Monday, February 10, 2014

1) The political demography of conflicts in Papua

1) The political demography  of conflicts in Papua

2) Navy intensifies patrols  in waters bordering PNG
3) Twelve Papuans arrested after a demonstration in which they did not take part


1) The political demography  of conflicts in Papua

Riwanto Tirtosudarmo, Jakarta | Opinion | Mon, February 10 2014, 11:14 AM

Demography is rearing its ugly head, and as a result, political development in Papua has become convoluted. This issue was a major topic during the recent seminar on Papua organized by the Research Center of Politics at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).

The convolution of demography and politics were exposed in at least two cases — the increasing number of non-Papuans and the demographic manipulation in the creation of new districts. What is worrying is the contribution of a political demographic nexus to the increasing political and communal conflicts in Papua.

The perception that in-migration to Papua has resulted in the marginalization of the indigenous population has been around since the early 1980s, when Soeharto’s New Order government accelerated the relocation of people from Java and Bali under the transmigration program to Papua. The transmigration policy was criticized for endangering both the local population and the environment as new settlements destroyed the surrounding tropical forests. The transmigration program had practically ceased in the early 1990s as the financial capacity of the central government began to shrink. Yet, voluntary migration cannot be stopped, as in-migration continues to be driven by the process of equalizing economic and human resource gaps between different areas.

The last two decades of the voluntary movement from Java to other islands is perhaps a major contribution to rapid social transformation in this archipelago. As the result of 2010 population census showed, the in-migration rate to Papua and West Papua province was the highest in Indonesia. While the actual number of people who migrate to Papua might not be as high as the number of migrants who move to, say, Riau province. However, given the low population in Papua, the movement consequently has higher social, economic and political impacts than in Riau.

Since the political problems in former East Timor and Aceh have been resolved, Papua is now the most politically troubled place in the country. Bitter decolonization in the early 1960s and its aftermath were followed by grievances resulting from structural injustices committed by the Indonesian government in Papua. Papuans continued to be restless while any attempts to resolve the problem had different responses from different groups of Papuans. The fragmentation of Papuan society, which stems from the enormous ethnic heterogeneity, constitutes the underlying factor that significantly contributed to the divisive nature of political leadership in Papua.

The decentralization policy, the product of the post-Soeharto regimes, granted regional autonomy to regency and municipal level governments. An initial idea that autonomy should be given to the province was totally rejected by the military. The response by the local elites on the locus of regional autonomy at the regency level, however, is unprecedented. Expectations of fund disbursements and the opportunity to hold local power have driven the rapid creation of district governments all over the place, particularly outside Java.

In the case of Papua, apart from the establishment of special autonomy, the decision to create the second province, West Papua, was originally perceived as part of Jakarta’s rule and divide policy, to weaken the potential separatist movement in Papua. Yet, as the local elites saw the economic and political benefits, the drive to create new regencies rapidly accelerated. The manipulation of demographic statistics to meet the requirements for creating new districts is therefore, uncontrollable.

The role of local political elites both in the issue of the impact of in-migration and demographic manipulation in the creation of new districts is indisputable. In the case of in-migration issues, violence usually occurs in the form of sporadic attacks by Papuan militia groups against the migrant communities.

In the case of demographic manipulation in the creation of new regencies, a study by Sidney Jones from the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflicts (IPAC) shows that the direct link with the political mobilization by the local elites is driven by the need to create new regencies, and the political and communal violence in several highland districts. Jones, who presented her case at the LIPI seminar, argued that the conflicts among Papuan elites in the creation of new regencies indicated that the idea of divide-and-rule from Jakarta was no longer necessary as Papuans had now divided themselves.

The problems and the dilemmas of initiating a dialogue to find a peaceful solution for the Papuan conflicts are separate from the extreme prejudice from Jakarta toward the Papuans. As Muridan Widjojo the leader of the LIPI research group noted in the seminar, the issues were also clearly based on the fact that no single
authority represented the Papuans. Muridan strongly argued that the strategy that must be adopted should not simply mirror the way Jakarta resolved the Aceh conflict. Muridan, who also leads Jaringan Damai Papua (Papua Peace Network) with Father Neles Tebay, reminded us all that we had to face a long and tedious process, just to lay the initial foundations for a dialogue to resolve the conflicts in Papua.
The writer is a researcher at the Research Center for Society and Culture, LIPI.


2) Navy intensifies patrols  in waters bordering PNG
Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post, Jayapura | Archipelago | Mon, February 10 2014, 7:56 PM

The Indonesian Navy has intensified patrols in the waters off Merauke bordering Papua New Guinea (PNG) after five fishermen who were forced by the PNG Navy to swim ashore went missing.
“We are deploying 25 marines from the Eastern Fleet to strengthen 12 marines from the local naval base for routine patrols,” the XI/Merauka Main Naval Base commander, Brig. Gen. Buyung Lalana said when contacted in Merauke from Jayapura.
“The patrol is using two 15-meter fast boats.”
The Eastern Fleet has also deployed a frigate, the KRI Halim Perdanakusumah 355, to search for the five missing men.
The five men were part of a group of 10 fishermen who had boarded a speedboat on Thursday to buy sea cucumbers in Kadawa village, PNG. The speedboat was reportedly intercepted on Saturday by the PNG Navy which immediately burnt it and told the fishermen to swim ashore. Only five of them made it.
“The activity has been ongoing for quite some times because residents from Merauke and PNG are closely related,” Buyung said.
“Barter activities have also been conducted for a long time.”
Buyung said he was bewildered by the PNG Navy’s actions because the fishermen had their immigration papers checked at the Torasi post before being allowed to continue their journey to PNG.
Meanwhile, Papua Police chief spokesman Sr. Comr. Pudjo Sulitio condemned the actions of the PNG Navy.
“If there are any violations, they cannot simply burn the speedboat right away and tell the passengers to swim ashore,” he said.
“There are legal processes. If the fishermen violate any laws, just arrest and charge them.” (nun)
From Tapol

3) Twelve Papuans arrested after a demonstration in which they did not take part

On Tuesday 26 November 2013 early in the afternoon, a peaceful demonstration was held to mark the opening of the OPM office and to welcome a campaign to taking place in Port Moresby, thee capital of Papua New Guinea from 25th November till 1st December. 

The demonstration in Jayapura was organised by the KNPB - National Committee of West Papua. Those taking part gathered in Expo Waena but as they were marching  they were blocked by the police who said they has no permission. However, four days earlier, the co-ordinator of the action, Rocky Medlama had sent notification of the action to the police but they did not acknowledge receipt of the letter, which is what the police often do to deny Papuans the right to freedom of expression. Instead they respond by using violence to remove people  in violation of the law.

The organisers had sought to negotiate with the police so that the action could go ahead but the police refusedto  allow the action to take place. Those participating in the action decided to give speeches but this was rejected. Instead, the police  forcibly dispersed the crowd as result of which there were clashes.  The demonstrators were chased  and forced to disperse with the police rounding up activists and ordinary members of the public.The participants tried to protect themselves against the possibility of sustaining brutal attacks, and fled from the area. 

The report lists the names of twelve men, all of whom were arrested in their homes, none of whom had taken part in the demonstration. They were all taken from their homes by the police who had refused to allow the demonstrators to proceed with their action.

The twelve men were taken to police headquarters where they were beaten with bayonets, kicked with heavy army boots and struck with ratan and iron bars. Several sustained injuries in the head, were badly bruised and subjected to electric shocks At no time throughout all these events were they accompanied by lawyers. They faced changes of committing crimes and carrying out acts of public disorder under Article 170 of the Criminal Code.

On 24 January 2014, they were all moved to Class IIA Prison in Abepura  where they will face charges at a court in Jayapura.

The names of the twelve men are as follows:

Pendius Tabuni, a worker

Karmel Murib, third-grade student  at STIKES.

Tomas Mul, schoolboy

Nikolai Waisal, schoolboy.

Penius Tabuni, a worker

Mathius Mabel, coolie

Natan Koyoga, student

Nius Lepi, a worker

Muli Hisage, worker

Agus Togoti, worker

Tinus Meage, worker

Nikson Mui, worker

Here is the account of one of the men of his arrest by one of the men,  KARMEL MURIB:

I am student at the high school for health in Sentani, in my second year. I live with my parents and family  and attend lectures every day.

I left home at 7am on 26 November and returned home at 12 noon. There wasn't any food at home so I went out to buy some rice for an meal.Then I went out in the afternoon to see a friend but before I could reach my destination, I was arrested by the police and taken to Expo Waena. When I arrived there, I was beaten with a rifle butt and kicked, then I was taken to police headquarters along with all the others.I was then subjected to intense interrogation and did not have  a lawyer to help me. I could not make any statement because i had not taken part in the demonstration. I was beaten with weapons and given electric shocks.

I was then forced to sign a  report which I did not read and could not understand. Along with eleven others, I was declared a suspect and was accused of planning to  kill and torture  people.

My two Nokia HPs were confiscated along with my shirt..

Translated by Carmel Budiardjo

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