Jayapura, Jubi – Allegations of recent military and police intimidation, beatings and torture, kidnapping and murder in West Papua, have been documented in a new Church report.
The report documents Muslims being radicalised in the once predominantly Christian Papuan provinces, and “very active” Muslim militias that burn down Papuan houses.
The report was compiled by the Brisbane Catholic Justice and Peace Commission’s Shadow Human Rights Fact Finding Mission to West Papua, following a visit to West Papua last month. It has not yet been publicly released, nor comment sought from Indonesian authorities.
The report documents religious, social and economic discrimination including how the carve up of land for major development has benefited multinationals and excluded Papuans from ownership and jobs. It refers to a slow motion genocide happening 250km north of Australia and states that “the Indonesians want to replace the Christian religion with Islam”.
The report author Josephite Sister Susan Connelly was accompanied to West Papua by Brisbane archdiocese’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission executive officer Peter Arndt. During their fact-finding mission they interviewed more than 250 community leaders in Japapura, Merauke, Timika and Sorong.
Sr Connelly, a respected human rights advocate, likened her visit to West Papua to “stepping back twenty years when I first went to East Timor”.
“The same oppressive security presence everywhere, the same suspicion, bewilderment, frustration and sadness,” she said.
“The same fear. The same seemingly groundless hope.
“A man took my hands in his and said, ‘We are in danger’. That simple statement sums up for me the experience of the whole visit.
“The Papuan people have lost so much, and are facing erasure as a people, merely preserved as oddities of the past or artifacts to be photographed for tourist brochures.
“They realise that their land is considered more valuable than they are.”
The fact-finding team heard many accounts of alleged military and police brutality and murder.
“There is clear evidence of ongoing violence, intimidation and harassment by the Indonesian security forces,” Mr Arndt said on his return to Brisbane.
“That is especially the case for Papuans expressing their support for particular political points of view.
“Authorities want to close down any Papuan efforts to promote discussion about self-determination, and they have applied a military response to deal with the irrepressible desire of a large number of Papuans to promote their cause for freedom.”
Based on his interviews across West Papua, Mr Arndt (pictured) identified the instigators of alleged human rights violations as members of the Indonesian army including Kopassus, police including a special counter insurgency unit, Detachment 88, and Indonesia’s intelligence agency, BIN.
“Even demonstrations about social issues such as access to education get broken up by authorities,” he said.
The fact-finding team heard many examples of how the Indonesian Government pushed economic development, but ignored human rights.
“The Government has carved up the land and given it for exploitation to some 50 multinational companies,” the report said.
“The procedure is that the local government invites companies to come and gives permits.
“People are usually shocked when the companies come to sign a MoU (memorandum of understanding) with them, showing them the permit and the map.
“If the villagers don’t agree to the proposal, the company goes back to the local government and returns with the police.”
In the 1970s, ethnic Papuans accounted for 96 per cent of the population. Today they are a minority 48 per cent, because of the rapid migration of Indonesians from other more populated islands such as Java.
The report found that Papuans were now marginalised economically at the expense of immigrants, the majority of whom are Muslims. The report said there was “a movement for Muslims from Indonesia to replace Papuans in every sector”.
“The Indonesians want to replace the Christian religion with Islam. Many mosques are being built everywhere. They want Papua to be a Javanese Malay nation,” the report said.
“Radicalisation is happening in Papua, with some militias very active near the border with PNG.
“They burn down the Papuan houses. They are recruited as illegal loggers. Their camps and logging are well protected by the military.
“The military are certainly killing the people, and closed access to opportunity to Papuans in all areas of life constitutes a slow motion genocide.
“The general opinion encountered was that Indonesia is a total failure regarding Papua and is just another coloniser.
“The Indonesian Government does not give opportunities to Papuan people or protect them.
“It was said that most Church leaders try to deal with the problems one by one, but the whole picture should be looked at as a series of policies designed to overcome the Papuan people.
“In every sector of government the system is composed of Indonesian tactics to destroy the Papuans.
“Beatings and torture are used, but also the economic aspects of lack of opportunity, the sidelining of the indigenous peoples, the taking over of land by companies … are part of the plan.”
Accusations in the report
– A young, wealthy businessman poisoned in 2015. He had financially supported building an office for the National Committee for West Papua, an independence-oriented group. He also funded Papuans being sent to international conferences.
– A Papuan woman activist arrested in 2015 by police for holding a prayer service in support of an international conference in London. She and her group were interrogated for five hours.
– In January this year, 27 Papuan palm oil workers were allegedly tortured by the Indonesian army’s special force Kopassus. The men had previously complained to their company bosses after they had not been paid for two months.
– A man aged 35 who used to work for Papua’s Freeport gold mine was kidnapped in 2015, killed, and his body thrown on the street. There was no sign of torture and the police told his family that it was an accident.
– Police and military broke up community activities such as prayer meetings.
– In September 2015, 18-year-old Daniel Bowgow was killed. His father was a local prayer meeting leader.
– People reported they couldn’t move freely at night to search for food for fear of being kidnapped. The military and police use Papuan informers to let them know of people’s movements.
Asiki resident died in a health clinic after allegedly tortured by a police officer
Jayapura, Jubi – A resident of Asiki Sub-district, Boven Digoel Regency, Papua died in a health clinic of a palm oil plantation company PT Tunas Sawa Erma on Saturday (16/5/2020). Prior to his death, a police officer reportedly tortured him.
The apostolic administrator of the Merauke Archdiocese Monseigneur Petrus Canisius Mandagi MSC asked the authority to investigate the incident and its perpetrator accordingly. Meanwhile, Yan Christian Warinussy, the Executive Director of the Institute for Research, Investigation and Development of Legal Aid (LP3BH) Manokwari, asked the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to intervene the investigation.
On Saturday morning Marius Betera found banana plants in his garden located in the plantation area of PT Tunas Sawa Ema (TSE) in Camp 19 destroyed. Hence, he thought the company’s excavator did it.
He then went to the police station in Camp 19 to file a complaint. When he couldn’t meet the police officers there, he went to PT TSE’s office to express his grievance. He complained that the management of PT TSE never gave him a notice about the area clearing. It made him upset and at the same time, lost.
When leaving the company’s office, Betera met a police officer with the initial “M”. He punched and kicked him on the stomach in front of the employees of PT TSE. From some witnesses, Jubi received information saying that Betera’s ear was bleeding from the beating.
Around 11 pm, Betera returned to the police station at Camp 19 to file a complaint on his persecution but couldn’t meet anyone there. Around 1 pm, he felt unwell. People bought him to the health clinic of PT TSE at Camp 19. He then reportedly died in that clinic.
Concerning his death, the Apostolic Administrator of the Merauke Archdiocese Monseigneur Petrus Canisius Mandagi MSC asked for investigation over the incident and said the perpetrator should go on trial. “I strongly condemn this murder. Killing anyone is a crime against humanity. Anyone who perpetrated this murder, especially if he was a member of security forces, must immediately be arrested, tried and punished,” said the bishop.
Bishop Mandagi firmly said that Papuans, like any other human races, are a picture of God. He warned that every police officer stationed in Papua should represent a character of security forces who commit to protecting people.
“It means the police should protect the entire people, not only those who work in the company. If there is a problem, they should put a dialogue as a priority, not violence,” said the bishop.
Separately, the Executive Director of LP3BH Manokwari Yan Christian Warinussy stated the alleged persecution towards Marius Betera must be thoroughly investigated. He said this violence act might involve some other police officers.
Therefore, he urged the National Human Rights Commission to intervene in the investigation of this case. “We urge the National Human Rights Commission to get involved in the investigation over this case. This case should be openly investigated, [so that’ the perpetrator can be examined and tried before the Merauke District Court,” he said. (*)
Jubi journalist Victor Mambor contributed in this article
Reporter: Angela Flassy
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Before being released, Papua political prisoners in Jakarta will undergo a rapid test
Jayapura, Jubi – Following the release of Issay Wenda two weeks ago, four of five Papuan political prisoners will leave the Salemba detention centre, Central Jakarta. The four political prisoners are Dano Anes Tabuni, Ambrosius Mulait, Paulus Surya Anta Ginting and Charles Kossay.
Besides some administration concerns, Surya Anta and compatriots will undergo a rapid test (initial screening) to detect their antibodies, namely IgM and IgG, which are produced by the human’s body to combat the coronavirus. Human’s body will produce these antibodies when exposed by the coronavirus.
“I am preparing the rapid test tool,” Ruth Ogetay, the nurse for Papuan political prisoners as well as a member of the Advocacy Team for Papua, told Jubi this morning by phone.
Ogetay who worked as an analyst in the laboratory of PGI Cikini Hospital, Central Jakarta, explained that this is a way to prevent the coronavirus spread. Therefore, she wants to ensure the health condition of the political prisoners before leaving the detention centre to meet their family and relatives.
“It only needs a few moments, about 5-10 minutes to find out the result. If the result is negative, they can meet their family and friends who will come to pick them up later,” said Ogetay.
“While Surya and other friends are approaching their time of freedom, it’s still uncertain for Ariana Elopore,” Michael Himan separately told Jubi.
He recently received information about this from the Prosecutor Office. He said the Attorney Office already sent a letter to release Elopore today along with other four prisoners, but there is another issue.
Ariana Elopore who detained in Pondok Bambu—a detention centre for women, was declared “not able to be released” because she had to undergo a quarantine imposed by the detention centre authority with other detainees.
“The Attorney Office said 12 detainees found positive (of having COVID-19) in the detention centre. Therefore, she is not allowed to go (today) because of the quarantine,” Himan explained.
Concerning the statement from the Attorney Office, Himan said the advisors’ team would directly meet the Pondok Bambu detention centre authority for a further explanation behind the “detention” of his client.
Previously, the five political prisoners accused of treason and conspiracy in according to Article 106 of the Criminal Code in conjunction with Article 55 paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code or Article 110 paragraph (1) of the Criminal Code.
No appeal will charge
Himan explained that his clients would not submit an appeal on the grounds of their health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This decision was taken through a comprehensive discussion with his clients, their family and legal advisors,” Himan stated in the press release of the Advocates Team for Papua received by Jubi.
Himan further explained that the release of his five clients had met the conditions stipulated in the parole by the Minister of Law and Human Rights through the Ministerial Decree No. M.HH-19.PK.01.04.04/2020 concerning the repatriation and discharge of adult and juvenile prisoners through the assimilation and integration programs to prevent and control the COVID-19 spread.
The Papuan political prisoners in Jakarta were convicted to 9 months sentence, except for Issay Wenda, who charged to 8 months in prison. (*)
Reporter: Yuliana Lantipo
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Clashes of the Police and Military in Mamberamo Raya caused three policemen killed
Jayapura, Jubi – Three police officers reportedly be killed in disputes with military personnel in Kasonaweja, Mamberamo Raya regency on Sunday morning (12/4/2020). Papua Police Chief Paulus Waterpauw stated that misunderstanding had triggered clashes.
“The incident sparked off the misunderstanding but already solved on Saturday evening, at around 11 p.m. (Papua time),” said Waterpauw.
It began, Waterpauw said, when two police officers and their other four colleagues left their base to Kasonawaja. Therefore, Waterpauw has made sure that the rest of the police members and their families must obey the order not to leave the post. He has also scheduled his visit to Mamberamo Raya with Cenderawasih Military Commander.
The circulating report said that the friction between the 755/20-3 Kostrad (Army) Infantry Battalion Task Force and the police in Mamberamo Raya started when a motorbike taxi driver had a hard argument with a police officer who did not pay the taxi rent as agreed. While the disagreement between them occurred, other motorbike taxi drivers reported to the military post. As a result, some military personnel came to the scene and beat up the police officer.
When Mamberamo Raya Police Chief Alexander Louw visited the battered police officer on Saturday (11/4/2020) at home, he also met other police members there. Therefore, he reminded them of not taking unnecessary actions because he already contacted the Military Post Commander of Yonif 755 to solve the disputes.
However, without acknowledgement of the regional police chief and other officers, some police members of Mamberamo Raya came to the military post in Kasonaweja on Sunday morning (14/3/2020) to resolve disputes between them that occurred two days ago. But, clashes between them were inevitable which later killed three police officers and injured two others.
The death victims are First Police Brigadier Marcelino Rumaikewi, First Police Brigadier Alexander Ndun and Second Police Brigadier Yosias Dibangga who are native Papuans. Some got shots on the neck, while others on tight,” said Police Commissionaire Anton Ampang, the Information Subdivision Chief of Papua Police.
Meanwhile, the injured victims are currently under intensive medical treatment. They are Second Police Brigadier Alva Titely with injury on the left tight, and Brigadier Robert Marien who suffered three gunshot wounds on his back.
Furthermore, The Information Subdivision of Papua Police Commissionaire Anton Ampang in the written statement to the press said the Papua Police and Cenderawasih Military Command had appointed a joint investigation team to investigate the incident involving their members in Mamberamo Raya.
“Cenderawasih Military Commander and Papua Police Chief have deployed a joint investigation team to the location for further investigation about the incident. They will collect information and check the actual chronology on the scene,” stated Anton Ampang in the written statement received by Jubi on Sunday (12/4/2020). (*)
Editor: Pipit Maizier
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