One of the peace rallies in support of the Pacific Coalition on West Papua representation at the UN General Assembly. Monday 19 September 2016. Photo: Supplied/ Whens Tebay
West Papua specialist Dr Cammi Webb-Gannon said the unprecedented level of discussion about West Papuan self-determination and human rights at the recent UN General Assembly reflected a new momentum towards decolonisation in the Pacific.
Dr Webb-Gannon, from Western Sydney University's School of Humanities and Communication Arts, said the Melanesian Spearhead Group chairman and Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare had been particularly pivotal.
"So he's brought together a lot of Pacific Island countries who have just taken the West Papua issue to the UN but are also hoping to take it to the UN decolonisation committee. So more than ever before, West Papuans are getting their cause on the international radar and that's really due to the incredible action that's taken by other Pacific countries."
Meanwhile, there are hopes among West Papuans that the new United Nations Secretary-General will help protect the human rights of Papua's indigenous people.
Antonio Guterres, the former Portuguese prime minister, was been unanimously elected to take over the UN top job from Ban Ki-moon at the start of next year.
Antonio Guterres Photo: AFP
As Portugal prime minister, Mr Guterres played a key role in the UN intervention in East Timor shortly before it gained independence from Indonesia.
The United Liberation Movement for West Papua's Pacific regional ambassador, Akouboo Amatus Douw, said that unlike Portugal's efforts to do the right thing by Timor, the Dutch have not met their moral obligation to Papuans.
However, he hoped that Mr Guterres can similarly help Papuans facilitate calls by seven countries at the UN general assembly last month for an investigation into alleged rights violations in Papua.
Mr Guterres was also the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for 10 years and his work in this role was acknowledged by Mr Douw.
Under Mr Guterres's leadership, the UNHCR provided legal and humanitarian assistance for over 10,000 West Papuan refugees in PNG.
"In my rough estimation we have 30,000 Papuan political refugees all around the globe including myself," said Mr Douw.
He said the main reason that Papuans have to flee Indonesian rule is the denial of their absolute rights of self-determination in their home country.
“As I was of 43 West Papua political asylum seekers who escaped from West Papua and landed in Australia in 2006, I have very positive thoughts on his (Guterres') priorities in seeking to revolve core issues behind why these people became marginalised and suffered in all aspects."
2) Jokowi welcomed in Papua, orders PLN to speed up projects
Nether Dharma Somba The Jakarta Post
Jayapura | October 18, 2016| 07:05 am
People’s president: President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo (second right) and First Lady Iriana (right) talk to residents during the inauguration of six power projects in Papua and West Papua in Jayapura, Papua, on Monday. (Courtesy of Presidential Office/Rusman)
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, accompanied by First Lady Iriana, has again visited Papua, inaugurating several infrastructure projects in a move aimed at winning the hearts and minds of people in the country’s easternmost provinces.
In the two-day visit starting on Monday, Jokowi inaugurated projects including six power facilities in Papua and West Papua worth a total of Rp 988 billion (US$76 million).
The six facilities are the 20-megawatt (MW) Orya hydropower plant (PLTA) in Genyem; a 3.5-MW micro hydroelectric power plant in Prafi, Manokwari, West Papua; the Genyem-Waena-Jayapura 70-kilovolt 174.6-kilometer high voltage line (SUTT); the Holtekamp-Jayapura 43.4-km SUTT; the 20-MW Sentani-Waena substation; and the 20-MW Jayapura substation.
Jokowi said Papua’s geographical conditions were very tough but should not be seen as an obstacle for completing the infrastructure projects on time, and should instead be viewed as a challenge to accelerate development.
“Just now, I spoke with the [state electricity firm] PLN president director and he said the electrification program across Papua and West Papua would be completed by 2020. I said ‘don’t make it too long’; if possible it should be completed by 2019.
“I know the geographical conditions of Papua are very tough, but the target should still be met, not just for electricity projects but all infrastructure projects in Papua,” said Jokowi.
The inauguration was marked by Jokowi, along with Papua Governor Lukas Enembe, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno and PLN president director Sofyan Basir, pressing a button at PLN’s Nendali village substation in Sentani, Jayapura, Papua.
“The two SUTT and two substation projects are the first in Papua. The operation will also save as much as Rp 161 billion in fuel annually,” said Sofyan.
Sofyan said the current total power capacity in Papua and West Papua was 294 MW and 242 MW at peak load for 521,000 customers, with an average 8 percent growth annually.
“With the completion of the projects, the power capacity in Papua and West Papua will increase twofold by 2019 and PLN is ready to make the 2020 National Games (PON) in Papua a success,” he said.
He added that PLN had to work around the clock to complete the electrification of 15 regency capitals across Papua and West Papua and to provide an adequate power supply for outer islands and border areas by 2019.
Lukas expressed his appreciation to Jokowi for making four visits to Papua, including two trips this year, since becoming president.
“President Jokowi is the first president of Indonesia who has reached interior regions of Papua. It’s [a moment of] such pride and honor for us Papuans to see Mr. President’s eagerness in developing Papua,” Lukas said.
Jokowi made his first visit to Papua during Christmas 2014, despite calls from a number of local church leaders to cancel the visit as an expression of their disappointment over the government’s slow response to a shooting in Enarotali, Paniai, in which five civilians were reportedly killed.
During the visit, Jokowi promised to develop traditional markets in the province, which still sees rampant cases of armed conflict.
At the end of December last year, Jokowi again visited Papua and West Papua provinces and marked the turn of the year to 2016.
His visits have been warmly welcomed not only by local officials, but also by informal leaders.
Papuan community leader Franzalbert Joku also expressed appreciation for Jokowi’s four visits to Papua since taking office. “We hope the situation can be maintained so Papuans can feel the greatness of the republic,” he said.
“We hope blackouts will no longer take place and PLN will further improve its services,” said Sentani resident Yunice.
3) Papua, West Papua will see twofold increase in electricity capacity by 2019
Nether Dharma Somba The Jakarta Post
Jayapura, Papua | October 17, 2016| 09:41 pm
The construction of six electricity projects worth Rp 988 billion (US$75.64 million) in Papua and West Papua will lead the country’s easternmost provinces to enjoy a twofold increase in their electricity capacity by 2019, a top official has said.
State electricity firm PLN president director Sofyan Basri said Papua and West Papua had a total power capacity of 294 Megawatts (MW) with a peak load of 242 MW, an average peak load growth of 8 percent per year, and customer numbers reaching 521,000.
“With the completion of these projects, the electricity capacity in Papua and West Papua will increase twofold by 2019 and PLN is ready to make the 2020 National Games [PON] in Papua successful,” he said after the inauguration ceremony of the six electricity projects by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Monday.
First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo, Papua Governor Lukas Enembe and State Enterprises Minister Rini M.Soemarno attended the event held at PLN’s electrical relay station in Kampung Nendali, Sentani, Jayapura, Papua.
Apart from the six projects, Sofyan said, PLN still had some targets it must achieve to expand people’s access to electricity.
They include expanding the company’s electricity coverage of 14 regency capitals with PLN electricity access across Papua and West Papua by 2017, providing electricity for all district capitals in the two provinces by 2019, increasing electricity operational hours in villages to 24 hours a day by 2019 and providing electricity access for people in the outermost islands and border areas also by 2019. (elf)