Thursday, August 29, 2013

1) West Papuan political prisoners reject pardon deal

1) West Papuan political prisoners reject pardon deal
2) The West Papuan independence movement - a history 
4) W. Papua councillors grilled  over Rp 22b graft


1) West Papuan political prisoners reject pardon deal
Papua governor offered Selpius Bobii and other jailed activists pardon for renunciation of independence struggle        

Marni Cordell
              , Thursday 29 August 2013 10.10 AEST

A West Papuan political prisoner serving three years in jail for treason was offered a pardon by the Indonesian government if he renounced the struggle for independence.
Selpius Bobii, who was jailed in 2011 after declaring independence from Indonesia, said Papuan governor Lukas Enembe visited his prison on 17 August and offered to let him and his fellow political prisoners out of jail if they stopped agitating for independence.
The long-time activist refused the deal.
Enembe confirmed to Guardian Australia that he met with Bobii and other political prisoners on what is Indonesia’s national day, but he declined to say whether an ultimatum was issued.
“I led the Independence Day flag ceremony and announced the pardon,” he told Guardian Australia. “But [in] the cells where the prisoners of treason cases were detained they yelled out, ‘Oi, no need, just get out, freedom for Papua, no negotiation’.”
The governor, who was accompanied by a military commander and a high-ranking police officer, urged Bobii and 24 other inmates serving time for politically motivated crimes at Jayapura’s Abepura prison to accept the Indonesian government’s authority over West Papua.
“I challenged them. I told them that my parents were victimised because they were talking about the independence of Papua. I said, please don't use those words that way. A lot of people have died because of it,” he said.
But Bobii told Guardian Australia that all but one of the political prisoners chose to stay in their cells rather than engage with the governor.
“Several political detainees … raised their voices from their cells to assert their protest against Enembe’s address,” he said. “Police officers, plain-clothed Indonesian military and prison officers quickly moved to deal with the few vocal detainees.”
Fellow political prisoner Filep Karma, who is serving 15 years for raising the banned “morning star” flag, told the governor from his cell: “It’s impossible for the people of Papua to unite with the people of Indonesia because the majority of Indonesians consider Papuans to be half-animal … Indonesians regard Papuans as similar to human monkeys.”
He added: “So many Papuans have become victims because of the Papuan struggle for freedom and we also are imprisoned for that same struggle.”
Bobii told Guardian Australia he passed a message through Enembe to the Indonesian president.
“We declared Papua to be a state and because of that we are here in prison. Tell President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that the nation of Papua is ready to negotiate,” he said.
“Also tell him we, as Papuan political detainees, reject the giving of clemency in whatever form that may take.”
He said the governor’s request was “deeply hurtful for Papuans”.
“This really touches on some very deep old wounds for the people of Papua, who for more than 50 years have constantly struggled and their people been sacrificed again and again, losing thousands of their people killed by both overt and covert means in the long struggle for freedom,” he said.
“The governor is holding hands with the Indonesian military and police, not only to try and make a success of Jakarta’s project in Papua but also with the hidden intention of indirectly terrorising and intimidating those of the Papuan freedom movement. But his agenda, as he visited the Abepura prison, totally failed.”

2) The West Papuan independence movement - a history 

Indigenous Papuans still fight for self-determination, more than 40 years after Indonesia acquired the territory in a sham ballot

Indonesia officially acquired West Papua in 1969, after a sham ballot on independence in which only a handful of the local population were allowed to vote.
The region, which makes up the western part of the island of New Guinea to Australia's north, was once a Dutch colony, but the Netherlands began to prepare for withdrawal in the 1950s.
In 1961, West Papuans held a congress to discuss independence and raised the West Papuan "morning star" flag.
But a newly independent Republic of Indonesia began to assert its claim over the province and a conflict broke out between Indonesia, the Netherlands and the indigenous population.
In 1962, a United Nations-sponsored treaty known as the New York agreement was drawn up to put an end to this territorial battle, and Indonesia was appointed temporary administrator of West Papua from May 1963 – without West Papuan consultation or consent.
A key requirement of the treaty was that all West Papuans be allowed to vote in a referendum on independence, which was to be overseen by the UN.
But when the ballot was held in 1969, it was far from free and fair: the Indonesian military handpicked 1,026 leaders to vote on behalf of the entire population, and threatened to kill them and their families if they voted the wrong way.
In this environment, the outcome of the so-called "Act of Free Choice" was unanimous – and Indonesia's takeover of West Papua was rubber-stamped by the UN.
Almost all indigenous Papuans reject the referendum, dubbing it the "act of no choice", and many continue to demand a real vote on self-determination to this day.
This history forms the basis for West Papuans' call for independence – but it is not just historical injustice that fuels the movement today.
Indigenous West Papuans face daily surveillance and intimidation by the Indonesian military and police, and many report living in constant fear. Thousands have been killed, detained and tortured since 1963.
Those who agitate for independence openly do so at a high personal cost. It is illegal to raise the morning star flag and many of the province's leaders are sitting out long jail terms for peaceful acts of defiance.
The region has an armed movement for independence that has been responsible for the deaths of Indonesian security personnel and actively engages in armed skirmishes, but there is a much larger civil movement that is also heavily suppressed.
In October 2011, the Third Papuan People's Congress, a civilian gathering that addressed issues of self-governance, was violently quashed by Indonesian forces. Six people were killed and dozens more injured.
Indonesia guards its "territorial integrity" jealously. And it's no surprise – the massive Freeport McMoran gold and copper mine in West Papua is one of the country's largest taxpayers.
For its part, Indonesia argues that since West Papua was once a part of the Dutch East Indies, it should also be part of today's independent Indonesian Republic.
Both major Australian political parties support them in this stance.
Indonesia is seen as an important political ally for Australia, and politicians from both sides are loth to antagonise their Indonesian counterparts. Australia maintains close ties with the Indonesian military. It also provides training and funding for its counter-terror police unit, Detachment 88, which has been involved in recent crackdowns on the independence movement.
But Australia is home to a significant West Papuan community and a large network of supporters of West Papuan independence. The West Papuan Freedom Flotilla is the latest in a long history of co-operation between activists from the two countries.

Posted at 05:52 on 29 August, 2013 UTC
Reports from Papua say Indonesian police have arrested four people following a meeting to mark the boat trip of Australian activists towards Papua.
The reports say 2,000 people attended the gathering at a Protestant Church in Sorong.
The Sorong meeting follows another rally in Manokwari as Papuans are awaiting the vessels.
The activists have no clearance from Indonesia to enter its waters.
Australia has said it feels it has no obligation towards the group, which could be jailed in Indonesia for five years.


4) W. Papua councillors grilled  over Rp 22b graft
The Jakarta Post | The Archipelago | Thu, August 29 2013, 8:20 AM
The Papua Prosecutors’ Office is investigating all 43 members of the West Papua Legislative Council for the alleged embezzlement of Rp 22 billion (US$1.95 million) from the 2010 provincial budget.

“We are still in the investigation process and all the West Papua councillors have been named suspects,” the Papua Prosecutors’ Office chief ESM Hutagalung told reporters in Jayapura on Wednesday.

The money was allegedly embezzled by borrowing the funds held by the West Papua provincial administration and previously managed by provincial-owned enterprise PT Papua Doberai Mandiri (Padoma), which was run by director Mamad Suhadi. 

Hutagalung said borrowing the money was a violation of regulations although most of the funds, Rp 19 billion, had been repaid to PT Padoma.

The funds were disbursed and distributed to the 43 councillors by West Papua Provincial Secretary Marthen Luther Rumadas 

Although all councillors have been named suspects, the legal process will be conducted in several dossiers. 

The first dossier concerns Mamad, Marthen and West Papua Legislative Council Speaker Josef Yohan Auri.

Mamad has been detained while the detentions of Marthen and Josef have been postponed due to their alleged ill health.


Letter in Solomon Star

5) Tran in Indonesia

Dear Editor – Thank you for including this piece under this prestigious column.

First, as we know the Indonesian trip taken by a huge delegation from the government had received negative feedback from all sections of this country in the last couple of days.

The fact that government had spent more than 1 million dollars for the trip alone was seen as irresponsible on their part as services in the country remain in dire situation.

I’m not keen to continue on that trend as I believe the arguments from the general public have covered well that issue.

However, there’s something else about that trip that the media and other critics have not been able to detect and report.

It is the Member of West Honiara’s inclusion in the delegation.

 Hon. Tran’s inclusion in the 15 men delegation to Indonesia is certainly causing uneasiness amongst his fellow Ni- Vanuatu friends.

Lest we forget, Hon. Tran’s adopted country is Vanuatu. He lived all his life there before coming to Solomon Islands.

Tran’s adopted country- Vanuatu- is the only Island state in the Pacific region to have openly supports the free Papua movement in West Papua.

Vanuatu has strongly advocated in the national and international scene against Indonesia’s seemingly endless barbaric attacks against the West Papuans.  

Vanuatu is the only Pacific country to have openly dislikes Indonesia in the international frontier.

Tran’s inclusion in the delegation will be seen as traitorous to his fellow countrymen of Vanuatu.

His inclusion in the trip could be interpreted as an act of supporting Indonesia’s continuous iron- fist ruling in West Papua.

This is a slap in the face of Ni- Vanuatus who are rallying their support for their fellow Melanesian brothers (A path we should follow as well).

I suggest that Tran offers an apology to the people of Vanuatu and fully explain why he was part of the contingent.

Charles Rongovata
East Honiara

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