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West Papua Coalition calls for talks

07 October 2009

WPNCL Media Release The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation has twice sent letters to the Indonesian President, in 2007 and 2008, calling for talks with the Papuan people. However, to this day, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has failed to respond. Since the start, the WPNCL has been committed to using peaceful means as its basic principle in resolving the problem between the Papuan people and Indonesia. The Coalition believes that talks held on equal terms is one of the main steps needed to solve the Papuan problem. The talks should involve a third party as mediator agreed by the...

Discriminatory 1966 MPRS Resolution should be revoked, says TAPOL

02 October 2009

TAPOL has today written to the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, urging the British government to call upon the Indonesian government to revoke a law adopted by the New Order regime of General Suharto in 1966 which still poses a threat to tens of thousands of Indonesians who were arrested in 1965 and held without charge or trial for many years for alleged membership of or association with the Indonesian Communist Party. The letter states: 'During the New Order, a raft of laws and regulations were enacted which became the justification for a range of discriminatory practices. Shocking as it...

East Timor: Solidarity Activists Press for Justice

28 August 2009

DILI (IPS) - After three years behind bars as a political prisoner in Indonesia, British human rights campaigner Carmel Budiardjo saw firsthand the viciousness of former President Suharto's military dictatorship. Expelled from the country in 1971, Budiardjo knew there would be suffering when the Indonesian military invaded East Timor in 1975. In this capital for an international solidarity conference being held Aug. 27-29, Budiardjo told IPS that justice must be served for crimes committed during the Indonesian military?s savage 24-year occupation that cost up to 200,000 East Timorese lives...

Obituary of Joesoef Isak

28 August 2009

The death earlier this month of one of the most courageous opponents of Suharto’s three decades long authoritarian regime provides an opportunity to recognise the ability of one man to wage open defiance, despite the terrible personal risks involved during many dark years in Indonesia before the fall of Suharto.Joesoef Isak, died on 15 August at the age of 81, having been suffering from respiratory problems for many years, along with a weak heart.To those of us who lived in Indonesia during Suharto’s so-called New Order, we perhaps remember him most vividly for the courageous...

15 Papuans face serious charges for peaceful demonstration

24 July 2009

The trial of fifteen Papuans, facing the charge of makar, was resumed yesterday in Nabire District Court. The accused, all men, are mostly students and farmers associated with the West Papua National Committee, an organisation that seeks independence from Indonesia.   The men were arrested on 6 April, after attending a pre-election rally and have been charged under Article 106 of the Criminal Code which carries a maximum penalty of twenty years for treason or subversion (makar).   Many Papuans are now serving heavy sentences after being found guilty of makar, simply for raising the Morning...

TAPOL supports Amungme People's lawsuit against Freeport

20 July 2009

TAPOL warmly welcomes the decision of the Papuan Amungme Tribal Council to file a lawsuit against the Indonesian Government, the Coordinating Welfare Minister Aburizal Bakrie and Freeport, the operator of the gold and copper mine, which has been exploiting Papua’s natural resources for more than thirty years.   The Amungme people who are the traditional owners of 2.6 million hectares of land much of which is now occupied by the mining company, have enjoyed none of the economic benefits derived from their precious natural resources, but have instead lived in poverty just like all the West...

Papuan Women: Victims of Discrimination and Abuse

15 July 2009

For the past forty years, Indonesia has relied heavily on revenues from West Papua, the richest of its provinces, to keep its economy afloat, while the Papuan people have enjoyed little benefit from these riches. Few journalists have been allowed to visit the huge territory, which is out of bounds to foreign NGOs. Hence, little is known about the conditions for Papuan women. To read the article in full, please download the PDF.

The Munir history test: Unfinished business of justice

09 July 2009

In October 1999, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) published a report, Ruler's Law, that described how Indonesia's first two presidents - Sukarno and Soeharto - created an environment in which the country's constitutional and legal norms were "allied closely with the authority of the Presidency and the authoritarian character of the prevailing political order".The abuse of power "created the preconditions for the establishment of an absolutist State in which the rule of law, judicial independence and human rights have been frequently disregarded," said the ICJ.In the short period...

TAPOL calls on British government to suspend training of Kopassus

29 June 2009

TAPOL has today called on the British Government to suspend its plan to conduct training for Kopassus, Indonesia’s special forces, in October this year in view of reports of abuses perpetrated by members of the force in Merauke, province of Papua.Last week, one of the world’s leading human rights organisations, Human Rights Watch, published a report documenting a number of serious abuses of Papuans over the past year. The report describes how Papuans have been seriously maltreated by members of the force.One victim, a 21-year old Papuan, described how he was seized late one night and...

From Bullets to Ballots: Aceh elections bolster peace process

24 June 2009

The victories of local parties in last April’s provincial and district elections in Aceh are further confirmation of the success of the peace process underway since August 2005, says TAPOL in its latest Election Update.The former rebel movement, GAM, transformed itself into a political party, Partai Aceh, which triumphed in the local elections.  Thanks in part to the successful reintegration of combatants into society, many former GAM activists now occupy influential positions as governor, mayors or district chiefs.The participation of local parties was in itself a significant...

Presidential election debates must include human rights

10 June 2009

The decision to exclude human rights from the topics to be discussed by the presidential and vice presidential candidates in televised debates organised by Indonesia’s General Elections Commission will deprive the electorate of information about the records and views of the candidates on a matter of grave importance, says TAPOL, the UK-based organisation that promotes human rights, peace and democracy in Indonesia.“We can only conclude that this decision was taken under pressure from the contesting duos, each of which includes a retired general. It is symptomatic of the continuing influence...

Winners and losers in Indonesia's elections

27 May 2009

Despite serious problems with flawed voter lists and complicated voting procedures, last month’s elections in Indonesia passed off relatively peacefully with a rainbow of secular and religious parties winning seats in the national parliament and regional assemblies. An analysis of the winners and losers is provided in ‘A victory for mainstream politics in Indonesia’, published online today by TAPOL in its latest Election Update.The victory by Partai Demokrat, the party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, known as SBY, came as no surprise.  Numerous opinion polls had given him a...

Plight of a People Letter to New Statesman

23 April 2009

John Pilger rightly draws attention to the profound ignorance of East Timor's plight during nearly three decades of Indonesian occupation. The same is true of West Papua, which was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 when a UN- sanctioned 'act of self-determination' was held, with the Indonesian military in tight control.

Papua violence mars Indonesian elections

09 April 2009

At a time when the international media is focussing on today’s Indonesian elections, little attention had been paid to the deteriorating human rights situation in West Papua. TAPOL is calling for an end to the violence and for the Papuans’ democratic rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly to be guaranteed.Papuans have been arrested for attending mass gatherings, and three men are to be charged with subversion. Most alarming of all are police shootings of demonstrators and raids on offices of the Dewan Adat Papua (Papuan Customary Council) involving notorious Brimob police...

TAPOL calls on Timorese Justice Minister to drop charges against journalist

01 March 2009

The decision by Lucia Lobato, the Justice Minister of Timor Leste, to sue an investigative journalist for publishing a story about alleged corruption over a contract to refurbish a prison and purchase prison uniforms from her husband's company is a serious violation of the basic right of journalists to report on a case of alleged corruption and a threat to freedom of the press in the country. Jose Antonio Belo, the journalist who now faces these defamation charges,  is the editor in-chief of Tempo Semanal, one of the country's small number of newspapers. He was part of the resistance...

Women pessimistic about their prospects in Indonesian elections

25 February 2009

A ruling by Indonesia’s Constitutional Court has led to considerable doubt about whether women will benefit from a quota system that requires one in three candidates in party lists to be a woman.The ruling means that candidates with the most votes will be elected irrespective of gender in the parliamentary elections scheduled for 9 April.Women’s groups are angry that the ruling is a setback for the struggle to secure a more proportionate position for women in the Indonesian House of Representatives, DPR.  Some are concerned that women may not even gain the same proportion of seats as they won...

Focus on corruption as Indonesian election draws near

13 February 2009

With less than two months to go before Indonesians go to the polls on 9 April, attention is on the corruption that has bedevilled the political system for years. The global financial crisis has prompted questions about how the numerous parties will raise the money needed to fund their campaigns without resorting to dubious or illegal practices.  A number of legislators have recently been charged with bribery. A detailed analysis of the problems associated with political bribery and corruption in Indonesia is provided in ‘Money politics at a time of financial crisis’ published today online by...

Retired generals seek return to power through elections

26 September 2008

Although the Indonesian military, TNI, is now excluded from formal politics, many retired officers have been nominated as candidates for next year’s parliamentary elections. Several heavyweight former officers with notorious human rights records – among them Wiranto, Prabowo and Sutyoso - have put themselves forward for the presidential election later in the year. The TNI’s reluctance to relinquish power originates from a mindset that regards the military as the only force capable of safeguarding the country’s integrity and civilian politicians as inherently weak.  This has disturbing...

Message on West Papua to the Pacific Islands Forum

19 August 2008

39th Pacific Islands Forum, 19-21 August 2008, Alofi, Niue The Pacific Islands Forum is meeting at a time when the Indonesian security forces and police in West Papua continue to violate the most basic rights of its population. Earlier this month, a Papuan man was shot dead while attending a huge rally to mark World Indigenous People’s Day. The crowd was violently dispersed apparently because various flags were being flown, including the Morning Star flag, which symbolises the hopes of the Papuan people to seek recognition from the international community for their many legitimate...

TAPOL calls for those who shot Opinus Tabuni to be brought to justice

11 August 2008

TAPOL wishes to express its deep concern about the death of a Papuan who was participating in the celebration of World Indigenous Day in Wamena on Saturday, 9 August. This loss of yet another life in Papua is emblematic of the behaviour of the security forces and can only intensify Papuan anger at the ease with which members of the security forces behave when Papuans gather together on the streets to take part peacefully in events such as that which occurred in Wamena last week.   Reports so far suggest that the shooting was triggered by the unfurling of the Morning Star flag by someone in...