Thursday, March 17, 2016

1) Indonesia cannot ignore its Papuan problem

2) Officers chase perpetrators of Papua shooting incident: Minister

3) Papua`s people only have trust in President Joko Widodo: LIPI

4) New life for Indonesia’s long-delayed indigenous rights bill?


East Asia Forum 

1) Indonesia cannot ignore its Papuan problem

Authors: Hipolitus Yolisandry Ringgi Wangge, Marthinus Academy, and Gafur Djali, Maluku Institute
Since West Papua’s integration into Indonesia in 1969 through a United Nations-sponsored people’s referendum — a process considered deeply flawed — the Papuans’ problems have haunted all Indonesian presidents.

A critical juncture came after the downfall of the authoritarian regime of former general Suharto. Beginning in 2002, President Megawati Sukarnoputri’s administration implemented the Papuan Provinces Special Autonomy Law, which aimed to give Papuans more authority to manage their affairs based on local customs. For many elites in Jakarta, a special autonomy law was the key to resolving all Papuan problems, including creating a sense of being Indonesian and protecting against human rights abuses. But these objectives failed to be achieved because the Indonesian government has never thoroughly identified, or admitted to, the basic problems regarding Papua: namely, its historical and political status.
Distrust towards Jakarta among indigenous Papuans dating from the controversial 1969 referendum fortifies ethno-nationalist aspirations to secede from Indonesia. In order to tame these sentiments, the security apparatus has taken a repressive approach towards indigenous Papuan dissent. But repressive actions by police and military forces have instead strengthened Papuans’ separatist aspirations.
The challenges that many Papuans have faced in expressing their political, economic, social and cultural rights have drawn close attention from the international community, including in recent times from a group of Melanesian countries united under the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) initiative. In 2015 the MSG granted observer status to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULWP), an amalgamation of organisations campaigning for Papuan independence from Indonesia.
This has compounded concerns among Jakarta-based elites. The real question is why the Indonesian government seems to have been unable to defuse the internationalisation of the Papuan issue, particularly at the regional level.
Several reasons lie behind the ineffectiveness of Indonesian foreign policy in handling the Papuan independence issue in the Pacific. Generally, a lack of coordination between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other parts of government has led to the lack of a single policy to defuse the independence push.
There is a need to align what happens on the ground with what is presented to the international community. Papuans’ political and cultural aspirations are met with heavy-handed treatment by the Indonesian security apparatus. But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied this. Rather, it has repeatedly stated at international forums that conditions, particularly indigenous rights, have improved significantly despite human rights reports showing otherwise.
Another instance of rhetoric not matching reality is the fact that although Indonesian President Joko Widodo promised that there would be no restrictions on foreign journalists’ travelling to Papua, there have been no specific policies to implement such a promise. Any foreign journalist who wants to visit Papua still has to obtain permission through complicated procedures and follow strict requirements, particularly from security agencies, and occasionally without coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
For years the Pacific has not been a diplomatic priority for the Indonesian government. There is no single agency within the foreign affairs bureaucracy that mainly focuses on Pacific countries. As a result, many Indonesian diplomats lack the competence to respond to the Papuan independence campaign currently gaining traction across the Pacific region. Indonesia lacks strong diplomatic relationships with Pacific states, even though formal diplomatic relations with countries such as Papua New Guinea and Fiji were established in the 1980s.
Indonesia has provided only ad hoc economic assistance to Pacific countries, either as part of economic diplomacy or to attempt to limit the sway of Papuan independence campaigners. The Indonesian president’s recent rejection of a request for a meeting from the Solomon Islands prime minister and chair of the MSG, Manasseh Sogavare, raises doubts about Indonesia’s commitment to tackling the pro-independence narrative through diplomacy.
In any case, the Indonesian government has not learned from its past actions related to separatist movements. In the case of East Timor, the Indonesian government underestimated the role of the Fretilin group and its charismatic and savvy chief diplomat, Jose Ramos Horta. Despite limited resources, Horta was able to convince the international community to pay close attention to what happened in this tiny nation from its integration in 1975 to its attaining independence in 2002. In the case of Papua, the central government has underestimated the potency of Papuan intellectuals, both in Papua and in exile, to coordinate their campaign for independence.
Ineffective diplomacy in the Pacific and elsewhere is hampering Indonesia’s ability to counter the internationalisation of pro-independence narratives — and with that its ability to promote solutions to the Papuan conflict that emphasise dialogue between the Indonesian government and its Melanesian citizens.
Hipolitus Yolisandry Ringgi Wangge is a researcher at the Marthinus Academy in Jakarta. Gafur Djali is Executive Director of the Maluku Institute. Both authors have been conducting fieldwork research in Papua.

2) Officers chase perpetrators of Papua shooting incident: Minister

Kamis, 17 Maret 2016 17:48 WIB | 524 Views
Surabaya, E Java (ANTARA News) - Security officers are chasing the perpetrators who shot down the construction workers in Papua, according to Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.

"We have firmly stated to all parties that we are not afraid of such terror acts. Such incidents also occur in advanced countries, including the United States," Pandjaitan remarked here on Wednesday.

According to the minister, the government is coordinating with the Indonesian Military and Police to chase down the perpetrators.

Pandjaitan noted that the security officers were ready to secure the people from acts of violence.

Earlier, at least four workers engaged in the construction of the Trans Papua Highway in Puncak Jaya District were shot dead after the armed group attacked the area on Tuesday at 1:45 p.m. local time.

The perpetrators also set ablaze an excavator and a bulldozer of PT Modern.

Chief of the Puncak Jaya Resort Police Senior Commissioner Adjunct Marcelis confirmed the incident that occurred in Agenggen Village of Sinak Sub-district, Puncak Jaya District.

"We affirm that the workers of PT Modern were the victims of a shooting incident. I was in Mulia. The shootout was led by the Yambi group," Marcelis revealed.

The workers who died in the shooting attack are Anis, Andi, Daud, and David.(*)


3) Papua`s people only have trust in President Joko Widodo: LIPI

Kamis, 17 Maret 2016 20:35 WIB | 420 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Papua Study Team of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) has assessed that the people of Papua only trust President Joko Widodo and not the ministers of his cabinet.

"Therefore, President Widodo has the most important role in bringing about peace in Papua," the Study Teams chief, Adriana Elisabeth, stated here on Thursday.  

President Widodo had expressed willingness to hold a dialog with the local people during his visit to Papua last year.

Following this, LIPI had called for holding a national dialog to solve the problems in Papua.

To this end, the team recommended four series of initial dialog that could be held simultaneously.

"The first talk is between the president and the three pillars of Papua (local government, regional representatives council, and regional assembly)," Elisabeth noted.

The opening dialog is a discussion among ministries, government agencies, and Papuas council as well as a talk on sectoral issues.

"The government still considers holding the dialog a taboo. There are fears that the dialog could trigger a sense of yearning for independence among the people," Elisabeth remarked.

"The dialog is aimed at discussing different interests and not to discuss the position," Elisabeth affirmed.

Earlier, the Papua Study Team of LIPI had proposed that a special envoy be appointed to help hold a national dialog as part of the efforts to achieve peace in Papua and West Papua.

"A special envoy is required to follow up with President Widodo to hold a dialog with the people of Papua," Elisabeth stated here on Tuesday.

Elisabeth pointed out that the special representative should fulfill four criteria. Firstly, such an agent should be someone who enjoys the trust of President Widodo.

"Secondly, the envoy should understand the real problems in Papua, accurately and objectively. Thirdly, he or she should have never been involved in the formation of civilian militias that support Papuas independence," Elisabeth noted. 

"Civilian and military personnel may work as special deputies to President Widodo," Elisabeth remarked.

As a result, the special deputy could work effectively and enjoy greater legitimacy in the dialog process.

In addition, the emissary would not look for any single party to represent the community but could involve several elements of the society in the national dialog.(*)

4) New life for Indonesia’s long-delayed indigenous rights bill?
17th March 2016 / Cory Rogers
  • Indonesia's constitution recognizes its indigenous peoples, but no law on their rights has ever been passed.
  • Indigenous advocates campaigned for President Jokowi in 2014 in part because they thought he would change that, but progress has been slow.
  • Now, the Jokowi administration is moving to resurrect a draft bill on indigenous rights that was recently shelved by lawmakers.

In the latest twist in a decades-long push to define the legal status of Indonesia’s indigenous citizens, the government will seek authorization from the House of Representatives to finalize a draft of the Recognition and Protection of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (PPHMHA) Bill, auguring hopes it might finally go to a vote this year.
Though the bill is on the long-list of bills for the current House term (2014-2019), it was left of the priority agenda for 2016, much to the dismay of indigenous advocacy groups across the country. A task force headed by the ministry of law and human rights will be put in charge of finishing a draft of the law, and will return it to the House for debate. No target date for completion has been set.
“What is most important,” said Sandra Moniaga, a commissioner of the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM), “is to create consensus between the government and the House.”

For Indonesia’s millions of masyarakat adat, or customary law-based peoples, passing such a bill is a sine qua non for translating their constitutional recognition into policies that acknowledge and protect their traditional lands and ways of being.
Despite a landmark 2013 Constitutional Court decision ending state authority over customary forests, thereby granting adat peoples nominal control over their lands and the resources within them, adat communities still have no established procedure for gaining recognition as such; while their customary territories, said by some to encompass a fifth of the archipelago, have yet to be mapped by the state.
As a result of this virtual invisibility to local governments, Indonesia’s dozens of millions of adat citizens are easily exploited by those who seek fortune in their forests, spurring the loss of lands, traditions, livelihoods, and in some cases, the spread of disease
According to Moniaga, the government’s decision to take over the drafting of the bill should be seen as an “act of assistance” rather than a move to correct House reticence.
“This action is a way to help the parliament, which has so many bills to produce this year that they are overworked,” she told Mongabay, allowing that strong lobbying in the wake of the PPHMHA bill’s exclusion pressured the government to respond.

Blessing in disguise?

Although AMAN, Indonesia’s main alliance of indigenous groups, has admonished the bill’s postponement, Moniaga said doing so may have saved years of work from being flushed down the drain. 
“Currently there is no mechanism for a House member to ask that a law be ‘carried over’ [into the next session],” she said.

Work on the PPHMHA law stretches back to 2012, when it was added to the long list of bills at the House. In 2013, due to fierce lobbying from indigenous groups, the House formed a special committee staffed by lawmakers and representatives from the forestry, home affairs, energy, and law and human rights ministries. The committee’s task was to harmonize the draft with government officials so it could be added to the House’s 2014 priority list.
According to the committee head, Himmatul Aliyah, however, the ministry representatives never showed any intention of carrying out their mandate, and the bill was never added to the list.
“[The ministries] sent expert staff who didn’t understand the problem of customary laws, and also didn’t have the authority [to make decisions],” she told in September 2014. 
“If the government didn’t want to discuss the bill, it should have said so from the beginning.” 
The stonewalling tactic, she alleged, killed the bill before it could be brought to vote in the waning weeks of the House term.

Lacking a “carry-over” mechanism to bridge the presidencies of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, Moniaga of Komnas HAM said even if the current batch of lawmakers wanted to resume deliberations, the process would have to start from scratch. 
No such constraints hamstring the government.

Challenges ahead

AMAN deputy secretary Rukka Sombolinggi cautioned against viewing AMAN’s lobbying victory as an unmitigated success. Though she said she trusted Jokowi’s commitment to indigenous rights, she worried that key components of the PPHMHA bill, which was “80 to 90 percent completed in 2014,” might be watered down.
The government’s plan is to appoint the law and human rights ministry to head an inter-ministerial team tasked with reviewing the 2014 bill and finalizing a draft.
That will include reassessing a lengthy academic paper composed by teams of university researchers in 2010-2011. That document, Sombolinggi said, formed the basis of the 2014 PPHMHA law, took years to write, and was unprecedented in the degree to which it consulted indigenous communities themselves.
“I worry that the ministries will appoint people to the inter-ministerial committee who don’t understand the process [we already underwent]…and that they will try to rewrite something that took years to do,” she said, adding this could further impede realization of the bill.
“In terms of commitment, though, we trust the government. It’s in the technical work, in the small groups, where the challenge ahead lies.”

Patrick Anderson, policy adviser for the Forest Peoples Programme, a British NGO focused on indigenous lands and livelihoods, said passing a comprehensive law was necessary to eliminate overlapping lines of authority among ministries with stakes in the forest zone.
“The issue of indigenous peoples’ rights has been dealt with separately by a dozen ministries, so it would be useful to have a law that ties all these things together,” he told Mongabay.
He stressed the draft ought to recognize the the rights of indigenous groups to control their natural resources, government structures, customary laws, and other collective rights, including official use of their native languages.
Sombolinggi said the need to act quickly was urgent, as adat groups nationwide lose lands and livelihoods due to the weak protection of their rights everyday.
“After 70 years, there are still no specific laws that recognize, regulate or give guidelines on protecting the rights of indigenous peoples,” she said. 
“This [bill] is really about Indonesia’s debt to [its] indigenous people.”

Article published by Philip Jacobson on March 17, 2016.

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