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West Papua Report

This is the 129th 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 If you wish to receive the report directly via e-mail, send a note to Link to this issue:

The Report leads with "Perspective," an analysis 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 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 is part two of Made Supriatma's overview of Indonesian security force deployments in West Papua. This looks at the police and intelligence agencies. In the UPDATE: A report on the brutal killing of four Papuan civilians and wounding of many more by security personnel in the Paniai area in early December. Papuan leaders gathered in Vanuatu launched a new coalition to apply for membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group. President Widodo pledged during a Christmas visit to West Papua to launch a joint investigation of the killings in Paniai. His administration also promised to "listen" to Papuans and to direct more resources to West Papua to develop railroad infrastructure. A minister contends that money flowing from the Freeport mine will finance development plans.  December saw more violence in the vicinity of the mine. The discovery of gold in protected forests in West Papua does not necessarily auger well for Papuans. In Chronicle, Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive-Director of the LP3BH, opposes plans to create a new military command in West Papua.


Indonesian Security Forces in West Papua (Part 2)
By Made Supriatma 

Made Supriatma is an editor with Joyo Indonesia News Service.

Part 1, published in the December 2014 report covers the Army, Navy and Air Force.


Indonesian police and soldiers after dispersing a demonstration


Indonesian police and soldiers after dispersing a demonstration in Mimika in August 2014. Photo from Antara.


The police is second biggest security force in West Papua. Like the army, the regional police headquarters (Polda) encompasses both Papua and West Papua provinces. It has 29 precinct/district-level offices (27 Polres and 2 Polresta), 174 subdistrict offices (Polsek), and 165 police posts. The Polda has various agencies including intelligence, crimes, and traffic.

The presence of police in Papua grows following the proliferation of civilian bureaucracy. They have offices at nearly every regency and municipality. The police have become a significant security force in West Papua. The regional police (Polda) have around 2,700 personnel. At the precinct level (Polres) police have 10,904 personnel distributed in 27 Polres. In total there are around 14,854 police in West Papua.[1]

Polda Papua also has two battalions of Brigade Mobil or Brimob, which have headquarters in Jayapura and Sorong respectively. As more responsibilities over domestic security are now handed over to the police, Brimob have been forced to take over many jobs that previously were done by the army. However, one drawback is immediately apparent: Brimob are not trained in anti-guerilla combat. In this case, the army is still taking the leading role.

On the other side, however, we can also see that the police assume a greater role in handling unrests in this region. This is especially apparent with targeted killings done by Densus-88 (Detachment 88), an anti-terror detachment established following the Bali bombings in 2002 and funded by Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. If killing of Papuan leader Theys Hiyo Eluay in 2001 was conducted by the army’s Kopassus, the killings of Kelly Kwalik in 2009 and Mako Tabuni in 2012 were both allegedly performed by Densus-88. The role of Densus-88 will likely be greater in West Papua in the future.


There is no doubt that West Papua is the primary focus for Indonesian intelligence. There are multiple intelligence agencies operating in West Papua.


There is no doubt that West Papua is the primary focus for Indonesian intelligence. There are multiple intelligence agencies operating in West Papua. Intelligence has a special role to support operations against separatist movements and social unrests.

Formally, the Indonesian intelligence community consists of Badan Intelijen Negara/State Intelligence Agency (BIN); TNI intelligence; police intelligence; the state prosecutor office (kejaksaan); and ministerial intelligence. The task to coordinate intelligence agencies is supposedly done by BIN, but BIN has no control over other intelligence agencies.[2]

In West Papua, BIN has offices in Papua and Papua Barat provinces. Each provincial office is headed by Kabinda (Kepala BIN Daerah/Head of Regional BIN). The Kabinda position is held by a brigadier general–level official, which means that the Kabinda have ranks equal to or higher than the existing intelligence officials in the region. Kabinda positions in both in Papua and Papua Barat provinces are held by army officers.

The army is clearly dominating the intelligence community in West Papua. Kodam XVII Cendrawasih has the most complete network of intelligence, from provincial center down to village level. The Kodam commander has an intelligence assistant who supervises Kodam’s intelligence detachment (Den Intel). At the Korem level, intelligence is handled by a “Chief” (Kasi Intel) who supervises a platoon (Ton Intelrem). At the Kodim level, smaller unit of intelligence officers (Unit Intel Kodim) is at work under a perwira seksi intel (Pasi Intel). Finally, the lowest level of Kodam’s territorial outreach may provide the best human intelligence (HUMINT). The army establishes Koramil at every subdistrict and at the village level it has Babinsa (Village Guidance Noncommissioned Officer).

Other military intelligence units are also working in West Papua besides Kodam’s territorial command. TNI’s main intelligence body, BAIS (Badan Intelijen Strategis), works independent from the Kodam structure. It usually inserts its officers in other task forces such as the Border Task Force, in the navy’s primary base (Lantamal) or in the air force’s base (Lanud). It is not clear how the BAIS officers coordinate their work with Kodam. However, we can expect that there is close coordination and cooperation between local and national military intelligence officers, because many officers assigned at the local level previously served at the national level, and vice versa.

Two combat units within the army also have their own intelligence operated independently in West Papua. Kopassus is known for deploying Tim Sattis (Tactical Unit) Tribuana in the border areas. The unit is operated independently although it is deployed with other nonorganic (BKO) forces. Meanwhile, Kostrad also has its own intelligence whenever the Kostrad troops are deployed as BKO in one region. Both Kopassus and Kostrad have Tontaipur (peleton pengintai tempur/combat recon platoon), which is a rapid reaction team. Tontaipur activities mix combat missions and intelligence gathering.

The Indonesian navy also operates its intelligence on both of its Lantamal X (Jayapura) and Lantamal XI (Merauke). The Lantamal’s intelligence assistant’s post is held by a colonel, which makes this post equal to the similar post at Kodam XVII. The navy’s intelligence focus, however, is more toward infiltration from the sea, smuggling, and piracy. The air force also has a small intelligence team lead by a major and is actively involved in conducting intelligence operations in Papua.

The Indonesian police also have their own intelligence networks. At the Polda level, intelligence is administered by Direktorat Intelijen dan Keamanan/Directorat of Security and Intelligence (Dit Intelpam). It is headed by a Police Grand Commissioner/Komisaris Besar Polisi (Kombespol), equivalent to the army’s colonel.[3] Meanwhile, at the precinct level (Polres), there is Satuan Intelijen dan Keamanan/Intelligence and Security Unit (Sat Intelkam), which is headed by a Police Commissioner Adjutant/Ajun Komisaris Polisi (AKP), or captain level in the army. Dit Intelkam works with its equivalent Den Intel Dam at the Kodam level. Meanwhile, Sat Intelkam at the precinct level works with its counterpart, Unit Intel Kodim.

On the civilian side, some intelligence agencies also operate in West Papua. The local state’s prosecutor office, both at the provincial and regency levels, has the so-called “prosecutor intelligence” (intelijen kejaksaan) that oversees sensitive legal cases, especially corruption and other crimes. The other institution that also has an intelligence operation is immigration.

The largest civilian agency that conducts intelligence work is the Interior Ministry. The ministry has a directorate called Kesatuan Bangsa & Politik (National Unity and Politics), and one of its functions is intelligence. Provinces, regencies, and municipalities also have similar agencies called Kesbang Linmas (Kesatuan Bangsa dan Perlindungan Masyarakat/National Unity and Community Protection). This agency replaces Kantor Biro Sospol, which existed during the New Order. In terms of its function, however, there are not so many differences between Kantor Biro Sospol and Kesbang Linmas.

POLRI attacking peaceful flag raisers, Taokou Village, East Paniai, December 1, 2011.  
POLRI attacking peaceful flag raisers, Taokou Village, East Paniai, December 1, 2011. Photo: West Papua Media.  

The Kesbang Linmas organized paramilitary is called Linmas, formerly known as Hansip (Pertahanan Sipil). Linmas is a paramilitary organization that aims to provide self-protection for the society.[4] It is supposed to be organized from the bottom up but in practice Linmas is more a top-down organization. Linmas members are trained by the military. Thus, even Hansip is formally under the Kesbang Linmas office, and the military has immense influence over it. Also, Kesbang Linmas officials are often held by retired military officers. In the conflict situation, the military could easily turn this paramilitary organization into militia, as was shown previously in East Timor or Aceh. Linmas and other paramilitary organizations also provide human intelligence to the military.[5]

As we have seen, Indonesian intelligence is messy, with overlap agencies that are not communicating or coordinating with each other. The Interior Ministry tries to create a mechanism to coordinate these agencies at the provincial, regency, and municipality level. The coordinating body is called Komunitas Intelijen Daerah (Kominda). A governor, regent, or major is the head of Kominda, and the Kesbang Linmas chief is its secretary.[6]

This coordinating mechanism, however, is a failure in several respects. First, ministry regulation is clearly against the Intelligence Law, which put BIN as the agency solely responsible for coordinating intelligence agencies. Second, in practice, it is very difficult for civilian bureaucrats at the local levels to be able to coordinate agencies involving military and police. Third, the head of civilian bureaucracy has no control over these intelligence agencies.



The transfer of domestic security responsibilities to the police creates the impression that reform is underway in West Papua. But on the other hand, we also see military buildup and the army still receives thousands of troops from outside the region to support its diverse operations. The presence of a large military force presupposes that the military remains in control of security in West Papua.

We have seen that the military and police have doubled their units and personnel in West Papua in the last decade. However, although the army is still maintaining its superiority in term of influence and number of personnel, it is the police who take a greater role in maintaining security. Police are involved in assassinations of KNPB (Komite Nasional Papua Barat/West Papua National Committee) activists[7] and conduct “military” operations against OPM.

The shift to use a police force runs concurrently with the development within West Papua’s political movements. Since 2009, the dynamic of conflicts in West Papua has changed significantly. The conflict in West Papua is now characterized by two important features: increasing mass protests, especially protests organized by KNPB[8]; and more frequent shootings by mysterious perpetrators that locals dub as “orang tak dikenal” (OTK, or unknown person).

It seems that the shift of the security operations from the military to the police indicates the limit of use of force by the military. Under Indonesia’s new security laws, the police are responsible for security while the military is responsible for defense. The transfer of domestic security responsibilities to the police creates the impression that reform is underway in West Papua. But on the other hand, we also see military buildup and the army still receives thousands of troops from outside the region to support its diverse operations. The presence of a large military force presupposes that the military remains in control of security in West Papua.

It is hard to imagine that President Joko Widodo will be able to keep his campaign promises to the Papuan people. He has to face harsh realities of deep intervention of the security forces into Papuans’ society. The current state of military and police in West Papua will add to skepticism that there will be no meaningful solution for conflicts in West Papua under the Joko Widodo administration. Even if he wants to solve some of the problems he has to deal with his military first.

[1] Polda Papua’s website provides information on the district level. See (accessed April 6, 2012). Papua’s police chief, Insp Gen Tito Karnavian, in his 2013 New Year’s conference said that police will add two more Polres. The Polres were to be established in Lanny Jaya and Memberamo Raya regencies. The decision to establish these Polres was taken based on evaluation and prediction that Lanny Jaya and Memberamo Raya regencies are prone to have greater “security disturbances” in the near future. Karnavian also said that 700 new personnel will be added to the police force in Papua. It will make the number of police around 14,000 personnel (sic!), which is “ideal in comparison with Papua’s population.” See “Polda Papua Akan Bangun Dua Polres Ditahun 2013,” Tabloid Jubi, January 1, 2013. Online: (accessed January 2, 2013).

[2] Theoretically, BIN is a civilian agency. This is a cabinet-level agency that has offices in all over Indonesia. Although BIN is a civilian agency, most of its personnel come from the military, especially from the army and navy. The heads of BIN almost all come from the army except in 2009–2011, when a police general was appointed.

[3] As of 2013, the director of Dit Intelkam Polda Papua is Kombes Pol Abdi Dharma Sitepu. There are lots of “interesting stories” about the career of this police officer. Abdi Dharma was caught along with other police and army officers by Joint Battalion (Batalyon Gabungan or Yon Gab consisted of Kopassus, Paskhas, and Marines) in Hotel Wijaya II in Ambon, Maluku, in 2001 during the peak of Ambon’s communal war. They were accused as “rogue security forces” that aimed to keep the communal wars aflame. Abdi Dharma then transferred to Southeast Sulawesi Polda and became the acting chief of Brimob. In 2003, he was promoted as Chief of Poso Precinct (Kapolres) in Central Sulawesi. Like Ambon, Poso was also hit by communal wars between Muslims and Christians. During his tenure there, Poso was hit by many terror acts. In 2005, along with other local officials, he was accused of taking part in embezzling the state’s funds allocated for the conflict’s refugees. His name appeared again on the press in 2008 when he took office as director of Dit Intelkam at Riau Polda. In Riau he had to deal with conflicts between logging and palm oil companies with locals and environmental activists. After a brief break for studying at Sespati (Sekolah Perwira Tinggi/School of Flag Rank Officer) in 2010, he was assigned as staff at police headquarters in Jakarta. In early April 2010, he took over as director of Dit Intelkam Polda Papua. As his career in other places, during Abdi Dharma’s tenure, the security situation in West Papua became vulnerable with shootings by “unknown people” (Orang Tak Dikenal or OTK) and targeted killings especially toward KNPB activists.

[4] Linmas is not the only paramilitary organization at the local level. There are other similar paramilitary organizations such as Wanra (Perlawanan Rakyat), a community organization controlled by the military and aimed at defending the country against foreign invasion/infiltration; Kamra (Keamanan Rakyat) is paramilitary to help police maintain security in a community; Banpol (Bantuan Polisi) is a police helper; SatPol PP (Satuan Polisi Pamong Praja) is regency or municipality police; and Pam Swakarsa (Pasukan Pengamanan Masyarakat Swakarsa) is a militia created by the army.

[5] Most of the militia involved in violence in East Timor and in Aceh were members of these “civilian” organizations before they turned into militia by the military.

[6] See Interior Ministry Regulation No. 16/2011.

[7] Australia’s Fairfax Media notes that there were 22 KNPB activists killed in 2012, 3 still missing, 7 have been charged for various offenses, 200 more have been released after detained less than three months. Online: (accessed December 18, 2012).

[8] Komite Nasional Papua Barat (KNPB) is an organization whose members are students or ex-student activists mainly from the central highlands of West Papua. The organization aims to review the 1969 Acts of Free Choice and hold a referendum for the future of West Papua. International Crisis Group (ICG) in its report charges that KNPB was shifting its tactics from peaceful methods to violence and works closely with TPN/OPM. The report also claims KNPB was responsible for several violent incidents in Jayapura, near Freeport mining, and in other places in West Papua. See Radicalisation And Dialogue In Papua, International Crisis Group (ICG), Asia Report N°188 – 11 March 2010. This report has been considered biased by pro-Papuan activists and academics. The ICG report is following narratives long held and spread by Indonesian military and police. On rebuttal to this report, see Jim Elmslie and Camellia Webb Gannon with Peter King, Get up, stand up: West Papua stands up for its rights. A rebuttal of the International Crisis Group Report No. 188, Radicalisation and Dialogue in Papua: West Papuans unite against Special Autonomy and for a referendum on independence, West Papua Project of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), The University of Sydney (Australia), July 2010.

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Security Forces Kill Papuan Civilians in Paniai District

Security forces shot and killed five unarmed Papuan civilians on December 8 in the Paniai District capital of Enarotali. [Update: Later reports show that four, not five, were killed.] Up to 17 other were wounded by the security force fire. Elementary students were reportedly among the victims. The shooting came in response to a peaceful demonstration by an estimated 800 Papuan civilians at the district police headquarters. The Papuan demonstrators sought an explanation for the military beating/torture of a Papuan child the day before. (Note: Police sourced reporting that contends the demonstrators were violent is not born out by others, including from Human Rights Watch.)

The Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) reacted quickly to the assault on civilians. Its investigative team declared that the killings and injuries could have been prevented if soldiers had not exercised force in response to what Komnas HAM called a "minor notice" from the locals.

The demonstrators were protesting the assault the night before by soldiers from Special Team 753 who were responding to shouts from local children criticizing the failure of Special Team 753 vehicle for failing to turn on its headlights while passing a group decorating a Christmas pavilion at a church in Enarotali. The driver returned to the site with eight of other soldiers and beat the children, sending 11 of them aged between eight and 16 years old to the hospital.

"It was just a little thing, and the soldiers responded excessively," Nur Kholis, a member of the investigative team, told the media.

Komnas HAM said it was still unclear whether members of the police or the TNI fired at the demonstrators, Both were present at the protest.

In a December 25 statement. Human Rights Watch called on the Widodo government to "create a joint fact-finding team to ensure a credible, impartial investigation of the killings." (See below for President Widodo's tardy response to the incident.) HRW also called on the Jakarta "to deploy the official Witness and Victim Protection Agency to Enarotali to protect witnesses, victims, and victims' families from possible security force reprisals for cooperating with investigators. Journalists and others "told Human Rights Watch that numerous witnesses are afraid to discuss the December 8, 2014 incident." Komnas HAM's preliminary report about the incident also found that witnesses were "unwilling to testify" due to apparent concerns about reprisals.

Neles Tebay, a lecturer at the Fajar Timur School of Philosophy and Theology and coordinator of the Papua Peace Network in Jayapura, reflected on the Paniai killings in the context of the decades of Indonesian military occupation. He wrote that "The Paniai shooting was simply the latest example in a long history of violence, demonstrating once again that indigenous Papuans are not treated as citizens, but rather as Indonesia's enemy who must be eliminated."

While President Widodo has spoken of plans for development in West Papua, Tebay underscored that there are more pressing demands by the Papuan people. "Despite government claims of implementing and trying to improve a welfare approach in Papua, the Paniai shooting clearly reveals that the security approach is still being applied on the ground. Consequently, Papuans are still vulnerable for they can be easily killed, even without reason, at any time and anywhere in the western half of the island of New Guinea. Therefore Papua remains Indonesia's killing field even under the leadership of democratically elected President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo. More indigenous Papuans are expected to be victims of human rights violations."

Papuans Unify Their Struggle for Self Determination

Banner for West Papua unification conference.  
Banner for West Papua unification conference. Photo via Twitter.  

West Papuan leaders met in Vanuatu in early December to create a unified organization to press the territory's case for membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group. The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) brings together a number of key Papuan organizations. The meeting facilitated by the Pacific Council of Churches and hosted by Vanuatu government was briefly delayed when a charter flight booked by the government of Papua New Guinea was cancelled under pressure from Indonesia stranding in Port Moresby more than 70 delegates, most coming from West Papua's interior. Only five of those eventually made it to Vanuatu. The meeting's Saralana Declaration called the ULMWP "a body representing all resistance organizations both inside and outside West Papua." They said the new coalition would become "the coordinating body to support an international efforts to regain our sovereignty."

Below are excerpts from a report by Ben Bohane for the Pacific Institute of Public Policy follow:

The new organisation unites the three main organisations and several smaller ones who have long struggled for independence. By coming together to present a united front, they hope to re-submit a fresh application for membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) as well as countering Indonesian claims that the West Papuan groups are divided....

The key groups to have united include the Federal Republic of West Papua (NRFPB); National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) and National Parliament of West Papua (NPWP), which incorporates the KPNB (National Committee for West Papua). An external secretariat consisting of five elected members from the various groups will now co-ordinate the ULMWP. Octovianus Mote, a former journalist who has been based in the U.S. for many years, has been elected General Secretary of the ULMWP. Benny Wenda is the spokesperson and the other three elected members are Rex Rumakiek, Leone Tangahma and Jacob Rumbiak.

General Secretary Mote said at the close of the unification meeting "I am honoured to be elected and very happy we are now all united. The ULMWP is now the only recognised co-ordinating body to lead the campaign for MSG membership and continue the campaign for independence from Indonesia."

In a speech, Mote spoke of the urgency of their situation. He quoted economist Dr Jim Elmslie whose demographic projections suggest that Papuans will comprise only 29% of the population of their homeland by 2020, highlighting the massive transmigration program that continue to bring settlers in from around Indonesia. Indigenous Papuans are already a minority in their own land -- and Mote warned that once West Papua is fully "asianised" then PNG will be next....

General Secretary Mote told me the next step is for the new movement to re-submit their MSG application for membership between February and March next year, with MSG leaders expected to make a decision when they meet in the Solomon Islands in June 2015.

No doubt some internal tensions will remain, given the tribal diversity of West Papua and its traditionally de-centralised leadership, but the newly unified movement under the ULMWP represents the best chance yet for the Papuans to continue building momentum for their struggle.

President Condemns Paniai Shooting, Pledges Investigation and Vows to Listen to Papuan Voices

President Widodo, after several weeks of silence, commented publicly on the December 8 killing of five unarmed Papuan civilians by security forces in the Paniai region. The president said he would set up an independent probe into the deaths of five civilians at the hands of the police.

Jokowi in Papua, December 2014.  
Jokowi in Papua, December 2014. Photo: Agus Pabika/ SuaraPapua.  

President Widodo told a crowd at Mandala Stadium in Jayapura on December 27 that the shooting of five young civilians was "unacceptable" and "deplorable."

Widodo told the crowd at the stadium that he empathized with the grieving families. "I want this case to be solved immediately so it won't ever happen again in the future. By forming a fact-finding team, we hope to obtain valid information [about what actually happened], as well as find the root of the problems."

Widodo called for Papua. "I want my visit to Papua to be useful, I want to listen to the people's voices, and I'm willing to open dialogue for a better Papua," he said. "I think that the people of Papua don't only need health care, education, the construction of roads and bridges, but they also need to be listened to. That is what I will do in dealing with the problems in Papua."

Rev. Neles Tebay, (see above for earlier comments by Rev. Tebay on the Paniai incident) welcomed the president's plan to form a fact-finding team, having previously criticized the police for being "very secretive" about their investigation. "The president is willing to identify the problem, so surely this is a good commitment," Neles said December 27.

COMMENT: Widodo's pledge of an independent investigation of the Paniai incident is welcome as is his pledge to "listen" to Papuans. But his pledges are reminiscent of those by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who in 2004 bringing to justice the killers of leading human rights campaigner Munir a test of his (then) new administration. Yudhoyono failed that test. Papuans, Indonesians and the international community wait to see if Widodo is able to fulfill his pledges to the Papuans.

Widodo Administration Pledges Infrastructure Development in West Papua Based on Freeport Earnings

The Widodo administration announced plans to improve infrastructure, including the development of railways. Widodo made the announcement in a teleconference with district heads and governors from Papua and Maluku, December 8. He noted that his administration wanted railways to reach into interior areas of West Papua. A preliminary study is set to be concluded in six months and building can start immediately afterward, the president said, adding that old railways in Biak that are no longer in use will also be reactivated from next year.

President Widodo, during his Christmas visit to West Papua, in which he was accompanied by several ministers, said that among the projects the government was planning to carry out would be to build market complexes and bridges in the Papua provinces.

According to senior Administration officials the Jakarta government will draw on revenue generated by the giant Freeport McMoRan mining operation as a source for funds for development in West Papua. Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Sudirman identified this source of funding for the development work adding: "Vice President Jusuf Kalla has stated that if at all possible, all development programs for Papua be covered with funds from Freeport."

Papuans Behind Bars

More Violence at Freeport Mine

Media accounts report that three security people have been killed in the vicinity of the Freeport mine. Three security personnel were found dead with bullet and machete wounds at the U.S.-owned Freeport-McMoRan copper and gold mine in eastern Indonesia, local police announced on January 2. The three included a security employee and two police officers who reportedly had been on patrol at the sprawling Grasberg complex. They were found dead on January 1.

Gold Discovery Poses Problem for Papuans

The Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources announced that four companies have reported the discovery of significant gold deposits in West Papua in forests protected environmentally by the state. R Sukhyar, Director General of Mineral and Coal at the ministry called the deposits "incredible gold reserves" that were the equivalent of the Batu Hijau mine. That open copper and gold mine in West Nusa Tenggara has created severe environmental problems arising from its disposal of tailings in the ocean.

The four companies are PT. Nabire Bhakti mining in Paniai, PT Irja Estern in Paniai, and PT Iriana Mutiara Indenberg in Senggi Keerom, and PT Antam Tbk (Antam).

Sukhyar told media that the companies are for now prevented from exploiting the deposits because of the protected status of the forest in which the deposits were found.

Carmel Budiardjo, renowned human rights campaigner has observed: "This is not good news for the Papuan people, who will not benefit from yet more rich resources in their homeland. This can only draw more people from elsewhere in Indonesia, further marginalizing them while the armed forces will have even more reason to tighten their grip on West Papua, and of course benefit from this bonanza, rather than the Papuans."

COMMENT: Indonesian officials have not explained how it was possible for the four companies to be able to prospect for gold in a "protected" forest area in the first place.


New Regional Military Command Opposed

The Institute for Research, Investigation and Development of Human Rights - Manokwari (LP3BH) strongly protested the plan to create a new Regional Military Command in West Papua. "The creation of yet another military command in the Land of Papua will be regarded throughout the world as being an indication that Indonesian governments throughout the past fifty years have never sought to make Papua a Land of Peace but continued to treat it as an area of conflict which requires firm control and keeps the area under tight control, not permitting any information to be known about this situation, at home and abroad," Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive-Director of the LP3BH wrote.

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