Monday, August 5, 2013

1) Peace hopes rise for West Papua

1) Peace hopes rise for West Papua
2) Malind Women’s views about Companies Operating in Kampung Baad, Animha District, Merauke.
3) Changes to the Moratorium Map and Medco’s Sugar Plans
4) Papuan politician criticies the security forces for failing to solve shooting incidents


1) Peace hopes rise for West Papua

PAPUA New Guinea has now launched an initiative aimed at defusing the standoff over West Papua, raising hopes of a breakthrough in one of the most intractable rows in the Asia-Pacific region.
The progress emerged after PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill led a large delegation to Jakarta a month ago for talks with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono about building the economy of the New Guinea island and associated diplomatic initiatives.
The western half of New Guinea island comprises two Indonesian provinces, Papua and West Papua. It has a 750km - mostly mountainous, often fraught and dangerous - border with PNG.
"West Papua has been a sticky issue for PNG and the western Pacific for quite some time. Our role is to open up discussion," Mr O'Neill told The Australian.
"We feel the government of Indonesia has a genuine desire to ensure that the issues relating to West Papua are managed in a mutually beneficial manner, and for the first time in our bilateral discussions we were able to discuss this openly with the Indonesian government."
He said he was convinced Dr Yudhoyono now wished "to withdraw the military presence from West Papua, and to allow for more autonomy through economic empowerment of the people".
"We feel this is a good opening for us to engage with the Indonesian government so we can participate in the improvement of the lives of Melanesian people there, and of our own people along the border," he said.
"Our officials are now engaged meaningfully in establishing the co-operation we agreed."
Relations between Indonesia and the Melanesian nations, led by Papua New Guinea, have been difficult since the Dutch withdrew from "Netherlands New Guinea," and the Pacific islands became independent states.
The plight of West Papua has soured relations between Indonesia - even since it became a liberal democracy 15 years ago - and Australian non-government organisations and universities.
In 2001, the area now covered by the two provinces was declared autonomous, with 80 per cent of its tax receipts to be retained for local use. This process has remained only partially complete, compared with the more successful governance situation in Aceh at the other end of the Indonesian archipelago.
PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato elaborated on the deal that was informally struck: "The Indonesian President will adopt a softer approach to West Papuan issues, allowing them greater autonomy." As an indicator of this, official representatives will participate in the Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture hosted by PNG next year.
He said Indonesia would allow Papua New Guinea communities near the border to draw on its excess hydro power capacity, with state-owned enterprise PNG Power buying electricity for its grid from Indonesia, and the two countries would jointly explore for oil and gas in highly prospective targets that straddle the border.
Indonesia, he said, would fund an ambitious paved highway from Merauke on its side of the border, in the south, to PNG's Wewak on the northern coast.
The countries' leaders signed a total of 11 memoranda of understanding during Mr O'Neill's visit, after which Mr Pato and his Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa began to chart an implementation course.
They agreed a mutual extradition treaty, which may ensure that Indonesian businessman fugitive Joko Chandra, wanted for corruption, who obtained PNG citizenship under a process that is being challenged legally, returns to face charges. Another agreement is to permit planes to fly from Nadi in Fiji through Honiara in Solomon Islands, then Port Moresby, on to Bali.
One goal of the warming of relations, Mr Pato said, was to prevent any resurgence of asylum-seekers from the Indonesian side of the border. About 8000 refugees remain in PNG, living in camps in Western province run by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees following earlier conflicts, many of them seeking refuge more than 25 years ago.
The discussions between PNG and Indonesia have led to the latter inviting the foreign ministers of the four Melanesian states - Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji, as well as PNG, who form the "Melanesian Spearhead Group" - to visit its Papua and West Papua provinces.
Mr O'Neill flew for talks with Dr Yudhoyono instead of attending an MSG leaders' meeting held at the same time in New Caledonia, an observer to the MSG. Discussion of West Papuan independence activists' bid to join the MSG was postponed. While PNG is helping to usher its fellow Melanesians towards better relations with Indonesia, Jakarta is in return backing Port Moresby's membership of the Association of South-East Asian Nations, which has 10 members - and which PNG feels entitled to join because it has such a long land border with the group's largest state.
Indonesia is also backing PNG's bid to host the 2018 summit of the APEC forum - which would bring the US and Russian presidents, among other leaders, to Port Moresby - which will be decided at the next summit, in Bali in October. "It's important for us to have such a relationship with Indonesia," said Mr Pato, who points out in previous years, tensions prevented the development of mutually beneficial arrangements between the countries.
Now a joint committee of ministers from the countries has been formed to tackle the details and ensure the memoranda are implemented, he said - starting with the joint economic projects.

2) Malind Women’s views about Companies Operating in Kampung Baad, Animha District, Merauke.

Since 2011, three sugar cane companies have been going around Kampung Baad, Animha district and Kampung Tambat, Tanah Miring district, talking about their plans and trying to win over community leaders. The companies involved are PT Anugerah Rejeki Nusantara (ARN) owned by the Wilmar International Group, and PT Papua Daya Bio Energy and PT Tebu Wahana Kreasi, owned by Medco Agro Group.

All three of these companies have made various kinds of promises and approaches as part of their attempts to get their hands on forest and swamp lands between the Kumb and Maro rivers: an area of 73,000 hectares in all. The majority of this land is around Kampung Baad and Kampung Tambat, two villages settled by Marind people belonging to the Baad tribe.
PT ARN has even brought traditional leaders from Kampung Baad on a trip to Lampung and West Sumatra provinces to visit sugar and oil palm plantations, supposedly so they could make comparisons. But still the people have not wavered in their refusal to give up their land.
The women of Kampung Baad, or “mama-mama”, who are often only spectators in the process of negotiations about the land, also want to add their voice to the debate. What follows is a short selection of a group discussion with Christina Gebze and the other mama-mama of Kampung Baad.
So what would happen if the companies came to use the land?
“Where would we end up? We have to think about this now, because previously we always knew that there were always plenty of fish, kangaroos and cassowaries, but because people have taken them for their needs, they are mostly all gone. But if we sell our land, they will be even further gone! What are we going to eat, where can we farm? We only have the land, everything else will have gone, and that is going to make life tough for us”.
The companies say that they will rent the land and give money as compensation, how do you feel about that?
“I’ve heard them say things like that, but we don’t know how much land they are asking for, how many hectares, how many square kilometers, they don’t show us any documents. And women are never involved. According to our traditions, it is normally the men who participate in meetings. The women cannot even ask their husbands who go to the meeting. Normally, a woman’s responsibility is to cook, process sago, go fishing, and plant coconut, cassava and taro root.”
“We can’t sell the land. I’m scared to live off money we get for the land, because who is it who created the land? I didn’t do it with these hands of mine. If we give birth, that comes from an agreement between two people, but who does the land come from? It would be better not to sell the land.”
“Women should have rights because women also have a role in helping their kin. There is a forest grove over there which marks the land limit.”
The companies want to rent the land for 35 years?
“That’s a really long time. Maybe by that time we wouldn’t want to sell any more, but we can imagine that the wild pigs would all be gone, the deer would be gone, the kangaroos all gone. And if the land is sold, where could we plant our crops? Take a look at Kampung Zanegi, there is already no forest there.”
“According to Malind customary law we cannot destroy nature, but right now so much has been destroyed. It is such an indignity for us to see this, but now money changes everything, although it is strictly forbidden to damage nature. Malind people cannot kill, only with black magic, but that is a different matter.”
Could people still live according to customary law?
“Where could we carry out our customary practices? We prefer the land as it is, there is no need to sell it. Right now we can go and look for fish and plant our crops. If our land is sold, we will be confused, and what will happen to our grandchildren? The Baad people are rich because of all the trees from the Maro River to the village, but if they are sold then the people won’t have anything left. People are thinking about where we would run to, who would help us?”
What do you think is best for the children?
“If children go to school maybe they can help to raise people’s living standards. If we look around here we can see that school isn’t working, not one person from the Kumb river area has ever got a degree – or maybe there is someone, but no more than one or two people. Even though there has been a school here since the 1930s. If there were people with degrees then maybe they would know ways to help the people.”
“The kids need to be educated so that they can defend this place and so that the land is not sold. If this doesn’t happen, for sure all the land will get sold.”
Will the companies provide help with education?
“I don’t believe it. They say they will give help, they asked us to open bank accounts, but nothing has come of it.”
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3) Changes to the Moratorium Map and Medco’s Sugar Plans

The forestry ministry recently released decision (SK) 2796 of 2013, concerning the Indicative Map for the Moratorium on New Forest Use Licences (PIPIB). This provision sets out the fourth revision of Indonesia’s moratorium map. In various parts of Merauke Regency, Papua Province, there have been several important changes to the moratorium map since the original map was published in 2011. These changes have tended to accommodate the permits of investor companies in the MIFEE framework, who want to develop food and energy businesses.
Comparing sheet 3407 of the moratorium map’s fourth revision (2013), to the corresponding map from 2012 shows that the forest land has been reduced around Kampung Sermayam Indah. This change can be identified as a way to accommodate the permits of two sugar cane plantation companies: PT Papua Daya Bio Energy and PT Tebu Wahana Kreasi, which are believed to be owned by the Medco Agro Group.
The Merauke local government issued location permits in 2010 for the two companies. PT Papua Daya Bio Energi was awarded 13,396 hectares while PT Tebu Wahana Kreasi got 20,282 hectares. During 2012, the companies presented their plans to the public at the Tanah Miring district office, where they spoke about compensation and made promises, as well as handing out t-shirts.
“The company has only spoken of its plans that one time, after that I don’t know. They want to use forest land from SP9 here in Kampung Hidup Baru up to the Senayu area. Maybe they have already surveyed the land but we don’t know”, said Bonefasius Kaize, a customary landowner from Kampung Hidup Baru, Tanah Miring district.
Marind people living around the companies’ concessions in Tanah Miring know very little about the two companies plans or activities. They have also never met with government officials from the Forestry and Plantation Service who have conducted their own survey on the use of forest lands in the area.
“We don’t have any information, many people come and claim they have rights over this land, without sitting down and talking to local landowners, such as a cocoa plantation in Tanah Miring”, said Natalis Ndiken, a traditional leader in Kampung Tambat, Tanah Miring district.
The people do not know, and have never been given information about, changes to the moratorium map. They don’t know which people or institutions have been giving out permits to use the forests grasslands and swamps owned by local people between Kampung Hidup Baru and Senayu.
This claim of the local people conflicts with the contents of decision SK 2796/2013, that changes to the moratorium map were based on community input. This provision is based on nothing more that companies’ claims and permits. It ignores the rights of the people to their land and the Papuan people’s local knowledge and systems of managing natural resources.
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4) Papuan politician criticies the security forces for failing to solve shooting incidents

Bintang Papua, 3 August 2013

Jayapura: While on the one hand, the human rights activist in Papua, Mathis Murib  has urged the police chief in Papua, Drs Tito Karnavian, to investigate the shooting of three medical personnel who work at the Mulia General Hospital., a member of Commission A of the DPRP (provisional assembly) for Politics, Law and Human Rights has said that the intelligence activities of TNI/Polri (Indonesian Army and Police) in Papua are far from satisfactory. Every time a shooting incident occurs, all they say is that that it was perpetrated by 'unknown persons'.

There are large numbers of troops and intelligence agents spread all over Papua but they have achieved nothing. Moreover, a vast amount of money has been allocated to the security forces.

These remarks were made by the chairman of DPRP's Commission A for Politics, Law ad Human Rights, Ruben Magay S.I.P, speaking at the office of the DPRP in Jayapura.

According to Magay who is  a member of Partai Demokrat, the activities of the TNI and Polri are highly questionable.

'They always say that 'unknown persons' (OTK) are responsible and do nothing to give victims  a sense of justice.

There have been many shooting incidents against civilians, the most recent being the shooting of three medical personnel who work at the General Hospital whose names are Heri Yoman, 27 years old, who is reported to have died, as well as two nurses, Darson Wonda, 27 and Fritz Baransano, 42. both of whom were seriously wounded.when the ambulance in which they were taking a patient to the hospital was shot at by an armed gang in the District of Puncak Senyum, District of Tinggnambut on Wednesday, 31 July.

He said that incidents like this must be investigated by the intelligence forces and not simply blamed on 'unidentified people'.

[Translated by TAPOL]

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