Thursday, November 23, 2017

1) West Papua Summit

2) EDITORIAL: Not so happy 'Otsus’ Day

3) Understanding the root problem in Papua and its solution

1) West Papua Summit

                   Left to right: John Tekwie, Benny Wenda and Rex Rumakiek
                                       By Len Garae

An expected total of 50 West Papuan Leaders from West Papua and beyond and supporters of the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association, are going to take part in a walk from Saralana Park to the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs Nakamal this morning, to launch the first West Papua Leaders’ Summit after the first Committee was elected in 2014.
The West Papua United Liberation Movement was formed three years ago in the Chiefs Nakamal.
Following the launch, the Leaders’ Summit is expected to go for a week ending with a flag raising ceremony on December 1.
Asked if coming to Port Vila to attend the Summit is safe, London-based Global Campaigner Benny Wenda replies, “It is not safe but it is the price towards our West Papua struggle for freedom”.
On what it feels like inside knowing that the imminent gathering is preparing to pioneer the way forward to tomorrow, he replies, “For me Port Vila is becoming our home — our shelter because the Government and people are always welcoming us here. We can travel round the world but we are always welcome here in Vanuatu as well as in the Solomon Islands”.
Wenda is confident that the parade today is plotting new history for West Papua’s destiny and sending a message to the world that Vanuatu and its people are committed all the way to make sure that West Papua gains its independence.
Rex Rumakiek, now over 80 years old, still remembers the small beginnings with the initial message delivered by Father Walter Lini (deceased) in his address to the people of East Ambae at Longana People’s Centre on what was then called Aoba in 1983.
“Father Lini reminded the people of the young country that despite the country’s lack of resources but that at the end of the day, everybody had to pray for God’s divine guidance to sustain the people of West Papua to be able to achieve self-determination from Indonesia,” he recalls.
John Tekwie is the former governor of Sandaun Province in Papua New Guinea on the northern border with West Papua.
He is the representative of West Papua in the Pacific.
“I want to thank the Vanuatu Government and its people for being the front runner for West Papua.
“Let me say that the politics of West Papua in PNG is all confused politics.
“The leaders do not really know what to do.
“Do they give their support to our brothers and sisters in West Papua first or do they entertain Indonesia’s political interests?” he says with dilemma.
But he confirms the people of PNG are very supportive of the struggle of the people of West Papua.
There is no problem at all.
“I am talking of politics and let’s leave that to the politicians and let’s move on, to this new part of the final process,” he explains.
“I say the final process because this meeting is critical to finalise the election of the new executives involving a final structure of new political status of the organisation, bringing it to the next level.
“For me I want to see a structure where we now have a government in exile. We cannot be forever campaigning and being advocates of independence forever.
“We have to make a statement, take a definitive and resolute position and move to the next level.
“You see. I’ve been a governor for Sandaun Province on the border for ten years. I understand politics. I am the border man on the corridor between Papua New Guinea and West Papua and am a Vanimo man right on the border.”
He feels the gesture made by the Vanuatu Government and its people to the people of West Papua is a very important thing.
“It is a historic event and we have seen the document and we are waiting for the Prime Minister to announce it when he is ready,” he concludes.
The Public Relations Officer of the Office of the Prime Minister cannot be reached for comment.


2) EDITORIAL: Not so happy 'Otsus' Day

EDITORIAL The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Fri, November 24, 2017 | 08:10 am

Celebrations are moments of joy to commemorate milestones in a person’s life, or a nation. Today, Papuans have a new commemoration: “Otsus Day,” or Papua Special Autonomy Day, as declared this week by Governor Lukas Enembe.
Some residents grumbled for not being notified that Nov. 21 was an official holiday. But others may be forgiven for wondering what there was to celebrate. Maybe the blessing in disguise is that the commemoration of the 16-year-old law brings to mind the pile of work that is progressing too slowly to catch up with numerous shouts of unaddressed grievances.
The 2001 Special Autonomy Law brought much hope to the nation and to the people of what is now Papua and West Papua; hope that they could be trusted to run their own government with the Papuan People’s Council representing customary groups, diverse faiths and women. The central government under then-president Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid had hoped that a special autonomy, following the symbolic name change from Irian Jaya of the Soeharto era to Papua, would help tone down cries for independence following unresolved human rights violations and continued poverty despite Papua’s rich natural resources, including the world’s largest gold mine.
Since the granting of its special autonomy, Papua has received Otsus funds reaching almost Rp 60 trillion (US$ 4.4 billion) — yet natural-resources rich Papua and West Papua remain provinces with the lowest Human Development Index.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has stood out among his predecessors for showing more attention to Papuans. He pardoned political prisoners and is accelerating infrastructure development in the province. But efforts at winning over the hearts and minds of Papuans remain paltry to what is being ignored.
Among others, a special team set up last year to address major human rights violations has yet to announce any progress. Among the reasons law enforcers cite as hurdles in investigations are the refusal of families to exhume the bodies of victims for autopsies, such as those killed in the December 2014 shooting of civilians, including teenagers.
Papuan civilians have come to perceive that as Indonesia’s minority of non-Muslim Melanesians, they are valid targets as suspected supporters of the independence movement, while losing out to migrants economically.
Though Papua does not host a battlefield as in the war between the government and Aceh rebels in the past, Papuans are often subject to an insecure life with lowlevel eruptions of violence with unclear actors — the worst involving the recently reported hostage taking of 1,300 people in Mimika regency near PT Freeport Indonesia’s mine. That a separatist group claimed responsibility has not helped bring clarity over the incident as independent verification by media is restricted.
Papuans are not the only ones complaining about corruption and suspected rigging in local elections.
But addressing the wide corruption loopholes and repeated flaws in Papua’s local elections — including a glaring discrepancy between registered voters and population data, as cited again in the latest report of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict — are just a few of many urgent corrections, if indeed Papuans are considered equal to other citizens.


3) Understanding the root problem in Papua and its solution
November 22, 2017 9.50pm AEDT
In early November, police reported 1,300 people were “being held as hostages” by a “group of armed criminals” in the villages near Tembagapura, Papua, a district that holds one of the largest gold and copper mines in the world, owned by Freeport Mc-Moran, the US mining company.
The media followed with reports that the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police (Polri) had rescued around 300 non-Papuans. However, the National Committee for West Papua (KNPB), a local political group which supports Papuans’ right to self-determination, said the news about the hostage was not true
The news prompted public speculation on the alleged hostage perpetrators, their motives, and the conflict of interest taking place in the event. Speculations abound about the source of the heightened tension starting from ideological reasons of attacks against nationalism, political reasons related to the pro-independence movement, to pragmatic reasons related to security business for the companies there, which implicates many actors.
The reaction from the public is partly due to Papua’s history. Since the 1970s, in Papua, there has been a pro-independence movement which requested for another referendum. The result of Act of Free Choice (Pepera) referendum in 1969 which was attended by 1,022 government-chosen Papuan delegations, authorised Papua as part of Indonesia. However, there are many Papua’s pro-independence who feel that Pepera was conducted under the military pressure.

The roots of Papua conflict
Deciding on the best strategy to overcome security problems in Papua by ending violent acts from anyone by any motives is a difficult task.
The Papua Road Map book published by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences in 2009 has elaborated on the roots of Papua conflict:
marginalisation, discrimination, including the lack of recognition of Papua’s contribution and service to Indonesia,
the lack of social infrastructure development in Papua, especially education, health, economic empowerment, and the low level access to participation for native Papuans,
unfinished process in political economic, and socio-cultural integration, 
the widespread political violence that has never been addressed, 
unresolved human rights violation, especially the Wasior, Wamena, and Paniai cases.

Don’t rush into military operation
Events in Tembagapura may point to a relationship between the business and security sector in Papua, which involves various actors who tend to use each other. A company like Freeport often spends special funds to make sure that their operations are safe, sometimes by asking protection from TNI and Polri.
The Tembagapura (Banti and Kimbeli) “hostage” case is still unclear, but it is possible that it was not only driven by economic motives such as competition between local miners, but also political motives involving the Free Papua Movement (OPM). 

The police has reported that the “hostage” is related to competition or tailing areas between migrants and native Papuans. If this is true, then the police should deal with this using law enforcement approach. 
However, if the soldiers of the Free Papua Movement were responsible for the hostage taking as claimed by the military, then it is the domain of the Indonesian military
The strategy to ensure security in Papua should be carefully thought out due to this mix between political and economic interests in Papua. 
Using a state perspective, Tembagapura case should be thoroughly managed to restore stability and security. However, if the government goes overboard in restoring security via a military operation, Indonesia will be deemed inconsistent in its commitment to Papua’s development, especially if the security is ensured at the expense of human rights principles. 
The dynamics in Papua is closely related to political interests. The conflicting interests between the government and people of Papua have created a deep sense of distrust between the two. 
This distrust between the government and people of Papua intensifies one-sided claim either by Indonesian nationalists or pro-independence activists. It manifests in, for example, pro-independence activists claim that Papua is “a colony of Indonesia” and reversely the stigmatisation of Papuans as separatists by nationalists. 
Human rights activists and some Papuans often paint government efforts to improve the conditions in Papua as a way to marginalise local people. The government and investors have been criticised for grabbing customary land of Papuans
On the other side, Indonesian nationalist that oppose to Papuan self determination rights often see native Papuans’ genuine discontent as an indication of resistance towards the government, and proof that they wish to separate. 
Nonmilitary approach to Papua’s security

What should the government do to ensure security and stability in Papua? 
First, there’s no need to overreact. The Tembagapura case is likely to be driven by pragmatic interests of the parties involved. 

Second, the government should balance their state security approach with human security. The safety and well-being of the people that are not directly involved in the conflict must be a priority irrespective of ethnicity and race between migrants or indigenous people. 

Third, the government should build paths for dialogue and negotiation towards reconciliation in the long term. Gradually or simultaneously there should be a space for dialogue to prevent growing distrust between migrants and indigenous Papuans and between authorities and the public. 

On August 15th, 2017, President Joko Widodo, religious and tribe leaders as well as Papuan human rights activists met at the presidential palaceJakarta. After the meeting, the Coordinating Minister of Politics, Legal, and Security, the president’s chief of staff and the coordinator of Papua Peace Network were appointed as the persons in charge to prepare dialogues on human rights and security issues in Papua. 
Fourth, the local governments, must be proactive and work together with the police to restore security in the region. 
Fifth, the three pillars of Papua (the local governments, Papua legislative bodies, and the Papuan People Council should work together to improve prosperity and welfare of all Papuans. 
Dialogue is still relevant and urgent
Even though there is no “new” approach to create peace in Papua and that there are differing views over the urgency of dialogue, it does not mean that dialogue is no longer relevant for Papua. 
The most important thing to ensure the success of the dialogue process is to start with a common ground to create a more democratic and prosperous Papua. This is not only to retain Indonesia’s territorial integrity, but moreover to appreciate and respect Papuan dignity within the diversity of Indonesian people.
This article was originally published in Indonesian

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