Friday, March 31, 2017

Blocking Papua from the Truth

Blocking Papua from the Truth

Why have Jokowi’s promises to open up Indonesia’s “forbidden island” to journalists and rights monitors flunked?
On 20 December 2016, the Legal Aid Foundation for Indonesia Press (LBH Pers) staged a press conference. It highlighted censorship by The Indonesia Ministry of Information and Communication (Kominfo) towards Suara Papua, a local news outlet based in Abepura, Papua. With no prior notification, Suara Papua was silently listed alongside 11 websites blocked by the government. Those websites allegedly violated principles of journalism by promoting hoaxes and hate.
Later that evening, Rudiantara, the Minister of Information and Communication called Asep Komarudin from LBH Pers, promising that the ban would be lifted  the next day.
On  21 December, Suara Papua could  be accessed again, but not for those using Telkomsel – the largest telecommunications service provider in Indonesia. In Papua, Telkomsel is the main player and controls more than 65 per cent of the market for mobile phone services users. When I recently published an article with Suara Papua, dozens of people told me that they could not read it due to the Kominfo block.
Arnold Belau, Suara Papua’s Editor-in-Chief says that there were no reasons given for the censorship. There was no early warning or official letter of notification. He discovered the website had been consistently censorsed since 14 November 2016, based on screenshots sent by readers from different regions of Papua. Belau strongly believes that blocking the website and censorship represses freedom of press, and violates public rights to access information, particularly for Papuans.
This mirrors concerns raised in a 2015 report from Human Rights Watch (HRW), “Something to Hide? Indonesia’s Restrictions on Media Freedom and Rights Monitoring in Papua.” The 75-page account outlines the government’s roles in obstructing access to the provinces of Papua and West Papua. Phelim Kine, the Asia Director of HRW said that government access restrictions have for far too long made Papua Indonesia’s “forbidden island” for foreign media and rights monitors. Foreign journalists describe an opaque and unpredictable permit application process in which they often never receive a final response. Many have waited fruitlessly for months – and in some cases years – for approval.
Journalists who enter Papua under a tourist visa face the threat of arrest by security forces, as experienced by Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat in 2014. The pair — who were working for Franco-German TV channel Arte — was arrested by Indonesian security forces on 7 August while interviewing Areki Wanimbo, a local indigenous leader. Dandois and Valentine were sentenced to 2.5 months prison and fined $US200  They were released on 28 October 2014. But Wanimbo – who was charged with conspiracy to commit treason – had to wait eight months before release.
Suara Papua was one among few publications regularly providing updates on Wanimbo when all eyes were focused on Dandois and Bourrat.
When Jokowi announced the opening of Papua to foreign journalists and monitors in 2015, it was met with strong resistance from senior government and security forces officials. The promise was never realised because Jokowi provide any specific written directives after the announcement. This opened space for non-compliance by state agencies and security forces opposed to loosening restrictions on foreign observers’ access to Papua.
Various senior officials have since publicly contradicted the president’s statement. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, has announced that the government will take serious action towards those who are trying to limit journalist access and work in Papua. However in contrast to this statement, HRW has discovered no changes on the ground. Andreas Harsono, the Indonesian researcher of HRW, has confirmed that foreign journalists seeking to travel to Papua are still required to provide details of their likely sources and dates of travel in advance. Those details are believed to be used by the security forces to keep an eye on the journalists’ work and to prevent negative press circulating out from Papua.
As of 10 March, Suara Papua is online once again. But, despite the grand proclamations from government ministries and Presidential pledges for press freedom, it is no surprise that an increasingly intolerant Indonesia continues to block West Papua from the truth.
Andre Barahamin is researcher of PUSAKA Foundation, and member of Papua Itu Kita (Jakarta-based solidarity campaign for Papua). He is also serving as editor for IndoPROGRESS, an online platform connecting progressive scholars and activists.

1) Negotiation with Freeport Shows Progress: Minister Luhut

2) Freeport accepts govt terms


FRIDAY, 31 MARCH, 2017 | 16:52 WIB
1) Negotiation with Freeport Shows Progress: Minister Luhut

TEMPO.COJakarta - Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said that Freeport Indonesia will soon divest its shares following a development in negotiations between the government and the mining company.
“There has been a progress, as reported by [Energy and Mineral Resources] Minister Jonan,” Luhut said at the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency in Jakarta on Friday, March 31, 2017.
He explained that the government intended to gain a win-win solution for both sides in order to maintain good relationships and avoid conflicts.
However, Minister Luhut reminded Freeport to comply with regulations implemented by Indonesia.
“We rented our house, so they have to play by our rules,” he asserted.
Earlier, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said that the negotiation with Freeport has reached the final stage. However, Freeport asked the government to extend the negotiation to October 2017.
Freeport previously gave 120 days, starting from February 2017, for the Indonesian government to negotiate the terms and threatened to bring the issue to an international arbitration.
2) Freeport accepts govt terms

Fedina S. Sundaryani The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Fri, March 31, 2017 | 08:38 am
In a move that is likely to reduce tensions over its future operations, major mining company PT Freeport Indonesia has agreed to convert its contract, paving the way to a resolution in its prolonged dispute with the government.
Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan claims that in a change to months of resistance, Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of United Statesbased gold and copper mining giant Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), has agreed to allow its contract of work (CoW) to be converted into a special mining permit (IUPK).
“In principle, they have already agreed to convert to an IUPK. Hopefully, they do not change their mind,” Jonan said during a hearing with House of Representatives Commission VII on Thursday.
The conflict between the two parties built up after the mineral export ban took effect in mid-January in compliance with Government Regulation (PP) No. 1/2017.
Freeport Indonesia, the operator of the world’s largest gold and second-largest copper mine in Grasberg, Papua, is required to divest 51 percent of its shares, build a smelter within five years and convert its contract in exchange for a permit to export copper concentrate.
Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama separately confirmed that the firm had agreed to convert its CoW into an IUPK, though it was still negotiating the terms with the government.
“Freeport Indonesia is willing to convert its CoW to an IUPK so long as it is granted investment stability, entailing legal and fiscal certainty, equal to the certainties outlined in our [current] CoW,” he told The Jakarta Post.
Although Riza declined to disclose its proposed terms, Jonan revealed that the firm had asked to pay the fixed tax as stipulated in its CoW although it is higher than the prevailing tax. Furthermore, it also wants to continue talks on levies imposed in Papua, he added.
The firm’s acquiescence marks a milestone after weeks of tough negotiations to settle the dispute out of court after both Freeport and the government have pledged to bring the dispute to the United Nation’s arbitration tribunal.
The progress in the negotiations comes just before US Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Indonesia next month. Indonesian officials have said the Freeport dispute is likely to be high on the vice president’s agenda
FCX is known to be politically connected as US billionaire Carl Icahn, special adviser on regulatory reform to US President Donald Trump, is the third major FCX shareholder.
Previously, with strong support from its parent company, Freeport Indonesia had consistently rejected the government’s requirements, which the company argued had violated the investment certainty provided by the present CoW dating back to 1991.
As a result of the standstill, the miner had been unable to sell its copper concentrates overseas, leading to a large pile up that put a brake on its mining operations.
Earlier this month, Freeport Indonesia, Indonesia’s biggest oldest foreign investor, resumed production at 40 percent of its normal rate after securing an export permit for anode slime, a byproduct of copper processing.
During the hearing, Jonan also told legislators that the government might allow the miner to ship its copper concentrate while negotiations on the other terms continued so long as the latter officially agreed to the contract conversion.
“As they have technically agreed to an IUPK, they will be able to export so long as they submit a proposal to build a smelter within the next five years following government regulation [PP] No. 1/2017. The government must be firm [in this case]. The company must own an IUPK,” Jonan said.
House Commission VII, meanwhile, called on the central government to seek input from the Papuan people before making any future policy about the miner.
“We ask the energy and mineral resources minister to involve Papuan locals in any decision-making process pertaining to Freeport Indonesia in order to comply with the Regional Autonomy Law,” chairman Gus Irawan Pasaribu said.
Separately, a coalition of civil societies officially submitted a proposal to the Supreme Court to review PP No. 1/2017 and its subsequent regulations, claiming that they violated the 2009 Mining Law and offered excessive leeway for miners to continue selling raw and semi-processed minerals abroad.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

In 7 years, 64 people died as a result Koroway no health care

A google translate. Be-aware google translate can be a bit erratic.
Original bahasa link at

In 7 years, 64 people died as a result Koroway no health care
Rabu, 29 Maret 2017
| News Portal Papua No. 1,

Korowai care student demonstration in front of the Provincial Health Department of Papua, Jayapura, on Wednesday (29/03/2017) - Jubi / Benny Mawel

Jayapura, Jubi - Movement of the students in the Health Care Team Rimba Papua say 64 people Koroway in Seradala district, Yahukimo had died because of the lack of adequate health care.

"They died as a result there is no health care in the period 2011-2017 in the village of Sift, Brukmakot and Woma," said Soleman Itlay secretary Rimba Papua Health Care Team in a speech when a student demonstration in front of the Provincial Health Department of Papua, Jayapura, on Wednesday (03/29/2017).

He said, the number of 64 people that comprised 18 women, 46 men. With details of 2 infants, toddlers 5 people, 1 children, five teenagers and 51 adults.

"This amount does not include any other village or hamlet or Koroway as a whole," said the man from Baliem, this Jayawijaya district.

Akobiarik Yan, chairman of the Remote Area Community Humanitarian Care (KOPKEDAT) Papua said record Koroway death rates is not easy. Due to geographical condition was very heavy region.

"The area is forest. We can not move faster than the best use, "he said seriously. Therefore, it focused on Seradala district since KOPKEDAT in shape and into Seradala in 2015 and then

Doctors Silvanus Sumule, Secretary of the Papua Provincial Health Department, said the agency could not confirm the death rate of people Koroway. Because, reports from district health office that oversees the region Koroway not provide detailed data.

"There was a report but did not mention Koroway. They call the district alone, "he said after receiving the student demonstrators Rimba Papua Health Care in the yard office in King City, the city of Jayapura.

He said, although there are no data in detail, it is never silent for health services in Papua. Department continues to make efforts toward health care of citizens in Papua.

"In 2015 we started to form Task Force Bare Feet. We recruit personnel to reach areas that are not affordable, "he said

For a specific response to the health services in Koroway, said Sumule, in the month of April will be a team. The team will immediately get down to Koroway region with a number of priority programs.

"Because we are the difficulties of doctors, we train nurses and midwives do a simple treatment although it was within the rules should not be," he said.

He said, it will also build coordination with the district and build cooperation with all parties. Cooperation with churches and students who have a concern for the Koroway.

"We can not settle the problem Koroway own. We need cooperation, "please Sumule. (*)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

1) Police Shoot Dead Papuan Armed Group Leader

2) Papua government encouraged by progress of students in NZ
3) The commercialisation of ancestral forest
1) Police Shoot Dead Papuan Armed Group Leader
By : Jakarta Globe | on 9:29 AM March 29, 2017
Police shot dead the suspected leader of a separatist group in Papua during a raid that quickly turned into a gunfight on Tuesday (28/03), a police spokesman said. (Antara Photo/Oky Lukmansyah)
Jakarta. Police shot dead the suspected leader of a separatist group in Papua during a raid that quickly turned into a gunfight on Tuesday (28/03), a police spokesman said.

The incident on Monday appeared to be the latest in a string of violent clashes in Papua, where decades-old insurgencies showed no signs of abating.
Police identified the killed Papuan man as Maikel Merani, who they said has long been on their most-wanted list.
Maikel reportedly hid in his family's home in Yapen and resisted arrest before being shot dead, Papua Police spokesman Chief Comr. Ahmad Kamal said.
"Our officers were involved in a shootout in Konti Unai village which resulted in the death of group leader Maikel Merani," Ahmad told state news agency Antara on Monday.
The police seized an assault rifle, nine ammunition magazines, 13 rounds of revolver bullets, 230 rounds of 5.56-caliber ammunition, a bayonet, a vest and cash during the raid.
Police also confiscated the banned Morning Star flag, the symbol of the Papuan independence movement.
Police said Maikel's body has been taken to Serui hospital in Yapen, but did not give details on the fate of other group members.

Maikel was with two other Papuans when police raided his home, United Liberation Movement for West Papua spokesman Benny Wenda said in a statement on Monday.
Officers reportedly told the men — one of them believed to be Maikel's father — to put their hands over their heads and crouch down. According to a ULMWP witness, police then shot Maikel several times and tortured the other two men.
Officers also harassed other family members at the house, according to the witness. Police then reportedly took the man believed to be Maikel's father to their office for interrogation.
Calling the incident "same old story," Benny said, "Police stigmatize every Papuan as criminal or separatist as justification for killing them and for their illegal occupation of our country."
Papuan nationalists have long protested against a UN-backed referendum in 1969 that saw the province become part of Indonesia, arguing it was rigged.
They have been mounting an insurgency since then, complaining that the Indonesian government has been giving resource-rich Papua an unfair share of the state's wealth.
This has led to allegedly rampant human rights abuses, and Papuan activists have been pleading for support for independence from the Melanesian community in the Pacific.
"We desperately need the international community to look at the deteriorating human rights situation in West Papua," Benny said.
"Everyday, West Papua is becoming a killing field."

2) Papua government encouraged by progress of students in NZ
23 minutes ago 

A team from the Papua provincial government in Indonesia is currently in New Zealand checking the progress of dozens of Papuan students studying there.
There are approximately 80 Papuan students in the cities of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Nelson and Palmerston North.
They are an assortment of students at colleges, universities and technical institutions.
One of the visiting team is Dina Ayonda, the executive assistant for Papua’s Governor Lukas Enembe

She said it had been amazing to see how much the students were growing in New Zealand .
"These two girls in Nelson Aviation College, they are the two top-notch students at the college," Ms Ayonda said.
"And you know, everyone praises them for how they do: in their classes, the theory, the flying, everything.
"They [the college] said they work so hard, they try to maintain their achievements, and then they do well. In High Schools as well."
The provincial government saw the New Zealand placements as an opportunity for Papua province to boost the quality of its education
"Because we're struggling with the quality of our education system back home," Ms Ayonda said.
"So this way we can boost the quality of our people by sending them overseas. And then they come back to Papua and start helping us in developing the province."
The placements are arranged between the Papua Government and the individual New Zealand educational institutions.
While in New Zealand, the Papua government team is also researching a new documentary about the students’ overseas training experience.
3) The commercialisation of ancestral forest
In late 2016, President Joko Widodo signed a decree to officially grant legal status to the customarily-owned forest of nine indigenous communities in different parts of Indonesia, covering a total area of 13,100 hectares. This amount of land is insignificant in comparison to the millions of hectares of forest and other land which Jokowi had promised to acknowledge or give to people around Indonesia during the two years he has been in office.
The objective of establishing this customary forest is in general predominantly for conservation and President Jokowi stressed that this customary forest cannot be bought and sold, either now or in generations to come. This stipulation not to commercialise customary forest and keep it for conservation is in line with the perception that regulation is necessary and that indigenous people need protection from the threats and pressures of the power of capital.
The reality on the ground is that indigenous communities hold over their customary land is continually being gnawed away at by the power of capital through various means which result in the exclusion of indigenous communities, which can even lose their access to their land and customary forest entirely. According to Derek Hall et al (2011), there are four interconnected powers which exclude people from their land – Regulation, connected either with state laws or other forms of regulation within society; market through economic relationships which exclude the people, legitimation through government claims to make administrative decisons based on economic and political reasons or moral justifications, and force, which includes state military power or violence from non-state actors.
The majority of indigenous people, possessing low social capital, do not manage to avoid capitalist snares which over many years forcibly gnaw away at community social and economic systems, changing value systems concerning land. Concepts of land and ancestral forest, which once prioritised their social value and function, change to regard forests as sources of commercial commodities and disputes over claims of ownership between groups or individuals emerge. Being trapped into dependence on the market for their families’ subsistence needs forces them into deciding to sell commercially assets such as land, ancestral forest and other commercial property to which capital-rich investors assign a sale value.
This kind of commercialisation of customary forest which leads to the exclusion of indigenous communities has been experienced by Papuans living in Arso, Keerom Regency. In October 2011, timber company PT Victory Cemerlang Indonesia Wood Industry was able to obtain a statement of agreement to release rights over customary land from five clan leaders who owned the land. PT VCIWI plans to convert around 6000 hectares of natural forest along the Begonggi River to an oil palm plantation. The heads of the village administration, the Arso sub-district administration, the customary council and the customary chief are also all aware of this letter. The commercialisation of ancestral forest enabled by these letters of agreement to release land rights is being used as a justification to issue permits, including a location permit in 2013 and a plantation business licence in 2015.
PT VCIWI has been in the commercial timber business in the area for many years. The company has created a dependency in the community on capital resources under the company’s control. This dependency and a desire for envisaged profits have captured the local indigenous elite and persuaded them to release the land, making their ancestral forest commercially available to the company. Aside from this, the company has used techniques of deception accompanied by promises of welfare.
The head of the Keerom Customary Council, Servo Tuamis, said “The Victory company says it will us the land adjoining existing oil palm plantations PTPN II and PT Tandan Sawita Papua, in fact it is taking the customary forest that makes up the Arso people’s golden triangle”, lamenting the company’s dishonesty and that the community leaders had already signed the document.
This time round, the company didn’t need to use violence from state forces, as had been the case in the past when state-owned company PTPN II started work in the area in 1983. The new company is using non-state power, the legitimation of the clan leaders’ decision and that of traditional and local government leaders to obtain rights over the land and permits to use the land, forest and the commercial timber. The position of the elite assuming exclusive power, and the power of the company in a relationship of production has already excluded the interests of many people, including that of the indigenous people of Arso over their ancestral forest.
Having obtained the approval of indigenous hierarchy and the state, the company uses this to tear down ancestral forest, felling and harvesting commercial timber. The ancestral forest which has been taken over by PT VCIWI represents remnants of forest, sago groves, the Beuyend pools and the sites of ancient villages Yatmi and Yamboria, which belong to the Marap and Abrap peoples. The area also contains high value commercial timber species, each log worth millions of Rupiah, which it is why it was a target for companies and now lies within easy reach of PT VCIWI’s timber business.
The community has been promised that they will benefit from a profit sharing scheme, which would mean 30%, with reductions for the costs of harvesting and transportation, while the remaining 70% would go to the plantation owner. This sort of profit sharing scheme does not produce benefits which are comparable with the use value of the forest, or the losses they suffer when it is gone.
In July 2016 representatives of the Arso indigenous people, from the Abrap, Marap and Manem groups organised in the Ngkawa Yimnawai Gir held a blockade action and stopped PT VCIWI felling trees and clearing their ancestral forest, and also blockaded a palm oil mill belonging to the PTPN II company which operates in the Arso area. The organisation was also asking the government to give the land and forest back to the Arso indigenous people.
Jonatan Bate, the head of Yamara village in Manam sub-district, Keerom, said “We want our ancestral forest given back to the indigenous people. We oppose the letter of agreement signed by the Ondoafi which released the rights over the land without the consent of the community.”
The company’s work was stopped, but it is possibly continuing at a new location, moving into new villages and forests to reap and multiply its profits. The people of Arso continue to give voice to and fight for their aim of getting back their lands and forests.

1) Papua allowed to speak out

2) Jayapura regent reported to home minister over election funds
1) Papua allowed to speak out 

The Asmat of Papua Province. The provinces are ethnically distinct from the rest of Indonesia. 
The unstable Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua are experiencing interesting times. 
While human rights, media coverage and protests are muzzled as the provinces demand independence and closer ties with their Melanesian brothers throughout the South Pacific, Jakarta’s dispute with mining giant Freeport has created a common enemy. 
As the Jakarta government moves to extract a greater slice of Freeport’s copper and gold profits from Papua, it has taken common cause with the indigenous community, which points to the environmental impact of the world’s second-largest mine and its uneven distribution of wealth. 
As is often the case where human rights are curtailed, protests are far more likely to be tolerated if they target foreigners rather than the central government. 
But French journalists Jean Frank Pierre and Basille Marie Longhamp were jailed last week as the Indonesian authorities again demonstrated their contempt for media freedom in the Papuan provinces.
The police detained and deported the two reporters, who were filming a documentary for Indonesia’s Garuda Airlines. They allegedly lacked the “necessary documents from related institutions”. 
The immigration department said the journalists had ordinary visas without the necessary documents.
They were barred from returning to Indonesia for at least six months to deter others from following them.
Indonesia’s President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo speaks about opening up Papua to the foreign media but NGOs and journalists have very little access to the troubled eastern provinces. In May 2015, the president said he would lift the 25-year unofficial ban on foreign media access to Papua, where permits were refused and journalists were left in limbo, always vulnerable to deportation. 
Two international television reporters were detained in 2014 for tourist-visa violations and were sentenced to two and a half months in jail for reporting in Papua. In 2010, two journalists were deported after filming a students’ human rights rally.
Human Rights Watch argues: “[Abuse] of media freedom for foreign journalists in Papua, along with visa denial and blacklisting of reporters who challenge the official chokehold on Papua access, has continued unabated. That’s mainly because Jokowi has singularly failed to issue a formal written directive instructing Indonesia’s bureaucracy and security forces to lift these restrictions. But it’s also due to the deeply rooted perception among many government and security agency officials that foreign media access to Papua is a recipe for instability in a region already troubled by widespread public dissatisfaction with Jakarta, and a small but persistent armed independence movement.”
International development agencies, UN representatives and foreign academics were also denied access, HRW reported.
“The government needs to understand that blocking media access on over-broad security grounds doesn’t just deter foreign news reporting about Papua, it raises troubling questions about what the government might be hiding there,” the rights NGO argued. 
By contrast, in the Freeport dispute protesters have been allowed to gather to express their unhappiness with the vast mining operation in the province. 
Papuans across Indonesia held demonstrations on Monday over the contract dispute with the government which halted digging.
Protest coordinator Samsi Mahmud said hundreds of members of the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua and the Alliance of Papuan Students held protests in 16 cities, including at the Freeport offices in Jakarta and the US Consulate in Bali.
“Our demand is only one, Freeport should be closed down and leave Papua,” Mahmud said.
He described the signing of the first contract between Jakarta and Freeport in 1967 as an “illegal act” as regional conflict between Indonesia and the former Dutch colonial masters persisted.
Mahmud said Freeport continued to illegally exploit mines and seize Papuan land.
Papuans consider Freeport-McMoRan to be closely linked to the military occupation of the mineral-rich region since 1967.
“It has caused violence that resulted in misery and suffering to the people of Papua,” Mahmud said.
The firm’s subsidiary in the archipelago, PT Freeport Indonesia, halted operations at its Grasberg mine last month due to the contract dispute with Jakarta, which is seeking to convert the existing contract so Freeport hands over a 51-per-cent stake within a decade and gives the central government control of the base selling price for minerals.
Freeport Indonesia has rejected any contract changes and is talking about taking the case to international arbitration.
And for now the authorities let Papuans protest, presumably as it sees demonstrations as a means to increase pressure on Freeport. 
An estimated 400 student protesters in the Papuan capital Jayapura demanded Jakarta close Grasberg. 
The students carried banners reading “Close Freeport” and said Papuans had not benefited from 50 years of digging by the US-based firm. 
“Close Freeport. Freeport has caused extensive damage to the environment in Papua,” a student said. 
Residents said there had been a series of preceding protests. 
Vinsen Oniyoma, a spokesman for the protesting Independent Traditional Community, said Papuans had never been involved with the mines and their interests were not considered by Freeport. The rights of the major tribal communities, Amungme and Kamoro, over land used by Freeport, had never been respected, he said. 
Last week around 300 protesters joined a similar rally organised by the Association of Indonesian Miners and the Indonesian Islam Student Movement. 
If Freeport wanted to continue to operate in the giant province, which accounts for about 25 per cent of Indonesia’s landmass, it should build a smelter in Papua, pay more tax and comply with Jakarta’s new share divestment regulation, spokesman Oktovianus Wally said. 
After 50 years of brutal exploration by Jakarta, the Papuans are now being used as a bargaining chip in the dispute with Freeport. 
If it sheds some light on this intriguing corner of the archipelago, it might have been worthwhile. 
Picture credit: Flickr

2) Jayapura regent reported to home minister over election funds
Jakarta | Wed, March 29, 2017 | 12:08 pm

The Papua General Elections Commission (KPU) has reported Jayapura Regent Matius Awoitauw to Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo for his alleged failure to provide funds for revotes in several districts in the regency.
The commission said Matius had not yet provided the Rp 5.7 billion (US$ 427,928.07) it needed to hold revotes in 17 districts.
KPU Papua member Tarwinto confirmed on Wednesday that the commission had sent a letter reporting budget problems that had hampered revotes in 17 districts in Jayapura, to KPU headquarters in Jakarta on March 23.
“KPU headquarters received the letter, which was later forwarded to the home minister on March 25,” he said as quoted by on Wednesday.
In its letter, KPU Papua also attached a copy of a letter from the Jayapura regent clarifying why the funds had not been disbursed.
In his letter, Matius asked KPU Jayapura to first submit a financial report on the use of the funds previously disbursed by the regency administration.  
“We are still waiting for the minister’s response regarding this problem,” said Tarwinto.
Matius said previously that his administration was still waiting for a financial report on Rp 38 billion it had given to KPU Jayapura to organize the election on Feb. 15. The funds provided by the Jayapura regional budget were disbursed last year.   
“KPU headquarters and the Jayapura administration’s inspectorate found that  KPU Jayapura had not yet provided a report for around Rp 12 billion out of the total Rp 38 billion it had used,” said Matius.  (ebf)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

1) Foreign Journalist Blacklisted by Indonesian Immigration

2) Freeport: Student solidarity for change.


TUESDAY, 28 MARCH, 2017 | 19:40 WIB
1) Foreign Journalist Blacklisted by Indonesian Immigration

TEMPO.COJakarta - A freelance journalist who works for a number of well-known international news outlets, Jack Hewson, has recently been blacklisted by Indonesian immigration office. Hewson, who used to be based in Jakarta, was informed about the news as he was leaving for the Philippines.
“I have been blacklisted from Indonesia for reasons that are yet to be established,” said Hewson through his twitter account on Tuesday, March 28, 2017.
An activist of Human Rights Watch, Andreas Harsono, explained that Hewson informed him regarding his blacklist before he departed for the Philippines on Monday evening, March 27, 2017. According to Andreas, immigration officers at Terminal II Cengkareng talked to Hewson for roughly 30 minutes and asked Hewson what he had done that infuriated the Indonesian government.
“I told them that I don’t know and the only thing I had in mind was sending a letter to the Presidential Staff headquarters (Chief Presidential Staff Teten Masduki and Presidential Spokesperson Johan Budi) to clarify of my trip to Papua,” Hewson said to Andreas on Tuesday, March 28, 2017.
Hewson had already consulted with Andreas regarding his plan to covering news on Freeport in Timika, Papua. “I suggested him to follow what President Jokowi repeatedly said: Just go!” Andreas said.
Unfortunately, after leaving Indonesia last night, Hewson was not allowed to return to Indonesia. Andreas assured that the Human Rights Watch will firmly protest the incident, which seems to be a form of harassment against a foreign journalist living in Indonesia.
Head of Public Relations and General Directorate of Immigration, Agung Sampurno, said that the blacklist against Hewson was based on a request from the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI). TNI sent the request to immigration office on February 9, 2017. The blacklist will take effect for the next six months.
Agung explained that Hewson has allegedly violated Article 75 (1) of Immigration Law. This Article states that immigration officials have the right to conduct administrative actions against a foreigner living in Indonesia who conducts a dangerous activity for the security and public order or fails to respect or disobeys the laws.
“The person involved was provided an explanation by immigration officers before his departure [from Indonesia], that he will be rejected once he comes back to Indonesia,” Agung explained.
Agung denied the notion that it is a form of deportation since Hewson’s acted on his own will to leave Indonesia.

2) Freeport: Student solidarity for change.

[awasMIFEE note: after a month where the giant Freeport mine became a topic for national debate across Indonesia once again, focussed as always on whether or not the US company should be obliged to hand over a controlling stake to the Indonesian Government,  Papuan students have been asking why no-one ever talks about the mine’s destructive impact on Papua amidst this outpouring of Indonesian economic nationalism. On 20th March, students demonstrated in Jayapura and Timika in Papua and in cities across Indonesia where Papuan students were joined by Indonesian supporters from the solidarity network “FRI West Papua”. The text below is a statement from the organisers of the demo in Jayapura, which reportedly attracted 500 people.]

Student solidarity for change.
United Student Front to shut Freeport [FPM-TF]
Shut Freeport and all foreign companies, which are the mastermind of crimes against humanity and environmental destruction in Papua.
“Allow freedom and the right to self-determination as the democratic solution for the Papuan people” 
On Monday, 20th March 2017, a peaceful demonstration tookk place, co-ordinated by students. This action took place in several areas simultaneously, including Jayapura city, Timika, Jogjakarta, Bandung, Manado, Bogor, Palu and Jakarta. The demands of the actions were to close the Freeport mine and to allow freedom and the right to self-determination.
The following is a reflection and statement of opinion written by the United Student Front to Shut Freeport in Jayapura City.
Whether or not Freeport should divest its stake in PT Freeport Indonesia, as legislated for in Presidential Regulation no 1/2017, is now becoming a hot topic for debate within Papuan society, ranging from Governor Lukas Enembe who supports Indonesian policy to institutions which have related interests, and also the Papuan bureaucracy. However, all those who support the plan to divest 51% or an extension of the contract of work, whether they are Papuans or from elsewhere, are drawing naive conclusions.
The squabble that divides the Indonesian Governent and Freeport, whether the company should divest a 51% stake or not, whether Freeport’s legal status in Indonesia should be changed to a special mining liscence (IUPK) or remain a Contract of Work, is a polemic played out between the vested interests of capital and bureaucrats claiming to speak on behalf of the people. In particular, it does not reflect the interests of the people of Papua.
This chaotic situation has already created many victims amongst the casual workers employed by PT Freeport Indonesia. They have been dismissed without their need for a livelihood having been taken into account(ie severance pay). It is very clear that it is a principle of capitalism that workers are needed in times of capital expansion and accumulation. In times of crisis, they are not troubled to think about the fate of workers.
The same is true for the social situation of the West Papuan people. PT Freeport Indonesia is known internationally as one of the biggest mining companies in the world. But what do the Papuan people get from this? Poverty, human rights violations, genocide, colonialism, and its nature destroyed by a capitalist system that produces more and more without consideration of the laws of nature and the effects on human life.
As we already know, Freeport didn’t just show up suddenly and spontaneously in the country we know today. Moreover, their plan to manage Papua’s natural resources together with a small elite that have become owners parasitically is totally unacceptable. Western civilisation has invaded the time and space of indigenous Papuans accompanied by global imperialist interests.
The drive behind Freeport in fact started many years ago. In August 1959, Forbes Wilson, who was a director of Freeport at the time, met with the operational director of the East Borneo Company, Jan van Gruisen. In that meeting Gruisen said that he had discovered a study into the Ersberg countains (Copper Mountain) in West Irian (Papua), written by Jean Jacques Dozy in 1936.
The history of Papua is a history of manipulation by the economic and political interests of US Imperialism, which eventually pushed Indonesia to annex Papua and conspire to produce the Act of Free Choice. Two years before the Act of Free Choice took place, on 7th April 1967, Freeport, a mining company from the imperial American state, signed an investment contract with the Indonesian Government. While there were 809,337 Papuans with the right to participate in this act of self-determination, in the end they were represented by just 1025 people who were quarantined beforehand and only 175 people could give their opinion. They held a meeting to reach agreement and this provided the legitimacy behind Indonesia’s Act of Free Choice: it was undemocratic, and full of terror, intimidation and manipulation, as well as gross human rights violations. During the 32 years Papua was under the control of Soeharto’s militaristic regime, many human rights violations tool place in Papua under the auspices of various military operations. This has continued even after the reformasi period in Indonesia started in 1998.
There have been a series of new governemnts until Jokowi and Jusuf Kalla’s regime and each successive administration discusses whether to renew the Contract of Work or replace it with a special mining licence, but this has not been accompanied by a fundamental change to the system in Indonesia. Human rights violations by the Indonesian Military continue to occur, as in the case of the uncontrolled shooting of five students in Enarotali in Paniai Regency on 8th December 2014, or the [2015] sweeping operation in Utikini village. There are many more cases of crimes against humanity that take place at the hands of the Indonesia Military, an innumerable number. Put simply, amidst the chaotic polemic around Freeport, what has been happening in Papua? Just before the Freeport debate started there was a military operation in Dogiai, and just afterwards, the conflict in Intan Jaya which caused the deaths of six people and left another 600 with severe injuries.
This has already led to confusion and blindness in how people regard the social situation in Papua, which is driven by the desire for capital accumulation. This is a characteristic of capitalism. Capitalism does not take the side of oppressed groups. The democratic state is just an illusion created by corrupt officials, high-ranking officers, parliamentarians and ministers, and the capitalists who make their moves behind the scenes. What we see amidst all this complexity, all the problems facing Papua at this time, is that the Papuan people’s democratic rights are no longer recognised and there is sense of responsibility over the impacts of this.
PT Freeport, a product of US Imperialism, is the puppetmaster behind crimes against the Papuan people. The United Student Front to Shut Freeport wishes to make this statement of opinion to the Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla Regime to take action NOW to:
  1. Get out of Papua and Shut Freeport! Along with all exploitative actions of Multination Corporations from Imperialist Nations: BP Tangguh, Medco, Korindo and other companies operating in the Land of Papua.
  2. Make an audit of Freeport’s wealth and give it back, also giving severance pay to workers.
  3. Conduct an audit of mine reserves and environmental damage
  4. Withdraw all organic and non-organic military and police units from the Land of Papua
  5. Allow “the right to self-determination” as a democratic solution for the people of the Papuan nation.
  6. Track down, arrest, bring to justice and imprison the perpetratoris of human rights violations during the period of Freeport’s operations in Papua.
  7. Let the Papuan people determine the future for Freeports mine in Papua.
  8. Freeport should be obliged to rehabilitate the environmental damage caused by mine exploitation.
  9. Stop all activities in the MP3EI program throughout the land of Papua and stop building military bases.