Nusa, Dua, Bali (ANTARA News) - Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi met her counterpart from Papua New Guinea (PNG) Rimbink Pato to discuss the development of border regions shared by the two countries.
"We will officiate the development of a monument in the border area at the end of this month," Retno noted on the sidelines of a senior official meeting at the 6th Bali Process Conference here on Tuesday.
She stated the monument would mark the strong commitment of the two countries to advance their border regions as good neighbors.
The minister affirmed that strong contacts had been established between community members in the border regions, and hence, sound cooperation was needed to manage it.
To this end, Indonesia has offered visa-free facility to PNG.
"They are now also contemplating on offering the same facility to Indonesia," she emphasized.
PNG Minister Pato remarked that his government will discuss the facility at a meeting with the parliament this month.
Regarding the development of border regions, he pointed out that PNG would continue to coordinate and communicate with Indonesia.
"So far, eight border agreements have been made with Indonesia. We always contact Indonesia in case of a problem, so that it could be immediately settled," he stated.
Besides the border regions, the two ministers also discussed about a planned joint RI-PNG consultative meeting to be held at the end of this month.
According to schedule, Minister Pato plans to visit Jakarta at the end of this month for the meeting.(*)
By Hipolitus Yolisandry Ringgi Wangge & Djali Gafur, Guest Contributors
FAR from bringing them closer together, Papua’s integration into Indonesia in 1969 was a controversial and deeply flawed process that has driven a wedge between the two ever since – a spear through the heart of good relations.
Not least because Papuans and their needs, particularly those in highland areas, have been consistently overlooked by authorities and political leaders in Jakarta.
In the almost 50 years since Papuan integration, the government has had difficulty in admitting, let alone identifying root problems in Papua. In the main, these surround the region’s historical and political status.
Challenges also include sociological and economic problems, which see growing disparity between outsiders and indigenous Papuans. Migrants dominate the territory’s economy and administrative sectors and leave the indigenous with undeveloped skills for competing in such sectors. As a result, social frictions emerge, which, in turn, lead to conflict.
As a president with no ties to previous regimes and their key actors, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo should not make the same mistake as his predecessors.
But so far the signs aren’t good. Without seriously admitting and facing up to Papua’s problems, the Jokowi administration will only re-design and re-enforce old policies which simplistically emphasise the economy as a driving force for development.
In his last two visits, Jokowi brought packages focused only on the economy, including tourism investment in Raja Ampat, infrastructure investment in Jayapura and Sorong, agricultural investment in Merauke, and mining investment in Fak-fak and Teluk Bintuni.
Such policies are useless if we acknowledge that the bulk of Papuans lack sufficient skills to benefit from these projects (and are often so far behind that playing catch up is almost inconceivable).
In fact, such projects will only increase a mass influx of migrants from Java, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi and re-affirm non-locals’ economic domination — a process we can already see in almost all Papuan cities, in both coastal and highland areas. Such projects are not distinct from programs launched by other presidents since Suharto.
Public statements made by elites in Jakarta who oversimplify the region’s problems exacerbate the central government’s flawed approach. Take the recent statement from one of Jokowi’s key ministers, Luhut Panjaitan. His advice that Papuans with political aspirations should leave the provinces and join Pacific countries that share a culture with them unsurprisingly sparked widespread criticism.
On top of all this, Jokowi’s administration has failed to gain the trust of Papuans. For example, there are continued protests from indigenous mothers (mama-mama Papua) who want Jokowi to build traditional markets for them, as he promised in visits early last year.
In 2015 Jokowi also released several prisoners serving sentences for political activities, including the former state officer Filep Karma. But this action has been viewed as superficial since there are still many political prisoners behind bars. It doesn’t help that both foreign journalists and few local journalists are given access to the area to cover such issues (something Jokowi was rolled on by his defence minister last year).
Bubbling away in the background to all of this is the presence of the military which keeps coming to Papua for “official purposes”, ranging from defending the country’s outer island to helping the government to promote development in the area.
The military’s current presence includes the so-called joint expedition, dominated by 670 military personnel, including the Special Armed Forces Command (Kopassus), and including 530 civilians aimed at conducting research and collecting data related to Papua’s natural resources and its people. With the armed force’s bad human rights record in Papua, this expedition will only exaggerate distrust among locals towards their national government.
In any case, the military-led research expedition in Papua is at odds with the military’s principal task as outlined by law. Under this, military operations other than war cover 14 specific tasks, including search and rescue, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance, and border protection. All of the 14 tasks must support the military’s primary function — strengthening its capability for combat operations.
None of these tasks relate to collecting data on an area’s natural resources or people. The joint operation in Papua is another example of stalled internal military reforms since the second term of former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. It’s also another stark reminder that the Indonesian military still exerts its influence as not only a security actor but also a social actor. To make matters worse, Jokowi has shown little intention of continuing military reforms, and has put many retired army officers in strategic government positions.
The national government should realise the flow of vast numbers of soldiers, alongside those who are already there, cannot solve the problems in Papua. In fact, the military a source of ongoing difficulties. At the end of the day, it is Papuans who must be the ones to address the region’s problems.
The key issue is the empowerment of the Papuan people and not merely a focus on the region’s natural resources which draw much attention and concern from the central government.
As Papuan journalist, Victor Mambor once asked: “What is the importance of Papua to Indonesia? Is it the people of Papua or its natural resources that attract the central government in Jakarta?
“If it is the people, why are so many Papuans being arrested, dying, and being prohibited from expressing their aspirations?” (*)
Hipolitus Yolisandry Ringgi Wangge is a researcher for the Marthinus Academy, Jakarta. Djali Gafur is an executive director for the Maluku Institute, Center for Public Policy and Economic Development Studies, Moluccas.
Both authors have been conducting a fieldwork research in Papua.
3) Three warships take part in sea border security exercise
Selasa, 22 Maret 2016 18:47 WIB | 441 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Three Indonesian warships have been sent for sea security exercise taking place in the sea border with Australia.
The navy said here on Tuesday KRI Lambung Mangkurat (LAM)-374, KRI Singa-651 (SNA), KRI Badik (BDK)-623 left the navy base of Semampir Ujung Koarmatim, in Surabaya for the training ground.
The sea exercise is held with the theme of Operation Task Force for border security of Maritime fleet command in the sea bordering on the Australian sea territory.
"This is to prevent, and to deal with illegal actions in military operations other than war," a navy spokesman Lt.Col. Maman Sulaeman said.
The scenario of the exercise is to face any unexpected strategic developments, Mana said, adding the navy has to remain on the alert against any possible problem in border area such as unilateral territorial claim, separatism, horizontal conflicts, terrorism and illegal exploitation of natural resources.
The navy, therefore, has to improve its professionalism in facing all possible threats, Maman said.(*)
4) Australian defence minister submits defence white paper to Indonesia
Selasa, 22 Maret 2016 19:05 WIB | 527 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Australian Defense Minister Marise Ann Payne has submitted a copy of Australias white paper on defense to the Indonesian government.
The paper was submitted at a bilateral meeting between the Minister of Defense Ryamizard Ryacudu and his counterpart Marise Ann Payne on Monday (March 21).
During the meeting, the two countries agreed to enhance cooperation in the defense sector.
"Our bilateral cooperation was going on well," the minister said.
The white paper on defense is a summary of the countrys defense policy, and is used as a guideline. Sharing of this document is expected to help build mutual trust and ensure transparency.
"Indonesias white paper on defense was still being formulated and work is in progress," the minister remarked.
The Australian Defense Minister said she expected that bilateral cooperation would proceed properly.
"Australia looks forward to (receive and study) Indonesias defense white paper," Payne said.
"I appreciate the cooperation in the field of defense. The submission (of the white paper) is intended to improve the relationship between Indonesia and Australia. This relationship is very dynamic and beneficial for both countries," Payne remarked.
Meanwhile, the two countries also discussed the development of Indonesia-Australia Defense Strategic Dialogue (IADSD).
Indonesias defense white paper will focus on defense policies and efforts to deal with real threats such as terrorism and radicalism, separatism, rebellion, natural and environmental disasters, violations of the border, piracy and theft of natural resources, epidemics, cyber war and intelligence sharing as well as issues of drug trafficking and abuse.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi had met with her Australian counterpart Julie Bishop here on Monday, and discussed ways to expand bilateral relations.
"Indonesia and Australia already have close cooperation as reflected by the frequent contacts and meetings between the leaders of the two countries," Retno said after the meeting.
Retno said she and Julia Bishop discussed a number of important issues, including bilateral, regional and multilateral matters.
Bilateral issues included cooperation aimed at expanding trade and investment, development of digital economy, science and innovation, research and technology, eradication of terrorism and cyber security, she said.
The two foreign ministers welcomed the continuation of negotiations on Indonesian-Australian Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA).
"We welcome the progress that has been made since December. Our commitment is to restart negotiations in the context of Indonesia Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement," Retno said.
IA-CEPA is an important agreement for both countries to expand investment, she said.
The two foreign ministers also agreed to push for cooperation in the agricultural and energy sectors.
Ensuring better cooperation in the two sectors was necessary to support the government program to develop the animal husbandry and renewable energy sectors.
The two ministers agreed to push for more intensive "Indonesia-Australia Dialogue" to bring the two communities closer through cooperation.(*)
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Japanese government has approved a human security aid grant valued at 86.84 million Yen for several regions of Indonesia, according to a press statement from the Japanese Embassy in Jakarta on Tuesday.
The grant will be used to implement nine projects, which were earlier submitted and had cleared the Japanese Embassys selection process.
The contract was signed between Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia Yasuaki Tanizaki and representatives of each organization implementing the projects.
Human Security Projects would include the development of vocational training facilities in Sleman, Yogyakarta; the empowerment of fishermen in Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara; the construction of a home for HIV-AIDS patients in Jayawijaya, Papua; and the construction of a primary school in Cilacap, Central Java.
According to Ambassador Tanizaki, grants for Human Security is a scheme aimed at helping Indonesians by providing knowledge to the organizations, such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), whose activities are carried out at the "grassroots" level.
"Although Indonesia has achieved steady economic growth, but in order to become a stable country in the medium and long term, the nation must address inequalities and income disparity," he pointed out.
Ambassador Tanizaki remarked that the selected human security assistance projects, to be implemented across a wide range of fields, are considered to have regional coverage.
Tanizaki added that the aid is expected to contribute to addressing development issues to tackle problems at the grassroots level in the Indonesian society.(*)