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The Ecumenical Working Forum of Papuan Churches: “We have no future in Indonesian system”



The mass blockade on May 25 in front of Makorem Padang Bulan, Jayapura – IST

Jayapura, Jubi – Three religious intellectuals and leaders from Ecumenical Working Forum of Papuan Churches made a clear statement today, Monday (May 29) expressing their concern of the ongoing killings, shootings, hunting, battles, as well as stigma and sorrow that have experienced by their congregations.

“This week we (as previous weeks, months and years before) our congregations have experienced sorrow, death, hunting, shootings and battles; As well as the stigma in which the state institution (the weak one) always comes out with the politics of ‘talk and act differently’. Therefore we issue today a ‘Shepherd Letter’,” as written in their statement to public.

It consists of six part, from concern related to various actors who playing out in the dynamic of Papua insecurity recently, to a strong statement of rejection to what they call as Indonesian system. It said, ‘there is no future for the people of Papua in the Indonesian system’.

Here is sections of statement signed by Pastor Dorman Wandikbo, Pastor Socrates Yoman and Pastor Benny Giay today.

Left to tight, Pdt. Socratez Sofyan Yoman, Pdt. Dorman Wandikbo, and Pdt. Benny Giay in a press conference in 2016 – Jubi/Arjuna

The first section, the pastoral letter is aimed at various parties who are playing out in dynamic in various levels (from Jakarta) up to Papua which consequently affect the lives of congregations/civil society in Papua.

The second and fourth sections show how the face of Indonesia State shows itself in the way they deal cases of violence. The theme of adoptive racism is applied here. This is also our adoption once again in part 4, where we show the institutionalized racism of the State through TNI/POLRI which is trying hard to lead us all (public) to support the TNI/Police to denounce National Committee of West Papua (KNPB) and higland people’.

Our third part reflects the experiences of the struggle activists and the churches’ works that has shaped us in the past that continues to shadow us.

On the fifth part, we state our position as Church relate to OPM, KNPB or ULMWP. As we had submitted on December 16, 2011, that OPM and KNPB or ULMWP are infants (nationalism) born as a result of forced marriage (Act of Choices 1969) between Indonesia and Papua which both parties must guard. Like Soekarno and Moh Hata which according to Indonesia is supporting Nationalism, so do we. We positioned the OPM, KNPB, and ULMWP as flag bearers of Papuan Nationalism; which has been labeled separatists, as the Dutch used to send Sukarno to jail on separatist charges.

Sixth, we tell the congregation that based on the experience and events that we have experienced in the last few days, “there is no future for the people of Papua in the Indonesian system. Papua must build itself; by learning from Persipura. We, Papua, create our own agenda. Learn from Persipura with discipline, continuous training, focus and direction; be on time to follow fixed schedule, with spirit of fire. No other nation will come to help. Papuans should help themselves by making a commitment to prioritize education in all fields. Education, Education. Keep that commitment to put children to school and fight to the end.

We invite the whole congregation: “Let us bury the culture of waiting, for good that come from heaven; or that particular nation or particular parties will come to the rescue “. We have to say “we are facing a cultural and ideological wall and racism”. We are facing the ideology and development policy of “migrant bias”.

We say good luck. Fight to create theologians and lawyers and the future Papuan economists with eyes fixed on Christ (Iberani 12: 7)

Have a good fight!”(*)


Reporter: Zely Ariane

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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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