Monday, May 25, 2015

1) Engage with Indonesia over Papua: Bainimarama`

2) People as land owners
3) Indonesia`s Military Creeps Back into Civilian Affairs 
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1) Engage with Indonesia over Papua: Bainimarama
Updated at 12:32 pm today

Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama says engagement with Indonesia is the best way to handle issues of abuse in the Indonesia region of Papua.
The Fiji Sun reports Mr Bainimarama as saying there is a lot of concern about what is happening in Papua with talks of assault and human rights abuses.
But he says at the end of the day it was an issue of Indonesia's sovereignty.
He says the best thing to do is to make Indonesia an associate member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and it did not make sense to bring in Papua separately.

Mr Bainimarama says he is sure if Indonesia was engaged about some of the allegations it would do something about it.
The prime minister was speaking to the media after a meeting of Pacific leaders in Japan.
Last month, the chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Victor Tutugoro, said a special summit was planned for May 21st to examine the membership bid of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, but the meeting failed to take place.
The bid for membership was formally submitted to the MSG secretariat in February after an earlier attempt by the West Papuans was rejected because the MSG didn't consider the application to be representative of the Indonesian province.
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2) People as land owners
Agus Sumule, Manokwari | Opinion | Mon, May 25 2015, 6:26 AM - 
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has just completed his second visit to Papua — ahead of two more to go in 2015, as was promised in his 2014 Christmas speech in Jayapura. Despite opposotion by some religious leaders due to the unresolved December 2014 Paniai massacre, the President should be commended for his willingness to spend more time in Papua and to make some strategic decisions such as providing clemency for five political prisoners (he has promised to pardon more) and to open Papua for visits from foreign journalists.

When visiting Merauke, the President announced that he would like to see the regency developed into the first modern agricultural area in Indonesia. He specifically pointed to 1.2 million hectares of land that he would like to convert into fully mechanized rice estates in three years to overcome Indonesia’s dependency on imports. 

He, however, openly admitted that for this ambitious plan to materialize, support from the people as the land owners is crucial. This means the President understood two issues clearly: first, that no plan to develop a large-scale agricultural area in Papua (as well as in Indonesia as a whole) should go forward without consulting and obtaining approval from the customary community; and second, in the case of Merauke, as well as Papua and West Papua provinces, that the indigenous people are the true land owners — therefore permits should be obtained from them.

A legal framework has actually been provided much earlier in the amended 1945 Indonesian Constitution: “The State recognizes and respects traditional communities along with their traditional customary rights as long as these remain in existence and are in accordance with the societal development and the principles of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, and shall be regulated by law” (Article 18b (2)). 

Based on this principle, the Constitutional Court ruled on May 16, 2013, that the legal definition of hutan adat (customary forest) should no longer be “state forest in the customary community’s area” but “forest in the customary community’s area”, thanks to a legal review requested by the Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) and the customary communities of Kuntu of Riau and Kasepuhan Cisitu of Banten against certain articles in the 1999 Forestry Law. 

These legal opportunities should be seized by the regional governments in Papua, local administrations, as well as customary communities and their allies. As per a letter from the forestry minister to all governors, regents and mayors dated 16 July 2013, the ownership of customary communities of their respective customary forests can be legalized and formalized using a Perda (regional regulation or bylaw) only. 

The Environment and Forestry Ministry would then approve it as far as it is based on research conducted by a competent team formed by the head of the region. The regional regulation can serve as the basis for the provincial office of the National Agency for Land and Spatial Planning to issue communal land certificates for indigenous Papuans.

The President’s statement as well as the legal breakthrough mentioned above suffice to provide a political and legal basis for Papuans to exercise their ownership rights over natural resources. Moreover, this can be one of the most strategic answers to the antagonistic relationship between Papua and Jakarta caused by the exploitation of Papua’s natural resources — including land for various agricultural development projects, without respecting the rights of indigenous people. 

When an investor would like to utilize certain areas of customary land, it can negotiate directly with the people, mediated by the local government as needed, so that a win-win agreement on land lease, profit sharing or equity participation can be reached. 

Treating indigenous people as an equal partner in any type of business endeavor will guarantee the long-term success of investment in extractive industries in Papua. 
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The writer is a senior lecturer in agricultural socioeconomics at the State University of Papua, Manokwari. - 
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MONDAY, 25 MAY, 2015 | 07:16 WIB
3) Indonesia`s Military Creeps Back into Civilian Affairs 

TEMPO.COJakarta - Nearly two decades after Indonesia's military was squeezed out of civilian affairs with the downfall of strongman leader Suharto, President Joko Widodo is drawing the army more closely into his wars on drugs, terrorism, and corruption.
Palace and military officials say Widodo's move is partly designed to counterbalance senior police officers who have crossed swords with him and who, critics say, are trying to undermine the agency leading the campaign against graft.
The police acknowledges "problems" in its relationship with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), but says it is working with the agency to tackle graft.
The prospect of a greater role for the military in civilian matters does not presage a return to the authoritarianism of army General Suharto, when it oversaw government policy as well as providing national security, the officials said.
Indeed, military chief Moeldoko has sought to quell such concerns.
"As long as the military is needed by the country to safeguard the national development carried out by ministries, then go ahead," Moeldoko, who retires in July, told reporters this month. "But nobody should try to drag the military into politics."
Nevertheless, critics of Widodo's move fear it sets a dangerous precedent in a country where the military has a long tradition of involvement in politics and which directly elected a president for the first time only 11 years ago.
"While symbolic engagement with the military is important to get things done and to send a signal of stability, we're treading a dangerous line here," said Tobias Basuki, political analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a local think-tank.
"In the long term it will create a new Goliath within Indonesian politics if the military doesn't steer clear of civilian life."
 
POWER PLAY
A senior government official with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters that Widodo, the first president from outside the country's political elite or armed forces, has struggled to assert himself over the police force and its political patrons, who include senior figures in his own party.
He trusts the military more than the police, the official said, and sees it as a potentially counterbalancing force.
The army's expansion into civilian affairs began last month, with the first major counter-terrorism operation since the response to a spate of hotel bombings in Jakarta in 2009. Anti-terrorism efforts are traditionally the domain of the police.
Approved by Widodo, who came to power in October, the military launched the six-month exercise to crack down on militants with suspected links to Islamic State.
Then, this month, the armed forces signed a memorandum of understanding to help the country's main anti-narcotics agency with its war on drugs, a top priority for Widodo.
Government officials said they are now considering legislative changes that would allow serving military officers to work in state ministries and agencies.
The ministries of transportation and fisheries, which handle projects and industries steeped in corruption, have asked that military personnel join their staff.
"If these requests are to be fulfilled, they should not violate any law," Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto told reporters recently.
 
BATTLE OVER CORRUPTION AGENCY
The KPK has taken the unprecedented step of seeking the military's assistance after being severely weakened by a tit-for-tat dispute with the police.
General Moeldoko said he already had two officers in mind to join the KPK after they retired from service in a few months.
The agency, popular with ordinary citizens for going after Indonesia's moneyed elites, hopes the military's inclusion will protect it from police intervention.
KPK officials were not immediately available for comment.
Since the KPK declared a prominent police general a corruption suspect in January, the police has launched a series of investigations against the agency that have led to the suspension of two of its commissioners.
The KPK has since dropped its case against police general Budi Gunawan, who was subsequently named deputy police chief.
The police do not see the expansion of the military's powers as a threat.
"We don't at all think the military is a threat to us or our role in society. We don't think there is any sort of balancing going on," said Agus Rianto, national police spokesman.
He also said the police would investigate complaints of corruption made against it, and added: "To say there is a public perception that the police is corrupt is not accurate."
Activists say allowing the military to help fight corruption may be an effective stop-gap measure to shore up the KPK, but it threatens to leave the military immune to graft investigations itself.
The military has a history of acquiring strategic assets, especially in the resources sector. Suharto was reported to have a sprawling business empire worth $15 billion when he resigned in 1998.
"The consequence is that the military will be untouchable in corruption investigations," said Adnan Topan Husodo of Indonesia Corruption Watch.
(Reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor and Randy Fabi; Additional reporting by John Chalmers; Editing by John Chalmers and Mike Collett-White)
REUTERS
 

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