Indonesien: Yosepha Alomang

Many people speak of freedom. But what is freedom for Papuans? Freedom is when people are educated, when people are free from poverty and sufferings. That is freedom in our language."

— Yosepha Alomang

Yosepha Alomang (born 1950) is a true human rights defender who fights for the right of indigenous peoples to reclaim the titles of their land in Timika from Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., a multinational mining company. Human rights violations are rampant in Timika and Yosepha has been detained several times for protesting either against the mining company or the military that backs it up. She chairs the Mama Yosepha Center, which provides counseling to women and empowers women’s groups.

There were four women in Papua with good hearts who wanted to make a difference in the lives of the women in Papua. One of them was Yosepha Alomang: "Many of our women were suffering from domestic violence and were marginalized from the public sphere. We wanted to do something." During the military occupation of Papua, Yosepha recalls, "Many women were raped and families lost their loved ones." For voicing her protest, she was jailed several times. "Once I was detained for a month in a container van by the military. General Sutrisno released me when he visited Papua for a mission. I just cannot sit still seeing oppression against my family." And she has kept her resolve. Yosepha does not regard what she is doing for her tribe in Timika as political work. She would rather talk about freedom, and she has been fighting for that freedom for more than a decade. In 1994, she served as the spokesperson for the Amungme tribespeople during the first major negotiations between Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., the multinational mining company in Timika, and the local people. On behalf of her people, she filed a lawsuit against the company in a US court damanding that Freeport close its operations in Timika. But Yosepha could not win, even in a provincial court. Nevertheless she has many dreams for Papuan women. "We have to gather our strength, work together. By working together we could face anything. We also have to learn and understand and make peace with other people outside Papua. We do not want Papuan women to be threatened, killed or excluded."