Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Venezuelan Rural Activists and National Land Institute Workers Arrested for Occupying Estate

Farmers in Portuguesa state (MINCI).
Mérida, April 21st 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) - Police in Portuguesa state, Venezuela, forcibly evicted more than sixty landless farmers and three National Institute of Land (INTI) workers on Friday from a section of a privately owned estate that the INTI had marked for re-distribution.   
The eviction is emblematic of the clash between powerful landed elites and the government of President Hugo Chávez, whose 2001 land reform law permits the state to forcibly purchase idle sections of large private estates for re-distribution as a means to spur agricultural production.
Last week, officials from the INTI and the Socialist Agrarian Fund (FONDAS) announced they would gradually parcel out 926 hectares (2,290 acres) of underused lands on the privately owned El Rodeo Estate to a group of 86 landless families in Portuguesa state.
While INTI personnel were assisting a group of sixty farmers to demarcate a section of the territory last Friday, state police known locally as the Jungle Police staged an "ambush" and ordered the entire group to lie face down on the ground, according to alternative media reporters who have accompanied the farmers in their struggle for land.
The police briefly detained and then released the INTI functionaries and most of the farmers, but arrested and transferred Carlos Ortega and six other farmer rights leaders to the state capital Guanare to be tried for trespassing. Police and National Guard (GN) forces now occupy the disputed lands.
GN Lieutenant Colonel Gustavo Saluzzo, who commands the Portuguesa State Police, told the local press, "Our idea is to respect the law... while the land reform law says landed estates are not permitted, the law also establishes sanctions for those who invade private property."
According to independent media reports, Saluzzo has repeatedly threatened to jail Ortega, and United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) Governor Wilmar Castro has publicly denounced the confrontational land "invasions" promoted by Ortega as a tactic to speed up the process of land re-distribution.  
Also, former Portuguesa Governor Antonia Muñoz, who is currently the regional coordinator of the PSUV, created the Jungle Police to be a special force to fight ecological crimes, but the squad has fallen under control of elite regional estate owners and has mainly been used to repress rural activists, according to independent news reports.  
On Saturday, a group of eighty allies of Ortega marched to the Portuguesa state police headquarters and demanded the release of the seven arrested organizers, who they alleged had been politically persecuted. The seven activists remain in police custody.
Since the 2001 land reform law was passed, 1,507 small or landless farmers in Venezuela have been arrested as a result of their struggle to gain legal title to lands, according to a growing network of farmers' rights groups nation-wide.
The rights groups, which advocate the reform of Articles 471 and 471 of Venezuela's Penal Code in order to de-criminalize small farmers who occupy private lands, also report that 214 rural activists have been murdered since 2001, most recently Nelson Lopez in Yaracuy state and Mauricio Sánchez in Zulia state in March.
Following the killings in March, several Venezuelan farmer rights groups held a joint conference in Caracas to form a united front against the politically motivated assassinations and arrests of rural activists, and to call for an end to impunity for "the landed oligarchy that is killing our brothers in the rural communities."
Agriculture and Lands Minister Elías Jaua attended the conference and promised to appeal to the Attorney General and president of the Supreme Court to accelerate the investigations of crimes against farmer rights organizers.
In an interview on the state television channel VTV Monday, Jaua said that 90% of the private lands re-distributed by the Ministry, which amounts to almost one million hectares (2.47 million acres), are now producing food, including meat, grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Recuperated lands are distributed either to state-owned Social Production Enterprises or to cooperatively run projects such as the Zamoran Farms, named after Venezuela's legendary farmer rights fighter Ezequiel Zamora, said Jaua. Zamoran Farms are now producing food on 155,000 hectares (383,000 acres) of formerly idle private land, the minister added.
After announcing the launch of the Ministry's "Operation Free Land and Men" aimed at recuperating more land in the states of Barinas, Amazonas, Miranda, and Aragua, Jaua said, "we are making a reality of the dream for which generations of humble farmers struggled: That the best lands of our country... be at the service of food production."

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

One Papua farmer killed, 4 farmers injured among other civilians by Indonesian Police

posted on koteka.net

Photos & News of Shot Papuans in Nabire
Written by Administrator
Tuesday, 07 April 2009

Komite Nasional Papua Barat (KNPB)/WPNC (West Papuan National Committe) Camp in Nabire Destroyed, 15 Papuans Arrested, 7 Civilans Shot, One Policeman Shot with Arrow

Indonesian Police in Nabire destroyed and burnt peaceful camp belonging to the Nabire branch of Komite Nasional Papua Barat (KNPB) which had been set-up to celebrate the launching of ILWP (International Lawyers for West Papua).

Indonesian Police arrested 15 Papuans who were preparing banners and posters in preparation for a peaceful demonstration scheduled for 6/4/2008, having duly informed the Indonesian Police previously in writing. "The Police came into where the masses where gathered and blindly opened fire into the crowd," stated a witness who for safety reasons prefered to remain anonymous.

15 Papuans including students were arrested. Jerry Nawipa (18) was shot. The 15 arrested include Agus Pigome (30), Yohanes Agapa (42), Samuale Pekey, Frans Kotouky, Mafras Adii, Amoye Pakage, Yohanes Gobay (25). The identity of the remaining 9 Papuans currently unknown.

The masses scattered from the area to escape the pokice shooting.

The following morning, the masses arrived at the camp to discover it had been destroyed and burnt by the Indonesian Police. The heavy-handed Indonesian Police then fired wildly into the crow, resulting in 7 Papuans currently receiving emergency treatment for bullet wounds in Nabire General Hospital.

A 10 year-old primary school student on his way home from school, Albertus Tagi, shot in hip (see photo); Yonandi Pigome (30), bullet entered back of head and exited front (see photo - condition critical); Ipoo Boga (28), shot left thigh, bullet entered and exited thigh; Roy Singgamui (30), shot left side of chest, bullet entered and exited body (see photo). An Indonesian Police member, Bribda Jejen (24) still hospitalized due to arrow wound. No media allowed to photograph the wounded police member.

Three other Papuans have returned home, namely Yan Yeimo (24) bullet grazed head; Franky Boma (20), shot in right thigh; Hengky Tebay (20), head wound. ***

Albertus Tagi (10 - primary school student, an orphan), shot in hip, bullet still lodged in. condition critical.

Ipoo Boga (28), shot left thigh, bullet entered and exited thigh.

Roy Singgamui (30), shot left side of chest, bullet entered and exited body.

Yonandi Pigome (30), bullet entered back of head and exited front, condition critical.

Update: Yonandi Pigome died 9/4/2008 after 4 days in critical condition in hospital.

Human Rights in West Papua deteriorates with shootings, arrests and orchestrated violence reported in Nabire

April 9, 2009 by ipahr

Human Rights Report 8 April 2009

Human Rights in West Papua deteriorates with shootings, arrests and orchestrated violence reported in Nabire

The human rights situation in West Papua continues to deteriorate before Indonesia? General Election tomorrow. Local people have been shot and critically injured in a operation reportedly organised by Indonesian security forces against West Papuan demonstrators in Nabire on the 6 April 2009.

This report provides details of nine people who are confirmed shot by security forces. A policeman was also wounded by a traditional arrow in Nabire on the 6th April and many other protesters and police are reported to have also suffered injuries.

Paula Makabory from Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights said today, ?Reports received from Nabire indicate that the violent confrontation that occurred on Monday the 6 April between the security forces and Pro-independence protesters was actually promoted by a Pro-Indonesian militia member and other Papuans working with the Indonesian security forces.? ?The fact that there are reports that the Indonesian security personnel were positioned in the buildings & armed clearly suggests that this confrontation and the subsequent shooting and wounding of civilians was planned & staged by the Indonesian security forces.?

?This incident occurred following two other Pro-Independence rallies by about 15,000 local people in the town of Nabire, and another of 10,000 people in the Wamena district on Friday-the 3 April which the police had attempted to prohibit. Rally organizers ignored the attempted ban claiming their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.?

The protesters at both these rallies said they were supporting the launch of the group ?International Lawyers for West Papua? [ILWP] and said they would boycott Indonesia?s general elections this year. Protesters also called for a referendum on self-determination. A report containing information about the incidents in Nabire on 6 April 2009 is detailed below.

For further information, including video footage of the protesters contact: Paula Makabory Institute for Papuan Advocacy & human Rights (+61) 402 547 517; or Matthew Jamieson (+61) 418291998;

? 1.0 Events in Nabire from 30 March to 6 April 2009

The KNPB (National Committee for West Papua) set up their tents on 30 March 2009 as a base camp for KNPB in Nabire, under the leadership of Zeth Giay. On Friday 3 April 2009, the KNPB held a large rally with more than 15,000 people involved. This peaceful rally was in support of the launch of International Lawyer for West Papua (ILWP). The rally also called for a referendum in West Papua and a boycott of the Indonesia Election and a demand for Independence for West Papua. One of the organisers of the rally and the chair of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) for Nabire, Zet Giay, said the rally had been the biggest ever in Nabire. ?We support the launch of ILWP in America and we know that we are not Indonesian, we are Papuan, Melanesian, so we will not vote in the Indonesian Public election 2009,? Mr Giay said. He added that the protesters would continue to rally against these attacks by the security forces and in support of the ILWP. The protesters were also calling for investigations into the widespread human rights violations that have occurred in West Papua, and for a review of the 1969 so-called ?Act of Free Choice?, which saw West Papua?s formal incorporation into Indonesia. On Saturday the 4 April 2009, KNPB sent an information letter to the police precinct to let them know about the second rally that was to be held on Monday 6 April. There was no response from the police.

2.0 Raid on KNPB Protest camp

On Monday the 6 April 2009, at around 3am (Papua local time) there was a raid on the KNPB camp in Taman Bunga Bangsa, Oyehe, Nabire. Two tents that had been set up since the 30 March 2009 were burned by the police . The police also searched for Morning Star flags and other political articles. The Nabire Police Precinct under the command of Police Chief AKBP. Rinto Jadmoko, SIK, then arrested 15 people from the KNPB group. One man Jerry Nawipa (Male/ 18 Years old) was shot with a bullet during this police raid on the KNPB camp. The Taman Bunga Bangsa grounds is the location that was used by the West Papua people to raise the Morning Star in a series of flag raising in 1999 and 2000. According to a local KNPB organizer, after the raid the KNPB and their supporters decided to continue the rally and focus their next rally at Taman Bunga Bangsa Oyehe. They decided that the people who were living in each of the regions of Oyehe, Siriwo and Karang Tumaritis would gather and travel together to meet at Taman Bunga Bangsa . The KNPB planned not do a long march to DPRD (Local Provincial Assembly) and to focus their next demonstration at Oyehe. There was some concern reported at that time that their protest was infiltrated by Papuans working as informers for an Indonesian security forces intelligence group (TBO).

3.0 Indonesian militia in Karang Tumartis protest

Later in the morning of the 6 April at about 8am, one of KNPB organizers passed the Karang Tumaritis area and saw that people were blockading the road. A local man, Alipin Pigay, who is recognized as being from a militia group from the Nabire Military District Command (KODIM), was seen clearly encouraging the other demonstrators. Another 6 Papuans who work as TBO (Tenaga Bantuan Operational/ Operational Field Helper) for the Indonesian security forces intelligence organisation, were also seen among the people who were blocking the road. This KNPB organizer told the protesters that he wanted them to clear the road and wait beside the market or in the taxi terminal or by the road at Karang Tumaritis. He told the people that they had to choose to follow the instructions of KNBP or this other party. He asked them to wait for the other KNPB organizers to join the rally from Karang Tumaritis to Oyehe. A local community member who also recognized Alipin Pigay reported that it was Alipin Pigay who encouraged the protesters to block the road and to attack the traffic policemen and the police car. According to this source Alipin Pigay was the first to throw stones at the traffic police and their car. It was reported that Alipin Pigay and the others from TBO encouraged the other people to violently resist the Police and throw stones and then to fire arrows against the traffic policemen. Bribda Jejen (Male/ 24 Years old) a policeman, was shot with an arrow. He was shot during the incident when the police attacked the protesters at Karang Tumaritis. The traffic police had tried to clear the road to allow an army truck from TNI Battalion 753 to pass through. Some people were also arrested by the Nabire police precinct at that time in Karang Tumaritis. An eye witness said that there were casualties on both sides, the Indonesian police and the protesters who were fighting. The police troops were using machine guns and stones against the protesters and the protesters were using arrows and stones against the police. Metro TV has shown footage of this conflict between protestors and police.

4.0 Hidden Security forces and shooting around Karang Tumaritis

According to another local witnesses Indonesian security force intelligence officers with long and short guns were seen hiding in a second floor house in front of the Effata church in Karang Tumaritis and other houses that belonging to non-Papuans around the Karang Tumaritis area before the incident/protest on the road occurred. Those security forces reportedly shot at civilians who were not involved in the conflict & demonstration on the road around Karang Tumaritis. These local people were passing the location of the protest to reach their houses and were shot at by the security forces. Local Human Rights sources reported that while the Police troops were attacking groups protesting on the road and the concealed security forces were shooting as people went past the protest to reach their homes. The shooting in Karang Tumaritis resulted in many civilians suffering server bullet wounds. Reports from Nabire said eight shot with seven of the injured being treated at Emergency Unit (UGD) in the Nabire public hospital. The News Service from Reuters confirms 11 hospitalised in Nabire with serious bullet wounds. It is not clear who the police shot amongst the protesters on the road. Reports provided to IPAHR suggest that 7 people who were shot and injured but were not part of the protest. These people were said to be shot in the vicinity of the protest, amongst this group was an orphaned 4 grade elementary student Albertus Tagi. The shooting of Fritz Singamui and Albertus Tagi had clearly no link to the protest.

Details of victims shot at Karang Tumaritis District, Nabire 6 April 2009:

1. Fritz Samuel Singamui / Roy (Male 30 Years old) is dying in hospital in a very critical condition. He was shot with a real bullet in the left side of the chest, the bullet passed through to his left shoulder blade. He is in a coma in Nabire Public hospital. He was shot when he was trying to take a short cut with his motorcycle to his house. The Indonesian Police members attacked him and pushed him off his motorcycle into the gutter and shot him on the ground. He was not involved in the demonstration. Fritz has been working for an NGO called VCI, which focuses on community service providing clean water, natural disaster relief, promoting health for women and children, and raising awareness of HIV/AIDS. Fritz was reported to be evacuated to Makassar, Sulawesi, for further medical treatment.

2. Albertus Tagi (Male/10 Years old) is an orphan, a 4th grader student at the local elementary school. He is in a very critical condition in Nabire hospital. He was shot with a real bullet in his right ribs as he approached his house after school. He was not in the demonstration. He was sent home early in the morning before the visiting of the Papua Regional Police Chief to the hospital that was planned for the 7 April 2009. According to the medical workers who told activists that as an orphan, Albertus, has no one to look after him in the hospital was sent home.

3. Yunandi Pigome (Male/28 Years old), is a farmer. He is reported to be dying in Nabire hospital. He was shot with a real bullet, the bullet entered his left back skull bone, passed through the front skull and went out above his left eye brow. He was shot on his way to his house. He was not involved in the demonstration.

4. Ipo Boga (Male /28 Years old), a farmer, he was shot with a real bullet in the buttocks and the bullet passed through near his genitals. He went to the local market and bought some rice and was returning home when shot. He was not involved in the demonstration.

5. Hengky Boma (Male/ 25years old), a farmer, was shot in his right thigh. He is supposed to have an operation at Nabire hospital today (April 7, 2009). He was not involved in the demonstration.

6. Alfonse Yeimo (Male/ 22 Years old), a student was shot in the forehead, lost lots of blood.

7. Yafeth Keiya (Male/26 Years old) a farmer, he was shot in the right wrist, he was not involved at the demonstration, he was on his way to market. w

8. Hengky Tenouye (Male/ 20 Years old), a farmer, he was shot on the left side of his chest. He was not involved in the demonstrations.

For further information, including video footage of the protest rally, contact: Paula Makabory (+61) 402 547 517; or Matthew Jamieson (+61) 418291998;

Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights PO Box 1805 Byron Bay NSW 2481 Australia