Sunday, April 5, 2009

West Papua Report

West Papua Report
April 2009
This is the 59th in a series of monthly reports that focuson
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 with the
East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) Back issues are
posted online at

A legendary Papuan nationalist visits Indonesia and West Papua,
stirring controversy by reminding the international community of
West Papua's forced annexation by Indonesia. A military/police
buildup is underway in West Papua. A Papuan Parliamentarian has
appealed for a non-security approach in West Papua. The BBC has
presented a rare documentary focused on those pressing for West
Papua's separation from Indonesia. The Governor of West Papua
has criticized the expulsion of Dutch journalists from West
Papua. Thousands of Papuans have demonstrated in support
of a referendum on Papuan independence. Senior Indonesian
Defense officials have postured disingenuously, feigning concern
about Papuans freedom of speech. India has announced a plan to
assist in meeting vast educational deficits among Papuans.
Environmentalists protesting illegal logging and land clearing
in West Papua and West Kalimantan were beaten at thetargeted
corporation's headquarters.

* Papuan Nationalist Founder Returns Home afterover Four Decades
in Exile
* A Military/Police Buildup Underway in West Papua
* A Papuan Political Leader Appeals for The Government to End
Use ofForce in West Papua
* BBC Presents Rare Documentary Coverage of Papuan
Independence Seekers
* Papuan Governor Critical of Expulsion of Dutch Journalists
* Thousands of Papuans Demonstrate Peacefully for
* Senior Defense Officials Posture About The Importance of
Freedom ofSpeech in West Papua
*The Government of India Acts to Address Educational Needs in
West Papua
*Environmentalists Beaten as They Protest Illegal Corporate
Forest Destruction
Papuan Nationalist Founder Returns Home after over Four Decades
in Exile
What was apparently intended as a show of support for Papuan
integration into Indonesia backfired as one of the first
generation of Papuan nationalists told reporters that he still
considered Papua to be aseparate country from Indonesia.
Nicolaas Jouwe, now 85, returned to Papua for the first time
since the beginning of Indonesian rule in 1963. He also traveled
to Jakarta at the invitation of Indonesian President Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono. The return of Jouwe after so long was as if
Thomas Jefferson had stepped off a plane. It focused the
spotlight on the history of Papua’s still-disputedintegration
into Indonesia.
Jouwe was elected in 1961 as a member of the first New Guinea
Council, an embryonic parliament for what was then still a Dutch
colony, and immediately become one of the key leaders in the
Papuan independence movement. He designed the Morning Star flag
that is still the emblem of Papuan independence aspirations, and
was active internationally in a nonviolent, globally-focused
campaign for recognition of Papuan self-determination. This
campaign built up considerable support in the Pacific islands
and among African countries, and won a majority of support at
the UN General Assembly, but the Kennedy administration decided
for reasons of cold war strategy to back the Indonesian claim.
The result was a U.S.-brokered agreement in 1963 to hand the
territory to Indonesian rule, which left the basis of the
conflict intact. The perceived denial of self-determination for
Papuans lies at the root of continued conflict, with Papuans
feeling robbed of their right to self-determination and still
keenly aware of the U.S. government role in stage-managing an
agreement reached with no Papuan participation. A continued
Papuan call is for a dialogue that will, among other things, set
straight the historical record. This is one element missing form
the special autonomy granted to Papua, and its omission is one
reason thatthere continues to be rejection from many Papuans of
the autonomypackage.
Nonviolence and international diplomacy and dialogue were among
the key themes of the Papuan independence leaders of Jouwe’s
generation. They remained on display as Jouwe visited his
homeland. Invited by the Indonesian president, Jouwe said the
time had come for dialogue, since “Indonesia remains our big
neighbor.” Alongside dialogue was the call for a nonviolent
approach: “Even if we have to talk a thousand times, it is
better than violence.” To date Papuans have been denied the same
sort of dialogue that led to a peace settlement in Aceh, perhaps
because the Indonesian army sees Papuan nationalists as less of
a militarythreat.
It is not clear whether the “encounter of heart and mind” (in
the Indonesian president’s words) with Jouwe signals any
willingness for expanded dialogue. Signs are that the visit was
designed to show a prominent historical figure endorsing
integration, with the Jakarta Post speculating that Jouwe would
seek Indonesian citizenship and call for an end to independence
demands. Instead the visit was dominated by what Jouwe’s son
called on his twitter report “the pincident.” Jouwe arrived
wearing a Papuan flag lapel pin. At a press conference in
Jakarta, Indonesian ambassador to the Netherlands Yunus Habibie
pressed Jouwe to pin an Indonesian flag to his lapel. Jouwe
declined, repeating the need for dialogue between “neighbors.”
Reports on this incident and the trip led to the detention of
four Dutch journalists, two of whom were slated for deportation
(see below).
Jouwe’s visit was in some ways reminiscent of the November 2007
trip by Congressman Eni Faleomaveaga. Invited by the Indonesian
president to back the Special Autonomy Law, Faleomavaega saw his
trip slashed from three days to two hours and was not permitted
to meet Papuan nationalist leaders or even to travel to
Jayapura. In that case, it was support for autonomy (as opposed
to independence) that the Indonesian government seemed to be
seeking. The “pincident” indicated the same possible goalfor
Jouwe’s trip.
Incidents and April 9 Elections Prompt Military/PoliceBuildup
The killing of two civilians and one solider, allegedly by armed
pro-independence Papuans associated with the Papuan armed
resistance group the OPM, has prompted calls for a military
buildup in the area. TNI spokesperson Brig. Gen. Christian
Zebua told the Indonesian media mid-month that the troops would
be organic personnel, i.e., troops drawn from units already
stationed in West Papua. He made clear that the TNI had already
launched a retaliatory operation, in conjunction with the police
to hunt down those purportedly involved in the March 14 shooting
of a solider and two civilians (see March West Papua Report for
details). A police spokesperson told the media that the security
forces would launch sweep operations. Papuans have alleged that
some of the armed Papuan groups involved inrecent incidents are
in fact provocateur elements sponsored by theIndonesian military.
The buildup coincides with stepped-up police monitoring of what
policedescribed a conflict-prone areas in anticipation of
possible disruptions associated with the national April 9
parliamentary elections. The Jakarta Post reported that
Indonesia's most feared mobile brigade (BRIMOB) has sent
hundreds of additional personnel to West Papua for the political
campaign leading up to the April 9 vote.
In that past, TNI-led sweep operations have displaced thousands
of Papuan civilians who have fled their villages for refuge in
surrounding forests. Cut off from food and medical services,
many have died. Those who returned sometimes found that their
homes, churches and schools had been burned and their gardens
destroyed by the security forces.
Plea By Papuan Parliamentarian for DifferentSecurity Approach in
West Papua
A Papuan parliament member (DPR) has called on the Government to
pursue a different approach in dealing with security concerns in
West Papua. The Papuan member of the Indonesian parliament, Dr
John Manansang, on March 14 told the Cenderawasih Pos that in
responding to recent security incidents, the Government should
take into account the concerns that lay behind this
violence.  He decried the typical attitude of the
Government which he noted sees the Papuans as having no right to
the land and therefore has decided to hunt them down, and brand
them as 'separatists'. He described this security approach as
very distressing for local people, explaining that according to
Papuan tradition, everyone on a piece of land feels that they
have entitlement to that land. Branding them as separatists and
forcing them to flee and live in the forest, means that they are
denied the right to live on their own land. He called on the
Government to use a social-cultural approachthat would bring
genuine security to the region.
BBC Presents Rare Inside View of West Papua
In a highly unusual focus on West Papua, the BBC on March 13
presented a compelling account of the extraordinary challenges
faced by Papuans. The BBC's announcement set the scene for this
documentary footage with great candor. It noted that West Papua
became part of Indonesia in 1969 through what it described as a
controversial and very limited vote. Since the vote, the BBC
continued there have been calls from some Papuans for
independence and for decades a low-level armed resistance has
been rumbling on, largely unnoticed by the outside. Many Papuans
feel their culture and identity is slowing being eroded, the BBC
explained. The BBC also placed the Papuans plight in its
racial/ethnic context. Papuans don't look like other
Indonesians, they are Melanesian, closer to Aboriginals than
Asians. But migrants from other Indonesian islands now make up
about half the local population. Some of these in-comers
consider the traditional Papuan way of life backward and
uncivilized. Layers of grievance have built up over the decades.
Accounting for the broad international ignorance of the Papuans'
plight,the BBC explained that international journalists are
severely restricted from working in the province where a special
permit is required (note report below of the expulsion of Dutch
journalists who possessed valid visas). The BBC explained that
the footage it presented was shot by a UK citizen who had to
travel undercover, aided by local activists who remained
anonymous for their safety. (The video canbe seen
at: )
Papuan Governor Laments Actions of SecurityForces and
Intelligence Units in West Papua
Papuan Governor Barnabus Suebu has sharply criticized
Indonesianofficials for the arrest of three Dutch journalists.
The journalists had come to West Papua to cover the visit of
Papuan nationalist figure  Nicholas Jouwe (see separate
report above on this historic visit.) The three were arrested
for observing a peaceful Papuan protest at the office of the
Governor. After being subjected to questioning by officials of
the immigration office, two of the three journalists were
deported purportedly for violation ofimmigration statues.
Governor Suebu, as reported in a March 27 Cenderawasih Pos
article translated by TAPOL, described the action against the
journalists as regrettable. He added that such a security
approach was not appropriate in the present era.
'I don't know why they were questioned. If they have visas they
should be able to travel anywhere. This is the strange thing
about this country. When you go abroad and have a visa, you can
travel everywhere.'' Why were they arrested? Did they commit a
crime? I have been an ambassador. When someone has a visa they
can stay for as long as specified in thevisa.
The Governor described the arrest as indicative of a broader
problem, noting, the state apparatus is suspicious of
everything, what are they trying to hide? He continued. The
chief of police possibly doesn't want such things to happen.
This is probably the work of the intel. If things like this keep
on happening, there will never be any progress in Papua. He
concluded that the security approach was all wrong. Thousands
Demand Referendum
Thousands of Papuans gathered in the Papuan capital, Jayapura,
on March24 according to a Reuters report. The demonstrators
demanded a referendum on independence from Indonesia. This would
constitute the referendum denied Papuans 40 years ago when
Indonesian authorities rigged an Act of Free Choice, a purported
act of self determination that has been broadly attacked as
rigged by scholars andeven by UN personnel who monitored the
Reuters reported that the protesters carried banners with the
words Election no, referendum yes, Stop genocide for Melanesian
race in West Papua, and demanded the withdrawal oftroops from
the province.
There were no reports of violence associated with this protest.
Senior Defense Officials PostureRegarding The Importance of
Freedom of Speech in West Papua
During March, Senior Indonesian defense officials spoke
uncharacteristically about West Papua. Armed Forces Chief
General Djoko Santoso on March 11 contended that the TNI
believed that separatist movements in Papua could be minimized
by a better government approach to Papuan welfare. Djoko also
said the military would fully support the process of democracy
in Indonesia, including in Papua, saying it would view any
demonstration calling for independence as an act of freedom of
speech. This comment is particularly confounding inasmuch as
Papuans who call for independence continue to suffer beatings
and worse at the hands of the military and police, as well as
conviction andimprisonment for subversion.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said thegovernment
would not use an “iron-fist” approach in dealing with
separatists, but would always try a persuasive and soft approach
through dialogues within communities. “I believe our police and
military understand the situation and would tolerate any voice
of dissatisfaction. It should be noted that the Defense Minister
has no real authority over the military. The Chief of the Armed
Forces (Santoso) reports directly to the President, not through
theDefense Minister.
Indian Government Plans to Improve Education in WestPapua
India intends to provide direct assistance to the Papuan people,
according to a March 31 Jakarta Post report. We - Papua Governor
Barnabas Suebu and I - have agreed to promote Indian education
here and to promote Papua in India. We aim to better Papuan
human resources for the future, Ambassador Nanda explained. The
ambassador met Suebu on March 25 and leaders of Cendrawasih
University, offering the university students scholarships for
postgraduate studies atuniversities in India.
In his visit to Biak Numfor regency earlier in the day, Nanda
also proposed similar cooperation with the local administration.
He said the scholarships offered to Cendrawasih University
students were part of a capacity building program aimed at
enhancing human resources capability in Papua.The program would
ultimately support economic development in the province.
The Indian assistance may serve as a model for other governments
seeking to address failures of the Indonesian government over
four decades to address educational needs of Papuans. A similar
plan recently proposed by a member of the U.S. Congress failed
to get off the ground due to reluctance on the part of
Indonesian officials to support the plan.
Environmentalists Beaten as They Protest Illegal
Security guards belonging to one of Indonesia's largest logging
and palmoil corporations, Sinar Mas, have assaulted NGO
personnel outside the corporation's headquarters in Jakarta.
Greenpeace activists were punched and kicked as they attempted
to protest illegal land-clearing in West Papua and in West
Kalimantan... Greenpeace activist told Radio Australia that
Sinar Mas had cleared peat land and forests near the West Papuan
town of Laereh as well as a site in a national park in
The wholesale destruction of forest lands in West Kalimantan,
including the burning of valuable high grade old growth forests
by Indonesian and foreign corporations, has long been the
hallmark of development in West Kalimantan Papuans and others
concerned about the destruction of land in West Papua view the
destruction in West Kalimantan as an ominous harbinger of
similar government-promoted; development; in West Papua.

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