Sunday, October 16, 2016

1) Jokowi keeps promise, but distrust lingers

2) Attempt to smuggle stuffed lesser birds-of-paradise to Papua foiled

3) Jokowi to inaugurate electricity projects in Papua and West Papua
4) Clumsy diplomacy: Indonesia, Papua and the Pacific

1) Jokowi keeps promise, but distrust lingers 
Margareth S. Aritonang The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | October 17, 2016 | 07:03 am

Non-negotiable -- A fisherman dries out fish at the Hamadi fish auction market in Jayapura, Papua, on Sept. 7. Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said Papua's inclusion in the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia was final. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is slated to visit Papua today to inaugurate a new airport in the impoverished Yahukimo regency, deep in the mountains of the country’s easternmost region, which comprises the provinces of Papua and West Papua.
The visit is the latest of his many trips to the region since he took office two years ago, all part of his outreach to Papuans, 70 percent of whom voted for him during the presidential election.
The new airport has extended the list of infrastructure programs that his administration has initiated in the region. The government is also finalizing a plan to set up a special body that will be given authority to integrate infrastructure and development programs in Papua.
But questions remain as to whether Papuans have been entirely won over by his efforts. The region continues to face security challenges with frequent shootings conducted by armed civilian groups or members of the security forces.
A recent study by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) found that Jokowi’s infrastructure programs have failed to garner support from Papuans because of their lingering and deep-rooted distrust of the central government.
Violations of freedom of expression for Papuans, human rights activists say, have continued to occur in recent years. Indeed, Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpaw has issued a non-legally binding maklumat (announcement), to remind protesters of the consequences of exercising their freedom to voice their opinions if they involve calls for independence.
Students who join such protests will receive a criminal record on their police clearance letters (SKCK), which will hamper them in getting jobs in the future. “I am well aware that all people have rights. But keep in mind that they also have obligations. One of them is to maintain the unity [of Indonesia],” Paulus said.
Paulus admitted that human rights violations, some of which have been considered gross abuses, had occurred in the resource-rich land. He claimed that his headquarters had investigated 11 cases of alleged human rights violations since 1996 but found only three that met the criteria of rights abuses.
These include a 1996 military operation to rescue 12 foreign and Indonesian scientists abducted by the Free Papua Movement (OPM) in Papua’s hinterland of Mapenduma; the killings of civilians by military and police personnel in Wasior in 2001 and the unresolved shooting of five civilians in Paniai in 2014.
Maj. Gen. Yoedhi Swastono, the deputy for domestic political coordination at the Office of the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister, believed that the number of human rights abuses could be higher. Therefore, to properly identify the cases, the office has set up a joint team to work on the resolution of abuse cases.
Yoedhi told The Jakarta Post that the team was headed by law professor Indriyanto Seno Aji, who has been working closely with team members comprising representatives from the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and law enforcement bodies as well as Papua’s customary councils and rights watchdogs.
“The joint team is tasked with listing all incidents that have occurred in Papua and identifying which are rights abuses and which are not,” Yoedhi said. “Follow-up actions will depend on the results”.
The team, which was established on April 25 is scheduled to complete its task by Oct. 25.
LIPI coordinator of Papua studies Adriana Elizabeth has said that acknowledging the abuses and making efforts to resolve them are essential for the government to achieve its development goals in Papua.

2) Attempt to smuggle stuffed lesser birds-of-paradise to Papua foiled
And Hajramurni The Jakarta Post
Makassar, South Sulawesi | October 17, 2016 | 08:36 am

The South Sulawesi Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BBKSDA) confiscated 64 preserved lesser birds-of-paradise and 83 bunches of cassowary feathers during a recent operation, highlighting the rampant illegal trade of wildlife in Indonesia.
BBKSDA South Sulawesi head Dody Wahyu Karyanto said the traders were trying to send the rare animal parts via an air shipping service to Jayapura, Papua, the country’s easternmost province, which was actually the natural habitat of the two protected bird species.  
The smuggling attempt was uncovered when the shipping service’s officers asked PS, a courier assigned to send the stuffed animals, which were packed in a cardboard box, to attach an animal delivery permit letter from the BBKSDA South Sulawesi, he further said.
“PS later came to our office to ask for a permit to deliver the animals to Jayapura. He brought those animal parts here. We immediately confiscated them all,” said Dody, Wednesday.
He said both lesser birds-of-paradise and cassowaries were protected species as stipulated by Law No.5/1990 on the conservation of natural resources and their ecosystem and Government Regulation No.7/1999 on plant and animal preservation.
PS told investigators that the protected birds were being sent from Papua to Maros, South Sulawesi, to be preserved before they were sent back to Papua.
“We have handed over this case to South Sulawesi Environment and Forestry Law Enforcement and Security Agency investigators,” he said.
The agency’s regional office 1 head Muhammad Amin said his institution was still investigating the case to reveal who the animal parts belonged to.
It was suspected the preserved lesser birds-of-paradise and cassowary feathers were to be used for traditional ceremonies in Papua. (ebf)

3) Jokowi to inaugurate electricity projects in Papua and West Papua
Ayomi Amindoni The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | October 17, 2016 | 11:00 am

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is scheduled to inaugurate two power plants and electricity infrastructure in Papua and West Papua on Monday in a bid to solve the electricity shortage in Indonesia's eastern-most regions.
The President is leaving for Papua on board the Presidential aircraft from Adi Soemarmo Air Force Base in Boyolali, Central Java, on Monday morning, where he was on a work visit.
Jokowi is scheduled to visit several areas in Papua and West Papua to help boost development in the two regions, according to a statement from the Presidential Press Bureau.
He will inaugurate the Orya Genyem hydro power plant, which has a 2x10 megawatt (MW) capacity, in Papua and the Prafi mini hydro power plant, which has a 2 x 1.25 MW capacity, in West Papua.
In addition, Jokowi will also inaugurate a 70 kilo volt (kV) high voltage line (SUTT) connecting Genyem - Waena - Jayapura, stretching for 174.6 kilometers ; a 70 kV SUTT linking Holtekamp - Jayapura running for 43.4 kms, as well as the Waena - Sentani substation, which has a 30 Mega Volt ampere (MVA) capacity and the Jayapura substation with a 20 MVA capacity.
Power plants projects are part of government's efforts to answer the power crisis due to delays in power plant infrastructure development. Jokowi's administration has vowed to address electricity issues  by building power plants in many regions across Indonesia. (rin)

4) Clumsy diplomacy: Indonesia, Papua and the Pacific
October 12, 2016

Indonesia’s representative, Nara Masista Rakhmatia, was lauded in the domestic press after she accused Pacific countries of interfering in Indonesian affairs. UN Photo/Cia Pak.

Indonesia’s stance on Papua at the UN General Assembly in New York last month recalled its firm denials of human rights abuses in East Timor in the late 1990s. Pacific countries, including the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, had expressed concern over human rights conditions in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces, Papua and West Papua. Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, for example, said: “Human rights violations in West Papua and the pursuit for self-determination of West Papua are two sides of the same coin.” This attention to Indonesia’s human rights record in Papua prompted nationalistic responses back home, with local media making a star of diplomat Nara Masista Rakhmatia for standing up to the audacious Pacific upstarts
 and accusing them of interfering in Indonesia’s domestic affairs.

What happened at the UN General Assembly was more than just a symptom of ongoing disagreements between the Indonesian government and Pacific countries over human rights abuses and the “internationalisation” of the Papua issue. It was also an example of Indonesia’s poorly handled diplomacy toward the small Pacific states. Defensive Indonesian statements about sovereignty and territorial integrity do nothing to address the humanitarian issues that are, in fact, the primary concerns of state and non-state actors in the Pacific.

The past six years have seen a growing political movement questioning the 2001 Law on Special Autonomy for Papua, the increasing influence of migrants, multinational and national companies, and the massive security presence across the Papuan provinces. There has been an unprecedented mobilisation of citizens in peaceful protests in support of Papuan self-determination, largely coordinated by local student groups
 and civil society organisations, such as the National Committee for West Papua (KNPB). The response of the security forces has been harsh and repressive, and has involved arbitrary arrests, torture and even killing of indigenous Papuans. In one of the most prominent examples over recent years, police arrested thousands of Papuans in a peaceful pro-independence celebration in May

On the international stage, the Indonesian government pretends these recent developments have not occurred. Its claims of improvements in human rights and democracy completely ignore the situation on the ground. In addition to reports from international organisations like Human Rights Watch, even the Coordinating Ministry of Politics, Law, and Security Affairs has acknowledged human rights violations in at least three cases
: the Wasior incident of 2001, the Wamena incident of 2003, and the Paniai shooting of 2014. Although endeavours to resolve these cases have stalled, the government is at least prepared to admit to a domestic audience that human rights problems exist.

Papua also remains the most restricted area in the country
 for foreign journalistic activities. Although President Joko Widodo said that he would lift restrictions
 on foreign journalists reporting from Papua, officials backtracked on this within weeks. Any foreign journalist who wants to go to Papua still has to obtain permission through a lengthy and complicated procedure, with no guarantee of permission being granted. If they do make it to Papua, foreign journalists are closely monitored by military and police officials.

The inconsistency in how Papuan issues are represented is the result of the lack of a coordinated policy between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other related agencies about how to defuse the Papua issue. There has been no attempt to coordinate the approach on the ground with the policies and information presented to the international community. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs appears, however, to be on a public relations offensive, with its representatives in Australia regularly posting insipid infographics
 about development in Papua, with facts like “30,000 Papuan football supporters flew the Indonesian flag”.

Similarly, the Indonesian representative at the UN claimed that the allegations of human rights abuses against Indonesia were untrue, and that Pacific countries supported the separatist cause without acknowledging infrastructure development
 in Papua. These blunt arguments lack any substance about the historical, political, economic and security conditions in Papua and subsequently do little to counter allegations of human rights abuses.

Formulation of foreign policy should be based on domestic and international considerations. But Indonesia’s foreign policy is based purely on domestic concerns about sovereignty – a sentiment captured by the military slogan “Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) is non-negotiable” (NKRI harga mati), variants of which have been repeated by the government on the international stage
. The government pretends that the movement for self-determination does not exist, and seems convinced that it can rely on a supportive international community. But the international community is well aware of the rights abuses in Papua and Indonesian foreign policy needs to be adjusted to reflect this fact.

The Papua issue also demonstrates how Indonesian diplomacy towards Pacific countries has failed. The small Pacific states are constrained by an international system that favours major powers. To overcome their small size and influence, Pacific countries need to band together and raise their concerns in multilateral forums for their voices to be heard. Human rights issues in Papua have been high on the agenda at recent regional forums, such as the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and the Pacific Island Forum (PIF), which wrapped up its 2016 meeting last month. Indonesia is an associate member in the MSG and a dialogue partner in PIF. At an earlier MSG meeting, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu proposed sending a fact-finding mission
 to investigate rights abuses in Papua. This call was repeated at the PIF meeting last year.

Increasing attention to Papua in these forums has been driven in part by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). Despite being a nongovernmental organisation, ULMWP has observer status in the MSG, and is considered by many to represent the voice of Papuans. The MSG delayed a decision on granting ULMWP full membership earlier this year, although there are strong signs that it will be offered
 at the next meeting in December 2016.

The Indonesian diplomatic response to the internationalisation of the Papua issue has been largely reactive – and has included ad-hoc development assistance to Pacific countries, such as Fiji and Papua New Guinea. The government sponsored a grouping of the five “Melanesian” provinces in Indonesia – Papua, West Papua, Maluku, North Maluku and East Nusa Tenggara – dubbing it “Melindo” and provided support for the Melanesian Arts and Culture Festival to be held in Kupang in 2015.

These were transparent attempts to convince Pacific counties about Indonesia’s commitment to Melanesian heritage across the country, even though the majority of people in East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, and North Maluku do not share as strong a sense of belonging to Melanesia as do indigenous Papuans. In any case, these efforts have proved ineffective in persuading fellow Pacific societies to defuse the Papua issue in the international arena.

Moreover, many Indonesian diplomats lack the skills to contain the Papuan independence campaign in the Pacific. Diplomats must have the capacity to establish networks at multiple levels, not only with fellow diplomatic officers, but also NGO activists, political leaders, community members at the grassroots – even Papuan self-determination activists – if there are to be supportive discussions on the Papua issue.

Indonesia’s rejection of the Pacific countries’ fact-finding team proposal – without offering to provide comprehensive human rights reports of its own – has raised questions about Indonesia’s role in and commitment to tackling problems in Papua. There is no point in simply telling other countries to stay out of the Papua issue
. After all, the Indonesian government cannot conceal the truth about human rights violations in Papua. That would only provide ammunition for Pacific countries to continue to raise the Papua issue in international forums.

The Indonesian government needs to stop accusing Pacific countries of undermining its sovereignty and start working on finding common ground to resolve the Papua issue.

Hipolitus Yolisandry Ringgi Wangge is a researcher at the Marthinus Academy in Jakarta. His current research focuses on democratisation in developing countries, particularly the role of crucial actors such as the military during democratic transition and consolidation. He has conducted fieldwork in West Papua on the role of Papuan youth in political and cultural identity during the special autonomy era. 

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