Indonesian TNI barred 43,000 Nguda villagers from returning home

Deputy Regent of Nduga Regency resigned

Just before Christmas, the Deputy Regent of Nduga regency resigned in protest of the ongoing Indonesian TNI occupation of his area. The targeting of innocent lives in the area is an apparent Indonesian way of dealing with separatists – everyone must suffer, including old and very young people. This inhuman activities, according to Indonesia media, is why Mr. Namiangge resigned.

Soldiers deployed to West Papua 2018

Last year (2018), the Indonesian government deployed more soldiers to the area than anywhere else in the provinces and there is no sign the Indonesia is going to end the deployment of soldiers into this region. We reported earlier that the Indonesian has announced the deployment of about two hundred thousand armed soldiers to Papua under the guise of providing security for Christian celebrations throughout the provinces. The truth, however, is that they are there looking for separatists and targeting innocent civilians in the process. This has been modus operandi (MO) of the Indonesian TNI even in the face of resounding international condemnation. The tens of thousands of villagers who have escaped earlier last year during the TNI campaign, which was condemned for its use of banned bombs, are reported to be starving and some died in harsh conditions. The quoted the deputy as saying that the targeting and the displacement of tens of thousands of villagers have been going on for more than a year in spite of the local government intervention and plea for calm and for the withdrawal of Indonesian forces.

It has been like this for a year, we (the local government) have been facing the Minister, The House of Representatives, the Commander in Chief and the National Police Chief asking that the TNI-Polri forces in Nduga be immediately withdrawn so that people to their villages to carry out their normal activities – (translation).

The local leader also pointed out that their plea for the Indonesian government and TNI to refrain from targeting villagers fell on deaf ears: “To this day our request has never been responded to, even shooting against civilians continue to occupy.” The outspoken leader told a crowd of villagers on December 23 afternoon at Kenyam Airport.

The final straw was the killing of his relative (Hendrik Lokbere) last week Friday, who was allegedly shot by TNI as he was heading to pick up his family. The dead of this innocent man was the straw the broke the camel’s back for the deputy who decided it to call it – quit! He told the crowd, “I have opened the uniform and put it together with the victims, starting today I am off the post of deputy regent, I don’t want to be an extension of the government in the area but my continue to be victims.” (translation)

He continued, “To the regent I respect, from today I resign as deputy regent and just go my own way. Thank you for being together for more or less 3 years, there are many advantages and disadvantages in carrying out my duties, starting today I will retain to the community…” (translation) Source

The resigned deputy once again made the call for the TNI and Police to withdraw from Nduga and allow civilians to return to their homes, something that the TNI and the Indonesian police in the area refused to honor for more than a year. There is no evidence at all to indicate that the Indonesian military and police will listen to the request for peace and stability.

Our View

We condemn all forms of violence against innocent people because we know the real victims are those who aren’t affiliated with any of the factions – the villagers: Children, women, and old people. They are the ones that suffered tremendously from this ongoing TNI activities in the area. The Indonesian government is the one violating the very oath of a sovereignty government (to protect the innocent), and as a member of the United Nations, the Indonesian government failed miserably to protect the innocent people especially the weak and helpless in accordance to the UN Charter. It’s inhumane to treat people this way.

We have been warning our people in West Papua to be weary of the Indonesian government because we believe every single provincial government in these provinces are puppets of Indonesia. Last year, an Indonesian propagandist attacked our site, claiming that West Papua and Papua have “full autonomy.” Well, here we go. What happened to that argument? The autonomous power is a fake word or name to camouflage the immense power the Indonesian government. It looks and sounds good on papers, but they mean little in reality.

In this case, the government of Indonesia and its armed forces refused to even consider the pleas of the ‘Deputy Regent’ of Nduga. His numerous requests fell on deaf ears and eventually eradicated from all public discourse if there’s any. It is clear that our view on this matter is accurate and supported by the facts. There are no such thing as “self-government” in West Papua or Papua. These provincial governments exist to serve the desire of the state (Indonesian government) and when the state perceived a threat, it has all the power to overstep local jurisdiction – ignoring all the ‘autonomous law’ in pursuit of a great threat to national security. This is a mockery of common sense for all rational thinking people. By law, every provincial governments are subservients of the state (Jakarta). We know from the start that the autonomous laws of Indonesia mean nothing in the real world.

Human Rights violations 

We call on the Indonesian government to cease all its military activities in Nduga and allow the 45,000 civilians who were displaced as a result of the Indonesian invasion and occupation to return to their homes. To pursue supposed militants is one thing, keep tens of thousands of innocent people in the bush and deprived them of basic human needs – medical care and access to good food, are themselves a violation of the International Human Rights laws and the government in Jakarta knows this very well.

According to the Indonesian human rights lawyer who was the focus of this year’s anti-racism uprising, Veronica Koman, more than two hundred residents of Nduga area have died in the jungle more than a year fleeing their homes amidst Indonesian reprisal attacks on villagers suspected of colluding with enemies of the state. These are victims of an illegal war that warrants an urgent UN intervention.

We also urge our young people to become peaceful political activists and help spread the issue of West papua to the far fringes of this planet. The story of West Papua must head and it will be heard in all corners of this plant. Join our effort in resisting Indonesian Occupation peacefully. There’s no need to give TNI and police justification for their attack on our innocent people. It is time join our quest for self-determination and use every mean possible to defeat the aggressor- the Indonesian government.

We renew our call for leaders of Indonesian to release all political prisoners who are serving time without due process and to allow those innocent people back to their homes. This is not the first time, but we are certainly not going to allow the Indonesian government to define who we are or what we do, we need to call them out for the lives of those who are in their care.

Good Bless West Papua