Thursday, December 1, 2016

1) Police accused of beating pro-referendum activis

2) Morning Star flag raised
3) A voice from Papua, Indonesia

4) More mass arrests at Papua rallies in Indonesia


1) Police accused of beating pro-referendum activists
Jakarta | Fri, December 2 2016 | 08:53 am

Moses Ompusunggu The Jakarta Post

Papua protest: People chant slogans during a protest by university students from the Free Papua Organization and the Papua Student Alliance in Jakarta on Thursday. The police detained at least four of the protesters, who were rallying against Indonesian rule over the eastern province of Papua.(JP/Wendra Ajistyatama) (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)
Papua protest: People chant slogans during a protest by university students from the Free Papua Organization and the Papua Student Alliance in Jakarta on Thursday. The police detained at least four of the protesters, who were rallying against Indonesian rule over the eastern province of Papua.(JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)
Lawyers for protesters attending a West Papua liberation rally in Jakarta on Thursday have accused police officers of beating their clients after a clash broke out between the two sides, leading to the arrest of 10 protesters.

One of the lawyers, Veronica Koman, claimed some of the 10 apprehended protesters were beaten by Jakarta Police officers on Jl. Imam Bonjol, Central Jakarta, when rally participants insisted on marching to the nearby Hotel Indonesia traffic circle.

The rally was organized by an alliance named the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-West Papua), which consists of numerous civil society organizations, aimed at supporting residents of the country’s easternmost region to exercise their right to self-determination through a referendum.

FRI-West Papua argues that the need for a referendum is a consequence of abuses carried out by the government that have resulted in a persistent lack of welfare in the restive region.

Those detained by the police included FRI-West Papua spokesperson Surya Anta, who was one of the protesters allegedly beaten by the police, and Alliance of Papuan Students (AMP) chairman Jefry Wenda.

The 10 apprehended protesters were released by the police on the same day. 

Veronica said the legal team, consisting of representatives from the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta), the Press Legal Aid Institute (LBH Pers) and the Keadilan Bogor Raya Legal Aid Institute (LBH KBR) based in Bogor, West Java, may report the incident to the Jakarta Police. Beatings, she said, were also carried out by police in plain clothes. 

“We may report the police because we saw the police violated many procedures. They beat and arrested [some of the protesters] without wearing police uniform, making it difficult for us to identify whether it was officers who allegedly beat the protesters,” Veronica said.

Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Raden Prabowo Argo Yuwono said he had not received any reports about the alleged beatings by police officers, but added that he would allow the activists to report the incident to the National Police’s internal affairs division (Propam). 

Apart from Jakarta, West Papua rallies were held on Thursday in nine other cities, such as Jayapura and Yogyakarta, coinciding with what West Papua liberation proponents see as their national day.

Hundreds of protesters participating in the rally in Jakarta initially planned to march from the LBH Jakarta office on Jl. Diponegoro, Central Jakarta, to the Presidential Palace. The plan, however, did not materialize as the mass was forced to stop and stage the rally at an intersection on Jl. Imam Bonjol, which was guarded by around 700 Jakarta Police personnel. 

During the rally, a leader frequently told the mass, which consisted of members of the FRI-West Papua and the AMP from various cities, that the event had to be conducted in a peaceful fashion, warning them to remain calm amid possible “provocation”.

But some protesters, who were seen wearing headbands resembling the Morning Star flag, insisted on advancing to the Presidential Palace via the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, prompting Central Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Dwiyono, who led the police effort, to issue several warnings to them.

Clashes broke out as the protesters nevertheless tried to break through the police barricade, during which Surya claimed he and other protesters were apprehended and beaten by a number of uniformed and non-uniformed police officers.

— Nethy Dharma Somba and Bambang Muryanto contributed to this story from Jayapura and Yogyakarta.


2) Morning Star flag raised

Chiefs, politicians, Ministers, community leaders, women, and youths from around Port Vila gathered yesterday morning to raise the Morning Star, West Papua’s flag The gathering which took place at the Chiefs Nakamal joins other gatherings around the globe in commemoration of the first raising of the flag in 1961, in West Papua. Vanuatu’s support towards West Papua’s struggle for Independence has always remained strong over the years and this year’s flag raising was attended by Deputy Prime Minister, Joe Natuman, Minister Ralph Regenvanu, and the President of Malvatumauri, along with Barak Sope, a former prime minister. “We raise the Morning Star flag every year in support of West Papua’s struggle for independence and to commemorate the first ever flag raising of 1961,” said Chairman of Vanuatu Free West Papua Association, Pastor Allan Nafuki. “The first raising of the Morning Star took place when West Papua was still under the colonial rule of Holland. “They asked Holland for Independence but when Holland left, West Papua was left with Indonesia after the creation of the Act of Free Choice which a lot of West Papuans had no knowledge of at that time.” Yesterday’s event included speeches from the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister Regenvanu, Malvatumauri President, Pastor Nafuki and Rex Rumakiek, Secretary General of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) who travelled to Vanuatu this week especially for the event.


3) A voice from Papua, Indonesia

WHEN journalist and media activist Victor Mambour wants information from inside Papua, Indonesia, he knows how to get it — he has to ask someone who isn’t Papuan.
“I’m Papuan so when something happens, I ask the police about it but they don’t give me an answer,” says Mambour. “My friend, who isn’t Papuan, can ask the same thing and get an answer.”
The situation epitomises how Mambour has had to operate in order to fill the pages of his Papuan-based newspaper, Jubi.
“If you want to be a real journalist in Papua and committed to ethics, it’s very hard, from the reporting to the salary,” says Mambour. “There’s a double standard for Papuan journalists and a lot of discrimination.”
The Indonesian government has used the long-standing conflict in Papua to justify implementing harsh rules in the region, offering limited opportunities and restricted access to journalists. While authorities may withhold information from local Papuan journalists — who are identified by their family name or physical characteristics — foreign journalists have little chance of even accessing the region.
But while the lack of access to Papua means that coverage of the region remains limited, some say that the coming year will be a test for Indonesia as it gets set to host Unesco’s World Press Freedom Day celebrations on May 3, 2017. Many Papuan journalists say they are fed up with the censorship, self-censorship and dangers that go along with reporting from and about the region and they are ready to let the world know.
Papua and West Papua have a long-standing history of human rights abuses, ever since the Free Papua Movement began its low-level guerrilla war against the Indonesian state in the 1960s. Since then, West Papuans have protested for independence, accusing the Indonesian government of violence and abuses of freedom of expression. In an attempt to mask the suppression of Papuan nationalism, the Indonesian government has long made outside access to Papua a challenge.
For journalists who do tackle the task of reporting on Papua, the primary focus is often related to the environment, with topics on resource extraction or corruption — topics very difficult and dangerous to report on.
Recently, the Indonesian government looked ready to open access to Papua, when President Joko Widodo made an announcement in May 2015 stating that the government would lift restrictions on foreign media access. But Phelim Kine, the deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch in New York, says that the announcement hasn’t pulled much weight.
“It was never followed up by any written decree, so while it was a rhetorical opening to Papua, foreign media still can’t get in,” says Kine. “And if they do get in, they’re subject to surveillance and harassment that makes effective reporting very difficult.”
Kine says journalists routinely self-censor material, and that the Indonesian government and security forces in Papua often infiltrate informers into media organisations to monitor and influence coverage. At other times, an intelligence operative will be required to follow a journalist into the region, restricting what they can report on and how sources offer testimony.
The result is that little or no coverage exists about the realities inside Papua, where civilians — especially in remote areas — are victims of civil, social and economic rights violations. Many in the region have no access to health or education services, or risk having their land stolen by the police or military. Because of their isolation, they have no one to whom they can report the violations.
But as much as authorities within Papua have tried to censor incriminating material, much of the news that comes out of the region remains negative, says Lina Nursanty, WAN-IFRA’s Indonesian Media Freedom Committee chair and a West Java-based freelance editor.
“Whenever we hear anything about Papua, it’s always about a tribal war or human rights abuses,” says Nursanty. “The news we get from there is always violent.”
As hosts of next year’s Unesco World Press Freedom Day celebrations, Indonesia has the challenging task of convincing the world that it deserves to act as a platform for media freedom. Nursanty says that while attending last year’s Press Freedom Day event in Helsinki, she joined a meeting with the Indonesian ambassador, where the discussion of Papua was at the top of the agenda.
“The Indonesian press council representative said that our biggest homework for next year is press freedom in Papua,” says Nursanty.
The Indonesian press council is currently creating a press freedom index for each region. And while the country’s overall index is improving, many Papuan journalists say it’s not enough. Mambour says that at next year’s World Press Freedom Day, he is willing to expose the truth about Papua, even if it puts his personal safety at risk.
“We need to take the opportunity to tell the world about what’s happening in Papua,” says Mambour. “We need to say how we are not granted freedom of the press and about the discrimination there.”
“I’m already past paranoia. I’ll talk about what’s going on. I’m not worried. Sometimes you have to take the risk.”
The WAN-IFRA Indonesia Media Freedom Committee is organising a joint reporting trip to Papua at the beginning of 2017. The initiative will see 10 Indonesian media organisations provide a week of joint coverage from the region, working with local Papuan journalists to shift the national news agenda and provide more detailed coverage of issues of importance to Papuans.
Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2016

4) More mass arrests at Papua rallies in Indonesia
20 minutes ago 
An Indonesian lawyer says the police continue to make mass arrests on spurious grounds at West Papuan rallies.
Police arrested over two hundred people in Jakarta yesterday for participating in a rally to mark the West Papuan nationalist day, 1st December.
A public interest lawyer who was present, Veronica Koman, said police subsequently released those arrested, without charge, a few hours later.
But she said the arrests follow the pattern seen in the large demonstrations across Papua region in May and June, where authorities violate citizens' right to freedom of expression.
She said that in their bid to silence West Papuan solidarity, police created excuses such as wanting to prevent traffic jams.
"The police will always find ways to forbid the demonstration. This year alone, since April, April 2016 until now, there have been at least 4,800 arrests,” said Veronica Koman.

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