Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088
AWPA- update February -beginning of March 2012
Summary of events
The Australian-Pacific chapter of International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) was launched at Parliament House in Canberra on the 28 February. The event was hosted by Green Senator Richard Di Natale. Although the acting Foreign Affairs Minister Craig Emerson urged Labor members not to attend the event, Labor MP Laurie Ferguson defied Dr Emerson's advice and attended the launch. He said he regarded Dr Emerson's urgings as "unprecedented, ridiculous and ill-informed". "We're talking about a country where people get 15 years in jail for raising a flag, where on all common analyses of Indonesian society it is the second worst province in regards to longevity of people's life, child, infant mortality, income levels," http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-28/labor-mps-defy-ban-on-west-papua-meeting/3858188/?site=illawarra Craig Emerson was also pulled up by Labor caucus chairman Daryl Melham and former Speaker Harry Jenkins, who said MPs were free to attend any event they chose. Yet again this shows how sensitive the West Papuan issue is to both the Australian and Indonesian Governments.
There are various Parliamentary Friendship Groups including an Australian -Indonesian Parliamentary Friendship Group and one can’t imagine Parliamentarians being asked not to attend this group. The Northern Territory Labor senator Trish Crossin, who chairs the Australian Indonesian Parliamentary Friendship Group, confirmed a delegation of embassy officials had met her to express concern because West Papua is a province of Indonesia. A Foreign Affairs Department spokeswoman also confirmed the Indonesian embassy had raised the West Papua meeting issue and said successive Australian governments had committed to the territorial integrity of Indonesia.
Catherine Delahunty, a Green Party MP from New Zealand and Ralh Regenvanu, MP from Vanuatu also attended the launch. International lawyers for West Papua was represented by Jennifer Robinson at the launch. Photos of launch at http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/photos-of-launch-of-international.html Jennifer Robinson also spoke to a variety of groups while in Australia including at a Medical Association for Prevention of War seminar on the human rights situation in West Papua. http://pure-papua.posterous.com/?tag=seminar
The Australian Embassy in Jakarta released a press release stating Australia is fully committed to Indonesia's territorial integrity and national unity, including its sovereignty over the Papua provinces. This is a fundamental obligation of the Lombok Treaty between Australia and Indonesia. http://www.indonesia.embassy.gov.au/jakt/MR12_009.html A number of rallies took place in West Papua. Supporting the launch. Photos at http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/photos-from-free-west-papua-site.html and http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/timika-photos-news-demo-supporting.html
The trial against the five the West Papuan activists, Forkorus Yaboisembut, Edison Waromi, Selpius Bobii, Dominikus Surabut and August Kraar for treason is continuing with concern now for members of their defence legal team with reports in local newspapers of some intimidation. AWPA also wrote to the former Foreign Minister kevin Rudd concerning the safety of the men on trial. http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/awpa-letter-to-minister-for-foreign.html AWPA also released its Human Rights report on West Papua for 2011. Found at http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1202/AWPA_Human_Rights_Report__West_Papua.pdf
President meets with church leaders
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Vice President Boediono and several top cabinet ministers, on Wednesday held a three-hour dialogue with representatives of the Papuan Synod of Churches at the state guesthouse.
The government has vowed to improve the infrastructure and welfare of the people of Papua, but stopped short of committing to an all-inclusive dialogue to address the problems afflicting the restive province. http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/papuan-church-leaders-meet-with-yudhoyono/495219
According to the province’s public health chief the HIV/AIDS in Papua has become a general epidemic “Alarm raised on HIV ‘epidemic’ in Papua” http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/02/17/alarm-raised-hiv-epidemic-papua.html and in a report on Radio Australia it stated that
The incidence of HIV/Aids in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and Papua Barat - the area known as West Papua is said to be 20 times greater than the rest of Indonesia. “West Papua struggling with HIV/AIDS
There have been a number of shootings in the past month
Motorcycle taxi driver shot by man in Papua
Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post, Jayapura | Thu, 02/02/2012
A motorcycle taxi driver is in hospital after being shot by an unidentified man for no apparent reason, Papua Police say. Police said that the victim, Daeng Yonri, was being treated in hospital. “Daeng Yonri has been severely wounded. Now we are trying all we can to save him,” Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Wachyono said on Thursday. He said a team of police officers and army soldiers were hunting the perpetrators. Wachyono said Yonri was the third shooting victim so far this month. The other shooting victims, both killed, are a civilian identified as Kismarovit and First. Brig. Sukarno, a member of the Papua Mobile Brigade (Brimob
Workers shot at Mile 37 in Papua
Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post, Jayapura 02/09/2012
Two employees of mining giant PT Freeport Indonesia’s subcontractor, CV Yawapu, Benny Yamamo and Phiter Tumoka, were shot on Thursday by an unidentified person at Mile 37 while driving from Nayaro village to Timika.
“Benny was shot on the right side of the chest while Phiter was shot in the leg. Four other people in the car were injured by glass fragments,” Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Wachyono said in Jayapura. Wachyono did not mention the condition of the two victims or whether they survive the ambush.
A Mobile Brigade [Brimob] officer, First. Brig. Ronald, was shot dead near the Mile 37 area on Tuesday. Ronald’s body was sent to Ternate on Wednesday for burial.
Update: Indonesian Soldier Dies in Papua Firefight
Jakarta Globe March 08, 2012
An Indonesia soldier shot Thursday morning during a firefight in Puncak Jaya, Papua has died, Indonesian Military (TNI) officials said. First Pvt. Laode was rushed to Mulia Hospital in critical condition earlier today after a group of armed men opened fire on a military truck heading to Mulia, the capital of Papua’s Puncak Jaya district. The soldiers exchanged fire with the attackers. Laode suffered a gunshot wound in the attack. The men then took his rife. Doctors at Mulia Hospital transfered the soldier to Jayapura’s Marthen Indey Military Hospital for further treatment. But doctors were unable to save the man.
Indonesian Military officials are trying to determine who the shooters were, said Erwin Syafitri, commander of the Cendrawasih Military Command, which oversees military operations in Papua.Separatist groups have been historically responsible for the occasional bloody clash between security forces and armed groups in Indonesia's easternmost province, according to the Indonesian government. Antara/JG
Thousands of Papuans Demand Referendum
Tuesday, 21 February, 2012 TEMPO Interactive,
Jakarta: Thousands supporting the West Papua National Committee thronged the Papua People Assembly building in Kotaraja, Jayapura, on Monday. The protesters demanded for a referendum and for the Papua and West Papua Development Acceleration Unit (UP4B) to be disbanded. “We don’t want UP4B. We’re not looking for special autonomy, we want a referendum,” said Mako Tabuni, the National Committee spokesman on Monday. Mako said that freedom for Papua could not be compromised. Special autonomy, as stipulated in Law No. 21/2001, has failed to bring welfare for the Papuans. “Special autonomy has failed, the unit won’t work either. It’s only sugar-coated politics for Papua sent from Jakarta,” Mako went on. JERRY OMONA | CUNDING LEVI
Indonesian Police Arrest Czech Tourist in Papua
February 08, 2012
Manokwari. Police in Indonesia’s restive Papua region arrested a Czech tourist Wednesday for taking photos of a pro-independence demonstration, district police said. Petr Zamecnik, 35, was detained in the town of Manokwari, around 400 kilometers east of the popular Raja Ampat diving site in West Papua province, Manokwari police chief Agustinus Supriyanto told AFP. “We questioned him because his travel permit lists him as a tourist. He has now been handed over to immigration,” Supriyanto said. “Zamecnik was supposed to go on a holiday to Raja Ampat but he was found taking pictures of a protest instead.” Around 100 ethnic Melanesian Papuans marched to the governor’s building Wednesday afternoon yelling “Free Papua, we are not Indonesians”, carrying a banner showing the outlawed Papuan Morning Star separatist symbol. Indonesia imposes strict visa regulations on foreign visitors to Papua and tight restrictions on foreign journalists looking to report from the region. Jakarta annexed Papua in 1969 in a self-determination referendum widely seen as rigged and continues to keep a tight grip on the region through its military and police to quell a decades-long insurgency by poorly armed rebels. In 2010, two French journalists were deported from Papua for filming a peaceful demonstration outside government-approved areas. Agence France-Presse
RNZI February, 2012
The General-Secretary of the Papua Customary Council has called on New Zealand to ensure it doesn’t take up investment opportunities created by massive land exploitation in Indonesia’s eastern region.
While in New Zealand last week, Leonard Imbiri spoke of the dangers of this country furthering its trade links with Indonesia while ignoring human rights abuses in Papua. The planned Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate near the Papua New Guinea border is highly strategic in terms of the nation’s food security and energy programmes. Mr Imbiri says New Zealand should think twice before investing in it. “I don’t think that there is good preparation to involve the Papuan indigenous people in that process. And it means that they will be displaced in their own land. I didn’t see that there will be any possibilities or benefits from this project to the West Papuan indigenous people.”
RNZI 17 February, 2012
A leading researcher on West Papua says the trial of five Papuan leaders for treason has hallmarks of being another public relations disaster for Indonesia. The five were arrested last October at the Third Papuan People’s Congress where they raised the outlawed Papuan ’Morning Star’ flag and declared independence. Earlier this week, the panel of judges rejected a bid by the defendants’ legal team to have the case dismissed on the grounds that the five men are entitled to freedom of expression under Indonesian law. Jim Elmslie of Sydney University’s West Papua Project says security forces are pressuring the judges to deliver harsh sentences. “But the previous case where people were sentenced to long terms purely for non-violent political actions like raising a flag, they’ve been taken up by people all over the world. And it doesn’t make Indonesia look good to have political prisoners who are merely expressing their political convictions.” The trial continues today with witnesses for the prosecution to be heard, most of whom are members of the police force involved in the deadly crackdown on October’s peaceful gathering.
Reports/opinion pieces etc
NM INVESTIGATES 5 Mar 2012
Australia Is Policing Separatism
By Marni Cordell
Indonesia's counter-terror unit Detachment 88 is funded and trained by Australia. Why are we so involved with a unit whose work includes counter-separatist activities? Marni Cordell reports from Jakarta
West Papuan Leaders Face Life In Prison
NEWMATILDA.COM WEST PAPUA 7 Feb 2012
Tomorrow five West Papuan men will face charges of treason for peacefully declaring independence from Indonesia. Why isn't Australia sending legal observers to the trial, asks Tom Clarke
In memory of the 1999 Papua dialogue
Budi Hernawan, Canberra 03/01/2012
Thirteen years ago today, Papua’s “Team 100” was invited by then president BJ Habibie to hold a national dialogue to discuss the Papua issue at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta.
We need a pulpit perspective on Papua
SUSAN CONNELLY MARCH 01, 2012
Members of regional parliaments are increasingly alarmed at the continuing violence in the Indonesian Papuan provinces and at the seeming inability of the Indonesian Government to administer these territories without a large military presence. The refusal of permission for journalists and many aid workers to enter the provinces is a growing cause of concern.
ALP Tries to Ban West Papuan Meeting
2SER's Razors Edge
Comprehending West Papua
New ebook edited by ProfessorPeter King, Jim Elmslie and Camellia Webb-‐Gannon from the University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, is a collection of papers and essays from an eponymous conference held at the University last year. The book brings together the thoughts and observations of West Papuan intellectuals, religious leaders and independence activists from around the world. A must read for anybody interested in the issue of West Papua
Indonesia: Amnesty International welcomes President’s commitment on accountability in Papua
17 February 2012,
Amnesty International welcomes the acknowledgement by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that security forces have committed human rights violations in the region of Papua. The President said further that he wants an end to repressive actions by the military and police in Papua.
By Alfred Oehlers February 16, 2012