Hoofdstuk 10

Voor compleet overzicht van alle WPAT rapporten van 2004/2015:    dus laatste nieuws uit West Papua:

 click:  Back issues of West Papua Report


Onderstaand verslag uit WPAT rapport schetst een triest beeld over de levensomstandigheden van de Papoea’s in West Papua


Human Right Watch Annual Report Describes Worsening Rights Environment in West Papua

In its annual review of human rights observance and violation around the world, Human Rights Watch focused significantly on developments in West Papua. West Papua related excerpts follow:

In August internal military documents – mainly from Kopassus, Indonesia’s Special Forces -were made public, exposing how the Indonesian military monitors peaceful activists, politicians, and religious clergy in Papua. The documents show the deep military paranoia in Papua that conflates peaceful political expression with criminal activity. Several of those named in the documents as targets have faced arrest, imprisonment, harassment, or other forms of violence.

Access to Papua in 2011 remained tightly controlled. Few foreign journalists and human rights researchers can visit independently without close monitoring of their activities. Since October the vice president’s office has set up the Unit to Accelerate Development in Papua and West Papua, which is focused on economic development. Its board members include some veterans of peace talk over Aceh.

In July over 500 representatives of Papuan civil society met at a peace conference in Jayapura, organized by a government-funded peace-initiative network.

Violence in Papua worsened in July and August with several unrelated attacks in which more than two dozen people were killed or seriously injured. Seventeen people were killed in Puncak Jaya in July when two rival political camps clashed in an election dispute.

In Puncak Jaya there has been a long insurgency between the Free Papua Organization (OPM) and the Indonesian military. The OPM commander in Puncak Jaya claimed responsibility for several attacks against the Indonesian military in July, including one in which an Indonesian military chopper was shot down, injuring seven soldiers and killing one.

In October security forces used excessive violence when arresting more than 300 Papuans involved in a three-day Papuan Congress. At least three men were killed and more than 90 were injured. Six Papuan leaders were charged with treason.

International Journalists Underscore Security Targeting of Journalists in West Papua

Reporters Without Borders released its Press Freedom Index 2011-2012 on near the end of January, in which Indonesia dropped 29 places from a year earlier to 146th. The reason for Indonesia’s slip in the ranks, according to the organization, was largely due to cases of journalists in West Papua being killed, kidnapped and assaulted.

Bambang Eka Cahya Widodo, chairman of Indonesia’s Elections Supervisory Board (Bawaslu), told media that journalists were sometimes targeted because of their election coverage. He cited the case of a journalist in Merauke, Papua, who was stabbed while reporting on an electoral dispute there last year.

WPAT Comment: The United Nations, foreign officials and human rights organizations have long been critical of Indonesia’s on-going efforts to prevent international monitoring of human rights violations in West Papua. The measures employed by Jakarta include restrictions on travel to and within West Papua by international journalists, human rights monitors and humanitarian agencies. The International Committee of the Red Cross remain banned from re-opening its offices in West Papua. But perhaps the most insidious tactic employed by Jakarta is the targeting of Indonesian journalists and human rights workers by Indonesian security forces. Reporters Without Borders has performed an important service in drawing attention to security force intimidation, brutalization and murder of Indonesian journalists.

Military Officers Arbitrarily Arrest and Torture Civilians Based on False Claims of Rebel Activity

The Asian Human Rights Commission, January 26, issued an urgent appeal ( Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-005-2012) regarding the Indonesian military’s brutalization of a dozen Papuans, including three local activists, in Kurulu, West Papua, in early November 2011. The assault on these civilians was related to unsubstantiated claims of rebel activity in the area. In an appeal to the international community, the AHRC noted that civilians are “frequently victimized based on arbitrary allegations of rebellion, and subsequently tortured.”

The incident followed a false allegation initially passed to a pro-Jakarta militia of a meeting between the Papuan armed resistance OPM and villagers from Umpagalo village in Kurulu district. Local military personnel of the 176/ Kurulu military headquarters reacted to the unsubstantiated report by going to Umpagalo at around 11pm. “They beat three local activists, Melianus Wantik, Edo Doga and Markus Walilo, as well as nine villagers, Pilipus Wantik, Wilem Kosy, Elius Dabi, Lamber Dabi, Othi Logo, Nilik Hiluka, Hukum Logo, Martinus Mabel and Saulus Logo, then stabbed them with bayonets for two hours, forced them to crawl and doused them with water for one hour. The officers also humiliated, beat with wood sticks, kicked and stepped on them with their boots, pointed their guns and threatened that they would cut their heads, and shot at them four times.”

The troops then transported the victims to the 176 military headquarters and after several hours delay, they were released without charges. The victims’ colleagues complained to the Kurulu sector police following the incident, but the police refused to process the complaint claiming there was no substantial evidence to prove the allegations. More importantly, the police have no capacity to investigate or prosecute military personnel under terms of the law on military courts (Law No. 31 of 1997).

The AHRC observed that security force use of torture against indigenous Papuans is widespread, often targeting persons suspected of supporting independence movements. “Such suspicions are often levelled arbitrarily against members of the indigenous community and result in stigmatisation.” AHRC added: “according to the law on military courts, members of the military that commit crimes against civilians, such as extrajudicial killings or torture, can only be held accountable by military justice systems. Military courts are not open to the public, are notorious for only giving lenient punishments, and show a clear lack of impartiality.” AHRC called for a joint investigation of the incident by the Indonesian military (TNI) and the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM).

Interpol Lends Its Resources to Indonesian Efforts to Silence Dissident

Interpol has issued a “red notice” for Benny Wenda, a prominent Papuan dissident who has been granted asylum in the U.K. on political grounds.

The Interpol action against Wenda is similar to other actions targeting prominent dissidents legally living outside their home countries. The Interpol alert system is increasingly being employed to serve the interests of often repressive regimes seeking to silence their critics.

A lawsuit alleging that some oppressive regimes are using Interpol’s alert system to harass or detain opponents is being planned by rights activists and lawyers in the United Kingdom. Campaigners say that some government fabricate criminal charges against those who have taken refuge in other countries and then seek their arrest through Interpol “red notices.”

The notices are meant to alert member police forces that an Interpol member state has issued an arrest warrant, but some countries will take seize suspects based on the “red notice” alone. There are about 26,000 outstanding.

Trans-Papua Road Planned

According to the Jakarta Post, Indonesia’s Public Works Ministry is allocating Rp 3.6 trillion (US$399 million) to build a “Trans-Papua Highway.” Planned road construction would be among the largest undertaken in Indonesia. The aim of the Trans-Papua Highway is purportedly to connect isolated areas in Papua’s central highlands to Wamena, Habema, Kenyam, and Batas Batu, as well as the Asmat regency on the south coast. The plan would also include two other road projects within the “Master Plan for Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Development” (MP3EI), involving roads linking Timika in the Mimika regency and Enarotali in the Paniai regency, and those linking Merauke with Tanah Merah in the Boven Digoel regency. Government spokespersons claim that the government aims to build 70 percent of a total of 3,100 kilometres of national road in Papua and West Papua by 2014.

WPAT COMMENT: Such massive road development poses both positive and negative consequences. Improved access to markets for local farmers and industries could be a boon to isolated Papuan villages and towns. Papuans generally will also benefit from improved access to essential services and employment opportunities often lacking in rural areas of West Papua. On the other hand, such road development also expands the opportunity for illegal enterprises, particularly illegal logging operations, to exploit Papuan natural resources. The Suharto dictatorship often boasted of “road development” in occupied East Timor. In fact, road network expansion was largely aimed at facilitating military access to exploitable resources and expanding military operations into the hinterlands.

Jakarta Abuses Papuans Through Denial of Essential Services

The failure of the Indonesian government to provide essential health services to the Papuan population of West Papua has been repeatedly documented and, arguably, leaves the Jakarta government open to charges of ethnic genocide. This calculated, malign neglect in the area of basic health services extends to provision for education. A revealing January 31 Jakarta Globereport notes that Papua’s illiteracy rate among those aged 15 years and under was 32 percent, the highest in the nation, according to data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) in 2010. That figure has increased steadily since 2007, when it was 25 percent, going up to 28 percent in 2008 and 30 in 2009.

The Globe report, by Banjir Ambarita and Mary Anugrah Rasita, underscores that the Jakarta government’s failure to educate young Papuans is not only a problem in remote rural areas. The reporters visited a state elementary school in Jayapura (Port Numbay) and found extensive illiteracy. Nella Manaku, headmaster of Holtekamp Elementary School acknowledged that 50 percent of the students there could neither read nor write. The reporters observed that many fifth- and sixth-grade students were just at able to be taught how to write.

The headmaster blamed the high illiteracy rate on a lack of teachers at saying that were just five instructors for the more than 100 students. Moreover, “Three of them are permanent and the others are contract teachers, but they rarely show up for work,” he said. He explained that he had repeatedly applied to the Jayapura Education Agency for more teachers, but to no avail. “For several years now we’ve been asking for help, but there’s never been a response from the authorities,” he said. Kayus Bahabol, a provincial legislator, told the Globe that the high illiteracy rate was not the only issue the school was dealing with. “Educational facilities here are badly lacking…. Livestock wander all over the place and leaving their droppings everywhere,” he said.

Kenius Kogoya, another provincial legislator, said the Holtekamp case was just the tip of the iceberg. “If things can get this bad at a school in Jayapura, a major city, imagine what it’s like at schools in rural areas,” he said. “The government always likes to claim that regional autonomy has been a blessing for development in Papua, but this is highly questionable.”

Arief Rachman, an education expert who chairs the National Commission for UNESCO, agreed that the low level of development in the province was the main culprit for the high illiteracy rate. Darmaningtyas, an education expert from the Taman Siswa school network, told the Globe that the problem of teacher shortages was a long-standing one in Papua. He urged the government to give priority to infrastructure development to improve the distribution of books and other school supplies across Papua, “because right now we lack the channels to get the appropriate reading materials to the students there.”


Voor compleet overzicht van alle WPAT rapporten van 2004/2015:    dus laatste nieuws uit West Papua:

 click:  Back issues of West Papua Report

Voor 2016 zijn er geen WPAT rapporten beschikbaar, maar U kunt berichten, foto’s, video’s bekijken via Facebook: Gerard Thijssen