Friday, May 6, 2016

1) Bring in West Papua, keep Indonesia out: VFWPA

2) International MPs support West Papua
3) Report says West Papuans fear they will lose everything
4) Jeremy Corbyn on West Papua: UK Labour leader calls for independence vote
5) Finding a dignified resolution for West Papua
1) Bring in West Papua, keep Indonesia out: VFWPA
Posted: Friday, May 6, 2016 8:00 am
By Godwin Ligo | 

Vice Chair of VFWPM Chief Seni Mao presenting Communique in a basket with Peace leaf Namele to the Deputy Director of the MSG Secretariat Molean Kilepak

Leaders and members of the Vanuatu-Free West Papua Association (VFWPA) presented a Communiqué to the Deputy Director of the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat (MSG) Mr. Molean Kalpak, requesting him to pass the Communiqué on to the MSG Chair and Leaders to allow West Papua full membership in the MSG and keep Indonesia out of the MSG.
The Vanuatu-West Papua Association Chairman, Pastor Alan Nafuki, and Vice-Chairman who is also President of the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs, Chief Tirsupe Seni-Mao, led the Vanuatu- Free West Papua Association delegation to the MSG Headquarters in Port Vila.
Some members of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) were also present.
The Vice-Chairman of the Vanuatu-Free West Papua Association Chief Tirsupe Seni Mao, presented the Communiqué to the Deputy Director of the MSG Secretariat Mr. Molean Kilepak, in a Vanuatu traditionally woven basket with the namele leaves which is a symbol of peace throughout Vanuatu.
“This Vanuatu Melanesian Traditional Basket symbolizes MSG.
“Placing the Communiqué in it is a call for the MSG (Basket) Leaders to bring into the MSG the West Papua full membership and remove Indonesia out of the Basket (MSG) peacefully.
“We humbly call on you (Mr. Kilepak) to convey this message together with the Communiqué to the Chairman of the MSG and all the MSG leaders before the next MSG Meeting,” said the Vanuatu-Free West Papua Association Vice-Chairman, Chief Tirsupe Seni Mao.
In receiving the Basket, the Namele leaves and the Communiqué, the Deputy Director of the MSG Secretariat Molean Kilepak, said the MSG Secretariat is here to facilitate the work for the MSG, its leaders and members but the decision is not made by the MSG Secretariat but by the MSG Chair and Leaders of the member countries. He told the leaders and members of the VFWPA that the Secretariat will pass the Petition on to the Chair and the leaders.
The Communiqué contains 5 key resolutions passed by the Association in a Communiqué called Owen Hall Communiqué which calls for the MSG to grant full MSG Membership to West Papua and remove Indonesia Membership from the MSG.
Part of the Communiqué reads: “The Meeting was convened at the right time when Melanesian Spearhead Group is considering the full membership ULMWP.
“The meeting called for the removal of Indonesia’s membership of the MSG.
“In the Spirit of solidarity and Partnership, Civil Society Leaders:
“1. RE-AFFIRM our resolve to play a complementary role with the MSG leaders to progress development and improve the lives and wellbeing of Melanesian People.
“2. EXPRESS SOLIDARITY with the MSG of its commitments under the preamble of the MSG Constitution, the 2013 Noumea Communiqué to support the inalienable rights of the people of West Papua towards self-determination and the inclusion of West Papua as an Observer in the MSG at the 2015 MSG Summit.
“3. CALL UPON THE MSG to accept and endorse the full membership of the ULMWP at the 2016 MSG Summit.
“4. FURTHER CALL on the MSG and the Melanesian countries to denounce the ongoing genocide of West Papua Melanesians and colonial rule by Indonesia.
“5. APPEAL TO Pacific Island governments and the International Community for;
“External international intervention into the West Papua emergency situation;recognition and confirmation of ULMWP as rightful leaders of the struggles of West Papua; challenging the Netherlands and the United Nations on legality of Indonesian powers over West Papua; sponsoring of a resolution for the re-unification of West Papua into the United Nations Decolonization list; sponsoring the case of West Papua in the International Court of Justice seeking a judgment on the legality of the 1969 “Act of Free Choice” and supporting the Self-determination and independence of West Papua.”
The Communiqué was dated May 3, 2016 on behalf of participants of the Owen Hall Meeting and signed by; Pastor Alan Nafuki, Chairman Vanuatu Free West Papua Association, Moli Seni Mao Tirsupe, President Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs, Vanuatu, Ms Emele Duituturaga, Executive Director Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organizations and Mr. Peter Amdt, Coordinating Team Leader, Australia West Papua Solidarity Movement.
2) International MPs support West Papua
Pacnews Friday, May 06, 2016
A HISTORIC step on the road to freedom for West Papua has been taken in London.
At a meeting of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua in the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday, a new declaration was made calling for an internationally supervised vote on West Papua's independence.
It was attended and supported by Samuela 'Akilisi Pohiva, the Prime Minister of Tonga; Bruno Leingkone, Minister for Foreign Affairs in Vanuatu; Rex Horoi, MSG special envoy on West Papua, Solomon Islands; Ralph Regenvanu, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in Vanuatu; Gary Juffa, Governor of Oro District, Papua New Guinea; Lord Harries of Pentregarth, UK House of Lords; Jeremy Corbyn, MP, Leader of the UK Opposition; and Benny Wenda, international spokesperson of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and several other British MPs.
Tonga's PM offered his country's full support for West Papua's struggle. He explained how it was the UN's responsibility to ensure human rights were upheld in West Papua and he would continue to push for this.
Mr Corbyn spoke of his personal interest in West Papua and his role as a UN observer in East Timor. He talked of the need for justice and human rights to be delivered to the people of West Papua and stated the world could either continue having this conflict or could choose to live in a world of peace and justice from the recognition of human rights for all — a cornerstone of foreign policy.
He reiterated his support for West Papua's struggle for freedom and how he would like this to be written in the policy of the British Labour Party.
A statement by Guyana's PM, Moses Nagamootoo, offering his country's continuing support of the right to self-determination for the people of West Papua was also read out
Mr Regenvanu spoke of Vanuatu's long-term support recalling how their first PM, Father Walter Lini, had stated "Vanuatu would not be truly independent while any other Melanesian country was not".
He spoke of the commitment by Melanesian countries to bring West Papua into the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and Vanuatu was working for West Papua to gain full membership of the MSG at its upcoming meeting.
Mr Horoi, the special envoy from the Solomon Islands, highlighted the key areas of their support which involved urgency of stopping human rights abuses, recognsising the political identity of the ULMWP and the strategic engagement of the Solomon Islands Government with neighbours in the Pacific and around the world.
He also redefined the importance of the Pacific by renaming the "small island states" as the "big ocean states".
Mr Juffa also mentioned his personal connection with the people of West Papua; how his father captained the first boat of refugees from West Papua and how he promised them that he would do everything he could to fight with them for their freedom.
He explained PNG regrettably still recognised Indonesian sovereignty but a large movement in PNG was emerging in support of West Papuan freedom and he would continue to be one of the movement's main political voices.
Lord Harries said he first met
Mr Wenda in the UK in 2003, how the issue was almost unknown and what a long way it had come today with representatives from the "big ocean nations" championing the cause.
He read out a statement of support by Reverend Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu: "Dear people and friends of West Papua. Please accept, from the southern tip of Africa, the love and blessings of a retired fellow-traveller for justice.
"Human rights and justice are universal values. It has been very heartening to witness the growth of the movement to secure justice for the people of West Papua. Your call for an internationally supervised vote to determine the will of the people of West Papua has my support.
"God bless you."
Finally Mr Wenda declared his feelings saying the Indonesian occupation was illegal and must end now.
He finished by reading out the declaration that was signed by all International Parliamentarians present.
The secretary-general of the ULMWP, Octovianus Mote, rounded it off thanking everyone, including the various generations of freedom fighters for Papua.
The declaration reads as follows —
Westminster Declaration for an internationally supervised vote in West Papua, we the undersigned members of Parliament, being members of the International Parliamentarians For West Papua:
I. Declare that continued human rights violations in West Papua are unacceptable;
II. Warn that without international action the West Papuan people risk extinction;
III. Reiterate the right of the people of West Papua to genuine self-determination;
IV. Declare the 1969 'Act of Free Choice' to be a gross violation of this principle; and
V. Call for an internationally supervised vote on self-determination in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolutions 1514 and 1541 (XV).

3) Report says West Papuans fear they will lose everything
9:00 am today
An Australia Catholic group which sent a fact finding team to West Papua says there are no signs that the economic and social status of Papuans is improving.
  • Listen duration5:54


Politicians in Australia have frequently claimed that the economic and social plight of the indigenous people of Indonesia's West Papua region is improving.
But a new report, based on a fact finding mission earlier this years shows this is not the case.
The report, from the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission in Brisbane, is called 'We will Lose Everything'
Don Wiseman asked Peter Arndt, who led the two person team to Papua in February, if he saw any evidence to back up the Australian claims.  
PETER ARNDT: No, frankly no. We certainly have got the message from the Australian government in letters that we've received on several occasions. But the situation that we found in Papua is that the human rights situation is not improving. The people certainly told us that it is continuing to be a difficult situation to live in, with security forces routinely using violence and intimidation to keep the people, especially those wanting to express their political views about self-determination, at bay. And certainly that's been confirmed too by a prominent Indonesian human rights organisation, KONTRAS, which is the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence, who said that their records showed that there was something like over 1200 cases of human rights violations in the last year (in Papua) and that meant there was no improvement since President Widodo was elected towards the end of 2014.
DON WISEMAN: Did your group actually see any examples, did you see anything first hand in terms of violent incidents?
PA: No we didn't see any violent incidents. But certainly on the visit we paid in February this year, and the visit I was on in January, February last year, on both occasions there was an attempt by police and in some cases other security forces to intervene, to interrogate us and so on. On this occasion, our host was able to make sure that the police didn't call us up for interrogation. On the last occasion, police and intelligence and immigration all descended on us, and wanted to take us away and interrogate us immediately. But our local hosts intervened and gave us a few hours to prepare ourselves, and then we presented ourselves for interrogation, and thankfully were let go. So we've had first hand experience of the security forces, keeping a close eye on people and trying to stop people from investigating the human rights situation. And we were shown photos and so on of people who had been bashed by the military and so on in our last visit, a very recent incident - one of the bishops showed us a photo of a person whom he knew had been bashed by soldiers for complaining about not getting paid for two months.
DW: Did you have any discussions with representatives of the Indonesian government?
PA: No, no we didn't. I did go over by myself after the end of the Papuan leg to Jakarta, and talked to some community organisations. I did make an attempt to speak to an official from the Australian embassy, to report on what we had found when we were in West Papua. But for some reason my appointment was cancelled 45 minutes before it was due to be held. So that's the closest I've got to an official. But certainly no Indonesian officials.
DW: This report, I know it's been taken around the Pacific and being presented right now. What does your group hope to achieve?
PA: Well we made it clear from the start that this report is something that we're trying to ensure is an accurate reflection of the voices of the Papuan people inside West Papua. So they worked closely with us to organise the visit and to prepare the report. Anf they gave it authorisation to be released. We want it to be something that is widely disseminated throughout the Pacific and globally as an authentic representation of the experiences of the people of West Papua, so the world hears clearly what they are experiencing on a day-to-day basis, what their concerns about their immediate future are, and what they hope can happen to change their situation, because they feel very desperate and anxious about their situation at present. The title of the report says "We Will Lose Everything", that's what one of the leaders of the Papuans said to us in Brisbane in January. They are very worried that within a few years, the (Papuan) population will dwindle to a tiny percentage of the population in West Papua, it'll be dominated by Indonesian migrants, and that they will continue to be deeply marginalised economically and socially. So they want people to hear their story and their desperation, and to take effective action to change that situation in West Papua before it's too late for them.
4) Jeremy Corbyn on West Papua: UK Labour leader calls for independence vote
Helen Davidson Friday 6 May 2016 12.36 AEST
Jeremy Corbyn has drawn attention to the plight of West Papuans, saying the recognition of human rights and justice should be the “cornerstone” of the UK Labour party’s foreign policy.
The Labour leader made the comments in an address to a meeting of international parliamentarians, supporters and activists in London on Tuesday.
The group, which included Pacific region ministers and leaders, among them the West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda, called for a UN-supervised independence vote in the Indonesian territory.
West Papuans are the indigenous people of a region on the western half of the island shared with Papua New Guinea, formerly under Dutch rule. Indonesia took temporary control of West Papua under a UN–backed treaty in 1963. It consolidated its rule through a UN-sanctioned but discredited ballot in 1969, in which barely 1,000 West Papuan representatives selected by Indonesia cast votes under threat of violence.
Wenda, who sought asylum in the UK in 2003 after escaping prison in West Papua, has led an international campaign for independence, drawing attention to continuing acts of violence and alleged human rights abuses by Indonesian authorities. Indonesian police have arrested thousands of West Papuans in recent weeks. 
“Essentially what we’re looking at is a group of people who did not enjoy their rights during a period of decolonisation, did not enjoy the rights bestowed to them by the UN charter and by the statutes on decolonisation,” Corbyn said.
“As a member of parliament I support them, as a member of this group and as a former vice-chair of the all-party human rights group.”
Recognising human rights and justice “has to be the cornerstone of foreign policy, the cornerstone of our relationship with every other country”, Corbyn said, pledging he would discuss a list of recommendations made by the group with the Labour party.
“I want these issues to become central to our party’s policies in the future and above all I want to see an end to environmental degradation and destruction and the right of people to be able to make their own choice on their own future.”
Corbyn, who is a cofounder of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua, described Monday’s gathering as “historic” and said the recommendations put forward were a good framework for moving towards recognition of the human rights issues, rights of representation and the right of people to choose their future in West Papua.
He noted the recommendation called for a visit by the UN special rapporteur, the reinstatement of NGOs in the region and questioning of international companies working in West Papua.
“It’s about a political strategy that brings to worldwide recognition the plight of the people of West Papua, forces it onto a political agenda, forces it to the UN, forces an exposure of it and ultimately that allows the people of West Papua to make the choice of the kind of government they want and the kind of society in which they want to live,” he said. “That is a fundamental right.”
He said the international community could continue “pretending the issue will go away” or it could “do something bold”.
“Recognise injustice when you see it,” he said. “Recognise the abuse of human rights when you see it and recognise that both sides in any conflict benefit from a peace process and benefit from recognition of human rights, law and justice.”
The Free West Papua campaign hopes to see a UN resolution within two years to send international peacekeepers to protect West Papuans as they vote on independence.
It urged international governments – particularly those of Australia and New Zealand – to support the vote.
“For 50 years Indonesia massacred my people, 500,000 people. We need international peacekeeping force in West Papua,” Wenda said. “In maybe another 10 or 20 or 50 years time I think my people will become a minority. We need this as soon as possible.”
On Friday the Indonesian embassy in Australia released a statement dismissing the meeting as a publicity stunt organised by a “small group of Papua separatists and sympathisers”.
“Papua and Papua Barat (West Papua) are parts of Indonesia. The UN and the international community recognise this,” it said in a series of tweets.
It accused the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, which Wenda leads, of making “false claims” and said West Papuans already had self-determination through special autonomy, free and fair elections, and education.
“President Jokowi is mobilising resources of the nation to deliver much needed infrastructure and public services in Papua,” it said.
“However, cases of violence are still a challenge. For example cases killed civilians, members of security authorities and separatists. Many cases are brought to court. And more to be brought to justice. President Jokowi is personally looking after human rights protections.”
5) Finding a dignified resolution for West Papua
May 6, 2016 10.24am AEST
On Monday, Indonesian police arrested nearly 1,500 protestors in Jayapura, Papua. They were rallying in support of a coalition of groups representing West Papuans’ aspirations for independence.
The police stopped the protesters, who were heading to the local parliament, forced them to board military trucks, and took them to the Mobile Brigade compound.
The protesters were demonstrating their support for the United Liberation Movement of West Papua’s (ULMWP) bid to gain full membership in the grouping of Melanesian countries, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
The ULMWP holds observer status in the group, which consists of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. Last year, Indonesia was granted associate membership.
To prevent further violent mistreatment of protesters, together with several Papuan councillors and church leaders, that day I went to the Mobile Brigade’s compound to negotiate with the security forces to release the detainees peacefully.
Monday’s arrests were the largest in the West Papua independence movement’s history.
Why did thousands of people in Papua take to the streets to support ULMWP?
Public discontent in West Papua is a result of a complicated past. It is a product of historical manipulation and repression of the right to self-determination of West Papuans.
Over the past five decades, the Papuan people have not moved from their position in relation to Indonesia. They have struggled to make progress in their predicament as the oppressed people. They are marginalised, suffering from various forms of violence, and being pushed from their own land.
Solving the problem of West Papua in a dignified manner should involve not only Indonesian authorities but also Papuans and the international community. In that sense, ULMWP and the popular support for ULMWP within West Papua is part of the solution and should not be repressed.

The silenced truth

Ever since West Papua was transferred into the hands of Indonesia in the early 1960s from being a remote outpost of the Dutch, it has become the land of “mourning and grief”.
Gross human rights violations have been taking place in West Papua since Indonesia, backed by the United Nations, annexed the western half of the island of New Guinea in 1963. In 1969, Indonesia gained complete rule of West Papua via a sham referendum.
West Papuans have looked to their Melanesian brothers and sisters to assist them in seeking resolution of past abuses by the Indonesian government and to build a new Papua. But they are still confronted with many challenges.
In September, countries in the Pacific Island Forum, a grouping of 14 countries that includes Australia and New Zealand, agreed to send a fact-finding mission to investigate human rights violations in West Papua. The Indonesian government refused to accept such a team.
Indonesia’s co-ordinating minister for politics, law and human rights, Luhut Pandjaitan, instead held two focus group discussions at a luxury hotel in Jayapura for the so-called “settlement of human rights issues”.
But West Papua is a nation that grew up with and is shaped by experiences of living under Indonesia’s military operations. These cannot be solved simply with focus group discussions.
Sadar Operation (1962, 1965-67), Wisnumurti Operation (1963), Wibawa Operation (1969), Pamungkas Operation (1970-1971), military operations in Jayawijaya (1977-80), Sapu Bersih Operation (1979-82), and Tumpas Operation (1983-84) are only a few of a series of violent acts of oppression that have confronted ordinary Papuans.
Today, Indonesia’s militaristic approach in West Papua remains intact.
This approach has resulted in a series of acts of intimidation and terror committed by security forces. They are involved in land expropriation and natural resources extraction under the banner of development and investment, in the name of Papuan welfare.

Diplomatic pressure from Indonesia

Following the increasing concern and solidarity from the Pacific region and support from the MSG for a resolution of West Papua’s problem, the Indonesian government is aggressively lobbying countries and political leaders in the Pacific.
Upon his return from a visit to PNG and Fiji last month, Pandjaitan boasted that Indonesia had the support of the two countries and could handle the MSG. At the same time, he argued that foreigners should not interfere in matters of human rights in West Papua.
Meanwhile, environmental destruction and rampant militarism walk hand in hand in West Papua. Papuans are continuously stigmatised as backward, ignorant and poor. This has become a pretext for what Indonesian authorities call “the acceleration and expansion of development”.
Pressed against waves of Indonesian migration, Papuans are not given any chance at all to develop themselves. They are a minority in their own land, not only in terms of number but also in terms of power. Every protest and negotiation effort by indigenous people is met with brutal responses and security operations.

Dignified resolution

In talking about West Papua, the Indonesian government often uses language that obscures past abuses. Papua’s relationship with the outside world is heavily controlled. The Indonesian government makes it difficultfor international journalists to cover Papua and bans international researchers from studying the region.
Indonesia’s solutions for West Papua are based on shallow reflections and fear of the West Papuan people.
A genuine resolution for the West Papuan problem will only come from Indonesia’s willingness to listen to and stop oppression of West Papuans.
Indonesia should welcome the support from international communities, such as the MSG and the United Nations, as mediators in finding a resolution on West Papua.

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