Connect with us

Indigenous Peoples of Papua

Filep Karma Warns of Time Bomb in Papua

Published

on

Filep Jacob Samuel Karma who’s sentenced for 15 years to peacefully stand for Papua independence - Jubi

Filep Jacob Samuel Karma who’s sentenced for 15 years to peacefully stand for Papua independence – Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – Former political prisoner Filep Jacob Samuel Karma said he was concerned about the current situation facing indigenous Papuans. He said currently discrimination is not only being practiced by non-Papuans to Papuans or vice versa, but also among Papuans. He described the situation as a time bomb that is ready to explode at anytime.

“Racism is not only coming from non-Papuans but also emerging among Papuans. We accuse the Indonesians of being racist, but the fact is we are also racist against them. It means we are doing the same thing. Instead of solving the problem, it will trigger a new problem. We don’t have to vengeful. Striking back with violence would not solve the problem but create a new one instead,” stated Karma at Kingmi Synod Office, Jayapura City on Monday (30/11/2015).

He said the state is racist towards Papuans. However, sometimes Papuans who are fighting for their rights also do the same. Rather stopping the racism, he said, Papuans promote it.

“I see this is like a time bomb. When Papua was succeed and Indonesia returns home, the time bomb would be exploded, but I don’t want it going to be happened,” he said.

Karma thought it is a trick played by the Indonesian Government to bring Papuans into a conflict among each other, including the regional extension that recently happened. It is a way to split Papuans.

He further said now the terms such as the highlander and the beach, north and south, or the valley and the coast are rising among Papuans.

“It is not different from the divide and rule politics used in Dutch era. Before I was put in jail, I have told this to Parjal activists whether they saw this situation. I am concerned, if Papua gained independence; there would be a tribal war. If Papuans killed each other, I would regret to fight for its independence,” he said.

Karma also thought the prison had been used to silence some activists, especially those who live in Papua. But he reminds them to not be afraid. They must turn on their voice even facing a prison. “If we are still together to build public awareness, we could even destroyed the prison,” he said.

Karma demonstrated his consistency when he was sentenced for 15 years in prison eleven years ago. Although he was behind the bar, he never stops to voice for the injustice against Papuans.

At that time, he said, he just spoke about his aspiration, not the intention of building a new State and yet to meet a criteria of treason. “I was confused why I was charged for treason. The article used to punish me wasn’t appropriate. I admit that I have an intention to it, just it. I am waiting the State to admit its mistake,” he added.

He also refused his release from the prison, but both authorities of Abepura Prison and the Legal and Security Affairs Papua Region forced him to accept this.

The Division Head of Legal and Security Affairs Papua Region, Johan Yarangga, said he was obliged enforcing Karma and everyone who declared officially free from the charge should take their freedom.

“We don’t have any rights to detain people without a legal reference. Mr. Filep Karma is currently free, there is no reason for us to detain him,” Johan Yarangga said during the day Karma was released. (Arjuna Pademme/rom)

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headlines

Indonesia’s political system has ‘failed’ its minorities – like West Papuans

Published

on

Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono … violent repression has “created unnecessary paranoia and racism among Indonesian migrants in West Papua”. Image: HRW

By David Robie

A human rights defender and researcher has warned in a new book published on the eve of the Indonesian national elections tomorrow that the centralised political system has failed many of the country’s 264 million people – especially minorities and those at the margins, such as in West Papua.

Author Andreas Harsono also says a “radical change is needed in the mindset of political leaders” and he is not optimistic for such changes after the election.

Harsono is author of Race, Islam and Power: Ethnic and Religious Violence in Post-Suharto Indonesia, a book based on 15 years of research and travel between Sabang in Aceh in the west and Merauke in West Papua in the East.

Founding President Sukarno used the slogan “from Sabang to Merauke” when launching a campaign – ultimately successful – to seize West Papua in 1961.

But, as Harsono points out, the expression should really be from Rondo Island (an unpopulated islet) to Sota (a remote border post on the Papua New Guinean boundary.

Harsono, a former journalist and Human Rights Watch researcher since 2008, argues that Indonesia might have been more successful by creating a federation rather than a highly centralised state controlled from Jakarta.

“Violence on post-Suharto Indonesia, from Aceh to West Papua, from Kalimantan to the Moluccas, is evidence that Java-centric nationalism is unable to distribute power fairly in an imagined Indonesia,” he says. “It has created unnecessary paranoia and racism among Indonesian migrants in West Papua.

‘They’re Melanesians’

“The Papuans simply reacted by saying they’re Melanesians – not Indonesians. They keep questioning the manipulation of the United Nations-sponsored Act of Free Choice in 1969.”

Critics and cynics have long dismissed what they see as a deeply flawed process involving only 1025 voters selected by the Indonesian military as the “Act of No Choice”.

Harsono’s criticisms have been borne out by a range of Indonesian activist and watchdog groups, who say the generals behind the two presidential frontrunners are ridden with political interests.

The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) and the Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM) have again warned that both presidential candidate tickets — incumbent President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and running mate Ma’ruf Amin as well as rival Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno — have close ties with retired TNI (Indonesian military) generals.

These retired officers are beholden to political interests and the prospect of resolving past human rights violations will “become increasingly bleak” no matter who is elected as the next president.

Kontras noted that nine out of the 27 retired officers who are behind Widodo and Ma’ruf have a “problematic track record on human rights”.

“Likewise with Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno where there are eight retired officers who were allegedly involved in past cases of HAM violations”, said Kontras researcher Rivanlee Anandar.

Prabowo himself, a former special forces commander, is implicated in many human rights abuses. He has been accused of abduction and torture of 23 pro-democracy activists in the late 1990s and he is regarded as having knowledge of the killing hundreds of civilians in Santa Cruz massacre in Timor-Leste.

90,000 killed post-Sukarno

Harsono’s 280-page book, with seven chapters devoted to regions of Indonesia, documents an ”internally complex and riven nation” with an estimated 90,000 people having been killed in the decade after Suharto’s departure.

“In East Timor, President Suharto’s successor B. J. Habibie agreed to have a referendum [on independence]. Indonesia lost and it generated a bloodbath,” says Harsono.

“Habibie’s predecessors, Megawati Sukanoputri and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, refused to admit [that] the Indonesian military’s occupation, despite a United Nations’ finding, had killed 183,000 people between 1975 and 1999.”

Harsono notes how in 1945 Indonesia’s “non-Javanese founders Mohammad Hatta, Sam Ratu Langie and Johannes Latuharhary wanted an Indonesia that was democratic and decentralised. They advocated a federation.”

However, Sukarno, Supomo and Mohammad Yamin wanted instead a centralised unitarian state.

“Understanding the urgency to fight incoming Dutch troops, Latuharhary accepted Supomo’s proposal but suggested the new republic hold a referendum as soon as it became independent. Sukarno agreed but this decision has never been executed.”

The establishment of a unitarian state “naturally created the Centre”, says Harsono. “Jakarta has been accumulated and controlling political, cultural, educational, economic, informational and ideological power.

Java benefits

“The closer a region to Jakarta, the better it will benefit from the Centre. Java is the closest to the Centre.

“The further a region is from the Centre, the more neglected it will be. West Papua, Aceh, East Timor and the Moluccas are among those furthest away from Jakarta.”

The centralised political system needed a “long and complex bureaucracy” and this “naturally created corruption”, Harsono explains.

“Indonesia is frequently ranked as the most corrupt country in Asia. Political and Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd listed Indonesia as the most corrupt country in Asia in 2005.”

Harsono also notes how centralised power has helped a religious and ethnic majority that sees itself as “justified to have privileges and to rule over the minorities”.

The author cites the poet Leon Agasta as saying, “They’re the two most dangerous words in Indonesia: Islam and Java.” Muslim majority and Javanese dominance.

Harsono regards the Indonesian government’s response to demands for West Papuan “self-determination” as “primarily military and repressive: viewing Papuan ‘separatists’ as criminals, traitors and enemies of the Republic of Indonesia”.

He describes this policy as a “recipe for ongoing military operations to search for and destroy Papuan ‘separatists’, a term that could be applied to a large, if not overwhelming, portion of the Papuan population”.

Ruthless Indonesian military

 

“The Indonesian military, having lost their previous power bases in east Timor and Aceh, ruthlessly maintain their control over West Papua, both as a power base and as considerable source of revenue.

“The Indonesian military involvement in legal businesses, such as mining and logging, and allegedly, illegal businesses, such as alcohol, prostitution, extortion and wildlife smuggling, provide significant funds for the military as an organisation and also for individual officers.”

Pro-independence leaders have called on West Papuans to boycott the Indonesian elections tomorrow.

Andreas Harsono launched his journalism career as a reporter for the Bangkok-based Nation and the Kuala Lumpur-based Star newspapers. In the 1990s, he helped establish Indonesia’s Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) – then an illegal group under the Suharto regime, and today the most progressive journalists union in the republic.

Harsono was also founder of the Jakarta-based Institute for the Studies on the Free Flow of Information and of the South East Asia Press Alliance (SEAPA).

In a separate emailed interview with me in response to a question about whether there was light at the end of the tunnel, Harsono replied: I do not want to sound pessimistic but visiting dozens of sites of mass violence, seeing survivors and families’ who lost their lost ones, I just realised that mass killings took place all over Indonesia.

“It’s not only about the 1965 massacres –despite them being the biggest of all– but also the Papuans, the Timorese, the Acehnese, the Madurese etc.

“Basically all major islands in Indonesia, from Sumatra to Papua, have witnessed huge violence and none of them have been professionally understood. The truth of those mass killings have not been found yet.” (asiapacificreport.nz)

Professor David Robie is director of the Pacific Media Centre.

Continue Reading

Headlines

TAPOL and ETAN seek judicial review of 1969 ‘self-determination’ Papua vote

Published

on

By

“West Papuans refer to the 1969 referendum as the ‘Act of No Choice’. The referendum was by no means a legitimate exercise of self-determination. Image: Benny Wenda FB

Papua, Jubi – TAPOL and the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) have applied for a judicial review of the “Act of Free Choice” by the Indonesian Constitutional Court.

Recently filed by human rights lawyers on behalf of West Papua customary leaders and churches, the submission states that the highly contested self-determination “referendum” held in 1969 must be deemed contrary to the rights granted under Indonesian constitution, including the rights to freedom of thought and conscience, right to life, right to feel safe, and the right to not be tortured.

The “Act of Free Choice” took place between July 14 and August 2, 1969.

It was implemented following the guidelines of the New York Agreement (Agreement Between the Republic of Indonesia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands Concerning West New Guinea (West Irian [West Papua])of August 16, 1962.

The New York Agreement set the terms of the self-determination process. The UN was to assist Indonesia in overseeing an exercise of free choice by the people of West Papua on their political status, choosing between independence or remaining under Indonesian control.

There was to be full participation by all adults in accordance with best international practice. However, there was no meaningful support from the United Nations to guarantee a freely-held vote.

Instead, note TAPOL and ETAN in their joint statement, Indonesia took control of the process and backed by threats from its military, hand-picked 1025 men and women and forced them to vote for annexation by Indonesia.

Strategic litigation

It is why West Papuans refer to the referendum as “Act of No Choice”. The referendum was by no means a legitimate exercise of self-determination.

“This strategic litigation reminds the international community about the root cause of the long-running conflict in West Papua,” the joint statement said.

“The right to self-determination is an erga omnes norm which means that every State has the obligation to ensure that everyone’s right to self-determination is fulfilled.

“This 50 years of injustice has cost the loss of hundreds of thousands of indigenous West Papuan lives.

“West Papuans today still suffer persecution for expressing their rights to self-determination. We encourage the Indonesian government to accept the submission and to acknowledge that the vote staged in 1969 was contrary to rights granted under the Indonesian Constitution.”

TAPOL and ETAN believe that the right to self-determination is fundamental and that the people of West Papua have not yet been given the freedom to exercise that right.

Both TAPOL and ETAN note that each organisation works to promote human rights, justice and democracy in Indonesia and Timor-Leste.

“We join West Papuans in calling for an internationally-supervised referendum conducted according to international standards,” the joint statement said. (asiapacificreport.nz)

 

Source: Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Continue Reading

Headlines

West Papuans call for mass boycott of Indonesian elections

Published

on

By

Exiled West Papuan leader Benny Wenda on a visit to New Zealand’s Pacific Media Centre at Auckland University of Technology in 2013. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

By Tom Stayner of SBS News

A West Papuan independence leader and Nobel peace prize nominee is calling for a mass boycott of Indonesia’s upcoming elections to bring attention to their independence struggle.

Benny Wenda was granted political asylum in the United Kingdom 16 years ago – following an escape from custody while on trial in West Papua.

In exile, he has led the campaign for the self-determination that his countrymen say they have lacked since Indonesia gained internationally-recognised control of West Papua through a disputed referendum vote 50 years ago.

Wenda told SBS News from London, that he is calling for a mass boycott of Indonesia’s upcoming elections to again bring attention to a decades long independence struggle.

“This is a critical time for our people because the election for a colonial occupied force is not legitimate,” Wenda said.

“FROM NOW ON WE WILL NOT TAKE PART IN INDONESIAN ELECTIONS BECAUSE WE ARE NOT INDONESIAN.”

“We are Melanesian. We are the Pacific islanders… People are fed up – enough is enough,” he said.

Indonesian elections

On April 17 – more than 190 million registered Indonesian voters will go to the polls for presidential and general elections.

Favoured incumbent President Joko Widodo is being challenged by former military general Prabowo Subianto.

Subianto is also the son-in-law of long-time former President Suharto – who led Indonesia for three decades.

Southeast Asia analyst Damien Kingsbury said both candidates have adopted “nationalist” sentiments in their campaign so far.

“There are both populists that are operating on a populist agenda,” he said.

“Jokowi is trying to broaden his appeal out to the middle ground of Indonesian voters. Prabowo is appealing much more to a base.”

Professor Kingsbury said despite making up some recent ground, Subianto is well behind President Widodo in most polling.

“The polls have been showing that Jokowi is running at around the 50 percent mark in terms of popularity,” he said.

“Prabowo is running at around the 30 percent mark with a significant number of undecided voters.”

This is the second time the two rivals will face off after President Widodo defeated Subianto in elections five years ago.

According to the West Papua National Committee, hundreds of thousands of West Papuans boycotted those elections in 2014.

West Papuan militants back boycott

Indonesia’s control of West Papua has long been a flash-point for ongoing low level conflict between Indonesian forces and Indigenous Papuan militants.

Indonesia recently deployed 600 soldiers to protect the building of a major highway in West Papua, in response to the killings of 19 Indonesian road workers. The road project was a signature promise that President Joko Widodo made to the region.

In following clashes with militants, Indonesia’s military said three of its soldiers were killed along with up to 10 rebels.

But despite this escalation, Professor Kingsbury said West Papua had essentially been a “non-issue” in the election campaign.

“Both candidates believe that that Melanesian West Papuans should accept they are Indonesian,” he said.

“[They believe] the separatist movement [in West Papua] is essentially a criminal organisation.”

In a statement seen by SBS News, the West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB-OPM) declared its intention to support the push to boycott 2019 elections.

“The TPNPB-OPM never recognised the existence of the Colonial Government of the Republic of Indonesia in Papuans Customary Lands,” the statement reads. (asiapacificreport.nz)

 

Source: asiapacificreport.nz

Continue Reading

Trending