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West Papua Report

June 2009

This is the 61st in a series of monthly reports that focus on developments affecting Papuans. This series is produced by the non-profit West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) drawing on media accounts, other NGO assessments, and analysis and reporting from sources within West Papua. This report is co-published with the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) Back issues are posted online at Questions regarding this report can be addressed to Edmund McWilliams at

In its annual report on international human rights, Amnesty International emphasizes continuing abuses in West Papua. Several Papuan organizations have published a "consensus manifesto" which elaborates the historical and legal case for Papuan self-determination. The document appeals to Papuans for unity, to Jakarta for dialogue and to the international community to end its silence on historical injustice done to the Papuan people. Several reports note the failure of the Indonesian government to provide infrastructure and basic services in West Papua, and to protect Papuan waters against illegal fishing that has devastated Papuan fisheries. Papuans have protested yet another police killing of a Papuan. The UK Government has responded to Parliamentary questions regarding human rights abuse in West Papua and the recent Indonesian Government expulsion of the International Committee of The Red Cross from West Papua.


Amnesty International Annual Report Notes Problems in West Papua

Amnesty International in the Indonesia portion of its annual report on human rights observance extended special focus to the plight of Papuans. Excerpts from the report follow:

The situations in Papua and Maluku continued to deteriorate, including continued attacks on freedom of expression. The number of prisoners of conscience rose sharply to 117. Attacks against minority religious groups and their leaders increased across the archipelago. Torture, excessive use of force and unlawful killings by police and security forces continued. No progress was made in bringing the perpetrators of past gross human rights violations in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD), Papua and Timor-Leste to justice. Indonesia resumed executions in June, executing 10 people in total. Maternal deaths remained the highest recorded in South East Asia.

The government continued to severely restrict freedom of expression. The number of people arrested and detained for peacefully expressing their views (ed. note this is a nationwide figure) rose to at least 32. An additional 85 people imprisoned in previous years remained in jail.

It remained a criminal offence to raise the "Morning Star" flag in Papua.

Low-level conflict between the security forces and pro-independence insurgents in Papua continued. Local community leaders were intimidated and threatened by the military and police. There were reports of torture and other ill-treatment, excessive use of force and extrajudicial executions by security forces.

In August, at a rally celebrating World Indigenous Day, police opened fire into a crowd of people after some of them had raised the banned "Morning Star" flag. One peaceful demonstrator, Opinus Tabuni, was found dead following the event. Filep Karma, sentenced to 15 years, and Yusak Pakage, sentenced to ten years, remained in jail. The two men were convicted in 2005 for raising the "Morning Star" flag.

The full Amnesty International report is available at:

Senior Papuans Seek "Consensus" Regarding Papua's Future through "Manifesto"

A group of senior Papuan civil society figures convened in West Papua April 30 to May 14 to compose a Papuan "consensus" meant to address issues related to Papua's current crisis and future. The document is excerpted/summarized below. The full document can be found here Consensus.pdf :

We affirm the Papuan National Consensus as a basis and source of guidance and direction for all Papuans. The National Consensus pertains to the political history, human rights development the failure to implement autonomy laws and the agenda for Papuan struggle.

We assert that the Nation of West Papua is absolutely not part of the territory of the unitary Republic of Indonesia. [The document reviews the history through which Indonesia annexed West Papua notwithstanding Papuans' claims to a separate historical identity. This portion of the document also reviews in detail the role of the United States, Indonesia and others in a process that culminated in the "Act of Free Choice," a mock referendum widely acknowledged to have been fraudulent and forced.]


With this manifesto we invite all inhabitants who love the land of Papua and our nation to accept this manifesto and defend it as the basis of our Papuan nation.

We the Papuan people demand our own territory, equal to other sovereign territories, and alongside other nations. We the Papuan people wish to live in tranquility and to join with others in promoting peace.

With this manifesto we invite all inhabitants who love the land of Papua and our nation to accept this manifesto and defend it as the basis of our Papuan nation. [The document lists conditions plaguing Papuans in the areas of "human rights," "development," and the "failure to implement special autonomy:"]

Human Rights

... hundreds of thousands of Papuans have suffered from human rights abuses as a result of the Indonesian government's practices of mass murder, execution, slaughter, kidnapping, terrorism, internment and many other forms of repression.


We argue that the policies and programs for development that have been implemented by the Indonesian government in Papua from 1963 to the present day have failed to improve the standard of living of Papuans and raise the quality of life in Papua.

Over 400,000 "transmigrants" have been moved into Papua.

Failure to Implement Special Autonomy

In our evaluation, the implementation of the Special Autonomy law from 2001 to the present day has not resulted in any significant changes in the lives of Papuans. (The document notes among other examples of the law's failure, the murder of the first President of the Papuan Presidium Council Theyes Eluay by TNI Special Forces (Kopassus) personnel.)

All Papuans:

To prevent the extinction of Melanesian Papuans, to put an end to internal disagreements, and to create togetherness and Papuan national unity based on similar understandings and points of view, as well as to prevent internal conflict among leaders of the Papuan struggle, every Papuan and component (organization) of our national struggle has a responsibility to:

  • promote awareness that all people of our nation are not Indonesian people;

  • promote mutual coordination and respect among all Papuans;

  • consider all components, organizations and factions of our struggle to be assets in our endeavor to create the Papuan Nation.

Regarding Indonesia:

Pressure Indonesia in union with Papuan representatives

  • to find a peaceful solution through dialogue facilitated by a neutral third party; to enable access by monitors, researchers, human rights workers and journalists to Papua;

  • to end political manipulation and other forms of oppression such as murder, terrorism and intimidation of Papuans;

  • to liberate all Papuan political prisoners and detainees.

Regarding the International Community:

  • [Seek] a review of the 1969 [fraudulent] "Act of Free Choice;"

  • Withhold financial assistance for Special Autonomy until Jakarta agrees to free and open dialogue mediated by the U.N.;

  • Encourage the U.N. to create an opportunity for Papuans to determine our fate in accordance with international human rights standings; international legal principles and U.N. conventions;

  • Protect Papuan forests;

  • Investigate human rights abuses since 1963.

Let this consensus unite our perspectives, agendas and the direction of our united struggle. This consensus unites and binds each component and faction of our struggle to take responsibility for implementing its principles for the sake of creating justice, peace and freedom in Papua.
Dewan Papua Presidium
Tom Beanal (Chairperson)
Herman Awom (Moderator)
Taha Moph. Alhamid (Secretary General)
West Papua National Authority
Edison Waromi (Executive President)
Terianus Joku (Congressional President)
Former Political Prisoners
Eliaser Awom (Chairperson)

see also Report To The United States On The Papuan Consensus

Jakarta Post Details Central Government's Failure to Build Infrastructure in West Papua

A May 25 article in the Jakarta Post provided a detailed account of the failure of the Indonesian Government to develop essential infrastructure in five new districts ("Regencies") in West Papua. The Regencies comprise those of Paniai, Mappi, Puncak, Asmat and Mimika. The article notes that lack of well-developed roads between the Regency capital and subdistricts in Paniai, Mappi and Puncak. Puncak regency is the worst of the five. The lack of usable roads has affected the flow of vital foodstuffs from the outside to Mappi. In Asmat, particularly in the regency capital Agats, there is a grave shortage of elevated buildings and roads in the area which is prone to flooding and "swamping."


The great irony remains that West Papua has for decades generated enormous wealth for Jakarta through the sometimes devastating "development" of its resources. After over four decades of Indonesian rule, Papuans still lack services essential to health, security and justice.

The five regencies also lack essential services with severe shortages of teachers, healthcare personnel and facilities. The Post report noted in particular with regard to healthcare: "The limited number of doctors and paramedics has become an obstacle for regency administrations to build public hospitals, while existing public health centers (Puskesmas) in remote and mountain areas are lacking proper facilities to examine and treat people contracting HIV/AIDS, or those suffering malaria."

Government officials blamed the inadequate provision of infrastructure on paperwork and other bureaucratic problems.

The great irony remains that West Papua has for decades generated enormous wealth for Jakarta through the sometimes devastating "development" of its resources. After over four decades of Indonesian rule, Papuans still lack services essential to health, security and justice.

Illegal Fishing Rampant in West Papua

An May 22 Op-Ed by Bogor Institute of Agriculture post graduate student Rahman Pramulya appearing in the Jakarta Post describes the failure of the Indonesian government to effectively control illegal fishing in Papuan waters. He noted that the Arafura Sea has only 15 fishery and sea regional office investigators. He describes this number as "too low given the size of the surrounding Papuan seas" adding that this under-resourcing "allows for many problems." He notes that in several Papuan regencies, there are no investigators at all.

Citing a lack of funding for monitoring, Pramulya observes that only 0.5 percent of the overall fishery and sea development done in West Papua is monitored in any way.

Illegal fishing, like illegal logging in West Papua is often carried out with the connivance of the Indonesian military. The impact of unmonitored fishing, often by foreign factory ships, on Papuan resources and on Papuans attempting to make a living from the sea is devastating. earn a living from fishing.

Hundreds of Papuans Protest Police Shooting

On May 6, according to international media reports, approximately 1,000 Papuans demonstrated peacefully in protest of the police killing of man in a town near the main West Papua airport at Sentani. The demonstrators blocked the main entrance to the airport for five hours. The victim of the shooting was Agus Ohee, a relative of a key tribal chief, reportedly was inebriated. his conduct had prompted complaints from some villagers.

British Government Reacts to Questions about Human Rights and Expulsion of ICRC from West Papua

In mid-May the British Government's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Bill Rammell formally responded to Parliamentary questions regarding human rights violations in West Papua and the Indonesian Government's expulsion of the International Committee of the Red Cross from West Papua. His comments are below:

On recent discussions he has had with the Indonesian authorities on allegations of human rights abuses in West Papua:

I raised UK concerns with the situation in Papua and West Papua provinces in discussions with the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Hassan Wirajuda, on 10 February 2009. I stressed that greater transparency was an important element to building trust and ensuring greater peace and prosperity for the region. Embassy officials continue to monitor the situation closely and to discuss the human rights situation with Indonesian government officials -most recently on 6 May 2009 - as well as civil society and community representatives from the Papuan provinces.

On Indonesian government's recent decision to expel the International Committee of the Red Cross from West Papua:

We have sought clarification of the reports regarding the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and their presence in West Papua from the government of Indonesia. Our embassy have been told that the ICRC field office in Papua has been closed and that the status agreements governing the ICRC's activities in Indonesia need to be renegotiated. We hope that this can be concluded speedily. The government of Indonesia told us that ICRC officials may still visit Papua. Our embassy are also in touch with ICRC officials in Indonesia and will continue to monitor the situation closely. We are meeting with the Indonesian ambassador in London to register our concerns. I discussed access to Papua and West Papua provinces with Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Hassan Wirajuda, most recently on 10 February 2009 in Jakarta.

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