In Australia we are debating sending
troublesome Papuans to Pacific Islands. In Indonesia they are talking of dealing
with troublesome Papuans by bringing in the American FBI.
On Monday theJakarta
Post reported Lt. Col. Inf. Siburian, deputy intelligence assistant at the
Trikora military command overseeing Papua, justifying the continuing use of the
Indonesian Military (TNI) to guard the mine of PT Freeport
Indonesia “in the restive province of Papua, despite accusations
of human rights abuses against local people.” Siburian was speaking at a meeting
in Jakarta attended by police officers as well as Freeport and Energy and
Mineral Resources Ministry officials. He warned that should security be harmed
at Freeport, the U.S. government would almost certainly send security forces to
“We have to protect this object because it is not only a
state asset but it also involves foreign interests,” the Post reported him
saying. “”If we fail to protect it, don’t blame us if foreign forces come into
the company’s area,” Siburian said, citing the 2002 shooting near the mine that
killed two American teachers. FBI agents were then sent in to help find the
killers. According to the Post report, in January this year the FBI and Papua
Police arrested 12 rebels over the incident, including Anthonius Wamang who had
been indicted for the murder in an in absentia trial by a U.S.
grand jury in 2004.
One thing that the article written by Tb. Arie
Rukmantara does show is that freedom of the press has arrived in
Indonesia as he doesn’t hesitate to raise questions about
Freeport paying bribes to the Indonesian military and to quote human rights
opponents of the Indonesian Government.
Critics say Freeport badly
needs the police and TNI to prevent possible attacks from local Papuans who
reject its presence, while the police and TNI personnel need the company to
provide extra income, both for their cash-strapped organizations and themselves
Human rights watchdog Elsham Papua director
Aloysius Renwarin and local tribal leaders have opposed the military presence at
Freeport and urged for its withdrawal. “The military presence will
only add to its long human rights violation record. What we need now is to find
a way to empower local residents living near Freeport areas to willingly
safeguard the company’s facilities,” Aloysius said.