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UN urged by Vanuatu to act on West Papua human rights

August 7, 2017

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/336675/un-urged-by-vanuatu-to-act-on-west-papua-human-rights
UN urged by Vanuatu to act on West Papua human rights
Vanuatu has urged the United Nations to take action on Indonesian human rights abuses in West Papua.
Speaking during a debate of the UN general assembly in New York, a Vanuatu representative said his government continued to receive reports of human rights violations in Papua.

Setareki Waqanitoga said hundreds of Papuans were recently arrested by Indonesian police for holding peaceful demonstrations.

Mr Waqanitoga welcomed acknowledgement of the Papua situation by UN Special Rapporteurs on basic rights.

But he called on the UN Human Rights Council to do more.

"We call on the council to work with the Indonesian government to allow the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to visit West Papua to get the objective and independent view of the situation on the ground in that region," he said.

"(We) also call on the government of Indonesia to grant free and full access of international journalists to West Papua, and allow a human rights fact-finding mission by the Pacific Islands Forum to visit West Papua."

’A Tragic, Forgotten Place.’ Poverty and Death in Indonesia’s Land of Gold

August 4, 2017

http://time.com/4880190/papua-poverty-shootings-justice-paniai/

A Tragic, Forgotten Place.’ Poverty and Death in Indonesia’s Land of Gold

An illegal gold miner sifts through sand and rock as he pans for gold in Timika, Papua Province, Indonesia, on Feb. 4, 2017. Ulet Ifansasti—Getty Images

Febriana Firdaus / Enarotali and Jayapura, Papua

10:11 PM ET

When Bardina Degei cooks dinner, she doesn’t use a stove. She rarely even uses a pot. In her wooden home in Enarotali, the capital of Paniai regency in the restive Indonesian province of Papua, the housewife usually just places a sweet potato — known locally as “nota”— directly into the fireplace.

After half-an-hour, the charred tuber is retrieved and devoured with eager, unwashed hands. Degei sits on the mud floor — she has no furniture — which is where she also performs her daily chores, such as washing clothes with murky water from the nearby swamp. A bucket in a roofless room serves as a latrine. As the youngest of her husband’s four wives, she has been assigned no fields to tend. (Polygamy is common here.) Of course, working late can be dangerous: Most of the village men are unemployed and many drink heavily, plus there are the soldiers. “No one dares to walk around the village after 5 p.m.,” she says.

It’s a rare glimpse of daily life in the highlands of Papua, a former Dutch colony that was absorbed into Indonesia in 1969 following a controversial referendum, when just 1,026 elders were forced to vote though a public show of hands before occupying troops. An existing movement agitating for independence against Dutch rule swiftly turned its ire against the Jakarta government, which maintains tight control over the region, barring foreign journalists or rights monitors. In 2003, the province was officially split into Papua and West Papua, with independent Papua New Guinea occupying the eastern part of the island.

Enarotali is as remote as it is desolate; the journey here involves a 90-minute flight from the provincial capital Jayapura to Nabire, and then a stomach-churning five-hour drive by hire car. (There is no public transport.) The town of some 19,000 people consists of wooden houses ringed by bamboo fencing, corrugated iron roofs transformed by rust into varying tawny shades.

Very few Indonesians have made the journey here, let alone journalists, and practically no foreigners. Before Christian missionaries arrived, Mee Pago Papuans worshiped a God named Uga Tamee. There were other changes, too. “We were not used to wearing these clothes,” says Degei, indicating her vividly colored, hand-woven turban, dark shirt and a bright skirt. “Before, we only wore leaves on our bodies.”

Papua is Indonesia’s poorest province, where 28% of people live below the poverty line and with some of the worst infant mortality and literacy rates in Asia. But it is also Indonesia’s land of gold. The world’s largestand most profitable gold mine, Grasberg, owned by Phoenix-based Freeport McMoran, lies just 60 miles from Paniai, a highland province around the size of New Jersey and home to 153,000 people. In 2015 alone, Freeport mined some $3.1 billion worth of gold and copper here. In addition, Papua boasts timber resources worth an estimated $78 billion.

These riches are, however, a source of misery for Papuans, ensuring Indonesia’s powerful military maintains a suffocating presence. A 2005 investigation in The New YorkTimes reported that Freeport paid local military personnel and units nearly $20 million between 1998 and 2004, including up to $150,000 to a single officer. Papuan calls for greater autonomy threaten this golden goose, and are dealt with mercilessly.

According to rights activists, more than 500,000 Papuans have been killed, and thousands more have been raped, tortured and imprisoned by the Indonesian military since 1969. Mass killings in Papua’s tribal highlands during the 1970s amounted to genocide, according to the Asia Human Rights Commission.

Indonesian police arrested more than 3,900 peaceful protesters in the region last year alone. We Will Lose Everything, a 2016 report by the Archdiocese of Brisbane, contains testimony of atrocities committed the previous year, such as extrajudicial executions, torture — rape and electrocution are especially popular, according to another report — and the brutal crushing of peaceful demonstrations. “It’s difficult to count the number of victims as incidents happen every week,” says Andreas Harsono, Indonesia researcher for Human Rights Watch.

The screws have tightened as Papua’s resources bring an influx of settlers from elsewhere in Indonesia. The province’s 3.5 million population is 83% Christian, but the demographic is changing as Muslim economic migrants arrive from Indonesia’s populous islands of Java, Borneo, Sumatra and Sulawesi. Javanese warung canteens sell fried chicken and gado-gado mixed-vegetables served with peanut sauce. Local people struggle to compete.

“The migrants started to sell chicken and vegetables in the traditional market cheaper than the local Papuans,” explains Abeth You, a 24-year-old Paniai native who moved to the provincial capital Jayapura for work. “It made the native Papuans — the mama-mama [the women] of Papua — lose their market.”

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, vowed to address the inequalities and rights abuses in Papua during his election campaign in 2014. The former carpenter secured 27 of Papua’s total 29 districts — including Paniai — on the way to the Presidential Palace in Jakarta. But precious little has changed in Papua, and today local people feel betrayed.

“Our hearts have been broken because in 2014 we voted for Jokowi, with the expectation that he would fulfill our hopes for justice to be restored,” You says.

‘It Was Crowded, Many Shots Were Fired’

In fact, Paniai suffered a nadir just two months after Jokowi’s October inauguration. On Dec. 7, 2014 a group of 11 children were outside singing Christmas carols in front of a bonfire in Enarotali when two Indonesian soldiers on a motorbike broke through the gloom. The startled children told them that they should turn on their headlights.

One of the soldiers took umbrage at their tone and later returned with four soldiers, according to local Pastor Yavedt Tebai. The soldiers, who had been drinking, chased and beat the group with their rifle butts, said victims and witnesses. Then one of the soldiers fired into the group of children.

One child, 16-year-old Yulianus Yeimo, was beaten so badly he fell into a coma.

A couple of hours later, the nearby government Election Commission building was set ablaze, and things escalated the following day. About 1,000 young Papuan men, women and children gathered on a soccer field in front of the local police station and military command center to demand justice. They carried ceremonial hunting bows and performed the waita dance — running in circles and simulating birdsong — of Papua’s Mee Pago tribe. Some protesters started hurling stones at police and military posts.

As tempers grew more heated, an order was sent to the soldiers through internal radio: “If the masses offer resistance more than three times, shoot them dead,” it said, according to an official document seen by TIME that has not been released to the local media.

Yeremias Kayame, 56, the head of the Kego Koto neighborhood of Enarotali, saw the impending danger and appealed for calm, imploring the crowd to go back home. Nobody was in the mood to listen. “When I turned around I suddenly got shot in my left wrist,” he told TIME on the porch of his brightly painted wooden house.

Kayame still doesn’t know who fired but says the bullet came from the ranks of amassed soldiers. “It was crowded, many shots were fired,” he adds.

Local man Alfius Youw was hit three times, according to his cousin who witnessed the shootings. “I ran to him and examined his body to make sure it was him,” Yohanes, who like many Indonesians only goes by one name, told TIME somberly. “I saw he was dead … I kissed him.”

The Papua Police Chief Inspector General Yotje Mende told reporters that his officers were only “securing” their station because it was under attack.

“We have to defend ourselves when people threaten to kill us,” Papua Police spokesperson, Commissioner Pudjo Sulistiyo said in 2015. “It’s a matter of life and death.”

According to Human Rights Watch, five young protesters were killed and many more injured.

‘I’m Afraid of Being Arrested by the Military, Afraid to be Shot’

News of the killings only filtered through to Jakarta the following day. Three weeks later, Jokowi gave an impassioned speech in Jayapura, where he expressed sympathies with the victims’ families and vowed to address the historic abuses in Papua. “I want this case to be solved immediately so it won’t ever happen again in the future,” he said.

Security Minister Wiranto said in October 2016 that he was setting up a non-judicial mechanism to settle historic human-rights violations. But the excuses started almost immediately. "Most of the violations occurred a long time ago. Some were in the ’90s and in early 2000s. The point is we are committed to addressing these violations, but there are processes to go through," he said.

Then Wiranto backtracked when speaking to TIME in Jakarta on June 5, saying he has no plans to establish a grievance mechanism in Papua. Instead, “All will be [settled] by law,” he said.

Wiranto, who the U.N. has indicted for “crimes against humanity” relating to more than 1,000 deaths during East Timor’s bloody 1999 independence vote, said that 11 cases of human-rights violations in Papua have already been settled, including the Paniai incident.

Families of the Paniai victims greeted such claims with grim incredulity. “I’ve been interviewed four times for the past three years, but there has been no progress at all,” Yohanes says. “I’m tired.”

He says that years later, he still lives in fear. “I’m afraid,” he says. “I’m afraid of being arrested by the military, afraid to be shot.”

His brother Yacobus echoed the view that people in Paniai are fearful of discussing the incident. He says he was beaten by the military after helping to bury four of the victims. “After burying the bodies, the military came looking for me,” he says.

‘A Tragic, Forgotten Place’

The shootings haven’t stopped. On Tuesday, Indonesian police shot at villagers in Paniai’s neighboring Deiyai regency. One person died and 17 others were wounded, including children, during a confrontation between villagers and the manager of a construction company who refused to help transport an unconscious man to hospital.

The man, 24-year-old Ravianus Douw who drowned while he was fishing in a nearby river, died on the way to hospital. Incensed villagers protested in front of the company’s site office. Police said the villagers threw rocks at officers, who responded by firing warning shots. But locals say the mobile brigade (Indonesian paramilitary police) began shooting at the crowd, killing one.

“We were so panicked, we are afraid there will be revenge,” 29-year-old Dominggu Badii, who lives near the hospital and witnessed the injured being hurried in, tells TIME. “I have been hiding in my house for two days."

The Deiyai parliament has called for the officers involved to be held to account and the police mobile brigade to be withdrawn from the area.

Paniai has always been a troublespot for the Indonesian government. The lack of meaningful development feeds the discontent of the tribal Mee, Moni, Dani, and Damal peoples, who live sprawled across Papua’s verdant central highlands. Many joined the Free Papua Movement (OPM), the rebel army that claims to defend the rights of the Papuans by launching sporadic attacks and kidnapping raids on Indonesian soldiers. Some of the top OPM leaders hail from Paniai, including Tadius Yogi and Daniel Yudas Kogoya.

In response, thousands of people in Paniai have been arrested and arbitrarily detained by the military in recent years, under the guise of “safeguarding national sovereignty.” Some never reappear. Among the people of Papua, Paniai is known as “a tragic, forgotten place.”

Poverty feeds the discontent. The little rice on sale in Enarotali is too expensive for locals to buy. Bread is just as out of reach. People here grow everything they eat: mainly nota plus some fruit and leafy vegetables. Farming is the job of the women, who each can maintain four or five fields of the sweet potato. They usually keep most of the harvest for the family, with the rest sold in the local market. Ten pieces of nota cost only 10,000 Indonesian rupiah (75 cents).

Over time, economic inequalities have grown between the native Papuans and the new migrants, who have arrived in greater numbers since the opening of a new air routes to Nabire Airport. What few jobs exist typically go to the better-educated and wealthier migrants. Papuans rarely have the capital or the necessary skills to run their own businesses competitively.

“The young people are not interested to stay in the village … because there’s no jobs or money here,” says John Gobai, the chairman of the tribal council of Paniai.

‘They Don’t Need Money, They Just Want Justice’

Isolation keeps the world’s eyes off Papua. In addition, reporting restrictions for international media remain tight. Earlier this year, French journalists Franck Escudie and Basille Longchamp were deported from Papua for a “lack of coordination with related institutions” despite having been granted rare permission to film.

According to Phelim Kine, Deputy Asia Director of Human Rights Watch, Jokowi’s election campaign pledges to lift reporting restrictions to boost transparency and development have not been realized. “There are new hazards for foreign journalists attempting to report from Indonesia’s restive easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua: visa denial and blacklisting,” he said in a statement.

The lack of press scrutiny means international pressure on the Indonesian government has been largely limited to Papua’s immediate neighbors. In March, six Pacific nations — Tonga, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, and the Solomon Islands — urged the U.N. Human Rights Council to investigate the “various and widespread violations” in Papua, including the Paniai shooting. These same countries have historically backed the OPM.

Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir shrugged off the group’s allegations, telling journalists in Jakarta, “In Indonesia, a democratic system still applies and there’s free media so it’s hard for the evidence of human rights cases to be covered up.”

Local people want more foreign governments to take note. When an official delegation from the Netherlands, headed by the nation’s human rights ambassador Kees Van Baar, visitedJayapura on May 4, local people broke their silence, beseeching, “We want freedom,” according to a source who also attended the meeting but who asked to stay anonymous.

Indonesia has another presidential election in 2019, but Papuans say they are unlikely to vote again for Jokowi. “Jokowi is a person who has good intentions, but he is surrounded by the people who are involved in the Paniai shooting,” says Gobai, the tribal council chairman.

He wants Jokowi to know that the Paniai people, aside from living under the looming threat of a rapacious military, wallow in destitution, with paltry education and health services.

Gobai says the Paniai people, like other Papuans, consider their vote to Jokowi as a “debt” he must repay. “They don’t need money, they just want justice,” he says.

Despite the threats and intimidation, families of the Paniai shooting victims carried out one last symbolic act of defiance: burying one victim’s body on land just opposite the police and military station. Knowing that justice may never be served, at least they won’t let those responsible forget their crimes. “A member of our family has been killed,” says Yacobus, head bowed. “What else could we do?”

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https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/08/03/indonesias-unresolved-police-killings-papua

August 3, 2017 4:47PM EDT

2) Indonesia’s Unresolved Police Killings in Papua

Media Access Restrictions Compound Accountability Deficit

Andreas Harsono

Indonesia Researcher

The police account of the incident is that police opened fire using rubber bullets on rock-throwing protesters who “ran amok” and ignored repeated demands to disperse. Police say that three other protesters were wounded in the incident allegedly sparked by the refusal of PT Putra Dewa Paniai construction company workers to transport a local villager to a hospital.

Papuan villagers have a different story. They say that the police opened fire on the protesters without warning and that, in addition to killing Pigai, wounded seven people, including two children. Papuan social media is rife with photographs of shell casings allegedly found at the site, implying that police fired live rounds rather than rubber bullets. Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM) has announced an investigation.

We will probably never know what really happened in Deiyai. That’s because the government obstructs the watchdog function of a free press by severely restricting access for foreign media to Papua despite a May 2015 pledge by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to lift those restrictions. Indonesian journalists in Papua, particularly native Papuans, who dare to report on “sensitive” topics, including security forces’ abuses are highly vulnerable to official harassment, intimidation and violence. The result: competing allegations of official wrongdoing about security force violence that are immune to media scrutiny.

Papuans have learned that official promises of independent investigations by agencies including KOMNAS HAM go nowhere. Exhibit A is the official response to the December 8, 2014 security force killing of five Papuan youths in Enarotali in Papua’s Paniai regency. Despite three separate official investigations into the shootings, bolstered by Jokowi’s December 2014 pledge to thoroughly investigate and punish security forces implicated in those deaths, there has been zero accountability.

On Wednesday, the English-language Jakarta Post newspaper published an editorial, “Open Papua to the World.” The editorial argued for lifting media restrictions in Papua stating, “By maintaining this restriction, the government is operating like a paranoid regime, afraid the outside world may find the skeletons it hides in its closet.” Until the government follows that advice, killings of Papuans such as Yulius Pigai will continue without accountability.

Correction

An earlier version of this Dispatch misspelled the first name of the victim. The Dispatch has been changed to reflect this.

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https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2017/08/04/055897102/Komnas-HAM-Condemns-Police-Shooting-Unarmed-Civilians-in-Papua
FRIDAY, 04 AUGUST, 2017 | 13:32 WIB

3) Komnas HAM Condemns Police Shooting Unarmed Civilians in Papua

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has condemned police shooting of unarmed civilians in Deiyai, Papua, on Tuesday, August 1. President Joko Widodo is urged to address the conflict in Papua.

“Komnas HAM strongly condemned the shooting incident,” Komnas HAM commissioner Maneger Nasution said in a written statement received by Tempo yesterday, August 3.

Papua Police spokesperson said that the incident started when locals attacked a construction camp in Tiga Selatan District, Papua. The police who guarded the area later fired warning shots that hit the residents.

The commissioner has called for a professional and independent police investigation. “Whoever did it, whatever the motive was, and whoever the intellectual actor was, must be held responsible,” he said.

Maneger has also urged President Joko Widodo to take more serious actions to resolve conflicts in Papua, to take the initiative and lead the investigation into cases of human rights abuse in Papua.

Komnas Ham said that the cases ought to be resolved through dialogue in a peaceful, comprehensive and dignified manner.

EGI ADYATAMA

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http://tabloidjubi.com/eng/oneibos-victims-shot-live-ammunition/

4) ONEIBO’S VICTIMS SHOT BY LIVE AMMUNITION
AdminAug 04, 2017

DEIYAI, JUBI – AS POLICE QUOTED BY VARIOUS MASS MEDIA SAYING THE BULLETS THAT HIT SOME VICTIMS IN ONEIBO VILLAGE, TIGI DISTRICT, DEIYAI REGENCY, PAPUA WERE RUBBER BULLETS, THE WITNESSES AND DOCTORS IN DEIYAI HOSPITAL ARGUED DIFFERENTLY, SINCE THE REALITY PROVES OTHERWISE.

“This is a 5.56 PIN caliber bullet, not a rubber bullet, dont slip the tongue, it’s live ammunition, this is the proof,” Elias Pakage, one of the victims’ families showed the bullets to Jubi reporter in Deiyai Hospital emergency room, Wednesday (August 2).

He said, he has the evidence and will keep them properly for law enforcement purposes. “This is 5.56 PIN calibers. Who is this belongs to? ZThe police or mobile brigade police?” he asked.

Elias claimed to know about bullets because he was a former soldier. He asked the Police leadership not to make things up by issuing unfounded statements.

He mentioned the name of Regional Papua Police’s speaker which he thought was deceived by his own men.

“Head of Public Relations of Papua Police, should see himself first before he talked to the mass media, I think he was cheated by his men in the field,” he said.

Doctor Selvius Ukago, head of the Deiyai hospital admitted that he had seen evidence brought by the community when the victims were delivered.

"The bullet in my victim’s body has not been seen because we could not conduct operation, but I see the bullet proof brought by the public that is a 5.56 PIN caliber,” he said.

Previously, Head of Public Relations of Papua Police, Pol Kombes Ahmad Kamal said that only rubber bullets (rekoset) were used by police and Brimob in Deiyai shooting and the warning shot into the air was ignored by the masses. Kabid Humas also said no casualties were killed. But in fact, a victim died only 10 minutes after being brought to the hospital.

Meanwhile, the body of Yulianus Pigai, the victim killed by shootings, was placed in the core of Tigi Police Station in Wednesday (2/8/2017) morning by the family. The action was a symbol of protest against the sooting by the police and brimob.

The victim’s family, Elias Pakage, said the body might not be buried if there was no serious response from the police and Brimob, and PT. Dewa Putera Paniai, the company who invited the apparatus to disperse the citizens.

“We will leave the body of Yulianus here alone, he will not be buried, let them (the police) ’eat the corps’, they (the police) killed because they want to eat him,” shouted Elias Pakage in front of Mapolsek Tigi, on Wednesday (2/8/2017).

Regional aassistant of Deiyai government, Simon Mote said, in order to solve the problem he has invited the families of victims and officials to find a solution for the corpse to be buried.

“We mediate with the families of the victims first. It is not good to let the corpse decompose in front of the the station, we will talk about it,” said Simon Mote.

“We public all to stay calm and find a solution whether to bury him at home or public graveyards, where it is important to save the soul and body of this deceased, let him rest in peace,” he said.

Deiyai’s chief tribe, Frans Mote, said the protest want to tell public and demand the police to have an understanding that man is a creation of God, who cannot be killed carelessly.

“We are both human, created by God, why there is a shooting to kill the victim again. That is why the people put the body in front of the polcie station. Weshould immediately find a solution. The obvious thing is the police and Brimob officers under the leadership of Tigi police chief, should be responsible,” he said.

Until the news is written, reportedly the body of Yulianus Pigai is finally buried by the family in his home village, on Thursday (August 3). (*)

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AWPA July update

August 3, 2017

AWPA July update

Security forces open fire on villagers in Deiyai district
One person was killed and up to 17 injured including a number of children when the security forces opened fired on a crowed when responding to an incident in Deiyai district. The incident occurred when one of a number of men swimming in a river got into difficulty. The villager asked a group of workers at a company’s construction site to take the person to the hospital. A worker refused the request, as he feared he would be blamed if the patient died on the way to hospital. This angered the locals, who gathered at the site to confront the workers. The security forces deployed to handle the incident fired at the villagers killing one and injuring others. Indonesia’s human rights commission has sent its members to Papua to investigate the incident. In a Reuters report on the incident a “Police spokesman Kamal said its internal investigation unit and commission members had begun questioning construction workers on Thursday. They would interview police officers involved in the incident on Friday” ……………………..

Full update
http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au/2017/08/summary-of-events-in-west-papua-for.html

2017_08_02_30496_1501654313._large.jpg Summary of events in West Papua for July 2017
awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au
Australia West Papua Association (Sydney) PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088 Summary of events in West Papua for July 2017 …

West Papua protest: Indonesian police kill one and wound others – reports

August 3, 2017

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/03/west-papua-protest-indonesian-police-kill-one-and-wound-others-reports?CMP=share_btn_fb

West Papua protest: Indonesian police kill one and wound others – reports
28-year-old man reportedly killed during the incident in Deiya regency, with up to seven wounded, including two children
Thursday 3 August 2017 14.26 AEST
Helen Davidson Thursday 3 August 2017 14.26 AEST
Last modified on Thursday 3 August 201714.42 AEST

Indonesian paramilitary police have shot and killed one person and wounded a number of others at a protest in a West Papuan village, according to human rights groups and local witnesses.

A 28-year-old man was reportedly killed during the incident in Deiya regency on Tuesday afternoon, and up to seven wounded, including at least two children.

The regency’s parliament has reportedly called for the arrest of the officers involved, and for the withdrawal of the police mobile brigade, known as Brimob.

The incident began after workers at a nearby construction site refused to assist locals in taking a man to hospital, after he was pulled from the river.

After a five hour delay in sourcing another vehicle the man died on his way to hospital, according to local sources. Angry relatives and friends protested against the construction company, allegedly attacking a worker’s camp – believed to be primarily from Sulawesi – and destroying some buildings.

Authorities were called to the protest, and Associated Press reported police alleged protesters kidnapped a worker, which protesters denied.

“The joint forces of police, mobile brigade police and army officers came. Did not ask questions but shot several youths,” Father Santon Petege told West Papuan information site, Tabloid Jubi.

“There were no warning shots at all,” witness, Elias Pakagesaid. “Officers immediately fired on the unarmed villagers.”

A human rights lawyer investigating the case, who requested to remain anonymous, also said there was no verbal warning from authorities, and she labeled the incident an extrajudicial killing.

“When they arrive they just shoot. They used guns and violence and shoot directly,” she said.

Unconfirmed reports said 17 people were shot by the police mobile brigade, including the deceased man and a number of children.

Pictures purported to be of the victims and seen by Guardian Australia show deep bullet wounds.

According to local media, police denied they shot directly at the protesters, but rather at the ground and hit four people after warning shots failed to calm the situation.

The head of public relations for Papua police, Kombes A.M. Kamal denied anyone died other than a person who was critically ill, and alleged protesters had attacked an employee.

A separate report quoted the spokesman as saying the police only fired rubber bullets.

The lawyer said the police spokesman’s claims were not true, that the hospital doctor had recognised the injuries as bullet wounds, and that one young man died of his injuries, not an illness.

A police report cited by AP said a 28-year-old man died instantly after being shot multiple times.

Dr Eben Kirksey, a senior lecturer at UNSW, said there was often a “disinformation campaign” by authorities following incidents in West Papua.

Kirksey said history had shown investigations rarely translated into prosecutions, and prosecutions often saw light sentences.

“If we look at the history, of when there is evidence of security force misconduct I don’t have much hope.”

The Asian Human Rights Commission called for a full transparent investigation by human rights groups, and for the officers to be held accountable.

There are frequent reports of violence and mass arrests by authorities against West Papuans, the indigenous people of an Indonesia-controlled region on the western half of an island shared with Papua New Guinea, and which has battled for independence for decades.

But information is difficult to verify, largely because of the restrictions on foreign media.

In 2015 Indonesian president Joko Widodo announced the lifting of the media ban for the province, but in reality, government clearing houses vet media visits and maintain restrictions. Two French journalists were deported earlier this year for reporting without the required visa.

The Jakarta Post on Wednesday called for the government to open up the province to the world’s media, noting the significant gains made by a “relentless” independence campaign.

It argued Jokowi should stop hiding his government’s purported improvements and developments in the region.

“At almost every turn, we are being outmaneuvered by campaigners who want to see Papua separate from Indonesia. And yet the Indonesian government has done very little to counter it,” it said.

“By maintaining this restriction, the government is operating like a paranoid regime, afraid the outside world may find the skeletons it hides in its closet. If the government has done much to improve the lives of Papuans, why not show it to the world?”

EDITORIAL: Open Papua to the world

August 2, 2017

http://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2017/08/02/editorial-open-papua-to-the-world.html

EDITORIAL: Open Papua to the world

EDITORIAL The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Wed, August 2, 2017 | 08:07 am

The campaign for an independent Papua has been relentless and has made significant gains in past years. In January this year, the Free West Papua Campaign launched with great fanfare a global petition demanding an internationally supervised referendum for the region.

The petition will remain open until August this year and once it closes will be carried by a team of swimmers across Lake Geneva to be personally handed to the secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres. The campaign itself appears to have been designed by a techsavvy public relations team who also posted a YouTube video featuring pro-independence activist Benny Wenda calling for viewers to join the campaign.

The publicity stunt is a follow-up to the progress the movement has made in recent months. Last year, Free Papua activists managed to enlist an impressive cast of characters to support their cause, ranging from figures like Tongan Prime Minister Akilisi Pōhiva, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson.

The PR campaign followed what could be deemed as a coup for the independent Papua movement. In September last year, seven Pacific island nations raised the issue of human rights abuses in Papua to the UN General Assembly. Anecdotal observations have also shown evidence that the campaign to promote an independent Papua has gained steam in Australia and New Zealand. A senior Indonesian diplomat told of his experience of being confronted by a Pacific island student who was campaigning for a free Papua during a graduation event.

So, at almost every turn, we are being outmaneuvered by campaigners who want to see Papua separate from Indonesia. And yet the Indonesian government has done very little to counter it.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has made efforts to hasten development in Papua including rolling out the one-fuel price policy, which was aimed at boosting economic growth in Papua. Jokowi also signed off on a series of massive infrastructure projects in the region. Early in his administration, Jokowi made a gesture of reconciliation by releasing five political prisoners, a decision the President said was to aid conflict resolution in the restive region.

But none of these efforts have been viewed positively by the outside world because the government continues to cordon off Papua. Despite Jokowi’s pledge early in his administration to give foreign journalists greater access to Papua, his government has maintained a policy that makes it difficult for members of the international media to operate in the region. Today, an interagency “clearing house” continues to operate to vet requests from foreign journalists and researchers before they are permitted to travel to the country’s easternmost province. Earlier this year, two French journalists were deported from Timika, Papua, after failing to obtain a reporting permit.

By maintaining this restriction, the government is operating like a paranoid regime, afraid the outside world may find the skeletons it hides in its closet. If the government has done much to improve the lives of Papuans, why not show it to the world?

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http://www.startribune.com/indonesian-police-shoot-at-papuan-villagers-killing-1/438018013/

2) Indonesian police shoot at Papuan villagers, killing 1
Associated Press AUGUST 2, 2017 — 2:30AM

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian police shot at indigenous Papuan villagers, killing one person and wounding several others, including two children, during a confrontation that erupted after workers at a company in the remote area refused to take a dying villager to a hospital.

The parliament of the Deiyai area in easternmost Papua has called for the arrest of officers involved in the shooting Tuesday and the withdrawal of the mobile brigade, a police paramilitary unit.

The district chief, Fransiskus Bobii, said Wednesday that one person was killed and that he was trying to calm tensions between police and villagers. A police report said a 28-year-old man suffered multiple bullet wounds and died instantly. It said four others were wounded but Santon Tekege, a Catholic priest in Deiyai, put the number of wounded at seven, including two 8-year-olds.

Indonesia maintains a significant police and military presence in the volatile provinces of Papua and West Papua, a mineral-rich region where a decades-long separatist movement simmers and the predominantly Christian indigenous people resent an influx of Muslim Indonesians, who now outnumber them.

According to the police account, a village teacher asked workers of a company doing construction work in the area to help transport a sick villager but they refused because they feared being blamed if he died on the way.

Hours later, the man apparently died and villagers confronted the workers, taking one hostage, police said. Police went to the village, where they were attacked with rocks and arrows and responded with warning shots, the police statement said, without explaining the death and injuries.

The worker taken hostage is still missing, police said.

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http://www.voxy.co.nz/politics/5/289326

3) FAC ‘head in the sand’ over West Papuan suffering

Wednesday, 2 August, 2017 – 10:58

The 2016 human rights petition in the name of Maire Leadbeater called for the Government to advocate that the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression visit West Papua and for New Zealand to condemn the arrest and intimidation of peaceful protestors. The petition was endorsed by several human rights groups, academics and prominent Church leaders including the heads of the Anglican and Catholic Churches (Cardinal John Dew and Archbishop Philip Richardson). The Committee has turned down the petition’s appeal and instead opted for a conclusion that amounts to an ineffective ‘business as usual approach’ that amounts to little more than occasional inoffensive chats with Indonesian authorities and comments during the UN Universal Periodic Review process.

‘While I am pleased to hear that the Government does not deny that there are human rights breaches taking place in West Papua, I am appalled that Ministry officials have told the Committee that there is doubt about the practice of torture in West Papua. This flies in the face of extensive documentation from numerous human rights, church and academic reports all of which describe the practices of torture as endemic. The US State Department in its annual Country report on Indonesia also regularly records allegations of security forces killing and torturing civilians with impunity. Supporters of self-determination and freedom are particularly at risk as the 2001 murder of Theys Eluay, Chair of the West Papuan Presidium and the killing of Mako Tabuni, leader of the West Papua National Committee in 2012 illustrate. The most recent cases of young people being brutally beaten by the security forces took place in Nabire in July 2017. In this instance around a 100 young people were arrested over several days in response to peaceful protests – triggered by nothing more than the actions of a young man delivering leaflets.’

‘There is a growing consensus based on documented evidence that the indigenous people are experiencing ‘slow genocide’ as a result of Indonesian abuse, decades of displacement and the neglect of the basic health and environmental rights. But New Zealand is missing in action while other small Pacific nations such as Vanuatu, Tonga and the Solomon Islands stand up for the West Papuan people and their fundamental rights in the United Nations and at other international forums. ‘

West Papua Action Auckland notes that some members of the Committee advocated working with other Pacific countries at the UN. West Papua Action Auckland is now approaching all political parties seeking a clear policy statement on whether or not they support self-determination for West Papua. New Zealand’s shameful acquiescence in this horror story in our neighbourhood must end.

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https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2017/08/02/055896468/Papua-Sees-Consecutive-Infant-Mortality-Cases

WEDNESDAY, 02 AUGUST, 2017 | 15:18 WIB
4) Papua Sees Consecutive Infant Mortality Cases

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Deiyai district in Papua has seen a series of infant mortality cases in the past five months. The figure continues to rise as similar cases have also been found in more areas, from four to nine villages in Tiga Barat district.

Pastor Damianus Adii of Diyai Church said that 90 infants and five men died between March and July. “Three infants reportedly died in the past week alone in Digikotu village,” Damianus said yesterday, August 1.

Digikotu is one of four villages where infant mortality cases with measles-like symptoms were found last month. Aside from Digikotu, same cases were found in three other villages: Piyakedimi, Yinidoba and Epaniai. Infants reportedly suffered diarrhea, mouth injuries, bloodshot eyes and high body temperature for days before death.

Damianus said that medical examinations conducted by local doctors reveal that the toddlers died from a number of diseases, such as measles, diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infection and dysentery. Some died in the villages due to delayed medical treatment and others died at the hospital.

Delayed treatment was caused by the lack of medical facility in Deiyai district that only has 10 community health centers [puskesmas] and five doctors, Damianus said. The puskesmas only open four days a week. “We also experience water scarcity and the lack of basic medication,” he said.

Deiyai Regent Tance Takimai said that consecutive infant mortality cases were normal, not an outbreak. “They were caused by the lack of awareness about healthy lifestyle,” he said. Tance added that data from Health Office shows that only 27 infants died between March and July.

Mohamad Subuh, Director General of Disease Prevention and Control, the Health Ministry, said that infant mortality cases in Deiyai were caused by low awareness about vaccination. In 2016, only 5.5 percent of infants were vaccinated. “We have access issues so that the services have not been carried out routinely,” he said. Subuh has dismissed the report that the number of mortality cases has risen. He said that the latest data show that only 27 infants died from March to July due to diarrhea, lung inflammation, measles, dysentery, malnutrition, bug bites and allergies.

The National Commission on Human Rights commissioner Natalius Pigai has visited Tigi Barat district to learn more about the incident. He has criticized the central government for saying that infant mortality cases in the region were caused by ordinary diseases. “The root causes have to be examined; why is the number of infant mortality so high?” he said.

MITRA TARIGAN | INDRI MAULIDAR

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http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/08/02/students-rally-for-west-papuan-independence-in-bali.html

5) Students rally for West Papuan independence in Bali
Ni Komang Erviani The Jakarta Post
Denpasar, Bali | Wed, August 2, 2017 | 03:00 pm

Around 30 students of the Papua Student Alliance (AMP) Bali held a rally on Wednesday to demand West Papuan independence.

They staged the demonstration at a location near the US Consular Agency office in Denpasar, Bali, as the police did not allow them to hold the rally in front of the office as initially planned.

AMP spokesman Wolker said the rally was held to commemorate the 48th year of the Papuan People’s Free Choice (Pepera) in 1969. “The Papuan People’s Free Choice was not democratic; [it was] full of terror, intimidation and manipulation. Severe human rights violations also occurred at that time,” Wolker said.

In a statement, AMP said that 175 out of 809,337 Papuans cast their vote in the Pepera in 1969 and that all of them had been "quarantined" before the voting day.

“Since then, [acts of] colonialism, imperialism and militarism have been committed by the Indonesian government,” it said in the statement.

The group’s activists held the rally at the US Consular Agency as they believe the US government interfered in the Pepera.

“Papua should get freedom,” they yelled during the rally.

They also demanded that the government shut down multinational companies’ activities in Papua, such as those of Freeport, LNG Tangguh and Medco. Furthermore, they called for the release of Obby Kogoya, a Papuan student in Yogyakarta who was sentenced to one-year probation with four years’ imprisonment if he reoffends during probation for resisting police arrest during a protest in Yogyakarta last year. (ebf

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http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/336361/one-man-dead-several-injured-in-west-papua-shooting

6) One man dead, several injured in West Papua shooting

21 minutes ago

Reports from West Papua say one man is dead and up to 16 people have been injured in a police shooting.
The local newspaper Tabloid Jubi reported seven children are among those who were injured in the incident in Deiyai district on Tuesday.
Four of the injured were airlifted to hospital in Nabire on Wednesday according to a human rights lawyer who deals with West Papua.

Tabloid Jubi reported the security forces were called to deal with a group who were complaining a company hadn’t assisted when a man needed help to get to hospital after drowning.
The lawyer Veronica Koman spoke to an eye witness to the shooting and has seen photos of the injured.
"The company called Brimob (Mobile Brigade Corps). Brimob is a special taskforce of police and Brimob taskforce came and just shooting at people. As a lawyer I think it’s not proportional, even if they were angry but it’s not necessary to shoot randomly at people. Like children got injured,” Veronika Koman said.
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The re-emergence of old power in Indonesia

July 31, 2017

The re-emergence of old power in Indonesia

Indonesian Muslims shout slogans during a rally in Jakarta on Friday. Anti Jokowi forces are prepared to mobilise political Islam to set the stage for a return to power in 2019. Achmad Ibraham

by Gustav Brown

Many have cast the recent Jakarta gubernatorial election as a defeat for religious pluralism at the hands of political Islam, a movement which appears more potent and visible than at any time since Indonesia’s transition to democracy.

The "rising radicalism" frame, others suggest, obscures the real contest going on behind the scenes in Indonesian politics.

This contest pits President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) against the coalition of political insiders, tycoons and New Order figures that backed his 2014 presidential rival Prabowo Subianto. While not advocates of political Islam, these forces are prepared to mobilise political Islam in order to weaken Jokowi and set the stage for a return to power in 2019. What appears to be the emergence of a new religious politics in Indonesia is in reality the re-emergence of an old power apparatus – that of the New Order deep state.

This was not the only echo of the New Order that reverberated through the election. Earlier in 2017, the National Police arrested Gatot Saptono – otherwise known as Muhammad Al-Khaththath – and four others on suspicion of makar, which is a term that denotes "treason" or "subversion" against the state. The arrests came in advance of a planned series of rallies in five Indonesian cities.

Joko "Jokowi" Widodo still faces a coalition of political insiders, tycoons and New Order figures that backed his 2014 presidential rival Prabowo Subianto. Bullit Marquez

Many interpreted the move as a message to Islamic hardliners. But the police also claimed to have found a "revolutionary document" outlining plans to ram the gates of the Presidential Palace and occupy the building, as well as evidence that the conspirators had discussed how to bankroll their coup d’etat.

This was the second accusation of makar made during this election cycle. In late 2016, authorities arrested another group on suspicion of makar. That group that included Rachmawati Soekarnoputri (the daughter of one former president and sister of another) and rock star Ahmad Dhani. Soekarnoputri denied the charges and called them politically motivated.

The charge of makar has a long and complex history in Indonesia. Articles 104 to 117 of the Indonesian penal code, which outline the crime, are remnants from the laws of the Netherlands Indies. The colonial state designed these statutes to repress nationalist, Islamic and regional opposition to its rule over the archipelago.

Under former president Sukarno, makar was used primarily in response to the separatists and revolutionaries who threatened the territorial integrity and political legitimacy of the new state.

His successor, Suharto, came to power after dislodging an apparent coup d’etat by a group of leftist military officers likely tied to the leadership of the Indonesian Communist Party. The anti-communist purges that ensued were justified by allegations of makar, as were forced relocations and other repressive measures taken during the military occupation of East Timor.

Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama after his sentencing in May. There is a conceptual link between makar and the charges of blasphemy that were levelled at him. AP

During the 1970s and 1980s, the Suharto regime also deployed allegations of makar to justify repressive measures taken against conservative Muslim and pro-democracy activists.

Since democracy was put in place in 1998, arrests for makar have largely been contained to the separatist conflicts in Aceh and Papua, as well as to national counter-terrorism efforts.

The recent allegations were notable precisely because they were so unusual. This may simply reflect the charged political moment, or a newfound willingness among opponents of the regime to circumvent the electoral process. Al-Khaththath and Soekarnoputri are certainly on record opposing ex-Governor Basuki "Ahok" Purnama and his patron, Jokowi. Whether they intended to do so using legal or extra-legal means is a matter for Indonesian courts to decide.

Putting questions of guilt or innocence aside, there is a conceptual link between makar and the charges of blasphemy that were levelled at Ahok. In the Indonesian legal context, blasphemy is framed as a violation of the authority of religious leaders, the integrity of the religious community and the sanctity of religious teachings. So in a sense, makar is tantamount to blasphemy against the nation-state, a challenge to the authority, integrity and sanctity of Indonesia and its national ideology, Pancasila.

The Pancasila state is by no means secular, but neither is it Islamic. Rather, it is a religiously pluralistic state animated by "godly nationalism", a mutual assistance pact between the state and the orthodox representatives of the religious communities it recognises, which includes both Islam and Christianity.

If the charges of blasphemy against Ahok were like a sword thrust at that pact, then the charges of makar served to parry that sword. With political tensions set to rise on the approach to the presidential elections in 2019, it may not be the last we see of either.

Gustav Brown is Research Fellow at the Asia Research Centre, the National University of Singapore. This article is part of a series from East Asia Forum (www.eastasiaforum.org) in the Crawford School of Public Policy at The Australian National University.

The re-emergence of old power in Indonesia

July 31, 2017

http://www.afr.com/news/politics/world/the-reemergence-of-old-power-in-indonesia-20170730-gxlktn

The re-emergence of old power in Indonesia

Indonesian Muslims shout slogans during a rally in Jakarta on Friday. Anti Jokowi forces are prepared to mobilise political Islam to set the stage for a return to power in 2019. Achmad Ibraham

by Gustav Brown

Many have cast the recent Jakarta gubernatorial election as a defeat for religious pluralism at the hands of political Islam, a movement which appears more potent and visible than at any time since Indonesia’s transition to democracy.

The "rising radicalism" frame, others suggest, obscures the real contest going on behind the scenes in Indonesian politics.

This contest pits President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) against the coalition of political insiders, tycoons and New Order figures that backed his 2014 presidential rival Prabowo Subianto. While not advocates of political Islam, these forces are prepared to mobilise political Islam in order to weaken Jokowi and set the stage for a return to power in 2019. What appears to be the emergence of a new religious politics in Indonesia is in reality the re-emergence of an old power apparatus – that of the New Order deep state.

This was not the only echo of the New Order that reverberated through the election. Earlier in 2017, the National Police arrested Gatot Saptono – otherwise known as Muhammad Al-Khaththath – and four others on suspicion of makar, which is a term that denotes "treason" or "subversion" against the state. The arrests came in advance of a planned series of rallies in five Indonesian cities.

Joko "Jokowi" Widodo still faces a coalition of political insiders, tycoons and New Order figures that backed his 2014 presidential rival Prabowo Subianto. Bullit Marquez

Many interpreted the move as a message to Islamic hardliners. But the police also claimed to have found a "revolutionary document" outlining plans to ram the gates of the Presidential Palace and occupy the building, as well as evidence that the conspirators had discussed how to bankroll their coup d’etat.

This was the second accusation of makar made during this election cycle. In late 2016, authorities arrested another group on suspicion of makar. That group that included Rachmawati Soekarnoputri (the daughter of one former president and sister of another) and rock star Ahmad Dhani. Soekarnoputri denied the charges and called them politically motivated.

The charge of makar has a long and complex history in Indonesia. Articles 104 to 117 of the Indonesian penal code, which outline the crime, are remnants from the laws of the Netherlands Indies. The colonial state designed these statutes to repress nationalist, Islamic and regional opposition to its rule over the archipelago.

Under former president Sukarno, makar was used primarily in response to the separatists and revolutionaries who threatened the territorial integrity and political legitimacy of the new state.

His successor, Suharto, came to power after dislodging an apparent coup d’etat by a group of leftist military officers likely tied to the leadership of the Indonesian Communist Party. The anti-communist purges that ensued were justified by allegations of makar, as were forced relocations and other repressive measures taken during the military occupation of East Timor.

Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama after his sentencing in May. There is a conceptual link between makar and the charges of blasphemy that were levelled at him. AP

During the 1970s and 1980s, the Suharto regime also deployed allegations of makar to justify repressive measures taken against conservative Muslim and pro-democracy activists.

Since democracy was put in place in 1998, arrests for makar have largely been contained to the separatist conflicts in Aceh and Papua, as well as to national counter-terrorism efforts.

The recent allegations were notable precisely because they were so unusual. This may simply reflect the charged political moment, or a newfound willingness among opponents of the regime to circumvent the electoral process. Al-Khaththath and Soekarnoputri are certainly on record opposing ex-Governor Basuki "Ahok" Purnama and his patron, Jokowi. Whether they intended to do so using legal or extra-legal means is a matter for Indonesian courts to decide.

Putting questions of guilt or innocence aside, there is a conceptual link between makar and the charges of blasphemy that were levelled at Ahok. In the Indonesian legal context, blasphemy is framed as a violation of the authority of religious leaders, the integrity of the religious community and the sanctity of religious teachings. So in a sense, makar is tantamount to blasphemy against the nation-state, a challenge to the authority, integrity and sanctity of Indonesia and its national ideology, Pancasila.

The Pancasila state is by no means secular, but neither is it Islamic. Rather, it is a religiously pluralistic state animated by "godly nationalism", a mutual assistance pact between the state and the orthodox representatives of the religious communities it recognises, which includes both Islam and Christianity.

If the charges of blasphemy against Ahok were like a sword thrust at that pact, then the charges of makar served to parry that sword. With political tensions set to rise on the approach to the presidential elections in 2019, it may not be the last we see of either.

Gustav Brown is Research Fellow at the Asia Research Centre, the National University of Singapore. This article is part of a series from East Asia Forum (www.eastasiaforum.org) in the Crawford School of Public Policy at The Australian National University.