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Jakarta’s Human Rights Investigation Team Accused of Political Interests



Solidarity of Papuan Women Human Rights Defenders, L to R : Frederika Korain, Pdt. Anike Mirino, Bernadetha Mahuse, Mientje Uduas, Zandra Mambrasar, Iche Murib, Fransiska Pinimet – Jubi/Yuliana Lantipo

Solidarity of Papuan Women Human Rights Defenders, L to R : Frederika Korain, Pdt. Anike Mirino, Bernadetha Mahuse, Mientje Uduas, Zandra Mambrasar, Iche Murib, Fransiska Pinimet – Jubi/Yuliana Lantipo

Jayapura, Jubi – A team that formed by the Government and involved three indigenous Papuans to investigate human rights abuses is not representing the Papuan people’s voices and aspirations, human rights activists said.

Its formation was also seen deviated for the proper mechanism and full of political interests, said Zandra Mambrasar from the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (Elsham) Papua together with the Solidarity of Papuan Women Human Rights Defenders in the press conference held on last week.

She said this country already had the National Human Rights Commission, which its task is to resolve the human rights issues in Indonesia, including in Papua and Papua Barat provinces. Therefore, resolutions to all human rights issues must go through this institution.

“If the Government wanted to resolve the problem, it should be done through proper mechanism. Therefore, the National Human Rights Commission should take this responsibility instead of the new team launched by the Ministry of Political, Legal and Security Affairs. It’s very political. The process was supposedly done through the National Human Rights Commission, and then followed by the investigation by Prosecutor Office before taking to the Court. That’s the mechanism,” said Mambrasar.

In April 2016, the Government through the Minister of Political, Legal and Security Affairs promised to resolve eleven cases of alleged human rights violations in Papua by involving the Indonesian Police Headquarters, Military, State Intelligent Agency, Papua Police, National Human Rights Commission, the Attorney General, Papua Law Customary Community, human rights activists and observers of Papuan issues.

Of eleven cases, Papua Police and Cenderawasih XVII Regional Military Command were authorized to solve four cases of alleged human rights violations. According to Papua Police Chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw, as cited from BBC Indonesia, said the four cases are the disappearance of former They’s driver Aristoteles Masoka (10 November 2001), the death of activist Opinus Tabuni (8 August 2008), the arrest against Yawan Wayeni (August 2009) and the Third Congress of Papuan People (19 October 2011).

Meanwhile the human rights commissionaire Imdadun Rahmat said the commission was authorized to resolve several cases of violence occurred in Papua that categorized as severe human rights violations, namely Wasior case (2001), Wamena case (2003), Paniai case (Desember 2014) and one that is still on propose, Biak case (July 1998). Deadline for the investigation team by the Government is until October 2016.

Controversy over Three Papuans in Human Rights Team

The working team that has four months to resolve alleged human rights violations in Papua has raised protest from other human rights activists in Papua. Besides questioning their work mechanism, the presence of three Papuans in the team took people’s attention.

Papuan human right activist Frederika Korain who also a lawyer, said in this meeting that the team launched by the Ministry of Political, Legal and Human Rights activists by involving three Papuans was only a game and not indicate the good intention of Government to resolve many problems in Papua.

“It seems the message is there are Papuans who get a place of honor in this country, while it is merely a game created by the Government to cover the real situation occurred in Papua. Moreover those people named themselves as activists. We must be strict on this. Those people who included in the team have no capacity, not competent in term of resolving the problem,” asserted Korain.

She’s also pessimistic the team could resolve the cases.

“How could the country that conducted violations want to solve its own violations? For the country, it is not possible.”

Human rights activist Bernadetha Mahuse who’s also a teacher said no more trust to the Government to uphold the justice over the alleged human rights cases in Papua, including to the new launched team.

She said in order to save the next generation of indigenous Papuans, she and other Papuan women human rights activists urged the fact-finding team from the Pacific Island Forum with the Indonesian Government to come to Papua immediately.

“We urge the fact-finding team from PIF to immediately come doing their investigation in Papua to endorse the humanity values,” she firmly said.

“We are the women who bring the life and it is our duty to maintain the life; well maintain it and keep it to be sustained for the life of our children in this land,” she said.

According to Mahuse who works over 15 years as human rights activist, “our womb, our land of Papua has been damaged, has been torn by the interest of the Government with its policies and investments on the land. Number of investors came for the companies’ profits, not for the people’s sake. And it has been occurred for years without any resolution. “Our trust is decreased every single day,” she said. (Yuliana Lantipo/rom)


The story of illegal logging from the forests of Papua



Illegal timbers – an illustration.

Jayapura, Jubi – Tempo journalist Avit Hidayat shared his experience in doing an investigation about the circulation of illegal timbers from Papua’s forest as a resource person for the discussion about “ Papua’s Forest and Logging Disputes”.

Auriga Nusantara, Eyes on the Forest, Tempo Institute, Free Press Unlimited, and Tempo Media Grup held this forum in Jakarta, Monday, 28 January 2019 and attended by other resource persons, such as Laode M. Syarif (KPK commissionaire), Rasio Ridho Sani (Gakkum-KLHK), Hilman Nugroho (PHPL-KLHK) Muhamad Kosar (JPIK), Timotius Murib (Majelis Rakyat Papua) and Papuan stakeholders from indigenous peoples, Papuan Parliament and Papua Provincial Forestry Office.

In the discussion, Avit said it is essential for the public to know about the situation in Papua. “The tropical forests in Papua are the last (forests) in Indonesia, while the Merbau wood which is the Papuan endemic trees have been becoming the target of the international market,” he said. 

Furthermore, Avid said he conducted the investigation in many different places and interviewed many resource persons; and in Papua, the Tempo team went further to the logging sites. There, they witnessed how the workers who come from other regions carried out the illegal logging activity. They also met transporters, woodmasters, drivers, and logging company staffs.

“And the most important thing is we met the supplier. The supplier is a mediator of the logging companies who play a role to bargain with ‘ondo’—the tribal chief–for compensation. For example, if in a village there are common indigenous lands, the supplier comes to measuring the areas, and give payment to indigenous peoples.”

In their investigation, the Tempo team also met the owners of a logging company who later admitted about the illegal logging activity.  However, they called it the unregistered community logging.

Meanwhile, in Aroba Sub-district of Teluk Bintuni, Papua Barat, the team went to the forest areas of the company who received the Business License for the Utilization of Natural Forest and Timber Product (IUPHHK-HA) that formerly known as a Forest Concession Permit (HPH). There, the team found the manipulation of a wood barcode. For instance, the barcode for ketapang wood is used for Merbau wood.

Moreover, the team also investigated the primary industry in Papua, Surabaya, Lumajang, Gresik by tracing the distribution of logs. Here, they found another finding, namely the fake transport data and officials’ involvement, whereas the illegal retribution practice has also become their another concern.

In their journey from Sarmi to Jayapura Municipality, the team discovered 25 retribution posts that consist of the indigenous institution, police (military) and Forestry Office. “This is the fact that we found, but I couldn’t capture it because it was too risky. We even witness a military truck used to transport the logs.”

Furthermore, the Tempo team met the export logging companies and found those companies able to export up to 6,000-meter cubic annually, while based on the Forest Product Information Management System (SIPUH), they only allowed to export around 100-meter cubic.

“In Surabaya, we went to a barge and talked with an officer. He said not all logs are given barcode. A few logging companies intentionally inserted non-barcode logs or illegal logs in there. They are mostly the HPH holders, and they even put the timbers between the logs.”

However, all these findings did not include in the audit industry report registered in the Timber Legality and Verification System Legality and Verification System (SVLK) which consist of the Assessment Agency for Sustainable Forest Production Management (LP-PHPL) and Timber Verification Agency (LV-LK). Both agencies are responsible for assessing the sustainable forest product management and verify the legality aspect of timber based on the system and standards set by the government.

“We also got the information about the involvement of LV-LK and LP-PHPL, which means they play around with such companies and culprits from the forestry office. I think the KPK has identified these cases.”

In the meantime, a resource person from the National Accreditation Committee (KAN) acknowledged that there were bribery practices in the LV-LK. The audit report had often finished before the field assessment.

Meanwhile, the participants appreciated the findings of Tempo’s investigation. They expected the government to find a solution immediately, whether it’s a regulation or supervision and law enforcement.

On the other hand, a representative of LV-LK objected this report regarding the bribery practices in his institution. But Avit said until now none of the resource persons withdrew their statements and opposed the result of the team’s investigation.

Meanwhile, Agung Wijaya, Avit’s editor for this covered story, said he was worried about Avit’s safety during the investigation. But finally, this report was completed and published.

He further said Tempo had traced the case of illegal logging since 2017. Thus, publishing the investigation report becomes a moral burden for Tempo. Therefore Tempo will continue to monitor this issue and welcome other stakeholders who attended this forum for further discussion.

Through this coverage, Tempo attempted to look the case thoroughly even though it might not give a solution because the solution is actually in the hand of all of you (who come to this forum).” (*)


Reporter: Timoteus Marten

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Indonesian military to complete Trans-Papua Highway



Indonesian soldiers participate in a major military jungle warfare exercise in Poso, in central Sulawesi island, on March 31, 2015. -Photo: AFP

Papua, Jubi – Officials working on a troubled road project in Papua say Indonesia’s military will complete the job this year.

In December, at least 16 Indonesians working on the Trans-Papua Highway in Nduga province were massacred by fighters from the West Papua Liberation Army.

The project was put on hold with the military saying it would take over work on the 4000 kilometre highway.

Combat engineers will reportedly carry out the construction, with hundreds of extra security personnel deployed to the area.

Detik News reports a military battalion has been assigned to the building of the project’s remaining 16 bridges.

Indonesian army engineers had already been working on the Trans-Papua Highway project for a number of years.

Military involvement in the project was cited by the Liberation Army as a central reason for killing the road workers, who were suspected of being soldiers. (*)



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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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