Thursday, April 14, 2016

1) West Papuans voice support for MSG integration

2) Rights group describes Indonesian state hypocrisy in Papua

3) HRW calls on US government to reveal truth about 1965 massacre
1) West Papuans voice support for MSG integration
4:58 pm today

West Papuans demonstrating support for the Liberation Movement had the Papuan Morning Star flag emblazoned on body and garb. Photo: Tabloid Jubi
Yesterday's demonstrations in West Papua have been described as a sign of widespread support for integration with the wider Melanesian community.
The peaceful demonstrations in the main cities of Indonesia's Papua region were attended by thousands of West Papuans under the banner of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.
The demonstrations, voiced support for the Liberation Movement and its bid to gain full membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group, resulted in dozens of arrests.
One of the key Papuan political groups in the Movement, the West Papua National Committee, or KNPB, was centrally involved in organising the demonstrations.
The KNPB chairman Victor Yeimo addressed the demonstration in the Papuan provincial capital, Jayapura.

The Liberation Movement which was last year granted observer status in the MSG, whose full members are Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands and the Kanaks of New Caledonia.
Indonesia was also last year granted associate member status at the MSG and has been opposed to the Liberation Movement's participation in political representation of West Papuans.
However a West Papuan lawyer and Catholic lay women activist, Frederika Korain, said the Liberation Movement was increasingly seen as her people's representative body.
Moves to engage more with the wider Melanesian region, she said, were strongly supported.
"Papuans feel that it is very genuinely important to be part of the big Melanesian family through that organisation, so that's why the struggle to gain full membership of that regional organisation become one of the desire of all Papuans," Ms Korain said.
"That's why you can see yesterday that people went to the streets and supported the rally."

Ms Korain said last week's visit to Papua by a delegation of Catholic Bishops from PNG and Solomon Islands was the kind of regional engagement that needed to be encouraged.
Unable to meet the visiting bishops themselves, the Catholic Women group that Ms Korain belongs to delivered a statement to the bishops, describing their visit as important.
Thanking the bishops for their visit, the women pressed upon them that the conditions of life for the indigenous Papuan Catholics were in a poor state.

2) Rights group describes Indonesian state hypocrisy in Papua
3:38 pm today
The head of Indonesia’s leading human rights organisation, KONTRAS, has described how the nation is in a type of denial about festering rights issues in Papua region.
  • Listen duration6:29


The head of Indonesia's leading human rights organisation has described how the nation is in a type of denial about festering rights issues in Papua region.
Haris Azhar, the co-ordinator of the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence, or KONTRAS, says there has been no improvement in the area of rights in Papua since president Joko Widodo took office in  2014.
Mr Azhar told Johnny Blades that Indonesia's security forces remain stuck in the past in their attitude towards West Papuans and their conduct in the region.
HARIS AZHAR: A lot of forces from Indonesian government send their own team or troops, keep sending them to Papua. You know intelligence have their own operations. The military consists of so many units, also go to Papua or sitting there. And they have a good reason to be there: Papua has the longest land border to the other countries. Police also keep planning, doing the operations in Papua. So securitisation with no good co-ordination and consolidations are there. And the way they think about Papua, the way they assess Papua, has no new ground to be applied in Papua. So there's no shift in paradigm on how to see Papua. Therefore this Papua still suffer as all times before. And also you can imagine that the victims now.. I just checked the data in my office. It showed the number last year of more than 1,200 people suffer from harassment, killings, torture and ill-treatment. We haven't put the other issues into this number - the economic and social rights issues.
JOHNNY BLADES: Are any of those cases brought to court? Do the perpetrators of these abuses or beatings or tortures, do they ever get held accountable?
HA: No, no, no. Some of them being arrested and tortured, and the police apply most of the cases as a crime. So those people who were arrested, they will be brought into the court - some of them, not all of them.
JB: What typically have they been arrested for, what is it that they have done?
HA: Demonstrations, these kind of things. This is common in Papua.
JB: Freedom of expression stuff?
HA: Yeah, so this is against their freedom of expression, freedom of opinions, freedom of assembly, you know, that kind of thing. If you are Papuan and you do these kind of things in Papua, then that is associated with a crime or you are subject to being punished. But if you do these kind of things outside of Papua or you are not a Papuan, the game might be changed, the game might be changed. So this is like a discrimination in the security and law enforcement approach to the Papuans.
JB: Many reports about this stuff over the years. Why is it that the Indonesian parliament, successive governments, they don't seem to change the way the security forces conduct themselves in Papua? Is it because they can't?
HA: No. If we talk about the Papuan government, the local government in Papua at the provincial level or the sub-provinces, they are bound to a dirty politics, a dirty system of politics. So they are at some point paralysed to see how to deal with the security forces which are very powerful - they have guns, they have money, they are supported by some corporations. So to deal with it, for the local government, they prefer to deal and bargain, and co-opt with certain situations. That's why they keep receiving a lot of money, because Papua is allocated a huge number of the state budget from Jakarta. So there's no development for real, infrastructure or social structure have been gone with no evidence in a good way that can be delivered to the public. So they just maintain it. A lot of corruption cases, allegation of corruption cases being spread around among the people. So a lot of people enjoy that kind of thing. And how is Jakarta? Jakarta is too busy with themselves. You know, political bargain, surrounded by the media, so many issues. You know, the issue of Papua is not a priority. They may say it's a priority but this is all the things that they always said: Papua is a priority but we will leave it to them, among the Papuans, to solve the situation. But in terms of the killings, the law enforcement, that is a national problem. That is not a local problem.
JB: I was going to ask you: if Papua is a part of Indonesia, how do Indonesians in the rest of the country feel about their fellow Indonesians being brutalised every year?
HA: This is the hypocrisy of the government, the state and also this country. That looking at Papua, they would not leave Papua to be independent, but they let Papua be ignored. They say leave it behind. They have that kind of way. So, if there is an issue in the media, saying that this small group from Papua, they would like to be independent, and a lot of Indonesians, they're just quiet. And also the government, they just said oh we are the united Indonesia, we will not let anyone to go out from Indonesia. But they do nothing, they say nothing, to make Papuans to be better. I have to say this is crazy.

3) HRW calls on US government to reveal truth about 1965 massacre

Posted: Thu, April 14 2016 | 12:24 pm
Liza Yosephine Reporter
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said an apology over the atrocities of 1965 would be futile unless the whole truth was revealed.
The International NGO said the government should be held accountable for its actions related to the killings of people who were considered associated with communism, including for what is hidden in secret files held by the US government.
The organization is pushing the President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo administration to ask the US government to release the documents related to the anti-communist purge to comply with a request made by Indonesia's National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) in March.
HRW executive director Kenneth Roth, who is currently in Indonesia, is to speak with government officials, human rights organizations and other relevant stakeholders about the mass killings.
Researchers have estimated about half a million people suspected of being affiliated with the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) were wiped out in 1965 and 1966.
"You can't apologize over a blank slate," Roth said during a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday. 
The American human rights advocacy group, together with a local group called the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS), are urging the government to conduct an effective accountability process.
The call came as one step to build momentum for the lead-up to a symposium about the 1965 massacre to be held on Apr. 18 and 19.
The symposium, spearheaded by Komnas HAM and the Presidential Advisory Board (Wantimpres), will discuss rehabilitation and compensation for the victims of the tragedy, which took place more than 50 years ago and remains a deeply sensitive topic in Indonesia.
The event will occur ahead of a May 2 deadline for settling serious past human rights violations, as declared by Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan last month.
Roth stressed the importance of beginning the process of reconciliation with a public hearing so as to reveal the extent of the impacts of the massacre, thereby providing the basis of a factual record that the government can then officially acknowledge.
The US advocate said he recently met with Wantimpres member Sidarto Danusubroto and presidential chief of staff Teten Masduki to discuss options for addressing the actions of the troops led by Soeharto, then an unknown major general who filled the power vacuum left by the first president Sukarno, to counter an alleged attempted coup on Sept. 30, 1965.
"There is recognition on the one hand that truth is an essential prerequisite for any meaningful reconciliation process. At the same time, there's recognition that there is serious resistance within certain elements of both the government and society," Roth said of the meeting.
Furthermore, he also urged the incumbent government to take a clear stance in its efforts to resolve the human rights violations, especially in regards to the impacts still felt by the victims and relatives of victims of the tragedy relating to the stigma and persecution for being affiliated, or being accused of being affiliated, with the now defunct PKI.
Roth commended the request made by Komnas HAM, which met with US State Department officials to formally ask for the release of files from the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and other agencies.
The US would have such records, Roth continued, and should Jokowi put his weight behind the request, US President Barack Obama would likely be willing to open up its archives, he added.
"We want to know the working level involvement between the US government and the killers in 1965," he said.
Operational detail including cables, diplomatic messages and CIA messages would be useful as part of the effort to tell the history of the violation, Roth further said.
When possible, he added, it was also important for the architects of the crimes, the directors and the people who oversaw the killings in the anti-communist purge, to be brought to justice.
The genocide occurred during the time when the Vietnam War was intensifying and fears were rising in Washington about other communist takeovers throughout Southeast Asia.
Roth said previously declassified State Department documents indicated the US Embassy in Jakarta in conveyed the names of Communist Party leaders to the Indonesian Army.
US filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer, who made two critically acclaimed documentaries on the 1965 genocide, The Look of Silence and The Act of Killing, also recently urged the US Senate to make available all documents relating to the US' role in the national tragedy.
KontraS coordinator Haris Azhar said the events of 1965 were "the mother of all violence in Indonesia" that caused a spiral of other serious human rights abuses, including the 1989 Talangsari incident in Central Lampung, the 2001 and 2003 Wamena and Wasior incidents in Papua and various kidnappings and unresolved shootings under the dictatorship of Suharto, who came into power in 1966 and led the New Order era under a military-dominated government until his forced resignation in 1998.
Haris asserted that the best way to move forward and avoid any repeat of crimes of a similar nature would be to tell the whole truth to the public and then follow that up with an acknowledge from the government. (dan)

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