Thursday, May 11, 2017

1) Papuan independence leader pushes cause abroad

2) Palm oil firm pledges to stop deforesting after RSPO freezes its operations in Papua

1) Papuan independence leader pushes cause abroad
From Dateline Pacific, 3:05 pm on 11 May 2017 

The West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda says international support for his people's cause is steadily growing.
Mr Wenda is in New Zealand this week, raising awareness about the Indonesian-administered region of Papua, or West Papua, which he fled in 2003.
Last night in Wellington he addressed a group of MPs, after which eleven members signed a declaration by the International Parliamentarians for West Papua.
This international organisation of MPs is calling for an internationally supervised self-determination vote in West Papua.
Mr Wenda spoke to Johnny Blades and began by talking about a core issue of mistrust between Papuans and the Indonesian state.

The West Papua Freedom Movement's Benny Wenda meets MPs at New Zealand's parliament in Wellington. May 2017. Photo: RNZI/ Koroi Hawkins


BENNY WENDA: Distrust between Papuan and Indonesian... Jakarta always suspicious of every West papuan, whoever works in the government or ordinary people. So they're suspicious and they're always worried because Indonesia knows that their presence in West Papua is illegal. So they always worry. People who are working in Indonesia, in Jayapura or West Papua, they are always suspicious on them. So there is zero trust between Jakarta and Papuans, very much.
JOHNNY BLADES: This government under President Jokowi seems to have made more of an effort to listen to Papuans or to try and improve conditions on the ground, compared to previous Indonesian governments, would you agree with that?
BW: Yeah, the current president always constantly visits West Papua, almost two or three times a year. But the reality is, the governments are controlled by military. So the current president does not have power to change the situation in West Papua.
JB: There's a lot happening in West Papua at the moment, isn't there? The (outgoing) governor of Jakarta has been sentenced for blasphemy, and there are these radical elements who are sort of whipping up dissatisfaction with the Jokowi government. Tito Karnavian has warned that if that movement isn't stopped, then there'll be unrest in places like Papua. Would you agree with that?
BW: There's a few elements that are trying to gain power, and there's a politics angle in that, in what's happening in Jakarta, because the military want to control. The current government is a civillian government, and so I think they want to go back where it was. So that's why there's a few elements like Wiranto and Prabowo trying to gain power and using these fundamentalists to manipulate them. That's what's happening in Indonesia. It's something will change and unrest will happen.
JB: Do you ever hear from Indonesian government people trying to send you messages or anything?
BW: Until today they never say anything.
JB: But they are well aware of the work you're doing. You are travelling around the world and lobbying, and things are starting to move a bit.
BW: Yeah, they're working very hard trying to stop me, where ever I go. But this fight is not about who gains power, but this is about a humanitarian issue and this is human rights issue. That's why I strongly believe that our right to self-determination still exists. This is something that I believe in. So Indonesia cannot stop me. My people and myself decide to free, so they cannot stop us. That's why I'm confident.
JB: The Pacific Coalition on West Papua, which includes seven countries and of course a big civil society and church network, and the West Papuan Liberation Movement, has really internationalised the issue lately, including at the African, Caribbean and Pacific group summit this month.
BW: Yeah this is a big shift in the Pacific because Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are backing this issue, and we have formed the Pacific Coalition on West Papua, chaired by Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare. So the Manasseh Sogavare leadership is bringing a big impact on the West Papua issue. And the seven countries (of the coalition) I joined. It brings the West Papua case in United Nations level. So this is a big thing to change now. So we also got support from African, Caribbean and the Pacific. So this is a growing number and solidarity around the world.
JB: There's a goal, isn't there, to push Indonesia to have a legitimate self-determination process for the Papuans. Is that the ultimate goal?
BW: Yes that is the the ultimate goal. In fact today we signed the declaration. It's part of the support for an internationally-supervised vote. And that Pacific Coalition and all that are part of the world, we are pushing that direction.
JB: Just now we've seen some New Zealand MPs sign up to it. MPs from other regions in the world have signed up to it. But can it make a difference when it comes to Jakarta?
BW: I think that at the moment, more people finding out, and parliamentarians around the world are solidarity with the people of West Papua. And here today we are signing the declaration, it's cross-party. It's not one particular party but Labour, Greens, National, they're all signing the declaration. So this is, they show that around the world this fight is about a humanitarian issue. People believe in justice and freedom. That's why these MPs are signing the declaration for West Papua internationally-supervised vote.
JB: There's so many tribes in West Papua, could it function well as a nation on its own.
BW: Yeah I think we've been through many experiences in the last 50 years. We've learnt a lot, and we are travelling a lot. So Indonesia might say it's a failed state. But we've are ready to take back our country because this is a last fight against colonialism, and we know that our neighbouring country in the Pacific they already got independence. And we also  learn from them. We’re working together to rebuild a new country democratically.


2) Palm oil firm pledges to stop deforesting after RSPO freezes its operations in Papua
11 May 2017 / Philip Jacobson 
Goodhope Asia Holdings is involved in one of Indonesia’s most serious conflicts between a company and an indigenous community.

  • Goodhope Asia Holdings, an arm of Sri Lanka's Carson Cumberbatch, is the latest palm oil company to promise to purge its operations of deforestation, peatland conversion and human rights abuses.
  • Announcing such a commitment and implementing it are two different matters. Despite the growing prevalence of such pledges, no major user or processor of palm oil can say it has actually eliminated deforestation from its supply chain.
  • Goodhope subsidiary PT Nabire Baru presides over what one watchdog called “possibly the most controversial plantation in Papua.”

Goodhope Asia Holdings has issued a new sustainability policy, committing the palm oil giant to stop clearing forests and peatlands.
The Singapore-based firm was already a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, the world’s largest association for ethical production of the commodity, found in everything from chocolate to laundry detergent. Companies that join the RSPO are prohibited from clearing virgin rainforests and deep peatlands, allowing them to promote their products with the body’s green label.
But last week, the RSPO froze Goodhope’s operations on seven concessions in Indonesia. The company had been linked to various cases of environmental and human rights abuses in the archipelago country, including allegations of grabbing land from an indigenous community in Papua province, on the heavily forested island of New Guinea, where the industry is quickly expanding.
The RSPO is often assailed for keeping minimal standards and for failing to enforce even those. For example, no public notification of the new planting plans of Goodhope subsidiary PT Nabire Baru were posted to the RSPO’s website until last March, even though the company had been clearing and planting for years amid protests from local communities. Under the RSPO’s New Plantings Procedure, companies must submit a variety of documentation prior to to any establishment or expansion of a plantation. But like many of the RSPO’s rules — and, for that matter, like many of the Indonesian government’s regulations in the natural resources sector — the requirement is commonly ignored, with few if any consequences.
But the RSPO’s stop-work order against Goodhope met with approval from environmental watchdogs who lauded it as the kind of thing the body must do if it wants to be perceived as credible. 
It remains to be seen how the company, which said it opposed the RSPO’s decision, will undertake to resolve the issues in concessions like Nabire Baru, described by watchdog awas MIFEE as “possibly the most controversial plantation in Papua.” The case was also examined by Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights as part of an inquiry into land conflicts affecting indigenous peoples.
Goodhope’s new policy to purge its supply chain of deforestation and peatland conversion might prove a positive development — if the company can implement it. Other large palm oil firms, including most major refiners and users of the edible oil, have issued similar commitments, but none has managed to even determine where all of the palm oil it buys is coming from. “Full traceability” to the plantation level, as it is known in industry parlance, is a mainstay of such commitments, seen as an early prerequisite before any company that touches palm oil can declare itself free from the taint of destructive and abusive practices.
Goodhope has set for itself the date of May 4, 2019, as its deadline for achieving full traceability.
Banner image: The Papuan hornbill is one of the birds-of-paradise for which New Guinea’s rainforests are famous. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.

Government chooses Mimika to be one of Indonesia`s smart cities

16 hours ago | 867 Views
Timika (ANTARA News) - The Communications and Informatics Ministry has picked Mimika of Papua, to be included among 25 regencies in the country to build a smart city in 2017. 

A smart city is an urban development vision to integrate information and communication technology and Internet of things technology in a secure fashion to manage a citys assets.

Head of the district communications and informatics office of Mimika John Rettob said here on Thursday the government hopes to see 100 capital cities of regency would be smart cities by 2019. 

"The Communications and Informatics Ministry has prepared and conducted assessment of 100 cities in Indonesia to become smart cities. In 2017, Mimika is one of 25 regencies to have smart city," John said. 

For that purpose, , the Communications and Informatics Ministry has invited the Mimika district administration to sign on May 25 a memorandum of understanding to launch the smart city program.

John said he did not know the reason for the ministry to choose Mimika or the city of Timika as a pilot project for smart city project in the province of Papua. 

"They did not tell me the reasons although they have asked me to make presentation about the potentials of Mimika. Perhaps the potentials have been the reasons. For Papua, Mimika is the only candidate for smart city," he said. 

The ministry will give technical guidelines for that project and the district administration will be responsible for providing supporting infrastructure, he added. 

John said the program of Smart City as already running in a number of other cities in Indonesia like Bandung, West Java, would greatly contribute to improving transparency in public services and would increase public participation.

With the program all regional working units (SKPD) would be connected with each other through integrated online networks. The program would greatly improve efficiency in public service such as in licensing procedure with one stop service, in tax payments, birth certificate, vital statistics and registration of patients at government hospitals.

"Like it or not , as from 2017, Mimika has to start making the necessary preparations. Most important is the commitment of the district administration . Are we ready or not to see Mimika or Timiak smart . At least, we have to start by applying e-governance," John said. 

In the first phase, implementation of the program is limited to area around the city of Timika as the greatest concentration of population in the regency of Mimika is Timika and nearby town of Kuala Kencana, and Mapurujaya, he added.(*)

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