Wednesday, August 2, 2017

1) EDITORIAL: Open Papua to the world

2) Indonesian police shoot at Papuan villagers, killing 1

3) FAC ‘head in the sand’ over West Papuan suffering
4) Papua Sees Consecutive Infant Mortality Cases

5) Students rally for West Papuan independence in Bali
6) One man dead, several injured in West Papua shooting

1) EDITORIAL: Open Papua to the world

EDITORIAL The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Wed, August 2, 2017 | 08:07 am

The campaign for an independent Papua has been relentless and has made significant gains in past years. In January this year, the Free West Papua Campaign launched with great fanfare a global petition demanding an internationally supervised referendum for the region.
The petition will remain open until August this year and once it closes will be carried by a team of swimmers across Lake Geneva to be personally handed to the secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres. The campaign itself appears to have been designed by a techsavvy public relations team who also posted a YouTube video featuring pro-independence activist Benny Wenda calling for viewers to join the campaign.
The publicity stunt is a follow-up to the progress the movement has made in recent months. Last year, Free Papua activists managed to enlist an impressive cast of characters to support their cause, ranging from figures like Tongan Prime Minister Akilisi Pōhiva, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson.
The PR campaign followed what could be deemed as a coup for the independent Papua movement. In September last year, seven Pacific island nations raised the issue of human rights abuses in Papua to the UN General Assembly. Anecdotal observations have also shown evidence that the campaign to promote an independent Papua has gained steam in Australia and New Zealand. A senior Indonesian diplomat told of his experience of being confronted by a Pacific island student who was campaigning for a free Papua during a graduation event.
So, at almost every turn, we are being outmaneuvered by campaigners who want to see Papua separate from Indonesia. And yet the Indonesian government has done very little to counter it.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has made efforts to hasten development in Papua including rolling out the one-fuel price policy, which was aimed at boosting economic growth in Papua. Jokowi also signed off on a series of massive infrastructure projects in the region. Early in his administration, Jokowi made a gesture of reconciliation by releasing five political prisoners, a decision the President said was to aid conflict resolution in the restive region.
But none of these efforts have been viewed positively by the outside world because the government continues to cordon off Papua. Despite Jokowi’s pledge early in his administration to give foreign journalists greater access to Papua, his government has maintained a policy that makes it difficult for members of the international media to operate in the region. Today, an interagency “clearing house” continues to operate to vet requests from foreign journalists and researchers before they are permitted to travel to the country’s easternmost province. Earlier this year, two French journalists were deported from Timika, Papua, after failing to obtain a reporting permit.
By maintaining this restriction, the government is operating like a paranoid regime, afraid the outside world may find the skeletons it hides in its closet. If the government has done much to improve the lives of Papuans, why not show it to the world?


2) Indonesian police shoot at Papuan villagers, killing 1
Associated Press  AUGUST 2, 2017 — 2:30AM

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian police shot at indigenous Papuan villagers, killing one person and wounding several others, including two children, during a confrontation that erupted after workers at a company in the remote area refused to take a dying villager to a hospital.
The parliament of the Deiyai area in easternmost Papua has called for the arrest of officers involved in the shooting Tuesday and the withdrawal of the mobile brigade, a police paramilitary unit.
The district chief, Fransiskus Bobii, said Wednesday that one person was killed and that he was trying to calm tensions between police and villagers. A police report said a 28-year-old man suffered multiple bullet wounds and died instantly. It said four others were wounded but Santon Tekege, a Catholic priest in Deiyai, put the number of wounded at seven, including two 8-year-olds.
Indonesia maintains a significant police and military presence in the volatile provinces of Papua and West Papua, a mineral-rich region where a decades-long separatist movement simmers and the predominantly Christian indigenous people resent an influx of Muslim Indonesians, who now outnumber them.
According to the police account, a village teacher asked workers of a company doing construction work in the area to help transport a sick villager but they refused because they feared being blamed if he died on the way.
Hours later, the man apparently died and villagers confronted the workers, taking one hostage, police said. Police went to the village, where they were attacked with rocks and arrows and responded with warning shots, the police statement said, without explaining the death and injuries.
The worker taken hostage is still missing, police said.

3) FAC ‘head in the sand’ over West Papuan suffering

The 2016 human rights petition in the name of Maire Leadbeater called for the Government to advocate that the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression visit West Papua and for New Zealand to condemn the arrest and intimidation of peaceful protestors. The petition was endorsed by several human rights groups, academics and prominent Church leaders including the heads of the Anglican and Catholic Churches (Cardinal John Dew and Archbishop Philip Richardson). The Committee has turned down the petition’s appeal and instead opted for a conclusion that amounts to an ineffective ‘business as usual approach’ that amounts to little more than occasional inoffensive chats with Indonesian authorities and comments during the UN Universal Periodic Review process.
‘While I am pleased to hear that the Government does not deny that there are human rights breaches taking place in West Papua, I am appalled that Ministry officials have told the Committee that there is doubt about the practice of torture in West Papua. This flies in the face of extensive documentation from numerous human rights, church and academic reports all of which describe the practices of torture as endemic. The US State Department in its annual Country report on Indonesia also regularly records allegations of security forces killing and torturing civilians with impunity. Supporters of self-determination and freedom are particularly at risk as the 2001 murder of Theys Eluay, Chair of the West Papuan Presidium and the killing of Mako Tabuni, leader of the West Papua National Committee in 2012 illustrate. The most recent cases of young people being brutally beaten by the security forces took place in Nabire in July 2017. In this instance around a 100 young people were arrested over several days in response to peaceful protests - triggered by nothing more than the actions of a young man delivering leaflets.’
‘There is a growing consensus based on documented evidence that the indigenous people are experiencing ‘slow genocide’ as a result of Indonesian abuse, decades of displacement and the neglect of the basic health and environmental rights. But New Zealand is missing in action while other small Pacific nations such as Vanuatu, Tonga and the Solomon Islands stand up for the West Papuan people and their fundamental rights in the United Nations and at other international forums. ‘
West Papua Action Auckland notes that some members of the Committee advocated working with other Pacific countries at the UN. West Papua Action Auckland is now approaching all political parties seeking a clear policy statement on whether or not they support self-determination for West Papua. New Zealand’s shameful acquiescence in this horror story in our neighbourhood must end.


WEDNESDAY, 02 AUGUST, 2017 | 15:18 WIB
4) Papua Sees Consecutive Infant Mortality Cases

TEMPO.COJakarta - Deiyai district in Papua has seen a series of infant mortality cases in the past five months. The figure continues to rise as similar cases have also been found in more areas, from four to nine villages in Tiga Barat district.
Pastor Damianus Adii of Diyai Church said that 90 infants and five men died between March and July. “Three infants reportedly died in the past week alone in Digikotu village,” Damianus said yesterday, August 1.
Digikotu is one of four villages where infant mortality cases with measles-like symptoms were found last month. Aside from Digikotu, same cases were found in three other villages: Piyakedimi, Yinidoba and Epaniai. Infants reportedly suffered diarrhea, mouth injuries, bloodshot eyes and high body temperature for days before death.
Damianus said that medical examinations conducted by local doctors reveal that the toddlers died from a number of diseases, such as measles, diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infection and dysentery. Some died in the villages due to delayed medical treatment and others died at the hospital.
Delayed treatment was caused by the lack of medical facility in Deiyai district that only has 10 community health centers [puskesmas] and five doctors, Damianus said. The puskesmas only open four days a week. “We also experience water scarcity and the lack of basic medication,” he said.
Deiyai Regent Tance Takimai said that consecutive infant mortality cases were normal, not an outbreak. “They were caused by the lack of awareness about healthy lifestyle,” he said. Tance added that data from Health Office shows that only 27 infants died between March and July.
Mohamad Subuh, Director General of Disease Prevention and Control, the Health Ministry, said that infant mortality cases in Deiyai were caused by low awareness about vaccination. In 2016, only 5.5 percent of infants were vaccinated. “We have access issues so that the services have not been carried out routinely,” he said. Subuh has dismissed the report that the number of mortality cases has risen. He said that the latest data show that only 27 infants died from March to July due to diarrhea, lung inflammation, measles, dysentery, malnutrition, bug bites and allergies.
The National Commission on Human Rights commissioner Natalius Pigai has visited Tigi Barat district to learn more about the incident. He has criticized the central government for saying that infant mortality cases in the region were caused by ordinary diseases. “The root causes have to be examined; why is the number of infant mortality so high?” he said.


5) Students rally for West Papuan independence in Bali
Ni Komang Erviani The Jakarta Post
Denpasar, Bali | Wed, August 2, 2017 | 03:00 pm

Around 30 students of the Papua Student Alliance (AMP) Bali held a rally on Wednesday to demand West Papuan independence.
They staged the demonstration at a location near the US Consular Agency office in Denpasar, Bali, as the police did not allow them to hold the rally in front of the office as initially planned.
AMP spokesman Wolker said the rally was held to commemorate the 48th year of the Papuan People’s Free Choice (Pepera) in 1969. “The Papuan People’s Free Choice was not democratic; [it was] full of terror, intimidation and manipulation. Severe human rights violations also occurred at that time,” Wolker said.
In a statement, AMP said that 175 out of 809,337 Papuans cast their vote in the Pepera in 1969 and that all of them had been "quarantined" before the voting day.
“Since then, [acts of] colonialism, imperialism and militarism have been committed by the Indonesian government,” it said in the statement.
The group’s activists held the rally at the US Consular Agency as they believe the US government interfered in the Pepera.
“Papua should get freedom,” they yelled during the rally.
They also demanded that the government shut down multinational companies' activities in Papua, such as those of Freeport, LNG Tangguh and Medco. Furthermore, they called for the release of Obby Kogoya, a Papuan student in Yogyakarta who was sentenced to one-year probation with four years' imprisonment if he reoffends during probation for resisting police arrest during a protest in Yogyakarta last year. (ebf

6) One man dead, several injured in West Papua shooting

21 minutes ago 

Reports from West Papua say one man is dead and up to 16 people have been injured in a police shooting.
The local newspaper Tabloid Jubi reported seven children are among those who were injured in the incident in Deiyai district on Tuesday.
Four of the injured were airlifted to hospital in Nabire on Wednesday according to a human rights lawyer who deals with West Papua.
Tabloid Jubi reported the security forces were called to deal with a group who were complaining a company hadn't assisted when a man needed help to get to hospital after drowning.
The lawyer Veronica Koman spoke to an eye witness to the shooting and has seen photos of the injured.
"The company called Brimob (Mobile Brigade Corps). Brimob is a special taskforce of police and Brimob taskforce came and just shooting at people. As a lawyer I think it's not proportional, even if they were angry but it's not necessary to shoot randomly at people. Like children got injured,” Veronika Koman said.

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