Tuesday, August 13, 2019

1) Indonesia complains to Pacific Forum over Wenda participation


2) Police confirms security situation safe across Papua

1) Indonesia complains to Pacific Forum over Wenda participation

about 1 hour ago 

Indonesia has complained to the Pacific Islands Forum secretariat over West Papuan leader Benny Wenda's participation at this year's Forum summit.
Leaders of Forum member states are meeting in Tuvalu this week, with Vanuatu's government including West Papuan representatives in its delegation.
As the chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Benny Wenda has been a most active lobbyist for greater regional representation for his people.
Vanuatu, the key regional supporter of Papuan aims for independence from Indonesia, has included Mr Wenda and other Liberation Movement representatives in its forum delegation.
A spokesman for Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Ministry says it has lodged a protest with the Forum secretariat.
He said that by allowing Mr Wenda, with his separatist aims, to participate in the summit, the Forum was not showing neutrality on the Papua issue.
Eager to grow connections in the Pacific, Jakarta says it has no desire to talk with unfriendly countries, but rather those that seek economic development co-operation.


2) Police confirms security situation safe across Papua
 6 hours ago

Until today, the security situation is safe

Timika, Papua (ANTARA) - The security situation throughout Papua Province was safe in the run-up to Indonesia's 74th Independence Day commemoration on August 17, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Rudolf A. Rodja remarked.

"Until today, the security situation is safe," Rodja noted in Timika on Tuesday.

He strongly rebuked claims of an alert condition in all regions of Papua ahead of Indonesia's 74th Independence Day commemoration.

"There is no highest security level, known as 'Siaga 1'. The situation is normal," the inspector general clarified.

First Brigadier Hedar lost his life while conducting investigative duties in Ilaga, the capital of Puncak District, on Monday (Aug 12).

During that time, Brigadier Alfonso was travelling aboard a motorcycle along with First Brigadier Hedar to reach a village in Puncak District.

While passing Usir, a village in Puncak Jaya, a friend of First Brigadier Hedar called out to him. Brigadier Alfonso, who was riding a motorcycle, then stopped the vehicle.

First Brigadier Hedar then approached his friend and got engaged in conversation.

All of a sudden, an armed criminal group kidnapped First Brigadier Hedar.

Later, First Brigadier Hedar was found dead on Monday (Aug 12) at around 17:30 local time.

Related news: Body of slain Indonesian policeman moved to Timika hospital
Related news: Armed Papuan rebels persistent challenge to Indonesia's security
Reporter: Evarianus / Azis Kurmala
Editor: Sri Haryati

1) Body of slain Indonesian policeman moved to Timika hospital

2) Papua's Baliem Valley festival celebrates 30th edition
3) Island leaders says new climate funds don’t let Australia off the hook

1) Body of slain Indonesian policeman moved to Timika hospital

4 hours ago

Archives Papua Map. (ANTARA) (/)

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - The body of First Brigadier Hedar, kidnapped and shot dead by an armed criminal group in Usir Village near Mudidok Village, Puncak, Papua, Monday, was moved to the Timika Public Hospital, a police spokesman noted.

This policeman's body was flown aboard a chartered aircraft from Aminggaru Airport in Ilaga, Puncak District, to Mimika District, the Papua Provincial Police spokesman, Senior Commissioner Ahmad Kamal told ANTARA here on Tuesday.

Kamal confirmed the receipt of a report saying that Hedar's body had arrived at the Timika Public Hospital for a post-mortem examination. It was then flown to Makassar, the capital city of South Sulawesi Province, and transported to Barru District for burial.

To this end, Hedar's parents residing in Serui, South Yapen Sub-district, Yapen Isles District, Papua Province, were also in Biak to depart for Makassar, he noted.

The abduction and shooting incident occurred when First Brigadier Hedar and his colleague, Chief Brigadier Alfonso Wakum, were riding a motorcycle in Usir Village near Mudidok Village, Puncak District, on Monday, at around 11 a.m. local time.

While passing by this village, a local resident called out their names in response to which they stopped and met the villager. However, a few minutes later, a group of armed separatists suddenly appeared from a bush to intercept them.

Sentient of the threat, Wakum was still able to hide, but the armed rebels caught Hedar and killed him not far from the place where they were intercepted.

Wakum later reported this incident to the Ilaga police post. At around 5:30 p.m. local time, Hedar's body was found near the crime scene.

The Papuan armed separatists have repeatedly launched deadly attacks and killings over the past years.

On December 2, 2018, for instance, a group of armed Papuan rebels had brutally killed 31 workers from PT Istaka Karya, who were engaged in construction and building the Trans Papua project in Kali Yigi and Kali Aurak in Yigi Sub-District, Nduga District.

The armed rebels, who launched the brutal killings, also killed a soldier named Handoko and injured two other security personnel: Sugeng and Wahyu.

Acknowledging this grim reality, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Rudolf A. Rodja stated that the security disturbances, caused by the rebels, remain a persistent challenge for Indonesia's security apparatuses in the province.

In the first semester of 2019, at least 10 shooting incidents involving these armed separatists have occurred that claimed seven lives.

Five of the dead victims were soldiers, while two others were a policeman and civilian, Rodja had stated on July 3, 2019.

The shooting incidents that took place in the working areas of the Puncak Jaya and Jayawijaya Police Precincts during the January-June period this year had also resulted in six soldiers and two policemen suffering from gunshot wounds. Related news: President orders handling of armed criminal group problem in Papua

Reporter: Evarukdijati, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto


2) Papua's Baliem Valley festival celebrates 30th edition
Jakarta  /  Tue, August 13, 2019  /  03:52 pm

The 2019 Baliem Valley Cultural Festival (FBLB) showcased various art and cultural attractions during its 30th installment in Wamena city, Jayawijaya regency, Papua province, on Aug. 7-10.
Among its list of programs were a theatrical war performance, traditional dances, body painting, music performances featuring local artists Pikon and Witawo and a traditional cooking show using the bakar batu (stone burning) technique.
Prior to opening day, the regency administration held a dinner reception on Aug. 6 at Aithousa Bethelem Building in Wamena that highlighted the region’s signature cuisine as well as local dances and a Noken fashion show.
According to a statement, the oldest festival in Papua will also conduct a flag-raising ceremony on Aug. 17 to celebrate Indonesia's 74th Independence Day. (ran/kes)


3) Island leaders says new climate funds don’t let Australia off the hook
  • Aug 13, 2019  
  • By  Nic Maclellan
As Prime Minister Scott Morrison heads to this week’s 50th Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu, Australia has announced that it will commit new climate funding to the Pacific.
Morrison pledged A$500 (US$338) million over five years from 2020 – drawn from existing aid funds – to help Pacific nations invest in renewable energy and climate and disaster resilience.
Before leaving for Funafuti, he stated: “The Pacific is our home, which we share as a family of nations. We’re here to work with our Pacific partners to confront the potential challenges they face in the years ahead. The $500 million we’re investing for the Pacific’s renewable energy and its climate change and disaster resilience builds on the $300 million for 2016-2020. This highlights our commitment to not just meeting our emissions reduction obligations at home but supporting our neighbours and friends.”
The hope that this funding would quiet Pacific anger about the Australian government climate policies has been quickly disabused by Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga, host of this week’s summit in Funafuti.
Speaking after the Smaller Island States (SIS) meeting on Tuesday morning, the Forum host welcomed Australian financial support for climate action, but didn’t mince his words: “No matter how much money you put on the table, it doesn’t give you the excuse not to do the right thing – that is, cutting down your emissions, including not opening your coal mines.”
In a major blow to island partners, the Australian pledge is not new and additional funding, but will be drawn from Australia’s overseas aid budget. As part of the Pacific “step up”, the island region has benefitted from stronger aid flows in the last few years – at the expense of Asia and Africa where development budgets have been slashed. But Australian Official Development Assistance (ODA) is at the lowest ever proportion of Gross National Income since figures were first collated in the 1970s. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s 2019-20 budget proposes further reduction of the overall aid budget over the next four years.
The new climate change and oceans package includes a new climate window in the A$2 billion Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP). This new mechanism, with $1.5 billion in loans and $500 million in grants, was announced in November 2018 as a counter to Chinese infrastructure investment in the islands, through China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Exim Bank and state-owned corporations.
Love affair with coal
Prime Minister Morrison has previously said that Australia will meet its target for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions “at a canter.” But many Pacific island countries would like Australia to start galloping. The pledged 25-28 per cent reduction of emissions from 2005 levels is reliant on the use of carryover credits from the Kyoto Protocol, a policy opposed by many island governments, which want Canberra to rule out the use of Kyoto carry-over units to meet its Paris Agreement commitments.
Australia’s reputation as a climate partner in the Pacific has taken another blow with the opening up the Galilee Basin to coal mining, with the recently approved Carmichael coal mine proposed by the Indian corporation Adani. The need for a rapid transition away from coal was repeatedly raised at the Sautalaga Climate Dialogue on Monday, coordinated by Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) and hosted by the Tuvalu government.
In his opening speech to the Sautalaga, Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama stated:
“Fiji recognises that coal has always been an important part of the Australian economy, as an export revenue earner and for your national energy security. It has enabled you to build a strong economy that also gives you the means to support our region. We respect the fact that you have your interests and we have ours. And just as we don’t expect to be told what to do in pursuit of our own interests, it is not for us to be prescriptive about how you should run your affairs.
“Having said that, I appeal to Australia to do everything possible to achieve a rapid transition from coal to energy sources that do not contribute to climate change. That transition should be just for your own people and just for us here in the Pacific, where we face an existential threat that you don’t face and challenges we expect your governments and people to more fully appreciate.
“Put simply, the case for coal as an energy source cannot continue to be made if every nation is to meet the net zero emission target by 2050 that has been set by the UN Secretary General and every other responsible leader of the climate struggle.”
Island concern about Australia’s love affair with coal was clearly expressed in the “Tuvalu Declaration on Climate Change for the Survival of Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS)” – the outcome statement from the Sautalaga dialogue. The declaration is unambiguous, reaffirming “the UN Secretary General’s call for an immediate global ban on the construction of new coal fired power plants and coal mines and calls on all countries to rapidly phase out their use of coal in the power sector.”
Funding for action
At the 2016 Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting, then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pledged to make a “step change” in Australia’s engagement with the region. Two years later, speaking at Lavarack army barracks, his successor Scott Morrison put some meat on the bones of this pledge, detailing Australia’s “step up” in the Pacific.
Since taking over the leadership of the Coalition, Morrison has travelled to Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, seeking to rebuild relations that suffered during the 2013-15 Abbott government. Tony Abbott’s government  slashed the climate budget, abolished the carbon tax created by the outgoing Labor government, and abandoned Australian support for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) – ironically, Australian diplomat Ewen Macdonald was co-chair of the GCF in its early years, and now serves as head of the new Office of the Pacific within Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Since that time, Australia climate finance has slowly risen, from A$229 million (2014-15) to A$268 million (2017-18). The new funding pledge was promoted in Funafuti by Alex Hawke, Minister for Pacific and International Development, who stated that Australia was listening to Pacific concerns: “Very much we want to say to Fiji and to all of the member states here, that Australia is listening on climate. We will be doing more, we will be spending more through our package and dealing with the adaptation, the resilience needs of the Pacific.”
Hawke stated: “For the first time, Australia will spend $500 million through our aid budget on climate Pacific projects. That includes things like our Infrastructure Financing Facility, which will of course leverage private sector investment into the region through a new climate window. Bilaterally, we will be meeting with every country to discuss their needs and you’ll see that money flow for climate resilience projects and climate adaptation.”
The Turnbull government made an initial contribution of $200 million to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the global mechanism that provides grants and loans to developing nations for climate projects. However, Scott Morrison has refused to commit any further funding to the GCF, stating: “This isn't cheques that we're sending off to some remote fund in Geneva to spend who knows where. We stopped that practice” (The GCF Secretariat is actually located in Korea.)
The government’s policy reaffirmed by Alex Hawke in Funafuti: “We are not going to replenish the fund that you mentioned. Obviously, we think we can, on a bilateral level and a local level in our neighbourhood, in our backyard, do more and do more good ourselves.”
This decision will disappoint Forum island leaders. They have clearly reaffirmed their support for GCF replenishment in the Tuvalu Declaration on Climate Change, which welcomes “the significant role that the GCF plays in supporting developing countries in their efforts to address climate change. We call for a prompt, ambitious and successful replenishment of the GCF and in particular increase the amount and effectiveness of climate change to support Pacific Small Island Developing States.”
Hawke noted that: “Australia’s approach is going to be to have bilateral meetings on climate to identify the needs and the reason is every country has some particular needs in terms of climate adaptation, mitigation and resilience.”
Speaking after the Smaller Island States (SIS) meeting in Funafuti, Prime Minister Sopoaga stressed the importance of common action, suggesting that bilateral dialogue avoided the responsibility for collective action.
“We want global actions and the necessity to replenish global and predictable financial resources under the GCF is very, very critical. The reason we support that is because of the verification process, to make sure this is going directly to the adaptation needs of countries who are affected, focussing on humanitarian needs, not on political needs, helping the people of the Small Island Developing States to adapt to the impact of climate change.”
Sopoaga stressed that the forthcoming replenishment round of the GCF should not be undercut by the decision of Australia and the United States to abandon the global climate funding mechanism: “The announcement of additional funding by Australia is there, but certainly my hope is that it will not go to undermining what is needed in the global context.”
Some countries may regard the Australian approach as divide and rule, given many island leaders want the region to speak with a common voice, especially in the lead up the UN Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit in September. The decision by PSIDS to release the Tuvalu Declaration before the final Forum communique is a sign that many island leaders don’t want their strong message to be watered down before the UN summit.

Monday, August 12, 2019

1) Unknown Group Takes Police Detective Hostage in Papua

2) Indonesia hunts down Papua separatists killing police hostage

1) Unknown Group Takes Police Detective Hostage in Papua

AUGUST 12, 2019 
Jakarta. An unknown group has taken a police detective hostage in Puncak Jaya district, Papua, on Monday, a spokesman said.
"This afternoon, one of our members was taken hostage by a group of unidentified men. Right now, the Puncak Jaya Police chief and the district head are negotiating with the people from Usir village," Papua Police spokesman Chief Comr. A.M. Kamal said.
He said First Brig. Heidar was conducting an investigation with his partner, Alfonso, in Usir village when the men took him hostage. The two policemen were unarmed at the time.
"The two were on duty unarmed. So when the event occurred, they could not do anything," Kamal said, adding that the area was considered a safe location.
He added that the two policemen were known to the residents of Usir village, but gave no details on the case they were investigating.
Kamal said Alfonso immediately reported the incident to a nearby police post.
"The negotiations are ongoing; we hope our member can be released," the spokesman said.


2) Indonesia hunts down Papua separatists killing police hostage
Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-12 22:53:18|Editor: yan
JAKARTA, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia initiated a joint operation to hunt down the militants killing a police personnel after taken him hostage in easternmost province of Papua, a police spokesperson said here on Monday.
"Currently the process to evacuate the body of the killed policeman and the hunting down the criminal armed group around the location are conducted by police and military joint personnel," said Indonesia Police Headquarters Spokesperson Dedi Prasetyo.
He added the deceased policeman obtained a rank upgrade for his extraordinary service during his service.
The policeman, identified as Heidar, was abducted during his duty to investigate a case in Papua's Puncak regency area of Sungai Usir. He was found dead after negotiations with the abductor armed group met a deadlock, Prasetyo said.
Violence against police, military personnel and civilians carried out by Papua separatist groups has been rising in the past several months in the restive province.Indonesia hunts down Papua separatists killing police hostage
The Papua separatist militias slain dozens of Trans Papua road project workers in December last year.
Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-12 22:53:18|Editor: yan

1) Indonesian govt neglecting Papuans displaced by conflict: researcher

2) Polish tourist jailed in Papua to appeal in Supreme Court


1) Indonesian govt neglecting Papuans displaced by conflict: researcher
7:46 pm on 12 August 2019 

Analysis Indonesian researcher Hipolitus Yolisandry Ringgi Wangge says central government has failed to help thousands of Papuans displaced by ongoing armed conflict.
After eight months of the armed conflict between Indonesian security forces and West Papuan pro-independence fighters in Papua's central highlands, there's no end in sight to the struggles of the indigenous communities displaced by the fighting.
It's estimated that over 45-thousand people have been displaced from their homes in remote Nduga regency since a deadly attack on road construction workers by the West Papua Liberation Army sparked an escalation of the conflict last December. That massacre was followed by a large pursuit operation by Indonesian forces who have left few stones unturned to hunt down the Papuan guerilla fighters.
Fleeing from the ensuing bouts of fighting and raids, displaced villagers have sought refuge in neighbouring parts of Nduga or other regencies such as Yahukimo, Asmat, Lanny Jaya, Puncak and Jayawijaya. Away from their own land and gardens, the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are struggling to meet basic needs, and living in appalling makeshift conditions.
The poor living conditions faced by IDPs in various temporary abodes, for instance the 700 school-aged children in Wamena, should not be lost on national leaders. So far government has largely been ineffective in alleviating their plight. Neither central nor local government has found a way to end the conflict, to provide humanitarian aid to the displaced, or restore secured living conditions in Nduga.
Given the negligence of the armed conflict and those it displaces, the central government displays a form of political discriminations towards Papuans.

In denial

Political conflict between the Indonesian central government and Papuans who aspire to independence is highly sensitive.

It may account for why there has been no clarification by government on the status of the Papua conflict since the counterinsurgency operation kicked off in early December 2018.
Secondly, the state does not officially recognise the IDPs. Meanwhile, according to the aid group Solidarity Team for Nduga, at least 182 people from Nduga have died of famine and disease in displacement camps.
Indonesia's Law No.7 of 2012 on the Management of Social Conflicts is based on horizontal conflicts, not vertical or asymmetrical ones, such as those questioning Indonesia's sovereignty and legitimacy in a territory in Papua and West Papua Provinces.
Although the 2012 law does not cover the Papuan context with its political and armed factors in its definition of social conflict, the law still acknowledges the presence of IDPs. Hence, the government should clarify the status of the conflict and recognise the plight of the Nduga IDPs. By doing so, the government could terminate the conflict, and provide necessary supplies as well as trauma-healing services to the IDPs.
As long as the government maintains its narrow explanation of the conflict as a criminal operation to inform the Indonesian military and police pursual of pro-independence fighters, the conflict will continue. The conflict has political, economic, and cultural aspects generally overlooked by the Indonesian government and its security officers.
Initially, the central government denied the presence of IDPs since they claimed that most of the displaced Nduga people have been living with their families in Wamena. In that way, it is difficult to categorise them as IDPs.
Even the regional Cendrawasih military command stated that there is no internal displacement, but a typical migration. Such a statement by Indonesia's military merely exacerbates poorly co-ordinated efforts by the governments to assist the displaced.
Contrary to the denial, the Wamena-based voluntary team analysis, based on verified data, argues that the IDPs from Nduga are forced to live with relatives and have built several temporary huts as a result of the absence of specific shelters in Wamena. At the same time, not all IDPs have relatives in Wamena, so they have to find other ways to survive. Furthermore, some problems have emerged since some displaced Nduga people have illegally occupied lands belong to Jayawijaya residents in Wamena.
The local government and local security authorities have no plan to relocate the IDPs in specific areas in Wamena. However, action has finally begun, if late. Shortly after the solidarity team recently released its report of IDP deaths, the central government started distributing some aid. The Ministry of Social Affairs has cited only 53 deaths of the IDPs from Nduga, which is at odds with its initial denial on the existence of IDPs.
The data presented by the ministry using the report from Nduga health agency has some fundamental weaknesses. One of them is that surveyed health treatments were concentrated in 3 instead of all 11 affected districts in Nduga. Moreover, the treatment took place only in February and March 2019, while the displacement is still happening now, August 2019.

International dimension

Indonesia's government appears to be trying to keep the Nduga conflict on the down-low to maintain its profile as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, that premier international body that promotes peace and stability across the globe.
One of the Council's priorities is to promote peaceful dispute resolution. However, the current armed conflict in Nduga and the deaths of IDPs are casting a growing shadow on the Indonesian government within the country and international communities.
There will be attention on the issue at this week's Pacific Island Forum leaders summit in Tuvalu. The issue of West Papua and its problems is an agenda item to be discussed. Jakarta is expected to face strong criticism on rights issues including on the humanitarian crisis in Nduga, from Pacific governments such as Vanuatu which has the United Liberation Movement for West Papua as part of its delegation.

The Future of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

After hundreds of displaced Ndugans in Wamena rejected the ministry's aid, linked to the military, the Indonesian government must find a way to speed up aid and organise its distribution via other organisations, most likely the churches and voluntary groups in Wamena.
Some IDPs from Mbua District have returned to Nduga, and they have lived in unsafe conditions where the military personnel still occupy the public facilities, such as schools and health facilities. They also found that their homes and gardens were damaged or destroyed by security forces. Their struggle for somewhere safe to live continues.

If there is an encouraging sign that government might take steps to quell the conflict, it is that the Indonesian Ministry for Public Works and Housing has considered changing the Trans-Papua Road Project route to veer away from the danger zone. It's unclear whether the plan will be implemented since the Jokowi's administration is still grappling with the Indonesian political elites to secure their interests in the new administration.
Additionally, the military and the police are resistant to calls to withdraw their soldiers although provincial and local governments in Papua have strongly urged the national government to review the massive military deployment. This raises concern over the military's vested interest in conducting their operation in Nduga. Indonesia's military plays a significant engineering and security role in the project which provides a major source of income to the institution and its officers. That's not to mention illegal distribution of arms by military officers as evidenced in the recent capture of three military officers in Sorong.
Across the board, the Jokowi administration is likely to keep repeating the mistakes of previous governments in dealing with the Papuan armed conflict and its humanitarian impacts. These impacts can be expected to rise if the central government continues to deny the status of the conflict and its victims.
*Hipolitus Yolisandry Ringgi Wangge is a researcher at the Marthinus Academy Jakarta, and conducts fieldwork in Papua.


2) Polish tourist jailed in Papua to appeal in Supreme Court
7:55 pm on 12 August 2019 

A Polish man jailed for treason in West Papua is to appeal his conviction and sentence in Indonesia's Supreme Court.
Jakub Skrzypski was in May jailed for five years after a judge in the Wamena District court ruled he had plotted to sell arms to the West Papua Liberation Army.
An appeal filed against the sentence by Skrzypski's lawyer in the High Court in Papua was last month rejected.
State prosecutors had also twice appealed, looking for a doubling of the length of his five year sentence, but the court upheld the sentence as well as continued confiscation of Skrzypski's property seized when he was arrested in August last year.
Furthermore, prosecutors unsuccessfully sought an increase in the four-year sentence of a West Papuan co-defendant, Simon Magal.
Skrzypski, a tourist who had travelled extensively in Indonesia, will now appeal the sentence in the Supreme Court.
Prosecutors are also going to the country's highest court with their own appeal.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

AWPA update -Summary of events in West Papua (7 July 12 August 2019)

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

AWPA update
Summary of events in West Papua  (7 July  12 August 2019)

Pacific Islands Forum 
The 50th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) is being held from August 13-16 in the Republic of Tuvalu. 
Although Climate change is a priority at the forum the human rights violations in West Papua are also on the agenda. Johnny Blades reports in an interview  that Forum Foreign ministers met in Suva late last month, laying out the agenda for this month's Pacific leaders summit in Tuvalu and  the ministers' decision to set a deadline in relation to Papua reflects a shift in regional dynamics (RNZI 05 Aug 2019).  https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/2018707074/pacific-forum-eyes-deadline-on-west-papua-matter
An excellent report also by Johnny Blades in the Interpreter (Lowy Institute) 
“Pacific islands stand ground on West Papua push” (7 August)  In a battle of wills in the region, Australia and Indonesia  now find the island nations have a measure of leverage.

It would appear that no Pacific Island country opposed the inclusion of West Papua as part of the agenda at the PIF, except Australia. AWPA wrote to PM Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne on the issue.   https://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com/2019/08/awpa-letter-to-aust-foreign-minister.html

Pacific Islands Forum: Tuvalu children welcome leaders with a climate plea
 The Guardian 11 Aug Kate Lyons in Funafuti

Children from Tuvalu sit in a moat of water around a model island to illustrate the climate crisis as leaders arrive for the Pacific Islands Forum. Photograph: Kate Lyons/The Guardian

As the leaders of Pacific countries step off their planes at Funafuti airport this week for the Pacific Islands Forum, they are being met by the children of Tuvalu, who sit submerged in water, in a moat built around the model of an island, singing: “Save Tuvalu, save the world.” The welcome sets the tone for a Pacific Islands Forum meeting that will not only have climate change at the top of the agenda – as it has been for many years – but is being hosted by a country that the UN says is one of the most vulnerable to rising sea levels, which could render it uninhabitable in the coming century. Apart from the important symbolism, Tuvalu’s hosting of the event presents considerable logistical challenges for the nation, as more than a dozen world leaders and an estimated 600 people will descend upon the country with a population of just 11,000........    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/11/pacific-islands-forum-tuvalu-children-welcome-leaders-with-a-climate-plea
The West Papuan issue has received a lot of media coverage leading up to the PIF. Also in  the Guardian article
"Another key issue that may see Australia on opposing sides to its Pacific neighbours is that of human rights abuses in West Papua. A delegation from West Papua, including the Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda, was due to attend the forum as part of the Vanuatu government’s delegation, but as of Sunday afternoon the West Papuan group had not been able to arrive in Tuvalu, with both Sopoaga and Taylor saying they knew nothing about the delegation’s difficulties in reaching the country. Australia is strongly supportive of Indonesian sovereignty over Papua, while the independence movement has widespread support among several key Pacific island nations – particularly Melanesian neighbours Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands".
More on the PIF by Nic Maclellan (Islands Business Magazine) “Tuvalu prepares for Forum meeting” http://www.pina.com.fj/index.php?p=pacnews&m=read&o=6948908475d4d02233662b5c65a95f

Indonesia angered as West Papua independence raises its head at Pacific forum 
 From The Guardian 12 Aug 2019 
 A spokesman for the Indonesian government said Jakarta was “not at all happy” West Papua had been included on the formal agenda for the forum leaders’ meeting in Tuvalu, and warned the move would establish a precedent for interference in other countries’ domestic affairs.
“Developments in Papua and West Papua province are purely Indonesia’s internal affairs. No other country, organisation or individual has the right to interfere in them. We firmly oppose the intervention of Indonesia’s internal affairs in whatever form.” At a meeting of the region’s foreign ministers last month, Vanuatu successfully pushed to have the issue of West Papua formally included on the Pacific Islands Forum agenda, over the vociferous objections of Australia.
A spokesman for Australia’s foreign affairs department said: “Australia recognises Indonesia’s sovereignty over the Papua provinces, as stated in the Lombok Treaty of 2006. Australia will not support efforts that undermine Indonesian sovereignty over Papua in any forum and will not associate itself with any PIF communique to that effect.”

PNG governor wants West Papua referendum
RNZI 9 August 2019 
The governor of Papua New Guinea's capital district wants Indonesia to allow West Papua to undertake an independence referendum.
In a statement, Powes Parkop also backed a call from Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers to raise the issue of human rights abuses in Papua at next week's Forum leaders summit. Mr Parkop said the crisis in Papua had escalated due to Pacific nations letting fear of Indonesia dictate their approach to it. He said the Melanesian Spearhead Group should also accept an application for full membership by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.
"Indonesia must realize that when it choose to restore the rights and dignity of the West Papuan people it will unleash great joy." Mr Parkop said he had delivered the same message on West Papua to PNG Prime Minister James Marape and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogovare. According to him, he planned to also deliver it to the governments of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the US, adding that he had requested a meeting with Indonesia's government.
Jakarta says Papua's incorporation into the Indonesian is final and non-negotiable. Papuan Liberation Movement welcomes foreign ministers' call

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua has welcomed a resolution by Pacific foreign ministers to push for a UN Human Rights office visit to Papua.
In January, the UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said Indonesia's government agreed in principle for a team from her office to visit Papua. However, Pacific Forum members are concerned that the invitation is not being honoured. Forum foreign ministers have called for the timing of the visit by to be finalised by both parties. They also seek for a resulting report on the Papua situation to be presented before the next Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting in 2020. The Liberation Movement's chairman, Benny Wenda, urged Pacific Forum leaders to endorse this call when they meet for their annual summit in Tuvalu next week. Mr Wenda said such a stand reflected the values at the heart of the Blue Pacific campaign to develop a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity where all Pacific people can lead free healthy and productive lives. Accordnig to him, Pacific civil society networks continue to provide support to Forum Leaders and Government regarding the human rights issues of West Papua.

"The Nduga Solidarity Civil Society Coalition revealed that tens of thousands of civilians had taken refuge in at least 40 shelters outside of Nduga amid the ongoing security operations against the OPM-linked armed rebels, following the rebels’ alleged killing of dozens of construction workers in December. In a statement released Thursday, the coalition reported that 182 civilians living in shelters in a number of regencies, including in Wamena, Jayawijaya regency, died between December and July – allegedly from famine and poor living conditions – an increase from the previous reported number of 139 deaths.' (Jakarta Post)

Displaced residents refuse govt aid, demand military withdraw from Nduga
 Victor Mambor, Gisela Swaragita and Ardila Syakriah The Jakarta Post
Jayapura and Jakarta  Thu, August 1, 2019   

Students who fled from their homes in Nduga regency study at a makeshift school in Wamena regency on March 5.(Courtesy of Ence Geong/-)

Despite government efforts to distribute aid for civilians who escaped armed conflict in Nduga regency, Papua, some evacuees have refused assistance and are instead demanding the withdrawal of security troops from the conflict-ridden regency so that they can return home. As the security crackdown against armed rebels linked to the Free Papua Movement (OPM) continues in the region, thousands of civilians have fled their homes to seek refuge in shelters in Jayawijaya and Lanny Jaya regencies, living in uncertainty amid reportedly poor living conditions. Displaced people living in shelters in Weneroma, Jayawijaya, refused to accept aid provided by the Social Affairs Ministry after they reportedly learned that military and police personnel were involved in the distribution of basic needs and medical assistance.
Local figures said the refusal was linked to the civilians’ distrust in security personnel due to their trauma over past military operations that resulted in violence in the region.
Rev. Desmon Walilo, the coordinator of Sinode Kingmi in Jayawijaya, said local residents of Nduga still held the belief that if they accepted aid or food from the people they considered the “enemy”, their bodies would become weak and they would eventually die.
“The evacuees flee their homeland because of the joint security operation [against armed rebels] by the military and the police, so they will refuse any [distribution] of aid involving military and police personnel,” Walilo said.

He said that the decision to refuse help was made at the end of a meeting involving local figures and church leaders on Monday, after the evacuees learned that the coordination meeting to distribute the aid was conducted at the Jayawijaya Military Command headquarters.
Rev. Kone Kogoya, the head of the Mugi presbytery in Nduga, handed over a letter stating the evacuees refused to accept any assistance to Harry Hikmat, the Social Affairs Ministry’s director general of protection and social security, when his team arrived to distribute the aid.
In the letter, the evacuees demanded that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo withdraw military troops from Nduga and asked the government to pay more attention to the wellbeing of civilians who lived in shelters as result of the armed conflict. Harry acknowledged that the involvement of security personnel in distributing aid was met with resistance from the evacuees. However, he said that military and police personnel were involved because they had experience in the region. “We will still try to channel the aid while having discussions with local figures on the best way to ensure that supplies are distributed,” Harry said. “We need to understand each other so that the humanitarian mission can be optimally carried out.”

The ministry had channeled aid worth nearly Rp 3.7 billion (US$262,518) since January to the evacuees living in shelters in the form of staple food, cooking utensils, school supplies and toys for toddlers, among other things. Data collected by volunteers grouped under the Nduga Solidarity Civil Society Coalition revealed that tens of thousands of civilians had taken refuge in at least 40 shelters outside of Nduga amid the ongoing security operations against the OPM-linked armed rebels, following the rebels’ alleged killing of dozens of construction workers in December. In a statement released Thursday, the coalition reported that 182 civilians living in shelters in a number of regencies, including in Wamena, Jayawijaya regency, died between December and July – allegedly from famine and poor living conditions – an increase from the previous reported number of 139 deaths. Cendrawasih Military Command spokesman Lt. Col. Eko Daryanto said the military had yet to receive any updates regarding the death toll as reported by the coalition, saying that “there also might be differences in the perception or data regarding the cause of deaths” between different parties. Eko went on to rebuff concerns that the local people still felt trauma because of the military, saying that he believed the people felt safer with military personnel there to protect them against the threat of armed rebels.
“As of now, there have been no orders for the military to withdraw troops from Nduga,” Eko told The Jakarta Post. Harry also raised doubts over the accuracy of the data from the coalition, saying that it was not true that more than 130 civilians had died while living in the shelters.
Hipolitus Wangge, a researcher at Marthinus Academy who has been conducting fieldwork in Papua and member of the coalition, said that instead of simply denying the data, the ministry should be more active in the field to collect data on the displaced.
“If [officials] say the number [of deaths] we reported was baseless, then where is their data? Did they do their own data collecting?” he said. In response to the issue, Papua Governor Lukas Enembe called for the Papua Social Affairs Agency to thoroughly collect data on displaced persons, saying that such data was key to comprehensively handle the evacuees. (afr)

Soldier Killed in Separatist Attack on Papua Bridge Construction Site 
BY : ROBERT ISIDORUS Jakarta Globe JULY 21, 2019 
Jakarta. An Indonesian soldier was killed in a separatist attack on the Yuguru River Bridge construction project in Nduga district, Papua, on Saturday. The Indonesian Military (TNI) believes the gunmen acted under orders of Egianus Kogoya, leader of the military wing of the Free Papua Movement (OPM). "The incident occurred at 12.45 p.m. Eastern Indonesia Time while a member of the military was on lunch and prayer break; he was suddenly attacked by gunmen from bushes about 300 meters away," said Col. Muhammad Aidi, spokesman for the Cendrawasih Military Command. Aidi said there may have been four or five attackers. The military is tasked with protecting construction sites on the Trans-Papua Highway, following previous attacks on construction workers. "The other soldiers returned fire and chased after the attackers but ended the pursuit over security concerns and the inaccessibility of the terrain, which is covered in dense jungle, interspersed with many steep ravines," he said.
The soldier, identified as Pvt. Usman Hambelo, was wounded in the waist. He died about an hour later, before he could be evacuated by helicopter, which had been delayed by poor weather.

Indonesian soldiers arrested over arms sale to rebels
Three Indonesian soldiers in West Papua have been arrested on suspicion of selling arms to rebels. A spokesperson for Indonesia's military in Papua, Eko Daryanto, said the soldiers are thought to have sold ammunition to an armed group in Timika. The Jakarta Globe quoted him as saying they were identified by civilians arrested for illegally possessing the arms. Mr Daryanto said one of the three soldiers was on the run for about two weeks before his arrest on Sunday. He said one soldier could face the death penalty and the other two life imprisonment. An Indonesian court sentenced a Polish tourist to five years jailin May for plotting to sell arms to the West Papua Liberation Army (RNZI 9 August 2019) 

23 extra-judicial killings in West Papua last year - rights group
A human rights group advocating for West Papuans in Indonesia says there were more than 20 extra-judicial killings by the military there last year. But the military has dismissed the findings, which come during an escalating conflict in Papua's Highlands as rebels wage war on the state. The International Coalition for Papua has documented 23 killings it claimed happened at the hands of Indonesia's military in 2018. The recently-released list ranges from bullet wounds to being burned alive, mostly in the troubled Central Highlands.

The rights group is demanding Indonesia launch independent investigations into all the cases, warning more deaths have been reported this year. But a military spokesperson, Muhammad Aidi, said the report is a hoax and that some victims died from tribal violence. He said others were rebels who died in gunfights after launching attacks on soldiers. (RNZI 10 July 20190 

TNI anticipates security disturbances in Papua ahead of Aug 17
ANTARA News 10th August 2019

Chief of 1710 Mimika District Military Command Lt Col Pio L Nainggolan (center) (ANTARA News Papua/Evarianus Supar/RN)

Timika, Papua (ANTARA) - The Indonesian military (TNI) and Papua police will take necessary precautionary measures against security disturbances in the PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) mining area before Indonesia commemorates its 74th Independence Day anniversary on Aug 17. The precautionary measures were deemed necessary since according to the intelligence agency's reports, there is a possibility of the armed Papuan rebels likely launching an attack on that day, Chief of 1710 Mimika District Military Command Lt Col Pio L. Nainggolan stated here on Saturday. The areas under close monitoring of security personnel in their efforts to take precautionary measures against security disturbances would cover Tembagapura Sub-district in Mimika District and Mimika City and its outskirts, he noted.

To this end, the existing security posts will be strengthened, and the rebels' moves would be restricted, he noted, adding that the military and police will strive to ensure security to the local residents. "Hence, the local residents are urged to remain calm," he noted. The security personnel are acquainted with the routes that the rebels generally take in the areas of Tembagapura Sub-district, including the Ilaga-Aroanop-Banti and Ilaga-Jila-Tsinga-Grasberg routes.
Nainggolan remarked that the security apparatus will also adopt precautionary measures on new routes possibly taken by them to reach the areas of Tembagapura where the PTFI conducts exploration of ore containing copper, gold, and silver in the Grasberg minerals district. Speaking in connection with the possibility of Timika City and its outskirts also facing the threat of rebels, Nainggolan expressed optimism that they would not turn into a battleground for the rebel groups and Indonesian security personnel. Timika's areas have often been used by rebels as a place for obtaining logistics supplies, budget, and ammunition as well as transit points, he pointed out.

The Papuan armed separatists have repeatedly launched deadly attacks and killings over the past years. On December 2, 2018, for instance, a group of armed Papuan rebels had brutally killed 31 workers from PT Istaka Karya, who were engaged in construction and building the Trans Papua project in Kali Yigi and Kali Aurak in Yigi Sub-District, Nduga District. The armed rebels, who launched the brutal killings, also killed a soldier named Handoko and injured two other security personnel: Sugeng and Wahyu.
Reporter: Evarianus Supar, Rahmad Nasuti Editor: Azizah Fitriyanti

PWI plan to invite foreign journalists to Papua may be ‘politicized’
Ivany Atina Arbi   The Jakarta Post Fri, August 9, 2019   
In a bid to give foreign media access to reporting about Papua, the Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI) has planned to bring several foreign journalists to the province, which has been marred by violence for years. With a full support of the government, the PWI is to show the foreign journalists that “nothing wrong is happening in Papua”. The plan, however, was criticized by human rights and media activists at home. They argued that the move might have been politicized, with the government using the PWI to strengthen its political agenda of expanding diplomatic relations with several Pacific countries. PWI chairman Atal Sembiring Depari previously said his organization was mulling over a plan to invite “Asia-Pacific journalists” to Papua during the celebration of National Press Day on Feb. 9, 2020 in the province’s capital, Jayapura. “We can use this opportunity to prove to the world that everything is alright in Papua,” Atal said after a meeting with Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Minister Wiranto on Aug.5. He added “outsiders” often accused the government of treating the country’s easternmost province poorly by committing various human rights violations and injustices. “That’s not factual,” he said.

Rights group Amnesty International Indonesia, however, begged to differ by revealing that human rights violations did happen in Papua, many of which allegedly involved security forces, as summarized in its 2018 report entitled “Don’t bother, just let him die: Killing with impunity in Papua”. At least 95 people were unlawfully killed in Papua from January 2010 to February 2018, with police officers and soldiers being the perpetrators, the report said. Among the casualties were people who staged peaceful rallies. Dozens of them had also died from the unlawful use of force in cases related to pro-independence issues. “The government must undertake serious efforts to address human rights violations in Papua. Therefore, the journalists will portray its positive attitudes and report them to the world,” Amnesty International Indonesia spokesperson Haeril Halim said, adding that both local and foreign journalists faced various issues -- from security to access -- while covering news in Papua. He revealed that several local journalists of Papuan ethnicity had even received discriminatory and repressive treatment from security officers while on the job. “I don’t know whether the PWI’s intention is to fight for press freedom in Papua or to further push Indonesian diplomacy in the Pacific region. I think it should prioritize [the former] to create full and unlimited access for both local and foreign journalists in Papua,” Haeril said.

The Foreign Ministry announced previously that Indonesia was moving to strengthen its regional ties with Pacific countries by establishing diplomatic relations with Niue and Cook Islands while pursuing trade deals with Fiji and Papua New Guinea. The chairwoman of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in the Asia-Pacific, Jane Worthington, supported the PWI’s initiative to bring in foreign journalists to Papua as an attempt to dismiss various accusation against the government, yet she did not think it could altogether solve coverage problems that journalists had there. Worthington, who had visited Papua some years ago, said there were several issues she faced when in Papua, including about safety, access and surveillance. “We had problems with being monitored, being followed and also there was some control of what I can cover,” she said. Worthington revealed that the process to gain permits for news coverage in Papua was “very long and drawn-out”. Some journalists consequently made the decision to go in using tourist visas because of the “onerous procedure”. “That space needs to be opened up. We need to advocate more about opening up [Papua] for journalists, not only Indonesian journalists going in but also international media,” she added.

The chairman of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) in Papua, Lucky Ireeuw, said separately that the plan to facilitate the Asia-Pacific journalists to cover Papua was likely being “politicized by the government”. “It’s the duty of journalists to make a report based on the real facts they find in the field, including in Papua. They do not need to be asked, or mobilized by the security ministry,” Lucky said, adding that the AJI had long fought for press freedom in Papua both for local and foreign journalists. “We want free access to all areas in Papua, without being monitored and limited like our previous experiences. We want Papua to be reported objectively and based on its real condition.”

Palm oil company found guilty of rainforest destruction and rights abuses in Papua(RNZI 24 July 2019) 
Major palm oil producer Korindo has been found guilty of rainforest destruction and human rights abuses in the Indonesian province of Papua by the Forest Stewardship Council. However, environmental group Mighty Earth said despite the guilty verdict and the "greenwashing" of their activities, the Council is not yet completely cutting its ties with the Korean-Indonesian logging and palm oil conglomerate. Senior Campaign Director, Deborah Lapidus, said it's ironic the notoriously destructive company has held certification for responsible forest management……….
The company disputes claims made about its Papua operation

Renowned West Papuan rights activist dies

Ferry Marisan Photo: Whens Tebay

Leading West Papuan human rights activist Ferry Marisan has died in Jayapura. Mr Marisan is well known for his work over two decades with the Advocacy of Human Rights Institution, ELSHAM Papua. He played a prominent role in raising awareness about Papuan rights, including in relation to exploitation of Papua's mineral resources. Mr Marisan was also a renowned musician whose recordings and performances with the Black Paradise group gained a large following. Tabloid Jubi reported that Mr Marisan  died at Abepura hospital from diabetes complications.  He is survived by his wife and two children. (RNZ 9 July 2019)

Opinion pieces/media releases/reports etc.

West Papua’s Quest for Independence 

Competing Papuan identities

Battle of numbers in Papua highlands

Indonesia is a cancer on the humanity of the Pacific 

West Papuan Independence And The Australian Perspective