UPDATE (Indonesia): Army Special Forces threaten social workers to find out Father Johanes Djonga’s whereabouts in Papua


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-156-2007
ISSUES: Freedom of expression, Human rights defenders,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information regarding the continuing threats of social workers by the Army Special Forces in Papua since September 2007 to get location of Father Johanes Djonga working for human rights. The AHRC has earlier raised the alarm about the army’s threats against the Father Djonga but threats are still made to his friends and social workers who are known as the leaders of villages. The AHRC is concerned about the government’s inaction against these repeated threats by the army.


As described in our previous appeal, Father Johanes Djonga, a Catholic priest, has been receiving threats and intimidation from army in Waris District, Papua since August of this year. Army Special Forces (Kopassus) of Waris District accused him of being provocative and claimed that he was betraying the Indonesian government (UP-130-2007). Please also see previous case citing threats against human rights defenders in Papua (UA-209-2007)

It is reported that due to the precarious condition in his parish community, Waris District, Father Djonga went hiding following numerous threats since August 2007. However in his absence, various threats are reported to have been addressed to the people, such as colleagues and friends, who had been working closely for human rights with him.

On 2 October 2007, Pius Amo, a student of Waena Pastoral Institute in Jayapura, was yelled at by Lieutenant Agus, Military Commander of Waris District, “You! You are Father Djonga men!” Though there was no physical attack against Pius Amo, it is reported that Pius is psychologically affected by the encounter and scared at the sight of military officers since the incident because the situation is not stable.

On October 26, First Lieutenant Usman, Commander of the Army Special Forces (Kopassus) of Waris District, Papua province, threatened Gaspar May, Chief of Banda tribe, and Theodorus Meho, a well known figure who were also one of the Father’s colleagues in Waris District. When they were attending a ceremony, Usman said that they would vanish as a result of their relationship with Father Djonga.

It is also reported that on October 28, Usman and some military personnel tried to forcefully intoxicate a few men in an attempt to get information on whereabouts of Father Djonga in Waris District.

The people of Waris District have asked Father Djonga not to come back because the situation is still unsafe. People in the Waris District are becoming increasingly scared due to the threats from the Kopasus, who keep asking for the whereabouts of Father Djonga. The continuing threats to Father Djonga are strongly believed to be as a result of his involvement in human rights work. Few months back, he submitted a report to the governor of Papua and the military commander in the city of Jayapura which criticized the military action in the borders of Waris and Papua New Guinea.

Please immediately write to the concerned authorities listed below demanding a fair and impartial investigation into the continuous threats and intimidations against human rights activist in Papua. Please urge them to ensure that such intimidation act shall be halted and those responsible shall be brought to justice. The integrity of the Father Djonga must be ensured.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear __________,

INDONESIA: Army Special Forces threaten social workers to get Father Johanes Djonga’s whereabouts in Papua

Name of persons receiving threats:
1. Father Johanes Djongak, a Catholic priest, Papua
2. Gaspar May, Chief of Banda tribe, Papua
3. Theodorus Meho, a social worker, Papua
4. Pius Amo, a student of Waena Pastoral Institute in Jayapura city, Papua
5. Some villagers of Waris District were traumatized by the continuing intimidation by the army
Name of alleged perpetrators:
1. First Lieutenant Usman, Commander of the Army Special Forces (Kopassus) in Waris district, Papua
2. Other army personnel
3. Lieutenant Agus, Military Commander of Waris District (Danramil)
Date of incident: Since August 2007 to now
Place of incident: Waris District, Papua

I am gravely concerned by the continuing intimidation and threats committed by the Commander of the Army Special Forces (Kopassus) in Waris district, Papua province, First Lieutenant Usman, and the soldiers under his command towards Father Johanes Djonga, directly and indirectly.

Recently the intimidation has transformed into indirect threats subjected on those who are close with Father Djonga, such as the servants in his parish community and few local villager of Waris District. Due to the unsafe condition experienced by him, Father Djonga went hiding following numerous threats.

As a member of UN Human Rights Council and signatory party to the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the Indonesian government has a responsibility to guarantee the safety of human rights defenders. In particular it must uphold its obligation to international standards specifically article 12.2 of the Declaration, which says, “The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”

I am informed that regardless of the above-mentioned facts, the Indonesian military continues to attack and intimidate human rights defenders with impunity. This is ensured by the authorities’ failure to investigate such incidents and to punish those found to be responsible. Attacks on human rights defenders should be seen as attempts to also silence the victims they represent and amount to further attacks on human rights themselves.

In light of the above, I strongly urge you to order an immediate and thorough investigation into these threats made by the army personnel against the social workers without delay. The concerned authorities must exhaust all means to afford protection for them and to ensure their safety. If found that the allegations are true, appropriate charges and disciplinary action must be imposed upon them promptly.

I strongly urge the Indonesian authorities to ensure that all attacks, threats and acts of intimidation cease and all other barriers to the work of human rights defenders are immediately halted. The government must ensure that the afore-mentioned cases are at once and impartially investigated and that all persons found responsible are brought to justice, with adequate reparation being provided to the victims. The worsening human rights situation in the province must be addressed without delay.

I trust that you immediate take action on this serious matter.


Yours sincerely,



1. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Republic of Indonesia
Presidential Palace
Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara
Jakarta Pusat 10010
Tel: + 62 21 384 5627 ext 1003
Fax: + 62 21 231 4138 / 345 2685 / 345 7782

2. Mr. Hendarman Supandji
Attorney General
Kejaksaan Agung RI
Jl. Sultan Hasanuddin No. 1
Jakarta Selatan
Tel: + 62 21 722 1337 / 739 7602
Fax: + 62 21 725 0213

3. Gen. Sutanto
Chief of National Police
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Jakarta Selatan
Tel: +62 21 721 8012
Fax: +62 21 720 7277

4. Gen. Djoko Santoso
Commander in Chief of Indonesian Army Force
Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara No. 2 
Jakarta Pusat
Tel: +62 21 381 1745
Fax: +62 21 381 1089

5. Mr. Ifdhal Kasim
National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas HAM) 
Jl. Latuharhary No. 4B Menteng 
Jakarta Pusat 10310
Tel: +62 21 392 5230
Fax: +62 21 315 1042 / 392 5227

6. Ms. Hina Jilani
Special Representative of the Secretary General on the situation of human rights defenders
Room 1-040, OHCHR-UNOG
1211 Geneva 10
Fax: +41 22 906 8670

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrchk.org)

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-156-2007
Countries : Indonesia,
Campaigns : End Violence in West Papua
Issues : Freedom of expression, Human rights defenders,