Saturday, July 22, 2017

Port Vila ACP-EU heard that more 1 000 West Papuans killed

Port Vila ACP-EU heard that more 1 000 West Papuans killed
Published: 21 July 2017

West Papuans were never allowed the proper act of self-­determination guaranteed by the inalienable right to self-­determination as expressed in UN human rights Covenants and by the 1962 New York Agreement, a treaty between the Netherlands and Indonesia handing provisional administration of the territory from one country to the other.
 Indonesia arrived in West Papua in 1963 and immediately began violently suppressing all West Papuan aspirations for independence. West Papuans have suffered horrendously under Indonesian rule, including thirty years under the Suharto dictatorship and now nearly twenty under a more democratic, but ultimately colonial, regime. More than a hundred thousand (and perhaps hundreds of thousands) have died because of Indonesia’s annexation. Human rights violations, amounting to ‘crimes against humanity’, continue with impunity.
 Indonesian state authorities, Indonesian settlers and Indonesian (as well as foreign) companies have steadily but surely assumed control over every aspect and arena of West Papuan life. Indonesian claims to have developed West Papua’ ignore the fact that development has primarily benefited Indonesians not Papuans.  Ethnically, culturally and politically, West Papua is part of the Melanesian Pacific, not Southeast Asia. Papuans are black-­skinned Melanesians like the people in neighbouring Papua New Guinea, the Solomons Islands, and Vanuatu.  Indonesia and especially its security forces treat West Papuans as sub-­human because of this racial difference. For decades, the Indonesian government has sent tens of millions of Indonesians from more densely populated regions to its outer, more sparsely populated islands, including West Papua..A parallel voluntary migration continues to this day. In the early 1960s, indigenous Papuans constituted 97% of the population. Today, Papuans are almost a minority in the territory and are already outnumbered in the towns and cities, along the coasts and in the major areas of plantation agriculture. Their culture, the very names of their places, their words and rhythms, the skills, traditions and knowledge that have served for millennia, are being discounted, wiped out, leaving them bewildered and unprepared in an alien world.

 Amnesty International has estimated that more than one hundred thousand (or about 10 percent of the population) have been killed by Indonesian security forces. Other estimates of the deaths, are in the several hundred thousands, one quarter or more of the indigenous Papuans.
 On-­going violations of the human rights of indigenous West Papuans, including torture, extra-­judicial execution, forced disappearances and the beating and shooting of peaceful protestors, amounting in some instances to crimes against humanity,’ with estimates ranging up to a half-­million killings during Indonesias 54 year occupation of the territory
 A Yale University report is one of several defining Indonesian rule as genocidal.
 The worst period of killing occurred during the 1970s and 1980s, at the height of the Suharto military dictatorship, when West Papua was officially a “military operations area.” Although an even greater percentage of East Timorese likely died after Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975, the exterminationist violence employed is the same and Indonesian racist attitudes of superiority towards “subhuman” black Papuans is greater still.
CALL for ACP-EU Resolution on West Papua
·       ACP-EU Parliamentarians can voice their concern and they can support Papuan rights, including the right to self-­determination by rallying to the call from the 8 Pacific Island Countries for justice and respect for the right to self –determination.
·       They can get regional and global intergovernmental bodies such the African Union, CARICOM and other regional and sub-regional multilateral bodies to pass resolutions and restrict commercial and other relations with Indonesia.
·       As member states of the United Nations ACP –EU countries can insist on an internationally supervised referendum on independence (or at least the re-­listing of West Papua as a non-­self-­governing territory).
·       Support with one voice the proposed resolutions in the upcoming Joint ACP-EU parliament meeting in month of October and also the resolution on West Papua to be adopted at ACP Council of Ministers meeting in November 2017
·       Call on ACP-EU Parliamentarians to urge their respective governments to address the issue of West Papua at the multilateral level and assist Indonesia to resolve this 54 year crisis.

Friday, July 21, 2017

1) Freeport Indonesia mine workers extend strike for fourth month

2) Mongabay Series: Indonesian Forests, Indonesian Palm Oil, Jokowi Commitments
JULY 22, 2017 / 12:40 AM / 6 HOURS AGO
 1) Freeport Indonesia mine workers extend strike for fourth month
 JAKARTA/TORONTO (Reuters) - An estimated 5,000 workers at the giant Grasberg copper mine operated by Freeport-McMoRan Inc's (FCX.N) Indonesian unit will extend their strike for a fourth month, a union official said on Friday, in an ongoing dispute over layoffs and employment terms. 

The escalating labor issue comes as Freeport, the world's largest publicly traded copper miner, is snarled in a lengthy and costly dispute with Indonesia's government over rights to the Grasberg copper and gold mine. 
Freeport resumed copper concentrate exports from Grasberg, the world's second-largest copper mine, in April after a 15-week outage related to that row, but a permanent solution is yet to be found. 
Copper prices CMCU3 hit a 4-1/2 month peak on Friday, fueled by strong growth in top consumer China, a weak dollar and worries about supply disruptions. 

Freeport is pushing back against revised government rules that require miners to pay new taxes and royalties, divest a 51-percent stake and relinquish arbitration rights. The Arizona-based miner wants an 'investment stability agreement' that replicates the legal and fiscal rights under its existing agreement. 
Freeport Indonesia union industrial relations officer Tri Puspital told Reuters on Friday that the strike was extended because there is still no solution for worker concerns. 

The strike began in May after Freeport laid off some 10 percent of its workforce to cut costs. 
In May, Freeport said that mining and milling rates at Grasberg were affected by the strike, and investors will look for more information when the company reports second-quarter financial results July 25. 
Indonesia said last week it would invite Freeport chief executive Richard Adkerson to Jakarta this month to try to settle a dispute, but a company spokesman would not confirm whether he would attend. 
Freeport shares were down about 1 percent on New York at $12.93 Friday morning. 

Reporting by Wilda Asmarini in Jakarta, Susan Taylor in Toronto and Maytaal Angel in London; Editing by Andrea Ricci

2) Mongabay Series: Indonesian Forests, Indonesian Palm Oil, Jokowi Commitments
Mounting outcry over Indonesian palm oil bill as legislators press on
21 July 2017 / Philip Jacobson & Hans Nicholas Jong
Justified as a means of helping small farmers, assailed as a corporate trojan horse.

The bill cements the right of oil palm planters to operate on peat soil, at a time when President Joko Widodo is trying to enforce new peat protections to stop another outbreak of devastating fires and haze. 
The bill has also been criticized for outlining a variety of tax breaks and duty relief schemes for palm oil investors, although those provisions have been dialed back — but not completely eliminated — in the latest draft. 
The bill's main champion in the House of Representatives is the Golkar Party's Firman Soebagyo. He says it will help farmers and protect Indonesian palm oil from foreign intervention. Responding to mounting public criticism, some cabinet members recently asked the House to abandon the bill, but Soebagyo, who is leading the deliberations, says they will continue.

JAKARTA — A new palm oil bill is the latest battleground in the fight over how to regulate Indonesia’s plantation sector in the wake of the 2015 fire and haze crisis, one of the worst environmental disasters in the country’s history.
Legislators pushing the bill say it will help farmers and protect the nation’s palm oil industry from foreign intervention. But critics say it is actually a plum deal for large corporations, as well as a means for vested interests to undermine peatland protection measures President Joko Widodo installed to prevent a repeat of the 2015 fires, which burned an area the size of Vermont, emitted more carbon daily than all of Europe and sickened half a million people.
The Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) has expressed its support of the bill. The lobby group’s leaders speak oftenof a conspiracy by Western soybean and rapeseed oil interests to undermine Indonesian palm oil for competitive purposes. The Southeast Asian nation is the world’s largest producer of the commodity, found in everything from chocolate to laundry detergent. 
Firman Soebagyo, a member of House of Representatives Commission IV overseeing agriculture, plantations, fisheries, maritime affairs and food, is leading the deliberation on the bill. He frames it as needed to counter a foreign assault on Indonesian palm oil and ensure that the country’s poorest citizens can prosper. It is the same argument he has used to excoriate sustainability pledges made by the world’s largest refiners and users of palm oil. As a result of public pressure, consumer goods giants like Unilever and processors of the oil such as Wilmar International have promised to purge their supply chains of deforestation, peatland conversion, land grabbing and labor abuses; but while some Indonesian officials support these policies, Soebagyo and others have worked to dismantle them.
“We won’t be lied to by developed countries that propagandize about palm oil harming the environment,” Soebagyo said last year with regard to the bill. “We oppose this negative campaign, because palm oil is our future.”
President Jokowi’s administration responded to a mounting public outcry over the bill last week when State Secretary Pratikno sent a letter to the agriculture minister outlining criticisms of the bill. And then on Monday, at a meeting with the House’s Legislation Board, which is headed by Soebagyo, cabinet members questioned the need for the bill, since it overlaps with existing laws. Soebagyo replied that the ministers had not seen the latest draft of the bill, dated July 13, and that the House would press on.

Perhaps the greatest point of contention is that the bill cements the right of oil palm interests to operate on peat soil. The large-scale drainage of Indonesia’s peat swamp regions by plantation firms is the chief underlying cause of the fires that burn almost every year across the now-dried-out landscapes. These fires are a carbon bomb that makes Indonesia one of the top greenhouse gas emitters. After the 2015 disaster, President Jokowi declared a moratorium on peatland drainage. Industry groups and some government officials have spoken out against this and other measures on the grounds that they hurt investor confidence.

Specifically, green groups point to an article of the bill that says plantations can exist on peat. While the stipulation is vague, critics argue it could be used to undermine attempts to keep plantation firms from expanding further into the nation’s peat zones, at a time when many are pushing for them to be dislodged from peatlands they already control. 
“This is a ‘rubber article’ — its interpretation is so wide, you can easily play around with it,” Greenpeace campaigner Annisa Rahmawati said in an interview. “It could be used to undermine the spirit of Jokowi’s commitment.”
Farmers need to be allowed to plant peat with oil palm, Soebagyo believes. “For peat, the only thing farmers with two or three hectares can really make money off of planting is oil palm,” he said on the sidelines of Monday’s meeting. “If they’re not allowed to do that, how will they live? Are watermelon and pineapple really enough?”
One of the bill’s selling points, according to Soebagyo, is that it obligates companies to form “partnerships” with farmers. In principle this is not new: oil palm firms have long been required to give the local community 20 percent of their land for smallholder cultivation. Companies typically ignore this mandate, with government officials failing to hold them accountable. 
“It’s rubbish,” Rahmawati said of the notion that the bill does anything more for farmers than existing legislation.
“The laws aren’t the problem,” she added. “The problem is the implementation and enforcement of those laws.”

Another point of contention is corporate handouts. Previous drafts of the bill outlined a variety of tax breaks and duty relief schemes for palm oil investors; a coalition of NGOs decried that as “a corporate effort to drain state finances.” While those provisions were dialed back in the latest draft, it still mentions “fiscal incentives” to be provided by the state, suggesting that such measures could be laid out in implementing regulations to be issued by one or more ministries after the bill’s passage.
New draft or not, the bill remains a problem, said Khalisah Khalid, head of campaigns at the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), the country’s largest environmental pressure group and a member of the coalition. “They’re claiming they’re a big industry Indonesia should take pride in, but they’re always asking for privileges while there’s never been an improvement,” she said in an interview. The 2014 Plantation Law “already gives them many privileges.”
Indonesia recently introduced a major subsidy via the Crude Palm Oil Supporting Fund, which, along with an increase in the required rate for blending palm oil with diesel fuel, is meant to prop up domestic demand for the commodity. (The CPO Fund, as it is known, was also justified on the basis of helping small farmers, but last month the Oil Palm Smallholders Union (SPKS) sued its management body, claiming the fund has only been used to benefit large companies.) Of the financial measures offered in the palm oil bill, Gadjah Mada University professor Rimawan Pradiptyo said in February, “Such excessive incentives will trigger the expansion of oil palm plantations, which will affect the sustainability and diversity of our forests.”
Soebagyo replied to concerns about the bill fueling unsustainable land clearing by pointing to an article in the latest draft that obliges the government to draw up a masterplan for the industry. “We don’t have a blueprint and thus there’s no limit on how many hectares [plantations can expand].”
The latest draft says nothing about a floor or ceiling for potential expansion, although such details could be stipulated in implementing regulations. It gives the government five years to create the masterplan.

The backlash against the bill is also about what it does not do. At a time when a huge number of oil palm firms are accused of grabbing indigenous lands, the bill says nothing about the need for companies to obtain free, prior and informed consent of communities before operating in their territory. At a time when reports of forced labor and other abusive practices are cropping up with increasing regularity, the bill says nothing about worker treatment.
In the country’s easternmost region of Tanah Papua, where the industry is quickly expanding into some of Indonesia’s last best forests, civil society groups under the banner of the Papuan Coalition of Palm Oil Victims said lawmakers should be using their time to debate the long-awaited indigenous rights bill instead.
“That’s much more important than this palm oil bill,” said John Gobay, a representative of the Meepago Tribal Council, one of the groups.
Banner image: A palm oil mill in Indonesia, where fruit from oil palm trees are processed into crude palm oil to be refined elsewhere into more complex chemicals. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay

Thursday, July 20, 2017

How you can help the people of West Papua .Sign & Share the Global Petition for West Papua

How you can help the people of West Papua .Sign & Share the Global Petition for West Papua 

Swim for West Papua. Here’s why your name matters to the people of West Papua.

How you can help:

#BackTheSwim & #LetWestPapuaVote


1) Indonesia’s Neverending Freeport-McMoRan Saga

2) Anti-BP protesters gatecrash Hull 2017 lecture to campaign against oil firm and hold minute’s vigil

1) Indonesia’s Neverending Freeport-McMoRan Saga
The 50-year relationship between Indonesia and its largest taxpayer comes under scrutiny.

By Nithin Coca July 20, 2017

The drama started nearly two years ago, when Setya Novanto, the speaker of the Indonesian Parliament, was forced to resign after being caught trying to extort U.S. mining giant Freeport McMoRan, which was looking to extend its contract in Indonesia. Things heated up again earlier this year, when, alongside nationalist-tinged protests, it looked like Freeport was on its way out. Then, unexpectedly, a deal seemed to be reached. It was too good to be true, and again, today, the situation is unsure. After years of on-again, off-again negotiations between the Indonesian government and its largest taxpayer and longtime partner, things look stuck right where they started, with both sides intransigent and blaming the other.
The relationship between Freeport, Indonesia, and the restive West Papua region where most of Freeport’s mines are located gives a glimpse into the development policies of Southeast Asia’s biggest country, and the still-ongoing challenge of moving on from the brutal legacy of resource extraction and militarism of the Suharto era.
A Troubled History
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Freeport’s entry into Indonesia came at a critical time, just years after a bloody coup toppled founding President Sukarno and brought to power General Suharto, who would rule for more than three decades. At that time, not surprisingly, few Indonesians had a say in the deal.
“In the previous contracts [negotiated in] 1967 and 1991, Suharto’s administration did not need to accommodate the concerns of Indonesian people, ” said Dr. Zulfan Tadjoeddin, senior lecturer in Development Studies at the University of Western Sydney. “They pragmatically agreed to the terms they thought were good enough for Indonesia.”
In a poor country with limited infrastructure and little industry, resource extraction was to become a key facet of Suharto’s cronyist New Order regime, who, for all their abuses, did help improve the lives of many Indonesians.
“Suharto’s early development programs concerning basic health, education, agriculture, and rural infrastructures were made possible by the mining and oil boom of the 1970s,” said Tadjoeddin.
Freeport’s operations also helped cement Indonesian control over the disputed region of West Papua, the western half of the island of New Guinea. It has, at various times, been controlled by Germany, the Netherlands, and Australia, before it was handed over to Indonesia in 1963, and formally incorporated in a 1969 military-run election in which about 1,000 hand-picked representatives were forced to vote for ascension. With assistance from the Indonesian military, with whom the company has also had a long relationship, Freeport began construction of the Grasberg mine in 1970, without the consent of West Papuans.
“Freeport’s operations are historically based on… corrupt ties with General Suharto, and have involved siphoning off huge profits into Western capitals at the expense of the environment, the local people, and Indonesian political integrity,” said Benny Wenda, a West Papuan living in exile and a spokesperson for Free West Papua.
The 1970s and 1980s were a dark time for many West Papuans, who were forced to face a relentless military presence and the massive influx of migrants from wealthier East Indonesia. Revenue from the the mine remained in the hands of Jakarta. In fact, the power of the Indonesian military – key to Suharto’s control – was closely connected to Freeport’s mining operation, with numerous documented instances of human rights abuses at their facilities.
“Freeport is deeply embedded with Indonesian security forces in the region, paying them for ‘security’ arrangements — which basically means crushing local Papuan resistance to Freeport’s operations,” said Wenda. “There’s a sordid history of shootings, arrests and disappearances around the Freeport mine.” Even today, the military gets the majority of its revenues from its business operations, including providing security in West Papua.
One of the key problems stalling negotiations today is that the Suharto regime negotiated Freeport’s last contract in 1991, with the terms not so different from 1969 – heavily tilted in Freeport’s favor and with few environmental and social protections. In 1998, however, during the Asian Financial Crisis, Suharto fell, and today, Indonesia is a democracy, having elected its first president with no direct ties to the New Order, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, in 2015. Jokowi immediately began looking at the Freeport contract as a revenue source to fulfill his massive infrastructure and economic development plans.
“President Jokowi’s administration has been negotiating with Freeport for improving the benefit of the relationship for Indonesia; this is a step in right direction,” said Tadjoeddin.
The question is – what exactly does the new Indonesia want from Freeport, and will they be able to get it? And are the threats to nationalize the operation, or hand it over to another (perhaps Chinese) company rhetoric, or genuine threats?
What’s Next?
Unfortunately, human rights and the concerns of West Papuans, who have seen little real progress since 1998, are not factoring into the negotiations so far. Instead, talks are focused on a few key points, namely, revenue — both how much Freeport must pay the Indonesian government, and how much control the company is willing to give the country over its operations. Indonesia’s 2009 Mining Act requires it to divest 51 percent of its Indonesian subsidiary, but so far, only 9.36 percent has been divested.
This is why the company is also playing hardball, shutting down its gold mine in February, and most recently, terminating more than 4,000 striking workers from the Grasberg mine in a move local and global labor unions called illegal.
“First we heard [the] company had terminated 2,000 strikers, not something you see very often, then it went up to 3,000, 4,000,” said Adam Lee, campaigns director at IndustriALL, a global union supporting the fired workers. “It’s very unusual to have a company take that drastic action. We want the Indonesian government to act and force the company to reinstate the workers.”
This demonstrates the complexity of these negotiations. While Freeport is Indonesia’s largest taxpayer, and has been for some time, the relationship is symbiotic. Freeport also depends on its huge Papuan operations for a large chunk of its global revenue – in 2015, 27 percent of the operating income generated from mining operations came from Indonesia. Losing the mine, or divesting such a large chunk of the subsidiary, would be a major loss for the company, which means Indonesia is in a relative position of power – even if it is not quite ready to take full control.
“I don’t think this is about taking over the Freeport mine… as this is simply unrealistic given the business management, financing, and technological challenges,” said Tadjoeddin. “The nationalist-tinged protests and rhetoric are primarily about improving the term of the relationship for Indonesia’s benefit.”
Unfortunately, this may still not be enough to fulfill Jokowi’s development dreams, as the mines are not nearly as profitable as just a few years ago, when global commodity prices were high. In 2013 Freeport reported $18.98 billion in revenue, with nearly $4 billion of that as profit. In 2014, this resulted in a $1.5 billion tax bill to the Indonesian government. Most recent figures are not public, but almost undoubtedly much, much lower.
“Despite the drop in global commodity prices, negotiations will continue, although the profit estimate of the new business adventure will be significantly impacted,” said Tadjoeddin.
Of course, the post-2000s resource boom, driven chiefly by China’s incessant demand for raw materials, didn’t aid most Indonesians. While mining helped Indonesia’s economy grow during the early years of democracy, the wealth was never spread equally. In 2002, the country’s GINI coefficient, a measure of income distribution in which lower values demonstrate greater quality, was 29.57. In 2013, the coefficient had risen to 41, indicating dramatic growth in the wealth of the rich. This was not a big surprise, as analysis of GINI data shows that countries with more natural resources tend to have greater levels of inequality. Indonesia is no exception, having been resource export dependent since its early days as a Dutch colony.
The latest timetable is for a new agreement to be reached in October, covering 20 years. Meanwhile, protests will continue at the mine itself, or, if tensions rise, across Indonesia. Freeport’s relationship with Indonesia has gone through many iterations over the past four decades, and while whatever comes next may be better for the country financially, it will likely leave the majority of Indonesians, like before, in the dust, and further antagonize West Papuans, who will once again be forced to bear the environmental, social, and human costs of national development.
“Another 20 years of Freeport means another 20 years of shootings, police brutality, environmental carnage, and destruction of Papuan livelihoods,” said Wenda.
Only one thing is certain – mining will, as it has since 1970, remain at the heart of Indonesia’s political economy – for better, or for worse.
Nithin Coca is a freelance writer and journalist who focuses on cultural, economic, and environmental issues in developing countries. Follow him on Twitter @excinit.


2) Anti-BP protesters gatecrash Hull 2017 lecture to campaign against oil firm and hold minute’s vigil

The speakers took to the stage before the start of the lecture

BYALEX GROVE 17:02, 20 JUL 2017

                                                            DEFIANT: The anti-BP protesters

Human rights campaigners disrupted a BP-sponsored lecture organised by the City of Culture team to protest against the oil firm's supposed links to rights abusing regimes.
On Wednesday night, just moments before a talk by Nicholas Cullinan, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, protesters took to the floor at Ferens Art Gallery in Hull city centre to stage a spontaneous vigil.
One of the speakers talked about the West Papuans' struggles as he suggested BP are supporting a regime which is oppressing them.
The audience were then invited to join them in holding a minute's silence.
Sam Donaldson, one of those who took part in the vigil, said: "By sponsoring Hull City of Culture, BP is attempting to boost its brand and draw a veil over its destructive impacts on communities and the environment.

"Around the world, BP rakes in profits by working with regimes that routinely abuse human rights.
"To drill for gas in West Papua, BP partners with the Indonesian government which continues to occupy West Papua and repress Indigenous Papuans.
"Tonight, we wanted to shine a spotlight on this injustice and express our support for their struggle.’

According to the group, the people of West Papua face widespread violence and intimidation on a daily basis and a petition has been created calling on the UN Secretary general to appoint a 'special representative' to investigate the human rights situation in the province.
Pelle Hjek, who spoke at the end of the vigil, said: "Hull is one of the UK’s cities most at risk from rising sea levels in coming decades.
"By accepting BP’s sponsorship, Hull City of Culture has helped to promote one of the very fossil fuel companies that is recklessly fuelling global warming, with impacts that will undoubtedly damage our city in the future."
Last year, BP faced controversy in the city when a leaked safety report revealed that damages of up to $45m were caused when a piece of equipment within Hull's chemical plant was not operated correctly.
Fran Hegyi, executive director at Hull 2017, expressed support for BP as a funding partner but also welcomed peaceful protests.
He said: "BP are a major partner of Hull 2017, one of more than 70 funding partners that are enabling us to deliver a 365 day cultural programme that is reaching people across the city and has received positive attention from across the UK and around the world.
"Everyone has the right to protest peacefully and the lecture went ahead as planned."

1) Papua, West Papua need better connectivity: Jokowi

2) Overcome challenges in West Papua: President


1) Papua, West Papua need better connectivity: Jokowi

Fedina S. Sundaryani The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Thu, July 20, 2017 | 11:20 am

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on his ministers to cooperate with regional governments to boost the construction of infrastructure in Papua and West Papua to help the two provinces expand connectivity with other regions in the country.
Taking these regions out of isolation, West Papua in particular, is essential in order to increase job opportunities and boost human development, the President added.
“We have focused our efforts on expediting infrastructure development over the past two years in order to boost West Papua’s connectivity with other regions in Indonesia,” he said during the opening of a closed-door meeting at the State Palace in Jakarta on Wednesday.
[::Strides in infrastructure not enough for Papua: Leader::]
“Connectivity is essential for West Papua not only to open up isolated areas, but also to cut down logistics costs and increase the competitiveness of local products.”
Jokowi called on related parties to accelerate the development of ports in Sorong, Bintuni and Kaimana in West Papua and also airports in the region.
Moreover, the President also asked the administrations of the two provinces to take advantage of its available natural resources to increase the social and economic welfare of locals. (bbn)

2) Overcome challenges in West Papua: President

8 hours ago | 560 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Opening up isolation, creating new jobs, alleviating poverty, carrying out more equitable development, and increasing the human development index are part of efforts to overcome challenges in West Papua Province, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) remarked here on Wednesday.

"These are the great jobs that we have to do to overcome the challenges in West Papua, and to improve the welfare of the people in the province," President Jokowi said when chairing a limited cabinet meeting to evaluate the implementation of national strategic projects and priority programs of West Papua at his office.

Jokowi revealed that in the past two and a half years the government has set its focus on accelerating infrastructure development and improving connectivity of West Papua with other regions.

"Connectivity is necessary for West Papua, not only to open the isolated areas, but also to reduce logistics costs and improve the competitiveness of existing local products," the president noted.

Hence, the president requested that the construction of ports,in Sorong, Bintuni, and Kaymana; the development of the ferry dock in Wasior, and the development of several airports accelerated.

"I also ask for the acceleration of the development of strategic roads connecting between the centers of economic development," said the President.(*)