WEST PAPUA: Assassination of Theys Eluay, independence leader


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-37-2001

UA-37-2001 – Assassination of Theys Eluay, independence leader
WEST PAPUA: Political abduction and murder


Theys Eluay, foremost political independence leader of West Papua and chairman of the Presedium Dewan Papua (Papua Praesidium Council), was abducted and murdered on Saturday night by unknown assailants. The killing follows Eluay’s vocal rejection last week of a Special Autonomy package offered by the Indonesian government to appease separatist sentiments. This must be considered a political assassination, and needs to be thoroughly, independently and transparently investigated and expeditiously prosecuted.


[Information from local partners and Human Rights Watch]

According to local sources, Theys Eluay’s last hours began with his attendance at the provincial government’s ‘Heroes Day’ reception at the Hotel Matoa in Jayapura at 6pm on November 10, 2001. From the hotel, he went directly to another event – to which he was invited by the regional military – in Hamadi, South Jayapura. He called his wife on his cell phone as he was leaving to tell her he was on the way home.

At 10:10pm, Eluay’s driver, Aristoteles Masoka, made an anguished call to Eluay’s home saying that Eluay had been abducted by \”amber\” (a local word for non-Papuans) in a place known as Skyline, the highest point around, between the villages of Entop and Kotaraja, located some ten kilometres from Jayapura. As the driver was speaking, the phone was cut off, according to Eluay’s family. His whereabouts are not known, and as he is the only eyewitness aside from the perpetrators, there are grave fears for his safety.

The family immediately called the police, and on Sunday morning, Theys’ body was found together with his car in Koya, about nine kilometres from the Papua New Guinea border. Police took the body back to Jayapura for autopsy. The results of the autopsy are not yet available.

On December 1, Eluay was planning a public event to mark the anniversary of a December 1, 1961 declaration of independence by Papuan separatists. He had been arrested in the past for participating in pro-independence ceremonies on that day.

Eluay’s widow, Yaneke, has accused the Indonesian security forces of organising the killing, and many Papuan’s with the same opinion yesterday burned the marketplaces in Abepura and Eluay’s hometown of Sentani. Papuan students are fearful of the development of horizontal conflict in Papua during this week. They are organising peaceful protests to call for proper investigation for this assassination.


Write to the President and the head of the National Human Rights Commission, asking them to both initiate independent, transparent and competent inquiries to ascertain the facts of this case, and to bring the perpetrators and organisers of Eluay’s assassination to prosecution quickly.


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Dear Madam President and Commissioner Nababan

I am deeply disturbed by the assassination on 10th November 2001 of Mr. Theys Eluay, chairman of Presedium Dewan Papua. He was abducted from a place known as ‘Skyline’ (around 10km from Jayapura) whilst driving from official government and military ‘Heroes Day’ engagements in Jayapura to his home in Sentani. He was murdered that evening and his body found 9km from the PNG border. We are also concerned for the safety of Mr. Eluay’s driver, Aristoteles Masoka, who witnessed the abduction.

Due to Mr. Eluay’s opposition to the recent Special Autonomy package offered by Madam President, there is a great deal of suspicion in the Indonesian and international human rights community about the motives for his assassination. Hence, I respectfully urge both the government and Komnas HAM to investigate the murder of Theys Eluay. The two investigation teams must be fully independent, transparent and competent, and the results must be made public and used expeditiously for prosecution of all perpetrators. Anything less than this would see a further disintegration into civil and ethnic unrest in Papua.

Yours sincerely




Mrs. Megawati Sukarnoputri

President, Republic of Indonesia

Presidential Palace, Jakarta

Istana Negara, Indonesia.

Fax: (62 21) 345 7782

SALUTATION: Your Excellency

Mr. Asmara Nababan

Secretary General

Komnas HAM

Jl. Latuharhary No. 4B Menteng

Jakarta Pusat

FAX: (62 21) 392 5227

EMAIL: info@komnas.go.id

SALUTATION: Dear Mr. Nababan


Ms. Hina Jilani

Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders

c/o OHCHR-UNOG, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Fax: (41 22) 917 9006



Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-37-2001
Countries : Asia,