Friday, August 3, 2018

1) Indonesian influence in the Pacific grows, despite Papua disquiet


2) Freeport and Indonesian Government are unfair to Papuans
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1) Indonesian influence in the Pacific grows, despite Papua disquiet
12:04 pm on 3 August 2018
Johnny Blades
Johnny Blades, RNZ Pacific Journalistjohnny.blades@radionz.co.nz

Indonesia's influence in the Pacific Islands is growing, but is shadowed by disquiet over its region of Papua, known widely as West Papua.
The West Papuan independence movement has significant traction in the region, where it continues to push for its self-determination aspirations to be addressed by the international community.

Members of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, with secretary Rex Rumakiek is on the right. The Movement accuses Indonesia of interfering in politics of Pacific Island countries. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades
Considering Papua's political status as non-negotiable, Indonesia has been busy strengthening ties with a number of countries in the three Pacific Islands regions of Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia.
Amidst a flurry of diplomatic activity in recent months, Indonesian cabinet minister Wiranto attendedindependence anniversary celebrations on tiny Nauru, and the president of the Federated States of Micronesia was given red carpet treatmentin Jakarta.
Jakarta says this is about working together with Pacific island countries on mutual interests. Others say it's principally about quelling support for West Papuan independence aims.
Some regional observers even suspect the hand of Jakarta was at play behind the changein the Solomon Islands government's policy on West Papua since Rick Hou replaced Manasseh Sogavare as prime minister last December.
April's visit by a Solomon Islands delegation to Indonesia's Papua and West Papua provinces caused an upset among some elements ofcivil societyin Honiara, but showed how extensive Jakarta's diplomatic outreach has become.

Since Solomon Islands Prime Minister Rick Hou came to power last December, the government has stopped pushing West Papuan issues in international forums, while also strengthening ties with Indonesia. Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Koroi Hawkins
The secretary of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Rex Rumakiek, said Australia's angstabout the rising influence of China in the Pacific missed a more serious regional threat.
"The Melanesian countries are not very much concerned about Chinese influence. They are concerned mostly about the Indonesians' influence in Melanesia, because they're very destructive, they go right down to village level.
"They bribe people and buy political parties to change the government and so on. It's already happening. It's much more serious than the Chinese influence," Mr Rumakiek said.
A spokesperson from Indonesia's Embassy in Canberra, Sade Bimantara, said Mr Rumakiek's accusation was unsubstantiated and false.
He said Indonesia had consistently engaged and worked with Pacific Island nations for many years while respecting each other's domestic affairs and sovereignty.
"On the contrary, a handful of people claiming Papuan heritage and living overseas are the ones interfering in the domestic politics of Papua and West Papua provinces," Mr Bimantara said.
"They are not citizens and were never democratically elected into public offices in those provinces by the 2.7 million voters of Papua and West Papua. And yet, they claim to be the rightful heir to the provinces.”

Franzalbert Joku  Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Koroi Hawkins
According to Franzalbert Joku, who is a consultant for Jakarta on Papua issues, President Joko Widodo and his administration recognise that Indonesia is a part of the Pacific.
"Demographically, geographically, we are part of the Pacific. One third of the total area of the country, to the east, is inhabited by Melanesians and Polynesians," he said.
Mr Joku, a West Papuan who frequently represents Indonesiaat meetings of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Pacific Islands Forum, said the country wanted to help small island countries with their development needs. He cited Indonesian assistance in plans to build a convention centre in Tuvalu and a sports stadium in Kiribati as examples.
Indonesia is also offering help to Pacific Island countries with effortsto protect their all-important marine environment, although it is not the only larger countrydoing so.


A Solomon Islands delegation arrives at Sentani Airport in Indonesia's Papua province, 24 April 2018. Photo: Supplied

Sensitivity

Foreign governments sometimes take up the issue of human rights abuses in West Papua in their representations to Indonesia's government.
But few human rights defenders would have been satisfed with the wan assurances by the Dutch Foreign Affairs minister Stef Blok that he discussed a recent damning Amnesty International reporton the issue when in Jakarta last month.
Some Pacific governments, notably Vanuatu, are concerned that Indonesia has obstructed efforts in regional forums to address West Papuan grievances.
A former Vanuatu prime minister and leader of the Vanua'aku Pati, Joe Natuman, said the move by some members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group to accept Indonesiainto the regional organisation was problematic.
"Whoever had that wise idea is causing us problems," he explained.
"You know, they said Indonesia comes into join [the MSG] to discuss issues of West Papua; Indonesia comes in and it doesn't want to discuss West papua. So I think we have to review the Indonesian membership of MSG.”

Vanuatu Prime Minister Joe Natuman Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson
But Franzalbert Joku said it was not the responsibility of the MSG or Pacific Islands Forum to speak for Papuans. He said Papuans should be allowed to speak for themselves "by dealing with our own leaders in Jakarta and our own government.
"It's not for offshore organisations like the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Pacific Islands Forum to decide what should happen in Papua. Our position and especially our future is firmly within our grips."
However, the Liberation Movement, which has observer status at the MSG, argues that West Papuans are not free to express themselves and their political aspirations in their homeland.
Indonesian police arrested thousandsof Papuans in 2016 when they demonstrated in Papuan cities in support of the Liberation Movement.
Jakarta also remains sensitive to regional calls for West Papua's political status, and the controversial processby which the former Dutch New Guinea, was incorporated into Indonesia in the 1960s, to be reviewed.

PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato (right) talking to his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi. Photo: Supplied
Last month while in Fiji, Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill was reportedto have encouraged regional countries to take the issue of West Papua to the United Nations decolonisation committee.
Following this, PNG's Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato made a visit to Jakarta for talks with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi, reaffirming his country's support for the status quo in the Papuan provinces.
"They are an integral part of the Republic of Indonesia," he said.
"There has been some misreporting on this issue. Papua New Guinea's position has not changed and there is no intention to ever change it.”


New Zealand government MPs (from left) Louisa Wall, Su'a William Sio and Carmel Sepuloni at a West Papua solidarity rally outside parliament. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades
Mr Natuman said he understood the sensitivity of the matter for PNG as West Papua's neighbour.
"But I think they should be honest with themselves and discuss openly with the MSG and with Indonesia, and of course eventually we have to involve the United Nations," he said.
"This is a mess created by the United Nations, and the the United Nations have to come clean on this."
The regional calls for international action on West Papua persist from the likes of New Zealand government MP Louisa Wall, who is among a small but vocal group of local MPs pushingfor the issue of West Papuan self-determination to be heard at the UN.
"I believe in self-determination, I believe in indigenous rights. This is a right of the West Papuan indigenous peoples to re-litigate something that has been highlighted, actually was done in an unjust and unfair way," Ms Wall said.


Photo: Pool / Marty Melville
Ms Wall's voice is still only party of a minority in New Zealand's government whose formal position remains in support of Indonesian control of Papua.
New Zealand's prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, reiterated this support to Indonesia's president Joko Widodo during his state visit to Wellington earlier this year.
The issue of human rights abuses in Papua is a standing item on the agenda of the Pacific Islands Forum, whose leaders meet in Nauru next month.
Yesterday, the outgoing Forum chairman, Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, suggested some Pacific leaders sensationalised the alleged abuses by Indonesian military in Papua.
Speaking on national Radio 2AP, Tuilaepa, who has forged closer ties with Indonesia in the past year, conceded that various West Papuans wanted independence and sought to stop infringements of their human rights.
Tuilaepa said that where it concerned human rights issues, they should take up the matter through United Nations Human Rignts Commission.
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2) Freeport and Indonesian Government are unfair to Papuans
Jubi 3 Aug
Jayapura, Jubi –Coordinator of the United Organization against Violence, Peneas Lokbere, accused the US company-based PT Freeport and the Indonesian Government have been racist to Papuans.
According to him, it reflects from the history of the first contract of work between the company and the Indonesian authority in 1967 to the contract extension in 2018 that excluded the participation of Papuans.

Papuans never have an idea about the content of the agreement. The Government of Indonesia considered them as second citizens, and this is discrimination,” said Lokbere on Thursday (26/07/2018) in Abepura.
Meanwhile, Samuel Tabuni, the Chairman of Papuan Community Forum on Freeport, said Jakarta (the central government) might be proud of taking over the 51 per cent share of PT Freeport, and the provincial might get a 10% share, but he warned about the indigenous rights.
“Since 1967, the indigenous peoples who have tenure rights of the land have never involved in regulating the ownership of shares in the mining company,” said Tabuni on Wednesday (25/07/2018) in Jayapura. (*)
 
Reporter: Benny Mawel
Editor: Pipit Maizier
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