Friday, December 12, 2014

1) Papuans spurn Jokowi visit

2) Christmas, momentum for Jokowi to find solution to Papua issue

3) West Papuans unite to form new umbrella group

1) Papuans spurn Jokowi visit   
Nethy Dharma Somba and Margareth S. Aritonang, The Jakarta Post, Jayapura/Jakarta | Headlines | Fri, December 12 2014, 9:31 AM
Church leaders in Papua have opposed President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s plan to visit the province for a national Christmas celebration in Jayapura on Dec. 27, citing the absence of a response by the state to Monday’s Enarotali shooting incident that claimed the lives of five civilians and injured 21 others.

The opposition was expressed by the Papuan Ecumene Churches Forum during a press briefing in Jayapura on Thursday. 

“The reason why the churches say ‘no’ to the visit of President Jokowi is because the state has not yet done anything about the security apparatus committing slaughter against civilians in Paniai,” Selvi Titihawala of the Evangelical Christian Church in Papua said.

Five locals were killed and 21 others were injured when police opened fire on protesters in Enarotali, Paniai, on Monday.

Chairman of the Evangelical Camp Church (Kingmi) Synod, Benny Giay, said that Christmas was supposed to “bring peace from heaven to earth” and he questioned what peace Jokowi could bring to Papua.

“The President has not yet made an official statement regarding the Enarotali incident,” Benny said.

Chairman of the service body of the Papuan Baptize Church Association Center, Socrates Sofyan Yoman said the churches demanded the government set up an independent team to investigate the case.

Regarding the proposal to set up an investigative team, Papua Peace Network coordinator pastor Neles Tebay said the military and the police should be excluded because Papuans would not trust the results of the investigation if they were involved.

Based on past experience, Neles said, no investigation into shooting deaths by police involving the military or the police had ever identified the perpetrators.

Separately, Papua governor spokesperson La Madi La Mato said the provincial administration had set up an investigation team for the case in anticipation of a possible blaming war.

“Governor Lukas Enembe deeply regrets the incident, especially because it occurred while Christians all over the world were observing the Advent period, waiting for the Christmas celebration,” he said.

Meanwhile, Papua Customary Council (DAP) chairman John Gobay expressed the hope that people would refrain from accusing any particular party as being responsible for the shootings.

“We regret the Papua Police chief’s statement accusing other groups of committing the shootings,” John said.

Fransiskus Madai of DAP Paniai concurred, saying that since leaders of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) in Paniai, namely Thadius Yogi and his son John Yogi, had died, no other armed group existed in Paniai.

“Paniai is actually very secure. There are no disturbances from armed civilian groups. I just don’t understand why there have been accusations of other armed groups being involved in the shooting,” Fransiskus said.

Separately, lawmakers urged the government to take immediate action to resolve the ongoing violence in Papua, the country’s easternmost province.

Desmond Junaidi Mahesa, a deputy chairman of the House of Representatives Commission III overseeing law and human rights, said it was urgent for President Jokowi to investigate the incident. 

“He [Jokowi] must wait no longer. He has conducted many blusukan [impromptu visits] for on-field clarifications on issues, so why didn’t he do so as soon as the incident took place?” Desmond, a politician from the Gerindra Party said on Thursday. 

Lawmaker Wahidin Halim, deputy chairman of the House Commission II overseeing regional administration, said that conflict throughout the archipelago, including in Papua, was often sparked by problems concerning regional administrations, such as proposals for the establishment of new autonomous regions or regional elections.

2) Christmas, momentum for Jokowi to find solution to Papua issue

Jumat, 12 Desember 2014 09:51 WIB | 548 Views

Thaha Alhamid. (ANTARA)
Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA News) - Secretary general of the Presidium of the Papua Council (PDP) Thaha Alhamid said Christmas is a good momentum for President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to discuss and find peaceful solution to Papua issue.

"The Christmas momentum is the right time for President Jokowi to present his way of settling the Papua issue peacefully, persuasively and elegantly," Thaha Alhamid said here on Friday.

He was commenting on a planned visit of President Jokowi to Papua to attend a joint national Christmas celebrations to be held in this Papua capital city.

He said he was concerned with the fact that most reports about Papua have been about violence.

"President Jokowi, should not come to Papua only to commission markets , attend Christmas celebrations, etc. But he should address the long unsettled problem besetting Papua since 1961," he said.

He said he was impressed by Jokowis statement last August saying that a big part of the problem of Papua was caused by wrong perception of Papua by those in Jakarta (the central government).

Jokowi made the statement when he visited Papua in August as a president elect, Thaha said.

"This is interesting. The statement was promising and gave new hope for the people of Papua," he said.

Thaha said on that occasion he took the opportunity to propose to Jokowi that when the former Jakarta governor took power as the new president of Indonesia, the first thing to do is to change the perception of Jakarta about Papua.

"As long as the people of Papua are seen as enemies, separatists, stupid , lazy and drunkards, there would be no solution to the problem," he said.

He said when Jokowi visits Papua he should meet the people and talk with them naturally.

"Christmas is full of peace, dont scare the people with armored cars and heavy military guards every where. Give room for the people to meet their president," he added.

Thaha also asked President Jokowi to release from jail all political detainees and reactivate the Law on Special Autonomy related to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

"If all this (the recommendations) could be accepted and implemented, the people of Papua would have the confidence in the president," he said, adding,"Promises would not solve anything."

President Jokowi is scheduled to attend the Christmas celebration at the Sentani airport of Jayapura on Dec 27, 2014.

He also is to commission a number of traditional markets and visit Wamena to meet a number of Papuan leaders.


3) West Papuans unite to form new umbrella group

Unified movement represents a new hope for West Papuans to continue building momentum for their struggle.
In a gathering of West Papuan leaders in Vanuatu last week, different factions of the independence movement united to form a new body called the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).
In kastom ceremonies that included pig-killing and gifts of calico, kava and woven mats, West Papuan leaders embraced each other in reconciliation and unity while the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, church groups and chiefs looked on. The unification meeting was facilitated by the Pacific Council of Churches.
The new organisation unites the three main organisations and several smaller ones who have long struggled for independence. By coming together to present a united front, they hope to re-submit a fresh application for membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) as well as countering Indonesian claims that the West Papuan groups are divided. The divisions have tended to be more about personalities than any real policy differences since all the groups have been pushing for the same thing: independence from Indonesia. But the apparent differences had sown some confusion and gave cover to Fiji and others in the region to say the movement was not united and therefore undeserving of a seat at the MSG so far.
This narrative has been challenged by other leaders in the region such as the Vanuatu Prime Minister Joe Natuman who said that the very fact the West Papuans are a Melanesian people gives them the automatic right to be represented by the MSG.
Following the unification gathering, newly elected spokesperson for the ULMWP Benny Wenda said “We West Papuans are united in one group and one struggle now.” Wenda claimed this was the most important gathering of West Papuan leaders since the struggle began 52 years ago.
The key groups to have united include the Federal Republic of West Papua (NRFPB); National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) and National Parliament of West Papua (NPWP), which incorporates the KPNB (National Committee for West Papua). An external secretariat consisting of five elected members from the various groups will now co-ordinate the ULMWP. Octovianus Mote, a former journalist who has been based in the US for many years, has been elected General Secretary of the ULMWP. Benny Wenda is the spokesperson and the other three elected members are Rex Rumakiek, Leone Tangahma and Jacob Rumbiak.
“The ULMWP is now the only recognised co-ordinating body to lead the campaign for MSG membership and continue the campaign for independence from Indonesia.”
General Secretary Mote said at the close of the unification meeting “I am honoured to be elected and very happy we are now all united. The ULMWP is now the only recognised co-ordinating body to lead the campaign for MSG membership and continue the campaign for independence from Indonesia.”
In a speech outside the Chief’s Nakamal (the hut which serves as a focal point for all the chiefs of Vanuatu), Mote spoke of the urgency of their situation. He quoted economist Dr Jim Elmslie whose demographic projections suggest that Papuans will comprise only 29% of the population by 2020, highlighting the massive transmigration program that continue to bring settlers in from around Indonesia. Indigenous Papuans are already a minority in their own land – and Mote warned that once West Papua is fully “asianised” then PNG will be next.
PNG is already under sustained pressure from Indonesia, witnessed by the last minute blocking of a charter flight organised for 70 delegates, many of whom had travelled for weeks through the jungle of West Papua to reach PNG, from leaving Jackson’s airport in Port Moresby. Peter O’Neill’s PNG government had originally organised and paid for the charter to get delegates to the Vanuatu meeting but appears to have succumbed to Indonesian anger. In the end 5 of the 70 delegates marooned in Port Moresby found commercial flights and got to Port Vila in time for the final day’s signing ceremony, which became known as the Saralana Declaration.
While Indonesia dangles the carrot of “assistance” and supporting Fiji and PNG’s bid for ASEAN membership, other Melanesian nations  are not so easily bought. No-one could accuse Vanuatu or its successive Prime Ministers of bowing to Indonesian pressure – the issue has bi-partisan support there and has become a domestic political issue. Vanuatu’s current Prime Minister Joe Natuman gave full state support for the West Papuan gathering saying he didn’t care if Indonesia cut diplomatic relations with Vanuatu.
On December 1st, the day West Papuans traditionally celebrate their independence day, Vanuatu’s leaders joined a large rally of supporters who marched through the capital Port Vila, led by the VMF (Vanuatu Mobile Force) marching band in uniform. Prime Minister Natuman was present at a flag raising ceremony which hoisted both the Vanuatu flag and West Papuan “Morning Star” independence flag. Indonesia promptly sent a “warning” to Vanuatu with unspecified threats.
West Papuan delegates were moved by Vanuatu’s support and spoke emotionally about ongoing atrocities and repression in their homeland. Even as they united, reports of more killings surfaced this week.
General Secretary Mote told me the next step is for the new movement to re-submit their MSG application for membership between February and March next year, with MSG leaders expected to make a decision when they meet in the Solomon Islands in June 2015.
No doubt some internal tensions will remain, given the tribal diversity of West Papua and its traditionally de-centralised leadership, but the newly unified movement under the ULMWP represents the best chance yet for the Papuans to continue building momentum for their struggle.

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