Archive for July, 2008

Cholera outbreak in West Papua: Indonesian Government response ineffective

July 21, 2008

West Papua Human Rights Report,  29 June 08

Cholera outbreak in West Papua:  Indonesian Government response ineffective

New reports from Human Rights and Church sources in West Papua state that 85 people have died in a Cholera outbreak over the past 3 months in the adjacent Nabire and Paniai regencies of West Papua.

Previous reports by Indonesian authorities in early June stated 17 people had died. At that time Health authorities disputed figures from West Papuan Human Rights workers that there had actually been 34 fatalities if cases in the villages were counted.

“This latest Cholera outbreak started in April and has continued through to June 2008. Based on information supplied from the ground the Institute of Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights believes that the Indonesian Health Department and Provincial government response has been grossly inadequate.  It appears that people were treated in the community health centers when people were able to physically carried there but the government response in those affected villages was very limited.”

“Indeed for the Government personnel the response was a matter of mutual blaming and a refusal to take responsibility. Everybody in the Government has avoided taking responsibility and has blamed each other for what went wrong.”

The Papua Health Office was reported in the Jakarta Post (June 4th, 2008,) as identifying an ‘Ogawa-type vibrio cholera viral infection’ following tests in Jayapura.

Cholera, which is a bacterial disease, attacks the gut lining with infected people quickly developing symptoms of severe diarrhea & massive fluid loss. The disease can be fatal within 18 hours if re-hydration & therapy does not occur.

This Cholera epidemic was first reported in Paniai in early April 2008 at Ekemanida village. It has spread to nearby villages at Kamuu and North Kamuu Districts. The villages where the disease was reported are Ekemanida, Idakotu, Dogimani/Idadagi, Makidimi/Egebutu, Ekimani/Nuwa, Denemani/Apagogi, Kimupugi, Dikiyouwo, Duntek, Boduda, Deiyai, Goodide, Idakebo, Mogou and Dogimani.

In March, April 2006, in the highland regencies of Jayawijaya and Yahukimo 178 and 33 indigenous West Papuans respectively died reportedly from Cholera epidemics.

Paula Makabory representing the Institute for Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights said, “Cases of fatal diarrhea, which include undiagnosed Cholera, have been increasingly reported in Nabire and Highland areas of West Papua in the past few years.”

Paula Makabory also said today, “ Earlier this month our organisation alerted the World Health Organisation (WHO) of this current Cholera outbreak but that organisation in Indonesia appears to have not responded.  We contacted the WHO because previous experience is that the Indonesian Government agencies and provincial government would not mount an adequate response.”

“Although there are massive amounts of money available to government in West Papua that money is not being used to control the contagious diseases, which also includes HIV/AIDS, TB, as well as Malaria, in the indigenous population. Little of the Special Autonomy funds budgeted for health is being effectively.  West Papua remains closed to access from international NGO and the media so none knows what is happening.”

“The Special Autonomy process which Jakarta set up 7 years ago is not serving the peoples education and health needs. Many West Papuans view the combination of lack of health services and military occupation as deliberate and ‘Genocide’.”

“West Papua must be opened up to the world so the basic human rights including the right to adequate health of Indigenous West Papuan can be promoted. There is a new set of diseases which have never been experienced by remote & isolated highland communities which are continuing to spread into these communities.”

“West Papua should be opened to international health organisations to assist local communities in developing the ability for detection and treatment of disease and to assist in public health generally, including pre and post natal care of mothers and babies.”

“Talk by international countries such as Germany of swapping Indonesia’s international debt in return for implementation of health programs by the Global Fund[1] will be most effective in West Papua if there is increased political freedom.  International attention is necessary so that the critical health services can be rapidly implemented. The indigenous communities must be given the freedom to join in this health reform so they can help themselves. ”

Paula Makabory said, “There is a need for a major rethink about how community health and human rights is addressed in West Papua as the indigenous people do not trust the Indonesia Government. The international community, NGOs and Governments should be encouraging local health projects which are necessary to respond to the health crises in West Papua.’

“If the West Papuan people are not empowered in the field of health, the health of the West Papuan people will continue to deteriorate.”

For further information contact,

Paula Makabory +61 402547517

Dr Anne Noonan +61 2 99601698

Matthew Jamieson +61 418291998

[1] Germany cancels 50 mln euro Indonesian debt (June 23 2008, Thomson Financial)

Matthew Jamieson
Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights
PO Box 1805, Byron Bay NSW 2481 Australia
tel +61(0) 418291998



July 21, 2008

Human Rights Alert   19 July 2008


At 4.30 am today 35 members of the local West Papua community have held a flag raising ceremony, with the banned West Papuan Independence symbol the Morning Star flag, this morning in Fakfak, West Papua.

Reports from local Human Rights sources say that the flag raising ceremony was led by ex Political Prisoners Simon Tuturop & Tadeus Weripang.  Both men are said to be prisoners from 1982 arrested during the Suharto dictatorship[1].

The ceremony was held the outside the “Act of Free Choice[2]” building (Fakfak archives office).

Local Human Rights workers in Fakfak report that in total 46 people have been arrested by Indonesian Police.  Police have had these detainees in custody since this morning and are said to be interrogating them.

These reports say that all male prisoners were first stripped to their under wear and taken into custody.  Police have reportedly arrested people who were not involved in the protest.

The detainees are reported to have no legal representation and Human Rights workers are not yet able to assist the prisoners.

Details of the names of people arrested or what exactly has happened is not available.

The Police are said to be searching all over Fakfak town in what appears to be a political crack down in the town.

For more information contact:

–  Alo Renwarin, Supervisor Els-ham West Papua on +62 815 27801051; or

–  Paula Makabory, Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights   on +61 402547517

[1] Political prisoners TAPOL/NAPOL were released by President  Wahid in 2001 & 2002

[2] The Act of free Choice was the United Nations sanctioned referendum in 1969, which allowed West Papua’s legal incorporation into the Republic of Indonesia.  Just over 1000 West Papuans, who were selected by the Indonesian Authorities and meant to represent the population of over 900,000, voted for incorporation into Indonesia under tight military security.  The event, which was supposed to represent a plebiscite of the West Papuan people, was criticised at the time and subsequently as a ‘sham’.


July 21, 2008

Human Rights Report                                           21 July 2008


Reports from Fakfak state that 6 West Papuans involved in a flag raising ceremony, with the banned Morning Star flag, on early Saturday morning, will be charged under the Indonesian Criminal code for crime of ‘subversion’.

These reports follow earlier information that 35 local West Papuan, including ex-political prisoners, were involved in a flag raising ceremony outside the “Act of Free Choice” building (Fakfak Archives office) on 4.30 am Saturday morning 19 July 2008.

Local Human Rights workers reported that Indonesian Police in Fakfak arrested 46 local West Papuan people, which included some people not involved in the ceremony. (Also see attached IPAHR Human Rights Alert 19 July 2008.  Also Jakarta Post Sunday 20 July 2008 reported 41 arrests of ex political prisoners in the incident.)

Human Rights workers report that the Indonesian Police appear to have had prior knowledge of the ceremony and attacked the demonstrators beating them, kicking them with boots and torturing the demonstrators. The men in the group were then stripped to their underwear before being taken to the Police compound.   Two women were included in those arrested.

The names of those now charged with Subversion ‘Makar’ under section 110 of Criminal Code and detained by Indonesian Police are:

1/  Simon Tuturop, 58 years;

2/  Tadeus Weripang, 52 years;

3/  Viktor Tuturop, 42 years;

4/  Tomas Nimbitkendik, 19 years;

5/  Benedidiktus Turuop, 35 years;

6/  Teles Piahar, 20 years.

Three men, Walter Wareopor 60 years, Daniel Nimbitkendik 14 years and Simon Hindom 50 years, who had bush knives/machetes in their possession were charged under Emergency Regulation Section 12.

It was reported that the other 37 detainees would be sent home after meeting with and being briefed by the Fakfak Regent, Dr Wahidin Puarada.

The ex-political prisoners, Simon Tuturop & Tadeus Weripang, involved in the protest had been previously arrested, in 3 July 1982 in the capital Jayapura, for involvement in an event which declared West Papua independent.

It is understood that the Police have charged the six detainees under Indonesian Criminal code relating to subversion and overthrowing the Government.   Reports from Fakfak confer with the Jakarta Post (20 July 2008) which suggests that group is charged ‘under Article 106 of the Criminal Code, the detainees can be charged for plotting a coup. The charge carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.”

Paula Makabory representing Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights said today, “ The detainees should be released as it is not credible for the Indonesian Police to charge these people on that basis of ‘subversion’.  Performing a flag raising ceremony and protesting against Indonesian authority is not an act which could over throw the Government. The demonstration was peaceful and such political expression should be a democratic right in West Papua and Indonesia.”

“Public remembrance of the past injustice from the Soeharto period and the ongoing repression of Human Rights, including the Right to ‘self determination’, is what Indonesia Government agencies seek to subvert by arresting these people.  This demonstration is only a threat to the status quo in West Papua because it shows the world the kind of Indonesian domination which West Papuans face. ”

“To arrest and detain this group, charged under the subversion parts of the criminal code, are draconian.  This symbolic protest in itself is clearly not going to overthrow the State of Indonesia.”

“This whole flag raising issue must be an embarrassment to the Indonesian Government.”  Paula Makabory went on to say.

“These community leaders who have been political prisoners after being arrested in the time of the Soeharto dictatorship are now being arrested for similar crimes in the ‘New‘ & ‘Democratic’ Indonesia.”

“These arrests demonstrate that previous ‘political’ injustice in West Papua from the Soeharto period are not reconciled in Indonesia or West Papua.”

“Injustices of the past have been carried forward by the unreformed Indonesian security forces into the present period so that authoritarian rule continues in West Papua.   It is a serous problem and political freedom still does not exist in West Papua.”

Paula Makabory suggests that 9 detainees have been made an example of for the community in Fakfak.   “Why are some released and yet others detained, when all have committed the same crime of non violent protest against Indonesian Government.”

“These Fakfak prisoners and other prisoners, arrested in Timika, Manokwari and Jayapura on similar grounds relating to West Papuan flags and symbols since December last year, should be released.”

“There is a political problem in West Papua that still needs to be fixed.  By repressing political decent and imprisoning West Papuans the problem will not be fixed”.

Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights suggest that all concerned parties should contact their own Government and the Indonesian embassies to request that the 9 detainees be immediately released.

–  Aloysius Renwarin, Supervisor,  Els-ham West Papua  on +62 815 27801051; or

–  Paula Makabory, Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights   on +61 402547517

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July 21, 2008

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