Friday, June 17, 2016

1) West Papua bid on MSG agenda

2) Indonesia Rejects Separatist Movement in West Papua: Foreign Ministry
3) Papua-centric perspective should guide development in province: minister
4) Indonesia accused of arresting more than 1,000 in West Papua
The Fiji times
1) West Papua bid on MSG agenda
Shayal Devi Saturday, June 18, 2016

THE Melanesian Spearhead Group is expected to deliberate on West Papua's bid to become a full member of the organisation next month.
Director general Amena Yauvoli said the request for membership was on the agenda, along with the endorsements from the MSG senior officials and foreign ministers meetings in Lautoka this week.
"The foreign ministers' meeting (yesterday) is to deliberate on the issues put forward and recommended by senior officials," he said.
"Today, the decisions they take will go up to the leaders during a special summit in Honiara, Solomon Islands, on July 14."
According to Mr Yauvoli, the key decisions made by foreign ministers were in relation to strengthening the MSG and its secretariat based in Port Vila.
One of these was the appointment of the MSG director general, which was endorsed by the foreign ministers yesterday.
"Now that the senior officials have agreed and have recommended to the foreign ministers, they have endorsed it and now, they will take it up to the leaders for the formal endorsement, which completes the formalisation of the appointment."
The adoption of the newly-established MSG trade agreement will also be at the forefront of next month's meet.
Mr Yauvoli said a meeting of senior trade officials and ministers in Port Vila endorsed the MSG Free Trade Agreement and this would be submitted to leaders for their endorsement and approval. If all goes to plan, the new agreement could come into effect by January 1 next year.
"The deliberations (for the agreement) so far have been really good and it will trigger further opportunities and benefits not only for MSG member countries but the Pacific as a whole."
Mr Yauvoli said they were also working and trying to strengthen and improve the financial status of the MSG secretariat.
Meanwhile, United Liberation Movement for West Papua delegate Amatus Douw said the process of becoming a full member was quite complicated.
"I believe the MSG Secretariat has been working hard to formalise a criteria of membership from observer to full member," he said.
"We also really appreciate all the delegates and members of the MSG themselves, they are really working hard to help West Papuan people."
Last year West Papua's bid to join the group was knocked back by the MSG — they were given observer status.
2) Indonesia Rejects Separatist Movement in West Papua: Foreign Ministry
By : Eko Prasetyo | on 7:18 PM June 17, 2016
Jakarta. The Indonesian government has rejected the claims of a separatist group which calls themselves the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, or ULMWP, a press release from the Foreign Ministry said on Friday (17/06).
“The ULMWP is a separatist movement in a sovereign state. The movement has no legitimacy and does not represent the people of West Papua,” the ministry's director general of Asia Pacific and Africa Desra Percaya said at the Ministerial Level Meeting of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) in Lautoka, Fiji, Thursday.
Desra in his statement made specific references to the ULMWP’s effort to upgrade its status from an observer group to a fully-fledged member of the MSG.
Intense lobbying from the Indonesian delegation had apparently foiled the ULMWP's move.
MSG merely noted ULMWP's proposal and formed a committee to discuss membership criteria, as some of its member states had proposed to have Indonesia instead as a full member of the MSG.
The Indonesian delegation also invited MSG member countries to attend the Bali Democracy Forum on Dec. 8-9 to discuss how to strengthen security cooperation in the Melanesian subregion.
Desra also met face-to-face with the foreign ministers of Fiji and the Solomon Islands, the head of the Papua New Guinea delegation and the director general of the MSG during the meeting.

3) Papua-centric perspective should guide development in province: minister
Marguerite Afra Sapiie The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Fri, June 17 2016 | 03:09 pm
The government should change its view of development in Papua from an Indonesia-centric perspective to a Papua-centric one that prioritizes underdeveloped areas, National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) chief Sofyan Djalil has said. 
According to Sofyan, Papuans should make use of local resources in their development efforts. For example, if they have coffee and cacao plants, then they should improve those industries. If they have fish, then the government could help to create a fisheries-based industry.
"Instead of constructing Transpapua, it's better if we build or strengthen intermodal transportation or connect the province with outside areas," Sofyan said in a visit to the easternmost province on Thursday. 
Sofyan emphasized that local government in Papua should not initiate infrastructure development that did not offer a fruitful contribution to the local people, such as constructing a road on a mountain that would only benefit some vehicle owners but not all residents. (dan)


4) Indonesia accused of arresting more than 1,000 in West Papua

Oliver Holmes South-east Asia correspondent
Friday 17 June 2016 

Activists say detentions taking place during rallies calling for independence referendum

                                             Protesters on the street this week. Photograph:

Indonesian police have been accused of arresting more than 1,000 people at rallies in West Papua demanding an independence referendum.
Part of Indonesia’s easternmost Papua province on New Guinea island, West Papua is ethnically distinct from the rest of the country and was annexed by Indonesia in 1969. Many Papuans consider the takeover to have been an illegal land grab.

Protests took place across West Papua this week, activists said, posting photos on social media of their faces painted with the blue and red of the Morning Star, a banned flag used by West Papua independence supporters.
The government and police did not officially acknowledge the arrests, which activists said had been taking place since Wednesday. The Guardian was unable to independently verify the reports.
The Jakarta Post newspaper quoted an unnamed officer from the local Jayapura police headquarters who confirmed that some arrests had been made.
“Yes, they are under examination,” the officer was quoted as saying.
In May, 1,500 protesters were detained in what activists said was the largest mass arrest during Indonesia’s democratic era, which started in 1998. At that time, the police acknowledged the detentions, saying they had been made because the rally organisers did not have the necessary permits.
Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, has visited Papua – formerly known as Irian Jaya – and released political prisoners in an attempt at appeasement. He has said he will travel to Papua three times a year.

Many West Papuans, however, accuse the Indonesian military of abuses over several decades. More recently, residents have questioned the objectivity a fact-finding mission led by Indonesia into human rights abuses in the region.

The Netherlands retained Papua after Indonesian independence in 1945, but Jakarta moved into the region in 1962 and formally took over seven years later after a referendum that was widely condemned as having been fixed by the Indonesian government.
The West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda, who fled to the UK in 2003 and was granted political asylum, said in a statement this week that “while our demonstrations were entirely peaceful, the Indonesian police were determined to use brute force to crush them. Such mass arrests and brutality are becoming increasingly common in West Papua and it is estimated that in the last two months, nearly 3,000 West Papuan people have been arrested by the Indonesian authorities.
“My people cannot be silent while our fundamental human rights continue to be crushed, violated and denied to us by this brutal occupying colonial power.”
The map in this article was amended on 17 June to more accurately reflect the local geopgraphy

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