6 Reports: Papuans Decry Jakarta's Attitude After Snub By RI
Mar 24, 2006 08:00 PST
- JP: Papuan Decry Govt's Attitude
- JP Op-Ed: Stopping political elite
from meddling in mining
- BBC: Mine hits deep seam
of Papua unrest
- Age Update: Papua on brink
of more violence: ICG report
- NYT: 3 Killed, 20 Injured in
Mudslide at Indonesian Mine
- update: Reporters Without Borders:
Seven journalists assaulted by police
and students in Papua
The Jakarta Post
Friday, March 24, 2006
Papuan Decry Govt's Attitude
The Jakarta Post, Jayapura
Papuan community leaders, smarting at the refusal of a minister to meet with
them last week, have accused the central government of arrogance and an
"unwillingness" to address problems affecting their province.
Representatives of the Papuan Legislative Council (DPRP), Papua People's
Assembly (MRP) as well as local religious figures issued a joint statement of
their concerns, which was sent Thursday to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The focus of their disappointment was Coordinating Minister for Political,
Legal and Security Affairs Widodo AS's visit to Jayapura on March 17, one day
after the clashes between protesters and security officers.
Four police officers and one Air Force soldier were killed on March 16 by
protesters, who demanded the closure of the gold and copper mine run by PT
All the five were involved in efforts to break up a rally in which the
protesters blocked a road in front of the Cendrawasih State University
A copy of the statement was received by Antara newswire's bureau office in
During the visit to Jayapura, Widodo and his entourage of other high-ranking
officials visited bereaved families of the dead as well as the injured at a
local hospital. In another stop at Trikora Military Command Headquarters, the
members of the delegation gave speeches but did not provide time for dialog.
The group said the refusal to engage in discussion showed the central
government was not committed to solving problems in the province. They also
was different from the accommodating approach toward the settlement of
in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, where a peace agreement with local people was
reached last year.
Signatories to the statement included DPRP deputy spokesman Komarudin
Watubun, MRP chairman Agus A. Alua, Papua Bishop Mgr. Leo Laba Ladjar and
the Papuan chapter of the Communion of Indonesian Churches Rev. Herman Saud.
Meanwhile, at least 16 lawyers from Papua and Jakarta are ready to defend 15
people named suspects in the killing of the five security personnel.
Pieter Ell, coordinator of the Papuan chapter of the Commission for Missing
Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), said in Jayapura the lawyers were
from Kontras Papua, the Jayapura branch office of the Legal Aid Institute
the Papuan chapter of Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM), the
Democratic Alliance for Papua, Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights
Association (PBHI) and Kontras Jakarta.
Pieter said the suspects had been treated fairly during questioning.
Papua Police have questioned 76 people in connection with the incident, and a
reconstruction of the clashes was held Wednesday at the incident site near
Cendrawasih State University.
The reconstruction, led by chief of the National Police investigating team
Sr. Comr. Matius Salempang, attracted a crowd of onlookers after traffic was
halted for nearly 30 minutes from the direction of Jayapura to Sentani
The Jakarta Post
Friday, March 24, 2006
Stopping political elite from meddling in mining
Ong Hock Chuan, Jakarta
Kudos to the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) for asking
the political elite to refrain from stirring up protests directed at foreign
It is a step in the right direction as it is high time an Indonesian
institution of some stature spoke up for foreign investors against the
tyranny of the
so-called political elite.
The mining industry, headline grabbing though it may be these days, is only
the tip of the iceberg when it comes to investors being bullied by the
Time and again many a foreign investor has stood helpless and alone once a
member of this political elite chooses to make them or their industry a
The political elite has only to make an accusation, no matter how wild it is,
and the damage is done. The investor stands accused and because they are
foreigners, are hesitant to speak out in an assertive manner to clear their
for fear of provoking even stronger reactions.
Besides, the accused party rarely has credibility in protesting its
innocence. Most attempts at this exercise make them sound as if they are
are whining about their situation, which then makes matters worse.
They then look around for help, for someone who would not necessarily endorse
their actions, but just to advocate fair play and a rational approach to
issues. Usually they find no one. Not among the more well-known human rights
campaigners and politicians because they have their own reputations to
being seen to advocate for big business does not endear them to their
constituents; not among the various industry associations because they are
staffed by bureaucrats or veterans in sinecure positions; and not among the
various commissions and NGOs sworn to protect the people because they do
to upset each other.
So foreign investors are left entirely alone to fend for themselves whenever
the political elite decides to attack them. In their isolation, many of these
foreigners must wonder what sort of a society in decay it is here where, to
paraphrase Yeats, the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of
At worst many of them must seriously contemplate pulling out their
investments from Indonesia; at best they would still relate their
experience as a
parable of admonishment to their fellow investors who are eying Indonesia.
This is why Kadin's recent move to warn off political elite from fanning
protests against mining companies is such a positive step forward for
Finally, foreign investors can count on an institution of standing in the
Indonesian community to try to keep the playing field a bit more level and
temperatures surrounding issues a bit cooler. This will give all parties
more breathing space to resolve their differences and come to amiable
Kadin should perhaps now keep up the momentum by assuming a leading position
in issues management and resolution. Led by well-respected businesspeople with
the ear of government ministers as well as foreign investors, Kadin is well
positioned to ensure that controversial issues are resolved satisfactorily.
It does not have to take sides, merely to ensure that all parties are being
fair in their approach toward issues. The Freeport issue is a case in point.
Kadin can, for instance moderate a roundtable of principal players where Kadin
can set very specific questions for all parties to answer, such as what
are the complaints against Freeport and what are the reasons to support such
complaints; who exactly has issue against Freeport and why do they need to
resort to violence; what are Freeport's response to such complaints and
both sides' suggestions to resolve the issue? And then print it as a white
paper on the issue.
Such actions would not necessarily solve issues overnight but it would go a
long way toward bringing some element of rationale to controversial issues.
True, Kadin should not really be involved in such activities but it would
appear that it has to out of default as the other institutions have reneged on
their functions. The press, the so-called fourth estate, is often more
interested in repeating unsubstantiated allegations, sometimes the wilder
rather than practice responsible reporting; the self-styled human rights
champions and social commentators do not want to make enemies of the political
elite; ministers are usually too slow or lacking in political will to resolve
Indonesia remains a great place for investment and many foreigners know this.
They want to put their money here and they are usually big boys, they can
fend for themselves; but this country owes them an obligation to keep the
field level in return for the money they bring in and the jobs they create.
Of course, foreign investors should act responsibly, adhere to all Indonesian
laws and use their financial clout and know-how to benefit the community.
Many of them already do that, all they need is someone to keep the hounds
political elite at bay so that they can go about their business without fear
of unjustified and unwarranted attacks.
The writer is a partner at Maverick, a public relations consultancy
specializing in crisis and issues management. He can be contacted at
23 March 2006
Mine hits deep seam of Papua unrest
By Tim Johnston
BBC News, Jakarta
When protesters killed five members of the Indonesian security forces in
the remote and restive province of Papua last week, it focused
international attention on a region with long-standing grievances.
Analysts are warning that the Indonesian government has a limited window
of opportunity to do something about the unrest.
Although the demonstrations were nominally spurred by objections to the
world's largest copper and gold mine, operated by the US-based Freeport
McMoRan, the roots of Papuan discontent are deeper and more intractable.
Papua has a distinct identity and political history. Dutch colonial forces
granted Papua self-rule in 1961, but after the Dutch pulled out a year
later, Jakarta annexed the province without honouring the agreement.
In 2001, the government recognised this by granting the province increased
autonomy, but it has had little tangible benefit on the ground.
Losing faith in the political process, many activists believe direct
action is the only way to bring their concerns to the attention of
"Many of the demonstrations had long been planned by student groups linked
to the independence movement, but the Freeport protests also reflected
broader frustration and anger over the role of the military in Papua, lack
of justice for past abuses and the failure of special autonomy to improve
the welfare of the people," the Brussels-based International Crisis Group
said in a report released this week.
Tired of waiting
The list of Papuan complaints has been growing steadily over the years.
People in the province feel that at best they are neglected, and at worst
they have been ruthlessly exploited by successive Jakarta governments only
interested in taking their gold, their copper, their timber and their land
and giving nothing in return.
The brutal and heavy handed tactics of the Indonesian security forces and
the lack of any reliable system of redress have also provided a constant
source of aggravation, and a constant source of recruits to the ranks of
the rebels. The authorities are aware of the problem and have taken some
steps: after the recent police deaths, they took away the guns of 40
members of the paramilitary mobile police brigade to prevent retribution.
Papuans also feel let down by the government of President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono. In his election campaign in 2004, Mr Yudhoyono promised to
tackle long-standing Papuan concerns, a promise that won him an
overwhelming share of the vote in the province.
But Papuans say he has not delivered.
They say his administration has ignored the Papuan People's Council, which
was set up late last year as an interlocutor to ease tensions between
Papuans and the central government. They say that they are tired of
waiting for change that never comes and that now is the time to for them
to push it onto the agenda, both within Indonesia and internationally.
Papuan nationalists are becoming much more adept at attracting
international attention to their concerns. They know that the topic of
gold mining, with its visceral if frequently mistaken associations with
rapacious greed, has a broad and incendiary appeal in the liberal West. By
coupling their economic grievances with Freeport with accusations of
environmental damage, the appeal has been given extra impetus.
A prominent Papuan nationalist, Edison Waromi, says that the recent
arrival of 43 Papuan asylum seekers in Australia was designed to bring
attention to the problems in the province. The boat they arrived on
carried a banner saying in English: "Save West Papua people souls from
genocide, intimidation and terrorist from military government of
On Thursday, the Australian government granted all but one of the group
temporary protection visas, an indication that their fears of the
Indonesian authorities may have foundation. It is a clear embarrassment
for South East Asia's largest democracy and a country that is trying to
re-establish its humanitarian credentials after years of repression.
Beneath Indonesia's newly restored democracy runs a powerful vein of
nationalism. What the nationalists fear is that Papua will become another
After almost a quarter of a century of Indonesian rule, international
pressure forced Jakarta to hold a referendum on Timorese independence, and
in 1999 the land that Indonesians once called their 27th province voted to
break away, leaving a deep wound that for many has never healed.
Nationalists accuse the West of orchestrating the plan to "steal" East
Timor, starting with a mass campaign by human rights activists and ending
with the UN-organised referendum on independence.
The subject is still so raw that almost all visiting dignitaries, from US
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice earlier this month to UK Prime
Minister Tony Blair next week, are required to make a statement that they
are committed to "the unitary state of Indonesia" - shorthand for a
declaration that they don't support independence for Papua or any other
part of the country.
The Indonesian government has to perform a difficult balancing act in many
It needs to move towards addressing Papuan concerns while trying to keep
inflamed Indonesian nationalist sentiments in check; and it needs to be
seen to be taking concerns over Freeport into account while avoiding being
seen unilaterally to renegotiate the company's licence, and thus
alienating vital foreign investment in the country.
Although the government has been tinkering with solutions to specific
Freeport-based issues, it has done little to address the underlying
sources of discontent in Papua. The International Crisis Group says that
the most important element of any solution would be constructive dialogue
with a representative Papuan body.
It says that although it would currently be possible to revive the Papuan
People's Council as a dialogue partner, people are running out of
patience, and that will not hold true indefinitely.
The Age (Melbourne)
March 23, 2006
Papua on brink of more violence: report
Indonesia's restive Papua is on the brink of another surge in violence
with the province's fledgling representative body in danger of imminent
collapse, a new report has warned.
Under special autonomy laws meant to provide indigenous Papuans with more
power over their own affairs, Indonesia's government last October agreed
to set up a special council drawn from tribal leaders, religious groups
and public figures.
The Papuan People's Council, established after years of delay, was meant
to provide a buffer to rule from distant Jakarta, helping dampen the
grievances of Papuan separatists.
But after demonstrators last week beat and stoned to death five members of
the security forces at a protest against a US-owned gold mine, a new
report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) warns the five-month-old
council is now in danger of collapse.
Australian Crisis Group analyst Francesca Lawe-Davies said last week's
riots in Jayapura against the giant US-owned Freeport gold and copper mine
highlighted the fragile state of the council.
"The anti-Freeport violence was a way of venting frustration over
long-running grievances ranging from a lack of justice for past abuses to
poverty and corruption to the role of the military in the province," she
"But the very institution that should have a key role in managing these
tensions, the Papuan People's Council, is currently paralysed, partly by
government mishandling but also by its own ineptitude."
Lawe-Davies said the council, known as the Majelis Rakyat Papua, or MRP,
was the most representative body yet to emerge in Papua.
Separatists in the province have waged a low-level insurgency against
Indonesian rule for decades since a 1969 UN-sanctioned vote handed the
province to Jakarta in a referendum widely seen as rigged.
Since then, often brutal or bungled rule has only seen independence
Australia has agreed to provide temporary residence visas to 42 of 43
Papuans who landed in Cape York in January claiming Jakarta was carrying
out a campaign of genocide in the province.
ICG said the demise of the people's council would have "grave
consequences" given the region's current volatility.
"Failure to bolster it could deal a fatal blow to the autonomy package
granted to the restive province in 2001, in which many Papuans are already
losing faith," the report said.
It called for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who has promised to end
the long-running Papua conflict, to meet with the council and acknowledge
"The MRP, for its part, should move beyond non-negotiable demands and
offer realistic policy options to make autonomy work," the report said.
Sidney Jones, Crisis Group's South-East Asia Director, said if the council
was allowed to fail, separatist sentiment in Papua would only intensify.
"The central government needs to realise that it is in its own interest to
help the Papuan People's Council succeed," she said.
The New York Times
March 23, 2006
3 Killed, 20 Injured in Mudslide at Indonesian Mine
By Raymond Bonner and Peter Gelling
Jakarta, Indonesia, March 23 — Three people were killed and more thaan 20
injured when a wall of mud ripped through a cafeteria operated by the
American mining company Freeport-McMoRan on the remote province of Papua,
company and Indonesian officials said today.
The landslide, which occurred at 1 a.m., began on a mountain above a
service area, but officials said that it was not caused by Freeport's
mining activities in Papua, an area shrouded in rainforests and prone to
earthquakes and heavy rains.
The incident was the latest in a string of troubles for Freeport, based in
New Orleans, which mines massive copper and gold deposits in Papua and has
been the object of violent protests in recent days.
Hours after the landslide, the government released a report, weeks in the
works, critical of Freeport's environmental practices at the mine, which
by Freeport's own estimates will generate some six billion tons of waste
before operations are through.
"We want Freeport to start following the rules here," the environment
minister, Rachmat Witoelar said. "Freeport shouldn't be its own country
within a country. There are 500 other companies like Freeport here that
follow the rules."
The investigation, carried out by a team of 24 independent experts, found
large amounts of waste were being dumped into what were once a system of
pristine Papuan rivers, almost 700,000 tons a day.
Mr. Witoelar said Freeport needed immediately to set up an alternative
method for disposing of the waste, using safer and more efficient
A Freeport spokesman, Siddharta Moersjid, said the company would cooperate
with the Indonesian government. "We will continue to work with the
ministry as we have the same common objective in trying to minimize the
impact to the environment from our activities," he said in a telephone
The mine's waste disposal method, the company says, has been approved by
provincial authorities, and that other means, like construction of a
pipeline, would be too costly and prone to accidents.
Mr. Witoelar said Freeport has no legal permit to dispose of its waste in
the rivers. The mine is co-owned by Freeport and Rio Tinto. Freeport has
long occupied a special place in Indonesia. It was one of the first major
foreign investors after independence and is one of the country's largest
taxpayers. But, as Mr. Witoelar suggested, it has sometimes acted as a law
unto itself, entering into arrangements with the country's top civilian
and military officials that have brought it under increasing scrutiny.
It is currently being investigated by the United States Justice Department
for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and by the
Securities and Exchange Commission for possible violations of security
The investigations were triggered in part by reports in The New York Times
that the company made more than $20 million in payments to individual
military officers from 1998 through 2004.
The company has also been criticized by many Papuans for not adequately
sharing the mine's wealth with the local people. In the last week, Papuan
have protested to demand that the mine be closed, demonstrations that
resulted in the deaths of four Indonesian security officials.
The Indonesian Government does not allow journalists to report in the
province, without special permission, which has rarely been granted in
An Indonesian environmental organization, Walhi, said Freeport's waste
disposal system has been illegal since 1990 under Indonesian law. The
group also doubted the government's recent investigation would have much
"We think it is a waste of time," the group's deputy director, Farah Sofa,
said in an interview. "Freeport has long been on the wrong side of the
law. There needs to be direct consequences for the company's actions."
Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
23 March 2006
Seven journalists assaulted by police and students in Papua
Person(s): Mahendra Dewanata, Cunding Levi, Aryo, Robert Vanwi Subiat
Target(s): journalist(s), media worker(s)
Type(s) of violation(s): assaulted , attacked
(SEAPA/IFEX) - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called
for a meeting of police officials in Papua province following an assault
by policemen and students on seven journalists on 16 March 2006.
On that day, the journalists - in three separate groups - were trying to
cover student protests in Cendrawasih University in Jayapura, Papua
province. For some reason, however, the skirmishes between the police and
students were on separate incidents directed at the journalists
The national daily, "Kompas", said three television reporters from
stations RCTI and TV7 were simply standing in front of a police office
following one such skirmish when a group of policemen assaulted them.
According to the report, police kicked and beat up on the reporters, who
sustained injuries on their mouths, eyes and arms as a result of the
attack. Their cameras were also damaged.
"Kompas" said a few policemen and some town residents finally intervened
and put a stop to the beating.
Meanwhile, ANTV cameraman Mahendra Dewanata was also reported to have been
beaten up by another group of policemen. He too had his video camera
Finally, three newspaper journalists from "Tempo", "Kompas", and "Suara
Pembaruan" were also attacked by students while covering their
demonstration on Raya Sentani-Abepura Street, according to the Institute
for the Studies on Free Flow of Information (ISAI).
The three journalists were identified as Cunding Levi from "Tempo", Aryo
from "Kompas", and Robert Vanwi Subiat from "Suara Pembaruan", ISAI said.
ISAI quoted Cunding Levi as saying he avoided a road block by passing
through a campus building when he came across a group of protesting
students. Although he held up his press card, Levi said the students
kicked and hit him until he fainted.
The incidents have been roundly condemned by journalist groups in
Indonesia. The Provincial Police Chief has publicly apologized and even
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called for a meeting of
police officials to ensure that such incidents do not happen again.
Joyo Indonesia News Service
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