Saturday, May 12, 2018

Summary of events in West Papua for April - 13 May 2018

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

Summary of events in West Papua for April   - 13  May 2018

Upcoming events -Let’s talk about West Papua Tour
The Australian government is aiding the Indonesian police and military. They are refusing to tell you how your taxes pay for the Indonesia Military to conduct training, intelligence operations, joint exercises, and weapons and ammunition.
The Indonesian military and police kill, torture, arrest and displace West Papuans, your neighbours. Hear first-hand accounts of this ongoing violence. Meet West Papuans who are leading a campaign for dignity and safety. Learn what you can do to stand with their families.

Supported by: Pasifika, Amnesty International Australia, National Council of Churches in Australia, Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of Brisbane

Tuesday 15 May, 6:30 PM, 
Wednesday 16 May, 6:00 PM, Caloundra
Thursday 17 May, 5:30 PM, Sydney. 
Monday 21 May, 6:00 PM, Geelong
Venue details at bottom of update

2 other events in Sydney

1) Women Decolonising Melanesia: Female leadership challenges in West Papua and New Caledonia. (23 May) 
2)  Women Decolonising Melanesia: Workshop (24 May)
details also at bottom of update

The exploition of West Papua's natural resources continues.

Palm oil supplier to food giants clears forest, peatland in Indonesia, Greenpeace says.
 by on 30 April 2018
The Yemen-based Hayel Saeed Anam Group, which sells palm oil to Mars, Nestlé, PepsiCo, and Unilever through subsidiaries, is responsible for clearing 40 square kilometers (15 square miles) of rainforest and peatland in Indonesia’s Papua province between 2015 and 2017, according to Greenpeace. Staff from the environmental organization shot video revealing the extent of the destruction. Greenpeace campaigners have raised concerns that Mars, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever are not upholding their commitments to get rid of deforestation, peatland destruction and exploitation from their supply chains……


In Pictures: Massive deforestation linked to major consumer brands
Posted by Angela Glienicke 2nd May 2018

Indonesia pollution charge piles pressure on Freeport

Aerial view of Indonesia's Grasberg mine operated by US mining giant Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold. Picture: Facebook

Government demand US miner pay $13.5 billion in environmental damages threaten to scupper already tense Grasberg mine divestment negotiations..

Govt Urged to Clean Spilled Freeport Waste
TUESDAY, 08 MAY, 2018 
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesian Environmental group Wahana Lingkungan Hidup (Walhi) Papua, Aiesh Rumbekwan, urged the government to force PT Freeport Indonesia clean the mining waste that spilled and contaminated the environment in Mimika, Papua. According to Aiesh, the operation reduced the environmental quality around the area. “Such pollution should be cleared right away. Whatever the technology used, that’s the government’s affairs to restore the environment,” said Aiesh to Tempo, Monday, May 7. In October 2017, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry imposed administrative sanctions in the form of coercion on PT Freeport Indonesia over 47 violations on environmental damages. However, there is no single order saying to clean the spilled mining waste. According to Walhi research, Freeport operations have damaged the environment in Mimika from the upstream to downstream. The damages starting from acid rock drainage that destroyed the groundwater in the hills, heavy metal piles in plants and animals, to contaminated sea waters which the number of marine animal species declines by up to 70 percent. The last year's findings of Supreme Audit Agency also showed the damage has been widened.

"There will be a tremendous sediment buildup," Aiesh added.
PT Freeport Indonesia's Environmental Responsibility Management Team Chairman, Ilyas Asaad, confirmed that there has been no plan to clean up the spilled waste from the Ajkwa (Modified Ajkwa Deposition Area / ModADA) shelter thus far. Ilyas argued the government currently focuses on preventing greater damage. The Environment and Forestry Ministry have issued management standards through the Ministerial Decree No. SK.175/Menlhk.Setjen/PLB.3/4/2018 on 5 April. "What we see is how to stop the legal basis of the previous management," said Ilyas, who is also the Ministry’s Inspector General. Freeport denied its actions violated the rules. The company spokesman Riza Pratama said the existing waste management is the result of a joint agreement with the government. According to the Freeport company, the contaminated environment will recover itself after the mining is complete. "The deposition area will become a community asset as it can be a plantation area," he said. ROBBY IRFANY

Shots Fired at Foreign Freeport Employee in Tembagapura, Papua
FRIDAY, 27 APRIL, 2018 
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta– An employee of FreeportIndonesia 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.  ANTARA

Freeport to Close Grasberg Mine Operation
TUESDAY, 17 APRIL, 2018 
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta- The management of PT Freeport Indonesia will close the operation of the open-pit gold mine in Grasberg, Mimika, Papua. Executive Vice President of PT Freeport Indonesia for Sustainable Development Sony Prasetyo, said that Freeport's production in 2019 will be reduced by 80,000 tons per day from the previous 200,000 tons per day. "It is a technical condition, the open-pit mine in Grasberg is about to close, and by 2019 it is expected to stop, now it is already cannot be exploited, the only way we exploit it is from below or underground," Sony said in Timika on Monday, April 16, 2018. Meanwhile, underground exploitation cannot be immediately carried out because there are still issues that must be solved, including the permits. However, if the government gives permission for underground mining exploitation, the result will not be optimal until around 2021 or 2023. Sony said closing the open-pit mine will affect several things, including revenue. In addition, when he was asked about the possibility of having layoffs, Sony said it will be tough decision to make. "I have not seen [the possibility for a lay off]. For this company, an employee is a valuable asset, so it will not be easy. It's normal in business to think of efficiency, but as i have said, it will not be easy, moreover for a lay off. It's a longshot," Sony said. ANTARA

Refuse dialogue, ULMWP said Acting Governor does not understand Papua
Jubi admin10 May 2018
Jayapura, Jubi – The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) firmly refused the offer from the Acting Papua Governor Soedarmo for a dialogue. “It is the acting governor (Papua) and the Government of Indonesia that disturb the stability of the Papua’s nation. Papuans never asked Indonesia and its military to come to Papua. Indonesia is not aware of the fact it has deprived over the land of Papua and its people,” said Benny Wenda to rebutting the acting governor’s claim that the ULMWP is a group who is responsible to the disturb of political, economic and security stability in Papua.
Wenda confirmed by telephone on Friday (Oxford, Saturday, 5/5/2018) said dialogue is not the goal of ULMWP. The acting governor instead can have the dialogue with church leaders, Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP), Papuan House of Representatives (DPRP) or Non-Governmental Organizations. “He can talk with the Church, MRP, DPRP and NGOs to address the problems that occurred in Papua. ULMWP is fighting for the referendum for the people of Papua. That’s our goal,” he said.

Wenda furthermore said what Papuans asked from Indonesia is not development but political liberation. “The acting governor does not understand the root of the Papuan problem; it is ashamed,” said Wenda. The Acting Papua Governor Soedarmo earlier claimed to be ready for opening a dialogue with the ULMWP and the West Papua National Committee as well as other groups who keep voicing the struggle for the independence of Papua. “As the acting governor, I am ready for dialogue, but it should do on the basis of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, and how we build Papua in the future,” Soedarmo said in a press release. Moreover, he said the dialogue should not be formal.
“That’s the way I appreciate. I am ready for a dialogue in the cafe, no need to do it at the office,” he added. (*) Reporter: Victor Mambor Editor: Pipit Maizier

Mama Yosepha Met Pacific’s Catholic Church Leaders
admin23 April 2018

                                    Mama Yosepha Met Pacific’s Catholic Church Leaders

Jayapura, Jubi After the closing of the Federation of Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania that held in Port Moresby from 12 to 16 April 2018, Mama Yosepha Alomang met two Pacific Catholic Church leaders: the Archbishop of Port Moresby Cardinal John Ribat, and the Archbishop of Tonga Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi, on 17 April 2018. Mama Yosepha accompanied by a Papuan Catholic figure Markus Haluk during the meeting.
In the meeting, she gave the Cardinals two noken (Papua’s traditional bag) of the morning star and Papuan motives to express a message of natural resources deprivation that leads to the human rights violations and religious and moral degradation. She entrusted her message to both cardinals for the World’s Catholic Church Leader the Pope Francis in the Vatican.
“I am hanging these bones on the shoulders of Cardinal John and Cardinal Mafi who are the representatives of the Holy Father Pope Francis,” said Mama Yosepha while hanging the nokens to the necks of both cardinals. She believed that the Catholic Church leaders, especially the Pope Francis, must speak about the death occurred in West Papuans due to the repression of the Indonesian Government. She told the Cardinals that the murders still continue to prevent self-determination as well as to exploit the natural resources. “They keep arresting and murdering us because of the picture of the morning star in this noken,” she said.

She further said the Catholic Church leaders in Pacific and the world should speak up to protect the life and nature of Papuans. Praying and doing a real action should be urgent for the church at the moment. “If the Pope does not pray for us, Papuans, we must be dead. The church is our support and last hope. You must take care of us,” she hoped.
Meanwhile, Markus Haluk, who accompanied Mama Yosepha and also the Head of the ULMWP Coordination Office in West Papua, said he appreciated her tireless spirit and struggle. “Mama Yosepha handed over the nokens and her message to Cardinal Mafi and Cardinal John with a stammered and teary voice,” he said.

In separated place, Dominikus Surabut, the chairman-elect of the Papuan Customary Council, said the Catholic Church should listen to the voice of Papuan people. Papuans have waited so long for a protective prophetic voice. Papuans have waited so long for a protective prophetic voice. “The church has long been silent. Therefore the Catholic Church in Pacific should open the silent door of the Catholic Church in Papua, Indonesia,” he told the reporter on Thursday (19/4/2018) in Expo Waena, Jayapura City Papua. (*)
 Reporter: Benny Mawel Editor: Pipit Maizier 

Writer links recent transmigrants to Papua conflict
RNZI 23 April 2018
Recent generations of Indonesian migrants to Papua region have driven conflict, a West Papuan novelist says. 

                                          West Papuan novelist, and former journalist, Aprila Wayar. Photo: Supplied

Aprila Wayar this month published her third novel, Sentuh Papua, which covered human rights issues and the effects of Indonesian transmigration in Papua.
Transmigration refers to movement of landless people from densely populated areas of Indonesia to less populous parts of the country. Ms Wayar, a former journalist, said that after Indonesia took over Papua in the 1960s, early migrants settled relatively smoothly.
But those who have come 2001 when Papua gained Special Autonomy Status were a different story, she said. "They tried to make many conflicts then between native Papuans and Indonesian people. For me, it's heartbreaking because we have a good life before when the first transmigrasi," Ms Wayar said. "But after that everything disappears, and people not know each other, they make sectarian violence."……………………………

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

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk 25 April 2018

                                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….”


From    April 29, 2018

Another Facebook photo ‘community filtering’ policy failure

Australian photojournalist Ben Bohane 
who recently took out Vanuatu citizenship.

                                                                    Ben Bohane’s story in the Vanuatu Daily Post – and his photo which fell foul of               Facebook’s policy. Image: Screenshot / VDP


Let’s talk about West Papua Tour  -venue details

Tuesday 15 May 20186:30pm
Level 2, TLC Building - 16 Peel Street, South Brisbane
Enquiries: Judy on 0402 236 359

Wednesday 16 May 2018
5:30pm for a 6:00pm start. Cuppa 8:00pm
Caloundra Catholic Church
61 Edmund Street, Caloundra
Enquiries: Bob on 0422 056 334

Thursday 17 May 2018  5:30pm
Carslaw Centre (Building F07), Lecture Theatre 175
Sydney University, Darlington Enter via City Rd and proceed along Eastern Ave
Enquiries: Joe on 0407 785 797

Monday 21 May 2018  6:00pm
Geelong Trades Hall
127 Myers Street, Geelong
Enquiries: Rebecca 0402 465 992

Thursday 24 May 2018 6:00pm
Victorian Trades Hall Council
54 Victoria Street, Carlton
Enquiries: Rebecca 0402 465 992

Tuesday 29 May 2018 6:00pm
Quakers Meeting House
Corner Condamine and Bent Streets, Turner ACT
Enquiries: Rebecca 0402 465 992

Details of events on 23rd and 24th May on FB.


Women Decolonising Melanesia: Female leadership challenges in West Papua and New Caledonia. (23 May) 
Join us for this evening lecture at the State Library of NSW. Refreshments will be served from 5pm and the talk will begin at 5.30pm. 
This public lecture will feature leaders speaking on decolonisation in West Papua and New Caledonia.
This event is hosted by the Sydney Pacific Studies Network (University of Sydney) in conjunction with the Oceania Network (Western Sydney University).

Women Decolonising Melanesia: Workshop (24 May)
Women face particular challenges in their roles as leaders in the West Papuan and Kanak (New Caledonian) decolonisation struggles. They are also powerful and resourceful, drawing on their own sets of strengths, networks and opportunities to navigate these challenges and to empower their people to lobby for a referendum (in the case of West Papua) or prepare for the November 2018 referendum (in the case of Kanaky). Join Rosy Makalu (Kanaky), Florenda Nirikani (Kanaky), Rosa Moiwend (West Papua) and Nancy Jouwe (Netherlands) in a half day workshop to discuss activism and advocacy strategies, learn more about their struggles and what the role of diaspora and Australian institutions can do to support them, and to build solidarity networks across the Melanesian and wider Pacific region. 

Opinion pieces/press releases/reports etc.

Democracy in Indonesia: A Progress Report

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