4 out of 10 West Papuan women found to have been subjected to Indonesian state violence

4 out of 10 West Papuan women found to have been subjected to Indonesian state violence

October 19, 2017

Research by the Papuan Women’s Working Group together with the Asia Justice Rights (AJAR) has revealed shocking levels of Indonesian state violence being committed towards West Papuan women. Of the representative 170 indigenous West Papuan women surveyed between 2013 and 2017, 64 of them (4 out of 10) had been subject to violence committed by Indonesian state authorities.

Some of the violence the West Papuan women testified experiencing included: Shootings, torture, sexual violence, arbitrary detention, husbands/family members lost or killed, husbands/family members detained, and property which was stolen or damaged.

When releasing the research results on 18th October, Selviana Yolanda, from AJAR stated that util now, there has been no consistent effort from the Indonesian state and civil society to restore and empower victims of state violence and human rights abuses. In fact, Selviana said, they now have no access to health and other public services because they have been labeled as part of the Free West Papua movement. She added that in one village in Wamena, a group of widows whose husbands were killed during the 1977-1978 massacres were forced to live together in very isolated conditions. According to Selviana, the unresolved continuing impact over the years has left West Papuan women who are the victims of violence; marginalized from all walks of life, sick and living in poor conditions. They lost their wealth and livelihoods due to the conflict.

“Women who suffered torture, sexual violence we find from the 70s or 80s whose children were shot, tortured and so on are still alive; but living in discrimination because there is a stigma attached to them”. She added, “So for us the violence is not over.”

Systematic Indonesian state violence against women in West Papua has continued unabated ever since Indonesia invaded West Papua in 1963. In a public report to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in 1999, the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women concluded that the Indonesian security forces used rape “as an instrument of torture and intimidation” in West Papua, and “torture of women detained by the Indonesian security forces was widespread”.

For more information on violence against women in West Papua, please read this very informative article in the Guardian. 


Indonesia seizes illegally logged wood from Papua



2) Indonesia seizes illegally logged wood from Papua

Published: March 9, 2018



JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian authorities foiled the shipment of 21 containers of prized ironwood from Papua, highlighting what environmentalists say is a rampant illegal trade in the country’s easternmost region.

The Forestry and Environment Ministry’s law enforcement agency said the wood from the Kaimana tropical forest was processed and ready for shipment to Surabaya when seized. The city has a major port and is a center of Indonesia’s wood furniture manufacturing and export industry on the island of Java.

Greenpeace Indonesia said the confiscation, which was made Tuesday and announced Thursday, is small compared with long-standing smuggling from Papua where no “big actors” have been prosecuted. The region has Indonesia’s largest remaining tropical forests and is seen by logging and palm oil companies as a new frontier for exploitation after the stripping of most of Java, Sumatra and Borneo of natural forests.

Indonesia was admitted in 2016 to an EU arrangement that makes it easier for Indonesian wood producers to export to the bloc if they’ve been certified by Indonesia’s new Timber Verification and Legality System, known by its local acronym SVLK.

Some environmental and civil society groups have said the system, meant to provide certainty about the origin of wood, could easily become a conduit for illegal timber from a country where tropical forests have been cut down at an epic rate.

The ministry said investigations by police and its staff in Papua revealed a scheme for transporting and processing the wood and then shipping it once the desired quantity had been accumulated in warehouses at a West Papua port. Apparently falsified documents were to be used for the transport of the illegal wood.

It said police have arrested a suspect, who is a director of one of the companies involved, who could face up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $140,000.

Ironwood is prized for its beauty and strength and is used as flooring and in joinery.

Greenpeace Indonesia forests campaigner Charles Tawaru said weak supervision is one factor why the illegal timber trade continues to flourish in Papua and a significant amount of wood is shipped out without verification.

On the ground, oversight through the timber verification and legality system had weakened because of the absorption of the district forestry service into the larger provincial apparatus, he said.

Earlier this week, the U.K. ambassador to Indonesia, Moazzam Malik, said the SVLK system had provided a major boost for Indonesian wood exporters.

“The SVLK standard that Indonesia created, actually with an enormous U.K. investment over a 15-year timeframe, is something that’s given Indonesian wood exporters access to the European market on a no restrictions basis,” Malik said at a Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club event.

“A world first, really a very major boost and that industry is responding really well,” he said.


Solomon Islands Deputy Prime minister seeks apology



06 March 2018


DPM says Fiji should apologise


Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says Fijian PM Frank Bainimarama should apologise to MSG member countries.


Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Manasseh Sogavare says Fiji Prime Minister (PM) should apologise to the member countries of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) for admitting Indonesia as an associate member.


Speaking on the floor of parliament yesterday, DPM says Fiji PM Frank Bainimarama should apologise to the MSG member countries for admitting Indonesia as an associate member which was totally un-procedural.


“There was no consensus in the admission of Indonesia by member countries.”


He said Fiji PM solely made the decision to admit Indonesia into MSG and forced the member countries to endorse it.


But DPM revealed that when it comes to the application for membership by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) into MSG, Fiji PM talks about the strict criteria to be followed to become a member.


“Which continue to be a difficulty for ULMWP to become a full member of MSG,” said the DPM.


Sogavare said the application by ULMWP is consistent with that of the Socialist National Liberation Front (FLINKS) of New Caledonia when they apply for membership.


DPM was speaking during the question and answer session in Parliament when Member of Parliament (MP) for Aoke/Langalanga Matthew Wale asked PM Rick Hou to answer the questions related to his apology MSG member countries for the sour relationship over the past years.


He said, MSG is a purely political body to free Melanesia from colonisation but this is not the case today as their interests have been shifted from its fundamental purpose that establish the organisation.


Mr Sogavare said, if MSG stands on the very purpose and the founding principles upheld by the MSG leaders who started the organisation there should not be any difficulty in admitting ULMWP full membership.


He said ULMWP is a political entity representing the indigenous people of West Papua who a Melanesians, so there is no problem to admit them full membership in MSG.


Arguing that MSG has been shift from its original purpose to protects the rights and freedom of Melanesia from colonialism.


“Close association of Fiji with Indonesia is sabotaging the work of MSG and their membership in MSG is not political but economic interest.”


He concluded that Fiji and Papua New Guinea strongly allied with Indonesia therefore their relationship continues to sabotage the work of MSG to uphold its purpose.