Monday, April 30, 2018

KNPB: We already threw away Indonesian propaganda and dialogue

KNPB: We already threw away Indonesian propaganda and dialogue

An illustration of KNPB activists during a demonstration in Jayapura City, Papua – Jubi
Jayapura, Jubi – West Papua National Committee (KNPB) refused the proposal of Acting Papua Governor, Soedarmo, to talk about development on the Land of Papua.
“It’s incredibly wrong for making propaganda of development as the sale of Indonesian colonial diplomacy in this region. The fact is that more than 50 years Indonesia built upon the exploitation of Papua’s land, Victor Yeimo, the Chairman of KNPB, said on Saturday (28/04/2018).
According to Yeimo, all infrastructures in Papua are neo-imperialist (capitalist) projects. Those projects were done for the sake of development while Papuans are continuously being killed or arrested on their land. “All packages of colonial economic and capitalist politics will not stem the struggle for independence of the Papuan people,” Yeimo said.
He further said that the Indonesian government’s diplomacy would not diminish the spirit of the people in the Melanesian countries to remain standing in favour of West Papuan independence as well as the West Papuans who want freedom from the colonialism. “We already threw away the Indonesian dialogue and propaganda,” said Yeimo to respond Soedarmo’s invitation.
On the other hand, Soedarmo previously claimed to be ready for a dialogue with the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) and KNPB, as well as other groups who still voiced the independence of Papua.
“As the acting governor, I am ready for a dialogue. However, it should be on the principle of the unitary of the Republic of Indonesia and how we develop Papua in the future,” Soedarmo stated in a press release.
He said the dialogue should not be formal. “That’s a form of my appreciation. Whether in a cafĂ©, I am ready to do it. So, it’s not necessary to have it in the office,” said Soedarmo. (*)
Reporter: Victor Mambor
Editor: Pipit Maizier

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Mimika hostage taking, do not accuse any groups, says legislator

Mimika hostage taking, do not accuse any groups, says legislator

                                          Papuan Legislator, Mathea Mamoyao – Jubi / Arjuna

Jayapura, Jubi – Mathea Mamoyao, Papuan legislator elected from Mimika and surrounding areas, said people should not accuse some groups upon the hostage-taking incident and the case of the rape of teachers that were occurred last week in Kampung Aroanop, Tembagapura Subdistrict, Mimika District last week.
Mamoyao, who is an indigenous woman of Kamoro, a tribe of Mimika District, was not sure the insurgent group members are the perpetrators. “I am not sure they did it because I’ve just returned from Timika. I searched the information about the incidents during my two days visit there. The villagers told me that the perpetrators wore a mask. So, how could we possibly identify them?” she said on Thursday (26/04/2018).
Even though she has no clue, she assumes this incident deliberately created. “The police must handle it immediately because the regional elections in seven districts, as well as the election of the governor, are getting closer. Don’t let anything that can hamper the national agenda happen,” she said. (*)
Reporter: Arjuna Pademme
Editor: Pipit Maizier

Pro Jokowi of Papua Province Appreciates Performance of Transportation Minister

Pro Jokowi of Papua Province Appreciates Performance of Transportation Minister
Sunday, 29 April 2018 | 13:30 WIB
JAKARTA, NNC - Chairman of Pro Jokowi (Projo) Regional Executive Board (DPD) of Papua Province, Moses Morin, appreciated the performance of the Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi for the opening new lines of sea toll road and air bridges transportation facilities, so that the one price fuel and cheap cement price in Papua became a reality.
"Indeed, during the construction of airport facilities and docks in Papua what is very disturbing is the land, but we want to emphasize the issue of land compensation is the responsibility of the local government so that in the construction there must be cooperation between the parties concerned," said Morin in a written release, in Jakarta, Saturday (4/28/2018).
According to him, all facilities are opened from coastal areas to mountainous areas of Papua. Thus, the Minister of Transportation has run the Fifth Principle of Pancasila, that is, social justice for all Indonesian people.
The most important sector in Papua is transportation and transport regulations. According to Morin, the task carried by Budi Karya is quite heavy now.
He asserted his side keeps escorting all forms of connectivity development from sea, river and air to give the common pricing of the needs of the people of Papua so that the Land of Papua can benefit from all government programs.
Morin added that his party also supports one of the Ministry of Transportation's programs related to the plan to build airports in areas that are very isolated and in areas still occupied by groups such as the separatist Agdugume.
"This proves the country is present there as long as it is still in the territory of NKRI [Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia]," said Morin, as quoted from Antara.

Friday, April 27, 2018


2) Indonesia plans to improve electrification in Papua region

FRIDAY, 27 APRIL, 2018 | 20:36 WIB
1) Shots Fired at Foreign Freeport Employee in Tembagapura, Papua

Susi Air's Pilatus Porter aircraft landed at Arwanop airfield in Timika, Papua. The airfield was developed by PT Freeport Indonesia. ANTARA FOTO

TEMPO.COJakarta – An employee of Freeport Indonesia who is also a South African national was shot at by an unknown person today at the Hidden Valley mile 66 housing area in Tembagapura District, Papua.
The South African citizen, Morne Francis Ras, was being fired on eight to ten times while walking towards his car parked in front of his house.
Fortunately, Morne survived this incident.
According to a testimony of a Mine UG employee, Craig Eugene Johnson, Morne Francis immediately lied down beside his car on hearing the shots. 
An ambulance and the authorities arrived at the scene minutes after the incident began, and an investigation into the area’s vicinity ensued.
The mining company sounded the alarms following the incident to warn employees and people in the vicinity of the Hidden Valley. Morne Francis was ushered to the Tembagapura Hospital at around 08:50 Indonesian Eastern Time (WIT) for medical care. 
Up until 10:00 WIT, investigation by local authorities was still afoot, as they combed the forest located behind the Hidden Valley mile 66 housing area. 

2) Indonesia plans to improve electrification in Papua region
12:38 pm on 27 April 2018 

A programme called 'Bright Indonesia' has been launched by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources to increase the electrification rate in the country's eastern provinces.
Antara News reported that through the programme, Indonesia aimed to boost its electrification rate to 97 per cent of the country's total population by 2019.
This would require the building of new power plants, that would include the use of renewable energy sources, with a total capacity of 35 thousand megawatts.
The programme was expected to provide electricity to underdeveloped villages including in Papua and West Papua.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

1) Optimizing West Papua`s abundant natural resources

2) Australian spy chief to face tribunal in fight to keep East Timor, Balibo records secret
3) Review: ‘Safeguarding Australia’s security interests through closer Pacific ties’
1) Optimizing West Papua`s abundant natural resources

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian province of West Papua is known for its agriculture, mining, forestry products, and tourism that should be optimized for improving the welfare of the local community.

Situated at the west side of Papua Island, West Papua covers the area of Papua`s Bird Head and other smaller islands surrounding the province.

Pearls and seaweed are mostly produced in the Raja Ampat Islands, while the only traditional weaving industry is also situated in this province in South Sorong District.

In addition, tourist attractions, including the Cendrawasih Bay National Park located in Teluk Wondana District, Lorenz National Park, Raja Ampat Islands, and Meyah Waterfall, are among the mainstays of West Papua Province.

The Government of West Papua Province is currently planning to optimize the utilization of its potential natural resources for lighting programs in remote and isolated areas.

According to West Papua Energy and Mineral Resources Office Chief John A. Tulus in Manokwari, the potential of water and high temperature will be utilized to support the community`s welfare through the development of new and renewable energy-based electricity infrastructure.

Tulus remarked in Manokwari on Wednesday that West Papua Governor Dominggus Mandacan was keen to ensure that the hinterlands and small islands were able to receive electricity similar to those living in urban areas.

State electricity company PT PLN has implemented the Bright Indonesia Program, and in the areas of Papua and West Papua, the program will be applied through the Bright Papua Program.

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has launched a program called Bright Indonesia aimed at increasing the electrification rate in the eastern part of the archipelago over the next few years.

Through the program, Indonesia aims to boost its electrification rate to 97 percent of the country`s total population by 2019 by building new power plants, with a total capacity of 35 thousand megawatts.

The program is expected to provide electricity to underdeveloped villages in Indonesia`s eastern provinces, such as Maluku, North Maluku, East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, Papua, and West Papua, where several people still do not have access to electricity.

Power plants in Indonesia`s eastern provinces will rely on new and renewable sources of energy to generate electricity, with more than 300 thousand megawatts accounted for throughout the archipelago.

Eastern Indonesia mostly comprises islands. Instead of installing cables from one island to another, local sources, such as renewable energy, can be used.

Hence, efforts to optimize the utilization of potential natural resources, implemented by the local government, will be undertaken to welcome the national and regional programs.

There are still several potential natural resources in West Papua that are quite strategic, but they are yet to be utilized optimally to boost the people`s welfare.

"Coal exploitation activities are being conducted in the Sorong area though not yet optimally. The Maruni cement plant in Manokwari, so far, utilizes coal from Sorong as a power station, and that is what we expect," Tulus remarked.

He noted that another mineral that holds potential is nickel in the Raja Ampat District, but infrastructure, such as a smelter, must be built by the nickel company.

To optimize the utilization of natural resources and empowerment of the local people, the provincial government of West Papua plans to hold an international conference on biological resource varieties, ecotourism, and creative economy.

Head of the West Papua Research and Development Center Charley Heatubun remarked in Manokwari recently that delegations from several countries as well as local and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are expected to participate in the conference on Oct 7-10 this year.

The conference aims to demonstrate to the central government and other countries that West Papua is serious in applying an environmental conservation program, Heatubun noted.

Currently, the West Papua Development and Research Center is coordinating with a coalition of local NGOs, World Wildlife Fund, International Conservation, Asia Foundation, and other NGOs, the embassies of Norway and Britain, as the donor countries, for the conference.

"The targets we would like to achieve are to revise the area and layout plan to reflect West Papua as a province that is committed to environmental conservation," Heatubun stated.

In addition, the center wants West Papua to have a national park or new preserve area and to prepare an intensive scheme of fiscal and fund transfers as an incentive for the conservation of forests and varieties of biological resources in West Papua.

Heatubun said he is looking for a change in the paradigm, especially in the central government, that tropical forest conservation, both in West Papua and Papua, is a capital for development.

Thus, the size of virgin forests, which are still well-maintained and preserved in the two provinces, would be included as an indicator for calculating the general and special allocation funds for the provinces.

"This would serve as a fiscal incentive to be offered to the regional administrations by Jakarta to support sustainable development, as we know that sustainable development goals have been ratified and have become a commitment of all countries in the world," he noted.

Results of the conference will be reported by the governor to the central government and will be presented at the forthcoming meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to be held in Bali on October 12-13, 2018.

Editor: Heru Purwanto

2) Australian spy chief to face tribunal in fight to keep East Timor, Balibo records secret
Updated about an hour ago
Australian intelligence operations that took place during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor should stay secret, the head of the country's overseas spy agency will argue today.

Key points:

  • Academic Clinton Fernandes has been fighting for access to ASIS records on East Timor
  • Australia's spy chief is scheduled to appear at a tribunal to explain why ASIS does not want the documents made public
  • The documents in question relate to Australia's covert operations during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor in the 1970s

In what is believed to be a first, Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) director-general Paul Symon is scheduled to appear at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to put forward his organisation's case.
The spy chief's testimony is in response to Canberra-based academic Clinton Fernandes, who has battled since 2014 for access to the 40-year-old ASIS records on East Timor.
At first ASIS and the National Archives insisted that they could not even confirm or deny whether such records existed, claiming that to do so would cause damage to Australia's "security, defence or international relations".
Professor Fernandes challenged this position in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and in February the National Archives backed down, conceding it did in fact have such records.
"It was common knowledge that Australia was involved in East Timor and was very interested in Indonesia in the 1970s," Professor Fernandes told the ABC.
"To say that even a confirmation that ASIS records exist would harm national security seems ridiculous to me.
"We hope in the proceedings to ask questions that make [ASIS director-general Paul Symon] justify why on national security grounds these materials should continue to be withheld 43 years after the event."
The University of New South Wales academic, who is a former Defence intelligence officer, believes the classified ASIS records could offer more insights into the events leading up to the killing of five Australian journalists in Balibo in 1975.

"We hope to find the extent to which the covert instrument of statecraft was involved," Professor Fernandes said.
"The documents would shed light on Australian diplomacy and Indonesian military operations in Timor. The true facts, the details about the diplomacy and the human intelligence before and after that haven't really been exposed.
"It would be a real victory for all of us concerned with transparency.
"What is the intelligence, the Secret Intelligence Service telling us about developments in Timor or foreknowledge about the killings of those journalists?"

ASIS evidence to be kept secret during private hearing

Much of the proceedings in today's historic tribunal hearing will be kept secret after acting Attorney-General Greg Hunt last week agreed to an ASIS request that part of its evidence be given in private.
In a letter dated April 19 explaining his decision, Mr Hunt said he had "given serious consideration to all the material and the reasons for and against the disclosure of the information".
"I have determined that the disclosure of this information would be contrary to the public interest by reason that it would prejudice the security, defence or international relations of Australia," the letter said.
"Therefore I am satisfied that it is necessary to issue a public interest certificate to protect the information they contain.
"This certificate will also cover any information given as evidence that discloses the contents of the confidential affidavit."
Professor Fernandes said the move meant ASIS would be able to give its evidence in secret and he would not be able to hear it, but will later be asked by the tribunal to respond to it.

Records sought on Australian links to CIA plot in Chile

Among the historic ASIS records Professor Fernandes is also hoping to have released are those covering the spy agency's operations in Chile before the 1973 coup.
Chilean president Salvadore Allende was overthrown by military forces who installed dictator Augusto Pinochet.
Two officers from ASIS were stationed in Santiago following a formal request from the United States, but little else is known about their activities.
"ASIS ran agents in Chile for the United States, and if the United States can release 16,000 pages of records on its involvement in the coup in Chile, surely Australia can do the same," Professor Fernandes said
3) Review: ‘Safeguarding Australia’s security interests through closer Pacific ties’

BY James Batley 
27 April 2018 06:00 AEDT

Greg Colton’s ‘Safeguarding Australia’s security interests through closer Pacific ties’ sits in a long tradition of mainstream thinking about the significance of the Pacific for Australia’s national security. 
It is a tradition that draws on intertwined anxieties: on the one hand, concern the Pacific might be a vector through which external threats to Australia are directed; on the other, concern that weakness or internal instability within Pacific island states might itself represent a threat to Australian national interests. 
These anxieties have been on florid display in recent weeks via hyperventilation surrounding media claims China had approached Vanuatu regarding the establishment of a military base.
Colton’s paper was written prior to the Vanuatu controversy but, to his credit, it’s doubtful the work would have required much amendment even if it had been written after the story had broken. It is a timely contribution to the discussion.
The analysis covers familiar ground in describing an increasingly complex scene in which non-traditional players, such as China, Indonesia, and Russia, have in recent times intensified their activity in the Pacific. Colton asserts that the “extent to which China has strategic aims in the Pacific Islands region is still a matter of contention”. That remains the case following the recent Vanuatu kerfuffle
The paper is less strong when describing the other side of the question; the role that Pacific island countries themselves have played in actively pursuing new relationships, networks, and opportunities over recent years, both among themselves and globally. Such diplomatic activity has complicated life for Australia in the region just as much as the emergence of the “new players”. 
Both strands have contributed to a thesis of “Australian declinism” in the Pacific that has taken hold among a number of commentators who are familiar with the region, and many who are not.
At the declaratory level at least, it’s hard to see how Australia could be much clearer about the significance the Pacific holds for Australia’s national security. Last November’s Foreign Policy White Paper highlighted relations with the Pacific as one of only five “objectives of fundamental importance to Australia’s security and prosperity”, and outlined “helping to integrate Pacific countries into the Australian and New Zealand economies and our security institutions” as an “essential” policy aim.
The 2016 Defence White Paper sets out a quasi–Monroe Doctrine in the Pacific, asserting that Australia will work “to limit the influence of any actor from outside the region with interests inimical to our own”. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s remarks regarding the Vanuatu/China reports – “We would view with great concern the establishment of any foreign military bases in those Pacific island countries and neighbours of ours” – sit squarely within this policy framework.
Colton offers a handful of suggestions aimed at reinforcing Australia’s role as the leading security player in the region, while simultaneously deepening a sense of “partnership” with Pacific island countries. Bringing off this juggling act has long been the holy grail of Australian policy in the region. 
His suggestions range from the intriguing (establishing a Pacific Maritime Coordination Centre) to the courageous (striking compacts of free association with Tuvalu, Kiribati, and Nauru). The latter idea has been kicking around Canberra corridors in one form or another for more than a decade. 
Government policy, especially the new Pacific Labour Scheme, now acknowledges explicitly that these three independent Pacific microstates warrant special treatment. That’s a good thing, but the broader kind of relationship espoused in the paper (providing these countries “with a host of government services” in exchange for a formal security veto) remains likely to falter on the simple grounds of cost alone. But kudos to Colton for promoting the idea.
The commitment, set out in the Foreign Policy White Paper, to establish an Australia Pacific Security College is not mentioned by Colton. Tender documents for this institution are yet to be issued, but we can expect that it, and the major new Pacific Maritime Security Program (the patrol boat scheme), will be key focal points for regional security cooperation for many years to come.
Colton overreaches in stating that “concluding the proposed Biketawa Plus Declaration should be Australia’s primary strategic objective in the region”. The original Biketawa Declaration dates from 2000. The idea for an updated regional security declaration crystallised in the minds of thoughtful Pacific islanders following the conclusion of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands in mid-2017, but it reflects deeper currents of thinking about the needs and aspirations of Pacific island countries. 
Australia has a seat at this table, to be sure. Colton’s prescription for an assertive Australian role in shaping Biketawa Plus to suit Australia’s national security needs, however, undervalues the extent to which Pacific island countries want to drive this agenda themselves, and would put Australia’s relationships in the region at unnecessary risk.
Indeed, if Colton’s piece has a weakness overall, it is the absence of a sense of Pacific island countries as active players in future regional security arrangements.
Australia still has many assets in the region that can be too easily glossed over, or ignored, by those of a declinist bent. Still, Colton is right to stress that Australia needs to be engaged.
Relationships remain the key to getting Australian policy in the Pacific right. On this score, Australia could do better.
To be sure, Julie Bishop and Concetta Fierravanti-Wells can point to numerous visits of their own in the region. But the recent Vanuatu controversy served to highlight the fact that, even though he has been in power for more than two years, Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai is yet to make an official guest-of-government visit to Australia. 
That has been an avoidable mistake on Australia’s part. And Salwai is by no means alone among his Pacific colleagues in this respect. At the very least, the Vanuatu/China story should have served as a wake-up call on this front.

1) New research shows impacts of malaria in pregnant women in Papua and how to beat the disease

2) Christians in Papua fear growing Islamization 


1) New research shows impacts of malaria in pregnant women in Papua and how to beat the disease
Date 4/26/2018 4:29:08 AM
(MENAFN - The Conversation) This is the fifth article in our series on 'Mother and Child Health' to commemorate Indonesia's Kartini Day on April 21. 
This year's theme for World Malaria Day, April 25, is 'Ready to Beat Malaria'. This article aims to shed a light on malaria in pregnancies and how it will affect babies. 
Malaria in pregnancy poses substantial risks to mothers and their babies. Pregnant women are the most vulnerable population because they have a bigger risk of getting infected by malaria compared to male adults. 
One in four people in Indonesia lives in areas with a high risk of contracting malaria. In 2016, malaria killed 161 people in Indonesia. Globally, the disease killed 445,000 people in 2016. 
There are only few reports on the impact of malaria infection in pregnancy in Indonesia and there is little data on the number of pregnant women with malaria in the country. Our team at the Eijkman Institute has tried to fill this gap by studying the effects of infection by the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, in pregnant women and their children in Timika, Papua, a province with high rates of malaria infection. The study also attempts to identify a correlation between malaria infection in mothers and the health of their babies. 
What do we know about infection in pregnancy? 
Symptoms of malaria in pregnant women vary, depending on their transmission level and the women's immune status. In sub-Saharan Africa , malaria in pregnancy is mostly due to the infection of parasites known as Plasmodium falciparum. In Asia-Pacific and South America , infection by Plasmodium vivax parasites mostly occurs. 
When Plasmodium falciparum infects red blood cells, the parasites can accumulate in the placenta as their way to avoid host immunity. 
Studies have shown that antibodies protect women against malaria infection. Other studies indicate that women with their first pregnancy are more susceptible to malaria infection than those who have been pregnant several times as the latter has higher antibody level that blocks the parasites. 
In Asia and Africa, the latest data show that women with their first pregnancy are likely to have more of the parasites in their blood compared to those with multiple pregnancies. 
A study demonstrated that antibodies played a role in improving the condition of the babies from infected mothers. 
This finding suggests that developing vaccines to target malaria in pregnancy is feasible. Even though several studies have found that antibody against Plasmodium falciparum infection in pregnant women will reduce the risk of having poor birth outcomes, such as still birth and low birth weight, other reports have suggested that this may not always be the case due to different antibody responses. 
High vs low endemic region 
The 2017 report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and earlier research indicated that in a high endemic region, where malaria infection is common, immunity to the disease is high. 
The report also stated that some infections occurred with no symptoms. But even with no symptoms, the parasites may still exist in the placenta. This can cause anaemia in pregnant mothers and low birth weight for first babies. 
In a low endemic region, the pregnant women's immunity against the disease is lower than those in high endemic areas. This means pregnant women in a low endemic region face bigger risks of having severe anaemia and other adverse outcomes such as stillbirth and premature births. 
The eastern part of Indonesia remains a high endemic area for malaria. The latest studies in Timika found that malaria infection can lead to maternal anaemia, premature deliveries, stillbirths and low birth weights. Meanwhile, drug resistance and lack of preventive steps, such as providing bed nets and anti-mosquito sprays, have contributed to the worsening effects of malaria infection in pregnant women. 
Findings in Papua 
For our research in Papua, we collected blood samples of pregnant women and their placental sections to study their antibody response to malaria. We have identified a number of factors that contribute to malaria cases in pregnant women. 
Our research shows consistency with previous findings that conclude that women in their first pregnancy have lower immunity than women with multiple pregnancies, making the former more susceptible to malaria. 
Analysis of placental sections shows approximately 40% of women with parasites detected in their bloodstream harbour no parasites in their placentas. This means that finding parasites in the bloodstream does not indicate infection in the placenta. 
Interestingly, our preliminary data suggest that a high level of parasites in the bloodstream has caused low birth weights in babies. The high number of parasites in the blood is, however, not always associated with parasite accumulation in the placenta. 
These results suggest that precautionary steps are needed for pregnant women with parasites found in their bloodstream to minimise risks of babies with low birth weights. Treatments with drugs should aim to reduce the number of the parasites in their blood. 
Next steps 
Indonesia has introduced integrated efforts to reduce the adverse outcomes of malaria for mothers and their babies. These include distributing bed nets and providing prompt treatments for pregnant women. 
Recently, scientists from the Eijkman Institute, the Timika Research Centre and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the UK studied the impact of malaria screening and treatment on infected pregnant women. 
We are still waiting for the results and plan to translate these into practice so the National Malaria Control Program can adopt these findings in much-needed policies to fight malaria. 
Further studies are needed to identify factors affecting the health of babies born to mothers infected with malaria. The studies are expected to help provide better treatments for these babies. 
    Indonesia Malaria Pregancy Papua 

The Conversation

2) Christians in Papua fear growing Islamization 

Christians concerned as mosques mushroom, shrines damaged and Muslims seen to be spreading influence

Yan Kossy has lived in Jayapura, the provincial capital of Papua, for many years without being disturbed by the influx of outsiders but he said he finds the recent accumulation of mosques in the surrounding area unsettling.
For example, Muslims recently built an Islamic center and cemetery on a ground higher than where people have lived and sources of water for thousands of years.
Some have taken it as a sign of disrespect and a bid to show the superiority of their religion while others fret about the environmental impact it could wreak.
"The cemetery could contaminate our drinking water," Kossy said.
Christians were further antagonized when the road to a popular Christian shrine was damaged during the construction of Islamic buildings in the area.
Meanwhile, after the Islamic center was built another problem arose: the loud sound from nearby mosques as they made their calls to prayer.
Marianus Yaung, a resident of Jayapura District, said Muslims who have come to the region often fail to respect the rites or ways of local people.
"They come and build whatever they want," Yaung told, citing the construction of the controversial Al Agshan mosque in Sentani.
The mosque was built higher than church buildings in the surrounding area, causing Christians to protest.
"They should have discussed their plan first with local people. But they didn't, which has been interpreted as a sign of disrespect," Yaung said. 

Dominikus Surabut, a tribal leader in Papua, said everyone has the right to practice their faith and develop their religion.
However the growing Muslim presence in the area, coupled with their recent behavior, is becoming problematic as it also provides room for the spread of radicalism, he added.
A number of radicalized Muslim groups have gained ground in Papua, he said, citing the existence and influence of Hizb ut-Tahrir, based in Keerom District in northern Papua. It controls 500 hectares of land and centralizes all of its activities there.
Surabut said he has also heard rumors about the presence of Jamaah Islamiah in Merauke, southern Papua, which has set off more alarm bells among local people.
"We are more concerned about the presence of Hizb ut-Tahrir [a pan-Islamic group] in Keerom because we know some of their members have received military training," he added.
The government banned the group last year but it remains active in the country with considerable influence.
Missionaries insulted
The threat to Christians and clergymen because more evident recently after Muslim cleric Fadzlan Garamatan accused missionaries of misleading the public.
In a video that was circulated in March, Garamatan blamed European missionaries for the excessive amounts of alcohol being imbibed by Papuans.
He also accused them of bathing members of the public in pork fat in adherence to bizarre cultural traditions.
According to Islamic teachings the consumption of pork is forbidden because Muslims believe the meat and fat of a pig absorbs toxins and can be 30 times more toxic than beef.

Papuan Christians denounced such accusations and reported the cleric to the police on March 26.
Rev. John Bangsano, who coordinated the Ecumenism Movement of Churches in Papua, said Garamatan insulted European missionaries and insulted the country as a whole with such unfounded remarks, which appeared to be aimed at fomenting unrest.
"He has indicted the Papua people as a whole," he said, adding Garamatan has set up numerous social media accounts in a bid to discredit and humiliate missionaries and Papuans alike.
"We oppose such hate speech. It destroys the sense of social harmony that has been well-established in Papua between Christians and Muslims long before he came along," he said.
Father John Djongga challenged the cleric and said his accusations were baseless.
"If he has any evidence to back them up he should be able to show who the missionaries are and identify where they are located," said the Catholic priest.
As of late April, the case remains under police investigation.
Boy Rafli Amar, the nation's police chief, said the police are taking the case seriously and branching out to track to cleric down.
"We are coordinating with the directorate of cybercrime in Jakarta because it is possible the cleric is not in Papua," he said.
Deliberately derailing Christianity
Franciscan Father Konstantinus Bahang said the reactions of Christians to Islam of late have been fueled by both fear and, increasingly, loathing.
Their fear stems from the growing domination of Islam in all spheres of life, particularly the economy as Muslims open more businesses that further ramp up competition.
"Most of the people who are well-connected and who are prospering are Muslims, while Papuans are getting left out," said Father Bahang, a lecturer at the Fajar Timur College of Philosophy of Theology in Jayapura.
Islam symbols are becoming more commonplace in public spaces, he said.
"These are public service spaces for Christians and Muslims alike, but now Muslims control them," he added.
Jayapura city now has over 80 mosques and mushollas (mosque-like prayer rooms) built in or near local markets, residential areas and government offices.
The neighboring district of Sentani has 24 mosques while Jayapura District has 52.
From the perspective of religious psychology, this mushrooming presence can be seen as a bid to try and marginalize other people's religious beliefs, Father Bahang said.
Papua has a population of about 3.6 million people, of which 61.3 percent are Protestants, 21 percent are Catholics and 17.4 percent are Muslims.
Father Bahang said many indigenous children are already being educated or groomed to serve as the next leaders of Islam in the region.
"These children will some day have to face their own people," he said.
He sees this as a deliberate attempt to sabotage the church by weakening its influence.
"The good thing is that, despite the differences, the sense of solidarity among Christians remains ironclad," he said.
Many people in Papua have still not cottoned on to fact that the growing presence of Islam represents a potential political threat.
He said if tensions boil over the results could be disastrous and conflict could escalate quickly.
"All parties need to work together to find solutions before that happens," Father Bahang said.
He suggested the authorities prepare a regulation specific to the region to control interreligious tolerance in Papua, in accordance with the Special Autonomy Law.
Religious leaders also need to work on building dialogue to preempt further problems and involve people at a grassroots level, he added.
When asked to comment on this issue, Saiful Islami Al Payage, chairman of the Papua chapter of the Indonesian Ulema Council, said that "all of these things need to discussed internally."

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

1) Facebook still censors West Papua photo – ‘nudity’ or politics?

2) Indonesia hits back over Freeport's Grasberg mine environmental claims
1) Facebook still censors West Papua photo – ‘nudity’ or politics?

                            The Facebook "censored" Ben Bohane image after a "facelift" by the Vanuatu Daily Post.

Facebook has censored a West Papuan image by a Vanuatu-based photojournalist for the second time in less than four days – this time “within one minute” after the photograph was posted.
Port Vila resident Ben Bohane has specialised in Melanesian, kastom (custom) and conflict photography for more than two decades. He runs the agency Wakaphotos and is the author of the book The Black Islands: Spirit and War in Melanesia.
Last weekend, a two-page feature spread authored by him about a perceived threat to the region’s stability because of Indonesian political influence in the Melanesian Spearhead Group was published by the Vanuatu Daily Post under the headline “Caught in a pincer”.
The article was subsequently republished in the Pacific Media Centre’s Asia Pacific Report on Monday under the headline “China? No, let’s face the elephant in the Pacific room”,
Facebook alerts on the Vanuatu Daily Post, Asia Pacific Report, Pacific Media Centre along with Ben Bohane and PMC director Professor David Robie’s newsfeeds were removed with blocks saying the featured image had “violated community standards”.
The Bohane image taken in 1995 showed an armed OPM (Free West Papua) guerilla and several other men wearing traditional nambas (protective sheaths).
The photo has previously appeared in The Black Islands and other outlets, and can be seen in a 2006 Bohane photoessay at Pacific Journalism Review.
Facebook ‘test’
Bohane today carried out a Facebook “test” by posting his OPM image again.
He told Pacific Media Watch that within one minute he was “notified that the content has been removed and I am now banned from posting anything on FB for 24 hours”.
Bohane wrote on his Facebook page:
“Facebook seems to be censoring West Papuan images of mine used in news stories, saying they don’t meet ‘Community Standards’ because of “nudity”. 
“Either that or the Indonesian government is reporting the images to be removed because they don’t want Papuan resistance photos spread on the web. 
“Memo to Facebook – this is how Papuans live! Your ‘Community Standards’ obviously don’t include Melanesian culture. 
“I have sent FB messages to complain, as have some regional news media outlets, and am posting images here as a test to see if they will be removed again and the problem persists….”

2) Indonesia hits back over Freeport's Grasberg mine environmental claims

Jakarta: The Indonesian government has hit back at suggestions that tough new environmental regulations imposed on the giant Grasberg copper mine are politically motivated, or related to the partial-nationalisation of the mine.
The Grasberg mine is the world's second-largest copper mine and is located in the highlands of the restive Indonesian province of Papua. It is 90.64 per cent owned by US miner Freeport McMoran, while Rio Tinto also holds a stake.

The Indonesian government has asked Freeport to reduce the volume of "tailings", the waste byproduct from the mining operation, disposed of in nearby rivers from 50 per cent to five per cent. The rest of the tailings are disposed of on land.
That request has drawn an angry response from Freeport, which is negotiating with Indonesia to sell down part of its stake so the government would control at least 51 per cent of the mine.

But the Inspector-General at the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ilyas As’ad, on Wednesday fired back at criticism from Freeport chief executive Richard Adkerson over the new rules.

Mr Ilyas explicitly dismissed suggestions the new edict was politically motivated or designed to force Freeport's hand during the divestment negotiations.

"We are only talking about environmental issues," Mr Ilyas told journalists on Wednesday, "it’s completely about the environment".
Mr Ilyas, one of the most senior officials in the Environment Department, said the government planned "intense discussions" with Freeport over the next six months to resolve the problem. Meetings are planned with the company about every two weeks to resolve the matter.

"We have to find out what technology [can] handle it [the tailings], we have to seek the way out, we won’t sacrifice everything, right, because 16,000 people are working out there," he said.
Earlier, Mr Adkerson had told journalists that a deal had been struck 20 years ago with the Indonesian government on how and where to dispose of the tailings and that change, given the mountainous terrain, was simply unachievable.
“I’m concerned that behind it was political motivations,” he said, according to the Wall Street Journal. Freeport's share price has tumbled on news of the proposed change to tailings disposal.
"It cannot be done within six months, 24 months, five years. This is so far out of bounds it cannot be done and as I said it is addressing a problem that doesn't exist," Mr Adkerson said.
Mr Ilyas said the government did not want all operations to halt at the mine but that "some operations did not have permits yet. We want them to process the permit. So [the order to] stop operations is only related to activities that do not have permit yet".
He said the legal division of his Department had found 47 violations of environmental regulations during a visit to the site in September 2017. Thirty-nine had subsequently been fixed but "the big ones left are mostly related to tailings".
The ministry's view, put by officials a meeting with journalists in Jakarta, is that Freeport's Indonesia office was notified some time ago that stricter regulations about how and where the tailings were to be disposed of were imminent.
The Grasberg mine creates produces 10,000 tonnes of tailings per hour, half of which is disposed of in rivers, according to the Department.
Back in March Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo ordered his Energy Minister Ignasius Jonan to conclude long-drawn out negotiations over Indonesia taking a majority stake in the mine, through a state-owned company, by the end of April.
Mining giant Rio Tinto has the right to 40 per of copper produced by the mine above a certain quota until 2021, and after 2021 it is due to receive 40 per cent of all production.
Rio has been negotiating with Indonesia to sell its stake in Grasberg, which would go some way towards Indonesia realising its desire to hold a majority stake in the mine.