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West Papuan Guerrilla Commander Shuts Down Mine

Human Rights Report 16 September 2008

West Papuan guerrilla commander orders closure of Freeport mine

Orders issued by General Kelly Kwalik of the West Papuan Liberation Army (TPN) are confirmed to be the reason for a series of explosions and shots being fired around the Freeport mine in West Papua in the past week.

This information is based on communication with Kelly Kwalik's men in Timika and documentation supplied by Kelly Kwalik. Kelly Kwalik states the purpose of the guerrilla campaign is to 'Close Down Mining' and to bring international attention to the situation at Freeport and West Papua.

Kelly Kwalik has reported he is taking these actions both as a traditional landowner of the Freeport mine area and as an Operational Commander of the West Papua Liberation Army.

Kwalik has stated the reasons for his action as the ongoing tribal conflicts caused by the mine, the ongoing abuses of the human rights of the indigenous peoples, the destruction and pollution of the environment associated with the mines operation and that the presence of this company has invited many kinds of problems especially among the people who are living in the surrounding of mining area.

Kwalik seeks also to address the problems in West Papua of lack of political rights for West Papuan indigenous people and to express their desire for political independence. Kwalik says, "The Closing of this mining will be done until there is an West Papua nation which has its own independence separated from NKRI (the unitary state of Indonesian Republic)".

Kwalik say he supports for international sponsored dialogue as the mechanism through which a negotiated settlement which can give benefits to the West Papua people and the landowners at Freeport.

Paula Makabory representing the Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights said. "We are able to confirm that Kelly Kwalik orders are the reason why there has been gunshots and explosions around the Freeport mining concession."

'The reports indicate that the guerrillas are targeting mine facilities and infrastructure rather than civilians or security forces in this action. Kelly Kwalik has clearly ordered that the mine will be the target of guerrilla campaign until West Papua sovereignty issues are resolved."

Matthew Jamieson also from Institute for Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights said, "The commencement of this campaign has major implications for the security of West Papuans in the Freeport area, especially the traditional owners, because of the likelihood of reprisals by the Indonesian security forces. In the past there has been significant human rights abuse associated with the mine security and we expect that there will be a significant increase military activity because of these recent actions."

Matthew Jamieson went on to say, "Kelly Kwalik first attacked the mine in 1972, significantly disrupting mining operations. This lead to a sustained Indonesian military campaign and widespread reprisals, including bombing and strafing villages, both in the immediate area of the mine and elsewhere in the highlands where people had nothing to do with the mine. Many thousands of local people were reportedly killed at this time."

"Since then Kwalik group has been in the jungle operating outside Indonesian control. Kwalik's principal political actions have been maintaining a guerrilla force, evading capture by Indonesian security forces and undertaking flag raising events in areas mostly outside Indonesian military control."

"In 1995 the Indonesian military together with Freeport security were accused of the killings of a large number of traditional landowners including Kwalik's immediate relatives."

ENDS

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