Friday, October 15, 2021


3) Papua Governor Enembe bids adieu to PON  
4) Vice President lauds inter-religious harmony in West Papua 



By Dyna Rochmyaningsih

 News Desk October 15, 2021 7:17 am

                                       Trans Papua Highway - Supplied

Seventeen years ago, botanist Miriam van Heist of Wageningen University and a team of local collaborators set out to explore plant diversity in the Foja Mountains in Western New Guinea. It was an uncharted realm: Of the 487 species they found, nearly one-third had never been described anywhere. “The results illustrate how much remains unknown about New Guinea’s vegetation,” the authors wrote in a 2010 paper. More such studies were needed, they concluded, “so that conservation can be planned in advance of impending threats—otherwise we may lose species and never know what we have lost.”

Those threats have now arrived, according to a study based on satellite imagery and maps from local governments that was published last month in Biological Conservation. Between 2001 and 2019, it found, 2% of Western New Guinea’s old-growth forests were cleared to make room for palm oil plantations, roads, mines, and towns and cities. And the pace of development is set to accelerate, the researchers concluded. The Trans-Papua Highway, a road system under construction that connects major urban areas, could speed up development dramatically.

Western New Guinea, also known as Indonesian New Guinea or Tanah Papua, is still largely untouched, with a bewildering variety of landscapes—from mangroves, savannas, and lowland forests to alpine grassland and tropical glaciers—and a welter of endemic species, including 29 bird of paradise species. But now, “These forests are at a critical turning point for the future because Papua is the new El Dorado for investors in land development and in extractive industries,” says landscape ecologist David Gaveau, the study’s lead author. Gaveau, who was deported from Indonesia in 2020 after publishing estimates of the damage from Indonesia’s 2019 wildfires that far exceeded the Indonesian government’s numbers, now runs the Tree Map, a France-based company that analyzes the loss of rainforests.

Indonesia’s government incorporated Western New Guinea, formerly known as Irian Jaya, in 1969, 8 years after the Papuans formally declared independence from the Dutch. (The eastern half of the island is part of a separate country, Papua New Guinea.) About the size of Iraq, it has a huge ethnic diversity, with an estimated 200 Indigenous tribes and as least as many languages.

It is also by far Indonesia’s poorest region. Its two provinces, Papua and West Papua, have poverty rates of 27% and 22%, respectively, according to the country’s statistical agency. The Indonesian government promises the Trans-Papua Highway will help alleviate that poverty and distribute infrastructure development more fairly. Snaking almost 4000 kilometers across the island, the highway connects the coastal cities of Sorong, Jayapura, and Merauke (see map, below).
On the road to development

The Trans-Papua Highway, which connects three coastal centers in Western New Guinea, has attracted plantations and mining and spurred growth of towns and cities. A 190-kilometer segment cuts through Lorentz National Park.

But it is driving conflict as well as development. The mining and palm oil companies it attracts have cleared the land of Indigenous Papuans, often without their consent, which has sparked anger, protests, and violent attacks. Two people were killed and machinery was set on fire during the most recent one, on 8 September in Yahukimo regency. A similar attack in 2018 killed 20 people. The West Papua National Liberation Army—the military arm of the Free Papua Movement, a separatist group—has claimed responsibility for the actions. The attacks have delayed construction; so far only about half of the route has been paved.

The road’s most controversial stretch, 190 kilometers long, cuts right through Lorentz National Park, a World Heritage Site and one of the largest protected areas in Southeast Asia. In August, UNESCO called on Indonesia to close this section to traffic while the government draws up a plan to mitigate the road’s impact, as it is obliged to do under UNESCO rules.

But the highway will have important impacts elsewhere as well. The study by Gaveau and his colleagues showed a clear correlation between road construction and the massive expansion of industrial plantations in Merauke and Boven Digoel and rapid growth of Kenyam and Dekai, two towns in the heart of Papua. The highway has also attracted artisanal gold miners, who often extract gold by dissolving it in mercury, which they then release into the environment.

The two semiautonomous provinces have pledged to preserve their natural riches. In the 2018 Manokwari Declaration, they aimed to set aside at least 70% of their lands for protection while improving the livelihoods of Indigenous communities. “That is an ambitious target,” says Yubelince Runtuboi, a forest policy researcher at the University of Papua New Guinea. Many plantation concessions were granted before the declaration was made, and they may be difficult to revoke. And local governments are keen to develop new villages and towns in their quest for economic development, Runtuboi says. As a result, she wrote in a 2018 paper, Papua’s lowland forests “are likely to come under immense pressure.”

The rapid deforestation elsewhere in Indonesia, the world’s largest producer of palm oil, does not bode well. A model developed by Gaveau and his co-authors showed that under the worst-case scenario, Western New Guinea would lose about 4.5 million hectares of forest, an area the size of Denmark, by 2036. “Given the large amounts of flat lowland forests, and the suitable climate for palm oil, Papua could easily become the next agricultural frontier for years to come,” Gaveau says.

To what extent the Trans-Papua Highway will alleviate poverty, meanwhile, is unclear. A study by Cahyo Pamungkas, a sociologist at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, showed it has primarily helped migrants from elsewhere in Indonesia distribute commodities to rural areas, sometimes outcompeting local goods. Ordinary pigs raised by migrants are replacing Wamena pigs, a type of wild boar bred locally, for example. The better the surface of the road, the more logging takes place nearby, Pamungkas found. The highway “benefits the capitalists more,” he says.

Papua’s mineral riches—including Grasberg, the world’s largest gold mining pit—have barely benefited the local population either, critics argue. The development of a new gold mine close to the Trans-Papua Highway, called the Wabu Block, is now the topic of heated debate and protests. (Activists recently alleged that Luhut Pandjaitan, a retired general and Indonesia’s coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment, has business interests in the mine, a charge Pandjaitan denies.)

Still, the picture is not black and white, says Sophie Chao, an anthropologist at the University of Sydney who spent 2 years living with the Marind people in Merauke. The new road has led to the destruction of forests to make room for oil palm plantations, including sacred places that were cleared without the Marind’s consent, she says. But the road also “brings new people, new ideas, new commodities to the villages,” Chao says, as well as humanitarian aid and jobs. “It’s a mix of hope and anxiety,” she says.

Balancing the positive and negative impacts requires more dialogue with Indigenous people than there has been so far, Gaveau and his colleagues say in their new paper. Theo Hesegem, who heads the Advocacy Network for Upholding Law and Human Rights of Papua Central Highlands, agrees. “It’s no use if they build the infrastructure without listening to us,” Hesegem says. “The Trans-Papua Highway will not be finished.” (*)

Dyna Rochmyaningsih is a journalist based in Deli Serdang, Indonesia.



News Desk October 15, 2021 3:00 pm

Jayapura, Jubi – Lawmaker of the Papua’s Legislative Council’s Politics, Law, and Human Rights Commission Laurenzus Kadepa reveals that 8,300 former employees of mining giant PT Freeport Indonesia, who were arbitrarily laid off some years ago as part of the company’s efficiency drive, is still fighting for their rights.

Kadepa said that both the Indonesian government and Freeport had been ignoring these people. On the other hand, Freeport is building a copper smelter in Gresik Regency, East Java, and soon will recruit new employees to work at the smelter.

According to Kadepa, Freeport laid off these workers because they went on strike. The strike itself was in response to the company’s plan to lay off workers for efficiency.

“Since 2017, I’ve been accompanying these workers to seek justice and fulfill their rights. We have evidence that there have been many laid-off workers and their families who died while fighting for their rights. But they are still ignored to date,” Kadepa told Jubi on Thursday, October 14, 2021.

Kadepa said that the Gresik smelter was said to require 40,000 employees. “This seems unfair and will hurt the feelings of the laid-off workers. The government and PT Freeport Indonesia must not turn a blind eye to the 8,300 laid-off workers,” he said, urging the company to rehire them to work at the smelter.

“Please don’t ignore these people, they have contributed to the company for decades, as well as for the state by paying taxes,” said Kadepa.

Previously on Tuesday, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has just kicked off the construction of Freeport’s new smelter. The smelter will be built on an area of 100 hectares, dubbed the largest single line smelter in the world with a capacity of 1.7 million tons of copper concentrate annually, with a project investment value of Rp 42 trillion (US$ 2.94 billion).

In his remark during the groundbreaking ceremony, Jokowi said the smelter would strengthen the development of the downstream mining industry. He hoped that the establishment of a smelting site in the country would attract more investment, especially from the copper derivative industry.

Meanwhile, PT Freeport Indonesia president director Tony Wenas said that the obligation to build a smelter was stated in Freeport’s Special Mining Business Permit. “This is an integral part of our license to continue operations until 2041,” said Wenas. (*)

Reporter: Arjuna Pademme

Editor: Edho Sinaga


3) Papua Governor Enembe bids adieu to PON  
6 hours ago
Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Papua Governor Lukas Enembe bid farewell to PON Papua 2021 at the closing ceremony for the games, which was held at Lukas Enembe Stadium, Jayapura district on Friday night.

Governor Enembe said PON XX Papua ended with a closing event and the next PON will be held in 2024 in Aceh-North Sumatra.

"We will separate from the eastern horizon where the sun rises, the land of Papua. We will meet again in the twenty-first PON on the western horizon, where the sun sets, Aceh and North Sumatra," he announced.

Enembe also congratulated the general champions of Papua PON— West Java province.

He said he hoped that the success of West Java will be an inspiration for other provinces to achieve many wins in the next PON.

"Congratulations to the province that won the general champion at the 2021 PON XX Papua; hopefully, the achievement can move other provinces on the next PON," Enembe said.

Related news: West Java retains title of champion of XX Papua PON

At this year's PON at Papua, the West Java contingent managed to hold on to its general champion title with a collection of 133 gold medals, 105 silver medals, and 115 bronzes.

The Jakarta contingent came second with 110 gold medals, 91 silver medals, and 100 bronzes. Meanwhile, third place was claimed by the East Java team, which collected 110 golds, 89 silvers, and 88 bronzes.

Meanwhile, Papua, the home team, collected 93 gold medals, 66 silver medals, and 102 bronzes to rank fourth.

The closing ceremony featured performances such as Aceh and North Sumatra traditional dances and famous Indonesian band, NOAH. Vice President Ma'ruf Amin officially closed the biggest sports event in the country.

More than seven thousand athletes competed in 37 sports and 56 disciplines at the PON.

The next PON will be held in Aceh and North Sumatra in 2024.

Related news: VP Amin attends XX Papua PON closing ceremony
Related news: XX Papua PON most difficult PON till date: Vice President Amin

Reporter: Aldi S, Kenzu T
Editor: Suharto


4) Vice President lauds inter-religious harmony in West Papua 
 9 hours ago

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Vice President Ma'ruf Amin has lauded inter-religious harmony between Christians, Muslims, Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus, and other religious believers in West Papua province.

"I want to express my gratitude for the welcoming. I want to appreciate the inter-religious harmony in West Papua which is very excellent," he said in Manokwari city, West Papua, according to a statement issued by the Press, Media, and Information Bureau of the Vice President's Secretariat on Friday.

Furthermore, he then asked all parties to maintain tolerance between religious communities to ensure public harmony can be realized in the province.

"It is the main capital in developing our nation and state. If national harmony is disturbed, as in various countries, then the nation cannot develop to prosper because there will always be conflicts," Amin explained.

Hence, national harmony must be pursued well by all parties, he added.

"Indonesian harmony and unity are the main pillars for our life as a nation and a state. We have to continue to maintain them," he emphasized.

During his working visit to the province, Amin held a dialogue with a number of religious community organizations at West Papua Provincial Indonesian Ulemas Council (MUI) Office.

He also disbursed assistance to the church for the establishment of schools and worship places for the local community.

Several ministers accompanied him on the visit, including Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD, Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian, Minister of Manpower Ida Fauziyah, as well as Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Teten Masduki.

After fulfilling his agenda in West Papua province, Vice President Amin and his entourage will leave for Papua province to continue the working visit until Saturday.

Related news: Vice President dispatches assistance to church in West Papua
Related news: VP Amin visits XVIII Kasuari Regional Military Command Complex
Related news: Amin expects indigenous people to benefit from Papua's development

Reporter: Fransiska Ninditya, Uyu Liman
Editor: Sri Haryati


Thursday, October 14, 2021


3) West Papua government should resolve extreme poverty by 2021-end: Amin 



News Desk October 14, 2021 1:52 pm

Jayapura, Jubi – The involvement of the Indonesian Military (TNI) in the food estate program initiated by the government last year was feared to enable potential human rights violations, Rights NGO Imparsial director Gufron Mabruri said in an online discussion on Wednesday, October 13, 2021.

“Military deployment will be followed by the act of securing land grabbing, for example. There is the potential for human rights violations to occur, especially if the community resists and confronts the security forces,” said Mabruri.

Such potential for human rights violations, Mabruri said, was confirmed by the absence of an accountable mechanism. To date, the TNI has its own military court to prosecute members suspected of committing crimes. The military court is closed to the public and therefore, in many cases, it is seen as a shield for impunity.

Mabruri further warned that the stigma of Papuans as separatists should be taken into consideration when putting the national soldiers in civil programs. “Moreover, armed groups in Papua are now labeled as terrorist organizations. This will make things escalate quickly when there is a conflict between the TNI and the community,” he said.

He suggested President Joko Widodo and the House of Representatives evaluate all military engagement practices in various sectors because it would weaken civil institutions.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) researcher M. Haripin also said that the involvement of the military in the food estate project was very problematic, as seen in past involvement.

“Some might think that this is too presumptuous because the military situation has changed. However, for me even now, the military is still very problematic and we cannot put aside our past history and our present concerns,” Haripin said.

Indeed, ever since it was launched last year until now, the food estate program has received a lot of criticism, especially with the involvement of the military in its implementation.

“There is the risk of creating ‘khaki capital’, or the political economy of the military, in the TNI-supported food estate. Corporations earn profits while soldiers ensure that everything goes according to plan,” he said. (*)

Reporter: Arjuna Pademme

Editor: Edho Sinaga



News Desk October 14, 2021 3:01 pm

Gresik – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo leads the groundbreaking for the construction of PT Freeport Indonesia’s copper smelter in Gresik Regency, East Java. The smelter is designed to have a copper concentrate processing capacity of 1.7 million tons per year.

“I heard it is the largest single-line copper processing site in the world, as it is capable to process and refine 1.7 million tons of copper concentrate per year,” Jokowi said during the groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, October 12, 2021.

Indonesia is among the seven countries with the largest copper reserves in the world. Such potential of natural resources, Jokowi said, must be optimally utilized by creating added value to it. “It’s for the welfare of the community,” he said.

Therefore, the President keeps pushing for the development of downstream mining industries. So that Indonesia would earn more money from its mineral wealth, not only from raw natural resources, Jokowi said.

“Don’t stop at owning the mines and the ores while the smelters are in other countries. As Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs [Airlangga Hartarto] said, there are smelters in Spain, in Japan, those countries are the ones who enjoy the added value,” he said.

Jokowi said the government wanted every mining company to develop downstream industries in the country. He said it would reduce exports of raw natural resources and provide economic multiplier effects, as well as increasing state revenue.

“I will order every company, both private and state-owned enterprises related to mineral and coal mining, to do downstream industry so that the commodities have higher value, we don’t ship them raw,” said Jokowi.

Further, he stated that the construction of the Freeport smelter was a strategic policy taken after the government had controlled 51 percent of the mining giant’s shares. “Once again, we want the added value to be here in Indonesia,” the President said.

Also present at the groundbreaking ceremony were Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, State-owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Arifin Tasrif, and Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita. (Advertorial/*)


3) West Papua government should resolve extreme poverty by 2021-end: Amin 
 6 hours ago

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Vice President Ma'ruf Amin has urged the West Papuan government to resolve extreme poverty in the province's five priority districts by the end of the 2021 budget year.

"We are optimistic that the issue of extreme poverty afflicting the five priority districts would be resolved by the end of 2021. Despite having designated five priority districts, it does not mean that other districts are safe from extreme poverty," Amin stated while presiding over the coordination meeting at the West Papua Governor's Office, Manokwari, on Thursday.

The five districts prioritized for the extreme poverty eradication program are Teluk Wondama, Teluk Bintuni, Tambraw, Maybrat, and South Manokwari , with the number of residents classified to fall in the extreme poverty category totaling 39,357 people from 12,440 households, he noted.

Related news: Amin expects indigenous people to benefit from Papua's development

The extreme poverty eradication program in Teluk Wondama District targets 7,960 residents; 13,760 residents in Teluk Bintuni District; 3,140 residents in Tambraw District; 9,520 targeted residents in Maybrat District; and 5,150 residents in South Manokwari District.

To achieve zero cases of extreme poverty in the districts, the central government had allocated extra cash benefits that the regional government should properly utilize to handle cases of extreme poverty, Amin noted.

"This is because we have less than three months for 2022, and the government has decided to allocate additional cash benefits through basic needs and the village's direct cash assistance programs for the priority districts," the vice president stated.

Related news: Amin sees extreme poverty rate dipping to 8% by 2024

Amin also reiterated the necessity to ensure that all targeted residents would receive the benefits during the meeting.

"We should exert our efforts to synergize and converge existing potentials to achieve our target and ensure the benefits would reach those who needed it most," Amin remarked.

Apart from West Papua's five districts, another 30 districts in West Java, Central Java, East Java, Maluku, East Nusa Tenggara, and Papua will also receive social benefits under this year's extreme poverty alleviation program.

Related news: Economic recovery crucial but health remains top priority: Minister

Related news: 16 mln MSMEs digitalized under Gernas BBI: ministry

Reporter: Fransiska N, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Fardah Assegaf


Wednesday, October 13, 2021


4) Taking a peek at cenderawasih in its natural habitat 



 News Desk October 13, 2021 4:47 pm

Jayapura, Jubi – The Jayapura District Court is still waiting for the medical examination result of Victor Yeimo to determine his trial schedule. Yeimo, the international spokesperson for the West Papua National Committee who is arrested for alleged treason during a protest against racism in 2019, is currently undergoing treatment for tuberculosis at the Dok 2 Hospital.

Jayapura District Court spokesperson Zaka Talpatty stated that the continuation of Victor Yeimo’s trial would be based on the doctor’s statement. If the doctor decides Yeimo has been recovered, the public prosecutor will report Yeimo’s recovery to the panel of judges so that the panel determines the schedule for the next trial.

“[If Victor Yeimo is declared healthy by the doctor], he [will] be detained again, and the trial will continue,” Talpatty said.

Whereas, if the doctor’s examination result states that Victor Yeimo still needs treatment, the Court will fulfill Yeimo’s right to get his treatment.

“We do not rely on [Yeimo’s] legal advisor’s demand. We rely on the medical examination results. If the doctor says three months, three months it is. Only after Yeimo is declared healthy, we will continue his detention,” he said.

Victor Yeimo has been undergoing quarantine treatment since August 2021. His Discharge Letter dated August 21, 2021, follows the recommendation of the Jayapura Regional Hospital team doctor who stated that Yeimo should be hospitalized because his health was deteriorating.

“Yeimo’s detention status stopped when he was taken to the hospital,” said Talpatty.

Meanwhile, regarding the request of Victor Yeimo’s lawyer for the panel of judges to transfer Yeimo’s detention status from prison detention to house arrest, Talpatty said that it was the authority of the panel of judges.

However, Talpatty said it would only be decided after the panel of judges received a report from the public prosecutor based on the results of the doctor’s examination.

Previously, Yeimo’s lawyer, Emanuel Gobay, said that Yeimo would undergo six months of treatment starting October 5.

“It’s true that [Victor Yeimo] has been taking medicine since October 5, for six months. This means he has to take medicine every day from October 2021 to March 2022,” he said.

Gobay cited Minister of Health Regulation No. 67/2016 on Guidelines for the Treatment of Tuberculosis Patients, which states that tuberculosis patient care must have good air circulation and adequate sunlight.

“The patient himself is suggested [by the doctor] to practice a healthy lifestyle,” he said.

Further, Gobay said that the regulation suggested local health agencies and related hospitals provided a special unit to treat tuberculosis patients. Therefore, he asked the Papua Health Agency and the Jayapura Regional Hospital to immediately assist Yeimo with a special place or unit for his treatment.

“We hope that both the prosecutors and hospitals comply with the regulation,” said the director of the Papua Legal Aid Institute.

Reporter: Theo Kelen

Editor: Aryo Wisanggeni G



News Desk October 13, 2021 5:09 pm

Jayapura, Jubi – Upon receiving a report on a missing person named Sem Kobagau, reportedly arrested by four members of the Indonesian Military (TNI) in Sugapa District, Intan Jaya Regency, the Cenderawasih Military Command XVII starts investigating the allegation.

“The commander of the Military Command has sent an investigation team to Sugapa, led by the Military Command’s intelligence assistant of chief of staff, to seek information regarding this matter,” said Military Command XVII spokesperson Lt. Col. Arm. Reza Nur Patria.

Patria added that, if it was proven there was the involvement of soldiers in the disappearance of the civilian, the suspect would be processed according to law.

As reported by Jubi previously, Sem Kobagau was reported missing after being arrested by four TNI members on Tuesday, October 5, 2021. Kobagau was at a kiosk owned by Mathius Dosay buying a lottery when the soldiers apprehended him.

“Four soldiers in full uniform entered the kiosk and immediately arrested Sem,” a resident who refused to be named told Jubi.

The next morning, a number of residents came to the Sugapa Police to seek clarity about Sem’s arrest. They urged the police to find out Sem’s whereabouts. The resident demanded the police to investigate the case thoroughly and brought whoever kidnapped Kobagau to a fair trial, especially if they harm Kobagau.

Alas, until nightfall, the resident did not get any clarity about Sem’s whereabouts.

Yohakim Mujizau, a youth leader in Intan Jaya, said he joined the mediation between the Sugapa resident and the police. According to Mujizau, residents occupied the Sugapa Police Headquarter’s yard, demanding the Intan Jaya Police’s assistance in uncovering the mysterious arrest and handing Sem over to the family.

“The people demand both the Sugapa and Intan Jaya Police to return Sem Kobagau to his family, alive or dead,” said Mujizau. As of October 12, Sem Kobagau is still missing. (*)

Reporter: Victor Mambor



News Desk October 12, 2021 5:36 pm

Jayapura, Jubi – The executive director of the Institute for Research, Assessment, and Development of Legal Aid (LP3BH) Manokwari, Yan Christian Warinussy, says that during the 25 years of the LP3BH’s establishment, his party has not found any real efforts by the Indonesian government to address the two root causes of Papua’s problems, which are, the disputes over political identity and prolonged violence against Papuans.

Warinussy said that the government had been ignoring various cases of human rights violations in Papua land for far too long. The government, said Warinussy, had also been ignoring the contradiction between the government’s and the people’s version of Papua’s history, leading to the emergence of many other conflicts.

Indeed, a lot of Indigenous Papuans have been arrested and criminalized for standing their ground regarding the history of Papua.

“The dispute over political identity is very real and continues to take its toll to date. Recently, Papuan women are forbidden from selling bracelets and nokens [woven bag] with the Morning Star pattern in the National Games,” Warinussy told Jubi in a phone call on Monday, October 11, 2021.

According to Warinussy, there were even athletes and officials from West Papua Province who were banned from wearing their costumes, because the costumes allegedly had the Morning Star pattern on them.

“There was even a spectator of a football match who was ‘arrested’ because he was caught wearing a shirt with the Morning Star flag on it. Such unnecessary reaction by the security forces is common throughout the Papua land. Meanwhile, the state has never resolved the differences in historical understanding through peaceful means such as dialogue,” he said.

Further, the government has also yet to take concrete steps to resolve various cases of human rights violations in Papua. These cases remain unsolved while the alleged perpetrators enjoying impunity as the government does not give it adequate attention and handling according to law.

“The 2001 Wasior case, the 2003 Wamena case, and the 2014 Paniai case have never been legally resolved. [In fact,] Indonesia already has a set of laws and regulations that stipulate the procedures and mechanisms for resolving human rights violation cases legally, such as Law No. 39/1999 on Human Rights and Law No. 26/2000 about the Human Rights Court,” said Warinussy.

The initial investigation into the three cases aforementioned had been carried out by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM). However, the state seems to have fostered practices of impunity by allowing the case to remain unsolved. Such an irony given the fact that Indonesia was the fourth-largest democracy in the world today, Warinussy said.

“We urge President Joko Widodo to take concrete steps by appointing a key figure to engage in a peaceful dialogue in Papua. The person [must be able to] have direct contact with President Jokowi, as well as having access to meet all important parties in Papua and Jakarta,” he said.

Warinussy suggested Jokowi issued a presidential regulation regarding the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as stipulated in Article 45 of Law No. 21/2001 on Papua’s Special Autonomy (Otsus).

“President Jokowi should also work with the governors of Papua and West Papua to amend Article 45 of the Papua Otsus Law, making both Papua and West Papua’s offices of Komnas HAM as the commission’s representative,“ he said. “So that the commission works directly under the two governors to initiate strategic steps to resolve allegations of human rights violations in Papua,” he added. (*)

Reporter: Hengky Yeimo

Editor: Aryo Wisanggeni


4) Taking a peek at cenderawasih in its natural habitat 

 13 hours ago

Early morning on October 5, 2021, five of us, including Alex Waisimon and a guide, enter a forest right behind an inn that Waisimon maintains in a complex named Bird Watching Isyo Hills.

Waisimon is an indigenous Papuan forest preserver who has won scores of awards, including Kalpataru, a top environmental prize, owing to his dedication to conserving animals and plants of Papua.

He maintains an indigenous forest in Rhepang Muaif, Nimbokrang, Jayapura district, Papua, located around three hours to the west of Jayapura city. If you come to this place, you can walk around half of Sentani Lake.

Our goal in entering the forest that morning was to catch a glimpse of a unique bird that is native to Papua and whose name is familiar to all of Indonesia, especially since the creature is one of the mascots of the 2021 Papua National Sports Week (PON).

That bird is cenderawasih. Cenderawasih is very secretive and is tough to spot in its natural habitat. With a penchant for high places, the bird is very sensitive to sound and movement, as if it knows that somebody is watching it.

It has sharp eyes and ears that allow it to detect sounds dozens of meters away. While entering the indigenous forest that Waisimon has turned into an ecotourism site, we have to keep our voices to a whisper while sneaking around like a predator looking for its prey.

"Do not be so loud," Waisimon reminded us.

"Do not touch the branch," he told us a few times while we were crouched next to him.

Rustling branches can disturb leaves and make the cenderawasih feel annoyed and detect human presence, he explained. This would cause the bird to fly away from the spot we were observing, he said.

For almost three hours we crouched to take a peek at cendrawasih.

One would need a telescope to see the bird clearly, or a camera with a telephoto lens in order to capture each detail of the heavenly bird.

Do not assume that the bird can be spotted without those devices, especially since cenderawasih only appears in the morning and afternoon.

Outside of those two time periods, one would only hear a loud cry that resounds across the forest, even though the cenderawasih does not have the largest body.

Do not compare it to an eagle, since this particular bird, which also lives in Isyo Hills, is still too big to be compared to the cenderawasih. However, the cenderawasih's cry truly echoes through the forest.

Truly Mysterious

It is hard to spot a cenderawasih perched on a tree, unless one is willing to be patient. The environs it is found in are no place for a selfie. There are far easier spots for the click-happy

Furthermore, Waisimon would rather have no truck with visitors who are only interested in taking pictures.

He looks forward to visitors who love birds and the environment, who care about nature conservation and want to know how the cenderawasih lives in its natural habitat as opposed to the cruel cages that trap this beautiful bird.

However, nobody, not even Waisimon, knows where the cenderawasih makes its nest. The bird is so mysterious that even native Papuans do not know where its nest lies.

"To this day, we do not what a cenderawasih nest looks like and where is it located," Daud Wouw, our tour guide, said.

The 20-year-old, one of Waisimon's most trusted guides, was born and raised in regions where the cenderawasih lives.

"Somebody once admitted to having seen a cenderawasih nest. I don't believe it. I asked, 'Where is the proof? Where is the picture?' but the person could not really prove it," Waisimon remarked in connection with Wouw.

According to Waisimon, not only the cenderawasih, but even forest pigeons no longer make their nests in places where humans can reach them.

"As soon as a forest pigeon knows that its nest has been seen by a human, it drops its eggs, and leaves the nest, never making nests again in places where humans have seen them," he informed.

Though they can be found in places like Papua New Guinea and Australia, around 30 out of the 43 species of cenderawasih are found in Indonesia, and 28 of them reside in Papua.

In Isyo Hills, around that 200 hectares of forest, there are four kinds of cenderawasih, with their number pegged at 50. Half of them are cenderawasih who were released into the wild after they were rescued from illegal traffickers.

The four cenderawasih are cenderawasih mati kawat, cenderawasih opada, cenderawasih raja, and cenderawasih paruh sabit.

There are other types of birds in the forest such as the victoria crowned pigeon, yellow bird kingfisher, Papuan babbler, and lesser bird of paradise.

Steel Tree

Isyo Hills also has plants native to Papua, including hundreds of trees as well as flowers. However, it is the cenderawasih that tends to be the primary reason why people come to Isyo Hills; most of them are from abroad.

The bird is extraordinarily beautiful, especially when it is perching or flying from one tree to another. The flap of its wings exhibits exotic colors, especially the male cenderawasih.

Cenderawasih performs mating rituals every morning and afternoon. The males are very shy, except when they are singing and dancing while showing off their tails atop a tree branch.

"When the male calls, the female comes," Waisimon said.

However, the males are not confident of calling the females if their tails are messy since the females would not find them pretty, he said.

They always appear every morning and afternoon, hanging out in the same place, he said.

"They usually eat the fruits of this steel tree," Wouw noted.

Steel tree is a tree that is commonly used to build houses and buildings in Papua. Much like its name, the tree is as strong as steel, making it a reliable material for making buildings.

However, the tree is a primary target for illegal logging, which Waisimon said he is trying to fight by encouraging people to care about nature conservation.

In addition to being the primary habitat for cenderawasih, the steel tree also acts as the primary marker of Papua's biodiversity, he said.

Cenderawasih also plays a large role in preserving this tree since this bird disperses its seeds to other places, he informed.

It would be unimaginable if the steel trees were to be cut down sporadically and especially if it is done in an illegal way, where there would not be any effort to replant them, Waisimon said.

If this illegal activity continues, then the cendrawasih and other animals would lose their habitat and walk the road to extinction, he said.

The extinction of these birds would also ruin the balance of the ecosystem, even though Papua is one of the planet's lungs that is important for humans, he said.

Failing to spot the cenderawasih in its natural habitat due to imperfect equipment is disappointing, he remarked. However, not being able to see it because its habitat has been ruined due to human selfishness would be a major disaster, he added.

Related news: EARTH WIRE -- Adat community urged to protect habitats of birds of paradise
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By Jafar M Sidik, Fadhli Ruhman
Editor: Rahmad Nasution


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

1) University students call for release of Papua activists Victor Yeimo and Frans Wasini

2) News: UN Secretary-General’s report exposes attacks on human rights defenders in West Papua

3) Indonesia-Papua New Guinea Border Resident Hands Over Bullet Stockpile 

1) University students call for release of Papua activists Victor Yeimo and Frans Wasini

Suara Papua – October 12, 2021

Cenderawasih University students hand over press release demanding release of Papuan activists – October 11, 2021 (SP

Atamus Kepno, Jayapura – Cenderawasih University (Uncen) students are urging the government through the Papua police to immediately release West Papua National Committee (KNPB) international spokesperson Victor F. Yeimo and student activist Frans Wasini.

The two activists were arrested in relation to the anti-racist demonstrations and riots in 2019. Yeimo was arrested on May 9, 2021 at Tanah Hitam in Jayapura and is currently being treated at the Dok II Jayapura public hospital. Prior to this he was detained at the Mobile Brigade (Brimob) Command Headquarters in Raja City, Jayapura.

Wasini was arrested in Sentani, Jayapura, on May 20, 2021, and is currently being held at the Papua regional police headquarters in Jayapura city.

"The pro-democracy activists being detained are not perpetrators of racism, but they are the victims of this racism. But the reality is the state has arrested and criminalised them as the perpetrators who have been indicted under the makar articles", Uncen Student Executive Council (BEM) Justice and Human Rights Coordinator Ayus Hiluka told Suara Papua on Monday October 11 at the Uncen Student Community Waena III state housing company in Jayapura.

In addition to this, the Uncen Student Deliberative Council (MPM) is also urging the public prosecutor to immediately and unconditionally release Yeimo and Wasini.

The students said that in accordance with Law Number 29/1999 on the Ratification of the 1965 International Convention on the Abolition of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, seven other Papuan activists who were imprisoned on charges of makar (treason, rebellion, subversion) in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, in June 2020, in a case which was seen as racist, have already served their sentences,

"So we think that this has already been resolved in accordance with the law which applies in this republic. But the racist perpetrators continue to be looked after well, they have even been given private homes and now the victims of racism are arrested and in detention. The perpetrators of racism were not arrested in accordance with the law, but what has happened now is that the victims of racism are detained", the students said.

Uncen Solidarity Concern (SPU) Chairperson Venus Kabak called on the Jayapura district court to conduct advocacy in accordance with the constitutional rights of the suspects.

"The arrest of students and also pro-democracy activists in Jayapura, who were then charged under the makar laws. So Victor and Frans should be immediately and unconditionally released", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Mahasiswa Desak Segera Bebaskan Victor Yeimo dan Frans Wasini Tanpa Syarat".]



2) News: UN Secretary-General’s report exposes attacks on human rights defenders in West Papua
October 11, 2021 in News

A new United Nations report has detailed the harassment and surveillance of West Papuan human rights defenders at the hands of the Indonesian state.

The report, jointly compiled by the UN Secretary-General and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), records attacks on human rights defenders in 45 countries, including Indonesia.

The report details the Indonesian government’s harsh treatment of indigenous communities, infringements of land-related rights, and targetting of West Papuans trying to draw international attention to human rights abuses.

The UN report gives particular focus to the arrest and continuing detention of Victor Yeimo, spokesperson for the West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB), for the alleged crimes of ‘treason’ and ‘incitement’. In reality, Mr Yeimo was arrested after speaking at a peaceful protest, where he condemned anti-Papuan racism and called for the right of self-determination to be extended to West Papua. The UN, along with Amnesty International, has previously raised concerns about Mr Yeimo’s arrest due to the rapid deterioration of his already fragile health while in detention.

The treatment of Mr Yeimo’s lawyer, Veronica Koman, also gains the UN’s attention. Ms Koman, a native Indonesian, has been the target of significant threats and intimidation due to her advocacy for West Papuan rights. She currently resides in exile in Australia, unable to return to her homeland.

The report also details the case of Wensislaus Fatubun, a member of the Papuan People’s Assembly, who was surveilled and eventually arrested for working with the UN and other organisations.

The UN makes it clear that human rights advocates are not the only targets of Indonesian intimidation. Victor Mambor, a journalist for the Papuan-based newspaper Tabloid Jubi, has been subjected to digital and physical attacks for his reporting on human rights abuses in West Papua.

The report gives renewed energy to the calls for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit West Papua. Over 80 international states have now called for the visit to take place, following an international campaign coordinated by the ULMWP.

The relevant sections of the UN report can be read here.


3) Indonesia-Papua New Guinea Border Resident Hands Over Bullet Stockpile 
Translator: Ricky Mohammad Nugraha   
Editor: Laila Afifa 
12 October 2021 07:32 WIB

TEMPO.COJakarta - A Keerom District resident living in the Indonesian and Papua New Guinea(PNG) border on Monday had voluntarily handed over an ammunition stash to the National Armed Forces (TNI) task force.

Citing Antaranews, the TNI task force commander, Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Erfani said  the local resident handed over the weapons after cleaning up his late parents’ house which consists of 44 of 11-mm ammunition and one 9-mm bullet. 

“The ammunition handover was directly handled by the task force deputy commander of Yonif 131/Brs military command maj. Infantry Achmad Muzani CH at a post located in the West Arso District,” said Erfani in a statement on October 11.

Asked in a separate location, Achmad Muzani explained that the handover was the result of a program aimed to help improve regional security, which puts forward a persuasive human approach.  

“We will continue to maintain a secure and peaceful situation in Papua,” he added.

Read: Police Refer Issue of KKB Supporters in Papua New Guinea to Foreign Ministry