Tuesday, July 15, 2014

1) Maire Leadbeater: Election offers ideal chance to review aid for West Papua

1) Maire Leadbeater: Election offers ideal chance to review aid for West Papua
2) Orwell would recognise the logic of postcolonialism at play in West Papua
3) Evidence of death squads emerge after Youtefa market riot sparked by corrupt police shakedown of gamblers
1) Maire Leadbeater: Election offers ideal chance to review aid for West Papua
5:00 AM Tuesday Jul 15, 2014
It is not every day that a government rejects a foreign aid scheme just as it is about to begin. But that is what happened in May when the Indonesian Government called a halt on a New Zealand aid project training local police in community policing after four years of extensive planning.
The Eastern Indonesia Community Policing Programme had been intended to train members of the Indonesian National Police in conflict-ridden West Papua, with nearby Maluku also receiving some input. New Zealand was committed to tutor some 1000 police over a three-year period at a cost of more than $6 million.

For those of us who had opposed the programme from the outset, the news was welcome. Community policing is fine for Mt Albert or Tokoroa but the brutality of the police in West Papua cannot be corrected by instruction. The systematic practice of police torture as a means of control has been documented by academics such as Dr Budi Hernawen.
Why was the scheme called off? The Ministry of Foreign Affairs offered a non-explanation: "Indonesia could not support the programme at this time."
Subsequently a Jakarta-based Kiwi journalist sussed out a more revealing explanation. Deputy Chief of the Indonesia National Police, Commander General Badrodin Haiti, said the reason was "concerns about the programme's motives".

On the face of it New Zealand's motive is simple - to help the Indonesian police work more closely with their communities and thus improve community safety. The Government also hoped to stave off domestic criticism that it was ignoring the evidence of ongoing gross human rights abuses in the territory. However, until recently this agenda seemed to dovetail quite nicely with Indonesia's interests. I know from Official Information Act requests that our diplomats had important meetings with top brass in West Papua last year. The New Zealand Ambassador and his team made sure to emphasise that New Zealand supports Indonesia's "territorial integrity" and what they described as the Indonesian Government's "welfare and prosperity approach".
Our diplomats felt at ease with Chief of Police Tito Karnavian, an old boy of our Defence Command and Staff College and the Massey Security Studies course. He told our team that his police needed to "train police as serving local communities, not as oppressors".
Local activists view Inspector-General Karnavian far from favourably. Since his appointment in 2012 oppression has increased, and political arrests doubled last year.

The design documents for the community policing project confront the problem that allegations of human rights abuses might surface during the project. If New Zealand had to speak out how could this be handled diplomatically?
Did the Indonesian authorities worry about this potential risk of bad publicity? Or could it be that Indonesian authorities were concerned about media inquiries?
A new president will soon take office in Indonesia - the vote count is not final but it is likely to be Joko Widodo. He is a new broom, with fewer links to Indonesia's autocratic past. What better time to promote human rights and peaceful dialogue instead of police aid of dubious value.
Maire Leadbeater is a member of West Papua Action Auckland.

2) Orwell would recognise the logic of postcolonialism at play in West Papua
In many respects, the West Papuan struggle is the story of Indigenous peoples the world over: exploitation

Tuesday 15 July 2014 11.50 EST

Few people know that George Orwell, better known as the author of the dystopian novel 1984, is one of the earlier founders of postcolonial studies. Orwell’s best known contribution to the field is Burmese Days, but his earliest contribution was How a Nation Is Exploited – The British Empire in Burma. Published in the French journal Le Progrès civique, Orwell describes how the land, labour and resources of one country – that is, Burma - are used to finance the industrial development of another – in this case, Britain.
Care is taken to avoid technical and industrial training [in Burma]. This rule, observed throughout India, aims to stop India from becoming an industrial country capable of competing with England.
The role of the colony, then, is under-development for the sake of the coloniser’s development. This is the logic of colonialism.
One might think this is merely of historical interest. If only. There is a newly industrialised country on our doorstep and it is using a colony to finance its growth. Orwell would recognise the coloniser – Indonesia – and the logic of colonialism in the West Papua region.

Indonesia annexed West Papua in the 1960s. Thus began and thus continues the deadliest postcolonial struggle in Oceania. In the past half century the Indonesian security forces have killed as many as 500,000 West Papuans. Last year the Asian Human Rights Commission released The Neglected Genocide, a report on atrocities committed in 1977 and 1978. Survivors describe how they escaped the killing fields while others recount their run-ins with the torture squads. Violence wasn’t just something that happened in West Papua, it was a form of government.
One would hope that, some 40 years later, things have improved. It doesn’t seem so. According to the Free West Papua Movement a local independence leader was shot dead on his motorcycle in June. The UNPO reports that local democracy activists have been beaten and arrested for handing out leaflets encouraging West Papuans to boycott last week’s presidential election. In the run up to the election the security forces were put on full alert.

But why does Indonesia cling to West Papua? The basis of Indonesia’s claim to sovereignty is the farcical Act of Free Choice”in 1969. The act was a nominal referendum where a little over 1000 men – less than 1% of the eligible voting population - agreed to transfer sovereignty to Indonesia. The result was controlled - an act of forced choice – with the military carefully selecting and coercing the participants. The Indonesian government has exercised its claim to sovereignty at the end of an assault rifle ever since.
But that claim is only a convenience. West Papuans are ethnically Melanesian and geographically part of Oceania – Jakarta acknowledges this much – but, importantly, the 
West Papua region is home to the world’s largest goldmine, third largest copper mine and rich mineral deposits. Freeport-McMoRan, the American company that operates the Grasberg mine, is Indonesia’s largest taxpayer. The company has contributed more than $12 billion to Jakarta’s coffers since 1991. Rather than relying on private security at the mine, Freeport-McMoRan pays the Indonesian security forces. Jakarta is happy to oblige.
Orwell would recognise the logic of colonialism here. West Papua has largely missed the Indonesian industrial revolution, instead being compelled to finance it. In many respects the West Papuan struggle is the story of Indigenous peoples the world over: exploitation.
Former Australian prime minister Robert Menzies warned of as much in the 1960s when he said that Indonesian control of West Papua would merely substitute white colonialism for “brown colonialism”. We did not listen then, will we listen now?

3) Evidence of death squads emerge after Youtefa market riot sparked by corrupt police shakedown of gamblers
In-depth Investigation from West Papua Media team, our stringers in Jayapura and local sources
July 15, 2014
Riot erupted after corrupt Police attempt shakedown of gambling den
Weapons seized from police by gangsters, who have mysteriously "disappeared"
Three dead civilians had nothing to do with gambling: witnesses
Three dead civilians allegedly targeted by security forces because of Yali tribal membership.
Another story of savagery from Indonesian security forces
Evidence has emerged of a savage and potentially premeditated hunt of highland students by Indonesian security forces in Abepura on July 2 after the stabbing death of a police officer sparked an allegedly brutal dispersal of civilians by security forces. Three civilians and an Indonesian police officer were killed around the Youtefa market in Abepura after a failed attempt at a shakedown by corrupt police on a gambling ring degenerated into a riot.
full report at

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