Indonesian Government's New
Electoral Rules Threaten to Further Undermine Special Autonomy Provisions for
Rule changes governing Indonesia's upcoming June 2005 local
elections appear to undermine the special autonomy status enacted into law for
West Papua by the Indonesian government.
The new rules, now in draft form and expected to be approved by President
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, deal with arrangements for the country's first direct
elections for regional administrations, including mayors, regents, and
governors. The 2001 law on special autonomy for West Papua requires the Papua
Legislative Council (DPRD) to seek the approval of the soon-to-be-established
Papua People's Council (MRP) before inaugurating elected candidates. However,
the proposed rule states that MRP approval is required only to determine that
candidates are native Papuans. Moreover, the draft rule change also stipulates
that the DPRD can inaugurate the elected governor of West Papua should the MRP
fail to give its approval within seven days.
The Center for Electoral Reform (CETRO) and other nongovernmental
organizations have filed for a judicial review of the draft rule changes in an
effort to assure fair and impartial principles for regional elections. (Source: The Jakarta Post,
February 7, 2005)
The new documentation reveal business relations between Anthonius Wamang, who
was indicted as a perpetrator of the attack by a U.S. grand jury in June 2004,
and the Indonesian military. The new information also details collaboration
between Wamang and the Indonesian military in the months preceding the attack.
Wamang has admitted in a videotaped interview, televised in August 2004 by
the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, that he purchased bullets from the TNI.
There is also evidence that the TNI paid for Wamang's travel and accommodations
during a three-month visit to Java in early 2002.
ELSHAM Honored for Promoting Papuans' Rights and TNI Accountability
On 25 February, the West Papua-based Institute for Human Rights Study and
Advocacy (ELSHAM) won the fifth annual Pacific Human Rights Award for the
organization's contributions to human rights and justice in West Papua.
According to the Fiji Times, ELSHAM, which won first prize among a number of
South Pacific regional groups, was honored "for its dedication and sacrifice in
promoting the rights of people of West Papua and for monitoring human rights
abuses by the Indonesian army." The awards are organized by the U.N. Development
Programme's Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT). New Zealand's High
Commissioner to Fiji, Michael Green, presented the award to ELSHAM.
The Times article quotes RRRT project manager Sandra Bernklau as saying that
the awards complement RRRT's vision of "building and strengthening the capacity
of Pacific Island governments, civil society, and citizens to promote social
justice and address inequalities, especially of disadvantaged groups." She noted
that the awards are intended to contribute to the development of a human rights
culture in the Pacific region.
(Sources: "Rights Groups Win Awards," Fiji Times, February 27, 2005; "Papua
Human Rights Advocate Wins Recognition in Suva," Radio New Zealand International
Online/Pacific Media Watch, March 1, 2005)
Indonesian Military Involved in Massive Illegal Logging Operation in West
A partnership of Indonesian and international researchers has documented a
massive illegal logging operation in West Papua involving the Indonesian
military. The Indonesian group Telapak and the London-based Environmental
Investigation Agency revealed that more than 10 million cubic feet of valuable
merbau wood are being smuggled abroad monthly, primarily to Chinese markets.
On February 22, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono convened senior
officials to a meeting at which he demanded arrests of the timber barons
involved and an investigation to be concluded within two weeks. The Jakarta
Post, in a 24 February editorial, noted that among the parties involved in the
illegal operation were personnel from the Indonesian Navy's Eastern Fleet
Command as well as officers from a variety of the Army's regional commands. The
editorial noted that the researchers have alleged that the illegal operation is
"backed and managed by high-ranking Indonesian military officers aided and
abetted by local government administrators and other law enforcers."
The researchers noted that as with most exploitation of West Papuan
resources, the Papuan people receive little of the estimated one billion dollars
per year derived from the illegal trade. Papuan communities received $10 per
cubic meter while the international market price is $270 per cubic meter.