Friday, April 12, 2013

1) Study highlights torture in Indonesia's rule of Papua


Study highlights torture in Indonesia's rule of Papua

2) Vanuatu to terminate Indonesia defence agreement

3) AUSTRALIA FOREIGN MINISTER: We are Committed to Asia


Posted at 07:21 on 12 April, 2013 UTC
A researcher says torture has become a way for the Indonesian state to establish and maintain its control over Papua.
An Indonesian PhD researcher at the Regulatory Institutions Network in the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific, Budi Hernawan, says in Papua torture is used to demonstrate power and mark the bodies of its citizens.
He says the use of torture is persistent, widespread and has been used by the state as a means of controlling locals for 50 years.
Mr Hernawan cites a case in February of six Papuans who were detained by local police near Jayapura.
During the interrogation, all six were allegedly tortured to confess that they knew the whereabouts of two pro-Papuan independence activists.
Mr Hernawan says while there was no evidence that the men knew the activists, their treatment was more about police displaying Indonesia’s sovereign power than collecting intelligence.
He says the justice system seems unable to hold the state accountable for its torture practices.


2) Vanuatu to terminate Indonesia defence agreement

Updated 12 April 2013, 20:21 AEST
Vanuatu PM promises to end Indonesia defence agreement and support Papua independence.
Vanuatu's new prime minister has promised to terminate a defence cooperation agreement with Indonesia and support independence for Papua province.
The move is one of 68 measures contained in an ambitious 100-day plan for prime minister Moana Carcasses' new government.
The termination of the defence cooperation agreement with Indonesia is item 32 on a 68-point list of what he hopes to achieve in his first 100 days in power.
Mr Carcasses has also promised support for the "Free West Papua" movement's bid to become full members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
The previous Vanuatu government had developed warmer relations with Indonesia and under the soon-to-be-cancelled defence agreement Indonesia had provided some material support and assistance to the paramilitary Vanuatu mobile force.
Mr Carcasses also wants to hold a special session of parliament to change the constitution to give Vanuatu's Council of Chiefs a veto power over any laws dealing with customary land.
Other items on his list include creating a special ministry for climate change and allowing legal action to be taken against political leaders for recovery of misappropriated funds.
A complete audit of the Hong Kong-based Vanuatu residency scheme under which wealthy Chinese investors could become virtual citizens of Vanuatu is also proposed.
Mr Carcasses replaced Sato Kilman as prime minister, who resigned from office in May.
He is the first naturalised citizen to become prime minister since Vanuatu gained independence 32 years ago and is the leader of Vanuatu's Greens party.


3) AUSTRALIA FOREIGN MINISTER: We are Committed to Asia
Friday, 12 April, 2013 | 21:09 WIB

TEMPO.COJakarta According to Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, the Indonesia-Australia relationship has never been better, but that it was not a reason to rest on one's laurels, "I want Australia and Indonesia to be in the strong habit of consulting one another, and you only do that by carefully tending to the relationship when it is going well," he said.

True to his word, this time he spent the first week of April in Indonesia. He started with attending the fifth Bali Regional Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crimes on April 1-2. This was followed by a visit to Jakarta where Carr met his Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa for bilateral talks and the second Annual 2+2 dialogue; an exchange of views between Indonesian and Australian Foreign Ministry Affairs and Defense Ministry officials.

Carr met reporters from selected media last Thursday. Excerpts:

You said there is no country in this region more important than Indonesia. How is it reflected in your policy?

First of all, Indonesia is the biggest recipient of Australian Aid, about A$ 500 million annually. Second, there is an extremely high level of cooperation than with any other country on counter -terrorism. In addition, we have high level police cooperation in transnational crimes. And finally our perspective on the region is very important. When it comes to the South China Sea territorial dispute, for example, Indonesia and Australia are neutral. But we want them peacefully settled, in accordance with international law.

But the Australian public and media do not seem to share the same enthusiasm.

The foreign policy establishment regards Indonesia as extremely important. The mass public opinion probably needs to understand more the scale of economic development in Indonesia and the importance of Indonesia as a robust democracy.

Does Australia follow the same US policy shift in Asia?
First of all, we said in our recent 'Australian in the Asian Century' white paper that we are committed to this region. We want to see evidence of China and the US managing the competition and cooperation in their relationship. Asia is big enough for all of us, we do not want the positive narrative of recent decades, economic progress and social improvement to be overtaken by a narrative of territorial disputes.

Do you see China as a threat?
No. China historically has never been a crusading or colonizing power. I think China is a good global citizen. Nor do we think we have to choose between having an alliance with the United States and deepening our relationship with China.

This interview can also be found in TEMPO English magazine (Apr. 8-14 edition) 

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