Monthly Archives: May 2012

Papuans ‘should have their identity recognized by govt’

Papuan activists and scholars have called on the government to allow the use of the region’s traditional symbols and stop prosecuting locals who promote them.

Franz-Magnis Suseno, a Catholic priest and philosophy professor at the Driyarkara School of Philosophy, said that the Indonesian government should stop treating the hoisting of the Bintang Kejora (Morning Star) flag as an act of treason. The flag has long been associated with the Papuan separatist movement.

“Why not let Papuans fly the flag as a symbol of their land? We must also allow them to express their opinions in an assembly,” he said.

Papuan peace activist Neles Tebay said that the close association between the flag and the Papuan separatist movement had often been used as an excuse to abuse the human rights of native Papuans.

Neles also said that the central government should drop its security approach and start a dialogue with the locals.

“All elements in Papua from the local governments, the natives, and the business community, must sit down and start a dialogue. Dialogue is the key to end what has been happening there,” he said.

Farid Hussein, a former mediator in the talks between the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) said that the dialogue should also include discussion about the flag.

“One of the most arduous issues [in the Aceh talks] concerned the GAM logo,” he said.

Papuan activist Filep Karma is serving a 15-year prison sentence for promoting separatism. Filep was first detained in 1998 when he led a ceremony to raise the Bintang Kejora flag in Biak.

In the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Universal Periodic Review last week, Germany in particular challenged the government on whether it intended to release Filep and other political detainees who have been held arbitrarily and accused Indonesia of violating Article 20 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which states that “everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association”.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday (30/05) that Indonesia continued to promote and protect human rights in the country, including in Papua, and that some foreign governments had changed their views on the issue.

“Several countries have changed their stance regarding our policies in Papua. The Republic of Vanuatu, for example, has encouraged us to continue implementing the special autonomy program there,” he said.

Source: The Jakarta Post

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Joint cop team sent to find German tourist’s shooter

National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Saud Usman Nasution has said that two teams of police investigators from the Papua Police and the Jayapura Police have been deployed to search for a Free Papua Organization (OPM) member who shot a German tourist.

“We have obtained good leads. However, this information cannot yet be released to the public. Give us time to investigate first,” Nasution told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday (30/05).

A German tourist by the name of Pieter Dietmar Helmut was shot several times on Tuesday while spending the morning at Base G, a beach in Jayapura, which is located about 10 kilometers from the city’s downtown area, by a member of OPM who only minutes before getting out of a blue Toyota Avanza.

Helmut was rushed to Jayapura General Hospital for further treatment. Papua Health Agency head Joseph Rinta said that following surgery, Helmut was in a stable condition and continued to show signs of improvement.

As of Wednesday, Jayapura Police officers tightly guarded Helmut at the hospital. “Nobody is allowed to take his picture without permission from the supervisor,” one of the officers on guard at the hospital’s intensive care unit said.

“He [the victim] has to be tightly guarded because someone may pretend to want to meet him but have ill intentions,” Papua Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Johanes Nugraha Wicaksono said in Jayapura.

If his condition improves further, Johanes said, Helmut would be evacuated to Jakarta for further medical treatment.

Six witnesses have been questioned so far. However, Helmut’s wife, Medina Pachon, is still in shock and has not been questioned as yet.

A bullet was recovered from the scene of the shooting and will undergo forensic testing to identify its type and caliber as well as the victim’s blood, Johanes said.

Source: The Jakarta Post

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OPM shots German tourist in Indonesia’s restive Papua

A German tourist was shot three times in a gun attack Tuesday (29/05) in Indonesia’s most eastern Province of Papua, national police said.

The man was on a beach at Port Numbay in the provincial capital Jayapura when shots were fired by a member of Free Papua Organization (OPM) from a minivan.

The German tourist, Pieter Dietmar Helmut (55), sustained serious injuries and was in critical condition as he was hit in the left thigh and the rib.

Pieter, a doctor who was on holiday to Papua with his wife, had checked out of his hotel that morning and gone to the beach for a swim, told Papua police chief detective Wachyono.

“He was shot as he took a break in a hut on the beach,” he said.
The restive province of Papua has witnessed a string of random shooting incidents, targeting at civilians working in foreign mines.

The previous shootings were conducted by separatists demanding an independence state in Papua, separated from Indonesia.(*wpnn)

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OPM Behind the Attack On Motorcycle Driver

Police in the violence-wracked town of Mulia in Papua’s Puncak Jaya district have confirmed that three civilians were shot and injured on Thursday (19/05) by suspected separatists who killed a motorcycle taxi driver earlier in the day.

Sr. Comr. Wachyono, the Papua Police’s chief of detectives, said that following the fatal attack on Arkilaus Refwutu, 48, a joint police and military patrol was dispatched to search for the assailants.

“When they swept the area in the vicinity of the crime scene, they discovered three civilians who had also been shot,” he said.

He added that the three men were immediately taken to Mulia Hospital, where they were placed under intensive care for gunshot wounds.

“All we know for now is that three civilians were shot, but we don’t know how the incident played out,” he said.

The injured people have been identified as Tarinus Tabuni, 17, a high school student who was grazed in the head by a ricochet; Teringgen Murib, 55, a farmer who was shot in the leg; and Yuniter Murib, 20, another farmer who was shot in the leg and grazed in the arm by a bullet’s ricochet.

Teringgen was later evacuated by air to a larger hospital in Jayapura due to the severity of his injury, said Adj. Sr. Comr. Marcelis, the Puncak Jaya Police chief.

All three men were found shot and bleeding following the earlier ambush on Arkilaus, a motorcycle taxi driver who was shot in the head by unknown assailants as he was driving a customer home to Yalinggua village in Mulia.

The police took Arkilaus’s body to Jayapura late on Thursday for an autopsy as part of the investigation into the shooting.

The police initially suspected an “armed civilian group” of killing the motorcycle taxi driver, but they now say that the follow-up attacks against the three other civilians indicate the attackers were likely members of the separatist Free Papua Organization (OPM).

The attacks on Thursday were the latest acts of violence to hit Mulia recently. Since the start of the year, there have been at least six shootings of civilians and security personnel there, leaving six people dead.

Source: The Jakarta Globe

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Papuans to elect governor in August

The Home Ministry, the Papuan Legislative Council (DPRP) and the Papuan People Council (MRP) have agreed to hold a long awaited gubernatorial election in Papua on Aug. 14.

“We have agreed on the timetable for the electoral phases, and have reported it to the Home Ministry,” acting Papua Governor Syamsul Arief Rivai said on Tuesday (01/05).

“The election will be on Aug. 14.”

Syamsul Arief Rivai was sworn in as Papua’s caretaker governor last July, charged with conducting local elections within the province.

Papuan Legislative Council chairman Ruben Magai said that candidate registration would run from May 7 to 13, followed by a selection process from May 14 to 20.

“Papuans want a new governor. We hope the central government will be in Papua from early May to oversee the process,” he said.

Activists have called on Home Minister Gamawan Fauzi to replace Syamsul due to his apparent incompetence and failure to schedule elections.

The Papuan Lawmaker Caucus chairman Paskalis Kossay previously said that the caucus was disappointed with the acting governor’s performance since his appointment in July 2011, complaining about the absence of a fixed schedule for gubernatorial elections.

Source: The Jakarta Post

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