Saturday, October 7, 2017

1) West Papua petition causes UN stir, but Papuans say demands still clear

2) Poverty in paradise: The dark side to Indonesia’s next tourism hotspot
3) West Papua Hit by 5.1 Richter-Scale Earthquake

1) West Papua petition causes UN stir, but Papuans say demands still clear

utube Australia’s ABC News report on the banned West Papuan petition. Video: Lewis Prai Wellip
By Zely Ariane in Jayapura
A petition claimed to represent the wishes of Papuan people on a referendum on West Papua’s future has been debated since last week among Papuan people and commentators, the government of Indonesia and the United Nations.
Denials and accusations have sprung up in various media since the petition was published by the British publication The Guardian.

The Indonesian government accused Benny Wenda, the key driver behind the petition of “lying and spreading hoax”.
Quoting the statement of the Chairman of Decolonisation Special Committee known as C24, Rafael Ramirez, the Indonesian Permanent Mission of the United Nations in New York said no petition had been received from West Papua by C24.
On the other hand, Benny Wenda said that if the petition was a hoax as alleged by the Indonesian government, why would anyone be jailed for organising the signing of the petition.
He already suspects Indonesia will do anything to discredit the petition, himself and other West Papuan leaders – even the people of West Papua.
However, some Papuans have the view that submitting the petition is not a substantial matter. The Indonesian government must recognize that Jakarta’s policy in the Land of Papua has not yet satisfied the indigenous Papuans.
Response from PapuaResponding to the furore over this petition, Papuan legislator Laurenz Kadepa said the current contrasting claims between the Indonesian government and Benny Wenda were not the substance of the Papua issue.
The most important thing should be a lesson for the government so that policies for Papua should be evaluated from all aspects, especially human rights.
“Hoax or true, the petition information is not to be debated. Now the human rights issue in Papua is on the UN agenda and it will be an obstacle for the Indonesian government. Because the states that are concerned with Papuan human rights continue to grow, not just Melanesian countries,” said Kadepa.
“The Indonesian government should correct itself and improve its policy in Papua,” Kadepa continued.
While a statement by the chairman of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), Victor Yeimo, to Benar News confirmed that even if without any petition everyone knew the desire of the people of Papua, which was to hold a referendum to shape the fate of Papuan people.
Regarding the Chairman of C24’s rebuttal, Yeimo said that if the chairman refused to accept the petition it was within the authority of the commission. Ramirez had the right to refuse formal acceptance.
“What must be understood by the people of Papua is the chairman of C24 himself in the interview video said that West Papua was listed by General Assembly.
‘Procedural issues’
“It means he explains the procedural issues that are needed to be encouraged. So, the petition is good as public awareness, but the main thing for the Papuan people is to strengthen the strength of the domestic struggle, to encourage the liberation process of the people of Papua,” said Yeimo.
Markus Haluk, one of the ULMWP’s work teams, echoed this view. In fact, on 26 September 2017 Benny Wenda, accompanied by Rex Rumakiek, one of the executives of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), submitted a petition to the Chairman of the UN Decolonisation Commission in New York.
“If there is a response from the government of Indonesia that says it is a lie, I think it’s all okay. We pray and work that in time the truth is upright for the nation of Papua, Indonesia and the UN,” said Haluk.
ULMWP continues to focus and work on the right of self-determination without being disturbed by the furore that arose from the petition.
Benny Wenda and his petitionBenny Wenda, a Papuan independence leader, claimed to have handed the West Papua People’s Petition to a C-24 representative.
After the news of the submission was released by The Guardian, the government of Indonesia immediately denied it and claimed the petition was a publicity stunt without any credibility.
Benny Wenda told Tabloid Jubi he had submitted the petition to C24 representatives on September 26 at the Office of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
He was with Rex Rumakiek who also submitted the petition.
“More than 70 percent of the population in Papua want a referendum in West Papua.
“Bishop Desmond Tutu and Noam Chomsky are two of the world’s leading figures who signed the petition,” Wenda said.
Wenda added that the people of West Papua who were supported by the international community very much trusted the petition demand.
West Papuan demand
West Papuan people demanded that West Papua became a non-self-governing territory with full rights to liberty and freedom, he said.
The signing of this petition did not go smoothly.
Recorded petitions distributed online through the site were blocked by the Indonesian government by the end of 2016.
Similar petitions were carried out manually since April 2017.
According to the ULMWP records, 57 people were arrested for supporting the petition.
Among them are Yanto Awerkion, vice-chairman of  KNPB Mimika and its secretary Sem Ukago on 7 December 2016.
“Yanto and Sem were threatened with Article 169 of the Criminal Code for participating in associations aimed at committing a crime, or participating in other associations prohibited by general rules, are punishable by imprisonment of up to six years,” said Wenda.
Indonesian denialThe petition led to the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York, Triansyah Djani, issuing a press release quoting an interview with Rafael Ramirez.
“As the Chairman of the UN Decolonisation Special Committee (C-24), I and the Committee Secretariat, have never received, formally or informally, any petition or anyone about Papua as reported in The Guardian newspaper,” Rafael Ramírez said.
Ambassador Ramirez further affirmed that he highly respected the integrity and sovereignty of all members. The mandate of the Decolonisation Committee, he added, was limited to 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories and Papua was not included in this list.
Ramirez’s statement was supported by an interview video broadcast extensively through YouTube by the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the UN, New York.
Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir, who participated with the Indonesian delegation at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, called the petition an unfounded action.
“It’s a pure publicity action without credibility,” he said, quoted by The Guardian.
Papua, continued Nasir is an integral part of Indonesia as stipulated in United Nations General Assembly resolution 2504 (XXIV) 1969.
Support of British MPsThe All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) of England supports the West Papua people’s petition. An APPG release received by Tabloid Jubi said this petition provided strong evidence that the people of West Papua wanted to express their hope for a better future.
Therefore, according to Alex Sobel, an APPG member (from the British Labour Party) acknowledged that all APPG members supported West Papuan people in calling for their inalienable right to self-determination democratically, so that they could freely decide their own future peacefully.
“We will also step up this significant development with the British government,” Sobel said.
West Papua people has experienced more than 50 years of widespread human rights violations without a satisfactory solution. So it was clear that in a situation that continues to deteriorate, the people of West Papua were not secure under Indonesian occupation, Sobel said.

2) Poverty in paradise: The dark side to Indonesia’s next tourism hotspot

INDONESIA: A tableau of white sandy beaches, colourful coral reefs and turquoise water, the islands of Raja Ampat are set to be Indonesia’s next tourism hotspot – but locals fear the government is failing both them and the environment in its development push.

AFP Sunday 8 October 2017, 11:00AM
Stretching across 67,000 square kilometres in Indonesia’s far east, the picture-perfect islands might be as close to paradise as visitors can find.
“It’s amazing. We’ve been to millions of islands and I would say it’s the most beautiful one,” Canadian Angelika Redweik-Leung said at a lookout above the Pianemo island group.
Raja Ampat which means Four Kings – is made up of 1,500 islands and is home to about 1,400 varieties of fish and 600 species of coral – making it one of the most bio diverse marine habitats on earth.
Indonesia’s government is intent on turning the area into a tourism hotspot, building hotels, restaurants and investing in new harbours.

But on a palm-fringed island about two hours boat ride from Raja Ampat’s capital Waisai, villagers still live in simple huts that lack electricity and clean water, while the nearest high school is scores of miles away.
Locals said they had seen no improvements to their lives despite the dramatic rise in visitors. According to government estimates around 15,000 tourists now come to the area each year – up from less than 5,000 in 2010.
“They’ve hurt us indigenous people. They took our land, our water and our forest. We feel betrayed,” Paul Mayor, chief of the island’s Byak Betew tribe, said of the government’s tourism drive.
“That’s our land, our ocean, which now is a world-class tourist destination, but we’ve gained nothing from the influx of tourists,” he added.

Mayor also criticised authorities for failing to properly protect the area’s unique ecosystem, pointing to a catastrophic cruise ship crash in March, which damaged 13,500 square metres of pristine coral reef.
The 4,200-ton Caledonian Sky ran aground near the island of Kri carrying 102 passengers and 79 crew, but half a year later no one has been held accountable.
Researchers from the University of Papua, who assessed the impact of the accident, said restoring the damaged reef could cost as much as $16.2 million (B543.18mn).
The head of tourism for Raja Ampat, Yusdi Lamatenggo, said the company operating the boat – Noble Caledonia – will be summoned to appear in court soon but so far they have not accepted responsibility or paid any damages.
In the meantime, he said, steps were being taken to prevent further accidents by establishing clearly demarcated cruise ship routes and world-class harbours.

But the accident has fuelled feelings of mistrust and exclusion often felt by Papua’s indigenous Melanesian population. The resource-rich region was annexed by Jakarta in 1969 and most Papuans feel they have not been given an even share of its natural riches.
The military retains heavy influence in the region and regularly stifles dissent.
After taking office in 2014, president Joko Widodo pledged to speed up development in Papua, but many locals insist they have been forgotten.
“There has been no change,” Ariel Fakdawer, head of Saukabu village in Raja Ampat said.
“The yearly Raja Ampat festival, for example, attracts thousands of tourists but we gain nothing from that. We are still poor, but the organisers of such festivals, outsiders, they have made a fortune,” he added.
Indigenous groups say they need communication satellites, electricity, better infrastructure, and the right to govern themselves by customary law.
“The government never fulfils our needs because they don’t understand what we want,” chief Mayor said.
“I believe the government has to approach us by bearing in mind our cultural needs. They have to talk to us indigenous people,” he insisted.

But not everyone is against the rush to open up Raja Ampat to the world.
Villager Medzke Karoswaf explained: “This is a modern world. We cannot live isolated like in a cave forever. We have to be open-minded. Like it or not, we don’t live alone in this world.”

3) West Papua Hit by 5.1 Richter-Scale Earthquake
Sunday, 08 October 2017 | 04:30 WIB

SORONG, NETRALNEWS.COM - An earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter Scale shook Tambrauw District, West Papua Province on Saturday (7/10/2017) at 10.45 Eastern Indonesia Time (WIT).
Head of Geophysics Station of BMKG Sorong Andri W Bidang states that the location of the earthquake was in coordinates 1.17 South Latitude and 132.72 East Longitude which is 219 kilometers Northeast of Tambraw regency with a depth of 10 kilometers.
According to him, in terms of the depth of the hypocenter, the earthquake shallow due to plate collision.
The earthquake vibration was felt by residents of Tambraw District but there is no potential for tsunami.
As of now there has been no reported the damage caused by the earthquake.

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