Monday, August 5, 2013

1) Jakarta defends its policy approach in Papua region.

3) Indonesia-Australia: Act naturally


posted at 07:42 on 05 August, 2013 UTC
A Senior Indonesia vice-presidential advisor says the government is serious about protecting human rights in West Papua and Papua provinces.
Dewi Fortuna Anwar, who is the Deputy for Political Affairs to Vice President Boediono, says while there are issues of violence and undemocratic behaviour by the military in Papua region, it is not a clear-cut case of state being pitted against civilians there.
She told Johnny Blades the government’s policy to take a holistic approach to development in the region is to ensure justice can be done for West Papuans.
DEWI FORTUNA ANWAR: So now the emphasis is really on improving the welfare of all the Papuans in the two provinces, focusing firstly on primary health care, on education, on development of infrastructure, on giving affirmative action, especially giving special attention to university education for young Papuans, and also to ensure economic welfare that will not only reach the migrants to Papua, but also, particularly, the local Papuans. But this doesn’t mean that the approach is only economic, because we also must ensure the democratisation side, the protection for human rights and ensure that no discrimination takes place there. So the government is really trying to ensure that justice is being done to Papua.
JOHNNY BLADES: A lot of ground reports emerging from there seem to depict a problem with the military. But from the government’s point of view is it difficult to control the military’s actions over there?
DFA: I think that report has been very biased on one side. There have always been reports of, for example, military repressions against separatists and so on. The fact of the matter is that violence has been going on in Papua and there are many perpetrators. The military has been the victim of violence, the police have been the victim of violence. There have been endless tribal conflicts. And there has also been violence by the state, by the military towards Papuans. But a lot of the victims are in fact not the result of state oppression against Papuans. A lot of the conflicts in the past years have taken place due to local conflicts related to local elections, for example. There have been some serious problems when candidates have come from two different tribes and when the results of the elections have been unsatisfying to one group, that led to violent conflicts. That has happened. Even within one party that nominated two different people from two different tribes, that led to a major clash just last year, which led to a number of deaths. So I think that one should be very clear that there is certainly violence in Papua, but it is not a clear-cut state versus society type of violence.
JB: With the military, though, the UN Human Rights Committee and other groups have voiced concern very recently that there’s impunity for those military and security personnel who perpetrate violence on the West Papuan citizens over there.
DFA: Well, impunity is not the policy of the Indonesian government. As you know, since we have become a democracy, human rights and protections of democracy are very much part of our constitutional obligations. There are still concerns about undemocratic behaviours perpetrated by our military, but it is not the government policy to excuse them from their wrongdoing. We still have problems however. At the moment we don’t have an independent civil court for the military yet. This is still something that we still have to work very hard on. This is one part of the unfinished reform of the military, you might say. At the moment, any wrongdoings by the military are punished through the military court, and many would argue that if the violence is not related to military disciplines, that the ones who committed the crimes should have been tried in a civilian court. Unfortunately, this is still some of the homework that we have to do.
JB: Why are the two provinces so closed to outside access, to NGOs, humanitarian groups and journalists?
DFA: Well, it seems that the NGOs overseas have shifted their attention after the independence of East Timor. They look at Indonesia - ’Hm. What’s the next trouble sport for Indonesia?’ Aceh is not terribly interesting for us because it’s mostly a Muslim-majority province. And Papua is the one where the Muslims are not majority, they are different, so they focus their attention to it. To be fair, a lot of problems have taken place in many parts of Indonesia. We are still struggling to consolidate our democracy, our state institutions are still being reformed, and we have to admit that we have problems of injustices and violence, sometimes police and military violence in different parts of Indonesia. But I must say the people in New Zealand, people in Australia and in Europe have zoned in mostly on what is happening in Papua. So you explain that to me. They don’t pay as much attention, for example, if violence were to take place in other parts of Indonesia.
JB: There’s a Pacific regional link and it seems in the same region.
DFA: There is this Melanesian Spearhead Group and so on, but I think it would be interesting for people to know that there are more Melanesians living in Indonesia, not just in Papua, than in the Pacific. We have people of Melanesian origin living in Maluku and in Ambon and in the NTT province of Indonesia. So we, in Indonesia, are very seriously trying to repair the damages that have been done by the previous regime towards the handling of Papua, and I think we would appreciate very much all the support, as well as constructive criticism from the international community.
JB: On that count, wouldn’t it help foster understanding from the outside community if there were some more openness?
DFA: I would agree. And I think that we are discussing this seriously with the Indonesian government.
Posted at 03:29 on 05 August, 2013 UTC
A platoon of the Indonesian Police Mobile Brigade, or Brimob, has been deployed to Mulia, in Papua province’s Puncak Jaya regency, in response to a fatal shooting last week.
The newspaper, Kompas, reports that the Brimob platoon has been sent to pursue the gunmen who reportedly shot at an ambulance last week, killing one person and injuring several others including medical officers.
It is the same area where reports from rights activists and church groups in May claimed that up to forty Papuans had been executed in a mass killing by Indonesian security forces.
The stories were dismissed by Indonesian authorities but a reported increase in the security forces deployment in the area is being linked to casualties.


3) Indonesia-Australia: Act naturally

by Melissa Conley Tyler & Rosalie Pitt - 30 July 2013 10:17AM
Melissa Conley Tyler is National Executive Director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs. Rosalie Pitt is an AIIA intern.
One the highlights of Prime Minister Rudd's visit to Indonesia earlier this month was Q&A Jakarta.
The idea to film an episode of this influential ABC panel show in Jakarta came directly out of theIndonesia-Australia Dialogue 2013, a prime ministerial and presidential initiative to build greater people-to-people links organised by the Australian Institute of International Affairs and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies Jakarta.
Appropriately, the last word in the episode was from the tireless champion of Indonesia-Australia relations, Professor Tim Lindsey. His parting words: 'We are actually natural strategic partners and are going to be forced into this partnership, whether we like it or not'.
Tim's logic is irrefutable, but he would be the first to admit that this vision is not yet a reality. Both Australia and Indonesia need to learn to be natural partners.
A good example is in the way Australia and Indonesia interact in regional and international forums such as the G20. With Australia hosting the G20 Summit next year, the potential for cooperation has been a topic of interest for both Australian and Indonesian audiences.
Over the last month I've interviewed officials from both governments to get a sense of the potential for collaboration in the G20 and how much has occurred so far.
It is clear that the potential for collaboration is almost unlimited. According to one interviewee, 'there is no area in the G20 that couldn't offer itself for cooperation.' Australia and Indonesia share a number of interests at the G20, most obviously in growth and jobs. There are areas where they share a commitment to fairness, such as IMF voting reform and tax reform. There are also areas of potential mutual benefit, such as anti-corruption, climate change financing and the development agenda.
To give a concrete example, the G20 agenda includes reforms to promote infrastructure investment: this has great potential for Indonesia as it seeks to escape the middle-income trap, and is an economic opportunity for Australia. Interestingly, there is a view among some officials that Australia's approach is consonant with Indonesia's; that it 'sees the world more like a developing country'.
However, while there is great potential for collaboration it is clear that this potential remains largely unfulfilled. Indonesia, in particular, has pressing domestic issues that rightly take up much of its focus. Initially Indonesia may have viewed itself as a member of the G20 'as of right' rather than seeing its seat at the table as an opportunity for advocacy. And in the past, Indonesia may have been less comfortable playing a leadership role outside of ASEAN.
Today the barriers may be more operational ones. In the G20, there are no automatic partners, thus efforts must be made to create coalitions on each issue. To make progress, attention is needed by both area experts and charismatic leaders, both of which are in short supply. And for Indonesia, hosting APEC this year, there are competing demands. Maria Monica Wihardja has written on the need for capacity-building so that Indonesia can take a greater leadership role in the G20.
The thing that makes cooperation with Australia more difficult is the wider context of the relationship, especially the continuing lack of warmth in public feeling, as shown in the Lowy Institute's latest poll.
The current situation is a lost opportunity for both countries. Where Indonesia and Australia collaborate, they are likely to be more effective, particularly because the relationship cuts across traditional developed-developing country divides. This carries significant weight in international forums. When Indonesia and Australia speak with one voice, this has strong symbolic power that can't easily be dismissed.
What is needed above all is a change of perception. As Tim Lindsey noted, 'Indonesia and Australia are not yet fully aware that they're actually natural partners.' For Australia, the challenge is to leave behind its parochialism and begin to see Indonesia as 'More Than Beef, Boats & Bali', to borrow the title of the Q&A episode. Instead, as Susan Harris Rimmer advocates, Australia needs to see Indonesia as a rising leader and try to develop strategy as two of the pivotal powers in the region. For Indonesia, the challenge will be to see Australia as more than the local branch office of 'the West' and find the time, attention and resources needed to play a leadership role.
It will be a learning process on both sides.
Photo by REUTERS/Enny Nuraheni.

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