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New Catholic Report Tells Stories of Murder, Kidnapping and Torture in West Papua

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Meki Elosak, Wiki Meage, Obeth Kosay an Oscar Hilago tortured by Indonesia Police at Yalengga on 2010  - Jubi

Meki Elosak, Wiki Meage, Obeth Kosay an Oscar Hilago tortured by Indonesia Police at Yalengga on 2010 – Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – Allegations of recent military and police intimidation, beatings and torture, kidnapping and murder in West Papua, have been documented in a new Church report.

The report documents Muslims being radicalised in the once predominantly Christian Papuan provinces, and “very active” Muslim militias that burn down Papuan houses.

The report was compiled by the Brisbane Catholic Justice and Peace Commission’s Shadow Human Rights Fact Finding Mission to West Papua, following a visit to West Papua last month.  It has not yet been publicly released, nor comment sought from Indonesian authorities.

The report documents religious, social and economic discrimination including how the carve up of land for major development has benefited multinationals and excluded Papuans from ownership and jobs. It refers to a slow motion genocide happening 250km north of Australia and states that “the Indonesians want to replace the Christian religion with Islam”.

The report author Josephite Sister Susan Connelly was accompanied to West Papua by Brisbane archdiocese’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission executive officer Peter Arndt. During their fact-finding mission they interviewed more than 250 community leaders in Japapura, Merauke, Timika and Sorong.

Sr Connelly, a respected human rights advocate, likened her visit to West Papua to “stepping back twenty years when I first went to East Timor”.

“The same oppressive security presence everywhere, the same suspicion, bewilderment, frustration and sadness,” she said.

“The same fear. The same seemingly groundless hope.

“A man took my hands in his and said, ‘We are in danger’. That simple statement sums up for me the experience of the whole visit.

“The Papuan people have lost so much, and are facing erasure as a people, merely preserved as oddities of the past or artifacts to be photographed for tourist brochures.

“They realise that their land is considered more valuable than they are.”

The fact-finding team heard many accounts of alleged military and police brutality and murder.

“There is clear evidence of ongoing violence, intimidation and harassment by the Indonesian security forces,” Mr Arndt said on his return to Brisbane.

“That is especially the case for Papuans expressing their support for particular political points of view.

“Authorities want to close down any Papuan efforts to promote discussion about self-determination, and they have applied a military response to deal with the irrepressible desire of a large number of Papuans to promote their cause for freedom.”

Based on his interviews across West Papua, Mr Arndt (pictured) identified the instigators of alleged human rights violations as members of the Indonesian army including Kopassus, police including a special counter insurgency unit, Detachment 88, and Indonesia’s intelligence agency, BIN.

“Even demonstrations about social issues such as access to education get broken up by authorities,” he said.

The fact-finding team heard many examples of how the Indonesian Government pushed economic development, but ignored human rights.

“The Government has carved up the land and given it for exploitation to some 50 multinational companies,” the report said.

“The procedure is that the local government invites companies to come and gives permits.

“People are usually shocked when the companies come to sign a MoU (memorandum of understanding) with them, showing them the permit and the map.

“If the villagers don’t agree to the proposal, the company goes back to the local government and returns with the police.”

In the 1970s, ethnic Papuans accounted for 96 per cent of the population.  Today they are a minority 48 per cent, because of the rapid migration of Indonesians from other more populated islands such as Java.

The report found that Papuans were now marginalised economically at the expense of immigrants, the majority of whom are Muslims. The report said there was “a movement for Muslims from Indonesia to replace Papuans in every sector”.

“The Indonesians want to replace the Christian religion with Islam. Many mosques are being built everywhere. They want Papua to be a Javanese Malay nation,” the report said.

“Radicalisation is happening in Papua, with some militias very active near the border with PNG.

“They burn down the Papuan houses. They are recruited as illegal loggers. Their camps and logging are well protected by the military.

“The military are certainly killing the people, and closed access to opportunity to Papuans in all areas of life constitutes a slow motion genocide.

“The general opinion encountered was that Indonesia is a total failure regarding Papua and is just another coloniser.

“The Indonesian Government does not give opportunities to Papuan people or protect them.

“It was said that most Church leaders try to deal with the problems one by one, but the whole picture should be looked at as a series of policies designed to overcome the Papuan people.

“In every sector of government the system is composed of Indonesian tactics to destroy the Papuans.

“Beatings and torture are used, but also the economic aspects of lack of opportunity, the sidelining of the indigenous peoples, the taking over of land by companies … are part of the plan.”

Accusations in the report

– A young, wealthy businessman poisoned in 2015. He had financially supported building an office for the National Committee for West Papua, an independence-oriented group. He also funded Papuans being sent to international conferences.
– A Papuan woman activist arrested in 2015 by police for holding a prayer service in support of an international conference in London. She and her group were interrogated for five hours.
– In January this year, 27 Papuan palm oil workers were allegedly tortured by the Indonesian army’s special force Kopassus. The men had previously complained to their company bosses after they had not been paid for two months.
– A man aged 35 who used to work for Papua’s Freeport gold mine was kidnapped in 2015, killed, and his body thrown on the street. There was no sign of torture and the police told his family that it was an accident.
– Police and military broke up community activities such as prayer meetings.
– In September 2015, 18-year-old Daniel Bowgow was killed. His father was a local prayer meeting leader.
– People reported they couldn’t move freely at night to search for food for fear of being kidnapped. The military and police use Papuan informers to let them know of people’s movements.

(Mark Bowling)

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Papua Governor: No more conflicts in Puncak Jaya

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Illustration of Mulia City, Puncak Jaya Regency. – Jubi / Doc

Jayapura, Jubi – Papua Governor Lukas Enembe said Puncak Jaya District there should not be a stigma for Puncak Jaya District as a conflict area because it is not a killing field. In contrary, this area is safe and peaceful.

“I governed this region once, so I know what people want. For that reason, I ask the local government officials to be able to take care of the community so to avoid more conflicts,” told Enembe to reporters on Thursday (09/13/2018) at the Office of the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP).

Furthermore, the governor said to avoid conflicts between different tribes and groups; the government officials should not also act to represent their personal or group interests.

Separately, Papua Police Deputy Chief the Brigadier General Yakoubus Marjuki said that the police always try to use a subtle approach to solve conflicts in Papua.

“This is our commitment because we want every region in Papua to always be safe and peaceful including in Puncak Jaya.” (*)

 


Reporter: Roy Ratumakin

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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KNPB supports Kanaky for self-determination

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KNPB and Gempar Papua activists at the Secretariat of Central KNPB. – Jubi / Hengky Yeimo

Jayapura, Jubi – Central West Papua National Committee (KNPB) held a limited discussion to support FKLNS (Organization of the Liberation Struggle of the Kanaky Tribe in New Caledonia) which has been well received by the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to conduct a referendum in November 2018.

The First Chairman of Central KNPB Agus Kosay said it’s time for Kanaky to get self-determination from French colonialism.

“Kanaky must declare their self-determination. If Kanaky gets their independence, it would be able to give their support to West Papua because we share the same situation, which lives under the colonialism,” he said on Wednesday (08/12/2018) in Jayapura.

Meanwhile a member of Gempar (Papuan Youth and Student Movement) Nelius Wenda said as a nation oppressed by Indonesia, West Papua fully supports the referendum agenda of New Caledonia.

“Kanaky must determine their destiny. It must be far better than being under the French colonialism. In the future we Papuans are just like Kanaky,” he said. (*)

 

Reporter: Hengky Yeimo

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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In Papuan human rights context, Jokowi considered no different from Prabowo

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Papuan students and youth are arrested by the police on Tuesday (4/9/2018) in a rally to support Vanuatu to bring up the issue of West Papua in the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). – Jubi / Doc.

Jayapura, Jubi – The current president of Indonesia Joko Widodo is considered to be no different from Prabowo in Human Rights violations in Papua.

If Prabowo recognised as a perpetrator of human rights violations in Papua, Widodo considered allowing violent conflicts and human rights violations in Papua to continue. Now both will compete in the Indonesian presidential election 2019.

“For us from Mimika District, Jokowi is no different from Prabowo. Why? If Prabowo is a perpetrator of human rights violation in Papua, the current president Jokowi knows about these violations but let it happened repeatedly,” said Odizeus Beanal, the Director of Amungme Tribal Society (Lemasa) told Jubi on Tuesday (11/9/2018) while mentioning some cases of human rights violations occurred in Paniai, Timika, Ndugama and other regions.

Today the allegations of human rights violations in Papua still continue. Some violent incidents against civilians that resulted in casualties and arrests of random people still occur under the current administration.

The Amnesty International Indonesia has recorded 38 cases of extrajudicial killings from 2014 to mid-2018 that confirmed 51 victims. This report launched in mid-July 2018.

Government efforts and victims rejection

The Indonesian government through the Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security has formed an integrated team whose task to collect data and information, make analyses and report to the president. The team who consist of 39 members from Papua and Jakarta established in May 2018 as an integrated team to resolve cases of alleged human right violations in Papua. However, it obtained rejection from many Papuans to consider them as not neutral.

“It is impossible to accept those who suspected as perpetrators to become referees. Furthermore, we know this team facilitated by the Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security who has a military background. From the beginning, the Police has supported this team. So how could we believe them?” said Peneas Lokbere, the Coordinator of United for Truth (BUK).

According to Lokbere, who continuously are accompanying victims of Papuan human rights violations, the team only maintained the strategy of former minister Wiranto who at that time suggested that the alleged human rights violations in Papua resolved through the customary law.

Moreover, he said until now there are hundreds of victims of human rights violations in Papua who still fight for justice. For instance, the family of victims of the Bloody Paniai incident of December 8th, 2014. The number of victims might be up to thousands because these alleged human rights violations have occurred since Indonesia annexed Papua in the 60s.

“Jokowi once expressed in front of five thousand more Papuans at Mandala Stadium in Jayapura that he would immediately resolve the Bloody Paniai case. But it was only a promise, “said Tinus Pigai, a relative of Apinus Gobai who was the victim of the incident at Karel Gobai Square, Paniai.

According to him, Jokowi’s visits to Papua were in vain, because he had not been able to fulfil his promise to resolve the Bloody Paniai case. (*)

 

Reporter: Victor Mambor

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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