Papua, Jubi – A human rights group has reported that tens of thousands of people in Indonesia’s Papua province have been displaced by conflict.
The estimate is the gravest yet in an months-long war between security forces and rebel fighters in Papua.
The group, Front Line Defenders, claims more than 32,000 people have been forced to flee the central highlands regency of Nduga due to military operations.
Rights advocates with the group reported that some civilians had died in refugee camps, where conditions are poor and people lack food and water.
They allege Indonesian security forces shot dead two school children, damaged 34 schools and likely dropped bombs using helicopters in Nduga.
The military, which has been hunting rebel group the West Papua Liberation Army since December, has denied the use of bombs.
Front Line Defenders plan to submit their findings to Indonesia’s human rights commission.
Indonesia’s military has rubbished the reports that thousands have been displaced by the conflict.
A spokesperson for the military, Colonel Mohammed Aidi, said there is no population data for Nduga, implying the information is impossible to verify.
He said security forces have only provided safeguards and social assistance for members of the public.
Since January, Colonel Aidi said six soldiers have died in gunfire exchanges with rebels who have instigated attacks.
He also denied claims dozens of school buildings in Nduga had been damaged by soldiers. (*)
Meeting postponed, ‘exodus’ students still wait to see Papua Governor
Jayapura, Jubi – The exodus students’ goal to meet and have a dialogue with Papua Governor and the Chairs of Papuan House of Representatives and Papuan People’s Assembly on Thursday (16/1/2020) had not yet materialized. The Chairperson of Papuan People’s Assembly Timotius Murib, who set up the meeting, announced it has to postpone.
“Last week the students asked [to meet the governor and the House of Representative’s chairperson on] Thursday. But we asked them to wait for the governor to schedule the meeting,” Murib told Jubi in Jayapura on Thursday.
Following the mob’s persecution and racism taunt towards Papuan students in Surabaya on respective 16 and 17 August 2019, thousands of Papuan students studying in various Indonesian regions, have returned home to Papua in exodus wave. The seizure and persecution by security forces and local mobs to their boarding houses and accommodation drove the feeling of unsecured amongst the Papuan students. Therefore, many of them decided to discontinue their study and return home to Papua.
The Papua Police Chief estimated that the number of exodus students coming from various tertiary institutions from external Papua reaches three thousand. By contrast, the Central Post of Exodus Students in Jayapura said their current number is six thousand.
On January 2020, 146 people identified themselves as members of the Central Post of Exodus Students came to the office of Papua’s People Assembly asking the Chairperson Timotius Murib to schedule a meeting with the governor Lukas Enembe and the chairperson of Papuan House of Representative Jhony Banua Row. They said that they wanted to convey their statement regarding the issue of racism towards Papuans through this setup.
The meeting previously scheduled for taking place on Thursday this week, but Murib said it had to postpone due to further acknowledgement from the governor. Furthermore, he said his office (Papuan People’s Assembly) would notify the students if the Papuan Governor is already in Papua because the Governor Enembe also wants to meet the exodus students. Even the governor has tried several times to meet the exodus students but continued to reject by the students.
“In 2019, [when the case of] racism increased, the governor came to Surabaya to meet the students but failed [to meet. After the governor] arrived in Papua, he [had] invited [the exodus students in a meeting], but the students rejected it,” said Murib.
Now, the representatives of the Central Post of Exodus Students asked for a meeting with the Papuan Governor. Personally, Murib said he hopes the meeting would immediately happen. He said it is crucial because it contains the issue of the future of these students, those who expected to become the foundation of Papua’s future.
“Education is more important, because [education will become an investment] of their future and this nation. Therefore, we are waiting for the governor to set up the meeting with the students,” said Murib.
In the meantime, Kaitanus Ikinia from the Central Post of Exodus Students confirmed that the students already received notification about this postponement. “Today is cancelled. [We knew] after communicating with the Papuan People’s Assembly,” Ikinia texted Jubi on Thursday. (*)
Reporter: Hengky Yeimo
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Papua Police trace firearms trafficking around local landfill site
Papua, Jubi – Papua Regional Police are still investigating some cases of firearms and ammunition trafficking from abroad into the region. It follows up the increase of shooting terrors against military and police officers by unidentified groups in various areas of Papua.
“Indeed, we have information that firearms trafficking is not only from domestic sellers but also from abroad. There are indications that it comes through the border area, and from the Philippines via North Maluku, Sorong, West Papua Province into Papua. This route what we are tracking now,” he said in Timika as reported by Antara on Monday (13/1).
Furthermore, General Waterpauw asked the local community to provide support and assistance to notify the authorities if they have information related to the transaction of firearms and ammunition. Therefore, the authorities could stop the trading and at the same time be aware of the syndication network and take the perpetrators to the court.
Meanwhile, Mimika Police’s Special Force and Battalion B of Police’s Mobile Brigade have investigated some witnesses for information. Some of them are the local garbage truck drivers who are suspected transporting ammunitions with household waste to be disposed at the Waste Disposal Site at Iwaka Sub-district and heavy vehicle operators on duty at the Iwaka landfill site.
Dozens of ammunition with the active launcher were first discovered by Hendra (17), a heavy equipment operator at the Iwaka landfill site on Tuesday (12/31/2019).
Based on Hendra’s information as reported by Darjo, a fellow operator at the Iwaka landfill, the ammunition wrapped in a plastic bag and transported to the landfill by a regional government garbage truck with hull number 10 with plate number DS 9593 MA.
Once opened, it is known that the plastic package contains ammunition of 10 grains of 5.56.5 TJ.
Then on Wednesday (1/1) at the same location, two GLM launchers and 50.56.5 calibre AMM ammunition were also found. The findings were then handed over to the Papua Police Regional Battalion Brimob B officers.
Currently, three civilians involved in the transaction of 600 ammunitions are undergoing trial in Timika District Court and have been pronounced for six years and five years sentence respectively.
While two Indonesian soldiers who involve in the case underwent hearing in the Jayapura Military Court but one suspect was found dead in his detention at Military Detention Center in Waena, Jayapura on Monday (6/1/2020)
Regarding the case, the Mimika Police Chief Adjunct Senior Commissionaire I Gusti Era Adhinata said dozens of active ammunitions and throwers found belonged to Indonesian military and police.
“Where did it come from, this is what we are currently investigating. From there, it will reveal the culprits who pulled those ammunitions and throwers from arsenals,” he said.
Regarding firearms trafficking involved military members and police officer, Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw reminded his subordinates in Papua to not involve in the illegal firearms and ammunition trading. He stressed that there would be no mercy for those who catch in the act involving in the trafficking.
“I hope our members do not take advantage of this space for involving in ammunition trading, so on and so forth. In principle, for those who are indicated and proven to be involved, there would be no mercy for them. We will surely fire them disrespectfully and take them to the court,” he launched his statement in Timika on Monday.
However, the chief believes that most police officers serving in Papua have high integrity and loyalty. But, according to him, an individual member also can commit such a deviant act. (*)
Editor: Jean Bisay
Mass-destruction suspects remind public about Indonesian anti-racism law
Jayapura, Jubi – Some activists accused of the alleged mass-destruction in the late August 2019 resumed their trial at the Jayapura District Court on Monday (6/1/2020). They then posed for a picture in the court’s detention room by holding a carton with a caption read “I not Monkey, PSL 9 UU No. 40/2008” calling for resistance to the practice of racism against indigenous Papuans.
This violence and vandalism case was the first trial at the Jayapura District Court since the Christmas and New Year break. In a press release received by Jubi, the Coalition for Law and Human Rights Enforcement of Papua, as legal advisor team, stated that police officers have guarded around the court since early morning, but it did not affect the activists. They remained calm, and instead, did a campaign against all practice of racism against indigenous Papuans in their own way. In the detention room, they took a picture while holding a carton reads “I not Monkey, PSL 9 UU No 40/2008”.
By doing this, it seemed that they wanted to remind the public that Indonesia has Law No. 40/2008 on the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination. The activists who are currently named suspects of violence and vandalism case wanted to remind the public that the protest led to mass-rampage in Jayapura City on 29 August 2019 was not a single non-causal incident. It was a reaction to counter a series of persecutions and racism taunts against Papuan students at Kamasan III Dormitory, Surabaya, on 16 and 17 August 2019 by some military culprits and local mobs. However, the protest then turned into a mass rampage in which some anti-racism activists then criminalised and accused to involve in the alleged violence and vandalism case.
Now, the suspects just wanted to remind us about the root that has grounded tens of thousands of Jayapura residents to protest on 29 August 2019. Article 9 of the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination states that ‘Every citizen has right to receive equal treatment in obtaining civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights disregard to their race and ethnicity”.
As the activists’ legal councillor team, the Coalition for Law and Human Rights Enforcement of Papua hopes this message can be a notice for both attorney and panel of judges in the trial to objectively view the issue of anti-racism acts in Jayapura. “Hopefully, the message [of anti-racism] becomes a notice for the attorney and judges to see the anti-racism acts clearly, therefore [the Jayapura District Court] would not get into the scenario of criminalisation towards the activists,” stated the coalition in the press release.
The coalition further emphasised that racism is a common enemy of every human. “Let us stop racism because it is a common enemy of every human of diverse backgrounds on the Earth,” wrote the Coalition for Law and Human Rights Enforcement of Papua in the release. (*)
Reporter: Angela Flassy
Editor: Aryo Wisanggeni G.
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