Sunday, July 1, 2012

1) SBY to Papua: We'll Talk, But Not About Independence

1) SBY to Papua: We'll Talk, But Not About Independence
2) Papua Tribal Leaders Speak Out Against OPM Anniversary Celebrations
3) HIV spread in Papua ‘uncontrollable’
4) Papua Council Welcomes Yogyakarta Sultan’s Offer to Mediate Talks
5) President applauded but urged to act over Papuan issues

1) SBY to Papua: We'll Talk, But Not About Independence
June 30, 2012
Papuan leaders say they want to open up a dialog with Indonesia’s central government after months of escalating violence in this restive province.  

The Sultan of Yogyakarta said he would be happy to moderate the talks. 

But President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono offered a firm warning to Papuan organizations on Friday: If you want to talk about putting Papua's independence to a vote, then we have nothing to talk about. 

Yudhoyono was speaking to some 1,000 students from the Indonesian Military (TNI) Commando Institute and the National Police Field Officers Institute at the TNI Army Officers Institute in Bandung, West Java, on Friday, according to Antara. 

“Papua and West Papua are legitimate Indonesian regions, they are part of [Indonesia]. We have an obligation to protect Papua and West Papua, including upholding the law and ensuring security in the regions,” the president said.

Yudhoyono was responding to a question from a student about the TNI and the National Police’s alleged history of human rights offenses in province. 

The president said that any actions carried out by police and military personnel in Papua are in the interest of national security.

“If the TNI and the National Police are assigned to Papua, it is to ensure local security, to protect the people, to fight crime and to uphold the law,” Yudhoyono said. “It is legitimate because it is part of their duties to the state. A separatist movement in Papua is not [in the name of] freedom of speech. It is against the spirit of maintaining our sovereignty.”

Indonesia folded the resource-rich province into the nation’s boundaries through a disputed 1969 vote for self-determination. Armed separatists responded by waging a small-scale insurgency from deep within the province for decades while independence activists have called for a new referendum that would allow Papuans to put the issue to a vote. 

The last time Indonesia allowed an outlying province to vote for independence was in 1999. East Timor — a region where the TNI committed a series of human rights offenses — responded by voting to secede from the nation. 


2) Papua Tribal Leaders Speak Out Against OPM Anniversary Celebrations
Banjir Ambarita | June 30, 2012Jayapura. Tribal leaders in Papua urged residents not to fly the Morning Star flag in commemoration of the Free Papua Movement’s July 1 anniversary, warning that the flag — which is banned in Indonesia — will only provoke further violence in the restive province. 

The Free Papua Movement (OPM) has disseminated a text message asking Papuans to fly the Morning Star flag on Sunday to mark the 47th anniversary of the militant organization. The text message asked Papuans to stop their daily routines, fly the flag and fire their guns in the air in solidarity with the OPM. 

But tribal leaders in Papua say that showing support for the OPM will only lead to further crackdowns and violence. 

“Why should they raise the Morning Star flag during every commemoration of the OPM?” asked Philipus Halitopo, the head of mountain tribes in Jayapura and the neighboring district of Keerom. “This statement will cause unrest and terror. We, the people of Papua, don’t agree him [Lambert Pekikir, the leader of the OPM]. We call on all the people of Papua, especially those in Jayapura and Keerom not to be provoked by some groups’ attempts to stir up public disorder on July 1.”

Philipus said that Papuans should ignore the text messages and not be influenced by “false information and rumors.”

“All people should together maintain Papua’s security. To my brother Lambert Pekikir, please stop the plan; it won’t solve [our] problems. It’s not like Papua will gain independence because the Morning Star is being waved,” he added.

The leader of the Dani tribe issued a similar statement, explaining that the Lambert and the OPM are trying to stir unrest in the province. 

“People should not answer Lambert’s call,” Bion Tabuni said. “It hasn’t even been 40 days since Mako Tabuni died. Don’t further our sorrows with these actions.”

The tribe is still mourning the loss of independence activist Mako, chairman of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB). Mako was fatally shot in a police raid in Jayapura on June 14 that human rights groups have likened to a state-sanctioned hit. 

Police said that Mako was involved in a spate of deadly shootings in Jayapura. His organization plans to turn themselves in to police in a bid to prove their innocence.  

The OPM does not speak for all Papuans, Bion said. 

“If Lambert insists on forcing his will, the Dani tribe will be at the forefront fighting [the OPM],” Bion said. 

The Mee Paniai tribe raised echoed the statements, with tribal leader Beny Gobay urging Papuans not to “get easily stirred up and provoked. In the end it is innocent people who will be victimized.”

The police and military plan to step up raids across Jayapura on Sunday, Jayapura Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Alfred Papare said. 

“The TNI and National Police forces will intensify patrols and raids in a number of places. We’ll station officers at vulnerable spots,” he said.
3) HIV spread in Papua ‘uncontrollable’
The Jakarta Post | Archipelago | Sat, 06/30/2012 9:35 AM
The spread of HIV infections in Papua is alarming, with those in remote regions being deprived of transportation facilities reported to have contracted the disease.

“Two years ago I received information that people with HIV had been found in Puncak regency. It was proof that the disease had already reached villages difficult to reach by modes of transportation,” Constant Karma, chairman of Papua AIDS Mitigation Commission (KPAD), said during the launch of an anti-AIDS campaign in Jayapura on Friday.

He said that transmission of the HIV virus looked to be uncontrollable as his commission had constantly received reports of new cases.

As many as 21 people, between the ages of 19 and 49, were reported to have been treated for the virus at Dian Harapan Hospital in Jayapura in June, in addition to 84 cases recorded between January and May.

“The same period last year, we had 56 cases. That’s an indication that HIV cases are increasing rapidly,” Bruder Agus Adil, head of the hospital’s Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT), said. 

HIV spread in Papua, according to Constant, is transmitted through unsafe sexual intercourse, which constitutes 90 percent of the current 12,187 cases.
4) Papua Council Welcomes Yogyakarta Sultan’s Offer to Mediate Talks
Banjir Ambarita | June 30, 2012
Papua. The Papua Council Presidium (PDP) threw its support behind a plan to bring Yogyakarta's Sri Sultan Hamengkubowono X to the restive province to mediate talks between Jakarta and an assembly of Papuan tribal, religious and independence leaders. 

The council, which represents some 245 ethnic groups in Papua, praised the plan and expressed gratitude toward the sultan for volunteering to mediate this dialog in Papua, where violence has been escalating in recent months.  

“This is a good political development. The initiative deserves positive appreciation from both Papuans and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,”Thaha Alhamid, secretary-general of the PDP,  said in Papua on Friday.

“As a cultural leader from Java, the sultan understands that the best way to settle the political dispute [in Papua] is through dialog, not war... I think Papua’s cultural leaders must welcome the noble initiative,” he added.

Indonesia's central government has historically seen Papuans as "separatists" and "enemies of the state," Thaha said. It will be important for the Jakarta delegation to distance themselves from this stance, he added. 

"That is an old paradigm that has to be left behind," Thaha said. "[It will only lead] to violence and crimes against humanity."

The sultan — who also serves as Yogyakarta's de facto governor — said during a discussion in Yogyakarta last week that he would mediate discussions between the two sides, but only if the Papuans want to hold a dialog. 

“As long as Papuans recognize the need for dialogs [with Jakarta], Yogyakarta is ready to facilitate them. But this requires the trust of Papuans. So I will let people of Papua decide on this,” the sultan said.

Lawmakers at the House of Representatives and members of the Papua Legislative Council also welcomed the move.

5) President applauded but urged to act over Papuan issues
Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post, Jayapura | Headlines | Sun, 07/01/2012 8:32 AM
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Papuan leaders have applauded President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s open-handed stance for dialogue over Papuan issues and urged him to put the statement into action.

Taha Al Hamid, the secretary-general of the Papuan Council Presidium (PDP) called for the establishment of a team to facilitate a dialogue between the central government and Papua administrations.

Neles Tebay, the chairman of the Papua Peace Network, pointed out the need to appoint figures with credibility acclaimed by international peers and integrity trusted by Papuan people.

“The team’s members should not necessarily be those from government institutions, bureaucracy or the Papuan Consultative Assembly (MRP).

They must be figures with credibility and integrity,” Neles said in Jayapura on Saturday.

The team is expected to draw up the format, aims and mechanisms of the dialogue.

“The team will have to formulate what will be discussed in the dialogue. They must be proactive in efforts to represent aspiration from Papua and ensure Jakarta’s commitment,” Neles, who also serves as the rector of the Fajar Timur philosophy school in Abepura, said.

During his visit to the Indonesian Military Command Institute in Bandung on Friday, President Yudhoyono said he would welcome any initiative for a dialogue except those that intended to push for a referendum on independence.

“We can engage in dialogue to achieve progress on development, people’s welfare and justice. But there is no room for discussion about an [independence] referendum or the like,” he said in response to a question from a military cadet.

Neles said the president’s statement in Bandung augured well for dialogue on issues of development and social welfare.

“The President’s statement shows that a dialogue will be very likely. We have to appreciate the government’s open-handedness for any dialogue sought by Papuans,” he added.

Taha said that the government should show its political willingness to engage in dialogue.

“The mechanism of dialogue should be arranged, and only then should we talk about the discussion points in the dialogue,” he said.

In a bid to pursue accelerated development in the easternmost island, the government granted special autonomy status in 2001 to Papua, which later divided into the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

However, the effectiveness of special autonomy status has since been criticized as Papuans lag behind in many development areas and as deadly violence continues to haunt everyday citizens. 

Neles and Taha agreed that the government should be seriousness in its inclination to participate in a dialogue, in order to restore trust in the government among Papuans.

Meanwhile, Indonesian human rights monitor Imparsial lamented the president’s statement on the referendum issue. “Shutting the door to a dialogue on a referendum is akin to shutting the door to peace in Papua,” Imparsial’s Poengky Indarti said.

She said stigmatizing opposition groups as “separatists” had allowed the military to justify their repressive measures.

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