Jakarta. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK’s opposition Labour Party, on Tuesday (03/05) called for a United Nations-supervised independence vote in West Papua.
Corbyn made the comments during an address to the UK-based International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP).
“What we’re looking at is a group of people who did not enjoy their rights during a period of decolonization, did not enjoy the rights bestowed to them by the UN charter and by the statutes on decolonization,” Corbyn said, as reported by the Guardian.
He will advocate for free vote support to be added to the party’s platform as it reflects ambitions to base foreign policy decisions around human rights, he said.
“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.”
West Papuan separatist leader Benny Wenda, who has been living in political exile in London since 2003, led the group in signing a declaration dubbed the Westminster Declaration in support of a referendum and criticizing the 1969 “act of free choice” as void, according to the IPWP statement.
Meanwhile, support for the cause voiced by Australian senator Richard di Natale, leader and West Papuan spokesman for minor party the Greens, prompted the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra on to the offensive.
2) West Papuan report reveals country in ‘slow-motion genocide’
May 6, 2016
Report shock: Indigenous community leader Sam Watson, The United Liberation Movement for West Papua’s Australia and Pacific countries ambassador Amatus Douw, Catholic Justice and Peace Commission executive officer Peter Ardnt and Senator Claire Moore.
THE Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of Brisbane has called on the United Nations to investigate human rights abuses in West Papua.
The commission has issued a report documenting recent military and police intimidation, beatings and torture, kidnapping and murder in West Papua.
The report concluded there has been no improvement in human rights in West Papua after a Commission Shadow Human Rights Fact Finding Mission visited the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua in February.
On March 9, The Catholic Leader reported recent alleged cases of human rights abuse cited by the fact-finding mission members – Commission executive officer Peter Arndt, and respected human rights advocate Josephite Sister Susan Connelly.
Sr Connelly, likened her visit to West Papua to “stepping back twenty years when I first went to East Timor”.
“The same oppressive security presence everywhere, the same suspicion, bewilderment, frustration and sadness,” she said.
“The same fear. The same seemingly groundless hope.”
CJPC executive officer Peter Arndt has released a 24-page report on the fact-finding mission “We Will Lose Everything”, based on interviews with more than 250 community leaders in Jayapura, Merauke, Timika and Sorong.
“We heard many stories of bashings, torture, murder, economic hardship, social marginalisation and cultural deprivation,” Mr Arndt said.
“There is clear evidence of ongoing violence, intimidation and harassment by the Indonesian security forces.”
Mr Arndt identified the instigators of alleged human rights violations as members of the Indonesian army including Kopassus, police including a special counter insurgency unit, Detachment 88, and Indonesia’s intelligence agency, BIN.
The fact-finding team also heard and saw evidence of the rapid demographic shift in West Papua resulting from the influx of Indonesian migrants into West Papua.
It heard evidence of growing marginalisation of Papuans economically, socially and culturally.
Many Papuans met by the delegation expressed immense desperation at the combined effect of their violent repression and marginalisation.
“An environment of great fear and desperation was clearly evident among the people,” My Arndt said.
“Many spoke of a slow motion genocide.”
The fact finding mission also met with eyewitnesses of the 1969 “act of free choice” – a United Nations sanctioned vote given to 1022 Papuans to decide whether the former Dutch colony should be granted independence or become integrated into the Indonesian Republic.
The evidence of one woman who took part in the vote supported the claim that the Indonesian security forces used violence and intimidation to obtain a unanimous vote of consent to become part of Indonesia.
“She was threatened with dire consequences if she did not support the Indonesian takeover,” the report said.
“She still showed great distress and guilt over her part in the vote all these years later.
“She sees her support for the Indonesian occupation as a betrayal of her people’s wishes.
“Worse still she cannot publicly share what happened for fear of what that might mean for her own life and the life of her family.
“Her distress and guilt is all the worse because of the many brutal acts of repression at the hands of Indonesian security forces she has witnessed in her town since that fateful day.”
The CJPC report called for action at the United Nations to investigate human rights abuses, and for the Indonesian Government to negotiate with the United Liberation Movement for West Papua to find a pathway towards self determination.
Last week Mr Arndt travelled to Port Vila, Vanuatu to submit his findings to members of the Melanesia Spearhead Group, an intergovernmental organisation composed of four Melanesian states – Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
Indonesia is a member of the group and the ULM has observer status.
There has also been an upsurge in arrests and detention in West Papua, following demonstrations marking the anniversary of transferal of administration in the former Dutch New Guinea to Indonesia in 1963.
But in a series of posts on Twitter, the Indonesian embassy in Australia says the meeting was a publicity stunt organised by a "small group of Papuan separatists and sympathisers."
It says the United Nations and international community already recognise Papua as part of Indonesia, saying the region already has self-determination through special autonomy, elections, and education.
It accused the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and the prominent activist Benny Wenda of being very cunning in making false claims about the region.
The embassy says the government of President Joko Widodo is mobilising the nation's resources to deliver much-needed infrastructure and public services.
However, it did concede that violence was still an issue, but says many cases have been brought to justice.
4) Indonesia can independently resolve human rights cases in Papua: Horta
Jumat, 6 Mei 2016 18:06 WIB | 692 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia is able to resolve human rights cases in Papua itself, without any assistance from outside institutions, according to Nobel Peace 1996 laurates Jose Ramos Horta.
"Indonesia has several agencies that deal with human rights, such as the KOMNAS HAM (The National Commission on Human Rights) and other similar NGOs, and the government to conduct an investigation over the violence issue there," Horta stated here.
The Indonesian government should also involve NGOs in Papua to review the current conditions there, Horta remarked.
In order to internally resolve its problem in Papua, Indonesia needs to allow the local institutions to handle the matter.
Former president and prime minister of Timor Leste also noted that most of Papuas people still had faith in the Indonesian government and did not favor a separation.
"Under the administration of President Joko Widodo, who is committed to improving the situation in Papua, there are several people in the province who are hoping for an improvement after years of disappointment. I see a lot of hope in the new government," Horta affirmed.
Horta hoped that a significant step will be taken to grant more rights to the people of Papua.
"The government needs to give priority to the local people of Papua, so they feel safe and protected," Horta emphasized.
Moreover, the government must create greater economic opportunities in Papua, ensure womens empowerment, and improve the quality of education.
Earlier, on May 2, Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, on behalf of the Indonesian government, invited Horta to Papua to hold a dialog with the local residents.
The government is committed to building Papua and resolving human rights cases.
(Reporting By Aubrey Kandelila Fanani/Uu.INE/KR-BSR/F001)
Jakarta. Indonesia's House of Representatives has condemned a meeting by the International Parliamentarians for West Papua, or IPWP, that took place at the British Houses of Parliament in London earlier this week, calling it a "reflection of colonial acts."
"It is final; Papua is part of the NKRI [Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia]. This position has been affirmed by the UN [United Nations], so the IPWP [meeting] is an act outside of the law. This meeting should be condemned by the world and by the British government," the House said in an official statement on Friday (06/05).
The House further stated that President Joko Widodo has shown a strong commitment to resolving domestic issues, including the protection of human rights in Papua.
"Within the first one-and-a-half years of Jokowi's administration, eastern Indonesia's economic growth has surpassed that of the western part of the country," the statement said, referring to the president by his popular nickname.
The House also rejected the IPWP's proposal of establishing a fact-finding mission to investigate the issue of Papuan independence, saying that Indonesia wishes to resolve its domestic conflicts without compromising its sovereignty.
"In addition, the House also fully supports the Indonesian government's new diplomatic strategy to extend and strengthen partnerships with Pacific nations," said the statement, signed by House Commission I deputy chairman Tubagus Hasanuddin and lawmakers I Mahfudz Siddik, Tantowi Yahya, Irene Roba, Charles Honoris, Tuti Roosdiono and Eva Sundari.
The leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, called for a UN-supervised independence vote in West Papua during Tuesday's IPWP meeting in London.
The cause has gained support from West Papuan separatist leader Benny Wenda, who has been living in exile in London since 2003, and Australian Senator Richard di Natale, who is the leader of the Greens minority party.
The recent arrests of nearly 1,500 protesters in Jayapura are part of a broader systematic oppression of Papuans by the Indonesian government – Jubi
Jayapura, Jubi – 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 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.
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.
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 difficult for 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. (*)
Benny Giay is the head of Synod of Kingmi Church in West Papua.
Reports from West Papua say that nearly all of the 1,700 protesters arrested earlier this week have been released. There were rallies in all the major cities in support of the United Liberation Movement, which has been pushing for a referendum on independence from Indonesia...we have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.
The five countries in the Melanesian Spearhead Group were scheduled to meet in Port Vila this week, with West Papua at the top of the agenda. Now, the summit's been postponed for at least a month as Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Kanak Liberation Front try to bridge a deep split.
Two years ago, several West Papuan groups formed the United Liberation Movement as an umbrella organization to take their case to the world, beginning with their Melanesian brethren. Indonesia, which has ruled the western half of New Guinea since 1963, rejects any discussion of the issue as interference in its internal affairs, and, in the context of South West Pacific islands, Indonesia is an economic and military powerhouse.
Last year, the Melanesian Spearhead Group papered over its divisions by elevating Indonesia to associate membership, while granting West Papua observer status at the same time. This year, Indonesia's been lobbying hard for full membership ...and so have the West Papuans, who also want Indonesia voted out.
Vanuatu and the Kanaks of New Caledonia back the West Papuans...Fiji and Papua New Guinea support Indonesia... The Solomon Islands tends to support Indonesia, but popular support for Melanesian solidarity is strong, and grows with every report of abuse by Indonesian authorities. Last month, an Indonesian human Rights organization called Kontras reported that 1,200 West Papuan activists had been harassed, killed or tortured last year.