AWPA Newsletter No. 49 February 2004 



The Australia West Papua Association, Sydney. PO Box 65, Millers Point, NSW 2000

Contents

Statement by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa
Indonesian Aid Group Claims Denied
Amnesty International press release
Malaria strikes after Papuan earthquake
US Denies Blaming Army for Freeport Killings Militias active in West Papua
BP Seeks Loan from Bank of China, JBIC for Tangguh Finance
Govt Asked the Military to Continue Maintaining Security as the "Third Ring
Tribal leaders demand UN probe into Theys' murder
Experts seek to dispel distrust between government and Papua






Statement by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa

For many years the people of South Africa suffered under the yoke of oppression and apartheid.  Many people continue to suffer brutal oppression, where their fundamental dignity as human beings is denied.  One such people is the people of West Papua. The people of West Papua have been denied their basic human rights, including their right to self-determination. Their cry for justice and freedom has fallen largely on deaf ears. An estimated 100,000 people have died in West Papua since Indonesia took control of the territory in 1963.

It is with deep concern I have learned about the United Nations‚ role in the take-over of West Papua by Indonesia, and in the now-discredited  ,Act of Free‚ Choice of 1969.  Instead of a proper referendum, where every adult male and female had the opportunity to vote by secret ballot on whether or not they wished to be part of Indonesia, just over 1,000 people were hand-picked and coerced into declaring for Indonesia in public in a

climate of fear and repression. The UN had just 16 observers to this Act for a country the size of Spain. The then Secretary-General‚s Representative reported on the conduct of the Act to the UN General Assembly in 1969, which noted his report on 19 November of that year. One of the senior UN officials at the time, Chakravarthy Narasimhan, has since called the process a „whitewash‰. A strong United  Nations will be capable of, among other things, acknowledging and correcting its mistakes. I would like to add my voice to growing international calls for the UN Secretary General to instigate a review of the UN‚s conduct in relation to the now-discredited „Act of Free‚ Choice‰. I will keep the people of West Papua in my prayers, and I would like to extend my best wishes and moral support to them in their hour of need.

February 23, 2004 ENDS




Indonesian Aid Group Claims Denied Andrew Burrell (Australian Financial Review Friday, February  27, 2004)

Jakarta - Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Hassan Wirajuda, has claimed that

Lobbying  by his government led Australia to slash funding to an ACTU-backed aid  group that campaigns for independence in  Papua. However, Dr Wirajuda's claim has been denied by the Australian government  and the Australian People for Health, Education  and Development  Abroad (APHEDA),  the overseas  aid arm of the ACTU. Australian  Embassy officials in Jakarta  say the Indonesian government has  been told repeatedly the group's funding has not been cut. Dr Wirajuda's  comments  high light the extreme sensitivity in Jakarta about the perceived  role of Australian  government-funded  NGOs in allegedly  fomenting  the separatist movement in Papua.

With a series of national  elections  to begin  within  weeks, the Indonesian  government is eager to be seen to be taking  action against foreigners  who meddle  in separatist  hot spots such as Papua and  Aceh. Jakarta has waged a brutal battle for the past nine months to crush rebels in  Aceh, and some fear a further military crackdown in Papua, where separatist  sentiment  has been strong for decades. APHEDA, which receives most of its funding through the Australian  government's  aid agency, AusAid, has been a target for claims it channels some of those funds to support separatists  in  Papua. The agency operates in several countries, including Indonesia, where it is  helping to establish a workers' rights centre in Bandung. However, it is not active in Papua.

Dr Wirajuda made the claim that APHEDA's funding had been cut while appearing  last month before a parliamentary commission on security and defence in Jakarta. However, neither a spokesman for Dr Wirajuda in Jakarta nor a spokeswoman from the Indonesian embassy in Canberra could confirm whether the claim was  correct. Dr Wirajuda also told the commission that in response to Jakarta's lobbying,  Australia had issued a code of conduct for NGOs in Indonesia that would prevent them funding separatist groups. He said that Prime Minister John Howard had assured him the Australian government would not fund NGOs that supported independence for Papua. APHEDA's executive officer, Peter Jennings, denied claims the group channelled funds to separatists in Papua. He cited the Institute of Public Affairs, a conservative Melbourne-based

think tank, as the original source of the claims. Mr Jennings said that APHEDA supported a United Nations-backed referendum on  independence in Papua, as had occurred in East Timor in 1999. Feelings among the people of Papua are considered to be volatile at present. Amnesty International press release 12 February 2004  [Apologies for late posting]




Indonesia: Investigation into  human rights violations  must not be jeopardized

In Indonesia, it is often the case that, when a positive step is taken to address a human rights concern, another is taken in the opposite direction to undermine it. This has repeatedly been the experience in the Province of Papua. This region, in the far east of the archipelago, has been the site of ongoing and often brutal repression by the Indonesian security forces in their efforts to counter independence claims. The most recent example is the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry (KPP HAM) by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) to investigate allegations of grave human rights violations committed in the two areas of Wamena and Wasior. This is a significant move, but its success may be jeopardized if it does not receive the full support and cooperation  of the Indonesian authorities.

In Wamena, the team will be investigating events that took place following a raid on the district military headquarters in April 2003, allegedly by members of the armed independence group, the Free Papua Movement (OPM). In the ensuing operation to recover weapons and ammunition stolen in the raid and to search for suspects, villagers were allegedly tortured and ill-treated and houses and other property damaged or destroyed. Some 30 people were detained and many were tortured, including one person who is alleged to have died as a direct result.

In Wasior, the team will investigate reports of human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detention and torture, that took place in the context of operations by the notorious Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) over the course of six months in 2001. The operations were in response to attacks on logging companies, alleged by the authorities to have been carried out by the OPM, in which nine people, including members of Brimob, were killed.

While the importance of this inquiry cannot be underestimated, confidence in the authorities to co-operate with the inquiry and to follow up on the findings is diminished by a combination of past experience and recent events. In early 2001, another KPP HAM team was investigating allegations of extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detention and torture during police raids on student dormitories in Abepura, Papua, in December 2000. It complained publicly that witnesses had been intimated by the police and that the police had refused to provide adequate responses to their questions. Two of its own members were later summoned for questioning by the police in what was widely regarded as an attempt to intimidate them.

The Abepura case has since been investigated by the Attorney General's office, but, like a number of other cases of gross human rights violations investigated under legislation on Human Rights Courts (Law 26/2000), has not yet progressed to trial. Such delays raise questions about the commitment of the authorities to ending impunity in Indonesia.  In the meantime, 16 people were re-arrested in December 2003 in Wamena. The 16, among who are at least four prisoners of conscience, were originally arrested in relation to pro-independence protests that became violent when the police broke them up in October 2000. In reality, the four prisoners of conscience, all of whom are community leaders, had tried to stop theviolence and it is unclear to what extent, if at all, the others were involved. Twenty-two people, including the four prisoners of conscience, were sentenced to prison terms of up to four years in unfair trials.

The Wamena prisoners were released under town arrest in 2001. Why some of them should have now been re-imprisoned is not clear. It is all the more perplexing that 12 of the prisoners, including three of the prisoners of conscience, should have been transferred on 21 December 2003 from prison in Wamena to Abepura Prison. This prison is hundreds of kilometres from their families on whom Indonesian prisoners rely for food and other essentials. The effect of such actions is to deepen mistrust of the authorities among ordinary Papuans. This atmosphere will not aid the KPP HAM team in uncovering the truth of events in Wamena and Wasior.





Malaria strikes after Papuan earthquake By Greg Poulgrain (Courier Mail  March 6, 2004)

West Papuans living in Nabire, devastated by an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale last month, are facing a new emergency.  Malaria has now taken the earthquake death toll to more than 150.  The destruction of houses has forced people to live in tents but they have no  mosquito nets and no anti-malarial medication.  "If five are dying every day, it is an emergency situation," said Sabine Rens,  head of mission in the Jakarta office of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Medicine   Without Borders).  A six-month-old baby, a schoolboy and an elderly woman were reported to be the  latest fatalities.

Fresh water and food is needed urgently but the first priority is medical assistance for malaria. More than 300 Papuans have already contracted the disease. The death toll last week was 19 and the situation is deteriorating. Papuans have protested that international aid disappeared in official channels. A campaign to assist the West Papuan earthquake victims has been started by a  Lions Club in Brisbane in conjunction with a Papuan Foundation directly linked  with Nabire. Donations may be sent to GDM Foundation, 56 Lisburn St, East  Brisbane.






US Denies Blaming Army for Freeport Killings Laksamana.Net  March 5, 2004

The US Embassy in Jakarta has strongly denied a report that American officials believe local Army commanders ordered an ambush that killed two Americans  and an Indonesian near the huge Freeport gold mine in Papua province. The Associated Press on Thursday (4/3/04) cited an anonymous US official as  saying the August 2002 attack had been ordered by the military. "It's no longer a question of who did it. It's only a question of how high up  this went within the chain of command," said the official. But the US Embassy quickly issued a press statement that branded the AP  report as "incorrect". "The Associated Press story, March 3, 2004, citing anonymous senior US  officials on the status of the FBI investigation of the murder of two Americans in  Timika on August 31, 2002, is incorrect," said the statement.

"The FBI has reached no conclusion regarding any party's guilt or innocence. The investigation is ongoing and cooperation with the Indonesian authorities is continuing," it added. Unidentified gunmen on August 31, 2002, ambushed two vehicles carrying mostly  teachers from Freeport's Tembagapura International School, killing Americans  Ted Burgon and Ricky Spier and their Indonesian colleague Bambang Riwanto. Eight others were wounded.

Papua Police initially concluded members of the Army's elite Special Forces (Kopassus) may have been involved in the killings. Those police were subsequently removed from the case. The military carried out a new investigation and  absolved itself from any wrongdoing. Reliable sources in the mining industry and some Papuan officials have  privately admitted that members of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) were behind  the attack in an effort to extort more protection money from Freeport. The military has strongly denied any involvement and initially blamed the killings on  poorly armed Papuan separatist rebels.

The US government has decided not to resume International Military Education and Training (IMET) funds to Indonesia until effective measures are taken to prosecute those responsible for the ambush. FBI agents began investigating the killings in late 2002 but complained of a  lack of independent access to witnesses and evidence. Cooperation was improved  after US President George W. Bush told President Megawati Sukarnoputri he wanted foreign agents involved in the investigation, as had happened after the  October 2002 Bali bombings. So far the FBI investigators have not yet publicly blamed any particular  group for the Freeport killings, keenly aware that the Bush administration wants  to keep Indonesia on its side in the "war on terrorism".




Militias active in West Papua New Internationalist No. 355 March 2004.

Human-rights observers fear that violence in the easterly Indonesian province  of West Papua is set to spiral as the indefinite detention and arbitrary killing of West Papuan independence advocates increases (see NI 344, West  Papua: 'We Will Be Free!'). Infamous Indonesian militia leader Eurico Guterres ˆ already sentenced to 10  years in prison for his part in the campaign of terror that left up to 1,000  dead in East Timor before its independence from Indonesia in 1999 ˆ is now  forming a militia group in West Papua as he awaits his appeal. Also indicted for war crimes in East Timor is its former Police Chief, Brigadier General Timbul Silaen. On 1 December - West Papua's self-proclaimed  independence day ˆ the Indonesian Government proclaimed him West Papua's new  police chief.

A December 2003 report by Yale University Law School students stops just short  of accusations of genocide when it concludes that the Indonesian Government 'has engaged in a systematic pattern of acts that has resulted in harm to ˆ and indeed the destruction  of ˆ a substantial part of the indigenous population  of West Papua' over the last 30 years. A conservative estimate of the toll of indigenous people killed by Indonesian armed forces in this period is 100,000, but many say that the more realistic figure is over 800,000. West Papua solidarity groups are asking people to write to their Foreign  Affairs Ministers to ask that pressure be placed on the Indonesian Government  to withdraw its military and respect West Papua's call to be declared a 'zone of peace'.



BP Seeks Loan from Bank of China, JBIC for Tangguh Finance Fitri Wulandari, The Jakarta Post Thursday, March 4, 2004

Energy giant BP PLc is seeking US$1.3 billion in loans from Chinese and Japanese lenders to finance the Tangguh gas project, a senior official said

on  Wednesday.  Rachmat Sudibyo, the head of the Oil and Gas Upstream Regulatory Board (BP  Migas) said BP PLC was seeking loans from the Bank of China and Japan Bank for  International Cooperation (JBIC) for the construction of Indonesia's third liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in the Bird's Head area of Papua province.  "The discussion with international lenders has been resumed after being  delayed because Tangguh had not secured enough market in the past," Rachmat told  The Jakarta Post.

A consortium consisting of Japan's JGC Corp., U.S. Kellog Brown & Root, and local company Pertafenikki Engineering won the tender to build the LNG plant with an estimated cost of $1.3 billion, which is expected to enter into full

operation in 2007.  To date, Tangguh has secured a total of 7.4 million tons per annum of LNG,  including contracts to supply 2.6 million tons per annum to China's Fujian  province, 1.1 million tons per year to South Korean buyer (SK and Posco) and a  preliminary contract to supply 3.7 million tons of LNG to U.S.-based Sempra Energy.  Rachmat said the discussion with JBIC was in the final stages, while  discussion with the Bank of China was still in the preliminary stages.  "But the Bank of China has shown willingness to provide a loan for the  project," Rachmat said.

BP Migas deputy head Kardaya Warnika, however, as quoted by Dow Jones said that the Bank of China is expected to provide some $1 billion for the project.  Jacob Kastanja, BP's Tangguh communications manager confirmed that "the  company is talking with the Bank of China and also continuing its discussion with  other potential lenders".  However, he declined to provide further details of the discussion.  "Our financing arrangements are confidential. While we are happy with the progress being made, we do not wish to engage in speculation as to the outcome of  our discussion or the timing of a final decision," Jacob said in his E-mailed  reply to the Post.

At present, Indonesia has two LNG plants namely Bontang in East Kalimantan and Arun in Aceh province, which have a combined capacity of 31.6 million tons  per year.  Indonesia's natural gas reserves, both potential and probable, stand at 178  trillion cubic feet (TCF).  The Tangguh project will provide significant revenue for Indonesia,  particularly Papua, one of the poorest regions in the country. Under the contract, the central government will receive 70 percent of Tangguh's before-tax revenue,  while Papua will receive 70 percent of the central government's revenue  share. Govt Asked the Military to Continue Maintaining Security as the "Third Ring" MiningIndo.com March 1, 2004

The government had asked the military to continue maintaining security as the  "third ring" around vital assets over the next year or two, as the police  carry out internal consolidations that will eventually allow them to take over  the task of security. It was stated by Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources  Purnomo Yusgiantoro.  "President Megawati Soekarnoputri has agreed to keep the military in the third ring during this transition period," he said as quoted from the Jakarta Post  recently.  He said that if this three-layer security system was implemented, major mining companies such as Caltex, Beyond Petroleum and ConocoPhilips would be more  willing to invest in the future exploration of new oil fields. "They have been  reluctant to carry out exploration because of the security uncertainties."

The government would increase security at all vital projects and assets across the country, in a move hoped to also help attract new foreign investment in  the oil and gas sector.  A presidential decree, further he said, on the application of a multilayered security system at these projects soon would be issued.  "This new measure is urgent to show the government's strong commitment to  assuring foreign oil investors of their security in investing in the country, especially in conflict-torn regions, and to make Indonesia's oil industry more  attractive and competitive," he said.  The government is struggling to attract new investment in the oil and gas sector as the country's existing oil fields dry up.

Purnomo said the security authorities, investors and the public should all work together in maintaining security. He said the presidential decree would regulate that the security of all vital  assets, including oil fields, refineries and mining companies' headquarters,  would be provided by a first ring of internal security guards, a second layer of local residents and a third ring of military and police personnel.  Somewhat different from the existing security system, he said, mining  companies would be required to carry out community development programs to empower residents.

 "Many mining companies have developed trouble in their areas of operation because they forget to empower local communities or the funds they have disbursed  through third parties for community development do not reach the local communities," he said. "We should learn from the security disturbances threatening  foreign investment in Aceh, North Sumatra, Riau and Papua."*








Tribal leaders demand UN probe into Theys' murder Ridwan Max Sijabat,  The Jakarta Post.com February 28, 2004

Papuan tribal leaders rejected what they called an unsatisfactory investigation  into the murder of proindependence Papuan leader Dortheys "Theys" Hiyo Eluway,  and called for the United Nations to set up an independent team to conduct an  objective and thorough inquiry into the case. Secretary-general of the Papuan Presidium Council (PDP) Tom Beanal told The Jakarta Post on Thursday that more than 1,000 tribal leaders who attended the  four-day PDP meeting in Biak agreed to reject the military's investigation into  the case due to its disappointing results.  "The trial of the elite personnel who killed Theys was not fair because it was conducted by the military itself and, therefore, the defendants were given light sentences," he said.

Beanal also said that the investigation into the murder was not carried out thoroughly because Aristoteles Masoka who drove for Theys when they were abducted was still missing.  "The military should bring back Masoka to his home or let us know his  whereabouts if he is still alive, or let us know the place where his remains are buried if he has been killed," he said.

Seven personnel of the Army's Special Forces (Kopassus) who were found guilty  of murdering Theys were given light sentences as no military officials were asked to take responsibility for issuing an order for his assassination.  All the seven Kopassus soldiers were convicted and sent to prison but received  extremely light sentences, however, of between 24 and 42 months in prison. Theys, a Papuan tribal leader who spoke for the province's independence during  the 32-year New Order era, was murdered by a number of soldiers from the Army's  Special Forces (Kopassus) in the Entrop area, after attending a Heroes' Day celebration at Kopassus headquarters in the Hamadi area on Nov. 10, 2001.  Theys' body was found a day later in Entrop near the border of Papua New  Guinea, but Aristoteles, his driver, is still missing and believed dead.

Beanal underlined that according to participants of the meeting that ended early on Friday, Theys' case was still not over and, therefore, PDP would send  a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to reopen the case.  He regretted that Jakarta and the Indonesian Military (TNI) had shown no commitment to try human rights abuse cases, saying this had sown hatred among the Papuan people and had obstructed the region's integration into Indonesia.  Beanal said further that the meeting also recommended the UN High Commissioner  for Human Rights send a special rapporteur to inquire into the arbitrary arrest  last month of Rev. Obed Komba, a Protestant minister in Lembah Baliem, Wamena,  and 13 other civilians.

"They have been arrested in Abepura after the police failed to bring them to Jakarta. The confusing thing is that the police could not explain the reason for their arrest and we have received reports from the field that the arrests  had been conducted systematically," he said, adding that the Indonesian government should release the detainees, pending a thorough and independent  investigation into the case.  Beanal also said that the tribal leaders also expressed their great concern  over the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in the province, saying it was a serious  threat to Papuan tribes' existence.  He called on all components in society, including the government, NGOs and  churches, to show their commitment to fighting the disease, or at least slowing  its spread.






Experts seek to dispel distrust between government and Papua Ridwan Max Sijabat, The Jakarta Post.com February 18, 2004

A seminar featuring respected intellectuals, analysts and religious leaders has urged the government to lift Presidential Instruction No. 1/2003 on the formation of two new provinces in Papua, and consistently enforce Law No. 21/2001 on special autonomy for the resource-rich province to help solve the increasingly complex issues. The day-long seminar organized by the Centre for Strategic International  Studies (CSIS), Frederich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and Papua Special Autonomy Team  (TOKP), also sought the possibility of establishing an independent special team to bridge the widening distrust between the central government and Papua.

Former Papua governor Barnabas Suebu said Papuans no longer had confidence in the central government since Jakarta appeared to have no real solution to prolonged and perceived injustices and has made it more complicated with the issuance of the much-criticized presidential instruction to partition the region.  "The only way to regain Papuans' confidence is to annul the presidential instruction and implement the special autonomy consistently to let Papuans  tackle their home affairs, control their land and settle past human rights  abuses," he said.

He insisted that the situation in Papua, especially on the eve of the upcoming general elections, would be worse and more people would be killed as long as  Jakarta still treats Papuans as objects in its policies, "and, sooner or later,  Papua will face the same fate as Aceh."  Jakarta's apparent rationale for splitting Papua was so it could put more  pressure on or factionalize the Free Papua Movement (OPM) and suspend a full implementation of the special autonomy law which leaders now say could, in its  full enforcement, eventually lead to complete separation a la East Timor.  The Constitutional Court is still examining Law No. 45/1999 on the split, the enforcement of which was suspended by former presidents B.J. Habibie and  Abdurrahman Wahid. In addition, the instruction contradicts the 2001 special  autonomy law on that point, so President Megawati's instruction may be invalid.

Chairman of the Communion of Churches in Papua Rev. Herman Saud and historian  Anhar Gonggong asserted that the very concept of one Indonesia from Sabang to Merauke was not accepted in many regions, including Papua and Aceh, and those  people do not consider themselves as an integral part of Indonesia.  On the other hand, the people in other provinces could learn a lot from Papuans  on how to become Indonesians, because unlike those living in remote areas in  Java, most Papuans could speak Indonesian (as opposed to just Javanese), even  though the region was not part of the 1928 Youth Declaration (One Indonesia...  One language...), said Herman.

He said he was proud of Papuans and to be Papuan and Indonesian simultaneously,  although 50 percent of Papuans are still living below the poverty line and others are still living in the "stone age".  Sabam Siagian, former ambassador to Australia questioned the interests of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN), Home Minister Hari Sabarno and the Indonesian Military (TNI), all of whom seemed to be behind the issuance of the  controversial presidential instruction endorsed by Megawati last year.

Sabam went on to say that the Papua issue would remain as long as Jakarta made  no changes to help Papuans in the province and continued in not showing goodwill to settle the problems.   Former foreign minister Ali Alatas emphasized the importance of establishing a national body to identify all the problems that Papuans are facing.  Citing three fundamental mistakes that have contributed to the increasingly complex issue, he said it could not be solved unless the government found the  political will to do it.  His three-mistake theory comprised the following: "First, we lost the momentum to settle all past problems before the presidential instruction was issued. Second, we underestimated the complexity of the issues, and third, we have not  learned from the mistakes we made recently, like East Timor and Aceh. "Therefore, we probably need a sincere facilitator, who could be a direct subordinate of the top security minister, to figure out what we can do to settle the problem," he said.

Political analyst Ikrar Nusa Bhakti of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, claimed that Papuans had no objections to Papua being slashed in three, provided it was conducted in compliance with the law and done gradually. Jusuf Wanandi, a co-founder of CSIS, suggested that the proposed establishment  of a special team or appointment of a special facilitator be conducted by the current government despite the busy upcoming election schedule.  Sydney Jones, the coordinator of the International Crisis Group identified BIN,  the Home Affairs Ministry and TNI as three real obstacles to a full implementation of the special autonomy as well as a comprehensive solution to  the prolonged issue.



Eye-box: Identified problems in Papua:

1. human rights abuses 2. security disturbances 3. illegal take-over of communal lands 4. transportation and communication problems 5. poverty and undevelopment 6. qualified human resources shortage 7. conflicts among 300 tribes 8. corruption  9. widening social disparity 10. conflicting laws and policies on Papua






AWPA welcomes articles for the newsletter on any issue in relation to West Papua. The reports in the newsletter are from the various email conferences on West Papua.  AWPA appreciates any donations of support to help in its campaign work

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