TNI names 9 soldiers suspects for alleged torture, murder of 2 Papuans in Intan Jaya

Military Police have named nine soldiers suspects in a case pertaining to the killing of two Hitadipa villagers in Intan Jaya regency, Papua.

The soldiers are suspected of torturing two civilians identified as Luther Zanambani and Apinus Zanambani to death and burning their bodies to hide their crime, Military Police commander Let. Gen. Dodik Widjanarko said.

“To hide the evidence, the victims’ bodies were burned and the ashes were disposed of in the Julai River in Sugapa district,” Dodik said as reported by tempo.co on Wednesday.

He said personnel of Infantry Battalion (Yonif) PR433/JS arrested Luther and Apinus on April 21, on suspicion of being members of a Papuan armed group.

They were then questioned in Sugapa.

During the interrogation,Dodik said “inappropriate excessive force” had caused Apinus and Luther to end up in critical condition.

Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel then move them to Yonif PR433/JS Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) in a civilian truck. Both victims died on the journey.

“Apinus and Luther’s body were burned upon arrival at the strategic reserves command,” Dodik said.

He explained that a joint team from the Cendrawasih Military Command in Papua and the TNI had questioned 19 soldiers and the victims’ family members in relation to the incident.

“We named nine suspects based on our investigation, comprising of two soldiers from Paniai 1705 Kodim and seven soldiers from Yonif PR433/JS,” Dodik said.

The suspects have been identified as Maj. Inf. ML, First Sgt. FTP, Maj. Inf. YAS, First Lt. Inf. JMTS, Chief Sgt. B, First Sgt. OSK, First Sgt. MS, Second Sgt. PG, Second Cpl. MAY.

Dodik further stated that the investigative team was probing three other soldiers: First Lt. Inf. DBH. First Sgt. LM and First Lt. Inf. FPH, to determine their roles in the incident.

The suspects are facing multiple charges that include battery, assault, hiding corpses and aiding a crime. They were also charged under Article 132 of the Military Code (KUHPM).

In November, the Military Police also named eight soldiers suspects in an arson case in Hitadipa village, Intan Jaya, Papua.

The joint team is also investigating the fatal shooting of pastor Yeremia Zanambani, which also took place in Hitadipa.

Prior to his death, Yeremia was involved in an investigation to find Luther and Apinus, who at that time were declared missing after being detained by military officers in a “COVID-19 raid”.

Yeremia had also visited Sugapa Koramil to search for Luther and Apinus.

Dodik said the investigative team was gathering evidence and waiting for the autopsy of Yeremia’s body.

“We have summoned 21 soldiers from Yonif R 400/BR for questioning regarding the incident,” he said, adding that he gave them until February 2021 to fulfil the summon.

Dodik claimed all criminal offences allegedly committed by TNI Personnel in Intan Jaya regency would be investigated thoroughly and be processed in a transparent manner.

Meanwhile, Regional Representatives Council (DPD) speaker from West Papua, Filep Wamafma, has urged the central government to call off military operations in Papua.

“The human rights of [Papuan people] will never be properly upheld if [the government] continues to carry out military operations in the region as if Papua is under martial law,”

Filep said on Thursday as quoted by tempo.co. He claimed TNI personnel had committed human rights violations in Luther and Apinus’s case and that they had violated the 1984 International Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Filep also said the burning of Luther and Apinus’ bodies by TNI personnel should not be tolerated. “Even if they were dead, they should be respected as human beings,” he said. (nal)

This article was published in thejakartapost.com with the title “TNI names 9 soldiers suspects for alleged torture, murder of 2 Papuans in Intan Jaya – National – The Jakarta Post”. Click to read: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/12/25/tni-names-9-soldiers-suspects-for-alleged-torture-murder-of-2-papuans-in-intan-jaya.html?fbclid=IwAR3IaZrU2wC4sm_woHa-HUuc-1vfs96YPn-k69jjKkzZjT7nH7kbxO0uywU.

Australia, UK and UN dragged into information operations targeting West Papua

On Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, a network of accounts is targeting the West Papua independence movement with memes and messages designed to shape international and domestic narratives about the separatist movement.

The region has been beset by a series of well-documented online information operations, but some of the content posted in late 2020 claims to represent the views on West Papua of Australian officials, as well as of the United Nations and the UK government, and have reportedly been called out by the Australian government.

A former Dutch colony, West Papua became part of Indonesia in 1969 after a heavily disputed referendum. The Australian government does not dispute Indonesia’s sovereignty over the region, despite the ongoing claims of indigenous Papuans. Some Pacific island states have expressed support for Papuan independence and raised alleged human rights abuses at the United Nations General Assembly.

In 2019, the BBC and ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre described coordinated social media campaigns that appeared to target international audiences with anti-separatist messages using a series of websites, which were amplified on Twitter. One was conducted by Indonesian media company InsightID, as confirmed by Facebook. In late 2020, Bellingcat reported on another network operating across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram that bears many similarities with the one discussed here.

ASPI examined a sample of accounts sharing unauthorised infographics claiming to represent the views of Australia and other countries on West Papua across social media. The network also shared messages that suggest West Papuans don’t support independence and that Indonesia has brought prosperity to the region, among other narratives.

Some messages were attributed to Australian diplomat Dave Peebles and Gary Quinlan, Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia. There were also posts that claimed the UK supports Indonesian sovereignty over Papua, with reference to UK diplomat Moazzam Malik and UK Minister for Asia Nigel Adams. Messages stating that the UN rejects West Papua’s claim for independence were attributed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Rafael Ramirez, a former UN envoy for Venezuela. Other posts attacked Vanuatu for discussing Papua at the UN in September.

Our analysis of accounts posting the images on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram revealed signs of coordinated or automated posting. This is consistent with previous activity relating to the region: ASPI examined a dataset of accounts targeting the West Papuan movement that were taken down by Twitter in April and found evidence of highly automated accounts posting in 30-minute intervals.

Our analysis of the most recent network found that a sample group of four Instagram accounts posted similar images around the same time each day in quick succession with the same hashtags and in a consistent order. Such behaviour may suggest a single operator of all four accounts.

Likewise, on Twitter, one group of three accounts also posted in a coordinated manner. BellaShi28 (red) would post first every day, followed by EvanR28 (green) and then LysaBella28 (blue). From 6 December onwards, the posting behaviour of these accounts became more consistent, suggesting that the operator of the accounts or the capabilities of the operation improved.

Some Facebook profiles also display similarly coordinated posting schedules. On 9 December, two accounts examined by ASPI posted 50 and 49 infographics about West Papua between 20:23–20:34 and 20:52–21:05, respectively, in largely the same order and in quick succession. All had the same set of hashtags: #FreeWestPapua, #vanuatu, #otsuspapua, #lanjutkanotsus—the latter two referring to West Papua’s special status within Indonesia.

The Twitter and Instagram accounts appear to have attracted little engagement so far, but their occasional use of English and Dutch instead of bahasa Indonesia seems calculated to influence international conversations about the issue. On Facebook, some accounts whose profiles were set up to appear as if they were locals in West Papua attracted slightly more interaction.

Many of the accounts used profile images that don’t appear genuine, consistent with past social media influence campaigns targeting West Papua. Profile photos were taken from image services such as Getty, news articles and other Instagram profiles, for example. Other accounts used images that were possibly created by a GAN (generative adversarial network), a phenomenon Bellingcat also observed, which uses machine learning to create new images from a training set of past images.

GAN images can sometimes be identified due to small imperfections, such as irregular backgrounds. In the image below, for example, the blurred and warped tree or column (circled in yellow) in the background suggests this Twitter profile image is a GAN.

A number of the Facebook accounts sharing the infographics link to and claim on their profiles to be affiliated with West Papuan independence Facebook pages, despite sharing memes that largely argue against the movement. One such independence page used terms associated with the Free Papua Movement and the West Papua National Liberation Army. The intended audience of its posts seems broader than West Papua: the language used is highly standardised without Papuan-specific slang, which means it could be read across Indonesia.

Overall, the narrative of the infographics we examined seems designed to strengthen the perception that Indonesia has international support for its sovereignty over West Papua and to quash hope of outside assistance with independence for the region. While the accounts we examined attracted only a relatively small amount of interaction, information campaigns on West Papuan issues have been persistent, and this is likely to be only a small part of operations designed to spread pro-Indonesia narratives.

Source: Australia, UK and UN dragged into information operations targeting West Papua | The Strategist (aspistrategist.org.au)

West Papua: Man held for stealing soldier’s handgun

Sorong, W Papua (ANTARA) – The Sorong city police in West Papua arrested a 21-year-old man for stealing an army personnel’s handbag, which contained a handgun along with several bullets and a cellular phone.

Police managed to trace the suspect, identified as Epeng, after he sold the phone to a stolen goods collector named Komar (30), Sorong city police chief, Adjunct Sen.Coms.Ary Nyoto Setiawan, said.

During questioning, Komar told investigators he had obtained the phone from Epeng, Setiawan told ANTARA in Sorong city on Tuesday.

Based on the information Komar provided, police traced the suspect’s whereabouts and nabbed him, he informed.

While making the arrest, police also found eight small packs of marijuana in Epeng’s possession, he added.

Epeng has been charged with violating Article 363 of Emergency Law No.12/1951 on firearm ownership; Article 170 of Criminal Law; and Article 114 Point 1 and 2 of Drug Law No.35/2009. (INE)

Reporter: Ernes BK, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Azis Kurmala
COPYRIGHT © ANTARA 2020

Indonesia accuses 14 West Papuan activists of treason for wanting to be free people. International intervention needed in Merouke, West Papua

14 KNPB managers and members from Merauke were arrested by Indonesian police now behind the iron bars of the Indonesian colonial jailhouse.

Since Sunday 13 December 2020 13:00 until now With accusation of treason (makar).
1. Charles Sraun, 38, Head of KNPB
2. Peter Paul Kontremko, 32,
Vice Chairman
3. Kristian Yandun, 38, member.
4. Robertus Landa, 23,
chairman of the Diplomacy commissioner.
5. Michael Beteop, 24, member.
6. Elias Kmur, 38 years old, member.
7. Marianus Anyum, 25 years old, member.
8. Kristian M. Anggunop, 24, member.
9. Emanuel T Omba, 24, member.
10. Peter kutey, 27 years old, member.
11. Linus pasim, 26 years old, member.
12. Salerius Kamogou, 24, member.
13. Petrus Koweng, 28, member.
14. John Yawon, 23, member.
Exactly on December 15, 2020, families and members of KNPB had time to go to the police station to visit the detainees.
But not allowed by the local colonial police.
They are still being held on charges of treason (makar) or political prisoners of independent West Papua only because of the pictures of the Morning Star Patterns, the KNPB Flag and the writings of the Reverendum in the KNPB (Merauke) secretariat.
Please Advocate

The US can no longer turn a blind eye to abuses in Papua

The Biden administration has to reconsider its support for the Indonesian military until it addresses abuse of civilians.

Indonesian soldiers stand guard during a protest in Timika, Papua province on August 21, 2019 [File: AP/Jimmy Rahadat]
Indonesian soldiers stand guard during a protest in Timika, Papua province on August 21, 2019 [File: AP/Jimmy Rahadat]
On October 28, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Indonesia as part of a five-country tour of Asia focused on strengthening ties amid ongoing tensions with China. A day after his arrival, an independent humanitarian team, consisting of several religious leaders, academics, and humanitarian activists in Papua, announced that it had found evidence that Yeremia Zanambani, a pastor in the region of Intan Jaya, Papua, had been allegedly shot, stabbed and ultimately killed by an Indonesian soldier. On November 2, Indonesia’s National Human Rights Commission further said that the soldier had allegedly tortured Pastor Yeremia in an attempt to extract information about an armed criminal group in the area.

Two days before Pompeo’s visit, military forces allegedly shot and killed Rufinus Tigau, a catechist working at a Catholic parish in the same region, saying that he was a member of an armed criminal group, a claim the local Catholic diocese denies.

These incidents are just the latest in a series of unlawful killings allegedly involving Indonesian military and police personnel in the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

There has been an Indonesian military presence in Papua since it was incorporated into the country in 1969 after a contentious referendum organised by the United Nations. Under former President Soeharto’s New Order regime (1966-1998), the region was designated as a military operation zone and military forces deployed there were accused of numerous human rights violations.

The designation was lifted shortly after Soeharto’s resignation in 1998, but the military presence has continued and successive governments have adopted a “security approach” to Papua – focusing on the threat posed by armed separatist groups while largely ignoring legitimate socioeconomic and political grievances from the civilian population.

Amnesty has recorded at least 52 cases of suspected unlawful killings by security forces in Papua between February 2018 and November 2020 alone, in which 103 people were killed.

Indonesia’s government and military have often sought to portray those killed as armed rebels, or, in certain cases, claim that it was armed rebels that were doing the killing. Official investigations into the killings have been few and far between.

Pompeo’s Jakarta trip came less than two weeks after Indonesian Minister of Defence Prabowo Subianto travelled to Washington for his first official visit after being banned from entering the US for two decades over his involvement as a high-ranking officer in human rights violations. In the 1990s, the US government also imposed military assistance restrictions on the Indonesian military and Kopassus, its army special forces unit where Prabowo was a commander, due to their alleged involvement in war crimes in the East Timor conflict. Kopassus has also been implicated in the kidnapping and murder of Papuan activist Theys Eluay in 2001.

In a statement issued after Prabowo met with US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, the Department of Defense said: “Both leaders shared their desire to enhance bilateral military-to-military activities and work together on maritime security.”

The statement also said that Esper “communicated the importance of upholding human rights, the rule of law and professionalization as the two countries expand their engagement”. These admirable words might have carried more weight had they not been addressed to a man discharged from the Indonesian military for his involvement in the kidnapping of pro-democracy activists.

Esper’s meeting with Prabowo was another example of something the US has done too often in its relations with Indonesia: paying lip service to human rights while turning a blind eye to flagrant and continuous abuses, particularly in Papua, in order to gain Jakarta’s loyalties in the growing regional competition with China.

Of course, nothing more could have been expected from the current US administration led by a man who had casually tweeted out “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” during mass protests against racism and lavished praise on autocrats and dictators while purportedly serving as the leader of the free world. President Donald Trump has never demonstrated interest in upholding human rights in his own country, let alone addressing human rights violations and abuses elsewhere.

His successor, however, has promised change. “We lead not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example […] With a love of country – and a thirst for justice – let us be the nation that we know we can be,” President-elect Joe Biden said in his election victory speech on November 7.

Such a nation should not put weapons into the hands of foreign soldiers who will use them against civilians and activists. Such a nation should not stay silent when an ally deploys an increasing number of security forces to a region where military and police officers have been implicated in numerous crimes against the local population.

It is high time that the US lead by the power of its example by speaking out against flagrant human rights violations, including in Papua and West Papua, and guaranteeing that no military aid will be used to prolong the suffering of the Papuan people.

The views expressed in this article are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

42 Nations and Regions to be Free from Indonesian colonial EMpire

What is called Indonesian country or nation-state now has 42 nations and regions that are ready to separate and become free and independent nations and countries from Idonesian colonial empire.

An Indonesian author, Djuyoto Suntani, says since 2015 Indonesia will begin to dismantle, and Balkanization of Indonesia is real.

Suntani says there are five characteristics that determine these 42 countries in the future
1. The same ethincity
2. Bisnis/ Economic ties
3. The same cultural ties.
4. Ideological links
5. Religious affiliations

He says in his book:
“Seperti kita ketahui, semua yang terjadi di alam ini mengikuti suatu siklus tertentu. Eksistensi suatu bangsa dan negara juga termasuk dalam suatu siklus yang berjalan sesuai dengan ketentuan hukum alam.
[Meaning: as we know it, everything happens in cyclus. The existence of a nation-state also occur cyclical, according to the laws of nature]

He also gives examples of previous kingdoms withing what is now known as Indonesia has risen and fallen.

1 Naggroe Atjeh Darrusallam : Banda Atjeh

15 Kalimantan Barat : Pontianak Merdeka

29 Kesultanan Riau Lingga

2 Republik West Papua

16 Bali Merdeka

30 Sulawesi Merdeka

3 Sumatra Utara : Medan

17 Bendera kesultanan Banten Merdeka

31 Republik Riau Merdeka

4 Jamar (Jawa Madura) : Surakarta

18 Bendera Kesultanan Asahan Merdeka

32 Gerakan Sulawesi Merdeka

5 Jawa Tengah :Kerajaan Mataram

19 Bendera Kesultanan Pagaruyung Merdeka

33 Gerakan Pemberontakan Aceh 1953

6 Yogyakarta: Kraton

20 Bendera Sumatera Timur

34 Gerakan  Sulawesi 1959

7 Kalimantan Timur : Samarinda

21 Bendera Sumatera Selatan Merdeka

35 Pemberontakan Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI)

8 Ternate Tidore : Ternate

22 Bendera  Bandung Merdeka

36 Bendera Kemerdekaan Jawa Barat 1949

9 Sulawesi Selatan : Makassar 23 Bendera Dayak Besar Merdeka

37 Gerakan Flores Merdeka

 

10 Sulawesi Utara : Manado

 

24 Bendera Bandung Merdeka

38 Gerakan Boneo Sabah Merdeka

11 Nusa Tenggara :NIT

25 Bendera Banten Merdeka

39 Sumatra Selatan : Lampung Merdeka

Gerakan Dibawah Tanah

 

12 Timor Leste : Dili (Sudah Merdeka)

26 Jawa Barat 40 Sunda Kecil : Jakarta Merdeka

Gerakan Dibawah Tanah

 

13 Republik Maluku Selatan  RMS: Ambon

27 Negara Islam Indonesia

41 Flobamora dan  Sumba: Kupang Merdeka

Gerakan Dibawah Tanah

 

14 Negara Riau Merdeka

28 Kesultanan Aceh

42 Maluku Tenggara : Tual  Merdeka

Gerakan Dibawah Tanah

 

 

Sooner or Later, These Nine Nations and Regions will be Free and Independent from Indonesia

Gen. WPRA Amunggut Tabi from the West Papua Army sends this public letter to the United Liberation

These 42 Regions/ Nations will be Free from Indonesian empire
These 42 Regions/ Nations will be Free from Indonesian empire

Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Republic of South Molucass and Free Aceh Movement (GAM) to organise and form an organisation called

UNITED LIBERATION MOVEMENT AGAINST INDONESIAN EMPIRE (ULMAI)

This organisation will cooperate with various supporters around the world

The countires/ nations/ regions who are ready and have been fighting to be free from Indonesian empire are as follows:

  1. Republic of West Papua
  2. Republic of South Moluccas
  3. Free Aceh Movement
  4. Free Bali
  5. Free Borneo Merdeka (Borneo)
  6. Free Minahasa (Nort Sulawesi)
  7. Free Pasundan Merdeka
  8. Free Riau Movement
  9. Free Sangir-Talau

Please Click and read this link that says there will be 43 countries to be declared independent from Indonesia

 

The US can no longer turn a blind eye to abuses in Papua
  • The Biden administration has to reconsider its support for the Indonesian military until it addresses abuse of civilians.
  • Joanne Lin is Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs at Amnesty International USA.
  • Usman Hamid
  • Usman Hamid is the Executive Director of Amnesty International Indonesia.
West Papuan Catholic Priests have appealed to Indonesian security forces and Papua's pro-independence guerilla fighters to step back from armed conflict and enter dialogue. Photo: Supplied
West Papuan Catholic Priests have appealed to Indonesian security forces and Papua’s pro-independence guerilla fighters to step back from armed conflict and enter dialogue. Photo: Supplied

Indonesian soldiers stand guard during a protest in Timika, Papua province on August 21, 2019 [File: AP/Jimmy Rahadat]

On October 28, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Indonesia as part of a five-country tour of Asia focused on strengthening ties amid ongoing tensions with China. A day after his arrival, an independent humanitarian team, consisting of several religious leaders, academics, and humanitarian activists in Papua, announced that it had found evidence that Yeremia Zanambani, a pastor in the region of Intan Jaya, Papua, had been allegedly shot, stabbed and ultimately killed by an Indonesian soldier. On November 2, Indonesia’s National Human Rights Commission further said that the soldier had allegedly tortured Pastor Yeremia in an attempt to extract information about an armed criminal group in the area.

Two days before Pompeo’s visit, military forces allegedly shot and killed Rufinus Tigau, a catechist working at a Catholic parish in the same region, saying that he was a member of an armed criminal group, a claim the local Catholic diocese denies.

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These incidents are just the latest in a series of unlawful killings allegedly involving Indonesian military and police personnel in the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

There has been an Indonesian military presence in Papua since it was incorporated into the country in 1969 after a contentious referendum organised by the United Nations. Under former President Soeharto’s New Order regime (1966-1998), the region was designated as a military operation zone and military forces deployed there were accused of numerous human rights violations.

The designation was lifted shortly after Soeharto’s resignation in 1998, but the military presence has continued and successive governments have adopted a “security approach” to Papua – focusing on the threat posed by armed separatist groups while largely ignoring legitimate socioeconomic and political grievances from the civilian population.

Amnesty has recorded at least 52 cases of suspected unlawful killings by security forces in Papua between February 2018 and November 2020 alone, in which 103 people were killed.

In one such incident in July, 40-year-old Elias Karunggu and his 18-year-old son Sela were shot by Indonesian soldiers in Nduga regency while they were fording a river on the way to the nearest town. The father and son had lived in a forest refugee camp for nearly two years after being displaced from their homes due to ongoing military operations in the area.

Indonesia’s government and military have often sought to portray those killed as armed rebels, or, in certain cases, claim that it was armed rebels that were doing the killing. Official investigations into the killings have been few and far between.

Pompeo’s Jakarta trip came less than two weeks after Indonesian Minister of Defence Prabowo Subianto travelled to Washington for his first official visit after being banned from entering the US for two decades over his involvement as a high-ranking officer in human rights violations. In the 1990s, the US government also imposed military assistance restrictions on the Indonesian military and Kopassus, its army special forces unit where Prabowo was a commander, due to their alleged involvement in war crimes in the East Timor conflict. Kopassus has also been implicated in the kidnapping and murder of Papuan activist Theys Eluay in 2001.

In a statement issued after Prabowo met with US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, the Department of Defense said: “Both leaders shared their desire to enhance bilateral military-to-military activities and work together on maritime security.”

The statement also said that Esper “communicated the importance of upholding human rights, the rule of law and professionalization as the two countries expand their engagement”. These admirable words might have carried more weight had they not been addressed to a man discharged from the Indonesian military for his involvement in the kidnapping of pro-democracy activists.

Esper’s meeting with Prabowo was another example of something the US has done too often in its relations with Indonesia: paying lip service to human rights while turning a blind eye to flagrant and continuous abuses, particularly in Papua, in order to gain Jakarta’s loyalties in the growing regional competition with China.

Of course, nothing more could have been expected from the current US administration led by a man who had casually tweeted out “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” during mass protests against racism and lavished praise on autocrats and dictators while purportedly serving as the leader of the free world. President Donald Trump has never demonstrated interest in upholding human rights in his own country, let alone addressing human rights violations and abuses elsewhere.

His successor, however, has promised change. “We lead not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example […] With a love of country – and a thirst for justice – let us be the nation that we know we can be,” President-elect Joe Biden said in his election victory speech on November 7.

Such a nation should not put weapons into the hands of foreign soldiers who will use them against civilians and activists. Such a nation should not stay silent when an ally deploys an increasing number of security forces to a region where military and police officers have been implicated in numerous crimes against the local population.

It is high time that the US lead by the power of its example by speaking out against flagrant human rights violations, including in Papua and West Papua, and guaranteeing that no military aid will be used to prolong the suffering of the Papuan people

 

The US can no longer turn a blind eye to abuses in Papua

The Biden administration has to reconsider its support for the Indonesian military until it addresses abuse of civilians.

On October 28, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Indonesia as part of a five-country tour of Asia focused on strengthening ties amid ongoing tensions with China. A day after his arrival, an independent humanitarian team, consisting of several religious leaders, academics, and humanitarian activists in Papua, announced that it had found evidence that Yeremia Zanambani, a pastor in the region of Intan Jaya, Papua, had been allegedly shot, stabbed and ultimately killed by an Indonesian soldier. On November 2, Indonesia’s National Human Rights Commission further said that the soldier had allegedly tortured Pastor Yeremia in an attempt to extract information about an armed criminal group in the area.

Two days before Pompeo’s visit, military forces allegedly shot and killed Rufinus Tigau, a catechist working at a Catholic parish in the same region, saying that he was a member of an armed criminal group, a claim the local Catholic diocese denies.

These incidents are just the latest in a series of unlawful killings allegedly involving Indonesian military and police personnel in the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

There has been an Indonesian military presence in Papua since it was incorporated into the country in 1969 after a contentious referendum organised by the United Nations. Under former President Soeharto’s New Order regime (1966-1998), the region was designated as a military operation zone and military forces deployed there were accused of numerous human rights violations.

The designation was lifted shortly after Soeharto’s resignation in 1998, but the military presence has continued and successive governments have adopted a “security approach” to Papua – focusing on the threat posed by armed separatist groups while largely ignoring legitimate socioeconomic and political grievances from the civilian population.

Amnesty has recorded at least 52 cases of suspected unlawful killings by security forces in Papua between February 2018 and November 2020 alone, in which 103 people were killed.

In one such incident in July, 40-year-old Elias Karunggu and his 18-year-old son Sela were shot by Indonesian soldiers in Nduga regency while they were fording a river on the way to the nearest town. The father and son had lived in a forest refugee camp for nearly two years after being displaced from their homes due to ongoing military operations in the area.

Indonesia’s government and military have often sought to portray those killed as armed rebels, or, in certain cases, claim that it was armed rebels that were doing the killing. Official investigations into the killings have been few and far between.

Pompeo’s Jakarta trip came less than two weeks after Indonesian Minister of Defence Prabowo Subianto travelled to Washington for his first official visit after being banned from entering the US for two decades over his involvement as a high-ranking officer in human rights violations. In the 1990s, the US government also imposed military assistance restrictions on the Indonesian military and Kopassus, its army special forces unit where Prabowo was a commander, due to their alleged involvement in war crimes in the East Timor conflict. Kopassus has also been implicated in the kidnapping and murder of Papuan activist Theys Eluay in 2001.

In a statement issued after Prabowo met with US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, the Department of Defense said: “Both leaders shared their desire to enhance bilateral military-to-military activities and work together on maritime security.”

The statement also said that Esper “communicated the importance of upholding human rights, the rule of law and professionalization as the two countries expand their engagement”. These admirable words might have carried more weight had they not been addressed to a man discharged from the Indonesian military for his involvement in the kidnapping of pro-democracy activists.

Esper’s meeting with Prabowo was another example of something the US has done too often in its relations with Indonesia: paying lip service to human rights while turning a blind eye to flagrant and continuous abuses, particularly in Papua, in order to gain Jakarta’s loyalties in the growing regional competition with China.

Of course, nothing more could have been expected from the current US administration led by a man who had casually tweeted out “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” during mass protests against racism and lavished praise on autocrats and dictators while purportedly serving as the leader of the free world. President Donald Trump has never demonstrated interest in upholding human rights in his own country, let alone addressing human rights violations and abuses elsewhere.

His successor, however, has promised change. “We lead not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example […] With a love of country – and a thirst for justice – let us be the nation that we know we can be,” President-elect Joe Biden said in his election victory speech on November 7.

Such a nation should not put weapons into the hands of foreign soldiers who will use them against civilians and activists. Such a nation should not stay silent when an ally deploys an increasing number of security forces to a region where military and police officers have been implicated in numerous crimes against the local population.

It is high time that the US lead by the power of its example by speaking out against flagrant human rights violations, including in Papua and West Papua, and guaranteeing that no military aid will be used to prolong the suffering of the Papuan people.

The views expressed in this article are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

Source: Aljazeera

Pacific Forum chair seeks consensus on secretary general

The chair of the Pacific Islands Forum is seeking consensus on the appointment of the regional organisations new secretary general.

This comes as today’s Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ summit has been postponed to next month due to the unavailability of many leaders.

During the virtual meeting, which had been scheduled to run until Friday, leaders were expected to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis.

They were also supposed to appoint a new secretary-general for the Forum to replace the outgoing top official, Papua New Guinea’s Dame Meg Taylor.

Five candidates from Tonga, Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji are vying for the position.

However what is normally a routine exercise has proved divisive this time around with Micronesian leaders threatening to withdraw from the forum if their candidate does not get the job.

They claim a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ is in place guaranteeing the role to the candidate from the Micronesian sub-region.

RNZ Pacific correspondent Bernadette Carreon spoke recently with Forum chair and Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano about the meeting and the row over the secretary general’s post.

Source: RNZ