Skip to content

Adriana Elisabeth on the Conflict in West Papua

July 27, 2021

Adriana Elisabeth on the Conflict in West Papua

Dr. Adriana Elisabeth on the roots of the conflict in Papua, the Indonesian government’s response to a recent uptick in insurgent activity, and what it will take to resolve the decades-long crisis.

By Sebastian Strangio July 27, 2021

On July 15, Indonesia’s parliament voted to revise and extend for 20 years the Special Autonomy Law for the provinces of Papua and West Papua. The move was greeted by protests in the easternmost region of the archipelago, where a separatist insurgency has rumbled since the 1960s. Dr. Adriana Elisabeth, a senior political analyst at the Center for Political Studies at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), spoke with The Diplomat about the roots of the conflict in Papua, the Indonesian government’s response to a recent uptick in insurgent activity, and what it will take to resolve the decades-long crisis.

While verified information from Papua is hard to come by, recent months have seen increasing attacks by Papuan rebels, which have in turn brought intensified reprisals from the Indonesian Armed Forces. What are things like at present in Papua, and what accounts for the increasingly tense situation there?

Historically, Papua has almost never been free from violence. Political and later economic grievances have led to repeated protests against state policy in Papua. Papua is very dynamic in both the positive and negative senses. Since becoming part of Indonesia in 1969, Papuan independence activists and the government of Indonesia have hotly debated the process of the region’s integration into the republic. Many Papuans believe that the process has been problematic because of unfairness and intimidation from the Indonesian Armed Forces during the plebiscite, held under United Nations supervision in 1969, which saw the region join Indonesia. On the other side, the government believes that the result of the plebiscite was legitimate, despite the fact that just 1,025 Papuans, selected by the armed forces out of around 800,000 people, voted for integration with Indonesia. Since then, Indonesia claims that Papua has successfully been reintegrated. It also takes credit for the termination of Dutch colonial rule in Papua.

More than 50 years since political integration, Papuan separatist leaders still haven’t accepted it. Their struggle for independence is based on the claim that the Dutch had treated or prepared them to be an independent state. Although the independent movement is facing internal conflicts, Papua is confident that one day its independence will be a reality. Of course, the ideology of independence makes the government of Indonesia and the Indonesian Armed Forces feel very insecure. In order to guarantee that Papua will remain within the Indonesian republic, the government’s integration efforts have focused heavily on state security and military operations in Papua and West Papua, and this remains the case up until the present.

In the recent developments, primarily since 2018, the military has conducted operations in highland regions of Papua Province, where most of the rebel groups are concentrated. These have been focused are in several districts (or kabupaten) in the central mountains, most notably Nduga, Puncak, Intan Jaya, and Puncak Jaya. These have become war zones where the Indonesian Armed Forces and Indonesian Police have battled various Papuan armed groups. The ongoing conflicts have brought serious social consequences to the villagers living in these regions, many of whom have been forced from their homes into temporary shelters; some have even been forced to live in the jungle. Until now, many people do not know if or when they can return to their villages. They have been away, for example, since December 2018 when the armed conflict occurred in Nduga District, and since 2020 in the case of Intan Jaya District.

Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.

These are many unfinished problems in Papua that have not been addressed. Tensions and disputes are easily triggered, such as the series of demonstrations and riots that took place Papua and West Papua Provinces in 2019. The situation now seems to have calmed down, but there is the potential for social conflict based on identity between the native Papuans and non-Papuans. The tension between the government of Indonesia and the Papuan independence activists could worsen because they both defend incompatible and extreme positions: “undisputed part of the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia” versus “the political goal of Papuan independence.”

Diplomatically, Indonesia advances a clear narrative about Papua: that it is the country’s own domestic issue. Thus, there is no chance it will allow any international intervention, including in the case of human rights violations. The government has formulated its regional policy towards the South Pacific, largely in order to defend its policies in Papua, offering aid and technical cooperation with Pacific nations in order to counter the unpopularity of its Papua policies. As foreign policy and diplomacy must proceed in parallel with domestic priorities, in 2001, Papua was granted a special autonomy status in an attempt to accelerate development in the islands through infrastructure (connectivity and digitalization) and human resources development.

Earlier this month, President Joko Widodo signed a law renewing the Special Autonomy Law for Papua, the basis of its autonomous status, prompting protests in various parts of the region. Despite claiming to empower Papuans, the law has clearly played a role in the unrest that the region has experienced since 2019. What does the law say, and what does its renewal mean in practical terms for the people of Papua? Why is there so much concern about it?

Since its introduction in 2001, there have been at least two problems with the Special Autonomy Law, or Otsus. The first is competing state policies and regulations in Papua. Otsus is not the only policy that guides the administration of Papua; there are other regulations from ministries, state or government institutions, which have different directives in Papua based on each sectoral function and responsibility. Problems come up due to difficulties not just in harmonizing regulations, but also in coordinating and synergizing programs, and monitoring performance of local bureaucracy in executing the main programs.

Second, there have been technical challenges in developing education and health services, and bolstering the local economy in Papua. This is especially the case in remote areas in the highlands and coastal regions, where most people live with a lack of public services. The process of improving access to education and health development has been challenged by difficulties in terms of geography and transportation. Moreover, access naturally becomes much harder in conflict areas.

Since the beginning, Otsus Papua was supposed to deal with these complexities, but it was not designed as a conflict resolution mechanism. In consequence, Otsus was rejected only a few years after its implementation in 2001, and dissatisfactions with the law remain. The pros and cons of Otsus show the growing mistrust, which is felt more and more deeply by many Papuans. There is a constant prejudice between Jakarta and Papua: any initiative or criticism will automatically be classified as hostile regardless of the intention.

The law signed by President Joko Widodo on July 15 extends the Special Autonomy Law for a further 20 years and embraces 18 articles, regarding new budget mechanisms and allocation, political representativeness of the native Papuans, women’s rights, customary institutions, economic development, etc. The new law rejects the possibility for Papua to have local political parties, as in Aceh. In order to ensure the acceleration of development, the government will establish a secretariat office in Jayapura, the capital of Papua Province. The implementation of the new policy is set to be synergized with the Presidential Instruction Number 9 in 2020 as technical guidance of development programs in Papua and West Papua Provinces. These will be followed by an action plan which focuses on education, health, poverty alleviation, employment, and sustainable development goals.

In order to elevate the quality of education, health, and economic development in Papua, there will be major “quick-win” programs in each region that could serve as pilot projects to be replicated across the whole region. The most important objective is to improve access to education and health in order to improve the Human Development Index of Papua and West Papua Provinces, which are now still much lower compared to other provinces in Indonesia.

As the Australian journalist John Martinkus notes in his recent book “The Road: Uprising in West Papua,” infrastructure development – particular the Trans-Papua Highway – has for many Papuan independence activists become a symbol of the central state’s quasi-colonial control over the region. What impact do you think these developments will ultimately have on the region?

Infrastructure development, such as the Trans-Papua Highway, airports, seaports, and digital networks, is one of the main priority sectors for the Indonesian government. They bring positive impacts in terms of interconnectivity from village to village, as well as from district and province. The other iconic infrastructure program connects Jayapura city in Papua to Wutung in Papua New Guinea, via the Youtefa Bridge.

Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.

The roads have connected people from remote areas to cities. Elementary schools have been built in almost each village, while for junior and senior high schools, students must go to other districts. For better education, students must go and stay in big cities in Papua or outside Papua. In the health sector, some subdistricts have clinics, ambulance, medicines, and medical staff. However, the quality of public services in Papua is often lacking; for example, there is a high ratio between students, permanent teachers, and the number of schools. The same is true of the number of clinics, doctors, nurses, and midwives, primarily in very remote areas.

Besides the positive impacts, there are also some negative impacts. Migrants from other parts of Indonesia tend to be able to utilize improved connectivity to gain more economic benefits than many local communities. This creates social jealousy because the Papuans mostly remain in lower positions on the economic scale. Another bad impact is the massive growth in illegal activities and social ills, such the distribution of drugs, alcohol, and HIV/AIDS, which have now reached into remote areas.

In regards to the independence activists, developing physical infrastructure is not compatible with their grievances, given their lack of trust in the government, so they do not want to admit that there is a beneficial aspect from the infrastructure. Given the incompatibility of their demand to be free from Indonesia, it is difficult to build better communication between the government and the Papuans, particularly with independence activists. Both continue to have very different narratives about development in Papua.

Papua is a region rich in natural resources. What role has this wealth played in the dynamic of conflict between those fighting for autonomy, and the government’s response?

It is both a blessing and a curse. For Papua, these rich resources will mostly cause problems rather than prosperity, although the state and the business sector – in particular, domestic and foreign direct investors – stand to gain a lot financially from the natural resources, especially in mining, forestry, and plantation (palm oil). From the local or customary perspective, most of the natural resources have been exploited by corporate interests, while the people, as the owners of the land, get only limited gains. Moreover, mismanagement of the region’s natural resources has created serious problems of environmental degradation and economic inequality. They have also become the source of violence or natural resource-based conflict, pitting the government (central and local) and corporate interests against local communities.

In order to ensure that Papua’s natural resources benefit all stakeholders, the government needs to introduce an integrated approach to managing them in a more inclusive and sustainable way. Integrated means that the government, as facilitator and regulator, needs to pay more attention to the various investment processes. It needs to conduct objective social and environmental impact assessments before starting business in Papua. In other words, conflict management in the natural resource sector in Papua must begin with a clear concept of responsible business. At the same time, the government needs to build a people-centered development program in which the local people will be the center of the process in the sense that they have also the rights to determine how natural resources will be managed.

Shortly after the assassination of Brig. Gen. Gusti Putu Danny Nugraha on April 26, the Indonesian government officially branded armed Papuan resistance groups “terrorists.” What impact is this likely to have on the situation in Papua in the coming months and years?

The general was the first high ranking officer to be killed in Papua. After his killing, the government of Indonesia quickly made the political decision to brand the separatist groups as terrorists. The tragic incident seemed to provide further momentum toward stigmatizing the armed wings of the Papuan independence movement as both separatists and terrorists. However, the root of problems of separatism and terrorism are very different.

Papuan separatism is deeply rooted in long history of violence that some link to persistent human rights violations. Traumatic experience or negative memory (or memoria passionis) caused by a series of conflicts have made Papuan activists believe that the best solution to their grievances is to have freedom and independence. Papuans have a strong Melanesian identity that they believe sets them apart from the rest of Indonesia. This political claim is also linked to another root cause of separatism, which is the question of economic inequality, and the economic gaps that exist between the native Papuans and migrants from other parts of Indonesia.

It is clear that the rebel groups in Papua have different characteristics from terrorist groups, although they are also conducting violent actions against the security apparatus and in some cases against ordinary people. There is change and continuity within the rebel groups in the highlands. Ideologically, the leaders aim to fight for independence, but some of their younger members have joined the separatist cause because they are unemployed or have dropped out of school. Their attitude is not always the same as older generations, and in some cases they are more militant. But compared to extremist jihadist groups such as Jamaah Ansarut Daullah, none of these groups should be categorized as terrorists.

There is no single reality in Papua. In terms of understanding the region’s history, there must be a chance to discuss and explore critical perspectives. With the current dynamics, there is also the possibility that everything or much has changed in Papua. Since 2001, for instance, there have been some successes in Papua, but many unresolved problems remain, such as human rights violations, while violence escalates and worsens. To prevent more from becoming needless victims, the Indonesian government needs to formulate a softer approach to deal with local communities, because dealing with people is a most complicated task. This is truly urgent if the government wants to gain the mind and heart of the Papuans.

STAFF AUTHOR Sebastian Strangio
Sebastian Strangio is Southeast Asia Editor at The Diplomat.

To unsubscribe: <mailto: wpan-unsubscribe>
List help: <>

Indonesian police arrested a Papuan separatist leader

July 24, 2021

Indonesian Forces Arrest Papuan Rebel Who Escaped from Prison in 2016

Ronna Nirmala Jakarta. 2021-07-23

Updated at 3:26 p.m. ET on 2021-07-23

Papuan activists attend a protest in Surabaya to mark the Free Papua Organization’s anniversary in Indonesia, Dec. 1, 2020.

Indonesian police arrested a Papuan separatist leader who was on the run after he escaped from a prison in Papua with several others in 2016, while serving a life sentence for the killings of three police officers, officials said Friday.

Osimin Wenda (also known as Usmin Telenggen) was picked up while riding a motorcycle in Puncak Jaya regency on Thursday morning, Papua province police spokesman Ahmad Musthofa Kamal said.

“The team stopped him in the Wandigobak village and immediately arrested him,” Kamal told BenarNews in a statement.

Osimin, 30, was arrested in 2013. The next year, a Papua court sentenced him to life in prison after finding him guilty of premeditated murder, aggravated robbery and arson attacks.

Kamal said his crimes included participating in an attack on a police station in Lanny Jaya regency that killed a local police chief and two of his subordinates in November 2012.

During the same month, Osimin and other rebels ambushed an entourage led by then-Papua police chief Tito Karnavian – now Indonesia’s minister of home affairs – in Lanny Jaya, Kamal said. There were no casualties.

Five years ago, Osimin and 13 other inmates, including several separatist rebels, escaped from the Abepura prison in Jayapura, the provincial capital. Authorities blamed the prison break on a shortage of guards.

While on the run, Osimin allegedly was involved in an attack that killed a motorcycle taxi driver in Lanny Jaya regency in 2018, Kamal said.

Sebby Sambom, a spokesman for the West Papua National Liberation Army, the armed wing of the Free Papua Movement, could not immediately be reached for comment on the arrest.

Before his first arrest in 2013, Osimin was part of a group of guerrillas under the command of Lekagak Telenggen, a rebel chief in Puncak regency.

Earlier this month, security forces arrested an alleged guerrilla, Yoniku Murib, and four others under Lekagak’s command.

While being interrogated in custody, Murib revealed that the Lekagak Telenggen group was responsible for some attacks in Puncak this year, according to Faisal Ramadhani, director of general crime investigations at the Papuan police.

A low-level separatist insurgency has simmered for decades in Indonesia’s far-eastern Papua region, which makes up the western half of New Guinea Island and comprises two provinces: Papua and West Papua.

In 1963, Indonesian forces invaded Papua and annexed it. The region, whose population is mainly Melanesian, was incorporated formally into Indonesia after a U.N.-sponsored ballot called the Act of Free Choice in 1969.

Locals and activists said the vote was a sham vote because only about 1,000 people took part. However, the United Nations accepted the result, which essentially endorsed Jakarta’s rule.

The natural resource-rich region remains among Indonesia’s poorest and underdeveloped ones.

Police honor guards stand near the coffin of one of their officers in Mimika, Indonesia, a day after he was killed in a gun battle between police and separatist rebels in the Papua region, April 28, 2021. [AFP]

Recent violence

Kamal said the security situation had improved in Papua after a spate of rebel attacks on civilians and clashes between insurgents and security forces in the past few months.

“Thank God, the past few days have been calm,” Kamal said.

“Investigations, arrests and operations to hunt armed criminal groups are still being carried out by joint forces.”

In the latest incidents, rebels opened fire on security personnel who were guarding food supplies in Nduga regency on July 6, wounding three soldiers, Jayapura military commander Brig. Gen. Izak Pangemanan told the state-run Antara news agency.

On July 11, a police officer was wounded in a shootout with insurgents in Yahukimo regency. A day later, two soldiers were injured in a shootout with another group of rebels in Nduga, said regional military chief Maj. Gen. Ignatius Yogo Triyono.

Late last month, suspected separatist rebels killed four construction workers and took four people hostage in Yahukimo regency. Police said the hostages were later freed.

In April, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo ordered security forces to step up efforts to eradicate the armed groups after separatist insurgents assassinated an army general, who was also the regional chief of Indonesia’s intelligence agency.

As part of the crackdown, the government declared the separatist rebels a terrorist group. The designation alarmed rights activists who said it could lead to more human rights abuses against Papuan people.

Cahyo Pamungkas, a researcher on Papua at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, said the designation of separatists as terrorists meant that dialogue was increasingly out of reach.

“The result is that the authorities will become more and more overzealous in anti-insurgency operations. There are no more overtures for dialogue and violence and military force has become a solution,” Cahyo told BenarNews.


wp 1) Delta taking hold of Indonesia’s Papua

July 22, 2021

Delta taking hold of Indonesia’s Papua

Agustinus Beo Da CostaAAP

July 22, 2021 4:33PM

Hospitals in Indonesia’s easternmost region of Papua are nearing full capacity amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, with health officials bracing for the full impact of the virulent Delta variant on one of the country’s least-developed areas.

The bed occupancy rate at some hospitals in Papua province had reached 100 per cent, with emergency units and tents being used to treat COVID-19 patients, Dr Aaron Rumainum, head of the Papua health agency’s disease control and prevention unit, said.

"We have the same problem as Java. Isolation rooms are full and there is a lack of oxygen," he told Reuters, adding the Delta variant, first identified in India, had now been detected in the province.

Indonesia is in the throes of a raging coronavirus epidemic, with shortages of hospital beds and oxygen reported across the capital Jakarta, and other parts of densely populated Java island – a situation now fanning out to less developed regions.

Across Papua province the bed occupancy rate was about 57 per cent but in the provincial capital of Jayapura it was more than 96 per cent, said Silwanus Sumule, COVID-19 taskforce spokesperson and deputy director of the Jayapura General Hospital (RSUD).

There were currently 47 people waiting in the corridors, unable to get a room, he said.

"Maybe 47 isn’t a lot in places like Java, but it’s really big here," he said. "We’ve never experienced this before, placing patients in corridors like that."

Indonesia’s Papuan region, divided into the two provinces of West Papua and Papua, has poorly equipped health facilities and low vaccination rates, leaving it dangerously exposed to the virus.

"Before COVID, there was already endemic disease in Papua that was not well handled, such as malaria and tuberculosis, let alone this emergency situation," said Adriana Elisabeth, a political analyst from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) who researches Papua.

"If the government does not restrict mobility, the healthcare system will certainly collapse."

Earlier this week, Papua Governor Lukas Enembe said he was considering blocking access in and out of the province to curb the spread of COVID-19, according to media reports.

Based on data from Indonesia’s ministry of health, Papua has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with less than 6 per cent of people fully vaccinated, while positivity rates have surpassed 31 per cent.

Activists say vaccination levels have remained stubbornly low in part because some indigenous Papuans distrust the central government, while nurses in the region say disinformation about the pandemic is rampant.

Adding to the complexity of a health response, a low-level insurgency for Papuan independence has simmered for decades and many may be wary of cooperating with authorities particularly if security forces are involved.

Indonesia has reported more than 2.9 million coronavirus cases and 77,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, with an accelerating caseload and high death rate making the country the current epicentre of Asia’s outbreak.

Public health experts say the true number of infections is likely several times higher.

Indonesia’s death rate from COVID-19 was more than three times the global rate as of July 20, based on Our World in Data figures.

40 arrested at rally in front of parliament against Papua special autonomy law

July 18, 2021

40 arrested at rally in front of parliament against Papua special

autonomy law

Suara Papua – July 15, 2021

Agus Pabika, Jayapura — As many as 40 protesters opposing the extension
of Papua special autonomy at the House of Representatives (DPR) building
in Jakarta were arrested by police and taken away in two crowd control
vehicles to the Metro Jaya regional police headquarters.

"Upon arriving at the detectives directorate the protesters were forced
inside and intimidated by [threatening that they would be] forcibly
vaccinated [against Covid-19]", Papuan Central Highlands Indonesian
Student Association (AMPTPI) Secretary General Ambrosius Mulait told
Suara Papua on Thursday July 15.

Mulait said that even though the action opposing the extension of
special autonomy in front of the DPR was peaceful, police still showed a
discriminatory attitude towards the demonstrators.

"Even though the action we were holding was peaceful and in accordance
with health protocols. To convey our aspirations about what should be
the important points for the Papuan people in the deliberations on the
Otsus Law. But the Indonesian state though the police obstructed us, by
means of provocation, forcibly breaking up [the rally] and arresting
demonstrators", said Mulait.

Mulait said that the deliberations on the law were conducted thuggery
style by forcing through and enacting Otsus arbitrarily without
accommodating the wishes of the ordinary Papuan people.

"We thought that the Otsus being deliberated was for the future of the
Papuan people so why did it not facilitate any Papuan people in the
deliberations, but the reality was different. Police used their power to
force us to disperse", he said.

Mulait explained that a scuffle broke out with police when the
demonstrators were being put into a crowd control vehicle and a plain
clothed intelligence officer from the Metro Jaya regional police made
racist remarks calling them monkeys.

"Meaning what? That Otsus is indeed a colonial product so what they are
colonising have no values or dignity, and because they heard the racist
remakes our friends were involved in an exchange of words in response to
the term monkey which was expressed by the intelligence officer", he

Papua special autonomy is a product of the racist face of Indonesia
against the indigenous Papuan people.

"We reject Jakarta’s products which do not guarantee benefits for the
Papuan people. DPR, stop highjacking the Papuan people’s future for the
sake of the interests of a handful of Indonesian and Papuan elites", he

[Translated by James Balowski. Edited slightly for clarity. The original
title of the article was "Demo Tolak Otsus di Gedung DPR RI, 40
Demonstran Diangkut ke Polda Metro Jaya".]


TAPOL mourns the passing of our inspirational founder Carmel Budiardjo

July 11, 2021

TAPOL mourns the passing of our inspirational founder Carmel Budiardjo

11 July 2021. By: TAPOL

Carmel Budiardjo, TAPOL’s founder and driving force for many decades, passed away peacefully on the morning of Saturday 10th July.

She will be greatly missed by all of us in TAPOL and in the wider TAPOL family, the extensive network of people whose lives were touched – and sometimes transformed – by her passionate and determined campaigning for human rights, justice and democracy in Indonesia, East Timor, Aceh and West Papua. For many of us she was a great mentor as well as a beloved friend.

TAPOL stands for ‘tahanan politik’ or ‘political prisoners’ in Indonesian. Carmel, a British citizen then living in Indonesia, was imprisoned without trial in Indonesia following former President Suharto’s rise to power in 1965. An Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, Carmel was released after three years’ imprisonment and she returned to the UK. In 1973 she founded TAPOL to campaign for the release of the tens of thousands of political prisoners following the 1965 atrocities and in support of the relatives of the hundreds of thousands who were killed. Carmel was determined to raise international awareness of those atrocities and injustices in which many western countries, including the UK, were complicit in their attempts to halt what they saw as the rise of communism.

Over the next three decades, TAPOL’s work broadened to encompass wider issues of human rights, peace and democracy in Indonesia, including in Aceh, East Timor and the contested territory of West Papua. Wherever possible, and despite the extreme repression of the New Order regime, we built close relationships and collaboration with the very brave human rights defenders and pro-democracy campaigners there. In 1995, Carmel received the Right Livelihood Award, after being nominated by the International Federation for East Timor.

With awareness growing also of the environmental damage being wrought by the regime on nature and local communities, in 1988 Carmel helped set up a sister organisation, Down to Earth, to fight for ecological justice. Later, in 2007, Carmel and TAPOL were also founder members of the London Mining Network, established to support communities harmed by London-based mining companies.

As Indonesia became more democratic during the 2000s, we increasingly turned our attention to the region of West Papua. There, human rights violations have continued, largely out-of-sight and un-discussed within Indonesia as well as internationally. For TAPOL’s international work on West Papua, Carmel also received the John Rumbiak Human Rights Defender Award and was honoured as an ‘Eldest Daughter of Papua’ by leaders of West Papuan civil society in 2011.

TAPOL is still today very much as Carmel set it up: a small organisation/network of committed staff, volunteers and collaborators, all aiming for a big impact. We remain committed to her ideals of promoting justice and equality across Indonesia, and are deeply grateful for all that she contributed and taught us. Our thoughts and sincere condolences for this huge, sad loss go to Carmel’s family in particular, but also to all those across the globe who knew and loved her.

Film: ‘Carmel and the story of TAPOL’ by Sanne Van Den Berg, Su Lin Lewis, Barbara Patilla and Jonnie Kinder, 2015:

Book: ‘Suharto’s Gulag: Surviving Indonesia’s Military Rule: A Western Woman’s Memoirs’, by Carmel Budiardjo, Cassell Global Issues, 1996.

Contact: info

ULMWP dismisses terrorist label for armed Papuan groups as ‘Indonesian colonial product’

May 2, 2021

ULMWP dismisses terrorist label for armed Papuan groups as ‘Indonesian

colonial product’

CNN Indonesia – April 29, 2021

Jakarta — The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) has
criticised the Indonesian government’s decision to label the Free Papua
Movement (OPM) or armed criminal groups (KKB) in Papua as terrorists.

ULMWP Executive Director Markus Haluk said that the government often
attaches certain labels on the Papuan nation which, according to Haluk,
are labels that it intentionally creates.

"The terms KKB, GPK [security disturbance groups] and so forth are terms
created by Indonesian colonialism, the TNI [Indonesian military] and the
Polri [Indonesian police]. So, the Papuan people don’t recognise any of
these", Haluk told CNN Indonesia on Thursday April 29.

Haluk said that the National Liberation Army (TPN) and the OPM were born
out of a humanitarian struggle and that they oppose humanitarian crimes
and systematic racist politics.

According to Haluk, the TPN, the OPM and the Papuan nation are also
fighting for self-determination, which he placed on par with the
struggles by Indonesia’s founding president Sukarno and vice president
Mohammad Hatta and their comrades against Dutch colonialism.

"What is being fought for by the Papuan nation at the moment is part of
what was once fought for by Sukarno and Hatta against Dutch colonialism,
starting in 1908, 1928, until it climaxed [with the declaration of
independence] in August 1945", he said.

Haluk said that they are not concerned about the government’s maneuver
of labeling the Papuan independence movement as terrorists and asserted
that it would not influence the struggle to liberate the Papuan nation.

"None of the labels and terms applied by Indonesian colonialism will
lessen the Papuan nation’s [determination] to realise the political
rights of the Papuan nation", he said.

Earlier, the government decided to categories armed groups in Papua as
terrorists using Law Number 5/2018 on the Eradication of Terrorism as a
legal basis.

Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD
said that they have delegated the security forces to act against
terrorists in Papua.

"The government has asked the Polri, the TNI, the BIN [National
Intelligence Agency] and related agencies to immediately take rapid,
firm and measured actions", said Mahfud during a press conference at the
Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Ministry building on Jalan Medan
Merdeka Barat in Central Jakarta on Thursday. (dhf/fra)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was
"ULMWP: Cap OPM-KKB Teroris Ciptaan Kolonial".]

Nobel laureate Ramos Horta urges Indonesia-Papua dialogue

April 30, 2021 ?

Nobel laureate Ramos Horta urges Indonesia-Papua dialogue

The Oekusi Post

DILI (TOP) – Nobel Peace Prize laureate José Ramos-Horta has urged Indonesia’s government to hold talks with the Papuan independence movement to help end a decades-long insurgency in the country’s easternmost region.

Ramos-Horta, joint recipient of the 1996 Nobel prize for efforts to bring independence and peace to Timor-Leste, which suffered a brutal Indonesian occupation for nearly a quarter century, said he believes the Papua region’s future is within Indonesia, not as a separate state.

Head of the Papua Regional State Intelligence Agency, Brigadier General TNI I Gusti Putu Danny Karya Nugraha Karya died after being involved in a firefight with the Free Papua Organization (FPO) group in Dambet Village, Beoga District, Puncak Regency, Sunday 25 of April 2021.

He was involved in a shootout when the FPO intercepted him. This obstruction occurred when the BIN Task Force and the TNI-Polri Task Force were traveling to Kampung Dambet. On the way, the FPO suddenly intercepted and a firefight between the two was inevitable. Kabinda, who was involved in the shooting, died.

“I heard only this morning very worried about it because it’s only escalated the use of force in West Papua, and I can only say that the message to everyone in Indonesia and West Papua is to find ways to end this conflict by dialogue and I know president Jokowi always wanted to resolve the problem of West Papua,” Horta said in a press conference in Farol, Dili, Wednesday April 28, 2021.

The Free Papua Organization (OPM) admitted that it was responsible for the shooting of the Head of the Papua Regional National Intelligence Agency (Kabinda), Brigadier General TNI I Gusti Putu Danny Karya Nugraha, until he died on Sunday April 25, 2021.

Spokesperson for the West Papua National Army-Free Papua Organization (TNPB-OPM), Sebby Sambom said that Kabinda Papua was killed by a stray bullet during a gun battle.
[] West Papuan armed force./Net.

"The shooting of the Papua cabin, Brig. Gen. Gusti Putu, was shot by a TPNPB stray bullet," Sebby told, Monday April 26, 2021.

At the time of the incident, Sebby said that his party was involved in a shootout with the TNI-Polri apparatus. Then, said Sebby, the troops considered all officers as enemies, so they were used as targets for shooting.

Sebby claimed that no TPNPB troops were hit by gunfire in the incident. It’s just that, after the shootout, his part is increasing the alert status of the TNI-Polri apparatus.

"We are all safe, but we are on alert at that location. And we are also ready to make armed contact with the TNI and Polri," he said.

With this incident the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo ordered the TNI commander and the Chief of Police to chase and arrest all members of armed groups in Papua.

Jokowi emphasized that the government did not provide a place for armed groups both in Papua and throughout the country.

The conflict between Indonesia and the Free Papua Organization, who number perhaps just several hundred, flared again last few years ago when armed separatists in Nduga killed at least 17 people working on a trans-Papua highway construction site that’s a key part of President Joko Widodo’s efforts to bring development to the impoverished region.

The government has said accusations that the military fired at villages with white phosphorous projectiles, a banned chemical weapon, in retaliation are “totally baseless, nonfactual and gravely misleading.” At least four people were killed in the security operation. Wiranto, the top security minister, has rejected the idea of talks.

Police have arrested then released hundreds of suspected independence supporters and raided offices of the West Papua National Committee, a civilian group that advocates for self-determination. In Timika, police occupied the committee’s secretariat, graffitied it with slogans such as “Indonesia Forever” and demolished symbols of the independence movement.

Ramos-Horta, Timor-Leste’s president from 2007 to 2012, said restraint is needed on both sides.

“So first, they must give up on armed attacks on Indonesian civilians or military authorities, but at the same time the Indonesian military also have to restrain themselves from not cracking down, attacking … people every time they demonstrate,” he said.

An independence movement and an armed insurgency have simmered in the formerly Dutch-controlled region since it was annexed by Indonesia in 1963. Indonesian control was formalized in 1969 with a referendum known as the “Act of Free Choice” held in an atmosphere of heavy intimidation in which only 1,026 Papuans were allowed to vote.

Nowadays, indigenous Papuans, largely shut out of their region’s economy, are poorer, sicker and more likely to die young than people elsewhere in Indonesia. Decades of Indonesian military brutality and impunity have contributed to deep resentment of Indonesian rule.

Ramos-Horta, however, said the situation in Papua is not comparable to East Timor’s independence struggle and there’s no role for the U.N. in the conflict.

Timor-Leste, Ramos-Horta said, was a Portuguese colony for more than 400 years before Indonesia invaded in 1975, whereas Papua was part of the Dutch East Indies empire that was the basis for the borders of modern Indonesia.

Author: The Oekusi

PostWebsite: info nu’udar plataforma media online iha Oe-Kusi Ambeno, Timor-Leste ne’ebé aprezenta notísia iha área oioin iha teritóriu nasionál. Rua. Numbei, Oe-Kusi Ambeno Mobile: +670 7723 4114 Email: info (at)

To unsubscribe: <mailto: wpan-unsubscribe>
List help: <>

Opinion: Military exports to Indonesia strain NZ’s human rights record

April 18, 2021

16 Apr 2021

Opinion: Military exports to Indonesia strain NZ’s human rights record

12:39 pm on 16 April 2021
Share this

By Maire Leadbeater *

Opinion – As further details emerge about New Zealand’s military exports, questions are growing about the country’s role as a defender of human rights. After a recent spotlight on military goods sent to Saudi Arabia, information is coming to light about New Zealand’s exports to Indonesia’s military forces which are engaged in a long-running conflict in West Papua.
Arrival of more Indonesian troops in Jayapura, Papua, March 202

Arrival of more Indonesian troops in Jayapura, Papua, March 2021 Photo: Supplied

Defence Engagement with Indonesia

New Zealand broke military ties with Indonesia after the 1999 maelstrom in East Timor, when much of the country was razed to the ground because the people voted the ‘wrong’ way in the 1999 independence referendum.

However, New Zealand quietly restored defence training ties to Indonesia in 2007 and our defence engagement has been steadily increasing, so that it now includes some decidedly questionable arms exports.

From the point of view of a long-term campaigner for the self-determination rights of the Timorese and the people of West Papua, this is outrageous.

There still hasn’t been any accountability for the Indonesian military’s role in the deaths of some 200,000 Timorese during twenty-four years of brutal occupation.

In West Papua, Indonesian security forces have been linked to alleged grievous human rights violations for nearly six decades, and act with impunity against those who dare to protest, however peacefully.

The Indonesian Government’s response to conflict – be it peaceful or armed – is to send in more troops. In March, for example, an Indonesian battleship brought 1,350 new military personnel to West Papua’s capital Jayapura and sent them off to the conflict hot-spots in the highlands where the Indonesian military are engaged in ongoing violent exchanges with the guerrilla forces of the pro-independence West Papua Liberation Army.

In recent months this has led to a massive displacement of villagers and a humanitarian crisis – far from the eyes of world.

However, successive New Zealand governments value their bilateral relationship with Indonesia above the rights of the Timorese or West Papuan people, and documents released under the Official Information Act confirm this.

A couple of years before the defence resumption, a New Zealand defence attaché said that "the New Zealand-Indonesia relationship resembled a ‘three legged stool’ with one leg (i.e. the defence aspect) missing." He stressed that the military remained "a major force in Indonesian life".

Officer training

Selected Indonesian officers (of Major equivalent or higher rank) regularly attend the six month New Zealand Defence Force Advanced Command and Staff Course (ACSC).

Indonesian officers are also invited to New Zealand to attend Bilateral Defence talks, workshops, and meetings. English language training is offered when Indonesian officers attend the ACSC.

New Zealand officers visit Indonesia to take part in study tours, conferences, and ceremonies. New Zealand’s "professional leadership" training to Indonesia comes under the Mutual Assistance Programme (MAP) which is described as the "core of our defence relationship". MAP is the umbrella for military training offered to a number of Pacific and South East Asian countries.

In 2020, despite the pandemic, three Indonesian military personnel undertook training in New Zealand. One person undertook English language training, one person attended the Advanced Staff and Command course and, for the first time since 2007, a third attended the NZ Army Combat Intermediate Course.

High level Engagement

New Zealand and Indonesian Defence Ministers hold annual bilateral defence talks, alternating the venue between Jakarta and Wellington. New Zealand has a Defence Attaché based in the Jakarta Embassy.

In 2016, New Zealand hosted the Indonesian naval vessel, KRI Banda Aceh, at the time of the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th Anniversary. Prior to the Anniversary events, Indonesia took part in the ASEAN Defence Ministers meeting, plus a maritime field training Counter Terrorism Exercise: Mahi Tangaroa. In 2017 the NZ frigate Te Kaha visited Jakarta.

In 2017 the Defence Ministers of both countries signed a Joint Statement on Defence Relations undertaking to work on strengthening the defence relations. In 2018, Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited New Zealand at the time that this country was celebrating its 60th year of diplomatic relations with Indonesia.
Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia and his wif

Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia and his wife Mrs Iriana Joko Widodo with New Zealand Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne. Photo: Pool/Mark Tantrum

The bilateral relationship was upgraded to a ‘Comprehensive Partnership’. This placed New Zealand on equal standing with Indonesia’s other ‘tier two’ partners – Russia and the EU – and a step below ‘tier one’ Strategic Partners Australia, China, Japan and the US.

Arms Exports

Since 2008 New Zealand has exported military aircraft parts to the Indonesian Air Force. In most years, including 2020, these parts are listed as "P3 Orion, C130 Hercules & CASA Military Aircraft:Engines, Propellers & Components including Casa Hubs and Actuators".

This information has been obtained by a series of Official Information Act requests, and the most recently obtained export listing states that the ‘end user’ of the parts is the Indonesian Air Force. The name of the exporter has been redacted.

New Zealand also exports other ‘strategic goods’ to Indonesia, including so-called small arms including rifles and pistols. For example in 2020 approval was given for the export of "Glock 43 TFS Semi Auto Pistol 9mm with Magazines" and a "GBC Rifle Cartine, Carbon Fiber Suppressor 9mm" among some 16 other similar listings.

There is nothing "small" about the impact of these lethal instruments. The values, end-users, and quantities of these items have all been withheld. Further research is required.

New Zealand’s human rights advocacy for West Papua is decidedly low-key, despite claims by some academics that Indonesia is responsible for the alleged crime of genocide against the indigenous people.

Pursuing lucrative arms exports, and training of human rights violators, undermines any message our government sends. As more is known about this complicity the challenge to the government’s Indonesia-first setting must grow.

The recent exposure of New Zealand’s military exports to Saudi Arabia and other countries with terrible human rights records is very important. The illusion of New Zealand as a human rights upholder has been shattered, and we have work ahead to ensure that we can restore not only our reputation but the reality on which it is based.

* Marie Leadbeater is the author of See No Evil: New Zealand’s Betrayal of the People of West Papua, published by Otago University Press in 2018. As a human rights activist, she has campaigned for justice in West Papua and East Timor.

To unsubscribe: <mailto: wpan-unsubscribe>
List help: <>

Save Papua’s Forests: Greenpeace

April 11, 2021

(Photos in article)

Protesters perform theatrical action during protest in front of the Environment and Forestry Ministry building in Central Jakarta on April 8, 2021. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Save Papua’s Forests: Greenpeace

APRIL 11, 2021

Jakarta. Activists from the non-governmental organization Greenpeace Indonesia staged a protest in front of the Environment and Forestry Ministry building in Central Jakarta last Friday, demanding the government to return the customary forests in Papua to the indigenous people.

The protest was based on a Greenpeace International report titled "License to Clear" and published on April 6, 2021, which revealed allegations of systematic violations on plantation and forest release permits in Papua between 2011 and 2019.

The report also revealed that peatland and forest protection initiatives introduced by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo’s administration, including the Forest Moratorium and the Oil Palm Moratorium, failed to produce the reforms promised.

The measures "are hamstrung by poor implementation and a lack of enforceability," Greenpeace International said in a statement.

Also, land clearing in Papua would lead to a massive carbon release that should undo Indonesia’s progress in tackling climate change, the organization said.

"It will be nearly impossible for Indonesia to meet its commitments in the Paris Agreement if the estimated 71.2 million tonnes of forest carbon stored in the plantation concession lands targeted for clearing in Papua Province are released," Greenpeace International said.

The protesters demanded the government to take corrective action immediately and return the forest to the indigenous people.

The protesters staged a theatrical protest, bringing burning trees, forest fires, and chainsaw replicas. They carry posters that express the rights of the Papuan peoples that reads "Save Papuan Indigenous Peoples," "Stop Licensing Destruction of Papua’s Forest," and convey a hashtag "#SayaBersamaHutanPapua."



(Better reports will usually come from local media on incident )

2) Papua police urged to evacuate teachers in Beoga for security reasons

11 hours ago

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) – Papua Province’s education authority has appealed to the police to evacuate teachers who still stay in Julukoma Village, Beoga Sub-district, Puncak District, to safer places for security reasons following the killings of two teachers this week.

"We rely on the police to guarantee the security of teachers who still stay in Beoga," Head of the Papua Provincial Government’s Education, Library, and Archive Office Christian Sohilait said in a statement that ANTARA quoted here Sunday.

To this end, Sohilait said he had coordinated with related authorities within the Papua provincial government, including Papua deputy governor, and the Papua police chief.

The deadly attacks of several armed Papuan criminals on Thursday and Friday had triggered several teachers to take refuge along with local residents at a military post, he said.

Several armed Papuan criminals shot dead two teachers, and torched junior and senior high school buildings in Beoga Sub-district on Thursday and Friday.

As a result, several local residents fled their homes and took refuge at a military post.

According to Papua Police Chief Insp.Gen.Mathius Fakhiri, they would soon be evacuated to Sugapa Sub-district in Intan Jaya District.

"The violent acts of the armed Papuan criminals are brutal," Fakhiri said, adding that some 25 personnel of the police’s elite Mobile Brigade unit, stationed at the Beoga police precinct, joined efforts to secure and protect the refugees.

Security disturbances have been reported sporadically from several areas, such as Puncak and Intan Jaya Districts, where armed Papuan groups operate.

Intan Jaya recorded its bloodiest month in September, 2020, with notorious armed groups launching a series of attacks in the area that claimed the lives of two soldiers and two civilians and left two others injured.

These notorious armed Papuan groups have continued their acts of terror during the new year.

On January 6, 2021, some 10 armed Papuans vandalized and torched a Quest Kodiak aircraft belonging to the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) at the Pagamba Village airstrip.

The armed groups often employ hit-and-run tactics against Indonesian security personnel, while they unleash acts of terror against civilians to instill a sense of fear among the people.

On February 8, 2021, an armed rebel reportedly shot a 32-year-old man at close range in Bilogai Village, Sugapa Sub-district.

The victim, identified by his initials as RNR, sustained gunshot wounds on the face and right shoulder and was taken to the Timika Public Hospital in Mimika District on February 9.

On February 9, 2021, six armed Papuans fatally stabbed a motorcycle taxi (ojek) driver.

Related news: Papua police urged to crack down on killers of two teachers

Related news: Residents taking refuge at Beoga’s mily post to be evacuated: police

Reporter: Hendrina DK, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf

3) Papua police urged to crack down on killers of two teachers
11 hours ago

Jakarta (ANTARA) – A legislator has appealed to the Papua police to crack down on armed Papuan criminals who had shot dead two teachers in Beoga Sub-district, Puncak District, Papua Province.

"The police must soon arrest the perpetrators," Member of the House of Representatives’ (DPR’s) Commission III overseeing legal affairs, Andi Rio Idris Padjalangi, said.

He extended his deepest condolences over the deaths of the two teachers, and urged the police to be able to stop the recurrence of such fatal shootings in the future.

"Do not let our innocent civilians in Papua again fall victim to the armed Papuan criminals’ acts of violence," he said in a statement that ANTARA quoted here on Sunday.

In an endeavor to maintain peace and security, and the law and order in the Indonesian province of Papua, Padjalangi opined that the police could deploy more personnel.

The deployment of more police personnel was needed because the notorious armed criminals still continue their campaigns of violence targeting civilians, he said.

"The police must bring a sense of security to the people of Papua so that they can do their daily activities in a peaceful and comfortable environment," he added.

Several armed Papuan criminals shot dead two teachers, and torched junior and senior high school buildings in Beoga Sub-district on Thursday and Friday.

As a result, several local residents fled their homes and took refuge at a military post.

According to Papua Police Chief Insp.Gen.Mathius Fakhiri, they would soon be evacuated to Sugapa Sub-district in Intan Jaya District.

"The violent acts of the armed Papuan criminals are brutal," Fakhiri said, adding that some 25 personnel of the police’s elite Mobile Brigade unit, stationed at the Beoga police precinct, joined efforts to secure and protect the refugees.

Security disturbances have been reported sporadically from several areas, such as Puncak and Intan Jaya Districts, where armed Papuan groups operate.

Intan Jaya recorded its bloodiest month in September, 2020, with notorious armed groups launching a series of attacks in the area that claimed the lives of two soldiers and two civilians and left two others injured.

These notorious armed Papuan groups have continued their acts of terror during the new year.

On January 6, 2021, some 10 armed Papuans vandalized and torched a Quest Kodiak aircraft belonging to the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) at the Pagamba Village airstrip.

The armed groups often employ hit-and-run tactics against Indonesian security personnel, while they unleash acts of terror against civilians to instill a sense of fear among the people.

On February 8, 2021, an armed rebel reportedly shot a 32-year-old man at close range in Bilogai Village, Sugapa Sub-district.

The victim, identified by his initials as RNR, sustained gunshot wounds on the face and right shoulder and was taken to the Timika Public Hospital in Mimika District on February 9.

On February 9, 2021, six armed Papuans fatally stabbed a motorcycle taxi (ojek) driver.

Related news: Residents taking refuge at Beoga’s mily post to be evacuated: police

Related news: Another teacher in Papua’s Beoga killed in criminal group’s shooting

Reporter: Boyke LW, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf

Amnesty International: INDONESIA 2020

April 7, 2021

Full report here:


Indonesia chapter in Indonesian: