Friday, May 13, 2016

1) MSG chair urges UN intervention in West Papua

2) Sogavare Supports West Papua
3) Sade Bimantara is already free, rights protected

4) Activists lambast TNI’s anticommunism campaign

1) MSG chair urges UN intervention in West Papua
2:42 pm today
The chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Manasseh Sogavare, says the regional body is pushing for an urgent intervention by the United Nations in West Papua.
Mr Sogavare, who is the prime minister of Solomon Islands, has also declared his country's support for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua's bid to be a full member of the MSG.
Mr Sogavare has just been in Port Vila where he met with his Vanuatu counterpart Charlot Salwai whose proposal to give the Liberation Movement full membership at the MSG is to be discussed at an upcoming MSG leaders summit in Papua New Guinea.
While in Vila, the MSG chair met with visiting representatives of the Liberation Movement which has strong support in Indonesia's Papua region.
Since the West Papuans were granted observer status in the MSG last year, Mr Sogavare said the situation in Indonesia's Papua region had become more tense, leaving the indigenous people on the "brink of extinction".
This comes after Indonesia's leading human rights organisation said that since the new government came to power in late 2014, abuses in Papua were as rampant as they were under previous governments.

Crossing the line

Indonesia was granted MSG associate member status last year in a bid to foster dialogue with Jakarta on West Papua.
However, in a statement, Mr Sogavare censured Jakarta for rebuffing his his request for dialogue on Papua.
'Indonesia has crossed the line so we need to take some tough stance," he said.
A recent surge in Indonesian diplomatic overtures to Pacific Islands countries is increasingly seen as being about countering the growing regional support for West Papuan self-determination aspirations.
The Indonesian President Joko Widodo's refusal to meet with Mr Sogavare in his capacity as the MSG chair has been proffered as grounds for the Melanesian states to "take the matter up to the next notch which is the United Nations".
Mr Sogavare said as well as the membership bid, the MSG summit would address the group's pursuit of UN action on what he called "genocides committed against humanity in West Papua by Indonesia".
While Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia's Kanaks have signalled support for West Papua's membership bid, it remains uncertain where the other two full MSG members - Fiji and PNG - stand.
Governments of both countries have closer ties with Indonesia than the others, and Jakarta has recently said that it has support of the Fiji and PNG for its own bid for full MSG membership.
Vanuatu appeared to counter that when prime minister Salwai suggested Indonesia should be stripped of its membership status within the MSG.
The West Papua issue continues to be a stern test of MSG unity.

Confusion over director-general's appointment

The upcoming MSG leaders summit was already shadowed by division among the members of the appointment of a new director-general.
Last month Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu objected to confirmation by the MSG chairman that the Fiji diplomat Amena Yauvoli had been selected for the role, which has been vacant since last year.
Earlier, it came as a surprise to other MSG members that the Fiji Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola announced Mr Yauvoli's appointment to media, when the formal selection process was still underway.
The MSG summit, originally scheduled for the first week of May in Vanuatu, was supposed to be when the leaders deliberated on the director-general's appointment.
Vanuatu had put forward its own nomination for the role, its ambassador to the European Union Roy Mickey-Joy, and insisted that the selection be finalised at the summit.
At the last minute,the summit was postponed, amid reports that Fiji's prime minister Frank Bainimarama opted instead to attend the Queen's birthday celebrations in Britain.
The MSG chairman said the summit would now be held next month, in Port Moresby.
Mr Sogavare has also now indicated that he despite his earlier statements, he would allow the formal appointment of a director-general to proceed as originally planned, with a decision to be reached at the summit.
The other priority item on the summit's agenda is the formal application for full membership by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.

2) Sogavare Supports West Papua

Posted: Friday, May 13, 2016 8:00 am
By Jane Joshua |
Solomon Islands Prime Minister and Chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), Manasseh Sogavare, yesterday revealed that Solomon Islands will support Vanuatu’s stand for full MSG Membership, for West Papua.
“You have my full support Prime Minister,” Mr. Sogavare told the head of the Vanuatu Government, Prime Minister Charlot Salwai.
He said it is time for West Papua, to be “elevated” and be a member of the MSG.
The incumbent Government led by Prime Minister Salwai wants to see the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), which currently holds Observer Status admitted as a full member into the MSG.
The Council of Ministers endorsed the decision to instruct the government to include the ULMWP’s full MSG membership status as part of the agenda in the MSG Leaders Summit scheduled to take place this month but then postponed to a date yet to be confirmed.
“We will support what you have discussed,” the Solomon Islands Prime minister told PM Salwai.
He said the MSG is a strong group and its member countries rise over all problems and face them in the true Melanesian spirit.
PM Sogavare said the solidarity of the Melanesian countries was exemplified this week in Port Vila when the five Melanesian countries supported Solomon Islands’ bid to host the next Pacific Games.
Prime minister Salwai congratulated PM Sogavare on Solomon Islands’ successful bid.
He said despite the political crisis the country was thrown into, the incumbent government is committed to ensuring the Pacific Mini Games will take place as planned in Port Vila come 2017.
The Vanuatu PM thanked PM Sogavare, the government and people of Solomon Islands for their decision to support the Vanuatu government on its stand for West Papua to gain full membership into the MSG in the next Leaders’ Summit in Papua New Guinea after the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries meeting.
PM Salwai further revealed that he will be travelling to New Caledonia next week, where he will make time to talk to Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) Leader Victor Tutugoro and he will convey Solomon Islands’ decision to support Vanuatu on full MSG Membership for West Papua.
“I wish to reiterate that we are cousins, brothers and we will work together for our common interests,” he told PM Sogavare.
He said while there are outside influences, the MSG belongs to “us” and custom, culture and tradition must be revisited, adding that Melanesia represents a large mass of the people and land in the region.
Salwai further said the issue of the new MSG Director General is a small issue and the member countries will cooperate because they are “one”.
He dismissed allegations that Vanuatu has stopped the new MSG DG, Fijian Diplomat Amena Yauvoli from coming to Vanuatu.
“The Vanuatu government merely raised the issue of the process of appointment but did not stop the new DG from coming over,” PM Salwai said.
He commended the Prime minister and people of Solomon Islands for their understanding on the border between the two countries, indicating a visit in the near future.
PM Salwai said Vanuatu will continue to support Solomon Islands PM Sogavare as chairman of the MSG.
3) Sade Bimantara is already free, rights protected
Ligia J. Giay Student, Leiden University
Posted: Tue, May 10 2016 | 03:42 pm
A recent article by Sade Bimantara on how Papua is “already free and its rights protected” reeks of what it means to be privileged in Indonesia. I accept that everyone experiences differently what it is to be a citizen of a country, but to use one’s experience of being in Indonesia to scold other people ( in such a patronizing tone, mind you ) makes it difficult to ignore. 
Let me make my points one by one. 
Sade began his case by saying that the use of the word “liberation” in the United Liberation Movement for West Papua ( ULMWP ) was pretentious. Perhaps to be deliberately facetious, he asks, “[liberated] from whom or what?” But let’s pretend that the question is serious.
Papua wants independence from Indonesia. Most Papuans have never wanted to be a part of Indonesia. Were it not for the Netherlands, Indonesia would never have had any basis on which to claim that Papua is part of Indonesia. We all know that Sukarno demanded that Indonesia inherit the entirety of what was the Dutch East Indies. If Papua were not part of the Dutch East Indies, the claim would not have any basis whatsoever.
But Papua was a part of the Dutch East Indies. Hence, Sukarno’s claim was reified. But to say that “the people of Papua together with their brothers from other parts of Indonesia fought together in the war for independence from the Netherlands” and that ‘in 1969 the people of Papua once and for all reaffirmed that Papua was an inevitable part of Indonesia” is taking it too far. I suggest reading a book by historian P.J. Drooglever entitled An Act of Free Choice: Decolonisation and the Right to Self-Determination in West Papua.
The idea that Papuans fought in the war of independence from the Netherland is preposterous, to say the least. Which war of independence are we talking about here? If Sade was referring to the revolutionary war in 1945-1949, I have bad news for him. In 1945-1949, Papuans did not know of other Indonesians; they were not fighting against the Netherlands. 
If the author was referring to the 1969 Act of Free Choice ( which my friends have called affectionately ‘the Act of No Choice’ ), a cursory reading of the work above by Prof. Drooglever would debunk the idea that Papuans ever “reaffirmed” their belonging to Indonesia in the act. Prof. Drooglever took 900 pages to make this case; I will not waste ink on simply repeating it. 
But let me get to the point of why the article reeked of privilege, and what I mean when I say that the article reveals what it means to be privileged in Indonesia. 
To be privileged in Indonesia is knowing that you can go to the police for protection. In light of the detention of at least 1,600 demonstrators last week, you can be assured that most Papuans don’t feel protected when we think of the police, or worse, the military apparatus. 
To be privileged in Indonesia is to be able to say that the government is committed to solving all human rights issues, and use that sentiment to end the argument. To a free Indonesian, commitment is enough. Papuans know better. Most of us do not hate Jokowi; we simply wonder how far his commitment to human rights can take us toward a better life. We like commitments; unfortunately, they are not enough. 
To be privileged in Indonesia is to be able to read about local daily injustices in national newspapers, instead of on Facebook posts. To refer to commitment when Human Rights Watch still laments the lack of journalist access to Papua is wilful ignorance. Dear author, do you know why it is so difficult to receive “credible” information on Papua? Because any journalist you deem “credible” enough would not be able to go to Papua freely. 
To be privileged in Indonesia is to be able to attend a university anywhere in Indonesia, without having to prove that you are not an idiot. It is about being able to leave your home region and use the local dialect, without receiving smirks. Our different dialect does not showcase our stupidity, but somehow that connection is there, and we Papuans have to prove we are not as idiotic as we sound. 
To be privileged in Indonesia is to say that Papuans are brothers while at the same time saying that this demand for freedom is ridiculous. It thinks that we are stupid and ungrateful. That it is improper for Papuans to be still demanding liberation from Indonesia. ‘Look at all this development and progress we’ve given you - how dare you ask for more?”
It is at the point of human rights issues that the claims fall short. Instead of referring to recent human rights reports to be able to say that we are doing great, the author has to fall back on the argument that “we are not as horrible as these separatists are saying.”  And Papuans are supposed to be satisfied with this.
Guess what? Papuans are not satisfied. We deserve better than your commitment, your insistence that you are not committing genocide. If we were satisfied, the independence movement would not have been as strong as it is. ULMWP would have remained on the fringes of our society, not central to it. 
Because the problem of being a Papuan is to know that when you look around you, a lot of things fall short. Because while the author has given us an extensive list of the freedom of Papuans to do things, it has not given a list of things Papuans are unfree from. Unfree from police brutality. Unfree from fear of the military. Unfree from living our lives peacefully. 
But perhaps the point the author makes relates more to the Melanesian Spearhead Group ( MSG ) than the ungrateful wretches of the ULMWP. It is about the annoyance that the ULMWP causes to Indonesia’s membership in the MSG. Of course, while I will not dispute that Indonesia has a significant population that can be called Melanesian, I have to say that Indonesia’s interest in MSG is as old as the success of ULMWP’s lobby in the MSG. It is so recent that one may rightfully wonder whether Indonesian entrance into the MSG intends simply to force MSG members to adhere to the Agreed Principles of Cooperation of the MSG- i.e., forcing them to respect Indonesia’s sovereignty.
I know that I will not change the author’s mind regarding the issue. I simply wish to point out that the Indonesia that Sade lives in is to Papuans as real as the magical land in The Wizard of Oz
The author is a student in the history department at Leiden University in the Netherlands. 

4) Activists lambast TNI’s anticommunism campaign
Jakarta  Posted: Fri, May 13 2016 | 10:20 am

Activists are decrying the increasing involvement of the military in Indonesian public affairs, which they say is accompanied by rampant human rights violations and attempts to prevent a feared revival of communism.
"The military doesn't have the right to arrest civilians," Alghiffari Aqsa, the director of the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation ( LBH Jakarta ), said during a discussion in Jakarta on Thursday.
His comments follow an incident on May 3, when members of the 0505 East Jakarta Military District Command reportedly seized several copies of a book entitled Palu Arit di Ladang Tebu Hammer and Sickle in the Sugar Cane Field) by Hermawan Sulistiyo from a store on Jl. Dewi Sartika in Cawang, East Jakarta. Several T-shirts featuring a hammer and sickle logo were also confiscated at the time.
Separately, in Ternate, North Maluku, the 1501 Ternate Military Command arrested four activists of the Alliance of Indigenous People ( AMAN ), apparently because they were in possession of books and T-shirts related to leftist movements. The activists’ books were confiscated.
The Indonesian Military ( TNI ) was known for its dwi fungsi ( dual role ) concept during the New Order regime, which ended in 1998 with Soeharto stepping down from power. In that era, the TNI was commonly involved in politics and business.
In 2010, the Constitutional Court annulled the 1963 law on monitoring printed materials with content that could jeopardize public order. Hence, Alghiffari said, the military had no legal basis to seize those books.
"Under the pretext of the threat of communism they have been banning books and arresting people. Those facts show the social reality about the increasing role of the military in public and security affairs," said Gufron Mabruri from human rights watchdog Imparsial.
Gufron added that the military had signed a memorandum of understanding with several non-military institutions to extend its authority, including agreements that allowed military deployment to guard events like demonstrations and evictions and to guard public infrastructure, such as railway stations, harbors and airports. ( vps/dmr )
Arrest Will Not Silence Alert Protesters, say Papuan Legislator
10 May 2016

Jayapura, Jubi – Papuan legislator Natan Pahabol said the police’s move to suppress free speech  in Papua could not be justified.
He said restricting people from expressing their aspirations in public is a violation of rights and democracy. The arrest of protesters would not silence them and would only raise negative perceptions towards security forces, he said.
“Expressing aspirations is a human right in a democracy. Speeches and demonstrations are not the end of the struggle, but it is part of the process of democracy. Do not just arrest,” he told Jubi by phone on last week.
He criticize the Police who restrict and arrest thousands of West Papua National Committee activists who conducted a peace rally at several points in Jayapura Municipality on 2 May 2016 to support the ULMWP to be a full member of MSG.
“It wasn’t for security but contrary it made the Papuan issue to become more highlighted in the international community. The Papuan issue is not a new thing, it still existed until now,” he said.
Whatwever happened in Papua, he said, could not be covered any longer. The current technology made all information and incidents spread out to the world immediately. “It is a mistake to restrict a demonstration. As long as it is not anarchy and run smoothly in peaceful, let the people express their aspiration,” said the politician from Gerindra Party.
Separately, the Chairman of Papua Legislative Council Yunus Wonda said the Police must stop the arrest towards Papuans who express their aspiration, because he thought it is not the good solution.
“The Police must do a persuasive approach when secure the demonstration. The arrest would only become a tool to counterattack the government and Police with the issue on the restriction of democracy,” said Wonda. (Arjuna Pademme/rom)

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