1) Police Arrest 10 in Papua for Raising Morning Star Flag
August 11, 2012
Jayapura. West Papua Police have arrested 10 people for raising the banned Morning Stag flag, a symbol of Papuan independence, during a rally in Manokwari on Thursday.
Authorities say they were cracking down on subversion against the state, while Amnesty International called on Friday for an investigation into human rights violations perpetrated by the Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob).
A reported 100 people joined a long march in Manokwari, the West Papuan capital, to commemorate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People on Thursday, carrying the Morning Star flag and waving it for an hour in front of the local office of the Papuan Customary Council (DAP).
Police reportedly arrested up to 10 people from the crowd, accusing them of being involved in a seditious act.
“You can organize rallies, but don’t bring [Morning Star] flags with the intention of opposing the state. That is called subversion,” Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Yohanes Nugroho said in Jayapura on Friday. “We have seized the flag as evidence,” he added.
Yohanes said police also arrested two men in Serui, the Papua district of Yapen Islands, for raising another Morning Star flag
while calling themselves citizens of the Federal Republic of West Papua.
The secretary of the West Papua National Authority, Topan, said police not only seized the flag, but also some documents and electronic equipment.
“They seized all attributes [carried by protesters]. Some were beaten,” Topan said, as quoted by Indonesian news portal tempo.co.
The Morning Star flag is an especially contentious symbol. Papuan Filep Karma is currently serving a 15-year jail sentence for raising what the government calls the “separatist” Morning Star flag in 2004 in Jayapura.
In a statement issued on their website on Friday, Amnesty International called for an “independent and impartial investigation into reports that police used unnecessary and excessive force to disperse a peaceful demonstration.”
Amnesty called the arrests “arbitrary,” and said that according to their local sources, “some [demonstrators were] reportedly beaten by security forces during their arrest . . . Indonesian security forces then fired their guns into the air to disperse the protesters.”
“The rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are guaranteed in Articles 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Indonesia is a state party,” Amnesty International’s website read. “ . . . Amnesty International has documented dozens of other cases of arbitrary arrest and detention in past years of peaceful political activists in Papua.”
But Djoko Suyanto, the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, said in 2011 that detained Papuan activists are not political prisoners, but criminals who have broken the law. Djoko called the distinction a matter of perception.
2) SECURITY FORCES BLOCK PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION IN PAPUA
Amnesty International calls for an independent and impartial investigation into reports that police used unnecessary and excessive force to disperse a peaceful demonstration in Papua province commemorating International Day of the World’s Indigenous People on 9 August 2012.
If the investigation finds that the security forces committed human rights violations, then those responsible, including persons with command responsibility, should be prosecuted in proceedings which meet international standards of fairness, and victims provided with reparations.
At least seven people were arbitrarily arrested during and after the demonstration and are being held at the Yapen District police station. They should be released immediately and unconditionally if they have been arrested solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression.
Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) and military from the 1709 District Military Command (Kodim) led by the Yapen District Police Chief blocked hundreds of peaceful protesters as they marched on the morning of 9 August 2012 in Serui, Yapen Island.
According to local sources, the Indonesian security forces then fired their guns into the air to disperse the protesters, causing many to flee in fear. At least six protesters were arbitrarily arrested during the demonstration and some were reportedly beaten by security forces during their arrest. The police then travelled to Mantembu village to arrest one of the demonstration organisers, a local political activist. When they could not find him they arrested his wife, who is reportedly eight months pregnant.
The actions of the security forces fly in the face of statements made by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in February 2012 that he wanted an end to repressive actions by the military and police in Papua.
The rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are guaranteed in Articles 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Indonesia is a state party. Moreover, these rights are protected under Indonesia’s Constitution. However, Amnesty International has documented dozens of other cases of arbitrary arrest and detention in past years of peaceful political activists in Papua.
Amnesty International continues to receive credible reports of human rights violations committed by the security forces in the provinces of Papua and West Papua, including torture and other ill-treatment, unnecessary and excessive use of force and firearms by the security forces and possible unlawful killings. Investigations into reports of human rights violations by the security forces are rare and only a few perpetrators have been brought to justice.
During a 2008 gathering to commemorate International Day of the World’s Indigenous People in Papua, peaceful demonstrator Opinus Tabuni was discovered dead with a bullet wound clearly visible in his chest, after police opened fire at the crowd. Despite a police investigation, to date no one has been held to account for his death.
3) Mimika to develop commercial airport
The Jakarta Post | Archipelago | Sat, August 11 2012, 12:17 PM
The Transportation, Communication and Information Office in Mimika regency in Papua said it planned to develop a commercial airport, which will be named Mozes Kilangin Airport, in the regency capital of Timika.
An 800 meters x 300 meters plot of land has been cleared for the construction of an apron and a taxiway next to the existing airport, John Rettob, the head of Mimika’s transportation office, said.
“The land clearing and some of the land-fixing activities have been completed within budget. However, this accounts for very little of the total work that still needs to be done,” Rettob said as quoted by Antara news agency.