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IRIAN JAYA (WEST PAPUA, NEW GUINEA): THE QUEST FOR INDEPENDENCE
YEAR REPORT 1999
OFFICE FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE
(Sekretariat Keadilan & Perdamaian)
DIOCESE OF JAYAPURA
TANAH PAPUA, INDONESIA
KEUSKUPAN JAYAPURA SEKRETARIAT KEADILAN & PERDAMAIAN
KOTAK POS 1379 =OFFICE FOR JUSTICE & PEACE=
JAYAPURA 99013 Tel: (62) (967) 534 993
TANAH PAPUA-INDONESIA Fax: (62) (967) 536 427
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No.: 009/TB/2000/1.5. Jayapura, January 11, 2000
This report covers the main activities by the "Sekretariat Keadilan & Perdamaian" (SKP) over the period of one and a half year. The report is meant to be presented to various organisations SKP is working with, or which are supporting SKP financially and morally.
SKP is an integral part of the Diocese Office in Jayapura, and since its formal existence (July 1998) happens to be staffed by two Franciscan brothers (Theo van den Broek ofm and Budi Hernawan ofm). Therefore SKP functions also as the Justice and Peace-coordinator for the Franciscan Community "Francis, Ambassador of Peace" in Tanah Papua. Although morally supported by the Franciscan Community, SKP works under direct responsibility of the Bishop of Jayapura, Mgr. Dr. Leo Laba Ladjar ofm.
In this report we will introduce the variety of activities SKP is involved in, in combination with reporting on concrete activities over the last year. Besides the Introduction and Conclusion the report is mainly focusing on four aspects in as much sections below; the four sections are:
I Reporting on Human Rights Violations
II Socialization of insight in problems
III Efforts towards solutions
IV Participation in a larger network
I REPORTING ON HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
For anyone who is a bit familiar with the situation in Tanah Papua it might be no secret that the indigenous people of Tanah Papua have suffered of a frequent use of force and political manipulation. After losing its status as a Dutch colony in 1962, it has become a part of the Indonesian Republic via international political manipulations, ending dramatically its perspective to become an independent country. Although an "Act of Free Choice" has been staged under United Nations supervision in 1969, it left the population with no choice at all. This experience of international treachery has left deep, if not traumatic, marks in the heart of the indigenous population.
Therefore it should not surprise anybody that a basic desire to gain independence has been always present since then and once in a while surfaces with candid frankness. Especially over the last year, after President Suharto was forced to step down, the will to separate itself from the Republic of Indonesia has been expressed more clear than ever. Expressed even by a delegation of 100 Papuan representatives in front of the President of the Republic on Feb. 26, 1999. The expression is not just rooted in the unjust procedure way back in 1969, but even more vividly in more than 30 years of repression and suppression this people has experienced, including arbitrary killings, torture and disappearances. Brief, the people feel that they have had enough!
Although a lot of this suffering is still unarticulated as far as there is hardly a systematic documentation available, a number of recent experiences have been documented in a series of reports on Human Rights violations, starting off with a report by the Diocese of Jayapura in August 1995 (a report published under the responsibility of the now retired Bishop, Mgr. Herman Münninghoff ofm), which mainly focused on violations in and around a huge mining operation area in Timika (Freeport McMoran company).
Since then several reports followed:
1. a report has documented the tragedy in Mapnduma (place of a hostage-taking action by the local 'liberation movement' in January 1996 and its aftermath of military operation). The report has been initially presented in May 1998 and revised as well as completed in July 1999.
2. a report on the atrocities by the army as aftermath of a peaceful demonstration held by local independence-activists in Biak (July 1998). The report has been initially presented in August 1998 and revised as well completed in July 1999.
3. a report on the systematic intimidation by security forces in the Paniai area. The report has been presented in October 1998.
4. a report on the systematic intimidation by security forces in the Star Mountains-area. The report has been presented in July 1999.
While being directly responsible for the reports on Timika (1995), Paniai (1998) as well as on the Star Mountains (1999), SKP has contributed actively as well to the composition of the other mentioned reports, mainly working together with another local human rights organization (Els-HAM). On the request of UNHCR, SKP has hold a survey on the situation of refugees who have returned from Papua New Guinea to Tanah Papua over the last couple of years. The report has been published in January 1999.
Still on the agenda of SKP is a report on the situation in another area in the Highlands, the Bidogai-Bidai area. Initial investigation has been done in May 1999 but should be followed by a more focused one next year (2000). SKP is also involved in an international team which plans to investigate the human rights violations in the mentioned mining area (Timika and surroundings) where economical interests have led to flagrant violations in the past (initially reported on in the 1995-report); the investigation will focus as well on the recent building up of an almost inseparable connection between the mining company and the Indonesian security forces which dominate virtually any aspect of community life in the area, serving just one purpose: economical profit. It is a sheer dehumanization process which we are witnessing. SKP staff (especially Theo van den Broek) has a long standing commitment with the problems concerning the confrontation between PTFreeport and the local community. Nevertheless not much has been done over the last year as most of the attention (also of the local community and its leaders) has been geared to a wider political movement in Tanah Papua, putting all other problems "in the back-seat". Even the initial steps by the mentioned international team (of which SKP as a member) have been hindered by unproportional security-measurements (police-army or/and company security) up till the point that two international members were forced to leave Tanah Papua (September 1999) after meeting shortly with the two local members (SKP and Els-HAM). New steps towards the implementation of the investigation will be considered in the beginning of the year 2000.
Perhaps more than other organizations, SKP via its own style of reporting has tried to draw attention to underlying structures of repression in order to make clear that violations can not be looked at as just separate incidents or separate cases, or as results of individual misbehaviour. They are just part of a structural pattern.
Above that SKP tries to keep an open eye for a wide scope of what might be looked at as human rights violations. Based on the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights, exposure of violations should not just focus on killings, torture and such, but should also focus on all varieties of intimidation or on limiting of rights such as employment, economic opportunities, speech, religious practice, cultural expressions and such.
II SOCIALISATION OF INSIGHT IN THE PROBLEMS
The socio-political situation in Indonesia in general and specially also the situation in Tanah Papua has become very complicated over the last year. This means also that it is hardly understood by a large part of the population. They often have to feel satisfied with just bits of information or what a local paper tells them to believe. This is also especially true for church-workers and other educated people in the relative isolated inland of Tanah Papua. Therefore SKP has been involved in several efforts to socialize its understanding of the developments.
On Diocese-level SKP has been asked by the bishop to inform pastoral workers. A Diocesan Council session has been used to get actual topics discussed in an open setting, which has led to the formation of a small work-group which should try to keep pastoral workers up to date. SKP has actively started that work but has trouble to keep up the effort as its energy has been demanded by an increase of other urgent matters. Still the attention is on and should be intensified again. SKP has also been involved in facilitating a discussion on inter-diocesan level, including the four dioceses in Tanah Papua. This will be followed up in a second workshop early 2000.
Another target group for this socialization effort have been the students on the Inter-Diocesan Theological High School as well as other regional student-groups. More internally in the Franciscan circle a limited number of meetings of the Franciscan friars has been used to pass on information and get a discussion going to assist friars in coping with actual developments.
Besides a lot of meetings in the Jayapura-area all the visits to the field in 1999 (Starmountains -Oksibil, Abmisibil, Kiwirok-, Mappia -Timeepa-, Moni -Bidogai-, Timika, Merauke) have been partly spent on just discussing the situation, channeling information as an effort to make people more familiar with the problems and to complete the often very partial information they have and base their opinion (action) on. The same socialisation function we have try to pick up when publishing in national or local papers. The best known publication has been the one concerning the National Dialogue under the title of "Memoria Passionis" (Suara Pembaruan -daily- and Tifa Irian -weekly-, March-April 1999). Via this publication we have tried to picture the problems in Tanah Papua in perspective of a collective memory of suffering in the past.
Related to the activity mentioned we also give ample time for informing people who are related to the mass-media. The number of visiting journalists over the last year has been quite high. We value this activity as important in view of creating a better and wider understanding of the problems in Tanah Papua, nationally and internationally.
In the second half of 1999 SKP has started to develop a course in Human Rights issues. The effort is connected with the need to build up a local circle of persons in various areas who can be instrumental in handling human rights issues. There is a real need to develop a course which is focusing on the specific situation and cultural background of Tanah Papua. Therefore, although starting with general material we hope to gradually complete the materials used with a very local substance. For the time being the main elements in the course (for a minimal full 4-day workshop) deal with  a general understanding of Human Rights,  an understanding of developments in Tanah Papua in relation with felt local human rights issues,  a capacitybuilding in reporting on human rights abuses,  ways to move to solutions, including an understanding of a reconciliation-approach, and  human rights issues related to the gender issue. Another special key-issue might be the human rights issue related to land-problems; but that part still has to be developed and for the time being we rely on another local NGO to fill in that gap. The first workshop targeting the community in the Starmountains has been held in November 1999, and will be followed up in the same targeted area with another three workshops planned over the year 2000. Over a couple of future workshops we intend to develop an approriate course.
We are convinced that this socialization-aspect of the SKP activities is very important and only the involvement in too many other aspects combined with the very limited number of staff –just the two of us- keep us still from being more active in this field of activity.
III EFFORTS TOWARDS SOLUTIONS
Exposing human rights violations is just one side of the mission SKP stands for; another is the effort to look for solutions. It is our deep conviction that exposing problems/violations without a commitment to look for a solution is an odd activity and risks to be very contra-productive. On one hand exposure as such is a necessary part, as any solution has to start from a keen understanding and recognizing of what is really happening. On the other hand exposure risks to make the perpetrators more defensive, or worse, more aggressive, especially when no way is offered to cope with the problems or the wrong that has been done.
Based on above mentioned conviction SKP has committed itself to promote a dialogue among the parties involved, and where possible to look for ways of 'reconciliation' without lessening the effort that (social) justice has to be done. This commitment has motivated SKP to take a 'pushing' role to keep local channels for dialogue alive. Not always with success! One of the local dialogue-channels is FORERI (a forum for reconciliation for the people in Tanah Papua). The forum has been set up by community-leaders (including churches) after the bitter experiences during the Biak-incident in July 1998. SKP has tried to contribute very actively to the work-program of the forum, but it looks like that the forum is still missing its internal organization to get it really functioning.
For the same reason SKP has spent quite some energy on trying (together with other NGO's) to empower local community organizations in the inland of Tanah Papua. These organizations are often referred to as "Lembaga Musyawarah Adat" (Traditional Community Council). SKP has taken its part in facilitating the Traditional Community Council set up by the Amungme Tribe (in the working area of the mining operation), the one set up by the Kamoro Tribe (in the Timika area located along the south-west coast line), the one set up by the Mappia-community (Highlands) as well as the Kerom people (Lowlands, hinterland of Jayapura). All these traditional organizations are very fragile and easily disturbed by opposing interest-groups (including companies, army, and even government). A lot of attention is needed to develop them and slowly build up the self confidence needed.
In line with the commitment to look for solutions, SKP also has used the media available to reach out and voice its opinion. Some articles have been published in one of the main national dailies, whereas other comments has been delivered via the most important weekly edited in Tanah Papua, the 'Tifa Irian' (a weekly originally set up by the Catholic Church in Tanah Papua). The articles mainly deal with the need for dialogue and reconciliation, while suggesting steps to reach that goal. In a recent effort (October 1999) a paper has been written to get "interested parties" involved on the discussion about setting up a Committee for Truth and Reconciliation. SKP has even tried to invite the Governor, the Head of the Army as well as the Head of the Police to take part in the discussions together with representatives of various NGO's. But admitted, till now with little success.
Efforts connected with building up an atmosphere for reconciliation will be one of the main priorities of SKP in the future. This means on one hand that the SKP staff itself still has to deepen its understanding of "what reconciliation really stands for" and on the other hand to find a way to socialize this understanding. Doing this we hope that slowly openings to more dialogue and 'healing of wounds' will be made possible. Besides the working-paper mentioned above concerning the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation, at the very end of the year we have presented the "reconciliation theme" in a two days workshop attended by a young group of religious people. The theme has been also a part (and will be more integrated in the future) in the courses we have started on Human Rights, and which we plan to develop over the next year. We value the "reconciliation-issue" as the key element in our work as a church related Office for Justice and Peace.
IV PARTICIPATION IN A LARGER NETWORK
The mission SKP is involved in can not be done without joining in with other people and organizations. The reality focused on is just too much and too complicated, as well as too structural to become objective of an 'isolated effort' by whosoever. Therefore from the very beginning SKP has been looking for taking part in a workable and effective net-work. To get an effective network functioning proves to be a harder job than expected. How small it might be every organization concerned has its own specificity and interest; including SKP! That seems an undeniable reality. Nevertheless slowly a network takes shape.
Looking for partners, SKP doesn't first of all look for internal church-organizations, or still more limited for partners in our own Franciscan circle. From the very beginning SKP has started off to look for local partners/organizations which are active in the same, or a closely affiliated field. It has specially developed a practical working relationship with the local human rights organization Els-HAM as its main partner. SKP as well as Els-HAM are normally backed up by the three main churches in Tanah Papua, the Catholic Church as well as two Protestant Churches. Almost all of the reports-publications by Els-HAM as well as by SKP are fully endorsed by the three mentioned churches.
On national level the working relationship with a number of NGO's in Jakarta is on the way of being intensified. Especially after three "visiting opportunities" (February, August and November 1999) a number of relations slowly start to be effective, although not yet really settled. Above that a lot in the working relation depends on personal relations with people in the related organizations, more than on the organization as such. Once again the working relation on national level is more 'secular' than church-bound, although we have an easy relation with the Office for Justice and Peace on the Bishop's Conference level. The relation with the Franciscan coordinator on national level still has to be developed.
On international level SKP has some really supporting relations with NGO's in the USA (Human Rights Watch as well as Robert Kennedy Memorial), and in Australia (especially ACFOA and Caritas Australia). We have also given a fair try to build up the co-operation with Justitia et Pax in the Netherlands, but till now that organization is very little responsive as it might have other pressing priorities on its agenda (especially in respect to developments closer at home). Caritas Australia has taken responsibility for quite some funding of SKP, but besides that it proves to be a very inspiring and committed organization as it actively tries to develop a "reconciliation policy". SKP has recently had an opportunity to take part in a workshop in Sydney organized by Caritas dealing with this key-topic. Really an eye-opener as it refers back to the very base of our mission: being a sign of hope and reconciliation, while fighting for justice as the very base for longlasting peace. After the workshop with Caritas Australia for a couple of days we have been involved in a series of meetings and interviews in Melbourne, organised by ACFOA.
Besides these contacts mentioned SKP has a lot of contacts which not always will prove to be long-lasting; main thing is SKP is open to any relation in which it recognizes supporting partnership, and once in a while we will try to develop activily that kind of relation. We are aware of the fact that we have to become "quite selective" in our networking, as it seems too easy to get in touch with a lot of organisations (e-mail facilitates that possibility) without really developing an effective supporting work-relationship. Above that in respect to our limited capacity (only two permanent staff-members) we have to make a real selection if we wish to be consistent with our program, and not being 'eaten up' by all kind of incidental activities. In order to be capable to stick to our planned year-program we have started 'refusing involvement' in activities which might really disturb our commitment concentrated on the main priorities. The danger of "getting lost" is for real as so much challenges are offered and so many problems demanding to be taken care of.
So far this presentation of SKP and its activities. It might be clear that a lot has to be developed, and even we still don't understand yet a lot of the problems we really face. Nevertheless we have the feeling that it is more than worthwhile, even a necessity that the Church is involved in the mission to get basic rights of people recognized, respected and promoted. We also have experienced that people are really hoping for the church to choose their side in their struggle and suffering; over the last years people in Tanah Papua have showed a great trust in the church, and the very church is often the only place left where they can "feel recognized and respected as real human beings". To us not to disappoint them!
Jayapura, January 11, 2000
Sdr. Theo van den Broek ofm
Head Office for Justice & Peace