Monday, February 13, 2017

1) Pacific Forum team monitors Indonesia elections

2) Jokowi to visit Canberra this month to strengthen Indonesia-Australia ties
3) INDONESIA: Government unwilling to resolve past human rights abuses

4) Papua police chief reviews preparations for regional head elections

5) Former separatist of OPM swears allegiance to NKRI


1) Pacific Forum team monitors Indonesia elections
3:09 pm today 

A Pacific Islands Forum team is to join monitors of the Indonesian regional elections which start tomorrow.
The Forum is to observe voting in Jayapura and Manokwari in the provinces of Papua and West Papua.
The Forum Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor said the Pacific region and Indonesia share a belief in the principles of good governance and fair and free elections.
She said she was sure there was much the Pacific could learn from the third largest democracy in the world.
In addition the Forum, along with the Commonwealth Secretariat, is this week on a joint mission to Nauru for a 'Post 2016 Election Workshop'.
Dame Meg said this invitation from Nauru shows its commitment to be open and transparent about its electoral processes.


2) Jokowi to visit Canberra this month to strengthen Indonesia-Australia ties
Haeril Halim and Marguerite Afra Sapiie The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Tue, February 14, 2017 | 07:24 am
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is likely to make a much-awaited state visit to Australia at the end of this month, government officials say, reaffirming Indonesia’s commitment to maintaining good bilateral ties despite a rocky patch in its relationship with its neighbor earlier this year.
The upcoming state visit is aimed at improving the “already good relations” between the two countries, Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi asserted.
“This is an important meeting given how Australia and Indonesia are close neighbors. The two countries have good and significant cooperation in the field of investment, education and trade,” Retno told reporters at the State Palace on Monday.
Both sides are currently seeking to fix an ideal date for the state visit but Indonesian Ambassador to Australia Nadjib Riphat Kesoema suggested it might occur toward the end of the month.
Jokowi’s visit to Canberra will reciprocate Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s trip to Jakarta in November 2015. The President had previously delayed his journey to Australia following a violent rally in front of the State Palace on Nov. 4 last year.
Jakarta has partially suspended military cooperation with Canberra following a brouhaha over allegedly offensive teaching materials at a military training facility last October, but Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo accepted last week an apology offered by visiting Australian Army chief Lt. Gen. Angus Campbell.
Retno however insisted that neighborly relations were in a good state, signaling a possible thawing of ties in the near future.
Earlier in the day, the minister said Indonesia remained an important partner for Australia, as the number of inbound tourists exceeded 1 million, even though these were still concentrated in Bali.
“However, with the development of 10 [new] tourist destinations, we also want to encourage Australians to visit other parts of Indonesia,” she said after meeting Timor Leste Strategic Planning and Investment Minister Xanana Gusmao and Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto at the security minister’s office.
Meanwhile, in the bilateral meeting, Timor Leste and Indonesia discussed land border points that still require resolution. “We have agreed to establish SOC [senior official consultation], a small group that will deliberate the technical matters on both countries’ understandings before reaching an agreement to conclude a resolution to the land borders,” Wiranto told journalists after the meeting.
The SOC, which consists of delegates from both countries, will begin its discussions on March 10 in Bali and the team should report the results of the meeting to both governments, Wiranto went on without providing further details on a deadline to which the SOC should adhere.
The Indonesian delegation will be led by the Foreign Ministry’s director-general for Asia-Pacific and Africa, Desra Percaya, while the Timor delegation will be led by Timor Leste deputy foreign minister Roberto Soares, Retno confirmed.
The current negotiations with Dili, although considered relatively swift compared to border disputes with other neighboring countries, have been mired in inefficiencies and a lack of progress.
Indonesia and Timor Leste have been negotiating their border since 2002, soon after the latter formalized its independence from Indonesia following a UNsupervised referendum held in 1999.
3) INDONESIA: Government unwilling to resolve past human rights abuses
February 13, 2017
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has information regarding the last two years of President Joko Widodo’s administration. It appears that the government has not yet made any effort to resolve past human rights abuses. After President Widodo won the presidential election in 2014, victims and their families had great expectations of him. Instead of resolving the cases, the President promoted controversial persons allegedly involved in committing past human rights abuses. They are retired Army General Wiranto, former Chief of the Military and retired Army General Ryamizard Ryacudu, former Chief of the Army.
The National Commission on Human Rights and The Attorney General (AG) have shown their unwillingness to bring the case to an ad hoc Human Rights Court, as mandated by Law No. 26 of 2000. President Widodo has failed to develop a standard of justice for handling past human rights abuses. The National Council, set up by the government recently, is merely a compromise to reach a consensus between the government and the alleged perpetrators. The National Council does not have any legal basis, because Law No. 26 of 2000 and Law No. 39 of 1999 do not recognize The National Council. These laws merely acknowledge the Human Rights Court which are complemented by the Truth and Reconciliation Mechanism (TRC).
The drafting process of the bill on TRC was submitted to the Parliament two years ago but has made no progress to date. Obstacles in the parliament to complete the bill are due to lack of perspective and a political will. In addition, opportunities are becoming more difficult since the setting up of the political party, titled, the Great Indonesian Movement Party (Gerindra). It was established by Prabowo Subianto, former Commander of the Special Armed Forces and the People's Conscience Party (Hanura), established by retired General Wiranto.
Despite being supported by a majority of parliamentary members, the government does not have enough confidence and willingness to ensure that the law enforcement agencies will undertake a proper investigation. The government argues that by avoiding the judicial process in adjusting past human rights abuses, they will ensure harmony in the nation.
President Widodo’s administration is fragile. He sought support from Prabowo Subianto, allegedly involved in the case of the enforced disappearances of student activists 1997-1998. The government simply ignored the investigative report of the National Commission on Human Rights. No legal audit was held to examine the unwillingness of the Attorney General to submit the cases to the ad hoc Human Rights Court as mandated by Law No. 26 of 2000 under articles 21 and 22 which stated
Article 21:
(1). Investigation of cases of gross violations of human rights shall be undertaken by the Attorney General.
(1). Investigation as referred to in Article 21 clause (1) and (3) must be completed within a period of no longer than 90 (ninety) days from the date the inquiry findings are received and declared complete by the investigator.

Article 22:
(2). The time period referred to in clause (1) may be extended for a period not exceeding 90 (ninety) days by the Chief Justice of the Human Rights Court in accordance with his or her judicial scope.
(3). In the event that the time period referred to in clause (2) elapses before the investigation is complete, the investigation may be extended for a period of no more than 60 (sixty) days by the Chief Justice of the Human Rights Court in accordance with his or her judicial scope.
The circumstances of the victims and their families are worsened because they face uncertain legal status. Getting old and sick, they suffer serious economic problems and are traumatized. Many die without any assistance or support from their government. Their situation is totally different when compared to the perpetrators. None of the alleged perpetrators were convicted, most of them enjoy impunity, taking part in the ruling or opposition parties. They act like innocent people while trying to find a way to avoid the judicial process for past human rights abuses. And, there is still in existence a political party that promotes Suharto as a national hero.
Considering all the weaknesses in President Widodo’s administration, the AHRC stresses that the government needs to be open and transparent in this situation. They should report to the public about the plan and policy for settling past human rights abuses. The government has to demonstrate whether its policy is in favor or against impunity. There are no commanding reasons or legal basis to the government’s argument that by resolving past abuses cases through the ad hoc Human Rights Court is putting the nation in jeopardy.
Another need surfaces. Government needs to set up an effective system with a policy that provides compensation for victims and their families for past abuses. Remedies have to be in line with international human rights standards. Compensation is NOT government charity, but a MUST. It goes along with the obligation to eradicate impunity. 


4) Papua police chief reviews preparations for regional head elections

16 hours ago | 661 Views

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA News) - Chief of the Papua Provincial Police Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw visited the office of the Jayapura General Election Commission (KPU) to review preparations for the implementation of the regional head elections.

Accompanied by Jayapura Police Office Chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Tober Sirait, Waterpauw was greeted by local KPU Chief Adam Arisoy.

Arisoy gave a comprehensive overview of the preparations for the local elections to be held simultaneously across Indonesia on Feb 15.

The KPU chief explained that Jayapura has only one pair of mayor and deputy mayor candidates. Hence, the ballots will have only two columns - one depicting the candidate pair, and the other one being empty.

Voters will have to choose whether they support the pair by piercing their picture or against the pair by piercing the empty column.  

All election logistics have been distributed in the concerned districts, he added.

In Papua Province, the regional head elections will be held simultaneously in Jayapura City and Jayapura District, Mappi, Sarmi, Tolikara, Nduga, Intan Jaya, Puncak Jaya, Lanny Jaya, Dogiai, and Yapen Islands District. 

Meanwhile, over 40 million eligible voters are expected to go to the polling stations in 101 regions across Indonesia for the upcoming regional head elections, or locally called pilkada, which will take place simultaneously on Feb 15, 2017.  

A total of 337 pairs of candidates will be competing for gubernatorial seats in the seven provinces of Jakarta, Aceh, Banten, Bangka Belitung, Gorontalo, West Papua, and West Sulawesi; mayoral seats in 18 municipalities; and district heads in 76 districts.

According to information from the KPU, which implements the simultaneous pilkada, at least 45.59 million ballot papers are required for the elections.  

Of the total, over 22.91 million ballot papers are set aside for voters in the district head and mayoral elections and 22.67 million for voters in the gubernatorial or provincial head elections.(*)


(Note. Not unusual for this type of report i.e. OPM members swearing allegiance to Indonesia to appear once or twice a year. Local media will probably;y rep[ort on it in more details).

5) Former separatist of OPM swears allegiance to NKRI

2 hours ago | 295 Views
Biak, Papua (ANTARA News) - Former separatist of Free Papua Organization (OPM) in Biak Mikha Awom has handed over five pieces of firearm to police swearing allegiance to the Unitary State of Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

Mika Awom handed over the weapons to Biak police chief Adj. Sr. Com. Hadi Wahyudi S.Ik declaring allegiance of his family to the NKRI here on Tuesday.

He said he and members of his family wanted to cooperate with the district authorities to develop the district of Biak to improve the welfare of the local people.

"I want to help the district administration of Biak together with the local people to develop the district," Mika Awom said. 

District police chief Hadi Wahyudi said he was pleased with the decision taken by Mika Awom and his family members.

The firearms were handed over in a cermony attended by the district authorities including police and military leaders.

Papua is still a security hot spot for the country where rebels are still hiding in the thick jungle seeking for independence of the countrys easternmost province.(*)

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