Saturday, March 1, 2014

1) Papuan children taken to Jakarta to be converted to Islam

1) Papuan children taken to Jakarta to be converted to Islam
3) Jayapura district to be free of malaria by 2026
Note. Previous article "They're taking our children" at

1) Papuan children taken to Jakarta to be converted to Islam

Date March 2, 2014

                  Converted to Islam: Demianus and Seth Gobay. Photo: Michael Bachelard

When the parents of Demianus and Seth Gobay died in their small West Papua village in Nabire perhaps five years ago, not all their six children could afford to stay at school. So when the boys' uncle, Jupri Gobay, offered free schooling for the youngest, Demianus, the family leapt at the chance. The offer had a catch, however. Demianus, who says he was just five years old at the time but was probably a little older, would be taken away to Jakarta.

To him it seemed an adventure, but when he arrived in Jakarta the young Christian boy would be converted to Islam and taken to a strict religious boarding school. There he would learn little else but how to chant Koran verses and preach his new religion.

His name would be changed to make him sound more Muslim, he would be denied contact with his family and beaten if he strayed from the curriculum. Demianus shows a scar where he says he was burnt with a cigarette after one infraction.

A few years later, without Demianus' knowledge, his older brother Seth was also taken from his home and brought to Jakarta. Late last year, the two boys, now young teenagers, were finally reunited after escaping their respective schools with the help of a West Papuan university student.

Their story is more evidence that Christian children are being taken from West Papua and converted to Islam - a practice still officially denied after being revealed in Fairfax's Good Weekend magazine last year. It also makes clear for the first time that knowledge of the practice reaches into the upper echelons of Indonesia's political elite.

The religious conversion of any young child is illegal in Indonesia, and the United Nations deems any transfer of a minor, even for education, to be trafficking. But an Islamic boarding school that both boys attended, As-Syafiiyah, is run by Tutty Alawiyah, a former women's minister in the Suharto government and now a prominent preacher and educationist.

The woman widely known as Ibu Tutty, who was too busy to answer queries about such a ''small thing'', is highly politically connected in Jakarta. Indonesia's Economic Affairs Minister, Hatta Rajasa, has been photographed meeting West Papuan children from her school, and Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali presided over a recent celebration of the school's history. In another twist, Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan confirmed he had at one point fostered Demianus Gobay at his Jakarta mansion.

Demianus was a naive village boy when he was taken away by his uncle on a ship called the Labobar. There were about 12 Papuan children on board, he recalls, most of them girls. The girls, Christian or Muslim, were required to wear headscarves. After they arrived in Jakarta, Demianus says the group was taken to a nearby mosque. The children were made to dress in Islamic clothes and taught to say the ''syahadat'', the prayer to convert them to Islam. From then on, Demianus was told, his name would be ''Usman''. His original name was ''haram,'' or forbidden, the clerics told him. From the port, the children were taken to different Islamic boarding schools - pesantrens - in Jakarta and the nearby city of Bogor. Demianus was taken to As-Syafiiyah, run by Ibu Tutty. For two years Demianus says he stayed at the school before he escaped, only to be caught again and taken to another pesantren in Bogor, about two hours' drive from Jakarta.

Some years later, Demianus' older brother Seth was also brought to Jakarta by their uncle, Jupri Gobay. He said he and two girls were on the boat, and all three were converted soon after their arrival. Seth was given the name ''Umar''.

Seth, like his brother before him, was sent to As-Syafiiyah, though Demianus had already left. The brothers had no idea that they were sharing the same experience. Years later, though, their accounts of life as Papuan village boys cooped up in a pesantren are almost identical. Both were bored with the lessons, which focused heavily on religious studies and chanting Arabic. They were punished for being late with their prayers, for leaving the pesantren and for watching TV or using the internet. ''They told us: you get naughtier if you go to an internet cafe,'' Seth says.

Demianus went to several different pesantren so it's difficult to tell which incident refers to which school. But he says he was beaten on the legs with bamboo, on the back of the head with a belt until he bled, and burnt with a cigarette if he strayed. He shows the circular scar on his hand. ''If we didn't read the Koran and pray at certain times of day, we were locked up and then we were burned,'' Demianus says.

Seth, who only went to As-safiiyah, said he also was beaten. The children had no access to telephones to call their families in West Papua. The food was usually sufficient, they say, but sometimes there were weevils in the rice; and they were not allowed to eat pork - traditionally an important part of a West Papuan diet. When they were sick, they ''didn't do anything for us'', Demianus says. One of the teachers at As-safiiyah, Usman Musa, told Demianus that when he grew up he ''should go back to Papua and Islamise the Papuans'', the boy recalls.

Ibu Tutty Alawiyah is famous in Indonesia for her work with children and orphans. She owns the As-safiiyah pesantren, which was founded by her father, along with other Islamic schools and a university. She was the women's affairs minister in the dying years of the Suharto government and in 2003 unsuccessfully put her hand up to be the presidential candidate for Suharto's former electoral vehicle, the Golkar Party. Her staff declined several invitations for an interview, saying she was too busy. Ibu Tutty did not answer a list of written questions.

One staff member, however, insisted that all the children who came to the school were already Muslims, and they were sourced through another religious organisation, BKMT. But this also appears to be part of Ibu Tutty's Islamic empire, and an article on a website for recent converts called ''Mualaf Centre Online'', suggests she is not fussy about how recently her students were introduced to Islam.

Describing a group of Papuan children aged from five to 18 as ''cheery-faced teens and smaller kids'' who were ''dark-skinned and with curly hair'', the article says many were ''recent converts''. As-safiiyah was one of the schools they were destined to be sent to.

As the ethnic Melanesian Christian majority in West Papua is gradually outnumbered both economically and socially by migration from other parts of Indonesia, Papuans see the removal and Islamisation of children as a direct assault on their identity.

But a Muslim bloc within Indonesia's national human rights organisation, Komnas HAM, has made it difficult for the body to mount a full investigation of issues raised by Fairfax Media - including the  existence of a small but active network of agents who seek out vulnerable children. It is unclear if these men are paid for their work, or who might be funding it, but there is a suspicion that oil money  from Saudi Arabia may play a role.

The boys' uncle, Jupri Gobay, apparently makes regular trips to West Papua and, according to Demianus, Jupri himself was trafficked to Java as a child and converted and educated in Islam.

Approached for comment, Jupri Gobay said he only ''helped'' family members, before terminating the call.

Ibu Tutty is not the only member of Jakarta's elite whom Seth and Demianus Gobay met. In early 2012, Demianus escaped from a pesantren near Bogor and began living on the streets on the outskirts of Jakarta. He was being helped by a local family when two men came and asked if he wanted to go to school. The men worked for Forestry Minister Zulkifli, who then took Demianus to live in his house in East Jakarta.

Zulkifli confirmed these events, saying his own son, Ray, a university student, had found ''Usman'' and fostered him because ''my son has a generous heart''.

In high society in Jakarta, Papuan children are sometimes regarded as charity cases. At an event last year organised by Ibu Tutty with 350 orphans, Indonesian Economic Affairs Minister Hatta Rajasa described helping orphans as ''one of our ways to obtain a ticket to heaven''.

Read more:


Leaders of National Committee of West Papua (Jubi)

Jayapura, 28/2 (Jubi) – Bazoka Logo, a new spokesman of  West Papua National Committee ( KNPB) officially declared that Wim Medlame is no longer as a spokesman. It was informed to reporters at Prima Garden Caffee, Abepura, Jayapura on Friday afternoon ( 28/2).

“The change was made because Wim Medlama is in a police wanted list. So that, through the special meeting of KNPB council, Wim’s position as a spokesman is replaced,” said Logo.

He continued KNPB still demands for a referendum even though provincial government, Papua Peoples’ Assembly Council (MRP) and central government persuaded us not to.

“ A referendum chapter on Draft of Special Autonomy Plus submitted by provincial government to central government is subjected for the political elites’ interests only,” Logo stated.

Related to this, KNPB urged the government, firstly do not use this issue for position, race, and the sake of eating and drinking of political elites only ; secondly, West Papua People demand a referendum which is to use their political rights to determine their future through international mechanism; thirdly, the referendum issue is pure from West Papua People; fourthly, West Papua People from Sorong to Merauke are preparing for self – determination and the last, Indonesia government in Papua and West Papua to not claim the referendum issue as if the government issues.

Chobabe Wanimbo, one of the members of KNPB added that the struggle for a referendum in West Papua is based on ideology and history of West Papua.

“KNPB as a medium of national struggle will have fighting for a referendum in West Papua ,” Wanimbo said. (Jubi / Aprila/ Tina)

3) Jayapura district to be free of malaria by 2026

Sat, March 1 2014 16:23 | 458 Views

Sentani, Papua (ANTARA News) - The Jayapura district administration is committed to eliminating malaria in three phases, as part of the "Malaria-Free Jayapura District 2026" program.

The first phase is the malaria control intensification program (2010-2016), the Head of Jayapura District Mathius Awoitauw said here on Saturday.

The second phase is the malaria pre-elimination (2017-2023) program and the third is the consolidation phase program (2024-2026), he said.

"The elimination of malaria is a continuation of the malaria control program which was successful in reducing malaria-related mortality and morbidity rates. No single country is able to reduce malaria infections to zero percent," he said.

Priority activities in the malaria elimination program include identification of, and medication for, malaria patients and carriers to prevent others from being infected by malaria.

Other activities include the reduction of contacts between human beings and Anopheles mosquitoes, the primary carrier of malaria.

"The World Health Organization (WHO) will issue a certificate to a country which has been free of malaria cases for over three consecutive years. At the provincial level, the evaluation will be carried out by an independent inspection team sent by the central government," he said.

Malaria has posed a major public health problem in Papua.

In 2001, it was found that approximately 15 million people had contracted malaria, while thirty thousand deaths were reported.

The persistently high incidents of malaria in the past was mainly attributed to the rapid spread of parasites that were resistant to first and second line antimalarial drugs, chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, and a lack of sustainable malaria control programs.

Based on age groups, nearly half of all malaria cases were found among those less than 10 years old.
Editor: Priyambodo RH


Jayapura, 28/2 (Jubi) – A housewife was being shot on her calf during the armed conflict between the Indonesian Army and the Armed Civilian Group at Pintu Angin, Muara Mulia Sub-district on Friday (27/2) around 11:00 Papua time.

“A bullet reportedly hit a housewife, Agustiben Gire in the armed clash between the army and armed civilian group in Mulia, Puncak Jaya on Friday (27/2),” the Secretary General of Papuan Highland Student Association, Markus Haluk told to on Saturday (28/2).

She was harvesting some vegetables in her garden when the shooting clash happened in Wuyuneri around 8.00 till 16.00 Papua time. She got shot on her calf but there is no information whether the army or armed group who was responsible.  Haluk added that there was another housewife who being trapped in the clash but Ali Telenggen, she was not shot.

It is known there were 48 honai (highland traditional house), 3 houses and other properties including breeded animals being burned and destroyed in this incident without knowing who was responsible.

The Chief Village of Muara Mulia Sub-district, Samianto Wonda earlier said to that the army thought there was an attack by the armed civilian group, but it was only a group of people who gathering the firewood in the forest near to Pintu Angin. But when they entered the forest, they met the armed group.
He appointed the armed civilian group which he called the “Forest People” was responsible to the burning of residents’ honai and houses. “Now the Forest People has took the honai and they burned it all. I don’t know how many honay they have burned,” Samianto said.

According to him the situation of Mulia City is safe and no shooting victim. (Jubi/Victor Mambor/rom

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