WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAPUA
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Constantly being updated. Last update: Fri 3 Jul 21.42 WIB
Your guide to Papuan stories, ideas, culture, and politics.
Situs berita dan informasi seputar tanah Papua.
Portal berita Tanah Papua.
Online resource for West Papuan political prisoners.
Campaigners for human rights, peace, and democracy in Indonesia (based in the UK).
If you have more information, donation links, or petition links, please do share with us! email us at [email protected] (Links below)
If there are any misinformation that we may have shared - please do inform us ASAP! Thank you.
IMPORTANT: It has come to our attention that important events such as Operasi Koteka, Operasi Tumpas, and Operasi Sapu Bersih have not been included in this timeline. Thank you for the feedback! We are currently working on adding them in. Please keep this in mind while reading!
TRIGGER WARNING: violence, police & military brutality, death, sexual violence
Formally colonized by the Netherlands, West Papua was known as the Dutch New Guinea.
Indonesia declared its independence from Japanese occupation. The Dutch government, however, did not recognize independence.
Indonesia finally became an independent nation-state, being formally acknowledged by the Dutch government. The Dutch New Guinea remained a Dutch colony despite Indonesia claiming that they are also a part of Indonesia. The Dutch government recognized that the Dutch New Guinea was geographically, culturally, and ethnically different from Indonesia, so they prepared for West Papua’s independence throughout the 1950s despite Indonesian claims of the land.
The people of West Papua declared independence at a Congress they held, where they raised their new flag—the Morning Star. Only a couple of weeks after Papua declared independence, the Indonesian government started invading West Papua.
THE NEW YORK AGREEMENT: The Indonesian government sought help from the Soviet Union. The US urged the Netherlands and its allies to hand over West Papua to Indonesia. The Dutch government then ceded control of Papua territory to the UN under the New York Agreement in August. In May 1963, the UN transferred de facto authority to the Indonesian government with the provision that a referendum to determine the future political status of the territory should be held by 1969.
West Papuans created OPM (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, Free Papua Movement) to coordinate their political efforts to regain independence and freedom from Indonesia.
Indonesia sold a 30-year mining license of West Papua to Freeport. The Papuans were not consulted in this decision.
In July and August, Indonesian General Sarwo Edhi Wibowo implemented the ‘Act of Free Choice' (also known as PEPERA) by selecting 1025 out of 800 thousand citizens of Papua to vote. This was done by saying that their villages will be destroyed unless they vote against independence. Subsequently, Papua officially became the Indonesian Province of 'Irian Jaya'. This act was later nicknamed ‘Act of No Choice’.
Resistance against the Indonesian occupation began with OPM’s armed guerrilla, which carried out a number of attacks against the Western-backed Indonesian military and companies who had taken Papuan land and resources.
In May, President Soeharto stepped down after 32 years in office.In July, activist Filep Karma led a ceremony to raise the Morning Star flag in a small tower near the Port of Biak Island. After keeping the flag up for 4 days, joint Brimob and military forces opened fire on 200 people guarding the flag. According to the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), this killed at least 40. Following this, many of the detained individuals were subjected to ill-treatment. Nineteen people were charged, tried, and sentenced under Article 106 (also known as makar or rebellion) of the Criminal Code. Karma was later released in November 2015 after over a decade in prison.
On January 1st, President Abdurrahman Wahid changed the official name of the region from Irian Jaya to Papua. He also allowed the raising of the Morning Star flag, although it must be placed under the National Flag.A huge public congress with delegates from various tribes was held and the Morning Star flag was flown again. The newly established Papuan Presidium Council (PDP) rose to power to gain world recognition for West Papua’s Independence.
The National Parliament (DPR RI) passed Law No. 21 of 2001 on Special Autonomy for the Papua province. The law provided more autonomy to the local Papuan government to manage its affairs and increased its allocation of tax revenue, while foreign affairs, defense issues, and judiciary control remain with the central government.The Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) carried out a security operation in Wasior, Manokwari from April to October. According to Komnas HAM, over 140 people were detained, tortured, or otherwise ill-treated. One person died in custody due to the abuse while seven others are believed to have been extra-judicially executed.Theys Hiyo Eluay, a leading independence activist in Papua, was killed by members of the Special Army Forces (Kopassus) in Jayapura on November 10th. His body was found the following morning in Koya, near the border to Papua New Guinea.
A military court in Surabaya convicted seven Kopassus members for the murder of Theys Hiyo Eluay and sentenced them to prison for two to three and a half years. One of these convicted persons was appointed by the Chief of Military Forces to become the Chief Military Strategic Intelligence Body in 2016. In April, members of the military force carried out a series of raids on villages in Wamena in response to an earlier raid to a military post by a suspected armed pro-independence group. According to Komnas HAM, nine civilians were killed, 38 tortured, 15 arbitrarily arrested and thousands displaced from their villages to refugee camps where 42 people died from exhaustion and hunger.In November, the West Irian province (later named West Papua) officially elected its first governor based on Law No. 45/1999 on the Formation of West Irian Province. The regulation then divided Papua into two provinces, West Papua and Papua.
In September, Komnas HAM submitted inquiry reports to the Attorney General’s office indicating that it had found initial evidence which suggested that security forces had committed crimes against humanity, including acts of torture in two separate incidents in Papua: in Wasior in June in 2001 and in Wamena 2003.
KNPB (the National Committee for West Papua) was formed. Under their guidance independence rallies have been held across West Papua.
A civilian gathering which addressed issues of self-government called the ‘Third Papuan People’s Congress’ was violently attacked by Indonesian forces, killing six people and injuring dozens.SHOOTINGS OF FREEPORT WORKERS IN TIMIKA: In the city of Timika, around 8000 workers were conducting a long strike against PT Freeport Indonesia, one of the largest gold and copper mining companies in the world as well as the biggest taxpayer in Indonesia due to alleged human rights abuses and demanding fair wage. The Papuan workers wanted to meet with the management team to negotiate their demands. The workers asked for a facilitated meeting with the management team through the police but were met with a warning shot, and the police opened fire. The protesters ran but five of them were hit by gunfire. Amongst them were Leo Wandagau (rubber bullet, died 5 days later) and Petrus Ayamiseba (live ammunition to the chest).
According to a Komnas HAM report, police claimed to have only used rubber bullets. Further investigations of the killings were not done. After the incidents, the national police headquarters team from Jakarta conducted a disciplinary investigation, with five police officers receiving 21 days of imprisonment. The Freeport workers union and company each paid around 150 million rupiah to Leo Wandagau’s family as compensation.
KNPB Chairman Mako Tabuni was killed by Indonesian police while other members faced lengthy jail sentences (up to fifteen years) for raising the Morning Star flag.
THE KILLING OF IRWAN WENDA: On August 8th, Irwan Wenda, a 21-year old mentally disabled Papuan man, was walking to the nearby Wouma market in the highland of Wamena, with two of his family members asking him to go back. Irwan refused and picked up a sugarcane and used it to bang at the window of stores and houses along the main road. After a while, Irwan reached a police residence and was confronted by an off-duty officer. After a short exchange of words, Irwan hit the policeman with the sugarcane. The police officer immediately went inside his residence, returned with a rifle and proceeded to shoot Irwan several times, hitting his left arm, stomach and his head which led to his death.
Soon after, on-duty police officers arrived, they brought Irwan’s body to a nearby hospital, while other officers brought the two family members who witnessed the shooting to Jayawijaya District Police Station. Irwan’s family members were interrogated and subjected to torture at the police station. Police forced them to take off their shirts and beat them during the interrogation, and after around an hour, they put them into a detention cell. They were only released after Irwan’s relatives staged a protest in front of the station.
Two days after the shooting, representatives from the police invited Irwan Wenda’s family for mediation. They agreed to settle by payment of 600 million rupiah in accordance to Papuan Customary Law. District chief of police also promised that perpetrators would be held accountable. However, no criminal investigation or proper legal process was conducted.
PANAI SHOOTINGS: Hundreds of Papuan protestors gathered in a local military and police headquarters in Enarotali, Paniai, in response to military personnel allegedly beating 11 Papuan children the day before. When protesters started throwing rocks and pieces of wood at the building, security forces opened fire, killing four people and injuring at least 11 others. A few weeks later, the newly elected President Joko Widodo publicly said he’s committed to bringing justice for the killings.
YOUTEFA MARKET KILLINGS: On July 2nd, a riot broke in Youtefa Market, Abepura after a police officer was killed and had his gun stolen by an unidentified person. Another police officer was also wounded after they attempted to stop dice gambling. Later that day, the police conducted a security operation known as “sweeping” around the market including the dormitories of a Central Highland ethnic group suspected in the killing of the police officer. During this “sweeping”, police allowed members from another ethnic group from South Sulawesi to help the sweep. KPKC Sinode GKI reported that these non-Papuans were beaten, kicked, and stabbed the Papuans who failed to flee the scene. After the operation, three Papuan men were found dead in locations surrounding the market. Sabusek Kabak, a university student, was found dead in front of the Papua Bank with injuries to his left forehead and a stab wound. Yenias Wanimbo was found in front of Yamas Campus with wounds caused by sharp objects. Demy Kepno was found with bruises to his face and several gunshot wounds.
“I want this case resolved as soon as possible so it will not happen again in the future. We truly want Papua to be a land of peace.” - President Joko Widodo, speaking after the alleged killing of protesters in Paniai, Papua, in December 2014.
In May, the president lifted restrictions on foreign journalists visiting Papua, although in practice they still need to get a special permit and are under constant surveillance. In that same month, the president granted clemency to five Papuan political activists and pledged to grant clemency and amnesty to others. On October 30th in Merauke, police officers shot and killed a 19-year-old Papuan criminal suspect, Emerikus Konakaimu Konakem, while attempting to arrest him. Emerikus and his friend were allegedly under the influence of alcohol and had stopped a motorcycle on the side of the road and stole it forcefully. Later that day, the police sought out Emerikus and his friend, unaware that they had already returned the motorcycle to the owners. The two ran away and an officer shot Emerikus in both thighs. He later died in the hospital due to blood loss. There has been no public investigation, although the Merauke District Chief of Police (Kapolres) promised an internal investigation.SHOOTINGS IN KOPERAKOPA: On August 28th, at 1:33 am, two drunk military officers Makher Rehatta and Imanuel Imbri stumbled into a church in Koperapoka, Mimika Baru where a traditional celebration was taking place. When the two soldiers attempted to disperse the crowd using insulting words, the crowd then cornered and beat the two soldiers. As a response, the soldiers started threatening the crowd with a bayonet. During the struggle, Ashar. another soldier from a nearby military post, was notified by a local resident regarding the conflict and intended to help the two soldiers. However, upon arrival, he got beaten by the crowd and decided to open fire. Amidst the chaos, Makher managed to escape the crowd and head to the nearby military post where he acquired a rifle. He then went back to the church accompanied with another soldier, Gergonus Bernadus, and arbitrarily shot into the crowd. The shootings left two Papuan men dead: Yulianus Okaore, who died with a gunshot to the back of his head and Imanuel Mailmur, who died after being hospitalized with a gunshot wound in his stomach. After the Army investigated the case under the military court, the soldiers Ashar and Makher Rehatta were sentenced to seven years to prison and were dismissed from their military service, while Gregonus Bernandus and Imanuel Imbiri were sentenced to one year in prison but were not dismissed from their services.
A meeting was held at the British parliament in Westminster, where West Papuan leaders and other leaders from Pacific countries gathered together and affirmed their support for the people of West Papua and their independence.
Richard Di Natale, a senator of the Australian Parliament who supports Papua’s fight for freedom, publicly condemned the human rights abuses that have occurred in West Papua under Indonesian rule.Pro-independence activists raised the Morning Star flag on the roof of the Indonesian-Consulate General in the Australian state of Victoria. This provoked Indonesia’s foreign minister Retno Marsudi, which resulted in tensions in the Australia-Indonesia relationship. ONEIBO VILLAGE SHOOTINGS: On August 1st, conflict broke out in the compound of a construction company in Oneibo, Deiya when workers had reportedly refused to lend a car to take a drowning young Papuan man to the hospital, which resulted in his death. In protest, dozens of villagers entered the company compound and destroyed a tent. Police arrived including members of Brimob which provoked protesters to throw stones at them. In response to this action, police opened fire into the crowd without any warning. At least eleven people suffered gunshot wounds. One of the wounded was Yulianus Pigai, who was shot in his thighs and stomach and later died on the way to a nearby hospital. The spokesperson of the Papua Regional Police issued a statement saying that the police had complied with existing regulations and only used rubber bullets as well as utilized warning shots. However, after an investigation, it was stated on August 11th that the police officers violated standards procedure for dealing with mass unrest.
On the morning of June 25th, the KKSB (Kelompok Kriminal Separatis Bersenjata, Civilian Criminal Armed Band) led by Egianus Kogoya shot a Twin Otter Trigana Air plane that was being used by Brimob Polri at the time in Kenyam Airport, Nduga. The Brimob forces were on duty to enforce security during the local elections. In response to the attack, joint TNI-Polri forces returned fire. It was reported that three civilians died and two were injured because of the KKSB’s gunshots. Among the injured was the pilot of the aforementioned plane, Ahmad Abdillah Kamil.MAPENDUMA DISTRICT HOSTAGES: On October 3rd-17th, a teacher was victim to sexual violence by the same KKSB led by Kogoya when the group held hostage of 15 teachers and medical team members in the Mapenduma district, Nduga. The teacher, referred to by the initials MT, was a long-time elementary school teacher, and had a very close bond with her community. Apparently the KKSB held these people hostage under the impression that the hostages were members of the military or police. MT was evacuated to a hospital in Jayapura and the police formed a team to arrest this KKSB.PUNCAK KABO KILLINGS, NDUGA: On December 1st, PT Istaka Karya employees decided to not work that day due to a ceremony known as the “Independence Day” of the KKSB in Papua. The same KKSB, led by Kogoya, came to PT Istaka Karya’s camp and forced all 25 employees out. They took the employees to the Karunggame River alongside around 50 KKSB members. The KKSB were armed with military standard weapons.
The next day, all workers were taken on foot with bound hands to Bukit Kabo Hill, where, in the middle of the road, they were forced to squat in a line formation. KKSB members danced and shouted and then shot at the workers. Some of the victims died while some pretended to be dead. The KKSB left the victims and continued their way to the hilltop of Kabo, after which 11 employees who pretended to be dead tried to get up and run away. Another member noticed this and immediately chased after them. Five people were captured and hacked to death on the spot. Six people managed to escape towards Mbuah. Four people survived and were rescued by members of the TNI in the Battalion 755/Yalet post in Mbua while two others were not found.
On December 3rd, the post which was used to keep the surviving victims under security was attacked by the KKSB, armed with military standard weapons alongside arrows and spears. One of the soldiers, Serda Handoko, died due to a gunshot. Members of the post returned fire, resulting in a firefight lasting from 5:00 to 21:00. Pastor Wilhelmus Kogoya of a church in the Yigi district reported that there had been a slaughter of PT Istaka Karya bridge workers. 24 were shot dead. Following the report, TNI-Polri sent security forces over to where the shooting occurred.
At 1 a.m. on December 4th, the post commander decided to call for backup. It was then that a soldier, Pratu Sugeng, got shot in the shoulder. Later that day at 7 a.m., joint TNI-Polri forces succeeded in evacuating 12 people on military helicopters (4 PT. Istaka Karya employees, 6 Mbua Community Health Center officials, and 2 Mbua Junior High School teachers). Of the four PT Istaka Karya employees, three of them suffered gunshot wounds and were treated at Wamena Regional Hospital.
43 Papuan students in Surabaya were arrested for allegedly disrespecting the Indonesian flag. Civil militias, including FPI and Pemuda Pancasila were reported to be present at the incident and had attacked the students both physically and verbally using derogatory slurs.In October, more than 6000 Indonesian troops were deployed in the cities of Manokwari, Jayapura, Fak-Fak, Sorong, and Jakarta to quell the independence rallies and anti-racial discrimination demonstrations. The demonstrations were allegedly triggered by Indonesians insulting the Papuan students in the cities of Malang and Surabaya. These events led to government buildings being burned in West Papua. In response to the arrest, Papuans started to protest in various cities in Indonesia. The Indonesian government announced a total internet blackout in Papua and West Papua on August 22nd for “security” shortly after protests escalated into riots across the two provinces, reportedly leading to the deaths of dozens. The internet muzzle lasted until the beginning of September.
Eden Armando Debari and Ronny Wandik were found dead in PT Freeport Indonesia’s land, shot by a military official as the two men were fishing. The reason for their shooting is still being investigated.Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the provincial government took steps from the 26th of March, banning inbound flights to Papua and putting three interior regions in containment: Anim-Ha, Lapago, and Meepago. The governor refused to call the measures they applied as a ‘lockdown’, preferring to call it a ‘social restriction’.Dozens of Papuan detainees are placed close to one another despite being tested positive for COVID-19. In addition to that, the cells were already overloaded from their capacity. Most of the infected detainees were not isolated or brought to hospitals.The Jakarta State Administrative Court ruled on Wednesday, June 3rd, that the government shutdown of the internet in Papua and West Papua during heightened security tensions caused by antiracism protests was unlawful. The government had violated the 1959 State Emergency Law by imposing the internet blackout after it failed to prove during the court hearings that Indonesia was in a state of emergency that required the authorities to shut down the internet. Additionally, the court ruled that any policy that limited people’s right to information should be made according to the law and not based on the government’s discretion.The Balikpapan District Court on June 17th found seven Papuans guilty of treason for their involvement in anti-racism protests in Jayapura in 2019. The seven Papuans are Buchtar Tabuni, an executive at United Liberation Movement for West Papua (sentenced to 11 months of imprisonment); Cendrawasih University student union head Ferry Kombo and Jayapura University of Science and Technology students Irwanus Uropmabin and Hengki Hilapok (10 months); and Agus Kossay and Stevanus Itlay, members of the National Committee of West Papua (11 months). Prosecutors had initially sought for 5-17 years of imprisonment, and the trials were met with protests from activists and the public.
If you want to know more about the situation in West Papua.
The Road To Home (2015)
Forgotten Bird of Paradise (2009)
West Papua – The Secret War in Asia (2007)
Punks for West Papua (2016)
Papua Merdeka (2002)
Act of No Choice (2019)
Run It Straight (2016)
Mama Malind su Hilang (Our Land Has Gone)
Rebels of the Forgotten World (1991)
West Papua – A Journey to Freedom (2011)
Strange Birds In Paradise – A West Papuan Story (2010)
Everything can be burnt – West Papua in the Jokowi era (2016)
Blood on the Cross (1999)
The Biak Massacre (1998)
Jennifer Robinson & Benny Wenda – TEDx Sydney (2013)
Benny Wenda – Oslo Freedom Forum (2012)
An Act of Free Choice – Decolonisation and the Right to Self-Determination in West Papua (Pieter Drooglever, 2009)
The United Nations and the Indonesian Takeover of West Papua (John Saltford, 2002)
Merdeka & the Morning Star: Civil Resistance in West Papua (Jason Macleod, 2015)
West Papua and Indonesia since Suharto (Peter King, 2004)
West Papua: The Obliteration of a People (Carmel Budiardjo and Liem Soei Liong, Tapol, 1988)
See No Evil: New Zealand’s betrayal of the people of West Papua (Maire Leadbeater, 2018)
Poisoned Arrows (George Monbiot, 1989/2003)
The Road: Uprising in West Papua John Martinkus (2020)
The Open Cage : Ordeal of the Irian Jaya Hostages (Daniel Start, 1997)
Freedom In Entangled Worlds (Eben Kirksey, 2012)
Papua Blood (Peter Bang, 2018)
Eden Armando Debari dan Roni Wandik, warga sipil Distrik Kwamki Narama di Mimika, Papua, ditemukan tewas ditembak di Mile 34, area PT Freeport Indonesia.
Eden dan Roni berencana untuk memancing ikan dan menyiapkan peralatannya seperti perangkap ikan dan juga senapan khusus penembak ikan. Pada pukul 19.00 WIB, kedua korban menuju ke Kali Biru dan mencari ikan di kali hingga jam 14.00 WIT. Kemudian, mereka didatangi oleh aparat militer dan, tanpa melakukan pemeriksaan terlebih dahulu, aparat militer tersebut melepaskan tembakan kepada Eden dan Roni hingga meninggal dunia.
Kami ingin melihat penegakkan hukum bisa tegak tanpa pandang bulu dan meminta agar pelaku yang melakukan penganiyaan dan pembunuhan harus diproses secara tegas dan transparan.
Dikutip dari link berikut
Obby Kogoya adalah salah satu dari delapan mahasiswa asal Papua yang ditangkap Polda DIY. Penangkapan tersebut terjadi ketika ratusan polisi dan anggota sejumlah ormas mengepung Asrama mahasiswa Papua Kamasan I di Jalan Kusumanegara, Kecamatan Umbulharjo, Kota Yogyakarta. Pengepungan itu untuk menghadang rencana aksi para mahasiswa Papua memperingati 47 tahun Pepera.
Ketua Jaksa Penuntut Umum (JPU) di persidangan ini, Iswahyudi mendakwa Obby telah melakukan penyerangan yang mengakibatkan dua polisi terluka di hari penangkapannya. Obby didakwa melanggar pasal 212 jo pasal 213 sub pasal 351 ayat 2 KUHP karena menyerang aparat negara yang sedang bertugas. Menurut Iswahyudi, ancaman maksimal hukuman bagi Obby, lima tahun penjara.
Salah satu anggota Tim Kuasa Hukum Obby, Yogi Zul Fadli menyatakan seluruh isi dakwaan jaksa untuk kliennya tidak benar. Sebaliknya, menurut dia, Obby merupakan korban aksi kekerasan sejumlah polisi. “Banyak foto dan video, yang sudah beredar di media sosial membuktikan Obby adalah korban perilaku keji aparat polisi. Ia diperlakukan seperti binatang,” kata Yogi usai persidangan.
Gugatan praperadilan yang dilayangkan LBH Yogyakarta atas penetapan Obby sebagai tersangka memang ditolak hakim Pengadilan Negeri Sleman. Tapi, menurut Yogi, hakim pemeriksa perkara praperadilan itu, di putusannya, juga menyatakan Obby sebagai korban kekerasan polisi.
Dia mengimbuhkan Komnas HAM juga telah melakukan kajian di kasus Obby yang kesimpulannya telah terjadi indikasi pelanggaran Hak Asasi Manusia di saat pengepungan asrama mahasiswa Papua pada 15 Juli 2016 lalu. Serangan ke Obby menjadi salah satu buktinya.
Dikutip dari link berikut