Archive for April, 2009

West Papuan Political Prisoner is physically abused by Public Prosecutors and Police in Jayapura Courthouse

April 23, 2009

Human Rights Report                             23April 2009

West Papuan Political Prisoner is physically abused by Public Prosecutors and Police in Jayapura Courthouse

Indonesian Public Prosecutors have triggered an attack against a Political Prisoner,  Buchtar Tabuni,  at the Jayapura District Court, 22 April 2009, in Jayapura, West Papua

On Thursday 22 April 2009, Buchtar Tabuni, was taken by members of the public prosecution team and police from prison to attend a hearing of his trial at the Jayapura District Court. The hearing was scheduled to hear the testimony of an expert witness.

Upon entry to the courthouse Buchtar requested to be put in the cell at the back of the court.  He said that wished to see his defense lawyer’s as had been the usual practice before the trial commenced. Team members of public prosecutor and police responded to his request with repressive actions by dragging and beating Buchtar and forcing him into the court cell.

During the incident Buchtar Tabuni said he was held tightly by 3 of the team members of public prosecutor office while he was attacked by members of the Indonesian Police and Indonesia security forces intelligent agents, who were wearing civilian’s clothes and carrying pistols. The Police and intelligence agents beat him and kicked him.  This resulted in him suffering back and backbone pain and a wound to his left arm and blisters on his feet.  A witness also independently verified that he saw the members of public prosecutor drag Buchtar forcefully and police beat him.

Buchtar said that he was trying to protect his head and face from the attackers while being held and dragged.   Buchtar said that members of public prosecutor who were holding his arms had also laid their hands on him. He said that he was hit by a hard object at his back and his arm when he covering his head during the attack. This was confirmed with the medical report (Fig.2 below), that states 1.there is a scratch wound at left elbow; 2.there is a pain in the back bone; 3.there is a pain oat the leg marks of beaten. The diagnose states there is a wound (ulkus luka) and marks of in sharp object (trauma tumpul).

One of Buchtar’s defense lawyers said the hearing was cancelled because the expert witness did not show up.  He said that Buchtar Tabuni’s defense team was angry at the police and members of public prosecutors because these two institutions used violence against their client.

He said that the incident happened while team of defense lawyers were waiting in their room and had not realized that Buchtar had been taking to the courthouse through another gate (not the usual one).   The defense lawyer also reported that 80% of the courtroom was stacked by Indonesian security forces members, including intelligent agents.

The defense lawyer said that in front of judges, the public prosecutor pronounced that he got a direct order from his superior (office of Chief Public Prosecutor) to bring Buchtar through non-formal gate, but did not state a clear reason for this change of procedure. The Judge asked the Public Prosecutor to take Buchtar Tabuni to the hospital and that he be checked by a doctor immediately.

Instead Buchtar was taken to Abepura prison by Public Prosecutor and left there. His defense lawyers came at the prison and asked officials of the prison to provide a medical treatment and check (visum report) in the prison for Buchtar.

Buchtar received a medical check by a nurse, appointed to work as a health worker in the prison.   Some of his defense team then went to the police office to report the incident.

On 18 February 2009, Buchtar Tabuni (30) had been charged under article 106 of the Criminal Code regarding ‘makar’ or ‘subversion’, Article 160 of the Criminal Code regarding acts of incitement (rebellion) and article 212 of the Criminal Code regarding resisting personnel of the state, on his first trial. Buchtar Tabuni was arrest on 2 December 2008 in relation to a mass demonstration, which occurred in Jayapura supporting the establishment of International Parliamentarians for West Papua, which took place in London of 15 October 2008.

Paula Makabory from Institute for Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights said today,  “This attack on Buchtar Tabuni shows the fundamental bias in the Indonesian judiciary system in courts prosecuting West Papuan political prisoners.  There is little hope that Indonesian judicial procedure will bring about a fair or safe trial for Buchtar Tabuni and the many other West Papuan political prisoners.”

“A culture of injustice, persecution and Human Rights abuse exists within Indonesian state institutions which are hostile to West Papuan people.  Indonesian state institutions, such as public prosecutors office and the court system, which have obligations under International law and Indonesia’s national laws to ensure justice for West Papuan people are actually at the fore front of the attack on the indigenous people of West Papua and their civil & political rights.”

Reported by Paula Makabory
Institute of Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights (IPAHR)

For  further information contact:

Paula Makabory   (+61) 402 547 517; or

Buchtar Lawyers for Indo interview:
1.    Gustaf Kawer (+62) 813 1915 0718
2.    Peter Ell (+62) 8124 808 500
buchtar-tabuni230409-photo

Gayana: Human rights lawyers pressing for West Papua self determination

April 9, 2009

Stabroeknews Gayana

Friday, April 10, 2009

Human rights lawyers pressing for West Papua self determination
By Stabroek staff | April 9, 2009 in Local News

The International Lawyers for West Papua (ILWP) formally launched in Guyana on Friday to continue its efforts to help West Papua to “exercise peacefully their fundamental human rights and the freedoms guaranteed by international law.”

In a press release the group which comprises a network of international lawyers, said it launched here at the request of the West Papuans in recognition of Guyana’s support of its “freedom and self-determination” 40 years ago. Guyana is also recognised internationally for the progress made in settling land rights and respecting the self-determination of Amerindian peoples.

The ILWP is dedicated to helping the indigenous people of West Papua to exercise freely their fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by human rights standards including the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

West Papua forms the western half of New Guinea, the world’s second largest island and one of the most culturally diverse areas in the world. There is a line down the middle of the island and the same Papuan peoples, who are ethnically and culturally distinct from the Asian peoples of the neighbouring Indonesian archipelago, have occupied both sides of the island for thousands of years.

Papua New Guinea is a free and independent sovereign state. In 1962 the Dutch colonial government transferred administration of West Papua to the UN who subsequently handed over administrative responsibility to Indonesia. According to the release “This transfer was subject to the condition that the indigenous West Papuans should have the right to exercise their self-determination within 5 years.”

However, in 1969 Indonesia held an “Act of Free Choice” where the government had selected 1022 Papuans from a population of nearly 1M people and forced them to declare that West Papua wanted to remain with Indonesia. This “Act of Free Choice” violated international law and the fundamental right to self-determination guaranteed by the UN Charter and the international community. The right had also been recognised by Indonesia in a bilateral treaty – the New York Agreement 1962.

West Papua is now occupied territory, annexed by Indonesia in 1969. Under Indonesia rule basic freedoms have been denied and Amnesty International estimates that over 100,000 people have died as a result. “Merely flying the Papuan flag is considered an act of treason by Indonesia [and] can result in 15 years imprisonment,” the release said.

The ILWP said it remains steadfast in ensuring that the West Papuans can enjoy the legal freedoms and rights that underpin all free and democratic societies. The group said too its members work closely with the International Parliamentarians for West Papua to ensure that basic human rights are upheld.

Report ends;

Aditonal information

‘International Lawyers for West Papua’ (www.ilwp.org) launches tomorrow
in South America, with a series of meetings taking place that will
continue until 5th April. A number of prominent international lawyers
have gathered for the occasion, and will lay out the legal framework and
rights for Papuan self-determination.

(www.ilwp.org)

Amnesty demands probe on Papua clashes

April 9, 2009

Amnesty demands probe on Papua clashes
PHOTO
ABC Radio thursday 9, 2009

Amnesty International is calling for an investigation into an earlier incident in Papua, in which Indonesian paramilitary police are alleged to have shot about nine people at a pro-independence protest.

Radio Australia’s parent organisation, the ABC, has obtained video footage said to show the police shooting in the town of Nabire.

Reporter Matt Brown says the footage shows paramilitary police armed with automatic weapons running towards the crowd.

An officer is then rushed back to a police truck with a traditional arrow sticking out of his leg. A colleague pulls it out quickly before he is bundled into the back of the vehicle.

Brown reports: “The images are focused on the police. One chuckles as he displays a grazed leg. But human rights activists say at least nine other people were hurt; several suffered critical injuries.”

Amnesty International’s Isabelle Arradon says this is not the first incident in the town and there should be an independent investigation.

“It is the third demonstration since December 2008 where some demonstrators in Nabire have been shot by police,” she said.

‘Boy injured’

“Basically the use of firearms should only be used as a last resort. It is very shocking that a 10-year-old boy was injured during the demonstration on Monday.”

Papuan human rights activist Paula Makabory says the violence was orchestrated by provocateurs employed by the Indonesian military.

Ms Makabory says many Papuans did not want to vote in the national elections.

“They say that we are not Indonesian; we are Papuan Melanesians. So we will not vote in the Indonesian public election,” she said.

Matt Brown reports that without an impartial inquiry it is hard to know what happened in Nabire.

But he says the footage clearly shows uniformed officers working with other men dressed in civilian clothes.

In the film, some of them are wearing crash helmets and another wearing military-style pants and a cut-off T-shirt brandishes an automatic rifle.

* Tags:
* indonesia
* Indonesia:Papua
* unrest-conflict-and-war

Human Rights in West Papua deteriorates with shootings, arrests and orchestrated violence reported in Nabire

April 9, 2009

Human Rights Report 8 April 2009

Human Rights in West Papua deteriorates with shootings, arrests and orchestrated violence reported in Nabire

The human rights situation in West Papua continues to deteriorate before Indonesia’ General Election tomorrow. Local people have been shot and critically injured in a operation reportedly organised by Indonesian security forces against West Papuan demonstrators in Nabire on the 6 April 2009.

This report provides details of nine people who are confirmed shot by security forces. A policeman was also wounded by a traditional arrow in Nabire on the 6th April and many other protesters and police are reported to have also suffered injuries.

Paula Makabory from Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights said today, “Reports received from Nabire indicate that the violent confrontation that occurred on Monday the 6 April between the security forces and Pro-independence protesters was actually promoted by a Pro-Indonesian militia member and other Papuans working with the Indonesian security forces.” “The fact that there are reports that the Indonesian security personnel were positioned in the buildings & armed clearly suggests that this confrontation and the subsequent shooting and wounding of civilians was planned & staged by the Indonesian security forces.”

“This incident occurred following two other Pro-Independence rallies by about 15,000 local people in the town of Nabire, and another of 10,000 people in the Wamena district on Friday-the 3 April which the police had attempted to prohibit. Rally organizers ignored the attempted ban claiming their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.”

The protesters at both these rallies said they were supporting the launch of the group “International Lawyers for West Papua” [ILWP] and said they would boycott Indonesia’s general elections this year. Protesters also called for a referendum on self-determination. A report containing information about the incidents in Nabire on 6 April 2009 is detailed below.

For further information, including video footage of the protesters contact: Paula Makabory Institute for Papuan Advocacy & human Rights (+61) 402 547 517;  or Matthew Jamieson (+61) 418291998;

— 1.0 Events in Nabire from 30 March to 6 April 2009

The KNPB (National Committee for West Papua) set up their tents on 30 March 2009 as a base camp for KNPB in Nabire, under the leadership of Zeth Giay. On Friday 3 April 2009, the KNPB held a large rally with more than 15,000 people involved. This peaceful rally was in support of the launch of International Lawyer for West Papua (ILWP). The rally also called for a referendum in West Papua and a boycott of the Indonesia Election and a demand for Independence for West Papua. One of the organisers of the rally and the chair of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) for Nabire, Zet Giay, said the rally had been the biggest ever in Nabire. ‘We support the launch of ILWP in America and we know that we are not Indonesian, we are Papuan, Melanesian, so we will not vote in the Indonesian Public election 2009,’ Mr Giay said. He added that the protesters would continue to rally against these attacks by the security forces and in support of the ILWP. The protesters were also calling for investigations into the widespread human rights violations that have occurred in West Papua, and for a review of the 1969 so-called ‘Act of Free Choice’, which saw West Papua’s formal incorporation into Indonesia. On Saturday the 4 April 2009, KNPB sent an information letter to the police precinct to let them know about the second rally that was to be held on Monday 6 April. There was no response from the police.

2.0 Raid on KNPB Protest camp

On Monday the 6 April 2009, at around 3am (Papua local time) there was a raid on the KNPB camp in Taman Bunga Bangsa, Oyehe, Nabire. Two tents that had been set up since the 30 March 2009 were burned by the police . The police also searched for Morning Star flags and other political articles. The Nabire Police Precinct under the command of Police Chief AKBP. Rinto Jadmoko, SIK, then arrested 15 people from the KNPB group. One man Jerry Nawipa (Male/ 18 Years old) was shot with a bullet during this police raid on the KNPB camp. The Taman Bunga Bangsa grounds is the location that was used by the West Papua people to raise the Morning Star in a series of flag raising in 1999 and 2000. According to a local KNPB organizer, after the raid the KNPB and their supporters decided to continue the rally and focus their next rally at Taman Bunga Bangsa Oyehe. They decided that the people who were living in each of the regions of Oyehe, Siriwo and Karang Tumaritis would gather and travel together to meet at Taman Bunga Bangsa . The KNPB planned not do a long march to DPRD (Local Provincial Assembly) and to focus their next demonstration at Oyehe. There was some concern reported at that time that their protest was infiltrated by Papuans working as informers for an Indonesian security forces intelligence group (TBO).

3.0 Indonesian militia in Karang Tumartis protest

Later in the morning of the 6 April at about 8am, one of KNPB organizers passed the Karang Tumaritis area and saw that people were blockading the road. A local man, Alipin Pigay, who is recognized as being from a militia group from the Nabire Military District Command (KODIM), was seen clearly encouraging the other demonstrators. Another 6 Papuans who work as TBO (Tenaga Bantuan Operational/ Operational Field Helper) for the Indonesian security forces intelligence organisation, were also seen among the people who were blocking the road. This KNPB organizer told the protesters that he wanted them to clear the road and wait beside the market or in the taxi terminal or by the road at Karang Tumaritis. He told the people that they had to choose to follow the instructions of KNBP or this other party. He asked them to wait for the other KNPB organizers to join the rally from Karang Tumaritis to Oyehe. A local community member who also recognized Alipin Pigay reported that it was Alipin Pigay who encouraged the protesters to block the road and to attack the traffic policemen and the police car. According to this source Alipin Pigay was the first to throw stones at the traffic police and their car. It was reported that Alipin Pigay and the others from TBO encouraged the other people to violently resist the Police and throw stones and then to fire arrows against the traffic policemen. Bribda Jejen (Male/ 24 Years old) a policeman, was shot with an arrow. He was shot during the incident when the police attacked the protesters at Karang Tumaritis. The traffic police had tried to clear the road to allow an army truck from TNI Battalion 753 to pass through. Some people were also arrested by the Nabire police precinct at that time in Karang Tumaritis. An eye witness said that there were casualties on both sides, the Indonesian police and the protesters who were fighting. The police troops were using machine guns and stones against the protesters and the protesters were using arrows and stones against the police. Metro TV has shown footage of this conflict between protestors and police.

4.0 Hidden Security forces and shooting around Karang Tumaritis

According to another local witnesses Indonesian security force intelligence officers with long and short guns were seen hiding in a second floor house in front of the Effata church in Karang Tumaritis and other houses that belonging to non-Papuans around the Karang Tumaritis area before the incident/protest on the road occurred. Those security forces reportedly shot at civilians who were not involved in the conflict & demonstration on the road around Karang Tumaritis. These local people were passing the location of the protest to reach their houses and were shot at by the security forces. Local Human Rights sources reported that while the Police troops were attacking groups protesting on the road and the concealed security forces were shooting as people went past the protest to reach their homes. The shooting in Karang Tumaritis resulted in many civilians suffering server bullet wounds. Reports from Nabire said eight shot with seven of the injured being treated at Emergency Unit (UGD) in the Nabire public hospital. The News Service from Reuters confirms 11 hospitalised in Nabire with serious bullet wounds. It is not clear who the police shot amongst the protesters on the road. Reports provided to IPAHR suggest that 7 people who were shot and injured but were not part of the protest. These people were said to be shot in the vicinity of the protest, amongst this group was an orphaned 4 grade elementary student Albertus Tagi. The shooting of Fritz Singamui and Albertus Tagi had clearly no link to the protest.

Details of victims shot at Karang Tumaritis District, Nabire 6 April 2009:

1. Fritz Samuel Singamui / Roy (Male 30 Years old) is dying in hospital in a very critical condition. He was shot with a real bullet in the left side of the chest, the bullet passed through to his left shoulder blade. He is in a coma in Nabire Public hospital. He was shot when he was trying to take a short cut with his motorcycle to his house. The Indonesian Police members attacked him and pushed him off his motorcycle into the gutter and shot him on the ground. He was not involved in the demonstration. Fritz has been working for an NGO called VCI, which focuses on community service providing clean water, natural disaster relief, promoting health for women and children, and raising awareness of HIV/AIDS. Fritz was reported to be evacuated to Makassar, Sulawesi, for further medical treatment.

2. Albertus Tagi (Male/10 Years old) is an orphan, a 4th grader student at the local elementary school. He is in a very critical condition in Nabire hospital. He was shot with a real bullet in his right ribs as he approached his house after school. He was not in the demonstration. He was sent home early in the morning before the visiting of the Papua Regional Police Chief to the hospital that was planned for the 7 April 2009. According to the medical workers who told activists that as an orphan, Albertus, has no one to look after him in the hospital was sent home.

3. Yunandi Pigome (Male/28 Years old), is a farmer. He is reported to be dying in Nabire hospital. He was shot with a real bullet, the bullet entered his left back skull bone, passed through the front skull and went out above his left eye brow. He was shot on his way to his house. He was not involved in the demonstration.

4. Ipo Boga (Male /28 Years old), a farmer, he was shot with a real bullet in the buttocks and the bullet passed through near his genitals. He went to the local market and bought some rice and was returning home when shot. He was not involved in the demonstration.

5. Hengky Boma (Male/ 25years old), a farmer, was shot in his right thigh. He is supposed to have an operation at Nabire hospital today (April 7, 2009). He was not involved in the demonstration.

6. Alfonse Yeimo (Male/ 22 Years old), a student was shot in the forehead, lost lots of blood.

7. Yafeth Keiya (Male/26 Years old) a farmer, he was shot in the right wrist, he was not involved at the demonstration, he was on his way to market. w

8. Hengky Tenouye (Male/ 20 Years old), a farmer, he was shot on the left side of his chest. He was not involved in the demonstrations.

For further information, including video footage of the protest rally, contact: Paula Makabory (+61) 402 547 517;  or Matthew Jamieson (+61) 418291998;

Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights PO Box 1805 Byron Bay NSW 2481 Australia

Nabire: Indonesian police shoot 11 in Papua protest – hospital

April 8, 2009

Indonesian police shoot 11 in Papua protest – hospital
Mon Apr 6, 2009 6:37am EDT

NABIRE, Indonesia, April 6 (Reuters) – Indonesian police shot and injured 11 people on Monday at a pro-independence rally in Papua province, where demonstrators urged an election boycott and protested about a police raid, a hospital worker said.

Indonesia holds parliamentary elections on Thursday, and a presidential election on July 8.

But in Papua, on the western half of New Guinea island, where a separatist movement has simmered for decades, some Papuans have been calling for a boycott of the election.

“At least 11 people were shot and brought to the hospital. One of them was a primary school-aged child,” said Marsel, a worker at the Nabire Regional Public Hospital.

Marsel, who has only one name, said of the 11 injured, four were in a critical condition.

Habel Nawipa, a member of the West Papuan National Committee (KNPB), a pro-independence organisation, said that the protest followed a dawn raid by police on the KNPB office in Nabire.

“Several armed police set fire to the office and took 15 people to the Nabire police station,” he said.

Nabire police chief, Rinto Djatmono, declined to comment. (Reporting by John Pakage, Writing by Sunanda Creagh; Editing by Sara Webb)

*AWPA (Sydney) calls on the Australian Government to send observers/*cross-party delegation* to West Papua*

April 7, 2009

*Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)*

Media release 7 April 2009

*AWPA (Sydney) calls on the Australian Government to send observers/*cross-party delegation* to West Papua*

As the situation deteriorates further in West Papua with more arrests and the shooting of protesters, the Australia West Papua Association calls on the Australian Government to send observers to investigate the human rights situation in West Papua.
Joe Collins of AWPA said “the Australian Government says it continuous to raise the human rights situation in West Papua with the Indonesian Government, however, from recent events just raising the issue is not enough. The Australian Government should immediately send observers from the Australian embassy in Jakarta to report to the government on the the current situation in the territory. This visit should be followed by a cross-party delegation to investigate the human rights situation there”.
It is in Australia’s interest to have a stable region to our north but this will not happen by ignoring what is going on in West Papua. The recent rallies by West Papuans calling for democracy and independence shows that the West Papuan people are still struggling for their rights 46 years after Jakarta took over administration of the former Dutch colony from UNTEA (the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority). This shows the issue of West Papua is not going away and the Australian Government should be encouraging the Indonesian president to meet with representatives of the West Papuan people to discuss the many issues of concern before the situation deteriorates further.
Info Joe Collins
Mob. 04077 857 97

Four Shot In Indonesian Papua Election Protests: Activist

April 6, 2009

Four Shot In Indonesian Papua Election Protests: Activist

JAKARTA, April 6 (AFP) — At least four people were wounded when
police opened fire on a protest in Indonesia’s remote Papua
region on Monday, demanding independence and a boycott of
elections, an activist said.

The protesters were shot when police fired into a crowd of
around 200 indigenous Papuans rallying in the streets of Nabire
town in West Papua province, Catholic Church activist Yones Douw
told AFP.

“The people didn’t react or throw anything but Brimob
(paramilitary police) attacked them,” Douw said, adding that the
four injured were in “critical” condition in hospital.

Three other protesters were hit with rubber bullets and one
woman was arrested at the rally, which followed a dawn raid on
an office being used by activists in which 15 people were
arrested, Douw said.

One person was also shot and hurt by police in the raid, but it
was unclear if he was shot with a rubber bullet or a live round,
he said.

Local police chief Rinto Jatmono refused to confirm the
shootings but acknowledged the earlier arrest of
pro-independence activists.

“We arrested the 15 people in connection with subversion,”
Jatmono said.

Meanwhile, around 300 people rallied peacefully in Jayapura, the
capital of neighbouring Papua province, to call for a boycott of
national legislative elections on Thursday.

The crowd chanted “boycott the election” and called for the
release of 17 activists arrested last week in a raid on the
headquarters of the Papuan Customary Council, the top cultural
representative body for Papuan tribes.

Pro-independence sentiment runs high in Papua, which sits on the
western end of New Guinea island and is populated mainly by the
Melanesian ethnic minority.

Indonesia took formal control of the region in a 1969
UN-sponsored vote by select tribal elders widely seen as a sham
and the area has seen a long-running insurgency by poorly armed
pro-independence guerrillas.

Indonesia Crackdown After Papuan Anti-Election Rally

April 6, 2009

Radio Australia
Monday, April 6, 2009

Indonesia Crackdown After Papuan Anti-Election Rally

Police have raided the offices of a Papuan organisation, making
arrests and causing damage, after thousands of people rallied in
Indonesia’s eastern Papua region to call for independence from
Jakarta.

The rally, on Friday, also called for a boycott of elections.

Police raided the offices of the Papuan Customary Council, the
top representative body for indigenous Papuans in the provincial
capital, Jayapura, arresting 15 activists and damaging
equipment, council secretary general Leonard Imbiri told Agence
France Presse.

“They trashed the offices, destroyed two computers and they
burnt down a traditional hut behind the building,” Imbiri said.

Vico Yeimo, the head of the West Papua National Committee, said
the activists were arrested on suspicion of trying to organise a
rally in the city, an earlier request for which was turned down
by police.

Papua police chief Bagus Eko Danto refused to confirm the
arrests or any damage.

More than 10,000 activists took to the streets in the towns of
Nabire and Wamena to call for Papuans to boycott national
legislative elections this week and in solidarity with the
establishment abroad of an international pressure group called
International Lawyers for West Papua, activists said.

Around 12,000 Papuans led by 50 men in traditional penis gourds
and feathers marched though Nabire with no arrests, local church
activist Yones Douw said.

“Our demand is that Papuans don’t take part in the election
because we are not part of Indonesia,” he said.

Papua is at the western end of New Guinea island.

Arrests As Thousands Rally In Indonesian Papua: Activists

April 4, 2009

Arrests As Thousands Rally In Indonesian Papua: Activists

TIMIKA, Indonesia, April 3 (AFP) — Thousands of people rallied
in Indonesia’s eastern Papua region Friday to call for
independence from Jakarta and a boycott of elections amid a
police crackdown on dissent, activists said.

Police raided the offices of the Papuan Customary Council, the
top representative body for indigenous Papuans in the provincial
capital Jayapura, arresting 15 activists and damaging equipment,
council secretary general Leonard Imbiri told AFP.

“They trashed the offices, destroyed two computers and they
burnt down a traditional hut behind the building,” Imbiri said.

Vico Yeimo, the head of the West Papua National Committee, said
the activists were arrested on suspicion of trying to organise a
rally in the city, an earlier request for which was turned down
by police.

Papua police chief Bagus Eko Danto refused to confirm the
arrests or the damage to the assembly.

More than 10,000 activists took to the streets in the towns of
Nabire and Wamena to call for Papuans to boycott national
legislative elections next week and in solidarity with the
establishment abroad of an international pressure group called
International Lawyers for West Papua, activists said.

Around 12,000 Papuans led by 50 men in traditional penis gourds
and feathers marched though Nabire with no arrests, local church
activist Yones Douw said.

“Our demand is that Papuans don’t take part in the election
because we are not part of Indonesia,” he said.

Papua, which sits on the western end of New Guinea island, was
officially incorporated into Indonesia in a 1969 UN-backed vote
of tribal elders widely seen to have been stage-managed.

Support for independence is high among indigenous Papuas, who
are Melanesians ethnically distinct from other Indonesians. The
government restricts access to the area by foreign media.

SMH & Jakarta Globe: Thousands rally in Indonesian Papua

April 3, 2009

1) Thousands rally in Indonesian Papua

Sydney Morning Herald April 3, 2009 – 6:24PM

Thousands of people rallied in Indonesia’s eastern Papua region on Friday to call for independence from Jakarta and a boycott of elections amid a police crackdown on dissent, activists said.

Police raided the offices of the Papuan Customary Council, the top representative body for indigenous Papuans in the provincial capital Jayapura, arresting 15 activists and damaging equipment, council secretary general Leonard Imbiri told AFP.

“They trashed the offices, destroyed two computers and they burnt down a traditional hut behind the building,” Imbiri said.

Vico Yeimo, the head of the West Papua National Committee, said the activists were arrested on suspicion of trying to organise a rally in the city, an earlier request for which was turned down by police.

Papua police chief Bagus Eko Danto refused to confirm the arrests or the damage to the assembly.

More than 10,000 activists took to the streets in the towns of Nabire and Wamena to call for Papuans to boycott national legislative elections next week and in solidarity with the establishment abroad of an international pressure group called International Lawyers for West Papua, activists said.

Around 12,000 Papuans led by 50 men in traditional penis gourds and feathers marched though Nabire with no arrests, local church activist Yones Douw said.

“Our demand is that Papuans don’t take part in the election because we are not part of Indonesia,” he said.

Papua, which sits on the western end of New Guinea island, was officially incorporated into Indonesia in a 1969 UN-backed vote of tribal elders widely seen to have been stage-managed.

Support for independence is high among indigenous Papuas, who are Melanesians ethnically distinct from other Indonesians. The government restricts access to the area by foreign media.
© 2009 AFP
—————————————
Jakarta Globe April 4, 2009

News / National / Article

Christian Motte & Putri Prameshwari

2) Massive March in Papua Poll Protest

Thousands of people took part in a pro-independence rally in Papua Province on Friday, calling for a boycott of the legislative elections.

The rally, in which students and activists from several universities and religious and social organizations took part, was held in the town of Nabire.

Zet Giyai, the chairman of a pro-independence group, the National Committee for West Papua, or KNPB, said the rally was held to show support for the recent establishment of the International Lawyers for West Papua, an international pressure group for the Papua cause based in the United States.

“We Papuans fully support the establishment of the ILWP. … The support of West Papuan people can be seen in this crowd. This is the biggest action by Papuans in Nabire,” Giyai said.

He claimed that some 10,000 people had attended the rally but the figure could not be independently confirmed. He also said that rallies would continue to be held until April 6.

As some in the crowd shouted the word “Papua,” others responded, shouting “Free.” A scream of “Elections” was met by a thundering “Boycott!”

Several protesters told the Jakarta Globe that they believed Papua was not a part of Indonesia, and banners displaying the outlawed Morning Star separatist flag were on display until police forced them to be taken down.

Mekky, a native student who joined the rally, said Papuans had chosen to end the “oppression in the province this year.”

Addressing the protesters by the local election commission office, where the protest ended, Reverend Daud Auwe said, “We want independence, not an election.”

Pro-independence sentiments have been on the rise in the sprawling western half of New Guinea Island since the fall of the iron-fisted rule of former President Suharto in 1998.

Sentiments were fueled by discontent over the alleged siphoning of the region’s natural riches by the central government, leaving little for the region, as well as widespread human rights abuse by government security forces there.

The government attempted to curb pro-independence sentiments by according broad special autonomy for Papua in 2001, giving it a greater part of the revenues from its natural resources as well as enhancing locals’ say in decision-making in the region.

Meanwhile, in the capital city of Jayapura, Papua Police Chief Bagus Eko Danto said 15 activists, mostly students, were detained for questioning for allegedly vandalizing a car.

However, Victor Yeimo, a local KNPB activist, said they were arrested on suspicion of trying to organize a rally.