Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
Summary of events in West Papua for January -8 February 2017
Global Petition and Swim for West Papua Launched in Westminster
On 24th January 2017 the Free West Papua Campaign took another significant step in supporting West Papuans in their journey towards freedom: the official launch of the Global Petition for an Internationally Supervised Vote at the Palace of Westminster. The ground-breaking petition is addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, and calls on him to address the human rights situation in West Papua and to ensure West Papua’s right to self-determination through the vote. The petition will play a significant part in West Papua’s journey towards independence by demonstrating the huge levels of support around the world for West Papuans to have the opportunity decide their own future. This will build on the growing diplomatic backing for a supervised vote, and is the vital step towards West Papua’s independence and the end of the genocide being perpetrated by Indonesia. The Swim for West Papua Team joined Free West Papua and its supporters for the launch. The team are demonstrating their concern for, and solidarity with, the West Papuan people by performing an incredible physical feat; they will deliver the petition to the UN in August 2017, carrying it to its destination across the 69km length of Lake Geneva.
West Papuan people showing their support from inside the prison in Timika for the Global Petition for West Papua. Photo: Benny Wenda (photo in RNZI report 29 January 2017)
A simple action to support West Papua is to sign the petition. Over 16,000 people have signed so far.
Australian -Indonesian relations
Another hiccup occurred in Australian -Indonesian relations when Indonesian announced on the 4 January that it was halting all military ties with Australia after an Indonesian special forces Kopassus soldier complained about material at the SAS barracks in Perth. The material was reported to make fun of the five pillars of Indonesia’s founding philosophy ‘Pancasila. It appears the soldier was insulted by a poster on display which made fun of “Pancasila” calling it ‘Pancagila’ the five crazy principles. The complaint by the Indonesian soldier also referred to training material about Indonesia’s involvement in East Timor and West Papua. Both sides quickly started to repair the damage with Indonesia saying only the educational part of the program had been suspended. The Australian Minister for Defense, Marisa Payne, released a statement saying the matter would be investigated. It would seem that the Indonesian President (and a number of Indonesia’s military) were also caught by surprise at the break in military relations and some opinion pieces commented that the statement of a break in relations came from TNI ‘s Chief Gatot Nurmantyo who has a dislike of Australia because of if its involvement in East Timor. The West Papuan solidarity movement has been calling on the Australian Government for years to stop all ties with the Indonesian military and It's a pity it did not come from the Australian side because of ethical reasons i.e. because of the behavior of the Indonesian military in West Papua. The Diplomat (7 Feb.) reported that Australia’s army chief Angus Campbell would meet Indonesia’s military leaders in Jakarta this week to reaffirm the importance of the bilateral security relationship and smooth over ties after the temporary break in relations at the beginning of January. SBS report at http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/02/03/indonesia-wants-assurance-army-chief
On the 2nd February Attorney-General George Brandis, Justice Minister Michael Keenan and Dan Tehan, will met with Indonesia’s top security minister Wiranto and other Indonesian Ministers today in Jakarta for the third Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM) on Law and Security. As usual the issues of counterterrorism, cyber security, and maritime security were on the agenda with West Papua being the elephant in the room again. The human rights situation in West Papua should be raised by Australian officials at all bilateral talks between Australian and Indonesian officials.
Asia Pacific Report at http://asiapacificreport.nz/2017/02/05/australia-indonesia-strengthen-cyber-security-ties-but-west-papua-ignored/
In a reply to an AWPA letter DFAT did say it raises concerns about the issue. DFAT reply at
A number of rallies took place in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Darwin (apologies for missing any out). In Melbourne a 42-year-old protester has been charged with trespassing at the Indonesian consulate-general. The arrest was made three days after Indonesia criticized Australia for not arresting a man who clambered onto the roof of the consulate-general and waved a separatist West Papuan flag on January 6.
The West Papuan flag on the roof of the consulate-general in Melbourne. Picture: Facebook (In Aust. 8 Feb)
The AFP spokesman said the man had been charged with trespass of a protected premises, contrary to section 20 of the Protection of Persons and Property Act 1971. Under the act, a person who trespasses on protected premises commits an offence, punishable on conviction by a fine of not more than 10 penalty units ($1800). The man has been bailed to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on February 23. SMH report at
Rally outside the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra on the 27 January
At a peaceful rally outside the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra on the 27 January a man was arrested and held over night. Adrian van Tonder, 25, pleaded guilty to obstruction, failing to comply with police directions and failing to provide his name or address to officers in the ACT Magistrates Court on Saturday morning. He was fined $750. $250 each for the three offences. Photos of Canberra rally at http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au/2017/01/photos-rally-outside-indonesian-embassy.html
The Indonesian President will visit Australia at the end of month. More details will follow about rallies when dates announced.
Membership for West Papua at MSG is still under discussion.
A RNZI report below.
MSG chair discusses membership in Vila
The chair of the Melanesian Spearhead Group has arrived in Port Vila for discussions that cover membership guidelines. Manasseh Sogavare, who is the Solomon Islands prime minister, is in the Vanuatu capital as part of his second MSG capitals' visit in his capacity as chair. Mr Sogavare's office said that revised criteria for observer status and associate membership guidelines within the MSG will be discussed and endorsed. This comes as the MSG considers a full membership application by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua which currently has observer status in the MSG. Indonesia, which has associate member status, is opposed to elevating the West Papuans' status and the issue has proved difficult for MSG full members to settle on. The full members are Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia's FLNKS Kanaks Movement. Also on the cards for discussions is the matter of operations of the MSG's Port Vila-based secretariat which has struggled for funding and resources in the last couple of years.
While in Vila, the MSG Chair will be meeting with both the Vanuatu Prime Minister and FLNKS spokesperson. Mr Sogavare and delegation will be departing on Wednesday for Suva, Fiji. (RNZI16 January 2017).
Organisations petition Australia
Vanuatu Daily Post By Len Garae Jan 20, 2017
The five most prominent Ni-Vanuatu charitable organisations in the country led by the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association (VFWPA), have petitioned the Australian Government to “stop killing Melanesian people
in West Papua” by way of providing financial support and military training for Indonesian Elite Kopassus and Detachment 88. The training programme is made possible under the Australia/Indonesia bilateral military cooperation.
The petition was signed by the Chairman of VFWPA, Pastor Allan Nafuki, President of the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs, Chief Seni Mao Tirsupe, Chief Executive Officer of the Vanuatu National Council of Women, Leias Cullwick, Chief Executive Officer of Vanuatu Non-Government Organisations, Charlie Harrison and President of Vanuatu National Youth Council, Vira Taivakalo.
The petition says the decision has come at the right time to support and encourage all the West Papua Solidarity Groups in Australia to change the heart of the Australian Government to “stop the killing of Melanesian brothers and sisters in West Papua”. The petition describes Melanesians as “the most hated ethnic group in the world” saying, “…the Australian Government should have learned and repented from the past barbarous treatment our forefathers received during the black birding and slave-trade era”.
In the true spirit of solidarity and partnership with all the Pacific Civil Society Organisations and the people of Vanuatu:
• Convince that all indigenous peoples have an inalienable right to complete freedom, the exercise of their sovereignty and the integrity of their national territory.
• Re-affirm our solid stand to continue always to be the voice of the voiceless.
• Express solidarity with the commitments of the leaders of the MSG, other Pacific countries and all the West Papuan support groups around the globe to condemn the ongoing genocide and human rights violation in West Papua.
• Further petition the Australian Government to respect all the Articles of the following International Instruments on Human Rights which were adopted and proclaimed by the UN General Assembly :
• Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (GA resolution 217 A (111) of 10 December 1948),
• (11) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
• (GA resolution 2200 A (XX1) of 16 December 1966 and came into force on 23/03/1976),
• (111) Declaration On The Granting Of Independence To Colonial Countries and Peoples. (GA resolution 1514 (xv) of 14 December 1960 and
• (1V) International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. (GA resolution 2200 A (XXXI) of 16 December 1966, but entered into force on 03/01/1976
• Finally petition the Australian Government to solemnly proclaim the necessity of bringing to a speedy and unconditional end of colonialism in all its forms and manifestation in the world and especially in West Papua.
The Chairman of VFWPA says the First Secretary Head of Political and Economic Unit, Sonya Gray attended the signing ceremony at the PCV Office yesterday. The Chairman read the petition in her presence then handed her a copy to deliver to the Australian High Commissioner.
The First Secretary said thank you and assured the petitioners with words to the effect that the Australian Government, like Vanuatu, does not support all forms of mistreatment of all colonised peoples but that at the same time respects Indonesia’s sovereignty.
Also in the Vanuatu Daily Post an article “Indonesia is losing Melanesia”
By Len Garae. An extract below from Len’s conclusion below.
“Whether we agree or not with the independence campaign, there is no denying the genius of Mr Sogavare’s ploy. His willingness to sacrifice the MSG for the cause takes away the one lever that Indonesia had in Melanesia.
His key role in orchestrating an end run around the Pacific Islands Forum’s wilful silence is another trademark move. When human rights concerns were simply glossed over in the communiqué, he and other orchestrated a chorus of calls for attention to the issue in the UN general assembly. Manasseh Sogavare and his Pacific allies have found a strategy that is making the advancement of the West Papuan independence movement inexorable. As Ghandi demonstrated in India, as with Dr King’s campaign for civil rights showed again and again, anything less than defeat is a victory.
Without losing a single major battle, Indonesia is—slowly, so slowly—being forced from the board”.
Indonesia blocks 800,000 websites
Jakarta Post | Sat, January 7, 2017
The Indonesian government has blocked 800,000 websites as of December last year, mostly websites containing pornographic material or gambling sites, an official said on Saturday. “Some 90 percent of them contained pornographic material or gambling applications, and some were simply spreading hoaxes,” Samuel Abrijani Pangerapan, the director general of Information Application at the Communications and Information Ministry, said in a discussion on Saturday as quoted by tempo.co. Samuel said the public could access more details through http://trustpositif.kominfo.go.id. He said the government had produced a regulation as the legal basis to block the sites. He said the ministry had established a team to check up on reports about websites from the public.
He denied that the government had implemented strict measures to monitor the cyber world. The ministry has blocked 766,633 sites related to pornography and 85 related to radicalism. Samuel said the owners of blocked sites could ask the ministry to lift the block after accepting some requirements.
Last month, the ministry received criticism from democracy activists regarding its decision to block suarapapua.com, a news site based in Papua. The Press Legal Aid Institute (LBH Pers) said the block constituted a violation of freedom of expression. (evi) (Note. Suarapapua.com webpage is back up).
Fertilizer factory worth $1.5b to be developed in Papua
News Desk The Jakarta Post Jakarta | Mon, January 23, 2017
Trade Minister Airlangga Hartarto has lauded a plan by state-owned fertilizer company PT Pupuk Indonesia and Germany based Ferrostaal to develop a fertilizer factory in Bintuni Bay, West Papua. The two companies have agreed to carry out a feasibility study for the US$1.5 billion project. “The two parties have a commitment to provide the government with comprehensive data related to the petrochemical factory,” the minister said as reported by kontan.com on Monday. (Read also: Pupuk Indonesia intensifies research to strengthen food security)
Airlangga’s statement was made after witnessing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Pupuk Indonesia investment director Gusrizal and Ferrostaal CEO Klaus Lesker in Dusseldorf, Germany, on Jan. 21. The plan to develop a fertilizer factory in West Papua is part of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s plan to distribute development fairly nationwide. Bintuni Bay is known for its gas resources as raw material for the fertilizer. “We will support the allocation of gas with good prices,” he said. The fertilizer producer is among industrial sectors that will enjoy the gas-price cut introduced by the government, as stipulated in Presidential Regulation No. 40/2016 on natural gas prices. The potential of the natural gas in the area that has been identified reaches 23.8 trillion standard cubic feet (tscf). New gas reserves with potential between 6 tscf and 8 tscf has already been found. Meanwhile, Gusrizal assured that his company was interested in developing a fertilizer factory in Bintuni Bay by optimizing the use of gas resources in the region. (bbn)
Police most reported for alleged rights violations in 2016: Komnas HAM
Jakarta Post | Tue, January 17, 2017
West Papua rally participants shout from the back of a police truck on Jl. Imam Bonjol, Central Jakarta on Dec. 1, 2016. Police arrested 10 of them for bringing Free West Papua Movement symbols. (JP/Safrin La Batu)
The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has revealed that of all institutions, the police were implicated in the highest number of human rights violation cases in 2016. “Throughout 2016, Komnas HAM received 7,188 reports related to alleged human rights violations. From that report, the police were reported 2,290 times, the highest figure among all institutions,” Komnas HAM chairman Imdadun Rahmat said during a year-end report presentation at the commission’s office in Jakarta on Tuesday. The second and third place went to corporations and regional administrations with 1,030 and 931 reports, respectively, Imdadun said. He added that most of the reports were related to violations of welfare and justice rights, such as a case in July when police officers surrounded a Papuan student dormitory in Yogyakarta to prevent residents from attending an event organized by the People’s Union for West Papua Freedom (PRPPB). The police also reportedly prevented an Indonesian Red Cross ambulance from delivering food to the dormitory. (Read also: 14 'arrested' before Papua rally in Yogyakarta) Komnas HAM commissioner Nur Khoiron said the commission would continue cooperation with the police in an attempt to push the institution to be more human-rights friendly in carrying out its duty.
“We have conducted some activities including launching a human rights pocket book for police officers and conducting a general lecture about rights principles for students at the Police Higher Education College (PTIK),” he said. (jun)
Papuans still unhappy over Merauke food and oil palm project
RNZI 30 January 2017
Strong distrust remains among the indigenous Papuans of Indonesia's Merauke regency about a major "food estate" project. Jakarta has thrown high level support behind the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate, or MIFEE, a project in the far south east of Papua province Eventually expected to cover 1.6 million hectares, MIFEE has attracted dozens of investors, looking to grow food crops and palm oil. Billed as a project to address food security concerns for parts of the country, local Papuan communities have complained that MIFEE is alienating them from their land. A member of the video-based advocacy organisation Papuan Voices, Wensi Fatubun, said young Papuans in Merauke have begun using video to convey their opposition. "We try to empower the community to do how they can protect their own land, their own rights, from the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate project." However, the government said MIFEE was aimed at helping create improved living standards for Papuan communities.
Indonesia's President Joko Widodo has personally visited the MIFEE site as part of his campaign to foster greater economic development in Papua.
Earlier this month, Government Affairs Assistant Secretary for Law and Human Rights in Papua, Wakerkwa Doren said a presidential special envoy was heading to Merauke to check on food security, and people's economic development.
He told Tabloid Jubi that as merauke is a regency bordering a neighbournig country, PNG, it was important to work with provincial government to address the people's concerns. Meanwhile, recently released statistics released by Indonesia's Bureau of Statistics on the ethnic composition of Papua region's population identified Merauke regency as one of five regencies with a majority of non-Papuans. Based on the population figures from Indonesia's 2010 census, non-Papuans make up around 63 percent of Merauke's population.
Australia-based specialist in West Papuan demographics, Dr Jim Elmslie expected that as Indonesia's economy grew, demographic change in Papua regions like Merauke would continue. "So a lot of that long-term growth will come out of West Papua," he said, "and if that continues, it will involve shifting more and more people down to that region." Other regencies where the indigenous Melanesians make up the minority of the population include two other regencies that, like Merauke, are close to the border with PNG. The regencies where the non-Papuan population is concentrated tend to be areas where access to health and education services is best.
In a paper in the Asia-Pacific Journal “The Great Divide: West Papuan Demographics Revisited; Settlers Dominate Coastal Regions but the Highlands Still Overwhelmingly Papuan” (January 15, 2017 Volume 15 | Issue 2 | Number 7), Jim Elmslie revisits the demographic transition under way in West Papua. He points out that while
“Papuan people as a percentage of the entire population continues to decline, this process varies widely between different regencies. While some have a strong majority of non-Papuan people other regencies are still overwhelmingly Papuan.
This dichotomy is closely linked with topography – the mountainous interior outside of urban areas having a Papuan majority and the accessible lowlands a non-Papuan majority. The consequences of this dichotomy – a large chunk of West Papua about the size of Great Britain is peopled almost exclusively by Melanesian people, even as some of the coastal regions become non-Papuan majority– is profound. West Papuans of the interior have not only survived Indonesian occupation but have kept their lands and cultures largely intact, which continues to underpin calls for an independent West Papua and conflict with the Indonesian government and its security forces”.
In his conclusion he states
“This paper shows how that the process of settlement by recent non-Papuan migrants in the territory of West Papua is far from uniform. On the contrary most of the migrants have settled in the coastal plains and urban centres while the vast highlands regions remain populated predominantly by Papuan people. However the highlands regions will be increasingly attractive to migrants as the Indonesia government pursues aggressive economic development policies including creating new regencies (and their concomitant bureaucracies); building roads and developing mineral; oil/gas and forestry resources. While the Indonesian government claims that accelerated development will help resolve Papuan grievances against Indonesian rule the opposite is likely as the Papuans get left behind in the development process in favour of non-Papuan migrants; they become further marginalized within an Asian Muslim society, and their traditional lands are forcibly taken over by government or commercial interests. Therefore it looks likely that the changing demographic make of West Papua will continue to fuel conflict into the future”.
The full paper at http://apjjf.org/2017/02/Elmslie.html
Government stands firm as Freeport threatens to cut production
Fedina S. Sundaryani The Jakarta Post
Jakarta Post | Tue, February 7, 2017
The government seems set to ignore threats by United States mining giant Freeport-McMoran Inc to cut production at its Papuan mine and slash its local workforce if it does not receive a permit to continue exporting copper concentrates by the middle of the month. Last month, the government relaxed a ban on mineral exports so long as miners still in possession of a contract of work (CoW) converted it to a special mining permit (IUPK). Freeport Indonesia, the mining giant’s local unit, has not complied, according to the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry. The ministry’s mineral and coal director general, Bambang Gatot Ariyono, said on Monday that not one mining firm had submitted an official application to convert to a IUPK.
“We have not given [Freeport Indonesia] an export permit because, as stipulated by ministerial decree No. 5/2017 and No. 6/2017, if the company has not submitted a proposal and has not fulfilled the requirements, then we cannot issue the permit. They must still submit a proposal,” he said. The conversion is stipulated in the two ministerial decrees as derivatives of the fourth revision of Government Regulation No. 23/2010 on the management of mineral and coal businesses that allows miners to continue exporting copper concentrates, certain amounts of low-grade nickel and washed bauxite. The issuance of the ministerial regulation contravenes the 2009 Mining Law, which imposed a total ban on mineral ore exports in 2014, and stipulated that mining companies must build domestic smelters in a bid to strengthen the processing industry.
According to the Processing and Smelting Companies Association (AP3I), 32 new smelters — 24 of which are nickel smelters — have been built in the country since 2012, with a total investment of around US$20 billion.
Nevertheless, Freeport Indonesia has not shown significant progress in developing smelters, and with its status as a CoW holder, it was forced to stop exporting copper concentrates on Jan. 12. This does not seem to bode well for either Freeport Indonesia or Freeport-McMoran, which issued a press statement last Friday demanding that the government grant it a continuation of exports or else the firm would have to reduce its production to match available domestic capacity at PT Smelting, which processes approximately 40 percent of Freeport Indonesia’s concentrate production.
Freeport Indonesia said it would also be required to significantly adjust its cost structure, reduce its workforce and suspend investment in its underground development projects and new smelter. “For each month of the delay in obtaining approval to export, PT FI’s [Freeport Indonesia] share of production is projected to be reduced by approximately 70 million pounds of copper and 70,000 ounces of gold,” it said. Freeport-McMoran claims that by immediately converting to an IUPK, it would have to forgo its rights to fiscal and legal certainty and that it had “advised the government that it cannot accept these conditions unless a mutually satisfactory replacement agreement is completed”. Meanwhile Bambang said converting to an IUPK would nullify Freeport Indonesia’s CoW before its expiration in 2021. Center for Energy and Mining Law (Pushep) executive director Bisman Bhaktiar said that although Freeport’s production cut might hurt state revenues in the short term, the long-term benefits of forcing all CoW holders to convert to an IUPK would be fruitful for the downstream sector. “If [Freeport] cannot export it will definitely have a negative impact in both the social and economic sense. However, that will only be for the short term and the government’s task is to anticipate this and handle it quickly,” he said.
Opinion pieces/reports/press releases etc.
To celebrate the arrival of Indonesian President, Joko Widido and due to popular support, the Punks for West Papua Documentary is going out on the road again in March. This film was recently shut down by Indonesian authorities in West Papua All proceeds go to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and their work on the ground in WP, supporting film makers who are reporting human right abuses by the Indonesian Police and Military
Media release -West Papua-the elephant in the room
GUEST BLOG: Maire Leadbeater – Indonesian Military Sensitivity revealing
Media release-AETFA-SA & AWPA SA Re military ties with Australia
Korean company bans forest clearing for Indonesian palm oil concessions
Lots of photos in article
How West Papua’s gold rush has created a wasteland: Indonesian island’s lush tropical riverland is laid waste by toxic dumping from the world's biggest gold mine http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4197548/How-West-Papua-s-gold-rush-created-wasteland.html
West Papua Report 2016 Year in Review
Human Rights Watch Country report Indonesia
Full report https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017