Monday, February 12, 2018

1) What to expect at the Melanesian Spearhead Group summit

 2) Imakulata Emakeparo was shot, the quality of police personnel questioned 
The Interpreter
1) What to expect at the Melanesian Spearhead Group summit
By   Tess Newton Cain
12 February 2018 14:59 AEDT
The last time the leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) got together was in 2016, for a special leaders summit held in Honiara. A number of key issues were left unresolved after that meeting, most notably whether to endorse the next iteration of the MSG Trade Agreement, and who should qualify as group members.
We should expect the membership issue to take up most of the group’s political and diplomatic energy again this week when its leaders convene on Wednesday for a summit in Port Moresby. The discussion centres on how the group will deal with the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), and whether it should be made a full member of the MSG.
The ULMWP currently holds observer status in the group. Of the five full members of the MSG (Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and the Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste, or FLNKS), the ULMWP has the unwavering support of the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and the FLNKS. The inability to reach consensus on membership arises from the ambivalence and prevarication exhibited by PNG and Fiji, reflecting influence from Indonesia. Indonesia’s ability to influence the MSG and frustrate the ambitions of the West Papuans has been enhanced since it was made an associate member of the group in 2015.
The ULMWP is optimistic that its bid for membership will be accepted by the MSG leaders when they meet. The movement claims to have addressed all the issues that PNG’s Peter O’Neill raised in 2015, which included a stipulation that the ULMWP – at the time known as the the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) – strive to unify all pro-independence groups, and that the movement should consult with Indonesia on MSG membership.
Since then the organisation has undergone a significant period of consolidation, restructuring and overall professionalisation. This includes a recent change in leadership, with Benny Wenda taking on the role of chairman in 2017.
The government in Vanuatu has also donated the ULMWP an office building. This gives it a physical base in the heart of Melanesia, and essentially places the ULMWP cheek by jowl with the MSG, whose secretariat is also in Port Vila. Wenda is expected to attend the leaders summit in Port Moresby, at the invitation of O’Neill. The government of Vanuatu has indicated that it wishes to include Octovianus Mote, another senior figure from the ULMWP, as part of its official delegation.
Much more prosaically, the 2018 MSG Leaders Summit will need to address ongoing challenges associated with the group’s finances. This summit will mark the transfer of its chair from Solomon Islands to Papua New Guinea, a move due to have taken place in the middle of last year but delayed because of the PNG elections. There was no MSG leaders meeting during 2017.
A lot of strategic planning for the MSG and its secretariat has been undertaken. There are papers tabled that address restructuring of the secretariat and a remuneration review.
However, this all turns on the question of political will. There is a long-standing issue around the inability or unwillingness of the sovereign state members to pay their share of funding on time, or even at all. Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu are all facing fiscal constraints.
Yet the real issue is politics. If the organisation is hamstrung because of impasses such as the membership issue, it is difficult for leaders to demonstrate, both to their governments and electorates, that supporting the MSG is a good use of precious resources.
Of course, Indonesia could offer to pick up the bill for MSG running costs, which would be of little consequence to them financially. But the political sensitivities around that option make it unlikely.

The past few years have seen the MSG move from a renaissance period to one of frustrated inertia. The situation is such that a couple of years ago I suggested the Gordian knot as a suitable logo for the organisation. There are a number of strands to the tangle in which the MSG finds itself, and there have been several attempts to unravel them. The test for this summit will be whether the knot tightens or finally starts to give way. 

 2) Imakulata Emakeparo was shot, the quality of police personnel questioned 
Jayapura, Jubi – Member of the Papuan House of Representative on Legal, Human Rights and Security Commission (Commission I) Wilhelmus Pigai questioned the quality of police personnel, after the death of Imakulata Emakeparo (55), a resident of Karaka Island, Mimika Far East District, Mimika District, Papua allegedly hit by bullets by members of Brimob, Sunday (February 4).
“I am concerned of the situation facing by my community in Mimika. I question the quality of police there in neither enforcing the law nor protecting society,” said the representative legislator from Papua Mimika, Thursday (February 8).
He asked Papua Police to investigate the shooting incident at Cargo dock Portsite Amamapare owned by PT Freeport Indonesia in the Far East Mimika District.

“Is it according to standard operating procedure (SOP) of the police or not?” he said.
According to him, the results of the investigation should be submitted to public in order to get legal certainty against the alleged perpetrators.
Head of Public Relations of Papua Police, Senior Commissioner AM Kamal said that his team has conducted a ballistic test, to make sure whether the bullet that hit the victim’s head really came from the firearms used by members of Brimob.
“Papua Police Chief is very serious to investigate this case, said Police Chief AM Kamal.
According to him, the investigation of the shooting incident involved a joint team of Papua Police General Investigation and Criminal Directorate, Propam Polda Papua, and Mimika Resort Police.
” There were six personnel at the scene. Four members of Brimob and two internal security officers of PT Freeport,” he said. (


Jakarta, Jubi/Crikey – West Papua has shown once again that freedom of speech is only for those who follow the rules.
The arrest and expulsion of Australian journalist Rebecca Henschke from the Indonesian province of (West) Papua over the weekend again highlights the sensitivities of the Indonesian military, the TNI, and its desire for over the territory.

It also shows, again, that while Papua is more open to journalists than in the past, that openness remains limited, reflecting the TNI’s deep paranoia about separatist sentiments in the mineral-rich province.
Henschke, a BBC correspondent in Jakarta, was arrested after tweeting that malnourished children in Papua were to be given “instant noodles, super sweet soft drinks and biscuits” and that children in hospital have chocolate biscuits to eat “and that’s it”.
Henschke also tweeted a picture of Indonesian soldiers with a bird in a cage, which could have been interpreted as illegal wildlife smuggling.
Colonel Muhammad Aidi said that Henschke’s tweets were defamatory because they implied wrongdoing or lack of care. Aidi said that goods being unloaded at a dock to which Henschke referred were ordinary merchant’s supplies and not emergency aid for the severely malnourished people of Papua’s Asmat province.
West Papua’s two provinces of Papua and West Papua are the poorest in Indonesia, despite the massive wealth generated by natural resources, including the world’s largest gold mine and the second largest copper mine at Grasberg near Timika. The standard of living of the territory’s ethnic Melanesians is significantly lower than that of other Indonesians in the territory.
A low-level separatist conflict has been underway in Papua since the mid-1960s and last September about 70% of the territory’s Melanesian population signed a secret petition calling for a free vote on independence. Last November and December, there was a spike in violence near Timika, with five villages being occupied by people claiming to be separatists.
Comments by Indonesian Lieutenant-General (ret.) Kiki Syahnakri — which incorrectly attributed responsibility to your correspondent for organising that violence — received extensive coverage in the Indonesian media. Syahnakri was previously the senior TNI commander responsible for East Timor during the TNI-controlled militia mayhem that destroyed more than 70% of the country and left over 2000 dead.
Despite a continuing military and paramilitary police “security” presence in Papua, the military continues to believe that the territory remains close to breaking away from Indonesia.
As well as suppressing independence sentiments in Papua, the TNI was involved in legal, “grey” and illegal business activities throughout the territory. The businesses included transportation, construction, logging and mining. The TNI also had a history of providing “protection” to the territory’s rich mines, as well as running brothels, gambling and smuggling operations.
An Indonesian military spokesperson said that Henschke’s tweets had “hurt the feelings” of soldiers delivering aid, hence her arrest. Such “sensitivities” are an unusually delicate blind for the limiting of media access, in turn limiting reporting about the plight of Melanesian Papuans.(Crikey international affairs commentator)
*Damien Kingsbury is Deakin University’s Professor of International Politics. He has been banned from entering Indonesia since December 2004

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