Tuesday, February 26, 2013

1) Call to pull special forces out of Papua

1) Call to pull special forces out of Papua
2) Squaring the vicious circle of violence in Papua
3) Komnas HAM Commissioner Apologizes to the Indonesian Military
4) The Thinker: Soldiers Are Human, Too
5) Vanuatu ex-PM demands refusal of Indonesian gifts



1) Call to pull special forces out of Papua

A- A A+
Paper Edition | Page: 1
The Regional Representatives Council (DPD) has strongly urged the government to cease military operations and withdraw special forces from Papua and West Papua to end the prolonged violence in the country’s easternmost provinces.

The DPD said that the presence of the non-garrison troops, who mostly belong to elite forces within the Indonesian Military (TNI), had caused animosity among local groups who have launched attacks against them.

“If Jakarta wants to end violence, the militaristic approach has to stop, and all non-garrison troops from the military elite forces must be withdrawn from the two provinces because their presence and their irregular operations have triggered attacks on garrison troops and innocent civilians,” DPD deputy chairman Laode Ida said on Tuesday.

The council suggested that after the withdrawal of these troops, the security operation should be handled by the local police in close coordination with the Cenderawasih Military Command (KODAM).

Papua DPD member Ferdinanda Ibo Yatipay alleged that the presence of non-garrison troops in Papua was designed “to maintain instability” in the region.

Ferdinanda also said that the series of violent incidents in the past few years could be attributed to growing dismay with the regional autonomy program, which had so far only benefited local elites.

“Ten years after the granting of special autonomy status, no new infrastructure in the transportation, education and health sectors has been built, while the largest chunk of special autonomy funds has been used to finance the bureaucracy or been stolen by corrupt local elites and powerful officials from Jakarta,” she said.

In the past 10 years, the government has disbursed Rp 47 trillion (US$4.84 billion) in special autonomy funds in an attempt to accelerate development in Papua, one of the country’s poorest provinces in spite of its abundant natural resources.

The government had earlier admitted that the management of the special autonomy funds has been plagued with problems.

Chief of the Special Unit of Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B), Bambang Darmono, said Papuans themselves were not ready to manage the huge budget.

“We’ve found that the absence of local regulations on the management of the funds has encouraged confusion and bickering among local leaders and members of the indigenous councils on how to best use the money,” he told members of the House of Representatives’ Commission II overseeing domestic governance earlier this week.

The House’s Commission I overseeing defense has once again urged the government to hold dialogue with separatist groups in Papua, to help reduce tension in the region.

“The government must give them a chance to freely speak their minds. Listening to them does not mean bowing to their demands. This is only the first step toward having a mutual understanding before moving to the next step,” Commission I member Ahmad Muzani of the Great Indonesian Movement (Gerindra) Party said.

In Papua, the Paniai Police apprehended on Tuesday two alleged members of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) led by John Yogi, after a tip-off from locals who said that three armed men were seen in a boat crossing the lake and landing at the foot of Mount Bobairo.

Paniai Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Semmy Ronny Abaa led a 30-strong manhunt team sweeping the mountain but the three armed individuals managed to flee by speedboat to Kebo village.



2) Squaring the vicious circle of violence in Papua

A- A A+
Paper Edition | Page: 7
Violence returned to Papua as 12 people were shot dead on Feb. 21, eight of them soldiers. The government claims to suspect the Free Papua Movement (OPM) was behind the attacks.

The shooting shocked us because so many lives were taken, but also because it occurred when the government is pushing for peaceful dialogue and development in the easternmost province.

During the past year, there have been 14 shootings in Papua, and 22 people have been killed. The victims have been civilians, police officers and military personnel. In every case the police and military have failed to locate the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

Some of the alleged perpetrators were shot dead, preventing the police from unearthing the motive behind these attacks. According to the government, the latest attack was a dispute over a local election.

The repeated violence constitutes a violation of civil rights, namely the right to life of the victims. It also infringes of the economic, social and cultural rights of Papuans. Their right to development has been curtailed by the conflict and by the absence of security.

The systemic violence in Papua has many origins.

The first is the long-standing controversy over Papua’s integration into Indonesia through the Act of Free Choice in 1969, which most neutral authorities agree was the subject to rampant manipulation. There were reports of violence prior to the vote, but many have also claimed that the actual ballot itself was conducted in a fair and democratic manner.

The government has always underlined that Papua’s integration is final and there can be no compromise on it. Authorities are open to dialogue with the relevant actors in Papua, as long as it is not about the issue of independence.

The second cause of these violent events is unjust and uneven development in Papua. The government granted Papua special autonomy in 2001 and set up the special autonomy fund to improve the welfare of Papuans and empower their culture.

However, the special autonomy scheme has failed to bring prosperity to Papua because the fund was allegedly stolen by the local elites but Jakarta let it happen.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s establishing of the Unit to Accelerate the Development of Papua and West Papua (UP4B) through Presidential Regulation No. 66/2011 is meant to improve development based on the Papuan’s needs and desires, but it is unlikely to do much for the development and prosperity of Papuans.

Undoubtedly, Papuans need and want peace and just development, but government approaches to Papua emphasize security rather than participatory development based on human rights.

Third, the problem in Papua is not only about development, it is also about the past. Past human rights violations remain unresolved and violations continue. According to the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), the root of the problems in Papua are marginalization and discrimination against indigenous people, human rights violations, failing development and integration of unfinished history.

Human rights principles demand that the state respect, protect and fulfill these rights. Human rights as the central issue in Papua’s development must come from the political will of the state.

The state must admit that rights violations are among the causes of the violence. Real steps must be taken to address and redress past abuses to build the Papuan people’s trust.

The state cannot hide from the fact that it remains unable to uphold justice to Papua. Human rights violations occur repeatedly due to the absence of accountability. The state must abandon reactionary, partial and short-term policies, and shift to comprehensive and concrete policies that uphold the basic rights of Papuans.

The human rights approach, implemented through dialogue and involving people from all segments of society is the best way to address the problems of Papua. The operational framework must meet the principles of participation, empowerment and non-discrimination. The involvement of a wide range of people will minimize the bias toward elite groups.

Participation from the level of individuals within family and tribal groups must be built to provide all citizens the opportunity to participate in decision making. Non-discrimination principles must be upheld by providing equal opportunities for Papuans to stand equal before the law and development.

The Papuan society should be fully involved in development, without discrimination, to encourage and build the capacity of Papuans.

Human rights violations that occurred must be addressed proportionally, fairly and in a transparent manner. A system of preventing human rights violations must be established to prevent further infringements.

At the same time, the government must take tough measures against, prosecute and bring to justice armed groups who cause social and political disturbance and who have killed so many people. Improvement to defense and security in remote areas is also pressing to protect the military and police from sudden, deadly attacks.

The writer is an investigator at the National Commission on Human Rights. The views expressed
are personal.
3) Komnas HAM Commissioner Apologizes to the Indonesian Military
Yeremia Sukoyo, Carlos Paath & Anastasia Winanti Riesardhy | February 27, 2013
A member of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has officially apologized to the Indonesian Military (TNI) for a controversial remark he made about the recent killing of eight military officers in Puncak Jaya, Papua. 

“The moment I picked to say it was inappropriate because the Indonesian Military was in mourning,” Komnas HAM member Natalius Pigai said on Wednesday. “Therefore, I directly apologize.”

In a recent discussion at the parliament building, Natalius had said that the death of the eight military officers in Papua was not a human rights violation. He blamed the military’s lack of preparedness as one of the contributing factors to the incident. 

He said that there were 16,000 military officers in Papua, including 200 intelligence officers, while the number of separatists is only estimated at 1,000 people.

“So, the rest of them were sleeping and hanging out. It’s no wonder they got shot,” Natalius said. 

The remark upset lawmakers and military families, who said he was wrong to criticize the officers. 

“Natalius has discredited the military officers who passed away. Natalius’s statement has hurt the families of the officers who died in the line of duty. Natalius’s statement could also be used as an argument to dishonorably discharge him from being a Komnas HAM commissioner,” Khatibul Umam Wiranu, a member of Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, said on Tuesday.

The TNI and Komnas HAM conducted a closed door meeting on Wednesday at military headquarters in Cilangkap, Jakarta, to discuss Natalius’ controversial comment.

Spokesman of TNI Rear Adm. Iskandar Sitompul said that TNI has accepted the apology.

“TNI has accepted the apology of Komnas HAM commissioner Natalius Pigai,” Iskandar said. “The apology is accepted as his statement was said in an inappropriate moment.”


4) The Thinker: Soldiers Are Human, Too
Yanto Soegiarto | February 27, 2013
In memory of those who have died in the line of duty, veteran American soldier Barry Sadler wrote a song in 1966 with very touching lyrics: “Back at home a young wife waits, her green beret has met his fate.” But that was in the United States, where fallen soldiers are properly honored.

Today in Indonesia, the nation is in mourning, especially the wives and bereaved families of eight Indonesian Military (TNI) soldiers who were killed in Puncak Jaya, Papua, last week.

Outraged people have responded to insensitive remarks made by National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) commissioner Natalius Pigai, who declared it natural for soldiers to be shot as there were too many of them just sitting around and sleeping. 
He added that there were no violations of human rights since both sides in the conflict were armed.

Natalius, who is of Papuan descent, has publicly apologized for his remarks but reasoned that he was misinterpreted for criticizing the national leadership for sending too many soldiers to Papua.

Wives of Indonesian soldiers on duty in Papua have blasted Natalius for his remarks.

Meanwhile offended Indonesian voices have filled the airwaves.

On social media, millions tweeted “soldiers are humans too” copying the lyrics of Indonesian musical group Seurius’s song “Rocker Juga Manusia” (“Rockers Are Humans Too”): “They don’t realize how hurt we are. We also have a heart, feelings and can’t be likened to a sharp dagger.”

On Twitter and Facebook, commentators have said the shooting of the eight TNI soldiers was the worst example of the administration’s struggle to maintain security and order: “Arrest them, don’t ever compromise with separatists”; “Doing nothing will only give them strength”; “What is the nationality of Komnas HAM, Indonesian or foreign?”; “The president, as the supreme commander of the Indonesian military, must be responsible and immediately act.”

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, a retired four-star general, adopts a very cautious stance when it comes to the Papuan problem fearing human rights accusations from abroad.

Coordinating Security Minister Djoko Suyanto condemned the brutal incident and suspected the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM) was behind the shootings. But he too is seen as not doing enough.

Neta S. Pane, of the Indonesian Police Watch and a former journalist with vast knowledge of police and military issues, said that the first things that Yudhoyono should do is fire the military and police commanders in Papua and evaluate the performance of the national military commander and the police chief for failure in dealing with separatists fighting a low-level insurgency. 

“The death of eight soldiers within a day is very shameful for the nation and the people. The SBY administration should build a proper security system for the conflict-prone regions of Papua, Southeast Sulawesi, South Sulawesi, South Sumatra and Lampung,” he said.
The current special autonomy program that last year provided Rp 3.38 trillion ($266 million) for the Papua province and Rp 1.64 trillion for West Papua does not seem to have worked.

Despite the funding, Papuans are still poverty-stricken while many local officials are suspected of corruption.

An anonymous Papua veteran explained the government’s approach is Jakarta-centric and fails to understand Papuan culture.
“The Papuan character is different. Jakarta must be aware that the young Papuans who went abroad 10 years ago by now have completed their studies and will return to fight for a free Papua.”

This incident and the reactions to it serve as a reminder to Indonesia. 

If it still wants Papua to be part of the country it’s important to weed out separatism at its core and implement effective welfare policies.

Yanto Soegiarto is the managing editor of Globe Asia, a sister publication of the Jakarta Globe.


5) Vanuatu ex-PM demands refusal of Indonesian gifts

Updated 27 February 2013, 6:36 AEST
A former Vanuatu prime minister has demanded the country's government refuse to accept a gift of police uniforms from Indonesia.
Vanuatu opposition MP and former prime minister, Barack Sope, has demanded the country's government refuse to accept a gift of police uniforms from Indonesia's government.
The gift was made by Indonesia's new ambassador to Vanuatu, Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, as he presented his credentials to President Iolu Johnson Abil.
Vanuatu has long been a refuge for many from the Indonesian Province of West Papua.
Mr Sope told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat the gift is an effort by Indonesia to exert influence and change the Ni-Van position on the Province.
"A lot of blood has been shed in West Papua and it's the military of Indonesia that does it," he said.
"How can Indonesia help Melanesians in Vanuatu and other places when they're also killing them - killing Melanesians in West Papua. We cannot accept that.
"They have to sort out the human rights situation, they have to sort out the colonial situation in West Papua, which they haven't, they refuse to.
"What we're doing in Vanuatu is hypocritical. We say one thing and we do others."

No comments:

Post a Comment