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Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

Chronology for Papuans in Indonesia

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Date(s) Item
Apr 1990 Indonesia and Papua New Guinea have signed an agreement that includes the provision for closer security cooperation along the 800 km. border between the two countries. A framework has been devised for quick-response, high-level talks in the event of any border problems, but the agreement steers clear of any joint military operations.
Jun 1990 Indonesian troops crossed into PNG territory to pursue separatist rebels. Following clashes between the troops and the rebels, about 200 villagers fled into the PNG side of the border during late May and early June.
Oct 1990 Indonesia and PNG ratified the renewed border agreement. A sub-committee on security matters, with military commanders from both countries, was formed and a formal commitment was made to share border intelligence.
Dec 1990 The Commander-in-Chief of the Indonesian armed services, Gen. Tri Sutrisno, paid a surprise visit to meet high officials of the PNG government. This was the first visit to PNG by a head of the Indonesian armed forces. Two American and New Zealand missionaries, along with 3 Filipino construction workers and a PNG border guard, were freed after 12 days as hostages of the Papuan rebels.
May 1991 An Indonesian court sentences a Swiss pilot in absentia to six years in jail. The pilot allegedly landed a Cessna plane in the border area with ammunition and cameras for the rebels. The accused pilot is believed to be hiding in the jungles or to have slipped into another country via PNG.
Aug 1991 A leader of the Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM, Free Papua Movement), Melkianus Salossa, who escaped from prison early this month, was found dead in the jungles of West Papua (Indonesia renamed it as Irian Jaya). He had been sentenced to life imprisonment by an Indonesian court last March, after he was arrested in PNG in May 1990 and deported to Indonesia.
Nov 1991 Indonesian troops killed three rebels in a clash in the remote jungles of Irian Jaya. The troops also collected a cache of arms and ammunition from the rebels.
Jan 1992 PNG Foreign Minister Sir Michael Somare reiterated his country's commitment to maintain close and cordial relations with Indonesia. The Minister also repeated his government's refusal to support the OPM guerrillas, by ordering them back to Indonesia. Indonesia believes that PNG offers sanctuary to the separatist rebels.
Mar 1992 Indonesian and PNG officials met to discuss the latest influx of several hundred refugees that fled border areas following clashes between the rebels and Indonesian troops. There are about 6,500 Irian refugees in UN camps at the border area of PNG. Indonesian troops claim that the OPM was out to disrupt Indonesian general elections, currently being held in Irian Jaya.
Jul 1992 Indonesian authorities promoted 13 soldiers involved in the killing of an OPM leader last month.
Aug 1992 Indonesia has reached an agreement with PNG to open a Consulate in the north-western border town of Vanimo. Authorities jail for eight years the Treasurer of the Christian Education Foundation, who was found guilty of subversion for supplying the OPM rebels with arms and food. Indonesian authorities claimed that 44 rebels have surrendered in recent months to security forces in the area. The military commander of Irian Jaya has ruled out any compromise with the separatist guerrillas.
Nov 1992 Indonesian Army Chief, General Eddi Sudradjet, has called for pursuing a hard line with the rebels. He told a group of military officers, "We must pay serious attention to overcoming, once and for all, these security disturbances" (United Press Int'l, 11/17/92).
Jan 1993 A recently-approved Dutch-Indonesian research project in West Papua has been fiercely criticized by Papuan activists in the Netherlands. The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) has granted a budget of around $3.8 million to Dutch and Indonesian researchers to make linguistic, anthropological, geological and archeological studies of the "Bird's Head Area,", the western part of the politically sensitive region. Activists from organizations like the Papua Peoples Foundation (PAVO) and the West Papua Peoples Front (WPVF) based in the Netherlands fear that the project will not serve the interests of the Papuans.
Aug 1993 A government official says that the OPM is now only about 250 strong and has about 40 weapons. The rebel movement has been largely inactive since last May when soldiers shot the movement's leader, Marthen Luther Prawar, during a raid on a suspected rebel hideout. Meanwhile, 114 Irian Jayans returned home from Papua New Guinea a few months ago and another 111 are scheduled to return soon. They fled to PNG in 1991 (UPI, 08/18/93).
Nov 1993 Indonesia has denied that its troops were responsible for killing thirteen people near the border between Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea (PNG). A human rights group in PNG claims that Indonesian soldiers attacked a village on the PNG side and killed the people. Indonesian officials indicate that the clash was between two factions of the Free Papua Movement (The Reuter Library Report, 11/30/93).
Dec 1993 The winner of the 1993 Robert Kennedy Human Rights Award, Bambang Widjojanto, says that human rights violations are rampant in Irian Jaya. The Indonesian human rights activist contends that the local military often exploits the indigenous people by labeling them as members of the OPM (UPI, 12/16/93).
Feb 1994 The Free Papua Movement (OPM) is preparing a document in which it will propose peace negotiations with the Indonesian government. An OPM spokesman says Australia or Papua New Guinea could act as a mediator (BBC, 02/23/94).
Mar 1994 The Far Eastern Economic Review reports that since the Indonesian government began its transmigration program in the early 1970s, around 173,000 people have been resettled in Irian Jaya. The migrants are usually settled near urban areas where they can cultivate rice. More than a third of the migrants have moved since 1989 as the government has sought to relieve population pressures in Java and promote development in Irian Jaya. While the federal government has increased its development fund for Irian Jaya four-fold during the past ten years, the main concerns of the Irianese are reportedly not being addressed. Greater education is seen as vital in order to ensure that the Irianese can compete for jobs (Far Eastern Economic Review, 03/10/94).
May 1994 Indonesian authorities report that three members of the OPM surrendered to security officers in Irian Jaya (BBC, 05/30/94).
Jul 1994 The World Bank and the IMF have come under criticism from environmentalists and non-governmental organizations for their continual financial assistance to Indonesia. The critics charge that the aid has propped up the Indonesian regime which they argue is responsible for the brutal repression of the Papuans and the East Timorese and the pillage of natural resources. At an annual meeting, donor countries pledged $5.1 billion in aid to Jakarta (Inter Press Service, 07/08/94).
Jan 1995 The OPM charges that the PNG government is repatriating refugees from Irian Jaya without the supervision of the UN or the International Red Cross. The rebel organization says that the refugees are being turned over to the Indonesian military. Periodically, people from Irian Jaya have crossed into PNG to flee fighting between the government and the OPM. Indonesian authorities state that the OPM only has about 100 active supporters and is no longer a threat (BBC, 01/28/95).
Apr 1995 A report of the Australian Council for Overseas Aid says that Indonesian forces killed around 37 people who were protesting the expansion of the Freeport copper and gold mine in Irian Jaya. Other Papuans were alleged to have been arbitrarily arrested, beaten, and tortured and had their houses destroyed. The incidents reportedly occurred between June 1994 and February 1995 (Reuter Textline: Australian Financial Review, 04/06/95).
Apr 11, 1995 The Indonesian government has accused the Australian Council for Overseas Aid of "fabricating" reports that 37 people were killed during protests over the American-owned Freeport mine in Irian Jaya. An official confirmed that there have been casualties but did not provide any figures (Reuter Textline: The Age, Melbourne, 04/11/95).
Jul 1995 Indonesian officials state that members of the OPM are engaging in extortion and robbery in Irian Jaya. The residents of the village of Hoya were reported to be victims of the rebels activities (BBC, 07/21/95).
Sep 1995 The chief of Indonesia's army says separatist rebels are welcome to return to Irian Jaya. The chief was responding to a recent letter he received from a leading OPM member who is now living in Papua New Guinea (Reuters, 09/13/95).
Sep 22, 1995 Indonesia's Human Rights Commission says that soldiers were responsible for the deaths of at least 16 civilians in Irian Jaya during October of 1994 and June of 1995 (Japan Economic Newswire, 09/22/95).
Sep 28, 1995 Amnesty International is calling on foreign governments to halt support for the Indonesian regime, arguing that Jakarta has failed to address the root causes of human rights problems. Amnesty indicated that the arbitrary use of repression occurs not only in East Timor, Aceh, and Irian Jaya but throughout the country (09/28/94).
Oct 1995 The South Pacific Forum, a group of non-governmental organizations, will try to send a fact-finding mission to Irian Jaya to investigate reports of human rights abuses against the Papuans. The Forum is also considering putting the issue of West Papuan self-determination on its agenda. An Australian-based representative of the OPM says that the next step would be to raise the issue at the UN Human Rights Commission (Inter Press Service, 10/25/95).
Nov 1995 The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), an American government agency, has canceled the insurance of Freeport McMoRan, the company that owns a major copper and gold mine in Irian Jaya. The OPIC decision came after several reports confirmed major environmental destruction and the killings of local people around the mine site. One of the reports alleged that Freeport vehicles and offices were used by the Indonesian military to torture tribal leaders (Inter Press Service, 11/03/95).
Nov 12, 1995 A group of rebels ambushed a military patrol and reportedly raided a village in Merauke district, Irian Jaya. One soldier was killed and another injured (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 11/22/95).
Nov 14, 1995 The Papua New Guinea government is still searching for some 35 OPM rebels who allegedly ransacked and nearly burnt down the Indonesian consulate in Vanimo in late October. The PNG government has also expressed its concerns about a recent Indonesian military build-up near the border; some even fear an Indonesian invasion of their country (Inter Press Service, 11/14/95).
Nov 17, 1995 One solider died and another was injured during a clash with OPM rebels near the PNG border (Reuters, 11/17/95).
Nov 22, 1995 Members of the OPM have killed one hostage and are reported to be holding around 200 others in Irian Jaya. Two rebels were captured by the government when it sought to free the hostages, who are reported to be settlers from other areas in Indonesia (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 11/22/95).
Dec 1995 More than 700 people from Irian Jaya have crossed into Papua New Guinea because of clashes between the OPM and government troops. This is the largest number of refugees that has fled into the PNG in the past decade (BBC, 12/21/95).
Dec 22, 1995 Indonesia and Papua New Guinea have agreed to set up a liaison team to fight rebel activity along the two countries' border (UPI, 12/22/95).
Dec 27, 1995 A trial against Indonesian soldiers who allegedly killed 16 civilians in Irian Jaya last July will begin at the end of January (Japan Economic Newswire, 12/27/95). OPM rebels demanded a ransom of over $13,000 in exchange for two teenagers kidnapped on their way to school near the PNG border in November. The government refused to pay. (BBC 12/28/95)
Jan 1996 Two hundred separatist rebels of the Free Papua Movement kidnapped 24 Indonesian and European nationals who were on an expedition in Irian Jaya. The kidnapping generated considerable press attention The rebels’ demands included environmental and social improvements by Freeport- McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., operator of a huge mine in the province of Irian Jaya, a plane, and independence for Irian Jaya. (Japan Economic Newswire 1/11/96, Austin American-Statesman 1/28/96). Three Indonesian soldiers went on trial, charged with killing several people in Irian Jaya during a military operation against separatists in 1995. If found guilty, the three, identified as Pfc. Titus Kobegau, Pvt. 2 N.H. Renyaan, and Pvt. Laode Yahnudin, could each face a maximum of 15 years in prison. (United Press International 1/29/96)
Feb 1996 An Indonesian military court sentenced an officer of the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI) to 16 months in jail, a fine of 5,000 rupiahs, and discharge from the military over human rights violations by ABRI soldiers in July, 1995 in Timika, in which 16 civilians were reportedly killed. The judge found the defendant guilty of violating a chapter in the Indonesian Military Law “by giving unclear orders to subordinates, which caused the deaths of other people.” During operations against the OPM, the defendant had ordered his subordinates to shoot local people who tried to escape if they were summoned. (Japan Economic Newswire 2/15/96). About 30 people from Irian Jaya staged a rally near the presidential palace in Jakarta demanding that the government stop human rights violations against ethnic Irian people in Irian Jaya. Yusak Samuel Wonatorey, spokesman for the protesters, said “Any labeling of ethnic Irian people -- such as separatists, terrorists, Free Papua Movement rebels -- which has been used as a strategy to take away our rights and freedom, should be stopped.” He said the Indonesian government has pursued discrimination in the region by giving jobs there, including civil servant posts, only to non-Irianese. (Japan Economic Newswire 2/27/96)
Mar 1996 Irian's “mungme tribal council urged the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas Ham) to reopen probes on killings and torture in and around the Freeport copper and gold mines, alleging that 77 people were killed by security officials between July 1994 and June 1995.” A report by the Australian Council of Overseas Aid (ACFOA) issued in April 1995 said that 37 people have been killed near the Freeport mine between June1994 and February 1995 by the military and the mine's private security forces. (Agence France Presse 3/4/96). An automobile accident in which an employee of Freeport mines sparked four days of rioting in which four people eventually died, and all business at the plant came to a halt. Local residents later demanded a share of the enormous profits from the Indonesian-US joint venture. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 3/12/96 and Agence France Presse 3/14/96 & 3/18/96). Thousands of people took part in riots in Jayapura, leaving five dead and six injured. Clashes erupted after security forces attempted to prevent supporters from getting close to the body of separatist leader Thomas Wanggai when it was flown to Jayapura. Wanggai, a former head of the Free Melanesia movement who had been serving a 20-year jail term imposed in 1989, had died in detention in Jakarta the week before. Independence groups have blamed the authorities of not giving Wanggai adequate medical treatment and causing the death of the figurehead of the group that wants a Melanesian nation taking in Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. An autopsy, conducted by Jakarta's Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital and witnessed by a doctor from the International Committee of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, showed that Wainggai died of stomach cancer. (Agence France Presse 3/18/96 and Japan Economic Newswire 3/19/96). The BBC released a copy of a "written interview" by an Indonesian newspaper of Kelly Kwalik and Daniel Kogoya, leaders of the OPM rebels who had held 12 hostages since Jan. 8. The two claimed that they had committed the kidnapping "to demand recognition of the Republic of West Papua by the Indonesian government and the international community." They also claimed that they had four battalions at their disposal and that they would never surrender. At this time, foreign reporters were not allowed on Irian Jaya without Indonesian government permission. (British Broadcasting Corporation 3/20/96). Amnesty International released a statement expressing its concern for the estimated 89 people being held in the wake of the riots in Jayapura. Amnesty claimed the detainees had been denied access to their families and lawyers. (South China Morning Post 3/22/96). The European Parliament invited a delegation from the Free Papua Movement to visit, but specified that it could not condone its current hostage taking action. The Indonesian government launched a formal protest, pointing out that the UN had recognized Indonesian sovereignty over Irian Jaya. (Agence France Presse 3/26/96)
Apr 1996 A group of people describing themselves as the first West Papuan national congress adopted a political charter demanding independence for Irian Jaya. The five-day meeting in Port Moresby, claimed 160 West Papuan delegates attended the congress, which called on all West Papuans living inside and outside Irian Jaya to unite under the West Papuan National Council. (British Broadcasting Corporation 4/18/96). A Papuan tribal demanded a complete military withdrawal from Timika to defuse tensions after an Indonesian soldier's shooting spree, which left 19 dead. The soldier, allegedly depressed due to malaria, shot mostly other soldiers at the Timika airport. Tom Beanal said the contingent of about 200 soldiers, who arrived after the mine riots the month before, unnerved townsfolk. (South China Morning Post 4/21/96). The Freeport mine was forced to accommodate an additional 300 Indonesian soldiers permanently, but had its own private security forces downgraded. Papuans resented the fact that the soldiers, who they felt improperly handled weapons, seemed to be staying permanently in the wake of the March riots. The guards would now have to call the police or the Army instead of pursuing or detaining offenders themselves. The change was largely prompted by complaints that the guards treated people differently according to their tribe or their place of origin in Indonesia.(South China Morning Post 4/26/96)
May 1996 In a move perhaps prompted by similar actions by those from East Timor, six people from Indonesia's remote Irian Jaya province entered the Dutch embassy in Jakarta and asked for political asylum. (Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau English News Bulletin 5/9/96). The International Committee of the Red Cross announced that it was backing out of negotiations with the OPM rebels who had been holding eleven hostages since January. The Indonesian military said it would take over. The withdrawal of the ICRC marked the beginning of a six-day military assault by Indonesian forces, which freed the remaining six European hostages but did not save two Indonesian ones. In addition, eight OPM separatists were killed in the assault. Up to 400 troops including 100 "Kopassus" elite troops took part in the six-day operation during which remote-controlled unmanned aircraft, helicopters and sophisticated surveillance equipment was used. At the start of the operation five soldiers were killed when their helicopter crashed. (Agence France Presse 4/9/96 and Deutsche Presse-Agentur 4/16/96)
Jul 1996 3,000 Irian Jayan protesters attacked government buildings and vehicles in Nabire, 1,960 miles (3,150 km) northeast of Jakarta, during several days of violent demonstrations. The riots broke out after rumors spread among applicants for civil servant jobs that some vacant positions had been filled. Thousands of angry job applicants converged on the local government administration office and began destroying property. Police who failed to bring the riot under control called in military reinforcements. By the third day, the local military chief ordered troops to shoot rioters sight. (United Press International 7/4/96 and British Broadcasting Corporation 7/5/96)
Aug 1996 Approximately fifty armed men abducted sixteen workers at a logging camp and held them hostage, although two escaped and another two were released soon after the kidnapping. The group, under the leadership of Tius Orop Yane Magae Yogi, demanded that timber group Jayanti, the parent of the firm which employed the hostages, leave the area and that the hostages' release be negotiated through Tom Beanal. The military aired suspicions that WALHI - the largest local environmental watchdog - was involved in the kidnapping but the organization strongly denied it. After the release of the hostages, the military began to claim that the OPM was responsible. The hostages were released over time, in small groups, but the last two were found dead in a ravine, bearing signs of torture. One member of the group was later killed by the army during a shootout. (Agence France Presse 8/20/96, Deutsche Presse-Agentur 8/25/96 and United Press International 9/19/96)
Sep 1996 Approximately 25 youths from Irian Jaya demonstrated at the headquarters of the Golkar party in Jakarta to protest the inclusion of only three Irian Jayanese on the party’s list for the upcoming elections. At the time, there were ten people from Irian Jaya in the parliament, but they had not all been listed. (Agence France Presse 9/24/96)
Oct 1996 Troops clashed with separatists in central Irian Jaya, killing one of the rebels. The fighting took place not far from Mapunduma, a hamlet where separatist rebels kidnapped 26 people, including seven foreigners, in January.(Agence France Presse 10/18/96). PT Kamundan Raya, which had 11 of its workers kidnapped by separatist rebels in August, suspended operation in Timika district for security reasons. (Jakarta Post 10/23/96)
Nov 1996 Indonesian soldiers shot and wounded a rebel during a military raid in Irian Jaya and seized three weapons, ammunition and other equipment from the separatist group. (United Press International 11/22/96). The military tribunal in Jayapura sentenced First Sergeant Suyadi to 16 months in jail for beating to death 29-year-old Yohanis Fasak in January. A woman at a local plantation had earlier complained about the behavior of Suyadi. Military authorities summoned him to their post where Fasak, an indigenous Irianese, later died. (Agence France Presse 11/29/96)
Dec 1996 Indonesian military troops shot and killed an Irian Jaya separatist rebel and captured two others in a shootout with government soldiers at the village of Mapunduma in Jayawijaya district. The government forces also seized a number of documents as well as various kinds of medicines. The captured rebels confessed that they belonged to a group led by Thadius Yogi. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/30/96)
Jan 1997 Clashes between hundreds of villagers from two tribes -- the Utukini and the Banti -- left six people dead and scores injured. (Agence France Presse 3/7/97)
Mar 1997 A fight was sparked when a drunk man harassed a village head and beat him when he failed to hand over money, leading to three days of clashes between four tribes in which at least six people were killed. Local sources have said police and soldiers near the area of the clash failed to intervene. (Agence France Presse 3/7/97). The government announced plans to deploy soldiers to serve as teachers in understaffed schools in the Mamberamo Hulu district of Indonesia's Irian Jaya province. Residents also complained about the shortage of goods, which has caused prices to soar, in some cases by as much as 200 per cent. The shortages were blamed on the short runway at the nearest airport, which stopped it from accepting bigger transport aircraft, and the few aircraft deployed by state-run Merpati Nusantara Airlines on routes to Irian Jaya. (The Straights Times 3/15/97)
Apr 1997 A group of armed men believed to be separatist rebels attacked a camp of an Indonesian road construction company in Akiba village and shot dead two road surveyors there. Eight other workers escaped to the nearby forest and their whereabouts remained unknown. (Agence France Presse 4/28/97)
May 1997 Police in Jayapura admitted to firing rubber bullets into a crowd which refused to disperse during an Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) rally, injuring four. In the ensuing riot, three police trucks and dozens of houses were damaged. The crowd rampaged after a pregnant woman fell in the shooting incident. (Jakarta Post 5/21/97)
Aug 1997 Two people were killed and several injured in clashes that erupted between Irian Jaya tribesmen and government forces. The violent protest was apparently sparked by a traffic accident in which two local residents were killed after they fell from a moving vehicle operated by the Freeport mining company, although the manner of their deaths - a blow to the base of the head - was considered consisted with a tribal killing. In an attempt to restore order, soldiers were deployed to the district area. Clashes with the rioters ensued. Tension between the local population and the Freeport employees, who came from other Indonesian provinces, intensified at the start of the month after the company announced it had begun to disburse money from a trust fund set up by the firm to help tribal communities. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 8/22/97 and Agence France Presse 8/24/97)
Oct 1997 In Bandung, about 110 miles southeast of Jakarta, police and soldiers blocked 200 students from marching on a local government building. Three students were hospitalized with injuries. A student, who identified himself as Andi Triana, said the demonstration began peacefully as a protest against the government's response to famine in Irian Jaya. (Seattle Times 10/28/97)
Nov 1997 The Ministry of National Development and Planning listed Irian Jaya as one of the eleven provinces with the poorest communities in Indonesia. (Jakarta Post 11/13/97)
Dec 1997 The Indonesian Ministry of Forestry announced that it would henceforth only issue logging permits for the provinces of Irian Jaya and East Timor. (Agence France Presse 12/04/97)
Feb 1998 The Indonesian economy began to slump, driving up unemployment and the price of food, and sparking major student protests. These protests continued for several months at universities across Indonesia, including Irian Jaya. (Agence France Presse 4/22/98)
Mar 1998 An appeals court in Louisiana agreed to hear a lawsuit by the Amungme people, living in the western section of island of New Guinea against the Freeport-McMoran Mining Company, which was based in Louisiana. The suit alleged that the 25-year-old mine produced more than 120,000 tons of toxic mine waste or "tailings" per day. Since 1972, Freeport-McMoRan dumped tailings directly into the Aghawagon River. The massive amount of material clogged the river system and flooded more than 30 square kilometers of rainforest and agricultural land, threatening a diverse array of forest species. The Amungme people said the waste contaminated the fish they ate and the water they drank. In addition, Freeport was under scrutiny for human rights abuses because more than 2,000 people opposed to the mine had died violently at the hands of security forces near the site over the past two decades. The company said it was innocent. (Inter Press Service 3/12/98). Papuans reacted with dismay to the announcement of proposed agreements between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia on agreements on troop training and a supply of military equipment, stating that this would limit the ability of the West Papuans to continue their struggle for independence. (British Broadcasting Corporation 3/30/98)
Apr 1998 A spokesman for the West Papua Freedom Movement said they accepted the fact that they were part of Indonesia and had given up the armed struggle for independence. Victor Kaisiepo, the Fiji-based spokesperson for the organization, said the answer for the indigenous. Melanesians of Irian Jaya, lay in dialogue with Jakarta. (British Broadcasting Corporation 4/28/98)
May 1998 West Sepik (PNG) Governor John Tekwie signed a petition recognizing the independence of Irian Jaya, angering Indonesian officials. Tekwie claimed that he signed as party leader of the Indigenous People's Movement (IPM), not as a government representative. (British Broadcasting Corporation 5/12/98). As Suharto was removed from office, tribal leaders in Irian Jaya - under direct military rule for 30 years - called for regional autonomy and an end to the human rights violations and exploitation of resources which they said had killed more than 60,000 people since Suharto came to power. (London Guardian 5/22/98). Pro-West Papua demonstrators marched to the Indonesian embassy in Port Moresby PNG calling for the recognition of the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya as an independent state. The petition to the world leaders called for them to “accept, respect and recognize the rights of the people of West Papua as an independent state of West Papua New Guinea.” A similar protest the week before was stopped by police, who said it was an illegal assembly. (British Broadcasting Corporation 5/28/98). The National Commission on Human Rights received a report compiled by students who claimed that between December 1996 and October 1997, a number of innocent civilians were killed when a military unit was operating in the Mimika area. The report claimed that during the military operations, in which the troops were assigned to crush the Irian Jaya separatist movement, many rights violations were committed, including the destruction of several houses. The report also accused soldiers of damaging two community health centers and a radio communication facility owned by a local church. Separately in Jayapura, 300 students came to the provincial legislature to protest against the treatment they received from security forces in the inland areas of the vast province. The students demanded the Armed Forces adopt a more humane approach and end repressive measures. (Jakarta Post 5/30/98)
Jun 1998 Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issued a combined appeal to Indonesia to release its prisoners of conscience, which included the organizers of peaceful pro- independence demonstrations in Irian Jaya, and 170 people imprisoned for alleged involvement in violent political activities - including those from Aceh, Irian Jaya, and East Timor. (M2 Presswire 6/5/98). About 100 Irianese living in Jakarta staged a peaceful demonstration at City Hall to protest a statement by Governor Sutiyoso that he would expel them from their Tanah Abang dormitory in Central Jakarta because of their repeated clashes with neighboring Betawi (native Jakartans). The Irianese claimed that the Betawi had antagonized them, attacked them and called them names. (Jakarta Post 6/10/98). The government of Papua New Guinea formally assured Indonesia that it would not support the independence of the Papuans in Irian Jaya. (AAP Newsfeed 6/10/98). While investigating a report of abuse in Irian Jaya, the government-appointed National Commission on Human Rights discovered additional cases in need of investigation, such as the graves of shot victims and the ruins of burned churches in Bela and Jila. (Japan Economic Newswire 6/15/98). At least 2,000 members of Irian Jaya's security disturbance groups (GPK) surrendered and returned to their home villages, following the launching of "Operasi Senyum." The provincial transmigration office and the Merauke district administration agreed to provide houses to 300 families among the returnees. (Antara 6/16/98). Separatist guerrillas killed three transmigrants who were on their way home from work at a palm oil plantation near Jayapura. The victims - all in their 20s - were shot at close range and then beaten with machetes by suspected independence activists. The village where they lived was inhabited mostly by transmigrants from Java. This was the first such attack reported in 1998. (Jakarta Post 6/18/98). Indonesian troops blocked a march by a group of some 100 men from Irian Jaya, carrying posters reading "stop the genocide" and "stop mass killings," to the armed forces headquarters in Jakarta. here to protest alleged military atrocities. The protestors argued with the troops, demanding the right to present their grievances to Indonesian armed forces chief General Wiranto. They said they would air their grievances to the National Human Rights Commission. (Agence France Presse 6/25/98)
Jul 1998 Indonesian military personnel shot and killed a university student and injured a female senior high school student in Irian Jaya during a clash between students and the military at a free-speech forum on the campus. The students were demanding the government investigate human rights violations by the military in the province. The shootings, which some said had been prompted by an attack on an Indonesian intelligence agent, led to a sit-in at the university. (Japan Economic Newswire 7/3/98 and Agence France Presse 7/5/98). On the island of Biak off the north coast, a five-day standoff ensued between Indonesian troops and demonstrators armed with Molotov cocktails, cane knives and stones. The demonstrators refused to lower the OPM flag. The five-day standoff ended in a clash which reportedly killed seven and injured dozens more. The military denied the deaths, but the official Indonesian news agency did confirm that 180 protestors were taken away by the police and military. The force of the crackdown led to an investigation by the National Commission on Human Rights later that month. The following month the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), told a media briefing that four men and a woman went missing in the protest, but the Trikora Regional Military Command denied receiving any reports of missing people in the wake of the Biak incident. (British Broadcasting Corporation 7/6/98 & 7/7/98, Deutsche Presse-Agentur 7/7/98 and Jakarta Post 7/14/98, 8/8/98 & 8/21/98). Indonesia's armed forces chief General Wiranto said that the raising of the West Papuan (independence) flag was an act of "treason" which the army would not tolerate. (Agence France Presse 7/7/98). Irian Jaya Governor Freddy Numberi said he supported any efforts by the security officers to crack down on separatists who sought independence for Irian Jaya and Indonesia’s disintegration. (Antara 7/9/98). Minister of Mines and Energy Kuntoro Mangkusubroto said that the government should in future split royalties from mining, oil and gas operations with the producing provinces. (Jakarta Post 7/16/98). Church leaders from Papua New Guinea and Indonesia met in Bali to discuss the issue of Irian Jaya's struggle for political independence from Indonesia. (British Broadcasting Corporation 7/19/98). A group of about 300 youths from Irian Jaya staged a protest rally outside the United Nations office in Jakarta, demanding a referendum for independence from Indonesia. The youths, who came to Jakarta from various cities on the island of Java, danced and sang traditional Melanesian songs. They wore head bands reading, "Papua Merdeka," which means "Independent Papua" in the Indonesian language. Security was tight as the demonstration began at dawn, but security forces did not interfere in the peaceful protest, even when some of the demonstrators sat on the road and blocked part of one of Jakarta's main streets. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 7/20/98). The Indonesian government announced the upcoming release of fifty political prisoners, but said that those involved with Papuan and other independence movements would be specifically excluded from the release. (Jakarta Post 7/25/98). Representatives of the Irian Jaya Community Family Value Association (IKMIJ), the Irianese People Solidarity Committee, the Irian Jaya Younger Generation Communication Forum, the Papuan Younger Generation Alliance Post-1963, the Papuan Students Alliance, the Cendrawasih Younger Generation and some Irianese figures came to Jakarta to urge President BJ Habibie to initiate a dialog on "the unjust treatment of Irian Jaya, and for transparent discussions of the deaths and injuries of the July 1-7 riots." The groups threatened to call for international mediation if the dialog was not initiated. Leaders of the Irian Jaya community also demanded a change in the name of their province to West Papua, saying that Irian was not a name but an acronym for Ikut Republic Indonesia anti-Nederland (Join the anti-Netherlands Republic of Indonesia). The leaders wanted autonomy for Irian Jaya "in the form of one nation, two systems." (Antara 7/28/98 & 7/29/98). The National Committee on Basic Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM) made a recommendation that Irian Jaya be given wide regional autonomy, to enable the regional government of Irian Jaya to utilize its natural resources for the welfare of its local people in order to help lessen the gap between the poor there and the rich people in other parts of Indonesia. They concluded that the riots and violence that took place emanated from the people's dissatisfaction over the results of the development program implemented by the government, and not necessarily because they wanted to revolt against Indonesia. (British Broadcasting Corporation 7/28/98)
Aug 1998 At least 200 Jayawijaya community leaders comprising tribal chieftains and intellectuals delivered a statement to Budiman Koyoga, chairman of the Jayawijaya District Council of People's Representatives in Wamena. The statement said calls for the establishment of a Papua state by two Irian Jaya leaders who had been removed as members of the People's Consultative Assembly of the Republic of Indonesia, were personal statements and did not reflect the aspirations of the Irian Jaya people. (British Broadcasting Corporation 8/6/98). Mgr. Leo Laba Ladjar, the Catholic Bishop of Jayapura, said that the majority of Irian Jaya's people were distressed about human rights violations and the government's unfair treatment of the province. He argued it was dissent over these issues which had eventually spilled over into political issues such as independence. He said most people, especially those living in remote areas like Timika, lived in fear of the military, who insist on regulating their daily activities. Leo cited examples where villagers were obliged to report to security posts on the way to their fields and had to possess a letter of permission from their village chief in order to visit other villages. (Jakarta Post 8/7/98). Three people were killed and dozens injured at a remote Irian Jaya gold mine when mobs of indigenous New Guinea tribes people fought with settlers from other parts of Indonesia. A local government building as well as several market stalls and shops were damaged and burned. (AAP Newsfeed 8/10/98). On the 53rd anniversary of Indonesian independence, Justice Minister Muladi reduced the sentences of 16,813 prisoners, including over ninety jailed for subversion from the Aceh Special Region, East Timor, and Irian Jaya. (British Broadcasting Corporation 8/17/98). Chief Warden Achmad Dofir Ali of the prison in Merauke, Irian Jaya, said the prison budget was enough to feed only 100 inmates, while the prison's population was currently 162 inmates, putting 62 inmates at risk for starvation. (Jakarta Post 8/19/98). In a news conference, human rights activists questioned whether a number of bodies found in Irian Jaya and identified as casualties of a devastating tidal wave in neighboring Papua. New Guinea (PNG) were in fact victims of the military action against demonstrators raising Free Papua flags in Biak in July. At least 28 bodies, some with bullet wounds, had been found by fishermen near Biak island shortly after the incident. The report said the military immediately instructed the fishermen to bury the bodies. Some reports also claimed as many as 112 might have died in the violence. (Jakarta Post 8/21/98). Freddy Numberi, the Jakarta-appointed governor, spoke out against independence for West Papua, saying that the Papuans did not have enough experience to run their own country. (Agence France Presse 8/25/98). The Trikora Regional Military Command pulled out a total of 394 troops not indigenous to the province who had been posted in Timika, Irian Jaya. (British Broadcasting Corporation 8/30/98). Kostan Susim and Lego Tambuni, who said they were envoys sent by Papua Merdeka (Free Papua) movement leader Mathias Wenda, met with the head of the Indonesian military command overseeing security in Irian Jaya, Major General Amir Sembiring. It was the first dialogue between the two sides since Sembiring offered to talk with the rebels last week. (Agence France Presse 8/31/98)
Sep 1998 Students grouped in a popular front for Papua (FMPP) demanded the government abolish the term "Free Papua Organization" ( OPM) in all statements about the aspirations of the people of Irian Jaya because the term could obscure the aspirations for equality in status and welfare for the people in West Papua. The organization also urged the government and the Armed Forces (ABRI) to investigate those responsible for the killing of civilians in the province and uncover any political motive behind it. (Antara 9/11/98). Some 40 members of the Front of People Concerned for Papua, carrying posters and banners, protested in front of the military headquarters in Central Jakarta before police pushed them away. In a statement distributed during the protest, the front urged the government and the military to listen to the people of Irian Jaya, and called for a halt to any attempt to stamp out the cultural identity of its people. It also demanded that the military account for killings in Irian Jaya and that a comprehensive probe of every case of killing by Indonesian troops should be conducted there. The statement further called for the court martial of local military leaders over deaths during peaceful protests in Irian Jaya earlier this year. (Agence France Presse 9/11/98). More than 140 Irian Jayans living in NCD [National Capital District of PNG] met and discussed wide-ranging issues like reformation, human rights and autonomy with the visiting Governor of Irian Jaya Freddy Numberi, Indonesian Ambassador to PNG Benny Mandalika, and other officials. The meeting, which lasted three hours, was unprecedented as it was the first time that an Irian Jayan governor, let alone Jakarta, had sanctioned such a meeting. The Indonesian government has agreed that very little had been done for the people of Irian Jaya in the past 30 years but was optimistic about the reforms ushered in by President B. J. Habibie. (British Broadcasting Corporation 9/24/98)
Oct 1998 The Jayapura District Police Force detained five men for planning to organize a demonstration to demand independence for West Papua. (British Broadcasting Corporation 10/2/98). Some 40 Irian Jayans raised Papuan flags in front of the Manokwari district office for nearly one hour and 45 minutes before they were lowered at 1030 local time. Security authorities are searching for the mastermind of the flag-raising. The hoisting of the flag, which was preceded by the lowering of the Indonesian flag, incited a mob numbering about 3,000 to go on a rampage through major roads and public centers. They stoned, damaged, and burnt various public facilities, office buildings houses, hotels, scores of shops, and shopping centers. (British Broadcasting Corporation 10/5/98 & 10/6/98). Police arrested Theys H. Elvay, who claimed to be president of the West Papua separatist movement, in a raid at his home in Sentani. Theys, a former member of the Irian Jaya legislative council, was detained in connection to his alleged campaign to prepare a mass demonstration to demand an independent West Papua state. (Jakarta Post 10/7/98). President B.J.Habibie agreed to attend a national dialogue on the future of Irian Jaya with Irianese people in Biak in November, but would not discuss the calls of the Free Papua Movement at the forum. The participants could raise questions on socio-economic, education and health conditions affecting all walks of life in Irian Jaya as well as human rights violations in the province. Some groups later protested the format of the talks, saying that by selectively inviting only a few Papuan organizations to participate, the Indonesian government was trying to avoid a full dialog with all Papuan people. (Antara 10/10/98 and Agence France Presse 10/27/98)
Nov 1998 The Society of Irian Jaya urged President BJ Habibie to form a fact-finding team to investigate the activities of the giant mining company, PT Freeport Indonesia, its contract of work, possible human rights violations, and damages it inflicted on the environment. (Antara 11/3/98). Christian missionaries reported that Indonesian troops fired in July on demonstrators in the Irian Jaya town of Biak. The report said the massacre had been investigated by the Indonesian Council of Churches, which estimated the number dead on the island of Biak at more than 100. Many more had been raped or tortured. The paper said around 140 Irianese were taken out to sea in Indonesian navy boats and then dumped overboard. Most drowned. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 11/13/98). The Indonesian armed forces accepted a ceasefire that guaranteed the safety of OPM members in Irian Jaya providing they do not carry weapons or wear uniforms. (Jane’s Defence Weekly 11/18/98). The West Papua New Guinea National Congress opened an office in Port Moresby (PNG) and raised the West Papuan national flag, in spite of directions from the government not to raise it. The office was closed down within a month by Papua New Guinea police, though no arrests were made. (British Broadcasting Corporation 12/2/98 & 12/11/98). The state district court in Wamena, in the rugged central district of Jayawijaya, opened the trial of the 10 people, who were accused of separatism. The defendants had taken part in the raising of the "West Papua" flag in front of the district parliament in Wamena on July 7. (Agence France Presse 12/20/98)
Jan 1999 A drunk man in Yapen Waropen regency allegedly struck randomly at a member of the Armed Forces (ABRI). In retaliation, the ABRI member and colleagues went to the man's home and assaulted residents. (Jakarta Post 1/15/99). The president of the Supreme Advisory Council (DPA) in Jayapura, said that the government should impose the capital punishment on the provocateurs of acts of violence and unrest which had cost the lives of many people and caused vast material loss in various places in the country. To prevent the bloody incidents which were raging around the rest of Indonesia from spreading to Irian Jaya, Baramuli suggested that people coming to the still safe easternmost province are required to report themselves to the heads of local neighbourhoods (RT/RW) or to the local subdistrict offices. (Antara 1/27/99)
Feb 1999 Papua New Guinea began to increase its military presence along the border with Irian Jaya, apparently speeding up the implementation of an agreement, reached in 1998 with the Indonesian government. The build-up followed reports that Indonesia wanted permission for its troops to operate inside PNG territory against Irian Jayan rebels. (British Broadcasting Corporation 2/18/99). Ninety-nine leaders from Irian Jaya, including officials, tribal and religious leaders and representatives of women’s and intellectual organizations and non-governmental organizations held the first dialogue with President Habibie over the future of Irian Jaya. While several of the representatives aired the demand for freedom, there were also many who were advocating broad autonomy within Indonesia. (Agence France Presse 2/26/99)
Mar 1999 The governor of Irian Jaya, Freddy Numeri, called for "special autonomy" for Irian Jaya, in light of the situation in the province. Citing examples, Governor Numeri said that during his recent working visit to the Mappia village on the island of Biak Numfor, he found 35 family heads who were illiterate with not even a primary school in the village. In addition, funding for the Kabare Port development project in Sorong District was set down in the 1997/98 national budget at 4bn rupiahs, which had run out after the installation of only four supporting pylons. He said he had been unaware of the fact that the licenses for 18 mining concessions in Irian Jaya were held directly by the central government, specifically by the Department of Mines. He suggested Irian Jaya special autonomy, including giving sole responsibility for financial matters to the provincial government for two five-year development terms. The special autonomy for financial matters would entail a 70 per cent province, 30 per cent center split. (British Broadcasting Corporation 3/11/99). Rebels still at large in the PNG border area went on a two-day rampage, shooting passing vehicles on the Muting-Asiki road with shotguns, injuring four. One of the victims was Second Lt Daswad, commander of Kostrad (Army Strategic Command) Post Muting SP IV, who was shot in the arm. The three other victims were civilians. The rebels had also raped three housewives at the Bupul XII transmigrant settlement, causing a number of residents to seek refuge at the Kostrad post. (British Broadcasting Corporation 3/19/99)
May 1 - 30, 1999 Students from Irian Jaya living in Ujungpandang, South Sulawesi and Yogyakarta protested plans on Saturday to divide the province into three. They also charged that their demands for independence had been ignored by the government which instead responded to the claims with the above plan. The Indonesian government announced a proposal to divide Irian Jaya into three provinces at the end of April, citing the size, rapid population growth, and need for better administration of the area. (Jakarta Post 5/2/99). Up to 30 rebels, armed with sharp weapons and rifles, attacked settlers from Indonesia's more populous islands living at Arso village of Jayapura. They reportedly killed three people, injured three others and took 11 people hostage. After the attack, panicked residents at the resettlement centre sought refuge at a nearby oil palm factory. The attack prompted Papua New Guinea to dispatch 100 of its own soldiers to the border to help look for the hostages. The group of 11 Javanese was released during a military operation in Papua New Guinea on June 1. In a separate incident in Fakfak district, police arrested 74 people who were allegedly meeting to discuss an independent West Papua state. Police seized weapons, pamphlets, banners and a West Papua flag as well as a document detailing the line-up of a West Papua cabinet.(Deutsche Presse-Agentur 5/6/99, AAP Newsfeed 5/12/99 and Agence France Presse 6/1/99). According to the official Indonesian news agency Antara, separatists in Irian Jaya were trying to expand their strength in the community by forming “territorial coordinators” of a West Papua National Youth Committee and “West Papua command posts.” (British Broadcasting Corporation 5/18/99). Some 50 Irianese staged a sit-in in front of the provincial legislative assembly in Jayapura to protest the shooting of Robby Yaung. Robby, who was shot dead by a security man, was found on the road of Sabron Samon village. Other reports stated that the crowd, which grew to almost 1,000, threw rocks at the police as they paraded by. (British Broadcasting Corporation 6/9/99 and Agence France Presse 6/9/99). Three suspected separatists were arrested in Irian Jaya, accused of intimidating people not to vote in the June 7 general elections. Balloting was eventually held in the villages the following day. The suspected separatists reportedly told their interrogators that they were only following instructions from a local leader of the Papua Students and People's Communication Forum (FKMMP.) (Agence France Presse 6/12/99)
Jul 1999 Some 200 separatist activists in Irian Jaya had a tense stand-off with security forces after they hoisted a West Papuan flag in the Jayapura district. Police threatened to crack down on the secessionists. The flag was pulled down by local residents after ten hours, and subsequent rioting took three lives. Police took 16 people in for questioning. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 7/1/99, Agence France Presse 7/2/99, and Jakarta Post 7/7/99). Separatist rebels in easternmost Irian Jaya province took six hostages, believed to be forestry officials. The reports later turned out to be false. (Jakarta Post 7/7/99 & 7/8/99). About 100 youths from Irian Jaya rallied at the parliamentary building in Jakarta, protesting recent killings, shootings and arrests of their fellow Melanesians by government authorities. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 7/15/99)
Aug 1999 The head of a team of community leaders here, known as Team 100, said the group had submitted a formal report to President B.J.Habibie on August 13 on considerations for the province to gain independence. (Jakarta Post 9/11/99) . About 150 university students staged a demonstration in front of the provincial legislative building yesterday, urging the government to probe into human rights abuses in central Irian Jaya. The protesters with banners and posters demanded that certain civilian and military figures be brought to court for violating human rights. (Asia Pulse 8/27/99). Police shot dead one man and wounded another during an outbreak of violence in Irian Jaya, sparked by an earlier fight between several people with policemen at the Manokwari harbour. The arrest of four of the civilians by the police, who also manhandled them, sparked the anger of the local population and the rampage. The mob ransacked the local parliament, the state RRI radio station and the office of the public service administration agency. (Agence France Presse 9/25/99)
Oct 1999 Clashes between tribesmen and migrants in the mining town of Timika in Irian Jaya left five and possibly10 people killed. (Canberra Times 10/2/99). In a letter to President Habibie, the West Papua Implementary Independent Committee (WPIIC) called on the government of Indonesia to recognize 1st December as their national day and grant them “absolute rights.” They had asked that on 1st December the West Papuan flag be raised and flown with the Indonesian flag on Papuan soil as a mark of peace between the people of West Papua and the Indonesian government. The WPIIC also sought the release of all West Papuan political prisoners held by the Indonesian government. (British Broadcasting Corporation 10/6/99). Some 100 youths from Irian Jaya held a street protest in Central Jakarta to reject the government's decision to split the province into three. They claimed to represent 12 organisations in Irian Jaya, including the separatist Cendrawasih Free Papua Movement. Meanwhile, some 1,500 youths and civilians holding banners and posters condemning the government's move to split the province, demonstrated outside the governor's office in Jayapura. Jakarta said the move was needed to better administer the huge province, while many Irianese charged it was designed to tighten Jakarta's control over them and discourage separatism by splitting resources between three provinces, not one. The demonstrators then marched to the UN building some 400 meters to the north where they raised the separatist West Papua flag. (Agence France Presse 10/14/99). The Irian Jaya Legislative Council rejected the central government's policy to divide the province into three new provinces, and demanded the next president revoke the decree installing two new governors for the territory. The council concluded in a plenary session that the government must listen to the people's aspiration. It was suggested that the process must begin from the village level and then move up to the district and regency levels. (Jakarta Post 10/18/99). Some 3,000 residents in Merauke looted shops and attacked government offices, including the local parliament building, after marching through the streets demanding that the government recover an estimated 300 victims of a recently sunken boat. The demonstration became politically charged when the crowd shouted demands for an independent West Papuan state, and rejected Jakarta's plans to divide the region into three provinces. (Agence France Presse 10/22/99)
Nov 1999 Thousands of protestors walked in procession from Sungai village five kilometers (three miles) to the district administration office in Fakfak town in Irian Jaya to push for the resignation of district head, Colonel Suparlan Pasambuna. Security forces then broke up the demonstration and herded the crowd into military and police trucks to take them back to Sungai village. But the convoy was halted on the way by a mob of Seram island settlers armed with crude weapons, axes and machetes. While the Irian Jayans fled the Seramese flooded into Fakfak and began to threaten security forces. Hundreds of Fakfak residents ran amok the week before and damaged a number of government offices in protest against a land dispute ruling by the Fakfak court. The accumulation of the riots led police to impose a curfew on the town a week later. Police would check identification and search for weapons at city checkpoints. (Agence France Presse 11/2/99 & 11/9/99). Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the birthday of Theys Hiyo Eluay, a tribal chief arrested by the military in 1998 for organizing an independence campaign. The birthday bash followed a rally in the Irian Jaya town of Timika, about 450 km southwest of Jayapura, during which thousands of Irianese witnessed the raising of the Morning Star flag, symbol of the resistance movement. The flag there remained aloft for over a week, although members of the Amungme Tribal Custom Institute offered to lower it in exchange for a meeting with newly-elected president Abdurrahman Wahid and Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri (Japan Economic Newswire 11/12/99 and Jakarta Post 11/16/99). Community leaders in Irian Jaya called for a review of the people's ballot (Pepera) conducted in that province in 1969 as they believed its implementation was legally defective. Because of the legal flaw, the 1969 people's ballot was not in conformity with the principles of the New York Agreement, said Yorris Raweyai, one of Irian Jaya community leaders. According to him, the New York agreement clearly specified that the implementation of the ballot should involve all people in Irian Jaya with a formulation of "one man one vote." The 1969 ballot failed to involve all people of Irian Jaya, but only featured some community leaders. (Antara 11/16/99). A group of some 300 Irian Jayanese youths marched to the parliament building in Jakarta demanding that the Jakarta government hold a referendum in Irian Jaya before December 1. The protest march was repeated a week and a half later. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 11/18/99 & 11/29/99). The Trikora Regional Military Command chief Brig. Gen Albert Inkiriwang and Regional Police Chief Brig. Gen SY Wenas met with Theys H Eluay, leader of the West Papua movement, to discuss the controversial plan of Eluay to fly the separatist Morning Star flag in the province on December 1. It was their second meeting. Riots were widely expected, even though the military had issued a separate statement saying that they would not take action against those raising the flags. Meanwhile, the provincial Association of Indonesian Church (GKI) reminded Irian Jayanese to avoid any kind of violence in connection with the plan of Free Papua's flag hoisting. (Antara 11/29/99)
Dec 1999 An estimated 50,000 people celebrated the 38th anniversary of the Papuan proclamation of independence in 1961, including those saying prayers at churches across the province's 13 district towns and those participating in flag-raising ceremonies for the Papuan "Morning Star" flag. Other activists put the number of demonstrations at as many as 800,000. The official Antara news agency and legal activists put the number of participants at between 5,000 to 10,000 in Jayapura alone. While there were no reported incidents on the anniversary date of December 1, the Indonesian army did fire at activists the following day, when they gathered around the morning star flag did not disperse or lower it. Twenty-eight people were reported injured, one of whom later died. Reports indicated she was hit with rifle butts, trampled on and kicked by the police (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/1/99, Agence France Presse 12/2/99 and Japan Economic Newswire 12/3/99). During a meeting with the Papuan Group of 15, led by Thom Beanal, Minister of Law and Legislation Yusril Ihza Mahendra told reporters he would soon grant amnesty to Irian Jaya political prisoners and detainees jailed in Java. (British Broadcasting Corporation 12/16/99). A delegation of community leaders and provincial council members from Irian Jaya met with the House of Representatives in Jakarta to deliver seven demands. They were: 1). An international dialog as a follow-up to the national dialog between the Irian representatives and former president B.J. Habibie at the State Palace in February, 2). the release of all Irianese political prisoners, 3). that Irian Jaya provincial and regency councils be allowed to hold a general session to channel the Irian people's demand for West Papuan independence, 4). the withdrawal of all military and police personnel from the territory, 5). A thorough investigation into human rights violations from 1961 through to 1999 in the territory, 6). the recognition of a West Papuan state with Port Numbay (Jayapura) as its capital, and 7). the hoisting of United Nations, Indonesian and West Papuan flags as of May 2000 in the territory until a comprehensive solution to the problem is found. (Jakarta Post 12/17/99). The Indonesian government released all remaining political prisoners and granted "special sentence cuts" to some 3,800 other convicts. Most of the prisoners released were those convicted of separatist activities in the country's easternmost province of Irian Jaya. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/23/99)
Jan 2000 President Abdurrahman Wahid not only rang in the new millennium in Jayapura, but also declared that Indonesia's easternmost province would now be called Papua. He claimed that his decision to change the name was not due to pressure, despite calls from several community leaders, but because the term "Irian" in Arabic had a negative connotation and meant naked. He also stated that he would tolerate calls for independence as a form of free expression, but that he would not tolerate any attempts to create a Papuan state within Indonesia. (Jakarta Post 1/2/00). Thousands of people attended a ceremony to hoist the separatist Free West Papua flag in Sorong in southwestern Irian Jaya. The crowd first raised the Indonesian flag and sang the Indonesian national anthem, before hoisting the separatist flag and singing an independence hymn, followed by Christian prayers. The huge crowd blocked the whole area surrounding the venue barring access to Indonesian security personnel. No incidents were reported. (Agence France Presse 1/11/00). Angry students from Irian Jaya protested outside the Dutch embassy in Jakarta against a 1969 referendum that ceded control of the territory to Indonesia. The protesters, in a peaceful demonstration, also called for a meeting with visiting Foreign Minister Jozias Van Aarsten of the Netherlands. They also demanded that the Netherlands, the United Nations and the United States apologize to West Papua, as a gesture to its population for not ensuring a fair vote on the 196? Referendum. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 1/17/00). A group of 31 Irianese claiming to represent residents of Mimika regency demanded the closure of gold and cooper mining company PT Freeport Indonesia for human rights abuses resulting from its operations. The group channeled their demand to the provincial legislature and the deputy governor. (Jakarta Post 1/17/00). An estimated 3,000 people attended a separatist flag raising rally outside the home of independence activist Alex Duith in the Taminabuan area of Sorong district. Duith said both the separatist and Indonesian flags would fly side-by-side until April. Ihrstad (the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy) said the group had permission from the local authorities, but police in Sorong said they knew nothing of the ceremony and would not have given permission if asked. (Agence France Presse 1/18/00). An Australian-based Irian Jayan academic accused the Indonesian government, and in particular former Suharto regime activist Yurris Raweyai, of engineering the formation of pro-Jakarta militias, similar to those which had ravaged East Timor. They said Yurris organized the formation of a group called the >West Papuan Army’ in Jayapura, which would break up independence activities. The group included many members of the Pemuda Pancasila movement -- a youth group formed under the Suharto regime to promote Indonesia's state ideology. (Japan Economic Newswire 1/20/00). State Apparatus Minister and governor of West Papua Freddy Numberi criticized US mining company Freeport for not providing enough opportunities for the development of the Papuan community. He called for the revision of some terms in Freeport's contract in order to benefit the local population, including an expansion of job opportunities and local development. (British Broadcasting Corporation 1/20/00)
Feb 2000 Yan Ayomi, chairman of the AMPI youth organization - Irian Jaya chapter, declared in a speech publicized in Antara (the official Indonesian news agency) that the people of Irian Jaya would be better off accepting a special autonomous status, rather than fighting for an independent state. Note: Antara has been especially unreliable in its coverage of the conflict in Papua, and its coverage often includes statements regarding the weakness of the independence movement which cannot be verified elsewhere, while the movements strengths and rallies usually go under- or unreported. (Antara 2/2/00). Theys Eluay, 68, chairman of the Papuan Culture Institute, and three other men were put on trial in Jayapura for publicly expressing hatred and hostility against the legitimate government of Indonesia. The charges carried a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment. (Agence France Presse 2/2/00). Approximately 80,000 residents of Jayawijaya district gathered at the Wamena football stadium to demand a Free Papua and reject autonomous status within Indonesia. They also denied reports that the pro-independence faction was only a small group of the Papuan population. (British Broadcasting Corporation 2/12/00). Some 400 residents of Merauke, many armed with primitive weapons, went on the rampage, vandalizing the local state radio station and pelting a local police office with stones. The residents injured nine policemen, while three residents were shot during police attempts to break up the crowd. The riot was triggered by protesters who ran amok after a rally outside the city's parliament building to demand that officials to stop promoting a government autonomy proposal. The Institute of Human Rights Studies and Advocacy later protested the shootings as a violation of human rights. (Agence France Presse 2/17/00 and Jakarta Post 2/19/00). A congress held in Irian Jaya rejected the UN-recognized referendum that incorporated the former Dutch colony into Indonesia, and demanded independence. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 2/28/00). Fifty people armed with swords, bows and arrows and spears, attacked a military barracks near Nabire, 560 kilometers east of Jayapura,. One man was shot and killed and another injured by mobile brigade troops repelling the attack. Thousands of people took to the streets in the following days to protest the man’s death, leading to another four deaths and 18 injuries when police opened fire at the new protests. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 2/29/00 & 3/4/00 and British Broadcasting Corporation 3/3/00)
Mar 2000 President Abdurrahman Wahid approved a planned Papua Congress, which would include Papuans from Asia and Australia in a dialogue to discuss their future. (Jakarta Post 3/11/00). Police in Irian Jaya charged Theys H. Eluay, Father Herman Awom, Cenderawasih University lecturer Isaak Ayomi, secretary of the provincial Development and Planning Board Don Al. Flasy, former political prisoner John Mambor, former councillor Beatrix Rumbino and student leaders Martinus Werimon, Barnabas Yufuway and Laurens Mehue with separatism and with publicly expressing enmity, hatred and insult against the government. All had been named for their alleged involvement in pro- independence rallies. Separatism carries a penalty of up to life in jail. (Agence France Presse 3/17/00)
Apr 2000 Leaders of the Free Papua Movement said the Indonesian Defence Force (TNI), with the knowledge of the Jakarta government, had sent large numbers of troops to Irian Jaya in recent weeks, in advance of the Papuan Congress which would decide whether the population would seek independence from Indonesia. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 4/7/00). The British Broadcasting Corporation reported that increasing numbers of people were fleeing Fakfak under intimidation from pro-independence militias training nearby. (British Broadcasting Corporation 4/15/00)
May 5 - 5, 2004 The Coalition of Civilians for Human Rights, a Papuan organization, protested against the province's integration into Indonesia in 1963. About 500 participated. (The Jakarta Post, 05/06/2004, “Anti-RI Rally Hits Papua”)
Aug 12 - 12, 2004 Wei and Dambo clashed in Papua, killing one and injuring seven. (The Jakarta Post, 08/13/2004, “One dead as Papuans clash over independence")
Aug 18, 2004 An estimated 1,000 Papuans rallied to demand that the United Nations hold a referendum for independence for the province. (PNG Post-Courier, 08/18/2004, “Papuans protest for UN”)
Oct 12, 2004 Separatists fired at the cars of six civilians who had worked for a local contractor in Papua, killing them. (The Australian, 10/15/2004, “Six die in Papuan ambush”)
Oct 18 - 18, 2004 About 100 Papuans from the Civilian Coalition for Human Rights and Papua Student's Alliance staged a protest to demand a redo of the 1963 integration referendum. (The Jakarta Post, 10/19/2004, “Papuans Demand Referendum Rerun”)
Oct 22 - 22, 2004 The Indonesian military (TNI) and a Papuan rebel group clashed, killing one rebel. (The Jakarta Post, 10/23/2004, “Alleged rebel gunned down")
Dec 1 - 1, 2004 Outside of Jayapura, 100 policemen fired at a crowd raising the Papuan flag injuring five and arresting 18. (PNG Post-Courier, 12/02/2004, “Papua violence flares”)
Dec 22, 2004 The Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, signed a regulation to create the Papuan People's Assembly (MRP), which is part of the Special Autonomy Law. (Antara - The Indonesian National News Agency, 12/26/2004, ”President hopes Papuan people follow up MRP”)
Feb 28 - 28, 2005 The Papua People's Civil Rights Coalition organized a protest against the 1963 referendum integrating Papua into Indonesia. About 300 people participated in the demonstration. (The Jakarta Post, 03/03/2005, “Papuan protesters reject integration”)
Apr 20 - 20, 2005 An estimated 30 Papuans protested a prison transfer for nine inmates from Papua to Makassar. (BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific – Political, 04/21/2005, “Irian students in Indonesia's Makassar protest over prisoner transfer”)
May 10 - 10, 2005 Hundreds of Papuan separatists blocked the main entrance to the courthouse as separatist leaders were being escorted to prison from court. Dozens were injured in the violence that ensued. (BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific – Political, 05/11/2005, “Indonesian separatists' trial ends in clash between supporters, police”)
May 13, 2005 Indonesian military (TNI) forces carried out a raid in Sarmi village, arresting three suspected Papuan separatists. (The Jakarta Post, 05/19/2005, “Three Papuan Separatists Nabbed”)
Aug 12 - 12, 2005 More than 10,000 Papuans protesting the inadequate implementation of the Special Autonomy Law stormed the Papuan legislative council. (BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific – Political, 08/15/2005, "'At least' 10,000 protest over autonomy law in Indonesia's Irian Jaya”)
Oct 31 - 31, 2005 An estimated 100 Papuans from Front for West Papua Struggle protested Papuan People's Council elections. They asked that the results be rejected as religious institutions had been kept from the process. (The Jakarta Post, 11/01/2005, “Protest greets council inauguration”)
Jan 20 - 23, 2006 After security forces fired on a crowd, killing one, Papuans stormed the legislative building in Papua to demand the withdrawal of Indonesian military forces. (The Jakarta Post, 01/24/2006, “Enraged Papuans protest shooting”)
Feb 22 - Mar 1, 2006 Papuan students protest the Freeport mine in the region saying that they have benefitted little from its exploitation of local resources. This is part of week-long protests. (The Jakarta Post, 03/01/2006, "Govt to Maintain Military Presence at Freeport Mine"; The Jakarta Post, 03/02/2006, “Students take Freeport protests nationwide”)
Aug 12 - 12, 2006 Three died and 80 were injured in fighting between Dani and Damal tribes in Papua. (The Jakarta Post, 08/13/2006, “Three die in Papua tribal melee”)
Sep 2 - 2, 2006 About 500 protesters organized a demonstration to end fighting between warring tribes and to call on police to help end the violence. (The Jakarta Post, 09/03/2006, “Papuans protest over tribal fighting”)
Oct 5 - 6, 2006 An estimated 200 protesters in Papua, demonstrated against the Freeport decision to crack down on illegal mining. Protesters demanded that alternative work be found. 47 were arrested the following day. (BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific – Political, 10/07/2006, “Indonesia: Papuan police arrest 47 gold miners for blockade involvement”)
Oct 13 - 13, 2006 Papuans, denied government assistance, burned down government buildings and clashed with police. Police responded by firing on the crowd. One died and four were injureed in the fighting. (The Jakarta Post, 10/14/2006, “Police kill one in Papua as mob attacks over govt aid”)


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Information current as of July 16, 2010