1) Ambassador explains Indonesia's attitude to Papua
2) Regional organisations PIF and MSG
3) West Papua: Indonesia uses soldier deaths to escalate conflict
1) Ambassador explains Indonesia's attitude to Papua
Updated 5 March 2013, 15:43 AEST
Those responsible have not been found or identified.
Gun attacks have been common in Papua, where poorly-armed separatists have fought a low-level insurgency for decades on behalf of the mostly ethnic Melanesian population.
Indonesia's Ambassador to Australia says opposition to Indonesian rule comes from a tiny minority in Papua.
Speaking before the latest photographs came to light, the ambassador said Papua will always be part of Indonesia but concedes Jakarta also needs to ensure the security forces are properly trained.
Correspondent: Karon Snowdon
Speaker: Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, Indonesia's Ambassador to Australia
KESOEMA: Well Papua is a province unique to Indonesia because as you know the colonial has just tried to help Papua for quite some time after the independence of Indonesia. The problem is that, the reason also in this discussion is about rule of law. For me, rule of law is the twin brother or twin sister of democracy. If you have a democracy but you don't have rule of law so it will be difficult for you to apply a democratic system. The problem in Papua is that a lot of demonstrations that then go into violence, they burn police cars, and then this exaggerates the emotions also of the officers.
SNOWDON: So the security forces also need to show restraint or be better trained to handle such situations?
KESOEMA: Exactly, I think it's most important that training be given very deeply for awareness for everybody. And then also the people should be aware of the situation. So they have to be trained in what is actually democracy, how the interactions should be between the people who take care of the demonstrations and the people who do it.
SNOWDON: Briefly I wonder if we can deal with the historical point that you made that Indonesia resumed control over Papua as part of its right. Just very briefly, I know it's a complex issue but Indonesia seems to be saying it would never consider giving up Papua, even though it was taken as a colony and there were questions over the vote of free association that was taken way back. So even though other countries have given independence to colonies, Indonesia doesn't see it that way?
KESOEMA: Of course it's impossible for Indonesia to give away Papua because Papua is a part of Indonesia. You know the principle of uti possidetis juris, that the area that colonised by one country will get independence together.
SNOWDON: Would then Indonesia given what you've said, the importance of Papua to Indonesia's sense of itself, Indonesia would be prepared as someone here in this meeting has suggested, Indonesia would be prepared to go to war to keep hold of Papua?
KESOEMA: Well maybe not war because war is not an alternative now. But Indonesia is ready for the ramification of this problem because we always said that from Sabang in Aceh to Merauke in Papua, it's part of our blood.
SNOWDON: Why not just send in more troops and clear out what you say is a very small minority of opposition?
KESOEMA: Well we don't want to have bloodshed over in Papua. We want to have a peaceful settlement of the issue in Papua.
SNOWDON: On the issue of religious intolerance, there are certain views that it is on the rise in Indonesia, and some concern over what's said to be government inaction or inadequate responses to it. Will those comments, we're here at an Indonesia-Australia Dialogue, will those comments be conveyed by you to the government in Jakarta?
KESOEMA: Well this situation is also ... we're back again to this twin brother and sister, the democracy angle of law. I have to confess that perhaps our officials are not well trained so that's why it still happens that this minority action could not be settled amicably.
SNOWDON: Turning to business and economics a little bit more, there are many people here who want to see improvement in visas and travel access both ways, and indeed the convenor of this meeting John McCarthy has said he expects just the same old stonewalling by both bureaucracies on calls for easing visa restrictions to improve business, education and as well as cultural interactions between the two countries, is he right?
KESOEMA: Karon, we discussed about the consular matters several times and we have a working group on consular affairs between Indonesia and Australia. Right now we have agreed both countries to have what's called work and holiday visa for our young people to gain the experience of having work outside their country.
SNOWDON: And when can I get a visa to go to Papua, if I may interrupt?
KESOEMA: Well you can go to Papua but you know that the situation is very inconvenient now for you to travel there or you just send your application to us, I will send it to Jakarta and they will consider whether you go or not.
2) Regional organisations PIF and MSG
For those interested in the Pacific regional organisation , the PIF and MSG
West Papuans representatives try to gain observer status at these regional organisation at they're yearly meetings
An emerging chasm in Pacific integration
The Forum Secretariat is currently coordinating a review of The Pacific Plan, while the MSG Secretariat is coordinating a review of the Melanesian Spearhead Group to chart a way forward for the next twenty five years.http://www.islandsbusiness.com/topics/energy/
On the surface, it all looks very progressive for regional integration. But look a bit deeper, and what emerges is a Deep Chasm opening up between two groups of Pacific countries, with donors leading one side, and a truculent semi-independent group on the other. The two reviews have fascinating contrasts, with one unfortunate common element so far.
Review of the Pacific Plan
The Review Chair is PNG’s eminent Sir Mekere Morauta, with the other two members being Peseta Noumea Simi (Samoan Assistant CEO of Finance) and Redley Killion, former Vice President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and former Senator of the FSM state of Chuuk. This is not a particularly strong regional representation, you would have to admit. But note that the PNG Government has also nominated an astute and experienced civil servant (Mr Robert Igara) as adviser to Morauta. The Review Team will also have two international consultants. Peter Bazeley of the UK (with expertise on development strategy and aid effectiveness) and Dr Nick Poletti of NZ (with expertise in the areas of strategic planning, public sector reform and economic development).
Forum Secretary General, Tuiloma Neroni Slade was reported as saying (Islands Business): “The consultants will have the primary responsibility for producing the written outputs of the Review, including a Review report and a refreshed Pacific Plan, under the guidance of Morauta”! Given that the core of the Pacific Plan (though of course, not everything) ought to be regional economic integration, it seems a glaring omission on the part of those who influenced the selection of the Review Team, not to also include even a single regional expert on Pacific integration issues. There are at least three eminent Pacific Islands economists who have either been working in these very areas or who have sound practical knowledge of the issues involved: Professor Biman Prasad (Professor of Economics at The University of the South Pacific and former Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics); Professor Satish Chand (Professor of Economics at the University of New South Wales); and Dr Sitiveni Halapua (former Head of Pacific Island Development Programme, University of Hawai and currently a Tongan parliamentarian). I suspect there may be another one or two around.
There are also prominent academics like Dr Thomas Webster, Dr Ray Enere, Dr Tarcisius Kabutaulaka, Dr Sitiveni Ratuva, Dr Transform Aqorau, and Dr Uentabo MacKenzie, whose regional expertise could have been brought to bear (in addition to the international experts, of course). This omission of the prominent academics is even more remarkable given that Sir Mekere is reported to have stated at his Team’s meeting with the Hon. Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, New Zealand’s first Pacific Island woman parliamentarian and now Assistant Vice Chancellor (Pasifika) of Victoria University, that “Academic perspectives provide an important evidence base for our work, and are a valuable addition to the views of politicians, officials and civil society.” In any case, the Review Team’s priorities seem to be indicated by their meeting with stakeholders in Wellington, and planned meetings with stakeholders (including academics) in Canberra and Sydney (the latter organized by the Lowy Institute).
There was apparently a closed meeting with a Chosen Few at The University of the South Pacific (with one prominent regional expert excluded - nowadays, par for the course at USP). While this was no fault of the Review Team, one would have thought that an open meeting at USP (as in Wellington, Canberra and Sydney), might have allowed greater inputs from all interested academics of the only regional university belonging to the 12 Member countries, who comprise the majority of the Forum. While there are meetings planned in most of the member countries of the Forum, Fiji will anomalously still be excluded (as it is from all Forum meetings), despite Fiji’s centrality to any regional agreements such as Pacific Plan or Pacer Plus. Of course, at some stage, the fundamental question will be asked (if not by the Review Team itself): why is there a need for a “Pacific Plan” at all, when virtually everything it covers could have been covered by the PACER (conveniently renamed “PACER Plus” to exclude Fiji), which Australia and New Zealand are in no hurry at all to finalise? Pacific Islanders do not mind, of course.
The Pacific Plan exercise will require endless meetings in all the capitals of the Pacific, to be attended, of course, all at donor expense, with plenty of per diems to be saved or pleasantly spent, while myriads of consultants will have a field day spending the boomerang aid money.
The MSG Review The MSG Review is another kettle of fish altogether, for several reasons. The MSG Review Team is being selected by the MSG countries themselves, with the Chairman (a former Minister in the Qarase Government, Kaliopate Tavola) already nominated by Fiji and (warmly) accepted by the MSG Secretariat Director General (Mr Peter Forau) (read: the other MSG countries were all in favour). The other members of the MSG Review Team will be nominated by the PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and FLNKS. The traditional donors are unlikely to have any influence on this Review and I would be surprised if there will be any “experts” from Australia, NZ or UK as part of the Eminent Persons Group. Note, thought that China is a supporter of the MSG Secretariat, and while this might suggest a chasm amongst the donors as well, China cannily supports countries on the other side as well.
The MSG political leaders have amply demonstrated that whatever their countries’ degree of aid dependence, they are quite prepared to express their political independence from the donor countries, as evidenced by their staunch and continuing support for Fiji. But here it must be also asked why the MSG Review Team does not include any regional economists or experts as part of their Eminent Persons’ Group? Peter?
MSG: the Western Pacific Powerhous The bottom line however is that the MSG offers very real and significant economic benefits to the Melanesian countries, and especially Fiji, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands, who can work linkages with the new found minerals, LNG wealth and booming economic growth of PNG. The MSG may well expand to include West Papua and FLNKS (Kanaky New Caledonia) both also resource rich, and both of whom will at long last find the regional support for their independence struggles, long denied them by Forum Secretariat. Should Timor Leste also be included in the future, the MSG will be even further strengthened as the most powerful regional integration movement, totally overshadowing the economic possibilities from the Pacific Plan.
There is also every likelihood that the resource rich MSG has far more complementary benefits to offer the atoll countries (Kiribati, Tuvalu, FSM etc) than the Eastern Polynesian countries. Fiji has already taken the lead by giving Kiribati access to a substantial area of Fijian land (which has more arable soil than all of Kiribati combined) while Tuvaluans have (very quietly and unobtrusively) had relatively free access to residence in Fiji and ancillary benefits such as education and health services. These are indeed interesting times and it will be interesting to see where the reviews of the MSG and the Pacific Plan take them.
Their current separate trajectories and dynamics indicate that the South Pacific now has its own Deep Chasm between the East (Polynesia) and the West (Melanesia), to match the Marianas Trench in the North West Pacific. A challenge for visionary Pacific Islands political leaders is to ensure this Deep Chasm does not become as permanent and unfathomable as the Marianas Trench. The Pacific sorely needs someone of the stature of the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.
What lies ahead for the Forum?
The last three years have certainly been amongst the most difficult in the history of the Pacific Islands Forum.
Following the coup by Frank Bainimarama in 2006, the Forum excluded Fiji from its meetings and created an isolation that has officially continued but has crumbled as more and more of Fiji’s neighbours have been showing a willingness to deal with the incumbent administration in Suva.
This isolation of the government in Suva by the Forum was pushed wholeheartedly by Australia and New Zealand and initially supported in a very grudging way by the Pacific islands states. Some like Samoa were ardent supporters of the Forum’s ‘cordon sanitarie’ around Bainimarama’s administration. Samoa left their man, former Samoan ambassador and current Secretary-General of the Forum Tuiloma Neroni Slade, to implement a policy conceived in Canberra and supported by Apia and Wellington.
The only problem was sitting in Suva it was a difficult for Tuiloma to do his masters’ bidding when increasingly Bainimarama was able to undermine the apparent but weak Forum solidarity regarding democracy, especially in Melanesia as well as amongst the smaller neighbours like Tuvalu which, while totally financially dependent on Canberra, were logistically totally dependent upon Fiji.
In tandem with the Forum’s failing Fiji policy, the last three years have seen the accelerating loss of any faith in the Forum as an institution that could conceivably represent any interest other than that of Australia and New Zealand and those governments totally financially dependent upon them.
The first great loss was conceived as a means of dealing with the islands during the PACER Plus negotiations. The Forum Secretariat recognised that it could not help the islands in their negotiations for a trade agreement with Australia and New Zealand.
The formal reason given was that it could not take sides but the real reason was that the islands no longer trusted the Forum. In fact, the Forum always seemed to take sides—not in favour of the islands but in favour of Canberra and Wellington.
All substantial economic documents the organisation produced was given to Canberra and Wellington first and they were allowed to change documents before any islands state saw them. It was for this reason that the islands created the Office of the Chief Trade Adviser in Port Vila to provide advice during the negotiations that was not controlled by Canberra.
Last year, under pressure from Papua New Guinea, a special leaders summit occurred in Port Moresby which essentially agreed to the creation of a Pacific ACP Secretariat in PNG, taking away a further function from the increasingly emasculated Forum Secretariat.
In large part, this was driven by PNG’s commercial interests in dominating the Pacific ACP group agenda but was also supported by those countries which felt, quite correctly, that excluding Fiji from ACP meetings at the Forum, relegating officials to SPC meetings and excluding Bainimarama and his ministers was a step too far.
Fiji, while subject to sanctions by both the Forum and Commonwealth, had not been excluded from the ACP councils or formally sanctioned by the European Union. As a result, the Forum’s decision to not include Fiji in ACP meetings that occur under the auspices of the Forum and not provide ministers with services was seen as too much.
Prior to the Port Moresby meeting, PIFS, clearly sensing that its position had become untenable, tried to circulate a paper saying it would support Fiji but it was clearly too late. The Forum has tried to loudly protest the decision to create a Pacific ACP office, further hollowing out its economic functions.
There are, of course, several problems with the Pacific ACP leaders’ decision. The first is that who will fund the organisation? Certainly, based on all the precedents—it will not be the islands who love creating organisations with highly paid directors but not paying for it themselves.
Can PNG provide any real assurances that if the EU does fund such a body that there will be something resembling good financial governance? And perhaps most importantly, tucked away quietly in Port Moresby, will it be anything other than a tool for the PNG government and private sector to advance their interests.
The islands’ decision to move the ACP leaders meeting to PNG will almost certainly mean that ACP work will also migrate from the Forum. It may be one decision the other islands will come to regret in the coming years as PNG expands its oil and gas driven power and influence in the region.
Tuiloma has just begun his last three-year term and will become in effect a lame duck late next year when his heir apparent, the ‘eternal-Secretary-General-in-waiting’ and former Fiji Foreign Minister, Kaliopate Tavola will probably be anointed.
Tuiloma has overseen the dismantling of the trade and economic functions of the Forum. He has done his masters’ bidding on Fiji and they will be most pleased with him.
But as a superannuated septuagenarian who will trot off into the sunset, how will his legacy look? Not good unless he does something in the next two years with the only remaining economic instrument left in the Forum’s purview—the Pacific Plan.
In theory and on superficial reading, the Pacific Plan constituted the most serious effort ever by political leaders in the Pacific to address the fundamental inability of most of the government administrations in the region to deal with a complex range of issues by virtue of their small size. There were numerous objectives but essentially it was a political attempt to pool resources and deal with the absence of economies of scale in the islands.
The Pacific Plan was a rather typical top-down attempt at reform. It was initiated not by an islands leader but by then New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark who remained the driving force behind it throughout 2003/2004.
An eminent persons group was formed, special leaders summit was called and islands states sagaciously nodded approval for the Pacific Plan in 2004. Having received an endorsement for her ‘big idea’, Clark could ‘tick the box’ and move on to bigger things.
The only problem was that neither Clark’s officials and certainly not their Australian counterparts took the Pacific Plan seriously. What evolved was a classic and cynical bureaucratic response to what was perceived as an imposed, alien and unnecessary political process.
ANZ and regional officials basically took the regional aid programmes that they were already implementing and renamed them the Pacific Plan.
There was also little or no support from the islands as it soon became evident that the Plan was merely window dressing, a renaming of whatever Australia and New Zealand bureaucrats were, in any case, planning to do.
Thus the Pacific Plan, became the walking dead, a political zombie from a previous decade that continues to live in name only. It failed because it had no obvious island champions nor any real roots in the islands.
Now the Pacific Plan is being reviewed by former PNG Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta and if the normal course of such reviews proceed, then what will emerge are eminently sensible but with minor technocratic adjustments.
Many of the proposals for the real pooling of resources have never happened and will never be implemented until political leaders at the Forum stop allowing their bureaucrats to dictate the direction and pace of integration, ie until they actually lead.
Tuiloma could use the review of the Forum to address the real political issues that underlie the failure of the Pacific Plan to make any concrete change in the way Pacific Islands deal with their problems which are structural in nature. This would give Tuiloma’s tenure as Secretary-General a real legacy that matters to the future of the islands.
3) West Papua: Indonesia uses soldier deaths to escalate conflict
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Eight Indonesian soldiers were killed on February 21 in West Papua. The attacks were claimed by the armed wing of the Free Papua Movement (TPN-OPM).
The attacks came after a series of violent crackdowns by Indonesian authorities on a growing movement of peaceful protest by Papuans calling for end to Indonesian occupation and for self-determination.
In the first attack, a military post in Tingginambut, Puncak Jaya, was raided. One soldier was killed and another injured.
About an hour later, another armed group ambushed Indonesian soldiers. Seven soldiers and four civilians being escorted by them were reported killed.
The Jakarta Globe reported that Papua Police Chief Tito Karnavian said Goliat Tabuni, head of TPN-OPM, had personally claimed responsibility for the killings in a phone call, linking the attacks to the recent district elections. The election ballots were due to be counted two days after the attacks.
The TPN-OPM, however, released a statement that day denying any link to the elections. The statement, signed by Teryanus Satto, claimed the shooting of soldiers in Puncak Jaya was carried out by the TPN-OPM under its commander, General Goliat Tabuni, and had nothing to do with the district's elections or anywhere else in Papua.
However, it said the TPN-OPM “do reject the programs of the Indonesian government, including the district elections in Puncak Jaya or elsewhere in Papua land”.
In a statement to West Papua Media, TPN-OPM spokesperson Nikolas Tabuni said the area of the new military post is “formally claimed to be owned by the TPN OPM” and is “under indigenous customary law of the indigenous community of that area”.
Tabuni said the Indonesian military ignored TPN-OPM’s letter asking for the post to be abandoned, leading to the attack.
The Jakarta Globe reported newly elected governor Lukas Enembe saying the problems in the province were as much due to high unemployment, poverty, and underdevelopment, as pro-independence and anti-government sentiments.
The paper said the Central Statistics Bureau found the poverty rate in Papua province was 31% as of September last year. More than 1.1 million people in the territories two provinces live below the poverty line.
Enembe said: “As long as Papua is still seen as a land to make profit, the problems here will not go away.”
He also drew attention to rampant corruption impeding development. The Jakarta Post reported that this was raised by the Regional Representatives Council (DPD). Papua DPD member Ferdinanda Ibo Yatipay said: “Ten years after the granting of special autonomy status [to West Papua], 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.”
DPD deputy chairperson Laode Ida also urged the withdrawal of non-garrison, elite troops from West Papua as essential to stopping the violence, saying, “Their presence and their irregular operations have triggered attacks on garrison troops and innocent civilians”.
Indeed, the Jakarta Post reported Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Admiral Agus Suhartono acknowledging that the soldier killed in Tingginambut was a member of the army's Special Forces Command (Kopassus). This unit’s activities have drawn condemnation from human rights groups for atrocities committed throughout Indonesia, as well as West Papua.
However, Suhartono denied that Kopassus' presence at the military post meant the force had been carrying out special operations in the region, saying: “The slain Kopassus member had been stationed there for quite a long time.”
The Jakarta Globe reported that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told a cabinet meeting that the government would seek to improve the living standards of Papuans and would not use a military approach to restore peace in the affected provinces.
However, Djoko Suyanto, the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, said in a press conference that the government is prepared to send more weapons and made it clear that the government has “a clear and firm stance on any party who is trying to disrupt public security or refuses to acknowledge the sovereignty of the unitary state of Indonesia in Papua”.
Despite the president's words, Indonesia's devotion to protecting its "unitary state" despite the wishes of the Papuan people who were forcibly incorporated into Indonesia in a fraudulent "act of free choice" in 1969 means the wishes of the Papuan people will continue to go unheeded.
In its statement on its attacks, the TPN-OPM said it was, “not asking for anything from the government of Indonesia. TPN-OPM demands the political rights of the Papua nation for independence and to be fully sovereign so that they sit equal with other countries in the world.”
West Papua Regional Legislative Council deputy chairperson Jimmy Demianus Ijie said in the Jakarta Globe: “We've never enjoyed Indonesia's independence. What we have is only blood and tears.
“Let's talk about our unity. Why is the government afraid of opening a dialogue with Papua? Today, there are many military personnel in plain clothes in Papua, as if a big war is happening here.”
He said the Papuan people love Indonesia, but want to be freed from poverty and to look after the interests of future generations.
Ijie calls for dialogue and equality within the Indonesian state, but reports of a huge military operation in the areas of the shootings shows why many Papuans support independence as the solution to the conflict.
West Papua Media said that at least 1000 TNI troops are occupying villages around Puncak Jaya, searching for suspects to the shootings. Villagers are being forced to hand over food and subjected to interrogation.
It seems that Yudhoyono’s benevolent words are not being realised on the ground. According to WPM sources, as of February 26, at least 18 houses, five churches, two schools and a library have been razed by the combined police/TNI forces.
Animals and food gardens are also being destroyed, sparking fears of an impending humanitarian disaster. Thousands of local people have already fled their homes. The occupied villages could potentially be used as staging posts for destroying the TPN.