Wednesday, March 13, 2013

1) Jailed by Indonesia but still campaigning for freedom


1) Jailed by Indonesia but still campaigning for freedom

2) West Papuan activist to address Vanuatu MPs

3) Across border for education

4) Indonesian soldier promoted for winning over an OPM member

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http://www.dailypost.vu/content/jailed-indonesia-still-campaigning-freedom

1) Jailed by Indonesia but still campaigning for freedom

Benny Wenda had tears in his eyes when he sang a song he composed while his hands were tied behind his back for two weeks in a dark, stinking, notorious Indonesian jail.
It was a song of freedom.
Wenda did not beat about the bush when he stated that Indonesia should have asked for permission from West Papua to request Observer Status at the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
This dedicated highlander, tribal leader and former political prisoner escapee, is a global campaigner for the Freedom of the people of West Papua from Indonesian occupation.
The London-based tribal leader made the statement at a press conference in the Chief’s Nakamal yesterday. Wenda was asked his view of the answer to a question the writer of his article had put to the Indonesian Ambassador to Vanuatu, Nadjib Riphat Kesoema at a press conference two weeks ago.
The question was how he felt about the fact that his country has been granted Observer Status at MSG while West Papua is seeking full membership of the Melanesian Organisation.
While the Indonesian Ambassador had replied that West Papua should have asked permission from Indonesia to seek full membership of MSG, Wenda said West Papua is a natural part of Melanesia and the most logical approach for Indonesia to take should have been for Jakarta to ask permission from West Papua to seek Observer Status at MSG.
His prompt answer triggered instant smiles on faces within the audience and hand clapping during the press conference.
Wenda hails from the Dani Tribe in the Highlands of West Papua and grew up in his village. But he explained, “My village was bombed by the Indonesian military when I was a child and many members of my family were killed. Later I began to campaign for a Free West Papua. For the ‘crime’ of helping to lead a peaceful movement for independence, I was arrested, imprisoned and tortured by Indonesian soldiers. They threatened to kill me, but I escaped to the UK.
“Many of my friends and family back in West Papua have been killed, raped or tortured. Life is hard for them. All we are asking for is the freedom that you enjoy every day – the freedom to speak your mind, to choose your government and to live without fear of persecution. Please hear my peoples’ cry for help”.
Wenda said the people of West Papua hold Vanuatu in high esteem because to them, Vanuatu is their beacon of hope in their 50 years of suffering under the yoke of a cruel, inhumane Indonesian military.
While a number of groups have been formed beside OPM in the struggle for freedom in West Papua and there are internal differences, Wenda said the fact remains and that is that they all operate under the one Morning Star Flag and they are all for the Freedom of West Papua.
He said his tribe is the biggest tribe in West Papua with a total population of approximately 500, 000 people.
While acknowledging the committed roles played by his Vanuatu-based colleagues Andy Ayamiseba and Dr John Ondawame in the struggle for the freedom of their people and country, he said his people from the highlands are the most energetic lot when it comes to standing up for their rights to be a Free People.


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http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-03-13/west-papuan-activist-to-address-vanuatu-mps/1101046

2) West Papuan activist to address Vanuatu MPs

Updated 13 March 2013, 16:23 AEST
A West Papuan activist addressed Vanuatu MPs on Wednesday in a bid to have the Indonesian province granted observer status at the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
West Papuan activist Benny Wenda was set to address Vanuatu MPs on Wednesday in a bid for their support for the Indonesian province to be given observer status at the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
Mr Wenda is on an international tour trying to gain support for the people of the province and their push for autonomy.
Vanuatu has a long history of providing help and assistance for those West Papuans who have left their homeland.
Indonesia has significantly increased its assistance and aid to Vanuatu, and Mr Wenda is concerned it's being done to convince Vanuatu's leaders to back away from that support.
"Diplomatically that's up to the government but the people of Vanuatu, we know they very strongly support West Papua self-determinations," he told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat.
"West Papua is a Melanesian people... West Papua is a part of the Melanesia, so Indonesia is Asia."
Mr Wenda said he would explain the current situation in West Papua to the Vanuatu MPs.
"I will highlight the human rights situation in West Papua at the moment and also I hope the parliamentarians will support West Papua self-determination, because that is injustice happening in West Papua," he said.
Mr Wenda said he had been warmly welcomed on his arrival by Vanuatu's National Council of Chiefs and Vanuatu's government.
"I feel confident that people of Vanuatu never give up, never tire their support from the beginning until today," he said.
"We are really confident that Vanuatu people are give example to other Melanesian people to look at the West Papua issue."
Mr Wenda's visit comes in the wake of comments made by Indonesia's ambassador to Vanuatu, Nadjip Riphat Kesoema, that West Papua should ask permission from his government to obtain observer status at the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
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http://www.islandsbusiness.com/news/papua-new-guinea/586/across-border-for-education/

3) Across border for education




PORT MORESBY, PNG --- A lack of tertiary institutions and vocational training schools for Papua New Guineans living in border regions has forced students to seek education in Indonesia.
According to former PNG defence attache to Jakarta, Col Tokam Kanene, students from South Fly, Western, have been attending the Sotar Agricultural Vocational School on the Indonesian side of the border since 2005 without proper documentation from both governments.
Kanene told The National that there was a traditional border arrangement in place for villagers to hunt and fish in the nearby areas and waters but PNG children had gone to the extreme of getting educated in Indonesia.
“Eighteen out of 150 PNG students have successfully graduated from the three-year programme and three students have moved on for further studies at the tertiary institutes in Merauke,” he said.
Merauke, west of South Fly, is considered to be the eastern most city in Papua province, Indonesia. It is located next to the Maro River.
“One of the these is Ken Kerry from Gwaku village in Suki, Morehead sub district.
“Kerry is doing his third year at the Musamus State University at Merauke.
“The PNG government has failed to bring very basic services to its people and especially the PNG children’s right to education,” Kanene said.
He added that the Indonesian government allowed PNG students to study in their country out of humanitarian assistance.
Sotar Vocational School is a boarding school that specialises in animal husbandry and farming and is connected to Merauke by road.
Sotar is located next to the PNG/Indonesia border marker number 13 opposite the PNG town of Weam in the South Fly district.
Indonesian government services at Sotar include customs, quarantine, a sub-district office, police station, rural health centre, mobile phone service, a military post and a vocational school.
“In September 2011, a joint PNG/Indonesia verification team travelled to Sotar to verify a report that PNG citizens were attending Sotar,” Kanene reported.


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4) Indonesian soldier promoted for winning over an OPM member
Bintang Papua, 12 March, 2013

Jayapura: A sergeant named Paus Kogoya, attached to Babinsa Unit 172/PWY, XVII Cenderawasih  Battalion, was promoted to corporal following his success in persuading a member  of the TPN/OPM-PB [military wing of the OPM] together with members of his unit to return to the fold of the Indonesian state. He was officially promoted in a special ceremony led by the military commander of the Cenderawasih Division, Major-General Drs Christian Zebua MM. The citation said that he had successfully persuaded 'our brother, Daniel Kogoya and members of his unit to return to the fold of NKRI - Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.' Daniel Kogoya was described as being a central figure in the TPN/OPM-PB; his latest post was as chief of staff of TPN/OPM-PB.

'Everyone knows how difficult it is to get anywhere near the central leadership of the OPM and persuade them to return to the NKRI fold. Nevertheless, Corporal Paus Kogoya entered engaged in communications with Daniel Kogoya to persuade him and his colleagues to return to the NKRI fold, and to put an end to being chased and hunted by the security forces,' said Major-General Zebua.'Let us hope that the  promotion of Sergeant Paus Kogoya will be an inspiration for  other soldiers in their service to the Indonesian State.'

'Such a promotion is not something that happens in a normal  situation  but it is a recognition of exceptional dedication, over and above the soldier's normal duties.'

Major-General Zebua described the present security situation in Papua as being 'conducive'. He went on to say that this was because all governmental forces  in Papua continue to assert their authority while continuing to perform their normal, everyday activities within the community. This is of course primarily because of the hard work being done by the security forces, the officers and soldiers on the Cenderawaih Division.' said Major-General Zebua.

[Abridged in translation by TAPOL]

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