Thursday, June 30, 2016

1) The Urgent Cry For Help From West Papua


2) Churches express solidarity with West Papua independence campaigners
3) GUEST BLOG: Maire Leadbetter – West Papua: Human rights abuses cannot be hidden
4  ) More intimidation of activists as anniversary approaches  
5) Why not open up the Island of New Guinea?  
6) Human trafficking convict undergoes trial in Biak court
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1) The Urgent Cry For Help From West Papua
By Adam Boland -  July 1, 2016
Prominent West Papuan religious leader Benny Giay believes Pacific countries might offer the last hope to save his people.
During an emotional interview with Pasifik News from Jayapura, Dr Giay predicted the Papuan culture could disappear within decades.
“Almost everyday, our people are dying. Almost everyday. Papuans are not being taken into consideration by Indonesia. Nothing is being done to secure our future.”

He says he’s constantly receiving reports of women and children starving to death and claims Jakarta turns a blind eye, preferring instead to focus on infrastructure and services for the influx of non-Papuan migrants.
“These are anti-Papuan development policies,” says Dr Giay.
He spoke out as member states of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) consider awarding full membership status to the United Liberation Movement of West Papua.
Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands will push strongly for the move at a summit of leaders in Honiara on July 14.
Dr Giay hopes the MSG can pressure Indonesia to hold formal talks about the plight of the Papuan people.
“We need a third party to talk to Jakarta. Papuans don’t trust Indonesians and Indonesians don’t trust Papuans. That’s why we need a third party to moderate,” he says.
Climate of fear
That distrust continues to be fuelled by reports of human rights violations.

Just this week, a West Papuan student was killed while riding his motorbike in Nabire city.
Indonesian authorities insist the death of 18-year-old Owen Pekei was the result of a traffic accident but his relatives say he was shot in the head. Photos have emerged on social media that seem to support the family’s claim.
Witnesses reported seeing Pekei being pursued by security forces, apparently for carrying a bag emblazoned with the outlawed Morning Star pro-independence symbol.
Lack of media freedom
Stories like that aren’t uncommon but are hard to verify because of the continuing crackdown on journalists in the region.
In May last year, Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced with much fanfare that foreign reporters would be allowed to travel unhindered to the region.
But correspondents are still finding it hard to get visitor permits and those who have been say they were closely monitored.
Earlier this year, French journalist Cyril Payen was told he would not be allowed to return after a documentary he made about the region was aired on France 24.
Things aren’t much easier for local journalists.
The Urgent Cry For Help From West Papua
Prominent West Papuan religious leader Benny Giay believes Pacific countries might offer the last hope to save his people.
Last month, Jayapura police stopped them from covering a pro-independence demonstration with threats of arrest.
“President Joko Widodo’s promises now sound emptier than ever,” says Benjamin Ismaïl from Reporters Without Borders. “Authorities continue to censor and control media coverage arbitrarily.”
Silence from Australia
Peter Arndt from the Australian-based Catholic Justice and Peace Commission says that lack of transparency reduces the urgency of other countries to act.
“Last month, we saw police in Papua New Guinea shoot at students. That received instant media coverage around the world,” he says. “Within hours, you saw Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop holding a press conference and calling for human rights to be respected. Yet there is absolute silence about the continuing human rights violations in West Papua.”
Mr Arndt says Australia’s reluctance to off-side Indonesia is taking a major toll.
“How many Papuan mothers and fathers have to bury their murdered children before our Government shows a shred of decency and human compassion?”
He thinks Australia should be following the example of West Papua’s Melanesian neighbours.
“Countries like the Solomon Islands are helping to raise awareness through their actions at the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Hopefully that leads to action.”
Dr Giay has hope of that too but is realistic.
“Papuans are losing their identity. We are losing our lives. Papua is a land of mourning. There’s been too much silence. I just hope it’s not too late.”
(Officials from the Indonesian Government were approached for comment but said they wouldn’t be available until after July 11.)
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2) Churches express solidarity with West Papua independence campaigners
Posted on: June 30, 2016 9:12 AM

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The increasing tensions in Indonesian West Papua has attracted the attention of both the World Council of Churches’ Central Committee and the Bishops of the Anglican Church in Papua New Guinea.
Sovereignty over West Papua has been disputed since the demise of the Netherlands East Indies in the 1940s. Indonesia claimed sovereignty over all of the former colony but the Dutch retained control over West Papua. Indonesia invaded the island in the 1960s and a later UN-brokered peace deal resulted in 1,000 “elders” electing to become part of Indonesia.
But the result of the “Act of Free Choice” has been disputed – with pro-independence campaigners saying that the elders who took part in the election were hand-picked by Indonesia and forced to vote unanimously for Indonesian control.
There has been growing calls for independence despite a crackdown on protest activity. Recently, police arrested more than 1,000 protestors who took part in a pro-independence march. International journalists are not allowed into the province and reports indicate that local journalists covering protests are harassed and blocked by police and military officials.
Archbishop Clyde Igara, Primate of the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea, said that week that the bishops of the PNG church “spoke in support of our Melanesian brothers and sisters of West Papua” during their recent meeting.
“The constitution of the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea affirms the dignity of human life and the need to show respect for all people,” he said. “The bishops wish to express on behalf of the Anglican Church the hope that the Governments of Papua New Guinea and of West Papua will make every effort to give freedom to the many displaced people of West Papua to settle and re-establish their sense of livelihood; their homes and gardens.”
The Papua New Guinea bishops welcomed their government’s decision to give citizenship to West Papuans living in PNG. “We are clear that it is a Gospel imperative that we must ‘love the Lord our God and secondly to love our neighbours as ourselves’”, Archbishop Igara said. “Therefore we stand in solidarity with the people of West Papua.”
Meanwhile, at their meeting in Trondheim, Norway, the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches called on member churches to “pray and act in support of Christian witness in the region.”
The Committee also requested that an international ecumenical delegation be sent to the region “as soon as possible” in order to “demonstrate the ecumenical movement’s accompaniment of the churches in the region, to hear the voices of the victims of violence and human rights violations, and to pursue the pilgrimage of justice and peace in this context.”
The Indonesian government says that “any solution to the issue must be within the framework of the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia.
“It is important to stress that Indonesia is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural and multi-linguistic nation with ‘unity in diversity’ as its moto. It is therefore important to find common ground to bridge differences among its peoples as differences are common in democratic societies throughout the world.”
It suggests increased regional autonomy in the region, which it calls Irian Jaya, and warns that “Problems arising of the province . . . have to be dealt with on a national basis and the Government would view any attempt to disrupt Indonesia’s sovereignty over Irian Jaya as interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.”

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3) GUEST BLOG: Maire Leadbetter – West Papua: Human rights abuses cannot be hidden
By The Daily Blog  /   June 30, 2016  /   No Comments
It is time that New Zealand recognised the obvious – Indonesia’s repressive rule has not extinguished West Papuan aspirations for freedom. We turned our backs on the people fifty years ago, but we have the chance to do better now. We could start by backing the call for a Pacific fact-finding mission and urging Indonesia to stop arresting peaceful demonstrators.
 The Indonesian Government has developed strategies for avoiding international criticism over its appalling human rights record in West Papua. One strategy is to keep the outside world out and ensure that approved visitors such as journalists and diplomats are carefully guided and get to meet with the ‘right’ people. With variations this technique has served Indonesia well since it took over the territory back in 1963.
However, this strategy is not working out so well just now. It is the digital age and you can’t arrest thousands of people; a record –breaking two thousand in May and over one thousand in June- and hope the word won’t get out. In May the arrested demonstrators were videoed as they were herded into a police compound, stripped to the waist and forced to stay for hours under the burning sun. What was their offence? The peaceful demonstrators were simply carrying placards supporting international initiatives such as the drive to have the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) recognised as a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). That would be an important step-up from the current ULMWP status as an MSG observer.
The Solomon Islands envoy in Geneva, Barrett Salato, gave a moving address recently to the United Nations Human Rights Council in which he drew attention to the arrests. He also backed the call (endorsed by the International Parliamentarians for West Papua and others) for an internationally supervised referendum so that the people could choose whether or not they want to stay with Indonesia. The Vanuatu delegate joined Mr Salato in calling for Indonesia to allow both the UN Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and a Pacific Islands Forum fact finding mission to visit.
Indonesia has also perfected a distraction strategy – ‘nothing to see there – look here instead’. The Minister for Political and, Security Affairs, Luhut Pandjaitan, is on this tack. He has appointed a new team to investigate historic human rights abuses. The move is controversial and a number of Church and human rights leaders are opposed to Pandjaitan’s initiative because, as one pointed out, ‘the state can’t judge the state’. Indonesia’s Human Rights Commission (Komnas Ham) has turned down the invitation to take part, saying it prefers to maintain its independence. Undeterred, Minister Pandjaitan took a small group of regional Ambassadors, including the New Zealand Ambassador, Trevor Matheson, on his latest visit to West Papua to promote his plan.
Thus far we don’t know what our Ambassador made it of it all. Luhut Pandjaitan has been careful to emphasise that these Ambassadors were not on a ‘fact-finding mission’, so it is unlikely that the Ambassadors saw any sign of dissent or met any activists.
In the early 1960s the people of West Papua were looking forward to eventual independence and the Dutch colonial administration was working on training administrators and handing over some legislative control. Many hoped for eventual union with the other half of New Guinea Island, today’s Papua New Guinea. New Zealand supported these plans until 1962 when the US brokered an Agreement between the Dutch and Indonesia which handed control of the territory to Indonesia. It was effectively a western-sanctioned land grab and the West Papuans were not consulted. There was a ‘safety valve’ in the form of a so-called Act of Free Choice to be held in 1969.
The 1969 exercise was an absolute shocker and everybody involved, including the tiny UN team present at the time, knew it. There were a series of stage-managed ‘consultative assemblies’ or ‘musjawarah’. Just over a thousand people took part in the final ‘vote’ and they were isolated under armed guard beforehand and threatened with torture and death should they ‘vote’ for any choice other than staying with Indonesia. None did.
The New Zealand Ambassador of the time attended a couple of the assemblies and reported on ‘the questionable morality’ of the whole exercise. New Zealand and other western nations voted at the UN to endorse a process they knew was wrong because they wanted to stay on side with anti-communist Indonesia.
The New Zealand public had to wait for documents to be declassified to know what our Ambassador thought of this exercise. But journalists and editorial writers did not hang back. After the first two assemblies had been held the Melbourne paper The Herald was moved to comment ‘even Hitler was satisfied with less than one hundred per cent in plebiscites.’
It is time that New Zealand recognised the obvious – Indonesia’s repressive rule has not extinguished West Papuan aspirations for freedom. We turned our backs on the people fifty years ago, but we have the chance to do better now. We could start by backing the call for a Pacific fact-finding mission and urging Indonesia to stop arresting peaceful demonstrators.
 Maire Leadbeater is one of NZs best known human rights activists 

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http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1606/S00107/more-intimidation-of-activists-as-anniversary-approaches.htm

4) More intimidation of activists as anniversary approaches


Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
Media release- 30 June 2016
More intimidation of activists as anniversary of West Papuan independence declaration approaches 
On the 1st July in 1971, West Papuan Independence was declared by the OPM. 
Local media suarapapua.com reported that the Papua Student Alliance (AMP) central committee had issued a general call to all the students and the people of Papua to commemorate the reading of the proclamation of independence of Papua.
In the article suarapapua.com also reported that the Papuan Police Chief, Inspector General of Police Paul Waterpauw had issued a statement that on the 1 July 2016, the people of Papua should not commemorate the anniversary with the raising of the Morning Star flag.
"We will prosecute anyone affirm raising the Morning Star flag. But we give tolerance when July 1 was celebrated with the worship of gratitude, "said Waterpauw.
Although the West Papuan people have still to achieve their Independence, they have achieved great victories in the past few years. 
The formation of the umbrella organisation the ULMWP, leading to it being granted observer status at the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
West Papua being put back on the agenda at the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and the fact that West Papua is becoming an international issue.
Joe Collins of AWPA said, “as the 1st July approaches we again have the security forces trying to intimidate the West Papuan people into not taking part in rallies celebrating days of significance in their history or in rallies bringing attention to the injustice they suffer under Indonesian rule. Since the beginning of May over 3000 West Papuans have been arrested in peaceful rallies throughout West Papua. Hopefully on the 1st of July there will be no repeat performances of mass arrests of Papuans in any rallies that take place”.
Proclamation
To all the Papuan people, from Numbay to Merauke, from Sorong to Baliem (Star Mountains) and from Biak to the isle of Adi.
“With Gods help and blessing, we take this opportunity today to announce to you all that, today, 1 July 1971, the land and people of Papua have been declared to be free and independent (de facto and de jure). May God be with us, and let it be known to the world, that the sincere wish of the Papuan people to be free and independent in their own country is hereby fulfilled.
Victoria, July 1st 1971
In the name of the people and government of West Papua 
President 
Seth J Rumkorem (Brigadier general)
(From Robin Osbourne’ book Indonesia’s Secret War 1985) 
ends
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5) Why not open up the Island of New Guinea?  

THE Papua New Guinea National Research Institute has released its latest publication today for public discussion. The report titled: “Why not open up the island of New Guinea?” is an opinion piece by the PNG NRI Director Dr Charles Yala.

This article puts out for public discussion, especially within Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Indonesia, the idea of opening up the Island of New Guinea. It suggests that four Cities (three maritime cities and one hinterland city) and three Highways (North South, East and West, all passing through the hinterland city) as the core elements of the proposal to open up the island of New Guinea.
“The economic impact of this proposal would be significant for both PNG and Indonesia, because it links PNG and Indonesia to the fastest growing economies of the World: Asia to both the West and North, and Australia and New Zealand to the South,” Dr Yala said.
Dr Yala stated that there are engineering, financial, social, cultural, political, economic, and security considerations for all who would be affected by this proposal.

“The proposal has the potential to develop an integrated economic community within this part of the world and place PNG and Indonesia, especially West Papua, on a path to sustained, broad-based growth and development. This proposal complements two other major projects: the Maritime Silk Road being advanced by China (China - Southeast Asia -Pacific Islands), and the Northern Australia Policy proposed by the Australian government for the development of the northern half of the Australian continent,” Dr Yala said.

Dr Yala asserts that if this idea is progressed by PNG and Indonesia, it could be a good candidate project for the newly-established Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
“I am inviting genuine discussions with a view to progress this project because the potential economic gain for all inhabitants of the Island of New Guinea, and more specifically for the broader PNG community and Indonesia, in my view is significant,” Dr Yala said.
Picture: Dr. Charles Yala pictured in the centre




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6) Human trafficking convict undergoes trial in Biak court
Kamis, 30 Juni 2016 07:21 WIB

Biak, Papua (ANTARA News) - Human trafficking convict Mami Sari underwent trial at Biak District Court, Papua, Wednesday evening.

The trial was led by head judge, Indrawan. The agenda was to hear the four victim-witnesses of the human trafficking case.

Four girls from Bogor, West Java, identified with initials AF,SN, FS and HM, who were victims of human trafficking testified under oath in the court.

"We were invited to Biak by Sari to work in a night club at a salary of 3 million rupiahs per month," one of the victims told the judges in court.

In reality, these girls were only paid 500,000 rupiah every month.

Prosecutor Leni Silaban charged defendant Sari with regulation number 21, 2007 about the eradication of human trafficking.

During the trial, the defendant was accompanied by her attorney, Sergius Wabiser from Biak.

The trial went smoothly with Biak Police providing security.(*)
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