Showing posts with label Papua. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Papua. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Papua, Indonesia: Time for Change

-- the status quo will end in genocide.

The following post provides supplementary material for:

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 268| Wed 9 July 2014
By Elizabeth Kendal

As noted in RLPB 268, "Papua's predominantly Christian, indigenous ethnic Melanesians desperately need change. However, it is highly unlikely that Islamists or the TNI or all the corrupt business and political elites who reap financial gain from Islamist and TNI business in Papua, will simply give up their ambitions and economic rewards for the sake of those often regarded merely as 'black infidels'.

courtesy: World Team
"If change is to come to Papua, it will require profound conviction and commitment in Jakarta backed (or even generated) by a profoundly convicted and committed 'international community', for as in 2000 [under President Wahid], any reform would face considerable opposition [see RLPB 268].

"On the other hand, if there is no reform, if things just quietly go on as they are, then the demise -- the genocide -- of Papua's indigenous peoples is within sight. Of course for many that merely spells 'problem solved'. Such thinking is an evil the Church cannot abide. For 'the Lord's portion is his people', they are 'the apple of his eye' (see Deuteronomy 32:9-11).

Recommended reading


Lowy Institute for International Policy

Prabowo and human rights
Inside Indonesia (April-June 2014)
Jakarta 1998 was bad, but Prabowo likely had more blood on his hands in East Timor
By Gerry van Klinken

The business of politics in Indonesia
Inside Indonesia (April-June 2014)
Democratic institutions are increasingly burdened by the illicit transactions and collusive practices of politico-business elites
By Eve Warburton

INDONESIA-PAPUA: prospects for reform

Otsus Plus

IPAC (Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict) Report No. 4
25 November 2013

‘Otsus Plus’ for Papua: What’s the point?
Cillian Nolan (IPAC), Jakarta | Opinion | 7 March 2014


For background see Religious Liberty Monitoring, label: Papua
in particular:
Islamising Papua
By Elizabeth Kendal for WEA RLC, July 2008

West Papua Report, December 2013
PERSPECTIVE: Religious Changes Afoot in Papua
by Charles Farhadian, PhD
"Islam is growing so rapidly not only because of the large numbers of Muslim transmigrants arriving daily to the region, but also because of conversion of Christian Papuans to Islam. . . . Muslim missionaries have made great strides in compelling Christian Papuans to change their religion, despite Indonesian laws that prohibit proselytization. At least two villages in the highlands of West Papua have converted from Christianity en masse to Islam.'

Documentary: Papua's New Dawn? 
By Mark Davis for SBS Dateline, 3 June 2014
(27 minutes, transcript available)
Includes a meeting with outspoken church leaders, Socrates Yoman and Benny Giay.

Islamisation of Papuan children

Lured with promises with free education, Papuan children are transported to Java, held captive in Islamic boarding schools, forcibly converted to Islam, given Muslim names and indoctrinated in puritanical Salafi Islam. Years later, only once fully Islamised, these Papuan youths are then returned to Papua as Muslim missionaries. Those who have escaped tell of harsh conditions and cruel punishments. Investigative journalist Michael Bachelard believes the number of children affected is in the thousands.

They're taking our children
Michael Bachelard, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 May 2013
"A six-month Good Weekend investigation has confirmed that children, possibly in their thousands, have been enticed away over the past decade or more with the promise of a free education. In a province where the schools are poor and the families poorer still, no-cost schooling can be an irresistible offer.
"But for some of these children, who may be as young as five, it's only when they arrive that they find out they have been recruited by 'pesantren', Islamic boarding schools . . .

"These schools have one aim: to send their graduates back to Christian-majority Papua to spread their muscular form of Islam.

"Ask the 100 Papuan boys and girls at the Daarur Rasul school outside Jakarta what they want to be when they grow up and they shout, "Ustad! Ustad! [religious teacher]." . . .

Papuan children taken to Jakarta to be converted to Islam
Michael Bachelard, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 March 2014

This report includes video footage of interviews with two young Papuan boys who had escaped the pesantren and made their way back to Papua, scarred and confused. They report forced conversions, harsh conditions in captivity and cruel punishments.

"Their story is more evidence that Christian children are being taken from West Papua and converted to Islam - a practice officially denied after being revealed in Fairfax Media's Good Weekend magazine last year. It also makes clear for the first time that knowledge of the practice reaches high into the upper echelons of Indonesia's political elite. . .

"On arrival at the port in Jakarta, Demianus says the group was taken to a nearby mosque. The children were made to dress in Islamic clothes and taught to say the 'syahadat', the prayer to convert them to Islam. From then on, Demianus was told, his name would be 'Usman'. His original name was 'haram,' or forbidden, the clerics told him.

"From the port, the children were taken to different Islamic boarding schools - pesantrens - in Jakarta and the nearby city of Bogor. . .

"As the ethnic Melanesian Christian majority in West Papua is gradually outnumbered both economically and socially by migration from other parts of Indonesia, Papuans see the removal and Islamisation of children as a direct assault on their identity.

"But a Muslim bloc within Indonesia's national human rights organisation, Komnas HAM, has made it difficult for the body to mount a full investigation of the issues raised by Fairfax Media - including the existence of a small but active network of agents and middlemen who seek out vulnerable children and bring them to pesantren. It's unclear if these men are paid for their work, or who might be funding it, but there is a suspicion that oil money from Saudi Arabia may play a role."

According to one of the traffickers, "All the children are Christian, [and they are] destined for conversion."


Finally, the following piece in the Melbourne AGE not only sets out the appalling situation faced by Papuans, but recommends policy changes.

Time for Jakarta to afford Papuans the dignity they deserve
By Bobby Anderson, The Age, 4 July 2014

Papua has "the last great remaining tracts of virgin forest in south-east Asia. Its wealth in coal, gold, copper, oil, gas and fisheries is colossal. A single mine there is Indonesia’s largest taxpayer.

"Migrants from across the archipelago flock to Papua, which hosts the highest economic growth rate in Indonesia. They fill unplanned cities like Jayapura and Timika to bursting; they drive the machinery, staff the hotels and shops, and work the plantations that are transforming once-virgin land into deceitfully green circuit boards.

"Papua's wealth does not, however, accrue in the lives of its daughters and sons. The indigenous population generally lacks access to health and education services. Papuans have the lowest life expectancies in Indonesia, the highest maternal and child mortality rates, the lowest educational levels, the highest rates of tuberculosis, and an HIV infection rate that is 10 times the national average and climbing. They are the poorest, the sickest, and the quickest to die. . .

". . . Papua’s indigenous population is perhaps 2 million: 1.25 per cent of the population of Indonesia. The next president may have a hard time diverting attention to Papua. But he needs to. A ministerial-level government development body that assumes responsibility for myriad national, provincial, and district-level services is needed in order to centralise health, education, and other services at provincial levels. This entity would play a co-ordinating role in leading other urgent reforms: curbs on migration are urgently needed, and some migrants may need to be sent back. A moratorium on pemekaran [the splitting of territories] is required. The religious foundations providing health and education services need to be legitimised and funded. The corporate social responsibility portfolios of companies involved in extractive industries require oversight from and synchronisation with such an entity, in order that Papua’s wealth may accrue palpably in Papuan lives.

"This entity must also issue sensitive policy recommendations: on the legality of separatist symbols, on the Papuanisation of the police, on lifting unofficial curbs on Papuan military enrolments, and on changing the military’s territorial command structure, which is completely inappropriate for Indonesia’s modern defence environment. The insurgency is so small that it is a law-and-order issue.

"Such an entity would report to the governors of Papua and Papua Barat, as well as to the president. It would be staffed by technocrats, and driven by Papuans. My experience shows that for every few no-show civil servants, there exists a responsible one. Papua’s rural schools may be absent of teachers, but they also host unpaid volunteers. Such people not only need inclusion, they need authority.

"This entity would also play a role in reconciliation. . .

"But the dead need naming. Suffering must be acknowledged. For Jakarta, this is the least expensive step, and the most politically costly. In the absence of such a truth-telling exercise, fictitious claims will remain credible, especially given government restrictions on foreign reporters. Many a politician naively hopes that this national wound will heal itself. It will not. Papua’s Memoria Passionis compounds over time.
Or the incoming president can ignore the issue. Perhaps the problem will fade; not with a bang, but a whimper. Immigration has already rendered Papuans a minority in their land, and more migrants arrive daily.

The longstanding failure of health and education services in indigenous areas will hasten their demise. Many believe that this is policy. Or perhaps Papuan frustration will foment into a new insurgency, and the current amateurs will be sidelined by an entity that can raise funds and access quality weapons: an era of roadside bombs and burning fuel depots.

"If the next president is serious about Papua, then he must treat Papuans with both the seriousness they deserve and the dignity that they have been denied. For there exist no military tactics that can defeat insurrections in human hearts: another way is needed."

Bobby Anderson works on health, education, and governance projects in eastern Indonesia and travels frequently in Papua province.


Elizabeth Kendal is the author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah speaks to Christians today
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

PAPUA, INDONESIA: Racial and religious hatred in action

By Elizabeth Kendal

More footage has emerged of the Indonesian Army's violent crackdown on the Third Papuan People's Congress in Zakeus Field, Abepura, on the outskirts of Jayapura, on 19 October. (For background, see Religious Liberty Monitoring: 27 Oct 2011 )

Many will find this footage quite upsetting. It shows plain clothed and uniformed security personnel shooting hundreds of rounds of ammunition into the crowd; beating, brutalising and humiliating scores of participants, and violently attacking the elected President of the West Papuan Transitional Government, Forkorus Yaboisembut.

More Brutal Footage emerges from Congress crackdown
West Papua Media 11 Nov 2011

The level of violence was more than disproportionate; it was totally unnecessary, for the participants were all unarmed civilians. The brutality was thus nothing more than raw racial and religious hatred in action. The footage will give viewers a clearer picture of what the Papuans have to live with.


In addition to this, another article provides further testimony from those who endured the military raids on the nearby religious institutions.

Papuan Church No Longer a Save Haven
By Engage Media 3 Nov 2011

On the afternoon of 19 October, after breaking up the Congress, armed police officers, Mobile Brigade officers and TNI soldiers stormed nearby religious institutions in search of fleeing Congress participants.

According to the above article, Father John Jehuru OSA, Rector of the Inter-diocesan Seminary, was watching the events unfold in Zakeus Field from in his study room in Fajar Timur School of Theology when a bullet flew through his window, only narrowly missing him.

Eye witnesses report that armed soldiers went room to room, ransacking the facilities and screaming at the "stupid priests" who had been providing refuge to Congress participants.

Several priests -- including Father Gonsa Saur and Father Yan You -- displayed immense courage and spiritual integrity in the face of serious intimidation and threats to their life. Likewise, many seminary students risked their lives to protect others. One student was violently attacked as he was trying to help a participant who had been shot. Soldiers struck the seminary student with the butt of a rifle, fracturing his arm. They also struck him in the face with a rubber batten, causing his nose swell. Finally they dragged him off to prison and held him in detention overnight. Only after being released the next day was the student able to seek medical attention for his broken bones and other injuries.

Once again -- this was not about putting down a coup or defending the integrity of Indonesia. Rather, this was nothing other than pure racial and religious hatred in action. It was armed Javanese Muslim soldiers given free range to do whatever they liked to unarmed Melanesian Christian civilians.


On 8 November, Aljazeera ran an excellent feature on Papua. Author, William Lloyd George, cut straight to the chase with his opening line: "While the international community is fixated on events taking place across the Middle East, they are turning a blind eye to desperate cries for help by the Papuan people."

West Papua's cry for help
By William Lloyd George, for Aljazeera, 8 Nov 2011

After providing an overview of contemporary Papuan history and suffering, William Lloyd George concludes by giving voice to the Papuan cry: "Why can Indonesia get away with shooting unarmed people, but other governments cannot?"

"The difference between us and the Middle East," one local Papuan told George, "is that we're not fighting a dictator. We’re fighting invading neo-colonialists who have stolen our land. If the international community doesn’t help us, West Papuan people will slowly perish while fighting for the independence we deserve."

But as Religious Liberty Monitoring has noted -- it really is not that simple. It is not that neo-colonialists can get away with murder but dictators can't. The sad reality is this: as much as we hate to admit it, foreign policy is dictated by economic and strategic interests, not human rights.

Unfortunately for the Papuans it is not in the interests of the "international community" (and by that they mean the West) to help them. For Papua is a resource-rich land and Indonesia is a highly strategic nation in a world where international politics has nothing to do with advancing what is right and just but everything to do with pursuing wealth and power. In such a depraved system, human beings are an inconvienience to be dealt with, while human rights are an obstacle to be navigated.

Consequently, it is imperative that men and women of conscience lift their voices and their prayers for, and be prepared to stand in costly solidarity with, such "inconvenient peoples". For the powers of this world -- even powers we have long trusted -- will only betray them, at least until it is in their political interests not to!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Papua, Indonesia: from 'Peace Child' to genocide. Indonesian Army storms Third Papuan Congress; 6 dead, dozens wounded, hundreds arrested.

The indigenous ethnic Melanesians of Papua (formerly Irian Jaya) turned from shamanism to Christ in the early part of the 20th Century as Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) USA opened the mountainous region up for courageous pioneer missionaries, several of whom shed their blood, becoming martyrs for Christ, that these remarkable people might know the LORD. It is one of the great missionary stories of the 20th Century.

Unfortunately, however, the story doesn't end there.

In 1962, the US convinced the Netherlands (the colonial power in Dutch/West New Guinea, which had wanted West New Guinea to be independent) to cede the territory to Indonesia in order to prevent Indonesia moving into the Soviet sphere of influence. The treaty between the Republic of Indonesia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands is known as the New York Agreement.

In 1963, Indonesia invaded and occupied Papua, ultimately annexing the territory in 1969 after a rigged plebiscite, the ironically named "Act of Free Choice". [NOTE: The 1969 "Act of Free Choice" may yet be challenged at the International Court.]

Since then the government of Indonesia has facilitated the rapid colonization of Papua by Javanese Muslims for political and geo-strategic purposes. The result: the Papuans have suffered decades of exploitation, increasing political marginalisation, Islamisation, racial and religious hatred, discrimination and violent persecution -- all of which, in many estimates, is amounting to genocide.

So the great missionary tale that starts with Dutch missions, expands through the sacrificial ministry of MAF USA and Australian missionaries, and blossoms -- thanks to God's preparation of the people -- with mass conversions to Christ, may yet end in tragedy.

But the story that goes from "Peace Child" (Part 1, Part 2) to genocide within a century involves not just the victims (the Papuans) and not just the killers (the Indonesians), but all those who, on account of greed, arrogance, power-lust and/or indifference, have betrayed and abandoned the Papuans to their terrible fate.


On 16-19 October 1961, before the Papuan people found themselves being traded like a common commodity they held a historic Papuan Congress. Richard Chauvel explains (SMH, 23 Oct): "The political manifesto of October 19, 1961, was issued at the time when the United Nations was debating a Dutch proposal to internationalise the administration of West Papua, then Netherlands New Guinea, and secure the UN's support for Papuan self-determination.

"Papuan leaders who formulated the manifesto supported the Dutch proposal, but they wanted to introduce a Papuan voice into a decade-long dispute between Indonesia and the Netherlands about their homeland and their future."

At that first Papuan Congress, a declaration of Independence was read and the Morning Star flag raised.

The event was re-enacted on 16-19 Oct 2000, when Abdurrahman Wahid was president of Indonesia and the prospects for Papuan autonomy were good, the mood was positive and hopes were high.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first Papuan Congress, a Third Papuan Congress was held -- with government approval -- in Jayapura, Papua from 17-19 October 2011. Of course today the overwhelming sentiment in Papua is despair: despair at the total failure of Special Autonomy; despair at the creeping systematic genocide; despair at living with daily anxiety on account of the perpetual gross human rights abuses being committed at the hands of the Indonesian military -- abuses committed with impunity and in darkness as Papua remains closed to the outside world.


After failing to get permission to use either Cenderawasih University auditorium or the GOR sports stadium in Jayapura, the Third Papuan Congress opened not on 16 October as planned, but on 17 October in the open air at Lapangan Sakeus (Sakeus Field, also spelled Zakeus). The event had the approval of the central government.

Opening with prayers, the congress included several Christian leaders amongst the speakers, including Rev Benny Giay, Rev Socrates S. Yoman and Rev Yemima Krey. The theme of the congress was: “To uphold the basic rights of the Papuan people now and in the future.”

It appears, however, that as far as Jakarta is concerned, the basic rights of the Papuan people exist within the confines of subjugation. For as it turned out, the Papuans would not be permitted to dream too vividly.

The Jakarta Globe reports: "Anxiety was apparent among the participants of the Third Papuan People's Congress on Wednesday [19 Oct] as they marched toward the event venue in Abepura, passing by lines of military and police officers in full combat gear and holding assault rifles.

"By 8 a.m. that morning, the final day of the three-day congress, security officers were standing at the ready. Five Barracuda armored jeeps were parked not far from the Zakeus oval, the site of the event, as were seven police trucks and three trucks from the region’s Cendrawasih Military Command."

See: At Papuan Congress, a Brutal Show of Force
Oktovianus Pogau, Jakarta Globe, October 22, 2011 reported: "One Papuan video activist sent a text message to Engage Media this morning (19 Oct): 'Good morning, brother, I’m down at the field, and we’re surrounded by the military. Please pray so the congress is safe.'

The Jakarta Globe continues: "As the congress drew to a close, the 3,100 officers sprang into action, marching toward the venue with their fingers on the triggers of their Pindad SS1 assault rifles. As the prospect of a full-blown attack became evident, fear could be seen in the eyes of many congress-goers.

"Minutes later, the situation descended into violence.

"Soldiers from the Armed Forces (TNI) and police officers fired bullets into the air and ordered the participants to disband. Some of the officers pointed their weapons directly at the unarmed civilians.

"As the crowd dispersed in panic, the troops pressed forward."

At 3:30pm (Jayapura time) the Papuan video activist sent another text message: "Brother, they’ve opened fire … to us all."

The Jakarta Globe describes the violence and brutality wielded by the Indonesian police against these unarmed civilians.

As Chauvel (SMH, 23 Oct) reports, "At least six people were killed, more than 300 were taken into custody [pictured], the leaders accused of treason, and many others were beaten by police and soldiers."


The trigger for this heavy-handed crackdown? As in the 1961 and 2000, a declaration of independence was read and the now-banned Morning Star flag raised.

"On this day, 19 October 2011, we declare our complete Independence and Sovereignty as the Papuan people and the state of West Papua", read Prokorus Yaboisembut, the newly elected President of West Papua.

see: Report by GKI on Third Papuan Congress and Declaration of Independence
[Full translation by TAPOL of the report received from KPKC, Synod of GKI, Indonesian Christian Church on 21 October 2011]

With that, the military and police stormed the congress ostensibly to put down the "coup".

Armed soldiers also stormed a nearby monastery, terrorising the residents for two hours. Oktovianus Pogau reports that "Later, bullet holes could be seen in some of the walls, and bullet fragments were found in some bedrooms.

"'Dozens of officials forced their way into the monastery and walked back and forth for two hours in front of us,' the Rev. Adrianus Tuturu said. 'We were so afraid we hid in our rooms.'"

According to Pogau, the chairman of the House of Representatives commission on defense, Mahfudz Siddiq, said security forces "should have been firmer" and refused to issue a permit for the congress.

"The Jayapura Police chief said he would do whatever it took to quash subversion. 'Whoever supports separatism or subversion activity, I will do the same as yesterday [19 Oct]. I’ll finish them,' Adj. Sr. Comr. Imam Setiawan told state news agency Antara."

See also: Rights Bodies Grill the Police Over Beatings, Deaths at Papua Congress
Banjir Ambarita, Jakarta Globe, October 25, 2011


"While visiting Indonesia, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reiterated the U.S. commitment to closer ties with Indonesia and voiced support for Indonesia's strong stance against a separatist movement in the eastern province of Papua.

"But U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell says the warming relationship has not stopped the U.S. from speaking out against possible human rights abuses by the military in Papua.

"'We have made very clear where there are allegations of abuse or problems associated with excessive violence,' said Campbell. 'We want those circumstances thoroughly explored. And if there is indeed cause for subsequent remedial action, we would expect a legal process to be followed accordingly.'"

See: US Officials Back Indonesian Stand Against Papua Independence
Voice of America, 25 October 2011

But of course we have seen this before. For as was noted in Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin 119 (3 Aug 2011) "On 24 January [2011] an Indonesian court sentenced three soldiers to eight, nine and ten months imprisonment for insubordination after video footage emerged showing the soldiers torturing Papuan civilians -- beating, burning, knifing and suffocating them. [See also, Papua: evidence of human rights abuses]. Whilst the US expressed regret over the leniency of the sentences, they praised the fact that the soldiers were tried at all, hailing it as 'progress'. (Without the trial, the US would have been obliged by its own laws to withhold military aid.)"

And the above was not an isolated incident, for TNI crimes and human rights abuses are routinely covered up or whitewashed so as to ensure that they do not negatively impact Indonesian or US mining or strategic interests.

On 23 Oct 2011, the Jakarta Globe featured a photo of Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro smiling broadly with his counterpart Leon Panetta, US secretary of defense. "We clearly explained", said Purnomo, "that the [gathering] was a separatist movement. Everywhere it's the same -- separatism has to be put down. The Indonesian government will not tolerate separatists.”

And according to Purnomo, Panetta "completely agreed".

See: Jakarta Gives US Its Side of Story in Papua Deaths
Made Arya Kencana, Banjir Ambarita & Ulma Haryanto,
Jakarta Globe, 23 October 2011

It appears that US policy concerning whether "separatism" be put down (as were the Papuans in Papua) or supported (as were the Albanians in Serbia) depends entirely upon an assessment of US economic and strategic interests; nothing more.

The Jakarta Globe(23 Oct) continues: "A photograph of a body purported to be that of Daniel Kadepa, a 25-year-old university student, was obtained by the Jakarta Globe. It showed the body of a man lying face down with a wound to the back of his head.

"'I talked to the forensic doctor who checked the body and he told me that Daniel was killed by a gunshot to the head,' said Oktovianus Pogau, a member of the Papua Solidarity Society. 'A relative of his also told me that she saw with her own eyes a military officer shoot him.'

"Other photos showed bodies purported to be those of Max Asayeuw, 31, and Yacob Samonsabra, 54. Both men were part of the Papuan Caretaker Movement (Petapa) and were guarding the congress. Yacob had a gunshot wound to the chest, while Max’s face was bruised and bloodied."

The lone voice of moral outrage came from US Congressman Eni Faleomavaega, a Democrat from American Samoa.

The crackdown prompted the Congressman to ask Indonesia’s ambassador to the United States for guarantees of safety for those arrested last week.

"'It has been reported that the Indonesian Armed Forces [TNI] fired shots during the meeting where a crowd of thousands of defenseless and unarmed civilians were engaged in peaceful political assembly,' he wrote.

"Faleomavaega said the reports gave evidence of crimes against humanity, adding: 'I have very serious concerns in the matter and I do not condone the serious acts of violence by the TNI and police on the peaceful demonstration by unarmed civilians who were simply voicing their opinions about the failure of the government of Indonesia to seriously implement the Special Autonomy Law for West Papua.'" (Jakarta Globe, 23 OCt)

With six Congress leaders facing charges of treason, many Congress participants have fled into hiding.

See: Papua Congress participants hiding from Jayapura police
Interview with Ferry Marisan, director of the Institute of Human Rights Study and Advocacy in Papua. Radio Australia, October 20, 2011

Today, Friday 28 Oct 2011, ABC Lateline released an excellent video report.
See: Video shows aftermath of Papua crackdown
By Hamish Fitzsimmons, 28 Oct 2011

John Baransano, a Protestant minister in Jayapura who was at the rally, appealed through ABC Lateline for international help.

"I call on the churches around the world to care about this," he said. "I'm calling for an intervention for us because today's events show that we need a transitional government and this needs to happen to help the people of Papua," he said.

"We are now in a dangerous situation . . ."

Anglican minister Peter Woods, who lived in Indonesia for many years, was in Jayapura during the Congress and filmed interviews with many of the independence movement's leaders. Reverend Woods told ABC Lateline that he believes the violence on October 19 was premeditated.

For more on Papua;
See Religious Liberty Monitoring, label: "Papua"
Includes articles on Islamisation, colonisation, political marginalisation, gross human rights abuses, and Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc.
ALSO: Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin, label: "Papua"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

PAPUA: evidence of human rights abuses

Video sheds light on Indonesia security forces

By ROBIN McDOWELL (AP) 5 Aug 2010
The jumpy video shows a prisoner lying in a jungle clearing in eastern Indonesia moments after troops allegedly sliced open his abdomen with a bayonet, sending intestines tumbling from his stomach.

Using the little life he has left in him, Yawen Wayeni lifts his arm into the air, and says weakly, "Freedom! Papua ... Freedom!"

At the sound of his muffled voice, gun-toting, uniformed officers resting in the shade approach.
"Speak up," one taunts. "What? You all are never going to get freedom." [. . .]

The seven-minute video appears to have been made by the Korps Brigade Mobil, or Brimob, the paramilitary police who took part in the arrest. It too has a legacy of abuse in Papua.

It's not clear how the clip made its way to the Internet, and few here have seen it.

The troops caught up with Wayeni at his home in the jungle village of Matembu on Aug. 3, 2009.

Wayeni's wife told the Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence that they tied his arms and legs to a log and forced him to chant "Free Papua!" before slicing him in the abdomen with a bayonet.
They all but ignored him as he stumbled to the ground, landing in a patch of rough grass and propping his head up on a log.

"Look, he's tired," one officer says as the prisoner's head lolls back, his eyes rolling.

The police ask Wayeni if he is an atheist and call him a "savage," saying his prayers will never be answered. They then ask how, in his condition, he thinks Papua will ever shake free of Indonesian rule.

"It's equally surreal and horrific watching as the grievously injured Yawan Wayeni answers teasing questions from uniformed Indonesia security forces about his political beliefs," said Phil Robertson, a deputy director at the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

Getting medical help, he notes, seems the furthest thing from their minds.

Despite his suffering, however, the dying man refuses to give in.

"This land was promised by God to us, the Papuan people," Wayeni says. "God, the suffering of the simple people, there are so many! They are crying, oh God!"

  • NOTE: In the video the soldiers refer to Yawen as "orang kaffir". The translation incorrectly translates the term"kaffir" as "atheist". Yet clearly Yawen is not an atheist -- he is cyring out to God. The correct translation would be "infidel", the term used by Muslims of non-Muslims. Thus "orang kaffir" = "this person is an infidel".
Papuan Detainee in Gruesome Video Was Shot, Not Disemboweled: Police
By Farouk Arnaz and Banjir Ambarita,
Jakarta Globe,
August 06, 2010
The National Police have denied allegations that officers disemboweled a Papuan detainee with a bayonet and taunted him, saying his injuries were caused by a gunshot wound sustained during a firefight . . .

MEANWHILE: Rev Sofyan Yoman summonsed

Rev Sofyan Yoman, the chairman of the Central Board of the United Baptist Churches in Papua, has been summonsed to give an account to the police of a statement he recently made regarding actions of the army and police in Puncak Jaya. He is purported to have intimated that the Indonesian military (TNI) has committed human rights abuses and that it does not always report the truth.

"What I was reported to have said is not rubbish. There is good reason for us to have made that statement, we have the data and we have the experience. The government and the security forces misrepresent the situation and they fail to understand us. We are not an ignorant people who are deaf, dumb and blind," he said.

Rev Yoman has declined the summons, saying that the church is not subordinate to the Indonesian government or the security forces. According to Rev Yoman, the church must always and at all times be the voice of its people who are voiceless and oppressed.

"We continue to be amazed that the acts of violence that have been happening since 2004 in Puncak Jaya have continued to this day. . . What we hope for is that the security forces should end this game that is going on in the Land of Papua. . ."

Rev Yoman appealed for the police to stop summoning indigenous Papuans. "Let's live together, side by side, as equals, respecting each other. Don't treat the creatures of the Lord like hunted animals, stigmatised, trivialising the people of God."

While Rev Yoman has rejected the summons, the police are saying they will force him to appear.
The director for criminal affairs Petrus Waine said that Rev Sokrates Sofyan Yoman had created the impression in his speech that the TNI/Polri were responsible for the shootings. He must take responsibility for his remarks, including those about the shooting of civilians and members of the security forces. "He needs to produce data and facts," he said, "and if he fails to do so, it is not ethical."

But according to Gustaf Kawer, a lawyer who closely follows legal affairs in Papua, "Yoman has not committed a criminal offence, and there's no need for a police summons. Criticisms from the people are quite natural in this era of democracy and should not be seen as violations of the law."

Kawer also said that it was within the rights of Sokrates to refuse to respond to a police summons

Socrates Yoman rejects police summons; Alleged OPM attack on civilian in Mulia
Bintang Papua, 8 August 2010
Translated by TAPOL
WPapua news: Police will force Sokrates to appear Articles in Bintang Papua
Bintang Papua, 9 August 2010
Translated by TAPOL with abridgements

The reality is, as with all Papuan human rights advocates, Rev Yoman's life is perpetually at risk.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

PAPUA, Indonesia: TNI "sweeps" Puncak Jaya.

UPDATED 28 July 2010 (below)

As reported in the June issue of the West Papua Report (WPR) 2010, "Tensions are again intensifying in Mulia area in the Papuan Central Highlands region of Puncak Jaya."

According to the WPR, Papuan human rights defenders report that the Indonesian military launched "sweep" operations in the Tingginambut district during the third week of May. Homes in three villages have been burnt, two people killed, one woman raped, and all livestock in the three villages killed by Indonesian military.

The purpose of the "sweep" is allegedly to flush out separatist leader Goliat Tabuni.

As the WPR notes: "In the past such sweep operations have forced civilians to abandon their villages and seek shelter either with relatives or in the surrounding jungles where food shortages and lack of medical care have led to illness and death. Such sweep operations often continue for months, disrupting local trade and preventing villagers from tending local gardens. Despite desperate circumstances, security forces have also prohibited humanitarian relief operations from reaching the besieged civilian populations."

On 18 June, the West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) posted details of the crisis in Papua's central highlands region of Puncak Jaya.

"In May, security force spokespersons warned that if the local OPM leader, Goliat Tabuni, did not surrender by June 28, major operations would be launched to capture him and his small force. Notwithstanding that deadline, it appears that major operations are already underway. The Indonesian government announced in mid-June that additional BRIMOB personnel were being dispatched to the region.

"According to reports from the field, the operations have already caused large numbers of civilians to flee to other villages or into the surrounding forests. Specifically, thousands of people are reportedly hiding in forests, notably some from the Tingginambut Distirct; other residents of Tingginambut District have fled to Kuyawagi Astir, Tiom, and Lani Districts. Civilians from the Districts of Yambi, Agandugume, and Ilaga Peak have fled to Majesty Towogi District.

"These civilians, in particular those who have fled to the forests, face health and possibly life threatening conditions including lack of access to food, adequate shelter, and medical services. In the past such "sweeping operations," Indonesian security forces prevented provision of humanitarian assistance to these besieged populations.

"Reports from the field also tell of security forces targeting of civilians through widespread arrests, also:
• A church in Kayogwebur district Tingginambut has been taken over as headquarters for the BRIMOB. Local people unable to worship there.
• Local people are forced to do labor tasks for Indonesian military.
• In the district of Kampong Tinggineri Tingginambut, a pregnant woman was raped by BRIMOB personnel in the first half of June.
• 12 houses and 2 churches have been burned by security forces in Gwenggu Pilia.
• In Pos Nalime Tingginambut District residents have been forced to clear their gardens and prepare landing positions for military helicopters.
• On June 11, BRIMOB conducted a residential sweep search of all houses on the road between Ilu and Mulia, detaining anyone without identification, putting them on Army trucks. (Most local people do not have ID and now afraid to leave their homes. As a result, gardens are untended and local commerce is crippled.)

"Recalling previous such sweep operations - West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) is concerned that those civilians who have fled their homes are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance."

See also:
By WPNews Puncak Jaya. Jul 16, 2010

If anyone else has a sense of déjà vu, see:
Papua, Indonesia: Crisis in Puncak Jaya
Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 417 | Wed 21 Feb 2007

The story is virtually identical.


Complicating the situation is the fact that on 11 March 2010, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group released a highly controversial Asia Report No 188 entitled Radicalisation and Dialogue in Papua.

The ICG report lays the blame for recent clashes firmly at the feet of the KNPB (Komite Nasional Papua Barat - the West Papua National Committee), which ICG describes as militant and radical.

In early July, the University of Sydney's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, West Papua Project, published a rebuttal entitled 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. By Jim Elmslie and Camellia Webb Gannon with Peter King

According to the West Papua Project's rebuttal, the KNPB is nothing more than a "media and information clearing house that expresses mainstream views held by a wide spectrum of Papuan civil society and political organisations, as well as the armed wing of the OPM."

The West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) also issued a statement rebutting the ICG report. WPAT laments that the ICG report ignores gross human rights abuses in Papuan and the fact that the "government subsidized 'migration' to Papua by non-Melanesian Indonesians will within this generation make Papuans a minority in their own homeland."
(See also: Papua (Indonesia): Genocide by Demographics.
WEA RL News & Analysis by Elizabeth Kendal. Friday 21 December 2007)

The WPP and the WPAT decry methodological problems in the ICG report, particularly ICG's failure to acknowledge the possibility that sources were advancing a particular agenda. I myself had criticised ICG for doing exactly this some years earlier. (See: Papua (Indonesia): Muslim-Christian tensions on a knife edge. WEA RL News & Analysis by Elizabeth Kendal. Thursday 19 June 2008)

All this matters because the ICG report has legitimised Indonesian military violence against the Papuans.

Naturally, mainstream media ran with ICG's authoritative analysis. Elmslie and Gannon fear the ICG report could actually pave the way to further violence in the province.

Mission, Betrayal and Genocide

From the 1950s MAF USA opened up the previously impenetrable mountainous inland of what was then Dutch New Guinea for courageous pioneer missionaries.

Annexed by Indonesia in 1969 and occupied by Indonesian armed forces (predominantly Javanese Muslims), Papua is being purposefully and rapidly colonised by Javanese Muslims for political and geo-strategic purposes. The indigenous Papuans, who are ethnic Melanesians and predominantly Christian, are being marginalised and their land is being Islamised .

Most Javanese Muslims despise the Papuans as racially and religiously inferior. TNI and BRIMOB officers routinely and freely express their racial and religious hatred for the Papuans in unrestrained violence.

The TNI has vast economic interests in Papua, including in the area of protection -- thus it is in the TNI's interests that Papuan "terrorism" and "separatism" be seen as genuine threats (when in reality they are not).
See: Papua, Indonesia, The TNI and the USA.
WEA RL News & Analysis by Elizabeth Kendal. 1 March 2007

Papuan resistance is essentially resistance against racial and religious discrimination, persecution, exploitation, marginalisation, Islamisation and threat of genocide.

In 2001 the Indonesian parliament granted the Papua Province a tokenistic "Special Autonomy" which was never implemented. On 18 June many thousands of Papuans rallied in Jayapura. Declaring "Special Autonomy" a failure, they symbolically "gave it back" to Indonesia and demanded a referendum on independence and renewed dialogue to be mediated by a neutral country.

On 8 July, more than ten thousand Papuans rallied again.
See: Thousands Rally in West Papua: Reject Special Autonomy, Demand Referendum on Independence
By Jacques Friedman. Jul 9, 2010
ALSO: Photo news

Forces, protesters fill West Papuan parliament
By Paul Cleary. The Australian. 10 July 2010

Tensions are extremely high.

Shamefully, just as in the case of some other Christian peoples who have suffered or are suffering gross human rights abuses and facing genocide, the Papuans have been betrayed and abandoned by Western human rights-affirming nations in exchange for lucrative mining concessions, arms deals and other economic and political interests.

The Church, however, must never abandon them.

If you say, "Behold, we did not know this,"
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
and will he not repay man according to his work?
(Proverbs 24:12 ESV)

UPDATE - 28 July 2010

On 22 July, US defence secretary Robert Gates announced that the US will restore ties with Kopassus, Indonesia's notorious special forces unit which is known to have committed gross human rights violations in Papua, including the November 2001 political assassination of the chairman of Papuan Council Presidium, Theys Eluay.
(Regarding Eluay's assassination, see FreeWestPapua and Human Rights Watch).

Doubtless the US is doing this to prevent China from gaining a foothold in the region.
See: U.S. Boosts Asian Defense Ties Amid Growing Challenge From China Military
By Daniel Ten Kate - Jul 22, 2010
Clinton, Gates offer distinct messages on human rights in Asia
By Glenn Kessler | July 22, 2010; 11:23 AM ET

It is a no-win situation for the Papuans. As
John M. Miller, National Coordinator of ETAN notes: "For years, the U.S. military provided training and other assistance to Kopassus, and when the U.S. was most involved Kopassus crimes were at their worst. While this assistance improved the Indonesian military's deadly skills, it did nothing to improve its behavior. [. . .] Engaging Kopassus with only token concessions will not encourage reform, respect for rights or accountability. It may do the opposite."

At a Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit meeting due to be held in Port Vila, Vanuatu, on 3-6 August, Vanuatu will support the indigenous Papuans' right to self-determination. The bipartisan motion was put to Vanuatu's Parliament after a petition of the people of Vanuatu called for a clear foreign policy on Papua.

See: Vanuatu to seek observer status for West Papua at MSG and PIF leaders summits

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Date: Tuesday 8 July 2008
Subj: Indonesia: Islamising Papua
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal

Islamising Papua
-- a history of violation, equivocation and the betrayal of Christian people.

On Tuesday 1 July the Jakarta Post reported: "All factions in the House of Representatives have agreed to pass legislation giving a legal basis for the implementation of special autonomy in the new province of West Papua." (Link 1)

NOTE: Papua, Eastern Indonesia, was formerly Dutch New Guinea. It is the western portion of the island of New Guinea and is not to be confused with Papua New Guinea (PNG), the eastern portion of the island. When Indonesia assumed control of Dutch New Guinea they changed the name to Irian Jaya. On 25 December 2000, President Wahid officially endorsed the name change from Irian Jaya to Papua. The province of West Papua (also known as Papua Barat, Irian
Jaya Barat, or West Irian Jaya) is a recent Indonesian government creation comprising the westernmost portion of Papua. (See map)

While the indigenous predominantly Christian, Melanesian Papuans are still the majority in Papua -- although only barely (see Genocide by Demographics) -- decades of government-sponsored transmigration has made the province of West Papua majority Javanese Muslim. Legalising its status as an autonomous province distinct from Papua, will effectively consolidate West Papua's Islamisation and establish it as a vassal of Jakarta.

This unconstitutional and unilateral act is a betrayal of the Papuan people and a violation of the 2001 Special Autonomy Law which was designed to bring confidence, peace and stability to Papua, as well as cultural and religious liberty protection. It will only further exacerbate the frustration, anger and despair of the indigenous Papuans who are helpless to prevent their unique and precious land from being exploited, Islamised and dismembered.

It is flabbergasting that the Indonesian government's appalling abuse of power and human rights receives so little attention in international media or international forums. But then again, the most profound betrayal of all has been perpetrated by the governments of the free and rights-affirming "Christian" West that have themselves betrayed and abandoned the Papuans for political expediency and economic gain.

Whilst the Papuans turned from shamanism and internecine warfare to Christ through the 20th Century, Papua is now being Islamised and the Papuan people are facing genocide. This is not what so many courageous, faithful, pioneering Dutch, American and Australian missionaries sacrificed their lives for.



In May 1998, protests and rioting forced President Suharto out of office. Vice President B J Habibie subsequently assumed the Presidency and the "New Order" era was succeeded by the so-called "Era of Reform". In line with the spirit of reform the New Order legislation Law No. 5/1974 on decentralisation was replaced with Law No. 22/1999 on Regional Government. (See Link 3)

Law No. 22/1999 provides a five-step legal process for the division of a region into two or more smaller regions. Step One: "With the approval of the respective Regional Parliament, the Head of the respective Region (Kepala Daerah), i.e. the Governor of a Province, the Head of a Regency (Bupati) or a City Mayor (Walikota), sends an official letter to the President." That is, a request, which must have the approval of the regional parliament, goes out from the region (where it emanates) to the President (who then commissions research before considering the request).


In September 1999 the central government in Jakarta directly violated Law 22/1999 by unilaterally issuing Law 45/1999, dividing Papua into three provinces -- West Iranian Jaya, Central Irian Jaya and Papua -- against the will of the Papuan people.

International Crisis Group (ICG) explains that after B J Habibie assumed the presidency in February 1999, a delegation of 100 Papuan community leaders travelled to Jakarta to meet with him in a "National Dialogue" on the future of Irian Jaya. Habibie however was shocked to hear them express a desire for self-determination. Unfortunately for the Papuans, their independence movement was growing in strength at the same time as Aceh, Sulawesi and the Molluccas were descending into conflict. Indonesian repression of Papuan independence advocates quickly escalated. On 30 August 1999 the people of East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia. It is widely believed that the September 1999 Law 45/1999 was mandated as a divide-and-rule tactic to weaken the Papuan independence movement. (ICG report: Link 4)

Papua's Provincial Parliament (DPRD) immediately rejected Law 45/1999 and demanded that it be repealed. ICG explains: "Partly as a result of the DPRD's rejection, partly due to the multitude of other issues claiming Jakarta's attention, including the transfer of the presidency from President Habibie to the democratically elected Abdurrahman Wahid, the division of the province was never implemented." (ICG, page 3)

During Wahid's presidency, Law 45/1999 drifted into legal limbo -- rejected but not repealed. Meanwhile, as President Wahid advanced good will in Papua his opponents in Jakarta and in the security forces (TNI) accused him of encouraging separatism. To drive home their point, the security forces (which profit from both conflict and their business interests in Papua) increased their provocation of "incidents" and escalated their repression of "separatism".

Eventually the Indonesian parliament (MPR) proposed "special autonomy" be mandated for Papua as a means of winning over the Papuan people. Work began on the Special Autonomy Law in late 2000.

Meanwhile however, escalating violence, much of which was incited by the TNI for economic gain, was heating up around the extremities of the archipelago, and President Wahid's opponents (including Islamists) were exploiting this for political gain. In July 2001, Megawati Sukarnoputri replaced Abdurrahman Wahid as President of Indonesia.


Law 21/2001 on Special Autonomy for Papua was passed on 22 October 2001. The full text of Law 21/2001 can be found at link 5.

Law 21/2001 did not give the Papuans everything they wanted, but it did give them the right to develop their own cultural institutions and fly their own flag as long as it was not a symbol of sovereignty. It mandated the establishment of a Papuan People's Council (MRP) made up of ethnic Papuans chosen from religious and traditional leaders, both men and women, to be an advisory body to the provincial parliament. Article 76 mandates that any division of Papua have the approval of both the MRP and the provincial parliament. Article 77 mandates that proposed amendments to the law are submitted by the people of the province through their local assemblies to the President.

Independence leader Theys Eluay doubted Jakarta could be trusted. He rejected the special autonomy package and was kidnapped and assassinated by Kopassus Special Forces officers three weeks later.

However, a significant number of the Papuan elite believed special autonomy could be beneficial to all if fully implemented and they should give it a chance.

It was widely assumed that Law 21/2001 on Special Autonomy for Papua superseded Law 45/1999 on the division of Papua, rendering it null.


Special Autonomy had been in force for little over a year when, in January 2003, President Megawati Sukarnoputri unexpectedly and unilaterally issued her "Inpres", Law 1/2003 on the Acceleration of the Implementation of Law 45/1999.

As ICG noted in their April 2003 report, "Dividing Papua: how not to do it" (link 4): "A presidential instruction (Inpres) issued in January 2003 to divide Papua, Indonesia's easternmost province, into three parts has done more to create tension and turmoil there than any government action in years. The instruction undercuts a special autonomy law passed by the parliament in November 2001 that assumed the province to be a single territorial unit, and
it has thrown Papua's administrative status into legal limbo. It undermines moderate intellectuals who saw special autonomy as a way of strengthening Papuan institutions and encouraging independence supporters to work within the Indonesian state. It has infuriated many Papuans, pro-independence and pro-autonomy alike, who have a deep attachment to Papua as a single political unit with a distinct history and who see the decree as a divide-and-rule
tactic by Jakarta. All major religious leaders in the province have come out against it." (ICG; page 1)

On 12 November 2003 Dr John Ibo, the then head of the Papuan Provincial Parliament, launched a challenge in the Constitutional Court to test the legality of Law 1/2003.

On 13 November 2003, despite strong opposition from Papuans and others and despite the issue being before the Constitutional Court, Indonesia's House of Representatives (DPR) endorsed the government's division of Papua.

Furthermore, on 14 November 2003, the Indonesian Minister of Home Affairs, Hari Sabarno, installed Brig. Gen. (ret) Abraham Octovianus Atururi as the governor of West Irian Jaya province, despite controversy over its status.

On 15 November 2003, the Jakarta Post reported that Atururi's inauguration "marks the official split of West Irian Jaya from Papua."

For a full report on the consequences of the division of Papua see:
The Islamisation of Papua: the betrayal of a Christian people.
WEA RLC News & Analysis, Friday 21 November 2003
By WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal


On 11 November 2004 Indonesia's Constitutional Court ruled Law 45/1999 unconstitutional and thus invalid as at the date of the verdict. However, in its legal considerations the Court stated it was of the opinion that the Province of West Irian Jaya, that had been established based on Law 45/1999 and the corresponding implementing legislation, was valid.

Constitutional law expert Sri Soemantri criticised the ruling as "Completely weird", noting, "What then is the legal basis of West Irian Jaya province? If the court declares Law No. 45/1999 violates the Constitution, how can it approve the establishment of a province that has no legal basis?"

Judge Maruarar Siahaan agreed with the verdict (that Law 45/1999 is unconstitutional) but held a different opinion regarding the legal considerations on the result of the Court ruling. He reasoned that the ruling should mean that everything resulting from Law 45/1999 needed to be annulled, and that the existence of the Province of West Irian Jaya should be declared null and void and all corresponding institutions should be dissolved.

The then head of Papua's Indonesian Christian Church, the Reverend Herman Saud, expressed his opinion that the ruling was based on political considerations rather than legal arguments: "The ruling was made to save the central government's honour as it has already set up West Irian Jaya province. It's no secret that the government always intervenes in the legal process."

And so, while Law 45/1999 was deemed "unconstitutional and thus invalid", the province created by that unconstitutional and invalid law was to be considered "valid" simply on the grounds that it had already been established. (Link 6)


The ruling of the Constitutional Court created a new problem. Law 21/2001 -- the Special Autonomy Law that the Papuan's collaborated on and accepted -- granted special autonomy to Papua as a single territorial entity. The now "valid" province of West Papua was not covered by Law 21/2001 and as 45/1999 had been deemed unconstitutional and invalid, the province, while "valid", had no legal basis.

So in July 2006, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) agreed to evaluate the Special Autonomy Law and amend Article 76 which stipulates that the establishment of new provinces must get the approval from the MRP and the Regional Parliament. This however, would be yet another violation of the Special Autonomy Law as Article 77 mandates that amendments are the prerogative of the province, not the central government.


On 16 April 2008, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono violated Articles 76 and 77 of Law 21/2001 on Special Autonomy for Papua by unilaterally amending Law 21/2001 and dividing Papua by means of a Presidential Decree. According to the Jakarta Post, the decree amended two items: "Article 1(a), which stated Irian Jaya province would officially become Papua province, was replaced with Irian Jaya officially becoming Papua and West Papua provinces. Article 7(a) on the duty of the Papuan legislature to elect the governor and vice governor, was
dropped." (Link 7)

Not only has Special Autonomy failed in Papua, it is now something quite different from what was originally agreed to by the Papuans.


So Papua now consists of two autonomous provinces: the majority Javanese Muslim province of West Papua, and the majority Melanesian Christian province of Papua. Papua has been divided against the will of the Papuans, in violation of Law 22/1999 on Regional Government; in violation of Law 21/2001 on Special Autonomy; and in spite of the Constitutional Court's 11 November 2004 ruling that deemed Law 45/1999 unconstitutional. The Indonesian government has acted
in bad faith towards the Papuans. How can this advance peace, confidence and stability?

The consequences of this betrayal are enormous: it marks the end of Special Autonomy Law 21/2001. Papua is being Islamised and plundered while the Melanesian predominantly Protestant Christian Papuans are being robbed, abused and marginalised.

Furthermore, there is no reason to assume Jakarta will stop now. With the oil and gas-rich province of West Papua thus secured as a vassal of Jakarta, it will surely only be a matter of time before copper and gold-rich Central Irian Jaya is likewise secured. In fact Jakarta could continue this process of land division and law revision until Papua is little more than a poor and remote outpost for displaced and dying Papuans; an outpost that would ultimately be deemed non-viable. Then the genocide will be complete.

Elizabeth Kendal


1) House to pass W. Papua autonomy bill
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, Tuesday 1 July 2008

2) Papua (Indonesia): Genocide by Demographics
WEA RLC News & Analysis, 20 Dec 2007
By: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal

3) Conference "Autonomy for Papua – Opportunity or Illusion?" 4-5 June 03
Local government in Indonesia. The case of Papua, By Harun Alrasid

4) Dividing Papua: How not to do it. ICG, 9 April 2003


6) Constitutional Court's ruling on the partition of Papua
By von Petra Stockmann
Watch Indonesia! Information und Analyse, 24 Nov 2004

7) President 'breaches' autonomy law. 4 July 2008
Angela Flassy, The Jakarta Post, Jayapura

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Date: Thursday 19 June 2008
Subj: Papua (Indonesia): Muslim-Christian tensions on a knife edge.
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal

International Crisis Group (ICG) has just released an informative and significant report on the escalating ethnic and religious tensions in Papua (eastern Indonesia).

Indonesia: Communal Tensions in Papua
ICG Asia Report No. 154, 16 June 2008

As the report notes: "Indonesian Papua has seen periodic clashes between pro-independence supporters and government forces, but conflict between Muslim and Christian communities could also erupt unless rising tensions are effectively managed."

According to ICG, the key factors behind escalating sectarian tensions are "continuing Muslim migration from elsewhere in Indonesia; the emergence of new, exclusivist groups in both religious communities that have hardened the perception of the other as enemy; the lasting impact of the Maluku conflict; and the impact of developments outside Papua."

WEA RLC News & Analysis has regularly raised the issue of Muslim migration and demographics in Papua, most recently in a 20 December 2007 posting entitled: "Papua (Indonesia): Genocide by Demographics". (Link 1)

The ICG report gives detailed accounts of how changing ethnic and religious demographics in various towns have produced localised but threatening culture clashes. Violence has been only barely contained and tensions simmer just under the surface.

Concerning the "new, exclusivist groups in both religious communities", IGC says that the arrival in Papua over the last ten years of new "militant strands of both religions" is contributing to tensions. "On the Muslim side", they note, "Hizb ut-Tahrir and salafi Muslims are giving a harder edge to an Islam that until recently was . . . reasonably moderate." Then, "On the Christian side, neo-pentecostals and charismatics are promoting their own brand of exclusivist truth and see the expansion of Muslim daawa (religious outreach, dakwah in Indonesian spelling) as their greatest challenge." (Page 1)

ICG is no doubt attempting to be fair, non-judgmental and politically correct by presenting these "exclusivist" and "militant" groups as moral equivalents. But this is unfair and unreasonable.

There is however a good deal of interesting information in the ICG report. While Salfists are mainly winning over the Javanese, the Hizb ut Tahrir (which preaches Islamic-Marxist revolution) and the Pentecostal God-wants-you-to-have-prosperity-and-power sects are winning over many poor, marginalised, disempowered indigenous Papuans, thus deepening the fractures within Papuan society which is largely mainline Protestant.

The ICG report also details the degree to which the conflict in Maluku spread to Papua.


One very disturbing element of the ICG report is the regular reference to the "new history" that has recently been "rediscovered by Muslim commentators". As ICG reports, "the subtext to the new popular history is that foreign missionaries were responsible for Christianisation of a Muslim land; that Christian colonialism proceeded to obliterate all traces of Islam; and that not just Papua Muslims but Indonesian Muslims more generally must redouble efforts to regain lost ground and exert the control that is rightfully theirs." (page 21)

ICG does not challenge the Muslim commentators' "new popular history" or denounce it as revisionism. Rather ICG accepts it, describing Muslim acceptance of it as a "new awareness" (p4) or a "new understanding" (p11) of history. Clearly, if Muslim commentators say it, it must be true!

The same benefit-of-the-doubt courtesy is not, however, extended to Christians. For example: "Toward the end of the year, rumours began circulating in the Christian community that Laskar Jihad, the salafi militia that wreaked havoc in Maluku from 2000 to 2002, was conducting military training in a trans-migrant area known as Satuan Pemukiman (SP) 7 in Masmi, outside Manokwari, with the aim of fighting Christians who had opposed the mosque. The fears were calmed after it turned out that the young men involved, almost all of them migrants, were not Laskar Jihad at all but members of a non-political, non-religious martial arts organisation." (Page 5) This reporting would be fine except that the footnote reference cites as the source: "Crisis Group telephone interview, Muslim activist, Manokwari, May 2008."

ICG seems to have an anti-Christian bias which causes it to undermine and minimise Christian concerns and thereby de-legitimise Christian requests. It seems to accept as inevitable that Papua will become Muslim and regard as unreasonable that Christians would want to prevent that.

Despite these problems, the ICG report is both informative and important. Religious liberty advocates will understand just how incredibly serious the situations described are.

ICG forecasts that if Muslim v Christian clashes do erupt, they will remain localised. I do not agree with that assessment. The jihadist groups, the pro-Indonesia militias and in particular the Indonesian military (TNI) are looking for an excuse to unleash violent repression and ethnic-religious cleansing. Any violent local clash therefore has incendiary potential to convert simmering tension into burning terror across the region.


The most disappointing (and shameful) thing about the ICG report is that while ICG offers several recommendations for managing the situation, implementation of the Special Autonomy Law is not one of them! De-militarisation and the opening up of the region to visitors, journalists and human rights monitors are not amongst ICG's recommendations either.

ICG's recommendations include things such as ". . .ensure that Papua develops its own indigenous [Muslim] scholars and teachers able to interpret universal Islamic values in ways that are in harmony rather than conflict with customary traditions".

But it is naive to think there is such a thing as "universal Islamic values", and even more naive to think that Javanese Salafis would accept having indigenous Papuans "interpret" or customise orthodox, Qur'anic Islamic values so that they no longer conflict with customary (Melanesian, tribal, animist, Christian) traditions.

What Papua needs is openness and internationally-monitored full implementation of the Special Autonomy Law. And it needs it very soon, before it is simply too late and the momentum behind the genocide of Papua's Melanesian Christians is irreversible.

By Elizabeth Kendal

Friday, December 21, 2007

PAPUA (Indonesia): Genocide by Demographics.

Date: Friday 21 December 2007
Subj: Papua (Indonesia): Genocide by Demographics.
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal

If present demographic trends continue, West Papua (formerly Irian Jaya) will be majority Indonesian (mostly Javanese) Muslim by 2011, and the indigenous Melanesian predominantly Protestant Christian Papuans will be a dwindling 15 percent minority by 2030. This was recently forecast in a conference at the University of Sydney (NSW, Australia) by Political Scientist Dr Jim Elmslie of the West Papua Project, which is based at the University of Sydney Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS).

Dr Elmslie also notes however that this forecast may prove unduly optimistic as it does not take into account the escalating HIV-AIDS infection rate amongst the Papuans or their declining population growth rate. In other words, the annihilation of the Papuans may be even more imminent than the demographic trends suggest. (Note: The Indonesian military introduced AIDS into the Papuan population by bringing in AIDS-infected Javanese prostitutes which they establish in Papuan villages and frequently use as currency.)

The issue of the decline in the Papuan population growth rate warrants further investigation and will possibly be the subject of a WEA RLC News & Analysis posting early in 2008. Several sources attest that Indonesia is targeting UN-funded family planning programs at the Papuan population, particularly in sensitive areas such as around the Freeport mine and in other areas slated for clearing and development.

According to Dr Elmslie, highland Papuans who allegedly have gonorrhoea are being treated in UN-funded family planning clinics -- but not for gonorrhoea. They are being injected instead with long-term contraceptive drugs. As Dr Elmslie notes, this goes some way to explaining why the 1.67 percent population growth rate for Melanesian Papuans in West Papua is so much lower in than over the 2.6 percent population growth rate for Melanesian Papuans over the border in Papua New Guinea (PNG). (Meanwhile, the growth rate for the non-Papuan population in West Papua is 10.5 percent.)

In the highlands of Papua, where maternal and family health services and pharmacies are virtually non-existent, it is tragic that the UN would focus its efforts on controlling and limiting rather than serving and treasuring humanity. And of course, it is not difficult to imagine how such a program could be exploited.

Meanwhile, the issue of the genocide of the predominantly Christian Papuans must become an issue of urgency for the Church. The governments of the USA, Britain and Australia, as well as other nations and bodies such as the UN, have geo-political and economic interests that pull them towards a preference for the status quo, regardless of consequences. By their action and inaction they are complicit and find the truth and immorality surrounding the betrayal and genocide of a Christian people a most inconvenient truth indeed. The Church must act by making Papua a prayer priority and such an advocacy priority that the Papuans (like the South Sudanese and Iraq's Assyrians) become a domestic political issue that cannot be ignored. Indonesia must respect Papua's Special Autonomy status, and aggressive colonisation, militarisation and Islamisation must end.

As Dr Elmslie notes in his paper, the Genocide Convention of 1951 defines genocide as that which is "committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group" (Article II), and those interested in maintaining the status quo will focus on the word "intent" in order to argue that if intent cannot be proved then genocide cannot be claimed.

The issue of intent however has no bearing on the reality or outcome. As Dr Elmslie argues, semantics about whether or not there is "intent" should not stop the international community from recognising that an immense tragedy is unfolding in Papua, gross human rights abuses are occurring and the Papuans are being annihilated.

The most decisive statement to date on the subject of genocide in West Papua has come from the Allard K Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic Yale Law School, which in 2005 published a paper entitled "Indonesian Human Rights Abuses in West Papua: Application of the Law of Genocide to the History of Indonesian Control." (Link 1)

Quoting from page 72: "Although no single act or set of acts can be said to have constituted genocide, per se, and although the required intent cannot be as readily inferred as it was in the cases of the Holocaust or the Rwandan genocide, there can be little doubt that the Indonesian government has engaged in a systematic pattern of acts that has resulted in harm to -- and indeed the destruction of -- a substantial part of the indigenous population of West Papua.

"The inevitability of this result was readily obvious, and the government has taken no active measures to contravene. According to current understanding of the Genocide Convention, including its interpretation in the jurisprudence of the ad hoc international criminal tribunals, such a pattern of actions and inactions -- of acts and omissions --supports the conclusion that the Indonesian government has acted with the necessary intent to find that it has perpetrated genocide against the people of West Papua."


The West Papua Project, based at the University of Sydney (NSW, Australia) Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), "seeks to promote peaceful dialogue between the people of West Papua and Indonesia, and to promote conflict resolution as a viable alternative to the current and escalating conflict." (Link 2)

On 9-10 August, Indonesian Solidarity in association with the West Papua Project (CPACS) organised a conference entitled "West Papua 2007: Paths to Justice and Prosperity". The papers presented at that conference are available on the West Papua Project website (link 2) under the heading "West Papua Conference".

All those who are concerned about the future of the predominantly Protestant Christian West Papuans would be interested in these papers.

The following is an excerpt from Dr Jim Elmslie's paper, "West Papua: Genocide, Demographic Change, the Issue of 'Intent', and the Australia-Indonesia Security Treaty". (Link 3: direct link)


By Dr Jim Elmslie

Over the last 43 years in West Papua there have been many killings; disappearances; land expropriations and repressive Indonesian government policies that have severely affected the demographics of the province. . .

In 1971 there were 887,000 'Irian born' (Papuan) people in West Papua and 36,000 'non-Irian born' (Asian Indonesians), out of a total population of 923,000. This meant that, even after eight years of Indonesian control, Papuans comprised 96% of the population in 1971.

Thereafter the distinction between Irian born and non-Irian became less relevant as, obviously, children of non-Irian born migrants were Irian born. I have derived the figure for the Papuan population in the 1990 census by dividing the population into those who speak Bahasa Indonesia as a 'mother tongue' and those who do not. This is because the census does not record the racial profile of the province. On this basis there were 1,215,897 Papuans and 414,210 non-Papuans in 1990 out of a total population of 1,630,107. Papuans comprised 74.6% of the total and non-Papuans 25.4%.

The growth in the Papuan population from 887,000 to 1,215,897 during the period from 1971 to 1990 represents an annual growth rate of 1.67%. Assuming that this growth rate continued to 2005, the latest figures released by the Indonesian Statistics Office, the Papua population would be 1,558,795 out of a total population of 2,646,48914 and the non-Papuan population 1,087,694. This means that Papuans comprised 59% of the population and non-Papuans 41% in 2005.

This analysis shows that the Papuan population has diminished as a proportion of the population from 96% to 59%, and the non-Papuan increased from 4% to 41%. This represents a growth in the Papuan population from 887,000 to 1,558,795 for the period 1971 to 2005, or 75.7%. By contrast the non-Papuan sector of the population has increased from 36,000 to 1,087,694, a growth of 3021% or more than 30 times. This represents an annual growth rate in the non-Papuan population of 10.5% from 1971 to 2005.

Using the two growth rates for the Papuan and non-Papuan populations, 1.67% and 10.5% respectively, we can predict future population growth and relative percentages of the two groups. By 2011 out of a total population of 3.7 million, Papuans would be a minority of 47.5% at 1.7 million and non-Papuans a majority at 1.98 million, or 53.5%. This non-Papuan majority will increase to 70.8% by 2020 out of a population of 6.7 million. By 2030 Papuans will comprise just 15.2% of a total population of 15.6 million, while non-Papuans will number 13.2 million, or 84.8%. This may be an unduly optimistic forecast for the Papuan population as the current HIVAIDS epidemic is firmly established in that population group and could have an African-style impact, cutting numbers and growth rates even further.

Besides the relative decline of the Papuans as a percentage of the population they have also enjoyed a much lower growth rate than a very similar Melanesian Papuan population across the border in Papua New Guinea. Here the population has been growing at 2.6% per annum since independence in 1975. PNG acts almost as a control population when examining Papuan growth rates as the indigenous people on both sides of the border are closely related and settled in societies that had, until very recently, been self-contained for thousands of years. If the Papuans under Indonesian control had enjoyed the same growth rate as those in independent Papua New Guinea, 2.6%, their population would be 2,122,921, or 564,126 more than it was in 2005. This demographic discrepancy can be attributed to Indonesian rule.

Thus from a position of comprising 96% of the total population in 1971, Papuans will be a small and dwindling minority within a generation or two. This will have great consequences for Papua New Guinea as Indonesian military/business groups engage ever more deeply in that country, particularly in the logging and retail industries. With the increasing militarisation of West Papua, particularly in the border regions, PNG's own security may come under threat.


Dr Elmslie fears the situation in West Papua, where Asian Muslims are completely dominating the military, education and business realms and where two distinct peoples are increasingly on a collision course, is heading toward a "large scale, copybook genocide in the near future. With 'intent'."

This has been the fear of Papuans and religious liberty observers for some time. The Indonesian military (TNI), through barbaric killings and other acts of terror, is constantly attempting to provoke the Papuans into a response or a rebellion that would then provide the TNI with a pretext for wide-scale massacres in the name of curtailing the separatist threat and defending Indonesian security and sovereignty.

Papuan church leaders, who are the primary source of leadership for the Papuans, are doing a phenomenal job of keeping the traumatised Papuans restrained, committed to non-violence, and focused on God in hope. They will undoubtedly inherit a peace prize from the Lord when they meet him. Meanwhile the TNI is busy not only provoking but manipulating and exploiting naive Papuan patriots by arming them and sending them to kill -- as was the case in the August 2002 Freeport mine incident (see link 4).

In such an explosive environment, "peace" (as in the absence of wide-scale slaughter) can not be taken for granted. An outrageous but very convenient (for some) holocaust is only a spark away.

Elizabeth Kendal


1) Indonesian Human Rights Abuses in West Papua: Application of the Law of Genocide to the History of Indonesian Control.
A paper prepared for the Indonesia Human Rights Network
By the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic Yale Law School

2) West Papua Project

3) West Papua: Genocide, Demographic Change, the Issue of 'Intent', and the Australia-Indonesia Security Treaty. By Dr. Jim Elmslie.

4) Papua: Indonesia, the TNI and the USA.
By Elizabeth Kendal WEA RLC, 2 March 2007

Thursday, March 1, 2007


Date: Thursday 1 March 2007
Subj: Papua, Indonesia, the TNI and the USA
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal

The Indonesian military (TNI) has once again unleashed terror in the highlands of Papua. Thousands of indigenous, predominantly Christian Papuans have been ethnically cleansed from their villages and driven into the inhospitable jungle where many will die.

During the 20th Century, the Papuans turned from the occult, headhunting, cannibalism, and internecine tribal war to Christ. They were evangelised predominantly by Australian and American pioneer missionaries courtesy Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) USA. The missionary story was popularised by missionary author Don Richardson, whose best-selling book "Peace Child" (now a feature film) tells how the Sawi tribal practice of making peace with an enemy through the gift of a child opened the door for even the most violent Sawi warriors to embrace the gospel.

Today the enemy of the Papuans is not their pagan tribal culture. Today nothing the Papuans do will bring peace. The TNI know they can kill Papuans with impunity. And what's more, the Papuans know it too. The contemporary still-unfolding story of Papua is a story of the genocide of a Christian people through betrayal and abandonment, aggression, complicity and impunity.


Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc. first explored Dutch New Guinea (Irian Jaya, Papua), then a Dutch colony, in 1960. In 1961 Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, invaded the sparsely populated, resource-rich province and occupied it. In 1962 the US brokered a deal with the Dutch. Known as the New York Agreement it handed sovereignty of Papua to the UN until a referendum could be held on the status of the province. In 1967,
regardless that the UN was supposed to be in control, Indonesia gave Freeport "'free rein' to take West Papuan land from the people, to resettle villagers and compensate them only for the buildings on the land". (Link 1)

In 1969 the UN, the US and other Western states with political and economic agendas facilitated Papua's annexation to Indonesia. Mining commenced in 1973, so did the protests, and so did the military reprisals.

The present day situation in Papua is complex and multilayered. It involves Indonesian and Islamic imperialism, racial and religious hatred, political expediency and complicity, greed, corruption and cover-up.

To 'Javanise' and Islamise Papua, Jakarta facilitates the mass migration of Javanese Muslims into Papua. It also strategically divided Papua into three provinces so that today Javanese Muslims are the majority in the majority of provinces.

There is little doubt that most Javanese Muslim immigrants view the indigenous Melanesian mostly Christian Papuans with contempt. Yet while the ethnic and religious hatred aspects intensify the hostility, they are not the root of the current crisis. The root of the current crisis is multi-layered:

* The Indonesian military (TNI), which has an appalling record when it comes to corruption and human rights abuses, is determined to stay engaged in domestic security so it can operate and be close to its various business interests. (The Indonesian military raises most of its costs from its
business interests, not the federal budget. The TNI's business interests range from legitimate investments and companies, to illegal logging, prostitution, drugs and extortion.) Accordingly the TNI needs conflict - it needs a real and present "separatist" and "terrorist" threat. Indonesia keeps an enormous military force deployed in Papua on account of this "separatist and terrorist threat".

* An American mining company is mining in Papua, which is a conflict zone. The insecurity cause by the protests of displaced, disgruntled locals, or by conflict between the TNI and the OPM (the primitive, not particularly threatening Papuan independence movement) means the mine requires protection. Those who work in protection (the TNI) therefore benefit from insecurity.

* The American government's relationship with Indonesia is valuable and strategic both in terms of economics and geo-politics. The US is Indonesia's primary weapons supplier. Furthermore, Indonesia is an ally in the War against Terror. Hence this is a relationship that both Indonesia and the US are keen to protect.

Together these factors create an environment where the TNI, which secures its interests through conflict, knows it can persecute and kill Papuans with impunity, because the Indonesian and US governments and the directors at Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc. have political and economic reasons always to make sure the TNI's human rights abuses will be whitewashed.


A detailed report entitled "Paying for Protection. The Freeport mine and the Indonesian security forces" was published by Global Witness in July 2005. It is essential reading for anyone seeking to fully understand what is happening in Papua, and what is the relationship between the American Freeport mine, the TNI, and the gross human rights abuses perpetrated against the indigenous, mostly Christian Papuans.


For many years now it has been known that TNI soldiers manipulate often illiterate, uneducated Papuan village men to be proud 'OPM' warriors! They arm these fake OPM and send them off to commit crimes and provocations that give the military grounds for retaliation against "separatist and terrorist" forces.

There are several differences however between real and fake OPM. Real OPM are few in number, isolated in the jungle, primitive and armed primarily with spears and bows and arrows. Fake OPM are armed with M16s and supplied with Indonesian beer and whiskey. (Link 2).

TNI soldiers use these fake OMP for operations where they want deniability or for when they want to trigger a military crackdown.

PUNCAK JAYA, DEC 2006-2007

On 8 December 2006 two Indonesian soldiers were killed after a banned Papuan Morning Star flag was raised on Kumipaga Hill in Puncak Jaya. It is not clear exactly what transpired, but there are several signs to point to manipulation and the use of fake OPM to trigger an incident.

First, the flag raised on Kumipaga Hill was not a little hand-made flag but most unusually was a full-sized flag. Secondly, the soldiers who interrupted the event were not speared but shot with a TNI-issue M16 semi-automatic rifle (made in USA). On 24 December 2006, TNI, Brimbob (mobile brigade police), and intelligence agents were deployed to Pancuk Jaya for a military reprisal. The region is sealed off, closed to the outside world.

Since the military offensive commenced an estimated 5,000 Papuan villagers have been forced to flee their homes, gardens and livestock. It is the wet season and the displaced, terrorised Papuan families are walking north and east over mountainous terrain, through thick jungle, without food, shelter or medical care. There is great concern that another TNI-engineered humanitarian crisis is unfolding.

TNI, Brimbob, and intelligence agents have since occupied some twenty vacated villages.

The TNI have been implementing the above pattern for years.


On 31 August 2002 a group of unidentified gunmen ambushed a convoy of cars travelling between the Papuan regional centre of Timika and Tembagapura, near the Freeport copper and gold mine. Two Americans and an Indonesian were killed while nine foreign nationals, seven of them Americans, and three Indonesians, all teachers at the Tembaga Pura International School, were injured.

The attack took place close to a military checkpoint. The TNI, who were quickly on the scene claimed to have shot dead a Papuan OPM insurgent. After pointing out his body to the police, the TNI launched a military crackdown. However, evidence being gathered by Indonesian police indicated that the TNI was itself complicit in the attack. The evidence included the discovery that the Papuan body had actually been dead several days and planted at the scene. The Global Witness report gives an excellent description of what happened in the weeks around and subsequent to 31 August 2002. This includes the fact that the police chief leading the investigation, I. Made Pastika, and his deputy who publicly accused the TNI were subsequently transferred out of Papua.

It is doubtless not a coincidence that the attack occurred as Freeport was considering cutting its payments to the TNI on the grounds that investors were concerned that the payments, if deemed extortion, would be in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

- a local pastor included with the "terrorists".

On 16 June 2004 a federal grand jury in Washington DC indicted a Papuan named Anthonius Wamang for the August 2002 murder of the two Americans killed in the August 2002 Freeport ambush and the attempted murders of another eight.

The US Department of Justice subsequently issued an exuberant press release: "'The U.S. government is committed to tracking down and prosecuting terrorists who prey on innocent Americans in Indonesia and around the world,' said Attorney General Ashcroft. 'Terrorists will find that they cannot hide from U.S. justice - whether in the world's largest cities or in the most remote jungles of Asia.'

"'The brutal terrorist attack charged in this indictment was an unprovoked ambush of an innocent group of Americans who were in Indonesia to teach school,' said Assistant Attorney General Wray. 'The Department of Justice will work tirelessly to see that those responsible for such terrorist acts are brought to justice.'

"'This case is an example of outstanding investigative work and the dogged determination of FBI Agents and prosecutors to ensure that those who attack Americans abroad are brought to justice. I look forward to working cooperatively with the authorities in Indonesia as we pursue our mutual interest in prosecuting this defendant,' said U.S. Attorney Wainstein.

"'This investigative effort illustrates the importance of international cooperation to combat terrorism and what can be accomplished when countries partner in this effort,' said FBI Director Mueller. 'The cooperation extended by the Indonesian government enabled the FBI to work in the remotest areas of Indonesia and identify the party responsible for this terrible crime.'"

The US Department of Justice concluded its press release with the reminder: "An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant violated a criminal law. All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty." (Link 3)

Attorney Wainstein's assurance that Indonesia and America would pursue not justice but their "mutual interest" was probably what drove Wamang to flee immediately into hiding in fear of his life.

Wamang subsequently communicated to a journalist that he and fourteen others had been doing business with the TNI. He told reporters that they had been given ammunition and told that soldiers would be coming along the road. Wamang said he opened fire on the convoy believing that the vehicles contained Indonesian soldiers. (Link 4)

Wamang and eleven other Papuan "terrorists" were arrested in January 2006. They had handed themselves in to the FBI at the Timika hotel after being promised that they would receive a fair trial in the USA. Instead they were handed to Indonesian authorities.

Amongst those detained was the Reverend Isak Ondawame, a well-known local pastor and human rights advocate who had helped arrange the meeting at the Timika hotel. Ondawame, who has been critical of Jakarta's policies in Papua, had not previously been identified as a suspect in the teachers' murders. (Link 5)

In November 2006, the Central Jakarta District Court, sentenced Wamang (32) to life imprisonment. His "accomplices" received up to seven years each.

The trial was a sham, but it did enable US military aid to Indonesia to be restored.

While Wamang admits to shooting at the convoy, the other men profess to be innocent. While waiting to hear the verdict Reverend Isak Onawame (54) said: "We had nothing to do with these shootings. Our trial has been manipulated for the interests of two countries, Indonesia and the United States." (Link 6)


America's Foreign Relations Authorisation Act for the fiscal year 2006-2007 as passed by the US House of Representatives in July 2005 contained a detailed section on Papua (section 1115). The Bill required that further reporting be undertaken regarding the implementation of Papua's Special Autonomy Law; human rights, openness and liberties in Papua; and the 1969 Act of Free Choice.

Needless to say, the Indonesian government was displeased. So to make the Indonesians happy, the American government agreed to remove the references to Papua.

On 9 November 2005, the Jakarta Post reported: "Indonesia has greeted with a sigh of relief a decision by the United States Congress to omit references to Papua from the State Department Authorization Bill." President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono reiterated that Papua was "Indonesia's domestic affair", while international affairs expert Dewi Fortuna Anwar said the removal of the references to Papua was "a friendly gesture by the United States in respecting the integrity of Indonesia. We should welcome the efforts by all sides in favor of Indonesia both inside and outside Congress to scrap the references to Papua in the bill." (Link 7)

Copies of the Bill can be found at:
Section 1115, on Papua can be found on pages 326-332.
ALTERNATIVELY (section 1115)


Indonesia is important both economically and geo-politically. But policies being enacted by the Indonesian government and the TNI are effecting the genocide of the indigenous predominantly Christian Papuans.

There will always be in every country government officials and CEOs who are prepared to put political and economic interests ahead of human life. Because of this it is left to those voters and investors who are not prepared to be complicit in human rights abuses and genocide to exert their power to force change. The impunity must end somewhere.

Freeport should be made to cease operations in Papua and the US government should be made to cease military aid to Indonesia until the human rights situation in Papua is corrected and Papua's Special Autonomy Law is fully implemented to the indigenous Papuans' satisfaction.

Elizabeth Kendal


1) Freeport Mine 'Terrible' Sight From Space Auckland University of
Technology (AUT)
August 2006, Article by Te Waha Nui

2) Breaking Free From Betrayal New Internationalist.
issue 318 - November 1999

3) US Department of Justice. 24 June 2004

4) West Papua - Ambushed
Broadcast: 01 Sept 2004. Reporter: Antony Balmain

5) Arrest of Indonesian Over Killings Could Boost Relations With U.S.
By Raphael Pura and Murray Hiebert, 12 January 2006
See also: for articles from
Washington Post and Financial Times.

6) Indonesian who planned killings of 2 American teachers gets life in
prison. The Associated Press, 6 November 2006

7) "Papua's removal from U.S. bill 'welcome'"
Jakarta Post. 9 November 2005