Wednesday, May 13, 2015

1) Insight: Not easy to be Melanesian in Indonesia’s Papua

2) Foreign journalists must  abide by laws in place  on Papua access: Lawmaker -
3) Jokowi calls for greater economic cooperation with PNG
4) PNG MP expects MSG will buckle to Indonesia

 1) Insight: Not easy to be  Melanesian in Indonesia’s  Papua 
Neles Tebay, Jayapura | Insight | Wed, May 13 2015, 1:10 PM -
One does not need to ask if there are Melanesians in Indonesia, as there are Indonesians who identify as Melanesian. Those Melanesians 
can be found in the country’s two most eastern provinces, Papua and West Papua, at least.

But is the Melanesian identity of Papuans accepted or rejected in Indonesia’s pluralistic state, the official slogan of which cries “bhinneka tunggal ika” (unity in diversity)?

The identity is a given: Melanesian is not an expression of political ideology. It has nothing to do with citizenship. It is a human race which all indigenous Papuans, without discrimination, belong to.

Every Papuan is and should always be Melanesian by race, regardless of religious affiliation, political aspiration or citizenship.

Since Melanesia constitutes a race, it is created by neither any institution nor by any government. It is not established by any religious institution. It does not result from a long devoted prayer. It is a result of having Indonesian citizenship. Papuans themselves neither establish nor select it for their survival.

Indeed, Melanesian as a race is not gifted to any Papuan, either in Indonesia or abroad. It is important for the government to be reminded that the Melanesian race is not a gift presented to Papuans by the government after Papua was integrated into Indonesia in May 1963.

The Melanesian race has nothing to do with Papuans’ citizenship status. Like it or not, Papuans were always Melanesian, long before the integration of Papua into the Indonesian republic.

The identity, however, was denied.

Although Papuans are already Melanesians by birth, they question: Why has the government not recognized the Melanesian identity of Papuans, since 1963 until today?

Papuans’ experiences show that their Melanesian identity was denied by the government from 1963 to 2001. Papuans were banned from recognizing themselves as being Melanesian for 38 years.

For the government, the term “Melanesia” was mistakenly interpreted as an expression of separatism. A Papuan who recognized him or herself as Melanesian was immediately accused of being separatist and, therefore, treated as Indonesia’s enemy who had to be eliminated before destroying the nation’s territorial integrity. Many Papuans have been sacrificed for bravely recognizing their Melanesian identity in public.

Papuans were forced into a difficult situation where they had to choose between denying their Melanesian identity for the sake of their survival or recognizing their Melanesian identify with the consequence of sacrificing their lives. So Melanesian identity has been denied for the sake of the territorial integrity of the Indonesian republic.

Hence, a call for recognition.

The government has eventually recognized, although not fully, Papuans as Melanesian. The recognition can be found in Law No. 21/2001 on the special autonomy of Papua province. Yet Papuans do not feel that their Melanesian identity is fully respected.

The government began to focus its attention on Papuans’ Melanesian identity in 2013, when Papuans, especially those fighting for independence from Indonesia, began to get support from people and the governments of four countries in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG): Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu.

Support for Papua was given on the commonality of being Melanesian. Melanesian countries, in a summit in Noumea, New Caledonia, in 2013, made a unanimous decision to support Papuans’ right to self-determination.

The support for Papua from all Melanesians in South Pacific countries is getting stronger, wider, and is taking root in Melanesian hearts. People from the four Melanesian countries have been manifesting their solidarity with the Papuans considered as their Melanesian brothers and sisters of West Papua (Papua).

Melanesians in the southern Pacific have been strongly encouraging their respective governments to welcome the return of Papuans to the Melanesian family by accepting West Papua through the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) as a new member of the MSG.

Sharing the same Melanesian cultural values, the government of the four Melanesian countries will decide this May 21 whether they recognize Papuans as Melanesians by accepting West Papua as a member of the MSG.

Considering developments in the Melanesian countries of the Pacific, one could understand the significance of the call for recognition of Papua’s Melanesian identity raised by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), through the party’s fourth national congress held in Bali in April.

The PDI-P even highlighted an obligation for the government to recognize the Melanesian identity of Papuans as an integral part of Indonesian cultural identity and expression of bhinneka tunggal ika.
The government should show recognition, as there has been no public acknowledgement in Indonesia on the Papuan cultural identity as being Melanesian during 52 years of integration.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo visited Papua and West Papua on May 8-11. During his visit, however, he mentioned nothing about Papuans’ Melanesian identity. We will wait and see.

Papuans, for their part, do not seem to look for recognition in Indonesia, because they are traumatized by bitter experiences that they have endured for calling themselves Melanesian. As a result, they are hoping that the recognition of their identity will come from the Pacific, particularly from Melanesian countries. Now they have full hope of official acceptance as a new member of the MSG on May 21.

For more than 50 years, the Melanesian identity has been seen from a political perspective. Political context decides the Melanesian-ness of Papuans. As a result, sometimes it is recognized but other times it is denied. Therefore, it is important to discuss Melanesia as a cultural issue rather than a political one.

The writer is a lecturer at the Fajar Timur School of Philosophy and Theology, as well as coordinator of the Papuan Peace Network in Abepura.

2) Foreign journalists must  abide by laws in place  on Papua access: Lawmaker -
Dylan Amirio, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Wed, May 13 2015, 4:01 PM -
In response to a move by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to remove barriers to access for foreign journalists seeking to report in Papua, an Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker says that journalists aiming to use this right must also be aware of the legal limitations.
Even though Jokowi said all foreign journalists were free to enter Papua, PDI-P lawmaker TB Hasanuddin reminded that certain laws and ministerial decrees determined whether journalists had permission to enter.
Among them is a Communications and Information Ministry decree issued in 2005, which states that all foreign media aiming to conduct journalistic activities in Indonesia must have ministerial permission, regardless of where they report, Hasanuddin said on Wednesday.
Another decree from the Foreign Ministry says a police permit is necessary to report in Papua as well, Hasanuddin said, adding that despite the freedom Jokowi described, foreign journalists must still adhere to existing laws.
“I think what the President meant was that foreign journalists were welcome inside any part of Indonesian territory. Previously, the attitude towards them on Papua was very restrictive,” Hasanuddin told reporters on Wednesday. (her)


3) Jokowi calls for greater economic cooperation with PNG

Updated at 5:04 am today

Originally aired on Dateline Pacific, Wednesday 13 May 2015

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo has called for a strengthening of economic ties with Papua New Guinea during a business breakfast in Port Moresby.


Indonesia's President Joko Widodo called for a strengthening of economic ties with Papua New Guinea during a business breakfast in Port Moresby Tuesday morning.
The Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O'Neill reiterated the sentiments and thanked Indonesia for its part in supporting PNG's successful bid to host the 2018 APEC meeting in Port Moresby.
Our correspondent Todagia Kelola was at business breakfast and told Koroi Hawkins local media were not allowed to ask any questions and there was no mention of the West Papua issue.
TODAGIA KELOLA: Basically the Indonesian President Joko Widodo in his address at the breakfast called for stronger economic ties between Papua New Guinea and his country but he was silent on the West Papua issue.
KOROI HAWKINS: And so like the Indonesian Prime Minister no mention from Prime Minister O'Neill of the issues in West Papua.
TK: Yes during the breakfast the Prime Minister just stated that he was happy that, I mean Mr Widodo is very active in trying to promote peace and harmony in West Papua and Papua provinces by him releasing some political prisoners that he released before coming to Papua New Guinea. The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea acknowledged that but he never went into detail on that.
KH: Now the overarching thing here is the upcoming membership application by the West Papua United Front who has applied for membership to the MSG. Do you know if Papua New Guinea has come out and made a position clear in terms of whether it will be supporting that bid?
TK: Well the Prime Minister Peter O'Neill made his stance clear that yes he is supportive of the Papua's bid to be part of the MSG. But there is no official announcement by the Prime Minister and there are talks that Indonesian President Widodo's visit to PNG is to try to influence Papua New Guinea not to support that. I don't think that is what, if that is what Widodo is trying to do I don't think Papua New Guinea prime minister will approve on that. As for what we are seeing now is that Mr Widodo like before coming to PNG he went to the west of the island where Papua is and he released five prisoners, political prisoners and by coming to Papua New Guinea basically he is trying to show that Indonesia is now opening or Indonesia should now, his government Widodo's government should now be perceived by other world countries that it is really concerned on the issues that have been happening in West Papua. That by coming to Papua and coming to Papua New Guinea it is basically Indonesian government's moves to address what is happening in West Papua.

4) PNG MP expects MSG will buckle to Indonesia

Updated 22 minutes ago

The Governor of Oro in Papua New Guinea says he has no confidence that the Melanesian Spearhead Group will act in the interests of the region's people over a West Papuan bid for MSG membership.
Gary Juffa's comment comes after the Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited PNG this week as high-level lobbying intensifies over the looming decision on the MSG membership application.
akarta has indicated that other parts of Indonesia which have Melanesian stock should have been included in the West Papuan bid.
Mr Juffa says that PNG's government is likely to reiterate that the membership bid must be endorsed by Indonesia in order to be successful.
"And then what Indonesia will say so that it's not such a hard swallow, is that, hey, West Papua and Papua and this and that and five other regions will also be members. That's what they're going to propose. Then the MSG has just failed in its complete and purpose and agenda and should be disbanded."

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