the three witnesses to be presented today would be Deputy Police
Commissioner H Mansur, retired Police Commander Petrus Gawe Boro and
Police Commander Sukapdi.

The planned schedule is for hearings to be held twice a week on Mondays
and Thursdays. The hearing on Thursday October 6 has been postponed
while the fourth hearing will involve the examination of witnesses. The
public prosecutor also plans to present expert witnesses or witness to
support the defendant.

The December 8 bloody Paniai tragedy began when three youths who were
decorating a Christmas tree and nativity scene reprimanded a military
officer when they passed through Togokotu Hill in the Ipakiye
neighborhood on a motorcycle with no lights. Unwilling to accept the
reprimand, several of their friends at the military headquarters were
summoned who then returned and attacked the youths.

The next morning the main road was blocked by family members of the
victims and local people. The protest action continued with a long-march
to the Karel Gobai Square where the demonstrators held a "waita" dance
and threw wood and rocks in the direction of the military headquarters.
This was greeted with a series of gunshots and the hail of bullets
claimed four people and left 21 others injured.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was
"Tidak Berani Memproses Pelaku Pelanggaran HAM Berat Paniai 2014".]

Indonesia’s push for influence in the Pacific blunts Papua criticism

October 8, 2022

https://www.benarnews.org/english/news/pacific/indonesia-papua-pacific-influence-10072022155853.html

Indonesia’s push for influence in the Pacific blunts Papua criticism

Stephen Wright
2022.10.07
Wellington

Pacific island nations have tempered their protests against Indonesia’s rule in its volatile Papua region, a possible sign that Jakarta’s effort to silence some of its most vocal critics has gained traction, analysts say.

In 2016, at least half a dozen Pacific island nations used the United Nations General Assembly to call attention to human rights abuses and what they described as systematic discrimination against indigenous Melanesians in the easternmost provinces of Indonesia. Some backed calls for self-determination.

They kept up a drumbeat of criticism for several years, in particular Vanuatu, a predominantly Melanesian nation where there is broad support for Papuan independence from Indonesia.

But this year only the Marshall Islands mentioned Indonesia’s Papuan provinces, with a brief reference to a Pacific regional organization’s longstanding call for Indonesia to admit a U.N. human rights delegation.

“It is mostly a demonstration of Indonesia’s growing influence,” said Tarcisius Kabutaulaka, associate professor in Pacific studies at the University of Hawai’i. “Jakarta has been quite successful in taking the West Papua issue off the agenda.”

The dialing down of criticism has occurred at a time when the Papuan independence movement in Indonesia has been completely eclipsed in the news by the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rivalry between China and the United States in the Pacific.

On the ground, the armed elements of the independence movement have stepped up lethal attacks on Indonesian security forces, civilians and targets such as construction of a trans-Papua highway that would make the Papuan highlands more accessible to outsiders. Peaceful protests against Indonesia’s rule and abuses by Indonesia’s military and police remain frequent.

The conflict has simmered since the early 1960s when Indonesia took control of the western half of New Guinea island from the Netherlands. Indonesian rule was formalized in 1969 with a vote under U.N. auspices that involved little more than 1,000 Papuans handpicked and closely managed by Indonesia.

Administratively, Jakarta has divided the region into provinces, but it remains widely known as West Papua.

Indonesia’s government refers to independence fighters as criminal gangs and has consistently denied human rights abuses; it also denies foreign observers and journalists access to its Papua provinces. Amnesty International says Indonesian security forces unlawfully killed nearly 100 people in the Papuan region between 2010 and 2018.

Softened Pacific criticism of Indonesia could be a sign of “growing awareness that the negative campaign on Papua is just propaganda for a small group of Papuans living abroad," said Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah.

The Pacific Islands Forum, a regional organization of Pacific island nations as well as New Zealand and Australia, didn’t mention West Papua in communiques from its annual meetings this year or last year.

When the forum released an aspirational masterplan in July for the Pacific’s development, its map of the Pacific had lopped off the Indonesian half of New Guinea. It was an accurate depiction of the forum’s member countries, but angered some Papuan activists.

The map was “institutional discrimination” against Papuans across the entire New Guinea island, activist Ronny Kareni said on Twitter. “This is messed up and the lowest for such a blueprint.”

Indonesia has stepped up its diplomacy with Pacific nations for several years through humanitarian aid and attempts at closer relations.

In 2015, it got observer status in the Melanesian Spearhead Group, a regional organization of Melanesian nations in which the umbrella organization for West Papuan independence activists is also an observer.

Indonesia unveiled a “Pacific Elevation” policy in 2019, which involves portraying itself as a Pacific nation on the basis that a minority of its population is Melanesian.

State-owned Indonesian company PT Wijaya Karya this year completed a U.S. $7.5 million complex for futsal and other sports in the Solomon Islands capital that’s a key part of the country’s hosting of the 2023 Pacific Games. Solomons Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has asked Indonesia to build two more futsal complexes in other provinces.

Kabutaulaka, at the University of Hawai’i, said Sogavare is now “absolutely silent” on West Papua. Previously he was very outspoken and took leadership of the Pacific Coalition of West Papua – which grouped together some Pacific countries, the West Papua independence movement and other organizations – when it was formed in 2016, Kabutaulaka said.

“In the case of the Solomons,” said Matthew Wale, leader of the opposition in the Solomon Islands parliament, “the donation of a futsal stadium has effectively compromised its voice.”

Researcher Hipolitus Wangge at Australian National University said the Pacific Games assistance, money for the Melanesian Spearhead Group secretariat based in Vanuatu’s capital, and a regional security working group initiated and facilitated by Indonesian police are examples of Indonesia shaping the way Pacific countries respond to Papua issues.

Indonesia’s aid to Pacific island countries totaled about U.S. $17 million between 2014 and 2020, most of it to Fiji, and just a fraction of the estimated U.S. $2.0 billion of assistance the region receives annually, according to Wangge and Stephanie Lawson, at Macquarie University, in a 2021 paper.

Indonesia’s efforts to influence Pacific governments don’t affect grassroots support for Papuan independence, Wangge and Lawson said.

The default Indonesian government response to legitimate criticism of its role in the conflict remains indignation, cover ups and an “almost mindless repetition of the mantra of state sovereignty and non-interference,” they said.

Meanwhile, Vanuatu, which may have a change of government after a snap election later this month, could become more critical again, said Baiq Wardhani, a Pacific scholar at Airlangga University in Surabaya.

This year the Indonesian foreign ministry established a directorate for the Pacific, according to Shofwan Al Banna Choiruzzad, international relations lecturer at the University of Indonesia. But there are limits to what its current approach can achieve, he said.

“Strong diplomacy can only be realized if Indonesia can convince the Indonesian people and the international community that Indonesia is committed to resolving the Papua issue in a fair and civilized manner,” said Shofwan.

Benny Wenda, acting chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, said its push for full membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group was interrupted by the pandemic but continues.

“Soon we will be reconnected there with our Melanesian family,” said Wenda, who lives in exile in the United Kingdom.

Pizaro Gozali Idrus and Tria Dianti in Jakarta contributed to this report.

——————————————

https://en.jubi.id/police-must-probe-statement-made-by-roy-howay-on-mimika-murder/

2) Police must probe statement made by Roy Howay on Mimika Murder
Mimika Murder And Mutilation – News Desk
8 October 2022

Jayapura, Jubi – Recently, Roy Marthen Howay, one of the four suspects in the murder and mutilation of four Nduga Residents in Mimika Regency on August 20, 2022, who is on the run, made a statement in a video about the case.

Papua Legislative Council member Laurenzus Kadepa said the police must verify Roy Marthen Howay‘s testimony. Police should not ignore it or consider it as twisting the facts as it differed from the results of the investigation.

“I have watched the video circulating online of Roy Howay. Indeed, his testimony is different from the results of the police investigation. I think this should not be ignored, it needs to be probed,” said Laurenzus Kadepa when contacted by Jubi on Thursday, October 1, 2022.

Previously, the police stated that the motive for the Mimika murder was criminal because the perpetrators took the victim’s money. Initial information about the planned transaction of firearms and ammunition was just a fabrication by the perpetrators.

“But Roy’s testimony is different. Are there other motives behind the murder?” said Kadepa.

He said that apart from the investigation by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), there needed to be another independent team to follow up on the new fact presented by Roy Howay. He also hoped that Komnas HAM would immediately finalize the results of its investigation into the Mimika murder case.

In the video, Roy Marthen Howay stated he did not know anything about the murder. He was only told to look for buyers of firearms by someone he called Jack or Mr. Lala, and was promised a reward.

After getting a prospective buyer, Roy Howay drove them to the location and immediately left using a motorcycle after dropping them. Roy said he did not know what happened after that.

Roy Marthen Howay also said he could have turned himself in. However, he was worried about his safety. (*)

————————————————

https://en.antaranews.com/news/253873/police-reveal-wanted-list-over-trans-west-papua-workers-murder

3) Police reveal wanted list over Trans West Papua workers’ murder
14 hours ago

Manokwari, West Papua (ANTARA) – The West Papua Provincial Police placed 12 people on the wanted list over their alleged involvement in the murder of four workers of the Trans West Papua highway project on September 29, 2022.

They were placed on the wanted list based on a report from the Teluk Bintuni District Police, Chief of the Public Relations Division at the West Papua Provincial Police Senior Commissioner Adam Erwindi stated in Manokwari on Friday night.

The 12 people are identified as Martinus Aisnak, Frengky Muuk, Tom Aimaun, Manfret Fatem, Imanuel Aimau, Willy Sakof, Thomas Muuk, Marthen Aikingging, Mathias Aisasior, Barnabas Muuk, and Sutiawan Orocomna.

"Anybody who happens to see the hideouts of the 12 people should report them to the near police post," he stated.

Director of the General Crime Investigation Unit at the West Papua Provincial Police Senior Commissioner Novia Jaya alleged that Manfret Fatem is the mastermind behind the attack on 14 workers of the Trans West Papua highway project that left four people dead and scores of others injured.

"Manfret Fatem is on the wanted list in the attack on Kisor sub-district military command post. He is also believed to be the mastermind behind the attack on 14 workers of the Trans-West Papua project," he stated.

Nova Jaya said one of the workers, who sustained serious gunshot wounds, is receiving medical treatment at a hospital in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

"The other eight workers (who have recovered from injuries) have returned to their families. Meanwhile, the cook, who survived the attack, is receiving medical treatment at a hospital in Teluk Bintuni District for wounds on his knee," he stated.

Related news: Two policemen discharged over improper conduct on TNI’s anniversary
Related news: Trans Papua land acquisition fulfills rights of indigenous people: KSP
Related news: Gov’t disburses Rp214 bln in fuel cash assistance in West Papua

Reporter: Hans Arnold K, Suharto
Editor: Sri Haryati

—————————
https://en.jubi.id/minister-asked-to-help-resolve-problems-between-freeport-and-laid-off-workers/

4) Minister asked to help resolve problems between Freeport and laid-off workers

Freeport’s Unilateral LayoffNews Desk
8 October 2022

Jayapura, Jubi – Papua Legislative Council lawmaker Laurenzus Kadepa called on Investment Minister or Head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Bahlil Lahadalia to resolve the rights of 8,300 ex-workers of PT Freeport Indonesia who were laid off unilaterally for going on strike. Kadepa said Lahadalia should help solve the problem that has remained unclear for years.

“We ask Minister Bahlil to also talk about the 8,300 workers who have been unilaterally terminated by Freeport,” Kadepa said when contacted by Jubi via telephone call on Thursday, October 6, 2022.

Kadepa said that Bahlil Lahadalia as one of the ministers who completed his studies in Papua should pay serious attention to the Papua issue, one of which is the dismissal of 8,300 striking workers of Freeport.

“I appreciate that Minister Bahlil finished his study at one of the regional universities in Papua, and is now entrusted by President Joko Widodo to lead a very strategic ministry. With such a strategic position, he should not only look for investment markets or profits for the government alone. He should find solutions to labor issues, such as the event when thousands of Freeport employees and contractors were unilaterally laid off by management,” he said.

Kadepa said the central government and Freeport should not take advantage without considering the potential victims impacted by the government and company policies. “The fate of the 8,300 Freeport workers is still unclear to date. There should be a solution from the Ministry of Investment or BKPM,” he said. (*)

Papuan Independence and Political Disorder in Indonesia

October 6, 2022

Papuan Independence and Political Disorder in Indonesia

5 October 2022

In Indonesia, political disorder in Papua and West Papua1 provinces increased in 2021 amid opposition to the revision of the Special Autonomy Law. First promulgated in 2001, the Special Autonomy Law was initially intended to give greater power to the local governments in the Papuan region. However, new revisions to the law introduced in 2021 expand the central government’s authority and have allowed for the unwelcome creation of new provinces in the region (Tempo, 16 July 2021). Tensions between the political demands of many Papuan groups and the centralized, development-oriented agenda of the Indonesian state continue to fuel unrest. This report examines disorder trends related to the issue of Papuan independence since 2018,2focusing in particular on the rise in clashes between state forces and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), increasing levels of violence targeting civilians by the TPNPB, and disproportionate state intervention in peaceful protests held by Papuans and Papuan groups.3

Four teenagers were shot at a protest in Papua. Eight years on, only one suspect is facing trial

October 2, 2022

https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/30/asia/papua-children-massacre-indonesia-justice-trial-intl-hnk/index.html

CNN

Four teenagers were shot at a protest in Papua. Eight years on, only one suspect is facing trial
Heather Chen – Friday

Even by the bloody standards of Indonesia’s decades-long Papua conflict, one massacre stands out for its brutality – and the seeming impunity of those behind it.

On December 8, 2014, a crowd of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators in Paniai district, Papua province, were fired upon – allegedly by Indonesian soldiers – in an incident that left four teenagers dead and injured more than a dozen other people, including women and children.

Their supposed provocation? Daring to protest over the assault of a local 12-year-old boy beaten into a coma a day earlier, allegedly by Indonesian special forces.

Nearly eight years have passed since those events, yet nobody has been held accountable. The Indonesian military has in the past claimed Papuan rebels were responsible for the shootings – an account even the government seems to doubt.

Last week, a retired military official, Maj. Isak Sattu, who served in Paniai, went on trial in a long-delayed case organized by the Indonesian Human Rights Commission, a government backed body.

However, few in Paniai believe the trial will give them the answers they are seeking.

The trial, which began on September 21, is not being held in Papua – the restive province where Indonesian forces have been fighting separatists ever since the Dutch colonial power withdrew in the 1960s. Instead, it is taking place 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) away in Makassar, on Sulawesi island, which the families of victims say has made it hard for them and witnesses to attend, and critics have already labeled the proceedings a whitewash.

Prosecutors have charged Maj. Isak Sattu with four offenses that contain penalties of up to 25 years in prison, accusing him of crimes against humanity and failing in his command responsibility by not stopping his men from taking guns from the arsenal.

The families are boycotting the trial, saying they do not trust that justice will be served and expressing disbelief over the government’s identification of a single suspect.

“It does not match the facts,” the families said in a joint statement released on September 14. “The Indonesian government is only protecting perpetrators of gross human rights violations in Paniai. It is a theater court.”

“But the truth will never be defeated or covered up.”

CNN sent multiple email requests for comment to Indonesian government officials including President Joko Widodo’s office, the military, and Indonesia’s Human Rights Commission but received no response.

A history of abuse
Allegations of human rights abuses by Indonesian government forces against indigenous Papuans surface frequently.

Earlier this year, UN-appointed rights experts said that between April and November 2021 they received allegations of “several instances of extrajudicial killings, including of young children, enforced disappearance, torture and inhuman treatment and the forced displacement of at least 5,000 indigenous Papuans by security forces.”

However, pursuing allegations against the Indonesian military has traditionally proved difficult. International rights bodies have complained of being unable to access the region. UN experts have urged the Indonesian government to conduct “full and independent investigations into the abuses.”

But even against this background, the Paniai massacre stands out as particularly sensitive because it took place just two months after President Joko Widodo – popularly known as Jokowi – first came into power, promising change and “open dialogue.”

“I want to listen to the people’s voices, and I’m willing to open dialogue for a better Papua. The people of Papua don’t only need health care, education, the construction of roads and bridges, but they also need to be listened to,” Jokowi said as part of his inauguration speech in December 2014.

“One of the first promises that the President made to the Papuan people was to resolve this case,” said Indonesian human rights lawyer Veronica Koman at Amnesty International.

“He also expressed a desire for a dialogue to end the conflict – but these promises have still not been met, and many other Papuan children have since been killed or tortured by Indonesian forces.”

According to Human Rights Watch, the 2014 protest shooting allegedly took place the day after a unit of special forces soldiers assaulted Yulian Yeimo, apparently to punish him for shouting at one of their vehicles that had driven through his village at night without its headlights on. Yeimo and his friends had been reportedly decorating a Christmas tree and a nativity scene at the time.

CNN has been unable to independently verify the details about the incident.

Authorities have failed to acknowledge or address what happened to Yeimo, noted rights groups.

The beating sparked a fierce outcry that prompted hundreds of villagers to protest in the public square in Enarotali. Four teenagers were killed when the crowd was fired upon: Simon Degei, 18; Otianus Gobai, 18; Alfius Youw, 17; and Abia Gobay, 17.

Eyewitnesses said the gunmen were Indonesian soldiers, and weeks following the attack, while on an official visit to Papua, President Widodo promised the military and police would conduct a full investigation.

However, in the aftermath of the killings, army chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo denied that soldiers shot the protesters and claimed that the gunfire came from Papuan guerrilla fighters.

Yeimo, the 12-year-old whose beating preceded the massacre, died from his injuries in 2018 having never recovered from his coma, according to his family. To this day, nobody has been held accountable for his death – or for the deaths of those killed in the ensuing protests.

Sophie Grig, a senior research officer at Survival International, a London-based charity campaigning for Indigenous rights, said progress for the victims of the Paniai massacre had been “glacial” and called the situation “appalling.”

“The culture of impunity for human rights abusers in West Papua must end,” Grig said.

Four teenagers were shot at a protest in Papua. Eight years on, only one suspect is facing trial
Four teenagers were shot at a protest in Papua. Eight years on, only one suspect is facing trial
© Provided by CNN
Indonesian President Joko Widodo reviews members of the military’s special armed forces. – Antara Photo Agency/Reuters
Independence movement
Fueling the tensions in Papua, say rights groups, are divisions along both ethnic and religious lines. Indigenous Papuans tend to have darker skin than other Indonesians, and are usually Christian rather than Muslim – the majority religion in the country.

“There is certainly an element of racist discrimination in the way the Indonesian security forces treat the Papuans as deserving of abuse,” said Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division.

“Papuans’ political demands for independence also bring out the worst in successive Indonesian governments and the military,” he said.

“The underlying problem is discrimination and racism from Indonesian officials – the military, police, judges – against indigenous Papuans, and the result is rights abuses and the culture of impunity that protects the abuses.”

Papua, a former Dutch colony, was formally absorbed into Indonesia following a controversial referendum in 1969. Advocates of Papuan independence say that vote was neither free nor fair.

Separatist sentiment remains, finding its expression not only in the armed Free Papua Movement but in wider public protests. Huge student protests erupted in 2019 and grew into a civil resistance campaign demanding Papuan independence from Indonesia. Public anger has also been stoked by a contentious law passed in July by Indonesia’s Parliament to create three new provinces in Papua – a move critics said would take power away from the indigenous population.

Four teenagers were shot at a protest in Papua. Eight years on, only one suspect is facing trial
Four teenagers were shot at a protest in Papua. Eight years on, only one suspect is facing trial
© Provided by CNN
Hundreds of Papuans demonstrated in front of the Jakarta Palace in 2019. – Donal Husni/NurPhoto/Getty Images
Will justice finally prevail?
Despite the opening of the trial, many unknowns surrounding the events of December 8, 2014, remain.

The Indonesian government bans independent reporting from inside Papua, and the region has been off-limits to foreign journalists for decades. CNN was unable to independently verify several accounts highlighted in this story.

“The big question is whether this trial is the beginning of something different or just an effort to offer up a scapegoat to deflect international attention before world leaders go to Indonesia for the G-20 (meeting in November),” said Robertson of Human Rights Watch.

“Foreign leaders should press Indonesia hard on what is happening in Papua, and not be deflected by a trial that just scratches the surface of what needs to be done to right wrongs in Papua.”

Four teenagers were shot at a protest in Papua. Eight years on, only one suspect is facing trial
Four teenagers were

shot at a protest in Papua. Eight years on, only one suspect is facing trial
Andreas Harsono, an Indonesia researcher with Human Rights Watch, added: “Yes – this (trial) is long awaited, but it’s still a show trial, and I am not hopeful that it will be independent or fair.”

“One retired military officer is due to stand trial, but many lives were lost that day,” he said.

“Who was the commanding officer who gave orders to shoot protesters? Where are the others responsible?”

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AWPA Update No 6/ 2022

October 1, 2022

AWPA Update No 6/ 2022
2 October 2022

There has been no improvement in the human rights situation in West Papua.
The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence has urged the Indonesian Government urged to account for Papua violence. (RNZ Pacific 27 September 2022)
From article
Violence in West Papua continues to escalate with the Indonesian government being urged to be transparent about the situation. The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence claims the government has been covering up and restricting the international community’s access to information. Commission co-ordinator Fatia Maulidiyanti said this was in relation to the murder and mutilation of four civilians in August which were not reported within the legal framework. "Instead of continuing to cover up the actual violence in Papua with various narratives, the Indonesian government must open the widest possible access to the international community.”…….
https://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com/2022/10/awpa-west-papua-update-no-6-2022.html