Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Summary of events in West Papua for May 2017

                                                Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088

                                      Summary of events in West Papua for May 2017

If the month began with the arrest of up to 200 people by the Indonesian police on the 1st May in Sentani, it ended with the arrest of 77 members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) in Merauke on the 31 May. The police arrived at the KNPB secretariat in a truck and four patrol cars and arrested those present. Although in a new twist on language the police said the KNPB activists were not arrested but were “gathered and directed”.  According to a KNPB spokesperson the police came to investigate the ongoing activists at the secretariat, as the KNPB was not a registered organisation. The activists were eventually released but personal belongings and items with the Morning Star symbol were confiscated.

                                                                  Photo in Jubi 31 May 2017 

In relation to the arrests on the 1 May, Senator Scott Ludlam  (The Greens) raised the incident and the human rights situation in West Papua at the FADT Committee hearings. Utube footage at

Benny Wenda toured New Zealand from the  8 May to raise awareness on the issue of West Papua and to meet with MPs, Foreign Affairs officials and trade unionists. A number of RNZI reports on his visit below

Cross-party support in NZ for West Papua vote
RNZI 11 May

New Zealand MPs pose with the West Papua Freedom Movement's Benny Wenda after signing the International                Parliamentarians for West Papua Declaration. Photo: RNZI/Koroi Hawkins

MPs from four New Zealand political parties have signed a declaration by the International Parliamentarians for West Papua.
This follows an address at parliament by the West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda who is in New Zealand raising awareness about his Indonesian-ruled homeland. Eleven members signed the International Parliamentarians' declaration, calling for a self-determination vote in Papua.
Mr Wenda said the cross-party support is a sign of growing global solidarity.
"It's not one particular party but Labour, Greens, National (and Maori Party), they're all signing the declaration. So this is, they show that around the world this fight is about a humanitarian issue. People believe in justice and freedom. That's why these MPs are signing the declaration for West Papua internationally-supervised vote." Benny Wenda also participated in a march today to the Indonesian embassy in Wellington where demonstrators protested against Indonesian rule in Papua.

Wenda NZ visit exposes sensitivity over Papua
Johnny Blades 12 May 2017
This week's visit to New Zealand by a West Papuan independence leader has thrown the polarisation around his cause into stark relief. Benny Wenda visited New Zealand to meet MPs, Foreign Affairs officials, trade unionists and the general public to raise awareness about his homeland. The international spokesman for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Benny Wenda fled the Indonesian-administered region of Papua, or West Papua, in 2003.

Indonesian official Firdauzie Dwiandika (hand on chin, wearing cap) listens to a protest the Indonesian Embassy in Wellington before having verbal altercations with protestors about West Papua. May 2017 Photo: RNZI/ Koroi Hawkins

Full report

A series of violent incidences have been occurring In West Papua. A Jubi report below on situation below
Admin May 22, 2017
Jayapura, Jubi – Since March 30, 2017, a number of violence occurred in Jayapura City. Five people died from these acts of violence. Since police have not been able to stop this series of violent acts, it then raises a variety of rumors across community in Jayapura City.
On April 30, 2017, a man named Andre Marweri was found dead in a miserable condition at Buper Waena Square, Heram District. The victim suffered a stab wound in the back to the neck.
Thursday, May 11, 2017 in the morning, a lecturer at the Faculty of Economics, University of Cenderawasih named Dr. Suwandi was intercepted by two strangers when he was about to return home to Buper Waena Street. The perpetrator attacked the victim with a machete to death.

Massacre of 5 people in 24 hours – Under Indonesia, West Papua is becoming another East Timor
24 May 2017
A  statement has been written by ULMWP Spokesperson Benny Wenda following the killings of West Papuan people in Port Numbay/Jayapura this week.
Today the people of West Papua woke up after a day of bloodshed and tears. In 24 hours at least 5 West Papuan people were killed and others remain in critical condition, all after having been attacked by Indonesian migrants backed by the Indonesian authorities. Bodies of West Papuan people were found lying in the streets and the sewers of Port Numbay/Jayapura after being hacked to death with machetes. Full statement at  https://www.freewestpapua.org/2017/05/24/3897/

News in brief
Police officer shot in Lanny Jaya, Papua
2nd May 2017

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA News) - Chief Police Brigadier Awaluddin Elwakhan was shot by an armed civilian in Tiom, Lanny Jaya District, Papua, on Monday.
The police officer was in a kiosk located in Tiom Market when an armed man shot him twice in the back of his head, Senior Commissioner Ahmad Kamal, spokesman of the Papua Provincial Police, noted here, Tuesday. The unidentified gunman fled towards Yiginoa after shooting the officer, he remarked. Elwakhan was injured and rushed to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.

Jokowi visits West Papua

The Indonesian President visited West Papua on the 9 May, the fifth time since he was elected President. He inspected various development projects such as Mama-mama Market in Jayapura City, the 47-km-long Wamena-Habema road project, the Integrated State Boundary Post in Skouwand the construction of the 50-Megawatt (MW) feed gas-fired plant (PLTM G).

Jubi May 31, 2017
Merauke, Jubi – People in Muting Village, Muting District, Merauke Regency-Papua expressed their disappointment because of land clearing for oil palm plantation, which is not consulted with local people as the owners of communal land rights.This was revealed by the Head of Muting Village, Roberthus Mahuze to Jubi, Monday (May 29). It said, when their first entry the company promised to hire customary owners once it is operating. But in reality only a few people are employed. “Frankly, we are very disappointed with companies that promise to hire indigenous people. We can count by our fingers of how many people work there, “said Mahuze without mentioning the name of the company. According to him, the company should not deny the agreement that has been made when the company plans to open the land for the development of oil palm.

Asked for payment of compensation, Mahuze admitted there was no real compensation, only what it’s called “a concern” payment. It is in accordance to the company’s agreement with customary rights owners. It is expected that in the future the company will not ‘turn a blind eye’ to indigenous Papuans in Muting. Since they are the owners of customary rights and are obliged to be given the opportunity to work. Another resident, Yulius Gebze said similar thing. “Yes, there is lack of good attention from the company to the owners of customary rights. So there is a sense of dissatisfaction,” he said. “It is true that since the company entered for the first time, there has been an agreement for the customary rights owner to be involved. But during their operation 

Vanuatu's Sope speaks out in support of West Papua
RNZI 2 June
A former Vanuatu prime minister, Barak Sope, says he is confident West Papua will become independent from Indonesia. Mr Sope, who had been a long time supporter for independence in East Timor, was speaking after being awarded the "Order of Timor Leste" in the capital Dili, for his contribution to that country's successful struggle for freedom. It is the highest honour East Timor can bestow. Mr Sope has long been an advocate for West Papua and West Papuan self determination. At the end of last year he was pushing for Vanuatu to become a member of the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation to counter Indonesia's influence. Mr Sope said at the time Indonesia is only on the committee to ensure the subject of self determination in West Papua is not discussed

Indonesia rejects claims about ACP meeting
RNZI 15 May 2017 
Indonesia has disputed reports that this month's African, Caribbean and Pacific meeting featured discussion about West Papua.
The ACP Council of Ministers in Brussels reportedly heard a joint statement on Papua from seven Pacific countries - Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau and the Marshall Islands.

Vanuatu government representatives Johnny Koanapo (left) and Ralph Regenvanu (right) with Octo Mote, the secretary-general of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, in the middle, in Brussels, May 2017. Photo: Supplied

The statement condemned Indonesian human rights violations in Papua and called for a resolution supporting the right of West Papuan political self-determination. However, Indonesia's embassy in New Zealand says the ACP agreed in April that the group would not cover the issue of Papua in future meetings. It has rejected reported claims from a Vanuatu minister that African and Caribbean countries support their push for a new Papuan self-determination process. It said that in its response to Indonesia's embassy in Brussels, the ACP Secretariat rejected reportage of the Pacific statement, indicating the issue of Papua "did not feature" during the meeting.

Vanuatu's government envoy Johnny Koanapo was reported to have delivered the joint statement to the Council, warning that "apartheid-like colonial rule" was wiping out West Papuans as a people. Mr Koanapo has said that the discussion set up the likelihood of a resolution on the full range of West Papua issues at the next ACP ministerial council meeting, scheduled for November.
However the Indonesian embassy has dismissed his statement. "The argument made by a Vanuatu politician that African countries support self-determination in Papua is false," said the embassy in a statement. "As close partners sharing common history and future, Indonesia and Africa have long expressed solidarity and full support towards each other's sovereignty."
According to the embassy, Indonesia enjoyed excellent relations with Pacific countries.

"The overwhelming majority of Pacific countries have no agenda to push for the separation of sovereign territories of Indonesia," it said. "Calls to redraw the borders of Indonesia by a few politicians in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and elsewhere, are simply crazy and irrational talk. These absurdities are talks of desperate and vulnerable political leaders clinging to stay in power." The embassy said significant progress had been made by Indonesia in recent years in the areas of human rights and development in the provinces of Papua.
It said this was witnessed directly by several Pacific Islands' foreign ministers during their visit to Indonesia in 2014.

(Note.Indonesia  hosted this year’s World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) 1-4 May).
A six-member television crew from Japan was deported from the easternmost Indonesian province of Papua on Thursday for immigration violations, a local immigration official said.

Yopie Watimena, chief of the immigration office in the provincial capital of Jayapura, said that one of the six Japanese nationals entered Indonesia via Jakarta’s Sukarno-Hatta international airport on May 1, while the rest entered the country on May 2. According to Watimena, the six came to Papua to make a documentary film on the life of native tribes in the province, but failed to obtain proper documents, including journalist visas. “They had already made footage of the Mamuna and Korowai tribes in a remote area in the southeastern part of Papua and were on the way to the town of Wamena (in the mountainous regency of Jayawijaya) when we arrested them,” the official said, adding that two Papuan tourist guides who accompanied them were also detained before finally being released. Watimena said that based on the information gained by the Papua Strategic Intelligence Agency, the six Japanese nationals work for the Nagano Production House in Japan. “They were deported to Japan today (Thursday) after having been interrogated since Wednesday,” he said. There were no further details about the six Japanese citizens.

Papua remains restricted under Widodo; 72 cases of violence against journalists
19 May 2017 
This statement was originally published on aji.or.id on 3 May 2017. 

                                                                                                                  Antara Foto/Wahyu Putro A/via REUTERS
Indonesian soldiers watch as workers and contractors from the PT Freeport mining company travel in a convoy 
during a rally commemorating May Day in Timika, Papua province, 1 May 2017

Two cases of violence against journalists in Papua in the past week highlight the empty promise of Press Law protections in Indonesia's easternmost province, as well as the false hopes of President Joko Widodo, who more than two years ago promised to open foreign press access to the area. Censorship remains the norm in the province, where many foreign journalists are still forbidden from entering.  On May 1, 2017, police in Jayapura, Papua, assaulted Yance Wenda, a local journalist who works for Jubi daily and tabloidjubi.com, while he was covering the arrest of activists of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB).
Police arrested the KNPB activists, often labeled as a separatist group, during a May 1 rally (annually held to reject the integration of Papua into Indonesia which happened on May 1, 1963). Police beat Mr. Wenda with a rattan stick on the scene, then took his bag and forcibly detained him. Mr. Wenda suffered injuries to his eyes, head and back.  Three days before that, on April 28, three television journalists from Metro TV, Jaya TVand TVRI experienced intimidation while covering a trial in Wamena District Court. An unknown group of visitors surrounded them, questioning them and forcing them to delete their footage of the trial. Police witnessed the entire incident but didn't intervene.  Violence and intimidation against journalists remain facts of life in Papua. Government censors block news sites that are critical of the government, and foreign journalists are banned from traveling freely throughout the region. 

Papua's massive Grasberg mine is hit by further strike action
RNZI  29 May 2017 
 Production has been hit at the massive Grasberg mine in Indonesia's Papua province as more than 9,000 workers stage an extended strike. The mine's owner, Freeport McMoRan, also says a "large number" of the absentee workers are deemed to have resigned. Meanwhile, the striking miners, angry at the American company's decision to lay off thousands of workers, have agreed to extend their industrial action for a second month. Freeport deems the strike illegal, and had followed through on a threat to take disciplinary action against absenteeism, considering staff who are absent for more than five days to have resigned. A Freeport spokesperson told Reuters it was trying to mitigate the strike's effect on mining and milling rates, which it did not quantify, by re-allocating resources and training additional workers. The strike was a further disruption for Freeport, which had lost hundreds of millions of dollars in a protracted dispute with the Indonesian government over new mining laws.
Copper concentrate exports had only resumed late last month, when the strike began.

Strike impacts Freeport’s Grasberg mine, workers 'resigned'
Reuters May 25, 2017  By Susan Taylor | TORONTO
Freeport McMoRan Inc said on Thursday that mining and milling rates at its Grasberg copper mine in Papua, Indonesia have been affected as some 9,000 workers stage an extended strike, and a "large number" of approximately 4,000 absentee workers were deemed to have resigned. Escalating tensions with workers is a further disruption for Freeport, entangled in an ongoing dispute with Indonesia over rights to the giant mine, which has cost both sides hundreds of millions of dollars.

An estimated 9,000 workers have extended their strike for a second month at Grasberg, the world's second-largest copper mine, in an ongoing dispute over employment terms and layoffs, the union said on May 20.  Freeport, the world's largest publicly traded copper miner, said that approximately 4,000 workers, including a limited number of contractors, have not reported to work, despite multiple summons to return. "As a result, a large number of these workers were deemed to have resigned, consistent with agreed Industrial Relations guidelines and prevailing law," spokesman Eric Kinneberg told Reuters. Officials for the union were not immediately available to comment. In a May 15 memo obtained by Reuters, Freeport said the strike is illegal and "voluntary resignation is the consequence" for workers who ignored demands to return to work and were absent for five consecutive days.

Freeport is trying to mitigate the impact on mining and milling rates, which were not quantified, by re-allocating resources, training additional workers and supplementing its mill throughput with available stockpiles, Kinneberg said. Freeport resumed copper concentrate export shipments from Grasberg late last month after a 15-week outage related to its dispute with the government and had planned to ramp up production, which was cut by around two-thirds during the outage. Freeport had "demobilized" around 10 percent of its Indonesian workforce as of mid-April, among efforts to cut costs resulting from the dispute. The company has repeatedly warned workers that striking will result in disciplinary action. The union has demanded an end to Freeport's furlough policy and began a 30-day strike on May 1 in an effort to get workers' jobs back.  The majority of Freeport's approximate 30,000-member workforce is working "productively and safely and operations continue to improve," Kinneberg added.   (Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Filep Karma supports the Global Petition and Swim for West Papua

MAY 13, 2017

West Papua’s most famous ex-political prisoner, Filep Karma who was sentenced to 15 years in jail just for raising the West Papuan flag, has visited the Netherlands where alongside Free West Papua Campaign – Netherlands he has been raising awareness and support for West Papua’s freedom and self-determination. He also showed his support for the Global Petition for West Papua that will be taken to the United Nations by the “Swim for West Papua” team across Lake Geneva this August. Filep Karma was very excited to hear about Swim for West Papua, saying “We should join the Swim for West Papua. Why not? It’s our struggle.”
Filep Karma is the latest famous figure to personally support the Swim for West Papua and the Global Petition for an Interntionally Supervised Vote in West Papua. Other notable supporters include: Benny Wenda, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Benjamin Zepahniah, Nili Latu, Marcus Watts and Rev. Steve Chalke.
Have YOU Signed & Shared the Global Petition for West Papua? Sign & Share here

Opinion pieces/press releases/reports etc.

Eating Bacon and Eggs in Secret with the Leader of Free West Papua

Korindo should lose FSC certification over deforestation, says NGO


The May 2017 issue of New Internationalist focused on West Papua. One of the manty excellent articles 
West Papuan voices from the ground

Photos -An Inner West Denim Fest To Free West Papua at Marrickville Bowling Club.

Palm oil firm pledges to stop deforesting after RSPO freezes its operations in Papua

When village development fails


A Study Conference on West Papua Self Determination was held in the Philippines (March 26-27, 2017,)  Mergrande Ocean Resort, Davao City)
2.     Written and video Message of Jose Maria Sision http://www.ilps.info/en/2017/03/26/the-people-of-irian-barat-must-be-free

3.     Discussion of Joanna Patricia K. Cariño on the Right to Self-Determination and Liberation  http://www.cpaphils.org/article21.html

AWPA’s last update

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