Sunday, January 18, 2015

1) W Papua group to submit MSG application in February

2) West Papua situation did not improve 


1) W Papua group to submit MSG application in February

Updated at 11:41 am today

The ULM was formed in Vanuatu in December when three independence groups agreed to form a unified voice on political fronts.
A bid by West Papua to join the MSG was knocked back last year because the bid was not deemed to be representative.
The ULM's spokesperson, Benny Wenda, says once the latest bid is lodged, a massive campaign will be launched to try and gain West Papua admission.
"We are excited and I am really confident. Our people back home already support it that's why I hope that this is also really positive for our struggle and I hope our brothers and sisters across Melanesia and across the Pacific will pray for this."

2) West Papua situation did not improve in 2014 - AWPA

Originally aired on Dateline Pacific, Monday 19 January 2015

The Australia West Papua Association says there was no improvement in the human rights situation in the region in 2014, despite some governments claiming abuses against Papuans are a thing of the past.


The Australia West Papua Association says there was no improvement in the human rights situation in the region in 2014, despite some governments claiming abuses against Papuans are a thing of the past.
It says there were regular clashes and shooting incidents between Indonesian security forces and the rebel OPM organisation, or unidentified armed groups.
Its secretary, Joe Collins, says these operations resulted in military sweeps which commonly resulted in citizens' houses, food gardens and livestock being destroyed and the people left traumatised.
JOE COLLINS: The year began in January 2014 with the military conducting a couple of sweeps in response to an attack on a police station and of course it ended tragically with the killing of five civilians in December, when security forces shot into a crowd of approximately 800 people, killing five. I mean, we always hear from governments that there's an improvement in West Papua - there's not an improvement in West Papua, in actual fact, it's worse and even as of January the 1st, 2015 again there was another sweep in response to police being killed and a security guard at Freeport [mine] and up to 116 people were originally arrested, I think the majority have been released, but they have now arrested 13 people from an armed group and a local minister has just come out saying they should be really careful that they're distinguishing between what they call separatists and the local civilian population. One of the factors of the security forces in West Papua is that they are not very well trained and this why abuses will continue, there is definitely no improvement in the situation in West Papua at all as far as we're concerned.
MARY BAINES: Do you think it's actually got worse?
JC: I think it is getting worse, I mean it depends how you look it. During the bad old days of Suharto, probably more serious military operations took place and more people were killed. I mean now, it's more of just traumatising the local people through sweeps. I mean the new Indonesian president is Jokowi [Joko Widodo] as he's popularly known, and people are beginning to think 'oh we're going to have a real improvement in West Papua,' but I think if you look at the ministers he has planted in cabinet, they are cause for concern. If you look at the new Minister for Defence, Chief Theys Eluay was killed back in 2001 -- this is like the equivalent of killing a Prime Minister because Cheif Theys Eluay was elected by the people to represent them and [then General Ryamizard Ryacudu] who is now our new Minister for Defence in Indonesia said 'oh what did they actually do wrong? To me they're heroes, all they did was kill a separatist leader.' It's not a good look for Jokowi to have him as the new Minister for Defence, I mean he's a part of the old hardline crowd. The West Papuan people are facing really great challenges; we're not even talking about the HIV/AIDS, the rip-off of resources, we have massive plans for palm oil plantations which not only will destroy forest cover, but will bring in more migrants and then you will have more conflict between Papuans and migrants, so it's definitely going to get worse.
MB: So do you think Jokowi as President will make any positive changes?
JC: Not really, I know he has said he's going to look at Papua and try and solve the problems there, but I think he's going to come up against the old elites, the hardliners in the military. Basically it's business as usual in West Papua.

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