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Fatal disconnect between Jakarta and West Papua worsens settler-colonial occupation

June 5, 2022

Colonial occupation

(Note. Photos/twitter images in article)

Fatal disconnect between Jakarta and West Papua worsens settler-colonial occupation

By APR editor – June 6, 2022

COMMENTARY: By Yamin Kogoya

A flurry of peaceful rallies and protests erupted in West Papua and Indonesia on Friday, June 3.

Papuan People’s Petition (PRP), the National Committee for West Papua (Komite Nasional Papua Barat-KNPB) and civil society groups and youth from West Papua marched in protest of Jakarta’s plan to create more provinces.

Thousands of protesters marched through the major cities and towns in each of West Papua’s seven regions, including Jayapura, Wamena, Paniai, Sorong, Timika/Mimika, Yahukimo, Lanny Jaya, Nabire, and Merauke.

As part of the massive demonstration, protests were organised in Indonesia’s major cities of West Java, Central Jakarta, Jogjakarta, Bandung, Semarang, Surabaya, and Bali.

Demonstrators said Papuans wanted an independence referendum, not new provinces or special autonomy.

According to Markus Haluk, one of the key coordinators of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), almost all Papuans took to the streets to show Jakarta and those who want to wipe out the Papuan people that they do not need special autonomy or new provinces.

Above is a text image that captures the spirit of the demonstrators. A young man is shown being beaten on the head and blood running down his face during a demonstration in Jayapura city of Papua on Friday.

The text urges Indonesia’s president Jokowi to be tagged on social media networks and calls for solidarity action.

Numerous protesters were arrested and beaten by Indonesian police during the demonstration.

Security forces brutalised demonstrators in the cities of Sorong, Jayapura, Yahukimo, Merauke, and elsewhere where demonstrations were held.

An elderly mother is seen been beaten on the head during the demonstration in Sorong. Tweet: West Papua Sun

People who are beaten and arrested are treated inhumanely and are not followed up with proper care, nor justice, in one of Asia-Pacific’s most heavily militarised areas.

Among those injured in Sorong, these people have been named Aves Susim (25), Sriyani Wanene (30), Mama Rita Tenau (50), Betty Kosamah (22), Agus Edoway (25), Kamat (27), Subi Taplo (23), Amanda Yumte (23), Jack Asmuru (20), and Sonya Korain (22).

Root of the protests in the 1960s
The protests and rallies are not merely random riots, or protests against government corruption or even pay raises. The campaign is part of decades-old protests that have been carried out against what the Papuans consider to be an Indonesian invasion since the 1960s.

The Indonesian government claims West Papua’s fate was sealed with Indonesia after a United Nations-organised 1969 referendum, known as the Pepera or Act of Free Choice, something Papuans consider a sham and an Act of No Choice.

In spite of Indonesia’s claim, the Indonesian invasion of West Papua began in 1963, long before the so-called Act of Free Choice in 1969.

It was well documented that the 1025 Papuan elders who voted for Indonesian occupancy in 1969 were handpicked at gunpoint.

In the six years between 1963 and 1969, Indonesian security forces tortured and beat these elders into submission before the vote in 1969 began.

Friday’s protesters were not merely protesting against Jakarta’s draconian policy of drawing yet another arbitrary line through Papuan ancestral territory, but also against Indonesia’s illegal occupation.

The Papuans accuse Jakarta of imposing laws, policies, and programmes that affect Papuans living in West Papua, while it is illegally occupying the territory.

Papuans will protest indefinitely until the root cause is addressed. On the other hand, the Indonesian government seems to care little about what the Papuans actually want or think.

Markus Haluk said Indonesia did not view Papuans as human beings equal to that of Indonesians, and this mades them believe that what Papuans want and think, or how Jakarta’s policy may affect Papuans, had no value.

Jakarta, he continued, will do whatever it wants, however, it wishes, and whenever it wishes in regard to West Papua.
In light of this sharp perceptual contrast, the relationship between Papuans and the Indonesian government has almost reached a dead end.

Fatal disconnect
The Lowy Institute, Australia’s leading think-tank, published an article entitled What is at stake with new provinces in West Papua? on 28 April 2022 that identifies some of the most critical terminology regarding this dead-end protracted conflict — one of which is “fatal disconnect”.

The conclusion of the article stated, “On a general level, this means that there is a fatal disconnect between how the Indonesian government view their treatment of the region, and how the people actually affected by such treatment see the arrangement.”

It is this fatal disconnect that has brought these two states — Papua and Indonesia — to a point of no return. Two states are engaged in a relationship that has been disconnected since the very beginning, which has led to so many fatalities.

The author of the article, Eduard Lazarus, a Jakarta-based journalist and editor covering media and social movements, wrote:


The tragedy of this irreconcilable relationship is that Jakarta does not reflect on its actions and is willfully ignorant of how its rhetoric and behaviour in dealing with West Papua has caused such human tragedy and devastation spanning generations.

The way that Jakarta’s leaders talk about their “rescue” plans for West Papua displays this fatal disconnect.

Indonesian Vice-President’s plans for West Papua reported on June 2 that Vice-President Ma’ruf Amin had asked Indonesian security forces to use a “humanist approach” in Papua rather than violence.

Ma’ruf expressed this view also in a virtual speech made at the Declaration of Papua Peace event organised by the Papuan Indigenous Peoples Institute on June 6.

In a press release, Ma’ruf said he had instructed the combined military and police officials to use a humanist approach, prioritise dialogical efforts, and refrain from violence.

Ma’ruf believes that conducive security conditions are essential to Papua’s development, and that the government aims to promote peace and unity in Papua through various policies and regulations.

The Papua Special Autonomy Law, he continued, regulates the transfer of power from provinces to regencies and cities, as well as increasing the percentage of Papua Special Autonomy Funds transferred to 2.25 percent of the National General Allocation Fund.

Additionally, according to the Vice-President, the government is drafting a presidential regulation regarding a Papuan Development Acceleration Master Plan (RIPPP) and establishing the Papuan Special Autonomy Development Acceleration Steering Agency (BP3OKP) directly headed by Ma’ruf himself.

He also underscored the importance of a collaboration between all parties, including indigenous Papuans. Ma’ruf believes that Papua’s development will speed up soon since the traditional leaders and all members of the Indigenous Papuan Council are willing to work together and actively participate in building the Land of Papua.

Indonesia’s new military commander

Recently, Indonesia’s newly appointed Commander of Armed Forces, General Andika Perkasa, proposed a novel, humanistic approach to handling political conflict in West Papua.

Instead of removing armed combatants with gunfire, he has vowed to use “territorial development operations” to resolve the conflict. In these operations, personnel will conduct medical, educational, and infrastructure-building missions to establish a rapport with Papuan communities in an effort to steer them away from the independence movement.

In order to accomplish Perkasa’s plans, the military will have to station a large number of troops in West Papua in addition to the troops currently present.

When listening to these two countries’ top leaders, they appear full of optimism in the words and new plans they describe.

But the reality behind these words is something else entirely. There is, as concluded by Eduard Lazarus, a fatal disconnect between West Papuan and Jakarta’s policymakers, but Jakarta is unable to recognise it.

Jakarta seems to suffer from cognitive dissonance or cognitive disconnect when dealing with West Papua — a lack of harmony between its heart, words, and actions.

Cognitive dissonance is, by definition, a behavioural dysfunction with inconsistency in which the personal beliefs held, what has been said, and what has been done contradict each other.

This contradiction, according to Yunus Wonda, deputy chair of the Papuan People’s Representative Council, occurs when the government changes the law and modifies and amends it as they see fit.

What is written, what is practised, and what is in the heart do not match. Papuans suffer greatly because of this, according to Yunus Wonda.

Mismanagement of a fatalistic nature
Jakarta continues to mismanage West Papua with fatalistic inconsistent policies, which, according to the article, “might already have soured” to an irreparable degree.

The humanist approach now appears to be another code in Indonesia’s gift package, delivered to the Papuans as a Trojan horse.

The words of Indonesia’s Vice-President and the head of its Armed Forces are like a band aid with a different colour trying to cover an old wound that has barely healed.

According to Wonda, the creation of new provinces is like trying to put the smoke out while the fire is still burning.

Jakarta had already tried to bandage those old wounds with the so-called “Special Autonomy” 20 years ago. The Autonomy gift was granted not out of goodwill, but out of fear of Papuan demands for independence.

However, Jakarta ended up making a big mess of it.

The same rhetoric is also seen here in the statement of the Vice-President. Even though the semantic choices and construction themselves seem so appealing, this language does not translate into reality in the field.

This is the problem — something has gone very wrong, and Jakarta isn’t willing to find out what it is. Instead, it keeps imposing its will on West Papua.

Jakarta keeps preaching the gospel of development, prosperity, peace, and security but does not ask what Papuans want.

The 2001 Special Autonomy Law was supposed to allow Papuans to have greater power over their fate, which included 79 articles designed to protect their land and culture.

Furthermore, under this law, one important institution, the Papuan People’s Assembly (Majelis Rakyat Papua-MRP), together with provincial governments and the Papuan People’s Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Papua-DPRP), was given the authority to deal with matters that are most important to them, such as land, population control, cultural identity, and symbols.

Section B of the introduction part of the Special Autonomy law contains the following significant provisions:


Three weeks after these words were written into law, popular independence leader Theys H. Eluay was killed by Indonesian special forces (Kopassus). Ryamizard Ryacudu, then-army chief-of-staff, who in 2014 became Jokowi’s first Defence Minister, later called the killers “heroes” (, August 19, 2003).

In 2003, the Megawati Soekarnoputri government divided the province into two, violating a provision of the Special Autonomy Law, which was based on the idea that Papua remains a single territory. As prescribed by law, any division would need to be approved by the Papuan provincial legislature and MRP.

Over the 20 years since the Autonomy gift was granted, Jakarta has violated and undermined any legal and political framework it agreed to or established to engage with Papuans

Papuan Indigenous leaders reject Jakarta’s band aid
On May 27, Governor Lukas Enembe of the settler province of Papua, told Reuters there were not enough resources to run new provinces and that Papuans were not properly consulted.

As the governor, direct representative of the central government, Enembe was not even consulted about the creation of new provinces.

Yunus Wonda and Timotius Murid, two Indigenous Papuan leaders entrusted to safeguard the Papuan people and their culture and customary land under two important institutions — the Papuan People’s Assembly (Majelis Rakyat Papua-MRP) and People’s Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Papua-DPRP) — were not consulted about the plans.

Making matters worse, Jakarta stripped them of any powers they had under the previous autonomous status, which set the precedent for Jakarta to amend the previous autonomous status law in 2021.

This amendment enables Jakarta to create new provinces.

The aspirations and wishes of the Papuan people were supposed to be channelled through these two institutions and the provincial government, but Jakarta promptly shut down all avenues that would enable Papuans to have their voices heard.

Governor Enembe faces constant threats, terrorism
Governor Enembe has also been terrorised and intimidated by unknown parties over the past couple of years. He said, “I am an elected governor of Indonesia, but I am facing these constant threats and terror. What about my people? They are not safe.”

This is an existential war between the state of Papua and the state of Indonesia. We need to ask not only what is at stake with the new provinces in West Papua, but also, what is at stake in West Papua under Indonesia’s settler-colonial rule?

Four critical existential issues facing West Papua
There are four main components of Papuan culture at stake in West Papua under Indonesia’s settler-colonial rule:

1. Papuan humans
2. Papuan languages
3. Papuan oral cultural knowledge system
4. Papuan ancestral land and ecology

Papua’s identity was supposed to be protected by the Special Autonomy Law 2001.

However, Jakarta has shown no interest or intention in protecting these four existential components. Indonesia continues to amend, create, and pass laws to create more settler-colonial provincial spaces that threaten Papuans.

The end goal isn’t to provide welfare to Papuans or protect them, but to create settlers’ colonial areas so that new settlers — whether it be soldiers, criminal thugs, opportunists, poor improvised Indonesian immigrants, or colonial administrators — can fill those new spaces.

Jakarta is, unfortunately, turning these newly created spaces into new battlegrounds between clans, tribes, highlanders, coastal people, Papua province, West Papua province, families, and friends, as well as between Papuans and immigrants.

Media outlets in Indonesia are manipulating public opinion by portraying one leader as a proponent of Jakarta’s plan and the other as its opponent, further fuelling tension between leaders in Papua.

Yamin Kogoya is a West Papuan academic who has a Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development from the Australian National University and who contributes to Asia Pacific Report. From the Lani tribe in the Papuan Highlands, he is currently living in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Repeated use of excessive force against peaceful protests demonstrates disregard for OAP’s voice

June 3, 2022

Below is a google translate from Amnesty Indonesia in regard to demonstrations in West Papua on the 3 June

Original Bahasa link at

Juni 3, 2022 11:58 am

Repeated use of excessive force against peaceful protests demonstrates disregard for OAP’s voice

Indigenous Papuans (OAP) who express their opinions in peaceful protests are, again, subject to repression, violence and excessive use of police force, Amnesty International Indonesia and Amnesty International Australia said today.
“Indigenous Papuans have the right to peacefully protest government policies without fear of being arrested or receiving violence,” said Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director, Usman Hamid. “These repeated incidents show that the state does not respect the voice of indigenous Papuans.”

On Friday, June 3, peaceful demonstrations protesting the central government’s plan to split the provinces of Papua and West Papua into new autonomous regions (DOB) were held in various cities in Papua including Yahukimo, Paniai, Nabire, and Jayapura. Activists, human rights defenders and indigenous Papuans have voiced their concern that the new province will be an excuse for the central government to send more troops to Papua as each province in Indonesia is required to have its own regional military and police command areas.
According to information from local human rights defenders, at least 11 protesters in Jayapura were injured after the police forcibly dispersed a demonstration in Waena Village, including two students who were bleeding allegedly by the beating of rattan sticks by the police. At the time this article was written, dozens of protesters in Jayapura and at least 22 protesters in Nabire were detained by the police.

Previously, on May 10, 2022, protesters who were holding a similar demonstration against the DOB were confronted by the police using batons and water cannons. Seven Papuan activists, including KontraS Papua staff, were also arrested on the same day. They were later released without charge, but police said they were being investigated for alleged violations of the Electronic Information and Transactions Law (ITE) for spreading online invitations to participate in demonstrations.
On March 15, two protesters in Yahukimo were shot dead by police.
"Today’s demonstrations and the treatment of the police are just one of many other incidents that show how the voices and concerns of indigenous Papuans are not being heard, let alone accommodated," said Amnesty International Australia National Director Sam Klintworth.

Last year, peaceful protests against the revision of the Special Autonomy Law for Papua and West Papua, which became the basis for the formation of the new autonomous regions, were also met with disproportionate force from the security forces.
On July 14, 2021, at least four students were injured in Jayapura after clashes with security forces. Police reportedly beat protesters with their hands, firearms and rubber batons.
On July 15, police forcibly dispersed protesters in front of the House of Representatives building in Jakarta. At least 50 people were arrested. One protester recounted that he was beaten, stepped on, and received racist insults from security forces, before being pulled into a truck and taken to the Polda Metro Jaya office. On August 16, during another demonstration in Jayapura, protesters used water cannons and rubber batons to disperse protesters.
"The Indonesian government claims to want to ‘build’ Papua and provide welfare for Papuans," said Usman. "But how can Papuans prosper if their efforts to express their opinions and aspirations are responded to with violence."

"We urge the Indonesian authorities to release all those detained simply for demonstrating peacefully," Klintworth said. "Police must also carry out prompt, independent and impartial investigations into allegations of excessive use of force and take steps to ensure that similar incidents do not recur."
Amnesty International recognizes that law enforcement officials often face complex situations in the performance of their duties, but they must ensure full respect for the rights to life, liberty and security of all people, including those suspected of committing crimes.

The use of violence and firearms has a direct impact on the right to life, which is protected by Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Indonesia as a state party is obliged to comply with. Therefore, the use of force must be in accordance with strict human rights protections as provided for in the United Nations Code of Ethics for Law Enforcement Officials (1979) and the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (1990). The use of force by law enforcement officials in Indonesia is further regulated by the National Police Chief Regulation on the Use of Force in Police Actions (No. 1/2009). Article 19 of the ICCPR also protects the right to freedom of expression, including the right to protest.

Police beat protesters with rattan sticks at rally in Papua, two badly injured

June 3, 2022

Police beat protesters with rattan sticks at rally in Papua, two badly


CNN Indonesia – June 3, 2022

Jakarta — Two students were reportedly injured today when they were
blocked by police during a long-march in the provincial capital of
Jayapura opposing new autonomous regions (DOB) in Papua. The police
meanwhile have denied this.

Papua human rights activist Younes Douw said that a large number of
students and indigenous Papuans (OAP) took to the streets for the action
on Friday June 3 and estimated that there were around 2,650 people.

"Around 650 students took to the streets today. Added to by the Papuan
community of around 2,000 people", Douw told CNN Indonesia.

Douw said that the actions today were held at several different points
in Jayapura such as Yahukimo, Waena and Abepura. Almost every single
gathering point however, was blockaded by police.

"Like this morning there was a police blockade from Waena in the
directing of Abepura", he said.

As of this morning, Douw said that two students were injured because of
the repressive actions by police.

The two were Jayapura Science and Technology University (USTJ) student
David Goo and Cendrawasih University (Unas) student Yebet Tegei. Both
suffered serious head injuries.

"They were beaten using rattan sticks", he said.

Jayapura district police chief Assistant Superintendent Victor D Mackbon
meanwhile dismissed the reports from the students saying it was a lie.

"It’s a hoax. So please, if indeed they exist, they [should] report it.
But if they don’t exist, that means it’s not true", Mackbon told CNN

The police had earlier prohibited the demonstration against new
autonomous regions which was to be held as a long-march in Jayapura
organised by the Papua People’s Petition (PRP).

"We will conduct a sweep if there’s a long-march, we will continue to
use persuasion in facilitating it. Everyone has the right to convey a
view or aspiration and it’s regulated under law", Mackbon told
journalists earlier on Wednesday June 1. (yla/gil)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was
"Demo Tolak DOB Diadang Aparat di Papua, Mahasiswa Luka Dipukul Rotan".]


The Fight to Free West Papua Lives On

June 2, 2022

The Fight to Free West Papua Lives On

Speaking in the Hospital with Victor Yeimo

By Craig Harris

Wed Jun 01, 2022 | 2:59pm


Independence leader Victor Yeimo is in the hospital, but still very positive West Papua will win its freedom from Indonesia | Credit: Courtesy

My cell phone rang at 4 a.m. On the other end was Victor Yeimo calling from his hospital bed in Jayapura, the capital of West Papua. Yeimo is the leader of the free West Papua movement. He is in the hospital being treated for tuberculosis, and the call had taken weeks of navigating. I was put in touch with his team of lawyers and human rights activists through Octo Mote, a longtime Papuan friend who lives in Connecticut. Quickly I scrambled for my notes of questions I had prepared days before.

Victor Yeimo has been charged with treason. His offical title is deputy general secretary of KNPB (Komite Nasional Papua Barat), the National Committee for West Papua. It’s the leading youth movement for a referendum regarding independence for Papua.

Yeimo was arrested May 9, 2021, without a warrant after falsely being accused of inciting violence during the 2019 West Papua uprising. He was imprisoned for speaking out against racism and put in solitary confinement for three months. His access to lawyers, family, and friends was limited.

Yeimo’s voice sounded strong as I asked him how he was doing. “Getting stronger,” he said as I delved into my questions.

West Papua occupies the Indonesian half of New Guinea, the second largest island in the world after Greenland.

Indonesia unilaterally annexed the former Dutch colony in 1969 with the United Nations referendum “Act of Free Choice.” What should have been a one-person one-vote consultation of the Papuan people about the future status of their nation became an Indonesian-controlled mockery of the United Nations policy on decolonization and self-determination.

The indigenous Papuans declared their jungle-clad province to be an independent state. Armed with bows, arrows, and spears, as well as a few guns — the obsolete booty of the Dutch — they founded the Organisi Papua Merdeka (OPM) or Free Papua movement.

Do you worry about your life, I asked. “All my life I have worried. Not only about me but my Papuan sisters and brothers who have been abused and tortured for over 50 years. As of now there is no future for Papuans. We must fight for our dignity for our survival. I have grown up with suffering all around me.”

Yeimo is a victim of racism, and now he’s a prisoner for calling it out. With little access to his legal team, health care, or visitations he is withering in a hospital/prison. It’s a plight all West Papuans suffer under the colonial clutches of Indonesia.

These same perpetrators of the Indonesian military and police have committed abhorrent violence and racism, all while being trained by the U.S. and Australia.

The UN has the moral and legal responsibility to bring to an end the root political problems in the nation of Papua, including marginalization, discrimination, and making indigenous Papuans a minority in their own land. This amounts to a slow-moving genocide against Papuans.

I asked Victor about Indonesia and its illegal dominance over Papua. “Indonesia’s goal is to suppress political support for Papuan aspirations for independence. Which has now reverberated in all corners of the world thanks to social media. Papuans have rejected all of Indonesia’s policies towards Papua to date, including Special Autonomy.”

Special Autonomy was meant to ensure affirmative action for indigenous Papuans in local politics, boost health care and education, and funnel more proceeds from oil and gas. The Parliament hopes this law will see the Papuans prosper. After 20 years of implementation, none of the above has happened.

Markus Haluk of the United Liberation Front for West Papua says his group strongly rejected the law describing it as an extension of “racist colonial rule.”

Why would Indonesia even be interested in this area 3,000 miles from the capital Jakarta? Simple, natural resources — the world’s largest gold and copper mine, vast amounts of timber and oil. Geologists call Papua “elephant country,” a term used for a region with an abundance of natural resources.

The president of Indonesia, Jokowi, believes economic development will trump Papuan nationalism. The UN has turned a blind eye.

When asked about racism, Yeimo replied, “The majority of Indonesians consider Papuans to be half monkey. How can one make progress when the other side has no respect for our culture or state of being.”

This really touches on some very deep, old wounds. For the people of Papua, who for more than 50 years have constantly struggled, their people being sacrificed again and again. They have lost thousands of lives, killed by both overt and covert means in their long struggle for freedom.

What first brought me to this faraway land was an article I had read in National Geographic. The Indonesian government, in trying to “modernize” this ancient culture, had an idea. With a population of roughly 2 million indigenous people wearing traditional attire consisting of penis gourds and grass skirts, the government decided to drop thousands of jogging shorts via small Cessna planes onto villagers in hopes they would replace their novel attire. When the same planes flew back a few weeks later the pilots saw the villagers were wearing the shorts on top of their heads to protect themselves from the rain. Papua averages 250-300 inches of rain annually.

Within months of reading the article I was on my way to Papua and have continued to return over the last 30 years. At first I led treks for a company out of Virginia, taking small groups of people who wanted a glimpse into this remote culture. I worked my way from the highlands to the coastal swamplands, exploring regions few outsiders have ever seen. Looking back, those were amazing times. I was fortunate to learn about a people firsthand, about a culture that grabbed my heart and continues to do so to this day.

When asked about the future generation of Papua, Victor replied, “No worries. They are strong and focused on independence and nothing else.”

I speak a fair amount of bahasa Indonesia, the government-instituted language of Indonesia, but Victor Yeimo’s English was perfect. As the conversation continued it was obvious the fight within him burns deep and the leader of the Free Papua movement sees an independent Papua in the near future. And a nation free to make its own decisions.

Illegal arms sales, internal displacement and a ‘new approach’ in West Papua

May 28, 2022

TAPOL Briefing‘new-approach’-west-papua

Illegal arms sales, internal displacement and a ‘new approach’ in West Papua

27 MAY 2022



This briefing looks at reports of illegal sales of weaponry by the security forces, continuing internal displacement and the military’s claimed new approach. It looks especially at the reasons behind these developments, and the lack of coherent action on the part of the Government. An underlying reason for arms dealing is pervasive militarism in West Papua, where security force operations are leading to violence and causing the displacement of civilians. Arms dealing has been taking place as the security forces try to control the narrative on its role in West Papua, first justifying theterrorism classification of TPNPB by declaring that it is protecting civilians, then later stating that it is implementing a ‘new approach’ in West Papua, which looks a lot like the old approach. As this has been happening, the number of internally displaced people has increased and displaced people are receiving little recorded state assistance.

Weapons thefts and raids

For many years, there has been an illegal small arms trade in West Papua, with weaponry sold by the security forces to the TPNPB. One outcome of this situation is that civilians have been accused of helping TPNPB to acquire arms. TPNPB have also stolen weapons during attacks on the security forces. The criminalisation of civilians in connection to these arms sales has led to incidents of torture and extrajudicial killings. For example, in Puncak regency, on February 28 2022, near Tapalunik Sinak airport, six children were accused of stealing a soldier’s weapon which had reportedly been left unattended while the owner was playing a game of cards at a security guards’ post. The children had been watching television at the post when the weapon went missing. The children were tortured, and some were treated for wounds in hospital. One boy, Makilon Tabuni, died from torture. His body was cremated outside the Sinak police sector (polsek) command by his family. An Advocacy Team for Human Rights in Papua has demanded that the state conduct an independent investigation into the crime.[1]

Another area where there have been reported thefts of security force arms is in Pegunungan Bintang regency, which borders Papua New Guinea. In an attack on a Brimob police station in Oksamol on 28 May 2021, the deputy head of the police was reportedly killed, with unknown assailants taking three police rifles.[2]

Security force sales of small arms

Thefts of unattended weapons carry great risks. A more common method for acquiring weapons is to purchase them from security forces or government officials. This is also risky for arms dealers: in 2020, a soldier was tried and convicted in a military court of supplying arms and sentenced to life in prison.[3] In several cases from November 2020 to November 2021, the authorities claim to have thwarted illegal small arms trading. A local government employee was accused of smuggling four machine guns from Biak to Intan Jaya in late-2020;[4] two police and four civilians were accused in Ambon of intending to supply guns and ammunition to armed groups in March 2021;[5] a local government employee was accused of possessing ammunition in Yahukimo in September 2021;[6] and security force personnel were arrested in Nabire and Pulau Yapen in late-2021, accused of selling arms to TPNPB.[7] In the Nabire and Yapen case, politicians in the national parliament encouraged the authorities to "thoroughly investigate" the incidents, but have not commented on why illegal arms sales may be happening to begin with.

Another feature of these cases is that security forces have accused civilians of involvement in illegal arms sales before formally bringing charges against them. Indonesian journalists have also reported police versions of events without cross-checking the accusations. For example, reports were published stating that an individual was stopped and arrested at Mulia airport, Puncak Jaya on the way to Timika. He was alleged by the police to be in possession of 370 million rupiah to buy guns and ammunition. The police said that a total amount of 600 million rupiah had been provided by an elected local government (DPRD) official in Puncak.[8] But the police were also challenged to provide evidence for their claims and the elected official categorically denied that he had supplied funds.[9]

The security forces have also claimed that members of pro-independence political organisations such as KNPB have been involved in arms sales and attacks on the military.[10] In the border area of Pegunungan Bintang, the military claim that they intercepted and arrested alleged KNPB members who had smuggled weapons across the border from Papua New Guinea.[11] The military also claimed that, in reaction to these arrests, local KNPB leaders carried out attacks against health clinic workers with support from TPNPB in September 2021. But national media quoted local sources that said the attacks may have been instead carried out by local political factions in competition with one another. The commander for the Cenderawasih military command (covering Papua province) also told journalists that the military had not done thorough research into the local political situation.[12] So military claims that the KNPB were involved in the attacks appear to be baseless.

The problem in these cases is that members of the KNPB are regularly criminalised by the security forces, with its leaders even previously having been assassinated by the police.[13] Added to this, there is an absence of normal democratic safeguards such as objective media reporting on West Papua. The court system has convicted people of treason for much lesser offences than selling arms. But while the penalties for those accused and convicted of involvement in arms sales are very severe, in many parts of Papua, security forces face little scrutiny of their conduct or claims. In remote areas, the security forces are often more powerful than civilian authorities.

The impacts of militarism

Illegal arms dealing needs the possibility of funds, a prevalence of security force personnel and bases, and willingness to do arms deals. Possibility – because arms sales need the availability of funds, with untold sums misappropriated from infrastructure, special autonomy and development funds by security force personnel and other state officials since 2001.[14] And certain areas where arms are allegedly traded have long coastlines or are in border areas, allowing potentially easier transit than in other areas. Prevalence – because there are many soldiers and police in West Papua in increasing numbers of bases, with many weapons at their disposal. Willingness – because illegal arms sales need buyers from armed groups and security force personnel willing to sell weapons. Security force personnel may sell arms because they receive low pay, have low morale or there is a black market in which senior security force personnel are also involved.

None of these conditions would be possible without militarism, a situation where war and security force activities and operations become seen as ‘normal’. This is the situation in the central highlands region and in West Papua province. In this sense, illegal arms sales are a symptom of militarism. Another symptom of militarism is internal displacement. Internal displacement has become complex in the central highlands and West Papua province because IDPs who flee security force operations lack government or humanitarian agency support and fear returning home.[15]

Based on independent observers’ reports, the UN estimated in February 2022 that there were between 60,000-100,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) throughout West Papua.[16] Most have fled conflict between the Indonesian security forces and TPNPB since late-2018. The government does not allow humanitarian relief agencies to provide support to IDPs in West Papua, and its own efforts have been uncoordinated and inadequate.[17] On occasions when the UN and Special Rapporteurs have raised specific problems of internal displacement and security force conduct with the Government of Indonesia’s representative to the United Nations, their questions were ignored or deflected.[18]

In May 2021, local authorities estimated that there were as many as 19,000 IDPs in Puncak regency. Other observers put the number much higher, at around 35,000.[19] Displaced civilians are highly vulnerable, and in February 2022, several children were tortured and one killed in the area. IDPs are often based near or within the grounds of churches. Nine churches have been hit by security force gunfire and other villages have been hit by shooting, including from military helicopters.

A growing problem of internal displacement exists in the border region of Pegunungan Bintang, Papua province, where the security forces are planning to build a new district command (Kodim), which is likely to exacerbate the issue. As of late October 2021, there were an estimated 2,000 IDPs from Kiwirok district, following fighting between the security forces and TPNPB in September 2021. The military are alleged to have targeted villagers suspected of providing support to TPNPB in the region, by conducting air raids. Some IDPs have spent long periods in forested areas without proper shelter, while others have fled across the border to Papua New Guinea.

In Yahukimo, bordering Pegunungan Bintang, the security forces reportedly conducted extrajudicial executions of three civilians in June 2021. In a separate incident, a two-year old child was killed by a bullet, which is likely to have been fired by the security forces, also injuring his six-year-old brother. Yahukimo also saw increasing internal displacement since November 2021, when 5,000 people fled from security force operations.[20]

As TAPOL reported in February 2022, the situation of internal displacement in Maybrat regency has become increasingly exacerbated by security force operations. When the military commander in Maybrat was asked by the Catholic Diocese in Sorong to ensure the safe return of IDPs, the Diocese received no answer.[21]

‘Normal’ war?

The military and central Government announced a putative “new approach” for West Papua in November 2021. The Coordinating Minister for Politics Law and Security, Mahfud MD, claimed that this new approach would see change from ‘combat operations’ to ‘territorial operations’. General Andika Perkasa, the Commander of the Armed Forces said that “the bottom line is that the Papua approach is developing comprehensive and synergistic prosperity…meaning the approach in Papua is not weapons but prosperity”.[22]

This is not a new approach, however: President Yudhoyono who left office in 2014 talked up a ‘prosperity’ approach for West Papua. From the passing of the Special Autonomy law in 2001 and further infrastructure and development funds to 2020, successive governments spent US$7.4 billion, while cracking down on political rights, especially in the last four years.[23] Almost five months after the military and Government announcement, the ‘new approach’ in West Papua is still about weapons and war, manifested in illegal arms sales, a failure to end the IDP crisis, and as some sources have stated, 76,227 military and police personnel were deployed cumulatively between 2013 and 2021.[24]

Initially, General Andika Perkasa did not “make the detail clear” of what this new approach would be, and since then, little further detail has appeared.[25]Much is simply recycled from before the classification of the TPNPB as a terrorist group, after which the military took a lead role in operations. Now the security forces will again do joint operations, but with “better intelligence” to coordinate during operations.[26] Even the messaging is the same: the security forces are saying that the new approach is about ‘protecting’ civilians from TPNPB, used as an excuse for the terrorist classification.[27]

Messaging seems to play a very important role in how the security forces presents itself. Indeed, this rather than any actual change of strategy is what has happened. One pro-Government think tank has said that stronger “social communication” and “positive propaganda” are key parts of General Andika’s approach. Singling out illegal arms sales, they suggest that positive propaganda may help troops to have better "integrity, awareness and obedience of the law”.[28] It is difficult to find any statements by officials or the Indonesian media however which put illegal arms down to poor pay, conditions and morale among personnel.


Arms deals between the Indonesian security forces and armed groups have a long history but there are increasing reports that they are taking place. In other areas of Indonesia where the security forces have a significant presence, the sale of weaponry is said to be “directly correlated” with levels of violence.[29]Funds must be available, security force personnel must have willingness to sell arms through a network of contacts, perhaps because of poor pay, morale and oversight, there must be demand from armed groups, and there must be a prevalence of security force personnel. These deals do not depend on personal motivations or money alone, but militarism, where security force activity comes to be seen as normal. This is the situation in West Papua as of today, as the military and police are putting on a public relations display in an attempt to persuade onlookers that West Papua is ‘normal’ and no longer subject to combat operations. The story is very different for the people living in areas where operations are being carried out, where there continues to be displacement and targeting of villagers who are suspected of assisting the TPNPB. These issues will not go away without addressing the problems of internal displacement, legal and illegal funds made available to the security forces and the growing militarisation of West Papua.

(27 May 2022)

Students accuse government of acting ‘brutally’ against Papuan protesters

May 27, 2022

Students accuse government of acting ‘brutally’ against Papuan

CNN Indonesia – May 18, 2022

Jakarta — The University of Indonesia Student Executive Council (BEM
UI) believes that the state has been acting repressively against
indigenous Papuans protesting against the creation of new autonomous
regions (DOB) in Papua.

This can be seen from the state ignoring the brutal actions of police
against a protest on May 10 in Jayapura. These brutal actions included
violence, abduction, arbitrary arrest and even the use of rubber bullets
when police forcibly broke up rallies.

"The concrete evidence is that the state still acts repressively in
responding to public expression which is marked by brutal acts carried
out by the police against the public", said the BEM UI on their official
Twitter account @BEMUI_Official on Tuesday May 17.

The BEM UI believes that demonstrations are something which is
legitimate and constitutional according to Article 28 of the 1945

Under this article, it state that citizens’ and the population’s right
to association and assembly and to express ideas verbally and in writing
is guaranteed by the state.

"In the stipulations of the constitution, guarantees are clearly found
for all citizens to safely express views and opinions without the threat
of violence, intimidation or being silenced in other ways", they said.

In addition to being contained in the constitution, guarantees of the
freedom of expression are also regulated under Article 23 Paragraph 2 of
Law Number 39/1999 on Human Rights.

This article states that the public has the right to freedom of opinion
and expression so long as it is related to the interests and integrity
of the nation.

In addition to this, Indonesia has also ratified the International
Covenant On Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) through Article 19 of Law
Number 12/2005.

"It states that everyone is free to express a view without interference
as well has having the freedom to express an opinion through any kind of
instrument", they said.

The BEM UI however says that the reality is that the state still stand
back and watches the use of violence and threats against citizens
expressing an opinion.

"[These are] actions which conflict with legislation and regulations
which are in force, as well as violating human rights", they said.

The BEM UI is of the view that the state should take firm measures
against police officers who are proven to have committed violence. They
are also calling for the immediate release of protesters who have been

"Along with withdrawing police troops in order to stop repressive acts
against the public", the group said.

CNN Indonesia has tried to contact Papua regional police chief Inspector
General Mathius Fakhiri in order to get a response but as of this
article being published, Fakhiri has not responded.

Earlier Papua activist and former political prisoner Ambrosius Mulait
said that a participant of a protest action in Jayapura against new
autonomous regions in Papua was shot with a rubber bullet.

The victim was Cenderawasih University (Uncen) Economics Faculty Student
Representative Council Chairperson Fred Nawipa. (yla/pmg)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was
"BEM UI Sebut Aparat Brutal pada Penolak Daerah Otonomi Baru di Papua".]


A Far Way From Paradise: State Violence and Insurgency in West Papua

May 26, 2022

A Far Way From Paradise: State Violence and Insurgency in West Papua

Jean-Philippe Stone May 26, 2022

On April 27th, Union of Catholic Asian News reported that separatists affiliated with the Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, O.P.M.) in the Indonesian province of Papua murdered a construction worker, more than likely in response to security forces killing an O.P.M. commander a few days prior. Father John Bunay, co-ordinator of the Papua Peace Network, worries that civilians are paying a terrible price for a rapidly escalating insurgency.

Rather than responding with careful or discerning investigations, this murder will compel Indonesian security forces to indulge in collective reprisal. In December 2018, after members of the O.P.M.’s armed wing captured and murdered Indonesian construction workers in Nduga, military personnel incinerated local homes, displaced hundreds of civilians, targeted non-combatants, and killed dozens of people. Political scientist Hipolitus Wangge argues that this strategy only alienated West Papuans and reminded them of their seemingly endless struggle to break free from foreign domination.

Since the late 19th century, Papuans have endured unimaginable suffering at the hands of various regimes. Cultural Survival says that Dutch imperialists, while claiming to respect international law at the Hague, launched punitive military expeditions in rural areas of West Papua between 1907 and 1915. Anthropologists and explorers like Luigi D’Albertis emerged from the jungle with the severed heads of local Papuans, preserved in jars like a plant. Dutch policemen, upon gaining full control of West Papua, refused to train Papuan recruits because they did not consider them “as human beings. At least not as full human beings,” according to Jurriaan Koning.

Indonesia’s incremental colonization of West Papua since the sixties has been exceptionally cruel as well. Kjell Anderson says that Indonesians, much like their former Dutch overlords, perceived Papuans as primitive savages impeding the inevitable progress of “modernity”: namely, the exploitation of West Papua’s ample oil and copper reserves. Whenever Papuans tried to resist Jakarta’s trans-migration schemes, which flooded thousands of Javanese settlers into West Papua and turned the indigenous population into a minority in its own territory, the Indonesian military reacted with extreme and indiscriminate violence.

Scholars at Yale Law School compiled a damning study of the Indonesian National Army’s barbaric misconduct. In May 1970, for example, soldiers shot a pregnant villager, dissected her fetus, and warned terrified onlookers that the military slaughtered 500 Papuans in the district.

Jakarta eventually veered away from large-scale troop deployments and relied on subtler means to decimate uncooperative Papuans. Indonesian authorities gave “peace-offerings” laced with deadly and highly infectious diseases like cysticercosis to the Ekari people, and while public health clinics often refused to hand out oral contraceptives to indigenous Dani women, they eagerly injected them with dangerous sterilization drugs like Depo-Provera. In America, ethnic studies expert Bayan Abusneineh says that hospitals administered Depo-Provera to Black and disabled women “as a method of population control.”

Australia was also complicit in Jakarta’s ruinous suppression of West Papuan nationalism. The Asian Human Rights Commission reported in 2013 that Canberra supplied Iroquois helicopters to the Indonesian military in the late seventies, who used them to strafe villages and mow down innocent civilians in West Papua’s remote Central Highlands. Royal Australian Air Force personnel participated in “mapping exercises” alongside Indonesian counterparts in West Papua at the time. Napalm and cluster bombings wiped out entire communities as Indonesian soldiers threw Papuans into wells, boiled or buried suspected insurgents alive, tortured victims with razors, and forced people to eat their own feces. Officials in Canberra denied having any information about Australian involvement in these crimes.

Yet the Australian Special Air Service (S.A.S.) regiment still conducts anti-terrorist exercises with Indonesian Kopassus troops – a unit which spends more time spying on and harassing peaceful Papuan political and religious activists than arresting armed separatists in the O.P.M., according to Human Rights Watch. Investigative journalist Peter Cronau emphasized that S.A.S. anti-terror training included helicopter assault courses and specialized weapons practice. The Kopassus could very easily repurpose these tactics for brutal counter-insurgency operations in West Papua.

Moreover, scholar Jaap Timmer noted that the Kopassus allowed Islamic fundamentalist militias like Laskar Jihad (L.J.), until its disbanding during the War on Terror, to wreak chaos and division among the predominantly Christian inhabitants of West Papua. Fanatical L.J. members opened offices in several Papuan towns, staged provocative rallies, and generally terrorized local Papuans – much to the satisfaction of authorities in Jakarta. The Kopassus may have even transmitted the lethal techniques it learnt from Australian S.A.S. to allies in Laskar Jihad.

Despite Jakarta’s decades-long rampage in West Papua, Australia shows no sign of severing its extensive links with Jakartan police units guilty of gross violations. Though the Australian Federal Police insists that it “delivers training programs in a manner that reflects and supports Australia’s strong support of human rights,” according to A.B.C. News, observers on the ground beg to differ. Police tend to have far more in common with death squads than normal law enforcement agencies.

The West Papua Advocacy Team revealed in 2014 that the Indonesian military is outsourcing its repressive apparatus to policemen in Densus (“Detachment”) 88. The Solomon Star alleged that Densus 88 murdered Mako Tabuni, an esteemed leader of the National Committee for West Papua, a peaceful pro-independence organization. Indonesian N.G.O.s like KontraS also published reports exposing the detachment’s rampant use of physical abuse and arbitrary detention.

If Jakarta hopes to calm the festering animosity between Indonesians and Papuans, it should consider establishing a truth and reconciliation commission. Historians, political scientists, and legal scholars like Paul Antonopoulos, Drew Cottle, Elizabeth Brundige, and Xiang Yuan all agree that Indonesian governments are responsible for killing around 500,000 Papuans since 1969. Jakarta cannot afford to ignore or downplay this genocidal record any longer. Indonesian soldiers destroyed countless lives and must be held accountable for their actions.

Papuan activists and lawyers must look to the truth and reconciliation process currently underway in Aceh for inspiration. The Helsinki Agreement of 2005 brought an end to Jakarta’s thirty-year war against the Free Aceh Movement. Much like in West Papua, Indonesian soldiers committed heinous atrocities and murdered thousands of civilians to quell this rebellion. The Agreement obliged both parties to co-operate with a truth commission in order to dispel any lingering hostility and mistrust.

The Helsinki Agreement contains many provisions that could serve as blueprints for a durable peace settlement in West Papua. It decreed that Jakarta should grant amnesty to imprisoned insurgents, demobilize separatists, withdraw Indonesian security forces, reintegrate combatants into society via job programs and apprenticeships, implement systemic institutional reforms to restore the rule of law, and allow the Acehnese to create their own political parties without interference.

However, transitional justice expert Galuh Wandita warns that Aceh’s truth commission is flawed: the commission does not have jurisdiction to retrieve evidence or gather testimonies from persons and organizations outside of Aceh. A truly holistic West Papuan truth and reconciliation commission (T.R.C.) must avoid these pitfalls at all costs: the mining and logging activities of American companies like Freeport or Scott Paper displaced Papuan tribes to disease-ridden coastlines, promoted a plantation economy which deprived Papuans of their traditional cultivation practices, and dumped toxic waste into rivers. This irreparable environmental damage constitutes proof that foreign companies collaborated with Jakarta to deliberately impose “conditions of life calculated to destroy indigenous West Papuans as a group.” It would be a monumental insult to survivors to let these corporations escape justice simply because they are based outside of Papua.

Additionally, as the Lowy Institute recommends, a West Papuan T.R.C. should incorporate distinctly Melanesian reconciliation customs. Sociologist Marcus Campbell amply demonstrated that before the arrival of Christian missionaries, ritualized gift-giving ceremonies renewed harmonious relations between warring tribes and are key to understanding peace-building in Melanesian society. The Melanesian Spear Group, comprising Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia’s Kanaks, could even send custom chiefs or elders to West Papua as consultants during the T.R.C. process.

Unfortunately, authorities in Papua New Guinea and Fiji are currently unlikely to take part in this endeavour. Port Moresby and Suva will not sacrifice lucrative trade or development aid deals with Indonesia to defend West Papua’s right to self-determination.

Finally, given its history of conflict resolution in the Pacific, New Zealand can play an instrumental role in brokering peace in West Papua. Journalist Mark Scott chronicled how Kiwi diplomats and unarmed soldiers helped bring an end to Papua New Guinea’s relentless siege of Bougainville in the late nineties. Wellington even provided vital logistical and security support during Bougainville’s independence referendum in 2019.

A New Zealand keen to exert its soft power in Melanesian islands cannot turn a blind eye to incessant human rights violations in West Papua. A Kiwi intervention could bolster Wellington’s standing in the region and potentially lay the groundwork for West Papuan autonomy – either within or outside Indonesia.

Jean-Philippe Stone
Jean-Philippe recently graduated with a PhD in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He has a great interest in international relations, conflict resolution, human rights, and peacekeeping.

West Papua: Protests reject Indonesia’s ‘divide and rule’ strategy

May 25, 2022

West Papua: Protests reject Indonesia’s ‘divide and rule’ strategy

Susan Price May 25, 2022

Green Left Issue 1346 West Papua

West Papua solidarity protesters hold a banner in Malang, Java, which reads: ‘Indonesia coloniser’. Photo: @VeronicaKoman/Twitter

The United Nations International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories runs from May 25–31.

According to the UN there are 17 non-self-governing territories globally. In the Pacific region there are six: French Polynesia and New Caledonia/Kanaky. (France); American Samoa and Guam (United States); Pitcairn (Britain); and Tokelau (New Zealand).

According to the Australian-West Papua Association (AWPA), one territory that is not on the list and which should be is West Papua. West Papua, colonised by the Netherlands, was removed from the list when the territory was handed over to Indonesian administration by the UN in 1963.

Today, the West Papuan people are still fighting and dying for their right to self determination.

AWPA spokesperson Joe Collins told Green Left: “It is tragic that the West Papuans have been betrayed so many times by the international community: In 1962, under the New York Agreement; in 1963 when removed from the list of non-self-governing territories by the UN; and again in 1969 with the so-called ‘act of free choice’ — which was anything but.”

Fifty-nine years after the Indonesian takeover, the situation in the territory continues to deteriorate, Collins said, with ongoing clashes between the Indonesian security forces and the West Papua National Liberation Army.

Crackdowns and arrests of peaceful demonstrators continue and security force operations have resulted in thousands of internal refugees.

The exploitation of West Papua’s natural resources continues and there is a proposal to divide the territory into more provinces against the wishes of the West Papuan people. This is not only a case of divide and rule, but creating more provinces means more military and more exploitation of the natural resources of the territory.

West Papuans continue to call for a real referendum on their future.

Protests were held in a number of cities across West Papua and Indonesia this month against the creation of new provinces, for a referendum on self-determination and against Indonesia’s plan to grant “special autonomy” status to West Papua.

In Makassar, Sulawesi, West Papuan students were physically attacked by a militia group on May 10, while police watched on. They were called “terrorists” and subjected to racist slurs, such as being called “monkeys”.

At a demonstration in Yahukimo, West Papua on May 10, protesters chanted: “New provinces: reject, reject, reject!”, “Special Autonomy: reject, reject, reject!”, and “Papua: freedom!”

In Jayapura, West Papua, footage emerged of the start of an Indonesian police attack on unarmed West Papua protesters on May 10. The lead police officer appears to give a warning before shouting, “Attack! Attack! Shoot! Shoot!”

In Bali, Indonesia, West Papuan student protesters were blocked from protesting by police, militia and Balinese security forces on May 10. They were pelted with rocks and their motorbikes damaged, while police watched on.

In Paniai, West Papua, police with riot gear and armed soldiers blocked protesters from marching.

In Wamena, thousands of people took to the streets.

A solidarity protest with West Papua organised in Timor Leste on May 10 was blocked by police and at least ten protesters arrested as they headed towards the Indonesian embassy in the capital, Dili.

The recent election of a Labor government in Australia presents both challenges and opportunities for the West Papua solidarity movement. “Although we have a new government in Australia, we can’t expect any change in the relationship with Indonesia,” said Collins. “It will continue to recognise Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua, but hopefully will be more likely to raise concerns about the human rights situation in the territory, which would be a good start.”

AWPA also hopes the new government will support the call by Pacific leaders and the new network of European Union parliamentarians in calling on Jakarta to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to be allowed into West Papua to investigate the human rights situation in the territory.

Shortly after Labor’s foreign minister Penny Wong was sworn in, she shared “a few thoughts with our Pacific family” in a video emphasising Labor’s commitment to tackling climate change, assisting with COVID-19 pandemic recovery and strengthening connections between First Nations and the Blue Pacific.

West Papuan advocate Veronica Koman tweeted in reply: “Let’s all remember that West Papuans are Melanesians hence part of the Pacific family. They are facing unprecedented armed conflict and internal displacement worthy of global attention.”

International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories.- West Papua betrayed

May 24, 2022

International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories.- West Papua betrayed

AWPA Statment
24 May 2022

International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories 25-31 May

According to the UN there are 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories.

In the Pacific region there are 6.
French Polynesia and New Caledonia/Kanaky. (France). American Samoa and Guam (US). Pitcairn (UK) and Tokelau (NZ).

Another territory which is not on the list of self governing terrorites but should be is West Papua.

59 years ago, West Papua (Netherlands New Guinea) was removed from the list when the terrority was handed over to Indonesian administration by the UN in 1963.

59 years later the West Papuan people are still fighting and dying for their right to self determination.

Joe Collins of AWPA said," its tragic that the West Papuan have been betrayed so many times by the international community. In 1962 , New York agreement. In 1963 when removed from the list of non self governing terrorities by the UN and again in 1969 with the so called act of free choice which was anything but."

59 years after the Indonesian takeover, the situation in the terrority continues to deteriorate with ongoing clashes between the Indonesian security forces and the West Papua National Liberation Army. last update. Crackdowns and arrests of peaceful demonstrators continue and thousands of internal refugees because of security force operations.

The exploitation of the natural resources of the terrority continues and there is the proposed to divide West Papua into more provinces against the wishes of the West Papuan people. Not only a case of divide and rule but more provinces means more military and more exploitation of the natural resources of the territory.

The West Papuan continue to call for a real referendum.

Joe Collins said, "that although we have a new government in Australia, we can’t expect any change in the relationship with Indonesian. It will continue to recognise Indonesian soveriginity over West Papua but hopefully will be more likely to raise concerns about the human rights situation in the terrority which would be a good start."

It is also hoped the the new government will support the call by Pacific leaders and the new network of EU Parliamentarians in calling on Jakarta to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to be allowed into West Papua to investigate the human rights situation in the terrority.


Stop the repression, arrest and criminalisation of peaceful Papuan protesters

May 23, 2022

Stop the repression, arrest and criminalisation of peaceful Papuan


Joint Statement – May 11, 2022

There has never been any democracy for the Papuan people! We continue to
be shown the very tangible distain for the democratic rights of the
Papuan people. With every day that passes the space for free expression
for the Papuan people continues to shrink. Law enforcement institutions,
in this case the TNI (Indonesian military) and the Polri (Indonesian
police), as well as reactionary civil ormas (social or mass
organisations), are the antagonists and tools of repression against the
Papuan people’s freedom to express themselves.

Yet freedom of opinion and expression is guaranteed under Article 28 of
the 1945 Constitution, Article 9 of Law Number 9/1998 on the Freedom to
Covey an Opinion in Public and Article 1 Paragraph 3 of Law Number
39/1999 on Human Rights.

These guarantees cover activities conveying an opinion in public both
verbally as well as in writing without intimidation or obstruction by
any party.

On May 5, 2022, Papua People’s Petition (PRP) Spokesperson Jefri Wenda
made an appeal on social media for people to join simultaneous national
actions by the PRP on May 10. The actions were to oppose revisions to
the Papua Special Autonomy (Otsus) Law and the planned creation of new
autonomous regions (DOB) in Papua, and at the same time to demand the
right of self-determination for the Papuan people.

The appeal was directed to all those who live in the land of Papua, both
indigenous Papuans (OAP) as well as non-OAPs, as well as Papuan church
groups and democracy and human rights activist organisations throughout
the territory of Indonesia.

In Papua itself, actions were planned in 10 cities including Jayapura,
Manokwari, Sorong, Kaimana, Wamena, Yahokimo, Dogiyai, Mapia, Fakfak and

It did not take long for the appeal to be greeted by intimidation. One
such response was from Jayapura municipal police chief Gustav R. Urbinas
who stated that the police would forcibly break up any actions.

The TNI meanwhile, through a statement by 1701 Sentani Sub-District
Military Commander (Danramil) Infantry Major Jhon D Dahar, said that
they were already communicating with the district and sectoral police to
jointly maintain security in Jayapura. At least 1,000 joint TNI and
Polri personnel were deployed to guard the actions.

On the other hand, negative views on the action were also promoted by
Jayapura Regent Mathius Awoitauw, traditional community figure Yanto
Eluay and religious figure Pdt. Albert Yoku, who expressed the view that
the action would disturb public services, damage communal harmony and
that the action is only supported by a handful of people.

And it was quite true that it was not just intimidation and black
propaganda attacks that occurred in the lead up to the May 10 actions.

In at least three of the 10 cities which held actions yesterday —
Jayapura, Manokwari and Sorong — they were forcibly broken up by
security forces.

Two actions outside Papua in the provincial capitals of Makassar and
Denpasar faced similar repression. They were forcibly broken up and this
repression was accompanied by violence, the use of teargas, the use of
rubber bullets and water cannon. As a consequence, around 50
demonstrators in Jayapura were injured.

Not only that, seven people in Jayapura were arrested:

1. Jefri Wenda
2. Ones Suhuniap
3. Omikson Balingga
4. Abi Douw
5. Ester Haluk
6. Marthen Rumbiak
7. Imam Kogoya

Wanda, Suhuniap and Balingga were threatened with being charged under
the Information and Electronic Transaction (ITE) Law.

Although all seven were eventually released, the repression and arrest
against peaceful demonstrations cannot be justified and must be
condemned in the strongest possible terms.

This is because this is not the first time that this has befallen
actions held around a Papua theme. Yet Papua is a region which has been
afforded a special status by the Indonesia government through the
Special Autonomy Law. This special autonomy should prioritise respect
for the social, economic, political and cultural rights of the Papua
people. This must include the right to freedom of expression in public,
because this is closely linked with developments in the advance of
democracy in general in Indonesia.

Intimidation, black campaigns, the breaking up of rallies and
criminalisation must be understood as an attempt to drive back
democracy. Democracy which has opened slightly, the fruit of the fight
for reformasi — the political reform process that began in 1998 —
should be extended, not instead restricted.

We still have fresh memories of the dark history of the closure of
democratic space during the New Order era of former president Suharto.
As a post-reformasi generation, we do not of course want this dark
history under the militaristic regime of Suharto to be repeated and
replicated now. Especially in the land of Papua. Therefore, for the sake
of realising genuine democracy, we declare the following:

– We condemn the violent and repressive actions of the Indonesian
security forces against protesters from Papua People’s Petition on May
– We condemn the criminalisation of activists and those acting in
solidarity with Papua.
– We condemn the curbing of democratic space in Papua.
– We demand the unconditional release of all Papuan political prisoners.

This statement is supported by:

– Student Struggle Center for National Liberation (Pembebasan)
– Papuan Central Highlands Indonesian Student Association (AMPTPI)
– Revolutionary Youth Front (FMR)
– Serang Papuan Student Alliance (AMP-Serang)
– East Jakarta Indonesian Association of Catholic Students (PMKRI)
– Populist Labour Movement Federation (FGBK)
– Socialist Unity (PS)
– Populist Youth Horizon (CMk) Central Committee
– Yogyakarta United People’s Struggle (KPR-Yogyakarta)
– Maharani Caroline (advocate)
– Indonesian Education University Social Studies Activities Unit (UKSK
– Indonesian Education University Gender Research Student Center
– Bandung Islamic State University Islamic Science Studies Institute
(LPIK-UIN SGD Bandung).
– Bandung Indonesian Arts and Culture Institute (ISBI) Daunjati Student
Press Institute (LPM)
– Bandung Indonesian Arts and Culture Institute RASI Safe Space
– Agrarian Resource Center (ARC)
– People’s Liberation Party (PPR)
– Bandung Thursday Action (Kamisan Bandung)
– Bandung College of Law (STHB) Student Alliance
– Militant Trade Union Federation (F-SEBUMI)
– Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI)
– Yogyakarta Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University Student People’s
– 90 bpm rhythm (Serang hip hop group)
– Bunda House (Jalan Serang free market and library)
– Yogyakarta City Papua Student Alliance Committee (AMP-KK Yogyakarta).
– Women’s Liberation Union (SIEMPRE).

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the statement was
"Pernyataan Sikap Bersama Atas Pembubaran dan Penangkapan Aksi Damai
Petisi Rakyat Papua, 10 Mei 2022".]