Monday, June 6, 2016

1) Artist asked to remove separatist Papuan flag mural in Darwin

2) Indonesian consul says he’s unaware of ‘pressure’ to paint over West Papua mural
3) Papua Governor to be Assertive to Maintain Security
1) Artist asked to remove separatist Papuan flag mural in Darwin
Liza Josephine The Jakarta Post  Jakarta | Mon, June 6 2016 | 07:55 pm
An artist who painted the Free Papua Movement flag on the wall of a building in Darwin, Australia, has reportedly been asked by the building owner to erase the mural. The request was allegedly made due to "external pressures”.
Randazzo Properties ( RP ), the owner of the building, expects the mural to be removed from the wall this week, reported, citing a written statement as quoted from AustraliaPlus, on Monday. RP is said to have contacted the owners of buildings located in proximity to the wall to request access so that the mural can be removed.
“Due to external pressure, I have requested that the mural be removed as soon as possible [...],” a Randazzo Properties employee wrote in an email.

Free West Papua activists in Australia admitted that they had been informed of the mural removal request made by RP. The activists allege that the “external party” mentioned by RP was the Indonesian Consulate General in Darwin.
The Indonesian Consul in Darwin, Andre Siregar, claims not to have had any contact with the owner of the building in question. However, the consul admitted that in August 2015 he had written a letter to the Northern Territory government voicing objection to the separatist mural.
While claiming to respect freedom of expression in Australia, Andre considered that physically, the mural was located in close proximity to both the Indonesian Consulate General and Australian Parliament buildings, potentially raising questions regarding the level of Australian support for the Free Papuan Movement among Indonesian officials who visited the country.

Andre said there were two people in Darwin who support the Free Papuan Movement, including the mural artist, Juni Mills.
Mills claims that the wall has been used by different artists to convey various messages for years, adding that the mural was designed to show solidarity between Papuans and Indigenous Australians.
“This mural shows respect, love and solidarity for West Papuan people,” said Mills.
“People cannot raise the West Papua flag in West Papua. They will be killed or imprisoned or punished,” said the artist. “So we painted the flag here as a form of solidarity [...] We acknowledge their struggle,” she said.
The main problem, Mills further said, was that the Indonesian government did not want the struggle of the Free Papuan Movement to spread abroad. “They want to block information on anything that has occurred in West Papua,” said Mills. The artist said the mural was painted in June 2015.
Mills believed that the order to remove the mural was related to a conference to be held soon at the Charles Darwin University.
The Indonesian conference will invite academics, researches, lecturers and students of different disciplines to discuss the latest information on developments in Indonesia. 
On the issue of the mural, RP executives have not yet provided a statement. Several activists gathered at the location of the mural on Saturday to protest the removal request. ( elf )
2) Indonesian consul says he’s unaware of ‘pressure’ to paint over West Papua mural
Australian Associated Press Monday 6 June 2016 17.01 AEST
Artists’ group says it has been told to paint over ‘show of solidarity’ between Indigenous Australians and West Papuans
Indonesia’s consul in Darwin has denied awareness of any “external pressure” put on the owners of a building housing a mural supporting West Papua to paint it over.
Andre Siregar on Monday tweeted “I am unaware of any external pressure. Good neighbours & friends are always open to discussions”.

His comments came in response to news over the weekend that an employee from Randazzo Properties emailed the artists’ group that painted the mural in the central business district to say that “due to some external pressures I have been asked to see the wall painted out as a matter of urgency”.
Cindy Watson, an activist with the Free West Papua movement in the Northern Territory, said the employee had said the Indonesian consulate was driving the pressure.
The mural was agreed upon and painted last June, and depicts one hand reaching from the Aboriginal flag towards another hand from beneath the West Papuan Morning Star flag, which is associated with the independence movement.
“This is a show of solidarity between Aboriginal people and West Papua people; now what part do they [the Indonesian government] play in that?” artist and Larrakia elder June Mills said.
“That’s just bullying tactics, that’s sticking their nose in where it’s not required ... if they’re finding that mural offensive or in your face that’s because its bringing to people’s attention the plight.”
Siregar told the ABC he had written to the NT government in August registering his opposition to the mural and said its proximity to the consulate and to Parliament House had raised questions from visiting Indonesian officials over support in Australia for the West Papuan independence movement.
“I think the Indonesian government are feeling they’re under pressure and they’re trying to pressure either the [NT] government or the property owners because the Morning Star is something they’re actually more afraid of than they’d like to give it credit for,” Watson said.
“What it implies is that they’re more worried about West Papua than people realise.”

Media and human rights access to West Papua is still strictly controlled by the Indonesian government and activist groups are concerned human rights violations are going unreported in the province.
Benedict Coyne, the president of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, said it was concerned by the reports of external pressure being applied to paint over the mural.
“ALHR is concerned by allegations of any attempts to use external pressures to limit the rights of freedom of speech and expression in Australia,” Coyne said. “These rights are essential to a healthy and vibrant democracy. 
“It should be remembered that the right to freedom of expression includes the right to peacefully advocate for things like referendums and independence as long as that advocacy does not involve incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.
“If residents of the Northern Territory wish to draw attention to the plight of West Papuans who are engaged in a struggle for self-determination and do so in accordance with Australian laws, there should be no external pressure to silence them.”
No one at Randazzo Properties was available to comment on Monday afternoon and it’s not yet clear when the mural might be removed or papered over.

3) Papua Governor to be Assertive to Maintain Security
4 June 2016
Sentani, Jubi – Demonstrations by local organizations and community groups are leading to national disintegration, said Second Deputy Chairman of the Jayapura Regional Legislative Council.
In a statement, Second Deputy Chairman Kornelis Yanuaring urged the local government to take assertive action against these demonstrations, saying they have been disruptive to many parties.
“Local governments should not just stay and let this problem to persist. An assertive action should be taken to overcome this problem because it has victimized many things, both lives, prosperity and other public facilities,” Yanuaring told Jubi at the Jayapura Regional Parliament’s Secretary Office on Thursday (2/6/2016).

He also said the local government should make coordination with the Regional Heads Communication Forum because the forum is an instrument which is able to formulate and find solution to keep the Jayapura Regency safe and secured.
“Indonesian Military, Police, District Attorney, Court as well as Regional Legislative Council are included into the Regional Heads Communication Forum. This forum could be applied to solve the problem that soon or later could disturb the national integrity and unity,” he asserted.
At separated place, Jayapura Regent Matius Awoitau said the Papua Provincial Government should take an assertive action as well to counteract this situation.
“What was currently happened is people conduct demonstration on their purpose, it means, as local government, we could do nothing. The Provincial Government should also take an assertive action to prevent people in doing demonstration as soon as possible,” said the regent. (Arjuna Pademme/rom)

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