1) West Papuan advocates pay tribute to Faleomavaega
3:04 pm on 10 March 2017
Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin Photo: Free google search image
The East Timor Action Network, or ETAN, has paid tribute to the late Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin's work on West Papua.
The former member of the US House of Representatives, who represented American Samoa as its Delegate in Congress for 13 terms from 1989 to 2015, passed away in late February.
As Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment, Faleomavaega regularly monitored events in Indonesia's Papua region
ETAN's Ed McWilliams has written that Faleomavaega was an articulate and effective advocate for human rights in West Papua and long worked for a peaceful resolution of the serious problems confronting Papuans.
"He engaged persistently with US and Indonesian Government officials toward these ends," he said.
"His travel to West Papua and extensive contact with Papuans reflected a deep sincerity and good will toward the Papuan people and the peoples of the broader region which he knew so well."
According to Mr McWilliams, Faleomavaega drew upon this knowledge and experience and the broad respect accorded him in congress and elsewhere to advise several US Administrations regarding policy toward West Papua and toward Indonesia.
In 2010, Faleomavaega convened the first hearing in the history of the US Congress to include testimony from West Papua's traditional and religious leaders. and human rights advocates.
In 2007, he traveled to West Papua. The visit's schedule was heavily restricted by the Indonesian government, including the congressman not being allowed to visit Jayapura.
Faleomavaega subsequently protested to Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that the visit had been limited "to only two hours of actual meetings with the leaders and people of Biak and Manokwari due to supposedly security concerns".
During the visit, Faleomavaega "forced his way through barricades to talk with Papuans denied entry to official meetings".
He later wrote that he was deeply disturbed by the overpowering military presence, which he described as completely unnecessary.
Mr McWilliams said that Faleomavaega's interest in West Papua "derived in part from a sense of personal responsibility to carry forward the work of his Samoan relatives who are buried in West Papua and in honor of all those who have lived the struggle".
In July 2011 he was honored with the "John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award" by the US-based West Papua Advocacy Team.
His passing is a loss for his many friends in the West Papuan community and those in the broader international community who support their struggle for freedom.
Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin's funeral is to be in Utah on Saturday.
2) Tax collection guarantee key to resolving Freeport deadlock: Expert
Viriya P. Singgih The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Fri, March 10, 2017 | 01:00 pm
In a bid to settle its dispute with gold and copper miner PT Freeport Indonesia, the government needs to provide a long-term guarantee about the types of tax collection it will impose on the company, a tax expert has stated.
The local subsidiary of the United States-based mining giant Freeport McMoRan has temporarily halted operations due to the government’s demand that the contract of work (CoW) it signed in 1991 be converted into a so-called special mining license (IUPK) before extending its export permit, a move that will automatically annul the long-term investment stability guarantee provided in the CoW.
“It has to be clear first, what types of collection the government will impose on Freeport Indonesia within the next 20 years,” Center for Indonesia Taxation Analysis (CITA) executive director Yustinus Prastowo told The Jakarta Post recently.
“If it’s an income tax [PPH], it should still be an income tax until the contract is over. If it’s a value-added tax [PPN], it should still be a value-added tax. Then, if the company’s copper concentrates are included as non-taxable goods today, it should also remain the same. That’s the kind of guarantee that Freeport Indonesia is looking for.”
Yustinus said that when the types of tax collection were clear, the amount of collection from each category would still be open for negotiations in the future.
Data from the Finance Ministry shows that Freeport Indonesia paid Rp 1.23 trillion (US$92.1 million) in export duties alone to the government throughout 2016. (bbn)
3) Papua Supports Central Gov’t Policies on Freeport
Friday, 10 March 2017 | 11:19 WIB
JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - Government Negotiation Team headed by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Teguh Pamudji, has met the Governor of Papua Lukas Enembe in Jayapura discussing the continuation of negotiations between the government and PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI).
"This meeting in general explains the government policies remain consistent with downstream mineral policy. The government also still wants to keep social and economic activities in Papua running conducive," Teguh said in remarks published on Friday (3/10/2017).
For information, the government has given Special Mining Business Permit (IUPK) to PTFI dated February 10, 2017. The government has also issued export recommendation for PT FI on February 17, 2017.
Director General of Mineral and Coal Mining, Bambang Gatot Aryono, who participated in the meeting, said that currently the government continues to resolve matters related to stabilization of investment.
"However, if after six months PTFI cannot accept IUPK, please go back to the Contract of Work (CoW), but [it] could not export concentrates," said Bambang.
The government’s stance obtained support from the Papua Provincial Government. "We support the policies of the central government and we ask the government to be assertive against PTFI," said Governor Lukas.
Furthermore Papua Provincial Government also wanted to be included in discussing the future of PTFI’s operations, and still strive for aspirations which have been submitted to the government.
In response to this, Bambang Gatot explained that these aspirations largely have been accommodated in the progress of negotiations carried out by the government. (*)
4) British-owned cruise ship wrecks one of Indonesia’s best coral reefs
Basten Gokkon for Mongabay, part of the Guardian Environment Network Friday 10 March 2017 21.14 AEDT
One of the main coral reefs at Raja Ampat, an Indonesian island chain home to perhaps the world’s richest marine biodiversity, was severely damaged last week when a Bahamian-flagged cruise ship smashed into it at low tide, according to an official report.
The 90-meter Caledonian Sky, owned by tour operator Noble Caledonia, ran aground in an uncharted shoal in West Papua province after completing a bird-watching trip on Waigeo Island on 4 March.
The British-owned company described the incident as “unfortunate” and said it was “cooperating fully with the relevant authorities”. Damage to the vessel was minimal and it has already set sail after being questioned by investigators.
An official evaluation team found that the ship had been caught in low tide despite being equipped with GPS and radar instruments, according to team member Ricardo Tapilatu, head of the Research Center for Pacific Marine Resources at the University of Papua.
“A tugboat from Sorong city was deployed to help refloat the cruise ship, which is something that shouldn’t have happened because it damaged the reef even worse,” Tapilatu said. “They should’ve waited for high tide” to refloat the vessel.
The 4,290-tonne Caledonian Sky, which was carrying 102 passengers and 79 crew on a 16-night journey from Papua New Guinea to the Philippines, damaged approximately 1,600 square meters of coral at a diving site known as Crossover Reef.
The incident resulted in the destruction of the ecosystem’s structural habitat and the reduction or loss of diversity of eight coral genera, including acropora, porites, montipora and stylophora.
“This is what we found during our investigation into the site,” Tapilatu said. “We are currently finishing the report and will submit our recommendations to the district office next week.”
Local homestay operator Stay Raja Ampat posted on Facebook: “How can this happen? Was a 12-year-old at the wheel? Anchor damage from ships like these is bad enough, but actually grounding a ship on a reef takes it to a whole new level.”
Due to Raja Ampat’s special biodiversity and its status as one of the world’s most popular dive sites, as well as the fact that the damage occurred in a national park, the evaluation team will recommend the company pay compensation of $800-$1,200 (£650-£985) per square meter, for a total of $1.28m-$1.92m, according to Tapilatu. The standard rate is $200-$400 per square meter.
“If the ship’s owner disagrees with the claim, then typically the government will take it to court,” Tapilatu said. If the company and government can reach an agreement, it will likely take a year or two for the district administration to receive the cash.
Tapilatu said the money would be used to revive the reef, a process he estimated could take a decade; to set more mooring buoys across the area to prevent ships from sailing into shallow zones; and to map out sailing tracks.
“The government has had talks about compensation with the ship company, and I’m optimistic that this won’t go to court. Unfortunately, there will not be any moves for coral revival until we get the money.”
Andi Rusandi, director for conservation and marine biodiversity at the Indonesian Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said local conservation and revival efforts were within the local government’s authority, but he said he would follow the situation.
In its statement, Noble Caledonia said it was “firmly committed to protection of the environment, which is why it is imperative that the reasons for it are fully investigated, understood and any lessons learned incorporated in operating procedures.”