Thursday, April 30, 2015

1) The Other Victims of State Sanctioned Murder In Indonesia


2) Australia cannot respond meekly to Indonesian executions
3) Protests held over Indonesia’s media blackout of West Papua
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29 Apr 2015
1) The Other Victims of State Sanctioned Murder In Indonesia
The brutal determination of Joko Widodo to kill two Australian citizens comes as no surprise to West Papuan independence activists, who say they share Australia's pain. Amy McQuire reports.
A West Papuan independence activist, who has been in exile for 12 years after escaping the Indonesian-controlled province, has called on the Australian government to look on “in [and] sympathy in pain” for his own people, who are being “killed like animals” following the execution of two Australians.

Last night Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran – along with six others from Nigeria, Brazil and Indonesia – were executed by firing squad on Nusakambangan Island, east of the capital Jakarta.
Mary Jane Veloso from the Philippines was spared after being given a last minute stay of execution to testify in the trial of an alleged drug trafficker. Another man – Serge Atalaoui from France – was also scheduled to be executed but last week received a temporary reprieve.
The killing of two members of the Bali 9 – Chan and Sukumaran – has sparked an emotional response across Australia.

Amnesty International’s Crisis Campaigner Diana Sayed labelled their deaths “senseless, tragic and wasteful act of state-sanctioned murder”.
“Hundreds of thousands of people came out to show their support for Andrew and Myuran and all of those on death row, signing letters, online petitions and hosting events. They respectfully called on the Indonesian government to stop the executions and to show mercy,” Ms Sayed said.
“These efforts have served to strengthen the global campaign to end the death penalty putting the spotlight clearly on Indonesia.”
West Papuan leader Benny Wenda today called on Australia to also pay attention to his own peoples’ plight, with an estimated 500,000 Indigenous West Papuans killed under Indonesian occupation of his homeland.
Mr Wenda today sent his condolences to the families of those killed, and said his people shared their pain.

“I would like to remind the world that this is exactly what the Indonesian government is doing to my people. Over 500,000 West Papuans have been systematically killed by Indonesia ever since [it] illegally invaded our country in 1963,” he said in a statement.
In 1969, about 1,000 Papuans out of a population of 800,000 were hand-picked to vote in the “Act of Free Choice”, which is commonly referred to as the “Act of No Free Choice”.
There are concerns they were threatened or coerced into voting for West Papua to become part of Indonesia.


Since then there have been constant concerns over human rights violations in the province and brutal and violent crackdowns on peaceful demonstrations. Because of a notorious ban on international media, the atrocities have largely flown under the radar.
Mr Wenda said a photo, currently the subject of an Australian government complaint, showing an Indonesian police chief from Bali posing on a plane with Andrew Chan as he is transported to the island in preparation of his execution earlier this year, was similar to the photos taken by Indonesian security forces who pose with tortured West Papuans.
He compared it specifically with a photo of Indonesian soldiers holding the body of West Papuan independence activist Yustinus Murib, who was killed by military forces in 2003.

“I feel that these photos show the world the kind of attitude the Indonesian authorities have towards anyone who opposes them,” Mr Wenda said.
“So many West Papuans like Yustinus Murib are also escorted by smiling and sadistic Indonesian soldiers and police officers, only to be killed like animals at the command of the Indonesian government.”
He called on Australia and the world to understand the pain felt by West Papuans under Indonesian control.
“I know that the Australian government is launching an official complaint about the photo…. I hope that the Australian government as well as others throughout the world will also look with the same sympathy and pain at the humiliation and suffering of my people under the Indonesian authorities as well,” he said.
“People all around the world can see the similarity with these sadistic looking photos.”
“…My deep sympathy and pain is with all those who are facing execution by the Indonesian government. Myself and my people know exactly what it is like to face seemingly imminent death at the hands of the Indonesian military.”

Mr Wenda said it was time for his people to be independent, and that they would continue to campaign in the face of military intimidation.
“We West Papuans cannot live under a regime which continues to kill us all the time and happily hold up our dead bodies like animal trophy kills. We will struggle on for the independence of our nation through the fulfilment of our right to self-determination. No matter how many of us are executed, we will continue to campaign to be at last free from this military occupation and terror.
“…Please look to my people’s suffering against the brutality of the Indonesian government. We must not let Indonesia get away with executing people any longer.”


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2) Australia cannot respond meekly to Indonesian executions

  • 8 HOURS AGO APRIL 30, 2015 9:50AM



OPINION
Australian taxpayers spend millions of dollars every year training Indonesian military and police officers.
Many of these men, including former president General Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, return home to distinguished military and political careers. They become the custodians of Indonesia’s inhumane capital punishment laws.
Human rights and the rule of law are key aspects of the Australian training courses, but given the record of the military and brutal units such as Kopassus special-forces, many of the messages fall on deaf ears.
During the past half century Indonesia’s Javanese dominated military force, known as TNI, has only been used to kill its own citizens in places such as West Papua, East Timor and Ambon. It has been a brutal and uncompromising domestic security force.
Strong friendships have been forged between Australian and Indonesian officers who have joined each other in their homes, on golf courses in both countries or in Jakarta’s famous karaoke bars.
Senior Australian officers sing the praises and the importance of relationships established during the courses, but when true friendship is required — such as during the “cruel and unnecessary” Chan/Sukamaran execution crisis — they apparently count for little.In addition to the training places, Indonesian troops last year participated in 11 multilateral exercises with Australian military forces.
Dozens of senior Indonesian police also attend training courses in Australia and the bonds between counterterrorism officers in both nations have also become very close.
At present there are 23 Indonesian officers training at Australian military academies and universities.
During the past year more than 150 places were offered to Indonesian military personnel and 70 were taken up at a cost to Australia of $2.5 million.
The funds come from the Defence Cooperation Program that last year devoted $3.7 million to Indonesia. That is the highest figure for all South-East Asian countries from a total budget of $17 million.
This money is on top of the annual $600 million in foreign aid that taxpayers devote to Indonesia in areas such as health, education and governance. And then there is the $1 billion Australian dollars provided in assistance following the Asian Financial Crisis and another billion in the aftermath of the Boxing Day tsunami.
Australia has rightly been a very good friend of Indonesia through thick and thin.
It is now time to take stock.
We cannot afford to over react and hurt the people we are trying to help but equally we cannot be seen to be a meek diplomatic pushover. We must do more than just recall our ambassador and cease ministerial contact.
These gestures may be unprecedented but they will be seen as timid by many Australians and most Indonesians.
We don’t want to go to war over a single act of barbarity sanctioned by a weak, compromised president Joko Widodo, but our response must reflect the anger of millions of Australians who are dismayed by the brutal torture and state sanctioned murder of two Australian citizens in a foreign field.
There needs to be a tough, tangible and visible response otherwise Australia will be seen as weak and that could have far greater ramifications down the track.

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3) Protests held over Indonesia’s media blackout of West Papua
Mitchell Bland | 30th Apr 2015 1:19 PM
DOZENS of protesters gathered at Brisbane's King George Square last night as part of a global day of action against Indonesia's media blackout of West Papua.
Similar demonstrations were held in New Zealand, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, West Papua, the United States and England as part of a globally coordinated effort for the free and open access to Indonesia's most secretive region.
West Papua has been closed to journalists since Indonesia's contested annexation of the resource rich province in 1963, allowing numerous human rights atrocities to go unreported.
Reading a statement on behalf of human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson, a leading member of international lawyers for West Papua and legal adviser to Julian Assange, Richard Gifford, said that opening West Papua was vital for free speech, transparency and accountability.
"The fact that Indonesia places special restrictions on travel and reporting in West Papua is a red flag to the world that something is wrong… if you [Indonesia] want to be seen as one of the world's largest democracies then you need to act as such," he said, quoting Jennifer Robinson.

Queensland Greens candidate for Ipswich Pat Walsh, who also spoke at the Brisbane demonstration, said silence on West Papua from Australia represented a failure in Australia's democracy and press.
"How can we as a population tolerate what's going on in Papua so close to our borders?" he said.
"We tolerate it because we lack integrity in our politics ... and there are vested interests at play."
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