Wednesday, May 22, 2013

1) Workers Blame Freeport for Fatal Incident at Giant Papua Mine

1) Workers Blame Freeport for Fatal Incident at Giant Papua Mine

2) Indonesia Reaffirms Sovereignty in International Forums

3) FLNKS Leaders Support West Papua Full Membership In MSG

4) Evacuation process at Freeport's collapsed facility officially stops


1) Workers Blame Freeport for Fatal Incident at Giant Papua Mine

Kate Lamb

 — Mine workers in West Papua, Indonesia, are raising questions about safety standards at a giant gold and copper mine where an underground training facility collapsed last week, killing dozens of miners. The Freeport Workers’ Union says the company ignored employee complaints that could have prevented the fatal incident.

Freeport workers were attending a safety training session when the tunnel to the Freeport McMoRan underground training facility collapsed last Tuesday.

Ten people managed to escape, five were killed instantly and 23 others were trapped inside. Despite intensive rescue efforts this week, there have been no further survivors.  The final death tally reached 28.

Freeport McMoRan has rushed to generously compensate the victims’ families, including providing scholarships for their children.

But questions remain about the safety standards of the underground training facility.

Freeport Workers Union official Virgo Solossa said the company could have done more to ensure safety standards.

Solossa said that during evaluations of regular training sessions conducted by Freeport, many workers had expressed concern about the safety of the underground training facility.

He said the incident could have been avoided if the training center had been moved above ground as repeatedly requested by the workers.

He said Freeport did not care and never responded to the complaints.

But at a joint news conference Wednesday with Indonesia's Energy and Mineral Resources Minister, Freeport McMoRan President and CEO Richard Adkerson said he had no reason to believe safety standards at the training facility were sub-par.

“I told Mr. Minister that had I been there that day I would have joined our workers in that mine because we had no concerns or fears about its safety. And, that’s why we need to understand why this happened. We did not consider this a dangerous place. If we had had any indication of danger we would have never have had people in there,” Adkerson said.

Adkerson said that safety in all underground mining operations will be reviewed and the company will be transparent about its findings.

Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik  also confirmed that an independent team, including Indonesian and international specialists in geotechnical science and underground mining, will investigate the cause of the incident.

Operations at the giant Grasberg mine have been suspended since the tunnel collapsed and will not be resumed until the investigation is complete.

And, although Freeport has a solid track record in terms of safety, mining analyst Kurtubi said this incident proves otherwise.

“They try to be good in safety, but what has happened in this tragedy is proof that safety procedures at Freeport actually are not as good as we thought before. We know that this is underground mining, but as a global mining company, Freeport should strictly meet the procedures,” said Kurtubi.

The Freeport mine is located in the remote region of West Papua, a province where separatists have long fought for independence and where access for foreign journalists has long been restricted.

Workers demanding improved safety conditions are reported to have been protesting outside the mine for the past week.

In recent years, workers at the mine have paralyzed production during consecutive-month-long strikes because of wage disputes.
Indonesia Reaffirms Sovereignty in International Forums

Written by Lauren Gumbs   
TUESDAY, 21 MAY 2013

Government forced to defend self against domestic and international critics
Indonesia is indicating increased concern for its territorial integrity and international image in the wake of public pressure over deteriorating situations for minorities in the country.

Internal calls for West Papuan independence are making headlines outside Indonesia, spurring transnational human rights groups and NGOs to pressure Indonesia and encouraging the international community to take notice. Religious and ethnic intolerance are also producing conflicts that refuse to go away, resulting in rights violations that undermine Indonesia's economic and democratic successes.

The country has been forced to defend itself against domestic opponents and transnational rights networks over both its sovereignty and its human rights record. These networks are increasingly bypassing dead-end domestic routes and searching for international allies to create outside pressure, as illustrated by the establishment of a "Free West Papua Campaign" office in the UK.

Rather than making concessions or instrumental adaptions to such pressures, Indonesia has refused to render its practices subject to international jurisdiction, denying criticisms, even calling a damning Human Rights Watch report "naive".

Yet on the issue of territorial integrity, Indonesia is considerably more forthright in reinstating its sovereign position and in asking other states to reinforce theirs. The official response to the opening of the "Free West Papua Campaign" office in the UK, was to demand answers from the British ambassador, who restated the UK's commitment to respecting Indonesia's territorial sovereignty.

During the ensuing diplomatic commotion, only one Indonesian lawmaker, Golkar Deputy Speaker Hajriyanto Thohari, publicly stated the underlying distrust around international respect for Indonesia's sovereignty.

"We often hear that officially, international leaders, including from the big Western governments, say they're supportive, that Papua is a part of Indonesia," he said as quoted in the Jakarta Globe.

"But look at the case of the exit of East Timor from Indonesia in the old days. How much the Western nations said they supported our sovereignty. But along the way, due to the interference of foreign nations, the province was lost," Hajriyanto said. "The West is always like that, you can't trust them completely."

Meanwhile the unofficial response based on these fears is a strategic operation to strengthen regional solidarities with a focus on mutual respect for and protection of territorial integrity. Via the proposal of an Asian treaty that would ban the use of force in settling disputes in South East Asia, Indonesia's current foreign policy preoccupations stipulate an acknowledgement of its sovereign boundaries.

Last Thursday during his visit to Washington, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa proposed an "Indo-Pacific-Wide Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation". He said nations should not "attempt to create new realities on the ground or at sea" and that states should be upfront about frictions in the Asia-Pacific region.

Some of these frictions are territorial disputes involving China, Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Japan, or hostile ones such as North Korean nuclear proliferation.

Natelegawa said that the region doesn't want "the unchecked preponderance of a single state", and also cautioned against feuding by rival states. China and the US were not specifically mentioned. Indonesia wants to be seen as a leader in the Asean region, but it is also setting up stronger rhetoric in order to defend sovereign incursions closer to home.

A stronger regional union made up of an Asian community would circumvent pressures such as shaming by transnational actors in international human rights regimes, where non-conforming states are isolated as pariahs and socialised into institutionalising international norms.

The Indo-Pacific treaty is similar to that proposed by former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2009. Although in 2010 after he was ousted, WikiLeaks cables revealed a hidden agenda to use the community to "contain" China's rising influence.

This time, however, Indonesia may be more concerned with strengthening and defending its sovereignty while it nurtures its influence in the dynamic region.

Whereas the Rudd treaty had a solid architectural purpose, Natelegawa's approach is more ambiguous and fluid, which appeals to the diversity of culture and aspirations across the region, and with any luck China, who is difficult to pin down on multilateral agreements.

Internal territorial disputes should not be underestimated as driving factors in such a treaty, as Indonesia is stalwart in retaining every last inch of its archipelago. Papua is most prominent but not the only concern. Recent controversy over a new Acehnese flag illustrated that Jakarta remains tense about the possibility of lingering separatist sentiment.

It's not the first time that Indonesia has appealed to regional solidarities to challenge the validity of universal human rights and to ward off the influence of the international community. Last year the country was instrumental in the construction of an alternative charter of Human Rights, the Asean Declaration of Human Rights (ADHR).

The ADHR is supposed to cater to Asian values rather than a Western oriented idea of 'universal' human rights, which in cultural relativist debates is seen as ethnocentric.

The UN however is concerned by the closed door drafting that left out stakeholders like civil society, and also that the wording of the charter is not in line with international standards.

Human Rights Watch is far more scathing, asserting that the declaration contains loopholes and pointing to coercion from stronger states.

"It is highly regrettable that governments in the Asean who are more democratic and open to human rights succumbed to the pressure of human rights-hostile governments into adopting a deeply flawed instrument," the Human Rights Watch statement declared.

Balancing individuals' obligations and duties with their human rights makes the declaration a less secure guarantee for Asean people as does limiting rights on the grounds of 'national security', 'public order', and 'public morality'.

The positive factor in this is that Indonesia is aware of its international reputation and is being drawn into discourse with transnational actors, going so far as to coordinate regionally, even if the rhetoric is for now instrumental.

This may be a period of denial and evasion, yet as long as Indonesia is vulnerable to international pressures in order to retain success like investment grade ratings, a broadening middle class, flourishing civil society, and an emergent Asean leadership role, transnational networks can mobilise effectively, fast paced democratisation will continue and Indonesia will have to introduce tactical concessions to address Human Rights violations.

(Lauren Gumbs is a Human Rights student who holds a Masters in Communication. she resides in East Java, Indonesia.)

3) FLNKS Leaders Support West Papua Full Membership In MSG

FLNKS Leaders Support West Papua Full Membership In MSG
By Len Garae
The delegation of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) met with the Executive of the Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) in New Caledonia on April 11 and the incoming Chairman of Melanesian Spearhead Group Victor Tutugoro welcomed them in the true Melanesian spirit.
He said, “MSG is only for Melanesia and Liberation Movements within it, the FLNKs leadership would therefore be very happy to welcome the WPNCL as a new member in our Melanesian family. We open our heart and extend our hands to receive you the lost Melanesian son to come back into rightful Melanesian family.”
Seeking full membership in MSG has been the primary objective in the WPNCL’s application. The West Papua delegation visited Noumea as a part of its official political tour in the Melanesian Region.
The delegation consisted of Dr Otto Ondawame- Vice Chairman of the WPNCL, Barak T. Sope Maautamate, the former Prime Minister of Vanuatu and adviser to the WPNCL and Nato Taiwia Efate Member of Parliament for Efate Rural.

The delegation was warmly welcomed by the FLNKS Executive when it presented to the FLNKS Executive and Victor Tutugoro the official application of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation to become a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
The FLNKS had opposed the admittance of the Indonesian Government in 2011 to become an observer of the MSG because of the past and 

continued killings of Melanesians in West Papua.
The event was covered well in local mass media including radio and TV interviews.
The Senate of the Kanaky National Council of Chiefs of Kanaky in Noumea is to seal the event in a customary manner, which has its own significant meaning. “The visit to Kanaky was successful gaining broader support among political leadership of the FLNKS and people of Kanaky. On behalf of the leadership of the WPNCL and the people of West Papua, we would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation for their support,” Dr Ondawame said.
The delegation of West Papua National Coalition for Liberation will travel to Honiara on April 21, 2013 to meet the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands and other Government Officials to present the MSG official application there.


4) Evacuation process at Freeport's collapsed facility officially stops

Wed, May 22 2013 13:40 | 158 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The evacuation of victims of Freeport's collapsed underground facility in Papua province was officially stopped here on Wednesday, CEO of Freeport Indonesia Rozik B Soetjipto said here on Wednesday.

The incident which happen last Tuesday (May 14) at 07.30 in the morning kills 28 people while the other 10 survive.

"Today we officially stop the evacuation process along with the finding of the last body of the victim," he said.

The president director noted Freeport will continuously give support to the family of the victims.

Among the 28 workers who died are Aan Nugraha, Lestari Siahaan, Amir Tika, Lewi Mofu, Aris Tikupasang, Makmur, Artinus Magal, Mateus Agus Marandof, Daniel Tedy Eramuri, Muntadhim Ahmad and David Gobai.

Other casualties are Petrus Frengo Marangkerena, Febry Tandungan, Petrus Padak Duli, Ferry Edison Pangarbuan, Retno Bone, Frelthon Wantalangi, Rooy Rogers Kailuha, Gito Sikku, Selpianus Edowai, Hengky Ronald Hendambo, Suleman, Herman Susanto, Victoria Sanger, Jhoni Michael Ugadje, Wandi, Joni Tulak and Yapinus Tabuni. 

translating and editing by Amie Arimbi

Editor: Ade Marboen

No comments:

Post a Comment