Thursday, June 14, 2012

1) Jakarta Post - Editorial : Ignoring Papua

1) Jakarta Post - Editorial : Ignoring Papua
2) ‘Pre-conditions’ for Papua
3) Papuans angered by President’s statement
5) Riots in Indonesia's Papua after independence activist killed


1) Editorial : Ignoring Papua
The Jakarta Post | Thu, 06/14/2012 7:39 AM
In an effort to solve a problem, a leader has to avoid blowing an issue out of proportion or, in the extreme, playing it down as if everything is fine. Unfortunately President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is doing both.

When he learned that one or two Cabinet ministers had placed their allegiance to him below loyalty to their parties, Yudhoyono did nothing, despite his prerogative of coalition unity. But when fatal shootings flared up in Papua, killing at least 16 civilians and security personnel in the past month alone, the President saw no urgency to settle the issue once and for all despite the fact that violence has been plaguing the naturally resource-rich province for decades.

We are appalled by the President’s latest statement, which described the recent incidents in Papua as small-scale, merely taking into account the small number of fatalities that were far below the number of lives lost in violence in the Middle East. The President has sent the wrong message about his administration’s knowledge of what is really happening in Papua. More than that, the statement confirms that doubts over Jakarta’s commitment to addressing the prolonged injustice in Papua are not groundless.

Now the public at home and around the world understand why there has been no comprehensive policy to deal with Papua, despite a number of initiatives, like the formation of the Unit for Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B).

The unit has so far done much to open communications between local Papuans, including rebel groups, and the central government, but Jakarta’s propensity to underestimate the core problem of Papua — which is injustice — undermines the hard work and achievements of the unit.

The Papuan shooting spree comes against the backdrop of the international community’s discontent with Indonesia’s human rights record in Papua during the UN Human Rights Commission’s convention in Geneva a few weeks ago. It is therefore imperative for Indonesia, the government in particular, to regain the world’s trust through affirmative policies aimed at delivering justice for the Papuan people, including an end to impunity given to perpetrators of atrocities.

Post-New Order Indonesia has resolved half of the Herculean job of keeping Papua as part of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia through special autonomy for the province in 2001, which allows Papua to enjoy and manage the lion’s share of its revenue from natural resources. But distribution of wealth has failed to materialize as most of the huge funds have been wasted — or embezzled by the local elites — as is evident in the fact that Papua and West Papua remain the most disadvantaged regions, mostly because of Jakarta’s poor supervision and — more importantly — ignorance.

That Jakarta has let Papua squander its golden opportunities to develop and advance is not surprising given President Yudhoyono’s indifference to the Papuan people’s right to security.

Reports of the imminent restructuring of Papua’s military command may exacerbate the already deteriorating security situation in the province. The chief post in each of the three military commands (Korem) is currently held by a colonel but will be given to a brigadier general. Only time will tell whether the restructuring will result in the deployment of more troops to Papua.

Until Yudhoyono, who himself promised a new deal for Papua after taking office in 2004, agrees to hold talks with the Papuans and listen to their grievances, the chance of a comprehensive solution to the Papua conflict will remain slim. 

Indonesia succeeded in ending armed conflict and bringing peace back to Aceh in 2005 because there was a will. The same determination must prevail in winning Papua’s hearts and minds.
 2) ‘Pre-conditions’ for Papua
Vidhyandika D Perkasa, Jakarta | Thu, 06/14/2012 7:41 AM
This moment could be considered one of the bleakest times in Papuan history due to escalating conflict and violence in the region. There have been several causalities reported both civilians and military/police officers. 

What attracted public attention is the locations of violence, which have tended to shift from isolated areas, normally in the highlands or mountainous areas to the capital of Papua, Jayapura. 

In addition, these “mysterious shootings” have occurred in broad daylight and have hit their “targets” in public areas and near police and military offices.

There are a few lessons that we could learn from the aforementioned escalating conflict and violence in Papua.

First, we can question whether President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s program of the Presidential Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B) is indeed the right “panacea” to solve the complex problems in Papua. 

Also, is the program effectively implemented and enthusiastically welcomed by the Papuans? There have been numerous reports which show people’s skepticism about the program which may be rooted in the failure of Special Autonomy.

Second, escalating violence and conflict is also a sign that the government is overwhelmed by the complexity of the issues in Papua and an inability to restore order. Authorities are unable to catch and bring to trial the perpetrators of such violence. 

This is certainly a sad story. Unable to solve the problem, the government tends to make unnecessary or defensive statements. For example, they claimed that the violence was caused by a separatist movement. 

This statement was indeed premature and lacked evidence, especially when knowing that in the recent mysterious attacks the victim have been shot in vital organs. The gunmen are certainly trained |people.

There are just too many “invisible hands” meddling in Papua, especially when the case in Papua is about power politics and vested economic interests (Macleod and Martin, 2012). 

Therefore, the government needs to update their data on the mapping of violence and conflict in this region. Various violent incidents in Papua could be committed by several “actors”. Therefore, the government should not easily scapegoat local Papuans as perpetrators of such attacks. The government must also have the courage to publish the conflict and violence mapping as clear evidence.

An article by Macleod and Martin (2012) clearly stated that there are segments of the population in Papua which are indeed opting for a nonviolent struggle.

They argued that a nonviolent struggle, is definitely more desirable than an armed struggle, which causes less loss of life and greater participation of ordinary people.

Another repetitive and unreasonable statement by the government is that these perpetrators of conflict are difficult to capture because of the isolated and geographic conditions in Papua. This may be true in one sense, but as media reported, quoting from the statement by Neles Tebay, mysterious shootings and snipers are currently operating in the city of Jayapura. How hard could it be to locate these shooters in Jayapura, which is geographically a small city?

Third, with the rise of conflict and violence occurring lately, it is a clear sign of deepening distrust between the Papuans and the government. The government is seen as incapable or not serious about solving problems in Papua. The mysterious shootings and snipers only exacerbate the already heated situation there. 

When distrust is deepening between the two parties, what is then the prospect of dialogue? Dialogue seems to be a more popular word, recently compared to any other catchword, when one talks about Papua. 

The questions that follow in dialogue, which should be publicly understood, are who should be involved? What should be the content of dialogue? What is the time frame? What is the measurement of success or failure in a dialogue? What are the objectives, outcome and output indicators of a dialogue? What are the key activities in a dialogue and so forth?

Dialogue is only a means or even a tool to solve problems in Papua and not an end in itself. There are pre-conditions that need to be taken into consideration before dialogue could be implemented effectively. In other words, there are “prerequisites” for effective dialogue. We need to remember that “winning trust” is one of the main objectives of dialogue.

Supported by UNDEF, CSIS is currently conducting a project to promote Social Accountability in Papua. We have worked with various elements of civil society. In Australia we have also talked with several academicians to obtain their insights on the situation in Papua. 

It is interesting that during our project activities, elements of civil society and Australian academicians frequently stressed the importance of meeting these pre-conditions before any other programs or even dialogue could be effectively implemented. 

When these preconditions are met, there is hope that the government could win the long awaited trust from the Papuans.

In our discussion with elements of civil society and Australian academicians, the preconditions for Papua are clarification on the history of Papua’s integration, investigating human rights violations and bringing to trial the perpetrators, a fair trial for Papuans “convicted” for involvement in separatist actions, eliminating Papuan marginalization, and improving the welfare of Papuans.

Does the government have the political will to deal with these preconditions in a timely manner? Let’s say Papuan integration is final and not considered a topic which needs further discussion; there are still other preconditions which are seemingly manageable to be sorted out.

To conclude, we could say that the current instability and chaos in Papua is the price that the government must pay for neglecting or even underestimating the complexity of the problems in Papua. The government and other stakeholders need a breakthrough and not treating Papua just as business as usual to restore peace and order.

One possible solution is bringing onto the discussion table a third party negotiator, whether a prominent national or international figure who is trusted and respected by the Papuans. 

The government should not be paranoid about bringing international parties, especially when it is clearly stated beforehand that a referendum in not an option and the history of integration is final. Another solution is again making more serious efforts to meet the preconditions for Papua mentioned earlier. These are indeed urgent tasks to help avoid further disruptions in Papua.

The writer is a researcher at the Department of Politics and International Relations, Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Jakarta.
3) Papuans angered by President’s statement
Margareth S. Aritonang and Rabby Pramudatama, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 06/14/2012 7:36 AM
Papuans condemned President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s statement, which downplayed the escalating violence in the province and considered the recent deaths from shooting incidents as relatively minor in comparison to conflicts in other parts of the world.

During a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Yudhoyono said “the recent incidents in Papua can be considered small-scale, with a limited number of casualties” and “they are minor if we compare them to the violence in the Middle East, where deadly attacks with so many fatalities occur almost every day”.

Papuan activist John Djonga said the statements reflected Yudhoyono’s lack of commitment to promote and protect human rights, an issue that his administration had championed and promoted to the global community.

“It’s really sad for the President to disrespect all the victims of recent shootings. Violence is still painful regardless of how many victims there are. So for me, it is now clear that the Yudhoyono [administration], and the Indonesian government in general, have no commitment to upholding justice and protecting human rights in Papua,” Djonga told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

He said that all the international human rights covenants promoting human rights that Indonesia had ratified were useless as the government paid little respect to the lives of its people.

“Or maybe it’s only the lives of Papuans that don’t deserve the government’s respect,” he said.

Separately, members of the House of Representatives from Papua, Pasakalis Kossay and Agustina Basik-basik, called on Yudhoyono to apologize for his statement.

“The President’s words really hurt Papuans, and the relatives of all victims, in particular those who have been shot dead in mysterious circumstances,” said Paskalis, who chairs the Caucus for Papua at the House.

At least 16 people were killed in the past month alone in mysterious shootings.

The latest incident claimed the life of 44-year-old Surono, a security guard and part-time motorcycle taxi driver in Jayapura, who was shot dead near the campus of Cendrawasih University last Sunday.

The mysterious shootings in Papua escalated only a few days after the Indonesian government claimed that “Papua is stable” during the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) quadrennial human rights review on May 23.

Diplomats in the review session inquired about human rights violations in Papua and the Indonesian government’s commitment to releasing Papuan political detainees such as Filep Karma, who was arrested for flying the flag of the Papuan separatist movement.

Separately, Law and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsudin said that authorities had followed proper procedures in detaining Papuans.

“We have never detained anybody for expressing their freedom of speech as has been accused by some parties. The Papuans who were detained, including Filep Karma, are those who have obviously violated the law on treason. Therefore, it’s misleading to address them as political detainees,” Amir told reporters.

Separately, the executive director of human rights watchdog Imparsial, Poengky Indarti said that treason charges were highly political and prone to abuse by the government.

“Karma, and many of his colleagues, was detained for flying the Morning Star flag, the flag associated with a separatist movement. They are condemned as separatists, therefore they are political detainees,” Poengky said.

Invite UN Rights Experts to Increasingly Violent Eastern Provinces
JUNE 13, 2012
By keeping Papua behind a curtain, the Indonesian government is fostering impunity among military forces and resentment among Papuans. It needs to let the media and civil society shine a light on conditions in the province.
Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director

(New York) – The Indonesian government should allow foreign media and civil society groups access to Papua to report on violence and rights violations since May that have left at least 14 dead.

Human Rights Watch urged Indonesia to accept calls made at the United Nations Human Rights Council to permit access to the province and to issue standing invitations to UN human rights experts.

“By keeping Papua behind a curtain, the Indonesian government is fostering impunity among military forces and resentment among Papuans,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “It needs to let the media and civil society shine a light on conditions in the province.”

Human Rights Watch said that the Indonesian government has failed to hold to account those responsible for recent violence in Papua. On June 6, 2012, a crowd stabbed one Indonesian soldier to death and seriously injured another after their motorcycle struck a Papuan child in Honai Lama District in Wamena, a city in Papua’s Central Highlands.

In retaliation, hundreds of soldiers from the 756th battalion swept through Honai Lama and elsewhere in Wamena, beating and stabbing residents and burning homes.

A Papuan civil servant, Elianus Yoman, reportedly died from bayonet wounds. Seven other Papuans were injured and hospitalized. The soldiers set numerous buildings and motor vehicles on fire, causing many villagers to flee into surrounding forest.

An Indonesian military spokesman in Jayapura, Papua’s capital, initially denied that soldiers had injured any Papuans. But Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, later conceded that the Indonesian security forces overreacted in their response.

There have been a number of other violent incidents reported recently in Papua’s capital. Since May 23, unknown gunmen shot dead several non-Papuan migrants. A German tourist was shot on May 29 and was sent for treatment to a hospital in Singapore. The police forcibly broke up a protest on June 4 by the National Committee for West Papua (Komite Nasional Papua Barat or KNPB), a militant Papuan independence group, reportedly killing three student members. A KNPB member was also reported shot to death earlier on May 1.

The response of the national government to the growing violence in Papua has been inadequate, Human Rights Watch said. Yudhoyono told reporters on June 12, “The action [attacks in Papua] can be said to have happened on a small scale with limited victims.…

The figure is far [lower] than the violence in the Middle East, [where] we can witnesses, every day, attacks and violence with huge numbers of deaths.”

“President Yudhoyono should stop making excuses for his government’s failure to investigate the violence,” said Pearson. “Allowing full access to the province for UN rights experts, the press, and other monitors could curtail the rumors and misinformation that often fuel abuses.”

The Indonesia government sharply restricts access to its easternmost provinces, Papua and West Papua. Military forces have been deployed there since 1963 to counter a long-simmering independence movement. Foreigners are required to obtain a special permit to visit the areas. Such permits are routinely denied or the processing delayed, hampering efforts by journalists and civil society groups to report on breaking events.

During the Universal Periodic Review of Indonesia at the UN Human Rights Council on May 23, France called on Indonesia to ensure free access for civil society and journalists to Papua and West Papua.

The United Kingdom noted the “increase in violence” in Papua and “encouraged Indonesia to tackle violence against minority faiths and accept visit requests by Special Rapporteurs.” Austria, Chile, the Maldives, and South Korea called on Indonesia to accept standing invitations to the UN rights experts and groups known as special procedures. Mexico specifically asked the Indonesian government to invite the special rapporteurs to Papua.

The previous UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston, made a request to visit Indonesia in 2004 and again in 2008, to which he never received a response.

“Several states registered concerns at the UN Human Rights Council about Indonesia’s failure to invite UN experts to the country,” said Pearson. “If Indonesia wants to be taken seriously in Geneva, it shouldn’t continue to ignore this request.”

Riots in Indonesia's Papua after independence activist killed
(Reuters) - Angry residents of Indonesia's resource-rich Papua island burned cars and shops on Thursday after an independence activist was shot and killed, police and human rights activists said. A low-level insurgency for independence has simmered on Indonesia's easternmost island for decades.

Mako Tabuni, deputy of a group pushing for a referendum on Papuan self-determination, was shot dead while resisting arrest, human rights activist Markus Haluk told Reuters.
Tabuni had been campaigning for an investigation into a recent spate of shootings.
"This is not law enforcement, this is ridiculous," Haluk told Reuters by telephone from Jayapura, the province's main town.
"Security forces are using the excuse of law enforcement to shoot, using the classic excuse of the separatist group stigma," Haluk said of Tabuni's killing.
Police confirmed Tabuni's death saying he was shot in the hip and leg and died on his way to hospital.

News of the killing brought people out onto the streets of Jayapura and some of them torched shops and vehicles. Television footage showed police inspecting burned out buildings and smoldering cars.
Papua is the western half of an island that includes Papua New Guinea. Gold, gas and copper make Papua one of the richest areas in Indonesia and a hot destination for investment.

Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc has the big Grasberg copper and gold mine on the island and BP's Tangguh LNG field is centered at Papua's Bintuni Bay.
Resource companies share the island with indigenous communities, many of whom rely on hunting and subsistence farming and lack access to health care and education.

Indonesia, the world's third largest democracy and Southeast Asia's biggest economy, has struggled to control the low-key rebellion. Despite the deployment of substantial numbers of security forces, violence has recently intensified.
Papua's development lags the rest of Indonesia, an ethnically diverse country with the world's fourth largest population.
(Editing by Matthew Bigg and Robert Birsel)


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