Wednesday, October 31, 2012

1) Protest greets Indonesian leader in London

1) Protest greets Indonesian leader in London
2) Human rights protest mars Indonesia’s state visit to London


1) Protest greets Indonesian leader in London
AAP November 01, 2012 5:39AM

THE president of Indonesia has met Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to Britain that was marred by protesters accusing him of human rights abuses.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Indonesia's first lady Ani Bambang Yudhoyono were welcomed by the Queen and her husband Prince Philip in a ceremony at London's Horse Guards Parade.
The two couples then took part in a state carriage procession to Buckingham Palace, where the visiting couple will stay during their three-day visit.
About 50 demonstrators holding placards that read Stop killing Papuans protested the Indonesian leader's visit outside Prime Minister David Cameron's residence on 10 Downing Street. They claim Yudhoyono has committed crimes of humanity against tribal people in West Papua.
Rights groups including the New York-based Human Rights Watch have said that Indonesia's military is responsible for some of the violence in Indonesia's restive Papua province, home to a decades-long low-level guerrilla war. Yudhoyono has conceded that Indonesian security forces had overreacted at times but said the attacks were "on a small scale with limited victims."

Later on Wednesday, two human rights activists tried to reach Yudhoyono's car but were stopped by police. Scotland Yard confirmed that they arrested one man for attempting to disrupt the leader's visit.
The Queen, who along with her husband visited Indonesia 33 years ago, is to host a lavish state banquet in honour of her guests later on Wednesday.


2) Human rights protest mars Indonesia’s state visit to London
A demonstration by Survival International and dozens of human rights protesters has marred the start of Indonesia’s first state visit to London in 33 years. 
31 October 2012

1) Protocol and Papua Set to Cloud SBY’s London Visit

1) Protocol and Papua Set to Cloud SBY’s London Visit

2) Perpetrators behind attacks in Papua, Sulawesi hunted down

1) Protocol and Papua Set to Cloud SBY’s London Visit
Arientha Primanita &Markus Junianto Sihaloho | October 31, 2012
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono left for Britain on Tuesday for a state visit, packing two issues that could embarrass him at home and abroad. 

Minutes after taking off from Halim Perdanakusumah Airport in East Jakarta, lawmakers and politicians demanded the president not kneel in front of Queen Elizabeth II when receiving his honorary knighthood today. 

The president is set to receive the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath medal. 

Dradjat Wibowo, deputy chairman of the National Mandate Party (PAN), which is part of Yudhoyono’s coalition, said that as a president and head of state, Yudhoyono must not kneel in front of another head of state. 

“We haven’t heard about how the ceremony will be conducted but for the sake of the nation’s honor, there should not be any kneeling and dubbing,” he said. 

Dradjat said that Ronald Reagan did not kneel when he received the medal in 1989, even as a former president of the United States. 

Eva Kusuma Sundari, a lawmaker from the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), supported Dradjat, saying that Yudhoyono must consider the nation’s sovereignty and image when he receives the medal. She also highlighted the political backlash Yudhoyono might receive in Indonesia. 

The other issue clouding the trip is last month’s announcement made by the Britain-based Papua independence group, Free West Papua Campaign. 

The group offered a reward of 50,000 British pounds ($80,000) to anyone who places Yudhoyono under “citizen’s arrest” during his visit to Britain. 

The group accuses Yudhoyono of human rights offenses in his handling of the restive Papua provinces. 

The announcement suggests that Yudhoyono will be met with a demonstration by Papuans living in London, the center for the Papuan independent movement. 

Shortly after the group made its announcement, the British government guaranteed the safety of Yudhoyono during his visit. Presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said that the announcement created “discomfort.” 

“We’ve got the assurance from the police in Great Britain that they won’t let anything happen, and that [the president’s security] will be fully guaranteed,” Julian said. 

“The British government and especially the queen have invited the president [to come] because he is known to be a figure who has played a significant role in advancing democracy in Indonesia,” Julian said. “To be honest, this is uncomfortable for us. The reward offer to arrest the president is considered an insult to a state symbol, especially because it is made by a group of people who probably have certain political interests.” 

Julian stated that the Indonesian government has yet to make a decision on whether it will take any action against the group in response to its reward offer. 

Yudhoyono has indicated that the visit was too important to be canceled over the issue. 

Just before taking off, the president told reporters that the relationship between Indonesia and Britain continues to flourish. 

“Bilateral trade between the two countries has reached nearly $3 billion,” Yudhoyono said. “During the third quarter, Britain was the second-largest investor in Indonesia after Singapore.” 

Yudhoyono is slated to be in London for three days. 

Besides attending several state events attended by Queen Elizabeth II while in London, Yudhoyono will also hold bilateral meetings with Prime Minister David Cameron, the Prince of Wales, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and opposition leader Ed Miliband. 

He is scheduled to fly to Laos on Saturday to attend the 9th summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). 

The president will be accompanied by his wife Ani and government officials. 

Yudhoyono and Cameron both serve as leaders of a United Nations committee planning international poverty relief.

2) Perpetrators behind attacks in Papua, Sulawesi hunted down

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Summary of events in West Papua for October 2012

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088

Summary of events in West Papua for October 2012

In the past month the security forces have been cracking down on members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and targeting peaceful rallies organized by the KNPB. On the 29 of September eight members of KNPB were arrested by the security forces  (including by members of Detachment 88). They were arrested during a raid on the KNPB Regional Secretariat in Wamena and were accused of been involved in bomb incident in Wamena.  The KNPB claim the explosives were planted and that they were being framed to justify the squads (Detachment 88) activities. Victor Yeimo of the KNPB said  “We are the non-violent activists in West Papua. We will fight for our right of freedom according to the peaceful means in West Papua. We demand our right of self-determination to a referendum to be held in West Papua by UN peacefully and democratically”. Report on incident by 7.30 report at
Also of concern are statements from the deputy chairman of Commission 1, Tubagus Hasanuddin, reported in the Jakarta Globe "House bangs drum of war in Papua" Statements such as 
“To keep Papua integrated with the country we must encourage the TNI to do what they have to do in Papua"
" that the House was yet to give political support for any TNI offensive against the separatist movement in Papua, but it would not hesitate to back it if the occasion demanded".
These statements must create fear in the West Papuan people who have already suffered so much from Indonesian military operations. AWPA media release at

On the 16 of October a group of Indonesian intelligent agents raided a boarding house to arrest Danny Wenda and Fanny Kogoya, a human rights defender from the Papuan women’s network TIKI. This is part of the security forces strategy to intimidate human rights defenders and civil society organisations in West Papua. In an article translated by Tapol, Yan Christian Warinussy reported that “The Government of Indonesia is lacking political commitment and has failed to take a clear stand in providing a safe, comfortable working environment for human rights defenders in Indonesia. They are not protected while carrying out their professional activities in various areas in Indonesia, particularly in conflict areas such as the Land of Papua (Papua and West Papua)”
On the 18 October the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) released an urgent action concerning the arbitrary arrest of five Papuan activists in Jayapura on the 12 October 2012. The five activists were arrested on the allegation of involvement in importing or distributing explosive materials. The police did not have any evidence to arrest and detain them and they were later released. The police, however, copied several documents belonging to the activists related to their political movement. Details at
On the 23 October the security forces cracked down on peaceful rallies that were held in a number of towns throughout West Papua including in Timika, Sorong, Biak, Merauke, Yahukimo Jayapura and Manokwari.
solidarity rally took place in Manado. The rallies were organised by the KNPB to draw attention to the UN the human rights abuses suffered by the West Papuan people and in support of the IPWP meeting in London.

In Manokwari eleven people were arrested
Human rights organisations protested at the crackdown including Amnesty International  
AWPA letter to Sen. Carr
Senator Richard Di Natale also raised concerns in a press release

Also, received from Georgia Webster at Sen. Di Natale’s office .
“In addition, last week Richard questioned representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade during Senate Estimates regarding the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties recommendations re. the Lombok Treaty, and I thought you may be interested in the transcript of that hearing”

Earlier in the Estimates week, Richard also asked questions of the Australian Federal Police about D88 training, which you may have seen already but again for those who may have missed that the transcript and a video is here on Richard’s website:
In response to questions at the hearing the Australian Federal Police (AFP) commissioner Tony Negus said the AFP was taking precautions to ensure it wasn't supporting activities unacceptable to the Australian community
And "If there was ever any taint of anyone we have trained, being involved in inappropriate activity, we would certainly have to review that level of support that we would provide," he told the hearing in Canberra.
During the rallies on the 23rd a Jakarta Globe stringer and reporter Oktovianus Pogau was choked and beaten by police as he attempted to report on the protest. 

Oktovianus was videotaping the scene when he was approached by a plainclothes officer and told to leave. When he refused a second officer attacked him from behind. Freedom House statement at

Thanks to the media again who questioned Australia's Attorney-General Nicola Roxon who was on a visit to Indonesia about the crackdown on the rallies. She told Radio Australia that any cases of alleged abuse by security forces must be properly investigated. Ms Roxon says Australia's ambassador and Foreign Affairs department is looking into the latest reports of the West Papua violence.
"Any incidence of conflict and violence in the Papuan province is of a real concern both to us and to the Indonesian government," Ms Roxon said.
"Australia is very firmly committed to making sure that any abuses or any alleged abuses by security forces in Papua will be properly investigated and punished."

AWPA also wrote to the PNG Prime Minister to thank him for raising concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua with the Indonesian Government and urging him to support those representatives of the West Papuan people involved in the self-determination struggle being granted full membership at the next MSG Summit. 

The Indonesian president is visiting the UK and will receive a prestigious honor from the Queen in spite of a plan by activists for Papua to make a “citizens arrest” against him.
Tapol commented “This is an insult for all Indonesians who have suffered for so many years at the hands of the SBY government and previous Indonesian governments which have done nothing to bring perpetrators of grave human rights crimes to justice”. A Briefing paper by
the NGO Forum for Indonesia and Timor-Leste released a report to coincide with the president’s visit (below) “Rights violations over-shadow Presidential visit”Briefing by
NGO Forum for Indonesia and Timor-Leste 18 October 2012.

In brief
Papuan women are equally capable
Bintang Papua, 13 October 2012
Speaking on behalf of the Women's Group in the Majelis Rakyat Papua (Papuan People's Council), Ibu Rode Ros Muyasin said that indigenous Papuan women are as equally capable as Papuan men. However, the problem is that they have never been given the space to display their capabilities. One example is that although a quota has been set for women to occupy thirty percent of the seats in the legislature, this quota has never been achieved. She said that as a result of the fact that women extremely rarely occupy positions of strategic importance, either in government or in other areas, such as political affairs, they have not been given the opportunity to show their capabilities. She went on to say many dirty tricks were being played, making it very difficult for women to compete with men. She called on all elements in society to foster the involvement of women in society. because they need the space to be able to compete on an equal footing in all activities, adding that this was stipulated in the Special Autonomy Law for Papua which endorses the principles of protection, support and empowerment of indigenous Papuan women. With regard to the quota of thirty percent of seats for women in the legislature, she said that according to the principles of justice, this should be 50:50. But the fact is that even the thirty percent quota has not been achieved. Women's position within the special eleven extra seats in the legislature is also not at all clear. She urged all people in Papua to make sure that women enjoy the same proportionate role as men. 'There must be an end to gender discrimination, to the continuing stigmatisation of Papuan women as being of incapable. [Translated by TAPOL]

RNZI Posted on 16 October, 2012
Indonesia has told the United Nations Human Rights Council, or UNHRC, that it cannot allow foreign journalists free access to Papua and West Papua provinces.
The Jakarta Post reports that a UNHRC Universal Periodic Review in May made a number of requests of the Indonesian government, including a proposal by the French review delegation for access to the eastern region.
The Foreign Ministry says it has abided by the Constitution in its response which includes a list of items that the government is unable to support.
A Ministry spokesman says foreign journalists are allowed to enter Papua region as long as they follow all the regulations laid out by the government.
Jakarta also rejects a recommendation to halt human rights violations by military personnel and police officers, and put an end to the general state of impunity in Papua, as recommended by Japan. The government says the recommendations do not reflect the actual situation on the ground.
2600 kampungs in Papua have no health clinics
JUBI, 22 October 2012

According to the Health Service in the province of Papua, only one thousand kampungs have a clinic, while there are no clinics is the other 2,600 kampungs. This is because of the lack of any medical personnel.

According to Josef Rinta, head of the Health Service, 'there are 2,600 kampungs without any medical services at all because of the lack of medical personnel to run the clinics. This creates many difficulties for people living in these kampungs, but we hope that the Special Autonomy Law for Papua [which was adopted eleven years ago] will be properly implemented.'

He said that people living in those kampungs are very keen to have competent medical personnel . 'But  this will not be done by bringing in medical personnel from outside Papua; instead the government is depending on the indigenous Papuans to get the necessary help themselves to deal with the problem.'  [Nothing is said about how he expects the villagers to fill this terrible gap']

Translated by TAPOL

[COMMENT: This dreadful lack of such a basically important service has persisted for so long in a territory that is endowed with hugely profitable natural resources  which provide the Indonesian government with huge earnings year on year in taxes, dividends and revenue from the profits of the US-owned Freeport mine which mines gold and copper in West Papua and the British owned Tangguh LNG  natural gas.project. TAPOL]


RNZI 22 October, 2012
An Australia non government organisation says diplomatic observers would help the world learn about alleged human rights abuses in Indonesia’s Papua region.
The Human Rights Law Centre was responding to reports of arbitrary arrests by Indonesian security personnel ahead of last Friday’s commemoration of the Third Papuan Peoples Congress in 2011. That event, in which West Papuans proclaimed their independence from Jakarta, was violently shut down by police and soldiers. The Human Rights Law Centre’s Tom Clarke says sending diplomats would be a practical step given the international media is effectively banned from the region. “If it would help Australians and indeed the wider international community to gain a better picture of the human rights abuses that are occurring in West Papua. It is very hard to verify a lot of reports that are coming out of the province and if the more international observers on the ground, watching events, being able to report back to their governments and journalists, I think that’s all helpful.”

Flash Flood Hitting Indonesia Causes the Evacuation of 1000 People
Indonesia Moderate // Flood
A flash flood hitting Papua in eastern Indonesia on Sunday night displaced around 1000 people and left at least 200 houses along with other public facilities damaged, an official of disaster relief agency said. A spokesman of the National Disaster Management and Mitigation Agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, explained that heavy rains at mountainous area led to the overflow of Eranouli river which caused eventually the flash floods in Eranouli village in Panja district at about 21:00 p.m. local time. Waters flowing above up to 2 meters high also damaged a health clinic and clean water facility of the village. (22 Oct UBALERT)
RNZI 29 October, 2012
Papua New Guinea’s foreign and immigration minister, Rimbink Pato, says he is yet to determine whether PNG will accommodate the about 9,000 refugees from Indonesia’s Papua region. Many fled decades ago amid a crackdown on separatists. The issue was raised by the opposition’s Sam Basil as PNG is about to get some of the asylum seekers who Australia wants to process abroad.
Mr Basil has asked what the status is of the West Papuans based on the Human Rights Convention, the United Nations Refugee Commission and PNG’s own laws.
Mr Basil also wanted to know if the refugees from Indonesia will be allowed to become citizens. The minister says the matter will be looked in the overall context of PNG’s policy.

Reports/press releases/opinion pieces etc.
UK - Indonesia:
Rights violations over-shadow Presidential visit
Briefing by
NGO Forum for Indonesia and Timor-Leste 18 October 2012

West Papuan Leaders Forced Underground
By Alex Rayfield 22 Oct 2012
The Diplomacy Of Decolonisation
By Nic Maclellan
Decolonisation might not look like a hot-button issue but after our Security Council win we'll have to start taking it seriously in the Pacific, writes Nic Maclellan
Siding With France In The Pacific
Part two of Nic Maclellan’s series on decolonisation
Australia has remarkably strong ties with France in the Pacific - and they are stifling the drive toward independence of countries like New Caledonia. Nic Maclellan on how Australia is holding back decolonisation
A nightmare in the modern world
West Papua has been under Indonesian rule for more than fifty years. Vivien Durant talks to Jamie Nicolai, a co-producer of a new West Papuan documentary.

Everyone profits from West Papua, except for Papuans
Benny Wenda
As a child growing up in the remote highlands of West Papua, we often heard stories from the elders about how our ancestors' spirits lived in the mountains and forests. How they would cry if they saw what is happening today...
West Papuan activists find a musical voice in Australia   
Tuesday, 16 October 2012
Produced by Anokhee Shah

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: No relief for flood-affected refugees
IRIN humanitarian news and analysis
a service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
BANGKOK, 17 October 2012 (IRIN) - Environmental damage caused by copper mining in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has affected thousands of refugees from the neighbouring Indonesian province of West Papua who have not received any support from PNG or the mining company, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and NGOs
West Papuan National Flag Day.  1st December
A simple way of raising awareness in local communities is to ask councils, unions and NGO's  to flying the Morning Star on the 1st December. 
Individual could also wear a West Papuan T-shirt .
via regwestpapua list
MIFEE: New Videos and Report published.
A New Video “Mama Malind su Hilang” has been released by Gekko Studio
based on interviews with the people of Kampung Zanegi near to Merauke.
Villagers tell of how they were deceived by Medco, an Indonesian company
which has cleared forest for a 169,000 hectare acacia and eucalyptus
plantation, and how the loss of their forest has affected their
possibilities to provide the most basic necessities of life: harvesting
sago and hunting wild animals, and also how infant malnutrition is now
on the rise.

Papuan Voices has a new website.
Papuan Voices is a video advocacy initiative working with Papuan
activists to more effectively tell their stories to the world. In 2011-12 EngageMedia and Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
collaborated with local organisations in Jayapura and Merauke to teach
Papuan activists video production and distribution skills.
Papuan Voices aims to bring the everyday stories of West Papuans to a
wider audience. Importantly, these stories are not just framed around
West Papua’s political struggle for independence; they are not the
stories of conflict that are more often circulated. Rather, they are the
stories behind the conflict: the struggles for education, the
environment, equality and dignity. Several videos document the problems
that plantation companies are causing in Merauke and Jayapura, and how
local people have tried to refuse the companies' operations.

New Report: Land Grabbing for Food and Biofuel - Merauke Integrated
Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) Case Study
Published by Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA) and Pesticide Action
Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP) The establishment of the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) will sieze 2.8 million hectares of land away from indigenous peoples in Merauke Regency, Papua Province. The MIFEE is being developed as the biggest food estate in Asia, with  a total of 60 trillion IDR. The government is willing to lease the land to private companies for up
to 90 years. Much of the land still covers primary forests, savannahs, and swamps. These are areas for hunting and food gathering of the indigenous tribes
of Papua, which still number more than 70,000. According to Yohanes
Petrus Kamalaka of the Kimaam sub-tribe, "We usually take sago in the
forest and fish in the swamp. If all of that is lost, what then can we
eat?" They hunt deers, pigs, crocodiles, and kangaroos as well. Aside
from being food sources, the forests are also intricately linked to
their culture.

But this self-sufficient way of life is fast disappearing. Forty-six
companies already have permits to operate within the MIFEE. The
Singapore-based Wilmar International, one of the biggest palm oil
companies in the world, for instance, is permitted to convert 200,000
hectares of Papuan forest into a sugarcane plantation.
As a result, land conflicts have erupted in almost all areas in the food
estate, with tribes fighting over land ownership and protesting unfair
land compensation. The hiring of "outsiders" to work in plantations have
also increased conflict. On a positive note, the group Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA) said, "The indigenous tribes of Papua are getting more aware of lies and manipulations regarding permits and forest delineations as the legal
mechanisms in grabbing their lands." AGRA added, "This is a good start
to raise the level of their struggle for land rights. The next level of
their struggle is to stop these land grab projects done in the name of
solving food and energy problems."

Dowload the case study, Land Grabbing for Food and Biofuel conducted by
AGRA in close partnership with Pesticide Action Network Asia and the
Pacific (PAN AP).


1) Britain and Indonesia: Too close for comfort? TAPOL Press release

1) Britain and Indonesia: Too close for comfort? TAPOL Press release

2) Papua Police replace 23 regency chiefs

3) West Papua builds network with Balinese tourism


TAPOL Press release
Britain and Indonesia: Too close for comfort?
President’s visit prompts fresh concerns about arms sales and training of anti-terror police
30 October 2012 – British-funded training of Indonesia’s anti-terror police, Special Detachment 88, should be reviewed in the light of serious concerns about the unit’s human rights record and its operations in Papua, says TAPOL ahead of a state visit to London by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono from 31 October to 2 November 2012.
In the run-up to the visit TAPOL, which promotes human rights, peace and democracy in Indonesia, is also appealing for an immediate ban on the sale to Indonesia of any military equipment that may be used for internal repression.
“While British businesses are no doubt eagerly anticipating the President’s visit, victims of human rights abuses will derive little comfort from the prospect of increased arms sales and ongoing training of Indonesian security forces,” says Paul Barber, Coordinator of TAPOL.
As the UK government prepares a state welcome for President Yudhoyono, rights groups from the UK and beyond are organizing an alternative welcome at a demonstration on behalf of the victims of human rights abuses outside Downing Street from 13:00 to 14:30 on Wednesday 31 October.
While Indonesia has made substantial progress in its transition from dictatorship to democracy since the downfall of former President Suharto in May 1998, serious human rights concerns remain.
“The news that the President is to receive a prestigious honour from the Queen is a gross affront to those who have suffered violations at the hands of successive Indonesian governments,” said Barber [1].
Special Detachment 88, known as ‘Densus 88’ was formed after the Bali bombings in 2002 to combat terrorism, but is reportedly being deployed to tackle other issues, such as alleged separatism in Indonesia’s conflict-affected provinces. Local civil society monitors say Densus 88 is being used to crack down on the Papuan independence movement, and the unit has been implicated in the assassination of its leaders, such as Mako Tabuni who was shot dead in June this year.
The unit is trained at the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation, JCLEC, which received a minimum of £400,000 in funding from Britain in the financial year 2011/12, as well as training provided by British officers. These include the UK’s South East Asia Counter Terrorism & Extremism Liaison Officer Detective Superintendent Phil Tucker; former Metropolitan Police Commander Bob Milton, and David Gray, an officer from the Counter Terrorism Command at New Scotland Yard who sits on JCLEC’s Board of Supervisors and has been teaching on the course since August 2009.
In July this year, leading Indonesian human rights NGO, KontraS, published research which stated that Densus 88 operations commonly involved arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, physical abuse and injury causing death [2].
Indonesia has been identified by the UK as a priority market for defence sales, with Prime Minister David Cameron boosting the export effort when he visited Jakarta with arms company executives in April 2012. The value of approved arms export licences has risen dramatically under the coalition government. The use of British equipment such as Hawk jets, armoured personnel carriers and water cannon for internal repression has been widely documented over the years and was acknowledged by the British Government in the 1990s. UK Tactica vehicles have been used to crush protest on the streets of Jakarta as recently as March this year, and are used by Indonesia’s notorious paramilitary police unit Brimob.
During the President’s visit, groups including TAPOL, Down to Earth, Survival International, Progressio and Christian Solidarity Worldwide will be highlighting these and other key issues, including Human Rights in Papua; The Need for Dialogue in Papua; Freedom of Expression; Rights, Livelihoods and Climate Justice; Religious Intolerance; and Timor-Leste and Impunity.
Information on these issues is set out in a briefing available here.
Contact: Paul Barber on 01420 80153 / 07747 301 739 or Esther Cann on 07503 400 308.
1. President Yudhoyono will reportedly be awarded the Knights Grand Cross of the Order of Bath by the Queen during his visit.
2. KontraS report on Densus 88 available from TAPOL on request

2) Papua Police replace 23 regency chiefs

The Papua Police have launched an overhaul of their institution in the provinces of Papua and West Papua by replacing 23 out of 29 police regency heads.

The major restructuring was conducted by Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian, who was installed as the new Papua Police chief, replacing Brig. Gen. Lumban Tobing at the National Police Headquarters in Jakarta on Sept. 21.

Tito said at the joint installation ceremony in Jayapura on Monday that aside from being used to refresh the institution, the major restructuring was also intended to help support the fight against rampant corruption in Papua.

“This is only to refresh because there are many regency police chiefs who have held their current positions for a long time, while at the same time there are many young and clever officers who have to be given a chance,” Tito said.

“Our focus is on the rotation of office, but in every briefing they will be continuously reminded to help the fight against corruption,” he said.

In a coordination meeting with heads of detective and crime units of all the 29 police units throughout Papua and West Papua in Jayapura on Oct. 16, Tito reminded them that each police units had to be serious about uncovering corrupt practices in both Papua and West Papua provinces because rampant corruption had caused Papuans to suffer.

Post-New Order Indonesia resolved half of the Herculean job of keeping Papua as part of Indonesia through issuing the province special autonomy in 2001, which was intended to allow Papua to enjoy and manage the lion’s share of its revenue from natural resources.

But the redistribution of wealth has failed to materialize as most of the huge funds have been wasted — or embezzled by the local elites — as is evident by the fact that Papua and West Papua remain the most disadvantaged regions, mostly because of Jakarta’s poor supervision and, more importantly, ignorance.

The government is set to do more for Papua in the future, including renegotiating mining contracts with large-scale companies operating in the province.

The central government is also due to raise special autonomy funding for Papua to Rp 4.3 trillion (US$450.5 million) next year from this year’s Rp 3.10 trillion, and to Rp 1.8 trillion for West Papua from this year’s Rp 1.33 trillion.

“There is a lot of money being allocated for Papua and West Papua, but the fact is that most Papuan people, especially those inland and in remote areas, still live in poverty. There must be something wrong, so the police branches have to focus on uncovering allegations of fund misuse,” he said.

Tito’s remarks were warmly welcomed by the head of the Papua Church Leaders Forum (PGGP) Lipius Binilux. “In my capacity as head of PGGP, I fully support the commitment of the Papua Police chief to fight against corruption,” he said.

He said Papuan people had lost trust in Jakarta because it allowed rampant corruption practices to continue in Papua.

“I have thought that Jakarta was maybe allowing Papua to go to the brink of destruction. Uncontrollable corrupt practices are taking place in front of our eyes and are real, but there isn’t any action [to curb them]. I hope the Papua Police chief’s commitment to fight against corruption will be able to revive the Papuan people’s trust in Jakarta,” Lipius said.

Lipius asked the police to proceed with questioning officials in Papua even if the individual suspected of being involved in corruption made threats that his or her followers would become angry with the individual being questioned.

“It is only an excuse from the official to clear up his or her wrongdoings. Pak [Mr.] Kapolda [police chief], don’t be afraid. I’m ready to support you. Wipe corruption out of Papua to enable the Papuan people to distance themselves from suffering,” he said.

Out of the 23 newly installed regency police chiefs, there was Adj. Sr. Comr Esterlina Sroyer, who has been promoted as the new Bian Numfor regency police chief and at the same time is the first woman police chief in Papua.

“This shows appreciation toward policewomen,” Lipius said.


3) West Papua builds network with Balinese tourism

West Papua is hoping to develop its tourism and to reach out to foreign tourism markets by building networks with the Balinese industry.

The West Papua tourism agency hosted on Monday an event in Sanur entitled Promoting the West Papua Tourism Potentials, to which it invited tour and travel agencies, as well as other Balinese tourism stakeholders.

“We came here to learn by building a network with this island‘s tourism businesspeople. We hope that Bali is willing to help promote our tourism,” said West Papua tourism agency head Edi Sumarwanto, while praising Bali as an international tourism destination.

Edi said that West Papua had major potential as an eco-tourism destination, because 70 percent of its region was still undeveloped, with around 60 percent of its territory part of a conservation area.

 Edi also said that the West Papua region was rich with exotic culture and land and underwater biodiversity.

“We have around 43 species of birds of paradise, not to mention other types of birds, fish and sea vegetation,” said Edi.

Edi acknowledged that West Papua still lacked sufficient accommodation facilities.

In the region’s most developed regency, Raja Ampat, currently, there are seven resorts, 11 hostels and 36 homestays, while Manokwari, the West Papuan capital city, has 34 hotels, four of which are star-rated hotels.

Access to tourist destinations and limited infrastructure have been the major problem due to the long distance between one site and another, while its airport does not have proper lighting, thus only allowing daytime flights.

“We have requested the central government improve access to West Papua, including renovating the airport and providing direct flights from Bali,” said Edi,.

He stated that the national carrier, Garuda Indonesia, had not opened a route to Sorong, while other airlines had. Direct flights from Jakarta to Sorong are available, but from Bali, passengers have to transit in Makassar.

Inter-regency access relies on water transportation, such as ferry and speedboat.

Head of Raja Ampat tourism and cultural agency, Yusdi Lamatenggo, said that Raja Ampat, with its groups of islets and the stunning beauty found under its sea, is among the 10 national tourism strategic areas set by the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry.

It has been proposed for listing among the seven wonders of the world.

The Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA)’s head of destination and promotional affairs, Edi Sanyoto, acknowledged that West Papua was one of Indonesia’s great tourism attractions that was still to be properly developed.

He said he was ready to make a visit to West Papua to see for himself the destinations, besides Raja Ampat, that were worth promoting to foreign visitors.