Thursday, August 11, 2016

1) Forum urged to act decisively on West Papua

2) Aust should raise abuse during Papua trip


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http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/310704/forum-urged-to-act-decisively-on-west-papua


1) Forum urged to act decisively on West Papua

3:55 pm today
Johnny Blades - Johnny.Blades@radionz.co.nz
Once strictly confined as an Indonesian domestic issue, advances in telecommunications and Pacific regionalism have internationalised the plight of West Papuans.
For years Papuans have claimed they have been denied basic rights, particularly self-determination, and subjected to constant Indonesian state oppression.
Demographic change in the region has also left Papuans fast becoming a minority, dominated by Indonesian culture, and added urgency to the latest call by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) for help from the Pacific Islands Forum.
Its Australia-based Pacific regional ambassador Amatus Douw is travelling to Suva, Fiji, in the hope of joining discussions around tomorrow's meeting of Foreign Ministers from Forum member states.
“ULMWP believe our people and society need support on the ground from the PIF for the native peoples and territories," he said.

Pacific regional ambassador of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua Amatus Douw, third from left next to the Movement's secretary-general, Octo Mote (centre) talking to New Zealand MPs in 2015. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades
The Suva meeting comes ahead of the upcoming Forum leaders summit in the Federated States of Micronesia early next month.
Amid increased engagement between Pacific regional governments with West Papua through the Liberation Movement, Mr Douw says the time is right for the Forum to place Papua issues, of self-determination and human rights, on the international stage.
Indonesia's government is opposed to the Liberation Movement's involvement in regional fora, and has lobbied against the organisation's current bid to be a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
The Movement was granted observer status at the MSG last year.
There is no official application by the Movement for membership in the Forum however members of its executive such as secretary-general Octo Mote and spokesman Benny Wenda have travelled widely to consult with Pacific governments in the past two years.


Pacific Forum leaders at last year's leaders summit in Papua New Guinea resolved to request Jakarta to allow a fact-finding mission to visit West Papua. Photo: RNZI / Koro Vaka'uta
For the upcoming Forum summit in FSM, Mr Douw has urged the leaders to take up a Pacific civil society recommendation for taking raising the case of West Papua at the UN.
In particular, Pacific people increasingly see the controversial UN-sanctioned 1969 referendum under which Papua was incorporated into Indonesia, the so-called Act of Free Choice, as fraudulent.
Regional governments such as Vanuatu and Solomon Islands believe it needs revisiting.
Mr Douw claims there is sound basis in international law for this to happen, but said there was a pressing need for a peaceful solution to ongoing alleged abuses against Papuans by security forces.
Indonesia's government recently established an inter-agency team to address historical human rights abuses in Papua, but signals from Jakarta that abuses were a thing of the past have been contested among Papuans and human rights bodies.
However the Papua provincial police commander Paulus Waterpauw recently said his force was making gains in opening up communications with grassroots communities in Papua.
Two weeks ago, Mr Waterpauw conducted mediations between two warring ethnic factions in the Papuan town of Timika following violent clashes there which caused dozens of Papuans to flee to the bush.
Jakarta says it is helping to improve living conditions for West Papuans, and has attacked other regional countries for criticising its rights record in Papua.
In recent months, there have been large peaceful demonstrations in West Papua in support of the Liberation Movement, along with mass arrests. Photo: Tabloid Jubi
But the United Liberation Movement says the root cause of Papuans' disillusionment with Indonesia remains unaddressed.
"The root case is territorial status," explained Mr Douw. "West Papua is undeniably a Pacific territory, not an Asian territory."
The Liberation Movement has expressed disappointment that aresolution at last year's Pacific Forum summit in Papua New Guinea to request Jakarta to allow a fact-finding mission to visit Papua had so far come to nothing.
Mr Douw said Pacific leaders must show leadership to address West Papua as an international issue.
“Other regional leaders and international community are watching how the best of the pacific leaders to make sure their pacific people are saved and secured, how their oppressed people of West Papua is protected."
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2) Aust should raise abuse during Papua trip

 

Australia's Attorney-General must raise current and past abuses, including the alleged Biak massacre of 1998, when he travels to Papua with the controversial Indonesian minister Wiranto, Human Rights Watch says.
Wiranto, a former military general accused of human rights abuses in East Timor, will accompany Senator George Brandis to Papua on Thursday where they will meet a number of officials, including the Governor Lukas Enembe and the Chief of Papua Provincial Police.
Andreas Harsono from Human Rights Watch said the visit provides Mr Brandis with a unique opportunity to raise the alleged 1998 massacre of more than 100 people on the Papuan island of Biak.
"I think it is a good thing if the Attorney General is going to go there and ask Wiranto what he is going to do about the ongoing government investigation about Biak massacre plus a trail of other human rights abuses in Papua," Mr Harsono told AAP.
An investigation, which was launched by Wiranto's predecessor Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Luhut Pandjaitan into rights abuses in Papua also needs to be a priority.
He also urged him to raise tensions between Papua Governor Enembe and the sultan of Yogyakarta Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono over allegations that recent protests by Papuan students in the Javanese city had been repressed.
"(Mr Brandis) should remind them (Ministers Wiranto and Luhut) that it is a democratic country and people have the right to express their opinion."
Wiranto was promoted to Security Minister during a cabinet reshuffle last month in a shock move that prompted outrage, with Amnesty international saying it showed a "contempt" for human rights.
In 2003 the UN sponsored Special Panels for Serious Crimes of the Dili District Court, Timor-Leste indicted Wiranto for crimes against humanity during East Timor's bloody 1999 vote for independence.
Thursday's visit to Papua comes after Mr Brandis and Wiranto were in talks in Bali on Wednesday during counter-terrorism meets.
"This week's engagements have presented yet another opportunity to build on Australia and Indonesia's already close and productive relationship," Mr Brandis said in a statement on Thursday.
Mr Harsono said it will be interesting to see if Australia allows Wiranto to visit them at a later date.
Justice Minister Michael Keenan said earlier this month that the makeup of the Indonesian cabinet was a matter for their government.
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