Monday, August 15, 2016

1) Benny Wenda’s planned visit to New Zealand now on hold

2) Vanuatu hosts Melanesian province conference for Anglican archbishops, bishops 
    3) Indonesia to grant export permit to Freeport in West Papua
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1) Benny Wenda’s planned visit to New Zealand now on hold
  
Trailer for the award-winning documentary The Road To Home about Benny Wenda, the Nobel Peace Prize nominated West Papuan independence leader, in his ongoing struggle to free his people from Indonesian colonial rule. Video: Dancing Turtle Films
Prominent West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda will not be able to visit Aotearoa New Zealand at the end of this month as previously announced.
There is hope that the visit can be rescheduled to a later date.
“I am very sorry I am not able to be with you,” said Benny Wenda.
“Unfortunately I am unable to travel at the moment due to unforeseen circumstances. My spirit is with you all. You have already taken up this issue and made it a major campaign in the Pacific, and this gives us great confidence and strength as brothers and sisters, and I thank you from the people of West Papua.”
Wenda was particularly looking forward to meeting with the new wave of Māori and Pasifika activists in Aotearoa and meeting with New Zealand members of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua.
“Please keep up this momentum. I really appreciate and respect the work of the West Papuan support networks, tribal chiefs, parliamentarians, journalists and individuals making these events happen.
“It is a great privilege to hear how our support network has grown in New Zealand thanks to you, and to see how many people on the ground are joining our cries for freedom.”
Awareness of the plight of West Papuans is growing steadily in Aotearoa New Zealand, the Pacific region, and globally.
In September, the international community will be watching how Pacific and regional leaders, including New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key, address the ongoing human rights issue during the Pacific Island Forum meeting.
Benny Wenda Aotearoa Tour Coordinating Group
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    2) Vanuatu hosts Melanesian province conference for Anglican archbishops, bishops 
    By Godwin Ligo in Port Vila
    The Archbishop of the Province of Melanesia, George Teteli, with other Anglican Archbishops and Bishops of Hawaii, and in the Pacific region are in Port Vila for a one-week conference hosted by the Diocese of Vanuatu and New Caledonia.
    A Communion Service held at the Anglican Church Parish in Port Vila yesterday morning saw the presence of the Head of State, the Rev. Baldwin Lonsdale, President of the Republic of Vanuatu; and the Chief Justice of Vanuatu, Vincent Lunabek; and other leaders.
    West Papua is expected to be among the many topics discussed.

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3) Indonesia to grant export permit to Freeport in West Papua
  
In February 2016, an export permit was renewed by the trade ministry through August 8, 2016.
By Gareth Tredway
The Indonesian government’s mining ministry is said to have recommended the granting of a new short-term export permit to Freeport-McMoRan’s Grasberg mine in West Papua.
Freeport’s local subsidiary is required to apply for renewal of export permits at six-month intervals.
In February 2016, an export permit was renewed by the trade ministry through August 8, 2016.

Reuters cited Bambang Gatot, Director-General of Coal and Minerals, within the mining ministry, as saying the latest renewal would run for less than six months until January 11, but did not explain why.
The company is still in discussions with government to obtain an extension of its long-term rights under its original contract-of-work agreement as it looks to extend operations beyond 2021.
It has agreed to construct new smelter capacity in Indonesia and to divest an additional 20.64 percent interest in PT Freeport Indonesia at fair market value.
The Indonesian government continues to impose a 5 percent export duty while it reviews the company’s smelter plans.
In the six months to end-June, Grasberg produced 169,000 tonnes of copper and 336,000 ounces of gold at a copper cash cost of US$1.22 per pound after gold and silver credits.
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‘Unclean, Unsafe': Australian Study Finds Unfavorable Views of Indonesia
By : Jakarta Globe | on 1:35 PM August 15, 2016
Jakarta. An Australian-based study has found despite diplomats claiming otherwise, Australia and Indonesia diverge in how the two countries view each other.
The study, commissioned by the Australia-Indonesia Center at Melbourne’s Monash University and compiled by EY Sweeney, found 87 percent of Indonesian participants in 2013 had a favorable view of Australia.
More than 80 percent said the neighbor is “prosperous, progressive, beautiful, highly educated and clean, with a strong economy,” as reported by Fairfax.
Meanwhile, 47 percent of Australians reported unfavorable views of Indonesia, saying the country is “unclean” and dangerous.

“The weight of negative media coverage means Indonesia can be seen in Indonesia as having a hard edge,” the report said, also pointing to wide-spread misunderstandings about Islam as influencing the result.
“At the extreme end of the spectrum we did encounter some intense vitriol towards Indonesia. The research has shown that the distance to be traversed in building a closer relationship between the two countries is significant, particularly from the Australian side.”
Bilateral relations remain fraught, despite a positive relation between Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and her Australian counterpart Julie Bishop. Last year’s execution of two Australian nationals convicted of drug offenses saw heated protests after Australia’s then prime minister Tony Abbott linked the executions to aid and the ambassador was recalled to Canberra for the first time in the bilateral relationship.

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