Monday, July 16, 2018

1) HoA with Freeport is big step, Jokowi argues against critics

2) Government oversells PT Freeport Indonesia agreement
3) Contrasting accounts of Indonesian genocide and betrayal in West Papua
4) Provincial health team takes more rest than work, says Kopkedat
5) SKP HAM urges the government to open democratic space for Papuan students

1) HoA with Freeport is big step, Jokowi argues against critics

Jakarta | Mon, July 16, 2018 | 03:26 pm

State-owned mining holding company PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum) president director Budi Gunadi (third right) and Freeport-McMoRan CEO Richard Adkerson (third left) shake hands on Thursday after signing a heads of agreement on the divestment of PT Freeport Indonesia shares in Jakarta. Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan (left), Finance Minister Sri Mulyani (second left), Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar (right) and State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Rini Soemarno witnessed the signing. (Antara/Wahyu Putro)

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on the public not to underestimate the recent deal agreed between the government and US mining giant Freeport-McMoRan, which he believes is a breakthrough in the final stages toward divesting 51 percent of PT Freeport Indonesia's (PTFI) shares.
The President was referring to the heads of agreement (HoA) that the government, represented by state-owned mining holding company PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum), had signed on July 12 with Freeport-McMoRan.
“This was [the result of] a long process that took three and a half to four years to complete, and it was a tough negotiation. Hence, the HoA is big step [toward divestment] and we should be grateful,” he said on Monday at the State Palace in Jakarta.
Jokowi was responding to criticism from experts that accused the government of "overselling" the deal to the public, which could mislead them.
The President further said that Thursday’s HoA was the government's first step toward becoming the majority shareholder of PTFI, which manages Papua's Grasberg mine, the world’s largest operating gold mine.
However, Jokowi did not give a clear answer when asked whether the deal was binding or not, replying only that “it is a process”.
Separately, the Anglo-Australian miner whose participating interest is included in the divestment, stated clearly in its press release last week that the HoA was a non-binding agreement and that a binding one was expected to be signed before the yearend.
“Given the terms that remain to be agreed, there is no certainty that a transaction will be completed,” the release stated on the Rio Tinto website on Sunday. (srs/afr/bbn)


2) Government oversells PT Freeport Indonesia agreement

Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman
Jakarta | Mon, July 16, 2018 | 08:52 am
The agreement made on Thursday between PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum) and United States mining company Freeport-McMoran Inc. (FCX) was largely welcomed by the government, which claimed that the future of PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) was now clearer.

It added that the heads of agreement (HoA) signed by FCX and Inalum, which represents the government, was binding and would assure stability for PTFI in terms of investments, tax issues, royalties and operational transitions.

However, law and economics experts have accused the government of overselling the deal and suggesting it would settle every issue relating to PTFI’s future operations in Papua.

University of Indonesia (UI) international law expert Hikmahanto Juwana pointed out that the HoA contained errors from a legal perspective.

He emphasized that the deal was not a stock trading agreement, but merely an agreement in principal and should be followed up with another contract.

“It must be thoroughly scrutinized because for lawyers, there is the adage ‘the devil is in the details’,” Hikmahanto said.

He believes that a done deal should be in the form of a sales and purchase agreement. 

In this case, the US$3.5 billion is payment to Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto for its 40 percent participating interest (PI), which would be converted into shares in PTFI, and $350 million to local miner PT Indocopper Investama, another local FCX subsidiary, which owns a 9.36 percent share in PTFI.

Only after the payment is made will Indonesia officially control 51 percent of PTFI’s shares and become the majority owner of the company, which operates the world’s largest gold mine. 

Both Rio Tinto and PTFI agreed with Hikmahanto, saying that Thursday’s agreement was merely one step toward completing the deal — which still has the possibility to collapse. 

Rio Tinto clearly stated in a press release distributed last week that the HoA was a non-binding agreement, and the binding agreement was expected to be signed before the end of 2018. 

“Given the number of terms that remain to be agreed, there is no certainty that a transaction will be completed,” the press release reads.

During a press conference on Thursday, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno assured that the deal was a binding agreement. 

“Unfortunately, the impression that government officials gave regarding the deal was overwhelming. It misled the people, who then posted messages [on social media] such as ‘Thank you, Pak Jokowi’ without fact checking [the deal],” said Drajad Wibowo, a senior economist at the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef). 

Drajad, a politician from the National Mandate Party (PAN), which is known to be critical of the Jokowi administration, said the public should know that larger issues had yet to be finalized.

“I hoped the transaction will not overstretch Inalum’s finances, as the $3.85 billion deal is equivalent to 61 percent of the firm’s assets,” he explained. “Not to mention that Freeport still wants to control PTFI’s operations, even though Indonesia has become the majority owner.”

Hikmahanto added that the HoA was in violation of prevailing laws, because it gave Freeport operational rights until 2041.

According to Law No. 4/2009 on mineral and coal mining, no further agreement can be made when a contract of work (CoW), which Freeport technically still has, is due. Freeport’s CoW will expire in 2021. 

However, in February last year, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry issued a special mining permit (IUPK) for Freeport, saying the company had agreed to change its CoW into to an IUPK and agree to waive the benefit of a 50-year extension.

Freeport previously refused to comply, arguing that an IUPK was not a nail-down scheme because the stipulations, including the taxation scheme, can change according to a change in government regulation. 

“The investment stability agreement also contradicts Article 1337 of the Civil Code, which prohibits any deal that goes against a prevailing legislation,” Hikmahanto said. 

Meanwhile, non-governmental organization Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam) has taken a hard stance against the deal, believing that any agreement would have zero benefits for the people of Papua.


3) Contrasting accounts of Indonesian genocide and betrayal in West Papua
BOOK REVIEW: By David Robie
Two damning and contrasting books about Indonesian colonialism in the Pacific, both by activist participants in Europe and New Zealand, have recently been published. Overall, they are excellent exposes of the harsh repression of the Melanesian people of West Papua and a world that has largely closed a blind eye to to human rights violations.
In Papua Blood, Danish photographer Peter Bang provides a deeply personal account of his more than three decades of experience in West Papua that is a testament to the resilience and patience of the people in the face of “slow genocide” with an estimated 500,000 Papuans dying over the past half century.
With See No Evil, Maire Leadbeater, peace movement advocate and spokesperson of West Papua Action Auckland, offers a meticulously researched historical account of New Zealand’s originally supportive stance for the independence aspirations of the Papuan people while still a Dutch colony and then its unprincipled slide into betrayal amid Cold War realpolitik.

Peter Bang’s book features 188 examples of his evocative imagery, providing colourful insights into changing lifestyles in West Papua, ranging through pristine rainforest, waterfalls, villages and urban cityscapes to dramatic scenes of resistance to oppression and the defiant displays of the Morning Star flag of independence.
Some of the most poignant images are photographs of use of the traditional koteka (penis gourds) and traditional attire, which are under threat in some parts of West Papua, and customary life in remote parts of the Highlands and the tree houses of the coastal marshlands.
Besides the photographs, Bang also has a narrative about the various episodes of his life in West Papua.
Never far from his account, are the reflections of life under Indonesian colonialism, and extreme racism displayed towards the Papuan people and their culture and traditions. From the beginning in 1963 when Indonesia under Sukarno wrested control of West Papua from the Dutch with United Nations approval under a sham “Act of Free Choice” against the local people’s wishes, followed by the so-called ‘Transmigrassi’ programme encouraging thousands of Javanese migrants to settle, the Papuans have been treated with repression.
‘Disaster for Papuans’
Bang describes the massive migration of Indonesians to West Papua as “not only a disaster for the Papuan people, but also a catastrophe for the rainforest, eartyn and wildlife” (p. 13).
“Police soldiers conducted frequent punitive expeditions with reference to violation of ‘laws’ that the indigenous people neither understood nor had heard about, partly because of language barriers and the huge cultural difference,’ writes Bang (p. 11). The list of atrocities has been endless.
“There were examples of Papuans who had been captured, and thrown out alive from helicopters, strangled or drowned after being put into plastic bags. Pregnant women killed by bayonets. Prisoners forced to dig their own graves before they were killed.” (p. 12)

A book that provided an early impetus while Bang was researching for his involvement in West Papua was Indonesia’s Secret Warby journalist Robin Osborne, a former press secretary for Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan, the leader who was later ousted from office because of his bungled Sandline mercenary affair over the Bougainville civil war. Osborne’s book also influenced me when I first began writing about West Papua in the early 1980s.
After travelling through Asia, a young Peter Bang arrived in West Papua in 1986 for his first visit determined to journey to the remote Yali tribe as a photographer and writer interested in indigenous peoples. He wanted to find out how the Yali people had integrated with the outside world since missionaries had first entered the isolated tribal area just 25 years earlier.
When Bang visited the town of Angguruk for the first time, “the only wheels I saw at the mission station were punctured and sat on a wheelbarrow … It was only seven years ago that human flesh had been eaten in the area” (p. 16).
During this early period of jungle trekking, Bang rarely “encountered anything besides kindness – only twice did I experience being threatened with a bow and arrow” (p. 39). The first time was by a “mentally disabled” man confused over Bang’s presence, and he was scolded by the village chief.
Political change
Ten years later, Peter Bang again visited the Yali people and found the political climate had changed in the capital Jayapura – “we saw police and military everywhere” following an incident a few months earlier when OPM (Free Papua Movement) guerrillas had held 11 captives hostage in a cave.
He struck up a friendship with Wimmo, a Dani tribesman and son of a village witchdoctor and healer in the Baliem Valley, that was to endure for years, and he had an adoptive family.
On a return visit, Bang met Tebora, mother of the nine-year-old boy Puwul who was the subject of the author’s earlier book, Puwul’s World. At the age of 29, Puwul had walked barefooted hundreds of kilometres across the mountains from the Jaxólé Valley village to Jayapura, and then escaped across the border into Papua New Guinea. A well-worn copy of Puwul’s World was the only book in the village apart from a single copy of the Bible.
Years later, Bang met tribal leader and freedom fighter Benny Wenda who, with the help of Australian human rights activist and lawyer Jennifer Robinson, was granted asylum in the United Kingdom in 2003: “I felt great sympathy for Benny Wenda’s position on the fight for liberation. By many, he was compared to Nelson Mandela, although he was obviously playing his own ukelele” (p. 81)

Wenda and Filip Karma, at the time imprisoned by the Indonesian authorities for 15 years for “raising the Morning Star flag”, were nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.
Bang founded the Danish section of the Free West Papua Campaign and launched an activist Facebook page.
One of the book’s amusing and inspirational highlights is his secret “freedom paddle” on the Baliem River when Peter Bang used a yellow inflatable rubber boat and a pocket-sized Morning Star flag to make his own personal protest against Indonesia (p. 123). This was a courageous statement in itself given the continued arrests of journalists in West Papua by the military authorities in spite of the “open” policy of President Joko Widodo.
As a special section, Bang’s book devotes 26 pages to the indigenous people of West Papua, profiling some of the territory’s 300 tribes and their cultural and social systems, such as the Highlands communities of Dani and Yali, and the Asmat, Korowai and Kombai peoples.
Fascinating insight
This book is a fascinating insight into West Papuan life under duress, but would have benefitted with tighter and cleaner copy editing by the English-language volunteer editors. Nevertheless, it is a valuable work with a strong sociopolitical message.
Peter Bang concludes: “Nobody knows what the future holds. In 2018, the Indonesian regime continues the brutal crackdown on the native population of West Papua.”

In contrast to Bang’s authentic narrative of life in West Papua, Maire Leadbeater’s See No Evil book – launched yesterday – is an activist historical account of New Zealand’s shameful record over West Papua, which is just as disgraceful as Wellington’s record on Timor-Leste over 24 years of Indonesian illegal occupation (tempered by a quietly supportive post-independence role).
Surely there is a lesson here. For those New Zealand politicians, officials and conservative journalists who prefer to meekly accept the Indonesian status quo, the East Timor precedent is an indicator that we should be strongly advocating self-determination for the Papuans.
One of the many strengths of Leadbeater’s thoroughly researched book is she exposes the volte-face and hypocrisy of the stance of successive New Zealand governments since Walter Nash and his “united New Guinea” initiative (p. 66).
“A stroke of the pen in the shape of the 1962 New York Agreement, signed by the colonial Dutch and the Indonesian government, sealed the fate of the people of West Papua,” the author notes in her introduction. Prior to this “selling out” of a people arrangement, New Zealand had been a vocal supporter of the Dutch government’s preparations to decolonise the territory.
In fact, the Dutch had done much more to prepare West Papua for independence than Australia had done at that stage for neighbouring Papua New Guinea, which became independent in 1975.
Game changer
Indonesia’s so-called September 30th Movement crisis in 1965 – three years after paratroopers had been dropped on West Papua in a farcical “invasion” – was the game changer. The attempted coup triggered massive anti-communist massacres in Indonesia leading to an estimated 200,000 to 800,000 killings and eventually the seizure of power by General Suharto from the ageing nationalist President Sukarno in 1967 (Adam, 2015).

As Leadbeater notes, the bloodletting opened the door to Western foreign investment and “rich prizes” in West Papua such as the Freeport’s Grasberg gold and copper mine, one of the world’s richest.
“New Zealand politicians and diplomats welcomed Indonesia’s change in direction. Cold War anti-communist fervour trumped sympathy for the victims of the purge; and New Zealand was keen to increase its trade, investment and ties with the ‘new’ Indonesia.” (p. 22)
The first 13 chapters of the book, from “the Pleistocene period” to “Suharto goes but thwarted hope for West Papua”, are a methodical and insightful documentation of “recolonisation” and New Zealand’s changing relationship are an excellent record and useful tool for the advocates of West Papuan independence.
However, the last two contemporary chapters and conclusion, do not quite measure up to the quality of the rest of the book.
For example, a less than two-page section on “Media access” gives short change to the important media role in the West Papuan independence struggle. Leadbeater quite rightly castigates the mainstream New Zealand media for a lack of coverage for such a serious issue. Her explanation for the widespread ignorance about West Papua is simplistic:
“A major reason (setting aside Radio New Zealand’s consistent reporting) is that the issues are seldom covered in the mainstream media. It is a circular problem: lack of direct access results in a dearth of objective and fully rounded reporting; editors fear that material they do receive may be inaccurate or misrepresentative; so a media blackout prevails and editors conflate the resulting limited public debate with a lack of interest.” (p. 233)
Mainstream ‘silence’
Leadbeater points out that the mainstream media coverage of the “pre-internet 1960s did a better job”. Yet she fails to explain why, or credit those contemporary New Zealand journalists who have worked hard to break the mainstream “silence” (Robie, 2017).
She dismisses the courageous and successful groundbreaking attempts by at least two New Zealand media organisations – Māori Television and Radio New Zealand – to “test” President Widodo’s new policy in 2015 by sending crews to West Papua in merely three sentences. Since then, she admits, Indonesia’s media “shutters have mostly stayed shut” (p. 235).
One of the New Zealand journalists who has written extensively on West Papua and Melanesian issues for many years, RNZ Pacific’s Johnny Blades, is barely mentioned (apart from the RNZ visit to West Papua). Tabloid Jubi editor Victor Mambor, who visited New Zealand in 2014, Paul Bensemann (who travelled to West Papua disguised as a bird watcher in 2013), Scoop’s Gordon Campbell, Television New Zealand’s Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver and Tere Harrison’s 2016 short documentary Run It Straight are just a few of those who have contributed to growing awareness of Papuan issues in this country who have not been given fair acknowledgement.
Also important has been the role of the alternative and independent New Zealand and Pacific media, such as Asia Pacific Report, Pacific Scoop (both via the Pacific Media Centre), West Papua Media and Evening Report that have provided relentless coverage of West Papua. Other community and activist groups deserve honourable mentions.
Even in my own case, a journalist and educator who has written on West Papuan affairs for more than three decades with countless articles and who wrote the first New Zealand book with an extensive section on the West Papuan struggle (Robie, 1989), there is a remarkable silence.
One has a strong impression that Leadbeater is reluctant to acknowledge her contemporaries (a characteristic of her previous books too) and thus the selective sourcing weakens her work as it relates to the millennial years.
The early history of the West Papuan agony is exemplary, but in view of the flawed final two chapters I look forward to another more nuanced account of the contemporary struggle. Merdeka!
David Robie is director of the Pacific Media Centre and editor of Pacific Journalism Review. He was awarded the 1983 NZ Media Peace Prize for his coverage of Timor-Leste and West Papua, “Blood on our hands”, published in New Outlook magazine.
Papua Blood: A Photographer’s Eyewitness Account of West Papua Over 30 Years, by Peter Bang. Copenhagen, Denmark: Remote Frontlines, 2018. 248 pages. ISBN 9788743001010.
See No Evil: New Zealand’s Betrayal of the People of West Papua, by Maire Leadbeater. Dunedin, NZ: Otago University Press, 2018. 310 pages. ISBN 9781988531212.
Adam, A. W. (2015, October 1). How Indonesia’s 1965-1966 anti-communist purge remade a nation and the world. The Conversation. Retrieved from
Bang, P. (1996). Duianya Puwul. [English edition (2018): Puwul’s World: Endangered native people]. Copenhagen, Denmark: Remote Frontlines.
Osborne, R. (1985). Indonesia’s secret war: The guerilla struggle in Irian Jaya. Sydney, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
Robie, D. (1989). Blood on their banner: Nationalist struggles in the South Pacific. London, UK: Zed Books.
Robie, D. (2017). Tanah Papua, Asia-Pacific news blind spots and citizen media: From the ‘Act of Free Choice’ betrayal to a social media revolution. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa23(2), 159-178.


4) Provincial health team takes more rest than work, says Kopkedat

Jayapura, Jubi – Chairman of Humanitarian Care Community for Remote Areas Papua (Kopkedat) Yan Akobiarek states despite education, public health services in Papua’s remote areas are still an issue.
Although the provincial health office has provided services to remote areas through several health programs such as Satgas Kaki Telanjang, Save Korowai and Nusantara Sehat, these programs have not well implemented.
“I think sending teams to remote areas is a good idea, but I get the impression that some team members only come for vacation, to work less and get more rest,” said Akobiarek told Jubi by phone on Tuesday (10/7/2018). For instance, he pointed out the team of Satgas Kaki Telanjang who are supposed to provide health service to villagers in Korowai. After the Ied al-Ftir break, their members are still not returning to their duty station.
Meanwhile, Maria Duwitau, the Vice Chairman of the Commission V on education and health of the Papuan House of Representative said doing health services in Papua, in particularly remote areas, is always connecting with a commitment. “No matter how greater of the offer, but without willingness and commitment, I think it’s useless,” Duwitau told Jubi not long ago. (*)
 Reporter: Arjuna Pademme
Editor: Pipit Maizier

5) SKP HAM urges the government to open democratic space for Papuan students

Jayapura, Jubi – Solidarity for the Victims of Human Rights Violation (SKP HAM) Papua urge the Indonesian Government to open democratic space for Papuan students and conduct a thorough investigation on sexual harassment by a police officer at Papuan dormitory in Surabaya on last Friday (6/7/2018).
The Coordinator of SKP HAM Peneas Lokbere said the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia of1945 in the Article 28E Paragraph 3 and the Law No. 39 of1999 on Human Rights Article 24 Paragraph 1 state, “Each person has the right to associate, assemble and express his opinions peacefully” but what have been occurred to the Alliance of Papuan Students is a violation against the constitution.

“The police and military officers and members of the civil service police unit came to student dormitory trying to stop the weekly discussion. The students also witnessed the security forces carrying long-barrier guns. It was such an ironic,” Lokbere stated in the press release received by Jubi on Wednesday (11/8/2018).
Further, he stated that according to the Legal Aid Institute (LBH) Surabaya, the incident occurred when the Tambaksari Sub-district Chief accompanied by the police, military and civil service police unit of Surabaya Municipality came to the dormitory in the inspection of civil registration. “However, when students and public attorney from LBH Surabaya asked for an official letter, the sub-district chief was not able to show it.”
Meanwhile, the Director of LBH Papua Simon Pattirajawane said what have done by the security forces, in this case, is a violation against the human rights. “The Human Rights Commission should immediately form an investigation team to investigate this alleged case of intimidation, terror and racism against Papuan students in several cities in Java, including Surabaya, Malang and Yogyakarta.” (*)
 Reporter: Hengky Yeimo
Editor: Pipit Maizier

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