Thursday, June 4, 2009

West Papua: Buchtar Tabuni denies KNPB is involved in recent acts of violence

Abridged translation by TAPOL
Cenderawasih Pos, 4 June 2009
Claims made by the secretary-general of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), Demus Wenda, that the KNPB was responsible for acts of violence during the period from January to May 2009 have been strongly denied Buchtar Tabuni, the chairman of the KNPB.
The actions referred to include the attack on the Abepura police station just prior to the April election, the occupation of the Kapeso airstrip, the fire at the Cenderawasih University Rector's office and attacks on a group of peasants in Tanah Hitam a few days ago.
Buchtar told journalists that the statement made by Demus Wenda has nothing to do with the organisation and was issued without his knowledge. Buchtar also said he does not know anyone called Demus Wenda.
Buchtar made this statement to journalists in the company of his lawyer defending him in court. [Buchtar is facing charges of subversion for organising a demonstration on 16 October last, to welcome the establishment of International Parliamentarians for West Papua, in London.] He said that the KNPB was set up to organise protests against government policies which fail to benefit the common people.
He said that KNPB is not connected in any way with other organisations such as the OPM. If the OPM is involved in these actions, then they must take responsibility. His organisation wants to support the struggle of ordinary people who are dissatisfied with government policies.
Although Buchtar is currently in custody and unable to follow closely developments outside, he reckons that there are other forces behind statement made by Demus Wenda. Whether it is the OPM or someone else, he does not know.
The programme of the KNPB is to use democratic means and to avoid acts of violence.
Buchtar's lawyer, Iwan Niode, explained that the KNPB was set up by students in 2008, particularly those forced to leave (meaning here unclear). The latest developments seem to be aimed at implicating the organisation, leading eventually to its being banned and to the arrest of its activists. People playing this game are giving legitimacy to possible actions by the police to disband the organisation. He said also that he feared the developments would be harmful to his client who is now on trial, with the verdict fast approaching. 'The verdict of the court could well be influenced by these events,' he said.
He said that the proceedings in court should be allowed to reach their conclusion.
Markus Haluk, sec-general of the Central Highlands Students Association, who has been closely following the trial, expressed the same opinion.
'Demus Wenda claims to have the mandate of the TPN/OPM. When did he get that mandate and who issued it? We are being implicated and in the end we will all be arrested,' he said. He thought that there was another agenda at work, prior to the election - trying to have an impact on public opinion. 'If people wanted to undermine the election, they should have taken the matter to the Electoral Commission in Jakarta.
He called on people not to be provoked by all this.

Posted via email from Sem Karoba's Posterous

AWPA May update

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088 West Papua update. May 2009

Summary of May events

Airstrip occupied

An airstrip was occupied by the OPM in the village of Kasepo, Mambramo Raya, some 300 kilometers from Jayapura on the 18 May. According to the Jakarta Globe (20 May), The OPM had taken over the landing strip and erected a tent and raised the Morning Star Flag. The police responded by sending personnel from Detachment 88, the anti-terror squad to the area. As of the 2 June the airstrip was still being occupied by up to 150 local residents. Although the police claim they have the airfield surrounded they said they are trying to persuade the residents to leave voluntarily. The occupation of the airstrip is under the leadership of Decky Imbiri. Amnesty International’s State of the world's human rights report (2009)
Amnesty International’s State of the world's human rights report (2009), has reported that the situations in Papua and Maluku have continued to deteriorate. In Amnesty’s country report on Indonesia it stated that there continued to be attacks on freedom of expression, that the number of prisoners of conscience rose sharply to 117 and attacks against minority religious groups and their leaders increased across the archipelago. Amnesty also reported that “torture, excessive use of force and unlawful killings by police and security forces continued” and “no progress was made in bringing the perpetrators of past gross human rights violations in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD), Papua and Timor-Leste to justice”.

From the report on Papua
“Low-level conflict between the security forces and pro-independence insurgents in Papua continued. Local community leaders were intimidated and threatened by the military and police. There were reports of torture and other ill-treatment, excessive use of force and extrajudicial executions by security forces. In August, at a rally celebrating World Indigenous Day, police opened fire into a crowd of people after some of them had raised the banned “Morning Star” flag. One peaceful demonstrator, Opinus Tabuni, was found dead following the event. Filep Karma, sentenced to 15 years, and Yusak Pakage, sentenced to ten years, remained in jail. The two men were convicted in 2005 for raising the “Morning Star” flag”. The full Country report on Indonesia can be found at

Farmers terrorized

The Jakarta Post (26/5/09) reported that an armed group were terrorizing farmers in the Tanah Hitam hills in Abepura, Papua. According to one farmer “a group of men armed with arrows and bows came to him while he was picking tomatoes. He ran away but was chased. “There were around 20 of them. I managed to hide under a tree and they surrounded me. Then my cellphone rang and they left me”. The police have yet to confirm whether the armed groups were part of the separatist Free Papua Movement.
 Victor F. Yeimo of the West Papua National Committee, reported that the attack in the Abepura Mountain was not by the TPN/OPM, but by “ Indonesia Brigadir Mobile (Papua Police). Many camps of farmer broken up by non Papua residents (Indonesia civil militia of Merah Putih) and because on May 24 2009 local indigenous people prohibited them to not occupied their own land”.

Victor also reported that activists from the KNPB are being targeted by the Indoensian military. The following is from Victor’s report, “The Chef of KNPB region Nabire's house has broken up by Police of Nabire, so is the secretary's house. 17 Indigenous people still in jail in Nabire after captured when they were rally in demand referendum and boycott Indonesia election in West Papua. My Photos already publish in the public places in Nabire. On of my friends who has the access in Papua Police Office inform me that they have spent our 75 milion rupiah for somebody who arrest or kill me. My Parents and my yongger sister still outside of my house. They have been targeted after I led KNPB to carried out peace demonstrations in whole West Papua to demand referendum and boycott Indonesia public election in West Papua. The meeeting in whole high land districs government have made an agreement in Timika two weeks ago that I was the main arresting and
 killing target (I got this info from one of the member of the meeting)”. Other reports on recent incidents in West Papua by Victor F. Yeimo can be found at

Three years on, Papuans win the right to a life

Andra Jackson The AGE June 2, 2009

FOR the past 4 and half years, life in Australia for West Papuan asylum seeker Izack Marani has meant constant worry that the Australian Government might give in to Indonesian demands and return him to West Papua. But that cloud of uncertainty has disappeared thanks to the Immigration Department granting permanent residency to him and the 38 countrymen with whom he arrived by boat in 2006. The 46-year-old former sailor said he felt "free and safe". He has been working on a banana plantation near Cairns, and feels he can now look for a permanent job. Marike Tebay was 17 when she boarded the large outrigger canoe that was to carry her to an unknown future in Australia. "It changes everything," she said of gaining residency. "I can now choose a study course. Before I couldn't." The people she met on her arrival had been helpful, she said. "Now I feel like I have a home." The group's final visa was received last week by student David Wainggai, the son of
 leading independence figure Thomas Wainggai, who died in an Indonesian jail. David's cousin, Herman Wainggai, leader of the group, who is studying English, said: "For me and my friends it now feels like we are living permanently in Australia. They (the Australian Government) respect our position." He said it was sad that four of their original party — a couple and a father and daughter — had returned to West Papua, but said they were offered inducements by Indonesia. Mr Wainggai said the group wanted to show their appreciation to the Australian community by inviting them to a celebration this Thursday night at Northcote Uniting Church.

Papuans seek US support for dialogue with Jakarta
West Papua advocates have been urging the United States to apply meaningful pressure on Indonesia for internationally-facilitated dialogue between Jakarta and Papuan leaders.

A member of the West Papua Advocacy Team spoke before a US Congressional panel about threats to human rights and the environment in Indonesia’s Papua region. The NGO has joined with the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network, or ETAN, in urging Washington to move beyond the current Special Autonomy arrangement in Papua to address the growing human rights crisis. Their appeal came in response to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s call for a degree of autonomy for Papuans. ETAN’s John Miller says he doesn’t think the statement signals a fresh approach from the previous Bush administration. “The Papuans themselves are saying that Special Autonomy has failed, and that they would like meaningful discussion which we think the US has the potential - because of (President) Obama’s background - to do with Indonesia about what Papua’s future should be where everything is on the table.” John Miller (RNZI 08 May, 2009)

Mily HQ: RI-PNG borders security increasingly conducive
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The National Defence Forces (TNI) Headquarters said security situation in the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea borders has increasingly become conducive after activities at the border checkpoint at Skouw village was resumed on May 5. For the time being, the border checkpoint was opened from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., spokesman for the TNI Headquarters Rear Marshal Sagom Tamboen said here on Sunday. "The measure is designed to ensure that the border security will gradually be restored to normal so that the residents living near the borders can resume their activities as usual," he said. The border checkpoint at Skouw village, Muara Tami district, Papua province, was closed on April 9 after a bomb planted at the Muara Tami bridge was found. Under normal conditions, Indonesian nationals can cross the borders to visit the neighboring country for not more than 24 hours by producing their identity cards at the TNI security post and later reporting

 themselves to the immigration checkpoint at Skouw village. The border post located some 70 km east of the Papua provincial capital of Jayapura is guarded by a task force from the Wirabuana 725 infantry battalion.(*)
(Antara News 05/11/09)

West Papua Coalition wary of indonesia's closer links to Vanuatu.
The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation says a visit by Indonesia’s Ambassador is unlikely to sway Vanuatu’s support for West Papuan self-determination.

Primo Alui Joelianto has been in Vanuatu to present his credentials to the Head of State as Indonesia’s newly appointed ambassador to Vanuatu, based in Canberra. The ambassador expressed his government’s desire to engage in constructive dialogue with the Pacific region on development and policy issues in line with Jakarta’s "look east" policy, despite differences with countries like Vanuatu over the issue of Papua. The Coalition’s Secretary General, Rex Rumakiek, says Indonesia could be trying to butter up Pacific countries... “We know that they’re doing that and it is open that we want to battle them on that ground. We’re winning the upper hand. So I don’t think they’ve any economic power to influence any government in the region to support them.” Meanwhile, Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister Bakoa Kaltongga has told the ambassador that his government will continue the country’s long-standing tradition of vocal support for West Papuan  self-determination. (RNZI 11 May, 2009)

Second Attack on Papua Military Post Reported.
TEMPO Interactive (07 May, 2009) Jakarta: Another attack reported in Papua on Thursday (7/5) hours after the attack on a teritorial checkpoint Yapen Island. The second report came from Mulia, capital of Puncak Jaya Regency in the main island of Papua, or about 200 kilometers south of Yapen Island. A military post at Mount Kumibaga, the 754 ENK Infantry Battalion post reportedly being shot at 11:30 AM local time (9:30 Jakarta time). Spokesman for Cendrawasih XVII Military Regional Command, Lieutenant Colonel Susilo confirmed the attack but denied that military personnel have fired back and broke the exchange into skirmish. Lt. Colonel Susilo also denied reports on disruptions at local airstrip. TJAHJONO EP

Papua police on alert ahead of presidential election
TIMIKA, Papua: Papuan police have increased security measures ahead of the upcoming presidential elections to ensure against any possible disruption to the nationwide vote by armed groups. The upgrade took place in a number of particular areas, including the regencies of Puncak Jaya, Pegunungan Bintang and Supiori, anticipated as the areas most likely to see a disturbance from armed groups. "A series of violent attacks during and after the recent legislative elections has taught police a good lesson," Papua deputy chief Brig. Gen. Ahmad Riadi Koni said, referring to a bomb attack in Jayapura, gas station blast in Biak and a murder in Wamena. "Files on the suspects from the Jayapura attack have been handed over to the local prosecutors office for further legal processing," he said. Riadi Koni said the inaccessible mountain regions will be the most prone to security threats both throughout the campaign period and on voting day. "But all the preparations  *for strengthening security* have been made," he added. (JP Fri, 05/15/2009)

“Sing Sing,the Melanesian and indigenous Australian music and dance troupe have just completed a succesful USA tour “Sing Sing,the Melanesian and indigenous Australian music and dance troupe have just completed a succesful USA tour presented by New York based the World Music Institute. Sing Sing performed to sell out crowds in Seattle,Santa Barbara,Los Angeles,New york and Burlington Vermont and received a standing ovation at all performances. A historic footnote was that Hein Arumisore from Manokwari was the first West Papuan artist to perform in the USA. Hein featured in a five song tribute to Arnold Ap .This section begun with a spoken word overview by Sing Sing music director David Bridie of the Act of free choice, Arnold Ap’s collection of outlawed West Papuan songs during he 1970s and 80s through to a condemnation of the USA company Freeport McMoRan’s behavior in running the Timika mine .there followed a spine tingling accapella tribute to his homeland by Arumisore with the song Menengayo. This segued into the four part harmony and garamut accompaniment on the song Apuse,followed by a joyous and frenetic traditional West Papuan dance ,Karawine performed by Hein Arumisore,jeanette Fabila and Georgia Corowa.

This culminated in the flying of the Morning Star flag to accompany the anthemic George Telek song,West Papua,which  Telek dedicated to his wantoks on the other side of the artifical border.At the Los Angeles gig at Royce Hall at UCLA the Sing Sing troupe were joined on stage for West Papua by the PNG atheltics team who were training in Los Angeles.This whole West Papuan section of the show also featured excerpts from Mark Worths award winning film “Land of the Morning Star” projected on a huge screen behind the performers . After the show many of the Amercan audience stayed behind to show their appreciation to Arumisore and Telek and to ask more about the situation in West Papua.
The Sing troupe’s members were, George Telek (Rabaul PNG).

Hein Arumisore (Manokwari West Papua). Airi Ingram (Gaba Gaba,Central PNG)
Richard Mogu (Mine Bay PNG). Jeanette Fabila (Port Morseby/Torres Strait ).
Albert David (Iama Island, Torres Strait ). Djakapurra Munyarryun (Yirrkala,Eastern Arnhem Land). Georgia Corowa (Tanna Is Vanuatu/Queensland). David Bridie,Phillip Wales and Timothy Cole (Mebourne Australia) For images form the tour and more information go to

Reply to AWPA letter from The Hon Stephen Smith MP
Dear Mr Collins,
Thank you for your letter dated 5 April 2009 concerning the situation in West Papua.
The Australian Government strongly supports the development of Papua and West Papua provinces as stable and prosperous parts of the Republic of Indonesia, and believes this is best achieved through the implementation of Special Autonomy laws and respect for human rights. The Government has a strong track record of representations in urging the Indonesian Government to investigate alleged human rights abuses , including in the Papua provinces, and to ensure the human rights of all Indonesians are upheld. I most recently raised these issues with Indonesia’s Foreign Minister, Dr Hassan Wirajuda, when we met in Sydney in February.

 We are concerned by reports of violence in Papua and West Papua provinces in the lead –up to, and following , the 9 April parliamentary elections. We welcome the strong public turnout at the elections , despite these incidents, and will continue to emphasise the importance of continued restraint by the Indonesian security forces in managing incidents of violence. The Australian Government will also continue to highlight to Indonesia the importance of access to the Papua provinces for credible observers , including foreign media. This is the best way to ensure transparency and that the progress the Yudhoyono Government is making in Papua and West Papua is appreciated abroad.

 The Indonesian Government clearly takes a firm stand against perceived separatist activity, including those who display the banned Morning Star flag (a symbol of Papuan independence). The Australian Government will continue to underline to the Indonesian Government that we consider effective implementation of special autonomy and respect for human rights as the best path to achieve prosperity and stability in Papua and West Papua provinces. Thank you for bringing your views to the attention of the Government.

Yours sincerely Stephen Smith

From Tapol News from West Papua
Abridged translations of the following items are by TAPOL
Sebby treated like a terrorist, now ontrial for subversion;
Report from the Christian Evangelical Church in the Land of Papua, 18 May 2009
Sebby Sambom isolated like a terrorist

Besides Buchtar Tabuni, another Papuan has been charged with subversion. The second hearing of his case took place on 13 May at the Jayapura district court, to hear the demurrer (eksepsi) from his legal team. They described the charge sheet from the prosecutor as lacking in clarity and incorrect. They also argued that allegations of subversion on the grounds that the accused had joined together with a hundred people fails to meet allegations of subversion. According to the law, these actions were legal because what they were doing was to express their opinions in public. Sebby was simply making his views known in public and this cannot be described as subversion. Sebby presented an eight-page demurrer entitled 'The Reference of Laws'. He drew attention to three aspects of the way he had been arrested and detained, stating that it was a premature action while the police of Papua handled the demonstration in a 'childish' way. He also told the court that  his treatment was incorrect because he had been held in isolation. 'Physically, I appear to be healthy but psychologically I am unwell because I have been treated like a terrorist. Every week I have been interrogated two or three times by the police.' However, neither the judges nor the prosecutor responded to his explanation.

The lawyer acting for Sebby, Petrus Eli, SH, asked the court and the prosecutor to have the accused transferred to Abepura Prison, in order to facilitate communications with his client, and to comply with his rights as a detainee. The prosecutor told the court that the accused should remain in custody at the police command. saying that this would make it easier to escort him to future court sessions. Faced with these contradictory requests, the judge asked the legal team of the accused and the prosecutor to submit their opinions in writing. The next hearing will take place on 20 May to hear the prosecutor's response to the demurrer of the defence. On 20 May, the prosecutor told the court that he rejects the demurrer and asked the court to proceed with the trial, saying that the charge sheet had been written clearly, in accordance with Article 143 of the Criminal Code. He also described the demurrer as being confused. He referred to Article 87 of the  Criminal Code which states: 'Subversion is an act taken with the aim of initiating an incident as defined in Article 53 of the Criminal Code. And moreover with the qualification that the accused is involved as a participant in an act of subversion.'The judges' panel said that it was now the turn of the judges to consider the views presented by the prosecutor and take a decision on the matter The next hearing of the trial will be held on 3 June.

Trial of DAP chairman in Bird's Head underway for subversion

Media Papua, mid May 2009

The police authorities in Manokwari are showing their determination to proceed with the charge of subversion against the chairman of Bird's Head DAP (Dewan Adat Papua), and the chairman of the National Committee of Papuan Youth, John Warijo, and the matter is now in the hands of the prosecutor's office. While confirming that the documents had been handed over, the prosecutor said that, due to the need for additional clarifications, the documents have been returned for these additions to be made. The two defendants are charged with subversion on 1 December 2008, when they participated in an event celebrating the anniversary of the Papuan people. They had both taken part in a long march from the DAP office to Borarsi Square.

The decision to designate the two men as defendants was accepted by the two men who had, together with their lawyer, Yan Christian Warinussy, visited the police office in order to give clarifications about the case. Subsequently however, following a seminar to discuss the meaning of 'makar' and 'separatism'. the two men declared that they were not willing to response to any summons from the police and threatened to call out their supporters en masse if the police persist in charging them with subversion.

Trial of Buchtar Tabuni continues

Papua Pos, 7 May 2009 Abridged in translation by TAPOL
A hearing in the trial of Buchtar Tabuni which was held on 6 May was attended by Nazaruddin Bunas, SH, the head of the Law and Human Rights Division of the province of Papua. Nazaruddin Bunas told journalists that he had decided to attend the hearing in order to see for himself how the trial was proceeding. The hearing was held to hear testimonies from witnesses called by the defence, but these witnesses as well as expert witnesses who had been summoned did not turn up so the judge adjourned the hearing for a week and said that he expected these witnesses to appear next week. Buchtar Tabuni is on trial on the charge of makar (subversion) for taking part in a demonstration in Jayapura on 16 October last year, on the same day as the International Parliamentarians for West Papua was launched in London. Asked about his opinion on the use of the charge of makar, Bunas said that so-called makar cases were occurring because the aspirations of the people have  been neglected. These aspirations were reflected in the Law on Special Autonomy, such as that priority should be given to the employment of Papuan people.

 'The failure to implement this is resulting in incidents which are regarded as being acts of subversion.' He said that it was essential for the government, the local legislative assembly and the MRP to get together and talk about the enactment of special regulations (Perdasus and Perdasi) regulating the rights of the Papuan people. On the same day, the trial of Sebby Sambon, another Papuan who is facing makar charges, also took place.

A failure by DFAT
According to a media report the reason the Merauke five received such tough jail sentences is that it is payback for the way Australia treats Indonesian fishermen. Documents obtained by Fairfax newspapers, show prosecutors urged the Supreme Court to uphold the sentences because they were lawful unlike a neighboring country who, without legal process, burn and sink Indonesian fishing boats that enter their territorial borders. According to the Merauke five, the Australian Government has done little to help.
 Why the Merauke Five feel betrayed by Australia

Tom Allard Herald Correspondent in Merauke SMH June 3, 2009

ASK five Australians in the Papuan town of Merauke to name the worst thing about being detained for almost nine months and the responses vary. Karen Burke joined the planned three-day trip at the last minute and fears she will never see her ailing father, 83, again. Keith Mortimer believes he will not survive another stint in an Indonesian jail. "I am absolutely petrified." William Scott-Bloxam heard that his son Konrad had died in a surfing accident in Australia. He could not attend the funeral. Hubert Hofer nominates the moment when, after being told they would be free to go home in March, prosecutors launched an appeal and the Attorney-General slapped a travel ban on them. But Vera Scott-Bloxam perhaps best sums up the peculiar and prolonged agony of the so-called Merauke Five: "We have no idea what's happening. We have no idea where the next blow is coming from. The mental anguish is leaving us all in a very bad state." The five, under city detention in the town of some 50,000 people in the country's far south-east, spoke to the Herald at their ramshackle home. Next door lives a family of indigenous Papuans, some of the many - from senior officials to taxi drivers - who have extended their kindness. "They brought us food every single day when we were in jail," Mr Hofer said.

"People we don't know, even the authorities, say: 'Are you still here? Why are you still here?" It is a question the Merauke Five wish the Australian Government would ask more often. "We came here with honest intentions to visit our next-door neighbour and explore its potential tourism opportunities," Mr Scott-Bloxam said. "We spoke to air traffic control before we came in. We hid nothing. We have always co-operated with the authorities. "I made a mistake in not checking the information I was given. But we are not drug dealers, we are not criminals. We didn't come to steal. We didn't come to smuggle." When he was Opposition foreign affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd issued a press release demanding the Howard government do more to help the Gold Coast beautician Schapelle Corby after 4 kilograms of marijuana was found in her possession. As Prime Minister his only remark on the Merauke Five came last week: consular assistance is being afforded to them. But Mr  Mortimer said they needed more than care packages and a kind word from the odd embassy visitor. A stern protest to Indonesia from Mr Rudd would help, but "they have been spineless". The five - aged 51 to 63 - flew to Merauke from Horn Island in Mr Scott-Bloxam's light plane, a journey of less than an hour. A flight plan had been forwarded, but special clearance for the sensitive province of Papua had not been organised. Mr Scott-Bloxam said he tried twice to find out from the Indonesian embassy in Canberra about the requirements before flying out.

The five thought they would be allowed to go home as planned after three days once they paid the fine - almost $US4000 ($5000). But they were charged with immigration violations and sentenced to two to three years in prison. They were acquitted on appeal. But prosecutors launched another appeal to the country's highest appellate court, where the matter still lies.
 Press release/reports etc.
Amnesty International Report 2009 State of the world's human rights
Country report Indonesia

 Winners And Losers In Indonesia's Elections
Monday, 1 June 2009, 12:55 pm
Press Release: West Papua Media Alerts
Winners And Losers In Indonesia's Elections
27 May 2009 ¬ Despite serious problems with flawed voter lists and complicated voting procedures, last month’s elections in Indonesia passed off relatively peacefully with a rainbow of secular and religious parties winning seats in the national parliament and regional assemblies. An analysis of the winners and losers is provided in ‘A victory for mainstream politics in Indonesia’, published online today by TAPOL in its latest Election Update ( AWPA (Sydney) briefing paper sent to all federal politicans

 Papua Tribesman,,,
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Monday, June 1, 2009

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