Serious violations of human rights in Papua should be investigated

 Serious violations of human rights in Papua should be investigated


August 17, 2017

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) urges the Indonesian Authorities to ensure that cases of human rights violations that occurred in Papua must be investigated properly, under fair trial principles and the Rule of Law. In the last two months, the AHRC has documented and reported some three cases of serious human rights violations, as follows: #1. Ruthless shooting and violence committed by the Paniai Police Mobile Brigade in South Tigi District, Deiyai Regency, resulting in the death of one indigenous Papuan; #2. Cruel assault of 15-year-old Albert Nawipa, an indigenous Papuan teenager; #3. The torture of Mr. Niko Hisage, an indigenous Papuan. He was assaulted by Army personnel from the sub-district military command of Wamena city.

In addition, the AHRC very recently documented and reported the case of arbitrary arrest and detention of Mr. Yanto Waine, a member of the National Committee for West Papua (KNPB). He was illegally detained in the Nabire Police Station (Polres Nabire) after distributing statements on the street. Besides this case, the AHRC also notes the forced dissolution and arbitrary arrest of 29 Papuan student activists. They were brought to the Yogyakarta Police Station after conducting a peaceful protest. They were denouncing the New York agreement concerning the legitimacy of the 1969 Referendum in Papua. It resulted in Papua’s becoming part of the Republic of Indonesia until the present day. There were 32 student activists in Jakarta and 46 student activists in Semarang who were also arrested for holding peaceful protests. Despite the fact that they have been released without criminal charges laid on them, the illegal arrest and forced dissolution had the following effect. It caused trauma by breaching the Rule of Law and the Principles of Democracy. Indonesia, in its Constitution, has recognized democracy and the freedom of opinion.

The AHRC has learned about and monitored the criminal justice system in Indonesia, in this case, Papua. To put it simply, it does not really function. Human right cases and even alleged gross violations of human rights such as the Paniai case remain unaddressed. On the contrary, the Government under President Joko Widodo is mainly concerned about infrastructure and economic development in the country. Local indigenous Papuans, on many occasions, have questioned this limited development focus. Does this development increase the living standard of the ordinary Papuan, or does it foster the expansion of multi-national corporations and mining exploitation in Papua?

So far, the Government does not have a strong policy of human rights protection in Papua. It tends to simplify problems. An example would be the statement by Mr.Wiranto the Coordinating Minister of Politics, Law and Security (Menkopolhukam). After a vicious shooting by the Police in Deiyai Regency, and without proper investigation, he stated through the Media, that the case was not one of a violation of human rights. Of course, this kind of utterance undermines the legal standing of victims seeking justice and redress. In the Papua, Deiyai Regency shooting incident, the Police used lethal force. They attacked indigenous Papuans, resulting in the death of one man and injuries to at least ten other indigenous Papuans.

Massive and frequent human rights violations in Papua are caused by the security approach used. The Government had been reluctant to evaluate and audit the present Security Forces in Papua. The AHRC also learned that since Papua had been divided into two Provinces namely West Papua and Papua, the number of security forces increased due to the development of new military offices and facilities. Media and public access to Papua is still difficult, especially in remote areas. President Widodo had declared that the international media were allowed to enter Papua but, in fact it is very difficult to obtain the required permit. This matter had become a serious concern of the World Press Freedom Day Conference, held in Indonesia recently. Many journalists who attended the event questioned the Police concerning press freedom in Papua. Lack of journalistic access to Papua is worsening the human rights situation in Papua.

Therefore, the AHRC calls on the Government and Law Enforcement Agencies to seriously and promptly investigate the cases of human rights violations which took place in Papua. The Government should not hide behind the focus of infrastructure and economic development. Infrastructure and economic development will be nothing without law enforcement and justice. It is clear that Papua is waiting for justice, waiting for a serious Indonesian Government to take on the pending human rights cases guaranteeing human rights protection for Indigenous Papuans.

On August 17, 2017 Indonesia is celebrating 72 years of independence from Dutch colonialism. The Government should reflect that 72 years is more than enough to ensure that the State / the Government is present at ground level to protect its citizens, including indigenous Papuans. In order to protect human rights, law enforcement must be carried out, legal certainty should be presented, impunity must go, and no further recurrences of the same crimes.

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End Violence in West Papua

Issues :

Administration of justiceArbitrary arrest and detention,DemocracyEnforced disappearances and abductions,Freedom of expressionHuman rights defendersInhuman and degrading treatmentInstitutional reformJudicial system,Prosecution systemRight to fair trialRight to lifeRule of law

Indonesian Military Officer Orders That Forest Burners Be Shot

Jakarta. A military official in the Indonesian province of Jambi said on Saturday (05/08) he has ordered that anyone who deliberately sets fire to forest areas be shot, as authorities struggle to contain fires that cause choking smoke in the region.

Five Indonesian provinces have declared emergencies because of forest fires, according to Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency (BNPB), with the number of hotspots steadily increasing in many areas over the past week.

The BNPB is working with many government branches, including the military, to contain the fires. Indonesian media have reported that authorities in the neighboring province of South Sumatra, also on the island of Sumatra, had issued the same order.

“This is to stress a point to the people, who have been warned many, many times,” said Colonel Refrizal, commander of the forest fire task force in Jambi. “[This is] to show our firmness and seriousness.”

The order would be carried out “responsibly”, said Refrizal, who goes by one name.

BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Twitter the Jambi task force was working to extinguish a fire covering an area of 10 hectares.

Sutopo also said authorities had found one area in Jambi that had been “intentionally” burned by its owner.

The number of hotspots had increased to 239 by July 30, from 173 hotspots three days earlier, according to the BNPB. The hotspots were seen mostly on Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of Borneo island, with some also on Sumatra and Java island.

The agency had previously warned that the threat of forest fires would escalate, with the dry season expected to peak in September.

Indonesia is regularly hit by forest fires, which can result in choking smoke blowing across to neighboring countries like Singapore and Malaysia.

The sprawling Southeast Asian archipelago suffered some of its worst forest fires in 2015, hitting Sumatra and Kalimantan.

The World Bank, citing government data, said 2.6 million hectares of land in Indonesia burned between June and October 2015, causing $16 billion of estimated economic damage.

Draining and conversion of peatland, often driven by palm oil plantations, contributed to the intensity of haze from the fires, the World Bank said.



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

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

the Guardian 3/8/17

28-year-old man reportedly killed during the incident in Deiya regency, with up to seven wounded, including two children

West Papuan activists clash with police guarding the office of a US mining company. On Tuesday, one person was reportedly killed by Indonesian police at a protest in Deiya regency.
West Papuan activists clash with police guarding the office of a US mining company. On Tuesday, one person was reportedly killed by Indonesian police at a protest in Deiya regency. Photograph: Ed Wray/AP

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?”