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Journalists Attacked in Two Separate Incidents in Indonesia



Suwarjono, AJI president (right) - Supplied

Suwarjono, AJI president (right) – Supplied

Jayapura, Jubi – The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI – Indonesia) in strongly criticizing the actions of local police in Indonesia, in two separate incidents where journalists were harassed and attacked. The IFJ and AJI demand an immediate investigation into both incidents.

On December 1, Topilus B Tebai, editor of, was covering the preparations to commemorate the declaration of West Papua independence in Nabire in West Papua. Topilus was taking pictures of police vehicle inspections at the Heroes Cemetery. A police officer, allegedly claiming to be a police leader, kept distracting Topilus. Shortly after two other officers came over to Topilus and stopped him, asking for his camera. The officers continued to question Topilus and one officer tried to kick the journalist. Topilus told the officers he was a journalist and showed his press card, however the officers then started yelling and demanded to speak with the editor-in-chief of

Topilus protested against the officers’ actions, telling them that they were violating Indonesia’s press law. Officers told Topilus to delete the photos and that he shouldn’t be photographing the police operations. Five more officers approached Topilus and forcibly removed his camera. Police officers then kicked Topilus and forcibly removed him from the Heroes Cemetery.

On the same day, Archicco Guilianno of ABC Australia and Step Vaessen of Al Jazeera were covering a rally organized by Papuan students in Jakarta when they were attacked and intimidated by local police. According to AJI police asked Guilianno to erase her footage of the rally, however when she didn’t immediately comply but identified herself as a journalist, she was beaten by an officer. Vaessen recorded the incident and was then requested by police to delete the footage, when she didn’t comply police forcibly removed the footage.

Suwarjono, AJI president said of the incident in Jakarta that: “The violence suffered by the two journalists in the demonstration is evidence that the police have not been fully aware of the duties of journalists. Indonesia has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, police must understand the Convention, in order to avoid such an event again.”

Victor Mambor, AJI Papua chairperson said of the incident in West Papua that: “The police chief must educate their officers to understand Indonesia Press Law. Most violations against journalist in West Papua happen to Indigenous Papuan journalists. This incident is a case of police discrimination.”

The IFJ said: “The situation for journalists in Indonesia remains a key area of concern. These incidents highlight the environment that journalists in Indonesia operate within. Following the International Partnership Mission to Indonesia (IPMI) it is clear that journalists across Indonesia continue to be targeted for their work, which is a clear threat to press freedom. We call on the Indonesian government to investigate the situation and engage the local authorities to better understand the rights of journalists and media workers in Indonesia.”

In November, the IFJ participated in the second IPMI, which visited Jayapura in Papua, Makassar in Sulawesi and Jakarta. The mission met with local journalists, civil society groups and government ministers to discuss the challenges for press freedom in Indonesia. Read the IPMI statement here, with a full report to published soon.  (*)



Indonesian soldier dead after attack at Papua airport



Members of the Indonesian Army in Papua. -Photo: AFP

Papua, Jubi – Indonesia’s military has evacuated the body of a soldier killed at an airport in Papua’s Highlands on Monday.

Xinhua reported that gunmen shot at an arriving aircraft carrying soldiers at Mapenduma airport of Nduga district, leaving one soldier dead.

Military spokesman Colonel Muhammad Aidi said when the plane was about to land, it was shot at, and soldiers who were guarding the airport shot back, triggering gunfire exchange.

He said the gunmen retreated and escaped to the forest and the plane landed.

Tempo reported that two soldiers were shot, and hospitalised, with one dying later.

The soldier’s body has been evacuated to Papua’s provincial capital Jayapura,

He is the latest apparent victim in the Highlands conflict between guerilla forces of the West Papua Liberation Army and Indonesian security forces that intensified last year. (*)



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Truth and Reconciliation Commission might not be working in resolving human rights violations in Papua



Workshop on the settlement of Human Rights Violations in Wasior 2001 and Wamena 2004: “Opportunities and Challenges”. – Jubi/Arjuna Pademme

Jayapura, Jubi – A human rights activist in Papua Iwan Niode said the Truth and Reconciliation Commission might be not useful in resolving the human rights violations in Papua due to the absence of regulation.

In the workshop ‘the settlement of Human Rights Violations in Wasior 2001 and Wamena 2004: “Opportunities and Challenges”‘ held by the Papua Democracy Alliance on Thursday (24/1/2019), Niode said the Constitutional Court had cancelled the Regulation No 27 of 2004.

“This is understandable why such a plan to resolve the human rights violations cases via the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has stopped until now. Although the Special Autonomy Law indeed recommended it, there is no specific regulation supporting the TRC to conduct its task,” said Niode.

Moreover, Niode said the TRC should not only support the human rights victims to speak but also to cover the whole stories of both sides, victims and perpetrators. That makes the resolution through the TRC never been successful.

Meanwhile, a lecturer of International Relations of the Faculty of Social and Politics Science of the University of Cenderawasih, Elvira Rumkabu, thought that besides it needs the judicial process enforcement, the settlement of human rights violations in Papua also need to bring justice to the victims, how they can get their rights for justice.

“If this injury remains not cured, it would spread anywhere towards many issues. The issue of personal identity, for example,” said Rumkabu. (*)


Reporter: Arjuna Pademme

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Call for Pacific regional groups to investigate Papua chemical attacks




West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda. Photo: RNZI/ Koroi Hawkins

Jayapura, Jubi – The United Liberation Movement for West Papua is calling for Pacific regional groups to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons in Indonesia’s Papua region.

The movement’s chair, Benny Wenda, said the Pacific Islands Forum and the Melanesian Spearhead Group should urgently send fact-finding missions to Nduga regency.

This comes after unverified reports of the suspected use of white phosphorus weapons by Indonesia’s military against civilians in Nduga.

Indonesia last month called the claims “totally baseless”.

But Mr Wenda said its security operations in Nduga had created a “humanitarian crisis”.

In a statement, he said Indonesia should also grant the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights access to West Papua to complete its own fact-finding mission.

Mr Wenda said humanitarian aid organisations should also be allowed in to Nduga to “relieve the suffering of West Papuans”.

A massive joint police and military operation has been underway in the remote Highlands regency, as well as neighbouring regencies, since December, in a hunt for members of the West Papua Liberation Army.

The armed group is responsible for the killings of at least 16 Indonesian construction workers and one soldier in November.

The joint operation has sparked sporadic shootouts between the Liberation Army and Indonesia’s military, with at least one soldier and one rebel fighter shot dead this year. (*)



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