Friday, September 14, 2012

1) Concern that US military aid to Indonesia used against Papuan

1) Concern that US military aid to Indonesia used against Papuan    

2) Call for arrest of Indonesian President for genocide in Papua

3) Biodiverse Papua: Ecotourism potential largely untapped


RNZI Posted at 04:00 on 14 September, 2012 UTC
The West Papua Advocacy Team’s Edmund McWilliams has voiced concern that Apache helicopters sold by the US to Indonesia’s military could be used for sweep operations in Papua region.
The United States recently agreed to supply more military hardware to Indonesia, including sophisticated weapon systems like Apaches.
Mr McWilliams says Indonesia’s military, which remains unaccountable for years of human rights abuses in Papua, is currently conducting a sweep operation in Paniai regency.
He says with US support, innocent Papuans are being targetted by Indonesia’s anti-terrorist units:
“These sweep operations in rural areas, nominally pursuing the Free Papua Movement, in fact are inflicting heavy casualties on civilian communities there, essentially forcing people into the jungles and so on where they don’t have access to food or medical care. There have been literally hundreds of Papuans in recent years who have died as a consequence of these operations.”
Edmund McWilliams

RNZI Posted at 01:54 on 14 September, 2012 UTC
A campaign to have Indonesia’s President arrested for directing genocide in Papua has highlighted Susilo Bambang Yudhyono’s record in the troubled eastern region.
The campaign is offering an 80-thousand US dollar reward for a citizen’s arrest of Yudhyono when he is in the United Kingdom in early November.
It claims he’s wanted by the International Criminal Court for orchestrating ongoing genocide in Papua where over 500,000 innocent people have been killed.
Ed McWilliams of the West Papua Advocacy Team says the figure is an exaggeration but that the campaign highlights the President’s failure to solve the Papua problem.
“You know the broader point I think is that the Indonesian military, the TNI, continues to operate very brutally in West Papua, and of course we continue with a decades old policy of malign neglect whereby the healthcare and education opportunities for Papuans have been minimal particularly in the remote rural areas.”
Ed McWilliams.

3) Biodiverse Papua: Ecotourism potential largely untapped

Paper Edition | Page: 4
With its vast biodiversity and cultural richness, Papua’s ecotourism potential should be utilized to increase the quality of Papua’s social and natural environment, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has said.

During the book launch of Land of the Birds of Paradise, the author Marc Argeloo said that the potential for bird watching activities and ecotourism in Papua was huge, but it had not been supported by adequate infrastructure.

“With its current situation, it is very difficult to provide facilities for ecotourism. The potential is there, but the infrastructure is not,” Argeloo said during a press conference recently.

According to Argeloo, between 1998 and 2010 there were 1,171 new species discovered in the forests, wetlands and waters of New Guinea, of which a substantial number were found in Papua.

Of those discovered, about half of the findings are invertebrates such as insects, with 294 plants, 81 fish, 157 amphibians, 45 reptiles, 12 mammals and two bird species added to New Guinea’s rich biodiversity.

Argeloo said in his book that among the champions of Papua’s biodiversity were the birds of paradise; of the 42 species recorded living in New Guinea, 29 are only found in Papua.

However, he said that people should not be rushed into the idea of providing facilities for activities such as ecotourism or bird watching.

“Time is essential. If you don’t take time, you will ignore the entire population in Tanah Papua,” Argeloo told The Jakarta Post on the sideline of the book launch, citing that with a population of 2.8 million, there were approximately 256 ethnic groups in Papua.

“The kids grew up with tourists and Jakartans, they are constantly smiling, but if you take a look at the eyes of old people, you see only sorrow. There was a constant battle between their old traditions and the new environment,” Argeloo said.

“A good sustainable development costs time,” he added.

WWF CEO Efransyah said that balance between utilizing the potential and protecting natural resources was also essential.

“Papua represents the most ideal ecosystem in the world. We have seen massive deforestation in Kalimantan and Sumatra. The WWF message is clear that in Papua, we have to do the best we can to utilize its natural resources with sustainable development, before it is too late,” Efransyah said.

“The locals are very traditional and dependent on their natural surroundings, therefore the sustainability of natural resources is very important,” he added.

The book launch coincided with the 50th anniversary of WWF in Indonesia and the 30th anniversary of WWF in Papua. The main challenge to the conservation efforts in Papua is to preserve as well as to make use of its natural resources.

Argeloo’s book, which features the conservation aspect plus colorful photos, is not for commercial purposes. Instead, it will be distributed to schools, regional administrations and conservation groups for free. (nad)

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