Tuesday, December 18, 2012

1) PAPUA NEW GUINEA: West Papuan refugees hope for citizenship

1) PAPUA NEW GUINEA: West Papuan refugees hope for citizenship
2) Papuans in Jakarta condemn killings and arrests of activists in Wamena
3) Low Awareness, Unsafe Sex Fuel Papuan HIV/AIDS Rise: Official
4) Selpius Bobii in Abepura Prion on Wamena situation
5) 'When one is shot dead, a thousand will rise up!'



1) PAPUA NEW GUINEA: West Papuan refugees hope for citizenship

Dan Hanasbey was born in Papua New Guinea
PORT MORESBY, 17 December 2012 (IRIN) - Access to citizenship could prove the best hope yet for thousands of West Papuan refugees living in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

“I want citizenship. I’ve been here 28 years and want to get on with my life,” said Donatus Karuri, a 57-year-old father of six, outside the shelter he shares with five other families at the Hohola refugee settlement. It is one of four settlements for West Papuan refugees in the capital Port Moresby.

Like most West Papuan refugees, he is unable to work legally and has only limited access to public services.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), there are more than 9,000 West Papuan refugees in PNG today, many of whom have been in the Pacific island nation for over three decades.

Others know no other home and can’t imagine living anywhere else.

“I was born here. This is the only country I know,” said Dan Hanasbey, 27, another refugee wanting citizenship.

Flight from Indonesia

Between 1984 and 1986, more than 11,000 West Papuans fled east into PNG from the western, Indonesian half of New Guinea Island to escape political turmoil and economic discontent; the area’s longstanding secessionist sentiments towards Jakarta continue to simmer today.

West Province, a former Dutch colony rich in natural resources, was later divided into two separate provinces - Papua and West Papua - however, indigenous West Papuans continue to refer to the entire Indonesian area as West Papua.

At the time the refugees arrived, the PNG government was not yet a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention. It granted the West Papuans prima facie refugee status shortly after accession to the convention in 1986 - but with seven reservations, including Article 34 on naturalization.

Of the close to 9,300 West Papuan refugees in PNG today, almost half live along the border area with Indonesia.

Another 2,435 live in urban areas, while 2,290 live in East Awin, the only officially sanctioned area for West Papuan refugees to settle. There, regular assistance is available and access to 6,000 hectares of government land is provided - about 120km away from the Indonesian border. The site was established in an effort to resettle the refugees away from the border areas to avoid possible political problems with the Indonesian government.

Those who resettle in the area for six months are provided permissive residency permits (PRPs), which allow them certain rights, including the right to work and travel internally (excluding border areas), and gives them access to health and education services.

Few refugees, however, wish to resettle in East Awin, preferring instead to stay close to the border area and their land and families on the other side. Others frown upon its remote jungle location and inaccessibility.

The government estimates only 40 percent of West Papuan refugees hold PRPs. As a result, most survive on subsistence farming - particularly in the border area. Those in urban settings live on private or government land, under constant risk of eviction, and often work illegally.

Photo: David Swanson/IRIN
Like many West Papuan refugees, Donatus Karuri would like to stay
The cost of citizenship

Despite these challenges, many West Papuans - who share a similar Melanesian ancestry to Papua New Guineans - have integrated well in this nation of 7.3 million and would like to stay. 

“Local integration with the opportunity to be granted PNG citizenship is the best solution for many West Papuan refugees under the current circumstances,” Walpurga Englbrecht, UNHCR country representative for PNG, told IRIN.

“The problem, however, is the application fee is too high.”

Under PNG law, any foreigner - including refugees - wishing to apply to citizenship and who has fulfilled eight years of residency must pay a 10,000 kina (US$5,000) application fee.

“We can’t afford that. It’s impossible,” Freddy Warome, 58, a West Papuan community leader, complained.

Under Article 34 of the Refugee Convention, signatory states should facilitate the assimilation and naturalization of refugees, and make every effort to expedite naturalization and reduce the costs as far as possible.

To date, the PNG government appears mindful of this responsibility, but it remains unclear when they might act upon it.

Speaking at a 2011 ministerial meeting to mark the 60th anniversary of the Refugee Convention, Moses Manwau, PNG’s former vice minister for foreign affairs and immigration, confirmed the government’s commitment to withdrawing its earlier reservations to the Convention, and to waiving all fees or introducing nominal fees for refugees seeking naturalization.

“We are determined to give refugees the kind of life, liberty, peace and prosperity they deserve so that they can hold their own against any other citizens in Papua New Guinea,” he said.

UNHCR believes there should be a path to citizenship for those who desire it, while those West Papuans lacking PRPs who would like to remain in the country should be provided PRPs without having to relocate to East Awin, Englbrecht said.


Theme (s)Refugees/IDPs,
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations

2) Papuans in Jakarta condemn killings and arrests of activists in Wamena

Tribune News - December 18, 2012

Puluhan Pemuda Papua Berdemo di Mabes Polri - Tribunnews.com. Selasa, 18 Desember 2012 <http://www.tribunnews.com/2012/12/18/puluhan-pemuda-papua-berdemo-di-mabes-polri>

Adi Suhendi, Jakarta -- Scores of Papuan youths living in Jakarta held a demonstration in front of the Security Maintenance Agency (Baharkam) building at the national police headquarters in South Jakarta on Tuesday December 18.

The protesters unfurled a 1 x 1.5 meter banner with the message, "State crimes, the TNI [Indonesian military] and polri [national police] have shot, arrested humanitarian activists and burnt down the Wamena Papua Traditional Council office".

They also wrote their demands in a cartoon titled, "The violent actions by the TNI and polri are just security to safeguard foreign interests in Papua".

Action coordinator Martheen Goo [from Papua National Solidarity, NAPAS – JB] said that the protest action represented Papuan's sense of mistrust in the national police headquarters.

"When the police in the regions commits crimes in the field, the national police headquarters just claim that there was an attempt to resist", Goo told Tribune News on the grounds of the Baharkam building.

Goo also responded to the arbitrary arrests of several Papuan activists on charges that they were from a separatist group committing treason.

"Yet they were [just] local people and the best of Papuans who take pride in giving voice to the truth, but when they speak the truth, the state scapegoats them with accusations of being a separatist group or committing treason, but what are the separatist or treasonable actions in this? It is foolishness", he said.

Goo charged that the TNI and the national police are maintaining a climate of violence in Papua and questioned why the police have been unable to uncover who is behind the acts of violence committed by so-called unidentified individuals (OTK). Goo suggested that this is being done intentionally by the TNI and police as justification to carry out sweeps in the land of Papua.

"It is suspected that the OTK are being maintained, in order to provide legitimisation in conducting sweeps. It is suspect that it is the TNI and the police that are maintaining them (the OTK). This is foolishness", he asserted.

[Translated by James Balowski.]


INDOLEFT News service


3) Low Awareness, Unsafe Sex Fuel Papuan HIV/AIDS Rise: Official
Banjir Ambarita | December 18, 2012
 The total number of reported cases of people living with HIV/AIDS in Papua has topped 13,000, with 150 of the new cases involving infants below the age of five years who contracted the virus from their parents. 

“There are 150 infants who have positively contracted HIV in the province,” Josef Rinta, the head of the Papua Health Office, said on Monday. 

“They are spread across several areas in Papua and they contracted the virus from their parents.” 

He added that some of the infants had gone on to develop full-blown AIDS. 

“Once it [develops into] AIDS, it will ruin their immune system,” he said. 

Josef said most of those living with HIV/AIDS in Papua were in their productive age. 

“Eighty percent of them are aged between 15 and 40 years old,” he said. 

He attributed the high prevalence of infections in the province to unsafe sex practices. 

“Ninety-eight percent of the [people who contracted the] deadly virus got it because they have multiple sexual partners and don’t use protection when having sex,” Josef said. 

“Men in Papua tend to be highly mobile so it’s difficult to reach out to them and raise awareness about the dangers of HIV/AIDS.” 

The health office continues to run campaigns to promote awareness about the virus to curb the number of transmissions. However, it said it was facing geographical challenges in reaching out to a wider number of people. 

“In this program, we’re having trouble detecting [the people contracting HIV] in remote areas due to the difficulty in accessing those areas,” Josef said. 

Australia has provided A$25 million ($26 million) in assistance to help Indonesia improve access to HIV services in the provinces of Papua and West Papua, embassy officials said in August. 

The aid is part of a A$100 million HIV six-year partnership commitment between Australia and Indonesia that started four years ago. The embassy said the Australian government, through its aid program AusAID, had been combating HIV with the Indonesian government in Papua and West Papua since 2004. 

The new Rapidly Expanding Access to Care for HIV (Reach) program will build on the success of existing partnerships, an Australian official said. 

The government and United Nations officials are also focusing their efforts in the fight against AIDS, ensuring no Indonesian child is born with HIV.

4) Selpius Bobii in Abepura Prion on Wamena situation
From West Papua media

From Selpius Bobii in Abepura Prison (as translated):
Wamena is once again in the grip of fear. Victims have fallen with at least two shot dead by police and others suffering bullet wounds. Several KNPB leaders in Wamena have been arrested and the Dewan Adat Papua office for the region of Lapago has been burnt down by the RI military.
At this moment the Wamena civilian population has occupied the Wamena Bupati's office. The number of community members from the region of Lapago occupying the Bupati's office continues to increase as does the level of tension. The funerals of the victims Hubert Mabel and his companion were planned for midday today.
Meanwhile Markus Haluk and companions are occupying the police headquarters over the series of events in Jakarta. Whilst in Jayapura today a demonstration was planned but had to be cancelled due to the forces being put on alert ready to respond and also as members of the MRP and DPRP had all left their office buildings. The demonstration is planned again for tomorrow to respond to the series of events in Wamena.

sent direct from Selpius Bobbi.


5) 'When one is shot dead, a thousand will rise up!'
Bintang Papua, 18 December 2012

Jayapura:  The fatal shooting of an activist of the KNPB, Hubertus Mabel, has been condemned by his family and by the KNPB - National Committee of West Papua - as unlawful. According to the law, if a person is deemed to be engaged in unlawful acts, he should be arrested and charged before  a court of law but this did not happen in the case of Mabel and his colleague.

A spokesman for the KNPB, Wim Medlama, said that Hubertus had been immobilised by being shot in the legs. The security forces then pushed him into a police van where he was tortured and stabbed.

When he was arrested along with Natalis Alua, the two of them did nothing to resist arrest yet nevertheless they were shot.

'We understand,' said Medlama,  'that Hubertus was  severely beaten and stabbed in the chest. Natalis was also badly injured and is now being treated in hospital,' said Medlama. He accused the security forces of acting without having any thought for the lives of their victims. 'The security forces behaved like sadists and won't even allow members of his family or his KNPB colleagues to see his body or demand an autopsy.'

Hubertus and his colleagues were not involved in the attack on Pirime Lanny Jaya. His activist colleagues believe that the police were feeling very frustrated and had opened fire on Hubertus and his colleague out of a sense of revenge for the deaths of three members of the police force who died during an attack on the Pirime police station.

'The scenario was to convict Hubertus  for showing resistance but this is simply not true.' According to the law, a person should be taken into custody and brought before the court, not shot dead.'

'When taking someone's life, the police should be able produce powerful evidence before taking the law into their own hands like this,' said Medlama.

If Hubertus did violate the law, he should be tried, not shot dead as happened to Mako Tabuni.

'What the security forces are trying to do is to  stamp out the issue of Papua Merdeka but the way they behave is having precisely the opposite effect, making Papuans more determined than ever to achieve an independent Papua.'

'For every single Papuan  who is murdered, a thousand Papuans will rise  up and struggle for their freedom,' said Medlama

'They have accused us of being terrorists but we don't have any bombs yet the allegations still persist. We have no idea what  other tricks the security forces have  up their sleeves in order to discredit us and the people of Papua, he said.

[Translated by TAPOL]

No comments:

Post a Comment