You are on page 1of 116

Papua: a cartography of violence

and civic movements

Dr. Budi Hernawan

Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM)

Papua: a cartography of violence and
civic movements

Budi Hernawan

Dodi Sanjaya

First published in Indonesian language by:

Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM), 2016.

ELSAM published the book sponsored by Knowledge Sector

Initiative (KSI), Opinion delivered in this book is solely the opinion
of author. The sponsor is not responsible for the legal ability of
the material specified in the book.

All ELSAM publications are dedicated to victims of human rights

violations, in addition to being a part of the effort to promoteand
protect human rights in Indonesia.

Except where otherwise noted, content on this report is licensed

under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Some rights
Table of contents

Prologue: Ikrar Nusa Bhakti ................i

Introduction: ELSAM ...............v
A. Governance
SBYs Soft Power for Unfathomable Papua? .............01
Portraying a threat for a reluctant government: .............03
a response to the ICGs report on Papua
UP4B: a new hope for Papuans? ............08
Making Sense of the Current Events in Papua .............10
Punishing conscience in Papua ..............13
B. State of human rights
Melbourne mans shooting lost in a Papuan
They ask for wages, not bullets, .............19

Schapelle Corby vs Filep Karma .............21

They are just Papuans, .............24
He put electric shock on me: a glimpse of the per-
sistent, widespread practice of torture in Papua, .............27

Not a mere case of bad apples: Acts of state .............30

TPF versus KPP HAM for Paniai? .............32
Between Paniai and Hague .............39
Between Ramallah and Jayapura .............42
C. Papua and international diplomacy
Why Papuan leaders went to the U.S. Congress? .............45
The MSGs visit: A blessing or curse for Papuans? ............48
Breaking the Silence of Papua .............50
Whats next for Papua after the MSG diplomacy? .............53
Is a UN resolution on Papua impossible? .............56
Asia, Africa and the Unresolved Question of .............59
Contesting Melanesia: the summit and dialogue .............62
ULMWP and the insurgent Papua ............64
Listening to the Pacific beat on Papua ............68
D. Civic movements
Is Papua a carceral society? .............73
Papua is not a problem but the way we talk .............75
about Papua is
#papuaitukita as civic passion for Papua ............78
E. Fate of Dialogue
In Memory of the 1999 Papua Dialogue, ............83
Jakarta-Papua dialogue: Between a rock and a ............86
hard place,
Quo Vadis the peace dialogue for Papua, ............89
Prabowo or Jokowi for the Jakarta-Papua dia- .............91
Epilogue: Benny Giay .............95
About the author ............99
Papua on the rise

Papua is not new on the mainstream and social media. Many of us

have been bombarded almost daily with various issues of Papua
from the beauty of Raja Ampat diving spots to the pristine jungle in
the Central Highlands, from the issue of certain corrupt bupati ar-
rested by KPK to state violence committed by military personnel,
from demonstration of Mama-mama Pasar to another demon-
stration calling for referendum organised by National Committee
for West Papua (KNPB/ Komite Nasional Papua Barat) or Papua
Students Alliance (AMP/ Aliansi Mahasiswa Papua). One thing
that we cannot escape is news about violence. So whats new
about Papua?
Recent development that might escape our attention is the fact
that Papua is back on the international radar. During the 71st Ses-
sion of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York during
20-26 September 2016, seven UN member states raised their con-
cerns over Papua, including Nauru, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Solomon Is-
lands, Marshall Islands, Tonga and Palau. It is not a coincidence
that seven Pacific countries put back Papua on the eyes of the UN
scrutiny. While Nauru, Marshal Islands, Tuvalu and Tonga focus on
the issue of human rights violation in Papua, Vanuatu and Solo-
mon Islands raised the issue of a more politically sensitive matter,
namely the right to self-determination for Papuans.
While Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Tonga are not novices to
Papua, we never heard that Tuvalu, Nauru, Marshall Islands and
Palau have anything to do with Papua in the past. Their interven-
tion to the 71st Session of UNGA indicates that Papua is on the
rise. Papua is no longer confined to the domestic debates. Rather,
it has gone beyond the discussion in the media or formal discus-

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | i

sion in the cabinet or the parliament debate. Papua has been pre-
sented to the most prestigious UN fora: the UNGA.
As we can expect, the government response to the so-called in-
ternationalisation of Papua is very much predictable. Instead
of presenting facts and evidence of significant improvement of
human rights condition in Papua, the government deployes all
necessary measure to do the damage control. We learned this
from our own experiences with Aceh and Timor Leste in the past.
Instead of addressing the root causes, which were gross human
rights violations and impunity, the government spent so much
money and energy to convince the world that the problems in
Aceh and East Timore were fabricated or propaganda of GAM or
Fretelin, respectively. The strategy might have worked for some-
times but eventually it was proved ineffective as truth spoke for
We learn from the media, particularly the social media, that vi-
olence never escapes Papua. Komnas HAM, for instance, docu-
mented cases of human rights violations in Papua, such as the cas-
es of Abepura (2000), Wasior (2001), Wamena (2003), and Paniai
(2014). In a similar vein, Komnas Perempuan published compre-
hensive reports on the situation of violence against women and
children in Papua in the last four years. Stop Sudah! and Anyam
Noken Kehidupan have become benchmarks of the ways we un-
derstand the situation of Papua from Papua womens perspec-
tives as they not only portray patterns of violence against women
and the failure of the state to protect them but more importantly,
a broader pattern of discrimination against women committed by
men in Papua, regardless of their ethnic background.
Mismanagement and conflicting policies are also commonly found.
Law no. 21/2001 that granted special autonomy for Papua (Otonomi
Khusus/ Otsus) has been considered failed. Money has been poured
to Papua minus effective supervision and accountability mechanisms
in place. As a result, the funds have not been translated into high
quality of public services, especially in the areas of Otsus priority
namely education, health, rural development and infrastructure
development. Papuan children remain suffering from teacher ab-
senteeism, for instance. Health facilities remain concentrated in
urban centres or district capitals where the youth tend to go urban

ii | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

areas jobs and better education.
Meanwhile the Papuan call for dialogue promoted Lembaga Ilmu
Pengetahuan Indonesia (LIPI/ the Indonesian Institute for Sciences)
and Jaringan Damai Papua (JDP/ Papua Peace Network) since
2009 seems to drift away. The objective of the dialogue initiative
is to encourage Jakarta to create a free space for Papuans so they
would be able to express their grievances as a way to find a peaceful
and permanent solution for protracted conflicts in Papua. While
the duo of LIPI and JDP successfully introduced the term dia-
logue into the psyche of the public and policy makers, they hit
the wall when they try to translate the idea of dialogue into prac-
tice. Disinterest and resistance from the state security apparatus
and national policy makers have become a stumbling block for
the initiative for dialogue to go any further. Jakarta is open to talk
about dialogue but not to walk the talk.
Despite Nawacitas promise of bringing back the state to protect
and promote human rights of all Indonesians, we have seen little
progress on the improvement of human rights of Papuans, not
only in the area of civil and political rights but also economic,
social and cultural rights. For instance, we have not seen much
progress on the ways the government address the problem of con-
tamination of Aijkwa river in Timika caused by tonnes of toxic
waste dumped by Freeport mine every day. We hear very little on
the efforts of our government to stop deforestation in Papua due
to the expansion of extractive industry and palm oil plantation
such as Merauke Integrated Food Energy Estate (MIFEE) project.
In this context, this book is an astute reminder for us. Written by
Dr Budi Hernawan, a scholar and activist who spent more than a
decade of living and working inside Papua to deal with issues of
human rights, Papua: a cartography of violence and civic move-
ments encapsulates the essence of the Papua problems structured in
five themes, including governance, state of human rights, Papua and
international diplomacy, civic movements and fate of dialogue.
The anthology covers a significant period of seven years (2009-
2016) in which the author uses two major lenses of violence and
civic movements in making sense the social and political tra-
jectories in Papua. So the book does not only depict problems
but more importantly, highlights the ways in which various civil

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | iii

society initiatives and responses address the problems. In other
words, we are not only presented with problems but with hope,
which becomes the source of energy for change for the better in
All articles have been published in various reputable outlets,
mostly in English and few originally in Indonesian, so the reader
will be offered with a wide range of reflection on the issues as
they are pitched to international audience. Being part of civic
movements in Papua, the author has the privilege to reflect on
the situation as both an insider and outsider so his presentation is
nuanced and calibrated with the local context as well as a critical
Given all the facts and critical analyses in this book, we do hope
that the military approach as has been practiced since the New
Order administration could be ended and replaced by socio-cul-
tural, economic and political approaches which would reduce or
presumably end the violent conflict in Papua.
Finally I commend this book and also congratulate ELSAM, one
of the oldest human rights NGO in our country, which remains
persistent in promoting human rights in Indonesia. I hope we
can see similar publications on human rights issues in the near

Jakarta, 10 October 2016

Professor Ikrar Nusa Bhakti

iv | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements


Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements is not a

lengthy academic exercise of the dynamics of Papua. Rather, it is a
contribution to those who have interests in Papua and want to ex-
plore it in an informal and succinct way. Designed as an anthology,
this book is accessible for both general and specialised audience
who want to grapple with the question of violence in Papua.
The book derived from my publications in various English outlets
in Indonesia and overseas during the period of 2009 until today
except two articles which were originally written in Indonesian.
Each article reflects on a specific issue that was on the spot at the
time so that the audience can grasp the glimpse of the public con-
cern of the time. I found it not too easy to organise all articles in
a more systematic way since each article is independent to each
other. So I made an attempt to organise articles according to five
major themes: governance, state of human rights, papua and in-
ternational diplomacy, civic movements, and fate of dialogue.
The theme governance examines the ways in which Papua has
been governed. The theme covers a number of events that reveal
the mismanagement of and misunderstanding about Papua. The
theme of state of human rights addresses the ongoing violations
of human rights with impunity. The theme portrays inadequacy
of the Indonesian justice system to address the violations. The
theme papua and international diplomacy highlights the fact
that Papua has been on the international radar and the conse-
quences that we need to consider. The theme civic movements
is important to highlight here. The story of Papua is not merely
about the story of the weak and defeated but also about the story
of resistance to domination. Both stories are two sides of the same
coin. Finally, the theme fate of dialogue captures the current ap-
peal of Papuans to have a dialogue with Jakarta which remains

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | v

As I am privileged to live and work in Papua for more than a de-
cade as well as continuing working as a social scientist on Papua
to date, the genre of the book might be mixed of academic and
activist perspectives. This way would hopefully be helpful to fill
the gap of knowledge of Papua from an insider perspective.
Finally, I thank ELSAM for its generosity in publishing this book
as well as Professor Ikrar Nusa Bhakti and Dr Benny Giay who
have kindly contributed to this anthology with their prologue and
epilogue, respectively.

Jakarta, 1 Desember 2016

Dr Budi Hernawan

vi | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

A. Governance

SBYs soft power for unfathomable Papua?1

In his remarkable Harvard speech on Sept. 29 President Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) vowed *to make the 21st century the
century of soft power.*
He explains, *The more we exchange cultures and share ideas,
the more we learn from one another, the more we cooperate and
spread goodwill, the more we project soft power and place it right
at the heart of international relations, the closer we are to world
peace.* This inspiring statement reflects the growing confidence
of Indonesia*s emerging democracy.
Yet how does SBY*s soft power deal with Papua? Does this ap-
proach include an attempt to address Papua*s problems?
Under the eyes of the G20 world leaders, SBY convincingly took
Aceh as an example of the ways in which soft power has proved its
ability and capacity to solve conflict.
The President identified five key elements that constituted the
successful story:
First, a rigid military solution did not work.
Second, goodwill and trust building worked.
Third, a win-win formula was a realistic option.
Fourth, dignified and peaceful methods were applied.


Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 01

Fifth, political interests remained protected: sovereignty and ter-
ritorial integrity.
Various Indonesian observers argue Indonesia*s democracy has
just passed the critical test of elections with good marks. Both
legislative and presidential elections were considered free, fair
and peaceful.
The second direct presidential election, in July this year, signifies
the greater sophistication of the Indonesian populace to deter-
mine its own choice, despite enticing political parties* propaganda
and the poor administration of the election commission.
Another sign is the establishment of a United Cabinet to mini-
mize the machinations of the political parties, which will, hope-
fully, serve the public interest better.
What we need for Papua is the same kind of SBY he showed toward
Aceh. The world democracies are waiting for decisive engagement
in ongoing dialogues (not only a dialogue) with Papuans, based on
his previous convincing experience in Aceh and his world vision of
peace. Why dialogues? Papua is different from Aceh in nature: geo-
graphically, historically, anthropologically and politically. Papua
needs a pluralistic and ongoing approach in addressing conflicts
involving three key state powers: the legislative, the judiciary and
the executive.
Soft power needs to be embraced not only by the executive but
also by the legislature and the judiciary.
We should not forget how powerful the legislature was, to im-
peach the former president Abdurrahman Wahid when he allowed
Papuans to raise the Morning Star flag and organize the historical
gathering of the Second Papuan Congress in 2000.
The newly elected legislature needs to provide more responsive
reforms that adequately meet the needs of Papuan constituents,
including the defunct Special Autonomy Law (SAL).
The judiciary needs to engage in dialogues with Papuans on up-
holding the rule of law. Bear in mind how many cases exist in which
Papuans have been charged with treason when they exercise their
freedom of expression? Delivering justice and establishing truth

02 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

become instrumental in building goodwill and trust.
Papuans have a long history of memoria passionis, a collective
memory of suffering. These people well remember how Sukarno
declared Trikora; Soeharto launched a military operation zone
(DOM/ Daerah Operasi Militer); and Habibie sent the Team 100
team home; Gus Dur renamed Papua, allowed the Morning Star
flag and the Papuan Congress; and Megawati split Papua into
three different provinces and thus, contradicted the SAL.
The question now is whether SBY*s soft power (along with DPR
and the judiciary) will bring a somewhat more effective peace
based on justice.

Portraying a threat for a reluctant government: a response

to the ICGs report on Papua 2
It might have simply been a coincidence that 22 members of
KNPB (the West Papua National Committee) were arrested by
the Papuan police during a peaceful demonstration only 11 days
after the International Crisis Group (ICG) released its report on
the situation in Papua (no. 188) on 11 March 2010. The announce-
ment by the Indonesian Military (TNI) of a plan to deploy four
additional infantry battalions to Papua 2 weeks after the publica-
tion of the ICG report may also be coincidental.
However, it is unquestionable that the report has prompted a flur-
ry of commentary and debate. Some critics of the report have fo-
cused on the ICGs use of the term radical, which they argue mis-
represents the current situation in Papua. Other commentators
are preoccupied with the way in which the report portrays a link
between KNPB and/or OPM and recent violence in the territory.
What these comments and critiques indicate is that the report has
galvanized public debate and has helped to break down the silence
on Papua.
In this article, I would like to discuss three major issues: the key
contributions of the report; my own perspective, as a scholar on
the issues raised by ICG; and, briefly, the methodology employed
by ICG in its study.


Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 03

ICG provides four key insights into the situation in Papua in its re-
port. First, it urges policy makers in Jakarta to take Papua seriously
by raising the issue of radicalisation, particularly among the high-
land students and Papuan resistance. Second, it eloquently por-
trays KNPB as the prime example of radicalisation in Papua. Third,
it emphasises the complex nature of violence in Papua, which can-
not be attributed to one single source and forewarns Jakarta against
underestimating the potential for the situation in the territory to
deteriorate. Finally, the report importantly emphasises the need
for dialogue.
In my own view, the ICG report is a laudable attempt to address
these key issues, but it does suffer from several limitations.
First, on the issue of radicalization, ICG argues that it has three
key causes in Papua:
The radicalisation stems from a sense that peaceful methods have
brought no political dividends in terms of movement toward the
review of the 1969 UN-supervised Act of Free Choice that brought
Papua into the Indonesian republic; that international support
is critical if a review is to take place; and that the international
community will only pay attention if Papua is in crisis, with con-
vincing evidence of state repression and Papuan resistance.
In other words, ICG holds the view that the so-called radi-
cals believe that peaceful means have failed and they might say,
Let us create another Santa Cruz in Papua to win the so-called
international support. Radicalization is not a new topic; it was
hotly debated in various working group discussions at the Second
Papuan Congress in 2000. Nevertheless, the report is an important
reminder that the issue is real and that the possibility that Papuan
people would resort to violence in order to win international atten-
tion is not inconceivable.
However, one can delve further than the ICG has and ask why
violent methods are adopted by resistance groups in the first place.
Jim Della-Giacoma, South-east Asia Project Director of ICG, argues
that it is in the very nature of armed groups. This does not go far as
an explanation. One should also look at the existing and ever growing
military presence in Papua that represents the states power to exert
sanctioned violence. I would argue that for more than four decades,

04| Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

this presence has induced a mimetic pattern on the part of Papuan
resistance. A dialectic between state oppression and Papuan resis-
tance has developed in which both sides feed off one another.
ICG fails to situate its analysis in this broader context in which
there is not only a correlation between the two sides of the con-
flict but also a self-perpetuating cycle of violence. Over forty
years, the relations between Papua and the state have become
much more complex than they were in the 1960s when Indonesia
had just begun its administration of the territory. Despite some
lingering legacies, Suharto is long gone and Jakarta is now home
to a wide variety of political actors that have various and some-
time conflicting interests. Papua itself has also been dramatically
transformed. All local governments are in the control of indige-
nous Papuans that have real power over fundamental issues, such
as budgeting, development policy and regulation. One aspect of
Papuan society that the ICG report does explicitly recognise is
the fact that the resistance movement has never been mono-
lithic. A broad spectrum of groups with a variety of views and tac-
tics are involved. It is not unthinkable that some of these groups
embrace violent means but so far none of them has ever made a
public statement to abandon the decision of the Second Papuan
Congress, which stipulates that peaceful methods are the only
appropriate path for Papuan political struggle.
Second, on the issue of KNPB, the ICG report emphasises that the
groups tactics are not widely shared or approved of by the rest of
Papuan society. However, the ways in which the report portrays
the groups evolution, role and links with a number of violent
incidents suggests that KNPB does play a leading role in promoting
violent means of resistance in Papua. The use of the term evolution
itself suggests there is a linear continuity within the Papuan stu-
dent movement since 1998 that has helped form KNPB. Moreover,
KNPB has been portrayed as a new actor capable of posing a sig-
nificant threat to the Indonesian state. My impression is that the
report tries to portray KNPBs role in Papua as equivalent to that of
various terrorist groups that engage in asymmetric warfare against
state authorities in other countries.
There are two possible responses that such a characterization of
KNPB might evoke. On the one hand, for opponents of KNPB (not

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 05

only various security services in the government but also other
Papuan organizations) it might suggest the need for pre-emptive
action against the group. On the other hand, for supporters of
KNPB it might confirm their belief that KNPBs tactics are likely to be
successful in raising the profile of the Papuan political struggle. For
my own part, I would question whether the KNPB, or any other
Papuan resistance group, has ever really posed a military threat
equivalent to insurgencies in other parts of the world that have
solid financing, tactical training and media savvy.
Third, on the issue of the complexity of violence in Papua, what
some commentators appear to miss in their reading of the ICG re-
port is that there is recognition of the fact that there is no single
source of violence in Papua. The report identifies various roots of
violence, such as land dispute, inter-clan wars and struggles over
local political powers. Such an approach plays an important role
not only in understanding the whole picture of Papua but also in
imagining threat. Any misrepresentation and misunderstanding
of the situation could largely contribute to a misleading policy to
tackle the threat.
Many scholars, activists, and government officials have subscribed
to a black and white framework for understanding the relations
between national government policy and the dynamics in Papua.
However, under the newly emerging democratic regime, policy
makers in Jakarta must learn to accommodate a wide range of views
to formulate a way forward for Papua, rather than focusing on specific
critiques and labeling them as separatist. Similarly, non-government
actors need to accommodate the changing reality in Papua into their
analytical framework.
In this context, I argue that it is not enough to explain the dynamics
in Papua by simply singling out a few actors such KNPB or Jakarta.
What is Jakarta? Is it merely the government? One needs to take
seriously pluralised actors that influence decision-making at all
levels such as the business sector and local governments.
Fourth, the report concludes with a clear message that dialogue
between Papuan leaders and the Indonesian government is in-
dispensable. ICG strongly endorses the LIPI-Tebay initiative to
pave a way for a dialogue. It identifies a number of high ranking
figures that have expressed support for this idea. However, ICG

06 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

also explicitly points out that President Yudhoyono has not made
a decisive step to endorse a dialogue. Having learnt from an Aceh
peace process that required the commitment and involvement
from the top level, ICG implicitly suggests that such indecisive-
ness will not only jeopardise a peace initiative but also will allow
for continued aggression on both sides. I would agree that the Presi-
dents inaction sends the message that Papua is not a priority for his
administration and, thus, leaves room for escalating violence.
I turn now, briefly, to the issue of methodology. In the midst of
the Indonesian governments actions to clamp down on various
international organisations working in Papua (ICRC, PBI, Bill
Gates Foundation), ICG has managed to maintain a unique posi-
tion that enables it to have access both to the key state actors in
Jakarta and various actors in Papua. This is no easy task. Despite
its worldwide network and influential board of trustees, the Indo-
nesian authorities are not always receptive to the group. ICG was
even forced to leave Indonesia for a period some years ago.
As other commentators have pointed out, this particular ICG re-
port relies heavily on interviews, public statements and online
media. Such methods are not unusual in strategic studies, but
it is important to note that they rely on a fundamental assump-
tion: that utterances and acts are consistent. In other words, what
people say is what they actually think and is reflected in how they
Such an approach might be very relevant in many situations but can
be misleading in the Papuan context. If one looks to Melanesian
warfare traditions, one might be able to begin to grasp the strategic
nature of the Papuan people. Language in Papua does not neces-
sarily correlate with action. Posturing is very different from action.
This is not a matter of inconsistency or different moral values, but
instead represents an alternative worldview. Outsiders, therefore,
need to carefully cross-check their findings from interviews with
public events and local customs and knowledge. In other words, an
anthropological perspective that pays serious attention to partici-
pant observation is a conditio sine qua non.
In conclusion, I cannot agree more with ICGs position that the
Indonesian government should take Papua not only seriously but
also respectfully. It is nothing new that policy makers in Jakarta are
Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 07
failing to fully understand the vibrant dynamics of Papua and are
thus misrepresenting the situation there. Although the ICG report
has done little to provide an alternative model to the traditional
dichotomy framework, the well-researched analysis clearly shows
that Papua must be a top priority for the leadership in Jakarta. The
ICG strongly recommends an open door policy for Papua as a seri-
ous gesture of an emerging democracy instead of deploying addi-
tional troops.

UP4B: a new hope for Papuans? 3

During his recent visit to Australia, Vice President Boediono told
the media that he had been mandated by President Susilo Bam-
bang Yudhoyono to formulate a draft of a presidential decree to
address more comprehensively questions regarding Papua.
According to the draft, the government will form a delivery unit
called the Unit Percepatan Pembangunan Papua dan Papua Barat
(UP4B/ Special Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua
and West Papua) to deal with problems in Papua.
What can we learn about the process of drafting this decree?
First, the slow and long process might indicate the complexity
and delicacy of the situation in both provinces, which requires
consultation with many Papuans. Second, this may reflect the
disagreements among different government institutions in how
to deal with Papuans. Third, Papua and Jakarta are not a single
entity. Both consist of a number, if not many, actors representing
both places. Finally, it might indicate a stalemate in dealing with
the two Papuan provinces.
Based on these four possibilities, I would argue that it is far too
simplistic to view the problems in Papua as polarized, that is,
Papua vs Jakarta, independence vs the unitary state of Indonesia,
dialogue vs special autonomy, etc. If we follow what has happened
in Papua in the last 10 months, there is a spectrum of political
aspirations, from demands for independence, referendum, dia-
logue, a review of special autonomy, the implementation of spe-


08 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

cial autonomy as well as inexpressible voices. With the exception
of those unheard voices, each perspective by and large has orga-
nized representatives to articulate concerns and political stances.
In a similar vein, although government agencies are united when it
comes to aspirations for Papuan independence, they may apply dif-
ferent approaches. One institution might be genuinely receptive to
the idea of dialogue as promoted by the Indonesian Institute of Sci-
ences and the Papua Peace Network. Another agency might want
to continue the strategy of surveillance of the Papuan community.
An agency might stick to the idea of economic growth and welfare
as the best solution, while another may prefer the formation of new
regencies to secure power at the local level.
The multifaceted elements in the so-called Papua and Jakarta
rivalry may lead us to appreciate not only the complexity of the
problem but more importantly, the hopes that various elements
have expressed. Hopes for peace, justice and conflict resolution
have been repeatedly articulated by many actors in both Jakarta
and Papua. This means that there is a common ground in the
desire for peace. The question is how to translate this hope into
There is no magical spell for this and I do not pretend to have an
answer either. I would rather go back and reflect on the idea of
UP4B. No doubt this proposition is still fragile and begs a more
detailed explanation.
On Jakartas side, the shocking experience of the encounter
between the 100 team of Papuan leaders and then president B.J.
Habibie, which led to the division of Papua, remains unforgettable.
Although Indonesia successfully achieved a peace agreement in
Aceh, such an extremely difficult and lengthy process cannot be
directly extrapolated to Papua.
The special autonomy package, with the dramatic increase of
funds, has met with strong opposition from Papuans. The emer-
gence of Indonesia as the third largest democracy has put pressure
on the Indonesian government to comply with democratic prin-
ciples and the rule of law. Therefore, the combination of these
factors has generated ambivalence and indecisiveness towards

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 09

On Papuas side, it has learnt how it was betrayed when the
Dutch, who initiated some preparations for an independent state
in Papua, left without any notice. They then confronted a repres-
sive regime in the New Order like every other part of Indonesia.
Although special autonomy was granted in 2001 by the Megawati
Soekarnoputri administration, it took only 13 months for the same
administration to issue a controversial presidential decree to di-
vide Papua into three provinces, which contradicted the special
autonomy itself. When Papuans handed back special autonomy,
the Indonesian government and the House of Representatives
continued approving the formation of new regencies in Papua.
In this difficult situation brimming with distrust, both sides may
consider being guided by an alternative approach of principled
engagement, which offers a middle ground between isolation and
the business-as-usual approaches. This means direct engagement
with those responsible in decision-making processes, as well as
other groups in society, to address concrete problems and improve
the practical framework for a solution, particularly with human
rights protection, as Kinley and Pederson wrote in a forthcoming
Both sides would need to take risks and listen to each other in what
can only be painful processes. Both sides would need to genuinely
respect the anxieties, fears and hopes present within one another
and towards one another. Both sides would need to give up some of
their positions to reach a compromise.
Based on these understandings, both sides will need to translate
their shared hope for peace into a legal foundation such as the
UP4B or any other document that both can commit to. No doubt
this will be the hardest part given the complex nature of the players
on both sides. After all, many peace initiatives do not succeed and
can backfire.

Making Sense of the Current Events in Papua 4

Since the Papua Peace Conference concluded in Jayapura in July,
a whirlwind of events in Papua has raised questions that need
While the violent incidents around the Puncak Jaya highlands

10 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

remain unresolved, separate violence has occurred in the neigh-
borhood in Puncak regency surrounding a local election.
A few days later, several thousand Papuans took to the streets in
Jayapura to express their great hope and support for a conference
being held in Oxford, the UK, by the International Lawyers for
West Papua (ILWP). The conference discussed the possibility of
filing a lawsuit against the decision of the 1969 Free Choice Act.
Although these events are mostly separate, they pose the ques-
tion to those of us trying to make sense of the situation: What is
going on here?
Lets start with the conference in Jayapura. It was the culmination
of continuous efforts by Papuan civil society seeking a peaceful
solution to the Papuan conflict.
The conference organizer, the Papua Peace Network, was born
out of a decade-long peace movement in Papua, which envisaged
Papua as a land of peace, free from all forms of violence. The
network translates this broad concept of peace into a narrowly
defined goal: dialogue with Jakarta.
The first step to achieving this dialogue during the conference
was realized. Representing Jakarta, Coordinating Political, Le-
gal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto was present.
For three days, government officials, observers and hundreds of
Papuans engaged in intensive conversations to envision politics
of hope.
The conference concluded with a final statement outlining its fol-
low up, including appointing select Papuans to negotiate with Ja-
karta. This conference demonstrates the politics of hope embed-
ded in the network of power in Papua.
Despite the importance of conferences such as this, it is not enough
to stop violence, as we have seen in the recent events in Puncak
Jaya. Over the last decade, this area has gained more attention out-
side Papua, sadly, following reports of the violent incidents.


Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 11

Beginning from the hostage incident in 2001, the hoisting of the
outlawed Morning Star flag in 2006 was met with a police raid
and now gunmen conduct hit-and-run attacks on security troops.
The death toll is climbing, prompting new Army chief Gen.
Pramono Edhie Wibowo to consider further action. This con-
tinuing violence has compelled leading human rights group Kon-
tras to appeal to President Susilo Bambang Yudho-yono to stop
the violence.
Puncak Jaya may illustrate other elements within the Papuan net-
work of domination and resistance. The security services repre-
senting the power of domination have been met with the power
of resistance from the Papuans. But both claim sovereignty of the
same territory: Papua.
In a separate incident, local elections at the newly established
district of Puncak led to violence. One of the candidates for the
position of the regent was denied entry to the registration process
by the local election commission (KPUD). The inevitable clash
between supporters of rival candidates is no stranger to any local
election in Indonesia. Therefore, rivalry is the message here.
Back in the UK, the ILWP organized follow-up action signaling its
determination to seek a legal solution for Papua through interna-
tional mechanisms. This gathering has obviously inspired many
young Papuans especially in Jayapura. It may also reveal the
element of merdeka (freedom) within the network of power,
which cannot be ignored. The government and many Papuans
may now wait for the delivery of ILWPs promise.
It is challenging for anyone to make sense of the relationships
between the politics of hope, domination, resistance and ethnic
rivalry in Papua. It is even more challenging for our policy makers
both in Papua and Jakarta to offer policies to address these inter-
connected elements of power.
The main difficulty lies in the fluidity of the relations that often
escape regulatory responses, as we have seen with the implemen-
tation of special autonomy.
Therefore, an answer to these current incidents account for the
multiplicity of these relationships and dynamics.

12 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

In sum, an approach to Papua should involve greater sophisti-
cation to formulate a responsive policy. From experience, a legal
response alone seems inadequate. Similarly, a forceful approach
may only lead to more violence.
Therefore, the Papuan call for dialogue may be the only medium
to reformulate a new power network model in Papua. The first
step has been taken. Now, its time to move further with broader
and deeper dialogues. The Indonesian credible experiences with
peace processes in Aceh, Mindanao, Mynmar and Southern Thai-
land have set solid ground for dialog with Papua.

Punishing conscience in Papua 5

On the anniversary of Papuas historic day of Dec. 1, at least 306
Papuan students were arrested by the Jakarta Police. In front of
the public eye the police did not hesitate to deploy the usual tac-
tics: dispersing the crowd by arresting them and keeping a few
to feed the esprit de corps of the police. Despite the rally being
legitimate and peaceful, the police insisted it was illegal and that
they had acted to maintain public order.
How do we read this incident? This was not at all novel. On the
contrary, it seems to be a ritual since the first Indonesian troops
arrived in then West New Guinea in 1963.
Out of their conscience, Papuans, especially the young genera-
tion, have expressed their political aspirations for national iden-
tity regardless of any risks of mistreatment.
Their expression has met harsh treatment from state authorities.
Many young Papuans have served long sentences in jail.
On Tuesday, two students were detained and charged with mul-
tiple offenses, including attacking police officers, group attack,
assault and inciting hatred. Although the offenses carry lenient
sentences, these charges have been used by the police to crimi-
nalize protesters and demoralize the resistance movement.
The incident was reminiscent of May 1 this year when 264 Papuan


Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 13

students were arrested by the Papua Police in Manokwari, Jayapura,
Kaimana and Merauke on the same day. They expressed support for
the United Liberation Movement for West Papua that bid for mem-
bership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. The police deployed
the same tactics.
But from history we learn that repression generates the opposite
impact on conscience to that intended. We can learn this from Fi-
lep Karma, one of Papuas most prominent prisoners of conscience.
In 2011 the UN Working Group of Arbitrary Detention declared
that he was prisoner of conscience and should be released.
The government of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, however, simply
ignored this verdict. He was just released from prison a couple of
weeks ago after serving a 15-year jail term. Once freed, he is more
determined to fight for independence than ever.
For our state security services, Papuan students might be construed
as noisy dissidents whose sphere of influence can be contained.
One should not underestimate their power of conscience, however.
We know of course that our Indonesian founding fathers determi-
nation to defend the Indonesian nation against Dutch colonial rule
was indomitable. Sukarno, Sjahrir and Muhammad Hatta were
among those who were more than prepared to be exiled. Instead of
being demoralized, their exile only purified and consolidated their
conscience that later led Indonesia to independence.
In a different context, the Algerian resistance movement expe-
rienced a similar trajectory when they engaged in a war against
their French colonial rulers in 1954 to 1962. The war saw Algeria
gain independence from France. Having been confronted with
French repression, torture and counterterrorism strategies, the
Algerian combatants only went from strength to strength.
Of course, Papua is not Algeria. But the old saying that violence
begets violence might be relevant and applicable. In the long run,
the ongoing repression by state authorities of the young Papuans
will not only galvanize their self-identification but more impor-
tantly, cement their revolt.
French philosopher Julia Kristeva says revolt is distinct from revo-
lution. While the latter is limited to a political sense, the former de-
notes a very deep movement of discontent, anxiety and anguish
14 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements
that leads to renewal of the mind and the life of a society, which is
broader than politics. It encompasses an integral part of a larger
process of general anxiety, which is simultaneously psychic, cul-
tural, religious, etc.
Kristevans notion of revolt can inform our reading of the recent
incident with the Papuan students. Their discontent, anguish and
anxiety were publicly expressed. They have been demanding for
change. Perhaps for now state authorities are more than capable
of dispersing their rally and even punishing them.
But we all know from our very own founding fathers that conscience
cannot be contained. When these young people assume roles in
their community and infuse their discontent, anguish and anxiety
into their younger generation, who could confine their revolt?
For sure, it is a gradual process but it is also irreversible. If the
government of President Joko Jokowi Widodo is determined
to deal with Papua respectfully, it should revisit its repressive ap-
proach embedded in government policies toward Papua. If welfare
is his top priority, the President should place Papua under the
portfolio of the coordinating economic minister, not political
Discontent, anguish and anxiety cannot be solved over night. But
without tangible and visible change on the ground, revolt remains

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 15

16 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements
B. State of human rights

Melbourne mans shooting lost in a Papuan puzzle 6

Spare a thought for the family of Melbourne man Drew Grant,
shot dead early on the morning of July 11 in a curious incident
near the Freeport mine in Indonesian Papua. Aged just 29, with a
young family back in Australia, he was in the wrong place at the
wrong time when he was hit by sniper fire while seated in the back
of a company car, coming down from the mine on his way back
home for a break. So unusual is death by sniper fire, even in the
context of a violence- prone province such as Papua, that there
was initially some suggestion that Grant was targeted. But that
now appears highly unlikely. Shortly after this shooting event,
there were further incidents involving shots fired by an unknown
assailant or assailants at passing vehicles on the same road.
With some fanfare on July 20, the local police announced the arrest
of a group of 10 suspects, all of them members of the Amungme
tribe that traditionally owns the land around the Freeport mine
and the mining township of Tembagapura. Among the 10 were
Viktor Beanal, a highly respected Amungme elder, and Simon
Beanal, described by his kin and close associates as mentally
disabled. However, the killings resumed almost immediately,
with a further shooting the day after the arrests, and 12 more
incidents since July 11.
The Freeport Mine is no stranger to violence. In 1996 when a
group of European scientists were taken hostage by the the Free
Papua Movement (OPM), the Indonesian Government deployed
a massive military operation to release the hostages, resulting in
killings of innocent civilians who lived around the hostage hot
spot. In 2002 when an Indonesian and two American teachers


Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 17

were shot dead in the Freeport mine site, a joint police operation
between the Indonesian police and FBI resulted in seven Papuans
being jailed four years after the incident. However, this cooperation
did not uncover the mastermind of the attack.
If we look back to the history of Australia-Indonesia relations,
on November 13, 2006, the two neighouring countries signed
a bilateral security agreement called the Lombok Treaty. This
unique legal framework is designed to provide a framework for
cooperation between Australia and Indonesia on traditional and
nontraditional threats in 10 key areas, including defence, law en-
forcement, counterterrorism, intelligence, maritime security,avia-
tion safety and security, the proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction, emergency cooperation, cooperation in interna-
tional organisations on security-related issues and community un-
derstanding and people-to-people cooperation. This cooperation
is based on six key principles, including equality, mutual benefit
and recognition of enduring interests each party has in the sta-
bility, security and prosperity of the other Article 2(1). It is very
clear that the framework is intended to promote stability, secu-
rity and prosperity.
How does the treaty work in the case of Drew Grant? Shortly after
his killing, the Indonesian Minister of Defence, Juwono Sudarsono,
claimed that a rogue element in the military might have been in-
volved in the shooting. This unusual statement might explain why
the joint investigation between the police and military involved
about 1000 personnel, including the anti-terror unit, Densus 88.
About a month later, despite the strong denial from the army re-
gional commander, the national police bluntly announced that the
unknown gunmen fired bullets produced by the Army-run arms
producer PT Pindad in Bandung.
This finding might confirm Sudarsonos claim. It has been about
three months since Grants death, and the unknown gunmen are
free while seven Amungme men have been held in police custody
and charged with murder. They are being denied access to their
families and medical treatment, and there are allegations some
of them have been tortured. It is obvious that despite the massive
deployment of personnel, the joint forces have failed to stop the
ongoing violence, leaving the local community to live in terror. In

18 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

Australia, the issue has dropped out off the publics radar. Doubt-
less, both the Australian and Indonesian governments are dealing
with the issue behind closed doors. However, one of the key ques-
tions is whether the two governments should provide the public
with adequate information on the ways they address the issue un-
der the Lombok treaty. Given the way Papuans have been ignored
or treated as scapegoats by the Indonesian Government, I believe
we need transparency from both governments regarding the
way this matter is being dealt with. To justify the existing secu-
rity cooperation, the public in both countries need to be informed
of progress in the Grant case. The Australian Government in par-
ticular has to explain why it has increased travel warnings following
the incident. Such transparency would allow the public to measure
to what extent the cooperation in law enforcement has been done
under the rule of law. Moreover, the rule of law would help develop
an accountability mechanism that would prevent such an incident
to happen again.

They ask for wages, not bullets.7

On Oct. 10, in chaotic circumstances, the police of Timika opened
fire and shot dead an employee of PT Freeport Indonesia, Petrus
Ayamiseba. His death sparked fury not only in Timika but also
outside the city with demands for the resignation of the regional
and provincial police chiefs.
Ayamiseba was one of thousands of Freeport workers who had gone
on strike for weeks demanding an increase in wages by 25 percent,
as well as other employment benefits. Freeport Indonesia workers
reportedly receive the lowest salaries among all Freeport McMoRan
(FM) workers around the world, with wages ranging from US$1.50
$3.00 per hour.
The labor strike is a relatively new phenomenon in the US gold
mining firm. It was an unthinkable option prior to the reform
movement in 1998.
It was Tongoi Papua, the union for the indigenous Papuan


Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 19

workers, which made history in 2007 when it organized the first
major strike in the history of Freeport Indonesia. The strike dis-
rupted production at the worlds largest gold and copper mine
for a week. Freeport executives settled the dispute by agreeing to
accommodate the demands of workers. The most important de-
mands were an increase of wages for indigenous Papuan workers
and that indigenous Papuans should be prioritized for new re-
Four years later, on July 4, 2011, both indigenous and non-indige-
nous Freeport workers walked off the job at Freeports Grasberg
mine. Some 5,000 workers traveled on foot to Timika, about 54
kilometers down to the lowlands, after FM refused to provide
them with transportation.
Freeport representatives acknowledged the significance of the
strike through reports that the workers had crippled the produc-
tion line and contributed to the rise of copper prices in the global
market. The workers returned to their jobs when Freeport agreed
to negotiate with the Freeport Union under the mediation of
government officials.
Several months later, however, the union claimed that Freeport
would not agree to meet their demands for a 25 percent pay rise.
Consequently, another strike was held on Sept. 29, which coin-
cided with other strikes held by Freeport workers in Peru, Chile
and Bolivia.
Under Article 137 of the Law on Industrial Relations, organizing a
strike is legal and every worker is entitled to participate in collective
action. As stipulated by law, the state apparatus has the obligation
to ensure that laborers can exercise this right in a lawful, orderly
and peaceful manner.
As such, the Papuan Police chief rightly informed the public that
the strike was lawful as long as it did not jeopardize public order.
Moreover, under Article 143 of the law, nobody is allowed to in-
tervene in a labor or labor union exercise if it is held in a lawful,
orderly and peaceful manner. However, the reality in Timika shows
the opposite.
The shooting of Ayamiseba while he was on strike shows that

20| Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

the police intervened and confronted the strike with lethal force.
According to the law, industrial relations matters are not subject
to police jurisdiction. The investigation team, which consists of
the National Police Headquarters, has been led on the ground by
Brigadier General Paulus Waterpauw, a former local police chief
and a Timika native. The team has the duty to investigate the killing
and to follow through on allegations that the leader of the union
has been intimidated by the local police.
FM is no stranger to violence and death. The report of Catholic
Bishop Moeninghoff on the human right abuses in the FM mining
site says violence and death have been rampant in the FM conces-
sion area since 1995. Wages are not the only problem. Rather, it
is one of a myriad of major issues to deal with, including human
rights, environmental destruction, recognition of customary land
rights, the heavy presence of the Indonesian security forces and
industrial relations as a whole.
President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono has made it clear that jus-
tice will be served for Ayamiseba and his family. While it is a con-
ditio sine qua non, the instruction seems unheeded.
Issues surrounding Freeport are much more problematic than a
murder of one individual. It constitutes a stumbling block to the
development of trust between Jakarta and Papua, which the newly
established UP4B (Special Unit for the Acceleration of Develop-
ment in Papua and West Papua) aims to address.
As US President Barack Obama took stern actions against BP for
the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, so should Yudhoyono
be called on to take action against Freeport. Yudhoyono must re-
visit the contract between the government and Freeport to ensure
Freeports compliance to international human rights standards,
recognition of customary land rights, environmental protections
and fair industrial relations.

Schapelle Corby vs Filep Karma 8

On May 15, in an unusual style, President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono granted clemency for Schapelle Corby, a convicted
Australian drug smuggler, on humanitarian grounds.

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 21

Corbys lawyer told the public that his client suffered from mental
illness and was struggling with life in Balis Kerobokan prison. The
clemency slashed five years off Corbys 20-year sentence for smug-
gling 4.1 kg marijuana from Australia to Bali in 2004.
While Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr denied there was any
trade-off with Indonesia, Indonesian officials suggested some-
thing different. While dismissing any suggestion of a reciprocal
arrangement between the two countries, Law and Human Rights
Minister Amir Syamsudin said that Corbys release should en-
courage Australia to release Indonesians detained in Australia or
reduce their sentences (The Jakarta Post, May 24).
In parallel, we have a long list of petitions submitted to the Presi-
dent to release Filep Karma, a Papuan
political prisoner who was sentenced to 15 years in jail for raising
the outlawed Morning Star flag in Jayapura in 2004.
Just like Corby, Karma has struggled with life at Abepuras Prison.
Doctors at the Jayapura state hospital declared he urgently needs
medical treatment in Jakarta. But the government takes no action.
In response to this, on Sept. 2, 2011, the UN Working Group on Ar-
bitrary Detention stated that the imprisonment had deprived Kar-
ma of his rights. This act breaches international law, particularly
the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, to which
Indonesia is a party. Therefore, the Working Group requests the
government to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation,
including the immediate release of Mr. Karma and providing him
with adequate reparation.
A few days ago, this appeal was explicitly echoed by the German
delegation during the session of Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
on Indonesia at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
If we juxtapose the cases of Corby and Karma, the contrast is striking.
This contrast, however, is not about who suffers the most. Such
comparison is unethical and unacceptable because human suffering
is unique and incomparable between individuals. Rather, it is all


22 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

about equal treatment before the law.
Under Indonesian law, both are convicted of serious crimes.
Hence, both have posed serious threats to society, according to the
Indonesian authorities. Importantly, Corby is a foreigner whereas
Karma is not. Corbys nationality puts her in a relatively stronger
position than Karma in demanding justice.
Portrayed as a victim of a corrupt Indonesian justice system, Corby
features regularly in the media, both in Australia and Indonesia,
drawing wide public attention. Eventually, Corby became an issue
discussed at the highest political levels of both countries. She is
not just another tourist. So, when Corby requested clemency on
humanitarian grounds, all of these elements arguably persuaded
President Yudhoyono.
Karma is a completely different story. During the court hearings,
he refused to acknowledge his Indonesian citizenship but techni-
cally he remains an Indonesian national.
Unlike Corby, who has her government on her side, Karma is con-
victed for treason. This means he is seen as an enemy by the In-
donesian state. Being a political prisoner, Karma does not feature
much in both Australian and Indonesian media, and perhaps only
human rights groups and a Papuan audience will know of him.
Unlike Corby, who requested clemency, Karma refused to take this
path and maintained his position that the Indonesian state has
breached his rights, not the other way around.
Therefore, it might not be so surprising that the government
pays minimal attention to Karma, even though the UN Working
Group has made a strong statement on his case and the UPR
session reiterated this concern.
One of the indicators is the governments unwillingness to inter-
vene when Karma urgently needs medical treatment. In other
words, for the government, Karma is just another Papuan con-
sidered an enemy of the state.
What lessons can we learn from these two cases? It is obvious that na-
tionality matters. More importantly, the principle of equality before
the law can be compromised if it comes to the interests of the state.

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 23

Corbys and Karmas cases suggest that the rule of law can be re-
placed by the rule of exception if the interests of the state are at
stake. Unlike Corby, Karma does not have Australia in his corner.
He is unable to mobilize such a wealthy neighbor and a strong sup-
porter for Indonesia in the Pacific region. He may have to face the
reality that the Indonesian government will do little for him.

They are just Papuans 9

The statement by President Yudhoyono that recent violent in-
cidents in Papua are small-scale incidents compared to those in
the Middle East (Jakarta Post, 12 June 2012) is worrying. The worry
is not only that, by comparing Papuans and people in the Middle
East in this way, he appeared to confuse his constitutional duty to
protect Indonesian nationals with his role as observer of world
politics. It is also because his comment suggests the president
views Papuans as living bare lives.
First coined by the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, a bare
life denotes a life that is limited to its biological and physio-
logical dimensions. The term emphasises the emptiness of such
life, a life that is devoid of meaning and value. Lived bare, the
life of an individual is equivalent to a piece of meat. If someone
destroys this life, it makes no difference because a bare life that
is ended cannot be transformed into sacrifice. It has no higher
meaning or significance.
Whenever a Papuan is killed in violent conflict in Papua, this at-
titude is on public display. Government officials proclaim their
concern about national integrity or security, in abstract and
formal terms. We never, or rarely, hear them expressing sympa-
thy for the victims, or acknowledging that their lives were valu-
able and dignified. Human dignity is overshadowed by abstract
calculations that serve only the interests of the state. The lives
of Papuan victims are thus made bare, made devoid of meaning
and stripped of all recognition and rights.
Violence on the march


24 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

The resurgence of violence in recent weeks in Papua is suggestive
of this mindset. Since May 2012, unidentified killers have claimed
three lives and left six others wounded in Jayapura alone. Most
victims were civilians, including a German national, but a few of
them were members of TNI (Indonesias National Armed Forces)
and Police. The victims were attacked when they were on the way
home from work, such as Private Doengki Kune, or busy at work,
such as Tri Sarono, or simply enjoying leisure time on the beach,
such as the German biologist Pieter Helmut.
The killers continue to operate freely. Law enforcers seem unable to
stop the killings, or to prevent the killers from publically displaying
the bodies they leave behind. Randomness has become the lan-
guage of terror that the killers want to communicate to the whole
Papuan population. Their message is crystal clear: they can target
anybody regardless of nationality, occupation, gender, ethnicity,
time and location. Their impact was great. For a time, the busy road
connecting Jayapura and Sentani (where the Jayapura airport is lo-
cated) was deserted by 6 pm.
The recent violence in the highland town of Wamena in June 2012
evinces a similar pattern. On 6 June two members of the armed
forces, Private Ahmad Ruslan and Private Ahmad Sarifuddin,
were riding a motorcycle when they ran over a three-year old boy,
Debet Wanimbo and left him injured. Instead of being attentive
and responsible to the victim, these soldiers tried to escape, trig-
gering an angry reaction by locals. The locals took the law into
their own hands. They stabbed Private Ahmad Ruslan to death
and left another soldier in a critical condition. This situation im-
mediately triggered retaliation by the soldiers comrades in bat-
talion 756.
The soldiers rioted. They stabbed Mr Elinus Yoman (30 y.o) to
death and injured 15 others, and destroyed a lot of private and
public property. The commander in chief of the TNI eventually
acknowledged, rather casually, that the troops shouldnt have
over-reacted (Jakarta Globe, 13 June 2012). But their rampage am-
ply demonstrates how the authorities persistently view Papuans
as living bare lives, unworthy of protection or value.
The Wamena example is much more complex than what we see
on the surface for two reasons. First, the violence fits into a long
Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 25
pattern that arises out of, and reinforces, the difficult relationship
between locals and the army garrison permanently stationed in
this area. This relationship has long been marked by cautious-
ness, suspicion and sometimes hostility. For many people in
Wamena, the recent violence is reminiscent of the 2003 Wamena
case, for which prosecution is still pending with the Attorney
General. In 2003, there was an intensive military operation in the
Wamena area following the burglary of the military arsenal there.
According to a National Human Rights Commission investigation,
during the search for the stolen weapons, soldiers indiscriminately
arrested and tortured at least 30 innocent civilians, killed nine
others and forcefully displaced the population of 13 villages.
Second, at the community level, the recent incident triggered a
communal dispute between the family of the boy who was injured
in the motorcycle crash, and those who suffered losses when the
army ran amok. These victims blamed the family of the boy for
the whole affair, and for the communitys suffering as a result.
Some have demanded compensation from the family of the boy.
Whilst this dispute can be settled by a payment agreed by both
sides, the scars left by the dispute will remain recorded in the col-
lective memory of the Wamena people.
In a different setting, the killing of a Papuan activist Mako
Tabuni on 14 June further illustrates another example of the
bare life status of Papuans. Mr Tabuni was an outspoken leader
of West Papua National Committee (KNPB), a political organisa-
tion which campaigns and advocates for a referendum for Papua.
Following a rally he helped organised, the police ambushed him
while he was chewing betel nuts with his companions. Instead of
upholding due process and arresting and processing Mr Tabuni
according to regular police procedures, the police shot him dead,
claiming that he resisted arrest and possessed weapons. This in-
cident immediately triggered mob rioting around the crime scene
and the burning of shops owned by non-indigenous Papuans.
Innocent people became victims, regardless of their ethnic back-
The incident has fueled tension between indigenous and non-in-
digenous Papuans, and there is a danger of serious communal
conflict in the future if these tensions are not carefully addressed.

26 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

An exit from violence?
Given the escalation of violence, the response of the president
is inadequate. If the highest policy maker in the country has al-
ready dismissed the Papua conflict as being just small-scale, not
as significant as other world trouble spots, and perhaps therefore
not really worthy of attention, what can the Papuans expect? Can
Papuans expect that the international community will invoke the
principle of the responsibility to protect and intervene on their
behalf? But apart from perhaps Vanuatu, no country has placed
Papua high in terms of its national interests and foreign policy.
Almost all the nations that count have repeatedly stated publicly
to the Indonesian government that Papua is purely a domestic
matter for Indonesia and that problems there fall within Indo-
nesian jurisdiction in accordance with the principle of national
sovereignty enshrined in the UN Charter. Furthermore, Indone-
sian foreign policy has deliberately isolated Papuans from inter-
national attention.
However, from history we learn that the weak cannot always be de-
feated by force permanently. In their recent book, Why Civil Resis-
tance Works, Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan demonstrate
that non-violent resistance movements have a higher success rate
than movements that rely on armed struggle. Based on 323 case
studies worldwide between 1900 and 2006, their study shows that
non-violent resistance succeeded 53 per cent of the time, in com-
parison to only a 26 per cent success rate for armed struggle. In
other words, it is not impossible for the Papuans living bare lives
to reclaim their dignity by resorting to non-violent means. The
prospects may seem remote, and the present outlook may seem
bleak, but there is hope in resistance.

He put electric shock on me: a glimpse of the persistent,

widespread practice of torture in Papua 10
On 15 February 2013, in the sub-district of Depapre (approxi-
mately 30 kilometres west of the Papuan provincial capital of
Jayapura), six Papuan men were arrested and detained by the lo-
cal police. Daniel Gobay (30), Arsel Kobak (23), Eneko Pahabol
(23), Yosafat Satto (41), and Salim Yaru (35) were in a car when
the police stopped and searched them. Matan Klembiap (40),

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 27

who was on his motorbike behind the car that the police stopped,
was also detained. During the police interrogation all of the men
were tortured to confess that they knew the whereabouts of
two key pro-Papuan independence activists, Sebby Sambom
and Terrianus Sato, who have gone into hiding. On the following
day, four of the men were released without any charge; Daniel Go-
bay and Matan Klembiap remain in police custody, charged with
possessing a sharp weapon under the Emergency Regulation
12/1951, a legacy from the Dutch colonial laws.
In testimony to his lawyers, Ms Anum Siregar and Ms Cory Silpa
from a local NGO, the Democratic Alliance for Papua, Klembiap
complained that he was electrocuted on the back of his head and
was beaten on his legs by the police during the interrogation,
leaving visible black marks on his body.
Klembiap works as a cleaner at the local state hospital and
knows nothing about the police accusation of the targeted
Papuan fugitives. The police found him carrying an axe which
he had found abandoned on the street when they stopped him.
However, the police did not accept his explanation and instead
charged him. His case will soon be tried in Jayapura magistrates
Put in a broader context of the politics of torture in Papua, the
cases of Gobay and Klembiap are not uncommon or isolated.
Rather, they reveal a glimpse of the ways the Indonesian state
has governed Papua for the last fifty years. In this context, tor-
ture is widespread and has become a standard procedure of
the Indonesian state security apparatus in targeting pro-Papuan
independence activists. As we notice here, the police use torture
to extract confessions from suspects, to collect intelligence in-
formation and/or simply to exact shock and awe effects. If tor-
ture fails, suspects are charged with anachronistic laws such as
Regulation 12/1951. This law was the product of the Dutch colo-
nial power in its attempt to justify any arrest of pro-Indonesian
activists back in early days of independence struggle. The maxi-
mum penalty of carrying a weapon is 10-year imprisonment.


28 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

The other four suspects were released after being tortured. This
element is important to highlight. Torturing suspects and re-
leasing them because they were found innocent exemplify the
use of shock and awe by the Indonesian state. This element
is quite distinct from utilitarian notions of torture (e.g. gaining
confessions). With shock and awe effects, the police are not in-
terested in collecting intelligence information. Rather, they aim
to display the unrestrained sovereign power of the Indonesian
state over the bodies of the suspects. The police deliberately
mark the bodies of the suspects despite the absence of any le-
gal and moral reasons. The police act can be interpreted as the
penetration of the sovereign power of the Indonesian state into
Papuan bodies.
This pattern resonates with Darius Rejalis 2010 description of
torture as a civic marker. That is, torture serves as means of
separating gradations of citizenship. In other words, torture is
used to govern citizens and to discriminate against non-citizens
throughout the history of humankind. What has changed, according
to Rejali, is the technology. When states are more democratic, more
hidden technologies of torture are employed.
As a civic marker, torture has become a mode of governance for
the Indonesian state to establish and maintain its control over
Papuan territory. Torture is not merely a technique to inflict pain
over the body. Rather, it has become an effective machinery to
colonise the Papuan space, which is marked with Papuan resis-
tance movements. The direct and deliberate involvement of state
apparatus suggests a disturbing feature of torture in Papua be-
cause the primary responsibility and obligation of state apparatus
is to protect its own citizens, not to act as an agent of terror. It
may not be surprising for us to learn that the Indonesian justice
system seems unable to hold the state apparatus accountable. On
the contrary, innocent Papuans, like Klembiap, are put on trial
simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Both
utilitarian and shock and awe torture not only leave deep scars
in the body and psyche of Papuans but, more importantly,
treat Papuans as non-citizens.

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 29

Not a mere case of bad apples: Acts of state terrorism 11
Thirteen years ago on Nov. 10 Heroes Day the Papuan leader
Theys Eluay was found dead in the vicinity of Jayapura city after
attending an event at the local headquarters of the Armys Special
Forces, Kopassus.
His body was left abandoned in a public place. His driver, Aris-
toteles Masoka, went missing, and remains unaccounted for.
On Feb. 5, 2002, as Papuan Christians celebrated the anniversary
of the arrival of the first Christian missionaries in Papua, then
president Megawati Soekarnoputri established a national inves-
tigation commission chaired by a retired police officer and com-
missioner of the national rights body, Koesparmono Irsan. The
commissions sole purpose was to investigate the case of Theys
As a result, Aristoteles fate has been ignored completely since the
inception of the commission.
In its report to the president, the commission recommended the
naming of six suspects from within Kopassus, but failed to offer
any explanations as to why the crime was committed.
On April 21, 2003, the martial high court in Surabaya found the
six Kopassus members guilty of murder and mistreatment and
sentenced them to imprisonment.
Lt. Col. Hartomo, Pvt Ahmad Zulfahmi, Maj. Hutabarat and First
Lt Agus were sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment
and dismissed from the Indonesian Military (TNI), while Capt.
Rionardo and Sgt Asrial were imprisoned for three years.
Nothing, however, was ever said about Aristoteles during the
trial. Only his family remembers him. Later, the army chief
of staff Gen. Ryamizard Ryacudu, now the defense minister,
publicly praised the perpetrators as heroes.
Many inside and outside Papua may have forgotten the case.


30 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

The marker of the site where Theys and Aristoteles were abducted
along a hilly road outside Jayapura has been left abandoned.
Similarly, Theys grave, in a cemetery located across the road from
Sentani airport, receives minimal public attention and respect.
The story seems to be forgotten.
Meanwhile, public display of dead and or broken bodies is not
novel in our history. Since the counter insurgency operation
against the movements to establish an Islamic state, the DI/TII
(Darul Islam / Tentara Islam Indonesia) in the 1950s, this has
been a common method of state terror against Indonesias own
citizens accused of being enemies of the state.
The tactic was used extensively during the massacre of suspected
communists in 1965.
At least 500,000 people were killed that year; many of the killings
were carried out in public. The method was again used during the
killings of gangsters in the 1980s known as petrus (penembakan
misterius/ mysterious shootings).
Many of their bodies were left abandoned in public spaces as
a means of intimidation. Later, in front of the media and the
public eyes, the state security apparatus did not hesitate to use
the method to disperse the Papuan congress in 2011.
Hundreds of Papuans were rounded up and abused. The Papuan
activist Mako Tabuni was shot in front of the public on the out-
skirts of Jayapura; he later died in the Bhayangkara police hospi-
tal in Jayapura.
Ironically, having been confronted with so many public atrocities,
public memory has been normalized. We are no longer sensitive
to or repulsed by the message of terror.
Terror is designed not only to communicate the message of state
power but also to stigmatize the bodies, to make us unwilling to
get any closer to them.
We do not want to get tainted. As a result, many of us have be-
come bystanders who might believe that these people deserve
such treatment because they were enemies of the state.

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 31

Is the Indonesian state responsible for such crimes? We almost
always hear the standard answer from the authorities that it is all
about bad apples who operate independently beyond the chain of
command or misinterpret orders.
Such arguments are no longer valid. It was the Commission of Truth
and Friendship for Timor Leste and Indonesia that concluded that
the Indonesian state was responsible for crimes against humanity
in Timor Leste in 1999.
Both Indonesia and Timor Leste came to a conclusive truth
about the responsibility of the state for what happened in Timor
Leste in 1999.
This was the first time in our history that a state body held the
state responsible and accountable and thus set the precedent that
the state and state institutions are not immune to justice.
Unfortunately, this investigation has had a minimal impact on
our struggle to combat impunity. Just as Theys history has been
forgotten, so too has the history of Timor Leste been erased from
our consciousness.
Theys Eluay was not the only one and nor was he the last. He
was only one piece of the large mosaic of silenced history of the
Aristoteles Masoka is even more forgotten. Perhaps it is time for
us to restore their dignity as a gesture of solidarity to those who
have been silenced and forgotten in our history, in the wake of our
commemoration of national heroes.

TPF versus KPP HAM for Paniai? 12

As a response to the shooting incident in Paniai on 8 December
2014, various views from Papua have been expressed. Some asked
for the establishment of an investigation team under various ti-
tles. But they can be summarised into one title: a fact-finding team
(TPF/ Tim Pencari Fakta) to investigate the Paniai case. The Papua
provincial council sent its own team consisting of members of the
Council and university students to the crime scene to collect in-
formation. Meanwhile the Indonesian Council of Churches made
a representation to the Secretary of the state and to the Secretary
32 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements
of the cabinet in order to put pressure on President Joko Widodo
to establish a fact-finding team.
In contrast, in their press statements, the coalition of human
rights NGOs of Papua, the Papuan Customary Council of Paniai,
the Kingmi Church synod of Papua aimed for call for something
more specific. They appealed to Komnas HAM to establish Komi-
si Penyelidik Pelanggaran HAM (KPP HAM/ an inquiry commis-
sion). Similarly, the Papuan community and pro-democracy ac-
tivists at the national level concurred this appeal. On the other
hand, Komnas HAM deployed its own teams who revealed critical
evidence of the involvement of the military and thus the allegation
of human rights violations of the Paniai case but yet to come to its
recommendations of its investigation.
Apart from the issue of an investigation team, the Ecumenical Fo-
rum of the Papuan Churches raised other issues. The Forum re-
fused the plan of President Joko Widodo to celebrate Christmas
in Jayapura and the plan to build a presidential palace in Papua.
In this article, however, I limit myself in the discussion of the three
options to establish an investigation team, namely TPF or TGPF
and KPP HAM as summarised in Table 1 below.


Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 33

Table 1.
A comparison of the types of an investigation team.
No Elements KPP HAM Abe- The National The Joint
pura Investigation Fact-finding Team
Commisson of May 1998
on Theys Eluay
1 Legal power Article 89 verse Presidential Joint decisions of
3 Law 39/1999 Decree 10/2002 the Minister of
dan Article 18 Defence/ the Mil-
verse 2 Law itary Commander
26/2000 in chief, Minister
of Justice, Minister
of Foreing Affairs,
Minister of Women
Affairs, and the
Attorney General
on 23 July 1998 tgl,
23 Juli 1998.
2 The authori- Komnas HAM President Minister of De-
ty to estab- fence/ the Military
lish Commander in
chief, Minister of
Justice, Minister
of Foreing Affairs,
Minister of Women
Affairs, and the
Attorney General

3 Authority 1. All authories 1. Conduct 1. Collecting and

are stated in investiga- analysing all
the legal basis tion; information
as above men- 2. Provide a from various
tioned; final report sources
to the gov-
2. Pro-justitia 2. Verification of
investigation: data from vari-
interviews with ous sources;
both civilian
and state actors

34 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

3. Sub-poe- 1. Collecting and
na power: analysing all
collecting information
all relevant from various
documents sources
from any in- 2. Verification of
stitutions and data from vari-
the power to ous sources;
summon any
witnesses by 3. Interview-
force; ing relevant
4. Proving or and military
disproving officers;
elements of
gross human 4. Holding con-
rights viola- sultation with
tions as the organisations
focus of the of professions
team and experts;
5. Conducting
field visits;
6. Reconstructing
and analysing
the incidents.
7. Drawing con-
clusions of the
findings and
the truth of the
8. Drawing policy
and institu-
tional recom-
4 Membership 6 members: 11 members 18 members
members of chaired by chaired by Marjuki
Komnas HAM Koesparmono Darusman
and civil society Irsan
chaired by Dr
Albert Hasibuan

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 35

5 Final report Komnas HAM Report was sub- Submitted to Presi-
voted for the list mitted to Presi- dent Habibie
of suspects dent Megawati
6 Legal mech- The Indonesian Martial Court No court hearings
anisms Permanent Hu-
man Rights Court
in Makassar
7 Duration of 3 months 3 months 3 months
8 Funding Secretariat of Secretariat of Secretariat of the
the state the state state
9 Notes KPP HAM Solely
Abepura investigate
managed to the element
identify 25 of killing of
suspects and Theys and
submitted not ex-
the dossier amine the
to the Attor- elements of
ney General torture and
who cut enforced
down the list disappear-
to 2 suspects ances;
KPP HAM Did not
Wasior and investigate
Wamena: the disap-
the dossiers perance of
remain Aristoteles
pending for Masoka
prosecution (Theyss
at the Attor- driver)
ney General
to date;
final conclu-
sion remains
at the hand
of Komnas
HAMs ple-
nary deci-
Sources: compilation from various sources

36 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

Consequences of KPP HAM option
The other option is human rights court. The option is the end-game
of the process that various actors have raised. They asked for the In-
quiry Commission (KPP HAM) which only Komnas HAM can
establish. If we want to reveal violations of human rights, we should
not target the Provincial Council, the President or Secretary of the
State but Komnas HAM. We need to convince Komnas HAM to take
action by establishing the Inquiry Commission in order to meet the
sense of justice of the Papuans. The preliminary statement of Kom-
nas HAM of the allegation of the human rights violation needs to get
broad support from the public. Without it, Komnas HAM would be
in doubt to take risks by penetrating the cycle of impunity on its own.
Komnas HAM have documented a small portion of the history of
state crimes against Papuans and have come to a conclusion that the
crimes constitute crimes against humanity. The term is an interna-
tional category of the 1998 Rome Statue, which also serves as the legal
basis of the International Criminal Court under the auspices of the
UN Security Council. The category is one of the most serious crimes
beside war crime, genocide and the crime of aggression. Some of
them have been adopted by Law 26/2000 concerning Human Rights
In conjunction with Law 39 of 1999 on Human Rights, Law No. 26 of
2000 is the most powerful legal mechanism to penetrate the wall of
impunity which had been erected by various regimes in Indonesia
since independence. The strength of this legislation lies is its capabili-
ty to identify and reveal chains of command or command responsibil-
ity of individuals and institutions which go beyond the competence
of the criminal court. With this provision, anyone or any institution
can b found guilty of committing crimes by omission and can be pun-
ished since she is in the position where she is able to prevent a crime
committed by her subordinates but she neglects it. On the contrary,
the same provision can be the basis to charge anyone or institutions of
committing crimes by commission. Both crimes are unknown in our
Criminal Code so that the Code only recognises perpetrators as indi-
viduals who directly commit crimes or was involved in planning
crimes. The Criminal Code is unable to touch the positions of
individuals let alone their institutions which play a central role in
the pyramid of power.

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 37

In the context of violations of human rights in Papua where most per-
petrators are members of the Indonesian security organisation and
the police, Komnas HAM concluded that these organisations were
responsible for the incidents of Abepura 7 December 2000, Wasior of
2001 and Wamena from the 2003. The other big cases include such as
the military operation to realise the Lorentz team of scientiests who
were taken hostage in Mapnduma in 1996, the Biak massacre in 1998
and the attack on the 3rd Papuan Congress in 2011 were never investi-
gated as crimes against humanity.
In fact, the Indonesian permanent human rights court was estab-
lished once only. It was for the case of Abepura 7 December 2000.
Seven other dossiers remain pending at the Attorney General desk
to this moment and these have become major homework for the
Jokowi government, namely the dossiers of Trisakti-Semanggi I & II,
May 1998, Enforced dissapearance, Wasior & Wamena, Talangsari,
the 1965 killings, ad the mysterius killings of the 1980s. Among the
seven dossiers, one is from Papua, that is Wasior 2001 and Wamena
If we further explore the nature of KPP HAM, it has the following
1. Authority to conduct pro-justitia and sub-poena investigation
to examine all relevant parties which allegedly have information
about a particular case. Other types of investigation team such as
the one established by the president do not have these types of
authorities since the executive does not have judicial power.
2. KPP HAM has the mandate to prove or disprove elements of
gross human rights violations including attack on civilians,
systematic and widespread nature as well as chain of com-
mands that involves individuals and institutions;
3. If all key elements of gross human rights violations are proved
valid, a dossier will be submitted to the Attorney General for
prosecution towards the permanent human right court. This
happened with the Abepura case of 2000. If not, the dossier
will be submitted to the criminal court instead.
4. The weakness of KPP HAM lie in the establishment of the team
and the final decision making processes. These processes are
solely at the hands of Komnas HAM members because they will
38 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements
vote for it. Therefore, the fate of KPP HAM soley relies on the
goodwill of Komnas HAM members.
5. Technically the KPP HAM performance will rely on the capaci-
ty and capability of its members in collecting evidence,all rele-
vant information from witnesses,writing interview notes,reading
documents and writing a solid final report.This would be another
vulnerable spot to consider for those who push for KPP HAM.
Vox populi, vox dei or the people voice, Gods voice. But it would be
good that before the people vote, they have been informed with all
necessary information to choose so they wont be dissappointed with
the option they choose.

Between Paniai and The Hague 13

Wednesday, 8 April 2015 has been recorded as a historic moment
in the collective memory of Papuans and the community of human
rights in Indonesia. Komnas HAM adopted a decision to take one
step further towards establishing an ad hoc team of the inquiry com-
mission of human rights violation of the extra-judicial killings of four
students in Enarotali 8 December 2014. If it is established at all, the
team will have equal authority as the police and the attorney in inves-
tigating the case according to Law No. 26/2000. This progress would
have not been achieved had the PapuaItuKita network not occupy
Komnas HAM for 9 hours.
But the story is not yet finished. Its still a long winding road ahead.
The team is still to be established. If it is established and finds evi-
dence of crimes against humanity, the dossier still needs to be
examined by the Attorney General. If then the Attorney General
manages to complete the dossier and submit it to the Permanent Hu-
man Right Court, the Court will hear the case in Makassar because
Papua falls under Makassar Court jurisdiction.
Apart from the complicated litigation procedure which can be ex-
haustive, the struggle for justice of Paniai is an attempt to expose the
state crimes against its own citizens. Under international human
rights standards, the crimes fall under crimes against humanity which


Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 39

constitute one of the most serious crimes. It constitutes an enemy of
humanity (hostis humani generis). It is not surprising, therefore, that
the international community established the International Criminal
Court (ICC) under the auspices of the United Nations Security
Examining Paniai, therefore, is inseparable from The Hague, the
ICC, the ICTY and the ICTR headquarters. These three litigation pro-
cesses have become the role models for human rights enforcement in
the todays world politics.
The main criticism of these legal proceedings in The Hague is that
the processes have been uprooted from the original context of their
victims. Widows and widowed children have to travel to The Hague
if they want to witness Radovan Karadzic is presented to the court
and bombarded with questions from the judges in The Hague. Simi-
larly, women, children and disabled Tutsis of Rwanda are not able to
witness the ways Jean-Paul Akayesu was held accountable for crimes
of mass rape. He was convicted of genocide and sentenced to life im-
prisonment by the ICTR.
Another limitation that legal experts have identified is the limit of the
court to meet the sense of justice of the victims. For instance, ICTR
was only able to hear 93 cases. 61 cases were found guilty and sen-
tence to jail, 14 were released, 10 were deferred to the Rwanda national
court, 3 died during the process, 3 remained fugitive and 2 indict-
ees were repealed. In other words, the court was unable to hear hun-
dred and even thousands of the Hutus who committed the ethnic
cleansing of the Tutsi in 1994. Let alone we talk about the cost of
running the ICTR that has to cover all expenses from security guards
to judges. It is not too surprising therefore, that the tribunal would
finish its operation this year.
Besides the two international tribunals adopted ground-breaking
verdicts that set the precendence in the international legal domain.
For instance, one of the most important ICTRs verdicts states that
rape in the context of Rwanda constitutes genocide. This decision is
invaluable as it upgraded the issue of rape from the confinement of
the domestic to international spheres. The two tribunals also provide
us with a clear indicator of what it means with the elements of policy,
systematic, and widespread in the context of crimes against hu-
manity at the core issue of the 1998 Rome Statute. These elements

40 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

have been partially adopted by Law 26/2000 on the Permanent Hu-
man Right Courts.
Independent to each other, both tribunals state that the element
policy does not necessarily have to be a written policy. For instance,
in the case of Dusco Tadic, who was sentenced to 25-year imprison-
ment for crimes against humanity, violations of the Geneva conven-
tions and war crimes, the ICTY asserts if the acts occur on a wide-
spread or systematic basis that demonstrates a policy to commit such
acts. Similarly, the ICTR asserts that the requirement that the attack
must be committed against civilian population inevitably demands
some kind of plan, the discriminatory element of the attack is, by its
very nature, considered only possible as a consequence of a policy
Therefore, both tribunals hold the view that policy equals some plan-
ning or systematic nature.
What about the element widespread? This category refers to the
scale of an attack or numbers of victims. The ICTY interprets the cu-
mulative effect of a series of inhumane acts or the singular effect of an
inhumane act of extraordinary magnitude. So an attack can consti-
tute a series of attack or a single even but it has caused serious damage
to victims.
Based on the court decisions, we have guidelines to assess the extent
that the killings of four high school students in Paniai by the Indo-
nesian armed forces is the continuation of the existing practice of
security policy in Paniai and/ or Papua in general? We should not
forget that the incident was not novel. The state violence has been
committed by the Indonesian security forces since 1969 and became
very extensive during the period of the martial law during 1980-1998.
The series of violent incidents are inseparable from historical records
around the three great lakes of Paniai (Paniai, Tage, and Tigi). The
Churches of Papua have documented these incidents.
In the Paniai context, the case of Tihomir Blaskic might provide us
with a useful comparison. The ICTY found him guilty and sentenced
to 9-year imprisonment for the largest massacre in the city of Ahmici.
The court holds the view that it is not necessary that he knew the
whole plan in details. It was sufficient if he had a general sense of
what had happened and had been involved in it. The Court decision
states, The mens rea specific to a crime against humanity does not
require that the agent be identified with the ideology, policy or plan

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 41

in whose name mass crimes were perpetrated nor even that he sup-
ported it.
The decision set a very important precedence to address the popular
argument that the case was about a bad apple, not an institution. The
decision of the ICTY emphatically shows that the bad apple which
had no full knowledge of the crime was found guilty for crimes against
humanity and met the category systematic.
As an individual case, we need to examine whether the incident of
8 December 2014 caused serious damage to the local community as
argued by the ICTY? In its preliminary investigation, Komnas HAM
found critical information to respond to this issue. Further the Wit-
ness Protection Agency came to meet the victims and to examine the
crime scene in Paniai. These actions indicate that the victims suffer
from the violent incident. The accumulation of information can serve
as the basis of identifying the extent of widespread effect of the inci-
dent to the locals.
Of course, the ICTY and the ICTR are much more complex than a
number of excerpts presented in this article. So is the Paniai case. We,
however, need to remember that the Mee never forget and never sur-
render. They have confronted all regimes that they consider unjust
since the Obano revolt against the Dutch colonial power in 1956.

Between Ramallah and Jayapura 14

In the last few weeks, we have witnessed important developments in
two separate diplomatic forums that put Indonesia in the spotlight.
One was the extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic
Cooperation (OIC) in Jakarta in which Indonesia made a conclusive
statement about supporting Palestine in its long-winding road to get
The other is the UN Human Rights Council held in Geneva that heard
the statement of the Solomon Islands highlighting the human rights
situation of Papua, a troubled area of Indonesia.
The two countries have major incompatibilities rather than similari-
ties. While Indonesia has a long-standing position of supporting the
Palestinian case and thus is a strong critic of Israel, the Solomon Is-
lands is only a novice on the issue of Papua. The country has been
outspoken only since the recent summit of the Melanesian Spear-
head Group (MSG) last year.

42 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

In regional forums such as ASEAN and APEC, Indonesia is a major
player, whereas the Solomon Islands is not a big player at the MSG or
the Pacific Island Forum. That doesnt even take into account the ter-
ritorial and population considerations that place these two countries
in stark contrast to each other.
They, however, share one important commonality, namely being
passionate in expressing their solidarity with nations they consider
to be living under oppressive regimes. Indonesia has advocated for
the rights of Palestinians to exercise their sovereignty over their land,
which has been systematically undermined by Israel.
The last UN special rapporteur on occupied Palestinian territory was
a former Indonesian ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commit-
tee, Makarim Wibisono, who recently resigned from the position
since Israel never cooperated with his mandate. One of the most re-
cent and explicit actions taken by Indonesia in expressing its whole-
hearted supports for Palestine was organizing the extraordinary sum-
mit of the OIC.
More importantly, at people-to-people relations, the Indonesians
share emotional connections with the Palestinians who struggle for
their rights to self-determination. It is not unusual that many Indone-
sian supporters take to the streets whenever Israel commits violence
against the Palestinians.
In a similar vein, the Solomon Islanders have expressed their grass-
roots supports for the Papuan struggle for the rights to self-determi-
nation. Together with Vanuatu, during the 2015 MSG summit the Sol-
omon Islanders expressed support to the Papuan bid for membership
at the MSG, which later resulted in an observer status.
Therefore, many comments immediately emerged, drawing paral-
lels between Palestine and Papua, between Ramallah and Jayapura.
While critics appreciate Indonesias support for Palestines case, they
question why Indonesias strong commitment to a fair and peaceful
solution for Palestine has not been extrapolated to Papua.
Jakartas commitment to peace for Palestine has always been consis-
tent, whereas Jakarta remains indecisive when it comes to the appeal
for dialogue on Papua.

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 43

On his second visit to Jayapura, President Joko Jokowi Widodo ex-
plicitly turned down a request for dialogue with Papua as promoted
by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and the Papua Peace
Instead, he reinterpreted the dialogue strictly as blusukan (down-
to-earth visits), which were very popular and effective when he had
just assumed the presidency. He was not interested in having face-to-
face negotiations with the Papuans, like what he had with the market
traders of Surakarta when he was the mayor.
Of course, the essence of the negotiations between traders and their
mayor has different leverage than that of the Papuans call for dia-
Although discussions were long, tiring and emotional between the
traders and then mayor Jokowi, the dialogue dealt with important
but non-ideological issues that did not affect the imagination and
identity of Indonesia as a nation. It dealt with the economy and live-
lihood of the traders.
In contrast, it would be hard for the Papuan dialogue to avoid more
historically and ideologically complex issues that would affect the
imaginary construct of Indonesia as a nation from Sabang in Aceh to
Merauke in Papua. As both Jayapura and Jakarta are very well aware
that they would probably be dealing with the question of the right
to self-determination for Papuans in any free flowing negotiations, it
is understandable that President Jokowi has framed the meaning of
dialogue into blusukan, or the nature of his impromptu visits.
Such framing would confine the dialogue within the asymmetric
relations between Jakarta and Papua. Jakarta would remain in
command with Papua in a subordinate position.
So how could we expect any impact of the intervention of Jakarta
and Honiara in the Solomons to Palestine and Papua respectively?
Just as Israel simply dismissed Indonesias request for dialogue, so
too did Indonesia turn down the request of the Solomon Islands
for dialogue on the issue of Papua.
As a consequence both dialogues between Jakarta and Tel Aviv
and between Jakarta and Honiara have gone nowhere.

44 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

C. Papua and international
Why Papuan leaders went to the U.S. Congress? 15
On Sept. 22, 2010, the US Congress Subcommittee on Asia, the
Pacific and the global environment held a public hearing on the
issue of human rights abuse in Papua. It invited key witnesses
from Papua, the US and the Netherlands. This marked an histori-
cal event that allowed Papuan representatives to officially express
their concerns before the house of representatives of a foreign
The question is why Indonesias House of Representatives and/or the
Indonesias People Consultative Assembly has never conducted such
a hearing? And, additionally, why is it necessary for Papuan represen-
tatives to go to foreign soil to be able to express their views?
The hearings drew various interpretations on the importance of
the event. Indonesian Ambassador to the US Dino Patti Djalal
made a public comment that only three congressmen attended
the hearing and thus, downplayed the potential outcomes of the
Whereas various groups of young Papuans staged rallies both in-
side and outside Papua to express their overwhelming support of
the hearings. Given the long sense of injustice that Papuans feel
has gone unnoticed by the international community, it is not sur-
prising that many Papuans on the street dream that these hear-
ings might significantly change their daily lives.
These hearings might be considered one outcome of the deep
impasse between Papua and Jakarta following the mass demon-
strations held in Jayapura on July 8-9, 2010. These protests cen-
trally focused on the wishes of the Papuan community to hand
back the Special Autonomy Law (SAL) implemented in 2001.


Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 45

It is important to make sense of this event through the diver-
gent perspectives of the key actors and organizations involved,
as these perspectives are reflective of broader attitudes towards
establishing dialogue between Jakarta and Papua.
First, various peace talk initiatives from Papuas side have been
established with key policy makers in Jakarta, beginning with
FORERI in 1998. The response to this initiative was an official in-
vitation from then president B.J. Habibie to 100 Papuan represen-
tatives to hold a dialogue with him and his cabinet.
This event took place on Feb. 26, 1999, at Merdeka Palace when
Tom Beanal addressed the president expressing the Papuan aspi-
rations to separate from Indonesia. President Habibie told Beanal
to go home and think about his proposal. This event created a
sense of euphoria among Papuans.
After this event, the central government seemed reluctant to-
wards dialogue initiatives. Papuan civil society organizations,
under the leadership of interfaith leaders, have promoted the
idea of Papua Land of Peace since 2001, but this has not pro-
gressed, due to the lack of any significant response from key state
institutions. Recently, the Papua Peace Network (Jaringan Damai
Papua) established by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI)
and Neles Tebay, promoted the idea of a dialogue between Jakarta
and Papua. Similarly, there has been minimal positive response
from the House, the assembly or the government.
Second, many victims of human rights abuse in Papua have con-
tinuously raised their causes to the attention of the Attorney Gen-
eral, the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights and
the Supreme Court at their own expense. The victims from Wasi-
or (2001) and Wamena (2003), in particular, have been waiting for
more than six years for their cases to be prosecuted by the Attor-
ney Generals Office, let alone other cases.
Third, since the enactment of SAL in December 2001, both Pap-
ua and Jakarta have failed to put their trust and effort into im-
plementing the law. For instance, the administration of then
president Megawati Soekarnoputri created three provinces that
contradicted the spirit and the letter of SAL, while it took some
years before Susilo Bambang Yudhoyonos administration issued

46 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

a decree to establish the Papuas People Assembly (MRP).
On the Papuan side, the Papuan Customary Council (DAP) handed
back the law in August 2005, and the MRP recently did the same
thing because it believed that the special autonomy (Otsus) had
failed to address Papuan grievances. Moreover, the Papuan Legis-
lative Council (DPRP) has failed to legislate the operating regula-
tions mandatory to implement SAL.
In these three major issues, the role of the House and the assembly
remain absent. They fail to address the aspirations of its constituents
with any policies that would have guided the government and the
Papuans. Of course, various House commissions have come to and
from Papua to talk to various key actors on the ground, but such
visits have not been translated into policy output.
It is not surprising, therefore, to learn that the debate has so far
focused on the polarized sides of the central government and the
indigenous Papuans. Such an elusive presence is not novel to the
House and the assembly. During the peace talks on Aceh, the House
was not able to provide adequate political and legal support to the
government to address the issue. Instead, it politicized the peace
talk for the interests of political parties against the government and
thus, jeopardized the peace talks. The assembly was simply silent
at the time.
This is the time for the elected members of the House and/or the
assembly, representing Papuan constituents, to hold a special ses-
sion with key actors discussing Papuan issues, similar to the US
hearing. However, one might raise the question of whether such an
idea is realistic.
The media has frequently exposed how many House members are
absent or simply fall asleep during debates in the House. It also
publicizes how the House tends to spend public funding for their
own working facilities or the so-called comparative studies.
If this remains the case, it should not be surprising that Papuan
leaders will again appear in other international fora to raise their

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 47

The MSGs visit: A blessing or curse for Papuans? 16
Late in September, Vanuatu broke the silence over human rights
abuses in Papua. In light of the humanitarian crisis in Syria, Prime
Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil raised the situation in Papua
with the UN General Assembly.
He requested that this body appoint a special representative to
investigate the state of human rights abuses in Papua. Vanuatu is
no stranger to the Papuan cause. On the contrary, it is the driving
force of the Melanesian Spearhead Groups (MSG) empathy for
Many of us may not be so well-informed of the invitation extended
by the Indonesian government for the MSG to visit Jakarta and
Papua. Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister
Djoko Suyanto presented the invitation to the Fijian Prime Minis-
ter Voreqe Bainimarama during his visit to Fiji in June 2013.
During the 19th MSG summit in Noumea, New Caledonia, the MSG
leaders welcomed the invitation and decided to send a Foreign
Ministerial Mission (FMM) to Jakarta and Papua led by Fiji. This
decision reflects deliberation over the application for membership
submitted by the West Papuan National Coalition of Liberation
(WPNCL) on behalf of Papuans.
This is an important decision. It highlights the surge of interest
among MSG countries to significantly contribute to peace efforts
in Papua, the region with longest unresolved subnational conflict
in the Pacific. More importantly, in their spirit of cooperation
with Jakarta, MSG leaders are paving the way toward an end to
the stalemate surrounding peace initiatives promoted by Papuan
and Indonesian civil society.
What is the significance of the FMM for Papuas peace efforts?
The 2013 MSG Summit was the first forum of its kind to officially
invite Papuan representatives. They addressed the summit as offi-
cial guests. They were equal to Indonesia and Timor Leste, which
both have observer status. They no longer have to stand behind

16) The MSGs visit: A blessing or curse for Papuans? in The Jakarta Post, 26
October 2013.

48 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

the Vanuatu delegation, as they used to. In other words, Papuans
were recognized internationally as a political entity equal to that
of MSG members and observers.
Second, if properly handled by the government and Papuans,
the FMM may carve a new space for dialogue between Jakarta
and Papua. This would be an unprecedented move, given the stale-
mate currently experienced by both sides in engaging with Papuan
peace initiatives. The MSG diplomacy may encourage the opposing
parties to find a feasible solution for conflicts in Papua.
Third, if properly exploited by the government and Papuans, the
visit could result in a significant improvement of the image of both
sides. Indonesia will take its credit and be more respected as a
genuine democracy through a high-level visit to Papua. Papuans,
on the other hand, will gain momentum in the quest to substan-
tially engage with international diplomacy in a more strategic
There are some key challenges, however, that will confront both
First are the issues of suspicion on the governments side and
over-expectation on that of Papua. As we already know, Indo-
nesian hard-liners remain resistant to accepting the idea of a
Jakarta-Papua dialogue. So this group tends to be dogmatic in
interpreting any international diplomacy with Papua as an at-
tempt to undermine Indonesias sovereignty.
On the other hand, sovereignty implies a commitment to the pro-
tection of citizens. This is the essence of the responsibility to pro-
tect (R2P) principle to which Indonesia subscribes.
On the Papuan side, there is a risk that the visit will be misin-
terpreted as providing a conclusive solution to the Papuan con-
flict. This can be misleading. While the spirit of the Melanesian
brotherhood is well represented in this mission, it is not with-
in the MSG jurisdiction to solve the Papua problem. The MSG,
however, will definitely welcome any invitation to act as mediator
of Jakarta-Papua political negotiations, but such an option will
very much depend on the governments decision.
Second, if Papuans are not able to make the appropriate preparations

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 49

and work closely with the MSG, it is not unlikely that the visit will be
nothing more than business as usual, in the sense that it will not
substantially cover the complex reality of the Papuan conflicts. This
risk may become a reality if Papuans do not prepare specific agendas
and a plan of action for the FMM. If this happens, Papuans will miss a
strategic opportunity to highlight their causes with their closest, and
most sympathetic, neighbors.
Third, Papuans will have to make sure that information about
the MSG is distributed among the Papuan community. The com-
munity has to be well-informed about the meaning, benefits
and limits of such a diplomatic mission. This is necessary for the
elimination of unrealistic expectations among Papuans, in order
to work out a feasible strategy for a peaceful solution.
This is a challenging task, given that certain key Papuan leaders
are incarcerated and so are unable to disseminate information to
their people. The Papuan civil society, however, can play a critical
role here. In collaboration with the media, they need to fill this
information gap.
The FMM can only be effective in paving the way for peace in
Papua on two conditions: First, there must be willingness on the
part of the government to cooperate fully and allow the FMM un-
restricted access to meet any relevant individuals and organiza-
tions. Second, Papuans must prepare a clear agenda and a plan of
action for the FMM.

Breaking the Silence of Papua in Live Encounter

Last week the UN fora in Geneva and New York broke the silence
on Papua. During the 24th session of the UN Human Rights
Council in Geneva, the International Coalition for Papua (ICP)
marked the session by revealing systematic efforts endorsed by
the Indonesian government to isolate Papua from international
scrutiny. As an attempt to break the silence surrounding this
issue, the ICP released its third annual report highlighting the
worsening conditions of human rights in Papua.


50 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

In a similar vein, the Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses
Kalosil spoke up during the 68th session of the UN General As-
sembly (UNGA) in New York, raising the issue of the neglected
Papua with the Assembly. In light of the Syrian humanitarian cri-
sis, he requested that the UNGA appoint a Special Representative
to investigate the situation of human rights in Papua. Vanuatu is
no stranger to the Papuan cause. On the contrary, it is the driving
force of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG)s sympathy to-
wards Papua.
All of these efforts deserve our attention since for more than half
a century Papua has attracted minimal attention from the outside
world. The situation in Papua exemplifies common features of a
subnational conflict. Papua has a long history of a low-level armed
conflict. It is situated on the periphery of economic and political
decision-making processes although its natural resources signifi-
cantly contribute to the national economy. Such an area is also
inhabited by an ethnic minority who experience discrimination
from their respective government.
Governments in the context of sub-national conflicts in Asia and
the Pacific, like Indonesia, are generally heavy-handed. They are
more than capable of isolating the conflicts from international
attention and treating them as their own internal affairs in order
to prevent any international criticisms.
They have the power not only to convince, but more importantly,
to stop the outside world engaging with what they claim to be
internal affairs. It is uncommon for outsiders to want to risk their
bilateral relations with these governments. Given these charac-
teristics, a sub-national conflict like Papua remains under-repre-
sented at both national and international levels.
Why does Indonesia silence Papua? There remains a strong belief
among many Indonesian state officials that giving any political
concessions to Papua could repeat the mistake of the former East
Timor: separation from Indonesia. As a postcolonial state, the
imagined political entity of Indonesia is constructed from former
Dutch colonies. It stretches from Sabang to Merauke. The preserva-
tion of this construct has become the state ideology which shapes
the Indonesian government policy towards Papua. It does not al-
low any discussion on the political dimension of Papuan issues.
Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 51
Papua is final or NKRI, harga mati (the Unitary State of Indonesia
is nonnegotiable). As a result any who questions the history of the
incorporation of Papua into Indonesia is considered as a separatist.
This dogmatic approach does not allow for any political discus-
sion with Papuans. As a result, the Indonesian government is very
reluctant to address the historical injustices of Papua. Instead
it relies heavily on an economic development-based approach
to respond to Papuan conflicts. The underlying logic of this ap-
proach is that improving the welfare standard of Papuans will
satisfy their basic needs and eventually address the conflicts. The
assumption tends to reduce all human needs into the single di-
mension of economic needs, whereas the Papuan conflicts largely
derive from historical injustices. The latter remain neglected and
cannot be adequately addressed simply by promoting economic
development. They belong to the political domain and require a
political decision.
What can be done to break the silence on Papua? There has to
be a robust web of networks of resistance which is capable of
confronting the history of impunity. The resistance should con-
solidate actions in different domains: local, national and inter-
national in order to win support from these three different audi-
ences. Throughout the years various actors have made an effort to
bring Papua`stroubles to light. The Papuan Churches and NGOs
play a key role in exposing the hidden history of impunity in Pap-
ua. They work closely with international solidarity networks that
amplify the Papuan voices for a broader audience. They managed
to secure international attention from the UN human rights mon-
itors. Two UN Special Rapporteurs were invited by the Indonesian
government to visit Papua in 2007.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expressions recent plan
to visit Papua, however, was delayed. At the last minute, Jakarta did
not issue permission for him to visit Papua. This decision was not
unprecedented. Previously the International Red Cross had been
ordered by Jakarta to leave Papua. Similarly, the contracts of certain
international charity organisations with Jakarta were not renewed.
In parallel, the national parliament passed legislation that tends to
encourage the military to come back to day-to-day politics. These
all are challenges that confront Papua.

52 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

It is the time for the international community to join the Vanuatu
Prime Ministers call for an independent investigation to be con-
ducted into Papuas situation. The world must act to establish the
truth of the state of human rights in Papua. This truth will hope-
fully lead to justice.

Whats next for Papua after the MSG diplomacy? 18

The 2013 Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) summit un-
doubtedly marked a historic moment on the long journey of
Papuas international diplomacy. During the top diplomatic
gathering of the Melanesian countries, the Papuan representa-
tives were invited for the first time.
While this political decision constitutes a breakthrough for the po-
litical impasse in Jakarta, the decision is still pending a follow-up
visit by a foreign ministerial mission to Jakarta and Jayapura. The
visit, however, is subject to the Indonesian governments approval,
not the MSGs (The Jakarta Post, Oct. 26, 2013).
Papuan international diplomacy is not novel. If we look back to
the second Papua Congress in 2000, it is one of the mandates that
some 500 Papuan representatives entrusted to the Papuan Pre-
sidium Council (PDP).
This body consists of Papuan leaders who live inside and outside
Papua. Over the last decade, however, the body has lost its key
figures, who used to undertake international diplomacy.
The chairman, Theys Eluay, was kidnapped and assassinated by the
Indonesian Army Special Forces. Viktor Kaisiepo, the PDP spokes-
person for Europe, died in Holland, while Willem Zonggonau and
Clemens Runawery, the PDP spokespersons for the Pacific, died
in Australia and Papua New Guinea, respectively. Similarly, Agus
Alua, who then became the speaker of the Papuan Peoples Council
(MRP), and Beatrix Koibur died in Jayapura.
In engaging the international diplomacy, we know that Papuans
use the term rectifying the history to reclaim their silenced


Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 53

history of the transition of power of Papua in the 1960s. This part
of history remains a contentious subject of dispute between Papua
and Indonesia.
Supported by historical research, Papuans believe that the transi-
tion of power through the 1969 UN supervised plebiscite, PEPERA
or the so-called the Act of Free Choice, was flawed. On the con-
trary, Jakarta holds the opposite narrative. It states that the transi-
tion was legal and internationally recognized due to the blessing of
the UN General Assembly over the result of PEPERA.
The positions are not only at odds with each other but also have
generated the history of violence in the last half-century.
Rectifying the history also suggests an element of demanding
accountability of the international community for their par-
ticipation in endorsing the result of PEPERA in 1969. While
many may think that this call is utopian and unrealistic, the
political landscape that enabled the second Papuan Congress
was down-to-earth and real.
Indonesia was under President Abdurrahman Gus Dur Wahid
who endorsed reconciliatory initiatives across the nation. There
was a narrow window of opportunity for Papuans and they did not
wait. Instead, they convened the Congress and interrupted the sta-
tus quo of the worlds silence over the silenced Papuan history.
The reclaiming of the Papuan history is not limited to the area of di-
plomacy. It covers a broader sphere of Papuan lives. It translates into
the revival of the Papuan indigenous culture. It inspires the integra-
tion of Papuan religious beliefs into formal religions. It inspires the
ways in which Papuan rename their places of history and interest.
Lets go back to the issue of diplomacy to see what would be the
key challenges for Papuan diplomacy in the coming years. At least
three major challenges we can identify.
The first is the existing Pacific diplomacy. Toward the end of the
year we havent heard any further news about whether Jakarta has
extended any specific date for MSG to visit.
Jakartas failure to receive an MSG visit will delay the delibera-
tion of the membership of the West Papua National Coalition for

54 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

Liberation (WPNCL). While the postponement would not stop the
Papuan leaders, it would cause a major setback to their efforts to
secure a formal position within the MSG.
The second challenge is the national political landscape. We
know that both Jakarta and Jayapura have been busy in drafting
the Special Autonomy Plus. It is framed to be an advancement of
the existing Special Autonomy. Both the President and the gover-
nor of Papua believe that this package will provide greater room for
improvement and it has to be done before the 2014 elections.
That is why both leaders sent their special envoys to travel overseas
to persuade the Papuan leaders living in exile and also to inform
the Indonesian diplomatic missions. This whirlwind will certainly
suck most of the energy out of Jakarta and Jayapura. As a result,
they may not want to get distracted with other issues.
This situation is likely to impede any further engagement with the
Papuan peace initiatives promoted by the Papua Peace Network
(PPN) and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).
Similarly, the MSG proposal and requests from the UN Special
Rapporteurs may not get any further traction.
The biggest challenge would be the global justice market itself.
This market is already crowded and chaotic with wars in Syria,
Libya, Central Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, etc. We
may ask a hard question: How can Papua compete with these is-
sues, if it should?
While some would argue that the Papuan conflict is not able to
attract world attention because of its low number of casualties, the
worlds history shows the opposite.
We learn from the history of genocide in the 20th century that
world leaders disgracefully failed to respond in time, even though
they were bombarded with detailed information from the field.
For instance, currently the Central African Republic faces an immi-
nent threat of genocidal killings between the Muslims and Chris-
tians. Four hundred people were already killed. Instead of using
the word genocide, the world leaders prefer the term mass vio-
lence to label the ongoing carnage (New York Times, Dec. 9, 2013).

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 55

This framing illustrates the reality that publicizing carnage will not
necessarily mobilize the world leaders to take action to stop it.
When they do take action and even the UN Security Council deploys
a UN peacekeeping force, this force does not necessarily have all
necessary power and capacity to end violence and protect civilians.
Lets take another example from todays world: the UN peace-
keeping force MONUSCO in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It
took two years before the Security Council equipped the UN Peace-
keeping force with the authority to fight back, which constitutes the
first mandate that has ever been established.
In other words, Papuan diplomacy remains challenging. It has to
navigate domestic, regional and international politics with different
and often conflicting interests.
The Papuan leaders, however, are not nave. They know the reality
as they have struggled with it in the last half-century. They will con-
tinue working for the pelurusan sejarah of Papua regardless of their
limited capacity and resources.
On the other hand, the Indonesian authorities are also well aware
of the complexity of the worlds diplomacy. Given the strength of
the state, they are in a much better position to continue their work
to safeguard the state narrative of Papua.
Since the two positions remain at odds with each other, what can be
done to solve it? There is no other option left but peaceful dialogue
between Jakarta and Papua as the PPN has tirelessly promoted.
Given the challenges mentioned above, the question is who will
buy it this time?

Is a UN resolution on Papua impossible? 19

At the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Ge-
neva, Switzerland, on March 4, Vauatu Prime Minister Moana Car-
casses Kalosil called on the council to consider adopting a country
mandate on the situation of human rights in West Papua.
What does this motion mean? This motion is not novel. Rather, it
is a renewed call by Kalosil, which he had previously presented to
the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly last November.

56 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

Although it is not unusual for a UN member state to request an
investigation into the state of human rights in another state, such a
motion is largely unfavorable among member states and general-
ly meets fierce opposition from targeted countries and their allies.
Growing concern among the UN groupings has contributed to the
politicization of the development of a country mandate, as this has
been labeled a naming and shaming tactic.
During the era of the Human Rights Committee, the councils pre-
decessor, the African grouping, for instance, viewed the mandate as
a continuation of Western colonialism in disguise.
As a result, the African grouping managed to end the country
mandates for their continent. The Asian grouping shared the
same point of view, despite its failure to achieve a unified voice
to advocate for this position. Currently, there are 14 country man-
dates, including six mandates for the African grouping, six for
the Asian grouping, one for the Eastern European grouping and
one for the Latin America-Caribbean grouping. None is assigned
for the Western grouping. In contrast to the thematic mandates,
which rapidly multiply, the country mandate remains significantly
low in number within the HRC.
The more important question, however, is why Vanuatu is so per-
sistent in raising the issue of human rights in Papua and West
Papua at the UN forums, despite minimal support from its neigh-
bors in the Pacific and its own Asia-Pacific grouping within the
UN itself? In its right of reply, Indonesia played down Vanuatus
It argued that the issue of Papua simply served as a commodity
for Vanuatus domestic politics, not for Papuans. This argument
also pointedly refers to a recent visit by the Melanesian Spearhead
Group (MSG) to Jakarta, Ambon, Malukku, and Jayapura, Papua,
as well as the existing bilateral cooperation agreement between
Indonesia and Vanuatu.
While the MSGs visit took place on the invitation of Jakarta,
the purpose of the visit significantly changed. Instead of imple-
menting the 2013 MSG communiqu, the visit put a strong em-

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 57

phasis on economic cooperation with Indonesia, not on the human
rights situation of Papuans. That is why Vanuatu officially with-
drew itself from the delegation.
The visit to Jayapura was meaningless. No meeting was organized
for the delegation to meet with survivors of human rights abuses or
civil society organizations. The only meeting was held between the
MSG delegation and bureaucrats and politicians. As a result, the
Papua New Guinea delegation was quoted in online media stating
there were no human rights abuses in Papua.
Such a conclusion is understandable, given that the delegation
only met bureaucrats and politicians who may not be subject to
gross human rights abuses.
A harder question that Vanuatu has to answer is its existing ties with
Indonesia. Vanuatu cannot pretend that the agreement on bilateral
cooperation in development does not exist.
Surely, Vanuatu can argue that it is acting on the principle of respon-
sibility to protect (R2P) principle, which was recently endorsed by
the UN. Grounded in Article 24 of the UN Charter, the principle
redefines the essence of state sovereignty as a responsibility, rather
than simply immunity from public scrutiny.
The state holds the primary responsibility for the protection of its
people. Where a population is suffering serious harm, such as a geno-
cide, crimes against humanity, an internal war, insurgency or state
failure, and the state in question is unwilling or unable to fulfill its
responsibility, the principle yields to the international responsibility
to protect.
As Kalosil emphasizes, Papua has long suffered not only from
crimes against humanity committed by Indonesian state actors but
also from the negligence of the international community to act. It
is arguable, therefore, that the R2P is applicable for Papua.
Nonetheless, we are all aware of the high politics that exist within
the UN system, to which Indonesia is no stranger. On the contrary,
it is a significant player within the HRC as well as the UN system at
large. Indonesia actively engages in the UN Peace-building Com-
mission to promote peace around the globe.

58 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

It also continues to contribute troops to MONUSCO, the UN
peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of
the deadliest protracted conflicts in the Great Lakes area of Africa.
Having managed to sign a peace deal with the Free Aceh Movement
(GAM), Indonesia has also been sought by ASEAN countries for
advice in dealing with armed conflict in the region. Indonesia pos-
sesses sufficient credentials as a peace promoter.
Vanuatu, on the other hand, is no novice either. Together with Nauru
and Timor Leste, among others, it managed to put French Polynesia
back onto the agenda of the UN Decolonization Commission. Of
course, a resolution on Papua cannot be secured overnight.
It will be a long and painful journey for Vanuatu if this small and
politically unstable country persistently works on it. It has to mobi-
lize support within the UN to secure enough votes to pass a resolu-
tion, which will probably not happen in the near future.
In the meantime, Papuans should be well aware of the reality that
this is just the beginning.

Asia, Africa and the Unresolved Question of Papua 20

Sixty years ago in Bandung, 29 representatives from Asian and
African nations were enthused with the spirit of decolonization,
and today even more seem determined to pursue South-South
If we look back at the 1955 Bandung conference as described in
Richard Wrights The Colour Curtain, it was simply stunning.
Most of the leaders of newly independent nations were former
political prisoners under their respective colonial regimes. Those
who had long been treated as underdogs were now in charge of
new nations. It was a new dawn of liberation and in 1960 these
Asian and African countries made history through the adoption
of Resolution No. 1514 on Decolonization at the General Assem-
bly of the United Nations.
For this years commemorative Asian-African Conference,
Indonesia has set three main goals: 1. strengthening South-

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 59

South cooperation to promote world peace and properity; 2. rein-
vigorating the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership; and 3. a
Declaration on Palestine.
However, one thing is missing in this picture: Papua.
Sixty years ago, Papua was on the top of then-president Sukarnos
decolonization agenda. He managed to get the support from many
of the participants of the Bandung conference for his diplomatic
battle at the UN to make Papua still ruled by the Dutch
part of the Republic of Indonesia. The Dutch were still recovering
from their postcolonial syndrome and although they had started
to realize that their time had passed, they were determined to
hold on to what they called Netherlands New Guinea, and what
Indonesia referred to as West Irian.
The debates at the UN centered on the topic of unfinished decolo-
nization and the serious threat to world peace this posed. With the
support of other Asian and Africa countries, Indonesian diplomats
tirelessly argued before the General Assembly that West Irian was
part of Indonesia as agreed during the Roundtable Conference in
The Hague in 1949. Furthermore, they argued that the situation
was detrimental to stability in the Southeast Asian region, calling
on the UN to step in, as mandated by the UN Charter.
With the support of 14 countries, in 1954 Indonesia managed
to table The Question of West Irian at the UNGA but it took
another year before the UN General Assembly adopted it as Reso-
lution 915(X) in 1955. The journey was far from over.
In the following years, Indonesia fought hard for the topic to be
put on the agenda at the UNGA, with the support of 15 Asian and
African nations, but failed. Australia was one of the countries
that consistently voted against the proposal, whereas the Unit-
ed States opted for abstention giving the Dutch leeway. This
diplomatic failure led Sukarno to divert his energy to scale up the
nations military capacity and, ultimately, launch an assault
Operation Trikora in 1961.
Not long after, the current provinces of Papua and West Papua were
transferred to Indonesia after a brief period of UN administration.
However, many people do not realize that until today, Papua re-
mains an unresolved question.
60 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements
Papuans have long appealed for a peaceful solution to the de-
cades-old conflict in the easternmost part of the country. It has
been a while since local church leaders declared Papua as a Land
of Peace in 1998, following the bloody massacre of Biak, which
remains unresolved. Filep Karma, who rose the Morning Star flag
in Biak days before the massacre, remains in jail for doing the same
thing in 2004.
The Papuan Peace Network has been trying to persuade Jakarta
to engage in dialogue with Papuans since 2009. President B.J.
Habibies administration told the 100 Papuan representatives to
go home and rethink their call for independence. The adminis-
tration of president Susilo Bambang Yudhyono held two separate
meeting with Papuan church leaders and promised to organize a
dialogue, which never happened. President Joko Widodo visited
Papua after promising to improve the situation on the campaign
But Papuans are still waiting.
While the national government is determined to revive the
Bandung spirit of liberation by proposing a Declaration on
Palestine, local police in Jayapura on April 8 arrested five Papuan
leaders and charged them with treason even though they had only
just returned home from a meeting with Defense Minister Ryami-
zard Ryacudu. Papuan efforts to establish a dialogue are being
criminalized. Charges remind us of the colonial time, when our
founding fathers were persecuted for expressing their political
Papuans are no longer placing their hopes in Asian and African
countries, and some have started to shift their focus to the Pacific.
The Melanesian Spearhead Group has become a new forum to find
a solution for Papua. During its 2013 summit, the MSG expressed
concerns over the human rights situation in Papua and called on
Indonesia to find a peaceful solution. The summit also discussed
an application for membership from Papuan representatives, al-
though a decision has been delayed. But in May, the MSG will again
discuss the application during its summit in Honiara.
The Question of West Irian is still very much alive.

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 61

Contesting Melanesia: the summit and dialogue 21
The recent 20th Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) summit
made a landmark decision. The MSG leaders meeting in Honia-
ra, Solomon Islands, granted the status of observer and associated
memberships to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua
(ULMWP) and five provinces of Indonesia, respectively.
The MSG leaders describe the former as representing Melanesians
living abroad whereas the latter represents the Melanesian popula-
tion living in Papua, West Papua, Maluku, North Maluku and East
Nusa Tenggara.
The decision constitutes a historic moment as the MSG forum has
expanded its outreach into a new area that it previously had never
thought of: Indonesian Melanesia.
The decision will not only lift up the discussion of Papua from
activist level to the diplomatic level but also demonstrates the
Melanesian wisdom that gives every member a proportionate
share of the Melanesian collegiality and brotherhood. Hence the
forum has envisioned the roadmap of Papuan peace building in the
long run.
What would be the implications of the Melanesian contest on
Papuan issues? Fijis Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama made it
very clear when he addressed the summit. He stated that in dealing
with Papua, the forum must engage Indonesia in a positive and
constructive manner since Papua is under Indonesias jurisdic-
While the statement definitely confirmed the political status of
Papua, it did not preclude any discussion about the humanitarian
issues that the Papuans themselves tabled during the last two MSG
On the contrary, the position reaffirmed continuing dialogue be-
tween the MSG and Indonesia and reserved a guaranteed space for
Papuans to have a genuine dialogue with Indonesia.
The space has been guaranteed as both Indonesia and ULMWP as

62 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

Papuan representatives have been granted official status in the fo-
rum. Both may not be entirely satisfied with the MSG decisions as
they had been seeking full membership. As we know, Indonesian
diplomats have worked hard to ensure that the ULMWP would not
get status in the forum.
On the contrary, they proposed membership for the five provinces
of Indonesia framed as Melanesian. Similarly, the ULMWP execu-
tives have put much effort into convincing Melanesian leaders to
support its bid for full membership, referring to the case of the in-
dependent movement of New Caledonia (FLKNS) as a precedent.
Despite their dissatisfaction, both Indonesia and Papua have
been given a chance to talk to each other as equals. This is the
first time ever in the MSG and Indonesias history that Papua will
have a voice for itself at an international diplomatic forum. When
the MSG leaders recognized Papua as a new political entity in the
forum, they immediately put Papua on the Melanesian political
map. Papua is no longer invisible. It does exist.
Indonesia, on the other hand, has also been given a chance to en-
gage more deeply with the Melanesian brotherhood. The direct
partnership with the MSG nations will greatly benefit Indonesia in
developing its plan to promote Melanesian culture within Indone-
sian society and polity.
The government has a plan to build a Melanesian Cultural Center
in Kupang. If the plan goes ahead, it would contribute to pro-
moting a stronger spirit of plurality and diversity, which has been
undermined by those who promote otherwise.
The decision would also be beneficial for Indonesian civil society
organizations that promote dialogue between Jakarta and Papua,
such as the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI), the Papua Peace
Network, Jakarta-based NGOs, Papua-based NGOs, Papuan
churches, etc.
They should be able to use the MSG decision to encourage the
Indonesian government to explore genuine dialogue with Papuans
in a more neutral space within the MSG forum.
Perhaps some parties in the national political circle would not appre-
ciate the opportunity for dialogue as they have frequently expressed.

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 63

These parties might harden their stance and ensure that the gov-
ernment of President Joko Jokowi Widodo would not go near the
dialogue offer.
But the chance is there and cannot be ignored. If both Indonesia
and Papua retain their status, it is likely that the space for ongoing
discussions between Papuan representatives and the Indonesian
government is guaranteed.
For Papuans, the MSG decision remains a double-edged sword. On
the one hand, it made space for dialogue with Jakarta but on the
other, it posed a new challenge for Papuans.
The challenge is the two types of Melanesia that the MSG leaders
declared. If Papuans are not able to manage it properly, it is not
impossible for it to be used for divide et impera (divide and rule)
tactics in the future.
Therefore, Papuan leaders will have to cultivate the decision and
translate it into new strategies in incorporating a larger and more
vibrant civic movement in Indonesia.
The movement played an instrumental role, not only to promote
awareness of the issue of Papua in Indonesian politics but it has
also proved effective, for instance, to campaign for human rights
for East Timor in the past. So it is a matter of strategies of engage-

ULMWP and the insurgent Papua 22

Since the United Liberation Movement for West Papua was estab-
lished in December 2014 in Vanuatu, Papuas international diplo-
macy has gained a new momentum. Papua political factions no
longer presented themselves in different voices but rather, it has
come in a unified voice. The Saralana Declaration reflects a strong
commitment of all three major Papuan political organisations,
namely West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL),
Federal Republic of West Papua (NFPB), West Papua National
Parliament (WPNP). It states, We declare and claim that all West


64 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

Papuans, both inside and outside West Papua, are united under
this new body and that we will continue our struggle for indepen-
While many critics and skeptics, who claim to be realists, remain
unconvinced of the sustainability and solidity of ULMWP, they
argue that this might be just another episode of the Papuan fac-
tionalism. One umbrella organisation after another seems to be the
The critics might overlook the facts that the ULMWP has been effec-
tive in representing the Papuan political aspirations at the domestic
and international fora just in two years. The ULMWP has secured
international recognition from the Melanesian Spearhead Group and
has gained more attention from the United Nations and the Pacific
Island Forum. Papua has become an effective insurgency.
If we looked back to the Papuan Spring in 2000 when Papua gained
much more space to express their political identity, the commit-
ment to gain international recognition was formulated during
the 2nd Papuan Congress in Jayapura in June 2000. During the
Congress, which was politically and financially supported by the
late Indonesian President Abdurahman Wahid, Papuans elected
the Papuan Presidium Council as their leaders led by late Theys
Eluay, who was assassinated by the Indonesia Special Forces. The
Congress gave mandate to the Presidium: [1] to struggle for world
recognition of the sovereignty of the Papuan people and for inves-
tigations into and the trial of the perpetrators of crimes against hu-
manity in West Papua; [2] to speedily set up an Independent Team
to enter into peaceful negotiations with Indonesia and the Nether-
lands under the auspices of the United Nations for a referendum
on recognition of the sovereignty of the Papuan people and Nation;
[3] to use available resources in Papua in a non-binding manner to
fund endeavours to achieve the objectives of the struggle.
It took fifteen years before the Papuan leaders convinced the
Pacific nations under the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
During the 2015 MSG Summit hosted by Solomon Island in Ho-
niara, the Forum gave an observer status to the ULMWP to the fo-
rum. The decision marked a historic moment for Papuans. Backed
by Solomon Island popular and particularly churches support, the
Papua was born as an international legal entity. Since then, Papua
Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 65
no longer need Vanuatu or Solomon Island f lags to raise their
voices at this diplomatic forum because it has raised its Morning
Star flag.
This year Papua is expecting a full-membership status at the MSG.
The trajectory remains fragile. The proposal split the MSG leaders
into two camps: Papua New Guinea and Fiji which are keen to
maintain the status quo, on the one side, and Vanuatu, Solomon
Island and the FLNKS on the other side, which envisage funda-
mental change for the forum. As the decision has been deferred
to be discussed by the end of this year, this development might
reflect the irreconcilable differences within the MSG as they have
to take decisions by consensus.
The Papua insurgency has only penetrated the MSG but more broadly,
the Pacific Island Forum, the diplomatic forum that covers the whole
Pacific nations. In the recent Pacific Forum Islands communiqu
held in Phonpei, Federated Republic of Micronesia, PIF shed a
new light on the issue of Papua, Leaders recognised the political
sensitivities of the issue of West Papua (Papua) and agreed the
issue of alleged human rights violations in West Papua (Papua)
should remain on their agenda. Leaders also agreed on the im-
portance of an open and constructive dialogue with Indonesia on
the issue.
The statement reflects the struggle of the Pacific leaders in dealing
with Papua. On the one hand, they are concerned with alleged
human rights violations but on the other hand, they are well aware
that Papua is a sensitive issue for them. The sensitivity relates to
their relations with Indonesia, a large and influential neighbour.
For some PIF members, Indonesia provides a profitable market for
their trade that sustains their domestic economy particularly Aus-
tralia, New Zealand, PNG, and Fiji. Its political influence has been
seen as a bridge between Asia and the Pacific.
In a parallel move, Papuas influence has convinced seven UN
member states from the Pacific spoke up. They raised their con-
certed voices on Papua during the prestigious 71st session of the
UN General Assembly in New York last September. This was an un-
precedented turn.
Nauru started the intervention by highlighting the issue of human

66 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

rights violations in Papua, followed by a newcomer in the discourse
of Papua: the Marshall Islands.
Vanuatu, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands followed suit and went
one step further by specifically highlighting the issue of the right
to self-determination for Papuans. Tonga emphasised the gravity
of the problem and Palau, another novice, called for constructive
dialogue with Indonesia to solve the Papua issue.
In other words, we might see another Papua Spring like we expe-
rienced in 2000. The question is whether the Spring will lead to
Summer or back to Winter as we had in 2000 after Theys Eluay
was assassinated? Many Papuans might believe that the progress is
linear and irreversible so they put high expectations of the politi-
cal process in the Pacific. The expectation is understandable but it
needs the ULWMP leaders to manage it. Further, we need to put it
in a broader political dynamics of Indonesia.
As we know, however, in comparison to Aceh, which found peace
settlement for its political dispute with Jakarta through the 2005
Helsinki Agreement mediated by the European Union, Papua re-
mains experiencing negative peace. That is, Papuans only experi-
ence the absence of war but continue suffering from multipolar
of violence. That is, the ongoing state-sponsored violence is not
the only source of Papuans grievances. They have confronted the
increasing pressure of non-state actors that exploit their natural
resources. The business interests of large corporations, particu-
larly extractive industry, have put Papuans in a more vulnerable
position as the local governments continue issuing licences to
these corporations with little consultation with the Papuans.
Once a business project is established, it attracts jobseekers from
all over Indonesia to go to Papua to fill the job market. As we have
seen Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate in Merauke, BP
Gas Project in Bintuni, various timber industry in Sorong, and the
classic example of Freeport Indonesia in Timika, any large business
projects also mean a demographic shift as many skilled and non-
skilled labor will enter Papua simply because Papua does not have
enough manpower. The demographic shift without proper social
and cultural mitigation on the part of the local governments has
caused resentment and widening social gaps between different
ethnic groups in Papua that often lead to communal clashes. All of
Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 67
these different elements have merged into complex grievances that
are not properly addressed by the Indonesian government.
At the international diplomacy, Indonesian diplomats simply deny
the reality of human rights by referring to the state sovereignty
argument. They overlook the unchanging reality of impunity on the
ground in Papua. In the meantime, different ministries endorse over-
lapping and sometime opposing policies towards Papua. While Pres-
ident Joko Widodo endorsed open-door policy for Papua for inter-
national observers, the Indonesian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and
the Indonesian Military remains reluctant to implement the Presi-
dent policy. Similarly, when victims of human rights violations and
human rights organisations in Indonesia call for justice, the President
appointed Wiranto the Coordinating Ministry for Security, Legal and
Political Affairs who then promote non-judicial measures to address
human rights abuses. Given his alleged involvement in human rights
abuses in East Timor, many are not so convinced that non-judicial
manners will address the lingering question of impunity.
The non-monolith response from Jakarta suggests that it grapples
with a formidable challenge in formulating and implementing a
coherent policy to Papua. The situation illustrates that the domes-
tic politics will unlikely change in the near future. It means that
Jakarta will not be prepared to engage any meaningful discussion
with Papua at either domestic or international levels. In this con-
text, the ULWMP leadership will have to work hard. On the one
hand, they have to navigate and negotiate with political powers in
Jakarta and the Pacific, domestically they have also to deal with the
expectations of their constituents. If the ULWMP leaders pass this
ordeal, they will confirm their solidity. Otherwise, they might con-
firm the doubts of the critics and skeptics.

Listening to the Pacific beat on Papua23

In an unprecedented move, seven UN member states from the
Pacific raised their concerted voices on Papua during the pres-
tigious 71st session of the UN General Assembly in New York
this week.
Nauru started the intervention by highlighting the issue of hu-
man rights violations in Papua, followed by a newcomer in the
discourse of Papua: the Marshall Islands.

68| Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

Vanuatu, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands followed suit and went
one step further by specifically highlighting the issue of the right
to self-determination for Papuans. Tonga emphasised the gravity
of the problem and Palau, another novice, called for constructive
dialogue with Indonesia to solve the Papua issue.
This was a historic moment for us as we have never had such
unified high-profile intervention when it comes to the issue of
Papua at the UN. Perhaps the only lone ranger used to be Vanuatu,
which tried to break the silence of the UN fora.
This weeks debate at the UN General Assembly might remind
us of a similar but much more colorful debate on Papua at the
assembly in 1969, when the forum decided to close the chapter on
Papua by accepting the result of the Act of Free Choice.
If in 1969 some African countries expressed opposition to the
assemblys decision to adopt the result of the 1969 Act of Free
Choice for Papuans, today the Pacific nations are taking the lead.
Indonesias response, however, was highly predictable. Repeating
the slogan of territorial integrity and sovereignty, the govern-
ments response unfortunately does not provide us with facts and
evidence of the improvement in the human rights situation in
It may be remembered that President Joko Jokowi Widodo
promised to solve the killing of four high-school students in
Paniai on Dec. 8, 2014. The investigation into the case has been
delayed for almost two years and we have not seen much progress.
The families of the victims recall that at least eight government
institutions sent their respective fact-finding team to interview
victims on the ground and personnel of the Army, the Papua
Police, the National Police, the Air Force, the Papua Legislative
Council, the Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK), the
Office of Coordinating Security, Political and Legal Affairs Minis-
ter, the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM).
None of these teams, however, has ever published their report for
public consumption.


Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 69

Similarly, the dossiers on the Wasior killings of 2001 and the
Wamena case of 2003 have been pending for more than a decade
at the Attorney General once Komnas HAM finished its investi-
gation. These were not ordinary crimes but crimes against hu-
manity, one of the most serious crimes punishable by Indonesian
and international law. Unfortunately, both Komnas HAM and the
Attorney Generals Office have argued over evidence and proce-
dure for years.
Komnas HAM insists that it has provided conclusive evidence and
has followed proper procedure. On the other hand, the Attorney
Generals Office has argued that Komnas HAM has not met the
requirement of a pro-justice investigation as investigators did not
take an oath as required by the Criminal Law Procedures Code.
Both institutions have overlooked the fact that victims continue
to suffer.
Memories are still fresh on the surge in the arrests of Papuan
youth when they took to the streets to express their opinions in
public despite a constitutional guarantee of the right to do so.
The Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) documented that at
least 4,587 individuals, men and women, were arrested by the po-
lice for expressing their political views in 13 cities, namely Dekai,
Fakfak, Jakarta, Jayapura, Kaimana, Makassar, Malang, Manado
Manokwari, Merauke, Sentani, Wamena and Yogyakarta.
While most of the arrestees were released within 24 hours, the
deployment of police in 13 jurisdictions across the country would
not have been possible without the blessing of the National Police
top brass.
While we were grappling with human rights conditions in Papua,
we were shocked by the Presidents decision to appoint Gen. (ret)
Wiranto as the coordinating political, legal and security affairs
In February 2003, the UN-sponsored Special Panels for Serious
Crimes of the Dili District Court, Timor Leste, indicted Gen.
Wiranto, then the Indonesian defense and security minister and
Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI) commander for crimes against
humanity in connection with the events in Timor Leste in 1999.

70 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

As we were yet to recover from the Presidents unfathomable
choice, we were presented with another unprecedented decision
when the Indonesian Military TNI chief named Maj. Gen. Har-
tomo to lead the militarys Strategic Intelligence Agency (BAIS).
Hartomo was the commander of the Armys Special Forces (Ko-
passus) Tribuana X unit assigned to Papua when Theys Eluay was
murdered. Hartomo and six other Kopassus officers were charged
with Theys murder on National Heroes Day in 2001. He and his
team were found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison by
the Surabaya Military Court and discharged from the Army.
These all are simple facts that tell us the way our government
commits to human rights in Papua and elsewhere, which the In-
donesian delegation to the UN General Assembly describes as
robust and active.

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 71

72 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements
D. Civic movements
Is Papua a carceral society 24
AFTER the deadly shooting of Miron Wetipo, an Abepura inmate,
who was caught up in a joint military and police search in
December, the situation in Abepura prison turned into chaos.
His inmates clashed with their wardens, and five inmates were
arrested and detained by Mobile Brigade police and later charged
with damaging public property and provocation. The detainees
included Filep Karma, a prominent political prisoner serving a fif-
teen-year jail sentence, and Buktar Tabuni, a student leader serv-
ing three years in jail, along with Dominggus Pulalo, Alex Elopere
and Lopes Karubaba. All of the detainees were held in custody at
the police headquarters in Papua, where they were denied ac-
cess to lawyers, any visits from their families and the protection
of their basic needs until the police issued an arrest warrant on 15
December. While the Papua police had denied these allegations,
the lawyers told the public that the police warrant did not catego-
rise them as suspects; rather, they were categorized as witnesses.
Their detention is thus highly questionable.
Not long after, another disturbing incident occurred this time
in Manokwari. Simon Banundi, a lawyer with the LP3BH human
rights and legal aid organisation, was arrested by local police
when he was monitoring a public demonstration organised by
West Papua National Authority to commemorate the declaration
of independence of West Melanesia State. Although he had not
been formally charged, the police released a letter stating that his
confiscated belongings were being held as evidence of treason.
Following his release and after his belongings were returned by
Manokwari police, that label remains on record. The Manokwari


Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 73

police chief suggested that LP3BH sue the police if they had any
complaints rather than making statements to the media.
These are just two examples of the mismatch between crimes and
punishment in West Papua. Prior to court hearings, it is quite com-
mon for a suspect to be prejudged as guilty on a charge not sup-
ported by the evidence. Prominent Indonesian terrorist suspects,
for example, have greater rights to due process than Papuans. From
the moment of their arrest, suspected terrorists have been granted
full access to lawyers and visits from their relatives and colleagues,
and their court hearings have been widely published. Of course, in
the case of terrorist charges, the world has been watching whether
Indonesia will deal with this crime according to the rule of law in
contrast to the treatment of Papuans, which has not been watched
so closely.
The practice in Papua, whereby punishment has been imposed
on suspects prior to court hearings, is disturbing not only because
of the measures used to inflict physical and psychological pain
on suspects, but also because democratic Indonesia has chosen
to resort to coercive sanctions on its own citizens as a mode of
governance. This approach has more common with the practices of
an authoritarian and totalitarian regime than those of a democratic
In the case of Papua, the main function of this form of governance
is to protect state interests and powers rather than protect the pub-
lic interest and bonum commune (the common good). Under this
legal and political framework, law becomes a means to punish and
discipline people in order to create what Foucault calls a carceral
society a society constructed as a prison. In this type of society,
punishment has to be a visible and spectacular demonstration of
the power of the state. The logic of such punishment is not about
re-establishing justice, but about re-activating power.
Why do Indonesian state authorities continue to employ such
measures in Papua? There are three possible explanations. First,
the local police might not have the capacity to deal with vandalism
or public demonstrations, and so they may have referred the re-
cent incidents in Abepura and Manokwari to higher authorities or
resorted to a harsh approach. Secondly, the local police might not
have adequate knowledge of legal norms. Finally, given the long

74 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

history of resistance movements, Papua might have been cast as
guilty from the outset. Hence, any acts indicating opposition to-
wards the authorities will easily meet with severe punishment.
Regardless of the various explanations for the treatment of these
Papuans, the incidents represent a test case not only for the police
but also for Indonesian democracy. The public has the opportu-
nity to examine for themselves whether the mode of governance
exercised by Indonesian authorities in Papua is firmly grounded
in the rule of law, or simply sanctioned coercion.

Papua is not a problem but the way we talk about

Papua is 25
Many of us were surprised but pleased when Indonesian President
Joko Widodo announced early this month that the decades-long
restriction on foreign journalists in Papua would be lifted.
Access to Papua for international press and observers has been a
longstanding issue. It was not only raised by rights organisations
but also featured prominently during the 2012 Universal Periodic
Review on Indonesia at the UN Human Rights Council.
But the pleasant surprise did not last very long. Less than 24
hours later, Minister for Security and Political Affairs Tedjo Edhy
Purdijatno told Indonesian media that the access will be subject
to the scrutiny of an agency. Indonesian military commander
General Moeldoko confirmed this statement separately, saying
that the government has yet to formulate new rules of the game
for foreign journalists. Without waiting for further instruction
from the national authorities, Papua police acted independently by
announcing that foreign journalists will have to report to them.
While these statements reflect the ongoing conflicting policies
on Papua, they reveal something much more problematic: the
framing of Papua as a problem.
Papua is not a problem. The way we talk about Papua is.


Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 75

Conflicting policies for Papua
This is the fundamental issue that we have to address. Papuans
have repeatedly expressed their concerns over crimes against
humanity, including the recent killings of four students by the
Indonesian security apparatus in Paniai. But the response of the
government is simply to delay the case until it withers away.
They asked for an evaluation of the Special Autonomy Law,
but the response was establishing UP4B, a government task force
to accelerate economic development programs. This policy per-
petuated the existing conf licting policies of Papua until the
team finished its term last year.
Papuans have raised their voice over the shifting demographic
composition, with an increased influx of people from other is-
lands coming to Papua. The government responded by planning
a new transmigration program, overlooking the creeping threats
of ethnic conflicts.
Papuans have asked for dialogue with the national government,
but so far the government only holds closed-door meetings with
the Papua Peace Network. They asked for open access for foreign
journalists, but the response is a cacophony of mixed messages.
The governments off-target responses have often been informed
by analyses that typically frame Papuans as incompetent. These
analysts hold the view that government services in Papua such as
health care, education and public services are declining because
the groundwork personnel, who are largely Papuans, are absent
from their work. This analysis is partly true if they isolate the case
to the local level.
But such analyses ignore the question of conflicting government
policies on Papua that contribute to the low quality of implemen-
tation. The Papuan public service is an integral part of the larger
government machinery. Even when a policy has clear guidance
and is equipped with strong supervision and mentoring, imple-
mentation could go wrong; let alone when there are conflicting
policies with minimal supervision.
How outsiders frame Papua

76 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

If we look back to the history of Papua, since their first encoun-
ter with outsiders Papuans have been construed according to the
mindsets of the outsiders. The first encounter with the Sultanate
of Tidore through the hongi fleet between the 17th and 18th cen-
tury was marked by violence and slavery. Although the contact
was limited to the Islands of Raja Ampat, the Bird Heads area
and the Island of Biak, this mistreatment illustrated that Papuans
were framed as objects by the sultanate.
Following the unconditional transfer of sovereignty from the
Netherlands to Indonesia in 1949, the Dutch retained then West
New Guinea as the last resort of its imaginary empire legacy in
Asia. In 1966 Yale historian Arend Lijhart described this act as
trauma of de-colonisation.
Since the territory was integrated into Indonesia in 1969, the name
of the land has changed three times, illustrating the ways in which
the government construed the land of Papua: from Irian Barat
during Sukarnos period to Irian Jaya during Suhartos period and
back to Papua under Abdurrahman Wahid, widely known as Gus
The change was not merely about names. It was also about dif-
ferent visions of Papua.
Sukarno envisioned the liberation of Irian Barat from the Dutch.
Suharto promised a glorious and prosperous Irian Jaya. Gus Dur
simply showed respect for Papuans and listened to their wishes
by restoring the original name of the territory into the original
name. As a result, among the three names, Papuans highly appre-
ciate only the last change.
Friends in the Pacific
Papuans have been subjected to various framings without proper
consultation with them. So, it is understandable that they have
shifted their attention from the national government to the Mela-
nesian Spearhead Group.
Although the Western world may never hear about this forum,
Papuans found genuine dialogue and a warm welcome from the
members of this sub-diplomatic forum in its neighbourhood: the

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 77

They found ample space to express themselves as members of
the Melanesian family. They have no worry about being judged
or measured against foreign criteria any more because they have
their own say and can speak for themselves despite all formal pro-
Listen to Papuan voices
This is what we missed in the discussion of opening access for
Papua: let Papuans speak for themselves. It is not a romanticism.
Rather, it is a call on national and international policy-makers
that Papuans should be given space to speak for themselves,
whether with the national government, foreign governments, for-
eign journalists or international observers, so they are no longer
framed as a problem.
Gus Dur set a clear example of how to engage Papuans with re-
spect. This example can be translated into some form of gover-
nance that accommodates Papuans concerns in a comprehensive
policy based on justice, peacemaking and a spirit of reconcilia-

#Papuaitukita as civic passion for Papua 26

Prompted by the killings of four high school children in the high-
lands of Paniai in Papua, Indonesia, a group of activists, aca-
demics (including the author) and concerned citizens initiated a
civic movement called #papuaitukita. Relied on the effectiveness
of social media in drawing the Indonesian public attention, this
movement aims at breaking the silence and the ignorance of the
Indonesian national public of the continuing state-sponsored
violence of Papua. This is the passion that inspires this move-
What did happen in Paniai? Perhaps many of us might not be
aware of that despite the growing Indonesias democracy, state
killings continue in Papua. The killing occurred on the eve of the
visit of Indonesian President Joko Widodo to Papua after Christ-
mas 2014. Pius Youw, Yulian Yeimo, Apinus Oktopia Gobay and


78 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

Simon Degei were shot dead by the Indonesian state apparatus
without any reasons while they were preparing Christmas in their
village. These children were innocent.
Various national and international human rights groups have
raised their voices to the Indonesian National Commission on
Human Rights (Komnas HAM), the Indonesian Witness Protec-
tion Agency (LPSK) and President of Indonesia calling for imme-
diate actions. Specifically the Paniai Customary Council (Dewan
Adat Paniai) demanded the establishment of the Inquiry Com-
mission by Komnas HAM equipped with sub-poena power to in-
vestigate the case as authorised by Law No. 26/2000 on Human
Rights Court.
This demand was informed by the facts that many cases of hu-
man rights violations committed by the Indonesian state appara-
tus have never brought to justice. Partially adapted from the 1998
Rome Statue, Law No. 26/2000 is the only legal provision within
Indonesian legal system that authorises Komnas HAM to under-
take pro-justitia investigation in order to find sufficient evidence to
prosecute perpetrators through a special court, namely the Indo-
nesian Human Rights Court. Since its enactment, only one case
has ever been brought to court, namely the 2000 Abepura case.
This was the case of torture and extra-judicial killing in Jayapura
committed by the Indonesian police. Komnas HAM recommend-
ed two police commanders who were in charge of the raid against
civilians to be held responsible under the principle of command
responsibility. Following the logic of ordinary criminal prosecu-
tion, the judges, however, ruled that the police commanders were
not directly involved in the crimes and thus were found not guilty.
They were released free and later were promoted. This was a shock-
ing decision for victims given the amounting evidence presented
by prosecutors and testimonies from the victims and witnesses.
Learning from this experience the Paniai Customary Council is
committed to prevent that such thing will happen again to the
Paniai case.
Despite continuous pressure of the civil society, it took months be-
fore Komnas HAM made a decision to establish the Inquiry Com-
mission or the Ad Hoc Team. Even then, Papua activists ques-
tioned (Tabloid Jubi, 1/7/2015) the commitment of Komnas HAM

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 79

as this state-funded institution acknowledged that they has no
funds to conduct pro-justitia investigation into the case. In com-
parison to the previous Komnas HAM pro-justitia investigation
into some cases in Papua such as Abepura, Wasior and Wamena,
the current Komnas HAM team seems indecisive and hesitant in
taking any steps closer to investigation. As a result, once again
early July 2015, #papuaitukita mobilised public support to put
pressure on Komnas HAM to be true on its words. They collected
coins and brought them to Komnas HAM office as a symbol of
donation to support the work of Komnas HAM.
Public awareness is the unchartered area in the Indonesian psyche.
With some 250 million population and spread across 14,000 islands,
Indonesia is a massive geographical and political landscape to cover.
Layers of memory of violence in the last decades remain buried in
victims mind from the history of the martial law in Aceh to then East
Timor to Papua, from the massacre of half-million of the so-called
communist suspects in 1965-1966 across Indonesia, from ethnic vi-
olence in Kalimantan to religious-based violence in Maluku to acts
of terrorism in Java, Bali, Sulawesi and Nusa Tenggara. This mosaic
of violence still begs for explanation and recognition from the public
and the state narrative.
This is the context of the movement of #papuaitukita. It is part of
large, vibrant and resilient Indonesian civic movement who pro-
motes civic values, human rights, pluralism, and humanity. The
movement has toppled down the authoritarian regime of Soehar-
tos New Order. It opposed the rise of fundamentalism in Indo-
nesia. It managed to secure a fair presidential election during the
last presidential election. It responds to Rohingya refugees but
also combats violence against minor, such as the case of Enge-
line in Bali. In other words #papuaitukita is not unique as a civic
movement. Rather it is an organic element of the expansion
of civic passions of the Indonesian community who does not
tolerate any trends, actions, policies that do not respect humani-
tarian principles, human rights standards, and the rule of law.
#papuaitukita, however, is not only active in the area of legal
and human rights. The movement actively engages the Indo-
nesian national public through performing arts. In June 2015,
we organised a cultural event involving young musicians,

80 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

Papuan Church leaders, and activists in order to speak about
Papua to the national public with a universal language: arts.
Located at Taman Ismail Marzuki, the heart of Jakarta arts
centre, #papuaitukita built the bridge between the national
public and Papua. The arts perhaps is an effective language as
the movement has to confront stigmatisation of the state over
those who support the Papuan struggle for recognition and
identity. They can be easily labeled supporters of separatists
or secessionists and thus can be classified as inciting treasons.
Anyhow, this is just the beginning of the movement. Although
it is hopeful, it is also fragile and requires supports from all of
us to grow this civic passion for Papua.

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 81

82 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements
E.Fate of Dialogue

In Memory of the 1999 Papua Dialogue 27

Thirteen years ago today, Papuas Team 100 was invited by then
president BJ Habibie to hold a national dialogue to discuss the
Papua issue at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta.
It was no ordinary event. On the contrary, it was an extraordinary
gathering of Papuas leaders prompted by a widespread call for
independence in the nations easternmost province.
It was marked by public demonstrations and the raising of the
Papuan flag in a several cities.
All of this met with a harsh response from security forces. All of
this occurred in the wake of the euphoria of Indonesias transition
to democracy.
During the meeting 13 years ago, Team 100 leader Tom Beanal
bluntly expressed Papuans desire to form an independent state
separate from Indonesia.
This unexpected call shocked Habibie, as well as his Cabinet, who
responded by asking Tom to return home and think things over.
The meeting did not result in anything meaningful. However, it
became a milestone for Papuans, who presented their political
aspirations with dignity and honor.
It must be underlined that none of Team 100 were arrested or
charged with treason, as is now happening with the president of
the so-called Federal Republic of West Papua, Forkorus Yabois-
embut, and four of his followers who are being tried for alleged
treason and are facing life imprisonment.

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 83

Thirteen years on, Papuas cry for dialogue remains loud. In
response, the Yudhoyono administration has held private and
formal meetings with Papuan church leaders twice.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has also appointed two
special representatives, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Bambang Darmono and
Dr. Farid Hussain, to address the issue of dialogue through dif-
ferent mechanisms.
What next in the last two years of Yudhoyonos presidency? What
can we expect as follow up? Will we see political negotiations, as
we have seen in Aceh? All these questions remain unanswered.
As we know, dialogue is not the only game in town. Some Papuans
do not share this view and have publicly expressed their determi-
nation to pursue international legal mediation to bring indepen-
dence to Papuan.
However, it remains unclear to the public how this option could
be achieved. Others have been advocating for Indonesia to recog-
nize the sovereign state of Papua.
These advocates have been charged with treason and now are
standing trial.
In daily life, we are confronted with other questions that. For in-
stance, what will happen when Papua finally holds its long-de-
layed gubernatorial election?
Can the continuing violence in Papuas highlands and the area
near PT Freeport Indonesias operations be terminated?
The violence in those areas have caused a lot of tension, damage
and deaths that urgently need to be addressed.
On the government side, we also observe a number of different
interpretations on how to conduct a dialogue.
One approach holds that the dialog should be about Papua and
not between Jakarta and Papua, as proposed by many voices in
Papua. The logic of this argument is that Papua is part of Indo-
So the polarization of Jakarta and Papua will not help solve the
problem. Rather, all stakeholders in Papua should have an equal
84 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements
opportunity to discuss the fate of Papua.
Following the Aceh model, other proponents argue that negoti-
ations should be bipartisan, involving representatives from the
Indonesian government and their Papuan counterparts. But this
approach still augurs the question of who Papuas representatives
are and whether Papuans can be united.
Another approach asserts limits on any negotiations on the terri-
torial integrity of Indonesia while preparing to offer a wide range
of concessions, including granting amnesty for political prison-
ers, reviewing the 1969 Act of Free Choice, addressing human
rights abuses and reviewing the implementation of special au-
tonomy for Papua.
The last approach co-opts the whole point of dialogue by creat-
ing parallel events to discuss the same issues, albeit infused with
completely different notions.
In the long run this may cause distraction and confusion if nego-
tiations between Jakarta and Papua are realized.

Obviously, for the government, a Papuan dialogue is not the

only game in town either. The Yudhoyono administration
confronts many equally pressing issues, such as its energy
policy, which has already sparked strong opposition from
political opponents.
Meanwhile, unresolved corruption scandals continue to un-
dermine the governments legitimacy and its capacity to de-
liver public service.
Nevertheless, if we look back to 1999, Papuas call for dia-
logue has not been resolved after 13 years, whereas prelim-
inary engagement between Jakarta and Papua has signaled
something positive.
It is time to take advantage of the goodwill from both sides
despite all differences, which are common in any political
The window of opportunity under the current adminis-

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 85

tration will not be open for much longer and none of us
can guarantee whether the next administration will still be
willing to engage in dialogue.
It is also the time for Yudhoyono to conclude his final term
by contributing to Indonesias democracy and resolving the
problem of Papua once for all.

Jakarta-Papua dialogue: Between a rock and a hard

place 28
It has been four months since President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyo-
no convened the second meeting with Papuan church leaders in the
Presidential Palace. During the meeting the President gave an
order to Vice President Boediono to follow-up the meeting
with technical preparations for negotiations. Yet, we have not
seen much follow-up.
In parallel to the meeting, two events occurred. The Unit for
Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B)
was inaugurated and led by Lt. Gen. (ret.) Bambang Darmono
with promises to speed up delayed development programs under
the Special Autonomy package. One of its promises is to promote
constructive communication between Jakarta and Papua.
The second event was the appointment of Dr. Farid Hussain as
the Presidents special envoy for peace negotiations with Papua.
Farids first challenge has been to convince various elements of
the government that dialogue is a good idea to end the protract-
ed conflict in Papua before he can begin to engage with different
factions of the Papuan leadership. In other words, the idea of di-
alogue has gone nowhere.
What can we see from the Papuan side? Following the February
meeting, the church leaders went back to their work and have
been busy with their day-to-day jobs.
This situation reminds us of the aftermath of the so-called na-


86 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

tional dialogue between then President BJ Habibie and 100 Papua
representatives in February 1999.
Welcomed home as heroes, these leaders had to juggle between
disseminating the result of the meeting to fellow Papuans and
enjoying the small win, while at the same time confronting in-
timidation from the state security services.
History looks to repeat itself this time around.
Apart from the continuing spate of violence in Papua, which has
killed both civilians and security personnel, we have witnessed
many things take place in national politics recently.
The fuel subsidy policy remains a thorny issue. An increase in
religious violence has met with little effort from the Yudhoyono
administration to address it. This is not to mention the con-
troversy around the Presidents decision to grant clemency to
Schapelle Corby, a convicted Australian drug smuggler.
In such a whirlwind of political saga, the governments position
on Papua-related issues remains reactive and elusive rather than
creative and assertive.
For instance, when some MPs from Pacific countries convened a
meeting in Canberra last February to declare the creation of Inter
Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP), Jakarta panicked. It de-
manded an explanation from the Australian Embassy in Jakarta
as if it were a decision by the Australian government.
When it comes to the idea of Jakarta-Papua dialogue, Jakarta re-
mains divided: An unusual condition for any government. How-
ever, among this division at least five positions can be identified.
One argument says the dialogue is all about Papua not between
Jakarta and Papua. This argument dismisses a bipartisan model
that considers Papuans an equal party for Jakarta. As an approach
it contradicts the other position, which clearly refers to Acehs bi-
partisan model, which involved international mediation.
Another voice asserts, Anything but NKRI [Unitary State of In-
donesia] imagining the broadest concession that Indonesia can
give, but territorial integrity remains a non-negotiable condition.

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 87

Many bureaucrats simply embrace the position of wait and see,
while some others actively engage in activities to integrate out-
spoken Papuans into the narrative of the state.
On the Papuan side, the situation is also marked by a plurality
of approaches: A natural condition for any community. Here, six
positions can be identified. The first argument says, Dialogue no,
referendum yes. This argument suggests that dialogue with the
government is a submission and is hence unacceptable.
Another voice pursues the recognition of Papuan independence
premised on the position that Papua gained political indepen-
dence in 1961 from the Netherlands.
A further argument persistently seeks opportunities to engage
with the Indonesian government to hold dialogue.
A similar (yet distinct) approach only wants to deal with the highest
level of Indonesian leadership. Just like the government side, so
the Papuan side is in a position of wait and see, which represents
the views of many ordinary Papuans.
Finally, some Papuans have chosen to disengage with anything
related to Indonesian representations as they do not have faith in
any of them.
How can we reconcile these differences? That is what the whole idea
of dialogue is all about. It is meant to address differences in order to
achieve compromise. Dialogue certainly will not generate peace and
deliver justice overnight but it will certainly create what the British
thinker Mary Kaldor terms an island of civility.
Such islands are where violence ends and civility begins. It may
start with a small violence-free zone as agreed upon by two war-
ring parties that will be expanded to cover more territorial, social
and political space.
This is the renewed call of Catholic priest Neles Tebay, who led
the Papua Peace Network to speak with the Yudhoyono govern-
ment recently.
The NGO clearly does not want to repeat 1999, where the idea of
dialogue went nowhere. They are determined to create an island
of civility in Papua under the framework of the Papua Land of

88 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

Violence must cease so that Papuans can live with dignity. It is
time for the government to translate the promising signals of a
peaceful solution for Papua into reality.

Quo Vadis the peace dialogue for Papua 29

Over a year ago, in February 2012, we were moved by the willingness
of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to engage in dialogue
with Papuans. He expressed his commitment publicly during his
audience with Papuan church leaders. After 12 months, however,
we have not seen much progress in honoring his promise.
While we wait for any sign of follow-up, we have been struck by
the shooting incidents in the Mulia area. Eight soldiers and four
civilians were shot dead and some others are in a critical condi-
These incidents not only exemplify the unresolved 50-year con-
flict, but more importantly pose a serious threat to Papuan peace
initiatives promoted by Papuan and Indonesian civil society. The
incidents might also have reinforced the skeptics belief that peace
dialogue with Papua is not workable. Even such a prominent fig-
ure in the Aceh peace process Jusuf Kalla seems to be convinced
that an armed separatist group has to be dealt with by arms.
All these pessimistic interpretations, however, overlook the
broader reality of the effectiveness of peace dialogue around the
world. Among the extensive research on peace-building, let us
highlight two examples which deal with empirical evidence.
First is the 2012 Human Security Report. The report examines
four different ways to end conflicts: Peace agreement, cease-fire,
victory and other terminations during the period of 1950-2004.
Statistical figures show that the effectiveness of peace agreement
in ending conflict is slightly lower (32 percent) than cease-fires
(38 percent).


Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 89

But the report also demonstrates that although peace agreements
are less stable than victories, they lead to a much greater reduc-
tion in battle deaths. The figure evinces a more than 80 percent
reduction in death tolls after a peace agreement even if it fails
and conflict restarts again. This effect does not apply to all other
types of terminations. Over all, a peace agreement is empirically
more effective in stemming violence by addressing root causes of
violence. This process has resulted in the dramatic reduction in
death tolls.
Second is Chenoweth and Stefans Why Civil Resistance Works:
The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict (2011). Based on 323
case studies worldwide from 1900 to 2006, their research shows
that nonviolent resistance was successful in 53 percent of cases in
comparison to only 26 percent of armed struggles in achieving the
objectives of a resistance movement. The core factors in the success
of nonviolent methods lie in their ability to cause the defection of
state security forces to take the side of nonviolent movements and
to mobilize broad participation from a general public.
This study gives us good grounds to argue that in the long run
nonviolent resistance in Papua, particularly the call for peace dia-
logue, is more likely to succeed than violent resistance. More im-
portantly, the study suggests that nonviolent resistance is much
more capable of broadening its participation, including from
state security forces.
In other words, both examples give us empirical grounds to con-
clude that peace dialogues have worked effectively to end con-
flict in many contexts. Further, in comparison to other types of
conflict resolution, peace dialogue works better in comprehen-
sively addressing the root causes of violence. Therefore, we can
adequately surmise that the same approach will likely work for
These studies also resonate with the existing Papuan peace ini-
tiatives under the banner Papua Land of Peace. This is not just
a slogan. Rather, it is the deeply philosophical and religious con-
viction of Papuan civil society, which reflects on the Papuan me-
moria passionis (memory of suffering) following the violent 1998
Biak incident. The memoria passionis, however, does not merely
record the story of Papuan victimhood. Rather, it is all about the

90 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

energy of change and the politics of hope to craft a better and just
The memory vividly preserves the 50-year history of Papuans and
consolidates the energy of emancipation into the Papuan call for
dialogue. This is the locus of the Papua Peace Networks passion
for peace. This is the context in which the Tji Hak-Soon justice
and peace award for Father Neles Tebay must be understood.
The award has not only renewed Papuans calls for a peace dia-
logue, but also shows the commitment of the international com-
munity to endorsing Father Tebays tireless efforts for peace. The
international community recognizes Papuan peacemaking. The
world remains a strong believer in peace and justice.

Prabowo or Jokowi for the Jakarta-Papua dialogue? 30

There are only two options for the next presidency Prabowo
Subianto or Joko Jokowi Widodo.
They have been portrayed as opposites. While Prabowos cam-
paign speaks of Saving Indonesia (Selamatkan Indonesia), Jo-
kowis proclaims Indonesia the great (Indonesia Hebat).
Whereas Jokowi is well known for his impromptu visits or blusu-
kan, Prabowo is famous for his rigid instructions and commands.
While Jokowi has risen from the level of a small-town entrepreneur,
Prabowo has reinvented himself as a populist figure, distancing him-
self from the perception of a New Order general with a notorious
track record.
Jokowis camp promotes his vision on human rights at length, Pra-
bowos vision does not even mention the word human rights.
Both camps, however, hardly mention anything about the Jakar-
ta-Papua dialogue. Instead, both are preoccupied with the welfare
approach for Papua as if it was the magic bullet.
That is why, despite this whirlwind of national politics, many
Papuans remain bewildered. Some of them ask in whom we trust?

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 91

Some say trust no one.
Some others, like West Papua National Committee (KNPB) activists,
call for boycotting the presidential election whereas others who are
part of the game work extra hard to secure votes for their candidates.
While many Papuan activists seem skeptical about the upcoming
election, others are hopeful that Jokowi might be a new entry point
for the Jakarta-Papua dialogue.
Many are deeply weary of Prabowo due to his legacy in Mapenduma
and the human rights record of the Armys Special Forces (Kopassus)
of which he was the commander.
So will the new president be true to his promises?
Promise can be a magic but also dirty word in Papuan politics.
Papuans feeling betrayed by failed promises is nothing new. In
the 1960s, the Dutch were clinging onto the territory of Papua,
promising to prepare Papuans to govern their own country, before
signing the 1962 New York Agreement as a legal basis to transfer
the territory to the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority
(UNTEA) and then to Indonesia.
Successive presidents offered different promises but not all
paid serious attention to engaging in meaningful dialogue
with Papuans. The most preferable approach is pursuing eco-
nomic progress. Sukarno proclaimed his commitment to es-
tablishing a prosperous and fair society when he first arrived
in Kotabaru (now Jayapura) on May 4, 1963. Similarly, Soeharto
was well known for his martial law for Irian Jaya for more than
three decades, leaving a legacy of fear.
When BJ Habibie took the presidency, he invited 100 Papuan repre-
sentatives to the Presidential Palace for a national dialogue on Feb.
26, 1999. Instead of achieving any meaningful negotiations, Papuans
were told to go home and rethink their call for independence. They
have never heard any follow-up since.
It was Abdurrahman Gus Dur Wahid who took an exceptional ini-
tiative to engage in genuine dialogue with Papuans.
He crafted a space for Papuans to reclaim their names as Papuans,
not Irianese or any other labels given to them by outsiders. He was

92 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

also supportive of Papuans initiatives when they organized their
grand deliberation (Mubes) and congress in 2000.
But when his then deputy, Megawati Soekarnoputri, took over the
presidency, Gus Durs initiatives disappeared.
She signed a Special Autonomy (Otsus) deal for Papua in 2001, she
issued a presidential decree (Inpres No. 1/2003) to divide Papua into
three new provinces, contradicting the spirit and the letter of the Spe-
cial Autonomy Law.
She insistently promoted the economic development approach while
allowing the military to operate almost independently.
A group of Kopassus soldiers were convicted and punished for assas-
sinating Papuan leader Theys Eluay although the court failed to dis-
cover Aristoteles Masoka, the driver. Megawati, of course, is the one
promoting Jokowi.
In President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyonos first term, he was suc-
cessful in ending the prolonged armed conflict in Aceh and religious
conflicts in Maluku and Poso, Central Sulawesi. This achievement is
internationally acknowledged and greatly appreciated.
This credit, however, did not transfer to Papua. During his second
term, he invited the Papuan church leaders twice with a promise of a
follow-up for dialogue between Papua and Jakarta, but it never went
While economic stability and prosperity is a conditio sine qua non for
the public good of any nation, this is not the only criterion to assess
how a government fulfills its constitutional mandate.
Questions of justice and human security are not inferior to econo-
my. Conversely, these are paramount for Papua. Gus Dur made it very
clear that reconciliatory gestures are the right approach for Papua.
Another kind of promise comes from neighboring states. In its 2013
summit communiqu, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG)
leaders highlighted their concerns over the worrying human rights
condition in Papua.
They promised to send a mission to visit Jakarta and Papua to have
firsthand information of the situation. Under tight arrangements

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 93

with Jakarta, the MSG ministerial mission visited Jayapura for four
hours and concluded that there were no human rights violations in
Vanuatu, the only UN member publicly supporting Papuans, disso-
ciated itself from the visit and went solo. Last March, former Vanu-
atu prime minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil rocked the boat of the
UN Human Rights Council, requesting a UN expert for Papua to
investigate the situation of human rights in the territory. We are
waiting for the follow-up on this appeal.
What can Papuans make out of these promises? Perhaps Reverend
Socratez Sofyan Yoman was right when he said that Papuans had to
trust themselves.
Instead of looking for outside assistance, he urged Papuans to rely
on themselves in crafting their own future. While this suggestion is
not novel, it reiterates the need for Papuans to build self-reliance and
critical thinking on the most essential things they have to do for their
own future.
We should not forget, however, that Papuans are entangled in intri-
cate power relations both domestically and internationally. They do
not live in a vacuum so that they can independently decide and act
without taking into account different power relations that influence
and sometimes, determine their fate.
Perhaps this is the time they have to seize a new opportunity for
dialogue with a new regime, despite the silence of both candi-
dates over the very issue.

94 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements


Disentangling Papuan resistance

Rev. Dr Benny Giay
Chair of the Synod of the Tabernacle Church (Kingmi) Papua

Professor Ikrar Nusa Bhakti titled his prologue Papua on the

rise, and throughout the reading of this book it is obvious that
statement and observation is true if we remember the situation in
2009. The political landscape wherein discussions on Papua take
place have changed; it is now broader and much more complex.
The success of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua
(ULMWP) lobby among Pacific countries and the Melanesian
Spearhead Group (MSG) marked a watershed moment in this
history. We have gone quite a way since 2009.
The process that led us this far has been fraught with progress and
setbacks. 100 delegates sent to Jakarta and meet Habibie, only
to be sent home to reflect on their aspiration. A Papuan Spring
during the regime of Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur), cut short by
the end of his power and ultimately the death of Theys Eluay. The
success of ULMWP diplomacy to gain an observer status at the
MSG table, soon followed by Indonesian sudden interest in their
Pacific neighbours. Jokowis statement opening Papua to foreign
press was soon saddled with so many asterisks it may as well be
nothing. It is perhaps not that much of a hyperbole to say this
process has been an emotional rollercoaster; a move from hope
to despair and back again. International and national media can
choose its moments to focus on Papua, but this has never been an
option for Papuans.
Hernawan is not a journalist, but he has always been there
through the thick and thin of international attention. Some of his
writings are a plea for attention when the world seems busy with
something else; engaged with the topical issue at hand and con-
nected it to Papua. At other times, his writings dive beyond the
surface because in times when Papua is at the centre of attention,

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 95

context is the desired point. Hernawan has always been there
observing and creatively responding to developments in and on
Papua. Hence, I think of this book as a catalogue of responses
and to say so is not to devalue this work. In the contrary, what
I find most compelling about this book is what it inadvertently
achieved, i.e. its documentation of the slow rise of international
interest in Papua, of which Professor Ikrar speaks. If the trend
seems to point to a rise, the essays in this book illustrates that this
trend is not the result of slow natural burn. Rather, it is the result
of tenacity on the part of the advocates.
The process that brings us to this moment filled with moments
of hope and progress, and despair and setbacks. This book doc-
uments some of these moments, and as a collection of essays,
the book forces us to focus on these single moments rather than
the big historical trend. The International Crisis Group (ICG)
reports, former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyonos trouble-
some statements, the shootings in Tembagapura were moments
that caused a furore in the recent past. They were moments worth
remembering, but were not moments advocates could dwell on,
because they had to move on to something new. The same thing
applies to moments of victory; the International Lawyers for West
Papua (ILWP) event and the opening of a Free West Papua office
in UK were victories on which the advocates could not bask in for
long. That is the main problem on working in Papua; there always
is a new problem, a new challenge that needs tackling. It is diffi-
cult to focus on single moments and or events in such a milieu,
hence my point regarding the value of this work.
A deep read into the book would disabuse you of the notion that
the moments documented in this book are simply anecdotes. The
problems that plague Papua is not rooted in a single individual
(oknum), but it is rather structural. The structural character of
this problem is revealed in the omnipresence of and the manifold
crises. This is also reflected in the writing of this book and the
reason why the use of the word cartography for the title is par-
ticularly fitting; separating the issues covered in this book must
have been difficult in light of the highly permeable boundaries
between the problems plaguing Papua.
Reading through the progress made in the last six years also is a

96 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

reminder of things that have not changed. A change in leadership,
from Yudhoyono to Joko Widodo in practice did not change much.
Both presidents showed interest in solving the Papua problem,
but through Yudhoyono we learnt that intents are hardly enough.
Presidents may wax poetic about solving the problems in Papua,
but the problems persisted. Widodo still has time, but it remains
unclear what Widodo can achieve since he follows the more tra-
ditional approach of Yudhoyono and Megawati, rather than the
path taken by Gus Dur.
It is not a coincidence that Gus Durs regime was the only break
of a regular pattern. I mentioned above that the problems plaguing
Papua is structural. With regards to human right violations, in
his doctoral thesis Hernawan has convincingly demonstrated
how torture is interwoven into the governance of (read: control
0f) Papuans; hence, the accusations of state complicity in this
rampant violence. The last accusation only seems farfetched if we
forget that these practices continue and human right violations
persist with impunity. Gus Dur and his different approach to Papua
and issues of human rights had to pay a price for not following the
traditional state approach.
Still, Hernawan advocates for dialogue as a medium to solve the
manifold Papua problem. Hence, it is equally important to think
of this book as a reasoned argument, if not apology, for dialogue.
Until quite recently, Hernawan has relentlessly called for dialogue
and the continued hope for dialogue in tandem with Papuan
Peace Network. In advocating for dialogue, his most honest and
astute observation is one that refuses to treat both Indonesia and
Papua as a monolith.
On the Indonesian side, the difficulty of at least the last two In-
donesian presidents to engage in a productive dialogue with Pap-
uans is revealed in Yudhoyonos admission of the presence of ul-
tra-nationalist factions within the government who are averse to
a peaceful resolution. Equally revealing is the divide in Widodos
administration on human right issues, i.e. 1965 and journalist ac-
cess to Papua, to name a few. The issue regarding the fracture
in the Indonesian monolith did not show up a lot in this book,
although I can imagine Hernawan observing this variety and de-
vising a solution to this particular issue in the future.

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 97

On the Papuan side, the solution to the problems in Papua is only
one of the dividing factors among the advocates. To work closely
with the Indonesian government is a decision some people make,
albeit a very unpopular. Komite Nasional Papua Barat (KNPB/
the National Committee of West Papua) with its demand for ref-
erendum is another faction. Taking over the torch from Papua
Peace Network, ULMWP itself is a result of dialogue among sepa-
rate advocacy groups and is now passionately acting on behalf of
these groups. The haunting question seems to be whether one
has hope that the situation can improve in Indonesia. In light of
the structural characteristic of the problem, the idea of simply
cutting loose from Indonesia is very tempting in its simplicity.
But Jakarta has shown an ability to solve the conflict in Aceh by
engaging in a dialogue with GAM (Movement for Liberation of
Aceh). The same step can be taken by approaching ULMWP to
end long years of violence and bloodshed in West Papua.
Dialogue, the option Hernawan is advocating for is a complicated
one. Its advantages bear repeating again and again; it addresses the
diversity of the stakeholders and give their respective interests a
space to be heard. In sum, dialogue is a solution to address the fact
that neither Indonesia nor Papua is monolithic. It seems that things
have to radically change for this option to be a workable solution.
But what kind of dialogue is politically realistic for Papua? Would
it be Jakarta-Papua Dialogue as promoted by Papua Peace Network
and LIPI or a dialogue mediated by an international actor, such as
the MSG, as it provides a relatively equal power relations between
Jakarta and Papua? For starter, it entails a disclosure of all factions
among the Indonesian government and their interests. Upon fac-
ing this insurmountable challenge, this book reminds us that there
has been progress in the last six years. Hopefully it gives us hope to
carry on in times when the international world temporarily forgets
us. Because if this is anything, it is a battle against losing hope.

98 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements

About the author

Dr Budi Hernawan is lecturer in In-

ternational Relations at Paramadina
Graduate School of Diplomacy in
Jakarta and research fellow at Abdu-
rrahman Wahid Centre (AWC) for In-
terfaith and Peace at the University of
Indonesia in Jakarta.
He obtained his PhD from the Aus-
tralian National University in Can-
berra, Australia, in 2013. His doctoral
thesis entitled From the Theatre of Dr Budi Hernawan
Torture to the Theatre of Peace: The
Politics of Torture and Re-imagining Peacebuilding in Papua, In-
donesia will be published as a monograph by Routledge in 2016.
Currently he leads a number of research projects inter alia re-
vitalisation of tradition and inclusion of indigenous religions in
Indonesia under AWC, a baseline study of human rights of Papua
under ELSAM projects as well as joined in a collaborative study of
the risks and challenges of the work human rights defenders in
Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya, Egypt, and Mexico under the coor-
dination the University of York.
His academic life is inseparable from his activism. He has been
involved in human rights advocacy and lobby at the local, na-
tional and international levels since he worked for Sekretariat
Keadilan dan Perdamaian Jayapura (SKP Jayapura), one of the most
prominent human rights organisation in Papua, during 1998-2009.
He is Research Associate at Franciscans International, an inter-
national NGO accredited with the United Nations, where he
spent 4 months in Geneva and New York in 2014 to cover the
UN Security Council. He is co-founder of the Faith-based Net-
work for Papua (now the International Coalition for Papua), a
Europe-based coalition of civil society organisations that advo-
cate for the human rights of Papuans at the international level.
He regularly writes for The Jakarta Post, the main English daily
in Indonesia, and international academic blogs and online me-
Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 99
dia on the issues of political violence, Papua, human rights and
global justice. His recent publications include Torture as a mode
of governance: reflections on the phenomenon of torture in Papua,
Indonesia in Slama, M. and J. Munro, (eds.), 2015. From stone-
age to real-time: Exploring Papuan temporalities, mobilities and
religiosities, Canberra: ANU E-Press. Hernawan, B. & Pat Walsh,
2015. Inconvenient Truths, Jakarta: the Asian Justice and Rights.
(Forthcoming 2016). Torture as a theatre in Papua in Gerlach,
C., P. Imbusch, S. Karstedt (eds.), Special issue on Extremely
Violent Societies, in the International Journal of Conflict and
Violence. Torture in West Papua (Indonesia): A spectacle of di-
alectics of the sovereign and the abject in P King, J Elmslie & C
Webb-Gannon (eds.), 2011. Comprehending West Papua, Sydney:
The West Papua Project, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies,
the University of Sydney.

100 | Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements


Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM), established

in August 1993 in Jakarta, is a policy advocacy organisation with
limited association as its legal entity. To actively participate in the
efforts to develop, promote and protect civil and political rights
and other human rights, as mandated by the 1945 Constitution
and Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), has become
ELSAMs driving objective. From the outset, ELSAM has com-
mitted itself to developing a democratic political order in Indone-
sia by empowering civil society through advocacy and promoting
human rights.

Main programmes: (i) Policy and law research and their impacts
on human rights; (ii) Human rights advocacy in various forms;
(iii) Human rights education and training; and (iv) Publication
and human rights information dissemination.

Programme of work: (i) The Integration of Human Rights Princi-

plesand Norms in State Law and Policy; (ii) The Integration of Hu-
man Rights Principles and Norms in Corporate Operation Policy
in Relation with Local Communities; and (iii) Strengthening Civil
Societys Capacity in Promoting Human Rights.

Jl. Siaga II No.31, Pejaten Barat, Pasar Minggu
Jakarta-INDONESIA 12510,
Tel. +62 21 7972662, 79192564, Fax. +62 21 79192519,
Surel:, laman:,
Twitter: @elsamnews - @ElsamLibrary

Papua: a cartography of violence and civic movements | 101