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Pacific Ecologist

West Papua: Forgotten Pacific Nation threatened with genocide

Countries have done little to stop Indonesia's decades-long war against the people of West Papua, which also exploits the region's rich natural resources, report JOHN RUMBIAK and ABIGAIL ABRASH WALTON. Multinational companies finance Indonesian forces in the region. West Papuans face increasing threats with Indonesia's recent partition of the country. Will Pacific Islands Forum governments and people power internationally support the list of recommendations at the end of the article to prevent genocide and build support for sustainable options for human development?

West Papua 1 has been a conflict zone for four decades, with an estimated 100,000 people killed in this time. The policies and practices of the Indonesian government have devastated both the people and the unique environment of West Papua. Yale legal researchers recently stated: "Throughout the past 40 years, the Indonesian government has shown a callous disregard and, at times, intentional and specific malevolence towards basic human rights and the dignity of the people of West Papua." The appraisal concludes that the Indonesian government's actions, perpetrated largely by its armed forces (Tentara Nasional Indonesia or TNI), are crimes against humanity so serious they may amount to genocide.2

Historical/ Political Context

West Papua, is situated on the western half of the world's second largest island, shared with New Guinea, an independent nation state, on the eastern half. West Papua has been controlled by a series of foreign powers for much of the past century, including Dutch colonial administration, Japanese military occupation during World War II, and liberation by General MacArthur's American troops. Today it is under Indonesian military and civil control.

West Papua's current status as an Indonesian province has its origins in a U.N.-sponsored process which transferred the territory from Dutch colonial rule to Indonesia in the early 1960s, with backing from the U.S.' Kennedy Administration. West Papuans were excluded from the negotiations, which culminated in the bilateral 1962 New York Agreement between the Netherlands and Indonesia. To satisfy the agreement's requirement of a formal "act of self-determination," Indonesia conducted the 1969 Act of Free Choice (AFC). The repressive way the Act was implemented caused international alarm and prompted the U.N.'s chief observer and delegates to the General Assembly, to note that the Indonesian government had violated Papuans' rights of free speech, movement, and assembly, and continuously exercised "tight political control over the population."3

In response to the oppression, small, regional freedom fighter groups emerged, aiming to push out Indonesian armed forces and establish an independent nation of West Papua. These bush fighters, known first as the Free Papua Organization (the Organisasi Papua Merdeka or OPM) and later as the National Liberation Army (Tentara Pembebasan Nasional ) or TPN, are armed mainly with traditional bows, arrows and spears. They have been waging low-level defence activities since the 1960s.

Transmigration programme altering population

West Papua, along with Papua New Guinea, is one of the most culturally and biologically diverse places on Earth. The island is home to 1,000 different language groups (one-sixth of the world's total), with 250 found within West Papua's borders.

Since Indonesian takeover, West Papua's cultural makeup has changed significantly. The indigenous population of nearly 1.5 million now share the territory with some 775,000 Indonesian migrants. Indigenous West Papuans are predominantly Christian and racially Melanesian, while the new arrivals are mainly Muslim and of Asian descent. Hundreds of thousands of migrants have been sponsored by the Indonesian government's discredited transmigration programme. Others are spontaneous migrants such as traders from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Year 2000 census figures for Papua showed a population of 1,460,846 indigenous people and 772,684 non-indigenous people.4 This represents a ratio of roughly two West Papuans to each non-Papuan. However, this does not translate in terms of access to distribution of resources or participation in the local economy.

The size of France, West Papua has the largest contiguous expanse of tropical rainforest outside the Amazon and among the largest number of endemic species on Earth. It is one of only three places on earth where glaciers exist in the tropics. Its snow-capped mountain chain - rising to more than 4,500 meters above sea level is the highest between the Himalayas and the Andes. This beautiful land holds important cultural and spiritual significance for many Papuan communities. It is also rich in gold, copper, oil and natural gas, which has attracted the attention of transnational corporations, such as U.S.-based Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc. and U.K.-based B.P.

Multinationals finance Indonesian forces in West Papua

The Indonesian military also has extensive financial interests in West Papua. Around one-third of the military's budget comes from the Indonesian government. The remaining two-thirds is raised by a number of legal and illegal methods, including "protection money" from national and transnational companies, illegal logging, sex worker enterprises, and trafficking in stolen goods and endangered species. In 2003, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc. admitted its Indonesian subsidiary, PT Freeport Indonesia, directly paid the TNI and police security contributions of US$10.3 million during 2001 and 2002. Analysts surmise the decreasing level of payments to the TNI by Freeport from previous years triggered the August 2002 ambush on Freeport's mining road in which the entire teaching staff of the company's international school came under fire by unidentified gunmen. Three teachers were killed in the attack (two Americans and one Indonesian) and seven American teachers and a six-year-old girl were wounded. Senior U.S. Administration officials have been quoted publicly confirming earlier Papua police conclusions that the TNI were indeed involved in the ambush, termed a "terrorist attack" by the U.S. Embassy.

The TNI recently reneged on its proposal to pull troops out of the Freeport area, a welcome move that would have left security duties to Freeport's private security force and West Papuan police. At the same time, B.P., which is attempting to develop liquified natural gas operations off West Papua's west coast, is also coming under significant pressure from the Indonesian armed forces - in particular, the infamous Mobile Police Brigade (Brimob) - to hire its armed forces to provide "protection." Unsurprisingly, the TNI has rejected democratic reform to eliminate the military's territorial command structure, a nationwide network of military posts down to the village level, which ensure continued support for the financial interests of the TNI.

Oppression, murder, rape with "Integration"

Four decades of Indonesian "integration," have brought environmental destruction and severe oppression for indigenous West Papuans. Under Suharto's 5 30-year regime, the Indonesian military designated West Papua - along with Acheh and the now-independent nation of East Timor - as military operations areas, meaning that unlike in other Indonesian provinces, travel to and within West Papua requires special authorization. Human rights' abuses by the Indonesian military are widespread, as recorded in numerous reports of the U.N., the U.S. Department of State, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Amnesty International, with the military acting with impunity. The military has killed, wounded, raped, robbed, tortured, kidnapped, illegally detained and exterminated a significant percentage of the Papuan people.6

According to the Yale Law School researchers: "The Indonesian government, particularly the military... has regularly brutalized the people of West Papua since the end of the colonial period, killing uncounted thousands in a series of incidents. Through its transmigration programs, the Indonesian government has undermined the social and cultural heritage of the people of West Papua by altering, at a fundamental level, the demographics and the underlying social structures of the region. Through the economic development it has sponsored, the Indonesian government has caused widespread, devastating pollution and other environmental damage, which, in turn, have led to the further obliteration or forced relocation of numerous West Papuan groups. Through its refusal to introduce essential measures of medical and economic relief for a plague that, evidence suggests, the government itself introduced, the Indonesian government has turned a willfully blind eye to the decimation of the people of West Papua."7

Disempowering indigenous West Papuans through denial of human rights has been the nature of the relationship promoted by the Indonesian Government. This includes:

  • the flawed integration of West Papua into the Republic of Indonesia and subsequent West Papuan resistance to Indonesian sovereignty
  • the imposition of top-down, paternalistic, non-participatory, economic and social development policies by the Indonesian government
  • "counter-insurgency" operations to establish Indonesian control in West Papua and defend transnational mining operations and other investment projects imposed on local indigenous communities
  • corrupt governance practices of the Suharto and successive regimes, and ongoing lack of the rule of law in Indonesia
  • the international community's willingness to tolerate these conditions in West Papua.

Military consolidates prior to elections

The army (TNI) and President Megawati Sukarnoputri's administration have at every turn rejected a non-violent approach to the conflict in West Papua. In July 2003, Jakarta Post quoted senior TNI and central government officials saying: "Papua will be the target of a massive campaign after [the] war in Acheh."8 This adds to other government/TNI statements that West Papua is a priority for the 2003-2004 period. A military build-up began in July 2003, with the TNI bringing in additional troops. The Indonesian Navy has also sent more personnel to West Papua.

The push to "resolve" the conflict in Papua - as well as in Acheh - is part of the military's strategy to consolidate its position in Indonesia's 2004 national elections and reassert its power in Indonesia's political and economic life.9 The military's territorial command structure comprises a nationwide network of military posts down to the village level. Democratic reforms - such as decentralization and civilian control of the TNI - initiated in the post-Suharto period have stalled. "No political party wants to risk confrontation with the military by pushing for military reform," said Rizal Sukma, Director of Studies at the Jakarta-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. According to him, President Megawati Sukarnoputri: "believes the continuation of her power depends on support from the military."10

As another analyst puts it, "...nothing fundamental has in fact changed since 1998. TNI, or more accurately army, leaders (the navy and air force have not been significant players for decades), continue to hold a self-image and possess resources that predispose and enable them to intervene in national political life in a manner and at a time of their own choosing. Moreover, they have been steadily accumulating a list of grievances against civilian politicians that can serve as the justification, to themselves and others, for eventually taking power."11

Military Terror

The TNI engages in military terror including the assassination of non-violent, moderate community leaders such as West Papuan Presidium Council Chairman Theys Eluay. In November 2001, Eluay, who advocated non-violent resolution of the conflict, was abducted and assassinated by the Indonesian Army's Special Forces (Kopassus).

Additionally, ELSHAM, the West Papua -based Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy, has obtained documentary evidence linking the TNI with the arrival in West Papua of the violent, "Islamic" Laskar Jihad and the formation of armed, East Timor-style, pro-Jakarta Merah Putih (Red and White) militias. The Indonesian military is training, arming and directing paramilitary actions against the West Papuan people by means of these militias. Credible foreign reporting supports ELSHAM's findings that Kopassus are training and arming Laskar Jihad forces along the border with Papua New Guinea.

Police chief indicted war criminal

In December 2003, Jakarta appointed Brigadier General Timbul Silaen, an indicted war criminal, to head the police force in West Papua. Silaen is among those indicted by U.N. prosecutors and separately by Indonesian prosecutors for war crimes and crimes against humanity unleashed by Indonesian security forces and their militias in East Timor in 1999 when East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence. An Indonesian court, in what was widely assessed as a transparent travesty of justice, last year cleared Silaen and most other military and police officials. U.N. and East Timorese prosecutors continue to seek Silaen's extradiction to East Timor to stand trial. Silaen's appointment and the establishment of an operations base in the Timika area of West Papua in late 2003 by Eurico Guterres, a former East Timor militia leader convicted by an Indonesian court of war crimes in East Timor and facing at least 10 years' imprisonment, are evidence of a mounting campaign by Jakarta to destabilise and encourage violence in West Papua.

Ominously, senior TNI and Megawati Administration officials have claimed that soldiers who carry out human rights violations are "heroes," and respect for human rights must be sacrificed in order to preserve Indonesia's "territorial integrity."12

Human Rights Defenders Threatened

Human rights defenders are consequently confronted with serious threats to their safety in carrying out their work.13 ELSHAM staff and supporters have faced death threats, arrest, imprisonment and torture following their successful investigations into TNI and police human rights violations in West Papua. In December 2002, then-ELSHAM Director Johannes Bonay was targeted; assailants shot his wife, daughter and another relative. The TNI is also using legal tactics. In June 2003, new TNI military commander, Major General Nurdin Zainal, instigated a lawsuit over press statements made by ELSHAM personnel, John Rumbiak and Johannes Bonay, on the organization's initial findings of TNI involvement in the August 2002, roadside ambush that left three Freeport schoolteachers dead and seven other school teachers and a 6-year-old girl seriously wounded.

Health crisis

An alarming new trend is the rise of HIV/AIDS cases in the province. According to new studies, there are 1,263 people living with HIV, including 539 who have contracted AIDS. West Papuan cases represent roughly 30 percent of the total number of 3,782 known HIV/AIDS cases throughout Indonesia, although the people of West Papua represent only about 1 percent of the country's total population. According to Constan Karma, Chairman of the Commission for Handling of AIDS (KPA), "if no action is taken, we fear the number of people with HIV/AIDS in West Papua will reach 126,000 in the next decade." 14

Papua's infant mortality rate is the highest in the world, estimated by Unicef to be 117 deaths for every 1,000 children under the age of one. This compares with an Indonesian national average of 50 deaths for every 1,000 infants. Unicef's Papua-based director, Kiyoshi Nakamitsu, attributed this to malnutrition amongst women and children due to poverty and poor access to health care services, particularly in rural areas.15 According to the 2001 UN Development Program Human Development Index, Papua is Indonesia' s second poorest province, after West Nusa Tenggara.

Indigenous West Papuans, facing increased militarism and repression, are a dispossessed and marginalized people. If current demographic and health trends continue, according to researchers, they face extinction as a distinct population within the next 25 years.

Steps towards and away from peace

Papuan civil society has persistently sought a peaceful resolution to the crisis. In 1998 and 1999, FORERI, an organization of community leaders, academics, women's groups, students and others, called for genuine dialogue with the Indonesian government. This call was repeated by Papuan delegates at the second Papua National Congress in Jayapura in June 2000.

West Papuans' increasingly vocal demands for independence in the post-Suharto period, were met by initiatives aimed at resolving the conflict peacefully. The first of these was the 1999 National Dialogue on Irian Jaya. However, due to the Habibie government's lack of political will, that process lapsed shortly after a February 1999 meeting in Jakarta between then-President B.J. Habibie and 100 Papuan leaders. Pressure on the government to grant West Papua Special Autonomy status ensued, and in 2000, then-President Abdurrahman Wahid changed the name of the province from Irian Jaya to Papua as a symbolic step towards constructive change.

Special Autonomy Law

In 2001, the Indonesian Government passed the Special Autonomy Law for Papua, acknowledging its draconian policies and their disastrous effects on human rights needed addressing.

However, as the TNI seeks to regain its political and economic power, in opposition to democratic reforms promoted by civil society under post-Suharto presidents Habibie and Wahid, Jakarta's approach has reverted to repression and criminal activity. President Megawati Sukarnoputri's administration has offered the TNI weak civilian leadership, incapable of continuing the hard-won democratic reform program her political party once championed.

The Indonesian government shows no intention of implementing Special Autonomy. A revealing opinion survey by the International Foundation for Election Systems found only 17 percent of West Papuans surveyed were aware of the Law. 16 At the TNI's urging, Megawati's government has blocked its enforcement and has also attempted to prevent West Papua from realizing Special Autonomy by rejecting Papuan Governor Salossa's proposal to establish the Papuan People's Assembly (Majelis Rakyat Papua or the MRP), a requirement under the law.

Megawati orders partition

Instead of implementing the Law on Special Autonomy, in January 2003, President Megawati ordered the division of West Papua into three separate provinces. The decision, taken without consulting West Papuans, violates the Autonomy law, and has increased tensions, provoking widespread demonstrations.

A dire consequence of partitioning Papua, will be an even greater military presence. Army Chief of Staff General Ryamizard Rachudu has told the Cenderwasih Pos that the division of Papua would result in new TNI battalions.17 Three TNI battalions currently operate in West Papua. Plans are underway for a new battalion based in Wamena, and the establishment of two more in Timika and Merauke. In an October 2003 article, in Far Eastern Economic Review, Jakarta Bureau Chief John McBeth quotes an un-named senior military source saying one of the primary reasons for the proposed division is to cement control by the TNI over the richest of the proposed three provinces.

The planned division of West Papua, the derailment of Special Autonomy, and the closing of avenues for dialogue with West Papuans display a clear rejection of conflict resolution by Megawati's government. In this atmosphere, the cycle of violence has continued. Threats and intimidation directed at ELSHAM human rights defenders and other organizations have intensified.

Zone of Peace initiative

Fear of a major military crackdown, since March 2002, led civil society, including West Papua's three major Christian churches, to promote ways to resolve the conflict. The groups set up a Peace Task Force in July 2002, inviting Indonesian civil and military authorities as well as TPN/OPM leaders to establish West Papua as a Zone of Peace. This culminated in a conference on peace for West Papua held in Jayapura 15-16/10/02. Major General Mahidin Simbolon,18 then-regional commander of the Indonesian military in Papua, was the only official who refused to participate.

Since the Zone of Peace was launched, the TNI has continued to destabilise the region. In April 2003, it chose to reintroduce withdrawn Kopassus troops together with the army's Rapid Reaction troops (Kostrad) to spread terror in Papua's Central Highlands. This followed a deadly heist at a military post in the main town of Wamena in which TNI personnel have now been implicated. The joint military teams burned five villages to the ground, targeting the homes of inhabitants, their livestock, and schools, and medical centres. More than one thousand displaced civilians fled to the forest for safety where they have had no access to food, shelter or humanitarian aid.

In mid-January 2004, five West Papuans were sentenced to between 20 years and life for alleged involvement in the raid on the military post in Wamena. Earlier, nine Indonesian soldiers, also allegedly involved in the incident received sentences of six to 14 months. The great contrast in sentences handed down to TNI vs. civilians allegedly involved, underscores Indonesian authorities' biased approach to justice.

Responses from international community

Meanwhile the international community's involvement has grown with international organisations along with Indonesian-based NGOs seeking peaceful outcomes. New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff has offered his government's offices to mediate between the Government of Indonesia and West Papuan community leaders. The Government of Vanuatu recently welcomed the establishment in its capital, Port Vila, of a West Papua People's liaison office. Vanuatu also included West Papuan advisors in its delegation to the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Auckland in August 2003. These positive initiatives come in the wake of Vanuatu's call - also voiced by Nauru and Tuvalu during the September 2000 U.N. General Assembly, for a review by the U.N. Secretary General of the U.N.'s role in the transfer of West Papua from Dutch to Indonesian control. Parliamentarians and other eminent persons around the world, including South African Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu have also supported a U.N. review.

The E.U. External Relations Council at its April 2003 meeting, called for the E.U. to actively promote peaceful solutions to conflicts such as in Papua. The U.S. has also declared support for peaceful dialogue to resolve the conflict in West Papua. 19

Helping the army that murders civilians

While these positions may be comforting, the gravity of the situation in West Papua demands concrete, direct action by the international community. Yet, although in support of Special Autonomy for West Papua, the U.S., E.U., Australia and others have not exerted effective diplomatic pressure to stop the partition of West Papua, or the violation of human rights. Instead, governments are moving to strengthen bilateral relationships with the Indonesian army. 20

The TNI, has not engaged a foreign foe in more than 50 years, but has used weaponry and combat skills against civilians, including Papuans, Indonesians, East Timorese, Australians, Americans and others. Military equipment supplied by the U.S., U.K., Germany and France, is being used by the TNI in Acheh and has been used by the army extensively in West Papua and East Timor in the past. The offensive in Acheh, Indonesia's largest military operation since the invasion of East Timor in 1975, is proceeding at a level that is causing widespread civilian loss of life and the destruction of Acheh's public infrastructure

Based on years of research, we are convinced the TNI's practices and impunity represent a grave threat to the stability and security of Indonesia and the whole region. We also believe the policy of the United States, Australia and other countries to strengthen military ties with Jakarta as part of the "war against terror" in the absence of any meaningful accountability of the TNI, is both misguided and dangerous. Given mounting casualties, wanton killings and human rights abuses attributable to the TNI in Acheh and West Papua, we view it as intolerable for governments to engage with the TNI on a business-as-usual basis.

Seeking a just, peaceful solution in West Papua requires those concerned to share a common understanding of the problems, a shared vision for the future and agreement on a plan of action.

ELSHAM calls on governments participating in the Pacific Islands Forum to work vigorously to strengthen peace and stability in West Papua by encouraging - diplomatically and financially - the civilian-led Zone of Peace initiative and to urgently implement the following recommendations.

Recommendations to stop war on civilians

To stop increasing TNI-backed violence against civilians in West Papua and other parts of Indonesia, ELSHAM calls on Pacific Islands Forum governments and the international community to:

1. Urge the Indonesian Government to ensure the Indonesian armed forces (TNI) stops killing and causing serious bodily and mental harm to the people of West Papua and their human rights defenders;
2. Urge the Indonesian government to stop the partition of West Papua into three separate provinces and support full implementation of the Special Autonomy Law for Papua; Institute a top-to-bottom review of their bilateral relations with the TNI in view of continuing severe human rights violations, and other anti-democratic, destabilizing activities taken by the armed forces; and to support non-violent, democratic political groups and civil society engagement;
3. Impose an embargo on the supply of military, security and police equipment to Indonesia, including contracts agreed before entry into force of the internationally-supported embargo launched in June 2003;
4. Suspend all forms of co-operation with the Indonesian military, including training, participation in seminars and conferences, joint exercises and senior level military exchanges;
5. Urge the Indonesian Government to end military operations in Acheh and West Papua and withdraw all non-organic Indonesian military troops (e.g., Kopassus) now operating in West Papua
6. Urge the Indonesian Government to ensure the TNI's full cooperation with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation-led investigation into the August 2002 ambush within the Freeport copper & gold mining area to bring the perpetrators of this deadly attack to justice;
7. Urge the Indonesian Government to adopt and ratify the primary international human rights conventions, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Labour Organization Convention 169, concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples. Urge the Indonesian Government to implement "best practices," as set forth in that ILO Convention and the draft U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in its economic development policies;
8. Censure Indonesia for the light sentences given to Kopassus personnel who assassinated Theys Eluay; and also condemn the arrest and detention of nonviolent political activists and civic leaders and support their release;
9. Encourage Indonesia to open up West Papua, including the Central Highlands and the contract of work areas of the Freeport mine to independent human rights and environmental monitors, including the United Nations special rapporteurs on torture and extra-judicial execution, and humanitarian NGOs.
10. Encourage Indonesia to open up West Papua, including the Central Highlands and the contract of work areas of the Freeport mine to independent human rights and environmental monitors, including the United Namtions special rapporteurs on torture and extra-judicial execution, and humanitarian NGOs.

In conclusion, Pacific governments, and the U.S., U.K. France and Germany, should beware in the current tense security climate of being manipulated into giving arms and increased financial and political aid to the unaccountable Indonesian army. Countries must acknowledge that the Indonesian military, with its lengthy criminal record, is not a reliable partner and West Papuans are already facing increasing threats with more military troops in West Papua through Indonesia's recent partition of the country. Effective action by governments and the international community, in support of civilian-led democracy and the protection of human rights, is crucial now to prevent genocide in West Papua.

This article is updated and abridged from a paper presented by John Rumbiak to the 34th Pacific Islands Forum, August 2003, in Auckland, New Zealand - Papua: Developments Affecting Conflict Resolution Analysis and Recommendations for Action. Mr. Rumbiak is West Papua's best-known human rights advocate,.and is currently International Advocacy Coordinator for ELSHAM, the West Papua -based Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy. He studied linguistics at Cenderawasih University in Jayapura in the 1980s. Since then he has worked in several NGOs concerned with human rights. In 1999 he studied human rights advocacy at Columbia University, New York, USA. Since 2002, he has been speaking about human rights and democracy in West Papua at public engagements in Europe and North America.

Abigail Abrash Walton, coauthor of the paper, has worked as a human rights researcher, advocate and educator since 1988, focusing on the impacts of resource extraction on Indonesia's indigenous and traditional communities. She is on the faculty of Antioch New England Graduate School's Department of Environmental Studies and is founder and principal of ActionWorks, a consulting firm. Abigail served as program director for the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights (1993-1998) in Washington, D.C. She is a director of ELSHAM, the West Papua-based Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy, Vice Chair of the Papua Resource Center and a member of the RFK Center for Human Rights' Indonesia Support Group.


[1] West Papua is the name selected in 1961 by elected Papuan representatives to the New Guinea Council and is used today by most Papuans. Other names for the territory have included Netherlands New Guinea, Irian Jaya, and Papua.

[2] Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, Yale Law School , Genocide in West Papua: Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, April 2003 (draft, cited with permission of the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic).

[3] "Report of the Secretary General Regarding the Act of Self Determination in West Irian" UN Doc. A/7723, 6 November 1969 , Annex 1, para. 251.

[4] http://www.unescap.org/stat/cos12/indonesia.pdf

[5] Suharto, who took power in a violent, U.S.-backed coup during which the military killed an estimated 500,000 Indonesians, was forced to resign from the office of presidency in May 1998 by a peaceful popular civilian reform movement. Suharto's connections and interests in Papua are strong. As a major private investor in the Freeport mining operation, he has been one of only a few Indonesians to hold shares in the company. Suharto served as the commander of Operation Mandala, the Indonesian Armed Forces' 1962 plan to mount a full-scale invasion of Papua in order to "liberate" it from the Dutch, and he chose the occasion of his 1973 inauguration of Tembagapura, Freeport 's main mining town complex, to rename the province from "West Irian" to "Irian Jaya."

[6] See, for example, Abigail Abrash, "Development Aggression: Observations on Human Rights Conditions in the PT Freeport Indonesia Contract of Work Areas With Recommendations," Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, Washington, July 2002; "Mission to Indonesia and East Timor on the Issue of Violence Against Women, Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences," UN Economic and Social Council, E/CN.4/1999/68/Add.3 (January 21, 1999); "Report of the Visit of the Working Group to Indonesia (January 31 to February 12, 1999)," UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, UN Economic and Social Council, E/CN.4/2000/4/Add.2 (July 5, 1999); "Results of Monitoring and Investigating of Five Incidents at Timika and One Incident at Hoea, Irian Jaya During October 1994-June 1995," National Human Rights Commission of Indonesia, Jakarta, September 1995; "Violations of Human Rights in the Timika Area of Irian Jaya, Indonesia," Catholic Church of Jayapura, 1995; "Human Rights Violations and Disaster in Bela, Alama, Jila and Mapnduma," Indonesian Evangelical Church (Mimika, Irian Jaya), the Catholic Church Three Kings Parish (Timika, Irian Jaya), and the Christian Evangelical Church of Mimika, 1998; "Incidents of Military Violence Against Indigenous Women in Irian Jaya (West Papua), Indonesia," RFK Center for Human Rights and the Institute for Human Rights Studies and Advocacy, Washington/Jayapura, 1999; LEMASA, "The Amungme Tribal Council's Resolution on the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its Implementation on Papuan Soil," Timika, December 10, 1998; Survival International, "Rio Tinto Critic Gagged," Survival International, London, 1998; Robert Bryce, "Plaintiffs in Freeport Suit Are Harassed," Austin Chronicle, September 27, 1996; and LEMASA, "The Indonesian Armed Forces in Timika Forcefully Took Away the People's Document," Timika, August 14, 1996; and "Timika: Where's Mama?" Tempo, Regions 27/I, March 13-19, 2001; Robin Osborne, Indonesia's Secret War: The Guerilla Struggle in Irian Jaya (1985); Carmel Budiardjo & Liem Soei Liong, West Papua: The Obliteration of a People (3d ed. 1988) (1973); West Papua: Plunder in Paradise (Anti-Slavery Society Indigenous Peoples and Development Series ed., 1990); and Chris Ballard, "The Signature of Terror: Violence, Memory and Landscape at Freeport," Inscribed Landscapes: Marking and Making Place, edited]] by Bruno David and Meredith Wilson. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press, 2001.

[7] Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, Yale Law School , Genocide in West Papua: Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, April 2003 (draft, cited with permission of the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic).

[8] "Army's elite soldiers pulled out of Papua," by Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post, July 3, 2003.

[9] For example, among the nine candidates registered to compete for president through Suharto's Golkar political party were his son-in-law, former Lieutenant-General Prabowo Subianto, a former Kopassus (Indonesian Special Forces) commander who fled to Jordan to escape prosecution and who was court-martialed after he admitted to ordering the abduction, incommunicado detention and torture of nine pro-democracy activists; Lieutenant-General Agum Gumelar, another Kopassus commander, and General Wiranto, who was TNI commander during the TNI-sanctioned killing of more than 1,000 Timorese and the destruction of East Timor's infrastructure in 1999. Source: "In Indonesia , old soldiers never die," editorial, Sydney Morning Herald, August 4, 2003 . In April 2003, Golkar selected General Wiranto as its candidate for president.

[11] "Indonesian Army's Upper Hand: Military Reasserts Broad Influence, Diplomats Say," Alan Sipress, The Washington Post, June 26, 2003.

[12] See, for example, "Indonesian General's comments Raise Human Rights Fears," Associated Press, July 10, 2003 .

[13] See for example, "Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Papua," ELSHAM, Jayapura, June 2003.

[14] "HIV/AIDS cases in Papua reach alarming level, Nethy Dharma Somba", The Jarkata Post, May 27, 2003.

[15] "Unicef concerned over high Papua infant mortality, AIDS." Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post, June 14, 2003.

[16] Papua Public Opinion Survey , Indonesia , International Foundation for Election Systems, February 2003.

[17] Cenderwasih Pos, 22 July 2003.

[18] Maj. Gen. Mahidin Simbolon who assumed position of commander of the Trikora military command in Jayapura in January 2001, is a member of Kopassus, the army's elite commandos. He has had no fewer than six tours of duty in East Timor , starting with Operasi Seroja, the invasion of the territory in December 1975. Like all Kopassus officers serving in East Timor , Simbolon played an active role in SGI, the special Kopassus unit designed for counter-insurgency, whose local command posts were used to torture captured East Timorese. He graduated from the military academy in 1974. He and many of his class-mates have distinguished themselves as ' East Timor veterans' whose military careers have been greatly enhance by their many operational tours of duty in East Timor .
Simbolon led the unit that arrested Timorese resistance leader, Xanana Gusmao (now President of East Timor), in 1992, for which Simbolon was given a special promotion from major to colonel. The climax of his East Timor experience came in 1995 when he served for two years as commander of the Wira Dharma Korem in charge of East Timor . Then, until 1999, he was chief of staff at the Udayana military command based in Bali , the command in overall control of East Timor . The Udayana commander at that time was the notorious Major-General Adam Damiri. It was during the commandership of these two generals in Bali that Operasi Sapu Jagad, was launched, an operation whose main purpose was to create, recruit and finance the many militia units that spearheaded the army's campaign of violence before, during and after the UN-supervised ballot. This operation was responsible for the widespread destruction and killings of hundreds of civilians that climaxed in September 1999, after the ballot result was announced on 4 September. One of the militia units, Mahidi, an acronym meaning 'dead or alive with integration', was actually named after Simbolon. In the wake of the Indonesian military's November 2001 assassination of non-violent Papuan leader Theys Eluay and other severe human rights violations, all signs suggest that Simbolon's command in West Papua resulted in an intensification of the use of intelligence operations which he practiced during his many years service in East Timor .

[19] Support for peaceful dialogue between parties is the official policy of the US government and the European Union.

[20] For example, the Bush Administration has made strenuous efforts to re-establish U.S. training and assistance to the TNI (cut off by previous administrations because of the TNI's human rights violations and other crimes in East Timor), while the U.S. Congress has moved to block training to the TNI. The John Howard government in Australia is taking similar steps to re-engage with the notorious Kopassus.

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