Jayapura, Jubi – Papuan student from the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) and the Semarang and Salatiga Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) Committees held a joint protest action in the Central Java city of Salatiga in Thursday August 15.
The groups were protesting against the New York agreement which was signed by Indonesia and the Netherlands on August 15, 1962, because the agreement marked the start of human rights violations in Papua.
The peaceful action by the Papuan students began at the flyover connecting Satya Wacana Christian University (UKSW) at 9 am.
The protesters put up banners in front of the UKSW campus rejecting the New York agreement signed 56 years ago then moved off towards the Salatiga city traffic circle. When they arrived at around 10.30 am, they gave speeches and shouted slogans supporting Papuan independence.
A number of activists took turns giving political speeches slamming the agreement between Indonesia, the Netherlands and the US saying that the people of Papua, who became legally subject to the agreement, were never in fact a party to the deal.
“The New York agreement on the transfer [of power] of the Papuan region [from Holland to Indonesia] was made only in the economic and political interests of Indonesia and the imperialist country the United States”, explained action coordinator Jackson Gwijangge in a press release on Thursday August 15.
Gwijangge said that the military operations launched in the Papuan district of Nduga on the orders of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo have resulted in violence against civilians and forced many people to flee. According to Gwijangge, between December 2018 and August 2019 as many as 185 civilians have died.
“[As a consequence of the armed conflict in Nduga] people are still seeking refuge in various neighbouring areas such as Lanny Jaya, Timika, Puncak and Wamena. [All of this goes back to] the New York agreement, [an agreement] which was illegal because it did not involve indigenous Papuans as the owners of the country”, said Gwijangge.
In another speech, Mey Tebay declared that the Papuan nation became independent on December 1, 1961. Tebay stated that Indonesia must acknowledge its error in occupying Papua.
Another speaker, Otis Tabuni, said that the Indonesian government and military have not respected the laws which protect the human rights of citizens in Indonesia and have violated the civil and political rights of the Papuan people.
Tabuni stated that if Indonesia continues to use military force against civilians in Papua, sooner or later the country will disintegrate.
The demonstrators demanded that the government immediately withdraw TNI (Indonesian military) and Polri (police) personnel from Nduga, give the Papuan people the right to self-determination and guarantee the Papuan people’s right to free expression.
They also called on Indonesia to close down and halt the activities of huge mining projects in the land of Papua, including Freeport MacMoRan in Mimika and BP in LNG Tangguh.
Widodo was also asked to immediately revoke Presidential Regulation Number 40/2013 on Road Construction in the Framework of Accelerating Development in the Provinces of Papua and West Papua, because it has legitimised the involvement of the military in constructing roads in Papua.
They also called on Indonesia to immediately open access to Papua for foreign journalists and humanitarian aid.
(Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Mahasiswa Papua di Semarang dan Salatiga juga demo menolak New York Agreement“.)
Papuan civil society unites urging the release of seven political prisoners.
Jayapura, Jubi – Many elements of civil society in Papua unite in a movement to support the release of seven Papuan political prisoners.
They are including the Interfaith Leaders Association in Papua, the Indigenous Catholic Priests in Papua, the Papuan People’s Assembly, the Papuan House of Representatives, the Muslim Communication Forum of the Central Papuan Highlands, the Independent Forum of West Papuan Student, West Papuan National Committee, human rights defenders and activists. All unite in one commitment, one soul for one goal.
They sent a letter to President Joko Widodo, which substantially asked the central government in Jakarta for being wise and prudent in addressing many issues that occurred in Papua. Also, they asked the authority to release the seven political prisoners who are currently undergoing their trial in Balikpapan District Court, Kalimantan Timur. The detainees are students and activists who were arrested after the demonstration to protest racism against Papuan students in Surabaya.
The seven political prisoners are Alex Gobay (President of Student Association of the University of Science and Technology Jayapura), Feri Bom Kombo (former Chairman of Executive Student Board of Cenderawasih University), Buchtar Tabuni (Second Deputy Chairman of Legislative Council of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua), Agus Kossay (General Chairman of West Papuan National Committee), Steven Itlay (Chairman of West Papuan National Committee Timika), Hengky Hilapok and Irwanus Uropmabin.
Concerning the indictment by the public prosecutor, the Interfaith Leaders Association in Papua asked the state to present and take action to solve the issue of racism and enforce fair and dignified law in Papua.
The Rev. Hiskia Rollo as the Coordinator of Framers Team of the Interfaith Leaders Association in Papua said they considered the charge against the seven Papuan political prisoners was not fair because it contradicted with the facts.
“All witnesses presented by the public prosecutor, six were police officers from Papua Police and one from the National Unity and Politics Agency of Papua. Therefore, what they revealed in the court were contradicted [with the facts],” said Rollo in the press conference held in the office of the Evangelical Christian Church of Papua, Jayapura City, Friday, (12/6/2020).
“If we do not convey these devout voices, we are worried this nation will struggle with turmoil. [That is] so risky. It can trigger a national disintegration and eliminate the sense of public trust toward the state,” said Rollo.
The religious leaders, therefore, ask the court to be fair toward the seven Papuan political prisoners. They agreed that this trial was a result of racism instead of treason.
The Chairman of Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) Papua, Mufti Saiful Islam Al Payage said the state should be able to differentiate the treason movement and reaction against racism.
Earlier, the Coordinator of Papua Peaceful Network, Pastor John Bunai Pr, who represents indigenous Catholic pastors from five dioceses in Papua, said the reaction of some Indonesian showed that they are superior to Papuans.
This attitude has existed and would continue to cultivate, maintain, fertilise, accept and normalise as the truth, that in turn emerge what is called the ideology of racism.
“If this view is accepted as an ideology, therefore, [some of] Indonesians would never consider Papuans as human. So, we, on behalf of the indigenous catholic pastors from five dioceses [in Papua], firmly refuse all taunts, attitudes and discriminatory acts toward Papuans on the land of their ancestors, or in other Indonesian regions,” said Father Bunai.
Meanwhile, the Communication Muslim Forum of Papuan Central Highlands (FKMPT) asked President Joko Widodo and Vice President Ma’ruf Amin to release the seven Papuan political prisoners.
“I ask for the immediate release of those Papuan young men who are victims [of racism]. It’s not fair if they got a sentence of five to seventeen years in jail. It is so unfair,” said Ismail Asso.
He suggested the current leaders learn from President Abdurahman Wahid, who always tried to understand any differences by respecting Papuans. Wahid recognised the Papuan symbols and the name of Papua. He accepted the Morning Star flag as Papuan symbol, and never prohibited people selling the traditional sac ‘noken’ with a Papuan flag motif.
“Gus Dur recognised it as a symbol. The cultural approach is important in developing Papua,” he said.
Separately, the leaders and members of Papuan parliament agreed to write a letter to President Joko Widodo to protest the public prosecutor’s indictment over the seven Papuan political prisoners in Kalimantan Timur that they thought too high.
Meanwhile, Laurenzus Kadepa, a member of government, politics, law and human rights commission of Papuan Parliament, said the concession among the parliament members to write a letter to President Jokowi been decided in a meeting attended by the parliament leaders, faction leaders, and all members of parliament’s fractions of the Papuan House of Representatives on Thursday (11/6/2020).
In the trial held in Balikpapan District Court on 2 June and 5 June 2020, the public prosecutor charged the seven Papuan political prisoners with five to seventeen years sentences.
Buchtar Tabuni is facing the longest sentence, 17 years in prison, while Steven Itlay and Agus Kossay were each sentenced to 15 years. Alexander Gobay and Ferry Kombo were each sentenced to 10 years, whereas Irwanus Uropmabin and Hengky Hilapok were each sentenced to five years in prison. (*)
Editor : Jean Bisay
Political prisoner’s lawyer complains of poor Internet connection
Papua No. 1 News Portal | Jubi
Jayapura, Jubi – The Coalition for Law and Human Rights Enforcement of Papua complains about some issues that their clients encountered during the trial of seven Papuan political prisoners in Balikpapan. Those issues, they say, including the poor Internet connection which implies their clients. They were not able to hear and listen to each other during the trial arranged via zoom.
“Many issues we found during the trial,” a member of the legal councillor team Emanuel Gobay told Jubi.co.id on Saturday morning (6/6/2020).
Also, he requests the Court to at least provide a better Internet connection to make sure that both the legal councillor team and their clients can hear the attorney’s voice.
“Such issues include the poor Internet connection, interrupted or even unclear voice,” he said.
He also complains about how unfair the judge was in terms of time allocation. The judge gave more time for the public prosecutor to speak than the legal councillor.
Despite the Internet and time allocation, the legal councillor team found the professional expert by the public prosecutor to testify in the trial was incompetence. The expert talked about something irrelevant with his expertise. So what he presented before the Court was biased.
“The expert witness gave opinions beyond his expertise, but was so confident about it. We also worried about other issues that may violate the defendants’ rights,” says Gobai.
Separately, a Papuan parliament member Laurenzus Kadepa, who acted as a de charge witness for a couple of times, hopes the public prosecutor being wise in presenting an indictment against the seven defendants because they are not perpetrators but the victims of racism.
“As a member of Papuan Parliament who observed and watched the demonstration that day, I presented everything based on the facts to the panel of judges to consider in their decision,” said Kadepa. (*)
Asiki resident died in a health clinic after allegedly tortured by a police officer
Jayapura, Jubi – A resident of Asiki Sub-district, Boven Digoel Regency, Papua died in a health clinic of a palm oil plantation company PT Tunas Sawa Erma on Saturday (16/5/2020). Prior to his death, a police officer reportedly tortured him.
The apostolic administrator of the Merauke Archdiocese Monseigneur Petrus Canisius Mandagi MSC asked the authority to investigate the incident and its perpetrator accordingly. Meanwhile, Yan Christian Warinussy, the Executive Director of the Institute for Research, Investigation and Development of Legal Aid (LP3BH) Manokwari, asked the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to intervene the investigation.
On Saturday morning Marius Betera found banana plants in his garden located in the plantation area of PT Tunas Sawa Ema (TSE) in Camp 19 destroyed. Hence, he thought the company’s excavator did it.
He then went to the police station in Camp 19 to file a complaint. When he couldn’t meet the police officers there, he went to PT TSE’s office to express his grievance. He complained that the management of PT TSE never gave him a notice about the area clearing. It made him upset and at the same time, lost.
When leaving the company’s office, Betera met a police officer with the initial “M”. He punched and kicked him on the stomach in front of the employees of PT TSE. From some witnesses, Jubi received information saying that Betera’s ear was bleeding from the beating.
Around 11 pm, Betera returned to the police station at Camp 19 to file a complaint on his persecution but couldn’t meet anyone there. Around 1 pm, he felt unwell. People bought him to the health clinic of PT TSE at Camp 19. He then reportedly died in that clinic.
Concerning his death, the Apostolic Administrator of the Merauke Archdiocese Monseigneur Petrus Canisius Mandagi MSC asked for investigation over the incident and said the perpetrator should go on trial. “I strongly condemn this murder. Killing anyone is a crime against humanity. Anyone who perpetrated this murder, especially if he was a member of security forces, must immediately be arrested, tried and punished,” said the bishop.
Bishop Mandagi firmly said that Papuans, like any other human races, are a picture of God. He warned that every police officer stationed in Papua should represent a character of security forces who commit to protecting people.
“It means the police should protect the entire people, not only those who work in the company. If there is a problem, they should put a dialogue as a priority, not violence,” said the bishop.
Separately, the Executive Director of LP3BH Manokwari Yan Christian Warinussy stated the alleged persecution towards Marius Betera must be thoroughly investigated. He said this violence act might involve some other police officers.
Therefore, he urged the National Human Rights Commission to intervene in the investigation of this case. “We urge the National Human Rights Commission to get involved in the investigation over this case. This case should be openly investigated, [so that’ the perpetrator can be examined and tried before the Merauke District Court,” he said. (*)
Jubi journalist Victor Mambor contributed in this article
Reporter: Angela Flassy
Editor: Pipit Maizier
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