Saturday, March 12, 2011

AWPA update. January 2011

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088

AWPA update. January 2011

Operation Sunset Merona

The PNG Government launched its biggest ever joint security forces operation along its border with West Papua to combat (according to authorities ) illegal activities like people smuggling, gun and drug trafficking. The operation called Sunset Merona was launched on the weekend of the 15/16 of February and was supposed to last two weeks although it appears to be still continuing The operation includes members of the Police, PNGDF, Immigration, Correctional services, PNG Customs and Foreign Affairs. So far up to 100 West Papuans, including women and children have been rounded up from so called rebel camps and detained in Vanimo. They are to be taken to Kiunga later in the week. According to the governor of Papua New Guinea’s National Capital District, Powes Parkop, the government is using the security operation along the border to do Indonesia’s dirty work. According to a report on RNZI he said “Because they’ve just had the recently trans-border liaison meeting I think last month or just towards the end of the year and I think that’s where the pressure came from, from the government of Indonesia. We cannot be seen to be doing the dirty work of the Indonesian government. The Indonesian government should recognise the problems in West Papua and deal with it seriously as a political issue.” Powes Parkop also said the operation is doing more harm than good and asked the PNG Prime Minister to call it off. “There’s been reports of houses being destroyed and food gardens destroyed and people being detained and what I’ve called on the Prime Minister is that those people who’ve been arrested, if they’ve committed any criminal offense they should be charged. The law in PNG is very clear: you cannot detain people without charging them.” According to a report seven camps in West Sepik were searched and destroyed by the Sunset Merona team last week. They included the Yako, Daunda, Pepsi, Krisa, Black Wara, Davi and Skotsio-Bewani camps

AWPA has written to the PNG Prime Minister asking that no West Papuans be handed over to Indonesian authorities and pointing out that according to cables released by WikiLeaks in relation to West Papuan human rights and also to the PNG border, that US diplomats blame the government in Jakarta for unrest in West Papua due to neglect, corruption and human rights abuses and that Indonesian military commanders have been accused of illegal logging operations and drug smuggling from West Papua into Papua New Guinea.
Torture video
The three soldiers put on trial for the torture of the two West Papuan men which caused outrage around the world only received light sentences of between 8 and 10 months. The soldiers were not even charged with torture but with disobeying orders. The message West Papuans will take from this is they will receive no justice under Indonesian rule.

Papuans rally for independence

January 26, 2011 AFP
Hundreds of Papuans have protested in Jayapura rejecting the region's special autonomy within Indonesia and demanding a referendum on self-determination. Carrying a wooden coffin covered with a black cloth which said "Special Autonomy is Dead in Papua," more than 1000 activists, students and church leaders protested on Wednesday in front of the provincial parliament, witnesses said. "Independence for Papua, reject special autonomy," they shouted. "Indonesia the coloniser, Indonesia the oppressor, Indonesia the robber."
They also called for the upper house of tribal leaders called the Papua People's Assembly (MRP) to be disbanded. "The MRP had done nothing to improve the welfare of Papuans. Our people are poor in their own land," protest coordinator Selpius Bobi said. "We reject special autonomy as that is the Indonesian government's policy which has never supported the natives. We want a referendum that will allow us to determine our own fate," he added Papua's special autonomy status, introduced in 2001 after the fall of former president Suharto's military dictatorship, has seen powers including control of most tax revenue from natural resources devolved to the provincial government.
However many Papuans say it has failed to improve their rights and activists accuse the Indonesian military of acting with brutal impunity against the indigenous Melanesian majority in the far-eastern region.
A court martial jailed three Indonesian soldiers on Monday for up to 10 months for abuse and insubordination after graphic video footage showed them torturing civilians in Papua.
The sentences were criticised by the United States and rights campaigners as too lenient.
Foreign media and aid workers are not allowed into Papua and West Papua provinces to investigate allegations of human rights abuses against the indigenous people.
Papua has been the scene of a low-level insurgency for decades and despite Indonesia's vast security presence in the region, Jakarta remains extremely sensitive about any sign of separatism. Indonesia has sent mixed messages about its willingness to loosen its grip on Papua, offering talks with separatist rebels on the one hand while jailing and killing their leaders on the other.

Growing opposition to OTSUS and MRP in Papua [Also the Eleven Recommendations in full]

From Tapol
JUBI, 26 January 2011 [Several reports]

Church leaders oppose the creation of a new MRP

The leaders of the main churches in Papua have now come out with a joint position regarding the social and political situation in Papua since integration and since the enactment of Special Autonomy in 2001. The churches' view was presented to the provincial legislative assembly, the DPRP, by Rev. Elly Doirebo of the GKI (Evangelical Church). While this was in progress, a large group of Papuans were demonstrating peacefully rejecting Special Autonomy (OTSUS) and rejecting the creation of a new Majelis Rakyat Papua (Papuan People's Council). [The MRP is an institution that was set up in accordance with the terms of the OTSUS law.]
A number of points were included in the statement agreed by the church leaders.
First, that since its integration into Indonesia, Papua has faced noting but problems.
Second that church members are facing genocide as a result development strategies that fail to side with the indigenous Papuan people, the many military operations and the human rights violations that have been perpetrated.
Third, the churches acknowledge their own failure in the past to confront the policies of the central government, with Jakarta acting as a colonial power.
Fourth, the churches need to return to their sacred vision and mission.
Fifth, following the failure of OTSUS, the churches call on the Indonesian government to provide the space the necessary space for dialogue with the Papua people, mediated by a neutral party..
The churches also called on Papuans to work for their own salvation and against internal forms of colonisation and slavery.
The churches should work in solidarity to confront the many challenges they face.
The statement was signed by Rev. Elly Doirebo, Rev Benny Giay, head of the Kingmi Church, and Rev Socrates Sofyan Yoman, the head of the Union of Baptist Churches of Papua. The mass of people who had gathered later dispersed peacefully after receiving assurances that the DPRP together with the church leaders would raise all these matters with the central government
Papuan people call for an end to the process of setting up a new MRP
Moves to recruit members of a new MRP continue to be reject by Papuan people. They called on members of the DPRP and the government to halt the whole process, including the recruitment of members of the MRP in the regions. Benjamin Gurik, speaking on behalf of students from Cenderawasih University, said that he agreed with other speakers that the MPR and OTSUS had done nothing to improve the welfare of the Papuan people. 'Our people are still poor, they are still oppressed and are being murdered. Their living conditions have continued to worsen from year to year.There is no point setting up a new MRP,' said Gurik. Gurik called on the government to put an end to OTSUS and to implement the eleven recommendation adopted [in June 2010] by the Grand Assembly held in Jayapura. [See below]

Coffin and Cross to mourn the death of OTSUS

Thousands of Papuans from many church denominations, as well as many youths and students took part in a demonstration during which they carried a coffin and a cross to symbolise the death of OTSUS. Rev Herman Awom said that the DPRP should inform the central government that Papuan people are now mourning the death of OTSUS.. A member of the DPRP said that they would go to Jakarta together with church leaders to present these views to the central government.
1. That the Special Autonomy Law should be handed back to the Government of the Republic of Indonesia.
2. That the Papuan people demand tha a DIALOGUE be held, mediated by a neutral international mediator.
3. That the Papuan people demand the holding of a REFERENDUM directed towards political independence.
4. That the Papuan people demand that the Government of Indonesia recognise the restoration of the sovereignty of the People of West Papua which was proclaimed on 1 December 1961.
5.That the Papuan people urge the international community to impose an embargo on international aid being provide for the implementation of Special Autonomy for the Land of Papua.
6. That there is no need for revisions to be made to Law 21/2001 on Special Autonomy for the provinces of Papua and West Papua, with reference to Law 35/2008 on Revision of Law 21/2001, bearing in mind that the said law is proven to have FAILED.
7. That all proceedings for the election of heads of district throughout the Land of Papua should be halted, and to call on the Governor of Papua and the Governor of West Papua, the DPRP, the DPRDWest Papua, and district heads and mayors throughout the Land of Papua to immediately discontinue the provision of funds for the holding of these elections.
8. That the Central Government, the Province of Papua and the Province of West Papua as well as all districts and municipalities in the Land of Papua end transmigration from outside Papua and impose strict supervision on the flow of migration by people from outside the Land of Papua.
9.That the Papuan people urge the Central Government, the Government of the Province of Papua, the DPRP and the DPRD West Papua to release all Papuan political prisoners being held in prisons everywhere in Indonessia.
10. That the Central Government immediately carry out demilitarisation throughout the whole of the Land of Papua.
11. That the Consultation held by the MRP and Papuan indigenous groups calls for the Freeport Indonesia company to be closed down immediately.
Two civilians killed, soldier injured in attack
The Jakarta Post 01/15/2011
JAYAPURA: Two civilians were killed and a soldier was injured as three people were reported to have attacked a military post in Merauke, Papua, on Friday. The attack reportedly took place at 8 a.m. local time, or 6 a.m. Jakarta time. The two victims were identified as Clemen Basik-Basik and Amandus Basik-Basik. The former was killed during the attack while using arrows, and the latter was shot dead when he fleeing with guns seized from the post. “The three attacked the military post using traditional weapons. They attacked and seized the guns” Cendrawasih Military Command official Lieu. Col. Harry Priyatna told The Jakarta Post by phone. Harry believed that the attack was related to an incident the day before when Clemen Basik-Basik was questioned by police officers following complaints that he was consistently blamed for causing public unrest.— JP
Housewives account for most HIV/AIDS cases in Papua: Govt
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta 01/24/2011
Most of the people reporting HIV/AIDS infections in Papua last year were housewives, accounting for 164 individuals, the government says. Most of these women had contracted HIV from their husbands, Jayapura AIDS Commission secretary Purnomo said Monday in Sentani as reported by reported. “Their husbands were unfaithful,” he said Official records show there were 609 people living with HIV/AIDS in Papua last year, comprising 242 men and 367 women. Up to 164 of the women were housewives, and 102 were sex workers. Of the total, 37 were civil servants, 67 were employees of private companies, 41 were high school and college students and 61 were farmers or blue collar or informal workers. Twelve of the women were under four years old and 44 were between 15 and 19 years of age, while most (285 of them) were in their 20s; 198 were in their 30s and 55 were in their 40s. Most HIV/AIDS cases were found in the Sentani district, 126 in East Sentani, 26 in Kauran, 20 in Nimboran and 25 in West Sentani. Four children had contracted HIV from their mothers, seven from blood transfusions and the rest from sexual intercourse.
Govt to spend Rp 1t to start Papua food estate project
Esther Samboh, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta 01/25/2011
The government will set aside about Rp 1 trillion (US$110.34 million) from the 2011 State Budget to build the foundations for the Merauke food estate project in the country’s easternmost province of Papua, a senior minister says. Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa said Monday the funds would be used to build the food estate’s basic infrastructure, including farm clusters, roads and irrigation and power supply systems. “About Rp 800 billion will be for the food estate’s initial development of clustering, road and water, plus more than Rp 100 billion for energy,” he told reporters at his office. Meanwhile, the other needs will be funded by the private sector, Hatta said, without providing the names of the investors. Agriculture Minister Suswono has said that 30 investors in the forestry sector have committed to invest in the project. “This year we will first build basic infrastructure worth almost Rp 1 trillion to arrange the irrigation and road systems, as well as other infrastructure. Afterwards, we will invite investors,” Hatta said. The food estate project is part of the government’s master plan to build Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate to help achieve national food self-sufficiency, eliminating the need to rely on imported food.
“The Merauke food estate project is expected to be completed in 2014, yielding a number of agricultural products such as rice, sugar cane and soybean as well as their supporting industries,” Hatta said. Other than Merauke, he added, Papua had two other economic corridors; Timika and Mamberamo. Deputy Agriculture Minister Bayu Krisnamurthi has said that the first harvest of the estimated Rp 50 trillion to Rp 60 trillion food estate is expected in 2012. Environmentalists have expressed concern that the projects would cause massive deforestation and harm efforts to cut emissions in dealing with climate change. However, Hatta eased the concerns, saying the food estate would not be built on forested areas. “[The Merauke food estate] will cover 570,000 hectares of land excluding forest land,” Hatta said. An assessment by Greenomics Indonesia said only 300,000 hectares of production forest in Merauke could be converted for other purposes, including food estate projects. Of the total 4.7 million hectares of land in Merauke, 95 percent was still forested with some 3.42 million untouched, the assessment said. Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said the government would seek the House of Representatives’ approval to deliberate the Papua Spatial Planning bill. The food estate area could be expanded to up to 1 million hectares if the initial project runs well, he said.
Border between the Indonesian province and Papua New Guinea isn’t recognised by the indigenous people RNZI Posted at 06:44 on 27 January, 2011
A spokesperson for the Institute of Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights says the border between the Indonesian province and Papua New Guinea isn’t recognised by the indigenous people living there. A group of 77 Papuans was arrested during a large-scale joint forces border security crackdown in the Vanimo area of PNG and the detainees are being assessed for links with the Papua liberation movement or OPM. PNG’s acting deputy police commissioner says respect for the sovereignty of Indonesia is more important than the shared ethnicity of people living on either side of the border.
But Paula Makabory says the border separates people from both land and relatives.
“The land itself is only one land. The peoples there is one people, the culture is also one. So it’s like just people trespass and divided your house into two. So for them, ’It’s my right, I just go on my land, without having any document’.” A spokesperson for the Institute of Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights, Paula Makabory

Press releases/reports opinion pieces etc.
Human Rights Watch's World Report 2011
To read Human Rights Watch's World Report 2011 chapter on Indonesia,
To read the Human Rights Watch World Report 2011, visit:
West Papua 2010 - Chronology of events
AWPA-Chronology of events

Parkop accuses Indonesia of using PNG police to ‘harass and suppress’ refugees

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Pacific Media Watch
The Governor of Papua New Guinea’s National Capital District, Powes Parkop, has accused the police of being “used by the Indonesian government to harass and suppress” suspected West Papuan activists campaigning for independence of West Papua.
He has called on Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to call off all operations against Papuan refugees or border-crossers in Sandaun province.
In an open letter at the weekend to Somare, he said………….

AWPA calls on PNG government not to return any West Papuans to Ind. Authorities
Press release Friday, 28 January 2011
AWPA has written to the PNG Prime Minister asking that the West Papuan people who have been apprehended during Operation Sunset Merona along the PNG/West Papuan border not be handed over to the Indonesian authorities. Joe Collins said we are urging the PNG Government not to return any West Papuans back to the Indonesian authorities where their lives would be at risk …………...

PNG Troops Burn Down Border West Papua Refugee Camps As Refugees Flee To The Jungle
Investigative Report by Nick Chesterfield January 28, 2011

Time for the Australian Government to re- think its ties with the TNI

Press Release: The Australia West Papua Association
Monday, 10 January 2011
The recently released cables by WikiLeaks in relation to West Papuan human rights confirm what NGOs have been telling their governments and the media for years - that it is the Indonesian military that are one of the main problems in WestPapua……………….

Harsh reality of Indonesian rule exposed

Ron May . SMH January 27, 2011
Jakarta's reaction to military abuses in West Papua speaks volumes.
IN HIS Independence Day address to the Indonesian Parliament in 2005, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he wished to resolve the Papua question in a just, peaceful and dignified manner. …………………………
Will West Papuans now get to vote on their Freedom?
Kim Peart
The south of Sudan has just been allowed a vote on self-determination and 99 percent of those voting chose independence. The President of the Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, has declared his support for the outcome and said that he will be travelling south to join the celebrations……………………..

Editorial: Papua Justice

The Jakarta Post 01/24/2011
There are two conventions in this country that obstinately evade a resolution. The first involves questions of narrow-mindedness when honestly dealing with the right of autonomy and justice for certain regions. The second deals with justice in offenses committed by those in uniform. Despite vigorously clamoring for justice and democracy, we continually tiptoe around the judiciary’s record of handing out justice with kid gloves for felonies committed by members of the military………………….

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