Sunday, December 11, 2016

1) PNG opposition leader calls for “honest” take on Papua


2) Thousands of West Papuans mark human rights day
3) Wings Air continues flights to Nabire despite ban
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1) PNG opposition leader calls for “honest” take on Papua
1:24 pm today 
Papua New Guinea's opposition leader says his country and Australia need to play a greater role in responding to human rights abuses in neighbouring West Papua.
Don Polye said basic human rights of West Papuans continue to be repressed by Indonesian authorities and security forces, requiring a more "honest" approach from neighbouring countries.
He said the problem had a set of direct consequences for PNG, yet its government continued to turn a blind eye to what was going on.
Mr Polye said recent remarks by Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop playing down reports of rights abuses in Papua were unfortunate.
"She said that there is not enough justification or evidence to show if there is any human rights abuse along the border between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. I believe that Australia should assess the situation more closely, in partnership with Indonesia as well as with Papua New Guinea, to be honest about it and to look at the issues more carefully," he said.
Mr Polye said as party to international conventions on human rights, PNG and Indonesia needed to engage more to address the situation in Papua.
He said that West Papuan calls for a legitimate self-determination process could no longer be ignored.
A need for meaningful dialogue at both international and bilateral level, he said, also required leadership from the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
However the MSG's full members - PNG, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia's Kanaks - are divided over advancing the Papua issue.
Governments of PNG and Fiji in particular appear opposed to granting the United Liberation Movement for West Papua full membership in the group.
They also firmly support Indonesian territorial control over Papua.
Yet Mr Polye says the example of France in granting a self-determination referendum to its Melanesian territory of New Caledonia shows that the Papua question could be solved peacefully.


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2) Thousands of West Papuans mark human rights day

1:19 pm today 
At least 6000 West Papuans are estimated to have demonstrated in the Papuan Highlands town of Wamena to mark Human Rights Day at the weekend.

West Papuans demonstrate in Wamena, 10 December 2016 Photo: Islami/Jubi
According to reports from Indonesia's Papua region, the demonstration was organised by the West Papua National Committee, KNPB.
It was the latest in a series of large demonstrations by Papuans calling for a legitimate self-determination referendum.
The demonstrators had initially converged outside the local parliament building, but due to the huge crowd decamped to a central street in the Highlands town.

VIDEO CREDIT: Ronny Hisage
They were protesting about unaddressed human rights abuses, and reportedly signed a petition submitted to the Jayawijaya member of the House of Representatives.
The petitioners urged the Indonesian government to accept fact-finding missions by the UN and the Pacific Islands Forum.
Various ground reports put the number of demonstrators between six and eight thousand people.
The KNPB has been central to some of the biggest demonstrations in Papua this year, several of which resulted in mass arrests.

Papuan petition handed over to local representatives in Wamena on 10 December 2016 Photo: Tabloid Jubi
There were no reports of arrests at the Wamena demonstration, however police arrested nine Papuans at a demonstration to mark Human Rights Day in the capital of West Papua province, Manokwari.
There have been reports from the Indonesian city of Makassar that police blocked university students in their dormitory, preventing them from demonstrating.
This year has also seen an increase in demonstrations outside the Papua region by young people supporting West Papuan rights and self-determination aspirations.
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3) Wings Air continues flights to Nabire despite ban
Jayapura, Papua | Mon, December 12, 2016 | 01:12 pm
Nethy Dharma Somba The Jakarta Post
Wings Air, a subsidiary of Indonesia’s largest private carrier, the Lion Group, has continued to provide flights to and from Nabire, Papua, despite a flying ban imposed by Nabire Regent Isaias Douw last week.
“Wings Air will continue to fly from Nabire to Ambon [Maluku], Jayapura [Papua] and Kaimana [West Papua] as scheduled,” Nabire Airport official Omardani Setyonugroho told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
He said the Wings Air office had received a copy of a letter from the Nabire regent who barred the private carrier from flying to the region. However, it had not yet received a letter from the Transportation Ministry’s Air Transportation Directorate General requesting the airline to stop its flight routes to Nabire, he added.
“We are still waiting for information from the Air Transportation Directorate General,” said Omardani. He said he did not know whether or not there had been communication between Air Transportation Director General Suprasetyo and the Nabire regent on the matter.
“What I can confirm is that as of today, there has been no notification [on a flying ban] from the Air Transportation Directorate General, the one and the only entity with authority to impose such a ban,” said Omardani.
“We are committed to serving the people,” said Lion Air manager for Papua flight areas, Agung Setyo Wibowo.
As reported earlier, Isaias issued a letter dated Dec.6 to private airline PT Wings Air Service, which banned it from flying to Nabire due to its poor passenger services. The ban took effect starting on Dec.10 and is valid until further notification.
“A lack of quality flight service from airline company PT Wings Air in Nabire led to disgruntled passengers,” the letter stated. (ebf)
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