As promised during the general discussions on Papua on December 22nd 2011 I herewith send you further information on the situation in Papua with a focus on the events that happened in Paniai.
This letter is based on inquiries with the Indonesian authorities, other embassies in Jakarta, among which the EDEO-representative and human rights organisations.
Interlocutors share their concern about incidental violence by the security forces in Papua, such as after the ending of the Third Papuan Congress early October.
I will continue to insist with the Indonesian authorities to respect human rights in Papua, to restraint actions of security forces during peaceful demonstrations and to a free admission of diplomats, press and NGO’s to the area.
The Netherlands will continue to support Indonesia with an improved implementation of the Special Autonomy Law 2001.
Here we join up with initiatives conducted by the Indonesian authorities themselves, such as the recently founded special development unit for Papua, called UP4B.
It is the task of UP4B to support the coordination, synchronisation and planning of the development programs in both provinces of Papua. The unit even has the authority to inspect the development and execution of the programs in order to guarantee an effective implementation.
On determining the powers of UP4B the Special Autonomy Law was taken into account, giving authority and responsibility to the local administration to conduct and plan programs for both provinces.
UP4B will report on a regular basis to a Steering Committee, which is presided by vice-president Boediono. Together with several ministers the governors of Papua and West Papua are also member of this committee.
In this respect I would like to mention that the Indonesian president Yudhoyono repeatedly voted for a dialogue between all parties in Papua in order to achieve a sustainable and peaceful solution.
As I mentioned during the budget debates in the House of Representatives a special envoy has been appointed fort his dialogue. This concerns dr. Farid Husein who was closely involved in the peace negotiations in Aceh and is a man with the right experience.
During a meeting with the chief editors of the Indonesian media on January 12th vice president Boediono indicated the the government aims at regaining the trust of the people with the new approach of Hearts and Minds. He acknowledged that safety and justice are just as important as investments in the social and economic development of the province.
Taken the aforementioned into account, president Yudhoyono and members of his government conducted talks on December 16th with church leaders in Papua. Also present during these talks were the chief commander of the armed forces and the chief commander of the police force.
During these talks the church leaders criticized the discrimination of the local people, human rights violations in the province together with the institution of the special development unit UP4B by Jakarta, which has been founded without support of the Papuans. In a declaration held after the talks the church leaders welcomed the president’s willingness to find a solution for the problems in Papua. It was agreed upon to continue the talks in the course of 2012.
The Indonesian government has confirmed to investigate the brutal actions of the security forces at the end of the Third Papuan Congress at the beginning of October, organised by the indigenous movement West Papua’s People’s National Reconciliation Team. It was stressed that police officers and soldiers who have broken the law, will be prosecuted and will be punished.
As far as the actions of the security forces at Paniai are concerned on December 13th, it is difficult to verify all that has happened.
The national police force indicated that this was an operation by Brimob (mobile police brigade) against freedom fighters of the independence movement Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM). The armed branch of OPM strives for an independent Papua with violent means.
There are no indications that the anti-terrorism unit Densus 88 was involved in the action at Paniai. It proved to be impossible to confirm any deadly casualties. The only report so far stems from the independence movement OPM, reporting 14 fighters killed in action. The OPM-information is also mentioned by Human Rights Watch, but has not been verified by this organisation. The Indonesian police force confirmed one wounded officer but does not report any deadly casualties. Since the 13th of December the area is supposed to be quiet.
The local representative of the official human rights committee in Papua (Komnas HAM Papua) reported to see no special reason to conduct an investigation on the events of the 13th of December 2011.
Enquiries revealed that no helicopters were used from Australian companies.
Following the exchange of thoughts in The House of Representatives about the Australian opinion on the matters concerned I contacted my Australian counterpart.
He reported that indeed there was a clash between the OPM and the security forces. He also mentioned the fact that the OPM not only strives for independence with violent means in Papua, but is also a part of intercommunal conflicts in the area.
I will see to it that also in the European Union attention will be given to the situation in Papua.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Dr. U. Rosenthal