Saturday, December 2, 2017

1) Papua Demands Independence During December 1 Commemoration

2) The Morning Star flag-raising at Auckland’s Aotea Square yesterday. Video: Café Pacific
3) Demonstrations held in Pacific to mark Papuan flag day
4) Local supporters join Papuan flag day demonstrations
5) Vanuatu gives West Papua group access to land, building
6) Call for more resources for PNG's security forces to protect border
7) Putting Indonesian Papua’s tensions in context
SATURDAY, 02 DECEMBER, 2017 | 10:54 WIB
1) Papua Demands Independence During December 1 Commemoration

TEMPO.COJakarta - The Domberai chapter of the Papuan Customary Council (DAP) in Manokwari held the celebration of the Papua nation`s anniversary on Friday, December 1, 2017. The event was attended by youths, college students, and elderly people.
John Warijo, chairman of the Doberai chapter of the Papuan Customary Council, said the native Papuan people remain solid to this date. “After all we’ve been through, we’re still here to safeguard our country as the native people,” John said in Manokwari yesterday.
According to John, the 56th anniversary of Papua was celebrated as a statement of the native Papuans that they could not be separated from their history. He also called on the government to listen to the Papuan people’s aspiration, which is an independence.

 “The Indonesian government will surely reject our aspiration to be independent. But we won’t quit. We will continue to voice the aspiration,” he added.
John claimed that the Native Papuans have been marginalized. He even expressed his concerns that the native Melanesians in Papua would extinct.
“We may extinct in a half century. This is why we demand independence. The list of human rights violations is getting longer, and people who demand justice are considered as separatists,” he said.
Wilson Wader, the coordinator of the event, claimed that the demand for a full independence is not driven by political interests. “To us, this is our needs since the number of native Papuans is getting smaller,” he said.
He alleged that the road constructions and other infrastructure developments in Papua were initiated to facilitate transmigrations to Papua.
Wilson added that the Papuan awakening moment on December 1, 1961, was a statement of their wishes to be an independent state.
2) The Morning Star flag-raising at Auckland’s Aotea Square yesterday. Video: Café Pacific

The Morning Star flag-raising at Auckland’s Aotea Square yesterday. Video: Café Pacific

The West Papuan Morning Star flag of independence – banned in Indonesia – has been raised on an official local government flagpole in Auckland’s Aotea Square as solidarity protests have been held around the Pacific.
Green MP Golriz Ghahraman, a defender of human rights, praised the flag-raising action yesterday when speaking to a small crowd of supporters including visiting international free speech advocates.

“New Zealand has always led on these issues and in a very proud way,” she said.

Retired Green MP Keith Locke, an outspoken supporter of West Papuans, with Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) executive director Malou Mangahas (left) and the Pacific Media Centre’s Del Abcede. Image: Cafe Pacific

She said to remain silent in the face of ongoing human rights violations in Papua by security forces amounted to “complicity”.
West Papua Action Auckland spokesperson Maire Leadbeater said it had been the first time official permission had been granted for the flag-raising on a flagpole in front of the central city Aotea Centre.
In Indonesia, protesters raising the Morning Star flag risk up to 15 years in jail.
200 arrested
Last year, more than 200 people were arrested in a flag-raising protest in the capital of Jakarta and authorities used water canon to quell the demonstration.
The Auckland flag-raising marked the 56th year since the Morning Star was first hoisted on 1 December 1961 alongside the flag of the Dutch colonial authorities before Indonesia invaded the territory.
The Auckland protest included Malou Mangahas, executive director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), and other participants at the Pacific Media Centre’s “Journalism under duress in Asia-Pacific” event featuring West Papua held the night before at Auckland University of Technology.


3) Demonstrations held in Pacific to mark Papuan flag day
3:23 pm on 1 December 2017 
Demonstrations have been held around the Pacific to mark the anniversary of West Papua's declaration of independence when the Morning Star flag was first raised.

New Zealand Green MP Golriz Ghahraman attends West Papua protest Photo: RNZ Pacific Johnny Blades
It's 56 years since the Papua nationalist flag was first officially flown in the former Dutch New Guinea, shortly before Indonesia took control of the territory.
The Morning Star was subsequently banned.
At today's flag Morning Star raising ceremony in Auckland, the New Zealand Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said it was important to maintain vocal about the issue.
"The West Papuan situation is essentially one of the most serious ongoing human rights abuses in and around the Pacific, which is our neighbourhood. So standing by or being silent starts to become complicity on our part and New Zealand's always led on these issues."
Ms Ghahraman said diplomatic pressure should be kept up on Indonesia to push for human rights improvements in West Papua.

                                                             Golriz Ghahraman Photo: RNZ Lynda Chanwai-Earle
The New Zealand MP said diplomatic and trade pressure should continue to be applied on Indonesia to push for human rights improvements in West Papua.
The flag was subsequently banned after Indonesia took control of the former Dutch New Guinea in 1962.
Ms Ghahraman says human rights abuses in Papua persist and New Zealand should keep the issue on its agenda with Indonesia.
She also says action needs to be taken to halt the destruction of Papuan rainforest.
"I would like us to move to a place where we regulate trade in such a way where we don't trade in a way that benefits from human rights abuyses incluing environmental atrocities," she said.
"So I would like us in our law to take into account the way that products are made and the way that resources are gotten before we buy these things."

4) Local supporters join Papuan flag day demonstrations

December 1, 2017

Solomon Islands Solidarity for West Papua joined other groups in the Pacific and around the globe today in raising the West Papuan flag and advocating for the freedom of people in the Indonesian region.
Representative of the solidarity group in Solomon Islands Lily Chekana said people raise the West Papuan flag, the Morning Star, on this day every year.
December 1 marks the anniversary of West Papua’s first declaration of independence in 1961 before Indonesia took control of the territory.
And the flag symbolises freedom for the people of West Papua.
Ms Chekana said although the loss of independence was unfortunate, it did not steal the people’s optimism.
“They look at every 1st of December as a day that will always give hope that one day they will raise the West Papuan flag in their own country,” she said.
Local supporters raised the Morning Star on their houses and along the streets, and the solidarity group also asked taxi operators to display the flag on their cars.
But the group’s support for West Papua goes beyond the demonstration today.
Ms Chekana said the issues in the region deserve international attention, and she applauded former Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s efforts to highlight West Papua on the world stage.
“Without him, the international community would not have heard about the issue of West Papua,” she said.
Her group plans to work closely with the new Prime Minister to continue its advocacy for people in the region.
“The West Papua issue is a human rights issue,” she said. “And if it is a human rights issue, it’s everybody’s issue.”
By Fred Osifelo
5) Vanuatu gives West Papua group access to land, building
3:48 pm on 1 December 2017 
Vanuatu's Prime Minister Charlot Salwai will hand over the title to a plot of land with a building on it to the leaders of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua this afternoon.

The ceremony to hand over the title marks the end of the first Summit attended by around 50 leaders of West Papua, in Port Vila.
The land is sitting on a limestone outcrop above the Port Vila suburb of Tebakor.
The property will be jointed owned by ULMWP and a ni Vanuatu Charitable Organisation called Further Arts - an organisation that has dedicated itself to the West independence movement.
Global West Papua campaigner Benny Wenda said the gift is the best thing that has happened to the West Papua struggle in the last 60 years.
He said West Papuan campaigners will now have an office to work, and a place to call home.


6) Call for more resources for PNG's security forces to protect border
11:03 am on 1 December 2017 

A Papua New Guinea MP has called for more resources for the country's defence and police forces to protect its borders.
Belden Namah is the MP for Vanimo Green, an electorate in West Sepik province on the country's porous border with Indonesia.
He said cross-border trafficking of guns and illicit goods from Indonesia's Papua province remains a big problem for PNG.
Mr Namah said the PNG government has failed to properly resource the PNG Defence Force and the border weakness reflects that.
"Arms have been smuggled from the border between West Sepik and Western Province, and they're making their way up to the Highlands," he said.
"It is a serious issue, and I can see that this issue is also now affecting the PNG LNG Project where the landowners take up arms and threaten to shut down the LNG Project."
Belden Namah has called for enhanced defence co-operation with Australia and Indonesia.
It was not the first time the MP had made a call to bolster PNG's Defence Force capacbility to manitain border security however old problems around the border persist.
"We continue to have these incursions by Indonesian troops to our side of the border, and our people continue to live in fear because of these problems between Indonesia and the West Papua people," he said.
Mr Namah also said there should be closer co-ordination, close co-operation wth Indonesia's security forces to make sure no incursions were made, saying the government is not sensitive to these kinds of issues.

7) Putting Indonesian Papua’s tensions in context
 Bobby Anderson
28 November 2017 06:10 AEDT
Since August, numerous civilians and security staff have been killed or wounded in the Tembagapura area in Indonesian Papua, host of Freeport McMoRan's vast Grasberg mining complex. The violence is almost entirely ascribed to the armed wing of the Free Papua Organization (Organisasi Papua Merdekaor OPM*). Two police have been killed and seven wounded. In the absence of specific demands from the OPM faction, led by Sabinus Waker, Freeport has not halted mining operations, though they did temporarily close the road.
According to the police, Waker's OPM faction 'took hostage' roughly 1300 people in the villages of Banti and Kimbely. A joint military-police security force entered the villages on 18 November, with no casualties on either side. Around 350 people in the area opted to be evacuated, but the vast majority did not.
This latest incarnation of unrest is characterised by the media and activists as 'increasing tensions', a view that supposes some catalytic moment will one day be reached, with Papua as a pressure cooker destined to explode. But viewed across a longer timeline, it's clear that the absence of any such violence would be more unusual.
Between 2009 and 2015, at least 20 people were killed and 59 wounded in the vicinity of Tembagapura. The previous decades saw a number of other violent incidents, including the 2002 killing of Tembagapura international school teachers allegedly ambushed by OPM while picnicking (a case that has never been satisfactorily closed), and the 1996 kidnapping of dozens of foreign and Indonesian scientific researchers. Two hostages were killed in a rescue attempt, followed by an army-led counterinsurgency campaign.
Put into context, the latest violence in Mimika is thus both less unusual and more opaque than as described by the Indonesian government and by numerous media outlets. It's worth unpacking a few aspects of this fight in order to highlight a muddled network of relationships.

The Location

Tembagapura's Banti and Kimbely villages are mostly inhabited by migrants from other areas of Papua, but also from as far away as Sumatra and Java. They are artisanal gold miners, searching the mine tailings that contaminate the Utikini River. Since mining operations started in Ertsberg and later in Grasberg, Freeport has served to draw unemployed youth from across the entire archipelago. Any who don't end up employed by the mine or its numerous service providers and contractors try their luck mining these tailings.

The Security Actors

The police and military are heavily involved in such gold trades, either by charging protection fees to miners, acting as buyers, or running their own operations. These activities aren't limited to Mimika regency, where Grasberg is located. Gold mining in nearby Intan Jaya and further afield in Buru Island provides significant off-budget income.
Security actors must generate some income, as those hoping for promotion must generate rents to transmit up the chain of command. 'Protecting' forestry operations and plantations are popular activities. But security actors don't only seek profit – they often need the resources to do their jobs. National operational funding transfers for police are generally gone before they reach the sub-district level. Justifications aside, in non-state contexts such payments constitute organised crime.

The 'Separatists'

OPM is only bound within a hierarchical structure on paper. In rural Papua, those who describe themselves as 'OPM' are often local, lightly armed gangs that express vague separatist ideologies while occasionally committing extortion. There are exceptions – Waker's faction is more active, but not as much as the previous Kwalik faction. Other nearby exceptions include Goliat Tabuni's OPM in Puncak Jaya and Purom Wenda's faction in Lanny Jaya. Tabuni and Purom have warred against one another seemingly as much as they have targeted the state.
Waker's OPM faction only targets the police – there have, so far, been no military casualties. The military and police describe a united front in current security operations, but this is hardly the norm in Indonesia.
Cooperation between security actors and separatists over natural resource extraction operations is also common, the largest and richest of these in Indonesia being Freeport. Previous research demonstrated collusion between OPM and the military in Mimika in a likely effort to increase 'security' contributions from the company. Freeport disclosed that such contributions totalled US$5.6 million in 2002. In 2003, the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act made reporting obligations to the US government for such payments more specific, which may have hampered the ability of local security actors to demand them successfully. But it's unlikely Freeport has managed to avoid such payments entirely, especially amongst its plethora of contractors – if they did, they would be extremely unusual among such companies in Indonesia.

The Company

Freeport's 51% share divestment looms. Before that can occur, the company's asset valuation must be agreed between the company and the government. Against standard practice, Indonesia seeks to exclude mineral reserves from the valuation, even though such assets are only accessible by means of the infrastructure Freeport has constructed.
The latest Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict report notes 'a high probability of continued tensions as different parties within Indonesia contend for huge economic stakes', noting that 'any violence in the Freeport area can involve multiple actors with multiple interests. Even if the OPM is blamed, Papuans will be asking who else was involved'.

The 'Hostages' 

There weren't any. OPM established a roadblock to impede access to the area. If such actions are hostage-taking, then every day in Papua communities are being held hostage. Across the province, temporary roadblocks are the means by which gangs tax passers-by and communities express grievances and seek redress (in the case of communities, roadblocks often serve as invitations to negotiations). Military and police, especially those on short-term assignments, use them to shake downpassing traffic.
The hostage claim originates with the police, and was reported without question by most Indonesian media (Tabloid Jubi and a few others excepted). Mimika Police Chief Viktor Mackbon later contradictedthe claim, as did the provincial government. The roadblock, and the hostage claim, are likely parries in a negotiation that predates both.
The current conflict may not be a continuation of historical trends per se, but there are numerous precedents for it. It illustrates the paucity of the state across rural and highland Papua. In its easternmost province, Indonesia does not yet meet the minimalist Weberian definition of the state as an entity that has the monopoly on organised violence within a claimed territory.
Instead, Indonesia's presence in Papua resembles a variant of the early states described by the late Charles Tilly: violence-wielding organisations operating in partnership with early modern capitalists to extract resources and rents from areas whose populations are otherwise ignored, so long as they do not threaten the state. The wealth Jakarta extracts from Papua is immense, and yet Papuans are the poorest Indonesians: they are the least educated, the least healthy, and the quickest to die. The government doesn't even know with certainty how many Papuans there are: Papuans themselves experience neglect, humiliation, and a steady stream of human rights violations.
To paraphrase many a media outlet, tensions are high. But when in the history of Indonesian Papua have they not been high? And what do those high tensions lead to, other than a slight lull before the next round of tensions?
What is described as tension is really fear.
* Author's note: The Liberation Army of West Papua (Tentara Pembebasan Nasional) is the armed wing of the Organisasi Papua Merdeka or Free Papua Organization, but within Papua 'OPM' is used to refer to the armed wing as well as the political wing.


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