AWPA - Update March 2012

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088

AWPA- update March 2012

The Jayapura District Court sentenced Forkorus Yaboisembet, Edison Waromi, Agust Kraar, Selpius Bobii, and Dominikus Surabat to three years in prison for subversion. At no time did these men commit violence and they have been jailed solely for peacefully expressing their political views as is their right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As opposed to the three year sentence given to the five activists, no action was taken against the security force personal who were involved in the brutal crackdown and they received only written warnings. There are also serious doubts about the fairness of the trial proceedings. The security forces maintained a heavy presence during the trial sessions and one of the senior lawyers for the defence, Gustav Kawer, was threatened with prosecution, in violation of his right under Indonesian law and international standards to carry out his professional duties in defending clients in court. Tapol organized a joint letter to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders concerning the threats to Gustav Kawer http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/urgent-appeal-indonesia-threat-to.html

Amnesty International considers all five men to be prisoners of conscience and called on the Indonesian authorities to conduct an independent and impartial investigation into all allegations of human rights violations by the security forces during the Third Papuan People’s Congress. http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA21/011/2012/en

AWPA wrote to our new Minister for Foreign Affairs asking him to use his good offices with the Indonesian Government to urge that the five West Papuan men be immediately and unconditionally released. http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/letter-to-senator-hon-bob-carr.html

Our new Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, warned his fellow senators against contradicting Australia's support for Indonesian sovereignty over Papua province. 

Senator Carr says he raised the issue with his Indonesian counterpart, Marty Natalegawa, during a meeting in Canberra last week. 

 He has warned against what he described as foolishly talking up references to separatism. 

"It would be a reckless Australian indeed who wanted to associate himself with a small separatist group which threatens the territorial integrity of Indonesia and would produce a reaction among Indonesians toward this country," the minister said. 

Senator Carr was responding to a question from the Greens Senator Richard Di Natale, who supports self-determination for the people of the Indonesian province. http://australianetworknews.com/stories/201203/3459739.htm?desktop Senator Di Natale questioned Foreign Minister Carr about his meeting with the Indonesian Foreign Minister. A video of Question Time in the Australian Senate including Senator Carr’s response to Senator Di Natale at http://youtu.be/v-MD9ak3ORg

A letter organized by ETAN and signed by ninety organizations urged the U.S. government and Congress not to provide deadly attack helicopters to Indonesia. Indonesia announced that it plans to buy eight AH-64 Apache attack helicopters from the United States. 

The groups warned that the helicopters will escalate conflicts in Indonesia, especially in the rebellious region of West Papua: "Providing these helicopters would pose a direct threat to Papuan civilians." http://www.etan.org/news/2012/03helicop.htm

A number of rallies took place around the visit to Indonesia by the UN Secretary-General who was a keynote speaker at the Jakarta International Defense Dialogue. Photos at http://www.infopapua.org/artman/publish/article_2629.shtml

In Brief

Soldier dies after being stabbed by unidentified man

The Jakarta Post, 03/26/2012

An army officer died on Sunday in Skamto, Jayapura, after he was stabbed by an unidentified man. Antara news agency reported that the incident had taken place at 5:20 p.m. local time when Pfc. M. Ikhsan, with the Yon 751 BS platoon, called out in front of his guard post. Suddenly, a car stopped and someone from the car stabbed him in the chest. Ikhsan was rushed to Koya community health center and then to Dian Harapan Hospital, which is located 15 kilometers away. He died at the hospital because of the severity of his wound. Spokesman of Military Command XVII of Cenderawasih Col. Ali Bogra confirmed the incident. “The victim has been repatriated to his hometown in Flores, East Nusa Tenggara for burial,” Ali said on Monday. (hwa)

‘It is as though there is a war here,' says local leader

JUBI: 24 March 2012

The Ondoafi - local community leader - of Web which is located in Keerom district , Bernadus Welip, has spoken out about the presence of many military posts in his area as well as along the border (between West Papua and PNG) and said that it is as if there is a war going on. 'There are a great many army posts in my region which amazes me. Does this mean that there is a war here?' He said that the presence of the military has made the people there feel very uneasy indeed. The people here cannot move around freely from one kampung to another kampung, or from kampung to a hamlet. or from one hamlet to another. 'We can no longer move around as we used to be able to and this makes people here feel very unsafe,' he said. He said that he hoped the government would withdraw the troops from there. 'The best thing is for the military personnel to be withdrawn from here. The people will feel much freer if they do.' P. Willy OSA, the pastor in the diocese, confirmed what the Ondoafi said. 'I feel as if I am under threat because I stand up for my community,' he said. P.Willy was ordained as a Catholic priest two years ago. According to the priest, the presence of the troops is a matter of great anxiety for the people of his congregation. 'When the priest is away, the people feel very unsafe. They feel like this because they are always being asked questions about all kinds of things.' He went on to say that there are far too many military posts, which makes the people feel that they are not free. 'There are military posts every three kilometres, as well as posts along the border. 'What we have here are Kopasus, koramil and the police,' he said

[Translated by TAPOL]

Australia wants Papua to continue to be part of Indonesia

(From tapol) Bintang Papua, 28 March 2012

While the Australian government is keen to hear about the present situation in West Papua and is hoping to get inputs from a number of sources, in believes in principle that Papua should continue to be a part of Indonesia.

'Australia fully agrees that Papua should continue to be a part of Indonesia,' said Ruben Magai, chairman of commission A of the DPRP, when speaking with journalists during a closed meeting with Greg Ralph and Emily Whelan.

As a mark of its support for this position, it has decided to provide financial assistance via the World Bank, the UNDP and other agencies. 'This is a sign of Australia's interest in the Papuan people,' said Magai. [No concern about what the Papuan people may want!!]

 He said that Australia was showing its concern by providing financial assistance for the implementation of the OTSUS (special autonomy) law. This financial assistance is intended to help improve the infrastructure, to support the economic empowerment of the Papuan people as well as make provisions for their health and education .'But they need to control how their assistance is being used,' said Magai.

He said that the election of the governor of the province of Papua had dragged on, and Australian diplomats were concerned about this.'We wanted to conduct the election in accordance with the Special Autonomy Law of 2001 but there are groups of people who have delayed these elections.' But he did not say which groups of people he had in mind.

There were three points that should be borne in mind about the elections, firstly that the candidates should be indigenous Papuans, secondly, that the incumbent should serve a maximum of two terms.and thirdly regarding who should run the elctions, the DPRP or the election commission.

Australian diplomats also had a meeting with Dr Neles Tebay, rector of STFT, the College of Theology, during which they discussed the Third Papuan Peace Congress in Jayapura , the political status of West Papua as well as problems that have occurred in Papua including violations of human rights. Staff members of the embassy also held a meeting with the UP4B and an assistant of the governor of the province.

Australia keen to follow developments in West Papua

(From Tapol) .Bintang Papua, 27 March 2012

There has been growing international interest in the situation in Papua. This is apparent from the fact tht two countries have instructed their embassies to visit Papua and West Papua.

A while ago, the Dutch ambassador made a visit there and then it was the turn of the Australian embassy to make a visit.

Yesterday, the Australian Political Counsellor Ralph Gregory together with Emily Whelan who is the second secretary at the embassy held meetings with the MRP (Majelis Rakyat Papua) and the Papuan branch of Komnas HAM, the National Human Rights Commission.

Unfortuntely, these meetings did not take place in public as a result of which journalists were unable to report on what had been discussed.

The deputy chairman of Komnas HAM, the Rev. Hofni Simbiak said that the Australian visit had been a working visit which happens every year as required by the Australian government.

He said that the Australian embassy had requested information from all stakeholders in Papua who are following developments there. 'This relates for instance to the implementation of UP4B, regarding which the embassy wanted to know whether this had been socialised and whether Papuans themselves were aware of this new regulation.

He also said that wherever new districts had been formed, there should be an MRP in each one, with the approval of the central MRP.

As regards requirements with regard to people standing for election as governors of the districts who should should be indigenous Papuans, he said that this was very important indeed, so as to ensure that these people are true leaders of their people and not just the long arm of the central government, which has been the case for such a long time.

He also said there needs to be clarification about the problems to be dealt with by the UP4B in a situation where we, as the cultural organisation for the Papuan people, have the right to express an opinion.

He said it was not clear who was responsible for organising the election of governors. Members of the MRP feel that this problem has been dragging on for years and if it is not resolved soon, the Papuan people will be the ones to suffer as a result. 'If there are any errors in the election regulations, it should be immediately discussed so as to ensure that the elections are peaceful.'

Diplomats from the Australian embassy also held a meeting with Frits Ramandey, secretary of Komnas HAM to discus the human rights of the Papuan people, bearing in mind that hundreds of Papuans have died recently as a result of political conflicts.

Ramandey said that indeed, a large number of Papuans had suffered violations of their human rights such as during the recent incident in Puncak Jaya when hundreds of people had lost their lives.

With regard to the legal status of Komnas HAM, he said that the commission had submitted a draft to the government for Komnas HAM to have a much stronger legal status so as to be able to help the Papuan people to resolve these violations. It also drew attention to the fact that OTSUS, the Special Autonomy law for Papua, stipulated that Komnas HAM must be able to guarantee the basic rights of the Papuan people.

There was also a discussion about the rights of Papuan people living in Australia who need

Opinion pieces/articles/press releases etc.


Our Money Helps Kill, Intimidate And Torture

By Marni Cordell

Australia plays a key role in training and funding elite Indonesian counter-terror unit Detachment 88 - but wants to distance itself from the unit's violent reputation, reports Marni Cordell……………………..


Maire Leadbeater: Treason Trial threatens fundamental rights

By Maire Leadbeater Mar 27, 2012

'Declaring a commitment to freedom is not 'treason' in my language', says Maire Leadbeater. Photo / Thinkstock.. In 1961 the indigenous people of West Papua were preparing for independence and chose their national flag: the red, white and blue 'Morning Star'. ……………………….


Papuan Leaders Jailed For Speaking Out

By Alex Rayfield NewMatilda 19 Mar 2012. Photo: West Papua Media

Five West Papuans were given jail terms on Friday for peaceful expressions of political opinion. Alex Rayfield reports on a trial that will only amplify calls for independence…………


The UN's chequered record in West Papua

In the 1960s, West Papuans were sacrificed in the name of Cold War politics - and the UN did nothing about it……………….
Jennifer Robinson is a London-based human rights lawyer.

Calls for jailed West Papuan activists to be released
Tuesday, 20 March 2012 Produced by Natalie Muller

Featured in story Joe Collins - Australia West Papua Association

Father Claude Mostowik - President of Pax Christi Australia and Australian Director of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Justice and Peace Centre

Audio here:


Detachment 88 and counter-terrorism in Indonesia

Tuesday, 20 March 2012 Produced by Melissa Lahoud

Featured in storyNick Chesterfield, editor of West Papua Media group

Peter King, convenor of the West Papua Project at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies Audio here:


Sope promises to put West Papua back on Decolonisation Committee


DFAT bid to lock up East Timor war cables


The Australian March 21, 2012

THE Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has asked Attorney-General Nicola Roxon to sign an extraordinary order that would effectively block the release of dozens of secret cables written more than 35 years ago by Australian diplomats in Indonesia. And DFAT wants even the reason for this secrecy kept secret………



Source; www.scoop.co.nz



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