Jayapura, Jubi – “From east to east”, a phrase that pretty much describes the struggle of the children of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) and the Free Papua Organization (OPM) members who choose to continue their parents’ battle. For them, the wish to liberate Papua has always been there. And it is the same with the children of victims of human rights violations in Papua.
Demianus Magai Yogi, the son of Tadeus Yogi, a member of the TPNPB in Paniai Regency, chose to follow in his father’s footsteps to take up arms. He is now a TPNPB combatant because he witnessed his family being victims of violence by the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police.
“My father, Tadeus Magai Yogi, led the Papuan independence movement since the early 1970s, until his last breath on January 9, 2009,” said Demianus. “A safe and peaceful life is impossible for us children TPNPB soldiers,” he added. He accepted it as a consequence of his parents’ struggle.
“Our lives cannot be separated from the terror and intimidation toward Tadeus Yogi, his wife, and their children. Even Tadeus Yogi died from being poisoned. While my mother died due to illness, the police often chased after her, of course, she was tired and her health deteriorated because of that,” said Demianus.
Even after his father died, Demianus said that he, his brothers, and his sisters continued to experience intimidation, terror, and being targeted by the security forces. Seven of his siblings had died during the long conflict that occurred in Paniai.
“Kristianus Yogi was shot by the Cassowary Team in Ugapuga in 1997. Paul Yogi died at the TPNPB Eduda Headquarters in 2002. Debora Yogi died at Eduda Headquarters in 2005. Salmon Yogi was shot by the TNI/police at the Eduda Headquarters in 2013. Leo Yogi was shot by the TNI/police in Nabire in 2015. Antonius Yogi was drugged by the TNI/police around Ugi, East Paniai District, in 2017. Yosina Yogi was shot by the TNI/police in Pugo, Paniai,” he said.
Demianus said that the people involved in killing his brothers and sisters were never tried and punished, just as the perpetrators of human rights violations in Papua were never tried and punished. “It’s not just us, almost all OPM children always get this kind of treatment. Either they are tortured, or they are killed,” he said.
Demianus said the Indonesian government continued to show a colonial character and had never enforced the laws that they made themselves. “There will never be justice for us, for all the suffering we went through,” he said.
Unlike Demianus, Jimy Hilsom Hiluka—the son of former political convict Linus Hiluka, who was found guilty of being involved in the burglary of the 1702/Jayawijaya Military District Command’s weapons warehouse in Wamena on April 3, 2003—chose not to take up arms. However, he did not deny that he had dreamed of a free Papua.
Jimy was 16 years old when he witnessed his father being arrested by the security forces. He also saw his grandfather shot dead by the security forces. “I witnessed the security forces arrest my father and shot my grandfather. At that time, my father did not run into the forest and was arrested at our house in the Muliama District, Jayawijaya Regency on May 27, 2003,” he said.
After Linus Hiluka was arrested, Jimy and his siblings lost a father figure. Jimy was disappointed because the government ignored them and did not fulfill their basic rights as victims of the armed conflict in Papua. “When my father was arrested, I felt sad and disappointed with the Indonesian government. Who will take care of us? What will our future be? But God is good, we can finish college,” he said.
Jimy said that the government should have paid attention to the children of political prisoners, as well as families of victims of human rights violations and extrajudicial killings by security forces. According to Jimy, the government did not even see the children of TPNPB soldiers as citizens with basic rights that must be guaranteed and met by the State. In fact, the government has never provided restitution, rehabilitation, or trauma healing for TPNPB children.
“The government has taken lives, amputated parental custody of their children. Even though the parents are detained, the rights of the victims must still be fulfilled. If there is omission like what my brothers and I have experienced, if children victims of human rights violations are abandoned by the State, it will only backfire for Indonesia,” he said.
Jimy said the Indonesian government seemed to view the children of TPNPB soldiers or OPM figures as enemies. “But as a child of former political prisoner and OPM leader, I realize that this is a consequence that must be accepted. I have no option but to carry on with this life path,” he said.
Reporter: Hengky Yeimo
Editor: Aryo Wisanggeni G