Friday, December 14, 2018

1) Villagers flee fighting, hide in forest in Indonesia's Papua

2) Indonesian military to take over construction in Papua after brutal violence
1) Villagers flee fighting, hide in forest in Indonesia's Papua 

JAKARTA: At least 300 villagers are hiding in a forest in Indonesia's Papua province on Friday after they fled fighting between soldiers and separatists who killed a group of workers building a bridge in the area this month.
They are cold and hungry after 11 days in the forest, Pastor Benny Giay, the head of Papua's Gospel Tabernacle Church, told Reuters by telephone.
"They are sheltering right on the slope of Trikora Peak," he said, referring to the 4,750 metre (15,580 ft) mountain in the Nduga area.
Security forces are hunting members of the military wing of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), which claimed responsibility for killing at least 16 workers and a soldier in the Nduga area this month.
The military said in a statement it was trying to convince the people to return to their homes and promised security forces would not fire at them.
"We, the Indonesian army, will protect the people. We are all brothers, children of God. Even for the Free Papua Movement, if they want to surrender, we will forgive them," local army commander Colonel Jonathan Binsar Sianipar said.

The rebels have rejected calls to surrender and demanded a referendum on the future of the resource-rich area plagued by conflict since it was incorporated into Indonesia after a controversial U.N.-backed referendum in 1969. The OPM has said it viewed the workers as members of the military and casualties in a war against the government. Jakarta says they were civilians working on the Trans Papua road project to improve connectivity in the impoverished province. Pastor Giay urged the government to halt construction on the project which has raised tensions in the province."I ask in general for construction work of the national road project to be stopped before the trauma that this country has created resurfaces again," he said.The Protestant pastor said he feared a repeat of a 1996 military operation in which civilians, including children, were killed when security forces attacked separatists holding Indonesian and foreign hostages.President Joko Widodo has pledged to continue building the highway. Since coming to power in 2014, he has tried to ease tensions in Papua by freeing prisoners, addressing some rights concerns and stepping up investment. (Reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa; Writing by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Ed Davies and Darren Schuettler)
Source: Reuters

2) Indonesian military to take over construction in Papua after brutal violence
Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-14 19:35:16|Editor: xuxin
JAKARTA, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Indonesian soldiers will take over construction in Nduga 
district of Papua province in eastern Indonesia in the wake of brutal assassination of 16 construction workers by an armed group earlier this month, a military officer said.
Indonesian armed force will resume works of PT Istaka Karya construction firm in building the 4,000 km trans-Papua highway and bridges, Indonesian military commander in the district Jonathan B. Parluhutan revealed.
About 500 military personnel along with scores of extra troop assigned to secure the works will be dispatched to Nduga district, the commander said.
"May be in one or two weeks ahead, the armed force personnel will commence to enter the area (the district) and next week the equipment will be sent to the site. So that the works will resume in the next 3 weeks," Paluhutan said.
President Joko Widodo has vowed that the construction of infrastructure projects in Papua province will continue, despite the violence.
A total of 16 construction workers were taken hostage by the armed group and killed brutally in the district early this month, national police chief General Muhammad Tito Karnavian has said. The police and armed force are hunting the group in remote Papua, he added.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

1) Post Papua Killings; TNI to Open Isolated Access

2) Media Release:  Cut military ties to Indonesia and demand justice for Justice for West Papua’s murdered children.

3) Lawmakers want government to push UN to declare OPM a terrorist organisation

1) Post Papua Killings; TNI to Open Isolated Access

Reporter: Antara Editor: Ninis Chairunnisa Jumat, 14 Desember 2018 09:40 WIB 
TEMPO.COWamena - Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) planned to take over the development project of Trans Papua in Yal and Yigi District, Nduga, following the shooting incident by armed groups against workers of PT Istaka Karya. 
Military Resort Commander 172/PWY Infantry Col. Jonathan Binsar Parluhutan said that discussions to carry out the plan is still afoot with TNI headquarter. According to him, the order to continue the road and bridge construction projects, that was stopped due to the shooting, had been previously issued. 
TNI’s combat engineers battalion will open the isolated access in Papua. “Perhaps, the personnel will enter the area in one to two months ahead, and the equipment will likely be delivered to the area next week. At least, in the next three months we'll have started the work,” said Jonathan Thursday, December 13. 
The TNI also planned to synergize with the road agency so that infrastructure project in Papua as in line with the President’s instruction would be continued. “Whatever happens, we have to finish the infrastructure development because it is what we can do to develop remote areas in Papua,” Jonathan underlined. 

The commander could yet detail the number of personnel deployed to the area but it is estimated to be more than 500 personnel. 
Head of National Road Agency XVIII of Jayapura Osman Marbun earlier said that TNI would continue the road construction of Trans Papua, yet the plan is still being prepared. Currently, Marbun added, a total of 14 bridges project for the four-year budget in the province has 72 percent completed. 

West Papua Action Auckland
Box 68-419
10 December 2018

2) Media Release:  Cut military ties to Indonesia and demand justice for Justice for West Papua’s murdered children.

West Papua Action Auckland is calling on the New Zealand Government to cut all military ties to the Indonesian security forces.  Violence cannot solve the problems in West Papua.
Right now there is a military sweeping operation in Nduga in the highlands in response to a recent deadly attack on the men working on the controversial Trans Papua highway. (An armed wing of the OPM/Free Papua Movement claimed responsibility). In the wake of this dangerous escalation of violence, local churches are calling on all parties to solve problems by dialogue, and to protect the rights of civilians many of whom have fled their homes in terror. There are reports that up to four civilians have been killed since the initial violence which claimed the lives of at least 16 men.
Four years ago on Decemember 7 and 8th,  4 schoolboys were killed by security forces in Paniai – a fifth died of his injuries earlier this year.  To commemorate this day the grieving families and leading Church and human rights figures have released this moving film:   Yones Douw , a peace and justice advocate with the  Kingmi Church  that the nations who ‘encourage and assist the Indonesian police and military are implicated in their human rights violations.’  
 ‘Why on earth are we training and arming a military which has a shocking human rights abuse record? Abusers are almost never charged.  New Zealand aid even includes highly questionable support such as the supply of equipment to the para-military counter-terrorism unit: Detachment 88.’
New Zealand should cut all military ties with Indonesia as a strong statement of our disapproval for ongoing abuses committed by the Indonesian military and for their failure to hold accountable those responsible for the ‘Bloody Paniai’ massacre and decades of documented human rights abuses against the West Papuan people.

For further information:  Maire Leadbeater phone 027-4436-957
NZ military aid to Indonesia:
New Zealand’s military engagement with Indonesia includes  bilateral officer exchanges, talks and ceremonial military visits as well as the regular participation of  senior Indonesian military personnel at the six month  NZ Defence Force Advanced Command and Staff Course.
Official Information Act requests made by West Papua Action Auckland  reveal a more extensive  military and defence engagement. Under the heading of counter-terrorism work New Zealand supplies electronic surveillance equipment to Detachment 88, Indonesia’s crack counter-terrorism police unit.  This unit is notorious in West Papua for its use in violent repression against Papuan civilians engaged in peaceful acts of free expression, and it was reportedly responsible for the 2012 targeted killing of prominent activist Mako Tabuni..
For at least 10 years the New Zealand Government has given approval to the export to Indonesia of military aircraft parts including engines propellers and components for P 3 Orion, C 130 Hercules and CASA military aircraft.  Some of these parts have been returned to Indonesia following repair or overhaul in New Zealand
Bloody Paniai
On 8 December   2014 Indonesian police and military brutally attacked a large crowd of unarmed protestors in Paniai.  The security forces opened live fire into the crowd and killed four students who were taking part in a large demonstration protesting at military violence. The previous day a student, Yulianus Yeimo,  was severely beaten by soldiers - he subsequently died of his injuries, so the death toll for ‘Bloody Paniai’ is now at  5.  At least 11 others were injured by bullets or bayonets.  Despite official undertakings to take the case to the office of the General Attorney, none of the perpetrators have faced charges.
From INDOLEFT News service

Don't forget to check out the new Indoleft website West Papua page:

3) Lawmakers want government to push UN to declare OPM a terrorist organisation

CNN Indonesia - December 13, 2018

Jakarta -- House of Representatives (DPR) Speaker Bambang Soesatyo from the Golkar Party has asked the government to urge the United Nations to designate the Free Papua Movement (OPM) as a terrorist organisation.

"In line with the UN's own definition, they have murdered brutally and terrorised innocent civilians", said Soesatyo at a DPR plenary meeting at the parliamentary complex in Jakarta on Thursday December 13.

Soesatyo said that the recent shooting of scores of PT Istaka Karya employees in Nduga, Papua, was beyond the bounds and can be categorised as an act of terror.

The OPM said Soesatyo, also has a clear demand, namely Papuan independence. Because of this, the movement can be characterised as separatist. "So we can pressure the UN for the OPM organisation to be [designated] a terrorist organisation", said Soesatyo.

In addition to this, Soesatyo is urging the government to take firmer and harder action of this act of terror because this is not the first time that such acts of violence have taken place in Papua.

One such measure would be to send troops to conduct a military operation in addition to war (OMSP). Soesatyo said that this can be done based on Law Number 5/2018 on the Eradication of Terrorism.

A similar view was expressed by DPR Commission I member Sukamta from the Islamic based Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS) faction during an interruption in the plenary meeting.

According to Sukamta the government can't just designate the group that shot the Trans Papua road project workers in Nduga as simply an Armed Criminal Group (KKB, the government's term for the OPM).

"We hope that the government will issue a government regulation related to OMSP so that it can be used to overcome the terrorist problem in Papua", he said.

He said that a government regulation related to OMSP would represent a follow up to Law Number 34/2004 on the TNI (Indonesian military) and the anti-terrorist law. With such a regulation we can protect Papuan communities from the threat of armed groups.

Earlier TNI commander Air Martial Hadi Tjahjanto stated that they would arrest and charge the perpetrators of this humanitarian crime and that they would be taken to trial and held accountable for their actions.

National Police public relations division public information bureau chief Brigadier General Dedi Prasetyo meanwhile has said that the weapons used in the Nduga shooting have been identified as weapons smuggled into Indonesia from Papua New Guinea and the Philippines. (swo/pmg)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "DPR Minta Pemerintah Desak PBB Jadikan OPM Organisasi Teroris".]



INDOLEFT News service

West Papua liberation movement calls for UN support for independence referendum in 2019

West Papua liberation movement calls for UN support for independence referendum in 2019


Peter Boyle  December 14, 2018  Issue 1206 West Papua 

Rex Rumakiek, secretary of United Liberation Movement for West Papua. Photo: Peter Boyle.

Rex Rumakiek, a veteran campaigner for independence for his homeland of West Papua, lives in political exile in Australia. He serves as secretary of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). On the eve of West Papua Flag Day, an annual commemoration of the declaration of independence by the Free Papua Movement on December 1, 1961, Rumakiek was part of a group that raised the Morning Star flag over Leichhardt Town Hall in Sydney.
Morning Star flag raisings took place peacefully all around the world, but in Indonesian-occupied West Papua and several cities in Indonesia, peaceful flag raisings were met with violent repression and hundreds of arrests. Many West Papuans were beaten up by police or Indonesian ultra-nationalist militia.
"The flag raisings throughout Indonesia were a ULMWP coordinated activity", Rumakiek explained to Green Left Weekly in an interview on December 13. "There were a great number of Indonesians who participated this time. The West Papuan People's Petition calling for a referendum was also signed by many Indonesian trans-migrants to West Papua."
On December 2, 24 Indonesian road construction workers were killed in Nguda, in a highlands work camp along the controversial Trans-Papua road and bridge project. Sebby Sambon, a spokesperson for the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), which has opposed the project, claimed responsibility for the attack. 
Since then, the Indonesian armed forces (TNI) have escalated their campaign of attacks on and bombings of villages in the area. Such attacks are not new; just three months ago villagers in the area were killed and displaced by similar military operations.
The killing of the 24 road construction workers was just the "latest flash point of the existing tension regarding the road construction contract run by the Indonesian military", Rumakiek told GLW. "It was bound to happen".
Rumakiek explained, "The TPNPB warned against the granting of the project to the TNI in 2016, but Indonesia's President Joko Widodo ignored them. It is a common knowledge that those employed by the company are members of the military and militia.
"In November, the TPNPB sent a letter to the construction company asking their workers to respect the December 1 flag-raising ceremony and not to work on that day or interfere with the people's activities. One of the construction workers made a video of the flag-raising ceremony. The TPNPB attacked their camp after they refused repeated requests by the people for the video taken to be deleted."
According to Rumakiek, the TNI then declared the whole district an "Area of Military Operation (DOM)".
"This has been standard practice for many years. Like many similar DOMs in the past, whole villages are destroyed, including houses, churches, schools, clinics, crops and animals. Those who escaped to the safety of the cold jungle or other districts would have nothing to live on. The TNI will also not allow help from outside the area, including from the Red Cross or from churches. No communication with the outside world will be allowed."
While this largely unreported war on West Papuan villages continued in the highlands, West Papuans held peaceful rallies in several towns. Once again, these were met with violence and mass arrests.
The ULMWP is campaigning for international support for a UN vote on West Papua in 2019.
"We will be campaigning all out up to September 2019 to convince more UN members to vote yes for the resolution", Rumakiek said. "Australians must lobby the federal government to support it. Ignoring the issue of West Papua will only prolong the violence and speed up the genocide of our people."

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

1) Indonesia: Papua rebels reject surrender after workers' killing

2) Indonesia has a stake in Australia’s Lombrum plans too
3) Hidden challenges for conservation and development along the Trans- Papuan economic corridor  
1) Indonesia: Papua rebels reject surrender after workers' killing 
Jakarta rules out talks with separatists who vow to continue their armed campaign and fight for an independent Papua.

14 hours ago

Relatives of the workers pictured last week as they gathered to hear news about their family members in Wamena, Papua [Antara Foto/Iwan Adisaputra/via Reuters]

Separatist rebels in Indonesia's far-east Papua province who killed a group of construction workers earlier this month have refused to surrender.
The jungle camp killings of at least 16 labourers last week were a marked escalation in decades of mostly sporadic skirmishes between poorly armed and disorganised fighters and an Indonesian military long accused of gross human rights abuses against civilians.
The rebels said they would continue their armed campaign and fight for an independent Papua, which shares a border with island nation Papua New Guinea, just north of Australia.
"Indonesia came to Papua as a thief - do you think it's right for a homeowner to surrender to thieves?" rebel spokesperson Sebby Sambom told the AFP news agency on Wednesday.
The resource-rich former Dutch colony declared itself independent in 1961, but neighbouring Indonesia took control of the region two years later on the condition it will hold an independence referendum.
Jakarta annexed Papua in 1969 with a United Nations-backed vote that was widely seen as a sham.
In a video posted on YouTube on Monday, Sambom read an open letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo demanding he holds another referendum for native Papuans to decide whether they want to be integrated with Indonesia.
"TPNPB will not surrender under any circumstances before the independence of the nation of Papua is realised from Indonesian occupation," Sambom said, referring to the West Papua National Liberation Army, the military wing of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) which claimed responsibility for the jungle camp killings.
"The war will not stop before the demands of the TPNPB are carried out by the government of Indonesia," he said, standing behind the banned separatist Morning Star flag.
Sambom also called for unrestricted access to Papua for foreign journalists, as well as for the UN refugee agency and the international Red Cross to help take care of civilians caught up in the conflict.
Foreign media need permission to report from Papua and obtaining reliable information is difficult.
The rebels' refusal to surrender comes after Wiranto, Indonesia's chief security ministerwho, like many in the country goes by one name, ruled out any discussions with the TPNPB group.
"I won't hold talks with criminals," Wiranto told reporters in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, on Tuesday.
"Whatever they say is a lie. They've committed inhumane crimes."

Calls for full investigation

The 16 victims, employees of a state-owned contractor, were building bridges and roads in a major infrastructure push for Indonesia's most impoverished region.
The rebels claimed the project was military controlled and the workers were legitimate targets.
Indonesia said most of the 16 victims' hands were tied together with some suffering gunshot or knife wounds and blunt-force wounds. One worker was almost decapitated.
At least four more workers remain missing, while a soldier was also killed by rebels, authorities said.
The OPM had accused the military of killing civilians in its operations which it said included bombings.
Wiranto rejected that accusation but said soldiers did use grenades in clashes. Two soldiers were wounded on Tuesday and three separatists had been killed in clashes, the military said.
Human Rights Watch called for a probe into the jungle camp killings and allegations of subsequent civilian deaths.
"A Papua militant group's attack on a work site raises grave concerns that require a full investigation," HRW's Elaine Pearson said in a statement.
"Militants and responding security forces should not inflict harm on ordinary Papuans," she added.
Since coming to power in 2014, Widodo has tried to ease tension in Papua by freeing prisoners, addressing rights concerns and stepping up investment, including through a Trans Papua road.
The Interpreter

2) Indonesia has a stake in Australia’s Lombrum plans too

BY Evan A Laksmana 7 December 2018 10:30 AEDT  

During the November APEC Summit, Vice President Mike Pence announced that the US will work with Australia and Papua New Guinea to develop the Lombrum naval base on Manus Island.
Analysts have debated whether the plan is part of a pushback against Chinese encroachment in the Pacific and how militarily useful the base would be in a future conflict.
But the debate has been focused on the US-China military dimension and almost entirely ignores Indonesia.
The Indonesian military (TNI) has been building its forces in and around eastern Indonesia in recent years. In May, President Jokowi approved the establishment of the Third Infantry Division of the Army’s Strategic Reserve Command in South Sulawesi, the Navy’s Third Armada Command and the Third Marine Force, both in West Papua, and the Air Force’s Third Operational Command in Papua.

While the process of infrastructure building and force restructuring might take several years, the TNI is set to “rebalance” its forces from the western to the eastern part of Indonesia. As the US and Australia build the Lombrum base in the coming years, and perhaps build their capability in and around the Pacific more broadly, engaging Indonesia should be part of the process.
Indonesia-Australia defence cooperation has increased markedly in recent years. But Australian strategic planning should not assume passive neutrality on the part of Indonesia in thinking about a future regional conflict.
Indonesia has a direct stake in ensuring stability in the archipelagic sea lanes that facilitate navigation from the Timor Sea and Arafura Sea to the Pacific Ocean through the Seas of Sawu, Banda, Seram, and Maluku. Any military conflict involving the US, Australia, and China would also have to “go through” Indonesia’s strategic geography one way or another.
The underlying asymmetry of security concerns between Australia and Indonesia further highlights the need for Canberra to engage Jakarta over the Lombrum plan. While the US and Australia might see the Lombrum plan as one of several pieces of strategic pushback against China, Indonesia might see it as potentially increasing its strategic exposure, vulnerability, and risk.
Thus far, however, Indonesia’s official response has been mild and in some quarters incoherent.
The Defence Ministry said Australia did communicate its plans and that “No one can forbid them from doing what they are doing, as long as [the naval base] is not built in our territory.” The Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, hasn’t offered a response. It seems preoccupied with managing the bilateral downturn over Australia’s Jerusalem embassy proposal.  
Members of the national legislature (DPR) warned that the Lombrum plan could increase regional tension and “militarisation”. They also call on the Foreign Ministry to boost its diplomatic engagement in the area to minimise the potential for conflict.
Some Indonesian analysts went a step further and called on Jakarta to publicly reject the plan and speed up military development plans. Others even wildly concocted the idea that the Lombrum plan was related to US and Australian support for Papuan separatists.
These divergent reactions suggest that, on the one hand, military-to-military communication between Indonesia and Australia has improved. When the US announced in 2011 that it was planning to build a base in Darwin for 2500 marines, Indonesia’s response was largely negative, with TNI  leaders claiming to have been kept largely in the dark.
That the Lombrum plan was conveyed early to the Indonesian Defence Minister and discussed further at the Indonesia-Australia Defence Strategic Dialogue a few weeks ago signals that both defence establishments increasingly value transparency and consultations. It also shows the gradual maturity of defence engagement between the two countries.
But on the other hand, bilateral defence relations have been developed in a protective bubble in which policymakers communicate with each other without broader discussions with the public, civil society groups, and other political stakeholders like the DPR.
This is understandable given the sensitive nature of defence engagements. But without buy-in from the broader defence, public, and political establishments, military-to-military ties are open to politicisation when bilateral ties turn sour.
Therefore, while military-to-military communication is important, at some point, defence engagement – including plans to develop Lobrum – should involve the wider public as well.
Understandably, Canberra needs to balance its alliance commitments to the US, its concerns over Chinese military power, and its strategic partnership with Indonesia. But given the “sawtooth” trajectory of Indonesia-Australia defence relations – short periods of rapid development followed by sharp and painful reversals – boosting mutual transparency in defence posture development is critical.
At the end of the day, debating the operational utility of a naval base without accounting for the broader regional environment is to miss the forest for the trees.


3) Hidden challenges for conservation and development along the Trans- Papuan economic corridor  
The island of New Guinea harbours one of the world’s largest tracts of intact tropical forest, with 41% of its land area in Indonesian Papua (Papua and Papua Barat Provinces). Within Papua, the advent of a 4000-km ‘devel- opment corridor’ reflects a national agenda promoting primary-resource extraction and economic integration. Papua, a resource frontier containing vast forest and mineral resources, increasingly exhibits new conservation and development dynamics suggestive of the earlier frontier development phases of other Indonesian regions. Local environmental and social considerations have been discounted in the headlong rush to establish the corridor and secure access to natural resources. Peatland and forest conversion are increasingly extensive within the epicentres of economic development. Deforestation frontiers are emerging along parts of the expanding development corridor, including within the Lorentz World Heritage Site. Customary land rights for Papua’s indigenous people remain an afterthought to resource development, fomenting conditions contrary to con- servation and sustainable development. A centralised development agenda within Indonesia underlies virtually all of these changes. We recommend specific actions to address the environmental, economic, and socio-political challenges of frontier development along the Papuan corridor. 


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

1) Disheartening Truth of Papuan Children`s Dream to be OPM member

2) Indonesia rejects West Papua demands as troops hunt separatists
3) Government to shift focus from infrastructure to education in Papua
4) Jakarta-Papua Tensions Flare
5) Sincha Dimara: My mother, a West Papuan survivor of many hardships, spurred along by her faith

6) West Papua refugees share their stories at Lithgow forum

1) Disheartening Truth of Papuan Children`s Dream to be OPM member
Disheartening Truth of Papuan Children`s Dream to be OPM member

WEDNESDAY, 12 DECEMBER, 2018 | 10:22 WIB
TEMPO.COJakarta - Head of Papua Police’s community guidance task force, Grand Commissioner Eko Sutardo, shared his heart-wrenching experience while blending in with children that live within areas prone to conflict.
He recalled to the moment children expressing eagerness upon growing up to be a soldier for the Free Papua Organization (OPM).
“We often meet children living in the area of conflicts and ask them what they dream to be once they grow up, we found answers of wanting to grow up becoming an OPM member,” said Eko when Tempo met him in South Jakarta on Tuesday, December 11.
Eko theorized that children directly meet armed separatists in conflict-prone areas and perceive the men holding rifles as an example to look up to, which is made worse by the hateful doctrines taught by the separatist members.
“I want to be just like those brothers that hold weapons, travel, fire the weapons, and have lots of money,” said Eko imitating the child’s sentence.
He argues that the flux of these separatist groups is driven by the hateful doctrines and post-conflict trauma experienced by them which is made worse by the absence of any reasonable trauma healing efforts.
Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) researcher Adriana Elisabeth said that the lack of any proper government-driven trauma healing program contributes to the reason why shootings and human rights violations by separatists often reoccur in Papua.


2) Indonesia rejects West Papua demands as troops hunt separatists

The Papuan province has been plagued by violence in recent weeks

Updated 4 hours ago By Stefan Armbruster 


Indonesia has rejected renewed West Papuan separatists' demands for independence and the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers as the death toll mounts after almost two weeks of fighting in the Papuan province.
At least 17 workers on a major highway construction project were killed 10 days ago in an attack claimed by the West Papua National Liberation Army, known at TPNPB.
The separatists claimed the men were Indonesian military personnel while Indonesian officials say the gunmen are violent criminals who must be held to account. 

Gun battles erupted when the Indonesian military responded. At least four civilians reportedly died in the cross fire, with an unspecified number of soldiers and combatants also killed or wounded.
A civil conflict has raged since Indonesia’s annexation of the former Dutch colony and a disputed United Nations referendum in the 1960s, that has reportedly resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.


In a video, a spokesperson for the National Liberation Army read an open letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo rejecting a call to surrender, demanding an end to Indonesian rule and an independence referendum.
“TPNPB will continue armed resistance without surrender and will continue to fight until full independence is achieved from Indonesia brutal colonialism,” Sebby Sambam said, while standing alongside Major Terianus Santos, head of staff for the National Liberation Army of West Papua, behind the Morning Star independence flag.

“Call on withdrawal of all Indonesian military forces out of Papua and bring in the UN peacekeeping troops.
“Call on Indonesian government to oblige in letting indigenous people of West Papua freely vote for self-determination.”
Indonesia's top security minister, Wiranto, said on Tuesday the government will not open talks with those who have committed serious crimes.
"The enemy (TPNPB) have escaped and the authorities are still making an effort to run after them," said Wiranto, who goes by only one name.
"They have spread propaganda to scare people. They have committed inhumane crimes and we must fight against them." 
Thousands of people have reportedly fled into the mountains in Nduga where the attack occurred as Indonesian forces retook strategic positions in the remote part of Papua.

Since coming to power in 2014, Widodo has tried to address the Papua issue by freeing some political prisoners, promising improved human rights and particularly by stepping up infrastructure investment, including through a Trans Papua road.
Many traditional land owners say the 4600km highway through Indonesia’s Papuan provinces is being built without their approval.
Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne discussed the latest violence with her Indonesian counterpart last week in Bali.
“This is a very tragic event and we hope that there will be an appropriate and serious comprehensive investigation of these events. They are of course a great concern,” Ms Payne told her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi last Thursday.
Foreign media are restricted from entering the Papuan provinces to independently verify the situation.
Hundred of arrests have been made since the December 1 anniversary, which marks the raising of the banned Morning Star independence flag, sparking criticism from the UN in Geneva.
“While we acknowledge the complexities of the situation in Papua, we are troubled by the crackdown over peaceful demonstrations and increasing reports of excessive use of force by security forces, harassment, arbitrary arrests and detentions in Papua, including harassment and threats to lawyers working on these cases,” UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) spokesperson Ravina Shamdasanin said.

We urge the Government to act to constructively address the grievances being voiced in Papua in line with Indonesia’s international human rights obligations and the political commitments made in the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review.”

More arrests were made after pro-Papuan rallies on UN Human Rights Day on Monday.
The West Papua National Liberation Army, the military wing of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), declared a renewed war against the Indonesian army (TNI) on January 23 this year. 


3) Government to shift focus from infrastructure to education in Papua

Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Wed, December 12, 2018 | 09:10 am
Education will become another focus of the government’s development plans in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua after it managed to open up part of the isolated areas with its Trans-Papua flagship infrastructure project.
A territorial and equality expert at the National Development Planning Ministry, Oktorialdi, said on Tuesday that the ministry had prepared an education program to develop human resources in the provinces.
To improve development across the country, including in Papua, the government increased its education budget 13 percent to Rp 492 trillion (US$33.66 billion) in 2019, from Rp 435 trillion the previous year.
Oktorialdi revealed eight education goals for Papua: distribute more Indonesia Smart Cards (KIP), improve the quality of education in high schools, prepare assistance for teachers, increase the number of teachers, provide e-learning for teachers, include local content in education, eradicate illiteracy and establish boarding schools.
Infrastructure development in the last three years has been crucial to mobility in the province, which is three and a half times bigger than Java, he said, adding that education would help the two provinces continue their development.
Meanwhile, National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) state apparatus director Velix Wanggai said infrastructure development would help improve the quality of life for people, but improving education in the province was no less important.
Velix suggested that boarding schools could offer a good education alternative in Papua, particularly because of its geographical condition.
“We know Papua is very large; people spend a lot of time traveling from one point to another,” he added.
The government’s programs to accelerate development in Papua, one of the country’s less developed regions, is based on Presidential Instruction No 9/2017 on the acceleration of social welfare development in Papua, which emphasizes infrastructure and also human resources development. (bbn)


4) Jakarta-Papua Tensions Flare

12 DECEMBER 2018 Jarryd de Haan, Research Analyst, Indian Ocean Research Programme

Tensions between Jakarta and Papua have recently flared up with the arrest of hundreds of Papuans and reports of 19 to 31 victims, most believed to be construction workers, killed by a group of armed separatists. One major arrest took place in Surabaya, after around 300 members of the Papuan Students Alliance staged a protest; which ended shortly after they encountered counter-protesters and were told to disperse by police. Following the protest, police reportedly surrounded student dormitories and arrested between 100 and 300 students. The incidents took place around 1 December as West Papuans celebrated “Papuan Independence Day”, the date on which the Morning Star flag was first raised in 1961. The Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) has since deployed forces in Nduga Regency, where the construction workers were killed.

The death toll in the recent outbreak of violence is possibly the highest in the Post-Suharto era, raising concerns that tensions could be escalating. The history of violence and conflict stems from separatist movements within the Papua provinces which have resisted integration into Indonesia since 1969. To this date, Papua and West Papua are two of the least developed regions in Indonesia, struggling with poor water access and high rates of both poverty and malnutrition. Despite being granted special autonomy status in 2001, many within the Papua provinces still see Indonesia’s rule as that of a police state, with reports of killings, arrests and torture by the Indonesian military.
According to Arie Ruhyanto, a Doctoral Researcher from the University of Birmingham, the desire for self-determination within Papua is growing, as the Indonesian government efforts to provide economic benefits are too narrowly focussed. As part of his election campaign in 2014, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo promised to address the root causes behind the separatist movement, resolving social and economic issues in the region. During his Presidency, Jokowi has lived up to some of these promises, primarily focusing on funding development in education, health and infrastructure. These efforts, however, have so far failed to quell discontent among Papuans with seemingly little being done regarding human rights concerns.
Even efforts to improve development through construction projects have been marred by a strong military presence among the workers. Sebby Samboon, spokesperson for the National Liberation Army of West Papua, which claimed responsibility for the recent shootings, denied that the workers should be treated as civilians due to their association with TNI. A former member of the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights, Natallius Pigai, also expressed concern that local workers had been under threat for some time before the shooting.
While tensions may flare up again in the near future, it is unlikely that government attitudes will change anytime soon. Economic development will continue to be the priority in the hope that levels of discontent within the Papua provinces will decline. That is an unlikely scenario, however, at least in the short-term, as the scale of development needed to improve the general standard of living is vast. Resistance to such projects will also slow down government efforts, and increasing the military presence to protect workers may be counter-intuitive in winning over the Papuan populace.

Any opinions or views expressed in this paper are those of the individual author, unless stated to be those of Future Directions International.  Published by Future Directions International Pty Ltd.


5) Sincha Dimara: My mother, a West Papuan survivor of many hardships, spurred along by her faith

PROFILE: By Sincha Dimara in Port Moresby
I once asked my mother how was it that she married at the tender age of 16 and left home in West Papua for a foreign land – neighbouring Papua New Guinea – never to see family again for more than three decades.
She told me: “When your father left for work and I was left alone, it dawned on me that I may never see my family again.
“Silent tears flowed in those quiet moments, tanta (aunty) Wanma noticed. She asked me if papa was not nice to me. I shook my head, ‘no’… it was only after the birth of my first child, that my whole world changed.”
My mother, Dolfintje Imbab, was born on 4 December 1949, four years after World World Two ended. She was 70 last week (on 4 December 2018).
She was born somewhere on the banks of the Warfor River on Supiori Island, part of the Biak Islands in West Papua at a time when villagers had been forced to move inland to escape the horrors of war.
She completed her primary education in 1960, in what was then a Dutch colony. She was not considered for further studies because most women back then were told to return home to assist the family male members of the family to continue their education.
This meant gardening, fishing and other daily chores to sustain the family.
Against Indonesian takeover
My father, Domingus Dimara (that’s a story on its own), came to Papua New Guinea as a young man in 1963. He was against Indonesia’s takeover of West Papua then and decided to make PNG home.
He returned in 1965 in search for a bride; my mother was chosen.
My late father was a disciplinarian and always believed in doing the right thing. Initially there was resistance from my maternal grandparents upon hearing that their daughter would marry and move far from home.
My maternal grandmother placed locally made bracelets (gelang biak) on both her arms. The bracelets identify a woman or man as a Biak person.
They were married in May 1965 in Biak town and after meeting legal and customary obligations they travelled to the capital Hollandia, now Jayapura. From there, they travelled by plane to Lae, then on to Port Moresby.
My parents lived with Om and Tanta Marjen (late Aunty and Uncle Marjen) who had earlier moved to Port Moresby after Indonesia gained control of West Papua.
My parents were also accommodated by the Wanma family. This was in the 1960s. One of mum’s early memories is witnessing the 1969 South Pacific Games in Port Moresby and the basketball matches played at the Hohola Courts.
New suburbs sprouted
A few years later when Port Moresby was beginning to expand and new suburbs sprouted, my father was able to secure a house from the National Housing Commission in 1970.
In 1990, more than 30 years since her arrival in PNG, mum first crossed the border as a PNG citizen into Indonesian territory. She did so after communicating with family members through letters for more than 20 years.
Her father had passed on but her mother – my grandmother – was still alive then. She would meet family members again over the years.
In 1979, both of my parents were granted PNG citizenship along with other West Papuans. Among them were the Marjens, Sarwoms, Wanmas.
Sadly, my father passed on in 1994. My mother’s strength and love for the family has kept her going this far.
She lost three of her seven children. Edward our youngest died of heart failure in 1992. Robin was murdered by criminals in 1999 and my sister Salomina died of breast cancer in 2013.
Throughout all the hardships, I believe her faith in God has kept her going. She has mastered the Motu language, speaks a little English and Tok Pisin and made many friends in PNG.
She is also a survivor of breast cancer having gone through treatment in 2011. In a few weeks’ time she will travel home to visit her place of birth and meet her siblings again.
I jokingly asked if it was time to return for good. But I guess she’d rather spend time with the family she created – her children and grandchildren.
Sincha Dimara has been an #EMTV producer for 30 years. She is news producer of the television network in Papua New Guinea.


6) West Papua refugees share their stories at Lithgow forum
DECEMBER 12 2018 - 2:00PM

Event organiser, Lithgow RN and West Papuan human rights advocate Anthony Craig, said he hoped their stories would encourage people to learn more about the plight of West Papuan refugees and to advocate for change.
Mr Craig, who has visited West Papuan refugee camps in Papua New Guinea and has been to West Papua itself, said people often hear about the conditions of camps on Nauru, but not about these camps and conditions he called “appalling”. 
“Think about the cubby houses your kids put together in the backyard, made of bits and pieces, makeshift,” he said. 
“That’s the kind of homes they are living in.”
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The camps and their residents are always vulnerable to being shifted, while the long-term future of the camps is uncertain. 
Mr Fairio and Mr Karubaba now have Papua New Guinea citizenship, which allows them to travel to Australia, but they still live in a refugee camp. 
Mr Fairio said he was “amazed and rejoiced” to be standing in Lithgow and able to speak to Australian communities. 
He said he had lived in PNG for four decades after fleeing from his home country and violence from Indonesian armed forces. 
“I have a duty to talk to Pacific people, so they are able to know, to be with us and support us,” he said. 
“We believe freedom can come, it happened for East Timor.”
Mr Karubaba grew up in camps in PNG and described conditions in which 53 families shared a single area of ground “the size of this club”, in which power only operated from 7pm-11.30pm.

“It is so crowded, so noisy in the camps, it is hard [for children] to study,” he said. 
“To get a job as a refugee is quite difficult.”
He said a large percentage of refugees in PNG were employed informally, taking up work when and where they could to support their families. 
Mr Karubaba said he welcomed the sight of the West Papuan Morning Star flag being displayed at the event on Saturday. The flag is banned from being flown in West Papua.