Thursday, September 3, 2015

Summary of events in West Papua for August

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088

Summary of events in West Papua for August – (4 Sept.) 2015
Pacific Islands Forum
The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) leaders are meeting in Port Moresby during the week of the 7th- 11th September. Solidarity groups in the region are calling on the PIF leaders to have the human rights situation in West Papua as one of its priority issues on the agenda at the Forum.  In the past the situation in West Papua has been discussed at the PIF and concerns at the human rights situation in the territory mentioned in the official communiqué. However, in recent years it has been dropped from the PIF agenda no doubt because of pressure from Australia and Indonesia. It is hoped that the PIF leaders have noted the growing support throughout the Pacific region for the right of the people of West Papua to self-determination as the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) leaders did when they granted the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) observer status at the MSG summit in the Solomon Islands.  Solidarity groups in the region have written to the PIF leaders urging that West Papua be put back on the agenda at the PIF and that the PIF leaders go on a fact finding mission to West Papua to investigate the human rights situation in the territory.  AWPA’s open letter at 

In a RNZI report (13 August 2015) The head of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat presented five priority issues for leaders to address in regards to greater regionalism. The issues were identified by the recently created Specialist Sub-Committee on Regionalism and have been presented to the Forum Officials Committee meeting in Suva. The five issues are increased economic returns from fisheries and maritime surveillance; climate change and disaster risk management; information and communication technology; West Papua and cervical cancer. She reminded the officials of the important role they play and said this means focusing more sharply on high priority issues and on the delivery of results that make practical and positive differences  Groups from Aotearoa and the ULMWP made a short video calling for people in the Pacific to encourage the PIF leaders to support a fact finding mission to West Papua. They ask us to please watch this video and send the link far and wide

Two killed in Timika
Two people died and three others were injured on the 28 August when a solider opened fire on a group of civilians. The dead victims were identified as Imanuel Mailmaur, 23, and Yulianus Okoare, 23. The injured were named as Marthinus Apokapo, 24, who suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen and Martinus Imapula, 25, who was shot in the leg. The Bishop of Timika, John Philips Saklil condemned the shootings by military personnel.  According to Santon Tekege, a pastoral staff member at Timika Diocese the shooting occurred when two drunken individuals who were later identified as soldiers arrived at a tifa (traditional drum beating event) in the yard of Koperapoka Catholic church. The tifa was being held as a thanksgiving party for the first person of Kamoro origin, Leonardus Tumuka, to earn a doctoral degree. “They [soldiers] were refused admission and they left. Shortly after they returned carrying rifles with bayonets and frightening the people who were celebrating,” Santon said. Both men forced their way into the venue and threatened people at the party. Later as they were leaving they opened fire, killing two and injuring two others, he said. Two members of the Military District Command (Kodim) 1710/Timika have been arrested. The two soldiers, First Sgt. Arshar and Chief Sgt. Makher, were detained by the military police sub-detachment XVII-I/Cenderawasih. “[If] both are guilty they have to be held accountable for what they did. They will undergo the legal process,” the commander of 174/Waning Ap Merauke, Brig. Gen. Supartodi, told The Jakarta Post on Friday. The Pacific churches have also condemned the killing of the two West Papuans. They have called on regional leaders to speak out against summary killings, torture and human rights abuse in the Indonesian region. 

The General Secretary of the Pacific Council of Churches, Rev Francois Pihaatae, says the killings were uncalled for and an indication of Indonesia's contempt. He says Pacific leaders have a duty to speak out, especially those who have invited Indonesia into the Melanesian Spearhead Group (RNZI 31 Aug./Jakarta Post 29&31 Aug.). – On the 3rd September the Police blocked a gathering of members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and the Regional People's Parliament (PRD) region of Timika. They had gathered peacefully to worship the death of the two men killed by the security forces. The chairman of KNPB Timika region, Steven Itlay said democracy for the people of Papua have not been felt. Whatever you want to do Papuans are prohibited by the security forces for various reasons that are not logical. "People want to do worship Papua banned, blocked a peaceful demonstration, expression in public is always confronted with the military, this is the reality that occurs in the land of Papua today," said Itlay ( Photos on blog at

News in brief
Papuans behind bars July 2015: Threats to human rights defenders in Papua on the rise
At the end of July 2015, there were at least 51 political prisoners in Papua. Information received from the Central Papuan Highlands Coalition for Peace, Law and Human Rights (Koalisi untuk Kedamaian, Hukum dan HAM Pegunungan Tengah Papua) reported an increasing climate of intimidation and harassment against human rights defenders and lawyers in Wamena. Coalition members providing accompaniment to Roby Erik Pekey, a victim of arbitrary police violence in Wamena, have been subject to harassment due to their role in addressing impunity. An increased number of reports of intimidation faced by human rights defenders underscores the need for the state to take urgent measures to ensure their protection………………  Full update
Jakarta Post Editorial: Jokowi and the foreign press
The Jakarta Post Editorial August 28 2015Back in May both national and international media greeted President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s decision to lift decades-long restrictions on foreign media access in Papua, calling the move a step in the right direction toward Indonesia’s full commitment to press freedom.  But only a few weeks later what was thought to be a promising initiative had already led to disappointment as then chief security minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno said the government would maintain its “clearance house” team that scrutinized the visits of foreign journalists to Papua. Without giving clarification, let alone denial, concerning his minister’s archaic approach, the President left room for speculation that he was not actually in command, or that he simply did not care if his directive had fallen on deaf ears. Now his subordinates are moving to widen restrictions of foreign journalists. Not only in Papua, but in all parts of the country foreign media, both print and electronic, will have to secure permission from local governments before conducting reportage.  Director General of Political and General Administration at the Ministry of Home Affairs Soedarmo said on Wednesday the new regulation followed an agreement among ministries and state institutions responsible for monitoring foreigners that it was important to keep an eye on all activities of foreign journalists in the country. In an effort to clarify the issue, Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said on Thursday the new regulation was needed to prevent foreign journalists from conducting intelligence activities. His explanation, however, will only raise more eyebrows, unless there is a precedent for the regulation.  It seems suspicion is behind the policy and if that is the case the government could take aim at all foreigners. Another possible motive is the government’s discontent with foreign media reports, which naturally describe Indonesia from an outsider’s point of view.  Whatever the reasons behind the new regulation, it has already cast doubt over this government’s respect for press freedom. The government’s plan to tighten its control of foreign media marks a setback for Indonesian democracy, where the press has been recognized as the fourth estate that completes the executive, legislative and judiciary powers to make democracy function well. The press knows no borders. Local and foreign journalists are doing the same job of ensuring the public’s right to know is fulfilled and bound by the same code of conduct. They are only different in terms of nationality. It is indeed beyond our imagination if Jokowi, dubbed a media darling during the presidential race and after his rise to power, will have the heart to stifle the press, especially foreign journalists. But the drafting of the new regulation to monitor foreign media serves as more proof of the gap in attitudes between him and his subordinates in dealing with the press. We don’t think Jokowi has forgotten his own words while visiting the country’s easternmost region Merauke in May that “foreign journalists, as of today, are allowed to enter Papua as freely as they enter other provinces”. We only demand that he realize his promise. - 
Freeport Slashes Mining Budget, Cuts Jobs as Copper Slumps
( By: Susan Taylor 27, 2015. Toronto). Freeport-McMoran Inc said on Thursday it will slash its mining capital budget by 25 percent next year and cut 10 percent of its US mine staff, as the diversified miner and energy producer attempts to weather an ongoing slump in copper prices. Shares of Freeport-McMoran, which will suspend operations and lower production at some US mines, surged 22 percent to $9.67 after the announcement. This marks the latest in a string of cuts from the Arizona-based company, which earlier this month reduced the 2016 and 2017 oil and gas capital budgets by 31 percent to $2 billion per year. Freeport now plans to spend $2 billion on mining in 2016, for a total capital budget of $4 billion. Last month it cut total spending to $4.7 billion from $5.6 billion forecast in July. "This is a step in the right direction to stop the bleeding; however, current copper and oil prices restrict the company's ability to materially de-lever," Cowen and Co analyst Anthony Rizzuto wrote in a note to clients. "We believe there is room for additional spending cuts and/or production curtailments, especially in North America and Indonesia.” To diversify from its copper, gold and molybdenum mining, Freeport acquired two oil and natural gas producers in 2013. Those deals bulked up its debt, which was $20.9 billion at June 30. If the cuts and plans to raise up to $1 billion through an equity issue and the IPO of a minority stake in its energy business are not enough, asset sales could be next, Jefferies analyst Christopher LaFemina said in a note. Freeport's stake in the Cerro Verde copper mine in Peru could fetch $4 billion, the El Abra deposit in Chile $1.1 billion, and the Morenci mining complex in Arizona $1.6 billion, he wrote. With seven copper mines in North America, Freeport will suspend operations at its Miami mine in Arizona, halve production at Tyrone in New Mexico and "adjust" rates at other U.S. sites, while reducing its workforce by 1,000. Henderson mine molybdenum production will be cut by 35 percent. Cash production costs to produce a pound of copper are now estimated at $1.15, down from $1.25 previously. Seen as a proxy for industrial activity, copper prices sank to six-year lows this week amid ongoing worries over China's economy. Freeport lowered its copper sales estimates for 2016 and 2017 by about 150 million pounds ($230 million). It previously forecast 2016 sales of 5.4 billion pounds. (Reuters)
West Papuan independence leader says Indonesian military is targeting family to target him
The West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda said his family is being targeted by the Indonesian military after the murder of a family member. ABC reported that he said his relative, Fredi Wenda, was tortured and then stabbed to death by members of the military on Indonesian independence day three days ago, and is calling on the Melanesian Spearhead Group and Pacific Islands Forum to speak out about government abuses (ABC 20 Aug).
NZ MP calls for more engagement on Papua
RNZI 19 August) Carmel Sepuloni was one of around ten MPs who met with the visiting secretary-general of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Octo Mote last night in Wellington. Mr Mote discussed what he describes as growing regional support for international recognition of West Papuans' concerns with Indonesian rule. Ms Sepuloni says New Zealand's relationship with Indonesia shouldn't preclude it pushing for West Papuans to have their rights honored and to be treated fairly by Indonesian authorities. "Yeah I think it's something that New Zealand has to take seriously, and we need to be involved in the conversations that are happening, as our West Papuan leaders have said. The Pacific Forum and the Pacific small island states are really important in terms of progressing this issue and New Zealand needs to be part of that dialogue, so I think we should all actually be engaged with this and not scared to talk about it. "
New York Agreement. West Papuan supporters held rallies in cities around the world to commemorate the New York Agreement, the day of broken promises on the 15 August. This shameful act, the signing of the New York Agreement lead to the betrayal of the West Papuan people. In Sydney supporters held a rally at the Prime Ministers Sydney residence. Photos at

Church Demands Jayapura Police Chief Deputy be Fired over Sunday Raid
( JUBI POSTED BY: ADMIN AUGUST 12, 2015) Jayapura, Jubi – The church has demanded Papua Police toremove the Jayapura deputy police chief (Wakapolres) be fired over a raid carried out by dozens of officers around the Kingmi Church in Doyo Baru, Jayapura regency on Sunday (09/08/2015). One of the assemblies of Ninom church, Nikius Bugiangge said Jayapura police chief deputy is responsible for the action. He said Wakapolres should be removed because he ordered the search. “We’ve asked and he said he sent them and this is not right and unacceptable. If the other days might be understandable, but this happened on Sunday, when the people were worshiping. It was a day of worship of Christians and must be respected, ” Nikius said via telephone to the Jubi on Tuesday (11/8/2015). According to him, the church has written to the Papua Police and Christians of various churches in Papua will hold a peaceful demonstration at the local police. Papua Police must apologize, and explain to the public as well as remove local police chief deputy, he said. “When police officers ransacked residents’ housing, they came as if they want to fight or look for terrorists. Some entered through the window when I could not open the doors of homes. In fact there are sick people threatened with a weapon. What does it mean?, “member of Papua Legislative Council said. Previously, Rev. Yones Wenda who led worship when shakedown said police entered the church when worship took place. Police surrounded the houses behind the new church that has not been inaugurated. “At home, some family are sick. Police immediately held-arms of the front door, back door and windows. Family homeowners who are ill at gunpoint and told to stand up straight. They did not show a warrant and did not say their goal, “said Rev.Yones to Jubi, on Sunday (09/08/2015). He further said local police chief deputy ordered his members to conduct a search for weapons and HP’s home burgled. (Arjuna Pademme/ Tina)

Comments/opinion pieces/reports etc.
A new hopeful chapter in West Papua’s 50-year freedom struggle

Report by Peter Arndt  “WEST PAPUA: The Irrepressible Struggle for Freedom” at 

New song from George Telek, “Free West Papua (One People, One Soul)
Transforming the Regional Architecture: New Players and Challenges for the Pacific Islands
Photos from the  ‘International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples’ 
ANJ Agri case: prosecution demands prison sentences for indigenous protesters Obet Korie and Odi Aitago

South Sorong: Oil palm industry continues its rapid expansion.

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