West Papua Report
This is the 117th 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 by 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
firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to receive
the report directly via e-mail, send a note to
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The Report leads with "Perspective,"
an opinion piece; followed by "Update," a summary of some developments during
the covered period; and then "Chronicle" which includes analyses, statements,
new resources, appeals and action alerts related to West Papua. Anyone interested
in contributing a "Perspective" or responding to one should write to
firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed
in Perspectives are the author's and not necessarily those of WPAT or ETAN.
For additional news on West Papua see the reg.westpapua listserv
archive or on Twitter.
This edition's PERSPECTIVE
examines the Special Autonomy Plus plan under consideration by Jakarta.
It draws in part on comments made by an Indonesian delegation to the U.S.
made up of key planners associated with the concept.
This edition's UPDATE examines the
death of a prominent Papuan, Danny Kogoya. A Papua New Guinea court has
said his death should be treated as murder. The Indonesian media severely
misrepresented the views of Jeremy Bally, a prominent campaigner for
Papuan human rights. We publish here his thus far unpublished letter to
the Jakarta Post correcting the record. Indonesia plans to send
additional military personnel to heavily militarized West
Papua. A prominent Papuan has criticized the role of the military in the
construction of 900 kms of road in West Papua. A local OPM commander
denied Indonesian claims of a mass surrender of guerrillas. A
representative of the Catholic Church condemned human rights violations
In CHRONICLE, we note an analysis which
contends that the Indonesian state, and not local Papuans, are
responsible for the failure of education services in the Papuan
highlands. An article underscores the critical role to be played in
Papuans' future by the Melanesian Spearhead Group. A report
describes the plight of Papuans who have returned to West Papua from
self-imposed exile in PNG only to face chronic unemployment. There was a
significant increase in violence against journalist in West Papua.
Special Autonomy Plus
by Ed McWilliams
Velix Wanggai, Special Staff to the President of the Republic of
Indonesia on Regional Development and Regional Autonomy, visited
Washington, DC, and New York City early in December to describe progress
on President Yudhoyono's Special Autonomy Plus (otonomi
khusus plus, also known as Enhanced Special Autonomy) plan. Wanggai was accompanied by a retinue of officials from
the central government and the office of the Papua
provincial Governor Lukas Enembe.
The official also noted that there was concern that the whole
project "may not get off the ground before SBY leaves office."
The following account is drawn from a December 9 meeting
between the author of this Perspective and Wanggai, and his
assistants, as well as from Wanggai's presentation at a December 10
briefing organized by the United States-Indonesia Society (USINDO),
Additional observations come from a meeting in New York with WPAT and
Special Autonomy Plus is supposed to replace Special Autonomy (otonomi khusus, OTSUS), passed in
2001 and widely rejected in West Papua. The official Majelis Rakyat
Papua (Papuan People's Council, MRP) passed a
2010 rejecting Special Autonomy and calling for a referendum on Papuans'
political future, among other demands.
Planning for Special Autonomy Plus is still very much a work in progress
with principal drafting organized by the Central Government, under Mr.
Wanggai's leadership, but with Papuan input as well. The two
provincial-level administrations of West Papua ("Papua" and "West
Papua") had been working independently of each other and made
significantly different recommendations. The Papua province (Manokwari)
draft appears to be more radical than the West Papua province (Jayapura)
The staffs of the two governors are working to reconcile the two
proposals and plan to send a combined draft to Jakarta in January. The central government will have the final
say on the content of any proposal.
At the USINDO briefing, a representative from the U.S. Agency for
International Development (AID) observed that some of the elements of
the two Papuan drafts "have some senior people in Jakarta very worried."
The official also noted that there was concern that the whole project
"may not get off the ground before SBY leaves office."
Wanggai acknowledged the two competing Papuan drafts and spoke generally
about some of the differences including over the level of investment in
indigenous communities, calls (from the "Papua-Manokwari"
administration) for "limited authority in the area of foreign affairs,"
and the right of Papuans to ownership shares in Freeport (the U.S. based
Freeport McMoRan cooper and gold mine). He said without explanation that
the "West Papua-Jayapura" administration draft looks at "social cohesion
Wanggai told the USINDO gathering that there were three timing scenarios
for rolling out the final plan: The first is before the parliamentary
elections (scheduled for April); the second is on Independence Day (August 17),
and the last is during September-October, prior to Yudhoyono relinquishing
office. After Wanggai had finished his presentation, Francis Mote,
spokesperson for Governor Enembe, insisted on speaking. Enembe confided
to the USINDO gathering that Governor Enembe was concerned that whoever
succeeds SBY may ignore any plan for Special Autonomy Plus.
Wanggai acknowledged one USINDO questioner's point that it was essential
to have metrics by which any new autonomy plan could be judged.
Wanggai said that currently money had been
transferred without long- or even medium-term planning. As a result,
it had not been possible to measure performance. Wanggai claimed that
both President Yudhoyono and Governor Enembe were working on plans to address the problem of efficient use of funds.
Asked about the difficulty faced by foreign journalists,
human rights and humanitarian workers and UN personnel in
visiting and travelling within West Papua. Indonesian officials
argued that security concerns were the reason for access
restrictions to West Papua.
Another questioner at USINDO observed that Wanggai had spoken of the
Special Autonomy in Aceh and asked if Special Autonomy Plus would allow local Papuan parties as in
Aceh. Wanggai said the concept of local parties would not work because unlike in Aceh there is great cultural diversity in Papua,
so parties would not be able to unite around one
banner (as with GAM in Aceh). He added that many Papuans were
already committed to the national parties.
Both in his December 9 discussion with author and his USINDO
presentation, Wanggai appeared unready to address key issues affecting
Papuans. Refusing to engage with the author about Papuans right to
self-determination, Wanggai said that President Yudhoyono supported
dialogue but that no dialogue agenda could include anything that
violated the President's constitutional obligation to protect
Indonesia's national integrity.
In both his December 9 and 10 presentations, Wanggai was asked about the
difficulty faced by foreign journalists, human rights and humanitarian
workers, and UN personnel in visiting and travelling within West Papua.
Wanggai (with the support of an Indonesian Embassy official) argued that
security concerns justified access restrictions.
Wanggai offered no comment on questions related to Jakarta's failure
thus far to follow-up on Jakarta's invitation to
Melanesia Spearhead Group Foreign Ministers or various
Rapporteurs to visit West Papua.
Responding to questions about political prisoners Wanggai said that
"reconciliation" is an element in Special Autonomy Plus that could have
tangible reality in the release of political prisoners. Wanggai was not
prepared to respond to a call for Indonesia to end criminalization of
"treason" and "subversion," aspects of the Indonesian criminal
is used to curb peaceful dissent, as during the Suharto
dictatorship. Responding to author's questions about "transmigration,"
Wanggai said that one proposal in the drafting for Special Autonomy Plus
was to permit district heads to determine whether their districts should
Regarding the Indonesian military and the militarization of West Papua,
Wanggai told this author that the TNI in West Papua was no longer
operating as under the era of the New Order of Suharto. "DOM is
finished," he said. When this author questioned this assessment,
pointing to continuing "sweeping
operations" in the central highlands and
the November 26 arrests of KPNB supporters in Jayapura and the
killing of at least one of those demonstrators, Wanggai stated that
Special Autonomy Plus would attempt deal with "security issues." He said
that consideration was being given to giving Papuan officials a voice in
deciding deployment levels for of TNI -- except on the border with Papua
Wanggai did acknowledge however, that the creation of new districts and
possibly three new provinces in West Papua would provide the basis
for yet additional TNI deployments. The Papuan officials expressed the
hope that Special Autonomy Plus would emphasize the veto that existing
provinces in West Papua have over the establishment of new ones. That
provision in current law was violated when West Papua was divided in two in 2003.
WPAT Comment: One of the concerns Wanggai was unwilling to address
was how efforts to develop Special Autonomy Plus appeared to be a tacit
acknowledgement that Special Autonomy, in force for over a decade, had
failed, as proclaimed by many leading Papuan figures and in repeated,
large demonstrations by ordinary Papuans. The new version of Special
Autonomy, if it materializes at all, will likely succeed or fail on the
basis of whether or not it addresses fundamental Papuan concerns about
militarization of West Papua and the continued denial of Papuans right
to self determination. The original Special Autonomy approach foundered
on its failure to address such basic Papuan concerns.
Apparent Murder of Prominent Papuan Tied to
|Danny Kogoya. Photo: Liam
Human rights activists, media and other sources have
reported on the suspicious death in Vanimo, Papua New Guinea, of Danny
Kogoya, a regional commander of the Free Papua Movement (Organisasi
Papua Merdeka, OPM). According to these sources, the cause of death
was liver failure, believed caused by the presence of unusual chemical substances in his
body. A Vanimo court has classified his death as a
possible murder and called for an autopsy. However, Indonesian
authorities intervened to prevent an autopsy from taking place, raising
the suspicion of Indonesian state involvement in Danny Kogoya's death.
Kogoya died on December, 15 2013, in the Vanimo General Hospital where
he had been seeking
medical treatment for complications associated with the amputation of
his right leg. Doctors at a police hospital in Bhayangkara Kotaraja,
West Papua, had amputated the leg without his consent, while treating
him for gunshot wounds to the leg inflicted by Indonesian
security forces at the time of his arrest on September 2, 2012.
Kogoya was released from Indonesian custody when his detention period
ran out. He had stayed in Kamp Victoria at the border of Indonesia and
Papua New Guinea initially, but he fled to Papua New Guinea out of fear
of being re-arrested.
In addition to providing medical treatment for his amputated leg, the
doctors in Vanimo unsuccessfully sought to identify the cause of the
swelling in some parts of Danny's body. Doctors described the results of
four blood tests run on Kogoya as "complicated."
A Papua New Guinea court, after reviewing hospital medical records,
concluded that Kogoya's death should be treated as a murder and called
for an autopsy. A doctor at Vanimo General Hospital alleged that the chemical
substances which likely caused the liver failure were introduced into
Kogoya's body when he was held at the hospital.
A relative of Kogoya who was present for the court-ordered autopsy has
claimed that four individuals met with the management of the hospital
and prevented the autopsy from taking place. Two of the four were
identified as staff of the Indonesian Consulate in Vanimo, one of whom
was known as Bapak Hari.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) issued an
Urgent Appeal about this case. The commission noted allegations by
Kogoya's lawyer of a forced confession regarding OPM attacks in 2011.
The AHRC also observed that the Indonesian human rights activist Said Munir Thalib was poisoned to death in a murder tied to the Indonesian
Intelligence Agency (Badan Intelijen Negara, BIN).
Correcting The Record: What Jeremy Bally Really
Told the Jakarta Post
Jeremy Bally, a Canadian activist who has
world on behalf human rights in West Papua, gave a press conference
during his visit to West Papua in December. Bally's comments, as reported
in the Jakarta Post, were seriously distorted. Bally
responsibly sought to correct those distortions through a letter to the
editor of the Jakarta Post. To date, the newspaper has refused to
publish his letter. With Bally's permission, we
provide the text of that letter as submitted:
Jeremy Bally (holding paper) visits
Papuan political prisoners. Photo
Pedalling for Papua.
On December 16, 2013, I visited Abepura Prison in
West Papua to deliver postcards and video bearing messages of
support and solidarity to West Papuan political prisoners. The
messages were collected throughout the Pedaling for Papua campaign,
during which I rode my bicycle 12,000 kilometers through seven countries
raising awareness about human rights issues and political
imprisonment in West Papua.
On December 16, Nethy Dharma Somba of the Jakarta Post wrote an
article about the action at Abepura prison. I was appalled to see
how this article explicitly mis-characterizes both me and the
action. I am critically misquoted as having said, regarding the
political prisoners I met that day, "They are healthy and have no
problems. I'm sure that officers in the prison have treated them
While it was indeed the case that the prisoners I
met that day, who included KNPB General Secretary Victor Yeimo,
Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience
Filep Karma, and
President of the Federated Republic of West Papua Forkorus
Yaboisembut, were in good spirits, the situation of them and their
colleagues at this prison and other prisons is anything but "free
Victor Yeimo was severely beaten with rattan canes upon his arrest,
and is currently serving a sentence 3 times longer than was
originally reported by his lawyers. Filep Karma required a lengthy
and difficult campaign by Amnesty International and other NGO's to
receive critical medical care.
Forkorus Yaboisembut, at 57 years old, was kicked and beaten after
being arrested for peaceful actions in 2011.
All of these men, along with the dozens of others at Abepura prison
and elsewhere, are in jail for peaceful protest, raising flags, and
speaking openly about their political beliefs. The article in
question is an insult and offense to these men, as well as all those
who risked arrest and deportation to make this action happen. It is
also damaging to the efforts made by
Papuans Behind Bars, the
Pedaling for Papua campaign, and many other organizations and
individuals who stand in solidarity with West Papuans who have
sacrificed their freedom in the fight for peace and justice in their
Whether through political motivation or journalistic incompetence,
this article stands as an explicit example of Indonesian propaganda
in national media.
Pedaling for Papua Campaign
December 17, 2013
Media misrepresents human rights campaign for West Papua, an
interview with Jeremy Bally
Indonesia to Send
Troops to West Papua
A media report claims that Indonesia plans to send 650 military
personnel to the border area between West Papua and Papua New Guinea.
The planned February 2014 deployment apparently is not part of a regular
rotation, but will augment the troops presence in the heavily
militarized region. The deployment is reportedly scheduled to last for
nine months. According to the report, the troops will undergo training
in ambush and other combat training. They also will be provided with
photos of dozens of high ranking personnel of the Free West Papua
Papuan Official Objects to Military Role in
The Indonesian central government has
assigned the Indonesian military (TNI) to construct 14 roads,
amounting to more than 900 kilometers, in West Papua over the next six
Soldiers from the 10th/Ksatria Yudha Dharma (KYD) Combat Engineering
Detachment (Denzipur) were officially deployed by Kodam chief Maj. Gen. Christian Zebua in early
December. The project is to be managed by the Papua and West Papua
Development Acceleration Unit (UP4B).
In September 2013,
national parliament members raised questions about the
appropriateness of using the TNI for the road construction project in
West Papua. Among other concerns, some lawmakers pointed out that the
massive deployment of troops into West Papua's rural area would stoke
tensions among local Papuans.
Papua Indigenous Entrepreneurs Chamber (KAPP) chairman
John Haluk, opposing TNI involvement in the construction,
emphasized that KAPP was ready to provide contractors. "It would be
better if the soldiers return to their barracks instead of getting
involved in the road projects," he said. "Papuans are traumatized by the
Army's presence and its involvement [has the effect of] intimidating
Papuans." Haluk was also critical of the UP4B which he said had never
involved native Papuan entrepreneurs in its policymaking.
WPAT Comment: The decision to resort to the Army for this project
raises questions about the purpose of the roads. The military has been
employed in previous road "development" schemes that have had as their
principal intent, the facilitation of military movement and the opening
of lands for exploitation, often by companies with
military ties. This was typical during the years of Indonesia's
occupation of East Timor as well as in West Papua. Not addressed in the
recent report is why the project, which
in March and again
in September the Jakarta Post reported that the construction would
consist of 1500 kms of roads. This appears now to have been trimmed to
False Claim of Major OPM Surrender
Anton Tabuni, Secretary General of the armed wing of the Free Papua
Organization (OPM) in Puncak Jaya, has
strongly denied a claim by a local official that 100 fighters
serving under commander Goliat Tanumi had surrendered. Punjak Jaya
District head Henock Ibo claimed in December that the 100 surrendering
OPM personnel would be integrated into district service.
Catholic Church Decries 2013 Human Rights Abuse in
Economic life has become increasingly difficult, because of
economic programs that create dependence on government.
Traditional economic life was destroyed as many gardens were
Father John Jonga, told
the Tabloid Jubi that the Catholic Church had
recorded many violations of human right in in Wamena, Jayawijaya, in
2013. Most of the violations concerning involved loss of life, and that
most of these were the result of action by the armed forces or the
Jonga also said "economic life has become increasingly difficult,
because of economic programs that create dependence on government.
Traditional economic life was destroyed as many gardens were abandoned."
He also called the conditions at hospitals in Wamena "very bad."
Article Points to Indonesian
State as Responsible for Failures in Highlands
An Inside Indonesia article by Jenny Munro provides a
detailed critique of
a recent analysis by Bobby Anderson, that previously appeared in Inside
Indonesia. Anderson, according to Munro, incorrectly placed blame for
severely inadequate educational services in the Papuan highlands on
Papuans. Munro agrees with Anderson that Special Autonomy has been "a
boon for the powerful and a disaster for the majority, including school
children." But Munro argues that Anderson's analysis ignores the
"broader context of historical mistreatment, state repression, and power
dynamics that implicate state and corporate actors" in the dearth of
adequate services in the highlands, especially in education.
Munro also challenges Anderson's perspective on pemekaran (the
policy of breaking up administrative districts into smaller units) and
decentralization in the context of "Special Autonomy." She writes that
"the reality of these policies show us that development is not really
aimed at improving the lives of Papuans in remote, rural spaces but
rather at shifting them to regional centers and cities where they can be
better managed by the state, leaving remote areas open to resource
Article Considers Role of MSG in Papuan Future
Inter Press Service has published
a lengthy review of developments affecting West Papua with a
detailed focus on the growing involvement of the
Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) members. The article points out
that time is running out for the Jakarta to fulfill its pledge to invite
a delegation of MSG foreign ministers to Papua. The initial offer of an
invitation was made at the MSG Summit in July 2013 and was to have been
followed up with a specific invitation within six months. The article
also notes that poverty levels remain remarkably high in West Papua,
especially when compared with levels in East Java and Jakarta.
Papuans Return Home from PNG Face Unemployment
A December 5
report carried by IRIN describes the disillusionment of Papuans who
in 2009 were lured back to West Papua from self-imposed exile in Papua
New Guinea, They now lack jobs despite promises
of employment. Papuans interviewed regret their decision to return to
Violence Against Journalists
The Jayapura branch of the
Alliance of Independent Journalists ( AJI ) reported 20 cases of
intimidation and violence against journalists in West Papua in 2013.
This was a "significant increase" from the previous year's 12 cases.
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