Amnesty demands Jokowi honour pledge on Papuan human rights

Indonesian police and military have reportedly attacked the West Papua Committee (KNPB) office in Timika and arrested seven people, including three teenagers. Image: Timika KNPB

By Budiarti Utami Putri in Jakarta

Human rights organisation Amnesty International Indonesia has demanded President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo fulfil his promises to resolve the alleged human rights violations in Papua.

Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid said Jokowi had earlier pledged to settle the shooting incidents involving civilians in Paniai, Papua.

“We underline one promise, one commitment delivered by President Joko Widodo following the Paniai incident that the President wants the case to be settled to prevent further incident in the future,” said Usman in a plenary meeting with the House of Representative (DPR)’s Legal Commission in the Parliament Complex, Senayan, Jakarta, last week.

READ MORE: Indonesia’s unresolved police killings in Papua

Usman said that there was an alleged excessive mobilisation of power and weapons from the security apparatus in Papua.

Between January 2010 and February 2018, Amnesty International Indonesia had recorded 69 cases of alleged extrajudicial killings in Papua.

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The most dominant perpetrator was the National Police (Polri) officers (34 cases), followed by the Indonesia Armed Forces (TNI) (23 cases), joint officers of TNI and Polri (11 cases) and Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) in one case.

Custom resolution
Usman said a total of 25 cases were not investigated, 26 cases were studied without a conclusive result, and 8 cases were dealh with through custom.

“Usually, it is about certain compensations for the victim’s family,” Usman said.

Usman said this was proof that the government lacked independent, effective, and impartial mechanisms to cope with civilians’ complaints concerning human rights violation performed by the security personnel.

The former coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) urged the government to create measures to resolve the human rights violation in Papua and demanded the government admit the incident and draft procedures for security officers in a bid to prevent violence in the region.

“President Jokowi expects Papua to be a peaceful land,” Usman said.

Meanwhile, the House’s Legal Commission deputy speaker Trimedya Panjaitan pledged to follow up the findings issued by Amnesty International Indonesia to the National Police Chief Tito Karnavian in the upcoming session next week.

“We will ask the police chief in the next meeting on September 24,” Trimedya said.

Timika attack, arrests
Meanwhile, Indonesian police and military attacked the West Papua Committee (KNPB) office in Timika at the weekend and arrested seven people, including three teenagers, alleged an unverified social media posting.

The arrested people were named as:

Jack Yakonias Womsiwor (39)
Nus Asso (46)
Urbanus Kossay (18)
Herich Mandobar (18)
Pais Nasia (23)
Vincent Gobay (19)
Titus Yelemaken (46)

This Tempo article is shared through the Asia-Pacific Solidarity Network (APSN).

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Media freedom groups protest over detained Bangladeshi photojournalist

Alongside his social media coverage of the protests, Dr Shahidul Alam apparently angered the authorities and the ruling party after he gave a TV interview with Al Jazeera when criticised the government. Image: Global Voices

By Global Voices

Late on the night of August 5, 2018, award-winning Bangladeshi photographer and activist Dr Shahidul Alam was forcibly abducted from his house in Dhanmondi, Dhaka, by 20 men in plainclothes, sparking protests from media freedom and human rights groups.

Alam is the founder of both the Drik Picture Library and the Pathshala South Asian Media Institute and a vocal journalist on issues related to rule of law and the public interest.

It was soon confirmed that a team of the Detective Branch (DB) of police had detained Shahidul from his residence, with the intention of interrogating him over his Facebook posts about ongoing student protests in the capital, Dhaka.

READ MORE: RSF protests over shocking press freedom violations during Bangladeshi student protests

Secondary school students of different educational institutions in the Bangladesh capital have taken to the streets since July 29 demanding improved road safety and rule enforcement, after two of their classmates were killed due to reckless driving by public bus. The students are also demanding justice for the victims.

Excessive police force
Shahidul Alam has been covering the ongoing student protests in Bangladesh in his Facebook and Twitter accounts and discussing the protests on Facebook Live.

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More than one hundred students were injured over the weekend as the police resorted to excessive force, including firing rubber bullets and tear gas at thousands of peaceful student protesters.

The protests took a violent turn on August 4 when rumours of student protesters being kidnapped, raped and killed began to spread online, but independent media sources at the Dhaka Tribune along with students themselves and a fact-checking Facebook group called Jaachai (fact-check) have denounced these messages as false and debunked doctored photographs.

Nevertheless, many students came out to the streets to protest the deaths. Several violent confrontations between protesters and police have ensued since.

Mobs allegedly associated with Bangladesh’s ruling party have also attacked demonstrators and journalists who were covering the attacks.

Emergency medical teams say they have treated more than 100 protesters who have been injured.

In an attempt to curb rapidly-spreading rumors, mobile internet speed was brought down to a minimum level (2G) shutting down 3G and 3G broadcasts.

Angered authorities
Alongside his social media coverage of the protests, Alam apparently angered the authorities and the ruling party after he gave a TV interview on Sunday evening with Al Jazeera where he talked about the recent situation in Bangladesh and criticised the government.

Expat blogger Rumi Ahmed posted a transcript of the interview on Facebook. Here is an excerpt:

I think what we need to do is to look at what has been happening in the streets today. The police specifically asked for help from these armed goons to combat unarmed students demanding safe roads.

I mean how ridiculous is that? Today, I was in the streets, there were people with machetes in their hands chasing unarmed students. And the police are standing by watching it happen.

In some cases, they were actually helping them…

According to the latest reports, the police have received a seven-day remand to question Shahidul Alam in connection with an ICT Act case filed on August 6, 2018. He was taken to the court barefoot and barely able to walk.

He appears to have been beaten while in custody.

Exiled journalist Tasneem Khalil tweeted:

The police have not yet mentioned why he was detained but referred to the case which accuses him under section 57 of the ICT Act of “abusing” an electronic platform in order to spread “lies” among the population and with the intent to “invalidate and question” the government on the international stage, damage law and order, spread “fear and terror”.

The provisions of Section 57 of Bangladesh’s notoriously broad 2013 Information and Communication Technology Act of Bangladesh have been used to slap hundreds of lawsuits against journalists and online activists to curb the freedom of speech online over the past few years.

Blogger and activist Vaskar Abedin writes on Facebook:


Amnesty International has released a statement which read:


Asia Pacific Report republishes this article with permission under a Creative Commons licence.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Duterte says as ‘parent of nation,’ he can order detention of ‘tambays’

‘Father of the nation’ President Rodrigo Duterte defends his order against loiterers. Image: Malacañang

By Pia Ranada in Manila

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has cited the power of the state to act as parents of persons needing protection as a defence of his order against “tambays” (loiterers).

“Of course, I can accost you. Under the power of parens patriae, you are the father of the nation. I can always give an advice for people like minors,” he said yesterday during a summit in Davao City on the southern island of Mindanao.

Parens patriae, which is Latin for “parent of the nation,” refers to the power of the state to act as the parent of a person when their actual parents or guardians are neglectful or abusive.

READ MORE: Photos, death certificate show Genesis ‘Tisoy’ Argoncillo beaten to death

“If you are unruly, go home or you are arrested. That is the police power of the state. Let them contest that in the Supreme Court,” he added.

His turned defensive apparently after reading in his briefings of senators “postulating” on his controversial order for police to “pick up” loiterers.

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Within days of his order, thousands were arrested for loitering supposedly while also violating local ordinances on curfews, drinking in public, smoking in public, and public nudity.

“Tambay” Genesis Argoncillo died in police custody from “multiple blunt force trauma”. Image: Rappler cellphone

One such “tambay,” Genesis Argoncillo, died in prison from multiple blunt force trauma.

Duterte also said he had read the recent Social Weather Stations survey that found that fear of robberies, unsafe streets, and drug addicts had risen in Mindanao, his home island.

No order to ‘arrest’
Twice in his speech, he insisted that he did not tell police to “arrest” loiterers.

“I never said arrest them, napakaga gago (such fools) … Why don’t you just listen, i-rewind mo yung sinabi ko (rewind what I said),” he said.

The exact words of Duterte’s order on June 14 are: “My directive is ‘pag mag-istambay-istambay sabihin niyo, ‘Umuwi kayo. ‘Pag ‘di kayo umuwi, ihatid ko kayo don sa opisina ni ano don, Pasig’. Ako na ang bahala, ilagay mo lang diyan. Talian mo ‘yung kamay pati bin–ihulog mo diyan sa ano.”

(My directive is if there is someone who stands by, tell them, ‘Go home. If you don’t go home, I will bring you to the office of – there in Pasig.’ Leave it up to me. Just put them there. Tie their hands together even the – drop them at –)

Duterte’s exact words referring to loiterers in a September 2017 speech were: “Tignan ‘nyo may maglakad pa ba na – eh ngayon, sabi ko sa pulis, ‘Pikapin mo.’” (See if there’s anyone walking around – now, I told the police, ‘Pick them up.’)

The Philippine National Police, however, appeared to interpret the President’s words as an order to take loiterers allegedly violating local laws to prisons and detaining them.

The President is known for his stream-of-consciousness style of speaking in which he often does not complete sentences or does not elaborate on confusing, sometimes contradictory messaging.

Loitering ‘not a crime’
Duterte admitted in his Friday speech that loitering “is not a crime” but that he can arrest persons for drinking in public.

“If you are drinking diyan sa alley, ‘yang mga (in the alley, in the) squatters area, if you are there making a sala (living room) out of the roads there, ‘tang-ina, huhulihin talaga (son of a bitch, you will get caught),” he said.

After Duterte’s order, there was a reported case of a group of friends detained by police who were told the only reason for the action was Duterte’s verbal command.

Argoncillo, the 22-year-old alleged “tambay” who was killed in jail had been arrested for supposedly causing “alarm and scandal”.

Pia Ranada is a Rappler journalist.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Kontras urges Jokowi to resolve Papuan Wasior human rights case

Dozens of youth and students hold a candlelit protest in front of the Diponegoro University campus, Semarang, in 2013 over the human rights abuses that occurred in Wasior and Wamena in 2001. Image: PY/WPAN

By Karina M. Tehusijarana in Jakarta

Indonesia’s Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has urged President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to take concrete steps to resolve alleged gross human rights violations in Wasior, Papua, marking the 17th anniversary of the incident this week.

“Kontras regrets and criticices the lack of action of President Jokowi’s administration in dealing with and resolving human rights abuses in Papua,” said Kontras commissioner Yati Andriyani.

The incident, which took place on June 13, 2001, was triggered when five members of the National Police’s Mobile Brigade (Brimob) and one civilian were killed after a dispute between residents and timber company PT Vatika Papuana Perkasa.

During a search for the perpetrators, Brimob members allegedly committed gross human rights violations in the form of murder, torture and abduction.

A National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) investigation into the incident found that at least four people were killed, 39 wounded from torture, five abducted and one sexually abused.

The case was submitted to the Attorney-General’s Office for prosecution in 2004 but has seen little progress since then.

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During his campaign for president in 2014, Jokowi had promised to resolve past human rights violations, including the Wasior incident.

“Instead of fulfilling that promise, Attorney-General H.M. Prasetyo said on June 1 this year that gross human rights abuses were difficult to resolve through judicial processes,” Yati said.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

UN human rights chief to send mission to investigate abuses in Papua

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: UN human rights chief to send mission to investigate abuses in Papua

By Sheany in Jakarta

The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights plans to send a mission to Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua following reports of abuses against its indigenous population.

“I am also concerned about reports of excessive use of force by security forces, harassment, arbitrary arrests and detentions in Papua,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein told reporters during his three-day visit to Indonesia.

He added that the Indonesian government had extended an invitation to the UN to visit Papua — the country’s poorest region.

READ MORE: UN rights chief warns ‘intolerance’ and political extremism making inroads in Indonesia

“I think it’s important for us to go and see ourselves what is happening there … and I hope we can do this as soon as possible,” Al-Hussein said.

Accounts of rights violations in Papua have prompted concerns from activists and the larger international community.

The government was earlier accused of restricting access for foreign correspondents to the region.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration has prioritised development in Papua through massive infrastructure projects aimed at boosting the province’s economic growth.

More recently, dozens of Papuans – mostly children – died from malnutrition-related diseases in the province’s Asmat district.

The health crisis has led to allegations that the government’s focus on development in the region does not serve the welfare of its population.

“They [the UN] can visit Papua. I told them that if they find faults, we will take action [to address them],” Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said after his meeting with Al-Hussein.

The UN human rights chief also warned of the “dark clouds” of political extremism and intolerance that are building over Indonesia.

Al-Hussein highlighted the blasphemy laws that were used to imprison Jakarta’s governor last year, and planned new legislation that will criminalise gay sex.

“If Muslim societies expect others to fight against Islamophobia, we should be prepared to end discrimination at home too,” said al-Hussein, who is Muslim.

Sheany is a journalist with the Jakarta Globe.

2 shot dead in Philippine human rights violations fact-finding mission

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: 2 shot dead in Philippine human rights violations fact-finding mission

The Negros human rights violations fact-finding mission. Image: Karapatan

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

Three members of a Philippine fact-finding mission team have been shot by armed men in Negros Oriental, reports Karapatan.

The three were shot at 2.40pm yesterday at Barangay San Ramon, Bayawan, Negros Oriental.

Elisa Badayos of Karapatan Central Visayas and Elioterio Moises, a barangay tanod (community leader) and member of local peasant organisation Mantapi Ebwan Farmers Association, were pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital in Bayawan.

A 23-year-old female Kabataan party list member, who was also shot, remained in critical condition, said Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights).

The 30-member fact-fining mission team were in the area to investigate and verify reported human rights violations due to intensified military operations in the area.

“The attack on human rights defenders are becoming more rampant, more brutal, more fearless. The perpetrators know they will be dealt with impunity, as human rights have lost force and meaning especially under this regime,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

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“Fact-finding missions are a mechanism for human rights organisations to confirm reports of abuses, and this incident has only proven how fascism works to outrightly kill those who dare to question.”

Rights defenders ‘crippled’
Palabay added that “the space for human rights defenders is fast shrinking, as the Duterte regime is finding more and more ways to cripple defenders on the ground who voice out the real situation experienced by marginalised communities victimised by militarisation.”

She cited the Negros Oriental Provincial Ordinance No. 5, s.2008, known as “An Ordinance Regulating Outreach Activities Through Medical and Fact-Finding Missions in the Countryside of Negros Oriental and for Other Purposes,” wherein non-government organisations and other cause-based organisations are prohibited to conduct any humanitarian mission in Negros Oriental without seeking permission from the governor, municipal government and municipal police.

Violators are sanctioned with six months of imprisonment and a fine of P5000 on participants on the said mission.

The fact-finding team arrived in the mission area in San Ramon, Bayawan at 11am. They were blocked and harassed by elements of the mayor’s private goons, Katapayan said.

Armed men asked about their whereabouts and the purpose of the mission. They were eventually allowed to pass.

About 2.30pm, Bayados, another member of the FFM team, and a member of a Cebu youth organisation decided to go to the police station to file a report regarding the earlier harassment incident.

Armed men open fire
They were accompanied by Moises. While on their way to the police station, they were shot at by unnamed gunmen, suspected of being the same armed men who earlier blocked their entrance to the mission site.

The shooting led to the death of Moises and Badayos.

The 23-year-old KPL member is being taken to a hospital in Dumaguete after sustaining gunshot wounds on her shoulder.

Elisa Badayos is the wife of former union leader Jimmy Badayos.

“We condemn in the strongest terms this recent attack on human rights workers. Even as human rights workers conducting factfinding missions in Batangas, Negros, Mindanao and elsewhere are being subjected to attacks by state forces, we will never relent in struggling alongside with the Filipino people in contending against this murderous Duterte regime,” Palabay said.

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