Skip to main content

Reflections on the 1962 New York agreement

03 December 2012

In October 1962 Dutch rule in West Papua ended and was replaced by a temporary UN administration (UNTEA). This was established as part of the UN-brokered New York Agreement [1], signed between The Netherlands and Indonesia to resolve their dispute over the territory. For all its flaws, this agreement guaranteed the Papuans the right to self-determination in accordance with international practice, but this never happened. Indonesia took over from the UN seven months later and never left. In October 2012 Indonesian security forces attacked peaceful political rallies in several West Papuan...

Freeport's entry into Intan Jaya Regency, West Papua

02 December 2012

Intan Jaya Regency is a new administrative region which split from Paniai Regency in 2008. Until that time, Sugapa, Hitalipa and other areas were still under the administration of Paniai Regency.The story begins in 1989 - 1990 when several westerners arrived, calling themselves the Survey Team. They were accompanied by a missionary from District Hitalipa, who had been given the friendly nickname of Jani Mala by local people. His real name is John Cutts, a foreigner who was born and raised in Intan Jaya.They arrivedfrom Timika in an Airfast helicopter, and after arriving at the Kingmi...

Indonesians paying £20 million for weapons used in repression

30 November 2012

By tomorrow, 1 December 2012, the Indonesian people are due to pay the UK government £27 million. Of this, £20 million is for arms sales to past dictator General Suharto.In the 1980s and 1990s, the UK government’s UK Export Finance backed loans to Suharto’s regime to buy British exports, including weapons such as Hawk aircraft and Scorpian tanks. £400 million is still ‘owed’ to the UK government on these loans, and the next instalment is due to be paid.At the start of November, the UK government revealed that three-quarters of Indonesia’s debt comes from loans for arms. [1] Some of the...

Living without a state

25 November 2012

Indonesian Papua is not a uniform entity. When outsiders think of Papua, they imagine provincial and national-level political conflicts and protests against Indonesian rule. But this is only the reality for a minority of Papuans in the major towns of Jayapura, Wamena, and Timika, and their suburbs. Outside of select groups within these areas, most people do not engage in political issues related to referendum protests, dialogue with Jakarta, or Merdeka (independence).Instead, local fissures count more in day-to-day politics. In the province, most people’s primary loyalties are not to an idea...

Britain and Indonesia: Too close for comfort?

30 October 2012

President's visit prompts fresh concerns about arms sales and training of anti-terror police 30 October 2012 – British-funded training of Indonesia’s anti-terror police, Special Detachment 88, should be reviewed in the light of serious concerns about the unit’s human rights record and its operations in Papua, says TAPOL ahead of a state visit to London by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono from 31 October to 2 November 2012. In the run-up to the visit TAPOL, which promotes human rights, peace and democracy in Indonesia, is also appealing for an immediate ban on the sale to...

UK challenged on Indonesia arms sales and Densus 88

30 October 2012

As the UK prepares to receive the President of Indonesia for the first state visit in decades, UK groups prepare an alternative welcome for the President. Human rights groups are planning to mark the state visit of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with protests on behalf the victims of abuses in Papua, Timor-Leste and elsewhere. During the visit, from 31 October to 2 November, the British Government will also be challenged about its policy of increasing arms sales to Indonesia, its training of anti-terror police implicated in the killing of Papuan leaders, and its promotion of unsustainable...

Indonesian President to receive ghoulish Halloween welcome

24 October 2012

Media Advisory Notice Demonstrations planned for Wednesday, 31 October 2012 What: As Indonesian security forces opened fire on unarmed protestors attending a demonstration in Papua in support of an International Parliamentarians for West Papua meeting in the UK Parliament, human rights groups are planning to mark the state visit of Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, with protests on behalf the victims of abuses in Papua, Timor-Leste and elsewhere. During the visit, from 31 October to 2 November, the British Government will also be challenged about its policy of...

Urgent Action: Fears for Papuan Activists

16 October 2012

Papuan political activists and human rights defenders are living in increasing fear as a result of an intensifying crackdown by Indonesian police, military and intelligence officers against activists, particularly members of the non-violent West Papua National Committee, KNPB. There are concerns that further acts of terror, intimidation, arrests, torture and extrajudicial killings against activists are imminent.’According to reports received by TAPOL, in the early hours of Tuesday 16 October Indonesian intelligence officers raided student dormitories at the University of Cenderawasih (UNCEN)...

Human rights watchdog urges RI to confront its 'demons'

01 October 2012

TAPOL, a UK-based human rights watchdog, has urged Indonesia to address the 1965 Communist purge, as failure to do so would result in continued community divisions, fuel conflict and lead to further atrocities in the country.The organization recently released a report titled “Indonesia’s unresolved mass murders: undermining democracy” prior to the 47th commemoration of the September 30 movement that set off a chain of violent reactions, including a massacre of suspected communists reportedly led by the Army.The report said that victims of the tragedy and their families continued to be treated...

The truth about 1965

10 June 2012

Historians have recorded many massacres that occurred during the 20th century but few mention the massacres in Indonesia that took place during 1965-1966, which paved the way for Soeharto to seize power in 1965. For six months from October 1965, the Indonesian military, aided by anti-communist gangs, perpetrated killings on a nationwide basis. The majority of those slaughtered were villagers dragged from their homes, who were tortured and then killed. The true scale of the massacres may never be known but the political and social consequences were profound. All left of centre political...

UK defends Indonesia arms sales as military run riot in Papua

08 June 2012

Today UK human rights campaigners called for an immediate ban on all arms sales to Indonesia, following Wednesday’s brutal rampage by Indonesian security forces in the troubled Papua region.TAPOL, a UK group campaigning to improve human rights in Indonesia, today received a statement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office defending UK arms sales to Indonesia as “promoting security and stability.” TAPOL also today received reports of military attacks in Wamena, Papua, with a number of civilians suffering gunshot and stab wounds.According to local activists and church leaders from Wamena town...

A life of struggle

08 June 2012

Carmel Budiardjo has spent much of her life campaigning for the freedom of political prisoners in Indonesia through her organisation TAPOL. In the name of upholding human rights in her adopted country Indonesia, she was constantly vilified and disparaged by Indonesian government officials. To read the full article, please download the PDF

Sharp increase in international concern about Papua

23 May 2012

Indonesia's human rights record reviewed at UN Human Rights CouncilToday, Indonesia's human rights record was reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council during the 13th session of the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, Switzerland. Concerns about human rights in Papua increased sharply since the last review in 2008, with a significant number of member States raising concerns about freedom of expression, human rights defenders and political prisoners in the region.“While Indonesia today said it is using a ‘welfare and development’ approach in Papua, the continued presence of thousands of troops...

Resource-rich West Papua, but who benefits?

14 May 2012

Indonesia is these days praised as a success story among the countries of Southeast Asia, with growth figures that compare favorably with its neighbors and an absence of conflict. It is also the largest country in the region which enjoys an abundance of natural resources that have lured foreign companies to its shores.Since the fall of Soeharto in 1998 and the end of his dictatorship, economic progress has fostered a growing middle class.A referendum in East Timor 18 months after his exit secured that country’s independence after 25 years of devastating occupation, while in the other conflict...

Papuan rights should be at the forefront of EU-Indonesia dialogue

02 May 2012

Tomorrow’s EU-Indonesia human rights dialogue should address systematic rights violations in Papua, which remain an ugly stain on the country’s record as a burgeoning democracy, says TAPOL.While Indonesia holds bilateral human rights dialogues with various individual countries, the EU-Indonesia dialogue is the most significant, bringing together 28 states to talk about human rights in Indonesia. Although the dialogue, which is entering its third year, is an encouraging sign of Indonesia’s willingness to discuss sensitive issues, observers will be asking whether the process can really lead to...

Beata Yaboisembut Akim, the woman who accompanies the President

07 April 2012

Surrendering their lives to God, they remain calm when they face trouble. It was during the week of Christ's sufferings that Forkorus Yaboisembut was found guilty of treason and sentenced to three years imprisonment. His wife, Beata Yaboisembut was at his side throughout the trial. Dressed in dark brown trousers and a blouse, she sat in the courtroom, calmly following the proceedings. She accepted the result with a feeling of relief.'Bapak was always telling us to keep calm. We should not feel troubled and feel grateful that our children are already grown up and can understand what is going...

Kimanus Wenda's Tumour Operation

05 April 2012

Kimanus Wenda, a prisoner usually detained in Nabire prison had an operation to remove a tumour from his stomach at Dian Harapan Hospital, Waena Jayapura on 14 March 2012. Wenda is detained for treason and is serving a 20 year prison sentence. According to Peneas Lokbere from United for Truth (Bersatu Untuk Kebenaran), an organisation which provides support for political prisoners in Papua, the operation began at 10:00 and lasted for two hours. “After the operation he was transferred to the inpatient ward. The procedure went well without any obstacles,” said Lokbere. A growth and a hernia...

Work with TAPOL!

20 February 2012

Join the teamTAPOL has a small, committed and friendly staff team. From time to time opportunities become available to join us, either in a paid or voluntary capacity, and vacancies are advertised on this page.As a grassroots organisation founded by concerned individuals, volunteers have played a huge part in TAPOL’s work over the past forty years. TAPOL enjoys the support of a number of long-term volunteers, as well as students and young professionals. Some of our volunteers have contributed their time and skills in the areas such as web design, administration and translation. Others are...

See No Prisoners

14 December 2011

According to Djoko Suyanto, the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, there are no political prisoners in Papua — only criminals who have broken the law. This is troubling news for Papuans such as Filep Karma, Forkorus Yaboisembut and others who are currently behind bars for expressing their beliefs.Djoko’s statement late week is especially puzzling in light of an internal government document, titled “List of Political Prisoners Across Papua,” that was leaked earlier this year to Tapol. The document lists 25 Papuans detained for treason and related offenses. In...

Papuan NGO launches new website

15 September 2011

New hub for information on human rights in Papua September 15 - With the support of TAPOL, Papua-based NGO KontraS Papua has launched a new website, providing news and analysis on human rights issues in Papua. As the Papuan branch of Indonesia’s KontraS (The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence), KontraS Papua aims to raise awareness among Papuan civil society on human rights issues, and provide legal accompaniments, investigation, documentation and human rights education. Given the severe restrictions on foreign journalists in Papua and a dearth of reporting in the...