Tuesday, October 30, 2012

1) Britain and Indonesia: Too close for comfort? TAPOL Press release

1) Britain and Indonesia: Too close for comfort? TAPOL Press release

2) Papua Police replace 23 regency chiefs

3) West Papua builds network with Balinese tourism


TAPOL Press release
Britain and Indonesia: Too close for comfort?
President’s visit prompts fresh concerns about arms sales and training of anti-terror police
30 October 2012 – British-funded training of Indonesia’s anti-terror police, Special Detachment 88, should be reviewed in the light of serious concerns about the unit’s human rights record and its operations in Papua, says TAPOL ahead of a state visit to London by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono from 31 October to 2 November 2012.
In the run-up to the visit TAPOL, which promotes human rights, peace and democracy in Indonesia, is also appealing for an immediate ban on the sale to Indonesia of any military equipment that may be used for internal repression.
“While British businesses are no doubt eagerly anticipating the President’s visit, victims of human rights abuses will derive little comfort from the prospect of increased arms sales and ongoing training of Indonesian security forces,” says Paul Barber, Coordinator of TAPOL.
As the UK government prepares a state welcome for President Yudhoyono, rights groups from the UK and beyond are organizing an alternative welcome at a demonstration on behalf of the victims of human rights abuses outside Downing Street from 13:00 to 14:30 on Wednesday 31 October.
While Indonesia has made substantial progress in its transition from dictatorship to democracy since the downfall of former President Suharto in May 1998, serious human rights concerns remain.
“The news that the President is to receive a prestigious honour from the Queen is a gross affront to those who have suffered violations at the hands of successive Indonesian governments,” said Barber [1].
Special Detachment 88, known as ‘Densus 88’ was formed after the Bali bombings in 2002 to combat terrorism, but is reportedly being deployed to tackle other issues, such as alleged separatism in Indonesia’s conflict-affected provinces. Local civil society monitors say Densus 88 is being used to crack down on the Papuan independence movement, and the unit has been implicated in the assassination of its leaders, such as Mako Tabuni who was shot dead in June this year.
The unit is trained at the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation, JCLEC, which received a minimum of £400,000 in funding from Britain in the financial year 2011/12, as well as training provided by British officers. These include the UK’s South East Asia Counter Terrorism & Extremism Liaison Officer Detective Superintendent Phil Tucker; former Metropolitan Police Commander Bob Milton, and David Gray, an officer from the Counter Terrorism Command at New Scotland Yard who sits on JCLEC’s Board of Supervisors and has been teaching on the course since August 2009.
In July this year, leading Indonesian human rights NGO, KontraS, published research which stated that Densus 88 operations commonly involved arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, physical abuse and injury causing death [2].
Indonesia has been identified by the UK as a priority market for defence sales, with Prime Minister David Cameron boosting the export effort when he visited Jakarta with arms company executives in April 2012. The value of approved arms export licences has risen dramatically under the coalition government. The use of British equipment such as Hawk jets, armoured personnel carriers and water cannon for internal repression has been widely documented over the years and was acknowledged by the British Government in the 1990s. UK Tactica vehicles have been used to crush protest on the streets of Jakarta as recently as March this year, and are used by Indonesia’s notorious paramilitary police unit Brimob.
During the President’s visit, groups including TAPOL, Down to Earth, Survival International, Progressio and Christian Solidarity Worldwide will be highlighting these and other key issues, including Human Rights in Papua; The Need for Dialogue in Papua; Freedom of Expression; Rights, Livelihoods and Climate Justice; Religious Intolerance; and Timor-Leste and Impunity.
Information on these issues is set out in a briefing available here.
Contact: Paul Barber on 01420 80153 / 07747 301 739 or Esther Cann on 07503 400 308.
1. President Yudhoyono will reportedly be awarded the Knights Grand Cross of the Order of Bath by the Queen during his visit.
2. KontraS report on Densus 88 available from TAPOL on request


2) Papua Police replace 23 regency chiefs

The Papua Police have launched an overhaul of their institution in the provinces of Papua and West Papua by replacing 23 out of 29 police regency heads.

The major restructuring was conducted by Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian, who was installed as the new Papua Police chief, replacing Brig. Gen. Lumban Tobing at the National Police Headquarters in Jakarta on Sept. 21.

Tito said at the joint installation ceremony in Jayapura on Monday that aside from being used to refresh the institution, the major restructuring was also intended to help support the fight against rampant corruption in Papua.

“This is only to refresh because there are many regency police chiefs who have held their current positions for a long time, while at the same time there are many young and clever officers who have to be given a chance,” Tito said.

“Our focus is on the rotation of office, but in every briefing they will be continuously reminded to help the fight against corruption,” he said.

In a coordination meeting with heads of detective and crime units of all the 29 police units throughout Papua and West Papua in Jayapura on Oct. 16, Tito reminded them that each police units had to be serious about uncovering corrupt practices in both Papua and West Papua provinces because rampant corruption had caused Papuans to suffer.

Post-New Order Indonesia resolved half of the Herculean job of keeping Papua as part of Indonesia through issuing the province special autonomy in 2001, which was intended to allow Papua to enjoy and manage the lion’s share of its revenue from natural resources.

But the redistribution of wealth has failed to materialize as most of the huge funds have been wasted — or embezzled by the local elites — as is evident by the fact that Papua and West Papua remain the most disadvantaged regions, mostly because of Jakarta’s poor supervision and, more importantly, ignorance.

The government is set to do more for Papua in the future, including renegotiating mining contracts with large-scale companies operating in the province.

The central government is also due to raise special autonomy funding for Papua to Rp 4.3 trillion (US$450.5 million) next year from this year’s Rp 3.10 trillion, and to Rp 1.8 trillion for West Papua from this year’s Rp 1.33 trillion.

“There is a lot of money being allocated for Papua and West Papua, but the fact is that most Papuan people, especially those inland and in remote areas, still live in poverty. There must be something wrong, so the police branches have to focus on uncovering allegations of fund misuse,” he said.

Tito’s remarks were warmly welcomed by the head of the Papua Church Leaders Forum (PGGP) Lipius Binilux. “In my capacity as head of PGGP, I fully support the commitment of the Papua Police chief to fight against corruption,” he said.

He said Papuan people had lost trust in Jakarta because it allowed rampant corruption practices to continue in Papua.

“I have thought that Jakarta was maybe allowing Papua to go to the brink of destruction. Uncontrollable corrupt practices are taking place in front of our eyes and are real, but there isn’t any action [to curb them]. I hope the Papua Police chief’s commitment to fight against corruption will be able to revive the Papuan people’s trust in Jakarta,” Lipius said.

Lipius asked the police to proceed with questioning officials in Papua even if the individual suspected of being involved in corruption made threats that his or her followers would become angry with the individual being questioned.

“It is only an excuse from the official to clear up his or her wrongdoings. Pak [Mr.] Kapolda [police chief], don’t be afraid. I’m ready to support you. Wipe corruption out of Papua to enable the Papuan people to distance themselves from suffering,” he said.

Out of the 23 newly installed regency police chiefs, there was Adj. Sr. Comr Esterlina Sroyer, who has been promoted as the new Bian Numfor regency police chief and at the same time is the first woman police chief in Papua.

“This shows appreciation toward policewomen,” Lipius said.



3) West Papua builds network with Balinese tourism

West Papua is hoping to develop its tourism and to reach out to foreign tourism markets by building networks with the Balinese industry.

The West Papua tourism agency hosted on Monday an event in Sanur entitled Promoting the West Papua Tourism Potentials, to which it invited tour and travel agencies, as well as other Balinese tourism stakeholders.

“We came here to learn by building a network with this island‘s tourism businesspeople. We hope that Bali is willing to help promote our tourism,” said West Papua tourism agency head Edi Sumarwanto, while praising Bali as an international tourism destination.

Edi said that West Papua had major potential as an eco-tourism destination, because 70 percent of its region was still undeveloped, with around 60 percent of its territory part of a conservation area.

 Edi also said that the West Papua region was rich with exotic culture and land and underwater biodiversity.

“We have around 43 species of birds of paradise, not to mention other types of birds, fish and sea vegetation,” said Edi.

Edi acknowledged that West Papua still lacked sufficient accommodation facilities.

In the region’s most developed regency, Raja Ampat, currently, there are seven resorts, 11 hostels and 36 homestays, while Manokwari, the West Papuan capital city, has 34 hotels, four of which are star-rated hotels.

Access to tourist destinations and limited infrastructure have been the major problem due to the long distance between one site and another, while its airport does not have proper lighting, thus only allowing daytime flights.

“We have requested the central government improve access to West Papua, including renovating the airport and providing direct flights from Bali,” said Edi,.

He stated that the national carrier, Garuda Indonesia, had not opened a route to Sorong, while other airlines had. Direct flights from Jakarta to Sorong are available, but from Bali, passengers have to transit in Makassar.

Inter-regency access relies on water transportation, such as ferry and speedboat.

Head of Raja Ampat tourism and cultural agency, Yusdi Lamatenggo, said that Raja Ampat, with its groups of islets and the stunning beauty found under its sea, is among the 10 national tourism strategic areas set by the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry.

It has been proposed for listing among the seven wonders of the world.

The Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA)’s head of destination and promotional affairs, Edi Sanyoto, acknowledged that West Papua was one of Indonesia’s great tourism attractions that was still to be properly developed.

He said he was ready to make a visit to West Papua to see for himself the destinations, besides Raja Ampat, that were worth promoting to foreign visitors.

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