Wednesday, August 19, 2015

1) After 10 years in jail, West Papua activist looks set to walk free

2) NZ MP calls for more engagement on Papua
3) Luhut says government will  focus on Papua
4) Papua Readies 24 Ambulances to Evacuate Trigana Crash Victims

1) After 10 years in jail, West Papua activist looks set to walk free

Updated 3 minutes ago
The West Papuan political activist, Filep Karma, is reportedly close to walking free after ten years in prison.
Indonesia's government has reportedly guaranteed Mr Karma's security and freedom of speech once he leaves prison.
Late last week, he rejected an offer of remission on Indonesia's National Independence Day, which was two days ago, saying he would only accept an unconditional release.
Mr Karma has been serving a 15-year jail sentence for treason in Papua's Abepura Prison, after he raised the banned Morning Star flag at a political rally in 2004.
He said he would be happy to walk free the day after National Day, as long as his release was "unconditional".
Mr Karma says he did not commit any crime by raising the flag, and would continue to campaign for West Papuan independence.
Indonesian CNN reports the government as signalling that once out of prison, Filep Karma is free to exercise his democratic rights.


2) NZ MP calls for more engagement on Papua

Updated 5 minutes ago
Carmel Sepuloni was one of around ten MPs who met with the visiting secretary-general of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Octo Mote last night in Wellington.
Mr Mote discussed what he describes as growing regional support for international recognition of West Papuans' concerns with Indonesian rule.
Ms Sepuloni says New Zealand's relationship with Indonesia shouldn't preclude it pushing for West Papuans to have their rights hopnoured and to be treated fairly by Indonesian authorities.
"Yeah I think it's something that New Zealand has to take seriously, and we need to be involved in the conversations that are happening, as our West Papuan leaders have said. The Pacific Forum and the Pacific small island states are really important in terms of progressing this issue and New Zealand needs to be part of that dialogue, so I think we should all actually be engaged with this and not scared to talk about it. "

3) Luhut says government will  focus on Papua
Fedina S. Sundaryani, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Wed, August 19 2015, 2:45 PM - 

Newly inaugurated Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said that one of his first priorities will be to solve long-standing problems in the country’s easternmost province of Papua.

Speaking after a two-hour meeting with heads of the ministries and institutions under his supervision, Luhut said on Tuesday that he would step up monitoring work in the province, which he said would be the first step toward stamping out injustice, leading to the region becoming more accessible to outsiders.

“There is a problem of injustice that we must solve. We are also trying to overcome the perception by foreigners that we do not take care of Papua,” he said at the Office of Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister in Central Jakarta.

Luhut said that the perception of a neglected Papua was false, especially since the province received the largest share of the state budget. 

However, he acknowledged that one of the priorities in solving problems in Papua was to figure out where most of the provincial funds went as they had not led to any development.

“Papua receives the largest share of the state budget, but we must figure out where all of the Rp 37 trillion [US$2.6 billion] has gone to,” he said. 

He said that the central government would pay close attention to officials at the Papua provincial government, who were alleged to have misused the development funds.

“During the meeting, the home affairs minister [Tjahjo Kumolo] said that his ministry recently discovered that many of the officials [in Papua] did not even live there and were often outside of the region,” he said, adding that the time to blame the central government for lack of progress in Papua was over as locals had not done their jobs.

With regard to granting access to foreign journalists to Papua, Luhut said his office would soon set up a website explaining the situation in the restive region. 

He said that violation of no-go policies in Papua could have consequences.

“We don’t want this country to be blamed for unfairness. We also refused to be dictated to by others abroad. You can’t look at us in a negative light and violating our laws leads to certain consequences,” he said.

For the past decade, journalists intending to report on Papua were required to fill out permission request forms, which needed approvals from various government institutions. Any foreign journalists caught making news reports without permits could face criminal charges.

In 2014, two French journalists, Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat, were arrested and jailed for not having proper permits to report in Papua. The journalists were caught trying to make a documentary on the Papuan separatist movement.

Separately, Attorney General M. Prasetyo said that the Attorney General’s Office would do its part by setting up a team to monitor development in different provinces to make sure that the provincial budgets were not misused.

“The teams will be based in the center [Jakarta] and also in the regions to supervise state officials and make sure that funds are not misused, whether accidentally or otherwise,” he said.

Prasetyo said that the teams would provide legal counsel to state officials in charge of development programs to ensure that the projects would be free from graft.

Separately, National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) member Muhammad Nurkhoirun said that most of the injustice experienced by locals in Papua was due to the fact that the government had failed to protect their rights.

He said that many people in Papua lived in poverty despite the province being rich in natural resources. The paradox, Nurkhoirun said, was due to the fact that locals were not given the rights to be involved in development projects affecting their lives.

“Locals in Papua must be involved in the development of the province so that they also can benefit and understand what is happening. Right now, Papua’s development is only found in the imagination of those creating policies in Jakarta, or only benefiting the elites of Papua,” he said. -

WEDNESDAY, 19 AUGUST, 2015 | 14:00 WIB
4) Papua Readies 24 Ambulances to Evacuate Trigana Crash Victims

TEMPO.COJakarta - The Papua Provincial Government is providing 24 ambulances to help evacuate victims of the Trigana Air plane that crashed in the Pegunungan Bintang district.
"Since Tuesday night, we had 24 ambulances in Sentani Airport ready to evacuate bodies of the Trigana crash victims," Aloysius Giyai, chief of the Papua Health Office, said in Jayapura, Wednesday, August 19.
He said that the 24 ambulances are directly coordinated by the Papua Health Office's crisis center.
The Health Office is using ambulances from a number of hospitals in Jayapura, both state and private hospitals.
"I have a team of crisis center staff who are on a 24-hour stand-by at Sentani airport—ready to help with the evacuation process," Aloysius said.
He added that his team gives him frequent updates on recent developments at the crash site and evacuation center.  
Aloysius, the former director of Papua's Abepura General Hospital, said that other supporting medical equipment for evacuation are also ready to be used.
On Sunday, August 16, a Trigana Air ATR 42-300 turboprop aircraft lost contact with air traffic control about half an hour on a flight from Jayapura.
Search planes spotted debris by the mountainside on Monday. The plane was carrying 44 adult passengers, five children and five crew members. None of the people on board survived the disaster.

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