Friday, May 24, 2013

1) West Papua ‘observer’ status issue faces critical Melanesian summit

1) West Papua ‘observer’ status issue faces critical Melanesian summit

2) OPM Asks to Settle Oxford Office Dispute at the UN

3) Indonesian counter-terrorist unit accused of mass killing in disputed Papua province

4) Andreas Harsono: Old Songs, SBY Talk About Pardon and Remission For Prisoners

1) West Papua ‘observer’ status issue faces critical Melanesian summit

Flags of the Melanesian Spearhead group countries … Papua New Guinea (clockwise from top left), Kanaky (host territory), Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands. Is West Papua’s Morning Star flag about to join them? Image: MSG Kantri

Decisions at next month’s Melanesian Spearhead Group 25th jubilee and leaders’ summit in Noumea will shape the future of the Pacific region. Topics are expected to include West Papua, the environment and the future of MSG relations with the Pacific Islands Forum. Jamie Small reports for Asia-Pacific Journalism.
Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Jamie Small
West Papua may become a crucial issue for the Pacific if the Melanesian Spearhead Group next month decides to offer observer status to the Indonesian-ruled region at its leaders’ summit next month.
The MSG leaders will be gathering in Noumea, New Caledonia, for the organisation’s 25th jubilee and many serious matters will be on the table.
Peter Forau, Director-General of the MSG, says the major focus of the summit will be on West Papua’s proposed addition to the group as an observer state.
Two provinces controversially ruled by Indonesia – Papua and West Papua – are striving for self-determination and Papuan activists see the MSG as a crucial step towards eventual independence.
Speaking to Pacific Scoop, Forau seemed to believe that the vote would pass.
“Leaders have publicly expressed support for West Papua,” he says. “[But] we expect discussion to happen.”
Accepted ‘informally’
“West Papua has been accepted informally,” he says. “It will be formalised in New Caledonia.”
Dr Ratuva says this is the first time West Papua will be given formal recognition, and through the MSG, it will push for more autonomy.
The MSG has experience helping countries push for independence. Also with help from the group, French Polynesia was placed on the UN decolonisation list on May 17.
Forau says the MSG also supported Timor-Leste and is happy to continue helping countries striving for independence.
“We want to be seen as available to the rest of the Pacific when they need an international forum,” he says.
Ben Bohane, communications director of the Vanuatu-based Pacific Institute of Public Policy, agrees that the vote will is likely to pass, but is unsure if it will be unanimous.
He says that all the leaders of member states are behind the decision, but Papua New Guinea is wavering.
Blocked by PNG
Papua New Guinea, which is the only MSG country sharing a border with Indonesia, which currently is an observer, blocked the proposal last time it was considered by the MSG.
If West Papua is voted in to the MSG as an observer state at the leaders’ forum on June 20, Indonesia will simultaneously be voted out, losing its observer status.
Bohane says Melanesia would then be “sort of united”, and that would test relations with Indonesia.
He says there may be a drive from the MSG to form a Confederated States of Melanesia, but that is in the distant future.
Dr Ratuva says letting West Papua into the MSG is a good move towards Melanesian solidarity, but the group needs to consider how Indonesia might react.
He says there is little Indonesia can do to persuade the MSG. However, it may exercise its power in other places.
ASEAN interest
Dr Ratuva says Fiji and Papua New Guinea have expressed interest in joining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Indonesia is a powerful member.
Indonesia could make moves to block ASEAN from co-operating with MSG member states.
“But ASEAN is not just Indonesia,” says Dr Ratuva. There are nine other Southeast Asian member states, and the group has close economic and diplomatic relations with New Zealand and Australia.
Forau is not worried about offending Indonesia.
“We’ll make no-one worse off by the decisions of the leaders,” he says.
Many other issues and proposals will be discussed at the Noumea summit.
An important focus of the meeting will be trade.
Trade scenario
Forau says the MSG has the only operational trade agreement in the region, and the group would like to continue to build on that.
The decolonisation of Kanaky is another major topic of discussion.
Kanaky is the indigenous name for New Caledonia. The Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS), an alliance of pro-independence political parties in Kanaky, is a member “state” of the MSG.
“We will be making every commitment to Kanaky’s independence,” says Forau.
Other topics to be discussed include:
•    Climate change and environmental issues.
•    Fisheries and ethical fishing.
•    Police co-operation.
•    The vision for the MSG over the next 25 years.
Ben Bohane says he also expects the forum to discuss labour protocols, as well as a Melanesian Arts Festival.
“The MSG is based on culture, rather than nations,” he says.
Growing MSG influence
Over the last 25 years, the MSG has grown in size, power and influence.
Dr Ratuva says the group represents 80 percent of the wealth of the Pacific, and the member states are a focus for investors.
“Lots of business people in the Pacific are installing themselves in PNG,” he says. “That will define the future geo-political and economic gravity in the Pacific over the next few years.”
Melanesia also has a much larger population than other areas of the Pacific.
However, Dr Ratuva says the member states should not forget about internal issues, such as poverty and political unrest.
“Fair trade is good. High regional and international profile is OK. But at the same time, they need to get back to basics.”
He says the group has redefined itself in terms of geopolitics as an autonomous group.
PIF power wanes
Meanwhile, the power of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) is dwindling under the domination of New Zealand and Australia.
“On one hand New Zealand and Australia give power and funding to the [Pacific Islands] Forum,” says Dr Ratuva.
“On the other hand it fractures the forum.”
He says that when Fiji was suspended from the PIF in 2009, it took a significant political and economic force with it to the MSG.
Bohane says the group can now “pack a bit more punch” in the international climate.
“It has become the sort of pre-eminent group in the region,” he says, “and New Zealand and Australia have underestimated the influence of the MSG.”
“It will be interesting to see how New Zealand and Australia deal with the MSG once Frank [Bainamarama] is no longer the chair.
Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe “Frank” Bainamarama currently chairs the MSG.
Strained relations
New Zealand has had strained diplomatic relations with Fiji since the 2006 military coup d’état.
The role of chair of the MSG will be handed to FLNKS at the summit.
Bohane agrees the PIF is seen to be losing relevance, but doesn’t think the MSG challenges the forum.
“The MSG is not a threat to the PIF, as some commentators are saying.”
He says that all of the subregional organisations of the Pacific have the opportunity to harmonise and work together.
Other subregional groups include the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. The Polynesian Leaders Group, the Alliance of Small Island States, and the Micronesian Leaders Group.
Dr Ratuva agrees: “It won’t fracture regionalism, but will in fact reinforce it. The MSG should not untie themselves from the [Pacific Islands] Forum.”
He says Fiji distanced itself from the forum, and PNG is thinking of doing the same.
“I think it’s a mistake.”
Jamie Small is a Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies student journalist on the Asia-Pacific Journalism course at AUT University.

FRIDAY, 24 MAY, 2013 | 21:52 WIB
2) OPM Asks to Settle Oxford Office Dispute at the UN
TEMPO.COJayapura - The Coordinator of the National Defense Military for the Free Papua Movement (OPM), Lambert Pekikir, accused the Indonesian government of deliberately initiating a new problem by protesting against the establishment of the OPM office in Oxford, the United Kingdom. He added that voicing protest to the U.K. for supporting the OPM would be meaningless.   
"Because it is a country that gives freedom to its people, not like Indonesia that’s repressive. The office is where we work to lobby the international community and gain support for Papua’s freedom," he said. 
He revealed that the plan to open this office began two years ago. Lambert also claimed that there was a meeting during that time in Sydney, Australia. There, one of OPM’s leaders, Jacob Pray, appealed to the world to gain support for the British office. 
"This step was followed up by a number of other international meetings until it was finally established in Oxford," he said. 
As for Benny Wenda, who was said to have initiated the establishment of the office, Lambert stated that Benny is a member of the OPM. 
He also asserted that this issue must be resolved by international means. "If the Indonesian government does not approve of the office, let’s settle this matter at the United Nations."


3) Indonesian counter-terrorist unit accused of mass killing in disputed Papua province

Updated 7 hours 57 minutes ago
An elite counter-terrorist police unit in Indonesia has been accused of carrying out a mass killing in a village in the central highlands of Indonesia's disputed Papua province.
Activists says 11 people were killed and 20 more are missing after a combined military and police crackdown on support for the Free Papua separatist movement in April.
The names of victims and several grisly photographs have been provided to ABC's PM by the armed wing of the movement.
It is impossible to verify the claims, but Indonesia's Embassy in Canberra has agreed to take up the matter.
Indonesian police say the claims are untrue. The Papua police spokesman, I Gede Sumerta Jaya, says the killings did not happen and that unit does not operate in the Papua provinces anymore.
The disputed Indonesian Papua province is the least populated but most restive corner of Australia's vast near neighbour.
For 50 years Papuans have agitated for independence from their Javanese masters in a campaign fought bitterly on both sides.
In recent weeks the pace of violence has quickened, especially in the central highlands.
Shootings have become so frequent that locals have taken to calling it the Gaza Strip.
It is from this territory that the shocking claims of extra-judicial killings are emerging.
The ABC conducted an interview with the spokesman for the military wing of the Free Papua organisation, Jonah Wenda, via an exchange of text messages after telephone communications failed.
He said that an entire village was targeted.
"Indonesian government fear this village is a strong hold of Freedom Fighters in the centre highlands of West Papua," he said.

"TNI and police did this. They were picked from different places like school, gardens, on the road and even taken from their home and kill them and throw them in the bush, side of the road and through in the river."
Mr Wenda emailed the names of the 11 people he says were killed in the crackdown, all civilians.
He also provided several photographs of corpses that appeared to have been beaten and suffered serious injuries.
He also said there were two instances of rape.
None of the claims can be verified, though they are strikingly similar in nature to allegations of human rights abuses by the Indonesian security forces.
One of the most notorious units known as Densus 88 is partially equipped and trained by the Federal Police.

Killings account accords with growing intimidation

Professor Damien Kingsbury from Deakin University has been studying the decades long struggle by the Indonesian state to exert its will over the Papua province.
He believes the claims of a mass killing are consistent with an upswing of violence and intimidation across the province.
"The information we've received today from West Papua is consistent with information we've been receiving over the past couple of weeks. This is more detailed," he said.
"It's more comprehensive but it's absolutely in line with the other information we've received and it comes from a reliable source, so we believe it to be accurate."
He says the violence is being fuelled by increasing separatist intent.

"There's always been a background of violence in West Papua and the Indonesian military and the police in particular. The anti-terror group there have always taken a very strong line against what they perceive to be separatists sentiments by West Papuans," he said.
"But the West Papuans themselves are really looking for a negotiated settlement to the problems of the province and they're pushing that agenda by engaging in things like flag-raising ceremonies to demonstrate their unhappiness.
"That's perceived to be a sign of separatist intent and the army and police are cracking down on it."
Professor Kingsbury says it is possible residents of one particular village are being targeted for showing sympathy to separatist sentiment.
"That may be the case or that may be what they believe but of course, if anybody is engaged in unlawful activities, of course they should be arrested and charged and taken through a due process rather than primarily execute," he said.
"I think this is the nub of the problem in West Papua, that he military and the anti-terror police take it into their own hands to engage in trial and execution on the spot without going through due process.
"It's not based on evidence. It's based on supposition, on rumour, on belief and there's huge problems with this and it only builds further resentment."
First posted 10 hours 37 minutes ago
A google translate of article in suarapapua. Be-aware google translate can be a bit erratic.
Original bahasa at

4) Andreas Harsono: Old Songs, SBY Talk About Pardon and Remission For Prisoners
Friday, May 24, 2013, 9:54 National, Options Editor118 viewsAdd a comment


PAPUAN, Jakarta - Andreas Harsono, researcher of Human Rights Watch (HRW) to Indonesia see the plan award of pardons and remissions for Political Prisoners and Political Prisoners (Prisoners / political prisoners) in Papua is an old song re-sung by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY).

"Actually there was nothing new to offer the president when he talked about the pardon and remission in order to free Papuan political prisoners from jail. This old song is often sung to Prisoners / political prisoners, "said Harsono, in a release sent to the editor, Thursday (23/05/2013).

Harsono give one example of Papuan political prisoners, Joshua Pakage, who received clemency president in July 2010, and was released from prison, even though the new prison term ends in 2014.

"Pakage accept the government's offer and agreed to receive exemption. Condition, he had to write a letter in which Pakage declared themselves "sorry" and promised not to join the Morning Star flag. His title was "surrendered" to the government. "

"I think the actions that embarrass Joshua Pakage. HRW Indonesia must not believe arrest, indict and imprison people when they express their political aspirations, including raising the Morning Star flag in Papua, Aceh and South Moluccas. It is protected by the provisions of international law and Indonesia's ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 2006, "he explained.

After his release from prison Abepura, Pakage was no longer involved with the hoisting of the flag, but he was arrested again in July 2012 in Abepura court, by reason of carrying a knife into the courtroom, and then sentenced to seven months in prison.

"Genesis to harden the Pakage Joshua attitude Papuan political prisoners that they would only accept the offer if the deceived remission, pardon, and so on. They demanded the unconditional release or abolish the legal term, "added Harsono, who is also co-founder of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI).

According Harsono, Prisoners Filep Karma in Abepura prison is among the most vocal and continued to consistently refusing remission or pardon from the President. In November 2011, the UN asked the government Indonsia Karma freed because he appeals to the UN Working Group on Abritrary Detention in New York. Result of the appeal, the UN assess Karma not get fair trial in the courts of Indonesia.

"They also assess the Indonesian judges who adjudicate Karma uses treason clause, 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code, it does not proportional. Data owned by HRW, Karma never do violence, not advocate the use of violence, "said Harsono who wrote the report" Prosecuting Political Aspiration: Indonesia's Political Prisoners "for HRW in 2010.

Then, request that freeing political prisoners Indonesia resonated again when the UN makes the Indonesia Universal Periodic Review in Geneva on May 23, 2012. At that time, dozens of countries talking about political prisoners in Indonesia, including Papua and Maluku. Country Germany specifically requested Indonesia frees political prisoners Filep Karma and others.

"But Indonesia refused on the grounds there was no political prisoners in Indonesia. Papuan people would say, "That's just deception", in fact there are more than 40 people who entered the international category as a "political prisoner" or "prisoner of conscience" in Papua, as well as the 60s people in Maluku, "he said.

According Harsono, if the President really serious about freeing political prisoners in Papua and Maluku, which should be pursued is the abolition to all political prisoners, not remission or amnesty.

"HRW also recommended that the President re-review of Government Regulation. 77 of 2007 which prohibits the use logos or flags Aceh, South Maluku and Papua. During the 77 PP there will always be people in jail because of the flag issue, "he concluded.

Papuan report behinds Bars, to March 2013 the number of Prisoners / political prisoners detained Indonesian government for reasons of acts of treason is 40 people. Later, a few more re-arrested on charges of treason. There are 7 people in Sorong, Timika 7 people, including the Chairman and KNPB, Victor F Yeimo who was detained for reasons yet to undergo the remainder of the prisoners in the penitentiary Abepura.

Oktovianus POGAU

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