Friday, November 4, 2016

1) Jakarta pressures Australia on West Papua

2) Solomons won’t enter media duel with Jakarta
3) Papua New Guinea today Australian Activist Speaks Out Against Jakarta Request

1) Jakarta pressures Australia on West Papua
INDONESIA has asked Australia to caution its Pacific Island neighbours against interfering in the West Papua issue.
It asked Australia to urge them to withdraw support for West Papuan membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), warning that the issue could pose a ‘stumbling block’ to closer ­bilateral ties.
Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu told The Australian newspaper he made the request to Australia’s defence and foreign ministers during their annual meeting in Bali last week and ‘the response has been good. It is unlikely they will refuse’.
“I have told Australia … we should maintain our close relationship and not let issues like this be a stumbling block to our relationship,” he said.
At Friday’s ministerial meeting, Australia and Indonesia also agreed to consider joint patrols of areas of the contested South China Sea and pirate-infested Sulu Sea between Indonesia and The Philippines. That will likely be discussed further when Indonesian President Joko Widodo makes his first official state visit to Australia on Sunday.
The bid for West Papuan membership of MSG, likely to be decided by year-end, has become a rallying point for the Free West Papua movement, which argues that the territory’s UN-supervised vote to stay with Indonesia in 1968 was secured by cheating and military intimidation.
Indonesia is an MSG associate but is lobbying hard against Papuan admission since the United Liberation Movement of West Papua gained observer status last year.
The group’s chairman, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, champions West Papuan representation. He was one of seven Pacific leaders to speak out against human rights abuses in the Papua provinces and to support self-determination at last month’s UN General Assembly.
After the ministerial meeting on Friday, General Ryamizard said: “I have told Australia we never interfere with the internal affairs of any other country and we will strongly object if other countries do so to us.
“So please tell Solomon Island and those six nations (from the MSG) never to interfere or encourage West Papua to join them.
“Those countries better keep their mouths shut and mind their own business. It is better that (Australia) speaks to them ­ gently. If it was left up to me, I would twist their ears.”


2) Solomons won’t enter media duel with Jakarta

4:18 pm today 

The Solomon Islands government says it’s not in a position to respond to a warning from Indonesia's government not to speak out about West Papua.

Indonesia's Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu has urged Australia to pass on a message to Pacific Island governments to not interfere in Indonesian domestic affairs.
In media comments in the past week, he pressed Canberra to rebuke Pacific states, in particular Solomon Islands, for raising Papua in global forums and inviting Papuans to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

The Solomons' envoy on West Papua, Rex Horoi, said his government won't respond to what is effectively a media statement.
"Due to the fact that we have not received any formal communication (on the matter) either from Jakarta or from Canberra, why should we respond at this stage? Therefore we will not respond until we receive such communication through diplomatic channels," he said.
Mr Ryacudu also told Australian media that it is better if Canberra delivers the warning to Pacific governments, because if it was left to him he would 'twist their ears' and described Indonesia as a sleeping tiger that can attack if disturbed.
However Mr Horoi said Pacific countries raised Papua in global fora because West Papuans lives matter.
"We speak collectively on abuse and human rights violations in West Papua because we have received reliable sources of information," he explained, "and therefore that is the collective concern of the civil society, public and governments of the region."
Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has confirmed having discussed West Papua last week with the Indonesian Defence Minister, but wouldn't be pressed on whether Canberra will pass the warning on.

3) Papua New Guinea today 
Australian Activist Speaks Out Against Jakarta Request
Leader of the Australian West Papua Association (Sydney) (AWPA), Joe Collins, has spoken out against reports that Jakarta has requested Australia to pass on a message to the Solomon Islands to refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Indonesia.

“This is an outrageous request as it is the duty of all nations to raise concern about human rights abuses not only in West Papua but no matter where they are committed.

“The Solomon Islands and the other six Pacific leaders who raised concern about the human rights abuses in West Papua (at the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September) are to be congratulated for their courageous stand on the issue of West Papua,” said  Collins.

He said that it is a pity that Australia does not follow the Pacific leaders in also condemning the ongoing human rights abuses committed by the Indonesian Military.

“Not only should Australia refuse the request of the Indonesian defence minister but should be supporting the Pacific leaders in calling on Jakarta to allow a PIF facing mission to West Papua.”

Indonesia's Defence Minister was quoted by media as having requested Australia to pass on the message to the Solomon Islands, saying that as a major donor, Australia should raise the issue of non-interference with Solomon Islands.

Joe Collins, along with AWPA’s Secretary Anne Noonan, were awarded the 2012 John Rumbiak Human Rights Defender Award.

AWPA’s role is to lobby and inform the Australian Government and the International Community and in particular regional organisations such as the Pacific Islands Forum and the Melanesian Spearhead Group to raise concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua.


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