Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November West Papua Report is now out

This is the 127th in a series of monthly reports that focus on developments affecting Papuans. This series is produced by the non-profit West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) drawing on media accounts, other NGO assessments, and analysis and reporting from sources within West Papua. This report is co-published by the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN). Back issues are posted online at  http://www.etan.org/issues/wpapua/default.htm Q

Read the full issue here; http://etan.org/issues/wpapua/2014/1411wpap.htm. For additional news on West Papua see the reg.westpapua listserv archive or on Twitter.


This edition's PERSPECTIVE looks at the controversial appointment of retired General Ryamizard Ryacudu as Defense Minister by President Joko Widodo. UPDATEreports on Widodo's initial comments on West Papua. He has pledged to pursue a more benign approach to the multiple economic, education and heath problems facing Papuans, but critics note his failure to acknowledge ongoing human rights problems there. Two French journalists who had been detained for alleged immigration violations were finally freed. Their arrest prompted widespread protest internationally and within Indonesia over efforts by Jakarta to limit international awareness of the repression in West Papua. The U.S. plans to expand cooperation with the Indonesian navy notwithstanding its role in the 1998 Biak massacre. The arrest of six Papuans and wounding of one has prompted armed rebel threats of new hostilities in the Central Highlands. A new project employs mapping to advance land rights protections. President Widodo has named the first Papuan woman to be an Indonesian government minister. The new Home Minister has pledged to pursue solutions to problems affecting minorities, but supports further division of Papua into more provinces. Legislation to end local voting for governors, mayors and district heads is stalled for now. In CHRONICLE, the report notes an outstanding analysis by Inside Indonesia which explores the devastating impact of HIV-AIDS in West Papua.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

ETAN Opposes Appointment of Retired General Ryamizard Ryacudu as Defense Minister

ETAN Opposes Appointment of Retired General Ryamizard Ryacudu as Defense Minister

Read in full here

October 26, 2014 - The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) today condemned Indonesia President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's appointment of retired General Ryamizard Ryacudu as Minister Defense.

"The appointment of a hardliner like Ryamizard Ryacudu tells us that President Widodo is not serious about promoting human rights or reaching out to West Papua," said John M. Miller, Coordinator of ETAN.

"He is a relic of the past with a history of excusing rights violations by soldiers, threatening human rights critics, and asserting the military's right to meddle in civilian affairs."

Miller added, "While fighting corruption may be a priority for his administration. He certainly didn't take into account Ryamizard's well-reported statements on human rights. This speaks volumes about the importance of human rights to Jokowi."

Read the rest here.

Ryamizard Ryacudu

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

West Papua Report October 2014: Widodo challenged, access, indigenous land rights, Scotland, Fiji, MIFEE, Vanuatu

West Papua Report October 2014 is now out. Read the full report here


This month's PERSPECTIVE by WPAT's Edmund McWilliams looks at the challenges facing incoming President Joko Widodo, including those posed by West Papua.

This edition's UPDATE groups urge police to provide security to West Papua human rights defenders and reviews growing Indonesian and international calls for an end to repression in West Papua with particular focus on demands for an end to restrictions on access by journalists and others to West Papua. The surge in concern is prompted in large measure by the continued detention of two French journalists whose has been the focus of numerous appeals for their prompt release (see September 2014 West Papua Report). A local Papuan official drew attention to the release ofgreenhouse gases associate with the MIFEE project. A West Papuan conference hosted by Vanuatu has been postponed to December. Attacks on Indonesian security forces in the Papuan highlands continued in September. Indonesia's national Human Rights Commission is holding a series of hearings on the land rights of indigenous peoples, including in West Papua, The U.S. military has begun training for Indonesian military personnel with the AH-64 Apache helicopters which will enhance TNI capacity to conduct "sweep" operations in West Papua.

CHRONICLE notes an analysis by Al Jazeera America of the targeting of journalists in West Papua. Fijian NGO urges government to support West Papua, The September referendum which afforded Scotland a vote on their political status prompted several analyses that highlighted the continuing denial of the right to self-determination in West Papua.

Sign ETAN's Petition to U.S. Government

Thursday, October 2, 2014

ETAN ALERT: Watch the Act of Killing, Take Action on U.S. Support for Mass Violence in Indonesia

Take Action on U.S. Support for Mass Violence in Indonesia
The Oscar-nominated documentary, The Act of Killing will be broadcast on PBS, Monday October 6, 2014, on POV. We hope you will watch this important and disturbing film, where

Although the massacre of between 500,000 and 1,000,000 communists, leftists, ethnic Chinese, and others in Indonesia in 1965-1967 is a foundational event in modern Indonesian political history, it remains mostly a footnote for most in the United States and elsewhere. In 2012, the documentary The Act of Killing shocked audiences throughout the world as perpetrators of the mass murder reenacted their violence. The film shows sociopathic gangsters from Medan, Sumatra, who committed these acts as they are celebrated by many in modern Indonesia. The film has fueled a debate within Indonesia and drawn attention internationally to events unknown to many. Events that the U.S. facilitated and cheered at the time.

The public television program POV will be airing the Oscar-nominated The Act of Killing on October 6 (and you can watch it on POV's website from October 7-21) and the film is available for online streaming and purchase elsewhere. The Look of Silence, a companion film currently showing at film festivals, focuses on the victims. It follows the investigation by Adi Rukun into the murder of his older brother who was killed during the violence.

These powerful films tell us much about Indonesia today as they do about the past. However, any evaluation of the events of 1965-1967 must include a discussion of the role of Western powers in the violence, including that of the United States. The East Timor and Indonesia ActionNetwork (ETAN) continues to call for accountability for those in the West who encouraged and assisted in the mass violence in Indonesia. The full truth must come out and the U.S. should declassify all files related to Suharto's U.S.-backed seizure of power and the murderous events which followed.

ETAN has prepared a backgrounder on the events and aftermath of Suharto's brutal seizure of power, where we focus on the U.S. role and responsibility. Read Breaking the Silence: The U.S. and Indonesia's Mass Violence
What You Can Do

The World Bank gave $30 billion to a dictator who killed 1 million. ETAN projected the film on World Bank headquarters in Washington to highlight international complicity in Indonesia's mass violence. Photo by Dakota Bell. 
1) Sign the petition urging the U.S. government to take two immediate steps:
a) declassify and release all documents related to the U.S. role in the 1965/66 mass violence, including the CIA's so-called "job files." These detail its covert operations,
b) and formally acknowledge the U.S. role in facilitating the 1965-66 violence and its subsequent support for the brutalities of the Suharto regime.

2) Watch The Act of Killing and write a letter to the editor about the need for the U.S. take responsibility for its role in the mass violence in Indonesia. We will have some sample letters available by the weekend, but it is better to write your own. Feel free to use ETAN's Backgrounder: Breaking the Silence: The U.S. and Indonesia's Mass Violence, if you do so.
3) If you are high school teacher or college professor teaching an appropriate subject, consider assigning The Act of Killing to your students. Use it as a springboard for discussions on the impact of U.S. foreign policy, the need to address human rights violations, and how the past affects the present. (Contact: Chris Lundry for further info or assistance.)

4) Support ETAN. We need your support to continue our work for justice and accountability. Please donate today.
Donate to ETAN!

For more information see http://www.etan.org

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Timor and West Papua - September 2014 West Papua Report

West Papua Report September 2014 


This month's PERSPECTIVE is by ETAN's John M. Miller. It looks at differences and similarities in the historical experience of Timor-Leste (East Timor) and West Papua.

French journalists Valentine Bourrat and Thomas Dandois
currently under arrest in West Papua. Photo: AFP
UPDATE examines the potential impact a Joko Widodo administration may have on West Papua, noting high expectations for a new focus on the "neglected region." Two French journalists have been detained by security authorities in West Papua; this action may be intended to challenge President-elect Widodo who has spoken of his intention to open West Papua to international media scrutiny. "Development" plans in the Bintuni Bay area appear to be ignoring the voices and interests of local Papuans. Security forces have detained and beaten two Papuans in Manokwari. Widodo plans to establish a human rights court are encouraging, but it is not clear whether the court will address the extraordinary abuses of the 1965-66 period or the systematic abuse of human rights in West Papua extending back even further.

CHRONICLE highlights appeals to President-elect Widodo by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch regarding the need to make human rights a priority. Both appeals include a focus on West Papua. A comment by Pat Walsh offers the view that the Widodo administration may offer the "best prospect" for progress on the decades-old "Papua problem."

Tangguh LNG plant at Bintuni Bay, West Papua. Photo: Tempo.