01 August 2010

The Killing of Yawan Wayeni...


I have had this for a few days (and the LA Times went with this story today) and the news relates to events that happened on 3 August 2009. I have been thinking whether I should post it and what I should say about it. I have 99 followers and average about 21 returning visitors every day (according to my statcounter). So, I am hardly a fountain of influence peddling information. If only I had the numbers that Perez Hilton has or the same number of Twitter followers that Ashton Kutchner has, then maybe what I post might influence opinion a little. But, I firmly believe that the flap of a butterfly's wings can cause a tornado at some point in the future. We must start somewhere, and maybe if each of us does a part we can, together, influence opinion and make the world a better place.

This post does not lend itself to a full expose of the litany of abuses perpetrated against the Papuan people since the integration of Papua into Indonesia in 1963 and the alleged act of free choice in 1969. However, it is important to note that there has been resistance to the integration into Indonesia.

It must also be pointed out that the Indonesian government still tightly controls access to the region. The lack of access by Indonesian human rights NGOs and Indonesian press leads to allegations that the Indonesian government is perpetrating crimes against the Papuans in order to stifle this dissent and eradicate it. It is time that the world took a stance on this issue and called the Indonesians to task. Nevertheless, it is also important that Indonesians themselves said, "enough is enough" and moved to bring their government to account for the ongoing atrocities occurring in Papua.

Perhaps, it is more important that Indonesians take a stand on the brutality being perpetrated against the Papuans as this then prevents the Indonesian government playing the "foreigner" card. The foreigner card is the claim, made generally through Commission I of the Indonesian Parliament, that foreigners leveling accusations of Indonesian brutality in its far-flung and restive provinces is nothing more than international meddling in domestic affairs with a view to securing vast swathes of Indonesia's natural resources for themselves.

The video is the of the killing of Yawan Wayeni. Wayeni was an escaped convict. He had been jailed for alleged violence against police and the burning of police property. He was also said to be a member of the Free Papua Movement or Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM). The video is graphic. Wayeni has been bayoneted in the stomach and his killers are taunting him through the final moments of his life.

However, in scenes reminiscent of Braveheart, Wayeni to the end can be seen raising his fist and saying as loud as he can "Papua Freedom" (Papua Merdeka). The video shows the police taunting Wayeni as he lies there. It also shows that they are not rendering him any assistance. Even if the claim was that he was wounded in this way while resisting arrest with a home-made rifle, it is clear that he is no longer any threat. The police must render all assistance they can.

The video was taken by the police. So, it has been leaked. By who, and why, remains a mystery.

It must be noted that, aside from Brimob, the other force most active in the restive province of Papua is the special forces. The special forces known by their Indonesian acronym of Kopassus (Komando Pasukan Khusus) have long been a pariah in world military circles with most countries opting not to engage in any joint activities with them. However, the US has recently indicated that they are about to re-engage with them. Australia has been re-engaged with them since 2005.

This is problematic because this force has long been accused of serious and grave breaches of human rights. These abuses have been perpetrated against the Timorese during Indonesia's occupation of East Timor / Timor Leste, and against the Acehnese during the period of Special Military Operations (DOM / Daerah Operasi Militer) and also against the Papuans. For these alleged abuses the special forces have never been called to account. Re-engaging with them suggests that there is no longer any serious intent on the part of most nations to hold either Kopassus or Indonesia accountable for these violations.

There can be no justice without accountability.


H. Nizam said...

Hi Rob,
It is this kind of tortures that strengthen people's wish to separate from Indonesia.
Re: Kopasus
Considering that Australia and the USA have revive relationship with both, I think Australia and the US can talk to the Indonesian govt.
Re: Brimob
The anti terrorist force Densus-88 that was created and maintained with the help from Australia, so actually Australia can urge them to use civilize ways.

Rob Baiton said...

@ Harry...

It does tend to reinforce the desire for independence.

ON the Kopassus and Brimob fronts, I beg to differ. Not so much on the "urging" change, but rather on the ability to force (or encourage) change.

My preference would be for both Australia and the US to be unengaged with both Kopassus and Brimob until there has been more substantial recognition and accounting of past human rights breaches.