Tuesday, August 19, 2014

1) Indonesia’s Papua Censorship Obsession

1) Indonesia’s Papua Censorship Obsession
2) Re-open past cases of gross human rights violations in West Papua

3) Australia and Indonesia strike deal to resume intelligence and military cooperation

1) Indonesia’s Papua Censorship Obsession

French reporters Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat have spent the past two weeks in a police jail cell on Indonesia’s island of Papua.
The two journalists, who domestic media have reported were producing a documentary on the restive province for Franco-German Arte TV, are just the latest victims of the Indonesian government’s Papua censorship obsession.
Police arrested the pair on August 6 on charges of “working illegally” without official media accreditation. But things may be about to get a lot worse for them. On August 14, the Papua police spokesman, Sulistyo Pudjo, suggested that the two journalists may face “subversion” charges for allegedly filming members of the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM).
Dandois and Bourrat ran afoul of the Indonesian government’s decades-old policy of preventing foreign media scrutiny of Papua. That policy makes it nearly impossible for journalists to report freely from the province. Obstructions to foreign media access include requiring foreign reporters to get special official permission to visit the island. The government rarely approves these applications or else delays processing, hampering efforts by journalists and  independent  groups to report on breaking news events. Journalists who do get official permission are invariably shadowed by official minders, who strictly control their movements and access to interviewees.
The Indonesian government responds to foreign media efforts to circumvent the official obstacles to reporting from Papua with hostility. In July 2013, Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa defended the foreign media ban by warning of unnamed “elements in Papua who are keen to gain international attention by doing harm to international personalities, including journalists.” Police in Papua have rejected  the French government’s confirmation of Dandois and Bourrat’s journalistic bona fides on the basis that neither possessed an up-to-date press card. Last week, Pudjo expressed concern that the Arte TV journalists “were part of an effort to destabilize Papua.”
The government has reason to fear the prying eyes of journalists in Papua. Human rights abuses remain rife in the province. Over the last three years alone, Human Rights Watch has documented dozens of cases in which police, military, intelligence officers, and prison guards have used excessive force when dealing with Papuans exercising their right to peaceful assembly and association.
The residents of the Papuan town of Waghete are well-acquainted with the routine impunity for human rights abuses. It was there on September 23, 2013 that two officers with the National Police’s Mobile Brigade (“Brimob”) fired into a stone-throwing crowd, killing a 17-year-old student and seriously wounding three other people. The police posted guards at the hospital where the wounded were being treated, and required visitors to leave their mobile phones at the entrance. Domestic media reported that police confiscated the mobile phone of a nurse who had used it to take photos of the victims’ wounds.
The Waghete incident — which the Indonesian government has yet to investigate — is just one of many troubling incidents of violence and impunity that have characterized life in Papua since Indonesian military forces deployed there in 1963 to counter a long-simmering independence movement.
The government justifies its restrictions on media access to Papua as a necessary security precaution due to the ongoing low-level conflict with the OPM. The OPM is small and poorly organized, though it has increased in sophistication in recent years. Tensions heightened in Papua in February 2013 following an attack on Indonesian military forces by suspected OPM elements. The attack killed eight soldiers, the worst act of violence against the military in the area in more than 10 years. The government also consistently arrests and jails Papuan protesters for peacefully advocating independence or other political change. Currently 60 Papuan activists are in jail for “treason.”
The Indonesian government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been obstinate it its refusal to loosen its restrictions on journalists’ access to Papua. But there’s hope that Yudhoyono’s successor, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, will finally end the tight cordon of official censorship that isolates Papua from foreign media access. Widodo won the July 9 presidential election and will be officially inaugurated in late October.
Widodo visited Papua on June 5, during the election campaign. When local journalists asked if as president he would open access to Papua for foreign journalists and international organizations, he replied “Why not? It’s safe here in Papua. There’s nothing to hide.” Widodo needs the courage to end the Indonesian government’s Papua censorship obsession to test that assertion.
Phelim Kine is the deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch and a former Jakarta-based foreign correspondent.
2) Re-open past cases of gross human rights violations in West Papua
Received Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive-Director of the
LP3BH-Manokwari, 18 August 2014

The Institute for Research, Study and Development of Legal Aid (LP3BH-Manokwari) has urged the National Human Rights Commission[KOMNAS HAM] to re-open and re-investigate cases of gross human rights
violations that occurred in the island of Biak on 6 June 1998 and the genocidal violations that occurred in the Central Highlands from 1977
to 1978 (which are known as the Neglected Genocide). As a civil society organisation that focusses on Law Enforcement and the defence of basic human rights in the Land of Papua, the LP3BH-Manokwari undertook an analysis of the report produced by
ELS-HAM, the Institute for the Study and Advocacy of Human Rights-Papua which was entitled 'Nama Tanpa Pusara, Pusara Without Names, [pusara is a cemetery] July 1999.

Following a survey undertaken by KOMNAS HAM of the Bloody Biak Case in 2003, there was no recommendation for this case of Gross Human Rights Violations to be thoroughly investigated. Based on the findings of ELS-HAM Papua of an attack on Filep Karma and his colleagues on 6 June 1998 when eight people were killed, three people disappeared while four were seriously injured (and subsequently taken to Makassar for medical treatment) while 33 others were less
seriously injured. Fifty people were arrested. Later, 32 bodies were found in Padaido Island and the eastern region of Biak Island.

In the Central Highlands, during 1977 and 1978, according to data collected by the Asian Human Rights Commission, 4,146 Indigenous Papuans were killed during a series of military operations in the area. Data subsequently revealed that 620 people were killed in the District of Bolakme, 777 were killed in Ibele, 62 people were killed
in Central Ibele, 241 were killed in Iluga, 579 people were killed in Kobakma, 143 people were killed in Makki. 50 people were killed in Napua, 56 people were killed in Paniai, 138 people were killed in Pirime, 334 people were killed in Tagime, 835 people were killed in Wosilimo , 187 people were killed in Jayawijaya, 665 people were killed in Yalenga, 8 people were killed in Hetegima and 117 people were killed in Kurulu.

According to LP3BH-Manokwari, the report of the AHRC said that what happened in the Central Highlands amounted to a case of genocide, and it was the task of the National Human Rights Commission to conduct an investigation for legal proceedings to proceed in accordance with the provisions of Law 26/2000 on Human Rights Courts. We also call on the leadership of the Christian Evangelical Church (GKI) to support the call for these cases to be re-opened, bearing in mind that the vast majority of the victims were members of the GKI. The GKI and other Christian churches should not remain silent about these cases and should call for an investigation into the crimes against humanity that have been committed by the Indonesian Army and
Police Force during military operations undertaken in the Land of Papua for the past fifty years.
[Translated by Carmel Budiardjo]

3) Australia and Indonesia strike deal to resume intelligence and military cooperation
Updated 19 August 2014, 15:23 AEST
Australia and Indonesia have struck a deal to resume intelligence and military cooperation.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will fly to Jakarta within days to join her Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa to formally sign what will be called the "Joint Understanding of a Code of Conduct".
Indonesia suspended cooperation with Australia last year after reports of Australian spying in 2009 on the Indonesian president, his wife and government ministers.
The suspension led to the cancellation of at least seven exercises with the Indonesian military, including a special forces counter-hijack exercise.
Ms Bishop, who has been in negotiations with Mr Natalegawa for months on the new code of conduct, has confirmed the breakthrough.

"We have reached agreement on the joint understanding and we are currently arranging a time to sign it," she said.
Labor's foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek has welcomed the breakthrough, saying she hopes the relationship with Indonesia is back on track.
"It is very welcome that Government have announced that there is an end in sight," she said.
"[But] I guess when you talk about two-thirds of the year going by and one of our most important relationships being under stress like this, I don't think you can talk about this as a foreign policy triumph."

Ms Plibersek says the Abbott Government did not manage its relationship with Indonesia appropriately.
"The fact that it has taken 257 days for the Government to be in a position [to] make this announcement shows that the relationship has not been well handed," she said.
"We hope that this ... is a resolution to that."
Details of the joint understanding have not been released, but it is understood to cover Australia's use of intelligence agencies in Indonesia.
Former Australian ambassador to Indonesia John McCarthy says he expects the activities of Australia's intelligence agencies will be somewhat curtailed by the deal.
"The devil will be in the implementation, not so much the detail," he told ABC News 24.
"I think there is an understanding of some sort that what Australia will do will be in some way circumscribed."
The signing will be witnessed by outgoing Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and the ABC understands the date of the event will depend on his schedule.

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