Former American Samoa Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin was laid to rest at the Provo Cemetery in Provo Utah on Sunday with full military honours for the Vietnam War veteran. Photo: Leafaina Tavai Yahn
Former American Samoa Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin was laid to rest at the Provo Cemetery in Provo Utah on Sunday with full military honours for the Vietnam War veteran.
There was a gun salute and honour guard and a flag of the US which draped Faleomavaega's oak coffin was presented to his wife Hinanui.
Hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects to American Samoa's longest serving Congressman.
Faleomavaega died on 22 February at the age of 63, he was Delegate to congress for 26 years.
Governor Lolo Moliga, Senate President Gaoteote Palaie and many relatives and friends of Faleomavaega from Samoa, Hawaii and across the United States attended.
A Fono resolution honouring the former Congressman, Lieutenant governor, army reserve Captain, Polynesian sailor and many other accolades and services of Faleomavaega was read at the funeral service then handed to Mrs Hunkin.
There were also football stars such as Jesse Sapolu of the San Francisco 49ers, and the biggest names in Polynesian Entertainment in Hawaii Tihati and Cha Thompson.
There were also many Pacific island groups in attendance, as Faleomavaega was a vocal advocate for Pacific minority groups in the US.
He often criticized Washington for lumping Pacific people together with Asian-Americans and paying more attention to Asia than the small dots in between.
2) Island nations call for investigation into human rights abuses in West Papua
March 13, 2017 Posted by: Mark Bowling
SEVEN Pacific island nations have called for a United Nations investigation into alleged human rights abuses in Indonesia’s West Papua and Papua provinces where a separatist movement has simmered for decades.
Vanuatu’s Justice Minister Ronald Warsal made the request during a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, on behalf of his country as well as Tonga, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands.
A fact-finding mission carried out by Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission provided the Pacific nations with some of the key evidence, as Mr Warsal accused Indonesia of serious human rights violations of indigenous Papuans including executions of activists, and beatings and fatal shootings of peaceful protesters.
CJPC executive officer Peter Arndt visited West Papua in February last year, and later released a 24-page report on the fact-finding mission “We Will Lose Everything”, based on interviews with more than 250 community leaders in Jayapura, Merauke, Timika and Sorong.
Mr Arndt sat in the audience in Geneva as the group of seven Pacific nations called on the UN to request a comprehensive report from the high commissioner for human rights and Indonesia’s co-operation in providing unfettered access to the two provinces.
He later spoke at a UN session, detailing his fact-finding mission to West Papua which he undertook with human rights advocate Josephite Sister Susan Connelly.
“We heard many stories of bashings, torture, murder, economic hardship, social marginalisation and cultural deprivation,” Mr Arndt said after returning from West Papua last year.
“There is clear evidence of ongoing violence, intimidation and harassment by the Indonesian security forces.”
In a right of reply, the Indonesian delegation accused Vanuatu of “blatantly using human rights issues to justify its dubious support for the separatist movement in Papua” and said the government’s record of protecting human rights “speaks for itself”.
Pacific island leaders angered Indonesia last year when they used their speeches to the UN General Assembly to criticizse Indonesia’s rule in West Papua.
Jakarta accused them of interfering in Indonesia’s sovereignty and supporting groups that carryied out armed attacks.
Mr Warsal said the group of seven Pacific island nations also wanted to highlight the Indonesian policy of encouraging the migration of Javanese and other ethnic groups, which had led to the dramatic outnumbering of indigenous Papuans in their own land.
The Indonesian Government “has not been able to curtail or halt these various and widespread violations”, he said.
“Neither has that government been able to deliver justice for the victims.”
The CJPC report detailed what Mr Arndt said was “a slow motion genocide” – a marginalisation of Papuans economically, socially and culturally.
Indonesia maintains a tight grip on West Papua and restricts journalists from reporting there.
West Papua, a former Dutch colony, became part of Indonesia after a UN-supervised referendum in 1969 that involved only a small segment of the indigenous Melanesian population and was criticised as a sham.
Indonesia is hosting this week's meetings of police ministers and commissioners from member countries of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
The meeting is being chaired by Solomon Islands, as the current holder of the MSG chairmanship.
Other full members are Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia's FLNKS Kanaks movement.
Discussions will focus on emerging trends of crime, as well as regional security issues and how MSG countries can contribute to UN operations around the world.
The meeting of police ministers is expected to discuss progress made on the Regional Police Academy initiative, for which Indonesia has offered the Pacific countries assistance.
Indonesia has MSG associate member status, and forged close links with Fiji's government while becoming more engaged in MSG activities over recent years.
Indonesia's Chief of National Police, General Tito Karnavian, was also present at last December's MSG Police Minister's meeting in Fiji.
"I welcome these discussions because it is now important to build the capacity of our Police to address psychological, economical and societal problems which has added another layer of intricacy to policing," Fiji's Minister for Defence and National Security Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said.
“These new challenges have arisen against the background of ongoing the usual crime problems of drugs, property crime and violence."
The Papuan Putri Dobonsolo (Dobonsolo Women) group in Sentani, Jayapura regency, is committed to developing and introducing Papuan-motif batik to the public.
"The Papuan-motif batik that we develop here, called the Yoniki motif, is the signature motif of Sentani and only used by ondofolo and ondoafi [tribal chiefs]. The motif has seven derivatives and has been patented by Putri Dobonsolo," group founder Mariana Pulanda Ibo, 98, also known as Mama Ibo, told The Jakarta Post at her home during the inauguration ceremony of the Putri Dobonsolo Gallery.
Mama Ibo's house has also served as the group's workshop center for Papuan youths who are interested in participating in the development of the region's signature batik.
Established in 1996, the group's production currently still relies on orders, particularly from the church. "The customers who order our fabric are only church people; nothing yet from the administration," she said.
Mama Ibo is said to be the first generation of Papuan natives to have received batik-making training; she was sent by the Irian Jaya Development Foundation to Java to participate in the workshop back in 1995. "I was very interested in batik-making since it was a new thing in Papua; all we knew back then were the cultures of carving and painting. That is why I want the batik-making to be a new [popular] skill in Papua."
In addition to selling batik fabric from Sentani, the gallery also hosts a batik-making workshop center. "Regencies frequently send women here to learn batik-making; I'm very happy that the Papuan people have started to pay attention to this culture."
Around 20 employees work at the gallery and all Mama Ibo's children have also followed their mother's passion for batik-making. One of her daughters, Srimiati Ibo, 42, is one of the teachers at the workshop. "We are autodidacts; we have seen our mother and employees making batik since we were teenagers," said Srimiati.
Schools reportedly also send their students to the gallery to learn batik-making. Sofia, 16, from SMK 5 Jayapura state vocational school has been participating in the workshops for a year. "I started learning batik-making a year ago and I also take batik-making courses at school," she said.
Bank Indonesia (BI) Jayapura office head Joko Supratikto, who attended the gallery inauguration ceremony, said the central bank supported Putri Dobonsolo because of its passion for developing the region's creative industry with women as the main force. "[BI] always supports women’s creative businesses since women are the driving force of the Papuan economy," he said. (kes)