Friday, February 21, 2014

1) US Arms TNI as China Sea Simmers

1) US Arms TNI as China Sea Simmers
3) Why are the poor getting  poorer?

4) Past human rights violations in West Papua must be resolved

1) US Arms TNI as China Sea Simmers

Jakarta. The United States plans to help modernize Indonesia’s military, including provisions for training and equipment, amid heightened tensions in the South China Sea, where China is laying claims to disputed waters.
US Ambassador to Indonesia Robert O. Blake Jr., at a press conference hosted by the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club on Thursday, said that the US government would continue to assist the Indonesian Military (TNI) with bilateral exercises and supply it with modern equipment.
“We’ve had a growing scope of bilateral exercise with the Indonesian military, and we’re very pleased with that,” Blake said, in response to a question about what the US is doing to help Indonesia’s security. “We have excellent security cooperation now between our two countries. We’re working to help Indonesia modernize its military, helping Indonesia with all kinds of training and other equipment needs, and we’re excited about the prospects.”
Indonesia has been making plans to increase its purchases of military hardware from abroad, including submarines from Russia and South Korea. It will also buy equipment from France and Britain, and eight Apache attack helicopters valued at $600 million from the United States. Those will arrive in separate shipments through 2017, according to Antara.
China has been exerting its influence beyond its shores, with warships patrolling the South China Sea, in areas that it believes are part of its territory and not those of neighboring nations such as Vietnam and the Philippines. The South China Sea potentially has vast crude oil and natural gas deposits.
Some leaders across the region have been alarmed by the increase in China’s activity in disputed waters.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino recently compared China’s naval forays to Nazi Germany’s military expansionist activities that led to World War II.
Blake, though, says that China is within its rights in conducting their latest activities, on the basis that certain areas of the South China Sea are open for use by any nation.
“I would say first of all those are international routes that any navy can use, including ourselves that can do that, so we don’t consider that a particular provocation,” Blake said.
Aleksius Jemadu, dean of the School of Social and Political Sciences at Pelita Harapan University, said that the US saw Indonesia’s growing economy and increased military budget as a target market for selling it military technology.
“The US doesn’t want to get left behind, the market is growing very fast and looking at the coming years, it wants to use its [Indonesia’s] market for selling weapons,” Aleksius said.
He said that while the US would profit from such sales, it wanted to see stability in this part of the world and envisioned Indonesia playing a big role in achieving that.
Still, growing nationalistic attitudes from East Asian countries such as China and Japan could undermine stability in the region, he said.
“Indonesia plays a role in keeping military security in Southeast Asia, and nationalism is on the rise. In Japan and China, with their disputes over the East China Sea, it is a threat to stability to the region as a whole,” Aleksius said.
He said that Indonesia still needed to modernize its military, as it had fallen behind the military spending of neighboring countries with much smaller borders to protect.
“Indonesia needs to modernize its system because over the last few years, the budget is not high compared to other Southeast Asian nations. It’s lower than Singapore and Malaysia,” he said.
Hikmahanto Juwana, professor of international law at the University of Indonesia, echoed Aleksius’s opinion.
“This is the right thing to do because of what is happening in the South China Sea and the region,” Hikmahanto said.
Despite China’s recent naval explorations in the region, Hikmahanto said Indonesia’s real concerns were with Australian border patrol boats encroaching into Indonesian waters. The Australian government’s much-criticized hard-line stance against asylum seekers has seen its navy repeatedly breach Indonesian waters.
“It’s difficult to say if China broke laws, but the Australians have breached Indonesian territorial waters. The Indonesian government would want to hold multilateral talks to resolve this issue. I think that any issue that has to do with the asylum issue is a bilateral issue between Australia and Indonesia,” Hikmahanto said.

Jayapura, 20/2 (Jubi) – The desire of indigenous Papuan women traders to have a permanent market will not be  realized any time soon because the provincial government has to first build a new Damri office on Jalan Baru Kotaraja, Jayapura, Papua.
The head of the Public Works (PU) Department in Papua, Maikel Kambuaya, said Damri had requested to relocate and construct its office first before a market can be built. Since 2013, the provincial government has prepared the area for construction.
“The previous government had the budget and if they had been serious, the market would have been built. This year Damri office construction is prioritized and will complete in 2015.  So, I hope traders will be patient,” said Kambuaya on Thursday (2/20).
He added that the traders rejected the offer to build their market near Papua Provincial Health Office.
The issue of customary land rights for Damri office construction site is no longer a problem. The local government has paid the holder of the tenure.
“It was true that there were a blockade two weeks ago, but we told the customary holder to solve the issue internally because it was already paid. Otherwise we would have to call the police to deal with it,” he said.
One trader, Yuliana Pigay, said she and her fellow traders will never get tired of fighting for a permanent market in the middle of the city of Jayapura, despite having struggled for 13 years.
“For years, we keep getting duped by officials who promised of our children who become officials. We get angry and annoyed. There was a budget of Rp 10 billion and now Rp 45 billion. But we do not know how the budget has been spent because there is no progress in the development of the market,” said Yuliana.
She land issues had been used as a pretext to delay construction.
“We areso surprised because mayor after mayor, DPRP members after  DPRP MEMBERS, Papuan Peoples Assembly (MRP) after MRP , officials after offcials and governor after governor, the fate of market construction is not clear. Do we need to wait Jesus Christ to come to build our market?” she said. (Jubi / Arjuna/ Tina)

3) Why are the poor getting  poorer?
Abdurrahman Syebubakar, Jakarta | Opinion | Fri, February 21 2014, 10:30 AM
Over the last couple of years Indonesia has made significant progress in reducing poverty, with the percentage of people living below the national poverty line falling from 19.14 percent of the total population in 2000 to 13.33 percent in 2010 and further to 11.66 percent in 2012.

But where do we stand now? The poverty story line changed in 2013.

According to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the number of poor people as of September 2013 was 28.55 million (11.47 percent), up by 0.48 million from 28.07 million (11.37 percent) in March 2013.

The number of people living on the brink of absolute poverty is estimated at 70 million. They could easily plunge into absolute poverty even at the slightest decline in their economic condition.

The gap between the poor and non-poor is also yawning. Indonesia’s overall Gini coefficient, which measures income inequality, worsened from 0.35 in 2009 to 0.41 in 2011 and 2012, indicating widening inequality in income distribution. Disparity among and within regions as well as across rural and urban areas is still considerably large.

Poverty incidence in Papua and West Papua is more than double the national average, whereas in Jakarta, Bali, South Kalimantan and Bangka Belitung poverty is less than half the national average.

Multiple reasons have been given to explain the surge in the number of the poor in 2013. Certainly, the fuel price increase in June last year driving the year’s inflation to reach 8.38 percent played an important role. The plight of the poor is even worse as inflation experienced by the poor is relatively higher. But the reduction in fuel subsidies is justified because they are enjoyed mostly by the middle- and high-income earners.

To compensate those most affected by the fuel price increase, the government had worked out on designing an expanded yet integrated social assistance compensation package. The government implemented a program of unconditional temporary cash transfers (BLSM) that gives Rp 150,000 to poor households every month for four months.

The government also expanded existing social assistance programs (P4S), including subsidized rice for the poor (Raskin) and Cash Assistance for Poor Students (BSM). The compensation package was delivered through a single Social Protection Card (KPS), distributed to the bottom 25 percent of the population covering some 15.5 million households.

What happened afterwards?

It’s possible that the compensation package has helped prevent social unrest. Also, the poor’s burden incurred from the fuel price increase may have been lightened. But the number of poor people still rose. This suggests the inability of the compensation package to help the poor sufficiently cope with the adverse impact of the fuel price hike.

Simply put, there is a net loss experienced by the poor. Hence, the argument that the subsidy reduction, despite being accompanied by the compensation package, gives fairness to the poor may fall flat, let alone accelerate reduction of poverty level.

It begs the following question. Why? To answer this question, one needs to look into other factors beyond the increased fuel price and other macroeconomic fundamentals. While these are all important determinants in explaining the rise in poverty in 2013, there are equally fundamental factors allowing the tide of poverty to wash over Indonesia for the last couples of decades.

Among these are the lack of policy-program linkages, as well as weak institutional coordination both horizontally, among different government agencies at the same level, and vertically, between central and local governments.

Policy dialogues, even information exchanges, at all levels of government are weak if not absent. As such, national and local government poverty reduction policies and programs often overlap in many ways. This creates confusion among stakeholders, including the poor themselves, and results in less effective programs.

At the same time, local governments lack sufficient understanding of national policies and programs, hence do not participate meaningfully in national programs. Central government provides limited guidance and technical support to local governments, despite the dramatic increases in central transfers to regional governments since the beginning of decentralization in 2001.

The weak linkage between central and local policies and programs is combined with capacity deficits in local governments. The ability of many district governments to plan, budget and implement poverty reduction programs is limited. A high percentage (often more than 75 percent) of district budgets, for example, are allocated to pay for wages of civil servants and other overhead costs of public administration.

Local planning and budgeting processes are often dictated by political interest. Many local governments are faced with limited capacity in devising and implementing poverty reduction policies and programs. Local strategies and plans often lack realistic targets and expected outputs related to poverty reduction while targeting of the poor is not carried out in a systematic manner using solid and coherent data.

The role of local communities is not given adequate attention, resulting in local people not participating effectively in programs, thus significantly reducing the program impact on the targeted groups. Poverty reduction programs also often lack effective monitoring and evaluation systems, which has resulted in an inadequate level of feedback for improvements in implementation.

Hence, no matter how expansive the anti-poverty reduction programs are and how much money is poured into them, one cannot expect significant impacts on the poor, unless these factors are addressed.

The writer is senior policy advisor at the Jakarta-based Indonesian Institute for Democracy Education (IDe).
From Tapol
4) Past human rights violations in West Papua must be resolved

Statement by Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive Director of LP3BH  31st January 2014

    The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) which was set up by Decision of the President of the Republic of Indonesia No 50/1993 must take firm action to resolve all the grave violations of human rights that have occurred in the Land of Papua from 1 May 1963 to the present day.

     This is in accordance with Article 1 of the above-mentioned presidential  decision which states that  Komnas HAM should set up a special commission (KPP) to investigate grave human rights violations  in accordance with Law 39/1999 on Human Rights Violations and Law 26/2000 on Human Rights Courts.

      These two laws stress the importance of resolving grave human rights violations, as stipulated in Articles 7, 8 and 9 of the Law on Human Rights Courts.

      The LP3BH in Manokwari calls on Komnas HAM to set up a KPP and proceed with the necessary preparations for the creation of a KPP in order to take the necessary steps to resolve such grave human rights violations as the Summary Executions perpetrated at the Military Camp of Yonif (Battalion) 752 in ArfaI-Manokwari, West Papua and in the Central Highlands region of the Province of Papua as well as in Wasior and Arsi and in Sidey and Kebar.

    In our opinion, by undertaking intensive and thoroughgoing investigations and contacting victims and witnesses of those  cases of grave violations in the Land of Papua, Komnas HAM will be able to gather together accurate data in order to comply with the  recommendations regarding investigating grave violations and thereby comply with the stipulations in laws that have been enacted and are in force today.

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