3) Declaration of Indigenous Papuans affected by Forestry, Plantations and Mining.
AP Photo/Dita Alangkara
This statement was originally published on ipi.media on 7 December 2016.
Just five months before Indonesia is set to host UNESCO's 2017 celebration of World Press Freedom Day, its government still has not met a regional human rights watchdog's demands to address press freedom violations in the country's restive West Papua province.
Upon the announcement in July that UNESCO would mark May 3, 2017 with a conference in Jakarta, the Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF) set that date as a deadline for Indonesia's government to "ensure that there is open access to West Papua for foreign media, and an end to abuses against local media".
However, the government has rejected that demand. In July 2016, the Minister Counsellor at Indonesia's embassy in New Zealand, Wanton Saragih, argued that great strides forward in terms of press freedom in West Papua have been made under the current administration, including a lift on the ban against foreign journalists.
Last year, all foreign journalists' visa applications to West Papua were reportedly approved, including a request by Radio New Zealand International reporter Johnny Blades. But in an interview with the International Press Institute (IPI), he described a burdensome application process that required approval from 12 different state agencies, including the military.
Meanwhile, West Papuan journalists such as Aprila Wayar, who works for online news outlets Tabloid Jubi and Tanah Papua News, say they are forced into self-censorship out of fear of persecution.
"My friend [who is a journalist] died in 2010," Wayar said. "He covered illegal logging on the border of Papua New Guinea and West Papua, and they killed him. Sometimes I'm scared about [the work] that I do."
Human rights violations
West Papua in the media
Indonesia's 'right to be forgotten'
The way forward
2) Association Calls for Freeport’s Copper Refinery
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian Smelters Association suggested that the government should offer private companies to process and refine Freeport Indonesia's copper concentrate, since the giant mining company has not yet built smelters.
"For copper, the government should take over and offer the refinery to other companies. The government should confirm whether Freeport will build a smelter or not. If not, the government can find other investors," Indonesia Smelter Association chairman R. Sukhayar said in a discussion held in Jakarta on Thursday, December 15, 2016.
Sukhayar added that the government could invite investors to refine Freeport's copper concentrate, if the company keeps delaying its smelter development. Sukhayar also suggested that the same could apply to other mining companies, such as Newmont Nusa Tenggara and Gorontalo Mining.
According to Sukhayar, since bans on raw mineral exports were enforced in January 2014, three investors have expressed interest in the smelting business to facilitate mineral refinery for companies reluctant to build smelters.
"The problems center on supply sustainability and other technical issues. There’s no need for legal basis because it’s a business-to-business affair,” Sukhayar explained.
Sukhayar pointed out that the scheme was worth trying, because Indonesia has a huge amount of supplies to meet demands on copper in Asia. China, Sukhayar added, could be one of the most potential investors to be offered due to its high demands on copper.