Sunday, August 9, 2015

1) Three Wamena Political Prisoners Accuse Lenis Kogoya of Lying to Public

2) Linus Hiluka: Ex-Political Prisoners Have Not Received Release Letter

3) Government Urged Tackle Tolikara Incident Wisely, Church Leader Says

4) Presidential Chief Advisor Meets Leaders of Church in Papua

5) Papua Province Makes Progress on Forest Rehabilitation

6) More than 114.201 Tourists Visited Papua
7) Papua is Held Hostage by Global Capitalists


1) Three Wamena Political Prisoners Accuse Lenis Kogoya of Lying to Public | West Papua DailyThree political prisoners in Wamena : Melki Elosak, Wiki Meage and Yotano Wenda – Jubi

Wamena, Jubi – Three political prisoners in Wamena – Melki Elosak, Wiki Meage and Yotano Wenda – accused the president’s special staffer Lenis Kogoya of lying to the public when said that they did not reject an offer for pardons or release by the president.
“In the meeting with him, we never said we’re accepted the president’s pardon. We rejected it. Lenis Kogoya should not exploit Papuans for their own benefit,” Elosak firmly said on Thursday (6/8/2015).
Besides refusing a pardon, the three political prisoners who’ve been jailed for treason case also rejected any term of assistance offered by State. “Stop exploiting our names by saying we accepted the offer of pardon, although there would be some gifts for us, such as car, house and money. We don’t need all of it, because we’ve been arrested and jailed because of the unjustice,” Elosak said.
He also confirmed that he and his two fellows got a visit from the president’s staff for several times, and the last visit is when Lenis Kogoya came offering a pardon and planning to give them cars, houses and money but they’re simply refuse it.
“If they want to release us, why is it just now? Because we will be free about a year, so what a pardon is for? Besides, we are not guilty,” said Elosak.
Earlier, the president’s special staff, Lenis Kogoya told reporters when doing a visit to Wamena on Tuesday (28/7/2015) that he met with the political prisoners Melky Elosak, Yusanur Wenda and Wiki Meage to discuss about their release. Although some media reported that the three political prisoners who currently jailed at Wamena Prison rejected the pardon, but Kogoya admitted they never said refuse. “I have met three political prisoners at Wamena Prison. They should be release. From the meeting, they didn’t say a rejection,” said Lenis Kogoya. (Islami/rom)

2) Linus Hiluka: Ex-Political Prisoners Have Not Received Release Letter
Wamena, Jubi – Five ex-political prisoners who were granted pardon by President Joko Widodo on 9 May are now questioning the existence of a presidential decree on their release.
“Up to now we have not received the original letter of president’s decree on the release of five of us, which has been handed to an appointed person but until now the letter has not been delivered,” one of the former prisoners, Linus Hiluka, told reporters in Wamena on Wednesday (5/8/2015).
In addition, after being released for about two months, he said he and his fellow ex-convicts have not seen the president’s promises during their release materialized, including more openness in Papua and access to foreign journalists as well as the guarantee for the security of five ex-political prisoners and Papuans.
He also affirmed that along with the release of political prisoners, there are persons who take advantage of them, act on behalf of them asking for goods or money that they never ask for to the government. “I have seen on media about fund disbursement, and I will reiterate that referring to our initial agreement, we refused all kind of government’s offers because we are already free to live among family and community and able to make a living on our own and people,” he said.
He also hoped his two fellows who are taped in a TV station in Jakarta could give respect to their decision and return to their family and community without intervention of any parties.
He further asked to a person who brought his two fellows to Jakarta and other culprits to stop offering or submitting proposal on behalf of five ex-political prisoners to the government because they initially had agreement to refuse the government’s aid in any terms.
Related to grant amounted Rp 2.6 billion provided by the Central Government to ex-political prisoners, Linus Hiluka said he and fellows Numbungga Telenggen and Kimanus Wenda would never accept any assistance.
“I’ve heard about it from media, the government prepared some cash for ex-political prisoners, but I confirm never receive it and will refuse it,” he said.
Meanwhile, religious leader and human right activist in the Papua Central Higland, Pastor Jhon Djonga expected well communication was built between the ex-political prisoners, especially to those who were taken to Jakarta. “I hope the five ex-political prisoners have good communication among them to avoid misperception about their initial agreement. About the president’s original letter, I hope certain people not to take benefit of it,” said Pastor Djonga. (Islami/rom)

Jayapura, Jubi – The chairman of Central Papua Baptist Church Fellowship Services Agency, Socratez Sofian Yoman, urged the government to handle the aftermath of the Tolikara incident wisely.
He said the incident has drawn attention from the central government, including the president, the military and police chiefs as well as the general.
“I see this as a distraction of issues. One important issue is the murder case of security forces against civilians in Paniai on 8 December 2014. There are also other cases such as Yahukimo case, and so on. This is an attempt by the state to divert attention from those issues,” Yoman told reporters at GKI Papua Synod Office, Argapura, Jayapura City on Wednesday (5/8/2015).
He further questioned the State’s attention when numbers of house of worship in several areas closed by certain parties. He took the ban of GKI Yasmin Church in Bogor by local mayor as an example.
“Where is the State? Where is the justice, the Constitution, Pancasila (State Philosophy) and Bhineka Tunggal Ika (slogan: Unity in Diversity)? Is it only written in the book? Where is it when Syiah and Ahmadiyah were being hunted?” he said.
He said the problem of Papua is not a minor issue; it’s not a matter of full stomach or economy, but it’s a matter of identity, dignity, the future and political status that being questioned by the people of Papua. Therefore, it needs a broader dialogue for resolution.
Meanwhile the Chairman of GKI Church Synod in Papua, Albert Yoku said Tolikara incident was an explosion of the puzzles of cases occurred in Papua, such as Paniai case, Yahukimo case and another important cases that not getting serious attention from the Government as it did in Tolikara incident.
“I hope the same spirit could be used to settle those cases. Do not only focus in Tolikara incident that make it likely a huge issue, but it’s only a small case in reality. Tolikara incident is a crash over civilization and to open our eyes about the fact that minority groups in Indonesia must get a justice,” said Yoku. (Arjuna Pademme/rom)
4) Presidential Chief Advisor Meets Leaders of Church in Papua
Jayapura, Jubi – The head of Presidential Affairs Staff, Luhut Panjaitan, met four leaders of the church synod in Argapura, Papua on Wednesday (5/08/2015) to discuss the incident of Tolikara that occurred on July 17.

“The civilization of Papuans in spiritual building, education, health, economy and infrastructure was actually established by missionary that ultimately gives the growth in human resources for the Papuan people for years,” Albert Yoku said after the meeting.
However, when government took over the region that has been built by missionary, it implemented its own policy and it is contrary to what is already there.
“The government brought its own culture, religion, and its own interests and do not collaborate with local religious leaders. Government also does not support all activities such as social, economic, health and church activities that have been done in Papua including Tolikara,” he added.
Especially for Tolikara incident, GIDI and NU FKUB agreed to not carry this case through the legal process, according to him.
“We conveyed to the presidential staff that all legal proceedings against the four leaders of GIDI must be in accordance to an agreement on July 29. We’ve written a letter to the Police for investigation and requested suspension of two people in custody, of church leaders of GIDI. We hope the government will give space to those who have agreed to sit down to talk, “he added.
Meanwhile President of GIDI, Dorman Wandikbo said, the chronology of Tolikara incident has been made. It was signed, and handed over to President Jokowi through Luhut Panjaitan
The church leaders are Albert Yoku (head of GKI Synod in Papua), Benny Giay ( head of Kingmi Synod), Socratez Sofian Yoman ( head of Baptist Synod) and Dorman Wandikbo (President of GIDI). (Arjuna Pademme)

5) Papua Province Makes Progress on Forest Rehabilitation

Jayapura, Jubi – Provincial Government of Papua has rehabilitated forest areas covering 14,525 hectares during between 2010 and 2014, planted as many as 6.2 million stems.
Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs of Papua Province Rosina Upessy, in Jayapura, on Wednesday (5/08/2015), said one of the principal efforts in watershed management (DAS) is a form of regulation of land use and forest rehabilitation efforts as well as soil conservation.
“I remind the working commette of the Forest and Land Rehabilitation (RHL) that rehabilitate degraded land is not just planting trees alone but it should be an ongoing effort to restore the carrying capacity of the watershed,” he said.
It is necessary to realize the functions of forests and land in order to decrease erosion, sedimentation, runoff, improve water balance and enhance the socio-economic benefits, she said.
“The culture of the community as well as the climatic conditions which have their own characteristics also become non-technical barriers in the field. Thus, the involvement of the parties is very important to facilitate the implementation of RHL in the field,” she added.
She explained the damage of watershed in the upstream, midstream and downstream is increasing due to an increase in the utilization of natural resources for human needs.
“It happened since the utilization of natural resources has not been fully pay attention to the stability and sustainability of the carrying capacity of the environment,” she said again.
Therefore natural resource management with watershed management unit should be implemented wisely in order to support the improvement of people’s welfare.
“To maintain the continuity of the basic functions of forests and forest conditions, it is necessary to implement forest rehabilitation,” she said. (*)

6) More than 114.201 Tourists Visited Papua
Jayapura, Jubi – Indonesia’s Tourism Ministry on Wednesday (5/8/2015) announced eight million foreign tourists visited Indonesia in 2014.
The numbers of tourists who visited Papua Province from 2006 – 2012 reached 114,201, including 15,711 foreigners.
Further, the minister said the Festival of Humbold Bay is not only for introducing the culture in Humbold Bay but also becoming a place to learn of many visitors, as well as connecting the creative industry makers, community base tourism actors from all over Indonesia, including local small entrepreneurs of coastal area who also participated in the festival.
Humbold Bay Festival attended by the Papua Provincial Government representing the Central Government, Jayapura Municipal Government, traditional leaders from 12 villages, religious leaders, local community and entrepreneurs was very lively and colored by a number of Port Numbay native dance of 12 villages.
“The Tourism Ministry would continue to support the promotion of Humbold Bay Festival that took place at Hamadi Beach, Jayapura to be a target of domestic and international tourism in the next following years,” said the minister.
At the same place, Jayapura Mayor Benhur Tommy Mano in his speech said we should be grateful for the diversity given by God to our country that attract many domestic and international tourists to keep visiting Papua.
Tourism development is also becoming a concern of Jayapura Municipal Government. Currently, Jayapura Municipal Government is improving to grow the tourism sectors. For example, the occupancy rate of hotels in Jayapura is getting better; traveling tours are now still in needs including the growing of culinary business.
“The government will continue to prepare public facilities to support the development of tourism sector, including work together with the Police and Military to create a secure atmosphere for the systems of tourism and environment in Jayapura Municipality through providing a security guarantee for both domestic and international tourists,” said the mayor. (Munir/rom)
7) Papua is Held Hostage by Global Capitalists

  • By   Muhammad Zulfikar Rakhmat Media Wahyudi Askar and Shu-Wen Chye
  • •   August 8, 2015

  • The case of Freeport is a clear illustration of Papua and the Indonesian government being held hostage by global capitalists. 
    Papua, formerly known as Dutch New Guinea, is the western half of New Guinea, an island in the Pacific. For decades, Papua has been a region associated with conflict and has rarely received international press coverage. There have been many civilian casualties resulting from violence between Indonesian security forces and the local community. To this day, there are no visible signs that the conflict will end anytime soon.
    As is widely known, Papua has one of the largest gold mines in the world. Forbes Wilson, the director of Freeport—one of the world’s largest producers of copper and gold—discovered Papua’s natural resource potential after conducting surveys on Mount Ersberg in 1959. Freeport’s desire to exploit Papua’s gold mines at that time was hindered by a change in political constellations in the 1960s. The government under then-Indonesian President Sukarno took over Papua from the Dutch in 1961, after which Freeport was prevented from setting up operations because of Sukarno’s opposition toward foreign enterprises.
    However, after Suharto ousted Sukarno in a 1965 coup, the former decided to issue a law that authorized and encouraged foreign investment. Freeport became the first foreign enterprise to operate in Indonesia and secured long-term contracts with the Suharto regime.
    Since then, Freeport’s approach toward Papua’s resources has been aggressive and almost militarist in nature, which has caused deep-running tensions between Freeport, the Indonesian military and the local Papuan community.
    Freeport’s assertion of its presence in Papua continues to be strong in the 21st century. Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW), a Jakarta-based nongovernmental organization, has reported that security fund payments have been made by Freeport to Indonesian security forces. According to ICW’s data, which is sourced from financial statements of Freeport, the company issued a fund worth $79.1 million from 2001 to 2010. This funding is believed to have affected the neutrality of the armed forces and fueled tensions between them and local residents, due to the widespread belief that only the military has reaped the benefits of revenue generated by Papua’s natural resources.
    The severity of the conflict increased soon after the assassination of Leo Yogi, the commander of the Free Papua Movement for Paniai region, in May 2015. Even though the situation has improved slightly following Indonesian President Jokowi’s decision to grant clemency to five Papuan political prisoners and offer access to journalists to enter Papua, Freeport’s decision to build a copper smelter not in Papua, but in Gresikan island in the region of Java that is of great distance from Papuahas increased tensions again between Papuans, Freeport and the Indonesian government.
    The decision has received much criticism from Papuans, with the governor of Papua, Luke Enembe, threatening to expel Freeport if the smelter is not developed in his vicinity. The construction of smelter located locally in Papua would be beneficial, because such a project would help the local economy by attracting up to 30 billion rupiah in investment and creating up to 10,000 jobs. These resources are desperately needed in Papua, given the high levels of unemployment and poverty.
    Throughout this time, Freeport has revealed that the main reason behind its decision was the limited availability of water and electricity in Papua. In reality, there are two other reasons why Freeport has been persistent with its plan to construct smelter in Gresik.
    First, the history of tension and increasing instability in Papua has created an environment of fear that could potentially disrupt the company’s operations, thereby requiring Freeport to spend a substantial amount of money to enhance security for its operations.
    Second, concerns over the availability of labor are key. It is widely known—based on data provided by the Human Development Index (HDI)—that HDI ratings in Papua are one of the lowest in the region. Local labor in Papua is considered operationally unprofitable and unable to meet the needs of the processing plant in the short-term. Alternatively, Freeport could employ labor from outside Papua, which would then require higher salaries to be paid.

    Enter Uncle Sam

    Freeport has always claimed that it has fulfilled its obligation to distribute profits to the Indonesian government, which only holds 9.3% of shares. Nevertheless, the company has never issued any net profit reports publicly for 48 years, since its establishment in 1967. Its success in lobbying the Indonesian government has not been without help from the United States. US Ambassador to Indonesia Robert Blake reportedly held talks with a number of top Indonesian officials concerning Freeport to smoothen the process of extending the existing contract between Freeport and Indonesia, which ends in 2021.
    While Jokowi’s government has made attempts to not be swept by the tide of global capitalism by introducing a mineral ore export ban and tax increases on metal concentrate shipments in January, it has been influenced by plans to invite top US energy companies “to gather opinions regarding the current energy situation in Indonesia.” This is most likely an attempt to ensure continued investments in the energy sector.
    The case of Freeport is a clear illustration of Papua and the Indonesian government being held hostage by global capitalists and local politics. One year into his presidency, it remains to be seen how committed and successful Jokowi’s administration will be in lifting the stigma behind Papua and improving economic inequalities and human rights in the territory in the years to come.
    The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
    Photo Credit: US Pacific CommandFlickr

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