Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088
AWPA update. March 2011
Melanesian Spearhead Group
The Melanesian Spearhead Group leaders held their 18th MSG Summit in Suva, Fiji in the last week of March. West Papuans and their supporters including former Vanuatu leaders http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=59573
have been lobbying the MSG for years to give West Papua observer status/membership at the MSG and to raise the human rights situation in West Papua with the Indonesian Government. AWPA letter at http://pacific.scoop.co.nz/2011/03/open-letter-to-the-leaders-of-the-msg/ For all the talk of Melanesian solidarity West Papua was not mentioned in the MSG Communique and Indonesian and Timor-Leste attended as observers. However, the West Papuan issue (and the MSG) did receive good media coverage in the Australian and regional media. On a positive note the Pacific Institute of Public Policy (PiPP) has released its findings from the first ever telephone poll conducted across Melanesia. When asked who they considered part of the Melanesian family
42% included West Papua, only14.9% included Indonesia and 14.1% included Timor Leste. Another question posed was 'do you support independence for West Papua?' A clear majority of respondents across Melanesia said yes, with very high support in PNG (89.3%) and Vanuatu (88.2%). The MSG poll results can be found at http://www.pacificpolicy.org/
Indonesia`s special forces again exercise with Australia`s SAS
Mon, March 7 2011
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Army`s Special Force`s Anti-Terror Unit 81 again conducts a joint exercise with Australia`s special force SAS in Perth, Australia, special force Kopassus spokesman Lt Col Thevi A Zebua said here on Monday. The exercise code-named "Dawn Kookabura" was aimed at increasing relations between the two countries` militaries especially anti-terror units, he said.
"The anti-terror unit sends 31 personnel led by chief of the anti-terror unit 81, Lt Col Taufik Shobri," he said. He said materials for the exercise included diffusion of explosives, handling of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and maritime security. "Before conducting the joint exercise the personnel from Anti-Terror Unit 81 have already carried out pre-training so that they were more ready to participate in the joint exercise," he said. The joint exercise would last until March 19. "During the exercise Kopassus commander will visit the venue on March 15-17," he said. The Kopassus and SAS joint exercise program had been halted following the East Timor incident with allegations of human rights violations by the Indonesian military (TNI) in 1999.(*)(R018/H-YH/A/HAJM) Editor: Ruslan Burhani
1969 'Act of Free Choice' to be challenged at International Court
JUBI, 13 March 2011 From Tapol [Slightly abridged in translation]
With the issue of Papua gaining more attention internationally, it is now reported that there is a plan to submit a formal challenge against the Indonesian government, the UN, the US and the Netherlands with regard to the so-called Act of Free Choice -Pepera - that took place in 1969. Pepera then became the basis for the incorporation of West Papua into the Republic of Indonesia. A group of international lawyers, led by Mrs Melinda Janki from Guyana are preparing to make a formal challenge at the International Court in The Hague Netherlands. This was announced by the Rev Socratez Sofyan Yoman during a meeting at which he launched his latest book called 'Otonomi, Pemekaran dan Merdeka'. [See earlier item about this book] He said that during his recent trip abroad, he was informed that an organisation called International Lawyers for West Papua which is chaired by Melinda Janki is making preparations to challenge Pepera at the International Court. He said that this is likely to happen within the next six months, during which time colleagues from several European countries, from Africa, the US, Australia, New Zealand, PNG and the Pacific countries will hold discussions on the possibility of challenging Pepera.
The ILWP intends to register its intention to do this in The Netherlands in August this year. 'We hope and pray that this move will succeed,' he said. He explained that he personally was not involved in the move. He said that the ILWP had drawn together a number of documents that would be used as the basis for this challenge. The ILWP was set up in Guyana in 2009 and has been helpful in raising the issue of West Papua on the international arena.
Sokrates Yoman launches book titled 'OPM'
From Tapol . JUBI, 12 March 2011
The Rev. Sokratez Sofyan Yoman has launched a new book titled: Otonomi, Pemekaran dan Merdeka [OPM] - Autonomy, Division and Independence. The 136-page book bears a sub-title: 'Time to Speak the Truth in the Land of Papua'. Speaking at the launch, the author, who heads the Alliance of Baptist Churches in Papua, he said that he had taken the decision to write the book as a calling from God. He said that when he meets his Maker and is asked what he has done and whether he should go to heaven or to hell, he would accept whatever would happen to him. The book will cost Rp. 30,000 a copy but the author has decided not to sell it through the bookshops. 'I will ask students to sell it so that they can earn something from the profit they make selling it.'
Speaking at the launch of the book, Herman Awom said that the significance of the book could be judged by the fact that past books of his have all been banned. 'Why are his books banned by the Attorney-General? Because they speak about the experiences of the Papuan people, about their history, about the failure to uphold human rights in Papua and about the use of violence in Papua.' Herman Awom said that this book was a way for Rev Yoman to deliver his sermons; not all the churches were willing to write in the way that he does. The title of the book in bahasa can be abbreviated to OPM.
Move to call for a judicial review of the 'MAKAR' (subversion ) articles in the criminal code (From Tapol)
Early next month, a number of lawyers and human rights activists will discuss the possibility of calling for a judicial review of the subversion articles in the Indonesian Criminal Code.
The reasons for this move are set forth as follows:
1. The subversion articles which were adopted during the Dutch colonial era for the purpose of silencing the Indonesian independence movement are not appropriate in present-day Indonesia, when democracy guarantees the rights of citizens to freedom of expression.
2. The subversion articles in the criminal code have been used to prevent the Papuan people from freely giving expression to their views and aspirations, particularly criticisms made by Papuan leaders and activists of the injustices and discrimination experienced by Papuan people for several decades.
3. The subversion articles in the criminal code are the reason why there have been many human rights violations in Papua. According to KontraS, in 2008-2009 there were 31 cases that were dealt with in accordance with the subversion articles, while according to other sources, there were 32 cases in Papua and 15 cases in West Papua.
4. Initial discussions between members of FOKER and colleagues in Jakarta (the Legal Aid Institute, Imparsial and KontraS) came to the conclusion that one way to reduce the number of human rights violations would be to undertake a review of the contents of the subversion articles.
5. FOKER has included a judicial review of the subversion articles in its Work Programme for 2011.
It is understood that the discussion about calling for a judicial review will be held on Monday, 4 April 2011, in Abepura. [It should be noted that the makar articles are also used against activists in Maluku. TAPOL]
Pastor Neles Tebay on promoting dialogue between Jakarta and Papua
JUBI, 25 March 2011
Pastor Neles Tebay, co-ordinator of the Papua Peace Network - JDP - who has been focusing on promoting dialogue between Jakarta and Papua said that the provincial governments of Papua and West Papua have not yet reached agreement about the agenda of such a dialogue. 'They have not yet issued statements officially supporting Jakarta-Papua dialogue. Even though they have not yet reached agreement, we will continue to promote dialogue,' he said. He said that the governments have not yet adopted a position towards dialogue because it is seen as being a separatist move and in opposition to what the Indonesian state is working for. He said that he respects this viewpoint. Any individual who works for the government who expresses support for the idea of a Jakarta-Papua dialogue is in danger of losing his job because he is likely to be seen as a separatist. 'Anyone working for the government who expresses support for a dialogue places himself in danger and could lose his job,' he said. Even so, he said, the JDP which was created in order to promote the idea of dialogue will continue to popularise the idea in various parts of Papua.
The JDP was set up in January 2010 and has 32 members who come from a number of organisations and institutions in Papua. However, they are not representing their respective organisations. 'They are each working on a personal basis and doing their work on the basis of their personal inclinations,' he said.
Boediono to hold a meeting on Papua
The Jakarta Post 03/28/2011
Vice President Boediono is scheduled to convene a meeting on the development of Papua and West Papua, at his office in Jakarta on Monday. A number of officials, including Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa and Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo, are scheduled to attend, along with representatives from Papua and West Papua provinces, tempointeraktif.com reported Monday. The meeting is being held to finalize a draft of a presidential regulation on the acceleration of development in Papua and West Papua. Significant aspects of the draft include its promotion of a cluster-based approach to development, and an increased integration of the activities of the central and regional administrations. The regulation also aims to establish a special unit to accelerate development in Papua. The planned regulation is a result of a presentation made by Papua Governor Barnabas Suebu and West Papua Governor Abraham Ocktavianus Atnuri at a Cabinet meeting in January.
Press Council calls for greater security for the media in Papua
JUBI, 12 March 2011 (From Tapol)
The Jakarta Press Council has pointed out that acts of violence and killings against the media are still occurring in Papua which means that the country's reputation in the international community is very likely to decline because the Indonesian government is unable to guarantee freedom of the press.Speaking alongside dozens of other journalists at a meeting with members of the Papuan provincial legislative assembly, the DPRP, Bekti, a member of the press council, said that journalists have experienced many acts of violence in the recent past. He said that in addition to verbal abuse, they had experienced physical abuse which in some cases had ended in death.
In 2010, a journalist working for SUN TV was murdered while covering a conflict between two ethnic groups in Tual, Maluku. Ardiasyah Matrais working for the tabloid, JUBI was 'disappeared' in Merauke on 14 November, and most recently, Banjir Ambarita, a journalist with Vivanews and Jakarta Globe, was stabbed by an unknown assailant.The Press Council has therefore called on the police in Papua to carry out a thorough investigation of the stabbing of Ambarita. Bekti also said that the police should provide a guarantee of security for journalists who are working in Papua, because the intensity of the violence has worsened there in the recent past.'If the police fail to provide security for journalists in Papua,' he said, 'more incidents of this nature will be experienced by journalists working in Papua.'He said that the principles of credibility and search for truth must be upheld, bearing in mind that press activities in Papua can help safeguard developments in Papua and in particular the democratic process which is not going at all well in that part of the country.
RNZI 24 March, 2011
Four former Vanuatu leaders are today expected to call on the present government to hold the line in the country’s support for West Papua. The four are former prime ministers Barak Sope and Edward Natapei, and former presidents Kalkot Mataskelele and Ati George Sokomanu. Vanuatu has long been a lone supporter of the Melanesian people of the disputed Indonesian region, and Mr Sope says they want to ensure that prime minister, Sato Kilman, stands firm on this at a summit of Melanesian countries next week in Fiji. Mr Sope says they will also be calling on the current chair of the MSG, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, not to give observer status to Indonesia.
He says such a move is an insult to Melanesian people and defeats the purpose in setting up the MSG.
RNZI 24 March, 2011
The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation says the credibility and integrity of the Melanesian Spearhead Group is at stake as its leaders are due to meet in Fiji next week. The Coalition says allowing Asian Indonesia instead of Melanesian West Papua to sit at the table is in clear breach of the constitution and foundation principles of democracy and Melanesian solidarity. It says if the MSG can accept New Caledonia’s Melanesian Kanaks to become members and not the French colonial government, it is not logical to create a reverse situation by inviting Indonesia as a colonial power controlling Melanesian West Papua. The Coalition says by allowing Fiji’s Commodore Frank Banimarama and his counterpart from Indonesia to control the MSG, the organistaion will self-destruct. It is also critical of what it calls the attempt of two military dictatorships to control Melanesian democratic countries.
Fiji leader blamed for Indonesia attending MSG summit
ABC Radio Australia March 25, 2011 17:43:27
A West Papuan independence activist is blaming Fiji's interim prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, for inviting Indonesia to take part in next week's Melanesian Spearhead Group summit in Fiji. Terry Bukorpioper, a Vanuatu-based representative of the West Papuan National Authority and secretary of the Oceania Decolonisation Committee, says Commodore Bainimarama has invited Indonesia to participate because Fiji and Indonesia are both military regimes. He says the MSG should be a Melanesian organisation for Melanesian countries, and Indonesia which administers the mainly Melanesian and Christian western half of New Guinea island, should not be present at the summit. Mr Bukorpioper tells me that Fiji's invitation to Jakarta risks angering Melanesian people who he says strongly support West Papuan independence from Indonesia.
RNZI on 22 March, 2011
An NGO, the Australia West Papua Association, has written an open letter to the Melanesian Spearhead Group, calling for full membership of the agency to be extended to the people of the Papua region of Indonesia.
The MSG, which includes Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands and the Kanak grouping from New Caledonia, is to meet in Fiji from tomorrow.
The AWPA’s Joe Collins says with the MSG giving Indonesia observer status for the meeting, full membership should now be extended to the Melanesian people of West Papua. He says Papua has been seeking observer status for years and to see that status instead going to Indonesia has left everyone shocked.
“And I think it also makes you wonder about so called Melanesian solidarity. And I think the only way the West Papuans here see it is that by offering them full membership of the MSG it will probably make up for offering Indonesia observer status.” The Australia West Papua Association’s Joe Collins.
Press releases/reports/opinion pieces etc.
West Papua is not an Indonesian issue says Ayamisiba
The decision by Prime Minister Sato Kilman and Leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group to accept Indonesia is a mockery to the people of Vanuatu. In an exclusive interview with West Papua international activist now Vanuatu citizen, Andy Ayamiseba said PM Kilman has betrayed the trust accorded to him by the people of Vanuatu, the Parliament and the Council of Ministers………….
The Indonesian Government: closing window for peace in West Papua
Jason MacLeod, 14 March 2011
Subjects:Civil society Conflict Democracy and government International politics Indonesia. Just as Indonesia’s president Susilo Bambang Yudhuyono was being feted globally for being a democrat, the Indonesian government was entrenching Papua’s reputation as Indonesia’s last bastion of authoritarian military rule. Now Peace Brigades International has finally been forced out……………
Songs and freedom in West Papua
In West Papua, singing is a way of life, and the means by which people greet, flirt and protest. And, as Jay Griffiths reports, it is used as a potent form of communication around the world Jay Griffiths The Guardian, Tuesday 15 March 2011
Out on a mountainside one night, myself and a small party of West Papuans were trying to dry our socks by the fire. Well, drying them was a little over-optimistic – making them a bit less wet is more like it. Leaning back against the walls of the makeshift hut, the men – guides and friends – began singing, as they did every evening……………………………………
March 20, 2011 Pacific Scoop: Report – By a special correspondent in Jayapura
The Indonesian police have released eight nurses who work at the DokII General Hospital in the West Papuan capital of Jayapura, following pressure from members of the provincial assembly, the DPRP. Several assembly members of the DPRP had met the local police chief on Wednesday. Anum Siregar, the lawyer who is acting for the nurses, said the police had indeed agreed to release the nurses but the release warrant had not yet been signed by the authorised police official who was out of town.
The nurses had been arrested under article 335 of the Criminal Code, for having incited others to take part in a strike……………………………………………
Unions call on Indonesia to release arrested nurses
MARCH 30, 2011
ACTU MEDIA RELEASE :
Tuesday, 29 March 2011
Unions call on Indonesia to release arrested nurses
Australian unions have called on the Indonesian Government to respect international labour Conventions and human and trade union rights following the arrest of five nurses in West Papua. ACTU President Ged Kearney said it was outrageous that the nurses had been detained for nine days and were reportedly subjected to long periods of police interrogation, simply because they had supported an industrial campaign to ensure they received their contracted entitlements………………………………..
Room for improvement in Papua, says visiting leader
TOM ALLARD JAKARTA SMH March 9, 2011
INDONESIA'S Vice-President, Boediono, has signalled a new drive for reconciliation with the troubled province of Papua, revealing plans to create a new agency to arrange talks with disaffected Papuans and promote prosperity. In an interview with the Herald, Dr Boediono conceded the central government needed to move beyond its usual preoccupation with economic development and develop new policies for Papua………………..
Why Papua’s integration history needs straightening
Socratez Sofyan Yoman, Jayapura 03/18/2011
The people of Indonesia outside Papua are clearly confused and keep asking: Why have indigenous Papuans never recognized and accepted the Act of Free Choice (Pepera) of 1969 but have consistently opposed the history of integration of West Papua into Indonesian territory? Do the people of West Papua of Melanesian ethnicity misunderstand Papua’s integration into Indonesia? ………………………………
UP4B: A new hope for Papuans?
Budi Hernawan, Canberra /30/2011 | Opinion
During his recent visit to Australia, Vice President Boediono told the media that he had been mandated by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to formulate a draft of a presidential decree to address more comprehensively questions regarding Papua. According to the draft, the government will form a delivery unit called the Unit Percepatan Pembangunan Papua dan Papua Barat (UP4B/ Special Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua) to deal with problems in Papua……………………..
March 30, 2011
Press Release – Anne Noonan and Joe Collins
AWPA is encouraged by the statement from the Chairman of the MSG meeting , Ratu Inoke Kubuabol that “The Melanesia Spearhead Group feels for their brothers and sisters in West Papua” . Joe Collins of AWPA said “we urge the MSG to grant……