2) Australian Activist Speaks Out Against Jakarta Request
3) 1: Dr Budi Hernawan – ULMWP and the insurgent Papua
Note. Article includes photos/maps/graphics
1) The $100bn gold mine and the West Papuans who say they are counting the cost
Grasberg mine in the Indonesian province has been a source of untold wealth for its owners, but local communities say it has brought poverty and oppression
Susan Schulman in Timika Wednesday 2 November 2016 11.05 AEDT
Jean Jacques Dozy climbed the world’s highest island peak: the forbidding Mount Carstensz, a snow-covered silver crag on what was then known as Dutch New Guinea. During the 4,800-metre ascent, Dozy noticed an unusual rock outcrop veined with green streaks. Samples he brought back confirmed exceptionally rich gold and copper deposits.n 1936, Dutch geologist
Today, these remote, sharp-edged mountains are part of West Papua, Indonesia’s largest province, and home to the Grasberg mine, one of the biggest gold mines – and third largest copper mine – in the world. Majority-owned by the American mining firm Freeport McMoRan, Grasberg is now Indonesia’s biggest taxpayer, with reserves worth an estimated $100bn (£80bn).
But a recent fact-finding mission (by the Brisbane Archdiocese’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission) described a “slow-motion genocide” (pdf) taking place in West Papua, warning that its indigenous population is at risk of becoming “an anthropological museum exhibit of a bygone culture”.
Since the Suharto dictatorship annexed the region in a 1969 UN referendum largely seen as a fixed land grab, an estimated 500,000 West Papuans have been killed in their fight for self-rule. Decades of military and police oppression, kidnapping and torture have created a long-standing culture of fear. Local and foreign journalists are routinely banned, detained, beaten and forced to face trialon trumped-up charges. Undercover police regularly trail indigenous religious, social and political leaders. And children still in primary school have been jailedfor taking part in demonstrations calling for independence from Indonesia.
“There is no justice in this country,” whispered one indigenous villager on condition of anonymity, looking over his shoulder fearfully. “It is an island without law.”
Dozy had not set out to find gold in 1936; his goal was to scale the region’s highest glacial peak. But his discovery sparked the interest of Freeport Sulphur – later to become Freeport Minerals Company and then, through a 1981 merger with the McMoRan Oil and Gas Company, Freeport McMoRan – whose board of directors included the well-connected Godfrey Rockefeller (serving from 1931 until the early 1980s) and Henry Kissinger (1988-1995).
Today, indigenous tribes such as the Kamoro and the Amungme claim their communities have been racked with poverty, disease, oppression and environmental degradation since the mine began operations in 1973.
“We are a coastal people, and we depend on the environment,” says the Kamoro’s chief, Hironimus Urmani, in Tipuka, a lowland village down-river from the Grasberg mine. “Nature is a blessing from God, and we are known by the three Ss: sago [trees], sampan [canoes] and sungai[rivers]. But life is very difficult now.”
Urmani motions to the river opposite, languishing green and motionless. He claims that tailing sediment from the mine has raised the riverbed, suffocating the fish, oysters and shrimp on which the Kamoro diet and economy are traditionally based. A 2012 report from Earthworks and MiningWatch Canada asserts that mine waste from Grasberg has “buried over 166 square kilometres of formerly productive forest and wetlands, and fish have largely disappeared”.
Although most Kamoro still try to eke out a living fishing and foraging for food, they struggle to find paid work, says Urmani. “We need to earn money. But now we face major competition from non-Papuan migrants.”
Locals fear that the government’s controversial transmigration programme, which resettles Indonesians from high-density islands such as Java to low-population areas, is wiping out their population completely. Indigenous Melanesian Christians – they comprised 96% of the population in 1971 (pdf) – now make up a 48% minority, with numbers expected to fall to 29% by 2020 if migration rates continue.
Clashes between the indigenous Christians – and migrant Indonesian Muslims – have also resulted in riots, fires and injuries.
“Land has been taken away, directly by Freeport … and indirectly, as the Indonesian settlers have appropriated it,” says Dr Agus Sumule, professor of agricultural socio-economics at the province’s University of Papua.
“The stresses [on indigenous people] are intense,” says Sumule. “They have been very negatively impacted.”
The Indonesian government signed over to Freeport the right to extract mineral wealth from the Grasberg site in West Papua in 1967. A 2002 report from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) details that land agreements were not negotiated with the Amungme until 1974, a year after the mine opened, and with the Kamoro in 1997.
The compensation paid for Kamoro and Amungme land has been mainly in the form of communal benefits, such as the building of homes, schools and places of worship. The IIED report notes, “Perceptions of land rights and historic compensation claims are a continuing source of dissatisfaction and conflict in the mining area.”
Recent census data shows Papua’s GDP per capita at $3,510, compared to the Indonesian average of $2,452. Yet Papua has the highest poverty rate in the country, nearly three times the national average. It also has the highest infant, child and maternal mortality rates in Indonesia, as well as the worst health indicators, and the poorest literacy rates.
The scale of destitution is best observed from the highland Amungme village of Banti, just 20 miles down from the Grasberg mine.
Estimates from Earthworks suggest that Freeport dumps as much as 200,000 tonnes of mine waste, known as tailings, directly into the Aikwa delta system every day. The practice has devastated the environment, according to Earthworks and locals, turning thousands of hectares of verdant forest and mangroves into wasteland and rendering turgid the once-crystal waters of the highlands.
The tailings from the Grasberg mine are so rich with ore that Papuans walk for as long as a week to get here. Crowding the length of the river and the delta wasteland, thousands of unlicensed panners shore up small sections to slow the river’s flow and dig into the thick sediment on the side.
Although some of these panners are located within Freeport’s official mining operations, they are not evicted or controlled in any way, they said. Instead, they claim they sell their findings to the police and military who work as security on the mine. (An anonymous Freeport source also confirmed this).
One of the panners, Martine Wandango, 25, bends over her pail of water as she filters out rocks and searches for ore. “You can only survive with money, and you can only find money from gold,” says Martine, who followed her husband to the delta 15 years ago by walking 60 miles over the mountains from their remote highland village.
“I work really hard as I want to give my children better lives, so they can go to school. But it isn’t enough, so she helps me here mining,” says Martine of her daughter, nine, who swings a gold pan in her hands. “On a good day, I can get three grammes, which I sell either to the police or [to buyers] in Timika.”
A tiny village when Freeport arrived here 40 years ago, Timika is now a boom town dotted with bars, brothels, gold-processing shops and various military personnel. Under Indonesian law, Freeport is a designated “strategic industry”, which mandates that external security for the mine, its access roads and its pipelines all be provided exclusively by Indonesia’s security forces. Freeport has never been implicated in any human rightsabuses allegedly committed by the Indonesian military in Papua.
Freeport McMoRan, based in Phoenix, Arizona, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The company’s website defends its method of disposal of tailings at Grasberg, managed by PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI), an affiliate company: “PTFI’s controlled riverine tailings management system, which has been approved by the Indonesian government, uses the unnavigable river system in the mountainous highlands near our mine to transport tailings to an engineered area in the lowlands where the tailings and other sediments are managed in a deposition area.”
A 2009 report by the company says it utilises levees to contain tailings in the deposition area, and that the tailings management programme costs Freeport McMoRan $15.5m (£12.7m) each year. According to the report, company monitoring of aquatic life in the rivers found that fish and shrimp were suitable for consumption, as regulated by Indonesian food standards, while water quality samples met Indonesian and US Environmental Protection Agency drinking water standards for dissolved metals. In a 2011 BBC report on alleged pollution in the area surrounding Grasberg, the company says that the tailings management method was chosen because studies showed the environmental impact caused by its waste material was reversible.
Elsewhere on its website, the company says: “We are committed to respecting human rights. Our human rights policy requires us (and our contractors) to conduct business in a manner consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to align our human rights due diligence practices with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UN Guiding Principles).”
The company also emphasises its work with indigenous people in West Papua. A 2015 Freeport McRoRan report on working towards sustainable development said: “PTFI has engaged with indigenous Papuan tribes for decades, including through numerous formal agreements to promote workforce skills training, health, education and basic infrastructure development … In 2015, PTFI continued to evaluate the effectiveness of alternate options for Kamoro community members whose estuary transport routes are impacted by sedimentation associated with the controlled riverine tailings management system. Provision of smaller sized boats, in addition to 50 passenger vessels, for route flexibility as well as additional local economic development programmes were identified as additional mitigation measures during the year.”
Back in the area surrounding the Grasberg mine, many Papuans, struggling for work, find themselves pulled into the bar and sex industries that cater to the miners, particularly around the highland village of Banti. Here brothels and bars line up side by side, allegedly with help from the Indonesian military, who are said to supply sex workers and alcohol, according to a Freeport source who wished to remain anonymous.
Indigenous chiefs have watched as a newfound promiscuity has brought sexually transmitted infections that have ravaged their communities. “Traditional Papuan culture forbids free sex, but alcohol makes our communities vulnerable,” says the Amungme chief, Martin Mangal. “And brothels make it easy to contract HIV.”
HIV rates in West Papua are of “epidemic” proportions, according to the UN, 15 times higher than anywhere else in Indonesia. Driven almost entirely by unsafe sex, HIV is also far more prevalent among indigenous Papuans. Yet the existence of only one hospital – built by Freeport – means that most people, particularly those in remote highland villages, don’t get the help they need.
Late last year, the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, claimed he was willing to work towards a “better Papua”: “I want to listen to the people’s voices.”
However, human rights violations have actually increased since Widodo took power, according to Indonesia’s Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (Kontras), which has logged 1,200 incidents of harassment, beatings, torture and killings of Papuans by Indonesian security forces since his election in 2014.
The Indonesian government did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The country’s military has consistently denied any wrongdoing in Papua.
Despite everything, there have been small glimmers of hope. This summer, Dutchhuman rights law firm Prakken D’Oliveira submitted a formal legal complaint against Indonesia to the UN Human Rights Council, accusing the government of “long-term, widespread and systematic human rights violations” and the “complete denial of the right to self-determination of the people of West-Papua”.
Later this year, West Papua is expected to be granted full membership of the Melanesian Spearhood Group, an important sub-regional coalition of countries including Fiji, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.
The Brisbane commission, which warned of the risk of genocide, is calling on Indonesia to allow Papua, once and for all, the right to self-determination.
Yet some fear the opportunity for change in Papua is long gone.
“Is healing even possible?” asked Professor Agus Sumule, shaking his head. “It could be too late.”
Wednesday, 2 November 2016 8:29 AM
2) Australian Activist Speaks Out Against Jakarta Request
Leader of the Australian West Papua Association (Sydney) (AWPA), Joe Collins, has spoken out against reports that Jakarta has requested Australia to pass on a message to the Solomon Islands to refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Indonesia.
Source: Jon Lewis
“This is an outrageous request as it is the duty of all nations to raise concern about human rights abuses not only in West Papua but no matter where they are committed.
“The Solomon Islands and the other six Pacific leaders who raised concern about the human rights abuses in West Papua (at the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September) are to be congratulated for their courageous stand on the issue of West Papua,” said Mr Collins.
He said that it is a pity that Australia does not follow the Pacific leaders in also condemning the ongoing human rights abuses committed by the Indonesian Military.
“Not only should Australia refuse the request of the Indonesian defence minister but should be supporting the Pacific leaders in calling on Jakarta to allow a PIF facing mission to West Papua.”
Indonesia's Defence Minister was quoted by media as having requested Australia to pass on the message to the Solomon Islands, saying that as a major donor, Australia should raise the issue of non-interference with Solomon Islands.
Joe Collins, along with AWPA’s Secretary Anne Noonan, were awarded the 2012 John Rumbiak Human Rights Defender Award.
AWPA’s role is to lobby and inform the Australian Government and the International Community and in particular regional organizations such as the Pacific Islands Forum and the Melanesian Spearhead Group to raise concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua.
3) 1: Dr Budi Hernawan – ULMWP and the insurgent Papua
ULMWP and the insurgent Papua by Dr Budi Hernawan, Lecturer at Paramadina Graduate School of Diplomacy and Research Fellow at Abdurahman Wahid Centre at University of Indonesia in Jakarta.
Views expressed in the piece are that of the author, and not of Live Encounters Magazine and its associates.
Since the United Liberation Movement for West Papua was established in December 2014 in Vanuatu, Papua’s international diplomacy has gained a new momentum. Papua political factions no longer presented themselves in different voices but rather, it has come in a unified voice. The Saralana Declaration reflects a strong commitment of all three major Papuan political organisations, namely West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL), Federal Republic of West Papua (NFPB), West Papua National Parliament (WPNP). It states, “We declare and claim that all West Papuans, both inside and outside West Papua, are united under this new body and that we will continue our struggle for independence”.
While many critics and skeptics, who claim to be realists, remain unconvinced of the sustainability and solidity of ULMWP, they argue that this might be just another episode of the Papuan factionalism. One umbrella organisation after another seems to be the pattern.
The critics might overlook the facts that the ULMWP has been effective in representing the Papuan political aspirations at the domestic and international fora just in two years. The ULMWP has secured international recognition from the Melanesian Spearhead Group and has gained more attention from the United Nations and the Pacific Island Forum. Papua has become an effective insurgency.
If we looked back to the Papuan Spring in 2000 when Papua gained much more space to express their political identity, the commitment to ‘gain international recognition’ was formulated during the 2nd Papuan Congress in Jayapura in June 2000. During the Congress, which was politically and financially supported by the late Indonesian President Abdurahman Wahid, Papuans elected the Papuan Presidium Council as their leaders led by late Theys Eluay, who was assassinated by the Indonesia Special Forces. The Congress gave mandate to the Presidium:  “to struggle for world recognition of the sovereignty of the Papuan people and for investigations into and the trial of the perpetrators of crimes against humanity in West Papua;  to speedily set up an Independent Team to enter into peaceful negotiations with Indonesia and the Netherlands under the auspices of the United Nations for a referendum on recognition of the sovereignty of the Papuan people and Nation;  to use available resources in Papua in a non-binding manner to fund endeavours to achieve the objectives of the struggle.”
It took fifteen years before the Papuan leaders convinced the Pacific nations under the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). During the 2015 MSG Summit hosted by Solomon Island in Honiara, the Forum gave an observer status to the ULMWP to the forum. The decision marked a historic moment for Papuans. Backed by Solomon Island popular and particularly churches’ support, the Papua was born as an international legal entity. Since then, Papua no longer need Vanuatu or Solomon Island flags to raise their voices at this diplomatic forum because it has raised its Morning Star flag.
This year Papua is expecting a full-membership status at the MSG. The trajectory remains fragile. The proposal split the MSG leaders into two camps: Papua New Guinea and Fiji which are keen to maintain the status quo, on the one side, and Vanuatu, Solomon Island and the FLNKS on the other side, which envisage fundamental change for the forum. As the decision has been deferred to be discussed by the end of this year, this development might reflect the irreconcilable differences within the MSG as they have to take decisions by consensus.
The Papua insurgency has only penetrated the MSG but more broadly, the Pacific Island Forum, the diplomatic forum that covers the whole Pacific nations. In the recent Pacific Forum Island’s communiqué held in Phonpei, Federated Republic of Micronesia, PIF shed a new light on the issue of Papua, “Leaders recognised the political sensitivities of the issue of West Papua (Papua) and agreed the issue of alleged human rights violations in West Papua (Papua) should remain on their agenda. Leaders also agreed on the importance of an open and constructive dialogue with Indonesia on the issue.”
The statement reflects the struggle of the Pacific leaders in dealing with Papua. On the one hand, they are concerned with “alleged human rights violations” but on the other hand, they are well aware that Papua is a “sensitive issue” for them. The sensitivity relates to their relations with Indonesia, a large and influential neighbour. For some PIF members, Indonesia provides a profitable market for their trade that sustains their domestic economy particularly Australia, New Zealand, PNG, and Fiji. Its political influence has been seen as a bridge between Asia and the Pacific.
In a parallel move, Papua’s influence has convinced seven UN member states from the Pacific spoke up. They raised their concerted voices on Papua during the prestigious 71st session of the UN General Assembly in New York last September. This was an unprecedented turn.
Nauru started the intervention by highlighting the issue of human rights violations in Papua, followed by a newcomer in the discourse of Papua: the Marshall Islands.
Vanuatu, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands followed suit and went one step further by specifically highlighting the issue of the right to self-determination for Papuans. Tonga emphasised the gravity of the problem and Palau, another novice, called for constructive dialogue with Indonesia to solve the Papua issue.
In other words, we might see another Papua Spring like we experienced in 2000. The question is whether the Spring will lead to Summer or back to Winter as we had in 2000 after Theys Eluay was assassinated? Many Papuans might believe that the progress is linear and irreversible so they put high expectations of the political process in the Pacific. The expectation is understandable but it needs the ULWMP leaders to manage it. Further, we need to put it in a broader political dynamics of Indonesia.
As we know, however, in comparison to Aceh, which found peace settlement for its political dispute with Jakarta through the 2005 Helsinki Agreement mediated by the European Union, Papua remains experiencing negative peace. That is, Papuans only experience the absence of war but continue suffering from multipolar of violence. That is, the ongoing state-sponsored violence is not the only source of Papuans’ grievances. They have confronted the increasing pressure of non-state actors that exploit their natural resources. The business interests of large corporations, particularly extractive industry, have put Papuans in a more vulnerable position as the local governments continue issuing licences to these corporations with little consultation with the Papuans.
Once a business project is established, it attracts jobseekers from all over Indonesia to go to Papua to fill the job market. As we have seen Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate in Merauke, BP Gas Project in Bintuni, various timber industry in Sorong, and the classic example of Freeport Indonesia in Timika, any large business projects also mean a demographic shift as many skilled and non-skilled labor will enter Papua simply because Papua does not have enough manpower. The demographic shift without proper social and cultural mitigation on the part of the local governments has caused resentment and widening social gaps between different ethnic groups in Papua that often lead to communal clashes. All of these different elements have merged into complex grievances that are not properly addressed by the Indonesian government.
At the international diplomacy, Indonesian diplomats simply deny the reality of human rights by referring to the state sovereignty argument. They overlook the unchanging reality of impunity on the ground in Papua. In the meantime, different ministries endorse overlapping and sometime opposing policies towards Papua. While President Joko Widodo endorsed open-door policy for Papua for international observers, the Indonesian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Indonesian Military remains reluctant to implement the President policy. Similarly, when victims of human rights violations and human rights organisations in Indonesia call for justice, the President appointed Wiranto the Coordinating Ministry for Security, Legal and Political Affairs who then promote non-judicial measures to address human rights abuses. Given his alleged involvement in human rights abuses in East Timor, many are not so convinced that non-judicial manners will address the lingering question of impunity.
The non-monolith response from Jakarta suggests that it grapples with a formidable challenge in formulating and implementing a coherent policy to Papua. The situation illustrates that the domestic politics will unlikely change in the near future. It means that Jakarta will not be prepared to engage any meaningful discussion with Papua at either domestic or international levels. In this context, the ULWMP leadership will have to work hard. On the one hand, they have to navigate and negotiate with political powers in Jakarta and the Pacific, domestically they have also to deal with the expectations of their constituents. If the ULWMP leaders pass this ordeal, they will confirm their solidity. Otherwise, they might confirm the doubts of the critics and skeptics.
© Dr Budi Hernawan