Thursday, March 2, 2017

1) Pacific concern relayed at UN over West Papua abuses


2) Pacific nations want UN to investigate Indonesia on West Papua
3) Pacific nations want UN report on Papua
4) Activists, Church Groups Condemn Oppression Against West Papua
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1) Pacific concern relayed at UN over West Papua abuses

3:17 pm today 

Vanuatu has addressed a high level United Nations meeting over Pacific regional concerns about human rights abuses in Indonesia's Papua region, or West Papua.
The 34th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, was told that Indonesia has not curtailed or halted various widespread violations.
Vanuatu’s Justice Minister Ronald Warsal was speaking on behalf of his country and six other Pacific nations: Tonga, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, and Solomon Islands
Vanuatu's Justice Mnister Ronald Warsal addresses the 34th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council regarding the human rights situation in West Papua. Photo: webtv.un.org

"We note that in the past 15 years, the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights has collected evidence of gross human rights violations by Indonesian security forces in three principle areas of West Papua: Wasior, Wamena and Paniai."
Mr Warsal said the Commission described the sets of cases in the first two places as crimes against humanity, which are punishable under Indonesian and international laws.
He referenced reports of extrajudicial executions of activists and the arrests, beatings and fatal shootings of peaceful demonstrators, including high school students; as well as persistent violence against Papuan women.
West Papuan human rights activist Rode Wanimbo address the 7th Pacific Women's Network Against Violence Against Women in 2016 Photo: Pacific Women's Network Against Violence Against Women
The Vanuatu minister said Indonesia's government had not been able to deliver justice for the victims.
"Nor has there been any noticeable action to address these violations by the Indonesian government, which has, of course, immediate responsibility and primary accountability," he said.
He also mentioned the marginalisation of West Papuans in the face of steady migration to the region by people from other parts of Indonesia.
"We want further to highlight another broad aspect of human rights violations - the Indonesian government policy over many decades and continuing until today of the migration of non-indigenous Papuans to West Papua, leading to a dramatic decline in the percentage of the indigenous Papuan population."

Denial by Indonesia

Indonesia's delegation to the UN mission in Geneva has issued a reply, saying it categorically rejects the allegations voiced by Vanuatu's Justice Minister.
It said Mr Warsal's address does not reflect the real situation on the ground, accusing Vanuatu of "using human rights issues to justify its dubious support for the separatist movement in Papua".
In a statement, Indonesia said its record on the promotion and protection of human rights spoke for itself.
"This includes our co-operation with various UN Special Procedures and Mandate Holders, as well as various collaborative endeavours at bilateral, regional and multilateral level including within the Human Rights Council in strengthening human rights mechanisms as well as in the promotion and protection of various basic human rights."
"As a matter of fact, this year Indonesia will welcome the visits of two Special Rapporteurs, and present our third UPR report this coming May."
Earlier, Mr Warsal referred to a series of recent pronouncements by mandate holders of the UN Council about serious Indonesian violations of the human rights of indigenous Papuans.

West Papuan demonstrators tightly monitored by Indonesian police. Photo: Whens Tebay
These included representations by UN Special Rapporteurs on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; the rights of indigenous peoples; the Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; and the Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Indonesia's government, however, said it had always endeavoured to address any allegation of human rights violation as well as taking preventative measure and delivering justice.

'Domestic' issues

The Indonesian government again sent a message to Vanuatu that it should stay out of what it regards as its own domestic matters.
Jakarta said that Vanuatu's government should not divert its focus from addressing its various domestic human rights problem by politicising the issue of Papua for its domestic political purposes.
"In this regard, the Indonesian Government is prepared to work and co-operate with the Government of Vanuatu in their efforts to address various human rights violation and abuses against the people of Vanuatu" said the statement.
These abuses, according to Indonesia, included “violence against women, corporal punishment against minors, appalling prison condition, including torture of prisoners, and other challenges".

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (check shirt) has made regular visits to Papua region where his government has been spearheading a major economic development drive. Photo: AFP
However, the seven Pacific nations have called on the UN Human Rights Council to request the High Commissioner for Human Rights to produce a consolidated report on "the actual situation in West Papua".
Among other provisions, Mr Warsal said the report should also detail the various rights under the International Bill of Human Rights and the related conventions, including the right to self-determination.
"We believe that challenges of West Papua must be brought back to the agenda of the United Nations," said the Vanuatu minister on behalf of the Pacific countries.


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2 MAR 2017 - 5:22PM

2) Pacific nations want UN to investigate Indonesia on West Papua

Seven Pacific island nations have accused Indonesia of serious human rights violations of indigenous Papuans, and want the UN to investigate

Source:  
AAP, SBS News
2 MAR 2017 - 4:08 PM  UPDATED 1 HOUR AGO
Seven Pacific island nations have called for a UN investigation into allegations of human rights abuses in Indonesia's West Papua and Papua provinces, where a separatist movement has simmered for decades.
A statement to a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, read on behalf of the seven states by Vanuatu's Justice Minister Ronald Warsal, accused Indonesia of serious human rights violations of Indigenous Papuans including extrajudicial executions of activists and beatings and fatal shootings of peaceful protesters.
The statement called on the council 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, which independence supporters refer to collectively as West Papua.
Pacific island leaders angered Indonesia last year when they used their speeches to the UN General Assembly to criticise Indonesia's rule in West Papua.
Jakarta accused them of interfering in Indonesia's sovereignty and supporting groups that carry out armed attacks.
Mr Warsal, who spoke on behalf of Vanuatu, Tonga, Palau, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, Nauru and the Solomon Islands, said they also wanted to highlight the Indonesian policy of encouraging the migration of Javanese and other ethnic groups, which has 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."

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3) Pacific nations want UN report on Papua
MARCH 2, 20174:06PM
Associated Press

Seven Pacific island nations have called for a UN investigation into allegations of human rights abuses in Indonesia's West Papua and Papua provinces, where a separatist movement has simmered for decades.
A statement to a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, read on behalf of the seven states by Vanuatu's Justice Minister Ronald Warsal, accused Indonesia of serious human rights violations of indigenous Papuans including extrajudicial executions of activists and beatings and fatal shootings of peaceful protesters.
The statement called on the council 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, which independence supporters refer to collectively as West Papua.
Pacific island leaders angered Indonesia last year when they used their speeches to the UN General Assembly to criticise Indonesia's rule in West Papua.
Jakarta accused them of interfering in Indonesia's sovereignty and supporting groups that carry out armed attacks.
Warsal, who spoke on behalf of Vanuatu, Tonga, Palau, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, Nauru and the Solomon Islands, said they also wanted to highlight the Indonesian policy of encouraging the migration of Javanese and other ethnic groups, which has 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 Dutch colonisers of the Indonesian archipelago held onto West Papua when Indonesia became independent after World War II.
It became part of Indonesia following a UN-supervised referendum in 1969 that involved only a tiny proportion of the population and was criticised as a sham. Independence supporters want a second referendum.
The indigenous people of the two Papua provinces, which make up the western half of the island of New Guinea, are ethnically Melanesian and culturally distinct from the rest of Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation.
West Papua is home to the world's largest gold mine by reserves, one of the world's biggest copper mines and vast areas of virgin forest.
The government insists it is an indivisible part of the Indonesian state and is unlikely to make any concessions to separatists out of fear that could re-energise other dormant independence movements.
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4) Activists, Church Groups Condemn Oppression Against West Papua
Published 1 March 2017 (12 hours 7 minutes ago)

Indonesia's neo-colonial stranglehold on West Papua has seen massacres, media blackouts and widespread human rights abuses.

A coalition of activists and church groups have called on Indonesia to end the widespread, yet little known violence and oppression in West Papua and to allow international journalists, observers, human rights groups and aid organizations in the country.
“We support the struggle for human rights of the people of Papua. We urge an end to the ongoing violence and impunity. We support the call for social and economic justice through serious dialogue and a concrete political process that seeks to address root causes of the present problems,” said Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of World Council of Churches, WCC.
The WCC met in consultation with members from the International Coalition on Papua in Geneva, Switzerland last week. Others including civil society organizations and diplomats also met to discuss the widespread human rights abuses in West Papua.
West Papuans won their independence from Dutch colonialism in 1963. As part of a controversial referendum in 1969, it was annexed by Indonesia , which has since ruled with an iron fist over the mostly Melanesian Indigenous population.

Around half a million Melanesians are thought to have been killed by Indonesian authorities. They face restrictions of movement and assembly, with many protesters being held as political prisoners.
Melanesians have been leading a continued struggle for independence, but many of their leaders have been forced into exile. Their struggle has gone largely unknown because of media bans by the Indonesian government.
Victor Yeimo of the West Papua National Committee said that he had asked Indonesian President Joko Widodo to allow international journalists into West Papua, but added that this continued to be rejected, saying that “there is no trust between the people of West Papua and the government in Jakarta.”
“The government of Indonesia fails to address the root problem, which is the historical problem. The West Papuan people will not stop screaming for independence until the root cause is addressed,” said Veronica Koman of the Indigenous group Papua Itu Kita based out of Jakarta.
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