Thursday, January 5, 2017

1) West Papuan activist calls on Australia to stand up to ‘hyper sensitive’ Indonesia

2) Indonesia has backed away from its threat to cut military ties with Australia
6 JAN 2017 - 3:48PM
1) West Papuan activist calls on Australia to stand up to ‘hyper sensitive’ Indonesia  

EXCLUSIVE: A West Papuan activist based in Australia has praised Australia for allegedly providing material on the conflict in West Papua for defence force personel, but says Australia needs to do more for the province where he claims massacres and human rights abuses occur on a regular basis.

By Rachael Hocking  Source: NITV News 6 JAN 2017 - 3:26 PM  UPDATED 37 MINS AGO
A West Papuan activist has described Indonesia as 'hyper-sensitive,' for its decision to suspend a language-training programme in Australia.
The Indonesian military suspended ties with their Australian counterparts for "technical reasons" after material on West Papua, where Indonesia has been accused of human rights abuses, was found by an Indonesian officer at an Australian Special Forces base in Perth late last year.
Speaking to NITV, activist Ronny Ato Bual Kareni said it’s disappointing that the Indonesian government is censoring a ‘human rights issue.’
“It’s a shame that the Indonesian government through their military will have to do that, because we’re living in the 21st century where it is vitally important that we care,” he said.
“If we do care for the rights of human beings, then Indonesia would have played a more pro-active role in addressing this issue.” 
"Putting that in the training materials, it is very essential and I belive this would be something the Australian government will have to consider and implement and translate in their foreign policies."

Activist Ronny Ato Bual Kareni wants Australia to do more to help West Papua.

According to Indonesia's Military Chief Gatot Nurmantyo the materials not only referenced West Papua, but also East Timor.
"The curriculum and lessons, have always been the same. It is hurting (our feelings), I don't want to elaborate further as the offending teaching materials have been in place for a long time," he told reporters.
Australia’s army chief is reportedly being sent to Indonesia to apologise for the allegedly insulting documents, and deliver findings into his review of the incident.
Indonesia assumed control of West Papua after the Dutch colonial administration left in 1962. A previous agreement between the Netherlands Government and the United Nations to allow West Papua a vote on self-determination was reneged on. Indonesia has ruled the island since and has fought a lung running war against separatists who demand independence for the province.
Mr Kareni praised the Australian SAS for including the materials in their curriculum, but called for a more ‘moral stance’ from the Australian government.
“It is important that the Australian government plays this role in advocating and also continuing with Indonesia through this training.
“It is important to highlight the human rights issues,” Mr Kareni said.
Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne said yesterday the Australian military was investigating the training materials and working to restore the relationship with Indonesia.
"The issue of West Papua was raised by the Indonesian Defence Minister, yes. I think he indicated that in his post-meeting comments," she told reporters.
"We of course, in accord with the Lombok Treaty, which is the treaty between Australia and Indonesia, recognise Indonesia's sovereignty and territorial integrity and that is our firm and stated position."
Mr Kareni said if Australia is going to conduct an investigation, they should also conduct one into Indonesia’s human rights violations.
“Every day we hear killings, there is bloodshed, massacres that is happening, but none of those massacres have real independent investigations into them,” he said.
Indonesia last suspended military ties with Australia in 2013 over revelations that Australian spies had tapped the mobile telephone of then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.


2) Indonesia has backed away from its threat to cut military ties with Australia
CHARLES MIRANDA, and CINDY WOCKNER, News Corp Australia Network January 5, 2017 10:00pm

INDONESIA’S Chief Security Minister General Wiranto says the postponing of military co-operation with Australia relates only to the Australian special forces language training program and not to all military ties.
In a statement released in Jakarta late Thursday General Wiranto said reports that all military co-operation had been severed as a result of the spat over material in Australia deemed offensive to Indonesia were not true.
It comes as Indonesia’s President, Joko Widodo, said Australia and Indonesia had agreed not to meddle in internal affairs of either country and as the Indonesian Military Chief, General Gatot Nurmantyo, said some of the offensive material taught in Australia was too hurtful to repeat. He said it related to Indonesian military roles in East Timor and Papua and a document which had changed the Pancasila, Indonesia’s guiding principals to Pancagila. Gila is an offensive term meaning crazy.

And Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne has denied it was trying to recruit Indonesia’s elite special forces troops as spies as tensions with the notoriously sensitive northern neighbour continue to simmer.
Defence Minister Marise Payne yesterday moved to quell tensions, publicly expressing regret for training material and other “cultural” issues that led to Indonesia suspending its language training
It was revealed that the offensive material was contained in newspaper and online articles used within the training course at Perth.

Indonesia’s Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said his counterpart, Senator Payne, had Thursday sent him a letter of apology, expressing regret for the incident which she had assured him did not reflect Australian defence and military policy. He said the language school principal in Perth had been temporarily suspended pending a thorough investigation and would be sanctioned heavily.
“So the Defence Minister has offered an apology and from me, I have accepted the apology ... The Defence Minister called me repeatedly offering her regrets. The Minister is a woman and she is usually cheerful but she is so sad now, expressing her deepest regret ... It means she regrets it so we have to respect this and appreciate their (Australian) feelings,” Mr Ryacudu said.

He said such an incident should never have occurred “because as friendly countries, we are not supposed to let this kind of incident ruin our friendship ... to maintain this friendship we are not
supposed to touch sensitive matters or to incite hatred against any country”.
Mr Ryacudu said the offensive materials related mostly to the issue of Papua and the PKI, the now defunct Indonesian communist party and had its genesis when an Indonesian Special Forces language instructor at the language school at Campbell Base in Perth found learning materials
which “discredited Indonesia, especially the Indonesian military and Pancasila, Indonesia’s guiding principals.

“According to the explanation given by the Australian Armed Forces Commander the materials came from articles, newspapers and online media, provided by an Australian first officer, who turned those publications into learning materials at the school,” Mr Ryacudu said.
Late on Thursday, Indonesia’s Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister, General Wiranto, issued a statement to clarify the position, saying that not all military co-operation had been suspended as a result.

“It is true that there is a step from Indonesian Military Commander to suspend activity on language training co-operation program in Australia’s special force, because there was a case happened that offended the honour of our nation in November 2016,” General Wiranto said.
“It means, not a suspension of the whole defense co-operation, as published in many media recently. The co-operation suspension is only temporary, and will be continued again after Australia conducted settlement steps over the case.”

Earlier President Joko Widodo said he had received a report on the case from the TNI Commander and the Defence Minister and he had ordered those two men to handle the matter.
“We have agreed on mutual respect and not to interfere in each other’s domestic business ... I think our relations with Australia are still in good condition,” President Widodo said, adding that it was being dealt with at an operational level.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last night welcomed Mr Widodo’s comments about “the bilateral relationship between Australia and Indonesia and his desire to resolve quickly (the) current issues”.
The PM said both he and his Indonesian counterpart were committed to a relationship between their nations “based on common interests and mutual respect”.
“I look forward to this matter being resolved as soon as possible,” he said.
“I acknowledge and value President Widodo’s commitment to the strategic partnership between our two countries and value our personal friendship.”
Originally published as Indonesia’s military threat ‘not true’

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