Tuesday, June 23, 2015

1) House rebuffs plan to pardon Papuans

2) Papua without political  prisoners
3) TNI Chief Mulls Policy to Protect Foreign Journalists
4) Minister: Foreign Journalist Were Never Banned from Papua
5) West Papuans would take MSG observer status
6) Students arrested at fundraising rally in Papua
7) Freeport Invests $4 Billion Despite Contract Uncertainty
8) In Papuas health centres, a glimpse of dysfunction and corruption

1) House rebuffs plan to pardon  Papuans

Margareth S. Aritonang, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Tue, June 23 2015, 12:38 PM - 
The House of Representatives has rejected a government proposal to pardon political prisoners in Papua, citing fears that they would go on to inflame separatism in the resource-rich region.

The House on Monday met to discuss President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s plan for a second release of Papuan political convicts, summoning Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi, Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. Moeldoko and National Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Lt. Gen. Marciano Norman to a closed-door meeting with House Commission I overseeing defense and foreign affairs.

Despite holding only a preliminary meeting to a discussion expected to bring in more officials, including Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhi Purdijatno, to meet Commission I and Commission III overseeing law, human rights and security next week, Commission I refused to support the government’s plan to grant amnesty to around 90 political prisoners in Papua and West Papua provinces.

“There are, as yet, no comprehensive programs by the government in Papua [to develop the region]. It’s clear that the government institutions dealing with the matter have so far carried out only individual, ad hoc initiatives,” Commission I deputy chairman Tantowi Yahya told the press after the meeting.

“We require the government to first elaborate measures to be taken in Papua in a comprehensive roadmap. We will not give our support unless the government provides a clear and broad roadmap to be implemented in Papua,” the Golkar politician added.

According to Tantowi, the House received an official letter from Jokowi on May 7 seeking political support from the House for a plan to free more political prisoners following the release of five political detainees in Jayapura: Apotnalogolit Lokobal, who was serving a 20-year sentence, Numbungga Telenggen, serving a life sentence, Kimanus Wenda, serving 19 years, Linus Hiluka, serving 19 years and Jefrai Murib, serving a life sentence.

There are currently around 90 political prisoners detained in prisons around the restive region, including prominent political activist and former civil servant Filep Samuel Karma, who is serving a 15-year sentence for raising the banned Bintang Kejora (Morning Star) flag during a political rally in 2004.

In the press conference that followed the meeting, the ministers declined to discuss the plan, but did stress that Papua was not off-limits for foreigners, including foreign journalists.

“We’ve explained our responsibility in Papua, which is related to access to the land,” Retno said, explaining that her ministry had recorded an increase in permits issued to foreign journalists since 2011.

The House’s summary rejection of the plan to free Papuan political prisoners disappointed human rights campaigners, who expressed hope that the legislature would come round.

“We recommend that lawmakers politically support the government’s proposal, because the prisoners are not guilty. Set them free, for the sake of humanity,” said Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch.

Andreas highlighted Filep’s case as an example of wrongful arrest that contravened international law. 

Poengky Indarti of Imparsial said that granting amnesty to political prisoners in Papua would help to regain the trust of the region’s people.

“It is part of a solution to solve problems in Papua peacefully,” she said.

2) Papua without political  prisoners
Neles Tebay, Jayapura, Papua | Opinion | Tue, June 23 2015, 6:09 AM - 
Since its integration into Indonesia on May 1, 1963, Papua has been a land of conflict. There has been a conflict between the government and indigenous Papuans, more particularly with those Papuans who have been fighting for independence from Indonesia. Many Papuans have become political prisoners. 

Nevertheless, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has started to free Papuan political prisoners. During his presidential visit to Papua, President Jokowi released five political prisoners on May 9 in Jayapura, the capital. They were Apotnalogolik Lokobal (sentenced to 20 years), Klimanus Wenda (sentenced to 20 years), Linus Hiluka (sentenced to 20 years), Numbangga Telenggen (sentenced to life) and Jefrai Murib (sentenced to life). 

Their release, according to President Jokowi, was intended to  promote conflict resolution and help Papua become a land of peace. 

The clemency was perceived as an expression of his personal and moral commitment, as well as his political will, which brings hope for lasting peace.

The release of prisoners indeed constitutes an initial step toward turning Papua into a land without political prisoners. We now have new hope that one day all Papuan political prisoners will be set free at last. 

According to Papua Behind Bars, an NGO working for Papuan political prisoners, 28 Papuan political prisoners have not yet been released. As Jokowi’s government is reportedly working to release all of them, the release of all political prisoners is just a matter of time. 

Eventually, there will be no more political prisoners in the western half of New Guinea. 

A Papua without political prisoners could be created not only by releasing all political prisoners, but first and foremost by addressing the root causes that cause Papuans to easily become political prisoners. 

According to Papuans, this is because the political issue has not yet been addressed. The unsettled political issue is illustrated in a variety of situations: (1) the waving of the Morning Star flag, which is the flag of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), (2) the call for independence, (3) the stigmatizing assumption that all Papuans are separatists, (4) the call for a referendum, (5) demonstrations supporting West Papua through the UN Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) to become a member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), (6) the Papuan resistance movement (both the armed wings that raise resistance against the government in the jungle and the diplomatic wings comprised of Papuans conducting diplomacy for the independence of West Papua in different foreign countries), (7) the killing of Indonesian soldiers and police by Papuan rebels and (8) the killing of Papuan rebels by Indonesian army and police. 

These individual cases should not be seen as isolated problems that have to be settled separately. They are simply reflections of the unsettled political issues, just like smoke indicating that there is fire.

The detention, torture and sentencing to life sentences of indigenous Papuans will never settle the political issues that produce Papuan political prisoners. A political problem can only be settled with a political solution. 

All the stakeholders, therefore, should be involved in identifying those political issues that cause the emergence of Papuan political prisoners and jointly determine solutions accepted by all parties concerned. 

There will likely be new Papuan political prisoners in the near future. Hundreds of young Papuans held demonstrations on May 20 and 21 in Papua and West Papua in support of becoming a member of the MSG, which is now holding a leaders’ meeting and summit in the Solomon Islands capital of Honiora.

The demonstrations were organized by the National Committee of West Papua (KNPB). Four members of the KNPB were detained by police in Manokwari and declared suspects. If brought to justice and sentenced to years in prison, they will be the first four new Papuan political prisoners after the release of the five political prisoners by President Jokowi. 

More Papuans will become political prisoners for waving the Morning Star flag or for organizing demonstrations that call for a referendum, unless a comprehensive solution for Papua’s political issue is discovered. 

Thus the government should initiate political communication with those Papuans who associate themselves with the OPM. 

As stated by Defense Minister Gen. (ret.) Rymizard Ryacudu, the central government is willing to engage in a peaceful dialogue with the OPM and is reportedly slated to visit Papua to meet them.

We can now expect a dialogue between the government represented by Ryamizard and the OPM. They could produce some realistic and durable solutions agreed to and accepted by both parties to address all the issues that have been triggering the conflict in Papua for 52 years. Several meetings would be needed to arrive at a jointly agreed upon political solution. 

Therefore, the government’s dialogue with the OPM needs to be supported by all parties including the provincial and regional governments in both Papua and West Papua. Initially, an internal dialogue involving both indigenous Papuans and migrants would need to come up with a concept of a “land of peace”, identify issues that have to be settled and solutions that could address the issues.

All the results of the internal dialogue could be used as material for discussions in further dialogues, including in the dialogue between the government and the OPM. 

Once the Papua issue is tackled through a peaceful dialogue, then Papua could be transformed into a land without political prisoners. 

The writer is a lecturer at the Fajar Timur School of Philosophy and Theology and the coordinator of the Papua Peace Network in Abepura, Papua.

TUESDAY, 23 JUNE, 2015 | 05:04 WIB
3) TNI Chief Mulls Policy to Protect Foreign Journalists

TEMPO.COJakarta - Indonesian Military Chief General Moeldoko said his institution is considering implementing a policy of having security personnel to accompany foreign journalists in Papua to avoid untoward incidents.
"I am considering appointing guards to accompany foreign journalists so we can guide and protect them in case any dangerous situation arises," Moeldoko stated on Monday.
The military chief was attending a hearing with Commission I of the Indonesian House of Representatives, Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi and Chief of the State Intelligence Agency Marciano Norman. They discussed the amnesty and abolition policy applied to political prisoners in Papua.
Moeldoko added that the effort to provide assistance to foreign journalists was to ensure their safety.
The Indonesian Military will support all policies of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) for unity in Indonesia, he affirmed.
"At the hearing, we will further discuss the potential of the policy," Moeldoko remarked.
In addition, a member of Commission I of the House of Representatives, Tantowi Yahya, pointed out that the hearing was a follow-up to the letter the president sent on May 7 regarding granting amnesty and the abolition policy for political prisoners in Papua.
Furthermore, the Deliberative Body of the Indonesian parliament decided to refer the case of the Papuan political prisoners to Commission III.

MONDAY, 22 JUNE, 2015 | 21:48 WIB
4) Minister: Foreign Journalist Were Never Banned from Papua

TEMPO.COJakarta - Minister for Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi, said that there has never been a ban in place for foreign journalists to operate and report from Papua. "The government has never forbade foreign journalists and civilians from visiting Papuan soil," said Marsudi at the House of Representatives (DPR) Complex in Jakarta on Monday, June 22, 2015.
In fact, continued Marsudi, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo had previously given directives for foreign journalists on what sort of reporting is permitted in Papua. "The President's directives was welcomed by the international community," Retno said.
According to data released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Retno, there are currently 22 foreign journalists that are currently reporting from Papua.
"We have all the data. Throughout 2014, there were 22 visits that were approved by the government - which meant that there were practically no objections from the government. The government would only object if there are administrative requirements that have not been met, or if the security situation does not allow for safe reporting from Papuan territory. A reporting ban never existed in Papua," said Retno.
5) West Papuans would take MSG observer status
Updated at 2:32 pm today
The West Papuan group applying to join the regional agency, the Melanesian Spearhead Group, says it would accept observer status but wants full membership.
The secretary general of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Octo Mote, says membership is needed to highlight the human rights abuses in the Indonesian region.
The leaders of the MSG, representing Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Kanaks of New Caledonia, meet this week in Honiara.
At least two of the countries are pushing for the ULMWP to get observer status.
Mr Mote says the decision is for the leaders to make.
We will take any position the leaders think that that's the best, but of course, as a political leader myself I would fight for full membership, because we know that's the only way to stop this crime against humanity."
6) Students arrested at fundraising rally in Papua
Updated at 10:20 am today
14 members of a student group have been arrested by police in the Papuan town of Abepura, as they raised funds for a probe into the shooting deaths of fellow students last year.
The shooting in December, at a peaceful rally in Paniai, has led to accusations against police and military for opening fire on uniformed school children.
The students, from the Independent Student Forum, were fundraising to support the National Commission on Human Rights team, which was formed to look into the incident.
According to a report in Step Magazine, police told the students to disband, but they formed again in another part of town and were then arrested.

7) Freeport Invests $4 Billion Despite Contract Uncertainty

By Primus Dorimulu on 10:04 am Jun 23, 2015
Tembagapura, Papua. Freeport Indonesia, a local unit of US mining giant Freeport McMoran, has sunk $4 billion to support its underground mining activities in Papua while it awaits certainty over its contract extension after its concession ends in 2021, a top executive at the company said.
Freeport has built a 500 kilometer long tunnel and other facilities for its underground mining to support its current activities and exploit the 10,000 hectares of its concession area in the Grasberg mine in Papua.

Freeport sealed its basic agreement with the government of Indonesia in 1967 under the regime of President Suharto, which was inked under the second generation of contract of works before renewing the deal in 1991.
The Indonesian copper and gold miner’s new chief Maroef Sjamsuddin explained to chief editors invited to Tembagapura, Papua, that the US controlled miner has invested up to $11 billion since it began commercial operations.
The miner plans to invest more in Indonesia, about $17 billion to build a copper smelter and develop its underground gold and copper mines in the Grasberg mine complex, about 60 kilometers from Mimika, the capital of Mimika Regency of Papua.
“Only when there’s certainty, this new investment will be disbursed,” said Maroef, a retired two starred general of the air force and former deputy to chief of the nation’s intelligence agency (BIN), in a discussion with chief editors on Saturday.
Previous news reports said Freeport will build a smelter in East Java that would cost more than $2 billion and will spend another $15 billion in a multi-year investment plan to expand its underground mining operation at Grasberg.
However, due to the slow production from 2008 of its open pit in Grasberg, Freeport has developed its infrastructure to support its underground mining activities.
By September this year, two huge fans that needs 2,200 KiloWatts are expected to start operating to supply fresh air for underground mining workers, such as the stone breakers and those operating the conveyors.

Declining Production
In normal conditions, Freeport is capable of processing about 200,000 to 240,000 tons of ore per day on average. It saw its peak production in 2008, when the average production could reach 238,000 tons per day. However, production has declined after lawmakers approved mining laws in 2009 that prohibited the export of unprocessed mineral from Southeast Asia’s largest economy after January 12 last year.
The government wanted to boost the value of commodities extracted from Indonesia. Additionally, the government also wanted miners to build smelters, renegotiate contracts and change their mining permit from a contract of work with equal standing between the government and miner to a special mining business permit (IUPK) which reduced some of the miners privileges and legal rights.

The biggest issue that arose from the implementation of the policy was that for a long time for miners in Indonesia like Freeport, there was a shortage of smelters in the country even if they wished to process all of their ore before exporting it. Other problems were that it had been in long term contracts with other smelter operators and still had to honor its obligations under those contracts.
In response, Freeport argued that since the initial deal with Indonesia was to allow for an export of concentrates and that the deal with these international smelters were signed earlier, Freeport should therefore be allowed to honor their commitments until the end of their deals.
At the end of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s term, Indonesia saw an increasing economic nationalism sentiment, which resulted in policies that sought to strengthen the government’s position over miners.
After going through tough negotiations, Freeport was able to secure a six month extension of its export permit through a memorandum of understanding on contract re-negotiations in January after itsettled on Gresik as the location of its new smelter which plans to produce up to 2 million tons of processed metal.

Racing With Time
However, Freeport remains anxious about the future of its investment since their current contract will end in 2021 and according to the current government regulations, a miner will only be eligible to request an extension in 2019.
In anticipation of this, Freeport is racing ahead of the 2017 depletion of surface resources at its Papua mine site, forcing it to go all out for activities in underground mining.
“We need certainty, otherwise, Freeport’s production falls by 70 percent by 2017,” said Maroef.

Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Sudirman Said has been quoted saying “their output is already slowing, that is not what we want.” He further added that the company should wait until 2019 to make a decision whether to invest or not as it might see a sharp decline in production.
In 2014, productions of Freeport Indonesia has declined to an average of 118,000 tons per day from 179,000 tons. These figures are startling compared to other contract of work holders who were unable to secure support and re-negotiate their contracts wherein Freeport has been allowed to export up to 580,000 tons of concentrate for January-July.
However, the government is still pushing for progress over Freeport’s commitment to build the Gresik smelter, promised by Freeport. The Gresik smelter, which has a planned capacity of 2 million tons, will support Freeport’s capabilities to process ore concentrates to 3 million tons per year.

The production of the Gresik smelter adds to their existing pressure since Freeport’s production reports have been less than promising. Out of the average production of 179,000 tons of ore produced per day last year, only 50,000 tons of ore have been cultivated from the underground mining.
By plan, in order for investors to be convinced that a further massive investment will remain strong, Freeport is targeting that by 2017, it would be capable of producing 160,000 tons of concentrate per day from its four underground mining sites, which will be the biggest in the world.
Maroef said his company has sent a letter to the Energy and Mineral Resources Minister to ask for support for a contract extension after 2021. In July, Freeport must also deal with the ministry again to extend its 6-month export permit.
The president director said uncertainty over a permit extension in the upstream sector would impact negatively on the company adding that the plan to build a smelter with a capacity of 2 million tons per year could be wasted.

Freeport Wants An Extension Until 2041
Freeport has agreed on major changes on their part in its contract, as it seeks to ensure a contract extension until 2041. However at present, they are only permitted to extend the contract for a maximum of 20 years, which is divided into a two 10-year term.
However, Freeport seeks to improve their end of the bargain. For example, the company has agreed to increase their royalty fees to the government for copper to 4 percent of total sales from 3.5 percent previously, for gold to 3.75 percent from 1 percent previously, for silver to 3.25 percent from 1 percent previously.
Freeport also seeks to improve their income tax levies which are at 35 percent, higher than 25 percent that companies in Indonesia typically pay.
The company has also agreed to divest more shares in Indonesian entities, where they have increased their obligations to only sell 9.36 percent to 30 percent. Additionally, the company has also agreed to increase local content use to 90 percent from 71 percent previously.

The US-controlled company also had said that within 42 years of its operations in Indonesia, it has contributed to the state up to $15.6 billion in direct contributions and $29.5 billion in indirect contributions.
Direct contributions include taxes, royalties, dividends and other liabilities, while their indirect contribution have included salaries to their workers, domestic purchases and other investments that have stimulated growth in the region.
Maroef said Freeport has created jobs for nearly 30,000 people in the country of which 97.4 percent are from Indonesia. “The engineers working in underground mining are all from Indonesia,” he said. Of the total Indonesian workforce, 27 percent are native Papuan and more than 95 percent of the gross revenue of the Mimika regency comes from Freeport.
Maroef also revealed that from 1992-2014, the company’s total investment of $1.3 billion has also been enjoyed by the public in their projects to build roads, an airport, schools and hospitals.

According to Muhammad Said Didu, the head of the energy ministry’s smelter development acceleration, the ministry is looking to have a legal breakthrough to ensure that Freeport attains certainty in the renewal of their upcoming permit.
State Secretary Pratikno said currently, under the new mining law, the standing position between the government and Freeport has changed. “The position of the state is stronger,” said Pratikno. Still, he acknowledged that “a one sided action, such as terminating the contract [towards Freeport] would not settle problems. It would only create new problems, and the economy in Papua will suffer… Investment climate [will] get hurt and the geo-political position of Indonesia [will] get weakened,” he said.
Maroef said the company has sent a complete proposal to the energy ministry to ensure it can be granted a concession until 2041, and has reported all of its activities to the minister, but says that it’s up to the president to decide Indonesia’s stance over the matter. “The minister will discuss this with the president,” said the president director.
Investor Daily

This is part 4 of former Fairfax Media Indonesia correspondent Michael Bachelard's series on Papua. The introduction to the series is here and here are part 1part 2 and part 3.
'In June last year, seven doctors were sent to this town, but five didn't want to come. In September they tried to send another four and all four went back to Jakarta.'
Dr Poby Kamendra is the head doctor at the puskesmas (local health centre) in Bokondini, a town that once served as a Dutch colonial administrative centre in the highlands of Indonesia's Papua. He is from Sumatra, sent by the Indonesian health ministry for a two-year stint as part of a program to service the outer islands.

The Tabuni family of Wamena struggling with two members suffering from HIV/AIDS. (January 2013/Michael Bachelard.)
Poor education in Papua means there are few locally trained doctors. But not many from outside Papua want to stay in these hard postings with their thorny health problems. 
One young physician arrived for his two-year stint in a taxi via the bumpy road from Wamena. He got out and looked around, then climbed back into the same taxi, returned to town and was never seen again.
Dr Poby, by contrast, finds the work satisfying. On the desk in the consulting room are testing kits for patients diagnosed that day with tuberculosis which, along with HIV/AIDS, is in epidemic proportions here. In the eleven months to November 2014, he diagnosed 26 new cases of HIV and three of AIDS. 
Dr Poby has educated many people about how to take the HIV medication. It's provided free under an Indonesian Government program, but village people find it difficult to stick to the schedule for taking it. He's introduced an immunisation program, particularly for tetanus, which is common but for which patients previously had to find their way to Wamena. He has also trained health kaders, or village-level honourary providers. In mid-2015, Dr Poby's tour ends and he will go back home.
Bokondini's health centre is part of a network of 25 in the local region. But only two of these centres (the other is in the capital, Tolikara) are operational; the remote centres remain empty, their staff absent. Even in Bokondini, most of the local staff don't turn up, though they are punctilious about collecting their salaries. Dr Poby points to a roster behind him that contains more than 20 names, but he, an assistant and a nurse (who is also from outside Papua) are the only ones on duty when I call. 
The money to run the centre, buy medications and do outreach in the hills is rorted long before it gets to the front line. 'The allocated budget for this centre is 100 million rupiah (about $A10,500) for three months operation. But we only get 65 million,' Dr Poby says. 'In 2013, from an allocated budget for outreach (visits to remote villages) we only got 15 million ($A1580). It was supposed to be 125 million ($A13,200). So what can you do?...I don't know where the money went; it went missing before it got to the puskesmas.'
Prior to Dr Poby's arrival, it is said, the head of the health clinic herself would wait for the fresh medicine to arrive, then board the truck, drive it back to Wamena and sell it to the pharmacy there. 
There are also racial problems – the ethnic Papuan patients do not always trust the Malay-Indonesian doctors. 'People will say "those straight hairs are always trying to kill us, poison us, giving us the wrong medicine"', says veteran Wamena-based missionary Sue Trenear. 'If someone dies there has to be a reason. Someone has cursed them, given us the wrong medicine.'
Up at Lolat, an even more remote village, the head of the health centre, Elsona, a local man, actually lives in Wamena, and so the Indonesian-built health centre never opens. Honourary kaders, women from the village who learned their skills from the missionaries decades ago, have built their own consulting room with local materials. 
Their leader, Lea Sobolim, learned what to do from the missionaries. On the day I visited, she treated ten people using medicine brought by a local NGO, Yasumat. The local government, recently formed after a split from a larger administrative area, has no distribution method. 'If patients come they'll get medicine if they are sick, but the other facilities are not there, like towels, heating water,' Sobolim tells me. 'In the missionaries' time those things were basics'.
Sobolim, limping up and down muddy paths, gives off an air of maternal competence. She can administer almost all medicines, she boasts: 'Injections, depending on the illness. If the patients have malaria, they have to go to Wamena. If they are wounded from being cut, I'll treat them.' 
Stitches? 'I can do them.'
Broken bones? 'Yes.'
Service delivery to remote regions is a tricky affair even in a rich country such as Australia. But in Papua, with HIV/AIDS on the move, life expectancy at about 50 years, and no apparent plan to address the problem, the need for a better solution is acute.

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