III. Background

The tensions and complexities that characterize policing in Papua are difficult to appreciate without understanding the context of the conflict in the province. For this reason, the next section of the report will go into some detail on the roots of security force operations in the area, and the history behind the ongoing tensions.

Roots of the Papuan conflict 

The provinces of Papua and West Papua are in the most eastern part of Indonesia. The indigenous population in this region is ethnically quite different from any other in Indonesia, and boasts over 300 distinct ethno-linguistic groups. Recent years have seen a growing sense of “pan-Papuan” identity in response to the process of decolonization, Indonesia’s military presence, and the recent history of transmigration of non-Papuans from other Indonesian territories. The arrival of overseas missionaries has engendered a large part of the indigenous population turning away from traditional animist practice and converting to Christianity. Churches and church communities have become important focal points in modern Papuan life.3   

Some Papuan peoples in Indonesia claim they are victims of an historical injustice, robbed of the independence promised to them by their former Dutch colonizers. While the rest of Indonesia gained independence in 1949 following a war of independence, the Dutch retained control in Papua into the 1960s. In the later years of Dutch rule, colonial officials in the region had been preparing Papua for independence by encouraging Papuan nationalism and by allowing the establishment of political parties and nascent institutions of state.4

However, rather than handing over control of the territory to Papuans, the Dutch instead agreed in 1962 to transfer authority over the territory to a United Nations Temporary Executive Authority, and then to Indonesia within a year,5 on condition that by end of 19696 an “Act of Free Choice” would be conducted to determine Papua’s future status. Every adult Papuan would be eligible to participate in this act of self-determination.7

Instead of creating a process of universal suffrage, the Indonesian authorities decided to conduct the referendum through “representative” assemblies. With the agreement of the Dutch and the United Nations, the Act of Free Choice was conducted by Indonesia in April 1969, with United Nations assistance.8 The assemblies chose just 1,026 Papuans to participate.9 The majority of the 1,022 who actually did participate were nominated by the Indonesian authorities and then voted on behalf of the rest of the population through eight regional councils.10 According to one historian’s account, the Indonesian military used intimidation and coercion against the delegates.11 The result was a unanimous vote for continued integration with Indonesia.

Indonesia has always maintained that, as a former part of the Netherlands East Indies, West New Guinea (as it was then named) was a legitimate part of Indonesia.  Indonesia further argued that the level of education was so low in the territory that the “one man, one vote” principle could not be applied.

The Act of Free Choice is widely considered by Papuans to be a fraudulent basis for Indonesian annexation of the territory, and fuels the continuing demand for “historical rectification,” and a new act of self determination. The OPM (the Free Papua Movement), established in 1965,12 has since maintained a low–level, armed guerrilla war targeting mainly members of the Indonesian security forces, but has also on occasion targeted Indonesian transmigrants,13 foreign workers, and journalists.14 Despite the dubious bona fides of the Act of Free Choice, the OPM has never succeeded in garnering much international support15 with only a handful of small Pacific states16 officially supporting the OPM’s key demand for a new vote of self-determination.

In the Soeharto period, Indonesia’s strategy to deal with the OPM was typically through military operations which sought, often brutally, to repress the OPM and its supporters. During the 1970s and 1980s a series of military campaigns against the OPM resulted in large-scale civilian deaths through execution-style killings in village sweeping operations, aerial bombardments, and malnutrition caused by forced displacement.17  Campaigns targeted communities and relatives of OPM members and many were arbitrarily detained, tortured, raped, and, in some cases, killed. Most detained Papuans were not formally charged and tried, but those who were brought to courts did not receive fair trials. Small scale attacks on military and police posts by the OPM were met with disproportionate retaliatory operations which often arbitrarily targeted civilians.18

In the mid-1980s Indonesian government policy supported “transmigration,” the transfer of typically poor families from other islands to Papua in large numbers. This program, together with increasing spontaneous migration by people seeking economic opportunities in resource-rich Papua, drastically altered the demographic composition of Papua. The Government appropriated, usually without compensation, large tracts of land from traditional owners to support the new arrivals. For example “Operation Clean Sweep” in June 1981 was reportedly used to force Papuans off their lands in the border regions to vacate land for incoming transmigrants. This resulted in entire Papuan communities being displaced and increased feelings of marginalization by the indigenous population, especially in the mining towns where non-Papuans sometimes vastly outnumbered Papuans. Non-Papuans also dominated government bureaucracies and had better access to higher education and employment. By 2000 when government-supported transmigration programs ended, non-ethnic Papuans made up around 35 percent of the population.19 

The struggle for control of Papua’s abundant natural resources has contributed significantly to the conflict. Concessions given to mining companies without consideration for the rights of local people, and the involvement of state security forces in guarding mining sites, has provided fertile ground for conflict. The direct involvement of senior members of the police and army in resource extraction, such as where members of the military hold logging concessions themselves or receive payment from mining companies for security services, combined with the lucrative taxes which flow to the Indonesian state, provide powerful motives for the state to retain tight control.20

Civilians who protest against the impact of these activities upon their environment, livelihoods, and communities are often repressed by security force members who have frequently responded to community protest with disproportionate and fatal force.21 The US owned Freeport copper and gold mine has a particularly long history of troubled relations with local communities who, despite the mine’s development programs, feel excluded from the economic benefits of the mine yet bear the brunt of its environmental impact.

Mining towns have been centers of HIV/AIDS transmission in Papua. A survey of more than 600 sex workers in Timika (location of the Freeport mine) showed that  Timika has the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Papua,22 which again is the highest throughout Indonesia.23 High rates of migration among mining workers, poor literacy, and inadequate education campaigns and HIV/AIDS-specific services all contribute to the spread of the disease.

Women in the region are particularly vulnerable, having higher illiteracy rates, lower knowledge of sexual health, and a low status in Papuan culture vis-à-vis men, which restricts their ability to negotiate safe sex with their partners.24 Papuan women suffer from the poorest health in Indonesia. For maternal mortality in Indonesia per 100,000 live births the rate was 450 in 1,986, falling to 334 in 1995 and 307 in 2000. However, in Papua in 1995 the rate was 1,025 per 100,000 live births.25

Post-Reformasi: A Bumpy and Uncertain Transition to Special Autonomy

Since the fall of Soeharto in 1998, the Indonesian government has engaged in an uneven set of reforms to address the political situation in Papua. One reform was to rename the province. Previously known as “Irian Jaya,” on January 1, 2000 President Wahid announced a name change for the province to “Papua.” The change was formalized in September 2002.26In 2003 the government of Megawati Sukarnoputri announced far more controversial plans to split Papua into three provinces: Papua, West Irian Jaya, and Central Irian Jaya.27  The creation of Central Irian Jaya was shelved in August 2003 after violent clashes in Timika over the partition resulted in five deaths. Central Irian Jaya remained part of Papua. West Irian Jaya was created in November 200328 and on April 18, 2007, this name was changed to West Papua.

Many Papuans opposed the splitting of Papua, and in particular the creation of West Irian Jaya, as it was seen as a divide and rule tactic of Jakarta. The division of the province was deemed to be aimed at undermining Papuan efforts to unite behind a common goal of self-determination. Others feared new provinces would herald new provincial military command posts, with attendant increased troop levels in the area.  There were also fears that the split would exclude West Irian Jaya from Special Autonomy status (a question that remains unresolved). Among others, local Papuan officials favored the split, believing that it would improve local services and governance. The division would make administering the vast region easier, through two or three provincial offices, rather than just one.29

But the centerpiece of the Indonesian government’s strategy for reaching an accommodation with Papuans has been the offer of Special Autonomy which, as the name implies, involves the devolution of many political and fiscal powers to the province. The strategy is aimed at encouraging pro-independence supporters to work within the state and to build robust Papuan institutions.30

Fears of Papua becoming the next “East Timor” and the then-failing peace process in Aceh provided the context for the November 2001 law on Special Autonomy (otonomi khusus or otsus). 31 However lack of consensus within the Indonesian government, with nervousness that any concession would fan and strengthen demands for independence,32 has resulted in the protracted and half-hearted implementation of the law. 

At the core of this governance model is the MRP, the Papuan People’s Council, made up of religious leaders, women, and customary representatives.33 It was to be established within two years of enactment of the Special Autonomy law34 and was mandated to protect and defend the rights of indigenous Papuans, especially in the areas of customary law, religion, and women’s rights. The negotiation process dragged on and it became increasingly clear that President Megawati Sukarnoputri was not supportive of giving Special Autonomy any real substance.

Not long after President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono took office in October 2004, the regulation enacting the MRP was finally issued and the body was established. Controversy then commenced about the composition and voting procedure for the new body with the powerful Papuan Dewan Adat (Customary Council), already disillusioned by the faltering process, refusing to support and participate in the new body.35 Key religious bodies also boycotted the selection process until the last minute. Nonetheless, representatives for the MRP were selected, albeit not through direct elections. Irregularities in the selection process occurred in patches but monitors concluded that they were not sufficiently widespread to impugn the overall results.36 MRP members were inaugurated on October 31, 2005.

One of the first blows dealt to the MRP was the government’s refusal to consult with it on the creation of West Irian Jaya, as is required under the Special Autonomy law. This was exacerbated by the decision of the Indonesian government to push ahead with provincial elections in the new West Irian Jaya Province before its legal status in relation to Special Autonomy was finally resolved.37 A decision of Indonesia’s Constitutional Court in November 200438 further confused the new province’s status. The court ruled that while the Special Autonomy law superceded the 1999 law creating the new province of West Irian Jaya, the new province should be recognized nonetheless as its existence was already a political fait accompli, the authorities having, for example, already conducted elections for a regional parliament.39 No new regulations reconciling the status of West Irian Jaya with Special Autonomy have followed and uncertainty remains.40 However, the two governors of the provinces in Papua, as well as local parliamentary and MRP leaders, signed an agreement on April 18, 2007, that West Papua will come under Special Autonomy, and the two provinces will share the funds provided for it.41

Despite the difficulties experienced in establishing the MRP and implementing Special Autonomy, substantial decentralization of power has occurred. The central government in Jakarta has effectively devolved itself of control over most policy areas, though it retains control over foreign affairs, defense and security, fiscal and monetary policy, religious affairs, and justice.42 Given that the governors of both Papuan provinces, all district heads, and all members of the MRP are indigenous Papuans, and that Special Autonomy has brought substantial financial resources to local coffers,43 there is a new opportunity to address some of the Papuan people’s longstanding grievances.

Unfortunately, despite the reforms, poor governance remains the norm in Papua with corruption and neglect of duty by indigenous Papuans on par with what had existed prior to the influx of Papuans into civil service leadership positions.44 A lack of skilled civil servants and the overall limited human resource capacity restrict efforts to effectively implement and monitor development programs. The new post-Special Autonomy political elite in Papua commonly use their positions and influence to play out regional, ethnic, and tribal tensions.45 Lack of attention to the poor performance of some local leaders by the central government has left many ordinary Papuans increasingly disillusioned with Special Autonomy, having seen no improvements to their standard of living, despite much greater local management of the wealth of the Papuan provinces.46 The 2004 Human Development Report for Indonesia noted that Papua was “ranked 26 places lower in the Human Development Index than in Gross Domestic Product, a clear indication that the income from Papua’s natural resources has not been invested sufficiently in services for the people.”47

While the Special Autonomy process has been marred by long delays and wavering commitment on the part of the Indonesian government, the latter cannot be blamed for all of Papua’s continuing problems, and an increasing proportion of responsibility must rest with Papuan maladministration.

In late July 2006 the media reported that OPM leaders, meeting in Papua New Guinea, had decided to end their armed struggle and to continue their demands for independence using peaceful means. They did, however, maintain their right to defend themselves if attacked.48 In response, TNI Commander in Chief Marshal Djoko Suyanto stated that the military would remain “vigilant” but that they would no longer conduct offensive operations to pursue OPM separatists.49 It remains to be seen whether these developments will usher in a new commitment to peace and restraint on both sides. A series of attacks on security officers in Punjak Jaya in December 2006 allegedly by the OPM cell led by Goliat Tabuni (the attacks included two fatal shootings of TNI soldiers (one retired) on December 8 in the Yamok mountain area, 2 kilometers from the old city Mulia; one non-fatal shooting of a Brimob officer on December 13; and the brief kidnapping of a TNI officer on December 24) was a major setback.

The Indonesian government remains intolerant of even peaceful expressions of pro-independence sentiment. Those involved in Morning Star flag-raisings or other peaceful expressions of pro-independence sentiment are dealt with harshly.50

The most recent example concerns two men, Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage, who were found guilty on charges of rebellion51 and expressing hostility towards the government52 by the Jayapura District Court. They were sentenced on May 27, 2005, to 15 and 10 years of jail, respectively. The men had participated in a peaceful gathering on December 1, 2004, in Abepura to commemorate Papuan “Independence Day” at which the Morning Star flag was unfurled. Police violently broke up the gathering and arrested several, later releasing all but the two men. The sentence far exceeded the five years sought by the prosecution. In February 2007 Human Rights Watch published the report, “Protest and Punishment: Political Prisoners in Papua,” detailing arrests and convictions for those peacefully campaigning for independence in the region.53

In 2006 Indonesia took some steps towards protecting human rights but has yet to take decisive measures to end impunity by its security forces. In May 2006 Indonesia acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In the same month, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) took legal effect in Indonesia.54 Indonesia had earlier ratified the Convention Against Torture, (CAT, 1998), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, 1984), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1999), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990).55 Indonesia is also in the process of implementing its second national human rights plan (2004-2009).

In May 2006 Indonesia was elected to the UN Human Rights Council, a step which was cynically received in many quarters, but which may create some pressure on Indonesian officials to ensure more consistent adherence to international standards. Indonesia is also currently a member of the UN Security Council.

The real test of the significance of these developments will be the willingness and ability of the Indonesian government to implement the newly ratified human rights standards both in law and in everyday practice. Indonesia has long paid lip-service to international institutions and treaties but, with only a few exceptions, has failed to create effective mechanisms for implementation. For example, despite ratifying the Convention Against Torture (CAT) in 1998, Indonesia has failed to incorporate the term “torture” into its legislative vocabulary or create any mechanism for systematically translating CAT principles into practice.56    

3 R. Chauvel “Constructing Papuan Nationalism; History, Ethnicity and Adaptation,” Policy Studies 14, East-West Centre, Washington, (accessed June 25, 2007).

4 Kees Lagerberg, “West Irian and Jakarta Imperialism,” (London, Palgrave Macmillon, 1979), pp. 58-72; Nonie Sharp “The Rule of the Sword: The Story of West Irian,” (Victoria, Kilford Books, 1977); J. Saltford “The United Nations and the Indonesian Takeover of West Papua, 1962-1989: The Anatomy of Betrayal,“ (London, Routledge, 2003), pp. 9-10.

5 Agreement between the Republic of Indonesia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands concerning Western New Guinea (West Irian), signed at UN Headquarters, New York, August 15, 1962 (New York Agreement), Article XII,

6 Ibid, art. XX.

7 Ibid, art XVIII (d).

8 The UN team only witnessed 195 out of 1000 of the “elections,” due to obfuscation by the Indonesian Government; See also J. Saltford “The United Nations and the Indonesian Takeover of West Papua, 1962-1989: The Anatomy of Betrayal,“ (London, Routledge, 2003), pp. 143-148; S. Blay “Why West Papua Deserves Another Chance,” Inside Indonesia, Issue 61, Jan-Mar 2000.

9 1,026 were selected but four were unable to participate due to illness or other reason on the day; See J. Saltford “The United Nations and the Indonesian Takeover of West Papua, 1962-1989: The Anatomy of Betrayal,“ (London, Routledge, 2003).

10 J. Saltford “The United Nations and the Indonesian Takeover of West Papua, 1962-1989: The Anatomy of Betrayal “(London, Routledge, 2003), pp. 129-140; See also S. Blay “Why West Papua Deserves Another Chance,” Inside Indonesia, Issue 61, January-March 2000.

11 Some diplomats reported open threats were made against delegates “a council member asked what would happen to him if he opted for Independence; the reply was that he would be shot.” On May 24, the Tjenderawasih newspaper reported that Major Soewondo addressing 200 village chiefs stated that “I am drawing the line frankly and clearly. I say I will protect and guarantee the safety of everyone who is for Indonesia. I will shoot dead anyone who is against us-and all his followers.” See J. Saltford “The United Nations and the Indonesian Takeover of West Papua, 1962-1989: The Anatomy of Betrayal” (London, Routledge, 2003), p. 147.

12 R. Osborne “Indonesia’s Secret War: The Guerilla Struggle in Irian Jaya,” (Sydney, Allen and Unwin, 1985), p. XIV.

13 Transmigration was an Indonesian government policy to alleviate overpopulation in some parts of the country, by moving large communities to other areas of the archipelago. Most transmigrants originated in Java and Bali and were moved to places like Papua, East Timor, Kalimantan and Sulawesi.

14 For example, the kidnapping and killing of 8 Javanese students in 1986, and the kidnapping of an international research team of 12, including the killing of two of them during a military rescue operation in 1996; See U.S. State Department “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Indonesia 2001,” Washington DC, U.S. State Department, March 2002; See also the kidnapping of two Belgian journalists for two months in 2001; See U.S. State Department, “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Indonesia 2001,” Washington DC, U.S State Department, March 2002.

15 R. Osborne “Indonesia’s Secret War: The Guerilla Struggle in Irian Jaya,” (Sydney, Allen and Unwin), 1985, p. XIV.

16 Tuvalu, Nauru and Vanuatu called for Papuan independence in September 2000 at the United Nations Millennium Summit in New York; See Nic Maclellen, “Self determination or territorial integrity?” Inside Indonesia, Issue 67, July-September 2001;  Australia and Papua New Guinea have prioritized strengthening relations with Jakarta, as has the newly independent Timor-Leste; See interview with then Timor-Leste Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta in which he urges Papuans to relinquish their struggle for independence, “Timor-Leste Foreign Minister & 1996 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Jose Ramos-Horta Talks West Papua,” Scoop independent News, October 31, 2005,

17 Allegations have been made of the use of napalm and other chemical weapons; See “Indonesian Human Rights Abuses in West Papua: Application of the Law of Genocide to the History of Indonesian Control,” Indonesia Human Rights Network, Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, Yale Law School, April 2004, pp. 19-26; R. Osborne “Indonesia’s Secret War: The Guerilla Struggle in Irian Jaya,” (Sydney, Allen and Unwin), 1985.

18 For example in April 2003 rebels broke into a military armory and stole a number of rifles. In an army campaign responding to this attack Komnas HAM found that at least seven Papuans were killed, 48 tortured and some 7,000 others forced to flee. See “Papuan Leaders want rights findings revealed,” The Jakarta Post, July 17, 2004.

19 According to UN figures around 35 percent of the Papuan population are non-Papuan migrants, S. Jones “Papua Shrouded by Misperception,” The Australian Financial Review, August 29, 2006. For the year 2000 census figures indicated for the province of West Papua a population of 1,460,846 indigenous people and 772,684 non-indigenous people; See Statement to UN Working Group on Minorities, Commission on Human Rights, 12-16 May 2003,; “Papua: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions,” Asia Briefing no. 53, International Crisis Group, September 5, 2006.

20 “Indonesia: Resources and Conflict in Papua,” International Crisis Group, Brussels, September 2002; Human Rights Watch, Indonesia-Too High a Price: The Human Rights Cost of the Indonesian Military’s Economic Activities, vol. 18, no. 5(C), June 21, 2006.

21 “Indonesia: Resources and Conflict in Papua,” International Crisis Group, Brussels, September 2002.

22 N. Silitonga, A. Roddick, and FS. Wignall “Mining, HIV/AIDS and Women Timika, Papua Province, Indonesia” McDonald I, Rowland C (eds); ‘Tunnel Vision: Women, Mining and Communities,’ Oxfam Community Aid Abroad, (Melbourne, Oxfam, November 2002).

23 In 2002, 20.4 people per 100,000 were infected by HIV in Papua, compared to only 0.42 cases per 100,000 in the rest of Indonesia. Approximately 40 percent of HIV/AIDS cases in Indonesia have been reported in Papua which has approximately 1 percent of the population; Leslie Butt et al., “The Smokescreen of Culture: AIDS and the Indigenous in Papua, Indonesia,” Pacific Health Dialog, September 2002.

24 Leslie Butt et al., “The Smokescreen of Culture: AIDS and the Indigenous in Papua, Indonesia,” 1, Pacific Health Dialog, September 2002.

25 “National human Development Report 2004 - The Economics of Democracy: Financing Human Development in Indonesia,” BPS-Statistics Indonesia, Bappenas and the United Nations Development Program, Indonesia, 2004.

26 See “President Changes Irian Jaya’s Name to Papua,” The Jakarta Post, January 4, 2000; “Indonesia’s Irian Jaya Province Officially Renamed Papua,” Agence France-Presse, October 1, 2002.

27 Formation of Central Irian Jaya Province, Western Irian Jaya Province, Paniai kabupaten, Mimika kabupaten, Puncak Jaya kabupaten, and Sorong City, President of the Republic of Indonesia, Law 45, 1999; In January 2003 President Megawati issued a Presidential Instruction on the Acceleration of the Implementation of Law 45/1999; P. Stockman “Constitutional Court’s Ruling on the Partition of Papua” Watch Indonesia, Information and Analyses, November 24, 2004,

28 P. Stockman “Constitutional Court’s Ruling on the Partition of Papua” Watch Indonesia, Information and Analyses, November 24, 2004,; “Pemekaran yang Menyulut Perang,” Tempo Magazine, September 1-7, 2003, p. 35; On April 18, 2007, the name of West Irian Jaya was officially changed to West Papua.

29 Indonesia – “Dividing Papua: How Not to Do it,” International Crisis Group, Brussels, April 9, 2003.

30 R. McGibbon “Secessionist challenges in Aceh and Papua: Is Special Autonomy the Solution?” East-West Centre, Policy Studies No 10,

31 Special Autonomy for Papua Province, Peoples Representative Assembly and the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Law no. 21, 2001, art. 19,

32 J. Timmer ”Papua,” The Contemporary Pacific, 17.2 (2005), pp. 448-456,

33 Special Autonomy for Papua Province, Peoples Representative Assembly and the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Law no. 21, 2001, art. 19,

34 Ibid, art. 75, chapter XXIII.

35 Dewan Adat Papua, (Papuan Customary Council) “Communique by the Papua Indigenous Peoples,” August 12, 2005,

36 “Papua: The Dangers of Shutting Down Dialogue,” International Crisis Group Briefing No 47, March 23, 2006, p.5; “The West Papua Report September 2005,” Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights (CHR)-West Papua Advocacy Team,; “Papuan Protest Puppet Government,” The Jakarta Post, October 29, 2005.

37 “Irate Papuans Threaten to Boycott Election,” The Jakarta Post, October 10, 2003; “West Irian Jaya Governor Sworn in Despite Dispute,” The Jakarta Post, November 15, 2003.

38 Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia, Putusan Perkara Nomor, 018/PUU-I/2003,

39 With 70 percent of eligible voters turning out, adding substantially to its legitimacy; See “Papua: The Dangers of Shutting Down Dialogue,” International Crisis Group, Asia Briefing No 47, March 23, 2006.

40 Despite around 25 percent of MPR members being from West Irian Jaya, and the province being in receipt of Special Autonomy funds, the Provincial elections were governed under the general Law on Regional Governance suggesting the jurisdiction of Special Autonomy does not extend to West Irian Jaya.

41 Email correspondence with an International Crisis Group Indonesia analyst, May 29, 2007.

42 Special Autonomy for Papua Province, Peoples Representative Assembly and the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Law No 21, 2001,, chapter IV Regional Authority, Article 4(1).

43 The annual budget for Papua in 2006 was 4 trillion rupiah, making it one of the wealthiest provinces per capita in Indonesia. S. Jones “Papua Shrouded by Misperception,” Australian Financial Review, August 26, 2006; A. Sumule “Social and Economic Changes in Papua since the Law on Special Autonomy Came into Effect,” paper presented at conference: “Autonomy for Papua – Opportunity or Illusion,” June 4, 2003, Berlin, Germany,

44 See, for example the case of former Jayawijaya Bupati, David Hubi, the first Papuan administration to be tried for corruption.  On August 29, 2006, Hubi was found guilty and sentenced to five years imprisonment for embezzling 13,6,01,780,000 (approx US$1.5million) from the State; “Hubi Dihukum 5 Tahun Penjara,” Cenderawasih Pos, August 30, 2006; “Bupati Mimika Sudah Tiga Bulan Tak Masuk Kantor,” Kompas, August 8, 2006.

45 R. Chauvel “Constructing Papuan Nationalism; History, Ethnicity and Adaptation,” Policy Studies 14, East-West Centre, Washington,; J. Timmer “Decentralization and Elite Politics in Papua,” Discussion Paper 2005/6, State, Society and Governance in Melanesia,” Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University,, p.8; “Regional Autonomy ‘fuelling tribalism,” The Jakarta Post, August 31, 2006.

46 J. Timmer “Decentralization and Elite Politics in Papua,” Discussion Paper, State, Society and Governance in Melanesia, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, June 2006,; J. Timmer “Papua,” The Contemporary Pacific, February 17, 2005, pp. 448-456,

47 “National human Development Report 2004 - The Economics of Democracy: Financing Human Development in Indonesia,” BPS-Statistics Indonesia, Bappenas and the United Nations Development Program Indonesia, 2004. 

48 “Papua Fighters Promise Non-Violent Future,” ABC, Lateline, July 27, 2006.

49 “Suyanto: TNI still keeping on guard against OPM,” Tempo Interactive, August 1, 2006.

50 It has not always been this way. At the height of government tolerance to pro-independence aspirations, President Wahid had permitted the raising of the Morning Star flag providing it was flown below the Indonesia flag. See, for example “Dividing Papua: How not to do it,” International Crisis Group, Asia Briefing Paper, April 9, 2003; Human Rights Watch, Indonesia-Human Rights and Pro-Independence Actions in Papua, 1999-2000, vol. 12, no. 2, May 2000, With the demise of President Wahid the Reformasi political space in Papua greatly contracted. Under the administration of President Megawati, then Security Minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono warned that any commemoration of the independence declaration would be regarded as an “act of treason” and tough measures would be taken against perpetrators. See “West Papuans to ignore warnings,” Sydney Morning Herald, November 24, 2000.

51 Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP), Articles 110 and 106.

52 Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP), Articles 154 and 155.

53 For more information, see Human Rights Watch, IndonesiaProtest and Punishment: Political Prisoners in Papua, vol. 19, no. 4 (C), February 21, 2007.

54 Indonesia is yet to ratify the first Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (CAT) or the Optional Protocol to CEDAW, all which include mechanisms for individual victims to make complaints to treaty oversight bodies. 

55 Indonesia has also signed but not ratified the Optional Protocol to CEDAW (2000), International Convention on the Protection of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (2004), and the First and Second Optional Protocols to the CRC (2001.)

56 Indonesia has within the past 6 years created in rapid succession a Constitutional Court, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, National Law Commission, Judiciary Commission, Ombudsman Commission, Prosecutorial Commission, Police Commission, Corruption Eradication Commission and the Special Court for Corruption.  The effectiveness of these new bodies is yet to be tested. The Constitutional Court has in numerous decisions shown substantial independence in decision making. A promising recent decision was when the Constitutional Court found the criminalization of insulting the President and Vice President unconstitutional; Charmain Mohamed (Human Rights Watch), “A Court Ruling on Human Rights that Deserves Presidential Support,” commentary, The Jakarta Post, December 15, 2006,; A commitment to the rule of law was also shown in the decision to annul Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) Law 15/2001,  July 26, 2004, making retrospective its application to the Bali bombing; “Indonesia’s Constitutional Court blocks Anti-Terrorism Law” Asia News, July 26, 2004,; On the other hand, in August 2006 the Constitutional Court emasculated promising efforts by the Judiciary Commission to monitor judges, claiming a conflict with the constitution and limiting the Commission to its role in screening applicants for Supreme Court vacancies. Davidson, Soren, Juwono, Vishnu and Timberman, “Curbing Corruption in Indonesia,” 2004-06; A survey of National Policies and Approaches,” The United States-Indonesia Society, Centre for Strategic and International Studies p. 40, While the Prosecutorial Commission, Police Commission and Judiciary Commission are all separate from the bodies they are intended to provide oversight to, they are not independent bodies as they are still controlled by the Government. “Building Capacity from Within and Advocating Pressures from Without, to Combat Systemic Corruptions in Indonesia,” Piet Soeprijadi, Partnership for Governance Reform in Indonesia,