Wednesday, March 4, 2015

1) Addressing the Papua issue in the Pacific

2) Cement Raw Raw Spreading at Jayapura Regency
3) Government Is Destroying Us, says Waoha Tribal Chief
4) Youth Reject Plans to Build Mobile Brigade Headquarters in Jayawijaya


1) Addressing the Papua issue  in the Pacific
Neles Tebay, Abepura, Papua | Opinion | Thu, March 05 2015, 7:11 AM - 

Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi visited three Pacific countries this week, namely Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Solomon Islands and Fiji, to strengthen relations between Indonesia and Pacific nations. 

The visit is timely given the growing support for Papuan independence in the Pacific, more particularly in the countries united in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) namely PNG, the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu.

All the MSG members, except Vanuatu, previously recognized Papua as Indonesia’s territory and Papuan issues as Indonesia’s domestic concern. 

Nevertheless, the situation has changed since June 2013 when the four Melanesian countries discussed the “West Papua” issue at the MSG summit in Nouméa, New Caledonia. 

Despite a rejection of the Papuans’ application for membership status at the MSG, the leaders of the MSG decided to fully support the Papuans’ right to self-determination. 

Since then Papuan aspirations for independence have become an issue of the “Melanesian family”. The people of PNG, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia have manifested, through many different ways, their solidarity with Papuans. They call the Papuans “our Melanesian brothers and sisters of West Papua”.

The growing support and solidarity for Papua can easily be identified in each Melanesian country. In Vanuatu, the support comes from the opposition party, the national council of tribal chiefs, NGOs and churches, as well as from the government. Vanuatu is the only independent state in the South Pacific that has consistently supported what they term Papuan freedom.

In the Solomon Islands, supporters are united in a solidarity group called the Solomon Islands for West Papua (SIFWP). For them, as reported by the Solomon Star, Papua is occupied by Indonesia. Therefore, the end of occupation and Papua’s freedom are the aim of the SIFWP, as declared by its spokesperson, “Our aim is to see West Papua gain its freedom and as Melanesians we too must stand with them.” The West Papuans should not “be slaves to another in their own lands” (The Island Sun, Feb. 28). 

The Solomons’ former prime minister Gordon Darcy, who earlier visited Jakarta and established diplomatic ties with Indonesia, lost parliamentary elections last year. 

The Solomons are now led by new Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, known for his solidarity and support for Papua’s independence from Indonesia. 

A new political awakening, with regard to the “West Papua” issue, is emerging in Fiji. Despite its government’s position supporting Indonesia’s territorial integrity, as recently reported by the Pacific Islands Report, various civil society groups, including the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) in Fiji have started to raise public awareness and undertake advocacy about the West Papua issue. 

Tevita Banivanua, president of Methodist Church in Fiji, said, “For too long, we have failed to speak out against Indonesia’s brutal oppression of the West Papuan People.” He announced that “the people of West Papua only want what each one of us wants: to live a life free of fear; to live a life free of violence; to live a life free of exploitation; to live a life free of oppression; and to live a life free of political interference and intimidation.” He continued, “They seek to be able to plant and reap what they sow. 

“They seek to be able to use the natural resources that God has entrusted them with [...] in a sustainable and productive way; to secure a future for their own children and their descendants.”

The Fiji Solidarity Movement for West Papua’s Freedom was launched in the third week of February. The group supports what they describe as their brothers and sisters of Papua who seek membership in the MSG as members of the Melanesian community. 

The director of the Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy, Sirino Rakabi, said, “Now is the time for us, the citizens of Fiji, to call on our government to officially and publicly express our support and solidarity with their wish to be full members of this Melanesian body, a body that should and ought to represent all Melanesians,” (Fiji Times, Feb. 22). The Fijian government should, they claim, be “the rock on which West Papua can find refuge”.

PNG recognizes Papua as Indonesian territory. Maintaining a good diplomatic relationship with Indonesia, the PNG government has never raised the Papua issue in any national or regional forum, let alone at international forum.

However, the statement delivered by its Prime Minister Peter O’Neill at a summit of national leaders in Port Moresby on Feb. 5 surprised many parties both within and beyond PNG. In his speech, he acknowledged what he called “the oppression” of the people of Papua. For many, it was the first time a PNG leader spoke out directly about the rights of Papuans in a public forum. 

He said, “Sometimes we forget our own families, our own brothers, especially those in West Papua.” He then highlighted the necessity of publicly raising the oppression endured by Papuans. 

“I think”, he said, “as a country, the time has come for us to speak about the oppression of our people there. Pictures of brutality of our people appear daily on social media and yet we take no notice.” He added, “We have the moral obligation to speak for those who are not allowed to talk. We must be the eyes for those who are blindfolded.” He continued, “again, Papua New Guinea, as a regional leader, we must lead these discussions with our friends in a mature and engaging manner.” 

Although not questioning Indonesian rule over Papua, his speech has strengthened support in the PNG community and among a number of its lawmakers for the Papuan independence movement.

It is clear that the Papua issue is no longer solely Indonesia’s domestic affair. Consequently, the government should be prepared to engage with Melanesian countries to settle the Papua conflict.

The foreign minister’s visit is important but not enough. The government should intensify its communication and cooperation in all aspects of life with the governments of South Pacific nations to tackle the Papua issue and to prevent the Papua conflict becoming a Pacific issue. 

They should be convinced that the government is emphasizing the prosperity approach in Papua. Any manifestation of the security approach in Papua will only draw more attention from the people and governments of Melanesian countries.

The writer is a lecturer at the Fajar Timur School of Philosophy and Theology and coordinator of the Papua Peace Network in Abepura - 


2) Cement Raw Raw Spreading at Jayapura Regency

Sentani, Jubi – Officials from the Jayapura government who visited PT Semen Gresik in East Java said that Jayapura has been recognized as a source of raw materials for cement .
“We were surprised to find out at a presentation that the outsiders recognized the natural potency of our region. But it’s not important. The important thing is how we use it for regional development and local community’s economic improvement,” said Jayapura Regent Matius Awoitau last week.
Through the presentation, further said the regent, it is said the Jayapura Regency have strategic location and access to support the development of cement factory in the future, such as the cargo seaport, water and air transportations.
To materialize the cement factory, the regent asked the entire landowners whose the land would be allocated for the future cement factory to be ready and provide convenience and opportunity to the private sector to develop the area.
Further he said the local government are very appreciated the plan to build the cement factory in Jayapura Regency, however, it should be applied through the process of comprehensive assessments from many parties to ensure the alignment towards the local government as well as the local community.
Meanwhile in the separate place, the Jayapura Regional Company Supervisory Board member Hengky Yoku who directly involved in this project confirmed about the presentation made by Indonesia Cement Company.
“We are now preparing a team to conduct several assessments and verifications to the certain locations to take the samples of basic material raw for further process before the implementation of project,” he said. (Engelberth Wally/rom)

3) Government Is Destroying Us, says Waoha Tribal Chief

Jayapura, Jubi – Waoha Tribal Chief Imanuel Money thought Nabire Local Government was misleading its people through the presence of oil palm company at Sima and Wami villages of Yaur Sub-district.
“The government never considered the Yerisiam Tribe that consisting of 4 sub-tribes namely Waoha, Akaba, Sarakwari and Koroba as the land tenure right owners of Sima Village. Therefore PT Nabire Baru totally ignored and disrespected our rights,” Money told Jubi through text message on Tuesday (3/3/2015).
According to him, although the company didn’t sign the agreement with the landowners, the government was ready to issue the land-use permit.
He further said the government assumed the investors were Yerisiam native by fully supported their investment. Sima villagers are not Nabire origin but they were coming from Jogja and Malaysia.
“The government didn’t aware that PT Nabire Baru actually dumped us. Both government and company are destroying us. The government didn’t aware that PT Nabire Baru is a capitalist beast that currently invading us. We want the government to be aware and pay attention on it,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Yerisiam figure Robertino Hanebora said Yerisiam and Woaha tribes are strongly rejecting the plan to issue the land use permit to PT Nabire Baru who had cut down their forest at Sima and Wami villages of Yaur Sub-district.
“Anyway the Papua National Land Agency is planning to issue the Land Use Permit to several oil palm companies in Papua, including PT. Nabire Baru. We strongly rejected this plan!” Hanebora told Jubi by phone last week.
According to him, PT Nabire Baru was not deserved to get this permit because it has not settled the conflict with landowners. (Arnold Belau/rom)

4) Youth Reject Plans to Build Mobile Brigade Headquarters in Jayawijaya

Wamena, Jubi – Young Papuans said local people reject plans to build mobile brigade police headquarters in Jayawijaya.
An investigation by Youth Solidarity, found that the reason behind of this planning is because of frequent tribal wars in Wouma and Walesi districts, solidarity chief Alius Asso said.
However, when his team went down for detail data it found that it is political elite setting instead of tribal warfare.
“Actually, this is a political setting by political elites and not because of tribal war, “Alius Asso told reporters in Wamena on Tuesday (03/03/2015).
“So I think it’s wrong because the task of brigade mobile police is not to secure the drunk people, but it is police’ task, except the situation could not be controlled,” he said.
He then hoped the government to not impose the will. “Demonstrations to refuse it was also addressed DPRP, MRP and the governor,” he said.
On the other hand Beni Hisage, member of Youth and Students Solidarity deplored Jayawijaya regent’s statement mentioning the customary land did not belong to many people but only one person.
“Perhaps he was confused. It is impossible the land belongs to one person. There are many families who have a right there,”he added. He asked the regent to approach the owner of customary rights.
” Generally, people reject it, so that it is necessary to open a dialogue between the public, government or parliament,” he said. (Islami/ Tina)

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