Kamis, 08 Desember 2011

International Community Celebrating Human Rights Day 10 Desember 2011

Human Rights Watch - Tyranny Has a Witness

Dear Santon,

This Saturday, December 10, we join the international community in celebrating Human Rights Day.

Looking back on the year, Human Rights Watch accomplished so much, thanks to supporters like you. Here are the ways you helped us hold tyrants accountable and ensure the rule of law.

Middle East & North AfricaMiddle East & North Africa
During the Arab Spring, when Arab leaders attempted to minimize reports of violence and keep essential information from foreign journalists, Human Rights Watch researchers were on the scene, uncovering the truth of deaths and injuries during the demonstrations.

"As you know, journalists are banned and we are relying on reports from Human Rights Watch and other observers… we're very concerned about reports of security forces firing on peaceful protesters." –Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations, on how the Obama administration gathered information during the Arab Spring.

Central AfricaCentral Africa
Over two decades, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) — a vicious Ugandan rebel group — has killed and abducted thousands of civilians in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic, often targeting children and forcing them to become fighters.

Human Rights Watch pressed the US government to help the people of central Africa and bring the LRA's murderous leadership to justice. In October, the Obama administration said it would send 100 US military advisers to central Africa to assist the region's armies in combating the LRA, strengthening regional efforts to arrest the LRA's ruthless leader, Joseph Kony, and other top leaders.

On October 12, the Burmese government freed some 200 of its estimated 2,000 political prisoners. Human Rights Watch held high-level meetings with UN and government officials visiting Burma, arming them with the evidence they needed to press Burma into releasing those held behind bars. We helped keep these jailed activists — journalists, artists, opposition members, and Buddhist monks and nuns — on the international agenda with our report, Burma's Forgotten Prisoners.
We continue to push the Burmese government to free those political prisoners who remain locked up.

Papua New GuineaPapua New Guinea
When Human Rights Watch exposed rapes and beatings by security personnel of the world's largest gold producer, Barrick Gold, the company chose to take swift action. Barrick Gold launched an internal investigation that confirmed our findings, and has promised to establish new, viable channels that people can use to complain about abuses without fear of retribution.

Papua New Guinea police forces are now in the midst of a comprehensive criminal investigation. Barrick has also committed to taking a broad range of measures to prevent abuses by security personnel at the mine in the future, including much tighter oversight and monitoring by senior officials.

As we look back on Human Rights Watch's impact in 2011, we also recognize the work that remains to protect people from human rights abuses — work that cannot be done without supporters like you, who allow us to remain ever vigilant and ever watchful.

As this year comes to a close, we are incredibly thankful to have such dedicated and staunch supporters. For all that you do, thank you for helping us change lives and ensure that tyranny has a witness.


Kenneth Roth
Executive Director

West Papua: We Don't Have The Gun but We Have the Truth

West Papua : We Don’t Have the Gun But We Have the Truth

Article – West Papua Media Alerts
Herman Wainggai is a West Papuan educator and organizer who has dedicated his life to his homeland’s self determination movement. In January 2006 Herman was granted political asylum in Australia after he and 42 other West Papuans escaped the island, …The Players
Herman Wainggai is a West Papuan educator and organizer who has dedicated his life to his homeland’s self determination movement. In January 2006 Herman was granted political asylum in Australia after he and 42 other West Papuans escaped the island, crossing the Arafura Sea in a traditional double-outrigger canoe. Since then he’s been able to take on a new role as an advocate for West Papuan liberation by raising international awareness of the struggle.
Once part of the Dutch East Indies, West Papua underwent a rapid decolonization process in which administrative control over the territory was handed to Indonesia in 1963 following one year of UN transitional rule. Interested in gaining control of West Papua’s rich natural resources, Indonesia’s formal acquisition of the territory was affirmed in 1969 after a manipulated election known as the Act of Free Choice.
Only a hand-selected and extremely frightened 0.01% of the population were allowed to vote in the referendum, after Indonesia waged a campaign of blatant intimidation, disappearances, arrests and killings. None of this was ever cited as cause to challenge the legitimacy of the Act of Free Choice, although the UN later acknowledged that an overwhelming majority of West Papuans were not in favor of becoming Indonesians. These events triggered a self-determination struggle in which Indonesian rule was initially challenged by a small, poorly equipped band of guerilla fighters.
Things started to change in the 1980s when leaders of the movement, one of them being Herman’s uncle Thomas Wainggai, started to adopt Gandhian nonviolence as the movement’s central strategy. The transition from guerrilla fighting to popular resistance democratized the struggle allowing students and everyday West Papuans to participate in it.
Although West Papuans from all walks of life became the movement’s new backbone, those who opposed Indonesia nonviolently still faced state-sanctioned imprisonment, torture, and killing when they tried to voice core grievances, including the social costs of environmentally destructive development projects, increased competition and conflict over land resources as the government promoted the migration of Indonesians to West Papua, and institutionalized racism in the economy, education and in government bureaucracy. The Tools and Tactics
Early in the interview Herman explains that the most significant force driving Indonesia’s domination of West Papua has always been the desire to profit from the territory’s natural resources. Jakarta has declared open season for international corporations eyeing those resources, in a land where laws protecting indigenous workers and their environment are virtually nonexistent. Like many other movements, the one for West Papuan self-determination is facing the headwind of a lucrative global commodities market driven by extractive industries and the states that facilitate them. Movement leaders such as Herman have had to devise clever strategies and tactics in order to overcome this tremendously challenging set of conditions.
Most recently, in July 2011, West Papuans organized a strike against one of the world’s largest mining companies, U.S.-based Freeport McMoRan. During the eight-day-long strike, roughly half of the workers laid down their tools at the world’s largest gold and copper mine causing the company to experience losses of roughly $95,000 per day. The strike ended when the company agreed to pay workers for their time spent striking and enter negotiations with union organizers demanding higher wages and humane working conditions. Negotiations were set to wrap up in late August 2011. Many West Papuans are hopeful that this round of negotiations will be as successful as they were in 2007 when workers secured a 98% pay increase following a similar series of events.
Aside from economic hardships, the movement is forced to operate under the constant threat of violence. West Papuans are trying to mute this violence by exposing it to the international community, although it has not been easy to get people outside of Oceania to pay attention to a struggle that they had never heard of. For example, only Australians and New Zealanders generally know that West Papuans are culturally and ethnically distinct from Javanese Indonesians.
The idea of cultural independence is tightly woven into the fabric of West Papuan resistance as it attempts to hold fast against Indonesia’s effort to absorb it. Cultural resisters often incorporate traditional chants, songs, symbols and dances into various acts of resistance as a means of building unity as well as expressing their distinctive identity. The most important symbol of West Papuan self-determination is the Morning Star flag. Raising or displaying the flag is considered to be an incendiary act of political defiance, and until recently, anyone caught doing so was arrested by Indonesian forces.
In the film Struggle in Paradise, Herman travels to the Melbourne Arts Center in Australia with a group of West Papuans who performed traditional songs and dances. In the interview, Herman mentions anthropologist and musician Arnold Ap as one of the actors that guided the struggle from a guerrilla insurgency to a popular movement. During the 1970s and 1980s Ap, along with his music group Mambesak, were some of the first showcase elements of West Papuan culture in defiance of Indonesian rule. Before his assassination in 1984, he was successful in establishing a sense of cultural identity in a time when even identifying as Melanesian or West Papuan was an act of subversion.
The Indonesian government remains very restrictive in allowing foreign media, NGOs, or diplomats to enter West Papua. This, along with the island’s geographic isolation, presents significant challenges to anyone intent on getting information in and out of the territory. Like Herman’s voyage in 2005, someone seeking to share information with the outside world had to take great risks, often having to leave secretly on small boats. But now, as technology such as the internet, camera phones, and social media have begun to reach even the world’s most remote populations, these barriers are being breached.
In 2010 a graphic video of Indonesian soldiers torturing an unarmed West Papuan man sparked international outrage after it appeared on YouTube. Amnesty International as well as other human rights groups caught wind of the story and urged that the soldiers be tried for torture. Despite its brutality, the video was a small victory for the movement because it presented evidence forcing Indonesia to acknowledge its military abuses in the region. As a political refugee now in the West, Herman functions as an outlet for such stories as well as someone with the capacity to share them with a wider international audience.
He is currently working out of Washington, D.C. where he can focus on his advocacy work by lobbying the U.S. government and U.S. outlets of international organizations. By doing this Herman is tackling one of the movement’s most important challenges: raising international awareness. The practical benefits of which could extend to freeing political prisoners, exposing human rights abuses, economic injustice, and cultural marginalization of the West Papuan people.
The Stumbling Blocks
Herman faces the challenge of educating not only the outside world but various audiences within West Papua as well. As an organizer, Herman understands that the capacity for a movement or campaign to educate its own participants is critical to achieving success, and as an educator he understands that the skills needed to overcome West Papua’s various problems need to be widely distributed amongst its population. It is very challenging for people like Herman to teach nonviolent resistance strategies within West Papua. Aside from the Indonesian government, those attempting to spread knowledge have to make long journeys to remote areas in a land with little infrastructure.
While living in Australia, Herman was able to travel to Papua New Guinea where he conducted civil resistance workshops for West Papuan activists willing make the extremely dangerous boat trip from West Papuan waters controlled by the Indonesian navy to the shores of Papua New Guinea. These trips also allowed Herman to hear the latest news from the front lines of the struggle. Many activists and organizers brought news of unrelenting repression, imprisonment and torture; some tell their stories in a short Youtube video called Struggle in Paradise. (LINK) The film features Herman along with a number of other activists discussing the various obstacles and how their hardships have driven some to lose hope and flee the island.
Since his days as a student activist, Herman has been arrested and jailed several times, once for two years. In the interview he describes the experience of being imprisoned for fundraising and organizing a student protest.
“They said, ‘Herman, this is your room you can stay here,’ but the place I stayed in was full of fresh blood on the walls and I was surprised because the next day when I asked someone why this room was full of blood they told me the other day the Indonesian army just killed one West Papuan student activist in the room.”
Herman is using new technologies, cultural resistance, training and advocacy to undermine the Indonesian government’s efforts to keep curious global eyes away from West Papua, but as with any case of injustice, international awareness is only aspect one piece of the effort to instigate action.
In 2001 a Special Autonomy package was designed to re-route tax revenue generated by West Papuan development projects from Jakarta into West Papua’s provincial government. In theory this package was supposed to help West Papuans achieve a higher level of freedom and economic benefits while remaining part of Indonesia. But in reality the province lacks the capacity to marshal West Papuan representation and the bureaucratic infrastructure to redistribute the revenue appropriately. Special Autonomy did open up some political space; for example, raising the Morning Star flag is no longer illegal but is still considered to be politically subversive. Today some West Papuans have been able to take part in the provincial government but have still been unable to address many of the population’s core grievances. Because of this, many West Papuans still believe that civil resistance continues to be the most viable option. Despite all the hardships Herman has endured, and all the difficulties he continues to face, he pursues the mission of his people with passion, optimism, and affability. Herman says “The West Papuan people, we don’t have guns but we have the truth, something that the Indonesian government can’t take away from us.”
In this case, Herman’s work as an educator suggests that the most critical factor in this struggle has been and remains the movement’s capacity to educate its people about their opportunity to engage in a worthwhile struggle on their own behalf, distributing the skills needed for effective civil resistance while also raising international awareness.
Herman Wainggai
West Papuan Independence Advocate
Washington DC, USA


'Pro M' Aspirations Are Guaranteed Under The Law

Bintang Papua, 7 December 2011
Police Chief: But Violations Will Be Dealt With
Jayapura: Activities that are conducted by people, such as freedom of assembly and the expression of opinion or aspirations such as pro-independence for West Papua ('M') which are being promoted by some West Papuan people are guaranteed under the law, said the Chief of Police Police-General Drs Timur Pradopo, speaking after participating in a dialogue with stakeholders about accelerating development in West Papua at the office of the governor of Papua.
He went on to say that if this freedom of assembly and talking about independence aspirations are done in ways that violate the law, it is the responsibility of the police to enforce the law. Nevertheless, before the law is enforced, certain steps need to be taken. If, for example, the persons who assemble wish to present their views, it is up to the police at the local level (Polsek) or the regional level (Polres) backed by the regional police chief, along with the rest of society and religious leaders, to take action for their protection but they should not act in violation of the law.
'This is what is always done by police officers in Papua (Polda, Pelres, Polsek), so as to safeguard the activities of each side.'
He said any violation of the law will be dealt with by the police. And furthermore, action will be taken against police officers who violate the law, such as maltreating people in the community.
He went on to say that if anyone feels that they have been harmed by the presence of the police, this should immediately be reported, along with facts and data, and there will be a response from Polsek, Polres or Polda or even the chief of police (Kapolri) will deal with the matter when the law has been violated.
'No one is immune, including police officers.'
Asked whether there could be an increase in the number of police, taking into account the current security situation in Papua, the police chief said that there is no plan in the coming days for the number of police to be increased But what is being done is enforcement of the law.
'It is the task of the police to preserve a situation of security in Papua and this should be done in a proper way in order to ensure that the plans for development and activities by the people can proceed smoothly.
[COMMENT: A shift towards greater leniency seems to be in the air]
[Translated by TAPOL]

Rabu, 07 Desember 2011

Free Imprisoned Indonesian Activist, Amnesty International Says

Free Imprisoned Indonesian Activists, Amnesty Says
Jakarta Globe | December 07, 2011

Representatives from Amnesty International met with the coordinating minister for legal, political and security affairs on Tuesday, urging him to free political prisoners incarcerated for peacefully expressing their views.

At least 90 people are in prison in Papua and Maluku for peaceful pro-independence activities, including Filep Karma, a Papuan independence leader currently serving a 15-year sentence in Abepura, Papua. Filep’s case has received special attention by the human rights group.

“The Indonesian government should free all those who are detained in Papua and Maluku for peacefully expressing their views, including through raising or waving the prohibited pro-independence flags, and distinguish between peaceful and violent political activists,” Amnesty said in a statement.

On Dec. 1, 2004, Filep organized a peaceful demonstration in Abepura in which the banned Morning Star flag was raised. Filep was subsequently sentenced in May 2005 for treason and stoking unrest.

Washington-based Freedom Now said Filep, 51, would become one of 13 political prisoners around the world for whom it was currently campaigning, joining the likes of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. The organization is also known for having worked for the release of now-free Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

Amnesty said the government had the duty and the right to maintain public order, but in some cases the restrictions on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly had violated the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Indonesia has ratified.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono recently initiated discussions with Papuan activists and established a special task force to enhance economic development in Papua.

Papua and its neighboring province, West Papua, have enjoyed more economic independence under the 2001 Special Autonomy Law, but the absence of implementing regulations have been blamed for rampant corruption and widespread poverty.

Amnesty said it supported Indonesia’s efforts to implement special autonomy but stressed the need to set up a human rights court and a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate cases of human rights violations that had gone on since Indonesia annexed Papua in the 1960s.

The minister, Djoko Suyanto, has expressed the government’s commitment to ensure accountability for human rights abuses committed by security forces.

However, Amnesty criticized the use of lenient administrative penalties and closed-door trials in response to rights violations involving members of the security forces.

This year, security forces have been criticized for using excessive force during the disbanding of the Papuan People’s Congress in Abepura on Oct. 19.

The National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) said at least six congress participants died during the brutal crackdown and hundreds more were injured or subject to degrading treatment.

The National Police punished seven officers with between seven to 14 days detention and reprimanded 10 others.

Amnesty called on the minister to allow international observers, nongovernmental organizations and journalists unrestricted and ongoing access to the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

Selasa, 06 Desember 2011


West Papuan defiance tips political scale against Indonesian control

Maire Leadbeater
Indonesia Human Rights Committee spokesperson Maire Leadbeater raises the banned Morning Star flag in Auckland in solidarity with West Papuan independence. Photo: Scoop / IHRC
Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Alex Rayfield of New Matilda
The raising of the banned Morning Star flag across West Papua last week on December 1 made two things abundantly clear – political defiance in West Papua is growing and the Indonesian government is losing control.
Despite fears that they would be shot if they raised the flag, the Morning Star was raised in Jayapura, Sentani, Manokwari, Sorong, Merauke, Timika, Puncak Jaya, Paniai, Genyem, Wamena and inside Indonesia in Jogjakarta and Jakarta.
In many places, the security forces allowed the protests to continue — video footage shows Indonesian police driving as crowds of protesters wave the flag and shout “freedom” — but in Timika the Indonesian military did open fire on unarmed crowds.
Four people were wounded (two men and two women). Two of the victims are in critical condition in hospital.
In another part of the country a Papuan shot an Indonesian policeman with a bow and arrow.
In Puncak Jaya and Paniai in the remote highlands the two Papuan Liberation Army commanders engaged the Indonesian military and police in fire fights, killing two members of the Indonesian Paramilitary Police (Brimob) in Puncak Jaya and sabotaging bridges and burning government posts in Paniai.
However, most other December 1 rallies were peaceful. Members of the West Papua National Committee, Papuan Peace Network and Congress members marched together holding banners like “Stop committing human rights violations in Papua”, “Independence yes, NKRI no” (NKRI stands for the Unitary Republic of Indonesia) and “Federal republic West Papua”.
Fatal shootings
At many of the demonstrations, the Declaration of Independence was read again — this is the same statement that precipitated fatal shooting by police and military last month when it was read out at the Third Papuan People’s Congress.
The killing of peaceful Papuan protesters at the Congress last month — relayed by phone, Facebook, YouTube and mailing lists — has outraged Papuans, leading more to support independence. It has divided political elites inside Indonesia, attracted more third party support for the West Papuan cause, and revealed the ugly face of Indonesian colonial rule in West Papua.
It has widened the circle of dissent and tipped the political scale in the Papuans’ favour.
In Sorong, for example, even Papuan government civil servants and the retired military members joined the December 1 rally, prompting one local organiser to remark that “this really different from previously which always attended by the community”.
The Indonesian government may still have a ban on foreign media in West Papua but when people can send SMS news reports in seconds and photos and film in a matter of hours, a ban on media also loses its impact.
As one of the key local organisers for West Papua Media told New Matilda: “The media network across Papua is like a spider web. Now when there is an incident we can quickly get reports across the country and out to the world.
“The mainstream media in Papua is owned by Indonesians. They publish things that terrify the Papuan community,” the same source said.
Independent media
“So our most powerful weapon has become our independent media network.”
Technically, of course, the Indonesian government is still in control. Jakarta still makes the political decisions and the police and security forces have the capability and personnel to crush any rebellion — armed or nonviolent. But they have lost moral authority.
Papuans are no longer willing to go along with the status quo. The mood is angry, defiant and uncooperative.
Senior tribal elders and young people who were shot at last month have decided not to give in to fear. Instead, they went back out onto the streets. A big contributor to this courage has been the leadership of the Congress leaders in prison.
In an exclusive interview with New Matilda last week, Forkorus Yaboisembut, the 72-year-old President-elect of the ‘Federal Republic of West Papua’, encouraged Papuans to mark the day peacefully.
These recent events and the attention they received have created a dilemma for the Indonesian government. Essentially they now have two choices: more repression, or political dialogue. More repression will only increase support for independence and further erode Indonesia’s standing.
If the government does nothing or does not come up with a credible plan for political dialogue they can expect support for independence to grow. The Indonesian government recently announced they would fast track economic development in West Papua.
More political freedom
But this won’t cut it. The Papuans are asking for political freedom, not more money.
Papuans I spoke to want to be genuine participants in a political process, not objects of policy, and they have lost faith with their own political class who are increasingly viewed as corrupt and unwilling to stand up to Jakarta.
They are disgusted that police who shoot dead unarmed Papuans and beat tribal elders receive only a warning.
As Papuans return to their homes after December 1 many fear that the Indonesian police and military will return to the practice of targeted repression and that organisers and participants will be hunted down, one by one, community by community.
West Papua may not be free, but Indonesia lost the loyalty of Papuans a long time ago. Now, they are speaking out like never before.
Alex Rayfield is an independent freelance journalist writing for New Matilda in cooperation with West Papua Media.