Archive for February, 2009

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister poor stance on West Papuan Human Rights

February 26, 2009

The following work is by Monaro Chrisitan Forum and is taken from report published by US based ETAN.

Stephen Smith defends Australia’s historic human rights stance in West Papua
The Dept. Foreign Affairs and Trade has written to the Monaro Christian Forum to defend the track record of this and previous governments in speaking up for human rights in West Papua.

A letter signed by about 50 Monaro Christians, community members and with the support of members of the Sydney Muslim community has asked for evidence that the Rudd Government is dealing with the ongoing human rights abuses in West Papua more effectively than previous governments have.

The letter ( Letter to Stephen Smith) outlines that not only are the Indonesian military (TNI & Kopassus) still involved in well documented atrocities such as beatings, kidnapping, rape, torture and murder of Papuans, but the officers involved are still being protected from prosecution for their actions. The letter asked for evidence that this government was strengthening its stance in ways such as involving the international community as recommended by a Joint Select Committee on Treaties in 2007.

The response from Mr Smith’s office( Letter from Smith office) was extremely disappointing for the following reasons.

1) As with the Howard Government and in denial of the UN findings and numerous reports from human rights organisations, abuses are referred to only as “alleged” abuses. It appears that the current diplomatic stance is still to downplay the abuses publicly. A 2003 report by the United Nations into abuses by the Indonesian military in East Timor found that this diplomatic policy was instrumental in allowing Indonesia to continue with these abuses for so many decades.

2) The letter defends the actions of previous Governments with the words: “The Australian Government has a strong track record of representations in urging the Indonesian Government to investigate alleged human rights abuses”. Presumably this track record includes the original turning of a blind eye when Indonesia falsified the 1969 “Act of Free Choice” where 1000 West Papuans were forced at gunpoint to vote for their country to be put under Indonesian control. It would also include the Keating Government’s efforts to confiscate footage of the 1993 Santa Cruz massacre by Indonesian troops before it could be shown internationally. More recently it would include the Howard Government’s suppression of Defence Intelligence showing the Indonesian “Scorched Earth” policy for the massive slaughter of East Timorese when they voted for independence in the 1999 Referendum, and Mr Howard’s efforts to draft legislation that would stop legitimate West Papuan refugees from being given asylum in Australia.

It would have been a little heartening if the DFAT letter had at least recognised past failures, but unfortunately it seems this Government has chosen to close ranks with the very Government that was voted out for its weak and selfish stance on such issues. It’s understandable – new oil deals in West Papua provide Australia and the US with the opportunity to postpone our energy crises for just a little longer if we can keep Indonesia happy with us. Not only this, but retired General Prabowo Subianto, a former head of the Kopassus (Indonesia’s Gestapo) responsible for a range of massacres is rapidly rising in power and appears to be a serious contender for the upcoming Presidential elections in July.

I don’t envy Mr Rudd’s position. To stay in charge and get the support necessary for important changes Governments need to make popular decisions. It would be very unpopular if we were to lose important trade deals or peaceful diplomatic relations with Indonesia. Unpopular, but to us Christians aren’t there worse things? It does seems that to gain this part of the world we are being asked to lose our souls. I wonder how much this matters to Australian Christians; how many of us are prepared to put the welfare of our Papuan brothers ahead of our own pockets?

http://bloodwoodtree.org/2009/02/22/stephen-smith-defends-australias-historic-human-rights-stance-in-west-papua/

West Papua: Michael Buerk creates moral dilemma

February 26, 2009

Michael Buerk creates moral dilemma

Michael Buerk has managed to offend West Papuans on The Moral Maze – the Radio 4 programme that he presents – by calling them “primitive” and suggesting they kill outsiders. Tim Walker Last Updated: 6:06PM GMT 25 Feb 2009 A spokesman for Elsham, Papua’s leading human rights organisation, says: “I’m surprised an experienced journalist like Mr Buerk should say something that is both offensive and totally wrong. The people being killed in Papua are ordinary Papuans, by the Indonesian military and police. At least 100,000 have been killed. It would be nice to get journalists covering this, rather than regurgitating racist stereotypes. “Mr Buerk’s comments will reinforce public opinion that indigenous West Papuans are not capable of making their own decisions about their land, their natural resources and their forests, and that they should not be accorded human rights like other human beings. “It will reinforce the idea that to be oppressed and colonized, under an Indonesian occupation, is the right thing for us. “It would be better for Mr Buerk and his media to work with the UK government to pressure Indonesia’s government to make West Papua open to the outside world. That means allowing journalists to enter. That way, Mr Buerk could visit West Papua, meet West Papuans and judge the situation himself.” Surely, morally, Buerk ought to apologise and even, perhaps, consider devoting a programme to debate the issue? ————————

2) BBC Papua report labelled dangerously wrong RNZI Posted at 01:17 on 26 February, 2009 UTC Survival International, a British-based campaign group for the rights of tribal peoples, has criticised a top broadcaster over comments he made in apparent reference to Papuans. In comments on his BBC radio programme, ’Moral Maze’, the presenter Michael Buerk said the only really primitive societies to survive into the modern age were the tribes in the remote parts of New Guinea. Mr Buerk added that whenever they come across a stranger they kill them. In a statement, the director of Survival International, Stephen Corry, described Mr Buerk as dangerously wrong. Mr Corry said that little-contacted peoples had very good reason to fear outsiders, who he said had brought death and destruction in their wake. Mr Corry said the tribal people’s hostility and fear which he said characterised new contacts, had nothing to do with their being primitive. There’s been no response from Mr Buerk. Two years ago, Boris Johnson, who’s now Mayor of London, was criticised for saying his fellow politicians had been involved in what he called Papua New Guinea-style orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing. Mr Johnson later apologised to the PNG government for his remarks. He added he was sure that Papua New Guineans, as he put it, led lives of blameless bourgeois domesticity.

Dutch academic critical of Indonesian military role in Papua

February 19, 2009

Dutch academic critical of Indonesian military role in Papua
RNZI Posted at 01:37 on 16 February, 2009 UTC
The author of a controversial report on Papua has criticised Indonesian military tactics in the province.
The leading Dutch historian, Professor Pieter Drooglever, says it’s not the civil authorities, but the military apparatus that’s really in power in Papua.
He says the military does not have much patience with rebellious acts.
“For instance, demonstrations that took place in Manokwari – quite an innocent affair, you would say, from a distance, a couple of students are hoisting a flag… the Morning Star flag… but they are beaten up and put in prison, and now eleven of them have been sentenced, for three and a half years of prison, and no pleasant prison I suppose.”
Professor Drooglever says a solution to the Papua conflict is likely to come sooner if civil authorities are more involved.
Professor Drooglever wrote as groundbreaking report for the Dutch government in 2005, that was heavily critical of the United Nations referendum nearly forty years ago, which legitimised the Indonesian takeover of the region.

West Papua: Buchtar Tabuni on trial for subversion

February 19, 2009

Cenderawasih Post, 18 February 2009
[Summary only]

A 29-year old Papuan, Buchtar Tabuni, was due to go on trial today in Jayapura, charged with subversion (makar). The charge arises from an action he took, along with other West Papuans, in response to the launch in London on 16 October last year of International Parliamentarians for West Papua.

Buchtar Tabuni graduated in technology at a university in South Sulawesi.

The police announced that a heavy guard would be mounted round the courthouse, including two infantry units, two police units and a unit of Brimob troops. The security forces were being kept in readiness for all eventualities should there be problems inside or outside the courthouse. A senior police office said that they had received a request for a demonstration to take place, although without the required 72 hour notice. The officer also said that the names of those making the request were not clear.

According to Cenderawasih Pos, his lawyer, Pieter Eli, SH announced that a large number of lawyers are ready to defend him. Altogether no fewer than 45 lawyers have expressed a desire to be part of his defence team.

Pieter Eli told the press than his client was fit and well and ready to face the trial, although he had lost weight and was now thinner than before.

Today’s hearing would be devoted to the presentation of the case against the accused. Response from the defendant and his team will follow shortly.

The lawyer, Pieter Eli, said that Buchtar was ready to defend himself against the charges. ‘He says that he is somewhat confused because what he did was nothing more than the expression of an opinion.’ Responding to allegations that his client was pursuing separatist aspirations, he said that such accusations were not objective.

The lawyer said he had held discussions with the court regarding the large number of lawyers who want to be part of his defence team, and arrangements would be made to enable as many of the lawyers as possible to attend the trial, in view of the size of the court.

It was also likely that a large number of Buchtar’s friends and supporters would want to attend the court hearings. Among those wanting to attend were members of the Association of Central Highlands Students. How many exactly would come was not known. The trial is open to the public and has been announced to the public, so there’s no telling how many people might turn up in support of the defendant who is known as someone who struggles for the aspirations of the Papuan people.’

Buchtar has been held ‘in quarantine’ for two weeks before the trial and had only recently been allowed to mix with other prisoners.

[Reports from other sources reveal that Buchtar Tabuni and his colleagues have been subjected to maltreatment by the police and by prison officials since they were arrested on 3 December.]

Buchtar is quoted as saying that he was unclear the charges the police had laid against him. He had done nothing more than express his opinion in response to the launching of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua in London. He said the police claim that they have evidence of subversion against him whereas all he has was a letter giving notification of his action. His lawyer said that Buchtar was ready to defend himself against whatever charges were laid.

This report from Cenderwasih Post was which has been translated and reposting of something produced by  Tapol, UK and should be credited to Tapol.  It is not a report by IPAHR.

Indonesian Security Forces attack Human Rights Defender and pro democracy demonstrators in Nabire

February 2, 2009

Human Rights Report                              Monday 2 February 2009

Indonesian Security Forces attack Human Rights Defender and pro democracy demonstrators in Nabire, West Papua

Indonesian Security forces have attacked a group of 100 local people protesting about delays in local election in Nabire. As the police attacked some of the demonstrators telephoned Mr. Yones Douw, a respected human rights activist from the Kingmi church and asked him to come. When Mr. Douw arrived and began documenting the violence the Police attacked him.

Local eyewitnesses, say that Yones Douw was kicked by police officers with their boots 3 times, then beaten on the side of his head and then punched in the face and before being arrested.

Seven of the demonstrators were also arrested.  An unreported number of others were also beaten and shot by police.   Those arrested, including Yones Douw, were released after being held in custody for one day.

The Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights (IPAHR) has compiled a more detailed report about the incident, including details of the injuries to Yones Douw & thirteen local people.  The range of injuries to the demonstrators included five people who suffered serious wounds after being shot by rubber bullets in the body & stomach. Others received head injuries and puncture wounds to the head, body limbs & feet after being kicked, beaten and shot with rubber bullets.

A local source has stated that a range of security personnel participated in these abuses, including units from the Police Dalmas and a unit of the notorious Brimob, Indonesia’s para-military Police, together with members of the Indonesian National Intelligence Service, BIN and military officers from Army Battalion 753 Nabire.

Paula Makabory from IPAHR said,  “The original cause of the peaceful demonstration in Nabire is that the local election, PILKADA, has been postponed 3 times since October 2008.  The budget for the Nabire Region has been allocated and the Provincial Secretary, Mr Umar Kacili, a man from Sulawesi, has been effectively acting as Regent.”

“It appears that the local people are concerned that the budget is being administered by an unelected Regency Secretary to the Regency and that the local people interests will be ignored.”

“The Nabire & Paniai region has a long history of state violence, especially against the Mee people and members of the Kingmi church. Human Rights abuses routinely occur.   It is an area where community health and education services have been neglected by the State.  In 2008 two outbreaks of Cholera occurred.  One of these outbreaks is ongoing and has caused hundreds of deaths. The area has mineral resources, including some surface gold mining operations which appear to be managed by the Indonesian security forces.”

“In many regions of West Papua there is dysfunction in the process of Regency elections but in this case local people are organised enough to protest the delay in local elections,” said Paula Makabory.

“The Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights demands that Indonesian Government, international governments and international Agencies at least take note of the ongoing violence occurring in West Papua at hands of Indonesian security forces and intelligence services.”

“The Indonesian Government must act to reverse the increasing violence perpetrated by Indonesian security forces, particularly by Brimob, in West Papua, in the lead up to the Indonesian General Election in April 2009.  That West Papuan people be allowed to exercise their democratic rights of organisation and assembly and vote without threat to their lives, intimidation and violence.”

In particular IPAHR notes that:

1.    Indonesian police have brutality attacked Indigenous West Papuans who were a conducting a peaceful demonstration seeking democratic process in local elections in Nabire. From what local sources have told IPAHR it is clear that the head of police in Nabire, Commander Rinto Jatmono is directly responsible for the assault  of these people by ordering this attack. This event should be investigated to determine who gave the order to attack, as this kind of state violence is widespread in West Papua. There is a pattern of similar state violence in Nabire including an attack by Police on members of the Kingmi Church in December 2008;

2.    Indonesian Security forces have attacked a recognised Human Rights Defender in Nabire. The Indonesian Government must ensure that the personal safety of Human Rights Defenders are safeguarded. Their role must be recognized as being crucial to bringing Peace in West Papua;

3.    The Indonesian Government should allow free international media access to West Papua so that Indonesian Government activities can be internationally accountable;

4.    Outside and international observers should be allowed by the Indonesian Government to monitor elections in West Papua.

For further information contact Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights:

–    Paula Makabory +61 402547517

–    Matthew Jamieson +61 418291998

Further Detail of Human Rights Report:   2 February 2009  Indonesian Security Forces attack Human Rights Defender and pro democracy demonstrators in Nabire is available at https://ipahr.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/further-report…tors-in-nabirefurther-report-indonesian-security-forces-attack-human-rights-defender-and-pro-democracy-demonstrators-in-nabire/

A photograph of Yones Douw is available from site above and one request.

Further report : Indonesian Security Forces attack Human Rights Defender and pro democracy demonstrators in Nabire

February 2, 2009

pilkada-nabire-290109-further-report