Monday, September 3, 2012

AWPA update A snapshot of events in West Papua for August

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088

AWPA update August 2012

A snapshot of events in West Papua for August

Congratulations to ABC Journalist Hayden Cooper and producer Lisa Main of the 7.30 Program for the excellent report on West Papua and Australia’s involvement in training Detachment 88. The reports can be seen on the ABC 7.30 web page including the interview with Foreign Minister Bob Carr. The site also includes the response from DFAT, The Indonesian Embassy and text interview of Secretary of the province of Papua by 7.30.
In response the Australian Greens called on the Government to urge Indonesia to put an end to the violence in West Papua.
Dr Jim Elmsie, from the Centre of Peace and Conflict Studies, said the anti terrorist groups in Indonesia’s Papua region need to stick to their mandate and have their actions closely monitored and that Detachment 88 had extended its brief after being set up to counter the rise of Islamic terrorism following the Bali bombings.
The Human Rights Law Centre also wrote a letter to United Nations experts re Detachment 88
and  AWPA called on the Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting in the Cook Islands to discuss the issue.
There is no surprise in Bob Carr’s statement that Australia categorically rejected Papuan independence.  Carr told Sky News Sunday it could not lead to a viable nation and would “completely rupture” ties with Indonesia were Canberra to weigh in.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr said public opinion in Australia was “in support of Indonesian sovereignty over the two Papuan provinces” and though Canberra pressed Jakarta on human rights in the region its own position was firm.

“Our opposition to Papuan secessionism is founded on pragmatism and principle,”.

Pacific Islands Forum
The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) was held from   27 – 31 August in Rarotonga, the Cook Islands.  A number of civil society organisations called on the Forum to discuss the human rights situation in West Papua including the NZ Indonesia Human Rights Committee
However, yet again the PIF leaders let down the people of West Papua.  The Vanuatu Deputy Prime Minister Hamilson Lini told Pacific Scoop that while he supported the call by West Papua to be given observer status, it needed to be a decision by all leaders. “I support the call by West Papua but I cannot make that decision – it has to be made by all the leaders of the Forum,” he said.

Lush Campaign
Congratulations also go to the cosmetics chain store Lush for its campaign in Australia and New Zealand in raising awareness about West Papua. Following on from its UK and Netherlands campaign the  Morning Star flag was displayed in shop fronts across Australia and New Zealand. Throughout the week, customers were invited to visit Lush and learn more about the Free West Papua campaign. Lush donated funds from the sales of its Smell of Freedom perfume to the campaign group, Rize of the Morning Star.

Amnesty International released an urgent action concerning
former prisoner of conscience Yusak Pakage who is being denied access to medical treatment while in police detention in Papua province, Indonesia. He has reportedly been threatened with torture and has not had access to a lawyer since his arrest.

Amnesty International also called for an independent and impartial investigation into reports that police used unnecessary and excessive force to disperse a peaceful demonstration in Papua province commemorating International Day of the World’s Indigenous People on 9 August 2012.
AWPA also wrote to the Minister for Foreign Affairs concerning the crackdown by the Indonesian security forces on two peaceful rallies in Serui, on Yapen Island and in Manokwari.  Both rallies were commemorating the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

A number of shootings occurred in West Papua in the past month including in the Paniai region where a police officer was shot and killedPolice Brig. Yohan Kisiwaito. 

Yohan, 29, was shot at the Enarotali Airport on the 21st August.
After the killing authorities imposed a curfew in the district and the district police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Anton Diance said the police were tracking down those responsible for the killing.  Activists in Paniai reported that during the security operation the police raided homes and arbitrarily arresting innocent civilians. At least five homes were torched by police officers, the activists claimed, and at least 15 civilians were tortured. The police deny the claims saying they are in pursuit [of the suspects] according to procedures. AWPA’s media release concerning the issue at

In the Puncak Jaya district police are investigating an attack on a convoy of trucks on the 29 August.  

Two trucks carrying building materials and staple goods were stopped in the Tingginambut area of Puncak Jaya by armed men, who opened fire on the vehicles before setting them ablaze.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has called on the United States' Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to support the release of all Indonesian political prisoners who are being held for the peaceful expression of their political views. Human Rights Watch maintained that Indonesia had incarcerated nearly 100 activists from Maluku and Papua for peacefully voicing their political views, holding demonstrations and/or raising separatist flags.  Hillary Clinton is to arrive in Jakarta on the 3rd September.

In brief
from Tapol
KNPB appoints new people to replace Buchtar Tabuni and the late Mako Tabuni 
Bintang Papua, 1 August 2012
Following the death of Mako Tabuni, the first deputy chairman of the KNPB (National Committee for West Papua) and the arrest of its chairman Buchtar Tabuni, no one should think that the organisation is now finished. While Buchtar Tabuni is being tried in court  for allegedly damaging some facilities in the prison where he is being held, the KNPB has been involved in some re-organisation and has appointed members to several executive posts. This was stated at the conclusion of a ceremony to appoint Viktor Yeimo as its new chairman to replace Buchtar Tabuni who is now on trial.
These new appointments are being made in accordance with the results of the  organisation's Extraordinary Congress which took place from 18 - 21 June 2012. Buchtar Tabuni  now occupies the position of chairman of the Chairman of the National Parliament of West Papua. The position of deputy chairman formerly held by the late Mako Tabuni is now held by Agus Kosay, while Ones Suhiniap has replaced Agus Trapen as secretary-general . The new spokesperson of the KNPB is Wim Rocky Medlama. Wim Rocky Medlama declared that the organisation would continue to pursue its policy of  calling for a referendum in Papua. 'We call on other organisations here in Papua to recognise the KNPB as the organisation that represents the aspirations of the Papuan people, in view of its intention to continue to call for the holding of a referendum.' he said. He went on to say that they will continue to refuse to register the organisation at  the Badan Kesbangpol  -police agency- in accordance with the efforts by the police and the provincial government of Papua to legitimise organisations in Papua.
'We adopt the position as mediator and stand side by side with the Papuan people. Since the establishment of our organisation, we have never registered with the authorities.' This was because the KNPB came into being following the recommendations of  the International Parliament of West Papua and the International Lawyers of West Papua.

Wamena facing difficulty to cope with HIV/AIDS
Tue, August 7 2012
Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA News) - A non-governmental organization (LSM) in Wamena, Papua Province, complained about financial difficulty in coping with the spread of HIV/AIDs in that area.  Chairman of the Yokemdi LSM in Wamena Yoram Yogobi told visiting health minister Nafsiah Mboi here on Monday they need fund to cover the cost of treating HIV/AIDS carriers living in Papua.  Yoram said his LSM needs government assistance in the form of motor vehicles to be more mobile in providing counseling services how to prevent the spread of the disease for the villagers in interior areas. He said currently there are 2,071 known cases of HIV/AIDS in the regency of Puncak Jaya, Papua.  They live in different small villages, therefore, higher mobility is needed especially most of the villages are located in difficult mountainous areas ,he added.  "Wamena needs a hospital with standard equipment to treat HIV/AIDS patients " he said.  The minister promised to attend to the problem faced by Wamena, saying she would ask the Papua provincial administration to provide the necessary assistance.  The minister was on a two day working visit to this Papua`s capital city top attend the launch of a program to eradicate HIV/AIDs and commission a number of clinics and hospital in this province. (AS/F001) Editor: Ella Syafputri

Australian Government Gives $26 Million in Fight Against HIV in Papua
Jakarta Globe | August 07, 2012
Australia is providing A$25 million ($26 million) in assistance to help Indonesia improve access to HIV services in its two Papua provinces, embassy officials said on Monday. 

The aid is part of a A$100 million HIV six-year partnership commitment between Australia and Indonesia that started four years ago. 

The embassy said that the Australian government, through its aid program AusAID, has been combating HIV with the Indonesian government in Papua and West Papua since 2004. 

The new Rapidly Expanding Access to Care for HIV (Reach) program will be building on the success of the existing partnership, an Australian official said. 

Mat Kimberley, the acting head of Aus-AID in Indonesia, is traveling to Papua with Indonesian Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi to see firsthand how the partnership makes a difference in the lives of people with HIV, the embassy said. 

“We share the same concern as Indonesia on the HIV epidemic in Papua and West Papua, which have the highest HIV prevalence in Indonesia,” Kimberley said. 

“Australia’s assistance will help improve access to HIV services and increase the number of people who are getting the care and treatment they need.” 

Indonesia has one of the fastest-growing HIV transmission rates in Asia, and in most instances the actual number of people living with HIV is believed to be far higher than the official data shows. 

The World Health Organization estimates there are 300,000 people in Indonesia living with HIV/AIDS, with the worst-affected places being Jakarta and the province of Papua, where 2.3 percent of the population is infected. 

The government said that about 50,000 HIV patients require drugs, but only 20,000 are getting them. 

There are 796 people with either AIDS or HIV on record in Papua, according to data from the AIDS Handling Commission (KPA) and the Health Department of Papua, including 335 HIV cases and 461 AIDS cases. Of those cases, 59 percent are women or girls. 

The local KPA however estimated that there were 2,500 people living with HIV in the province. 

KPA data shows that HIV/AIDS affects Papuans of all different backgrounds, from sex workers to housewives to even a handful of religious leaders.

Deforestation Continues at Alarming Rate in Papua

Monday, 13 August, 2012
TEMPO InteractiveJayapura: Greenpeace Indonesia has noted that every year the rate of deforestation in Papua reaches as much as 300 thousand hectares. Severe deforestation is occurring in southern Papua, particularly areas packed with oil palm plantations.

"That’s what our research shows in 2009 and 2010. By now the destruction to the forests there may have worsened," said Charles Tawaru, coordinator of Greenpeace in Papua, Friday, August 10, 2012.

The mega project, Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE), and logging by forest concession holders contributes greatly to the increased deforestation of Papua, Charles said.

The list of demolition activities is staggering: MIFEE, 228,022 ha in Merauke and 45,000 ha in Sidey, Manokwari; PT Hendrison Iriana, 21,500 ha for palm plantation in Sorong regency (Klamono); PT Raja Wali Group/PT Tandan Sawita Papua, 18,337 ha in Kampung Yetti, Keroom Regency.

"The exploitation of the forest is becoming uncontrollable, exacerbated by government officials who lack wisdom or care for Papua,” said Tawaru.

Concern over the rate of deforestation has moved Greenpeace to hold a Cenderawasih Tour in November this year. "The purpose of our action it to call for the protection and preservation of Papua forests," he said.

The threat of deforestation already caught Greenpeace’s attention in 2008 with the clearing of the sago and mangrove (nipa fruticans) forests in the south of Jayapura and the illegal logging in the concession area belonging to PT Kaltim Hutama and PT Centricodi in Kaimana, West Papua.

Charles explains that, in 2005 and 2009, Papua still had 42 million ha of forests. Three years later, the number shriveled to 30.07 million ha. Government data states that the annual average of deforestation in Papua is 143,680 ha and 293 thousand ha or 25 percent in West Papua. "It’s my duty to save the forests of Papua, but without the support of the community, it’s nearly impossible to achieve it," he said. JERRY OMONA

Papua Remains Indonesia’s Poorest Region
Tuesday, 14 August, 2012 TEMPO InteractiveJakarta:
Minister for National Development and Planning Agency Armida Alisjahbana says that based on recent research, West Papua remains Indonesia’s poorest region.

"The level of poverty in Papua is 31.11 percent. The national poverty rate is currently 11.96 percent," Armida said at the Ministry of National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), on Monday.

One of the factors is connectivity as development in Papua is hindered by logistical difficulties.

Another factor is its isolation. Several areas are very isolated so economic growth is not evenly distributed.

"In Papua, prosperous regions are closer to the coastal areas. In mountain areas, poverty rates are still high. Welfare there needs to be equally distributed and that’s what the government’s trying to do," said Armida.

When asked how to solve the problem of poverty in Papua, Armida said the government has prepared a program called MP3KI or a Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Poverty Reduction. It seeks to address the problem of poverty at the national level by promoting infrastructure development, rural industrialization and development activities.

Armida said last week that Bappenas had prepared a map of the construction of new infrastructure projects in the eastern region, particularly for Papua. For example, the construction of infrastructure such as airports and seaports that will help solve the connectivity problem.

Reports/ opinion pieces/urgent actions etc.

'West Papua - A Journey to Freedom'
From Herman Wainggai .In light of recent events in the troubled region of West Papua, the full documentary 'West Papua - A Journey to Freedom' is now available online.

New ICG report
Indonesia: Dynamics of Violence in Papua
Summary and report at

Earlier this week ABC 1's 7:30 reported on the human rights tragedy unfolding in the Indonesian province of West Papua.
Guest Lisa Main ABC producer

Defending West Papuan activism
Thu Aug 30, 2012
Australia has raised hackles in Jakarta over Canberra's response to an ABC report accusing an Indonesian counter-terrorism unit of human rights violations in West Papua. Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has called on Jakarta to investigate the killing of a West Papuan activist Mako Tabuni. Jennifer Robinson is an Australian lawyer best known for representing Julian Assange. But for a decade she was deeply involved in providing legal assistance to West Papuan activists. Jim Middleton Source: Newsline | Duration: 8min 17sec

INDONESIA: The ALRC calls for intervention by concerned states in light of the Indonesian Government's failure to accept key UPR recommendations
August 31, 2012 HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL Twenty-first session, Agenda Item 6
A written statement submitted by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a non-governmental organisation with general consultative status

Jakarta worries about Papua not about asylum-seekers
The Australian August 30, 2012 
INDONESIA is edging back into Australia's foreign policy debate.
After a period of complacency that relations between Australia and Indonesia have never been better, there now seems to be a sense Indonesia has more to offer Australia, and that Australia is not making the most of the opportunity.

Australia’s West Papua bind
Change won't come easily for West Papua, writes Professor Damien Kingsbury. But as long as Australia demurs on the issue, it will continue to be linked to human rights abuses there.

Tabura brings stories of West Papua to life through music
August 2012,
For Melbourne-based West Papuan band Tabura, playing together is about more than making music. It's also about spreading the story of their people

There is a section on Freeport in the article
Exposing the Transnational Ruling Class
The Global 1%
by Peter Phillips and Kimberly Soeiro / August 16th, 2012

Papuan Patience Worn Thin
John Mcbeth - Straits Times
German biologist Pieter Helmut and his wife were walking up the beach after
swimming near the Papua provincial capital of Jayapura when a bearded
gunman suddenly got out of a van and opened fire.

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