Wednesday, May 1, 2013

1) New Strike Hits Freeport’s Indonesian Mine

1) New Strike Hits Freeport’s Indonesian Mine
2)Rocks of Papua hope
3) Audit Agency Probes Causes of Persistent Papua Poverty
4) International support for West Papua grows with push to include the occupied nation in regional body


1) New Strike Hits Freeport’s Indonesian Mine
By Agence France-Presse on 1:15 pm May 1, 2013.

Workers from Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold arrive in the town of Timika in Indonesia’s Papua province to join a mass strike in this September 15, 2011 file photo. Hundreds of workers at Freeport-McMoRan’s Indonesian mine have gone on strike demanding better pay, the US firm said Wednesday, in the latest industrial action to hit the operation. (Reuters Photo/Muhammad Yamin)

Hundreds of workers at Freeport-McMoRan’s Indonesian mine have gone on strike demanding better pay, the US firm said Wednesday, in the latest industrial action to hit the operation.
Some 1,100 workers, employed by contractors and not directly by the company, downed tools on Tuesday at the Grasberg mine in eastern Papua province, one of the world’s largest gold and copper mines, Freeport’s Indonesian unit said.
A three-month strike over wages by thousands of workers directly employed by Freeport crippled production at the mine in 2011 and only ended once the firm agreed to a huge pay hike.
Workers from contractors Jasti Pravita, Osato Seike and Srikandi Mitra Karya, were involved in the latest action, according to Freeport.
They were mostly construction workers hired to work on an expansion of the mine, their union said.
“The strike of course could slow down Freeport Indonesia’s activities, but we don’t anticipate any direct impact to the overall mining operation and production,” the company said in a statement.
Mining union Mimika, which represents those involved in the strike, said the action “would hurt the firm’s operation”.
Union official Virgo Solossa said the workers were threatening a month-long strike. “But we hope the workers and the firm can reach a deal on pay before that,” he added.
An official from the union representing workers directly employed by Freeport said none of them was involved in the action and had no plans to strike.
Industrial action is on the rise in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, with foreign companies in particular targeted, as the cost of living increases and workers demand a greater share of the nation’s economic success.
Agence France-Presse


2)Rocks of Papua hope

Rocks of Papua hope
Padre James Bhagwan
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
AT next month's Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting in New Caledonia, leaders from Melanesia will be asked to respond to the cry for liberation by their brothers and sisters in West Papua.
For the past half century the people of West Papua have struggled for their call for self-determination to be heard and responded to.

When Dutch colonial rule ended on December 1, 1961, they agreed to grant West Papua self-rule.
When the Dutch left, they handed West Papua over to the United Nations and then to Jakarta, in a transfer agreement which stipulated that West Papuans would be able to decide within six years whether to accept incorporation into Indonesia.
Many West Papuans saw the Dutch departure as a chance for complete independence. But within a year, forces from Jakarta had annexed the region and claimed it as part of Indonesia

This opportunity came and went — and many Papuans, as well as human rights groups, have questioned why the region has still not been allowed a vote for independence.
From the time Jakarta first annexed the province, there have been sporadic clashes between poorly armed independence supporters and Indonesian security forces. Over the years there have been serious abuses committed by the Indonesian security forces. Accusations of torture and rape persist.
The Free West Papua Campaign website claims: "Over 500,000 civilians have been killed in genocide against the indigenous population. Thousands more have been raped, tortured, imprisoned or 'disappeared' after being detained. Basic human rights such as freedom of speech are denied and Papuans live in a constant state of fear and intimidation."
Last year, Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill broke with tradition and publicly admonished the Indonesian government's response to continuing state violence, human rights violations and failure of governance in West Papua. Moved by 4000 women from the Lutheran Church, O'Neill said he would raise human rights concerns in the troubled territory with the Indonesian government.

The Pacific Media Centre notes "Melanesian support for a free West Papua has always been high. Travel throughout Papua New Guinea and you will often hear people say that West Papua and Papua New Guinea is "wanpela graun" — one land — and West Papuans on the other side of the border are family and kin.
Earlier this year politicians in Papua New Guinea also were heard to lend their voice to the cause of a free West Papua.

According to the Pacific Media Centre in Auckland, Powes Parkop, Governor of the Papua New Guinea's National Capital District, recently insisted that "there is no historical, legal, religious, or moral justification for Indonesia's occupation of West Papua".
Governor Parkop, who is a member of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua, which now has representatives in 56 countries, then went on to formerly launch the free West Papua campaign.
In April, West Papua National Coalition for Liberation visited Noumea and presented its official application for full MSG membership to Victor Tutugoro, the executive of the FLNKAS and the incoming MSG chairman.

According to Radio New Zealand, "New Caledonia's pro-independence FLNKS has pledged its full support for the cause of the West Papuan people for freedom and independence".
Mr Tutugoro said the MSG is only for Melanesia and Liberation Movements within it, and the FLNKS leadership would be happy to welcome West Papua as a new member in the Melanesian family.
Last week, Solomon Islands' Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo met officials from the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) in Honiara.

According to the Solomon Star newspaper, during the meeting Mr Lilo "expressed his support for the West Papuan agenda to be discussed at the MSG level. He said this would be included in the next Melanesian Spearhead Group Summit". Mr Lilo said he was aware of the West Papuan struggles, which is now more than 50 years.
Vice chairman of the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation, Dr Otto Ondawame, expressed his delight after the assurance by PM Lilo. Dr Ondawame said given the important role that MSG plays in regional politics it is vital that the West Papuan issue is discussed at the leadership level.
He said they were also rallying for support in Melanesia and beyond to ensure that their West Papuan issue was discussed at all opportunities available at the regional and international level.
Support from the Solomons and Kanaky seem to be part of a changing tide of political engagement within Melanesian countries on the issue of independence for West Papua.
In Vanuatu, opposition parties, the Malvatumari National Council of Chiefs and the Anglican bishop of Vanuatu, Reverend James Ligo have been urging the Vanuatu government to change its position on West Papua.

Last month Vanuatu PM Moana Carcasses and Deputy PM and Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nipake Natapei pledged Vanuatu's support for the West Papua request to grant and admit West Papua as an observer status to the MSG.
The issue of West Papua's Independence was also on the agenda of this year's Pacific Conference of Churches General Assembly in Honiara, Solomon Islands. The PCC Assembly resolved to address human rights abuse and independence in West Papua. It will incorporate the human rights situation in West Papua as a strong focal point of PCC's programmatic work on self-determination for non-self-governing territories and communities and peoples who yearn to be free. Pacific churches will designate an annual Freedom Sunday to pray for island countries and people who are not free.
Given our nation's close bond with Papua New Guinea and leadership role in Melanesia, yet at the same time, its recent strengthening of ties with Indonesia, Fiji's leadership may have to look beyond the short term and the government's own interests to support the cause of West Papuans who only ask for the same rights that the current draft constitution aims to provide for Fijians.

The late Father Walter Lini, Vanuatu's first prime minister, once said "Melanesia is not free until West Papua is free". The cry of West Papuans continues to be, if not now, when?
As the people of Oceania — Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia to continue struggle for control of their destiny, the plight of West Papua and Maohi Nui (in what is known as French Polynesia) are reminders that liberty, justice and peace are not just ideals but are non-negotiables for every human being. They are rocks from which islands of hope grow.
Those who physically or spiritually join in the weekly Peace Vigil at Suva's Holy Trinity Cathedral every Thursday between 12.30pm to 1.30pm may wish to spend some time reflecting on West Papua as we reflect on our own political journey.

For more information on West Papua visit: or visit the "Free West Papua Campaign Fiji" Facebook page.
"Simplicity, serenity, spontaneity."
* Reverend JS Bhagwan is a Masters in Theology Student at the Methodist Theological University in Seoul, South Korea. The views expressed are his and not of this newspaper.


3) Audit Agency Probes Causes of Persistent Papua Poverty
Papua has received some Rp 40 trillion in funds since integration, but the region remains one of the poorest in Indonesia
By Markus Junianto Sihaloho & Carlos Paath on 10:43 am May 1, 2013.
Category FeaturedNews

Residents walk through a street market in Timika, Papua. (JG photo/Jurnasyanto Sukarno)

The Supreme Audit Agency has announced that it will soon conduct an audit on the special autonomy funds channeled to Indonesia’s two easternmost provinces, Papua and West Papua.
The central government has disbursed more than Rp 40 trillion ($4.1 billion) since the two provinces were granted special autonomy status in 2001, but both provinces remain among the poorest and most underdeveloped regions in the country, fueling social unrest and calls for secession.
“We will conduct [the audit] this year,” said Hadi Purnomo, the chief of the audit agency known as the BPK, said during a hearing with the Regional Representatives Council on Tuesday.
According to data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), both provinces have high rates of unemployment with a combined total of 77,000 people of working age currently without work.

Is it acceptable for provinces rich in natural resources to have such poverty rates?
Puan Maharani, PDI-P

Poverty is also common, the latest BPS figures show, with 30 percent of people in resource-rich Papua and 27 percent in West Papua, which is also rich in natural gas and currently enjoying a tourism boom, living below the poverty line.
Western New Guinea came under interim Indonesian administration in accordance with a UN-ratified agreement 50 years ago today.
Full integration with Indonesia was completed in 1969 through the controversial “Act of Free Choice” vote of Indonesian-picked Papuan elders.
Puan Maharani, a politician with the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), said that in those 50 years, the region was largely ignored by Jakarta, which nevertheless enjoys its vast wealth, including revenue from the nation’s biggest taxpayer, the Freeport Indonesia copper and gold mine.
“Is it acceptable for provinces rich in natural resources to have such poverty rates?” Puan said on Tuesday.
She called for tighter monitoring of the special autonomy funds to ensure that they were used for the development of the provinces and the benefit of Papuans.
During a meeting with Papua Governor Lukas Enembe on Monday, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he was considering providing Papua with even greater autonomy, calling it a solution for the unique problems facing the province.
Yudhoyono said the so-called “Special Autonomy Plus” would be implemented in Papua by August.
Priyo Budi Santoso, a deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, said the government must first discuss the plan with legislators, adding that an amendment to the Special Autonomy Law would be needed before the proposal could be formally implemented.

4) International support for West Papua grows with push to include the occupied nation in regional body

Wednesday, May 1, 2013
West Papua has been gaining international support recently, especially in its pursuit of inclusion in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), a regional intergovernmental organisation that has supported the independence movements of its members...............................................

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