Tuesday, July 14, 2015

1) Diocesan priests voice concern over injustices in Papua

1) Diocesan priests voice concern over injustices in Papua
Government ignores the needs of the Papuan people leading to conflict, violence, they say

Papuan Fr. Neles Tebay says the lack of development in the resource-rich region of Papua has perpetuated an ongoing conflict in the region. (ucanews.com photo by Ryan Dagur)
  • Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
  • International
  • July 14, 2015

    At least 75 diocesan priests from five dioceses in the West Papua region have voiced concern over the treatment of the Papuan people that has spurred various acts of violence in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces.
    “We see injustices in the fields of economy, social, culture and politics in the land of Papua. We are concerned about various acts of violence happening in the Bird of Paradise Land. Violence is faced by violence. All these violent acts hamper the development, harm the peace, and hurt the feeling of so many people,” the priests said in a statement released following their recent meeting in Jayapura, Papua province.
    Among those diocesan priests attending the June 30-July 5 meeting was Father Neles Kebadabi Tebay from  Jayapura diocese. Other dioceses included Agats-Asmat, Manokwari-Sorong and Timika as well as the Merauke archdiocese.
    While Papua is Indonesia's richest province in terms of natural resources, it lags behind others in terms of development, and the little development that occurs rarely benefits the Papuan people, the priests said.
    Speaking with ucanews.com over the phone on July 13, Father Tebay said that such injustices could be seen in the development programs that focused only on district towns, where migrants mostly from Java now stay.
    “It's based on what we see in our parishes located in remote areas,” he said.
    Fr. Tebay said that migrants comprise about 70 percent of the total population in district towns such as Jayapura, Keerom, Manokwari, Merauke, Mimika, Nabire and Sorong.  
    According to data from the General Election Commission, both Papua and West Papua provinces had an estimated population of 5.3 million in 2014.
    “We see that school buildings in remote areas look good but there are no teachers. In the healthcare field, the number of doctors and nurses is very limited,” Fr. Tebay said.
    This dissatisfaction, he said, has led to a series of violent conflicts with the state.
    Lambert Pekikir, a Papuan and a pro-independence activist, urged the Indonesian government to respect the rights of the Papuan people.
    “Such inequality will grow a deeper dissatisfaction. The government have so far said only words, but the problems remain,” he told ucanews.com.
    Meanwhile, Lamadi de Lamato, spokesperson for Papua’s governor’s office, acknowledged that there were gaps in the government services offered to largely Papuan communities. But he asserted that the local government has taken strategic efforts to prioritize development programs.
    “Since last year, the local government has allocated 80 percent of its budget to the districts. The province receives only 20 percent,” he told ucanews.com.  “For sure, there are four agenda priorities: education, health care, economic growth, and development of infrastructures,” he said.
    Papua has been beset by a decades-long conflict over Indonesia’s takeover of the region following the withdrawal of the Dutch colonial administration in 1962. The guerilla Free Papua Movement has led a low-level insurgency against the state, marked by sporadic clashes and crackdowns on the Papuan people.

    2) Indonesians cite MIFEE project at UN meeting on corporate abuses

    Sapariah Saturi and Agapitus Batbual 
    July 10, 2015

    A sign in the Indonesian village of Wambi in Papua province's Merauke district says locals reject the presence of any company. Merauke is the site of a planned food and energy megaproject that was shelved during the Yudhoyono presidency but has been revived by the Jokowi administration. Photo: Agapitus Batbual 

    A coalition of Indonesian civil society groups that attended the first intergovernmental working group on a proposed UN binding treaty on business and human rights raised concerns about alleged abuses surrounding a controversial food and energy megaproject planned for the Papuan district of Merauke. 

    The coalition, Indonesia Focal Point, is among those pushing for a legally binding instrument to address human rights violations arising from the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises. The treaty would hold accountable for abuses not just the businesses themselves but also the countries where the businesses are based or operate. 

    Civil society groups assemble in Geneva during the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights' five-day session thsi week. Photo: Walhi 

    Wensislaus Fatubun, one of the civil society representatives from Papua, said the Indonesian government must take responsibility for what happens in the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE), which was shelved during the administration of former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono but which current President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration intends to resurrect. 

    "The Indonesian government must protect the rights of indigenous Papuans who have been victimized by the corporate food estate project," Wensislaus said in a statement earlier this week. 

    In Merauke, he explained, there had been many cases of human rights abuses involving corporations linked to MIFEE, such as forced evictions of local communities, destruction of sites important to indigenous peoples, torture and other forms of violence, environmental destruction and labor discrimination. 

    "Since April there has been an increase in arrests and intimidation by the security forces, directly affecting at least 531 people," said Wensislaus, who criticized the government for helping corporate interests appropriate indigenous lands. 

    The UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights' five-day meeting in Geneva ends today. 

    Indonesia was one of the 20 member states on the 47-member UN Human Rights Council to support the resolution mandating the working group. The others were Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, China, Congo, Ivory Coast, Namibia, Ethiopia, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Venezuela and Vietnam. 

    Fourteen countries voted against the resolution; they were Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, South Korea, Romania, Macedonia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Thirteen countries abstained: Argentina, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Gabon, Kuwait, Maldives, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone and the United Arab Emirates. 

    Produced in English by Philip Jacobson. 

    Citations:  Read more:  http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0710-jacobson-un-treaty-business-human-rights-mifee.html#ixzz3fqp88tDQ

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