Tuesday, December 11, 2018

1) Disheartening Truth of Papuan Children`s Dream to be OPM member

2) Indonesia rejects West Papua demands as troops hunt separatists
3) Government to shift focus from infrastructure to education in Papua
4) Jakarta-Papua Tensions Flare
5) Sincha Dimara: My mother, a West Papuan survivor of many hardships, spurred along by her faith

6) West Papua refugees share their stories at Lithgow forum

1) Disheartening Truth of Papuan Children`s Dream to be OPM member
Disheartening Truth of Papuan Children`s Dream to be OPM member

WEDNESDAY, 12 DECEMBER, 2018 | 10:22 WIB
TEMPO.COJakarta - Head of Papua Police’s community guidance task force, Grand Commissioner Eko Sutardo, shared his heart-wrenching experience while blending in with children that live within areas prone to conflict.
He recalled to the moment children expressing eagerness upon growing up to be a soldier for the Free Papua Organization (OPM).
“We often meet children living in the area of conflicts and ask them what they dream to be once they grow up, we found answers of wanting to grow up becoming an OPM member,” said Eko when Tempo met him in South Jakarta on Tuesday, December 11.
Eko theorized that children directly meet armed separatists in conflict-prone areas and perceive the men holding rifles as an example to look up to, which is made worse by the hateful doctrines taught by the separatist members.
“I want to be just like those brothers that hold weapons, travel, fire the weapons, and have lots of money,” said Eko imitating the child’s sentence.
He argues that the flux of these separatist groups is driven by the hateful doctrines and post-conflict trauma experienced by them which is made worse by the absence of any reasonable trauma healing efforts.
Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) researcher Adriana Elisabeth said that the lack of any proper government-driven trauma healing program contributes to the reason why shootings and human rights violations by separatists often reoccur in Papua.


2) Indonesia rejects West Papua demands as troops hunt separatists

The Papuan province has been plagued by violence in recent weeks

Updated 4 hours ago By Stefan Armbruster 


Indonesia has rejected renewed West Papuan separatists' demands for independence and the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers as the death toll mounts after almost two weeks of fighting in the Papuan province.
At least 17 workers on a major highway construction project were killed 10 days ago in an attack claimed by the West Papua National Liberation Army, known at TPNPB.
The separatists claimed the men were Indonesian military personnel while Indonesian officials say the gunmen are violent criminals who must be held to account. 

Gun battles erupted when the Indonesian military responded. At least four civilians reportedly died in the cross fire, with an unspecified number of soldiers and combatants also killed or wounded.
A civil conflict has raged since Indonesia’s annexation of the former Dutch colony and a disputed United Nations referendum in the 1960s, that has reportedly resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.


In a video, a spokesperson for the National Liberation Army read an open letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo rejecting a call to surrender, demanding an end to Indonesian rule and an independence referendum.
“TPNPB will continue armed resistance without surrender and will continue to fight until full independence is achieved from Indonesia brutal colonialism,” Sebby Sambam said, while standing alongside Major Terianus Santos, head of staff for the National Liberation Army of West Papua, behind the Morning Star independence flag.

“Call on withdrawal of all Indonesian military forces out of Papua and bring in the UN peacekeeping troops.
“Call on Indonesian government to oblige in letting indigenous people of West Papua freely vote for self-determination.”
Indonesia's top security minister, Wiranto, said on Tuesday the government will not open talks with those who have committed serious crimes.
"The enemy (TPNPB) have escaped and the authorities are still making an effort to run after them," said Wiranto, who goes by only one name.
"They have spread propaganda to scare people. They have committed inhumane crimes and we must fight against them." 
Thousands of people have reportedly fled into the mountains in Nduga where the attack occurred as Indonesian forces retook strategic positions in the remote part of Papua.

Since coming to power in 2014, Widodo has tried to address the Papua issue by freeing some political prisoners, promising improved human rights and particularly by stepping up infrastructure investment, including through a Trans Papua road.
Many traditional land owners say the 4600km highway through Indonesia’s Papuan provinces is being built without their approval.
Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne discussed the latest violence with her Indonesian counterpart last week in Bali.
“This is a very tragic event and we hope that there will be an appropriate and serious comprehensive investigation of these events. They are of course a great concern,” Ms Payne told her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi last Thursday.
Foreign media are restricted from entering the Papuan provinces to independently verify the situation.
Hundred of arrests have been made since the December 1 anniversary, which marks the raising of the banned Morning Star independence flag, sparking criticism from the UN in Geneva.
“While we acknowledge the complexities of the situation in Papua, we are troubled by the crackdown over peaceful demonstrations and increasing reports of excessive use of force by security forces, harassment, arbitrary arrests and detentions in Papua, including harassment and threats to lawyers working on these cases,” UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) spokesperson Ravina Shamdasanin said.

We urge the Government to act to constructively address the grievances being voiced in Papua in line with Indonesia’s international human rights obligations and the political commitments made in the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review.”

More arrests were made after pro-Papuan rallies on UN Human Rights Day on Monday.
The West Papua National Liberation Army, the military wing of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), declared a renewed war against the Indonesian army (TNI) on January 23 this year. 


3) Government to shift focus from infrastructure to education in Papua

Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Wed, December 12, 2018 | 09:10 am
Education will become another focus of the government’s development plans in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua after it managed to open up part of the isolated areas with its Trans-Papua flagship infrastructure project.
A territorial and equality expert at the National Development Planning Ministry, Oktorialdi, said on Tuesday that the ministry had prepared an education program to develop human resources in the provinces.
To improve development across the country, including in Papua, the government increased its education budget 13 percent to Rp 492 trillion (US$33.66 billion) in 2019, from Rp 435 trillion the previous year.
Oktorialdi revealed eight education goals for Papua: distribute more Indonesia Smart Cards (KIP), improve the quality of education in high schools, prepare assistance for teachers, increase the number of teachers, provide e-learning for teachers, include local content in education, eradicate illiteracy and establish boarding schools.
Infrastructure development in the last three years has been crucial to mobility in the province, which is three and a half times bigger than Java, he said, adding that education would help the two provinces continue their development.
Meanwhile, National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) state apparatus director Velix Wanggai said infrastructure development would help improve the quality of life for people, but improving education in the province was no less important.
Velix suggested that boarding schools could offer a good education alternative in Papua, particularly because of its geographical condition.
“We know Papua is very large; people spend a lot of time traveling from one point to another,” he added.
The government’s programs to accelerate development in Papua, one of the country’s less developed regions, is based on Presidential Instruction No 9/2017 on the acceleration of social welfare development in Papua, which emphasizes infrastructure and also human resources development. (bbn)


4) Jakarta-Papua Tensions Flare

12 DECEMBER 2018 Jarryd de Haan, Research Analyst, Indian Ocean Research Programme

Tensions between Jakarta and Papua have recently flared up with the arrest of hundreds of Papuans and reports of 19 to 31 victims, most believed to be construction workers, killed by a group of armed separatists. One major arrest took place in Surabaya, after around 300 members of the Papuan Students Alliance staged a protest; which ended shortly after they encountered counter-protesters and were told to disperse by police. Following the protest, police reportedly surrounded student dormitories and arrested between 100 and 300 students. The incidents took place around 1 December as West Papuans celebrated “Papuan Independence Day”, the date on which the Morning Star flag was first raised in 1961. The Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) has since deployed forces in Nduga Regency, where the construction workers were killed.

The death toll in the recent outbreak of violence is possibly the highest in the Post-Suharto era, raising concerns that tensions could be escalating. The history of violence and conflict stems from separatist movements within the Papua provinces which have resisted integration into Indonesia since 1969. To this date, Papua and West Papua are two of the least developed regions in Indonesia, struggling with poor water access and high rates of both poverty and malnutrition. Despite being granted special autonomy status in 2001, many within the Papua provinces still see Indonesia’s rule as that of a police state, with reports of killings, arrests and torture by the Indonesian military.
According to Arie Ruhyanto, a Doctoral Researcher from the University of Birmingham, the desire for self-determination within Papua is growing, as the Indonesian government efforts to provide economic benefits are too narrowly focussed. As part of his election campaign in 2014, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo promised to address the root causes behind the separatist movement, resolving social and economic issues in the region. During his Presidency, Jokowi has lived up to some of these promises, primarily focusing on funding development in education, health and infrastructure. These efforts, however, have so far failed to quell discontent among Papuans with seemingly little being done regarding human rights concerns.
Even efforts to improve development through construction projects have been marred by a strong military presence among the workers. Sebby Samboon, spokesperson for the National Liberation Army of West Papua, which claimed responsibility for the recent shootings, denied that the workers should be treated as civilians due to their association with TNI. A former member of the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights, Natallius Pigai, also expressed concern that local workers had been under threat for some time before the shooting.
While tensions may flare up again in the near future, it is unlikely that government attitudes will change anytime soon. Economic development will continue to be the priority in the hope that levels of discontent within the Papua provinces will decline. That is an unlikely scenario, however, at least in the short-term, as the scale of development needed to improve the general standard of living is vast. Resistance to such projects will also slow down government efforts, and increasing the military presence to protect workers may be counter-intuitive in winning over the Papuan populace.

Any opinions or views expressed in this paper are those of the individual author, unless stated to be those of Future Directions International.  Published by Future Directions International Pty Ltd.


5) Sincha Dimara: My mother, a West Papuan survivor of many hardships, spurred along by her faith

PROFILE: By Sincha Dimara in Port Moresby
I once asked my mother how was it that she married at the tender age of 16 and left home in West Papua for a foreign land – neighbouring Papua New Guinea – never to see family again for more than three decades.
She told me: “When your father left for work and I was left alone, it dawned on me that I may never see my family again.
“Silent tears flowed in those quiet moments, tanta (aunty) Wanma noticed. She asked me if papa was not nice to me. I shook my head, ‘no’… it was only after the birth of my first child, that my whole world changed.”
My mother, Dolfintje Imbab, was born on 4 December 1949, four years after World World Two ended. She was 70 last week (on 4 December 2018).
She was born somewhere on the banks of the Warfor River on Supiori Island, part of the Biak Islands in West Papua at a time when villagers had been forced to move inland to escape the horrors of war.
She completed her primary education in 1960, in what was then a Dutch colony. She was not considered for further studies because most women back then were told to return home to assist the family male members of the family to continue their education.
This meant gardening, fishing and other daily chores to sustain the family.
Against Indonesian takeover
My father, Domingus Dimara (that’s a story on its own), came to Papua New Guinea as a young man in 1963. He was against Indonesia’s takeover of West Papua then and decided to make PNG home.
He returned in 1965 in search for a bride; my mother was chosen.
My late father was a disciplinarian and always believed in doing the right thing. Initially there was resistance from my maternal grandparents upon hearing that their daughter would marry and move far from home.
My maternal grandmother placed locally made bracelets (gelang biak) on both her arms. The bracelets identify a woman or man as a Biak person.
They were married in May 1965 in Biak town and after meeting legal and customary obligations they travelled to the capital Hollandia, now Jayapura. From there, they travelled by plane to Lae, then on to Port Moresby.
My parents lived with Om and Tanta Marjen (late Aunty and Uncle Marjen) who had earlier moved to Port Moresby after Indonesia gained control of West Papua.
My parents were also accommodated by the Wanma family. This was in the 1960s. One of mum’s early memories is witnessing the 1969 South Pacific Games in Port Moresby and the basketball matches played at the Hohola Courts.
New suburbs sprouted
A few years later when Port Moresby was beginning to expand and new suburbs sprouted, my father was able to secure a house from the National Housing Commission in 1970.
In 1990, more than 30 years since her arrival in PNG, mum first crossed the border as a PNG citizen into Indonesian territory. She did so after communicating with family members through letters for more than 20 years.
Her father had passed on but her mother – my grandmother – was still alive then. She would meet family members again over the years.
In 1979, both of my parents were granted PNG citizenship along with other West Papuans. Among them were the Marjens, Sarwoms, Wanmas.
Sadly, my father passed on in 1994. My mother’s strength and love for the family has kept her going this far.
She lost three of her seven children. Edward our youngest died of heart failure in 1992. Robin was murdered by criminals in 1999 and my sister Salomina died of breast cancer in 2013.
Throughout all the hardships, I believe her faith in God has kept her going. She has mastered the Motu language, speaks a little English and Tok Pisin and made many friends in PNG.
She is also a survivor of breast cancer having gone through treatment in 2011. In a few weeks’ time she will travel home to visit her place of birth and meet her siblings again.
I jokingly asked if it was time to return for good. But I guess she’d rather spend time with the family she created – her children and grandchildren.
Sincha Dimara has been an #EMTV producer for 30 years. She is news producer of the television network in Papua New Guinea.


6) West Papua refugees share their stories at Lithgow forum
DECEMBER 12 2018 - 2:00PM

Event organiser, Lithgow RN and West Papuan human rights advocate Anthony Craig, said he hoped their stories would encourage people to learn more about the plight of West Papuan refugees and to advocate for change.
Mr Craig, who has visited West Papuan refugee camps in Papua New Guinea and has been to West Papua itself, said people often hear about the conditions of camps on Nauru, but not about these camps and conditions he called “appalling”. 
“Think about the cubby houses your kids put together in the backyard, made of bits and pieces, makeshift,” he said. 
“That’s the kind of homes they are living in.”
Read more
The camps and their residents are always vulnerable to being shifted, while the long-term future of the camps is uncertain. 
Mr Fairio and Mr Karubaba now have Papua New Guinea citizenship, which allows them to travel to Australia, but they still live in a refugee camp. 
Mr Fairio said he was “amazed and rejoiced” to be standing in Lithgow and able to speak to Australian communities. 
He said he had lived in PNG for four decades after fleeing from his home country and violence from Indonesian armed forces. 
“I have a duty to talk to Pacific people, so they are able to know, to be with us and support us,” he said. 
“We believe freedom can come, it happened for East Timor.”
Mr Karubaba grew up in camps in PNG and described conditions in which 53 families shared a single area of ground “the size of this club”, in which power only operated from 7pm-11.30pm.

“It is so crowded, so noisy in the camps, it is hard [for children] to study,” he said. 
“To get a job as a refugee is quite difficult.”
He said a large percentage of refugees in PNG were employed informally, taking up work when and where they could to support their families. 
Mr Karubaba said he welcomed the sight of the West Papuan Morning Star flag being displayed at the event on Saturday. The flag is banned from being flown in West Papua. 

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