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  • Papua
  • Muridan S. Widjojo (bio)

During the year 2010, the provinces of Papua and West Papua routinely witnessed political events like those of the previous year. Very low level armed encounters between Indonesian military/police and the pro-independence armed group tpn/opm occurred more frequently than in 2009. As in 2005, several demonstrations over the people’s desire to hand back the Special Autonomy Law of 2001 (popularly called Otsus) to the national government involved not only civil society groups but also state institutions such as the Papua People’s Assembly (mrp). In addition to political pressure from within Papua, growing international pressure was noteworthy, especially from the United States Congress and the Vanuatu government. Pressure on Indonesia increased especially after the Asian Human Rights Commission (ahrc) uploaded to the YouTube website videos of torture committed by soldiers of the tni (Tentara Nasional Indonesia, or the Indonesian military). This exposure confirmed to the national and international public that the many allegations of Indonesian security forces committing human rights abuses in Papua were true.

Despite these facts, some positive signs also emerged in 2010. Campaigning and advocacy for more dialogue between Jakarta and Papua made some progress. At the beginning of the year, the Papua Peace Network (ppn) was established under the leadership of Father Neles Tebay and Muridan S Widjojo of the Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia (lipi) or Indonesian Institute of Sciences. Facilitation and mediation by the ppn and [End Page 483] the lipi team in Jakarta did encourage the central government to improve its policy in Papua. A Papua Road Map proposal emphasizing peace talks was presented to Indonesian Vice President Boediono and seven government ministers on 23 November 2010; in general, the response was encouraging. The government is now committed to establishing a new body whose main task is to smooth the implementation of the Otsus law. Similar progress also took place on the part of the Papuans. In Papua, the ppn has successfully conducted public consultations in nine districts with grassroots leaders including representatives of the tpn/opm during February and July 2010. Moreover, the ppn has encouraged various pro-independence factions to overcome their fragmentation and improve cooperation in order to prepare for dialogue. In Port Moresby, the ppn managed to organize a “West Papua Leaders Summit,” which was attended by exiled pro-independence Papuans, including envoys from the armed wing.

In Jakarta, there were some clearly positive political signals. First, the government was more responsive to the report of rights abuses. For example, the release of the torture video resulted in a military court giving a number of Indonesian soldiers jail sentences of five to seven months. Second, the government strove to improve the implementation of the Otsus law and was willing to build political communication with Papuan opposition leaders. Moreover, open-minded and progressive high officials were given more roles in designing the resolution policy. In his state address on 16 August 2010, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised constructive political communication with Papuan leaders. This promise was manifested on 1 December by the president’s determination to appoint two special envoys to Papua tasked with building preliminary trust and encouraging clear Papuan representation in the coming dialogue.

As in 2009, the tpn/opm, led by Goliath Tabuni, continued its campaign on Puncak Jaya. On 27 February a boxcar was shot at from a hill near a bridge over the Kurage River, and a civilian was wounded on his upper cheek. As a consequence, a military/police unit chased the perpetrators. According to a Papuan activist’s report, on 17 March in the village of Kalome, subdistrict of Tingginambut, two local pastoral functionaries of gidi (the Evangelical Church of Indonesia) named Kindeman Gire and Pitinus Kogoya were tortured and shot. As they waited for a car coming from Wamena with their goods, they happened to meet tni soldiers, who suddenly began to torture and interrogate them regarding the whereabouts of confiscated police guns. Kogoya, who managed to flee, heard gunshots. Gire is believed to have been shot, but his body was never found, and local authorities have provided no clarification about the case. On 18 March, tni soldiers also attacked a compound in Lumbuk...