The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the shooting, beatings and assaults directed by security officers against peaceful protesters in Sentani, Papua on 4 June 2012. The shooting and attacks allegedly resulted in the death of three protesters while 45 others were arrested and some ill-treated. The protest was organised by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) to urge the government to investigate several shootings against civilians which recently took place in Papua.
According to local Papuan activists interviewed by the AHRC, at around 11.30am on 4 June 2012, activists of KNPB were gathering in Jalan Sosial as well as Pos Tujuh before departing to the office of the local autonomy parliament (DPRP) in Abepura to hold a peaceful demonstration. Eleven trucks were prepared by the organisers to take the protesters to the DPRP office and to carry more protesters gathered in Kampung Harapan who would also join the demonstration later. (Photo: One of the victims killed, Panuel Tablo, at the hospital. source: local activists)
At around 12pm, the protesters started leaving Jalan Sosial and Pos Tujuh to Kampung Harapan to pick up more protesters there. When they arrived in Kampung Harapan, the police asked the protesters to disperse. According to the police, the demonstration was conducted without any permission from the police. The protesters ignored the request of the police and continued the journey to the DPRP office. They requested a permit to Papua Regional Police in advance, in compliance with Law No. 9 Year 1998 regarding the Freedom to Express Opinion in Public, but the police just did not issue the permit for them.
As the protesters arrived in Telaga Maya, there were more security officers from various institutions–allegedly from the Jayapura District Police, Sentani Sub-District Police, and the Indonesian Military-who asked them to disperse. It is reported that there were transport trucks and armoured vehicles and the security officers were armed. The protesters were unable to move anywhere as they were surrounded by the security forces and their vehicles and the lake and mountain nearby blocked other routes for the protesters to leave.
Following this, the coordinator of the demonstration, Agus Kossay, announced to the protesters to leave and return home. As the protesters were marching back home, the security officers were slowly following them. When the protesters reached Kampung Harapan, they tried sit down and rest but the police prohibited them from doing so. At this point, the members of the security officers opened fire to intimidate the protesters and disperse the group. This triggered chaos. The security officers fired further rounds at the protesters which resulted in the death of Yesa Mirin and Panuel Tablo. It is reported that another man named Tanius Kalakmabin also died during the forced dispersal by the security officers yet his death and the cause is still unconfirmed. Video footage of Panuel Tablo and his family at a hospital in Yowari, Sentani, is available here. (Photo: dead body of Yesa Mirin at the hospital.)
Forty five protesters were arrested and brought to Sentani Sub-District Police Station. To date, no further information regarding their identities, charges and possible release are available. According to a participant of the demonstration, many of the protesters were also beaten and assaulted. Many protesters tried to flee towards the nearby mountains and lake for their safety. The security officers followed them and searched for the protesters who had started to go into hiding for hours. At around 5pm, the protesters started leaving in small groups from that location.
Public assemblies and demonstrations in Papua are routinely faced with large scale deployments of security forces. The serious human rights condition and numerous violations including killings and arbitrary arrests in Papua have been an issue of concern for years. In the latest UN UPR session on Indonesia, for instance, many states such as France, Germany and the United States of America expressed its concern on the issue of freedom of expression and opinion in Papua.
Under Article 10 of Indonesian Law No. 9 Year 1998 concerning the Freedom to Express Opinion in Public, everyone should request for permit from the police to conduct demonstrations at least three days prior to the demonstration. Any demonstrations which are conducted without the police’s permit, therefore, considered to be illegal by the police who have the authority to disperse them. In some instances, however, requests for demonstration permit to the police were not properly responded.
In dispersing demonstration conducted without permit, the police are not allowed to take excessive measures. According to The Chief of the Indonesian National Police Regulation No. 16 Year 2006 concerning Guidance on Mass Control, the police are prohibited to use live ammunitions when dealing with peaceful protests. Furthermore, the Chief of the Indonesian National Police Regulation No. 1 Year 2009 on The Use of Force establishes that live ammunitions should be used only to stop any activities which pose severe injury or death to the police or the public. Article 7 of the Regulation establishes that such activities are, for instance, the arson of gas station or electric poles as well as the explosion of an armoury. For activities other than these, the police are only allowed to use force without weapons or chemical sprays, such as tear gas and chilli spray, as well as non-sharp objects.
Despite such prohibitions, however, the police was able to use live ammunition against protesters because there is hardly judicial measures taken against those who use the ammunition arbitrarily.
International human rights law also sets out that police shall use force only when it is strictly necessary. The UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms, for instance, emphasizes that force and firearms shall be used only ‘if other means remain ineffective or without any promise of achieving the intended result.’
Article 17 of the Indonesian Law No. 34 Year 2004 on Indonesian Military sets out that the authority to deploy the military is in the President who should seek the consent of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR). Only in emergency situation the President is allowed to set aside the requirement on the DPR’s consent yet even in such case, the President has to report the deployment to DPR within 48 hours.
The legal basis of the President to deploy military forces in Papua is questionable as the DPR has never given its consent on the deployment of military power in Papua. In fact, following his meeting with the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) and KontraS, the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence in 2011, the DPR’s 1st Commission Deputy Chairman, TB Hassanudin, criticised the deployment of military in Papua and the lack of transparency in it. He was not aware of any consent given by the DPR for the deployment of military in Papua and pointed out that the DPR has never been given any reports concerning the number of the troops and the use of financial resources to fund the military operation.
Please write and urge the listed authorities below to ensure an impartial and effective investigation on the shooting to take place. Those who are responsible for the deaths of the protesters should be adequately punished and the victims and their family should also be given adequate reparation. Please also urge the relevant authorities within the list to release the protesters and to review the deployment of military power in Papua. The Indonesian Law No. 8 Year 1998 on the Freedom to Express Opinion should also be reviewed so it provides more safeguards that can prevent arbitrary rejections by the police to the submitted demonstration permit requests.
The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of expression and the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions asking for their intervention in this case.
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INDONESIA: Three Papuans engaged in peaceful demonstration were killed allegedly by security officers while 45 others were arrested
Name of shot victims: Panuel Tablo, Yesa Mirin, Tanius Kalakmabin
Number of arrested persons: 45 (information on identity is unavailable)
Names of alleged perpetrators: Officers from Jayapura District Police, Sentani District Police Station, Indonesian Military
Date of incident: 4 June 2012
Place of incident: Sentani, Jayapura
I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the shooting, use of excessive force and extrajudicial killings by security officers against peaceful protesters took place in Sentani, Jayapura, on 4 June 2012 which resulted in the death of Panuel Tablo and Yesa Mirin. I have been told another person named Tanius Kalakmabin has also allegedly died during the protest dispersal by security officers. I was informed that three of them are activists of West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Pembebasan Papua, KNPB) who were going to conduct a peaceful demonstration in front of the local autonomy parliament (DPRP) office in Abepura.
I received the information from the local activists that, the protesters were marching from Jalan Sosial and Pos Tujuh to Kampung Harapan to pick up more protesters before they continued their journey to Abepura. At Kampung Harapan, they were stopped by the police who asked them to disperse themselves as the protesters do not have any permit from the police to conduct a demonstration as required by Law No. 9 Year 1998 concerning the Freedom to Express Opinion in Public. The request and warning of the police were ignored by the protesters who later continued their march to Abepura. They claimed they have requested for a permit in accordance with the law but the permit has never been issued by the Papua Regional Police. I am concerned with the fact that the police can arbitrarily disregard or reject a request for demonstration permit as happened in this case.
As the protesters reached Telaga Maya, they were surrounded by security officers allegedly from Jayapura District Police, Sentani Sub-District Police, and the Indonesian Military. The officers were armed and the protesters were also surrounded by transport trucks and armoured vehicles of the officers which made it difficult for them to move anywhere. The coordinator of the demonstration, Agus Kossay, later announced to the protesters to leave and return home. The protesters later marching back home and they were followed by the security officers. At Kampung Harapan, the protesters would like to take a rest but the security officers did not allow them to. The officers opened fire to scare the protesters off so that they will disperse themselves yet the shooting, instead, has triggered chaos. The security officers started shooting randomly towards the protesters that Yesa Mirin and Panuel Tablo were shot to death. The protesters were also beaten by the security officers. Another protester, Tanius Kalakmabin, also allegedly died in the incident yet the cause of his death is still unclear to date.
I was also told that 45 protesters were arrested and brought to Sentani Sub-District Police Station. Some protesters tried to save themselves by hiding in the forest and the lake for hours.
Under the current Indonesian law, a permit from the police is needed for a ‘legal’ demonstration to be conducted and the failure to meet such requirement will result in the dispersal of the demonstration. However, in this case, the protesters have met the requirements established by the law but the Papua Regional Police did not issue the permit as it was supposed to. In fact, even if the protesters did not meet the requirements, I am of the view that the police or any other security officers should not use excessive power, especially lethal weapons, to disperse the demonstration when it is conducted peacefully. I am aware that even The Chief of the Indonesian National Police Regulation No. 16 Year 2006 regarding Guidance on Mass Control prohibits the police to use live ammunitions when dealing with peaceful protests. This is reaffirmed under the Chief of the Indonesian National Police Regulation No. 1 Year 2009 on the Use of Force which establishes that live ammunitions should only be used to stop activities that pose injury and death threat to the police or public. Situation that amount to such criteria, for instance, is where the persons who perform the activities are armed. Article 7 of the Regulation uses the arson of gas station or electric poles as well as the explosion of armoury as examples of activities that pose injury and death threat to the public. As far as I am concerned, the protesters in this case did not do anything which amount to any of those that the using of lethal weapon to disperse them is illegitimate, unlawful, disproportionate and unnecessary.
In this opportunity, I would like to question the deployment of military forces in Papua region. Indonesian Law No. 34 Year 2004 regarding Indonesian Military establishes that authority to deploy military forces is in the hand of the President who should seek the consent of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR). In times of emergency, the President might be justified not to ask for the consent of the DPR so long as he/she reports such deployment to DPR within 48 hours. I would like to bring to your attention to the unclarity of legal basis of military power deployment in Papua as the DPR has never given its consent for such thing to take place, as rightly pointed out by DPR’s 1st Commission Deputy Chairman, TB Hassanudin, last year. According to Mr. Hassanudin, the DPR has never been given any reports concerning the number of troops deployed and the use of financial resources to fund the military operation in Papua that the transparency of military deployment in this particular region is questionable.
Considering all of this, I am urging you to take the necessary steps to ensure an impartial and effective investigation on the shooting to take place and the victims’ family to be given adequate reparation. I am calling you to bring those who are responsible for the killings to be brought to justice and the arrested persons to be released. Should there are any allegations that the arrested persons have violated the laws, they should be treated humanely and their rights should be guaranteed in any instances. Equally important, I am also urging you to withdraw the military personnel deployed in Papua and to review the Law No. 8 Year 1998 concerning the Freedom to Express Opinion in Public so that it provides more safeguards to prevent arbitrary rejection by the police to the requests for demonstration permit.
I am looking forward to your swift and adequate response in this matter.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
President of Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Tel: +62 21 345 8595
Fax: +62 21 3483 4759
2. Ms. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo
General Director of Human Rights
Ministry of Law and Human Rights
Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. 6-7
Kuningan, Jakarta 12940
Tel: +62 21 525 3006, 525 3889
Fax: +62 21 525 3095
3. Gen. Timur Pradopo
Chief of the Indonesian National Police
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan 12110
Tel: +62 21 384 8537, 726 0306
Fax: +62 21 7220669
4. Laksamana Agus Suhartono
Military Commander in Chief
Mabes TNI, Cilangkap
Tel: +62 21 8459 1244, 8459 1243
Fax: +62 21 845 6805
5. Drs. Mahfudz Siddiq
Chairman of the 1st Commission of the DPR
Gedung Nusantara II DPR RI
Lt. I, Jl. Jend. Gatot Subroto
Tel: +62 21 571 5581, 571 5518
Fax: +62 21 571 5523
6. Mr. Ifdhal Kasim
Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM)
Jl. Latuharhary No. 4-B
Tel: +62 21 392 5227
Fax: +62 21 392 5227
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org)