Friday, May 23, 2014

1) Papuan official suspected of being involved in weapon smuggling

1) Papuan official suspected of being involved in weapon smuggling
2) West Papua and Rapa Nui on agenda of civil society campaigns for the next five years
3) Pacific decolonisation 'everybody's business', says NGO alliance
4) Oil palm Workers Imprisoned for Demanding Workers’ Rights

5) PT Tandan Sawita Papua: A portrait of how an Oil Palm Company Insults Communities


1) Papuan official suspected of being involved in weapon smuggling

Fri, May 23 2014 08:47 | 345 Views

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA News) - Papuan Provincial Police Chief Inspector General Tito Karnavian suspected a local official of being involved in smuggling of weapons from the southern Philippines to the province.

"We are suspecting there is a local official in Puncak area that involves in the latest case of weapon smuggling," Tito said here.

The Police suspected the official has funded the weapon smuggling at least twice. 

Weapon smuggling activities were carried out in remote areas in Papua at least for three to four times for outlawed armed groups. 

"Police are still investigating the case," Tito added.

The weapon smuggling has worried the local people. Some of them accused that the weapon came from the Indonesia military and police, Tito added.

"In fact, the armed groups obtained the weapons by stealing from the Indonesian military or police. The other source is weapon smuggle from abroad," Tito said.

The Papuan police foiled an attempt to smuggle three weapons from the Philippines into Papua by a boat on May 5, 2014.

A smuggler identified by his initial as YM was arrested when he disembarked from MV Lambelu in Sorong City, Papua.

The arrest was conducted following an investigation carried out by a Detachment 88 team led by Senior Adjunct Commissioner Asiz in Sorong. They seized three weapons including a rifle from YM.
Editor: Priyambodo RH

2) West Papua and Rapa Nui on agenda of civil society campaigns for the next five years
By Online Editor
10:07 am GMT+12, 23/05/2014, Fiji
Civil society organisations in the Pacific have committed to enthusiastically take up the fight for the people of West Papua and Rapa Nui to break free from the shackles of colonial rule.

Both West Papua and Rapa Nui are not on the list of non-self-governing territories administered by the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation, commonly known as the Committee of 24 of C24.

Part of this renewed call from civil societies is direct engagement with governments of the Pacific to keep the struggles for independence for the peoples of West Papua and Rapa Nui on their agenda.

Speaking in Suva this week on behalf of 13 regional civil society groups – Peter Emberson of the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) said this energized campaign stems from ongoing dialogue and discussions on rethinking a new pathway for Oceania.

“We are devising our work around mobilizing civil societies around the Pacific region to actively engage their people to stand up and speak out about injustices done to the peoples and territories that are still under the yoke of colonialism.

“We need to remember the price that some of us have paid for freedom. We need to recall the journey that has brought us here. It then becomes our moral obligation, to stand and speak out for the struggle of others. We become less human when we are comfortable in our spaces of convenience while others are still fighting to be free, said Emberson.

He said for the next five years, the church wants to bring back on its agenda and that of governments in the region the urgent engagement in support of the decolonisation of Pacific communities that still remain under colonial rule.

“Churches in the region have been trying to build their work on the Maohi people of French Polynesia and the push for the re-listing of West Papua on the UN list of decolonised territories. The churches have a long history on the campaign towards political independence in the Pacific. However, over time, the issue has fallen off the agenda, said Emberson.

PCC and civil societies have singled out Fiji and Papua New Guinea as key contact points because of their membership of the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation.

“We have not been fully engaged with the two governments. This joint action will kick-start this region wide campaign to engage governments, trade union movements, institutions and the peoples of the Pacific, said Susana Tuisawau of the Pacific Foundation for the Advancement of Women (PACFAW), another regional civil society that is part of the campaign in support of West Papua and Rapa Nui.

Apart from engaging directly with Fiji and PNG, civil societies are looking to other regional decision making processes to lobby for support.

Murray Isimeli, also of PCC said civil societies need to influence the highest level political body, the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) to take a stronger position on West Papua and Rapa Nui.

“Ever since 2004, the issue of West Papua has been reflected on the communiqu├ęs but it has tended to be weak because of the complexities of sovereignty. Despite the efforts of countries like Vanuatu, the issue remains part of the Leaders discussion only without any commitment for strong action, said Isimeli.

“It’s time that the Pacific Islands Forum take some strong action.

Isimeli said civil societies are portraying a message of hope in this renewed regional campaign on decolonisation.

“Two years we thought it was impossible but the people of Maohi Nui in French Polynesia are celebrating their one year of re-inscription into the UN List. For us then, our message is the message of hope, that we can mobilise our peoples and governments to bring about change.

“Our message is to act now, we cannot wait, said Isimeli.

Tuisawau believes in the power of the people.

“If you go back in history, the more voices and more determined people are, they can make governments change their decision. An example was the protest in Fiji and across the region in the late 1980s that forced France to halt nuclear testing in Mururoa in French Polynesia.

The renewed call for commitment on decolonisation was made in Suva this week by the PRNGO Alliance, an association comprised of 13 regional non-governmental organisations. The call coincides with the regional meeting of the UN Special Committee on Decolonisation in Nadi.


3) Pacific decolonisation 'everybody's business', says NGO alliance

Updated 23 May 2014, 10:34 AEST
A coalition of Pacific NGOs says self-determination for indigenous communities still under colonial rule is "everybody's business".
The Pacific Regional Non Governmental Organisations Alliance (PRNGO) have met with a United Nations delegation in Fiji to push their message of decolonisation.
PRNGO says it's the "moral responsibility" of Pacific islanders to stand up for the rights of people in non-self governing territories like New Caledonia and West Papua.
PRNGO's Murray Isimeli says debate on the issue has stalled.
Presenter: Tom Maddocks
Speaker: Murray Isimeli, program manager of self-determination at the Pacific Council of Churches, a member of the Pacific Regional Non Governmental Organisations Alliance (PRNGO)
ISIMELI: The topic has kind of fallen off discussion agendas of the civil society organisations in most countries. The discussion agendas of the public sectors, governments, inter-governmental organisations and if we could recommit ourselves to be interested in the issue of decolonisation and by schooling ourselves up on it for those of us who need to, we could then start to understand how we can effectively engage, whether it's speaking out or acting out organising around the issue and see how we can support the struggles of those communities in non self-governing territories.

MADDOCKS: And just speaking of the struggles of these communities, I mean how badly do these indigenous communities want independence?

ISIMELI: Well, I think we've taken some care to use the term self-determination, rather than a specific mention of independence, because there's a range of views out there, including the views of those communities that are in non self-governing territories and the groups that we've worked with, some of them are pretty clear that they want political independence, some of them are less clear, but I think the common denominator is that they be given the space and the freedom to be able to make their own choices about their political future.

So yes, there's a deliberate distinction being made here about, between independence and the right to exercise self-determination choices.

MADDOCKS: Do you feel the region, the Pacific region will support your message?

ISIMELI: Well obviously, we would certainly like to thing so, however, not a straightforward, easy task to take upon ones self, whether it's individual, at an individual level or at the organisation level. First of all, whilst the issue of decolonisation was fresh and a hot topic around the region, around about the 1960's and 70's, even up to the 80's, because a lot of countries were then yet to be decolonised. Somehow the momentum, the awareness of the current status of those countries that are still under colonial administration has gone almost non-existent as a key topic of discussion and awareness, and even as a topic that draws peoples attention and commitments, in terms of activities within the civil society sector, in terms of activities within the churches.

Speaking from the perspective of a staff member of Secretariat of Churches, of Pacific Conference of Churches, the church was instrumental in the first wave of decolonisation in the region, the 60s, 70s. As you recall even Vanuatu specifically, the church released several senior members, and I'm referring to not just one church, but you had different churches releasing some of their senior members of the clergy to directly be involved in nation building. So they entered into politics, one of them even became the Prime Minister of Vanuatu the first, Father Walter Lini.

So after that initial period of active engagement and involvement in the topic or in the struggle for self-determination, for decolonisation, we as a church, have somehow more or less become silent or less active on the issues.

MADDOCKS: The United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation is hosting a Pacific regional meeting in Nadi, Fiji, at the moment. What's your message to the UN there?

ISIMELI: We do acknowledge and recognise the importance of the rule of the UN process, the process of decolonisation and that's including the regional seminars, the annual regional seminars that they host and as with I think a lot of other international processes, it's got its strengths. I know it's acknowledged as the system that a lot of, most of our countries subscribe to and are involved in. But as with international systems, you have limitations, you have diplomacy and protocols and a lot of the time you are involved in negotiations, countries are involved in negotiations, where trade-offs need to be made, because you're dealing with very complex issues of sovereignty and the respect for that. So whilst the UN decolonisation process moves forward, we, the group, the civil society groups would like to urge members in that committee, the committee of 24, which includes two Pacific governments, Fiji and Papua New Guinea, to ensure that the wishes, the interests of the indigenous people in non self-governing territories be paramount and that these not be subjected to the trade-offs that governments typically make at international processes such as this.

Alongside that call is that the UN process has also, so far, not been able to account in our opinion appropriately for the self-determination struggles of West Papua, Rapa Nui for example and others in the region who feel that they are still under colonial rule, and yet they qualify under the international law to be listed on the decolonisation list, so that the UN is able to come in and supervise a process towards realising their right to be able to determine for themselves their political future.


4) Oil palm Workers Imprisoned for Demanding Workers’ Rights.

Jayapura, 21st May 2014, SKPKC received a report from two employees of PT Tandan Sawita Papua. In the report, they related their frustration with the company after having been fired without having received a warning letter beforehand. According to Alexander Tnesi and Marthen Watory’s explanation, the dismissal was a result of a demonstration by oil palm workers of the Plantation III Anggrek on 25th January at the Plantation III Long House, East Arso.
In his statement, Alex told of how the trigger for that demo was the reduction in working days, from six days a week to four. A second reason was the reduction on major public holidays, so that a monthly wage of 1,700,000 Rupiah could go down to 1,200,000 Rupiah. The third demand was to raise the wages in line with the provincial minimum wage in Papua. As the company didn’t respond to the demonstrators’ demands, a plan was made to continue the demo at the provincial Governor’s office. On the way there, the people who were travelling in three trucks were confronted by police from Arso City police station, who demanded that the workers return to their jobs at the company.
Two months after the demo Alex and Marten received letters calling them to report to the police station. The letter explained that Alex and Marten had been accused of threatening PT Tandan Sawita Papua staff during the demo on 2th January. In their statements, Alex related that he was held from 8th – 26th April, meanwhile Marten was detained from 6th – 26th April. On the 26th April both men were set free but were asked by the police to write statements. The contents of these statements were dictated by a police officer and written down by Marten, and in essence said that the two would be fired from the company and would not make any further demands to the company. If they made any demands they would face a legal process at the hands of the police.
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5) PT Tandan Sawita Papua: A portrait of how an Oil Palm Company Insults Communities

PT Tandan Sawita Papua is an oil palm company operating in East Arso District, Keerom Regency, not far south of the Papuan capital Jayapura. The company has been operating since 2008 with an area of around 18,000 hectares under cultivation. PT Tandan Sawita Papua uses a system comprised of a core plantation and tied smallholdings. The area referred to as the core plantation is owned and managed by the company. Then there are parts of the plantation which are handed over to smallholder farmers, which are known as ‘plasma’.
As PT Tandan Sawita Papua moved into Arso Timur, the community was divided into pro- and contra-. However, that just reinforced the voice of those with money. The reason they used was economic security. The government only listened to the company’s version, which claimed that their company would be a partner of the government and would implement development programs that would enhance the community’s economic security. This was confirmed by Ondo Ujung Karang, when he met with former regency head Selsius Watae before PT Tandan Sawita Papua started its operations in East Arso.
The community in Arso understand the forest to be like their mother, providing all life’s necessities. From generation to generation, the people in the area had always looked after, occupied and made use of the forest. In short, people lived together with nature and live from nature. They never went hungry because nature provided food for the whole community. The clear-flowing waters could quench their thirst. The social situation, relations between community members, could be portrayed as peaceful and calm. Any problems were solved collectively, not isolated from the rituals which underlie social relationships and the relationship with nature. For the indigenous community, the concept of security means being able to live in peace with their neighbours and with nature. However, it can’t be denied that this community did have several problems, most importantly concerning transport infrastructure and education which the state was not addressing at the time.
This was the opportunity which PT Tandan Sawita Papua would use to make its promises sound enticing. The plantation company tried to persuade people that it would develop and increase the level of security by supporting infrastructure which the people need, such as transportation, education, health clinics and clean water. Compensation for land and plants growing on it would become the company’s responsibility, using a system they called ‘tali asih’. Payment would take place in three stages. ‘Tali asih’ has become the term that is most commonly used by companies when they talk about transferring land rights in East Arso to their control.
The company has not responded to the community’s protests about the ‘tali asih‘ compensation being too low and the company’s broken promises.
Corporate Social Responsibility towards the communities remains no more than a slogan. In fact, road infrastructure has been left in its damaged state, and the company has only built roads that are used by the company’s vehicles. Education and health facilities have been left as they were. What’s more, chemical treatments for the oil palm trees has had environmental impacts and has polluted clean water sources. The community can now see the reality that the effect of the oil palm plantation has not brought them progress, rather dragged them backwards. However, in common with other communities, the people there tend to keep quiet about the injustices they face. In the name of development the government has sacrificed indigenous people to whoever wants to develop oil palm plantations, in this case in East Arso.
[awasMIFEE note: PT Tandan Sawita Papua is known as part of the Rajawali Group, which also operates two sugar cane plantations in Merauke. In fact it is owned by the Green Eagle Group, which is a partnership between Rajawali and French multinational Louis Dreyfus Commodities. It claims to be sustainable as a member of the UN Global Compact, but with a history of environmental destruction, exploiting its workers and firing them when they complain and failing to act responsibly towards the local indigenous community, it is clear that commitment is fairly meaningless]
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