Thursday, September 27, 2012

1) New Zealand Fund Pulls Freeport Investment, Cites Papua Rights Offenses


1) New Zealand Fund Pulls Freeport Investment, Cites Papua Rights Offenses
2) Press Release Papuan Prisoner of Conscience Filep Karma in Jakarta for Medical Treatment
3) Widespread demand for autonomy reported in West Papua
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1) New Zealand Fund Pulls Freeport Investment, Cites Papua Rights Offenses
Jonathan Vit | September 27, 2012
New Zealand’s public pension fund pulled more than $1 million in investment from Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold over allegations of human rights offenses committed by security forces around the company’s controversial Grasberg mine in Papua. 


The $15.7 billion New Zealand Superannuation Fund announced on Wednesday that it would cease investment in four companies that violate international ethics standards.

The fund raised concerns over “breaches of human rights standards by security forces around the Grasberg mine, and concerns over requirements for direct payments to government security forces by the company in at least two countries in which it operates.”

Indonesian security forces have a heavy presence in the restive province, where police and the Indonesian Military (TNI) are ostensibly suppressing a decades-long insurgency waged by members of the Free Papua Movement (OPM). 

But Human Rights Watch, citing leaked military documents, has alleged that security forces have targeted everyone from tribal leaders to political activists in Papua. Security forces routinely suppress pro-independence groups in the province, jailing those caught flying the “Morning Star” flag for treason and killing local leaders suspected of being separatists, like Reverend Kinderman Gire and Mako Tabuni, of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB). 

Security forces hired by Freeport’s local subsidiary also engage in regular firefights with unknown gunmen along a road leading to the mine in Timika, Mimika district. The OPM operates from a base in Puncak Jaya, near the Grasberg mine. 

The fund concluded that while Freeport’s human rights policies have improved in recent years, the activities of the government forces it employs are beyond the company’s control. 

“This limits the effectiveness of further engagement with the company,” the fund said in a statement. 

Human Rights Watch applauded the move, calling it “a sound decision indeed.”

“Businesses are getting more and more conscious about human rights abuses,” said Andreas Harsono, a researcher with HRW. “Sound businesses do care about human rights.”

The Ministry of Defense declined to comment on the move. Papua Police, local representatives of the TNI and Freeport Indonesia were unavailable for comment by deadline. 

The fund had $1,062,061 in holdings in Freeport as of June 30. 

Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Company, China’s Zijin Mining Group and construction and defense firm KBR were also dropped from the fund’s portfolio. 

All four were dropped after the fund decided that they were unlikely to affect any change in their policies. 

“In making a decision to exclude a company from our portfolio, one of the tests we apply is whether engagement with the company might realistically lead to sufficient improvements,” the fund said. “We have come to the conclusion that further engagement by the Fund with these companies is not likely to be effective. 

“We would rather focus our efforts on companies where we believe we can make a difference.”

The fund’s equity portfolio includes shares in more than 6,500 companies. It manages the government pension fund available for all New Zealand residents 65 and older.

Freeport, which runs the largest copper mine in the world at Grasberg, has a market capitalization of $37.29 billion and pulled in $3.17 billion in net income last year. 

Seventy-three percent of its shares are held by institutions and mutual funds.

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2) Press Release 
Papuan Prisoner of Conscience Filep Karma in Jakarta 
for Medical Treatment

Jakarta, Indonesia [27 September 2012].
 
Filep Karma, a political prisoner of conscience from Papua, has attended a two-week medical treatment in Jakarta hospital and now is back in the Abepura prison in West Papua. He arrived in Jakarta on September 14 and took a colonoscopy treatment in PGI Cikini hospital, Jakarta. 
Indonesian physicians in Jayapura, who earlier examined Karma with simple equipment, suspected that he has a colon tumor. As it is not possible to conduct a colonoscopy in West Papua the physicians referred him to the hospital in Jakarta.

Karma was imprisoned in 2004 and is serving 15 years in prison for participating in a peaceful independence demonstration and for raising the Morning Star flag, an important Papuan symbol of independence. 

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared him a political prisoner in September 2011, asking the Indonesian government to immediately and unconditionally release Karma. The government, however, denies the existence of “political prisoners” in Indonesia. His injuries were sustained from acts of torture inflicted on him while in prison. He also injured his hip during a falling in 2006.
It took nearly six months for Karma to be able to be transferred to Jakarta despite this referral. Abepura prison officials, under the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, have refused to cover cost of his medical treatment and travel. The Indonesian government’s refusal to cover his costs is in direct contravention of national and international law. 

According to United Nations Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (Principle 24), and Indonesian law (Regulation No. 32/1999 on Terms and Procedures on the Implementation of Prisoners' Rights in Prisons) it is required that all medical costs for treatment of a prisoner at a hospital be borne by the State.

Despite the Abepura prison authorities recently giving permission for Karma to travel to Jakarta, they still refuse to cover the cost of his medical treatment and travel. Funds have been raised through donations from the Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund (London), Rev. Socratez Yoman’s church service (Timika), STT Walter Post (Jayapura) and many individuals.

Not only Karma, there are seven political prisoners in Papua with variety of illness. They are Apotnagolik Lokobal (stroke); Ferdinand Pakage (stroke); Forkorus Yaboisembut (impaired vision); Kanius Murib (memory loss); Kimanus Wenda (hernia);  Jefrai Murib (stroke);  and Yusak Pakage (indigestion).  Karma urges the Indonesia government should release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally and give them the proper medical treatment.
For further inquiries, please contact:
Margareth Karma          : +6281242950809
Cyntia Warwe               :  +6281344910243

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From The Southeast Asian Times online
3) Widespread demand for autonomy reported in West Papua
From News Reports:
Jayapura, September 25: Thirty-one regions in Papua have demanded autonomy, 29 as new regencies and three as new provinces, reports The Jakarta Post.
“The regions enthusiasm to separate into new regencies and provinces is quite high,” the newspaper quotes Papua Legislative Council Commission A deputy chairman Yanni as saying last Friday.
The commission oversees administrative affairs.
Sixteen of the regions seeking autonomy had reported to Commission A during the Legislative Council plenary session which discussed the West Papua governor’s 2012 accountability report.
“The Papua special autonomy status has been in place for 11 years but many people have not yet benefited from the impacts of development,” Yanni said. 
“That’s why they wish to manage their own regions — to improve people’s welfare.”
Security Minister Djoko Suyanto declared last October that West Papua would remain part of Indonesia with special autonomy its only option for those who want more independence.
The Southeast Asian Times
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