Tuesday, August 15, 2017


2) Protests in Indonesian cities mark New York Agreement on Papua
3) No end to violence in Papua?

Nabire, Jubi – Executive Committee of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania urge care for the sea and support the indigenous people of West Papua.
The statement is written by the committee consisted of Australia, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, New Zealand, CEPAC – the rest of the Pacific through its press statement released by scoop.co.nz, Monday (August 14).
The Executive Committee of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania is currently meeting in Auckland, New Zealand. They come from a multitude of island nation States spread throughout the Pacific Ocean.

They said, Bishops of the Pacific, the place of the sea in the lives of the peoples they serve were a central focus of their meeting. “Our common ocean is teeming with life and goodness. For many of our peoples the sea is their treasured source of nutrition, sustenance and livelihood. In solidarity with them, Psalm 107 resonates in our hearts: “those that do business in the great waters, they behold the world of the Lord and his wonders in the deep.”
The bishops and archbishops aware of the impact of climate change on island nations and have been visiting communities and recording the destruction of shorelines affecting them.
They also said that they have particular interest in the “Blue Economy” to uphold a model of development that respects the fundamental importance of sustainability that looks way beyond any perceived short term economic windfall.
“Members of Parliament and local Governors and other civic authorities have a particular duty to promote long term economic and social development and to be vigilant in guarding against any attempts by international businesses to exploit our common resource,” it said.
They applaud government, community and private initiatives to develop water ecotourism and sustainable sea fishing. They also reaffirm that they are not “anti-development”. They look to the common good and thus advocate for an integrated approach to development where local customary practices are respected and communities are assisted to grow employment opportunities.
On West Papua
A further focus has been the livelihood and cultural integrity of the people of West Papua.
They said clearly that they do not promote a view in regard to independence (of West Papua). “Indeed we believe that where this question becomes a single focus, care to uphold and strengthen local institutions of democracy may be overlooked,” they said.
The federation echoes the call for quality education in Papua, for fair and transparent access to jobs, training programmes and employment, for respect of land titles, and for clear boundaries between the role of defense and police forces and the role of commerce.
They claimed that the large majority of indigenous people of Papua seek peace and the various dialogue groups, advocating and witnessing to peaceful co-existence, are a source of hope for all.
They will hold the Plenary Assembly in Port Moresby in April 2017 to which is invited all the bishops of Oceania. And the theme then will be – ‘Care of our Common Home of Oceania: A sea of possibilities’.
The statement signed by two Archbishops and four Bishops. They Archbishops are: Archbishop Sir John Cardinal Ribat MSC (President), Archbishop of Port Moresby, PNG and Archbishop Michel Calvet SM, Archbishop of Noumea, New Caledonia. And the four Bishops are: Bishop Robert McGuckin (Deputy President) Bishop of Toowoomba, Australia; Bishop Colin Campbell, Bishop of Dunedin, New Zealand; Bishop Charles Drennan, Bishop of Palmerston North, New Zealand; and Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, Australia.(*)

2) Protests in Indonesian cities mark New York Agreement on Papua
8:58 pm on 15 August 2017 

Protests have been held in several cities in Indonesia to mark the anniversary of the agreement which sealed West Papua's incorporation into the republic.
Today is the 55th anniversary of the New York Agreement, the US-brokered deal under which the Netherlands agreed to transfer control of West Papua to Indonesia, pending a UN-administered plebiscite.
The agreement, which Papuans were not party to, paved the way for 1969's Act of Free Choice which gave Indonesia control of the former Dutch New Guinea. Many Papuans say the process was undemocratic and a betrayal.
Today, small protests were held in Indonesian cities of Yogyakarta, Semarang, Ternate, Bandung, Malang and Jakarta to mark the date.

The protests, which were organised by the Papuan Students Alliance and the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua, were monitored closely by police personnel.
Reports from Indonesia indicate over 40 people were arrested in the Semarang rally, and around 30 people in both Jakarta and Yogyakarta events.
Additionally, some of the protestors claim they were physically assaulted by members of civillian militia who along with police outnumbered the protestors in some cases.
At the Malang protest, one man claimed to have sustained a head injury after being punched by a a civillian militia member after he shouted "merdeka", a common cry for Papuan freedom.


3) No end to violence in Papua?
August 14, 2017
Hipolitus Yolisandry Ringgi Wangge is a researcher at the Marthinus Academy in Jakarta. His current research focuses on democratisation in developing countries, particularly the role of crucial actors such as the military during democratic transition and consolidation. He has conducted fieldwork in West Papua on the role of Papuan youth in political and cultural identity during the special autonomy era.

Reports about the shooting of an indigenous Papuan(link is external) by police officers early this month in Deiyai district, Papua, have renewed focus on how human rights abuses by security officials in the region remain unaddressed by the government of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

Accounts of what triggered the incident differ, although most suggest that it began when workers at a construction company refused to take a near-drowned villager to the hospital. The villager’s relatives and other local residents protested and a scuffle broke out. Police and military officials arrived and, according to an eyewitness, opened fire on the crowd without firing any warning shots. This left one man, Yulianus Pigai, dead, and 16 other Papuans wounded,(link is external) including children.

Local police predictably claimed that Mobile Brigade (Brimob) personnel only used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. But a relative of one of the injured residents has posted photos on social media of real bullet casings, apparently used by police.

Despite government pledges to change the approach to the region, violence against indigenous Papuans at the hands of security forces has continued unabated. Hundreds of thousands of military and police officials have been deployed to the region. The government justifies this security presence for three main reasons. The first is to secure so-called national assets, such as the massive Freeport McMoran mine. The second is to respond to the Free Papua Movement (OPM), and other small-scale organisations agitating for independence. The third is to prevent and address horizontal conflict between non-indigenous and indigenous Papuans, and among Papuan tribes.

The shooting has also highlighted the lack of policy coherence of the Jokowi administration. Since Jokowi took over from Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2014, the government has initiated several economic policies, including establishing massive infrastructure projects, and implementing a one-fuel price policy,(link is external) which aim, among other things, to improve economic development in Papua.

On the political front, Jokowi granted clemency to five Papuan political prisoners in 2015. Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono recently reported that Jokowi has been quietly releasing dozens more(link is external) over the past year. In his first nearly three years in power, he has visited the two Papuan provinces far more often than his predecessors. Yet none of these efforts have had much of an impact on the central problem in Papua, which is one of human rights.

Jokowi does not appear to have any clear design for addressing violations of human rights in Papua, or across the country more broadly. About the same time as the shooting, for example, police officers dispersed a workshop convened by the Indonesian People’s Tribunal on the 1965 violence – a reminder of how quickly Jokowi’s plans for reconciliation for past human rights abuses have unravelled.

Scholars argue that ethno-nationalist protests can gather steam when the government is resistant to holding human rights violators – particularly state security officials – to account through the courts. This lack of justice results in deep trauma for victims’ families and increases public mistrust of the central government. This, in turn, enables political actors to mobilise the people to express aspirations for independence, as has happened in Papua.

There are two basic problems within the government approach to human rights in Papua. First, institutions and approaches are poorly coordinated. This is an old and unresolved problem that the Indonesian government has faced since it initiated structural reforms in the early 2000s. For years, government institutions, in particular, the Coordinating Ministry for Legal, Political, and Security Affairs, the Home Affairs Ministry, the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the National Police (Polri) and the Indonesian Military (TNI), have promoted different and sometimes inconsistent policies to deal with problems in Papua.

Former Coordinating Minister for Legal, Political, and Security Affairs Luhut Panjaitan formed an integrated working group to find a solution to three of the most concerning human rights cases: the 2014 Paniai shootings, the 2001 Wamena incident, and the 2003 Wasior incident. However, when former General Wiranto succeeded Luhut in 2016, the team was dismissed, and there have been no follow-up activities to address these crucial issues. Wiranto recently claimed that that the shooting in Deiyai was not a human rights violation.(link is external)

Another example of this inconsistent approach is Jokowi’s 2015 promise to lift restrictions on foreign journalists reporting from Papua. There have still not been any specific policies introduced to implement this directive. Any foreign journalist who wishes to go to Papua must still undertake a complicated application process(link is external) and follow strict requirements, particularly from security-related agencies and, occasionally, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A comprehensive human rights policy – not an economic policy – should be the priority for resolving the issues in Papua. Economic policy has been the prescription favoured by every Indonesian president to address problems in Papua. They seem to believe that aspirations for independence are simply a function of the poor quality of life of many indigenous Papuans, and improving welfare will lead to these demands fading.

In reality, the situation is far more complex. Papuans’ trust issues with the central government do not stem from poverty. Rather, they result from the insecurity of living with the threat of violence from the security officers who surround them, a massive presence that in itself contributes to traumatisation. In addition, the stagnation of internal reforms in the police and TNI that might make them better able to deal with low-level conflicts and protests in Papua without violence has made a bad situation worse.

Indigenous Papuans will continue to be killed as long as the central government lacks the political will or capacity to better coordinate national institutions and prioritise human rights issues in Papua.

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