Monday, June 22, 2015

1) Vanuatu Committee believes Government supports West Papua

2) MSG foreign ministers start talks
3) Government stand on West Papua still unclear
4) Palm oil giants to investigate company found razing Papuan rainforest
5) Indonesian military personnel may accompany press in Papua
6) Malind Ezam tribal chief: Disappointed by government, wants to give back Kalpataru prize.
1) Vanuatu Committee believes Government supports West Papua
Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 12:00 am
By Jonas Cullwick | 0 comments
The Chairman of the Vanuatu West Papua Committee, Pastor Allan Nafuki, says the Committee believes the newly-installed Government of Prime Minister Sato Kilman supports West Papua’s struggle for independence.
Pastor Nafuki made the comment as leaders of the MSG prepare to gather in the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara this week for their biennial Leaders’ Summit during at which a vote is expected to be taken on an application for West Papua to become a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
“As Chairman of the Vanuatu West Papua Committee, on behalf of churches and chiefs around the country, we always believe that any government that comes into power always supports the cause for West Papua to become member of MSG,” he added.
“So far we have not spoken with the new Prime Minister and those in the new Government, but we always believe that any government of Vanuatu always supports the independence struggle of the people of West Papua and, for West Papua to become a full member of the MSG,” he said.
The chairman of the Vanuatu West Papua Committee said the committee would be going to meet with responsible people in the new government to get their commitment or re-commitment toward the West Papua freedom cause.
Vanuatu has always been a staunch supporter of the West Papua independence struggle even when other members of the sub-regional grouping sometimes waver in their support for reasons that have included trade and the economy.
The MSG is made up of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, the FLNKS in New Caledonia and Vanuatu.
2) MSG foreign ministers start talks
By Nic Maclellan in Honiara  Tue 23 Jun 2015
West Papuan activist Jacob Rumbiak with the United Liberation Movement petition to MSG leaders.-- Photo Nic Maclellan

Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Milner Tozaka welcomed Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) delegations to Honiara, as MSG Foreign Ministers met in the lead up to this week’s MSG leaders’ summit.
Stating that “a strong and vibrant Melanesia is our objective,” Tozaka took over as chair 
the MSG Foreign Ministers Meeting from Caroline Machoro-Reignier of New Caledonia’s FLNKS independence movement.
In the opening ceremony, MSG Secretariat Director General Peter Forau noted a series of achievements since the last regional summit, including extensive work for the expansion of the MSG Trade Agreement, the MSG’s monitoring mission for the September 2014 national elections in Fiji, and the successful 5th Melanesian Festival of the Arts, held in Papua New Guinea.
The last MSG summit in Noumea in 2013 approved a “2038 Prosperity for All Plan”, charting the next 25 years of economic, social and environmental development across Melanesia. After two years of preparation by the MSG Secretariat in Port Vila, an implementation plan for this overarching strategy will be presented to leaders for endorsement this week.
The MSG Secretariat has also completed studies to address the economic vulnerability of MSG member states, highlighted by the devastation of Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu. These include studies for an Emergency Stabilisation Fund, and a scoping study on an MSG Development and Investment Fund.
Forau also noted that the issue of West Papua looms large on this week’s agenda, stating: “The world and our region are looking at us.”
In his opening address, Foreign Minister Tozaka noted that according to the Establishment Agreement of the MSG, “decisions are based on consensus. This means nothing is agreed unless everyone agrees.”
This art of consensus building will be sorely tested during this week’s crucial debate on West Papua. In the weeks leading up to the summit, statements from MSG leaders have highlighted clear divisions over relations with Indonesia and the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) – a coalition of West Papuan nationalist organisations that is seeking membership of the MSG.
Later this week, MSG leaders will have to decide on applications from Jakarta to upgrade its 2011 observer status to associate member, as well as the ULM’s bid for full membership. As delegations continue to arrive in Honiara, there is still lots of lobbying in the corridors.
As Chair of the FMM, Tozaka briefly opened today’s meeting to allow a delegation from the ULM to present a petition to the assembled ministers and officials. The petition, with 150,000 signatures collected across West Papua over the last four months, endorses the ULMWP’s membership bid. 
ULM spokesperson Benny Wenda said the petition, collected by church, student, women’s and political groups, was received with “warm hearts” by the MSG foreign ministers.
“Today is a historic day, as the leaders have allowed us to bring these petitions on behalf of the people of West Papua,” he said. “We hope now the leaders can decide on our future.”
With an Indonesian delegation also present in Honiara to press Jakarta’s case, there will be further debate on the membership applications in coming days. The final decision will be taken by the MSG leaders, including Fiji’s Voreqe Bainimarama, PNG’s Peter O’Neill and New Caledonia’s Victor Tutugoro, who are scheduled to arrive in Honiara before Wednesday’s official opening of the leaders’ summit.

3) Government stand on West Papua still unclear
Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 12:00 am
By Godwin Ligo | 0 comments
The Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders have already begun arriving in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara, for the 20th Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) 2015 Summit.
The 20th MSG Summit will be preceded by the Melanesian Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting and the Senior Officials (SOM) which started on the 18th and followed by the MSG Head of Governments (MSG) Summit that will continue till June 26th, 2015. Vanuatu Senior Officials are already in Honiara.
A Government reliable source told the Daily Post Friday afternoon that the Prime Minister Sato Kilman, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Serge Vohor are expected to travel to Honiara on Tuesday this week.
He said they had to be in Port Vila today (Monday) pending the outcome of the Court ruling on the Speaker’s decision on the suspension of parliament earlier this week.
One of the crucial issues on the agenda for deliberation and decision by the MSG Leaders is the Application by West Papua for an Observer Status in the MSG. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade Moana Carcasses, who was supportive of the West Papua struggle for political freedom during his term as Prime Minister, told the Daily Post when contacted that he is now only responsible for Tourism, Trade and Commerce and referred the Daily Post to the Ministry and Department of Foreign Affairs on the issue of West Papua.
The government insider also told the Daily Post that the comment from the government on the issue of West Papua will be forthcoming before it is discussed in Honiara during the MSG leaders’ Summit.
The Solomon Islands, host for the 2015 MSG Summit has just made its position clear through a press statement from Honiara by the country’s Prime Minister Manasseh Sogovare, that the Solomon Islands has assured the people of West Papua that his government will support its bid to join the MSG as an Observer but reiterated the need to grant such recognition to one united group, and the need to consult Indonesia should West Papua seek full membership. This condition was outlined in the Prime Minister Sogovare’s four conditions announced by Prime Minister Sogovare in Honiara last week.
Vanuatu has always been in the forefront in lending its full support for West Papua political freedom and, for West Papua observer status in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
The West Papua Movements’ reconciliation ceremony, uniting all different Movements of West Papua was hosted by Vanuatu in 2014.
This was a major step forward uniting different West Papua political Freedom Movements which was hailed by Vanuatu as a major achievement for Vanuatu for the the people of West Papua. The initiative was undertaken by the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs and supported by the then Natuman-led government that saw leaders of all West Papua political freedom movement gathered in Port Vila and reconciled under one umbrella body for a united advancement of the West Papua Melanesian people towards one goal and that is the eventual political freedom from the administrative grip of Indonesia.
When Vanuatu gained her political Independence in 1980, the first country’s Prime Minister, the late Father Walter Lini, made a political statement in his independence speech that ‘Vanuatu will not be totally free until all colonized people of the Pacific are politically freed”.
Some local political observers say Vanuatu may continue to maintain the approach of “continues diplomatic approach with Jarkarta and through the United Nations” while others including the Vanuatu Civil Society Leaders have and continue to call on past and present Vanuatu Governments to vote for West Papua to be granted membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
4) Palm oil giants to investigate company found razing Papuan rainforest
Agribusiness giants Cargill and Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) are pledging to investigate a palm oil supplier after an Indonesian environmental group presented evidence of rainforest clearing in New Guinea. 
On Thursday, Greenomics-Indonesia released a report documenting destruction of forests in South Sorong, a regency in West Papua, Indonesian New Guinea. 
Greenomics found that PT Varia Mitra Andalan (VMA), a subsidiary of publicly-listed PT Eagle High Plantations Tbk, continued to clear high carbon stock forests through March 2015, potentially putting it in breach of sustainability commitments established last year by Cargill and GAR. Both companies buy significant volumes of product from Eagle High Plantations, according to public disclosures. 
The findings led Greenomics to call on the companies to respect their “deforestation-free” sourcing policies. Both companies are signatories of the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP), a corporate commitment to eliminate deforestation from supply chains. 
“Cargill has maintained trading relations with a company that remains involved in deforestation – something that is obviously not in line with IPOP and Cargill’s commitment to forest protection in all its agricultural supply chains, including in the palm oil sector,” states the report. “In the context of cleaning up their supply chains from deforestation, Golden AgriResources stated that this process would commence in early March 2014.” 
In response, Cargill and GAR told Mongabay they would investigate the matter. 
“We take the allegations concerning PT Varia Mitra Andalan (VMA), a subsidiary of PT Eagle High Plantations, seriously as our suppliers must comply with our no deforestation commitments as stated in our Forest Conservation Policy (FCP),” a GAR spokesperson said. “We have immediately engaged with PT Eagle High Plantations to investigate and clarify this matter.” 
“Cargill takes all grievances and allegations extremely seriously and we are currently investigating these accusations,” a Cargill official told Mongabay. “Results of the investigation and the resultant corrective measure(s) will be made available to the public. Regardless of the conclusion, Cargill remains committed to our due diligence procedures to better identify HCV and HCS violations.” 
Cargill added that the current contract between its subsidiary Poliplant Sejahtera, which it acquired last year, and Eagle High Plantations applies only to fresh fruit bunches sourced from West Kalimantan in Indonesian Borneo, so it doesn’t actually source palm oil from the plantation cited in the report. 
Nonetheless, the company affirmed that it remains “firmly committed” to responsible palm oil production and sourcing. 
“We will reevaluate our relationships with suppliers that do not meet our standards,” said Cargill. “Sustainability of the global palm oil supply chain requires the perpetual participation of all parties involved and we encourage constructive dialogue from all stakeholders. Cargill continues working with NGOs and the rest of the industry to adjust and improve our policies towards our goals of protecting forests, peat lands, local communities, and human rights.” 
Greenomics’ research is based on legal documents acquired from the Indonesian government as well as satellite data from Landsat and Google Earth. It says forest clearance by VMA in the West Papua concession appeared to accelerate during the first quarter of 2015. According to the Ministry of Forestry, most of the area consists of secondary forest that had previously been selectively logged. 
The palm oil industry’s expansion in Indonesian New Guinea is a major concern for human rights groups and environmentalists. The region — which is seen as Indonesia’s “last frontier”, with the largest extent of forest cover and the highest proportion of people living in traditional communities — is being targeted by industrial interests, including oil and gas developers, mining companies, loggers, and agribusiness.
New projects are also a priority for the Indonesian government, which is seeking to strengthen hegemony in the sometimes restive region. For example, last week officials confirmed that the controversial transmigration program, which moves people from Indonesia’s crowded central islands to less populated ones, will be continued in order to support plantation and industrial agriculture development near Merauke. 
5) Indonesian military personnel may accompany press in Papua
Senin, 22 Juni 2015 20:09 WIB | 865 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesian Military Chief General Moeldoko said his institution was considering implementing a policy of having security personnel 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 here 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.
6) Malind Ezam tribal chief: Disappointed by government, wants to give back Kalpataru prize.
Amandus Yoliw Kaize, A Malind tribal chief from the Ezam group in Kaisa Village, Malind District, Merauke, wrote to President Joko Widodo on 18th April 2015 and sent Pusaka a copy in early June. The letter concerned a report of a land grab.
In the letter, Amandus reported his problems with an oil palm plantation owned by PT Agrinusa Persada Mulia (APM), which had taken over 1000 hectares of customary land. He also reported that PT APM had cleared land belonging to the Malind and Yeinan people in Kolam, Wan and Bupul vllages (in Muting and Elikobel villages).
“We’re extremely disappointed with this company’s activities in taking over the customary land. We are disappointed with the government which has never shown any concern for the people, even though we have made our contribution by looking after the forest and environment in Kaiza village to ensure it is protected”, said Amandus.
Eight years ago, Amandus Yoliw Kaize was awarded the Kalpataru prize for environmental pioneers for his work in conserving indigenous forest. President SBY handed over the Kalpataru prise to Amandus and 83 others in the State Palace on World Environment Day, 5th June 2007. In his address, President SBY said how important it was to save the environment for today’s generation and for future generations and to increase our concern for the environment.
In practice, customary forests which are important places for the Marind people are under threat or being destroyed by oil palm plantations and the rest of the MIFEE project. In his letter, Amandus asked the Indonesian President to pay attention to the Kalpataru.
“We request and hope that the President of the Republic of Indonesia will instruct the relevant ministers, the Governor of Papua Province and the Bupati of Merauke Regency to address this problem. We hope that the government, especially the Environment and Forestry Ministry will form a study team to come to Kaisa village, which was awarded the Kalpataru”, Amandus asked in his letter.
Amandus also requested that the Environment and Forestry Ministry give some support by funding the costs of a nursery, planting and maintaining the land to support the sustainability of local indigenous people’s forest.
Amandus has threatened that he will return the Kalpataru prize to the government in Jakarta, if their wishes are not taken on board.
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