Tuesday, September 27, 2016

1) Commentary: Indonesia Rejects Pacific Leaders’ Statement on Human Rights Abuses in Papua

2) In restive Papua, incumbents may not pin hopes so high
3) Letter from Ambassador of Indonesia to Vanuatu in Vanuatu Daily Post

4) Human rights activists remain prone to threats: Komnas HAM

1) Commentary: Indonesia Rejects Pacific Leaders’ Statement on Human Rights Abuses in Papua

By : Petrus Farneubun | on 7:32 PM September 27, 2016

In addition to discussing matters related to the early implementation of sustainable development goals and key global challenges, such as climate change and disarmament, during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York recently, it is important to highlight that the issue of human rights abuses in West Papua was raised by Pacific nations.
Statements by Pacific leaders regarding the issue were strongly rejected by the Indonesian government.
"We categorically reject the continuing insinuation in their statement," the Indonesian representative said during the session.

Pacific countries, notably the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Marshal Islands, Tuvalu and Tonga, expressed their deep concern during the meeting over continuing human rights violations in the Indonesian part of Papua Island and called on UN to take concrete measures to address the matter and urge the Indonesian government to solve the problems. They reiterated their positions that the humanitarian crisis in the West Papua region is serious and needs an immediate international response.
In his address to the General Assembly, Tongan Prime Minister Samiuela 'Akilisi Pōhiva, for example, highlighted several important issues regarding the human rights situation in Papua.
Tonga, along with other Pacific countries, also raised the issue during previous sessions of the General Assembly and they did it once more to show their solidarity with Papuans and to update the current progress of the human rights situation in West Papua.

First, the Tongan prime minister pointed out that there had been no change in the Indonesia government's handling of human rights abuses in West Papua. Second, that there is still a lack of knowledge about the actual human rights situation in West Papua due restricted access to information. Third, that the principle of being a Good Samaritan invokes a sense of humanity to help West Papuans to be free from abuse.
Therefore, Tonga and its neighbors that are part of the Pacific Islands Forum, have consistently called for open and constructive dialog with Indonesia to discuss the status and welfare of Papuans.
In response, Indonesia not only condemned the Pacific leaders' statements, but also said that it was disappointed over their countries' violation of the UN Charter and the principles of international law. Indonesia also explained that it has a fully functioning democracy in an effort to try and demonstrate its commitment to human rights.

The Indonesian representative expressed shock over the fact that the Pacific countries deliberately chose not to fully address the important issue of climate change, which she said affects them the most. Instead, they decided to interfere in the internal affairs of another country by raising the issue of human rights abuses in West Papua in the General Assembly.
According to Indonesia, the Pacific leaders' statements are based on false and fabricated information and constitutes a lack of understanding and knowledge about the history, current situation, and the developmental progress in West Papua. Indonesia called the move by the Pacific countries "unfriendly and rhetoric political maneuvers."
Indonesia also raised its concern over Pacific leaders' lack of respect and understanding of international law and the fundamental norms set out by the UN Charter.
According to Indonesia, the Pacific countries not only violated the purpose and objectives of the UN Charter, but also violated the principle of international law regarding relations between states, specifically regarding their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The Indonesian representative said it constituted a violation of international legal instruments, because the Pacific nations interfered in her country's internal affairs and by doing that, they have misused the session of the General Assembly to promote their political interests and to demonstrate their support for separatism in West Papua. Indonesia went on to call the Pacific leaders' move "highly regrettable and dangerous."
In addition, Indonesia tried to make a comparison between its commitment to promote human rights and that of the Pacific countries. The Indonesian representative stated that of the nine core human rights instruments, the country has ratified eight and incorporated them into its national legal system. In contrast, Vanuatu has only ratified five.
The Indonesian representative also stated that her country was a founding member of the UN Human Rights Council and that it has a national human rights commission. This demonstrates Indonesia's efforts to protect human rights.
Further, Indonesia argued that it has a fully functioning democracy, which would make it impossible for human rights violations to go unreported.

Although on the one hand, while Indonesia's claims and its continuing defense that it is making progress on protecting human rights and supporting a fully function democracy can be justified, the human rights condition remains significantly unchanged.
Numerous reports published by international nongovernmental organizations and faith-based networks for example, have shown that human rights abuses in West Papua continue and that the authorities still fail to bring the perpetrators to justice.
A recently published report by the Peace and Justice Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane for example, highlights ongoing human rights violations in West Papua and states that the abuses have not declined and that there is no significant improvement in Papuans' welfare.
Similarly, a report on human rights conditions in West Papua between April 2013 and December 2014, published by the International Coalition for Papua in 2015, shows that there had been a deterioration in human rights conditions in West Papua compared to previous periods and that there was a sharp contrast between the living conditions of indigenous Papuans and that of migrants from other parts of Indonesia.
Therefore, it is important that Indonesia proves its commitment to the protection of human rights by enforcing the law to prosecute and punish those who are guilty of human rights violations.

The unresolved human rights violations that took place in Paniai district, Papua province, in December 2014, where several innocent students were shot by security officers, have to be taken seriously and this can be a step forward by the government to convince the international community of its commitment.
Otherwise, Indonesia's repeated defense in international forums and meetings, such as at the recent meeting of the General Assembly, that it fully promotes and protects human rights in West Papua, will continue to be questioned.
Petrus Farneubun is a lecturer at the Department of International Relations at Cenderawasih University in Jayapura, Papua, and currently pursuing a Ph.D. in international relations at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

2) In restive Papua, incumbents may not pin hopes so high
Nethy Dharma Somba The Jakarta Post

Jayapura | Tue, September 27 2016 | 09:38 am
Following the steps of other regional heads, all incumbents in 11 regencies and cities in Papua will vie for reelection in February, but their chances may be slim because of the local dynamics in the country’s easternmost region. 

As many as 11 of the 80 tickets contesting the elections are incumbents. Among them are regents Henock Ibo of Puncak Jaya, Befa Jigibalom of Lanny Jaya, Matthew Awaitauw of Jayapura, Mesak Manibor of Sarmi, Toni Tesar of Yapen, Usman Wanimbo of Tolikara, Yairus Gwijangge of Nduga, Herman Aw of Dogiyai and Stephen Kaisma of Mappi and Jayapura Mayor Benhur Tommy Mano.

“All incumbents wish to be re-elected in the simultaneous pilkada [regional elections],” said Papua General Elections Commission (KPUD Papua) member Tarwinto.

The country will hold regional head elections in 101 regions on Feb. 15, including the 11 regions in Papua. 

Despite the strong chance for incumbents to be re-elected in other regions, incumbents in Papua may not be so lucky. 

In the first simultaneous elections in Papua last December, the other 11 regencies in Papua were included. 

The results were surprising, as out of nine incumbents, only two were re-elected, namely Nabire regent Isaias Douw and Yalimo regent Er Dabi, while the rest were crushed by their rivals.

Carolus Bolly, a Democratic Party politician in Papua, said he is optimistic that the incumbents who get his party’s support will be re-elected. 

“There are six incumbents who are also party branch board heads contesting the elections and we are sure to win the elections in Papua,” he said.

Security issues still become a major issue in Papua with frequent clashes among tribes and clashes between security officers and armed civilian groups. 

Political parties have struggled to maintain support from local members as well as from voters.

Papua is also the only region that is allowed to use a so-called noken system, a non-secret voting system in which voters place their ballots in one of several traditional bags, called noken. The number of bags corresponds to the number of candidates. Each candidate has his or her own bag to receive ballots and the bags are hung in the open for all to see.

The lack of secrecy means that village or customary leaders are able to pressurize their people to vote according to his choice, and if there is any defiance, people could end up fighting each other. 

The Papua Police have prepared 1,323 personnel and these are to be bolstered by 337 Indonesian Military personnel and 200 police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) members from Kelapa Dua, Jakarta, to secure the elections.

Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw said four regions taking part in the elections were considered prone to conflict because of the presence of armed civilian groups and internal splits in party support for candidates.

The four regions are Lanny Jaya, Nduga and Tolikara regencies and Jayapura. 

“Political parties giving split support are found in the four regions, so they are prone to conflict, although prospective candidates can understand the party’s decision to not support him or her, we fear the presence of their supporters,” said Waterpauw.

The Papua Police, added Waterpauw, had planned the security starting from the registration of candidates until after the inauguration of the elected local leaders.

3) Letter from Ambassador of Indonesia to Vanuatu in Vanuatu Daily Post

Indonesia and Vanuatu: Too different for a real partnership?
Dear Editor,
While Vanuatu is an island nation and Indonesia is an archipelagic country, the differences seem to be too great for a real partnership to work between the two countries. The difference in size is striking. From its westernmost part in Aceh to its easternmost part in Merauke, Papua, Indonesia stretches as wide as from Port Vila to Honolulu, Hawaii. For every person in Vanuatu, there are one thousand persons in Indonesia. Whereas Vanuatu’s population is primarily Melanesians, Indonesians are a mix of ethnicities: Javanese, Sumatrans, Malays, Melanesians, Chinese and so on. Differences could be unsettling. In both personal relations as well as international relations for instance, the world can be split into two. Those in the minority that delves in and are paralysed by the smallest of differences and the rest who respect differences but keep on chipping at them to bring the relations closer together. The second group realizes that the reward of working together, of having a strong partnership far outweigh the short-term gains of resentment.
There are a number of important similarities that Indonesia and Vanuatu can use to build our relationship on. Indonesia sits on the Pacific ring of fire making it prone to volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters. Likewise, Vanuatu is prone to tropical cyclones, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. Both Indonesia and Vanuatu have many small islands that are vulnerable to changes in the climate. Another parallel is that since early in their modern history, leaders of both countries understood that a secure and stable region is a condition for sustained economic growth and prosperity. Leaders understood that a secure and stable region depends on good international relations. Good international relations in turn depends on mutual respect of national sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is thus no coincidence that Indonesia and Vanuatu engages their respective immediate regions actively. Both capitals are respectively homes to the secretariat of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), in Port Vila and the secretariat of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta. It is no accident moreover that both countries share many national and regional goals. Both countries aim for sustainable economic growth and development, better governance, a secure and stable region as well as a more prosperous population. The people of Vanuatu celebrated her 36th anniversary on 30 July. On behalf of the eleven million Melanesians living in Indonesia and all the citizens of Indonesia, let me again extend my warmest congratulations to the people and government of Vanuatu. Indonesia too, is celebrating. On last 17th of August, Indonesia commemorated our 71st anniversary. Anniversaries are usually a period for reflection. As both fellow vibrant democracies look into the future, in the next 15 years to 2030, Vanuatu, Indonesia and the region will not be quite the same. The combined region of Southeast Asia and MSG would be a formidable economic and cultural zone. With current annual growth, by the 2030s, Indonesia will be among the top ten biggest economies in the world. As member countries continue to focus on providing solutions to current financial and institutional challenges facing the MSG, by 2030 the region will be more economically integrated and dynamic. In the decades ahead, Vanuatu will perhaps have a larger tourism and services sector as well as agriculture and livestock farming complementing her more traditional export commodities of copra, coconuts, cocoa, fish and wood processing. Indonesia’s trade with and investment in Vanuatu is still relatively small, indicating a good growth potential. Indonesia’s 60-million strong middle and consuming-class is very much looking forward to establishing closer trade, investment and development links with Vanuatu and all the countries of the MSG.
A stronger Indonesia-Vanuatu partnership that centres on those national priorities will expand trade and investment and ultimately bring more jobs and income. Thus it is important for us to concentrate the partnership on developing the tourism and agriculture sectors, boosting programs on climate change, preparing the most vulnerable communities for adaptation and mitigation. It is also important to work together on programs of disaster preparedness and disaster risk management. The US$2 million in humanitarian aid dispatched by the Indonesian government to Vanuatu in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam and the many programs of technical cooperation delivered to Vanuatu over the years are good examples of such partnership. Indonesia is a member of a number of regional trading arrangements including within ASEAN as well intra-regionally such as ASEAN-China and ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand. Indonesia is also a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the G20. In our experience, we found that expanding our international markets and partnerships creates more jobs, affordable products and services and boost competitiveness.
The eastern part of Indonesia, home to five Melanesian provinces of East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, North Maluku, Papua and West Papua is Asia’s natural entrance to the Pacific. Conversely, Indonesia is welcoming Vanuatu and MSG countries into the rewarding markets of Indonesia, Southeast Asia and beyond through this eastern region gateway. When we concentrate on issues that bring us closer while working to resolve differences, I am confident that in the future, the leaders of both countries will be remembered as those who brought stability, security, justice and prosperity to the nation and the region. Nadjib Riphat Kesoema
Ambassador of Indonesia to Vanuatu

4) Human rights activists remain prone to threats: Komnas HAM
News Desk The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Tue, September 27 2016 | 08:52 pm 

Threats and criminalization still plague human rights activists in recent years despite a guarantee of freedom of expression in the reform era, the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) said on Tuesday.
Human rights activists still receive threats while providing aid to people or for staging protests, Komnas HAM commissioner Siti Noor Laila said. There were at least three threats from 2012-2015 aimed at human rights activists, such as murder, death and kidnapping threats, according to data collected by Komnas HAM.
Even though Indonesia's democracy began after the fall of Soeharto's dictatorship in 1998, there has not been a significant improvement toward protection of human rights activists in the reform era, Siti said noting several cases of criminalization aimed at activists in recent years.
"In the democracy era, freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution, crimes against human rights activists must never happen," Siti said at a press conference in Jakarta on Tuesday.
She cited examples, such as Yogyakarta-based activist Raden Mas Aji Kusumo who spent three and a half months behind bars in 2015 for staging a  rally to reject the construction of an apartment in Kaliurang, Sleman regency of Yogyakarta believed to cause environmental degradation.
Two public lawyers from Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta)  Tigor Gempita Hutapea and Obed Sakti Andre Dominika have also been arrested for disobeying police orders when assisting laborers in a rally in front of the State Palace in October last year.
Samsul, known as Salim Kancil, was a farmer and anti-mining activist who was beaten to death in September last year for organizing a protest against invasive sand mining in his village in Lumajang, East Java. (wnd/rin)

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