Stop Military business and respect the rights of indigenous Papuans.

Stop Military business and respect the rights of indigenous Papuans.


Translation of a Press Release from a Coalition of Civil Society Organisations


On 16th July 2016 soldiers from the sub-district military command in Muting, Merauke Regency, came to look for Agustinus Dayo Mahuze, the chair of the Mahuze clan in Muting village, at his house. Their intention was to invite him to meet with the bosses of oil palm company PT Agriprima Cipta Persada (ACP) at the plantation site, and also to deliver a notice signed by the chair of the Kartika Setya Jaya co-operative, a military business linked to the District Military Comand

1707 in Merauke. The letter was dated 11th July 2016 and with reference number 8/16/VII/2016, and it gave notice of a permit of a work contract to clear land for oil palm in PT ACP’s concession..


The soldiers from the sub-district military command met Agustinus Dayo Mahuze away from his house, on the road towards Mbilanggo village, that afternoon, and stated the purpose of their visit. When the military officers told Agustinus Dayo about the plans between the co-operative and the company he felt threatened, afraid and anxious.

PT ACP’s has often involved the military and police in support of its business interests, and they have participated in activities related to obtaining the right to use land and in clearing land. This work has been accompanied by intimidation and threats of violence, generating nervousness and tension between the local community and the company, government and police and military personnel. Evidence for this are the letters the community repeatedly sent to the government, the police and military and the National Human Rights Commission between January and July 2015, to which they received no meaningful response.


Before that, the community had already made their feelings clear to the government and company by erecting notices around their ancestral land that read “the greater Mahuze clan’s land is not to be used for oil palm”. The community are also hoping to resolve the problem of a few members of the clan who have yet to repay money which had been given to a them as land compensation and which is being considered as proof of the transfer of land title, despite the fact that the clan members who accepted it did so without the general agreement of the whole greater Mahuze clan.


The involvement of the state security apparatus in providing security for PT ACP’s business interests, and even taking a direct role in the enterprise by clearing company land which is still disputed, and the way this creates a feeling amongst the community that they are not safe and facing injustice, represents a violation of the constitution and the law. The actions of these military personnel are also in contradiction to the military’s national commander to reform military institutions, including placing curbs on military businesses.


Because of this, we demand:


(1) The Coordinating Minister for Law and Human Rights, National Military Commander and Chief of Police should put a halt to military business, in which the military provides security for or expedites corporate business activities in ways which violate the law and do not support local communities;


(2) The National Military Commander and Police Chief should give harsh penalties to police or military personnel found to be involved in such businesses which lie outside their institutional remit and cause anxiety in local communities;


(3) The Agriculture Minister and Bupati of Merauke Regency should undertake a social and environmental audit, and a review of permits for work being carried out by oil palm company PT Agriprima Cipta Persada in Muting, Merauke.


We support reforms police and military institutions in such a way that they can provide protection and service for citizens, and we also hope that all parties will show respect for the rights of Papuan indigenous peoples.


Jakarta 22 July 2016


Coalition of Civil Society Organisations PUSAKA, Yayasan Satu Keadilan, ELSAM, Konsorsium Pembaruan Agraria, SKP Keuskupan Merauke, SKP KC Fransiskan Jayapura, LBH Jakarta, Perkumpulan JUBI, debtwatch Indonesia, Epistema Institute, GRAIN International, Sekretariat Bina Desa, Koalisi Rakyat untuk Keadilan Perikanan, Indonesian Human Rights Committee for Social Justice, WALHI, Perkumpulan Bantuan Hukum Kalimantan, Institut Global Justice, Solidaritas Perempuan, SAMPAN Kalimantan, HUMA, JKMA Aceh, JERAT Papua, Yayasan Anak Dusun Papua, AURIGA, Institute Ecosoc, KONTRAS, Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia, GARDA Papua, FIM Papua. Individual supporters: Rahma Mary, Idham Arsyad, Dede Shineba, Budi Hernawan, Teguh Surya.

West Papuan refugees in Papua New Guinea: on the way to citizenship


4) West Papuan refugees in Papua New Guinea: on the way to citizenship?

By Jenny Munro on July 19, 2016

At Rainbow settlement in Port Moresby, 38 families of West Papuan heritage live in a drainage ditch approximately 100 metres wide by 200 metres long. To one side, the neighbours’ retaining wall contains pipes which direct runoff water and rain directly into the settlement. On the other side of the settlement is a construction site that doubles as a soccer field for Rainbow’s children. The houses are small structures built with a patchwork of materials that reveals the recent history of external engagement — tarps from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), plywood from a church fundraiser, plastic chairs from a West Papuan who lives outside the settlement. In the context of increasing efforts from Papua New Guinea (PNG) authorities to register West Papuan refugees and provide citizenship status, this post flags some of the relevant historical context and reflects on current challenges. As Papua New Guineans including Oro Province Governor Gary Juffa have suggested, citizenship is not sufficient to improve West Papuan refugees’ living conditions.

Over 100 West Papuan refugees have been living in Rainbow for the past eight years, since being evicted from 9 Mile settlement. According to one community leader, 22 babies were born to refugee families in the settlement in 2015. The children are entitled to access public school education and health services though their residency status remains ambiguous. But like other urban residents in Port Moresby’s settlements, many children do not attend school because their parents struggle to afford sufficient food, clean clothes, transport or extra costs associated with school. Continue reading

Papuan students in Yogyakarta endure racist insults, multiple arrests in two day siege

Papuan students in Yogyakarta endure racist insults, multiple arrests in two day siege


CNN Indonesia – July 17, 2016


Anggi Kusumadewi, Jakarta — Animal names and racist insults could be heard shouted at midday on Friday July 15. The shouts originated from members of mass organisations besieging the Kamasan I Papua student dormitory on Jalan Kusumanegara in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta.


Four mass organisations arrived at the Papuan dormitories, namely the Indonesian Veterans’ Children (FKPPI), the Pancasila Youth (PP), the Paksi Katon [which sees itself as a guardian of Javanese culture and the Yogyakarta sultanate — JB] and the Yogyakarta Militia (Laskar Jogja). In total they numbered around 100 or more people.


Upon hearing the sudden string of animal names and racist insults, the Papuan students inside the student dormitory were startled. One of the students said, “They really said that, the shouts from out front, I have eyes and ears, at us Papuan students, Papuan people”, they said angrily and with a sickened heart.


According to the Papuan students, the police officers on guard around the dormitory just ignored the racist behaviour. At the time there were just as many police officers. Yogyakarta resident Kindarto Boti said that police had deployed the officers in three or four trucks. Another resident said that the police arrive fully armed as if they were going to arrest terrorists.


And it was not just the police that were armed — members of the mass organisations also carried weapons. “They brought wooden [clubs], crowbars and other sharp objects”, one Papuan student who did not wish to be named for security reasons told CNN Indonesia on Saturday July 16.


Papuan students in Yogyakarta had been receiving racist insults since Thursday July 14 through SMS messages which were sent to those who were members of the People’s Union for West Papua Freedom (PRPPB).


The PRPPB had earlier planned to hold a long-march from the Papuan student dormitories to the zero kilometre point on Jl. Panembahan Senopati. This location is a strategic intersection and a tourist attraction in Yogyakarta and often used for protest actions.


The Long march, which should have taken place at 9am on Friday morning, was part of a peaceful action supporting the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) becoming a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) — an inter-government organisation in the South Pacific comprising four Melanesian countries, namely Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.


However before the scheduled 9am march could begin, police officers surrounded the Papuan student dormitory. Scuffles broke out between the students and police with the Papuan students being forced back inside the dormitories.


The main road in front of the dormitory was then closed, the front gate blockaded and the rear gate blocked with a police truck. All access in or out of the dormitories was prevented. “Our friends who arrived at the dormitories were intercepted and arrested by police”, said a Papuan student inside the dormitory.


They described how two Papuan colleagues who arrived on a motorcycle via the rear gate were stopped. The motorcycle was confiscated resulting in a scuffle with police who then fired warning shots and arrested the pair.


Another colleague from the group Student Struggle for Democracy who tried to enter the dormitory was also arrested. Seven others were likewise arrested as they returned home from buying sweet potatoes from the Giwangan market.


A local resident asked the police why all the Papuan students had been ordered back into the dormitory. The police replied that they had information that several mass organisations would arrive and it would be extremely difficult to stop them if they decided to attack the students in an open location.


As the clock showed 9am it was clear that students from the PRPPB would not be able to realise their plans for a long-march. Around an hour later they began giving political speeches on the dormitory grounds.


In the hours that followed there was uproar when a number of mass organisations arrived and began shouting insults. The siege continued until the 150 or so Papuan students inside the dormitory began to grow hungry. But the sweet potatoes they were to eat had being seized by police when they arrested the seven students.


Calls for solidarity actions and requests for logistical assistance were made to comrades outside. Yogyakarta residents responded by thronging to gather food for the Papuan students that was channeled through the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI). However the PMI ambulance carrying the food failed to drop of the logistics after it was intercepted by police.


Food was only able to be delivered to the dormitory at 9pm. “I sent it towards midnight because it wasn’t possible in the afternoon, the security was still tight because there were several members of mass organisations there”, said Yogyakarta resident Darto.


Darto, who had been monitoring the dormitory over night, related how difficult it was to send food to the Papuan students. He had to be circumspect.


“I arrived at around 8pm wanting to send food in but wasn’t able to. A plastic bag filled with food was entrusted to a local resident whose house is near the dormitory. I wasn’t able to enter the dormitory, [I] waited until it was dark, changing location, intelligence agents arrived, asking a lot of questions, it gave me the creeps. So I moved away from the dormitory, they checked and approached again, moved away again. Finally I went home at 8am [the next morning] when the situation had calmed down”.


The Yogyakarta regional police say that that officers would continue to guard and monitor the Papuan student dormitories until the situation is considered secure.


“The police hope that the situation will become favourable. We’re on guard so as to prevent something undesirable happening. Because they (the Papuan students) were planning to hold a protest action supporting separatism, Papuan independence, and there were social organisations who didn’t agree”, said Yogyakarta regional police public relations chief Assistant Superintendent Any Pudjiastuti.


The Papuan students wanting to hold a separatist action, according to Pudjiastuti, were not just those studying in Yogyakarta. Protesters arrived from Semarang and Solo in Central Java and the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya. Yogyakarta was the centre for the action.


The arrested Papuan students have now been released with the exception of one who according to Pudjiastuti, “Was proven to have resisted [arrest] and assaulted an officer with a sharp weapon resulting a head injury and the harming of a police official”.


“So we are not detaining them. We secured six people for questioning. Of the six, five were found to be not guilty, one person committed a crime and is being processed”, said Pudjiastuti.


Currently there are still 30 people inside the dormitory while the others have returned to their respective boarding houses. Those from out of town have returned home.


One of the student who remained inside the dormitory said they felt traumatised. “The Papuan student dormitory is still under military siege, but we are now able to continue activities, unlike yesterday on Friday. On Friday, it was dangerous for us to even go out. We were hungry because we couldn’t leave the dormitory to get food”, they said.


The mass organisations that wanted to attack the Papuan students, they said, were not just patrolling in front of the dormitory, but also on Jl. Timoho, Malioboro and Glagahsari. They conducted sweeps for Papuans. Not surprisingly, all of this has made Papuan residents in Yogyakarta feel threatened and intimidated (agk)


[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was “Kisah Mahasiswa Papua di Yogya Dua Hari Terkurung di Asrama”.]






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Give Papua more freedom
Give Papua more freedom
Mon, July 18 2016 | 07:09 am
Indonesia could claim a diplomatic victory over those who have for decades been offering international support for Papuan independence after the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) denied full membership to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) last week. But that would not change anything in Papua, where discontent and distrust toward Jakarta is still rife.

Sadly, heavy-handed approaches, which have proven to be ineffective and obsolete, have remained the only option available to deal with the dissatisfaction and grievances of Papuan people, as seen in the arrest of dozens of people in Papua and Yogyakarta for throwing their weight behind ULMWP over the past week.

Worse still, in the case of the Yogyakarta incident, local community groups have been involved in suppressing the right of Papuans to voice their thoughts, not to mention the dissemination of old pictures on social media to mislead the public about what really happened. The anger of Yogyakartans about Papuan “troublemakers” is reminiscent of the role of hard-line groups in the dispersal of academic forums discussing the 1965 tragedy held in the city over the last few years, as well as in the restriction of freedom of expression throughout the country.

There are indeed sporadic armed attacks launched by the Free Papua Organization (OPM), which the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police have cracked down on, because they pose a clear danger to other people and public security.

The Papuan protesters and students are merely expressing their dissatisfaction with the impoverishment they have been enduring in their resource-rich land. So it should come as no surprise if they aspire for an independent state because they have lost trust in the government.

Such demands were once expressed in other mineral and oil-producing regions like Riau, and even in Yogyakarta when its people defended the city’s monarchy. But rather than making arrests or clamping down on their aspirations, the central government opted for dialogue to reach a settlement.

There has been no action taken against groups and their members for having openly expressed their aspirations for an Islamic state in the country either.

The fact that Papuan people have to risk arrest and jail sentences on treason charges to simply exercise their freedom of expression will only exacerbate their feelings of being discriminated against and further fortify their struggle to part with Indonesia.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has realized his promise to visit Papua more frequently than his predecessors and ordered the acceleration of development in the easternmost territory, especially the construction of roads that will bring many regions out of isolation.

But the initiatives will not help Jakarta win the hearts and minds of Papuans unless the security approach stops. Papuans do not need special autonomy status that only triggers large-scale corruption in the first place, but fulfillment of their rights as Indonesian citizens.

Our Constitution guarantees them this.

An activist’s account of his dedication to peaceful protest


1) Indonesia –

Files Karma, Indonesia           1 July 2016, 10:52AM


Amnesty supporters worldwide wrote thousands of letters on behalf of Filep Karma who was released from prison in November 2015. Today, he shares why he won’t stop fighting for freedom of expression in Indonesia.


Filep Karma reading letters from Amnesty International supporters. © Amnesty International



I was born in Jayapura, Papua, the easternmost region of Indonesia. Since my childhood, I witnessed numerous human rights violations.

Under former President Suharto (1966-1998), people who spoke out for the rights of Papuans were immediately accused of separatism by the military government. Anyone who wanted to fight against this injustice had to go [into hiding].

When Papuans demand independence it’s because many of them know that the 1969 independence referendum was unfair. During that time Papuan people were intimidated and coerced by the Indonesian military forces. People were killed or they disappeared. Papuans lived in terror and didn’t have the courage to speak out. I could not accept this.

When I was a civil servant in the 1990s I was invited to study for a year in the Philippines. I learned about Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King – how you could struggle against injustice using peaceful methods. I then decided that Papuans should do the same, and speak up for their rights peacefully.





Imprisoned for the first time


When Suharto resigned in May 1998, I thought this was the moment to initiate a peaceful Papuan independence campaign. I organized a gathering in Biak city and I led the raising of the Morning Star Flag [a symbol of Papuan independence which is banned in Indonesia]. For this, I was convicted of “treason” and sentenced to six and a half years in prison [the sentence was overturned on appeal after 10 months]. Continue reading