Solidarity with the Struggling People in West Papua

West Papua Flag

 The illegal flag of Papua people. It's published as a symbol of Resistance and Freedom, and not in any relation with nationalist meanings.


In West Papua, the culture of violent repression of social movements continues in a way where it seems that little has changed since the Suharto era of 1965-1998. Here we present a short summary of some of the incidents which happened during 2010, with the aim of illustrating the spectrum of tactics which the state uses to ensure continuing chaos and control. Killings are common, but repression also takes the forms of arrests and interrogation, forming front organisations with the aim of disruption, attacking demonstrations, banning books, banning foreign journalists and NGOs, harassing Papua journalists, cruel treatment of prisoners, excessive prison sentences, village burnings and sweeping operations which force the people to flee in terror.


These brief reports have been compiled from a range of media sources. The plight of the Papuan people was once frequently described as an unknown tragedy, but in the last years the increasingly dynamic movements there have been making great attempts to tell the real stories of what is going on there, overcoming the obstacles of geographical isolation and the military/police repression of free communication. Aware of the need for international solidarity, much information is translated into English. One accessibe source of news from Papua is West Papua Media Alerts, Read and act.



Chronology 2010.


January 2010. The Attorney General's office bans 20 books in Papua, including Hak Asasi Masyarakat Adat, a translation of the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous people.


29 January 2010. Research from Universitas Indonesia reveals that Indonesian military personnel at all ranks remain directly involved in illegal logging in Papua.


March 11 2010. Human rights activist Sebby Sambom and his family are forced into hiding after sustained death threats and intimidation from Indonesian intelligence officials.


March 17 2010. Pastor Gire Kindeman shot dead by police in Tingginambut, Puncak Jaya. The same soldiers that night surrounded a traditional meeting house. Thirteen people were sleeping there. All were captured and tortured with bayonets and all were killed.


March 22 2010. Military shoot into mother Enditi Tabuni's house as she sleeps, causing serious injury to her legs.


March 22 2010. Police arrest 15 people taking part in a protest related to Barrack Obama's planned visit. The organisers had applied for permission to demonstrate but the police claimed that since Obama's visit was postponed the issues had been changed.


March 23 2010. Indonesian military announce their intention to deploy an extra 4 battalions (around 4000 troops) to Papua.


6 April 2010. The Indonesian Human Rights Commision, Komnas HAM, visit Abepura prison and demand the removal of prison chief Ayorbaba, claiming there had been 20 incidents of human rights violations during the 2 years he was in charge.


7 April 2010. Biak news reports that the National Intelligence Bureau (BIN), Kopassus and local military command start covert operations to create a false front organization to replace the East Biak Traditional Council, despite the fact that such a council already exists, formed by the people themselves.


16 April 2010.Mimika police detain 25 residents of Kwamki Lama village in a sweeping operation after a man is seriously injured in an arrow attack.


22 April 2010. Militarised police brigades Brimob and Dalmas attack a demonstration in Manokwari, arresting 20 of the 700 participants.


17 May 2010 Military attack a purported base of the Papuan Independence Organization (OPM) near Goburuk village, Puncak Jaya, killing one person.


26 May 2010. Two French journalists are expelled from West Papua after they filmed a peaceful demonstration in Jayapura.


27 May 2010. Amnesty International releases its 2009 report in which it claims that out of 114 people arrested in Indonesia in 2009 for public statements or demonstrations of dissent. "...the overwhelming majority were peaceful political activists who were sentenced to terms of imprisonment for raising prohibited pro-independence flags in Maluku or Papua."


1 June 2010. Indonesian military stormed several villages in the Jambi Sinak Ilu and Tingginambut districts of Mulia. Weapons used were rockets, bazookas and grenades. Seven people are confirmed dead.


4 June 2010. A rally by Dewan Adat Papua (Papuan Traditional Council) complaining about violence and the spread of alcohol was stopped from taking place when 50 police in trucks blocked the participants from arriving at the location.


11 June 2010. Brimob conduct a sweeping operation on all houses on the road from Ilu to Mulia, detaning anyone without proper identification. This is part of a wider sweeping operation in Puncak Jaya district, which has forced thousands of people into the forest in fear. Other reports connected to this in June include residents being forced to work for the military,clearing their gardens to make landing strips for helicopters in Pos Nalime Tingginambut, and the rape of a pregnant woman by Brimob.


9 July 2010 As people surround the Papuan parliament in the largest demonstration since the fall of Suharto, Jayapura police chief, Imam Setiawan, tells the BBC that they are ready to disperse the demonstration with live ammunition if necessary.


9 July 2010 Police and military forces shot dead a TPN/OPM (Free Papua Movement, lightly armed guerrilla movement) member in Kampung Jambi, Puncak Jaya.


11 July 2010 The Jakarta Globe reports that violence erupted in Abepura prison after guards beat up an inmate and stole his money.


24 July 2010 Victor Yeimo sentenced to one year in prison for 'provocation' for allegedly organising a demonstration on March 10 2009


30 July 2010. Journalist and human rights defender Ardiansyah Matra’is is found dead in a river in Merauke, two days after he disappeared. Police claim it was suicide, but the fact that two of his ribs were broken suggests violence. Several local journalists report receiving threats via SMS in the weeks before, believed to be connected to the MIFEE intensive agriculture project.


2 August 2010. Paramilitary police (Dalmas) violently disperse a demonstration in Manokwari. One of the organisers is forced into hiding after he receives death threats from Indonesian military intelligence.


4 August 2010. Al Jazeera broadcasts a film of the last moments of Yawan Wayeni's life, who was killed a year before. Soldiers taunt him with racist abuse as he lies dying from gunshot wounds.


6 August 2010. Dutch NGO Cordaid is banned from operating in West Papua


11 August 2010. Komnas HAM calls on security forces to stop the military operation in Puncak Jaya region, which has been going on since 2004 and has seen dozens of people killed.


25 August 2010. The office of Dewan Adat Papua in Hubula, near Wamena is burnt down, just days before the scheduled opening of the building.


14 September 2010. After criticism forces anti-terror squad DENSUS 88 to stop repressing popular movements in Maluku, their leader, General Tito Karnavian confirmed that they would continue to operate in Papua.


15 September 2010. Police shoot dead a priest and his son in Manokwari, and seriously injure the priest's wife.


22 September 2010 Two KNPB (West Papua National Committee) Wamena area activists are arrested. They were distributing the call to action for a mass peaceful rally the next day.


4 October 2010. Three unarmed community guards are shot in Wamena, in a protest after their uniforms and Rp 40 million cash were stolen by the police at the airport. Two of the victims were shot inside a police truck after they refused to get down.


5 October 2010. Papuan political prisoner Filep Karma starts a hunger strike because of the inadequate medical treatment being given to Papuan political prisoner, Fery (Ferdinand) Pakage who suffers from injuries inflicted when he was tortured in Abepura prison. Karma himself has been denied medical treatment for nearly 2 years for a urology condition.


6 October 2010. Hundreds of military are deployed on the streets of West Papua to prevent people protesting the killings of the day before.


11 October 2010. Sixteen men in police uniforms burn 29 houses in Bigiragi village to the ground. Two men walk for two days to report the destruction to Dewan Adat Papua.


16 October 2010. On the day that SORPATOM is launched (network of people opposed to the MIFEE intensive agriculture project in Merauke), two of the organisations leaders are arrested and interrogated.


18 October 2010. A video is released which shows two men being tortured by the Indonesian Security forces as they are interrogated. Methods of torture include a knife held to one man's throat, and buring the genitals of another.


19 October 2010. Police arrest 7 people in connecting to a flag-raising action and dozens of people fell across the border into PNG fearing security forces. The charges for raising the Papuan flag can result in 15 years in prison.


5 November 2010 Several websites of NGOs and solidarity organisations that host the torture video are unavailable for days due to a Direct Denial of Service cyber attack.


9 November 2010 Secret documents leaked from Kopassus include an enemies list headed by Papua’s top Baptist minister and describe a covert network of surveillance, infiltration and disruption of Papuan institutions.


22 November 2010. Nine people are arrested for raising the Morning Star flag in Jayawijaya district.


2 December 2010. Asli Wenda and Elius Tabuni are shot in Bolakme village, Wamena. All inhabitants of the village flee to the forest.


3 December 2010. Miron Wetipo is shot dead during an escape from Abepura prison. The prisoners demand to speak to the military command responsible, and when this is denied, trouble breaks out in the prison. Filip Karma and Buchtar Tabuni, high profile prisoners who are blamed by the police as instigators are moved to police headquarters where they are denied food and water for several days, and also denied visitors.


4 Desember2010. Human rights activist Sebby Sambon arrested in Jayapura on his way to a meeting with the Asian Human Rights Comission.


14 December 2010. Six students are arrested for raising the Papuan flag in Manokwari, as is a lawyer who was observing this action (the Papuan flag was explictly made legal under the terms of the Papuan Special Autonomy agreement, but nevertheless it's flying is regularly persecuted with prison terms of up to 15 years).


-translated and slightly expanded from the poster 'Papua Memikul':




4th August published on Al Jazeera, the last moments of Yawan Wayeni's life:


18th October, typical tortures:



hidup biasa, life as usual ...

Somewhere in the world someone is resisting because nothing else is possible ... .

.. Someone else, somewhere else slightly further from the horror, chooses to listen to the million siren songs that tell us it's all ok really ...

... The world's not well behaved and there can be nothing more normal than confronting the oppression ...

... It's not really a choice, it's just life as usual, and that's true wherever in the world we are ...

... This blog tries to share a few of these everyday stories, from life as usual in Indonesia, in the hope they can be inspiration and information for other struggles on other islands ...

... Or even direct solidarity, who knows ...

selamat berjuang