Friday, December 21, 2018

1) West Papua Action Auckland- Government urged to act on evidence of use of incendiary weapons in West Papua

2) Indonesia Closes Long-Awaited $3.85b Freeport Deal
3) TNI threatens Papua governor with legal action after call for Nduga troop withdrawal

1) Media Release;   Government  urged to act on evidence of use of incendiary weapons in West Papua

West Papua Action Auckland
Box 68419
22 December 2018
Media Release;   Government  urged to act on evidence of use of incendiary weapons in West Papua
The latest reports from West Papua reveal a shocking escalation of violence in West Papua.   Incendiary weapons - possibly white phosphorous - are being used  to bomb villages in the Nduga area of the Highlands.
No journalists or aid workers can get through- but just released images indicate  a humanitarian crisis of major proportions.   West Papua Action is calling on the Government to take immediate steps to call on the Indonesian President Joko Widodo to end this military operation and protect the lives of  defenceless villagers.
For further information:  Maire Leadbeater 09815-9000 or 0274436957
Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern 
Prime Minister
Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Parliament Buildings 
Dear Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters,
Authoritative reports state that the Indonesian military is using incendiary weapons against the Nduga people in the Central Highlands on West Papua.   Photographs taken in the area  show yellow-tipped bombs and military  experts  state that the weapons appear to be some type of incendiary or white phosphorous.  An Indonesian soldier is reported as saying that troops are firing a type of gas on the villages.   If the reports are confirmed then Indonesia is likely to be in breach of international law banning the use of such weapons.   The New Zealand Government cannot turn aside from this  shocking humanitarian crisis.  (Please see the Australian Saturday Paper article from journalists Mark Davis and John Martinkus – both long-term followers of  West Papua issues:

White phosphorus  burns through skin and flesh and it is near impossible to save someone once it becomes  absorbed into the body.  Villagers report that the bombs were dropped from the air from a helicopter. At least 7 people have died.
The Indonesian military is conducting an intense reprisal sweeping operation against the people in the wake of an armed attack on   2 December in which some 16 construction workers were killed.  There is now an extremely dangerous escalation of violence impacting on the civilian population – hundreds have fled their villages and gardens for the forest where they face starvation.  We know of the situation through reports from Church workers and from the cell phone images taken by locals. No aid can gets through and no journalists are present to report.  
We urge you in the strongest terms to act immediately to contact Indonesian President Joko Widodo and call on him to end this deadly military operation against the people of West Papua.
Yours sincerely,
Maire Leadbeater
For West Papua Action Auckland


2) Indonesia Closes Long-Awaited $3.85b Freeport Deal

By : Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Wilda Asmarini | on 10:35 PM December 21, 2018
Jakarta. State-owned mining holding company Inalum took control on Friday of the local unit of Freeport-McMoRan, operator of the world's second-biggest copper mine Grasberg, with the closure of a $3.85 billion deal.
The landmark deal, which hands Inalum a 51.23 percent stake in Freeport Indonesia, ends years of tough and often fractious negotiations over ownership rights to Grasberg as Jakarta pushed for greater control over its mineral wealth.
"Today is a historical moment since Freeport began operating in Indonesia in 1973," a smiling President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo told reporters at a press conference.
"Everything has been completed, and now all that's left is the work," he added.
For Jokowi, seeking re-election next year, securing the majority stake in the mine for Indonesia is a political boon, and he had urged both sides to wrap up the deal quickly.
Indonesia and Freeport agreed in principle in August 2017 to set up Freeport's rights to Grasberg according to a new mining license but the process was held up by numerous issues, including resolution of environmental problems linked to the mine.
"Today we have completed the lengthy process to transfer Freeport's contract of work to a special mining permit," Bambang Gatot Aryono, the coal and minerals director general at Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, told reporters at a separate press conference.
Bambang said the new permit given to Freeport Indonesia is valid until 2031, and the company could apply for a 10-year extension five years before it expires.
Freeport McMoRan chief executive Richard Adkerson said the new permit would give the company clarity over its Indonesian operations up to 2041.
Under the terms of the new agreement, Freeport will build a copper smelter in Indonesia within five years and will invest an estimated $14 billion in the mine.
Inalum chief executive Budi Gunadi Sadikin said Grasberg was "the most complex mine in the world" with plans to expand a network of tunnels to 1,000 kilometers from around 700 kilometers at present.
"I'm confident Indonesia's engineers can do this," Budi said. "But we need to study, and Freeport McMoRan is the best proven underground mining operator, so this is the best opportunity for us to study."
Freeport Indonesia chief executive Tony Wenas said operations at the giant Grasberg open pit will conclude this year, resulting in a temporary decline in output as it transitions to underground mining.
"In 2020, production will increase again," he said.
Tony also noted recent separatist unrest in Nduga, which lies on the other side of a mountain range from Grasberg, but said the mine was safe.
"We hope in future it will be safer," he said.


3) TNI threatens Papua governor with legal action after call for Nduga troop withdrawal

Don't forget to check out the new Indoleft website West Papua page:

TNI threatens Papua governor with legal action after call for Nduga troop withdrawal

CNN Indonesia - December 21, 2018

Jakarta -- Kodam XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Command (Kodam) information Chief Infantry Colonel Muhammad Aidi says that Papuan Governor Lukas Enembe (LE) and the Papuan Regional House of Representatives (DPRP) should not be calling for the withdrawal of TNI-Polri (Indonesian military-national police) troops from Nduga regency in Papua.

He says that if the TNI-Polri withdraws their troops, security forces could be accused of negligence because, according to Aidi, gross legal violations have occurred in Nduga and the law needs to be enforced there.

"So I think that it is inappropriate for the governor and the DPR[D] speaker as well as other parties to ask that TNI-Polri security personnel be withdrawn from Nduga in an area where gross legal violations have taken place and the law must be enforced", said Aidi in a written release on Friday December 21.

Aidi asserted that the presence of TNI-Polri troops in Nduga is necessary for them to carry out their principle duty of protecting and safeguarding Indonesia's territory. He stated that separatist groups in Papua have committed human rights violations and oppose the sovereignty of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

In addition to this, Aidi notes that there are four PT Istaka Karya construction workers whose fate is unknown and are still missing and that they are still trying to determine the whereabouts of the four victims. Aidi also insists that the TNI will not withdraw its troops from Nduga regency.

"Moreover [how would they feel] if they hear that the TNI-Polri have stopped looking for them because of an order from the governor and the DPR[D]? Where is their conscience as creations of God and moreover as leaders? The Kodam XVII/Cenderawasi will not withdraw its troops from Nduga regency", he insisted.

Aidi believes that the request to withdraw the troops shows that the governor and the DPRP do not understand their basic duties and functions as leaders and representatives of the people.

He said that Enembe should act in accordance with Law Number 23/2013 on Regional Administration in which the policy of regional heads is to defend and maintain the integrity of the NKRI and to implement the national strategic program.

"If Governor LE takes a position of supporting the struggle of Free Papua separatists and rejects the national stratigic program policy then LE is breaking the country's laws and should be charged in accordance with the law", he said.

Aidi said that the presence of TNI-Polri troops in Papua is not to frighten let alone kill Papuan people.

"So the people don't need to feel upset about the presence of the TNI-Polri in Mbua and the Yigi Complex. The ones that [should] feel upset are the criminals whose hands are smeared with sin who have slaughtered civilians who cannot protect themselves", he said.

Earlier Governor Enembe asked President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to withdraw all TNI and Polri troops and personnel from Nduga in the lead up to Christmas and the New Year. Enembe made the request after taking part in the 5th plenary meeting at the DPRP in Jayapura city.

"As the governor of Papuan I am asking President Jokowi to withdraw all the troops that are in Nduga, because communities want to celebrate Christmas", said Enembe as quoted by the Antara state news agency on Thursday December 20.

According to Enembe the request has received endorsement from the DPRP leadership and members, the Papuan People's Council (MRP), church and customary leaders, human rights activist, the regency government and the people of Nduga.

"The presence of TNI and Polri personnel in Nduga is not appropriate in the lead up to Christmas celebrations, so it would be best if they are withdrawn from Nduga regency. The people want to celebrate Christmas. It's the Christmas season, the TNI and Polri shouldn't be there [in Nduga]", he said.

Enembe said that in relation to the Trans Papua construction workers killed by the Papuan National Liberation Army (TPN) in Nduga on December 2, the government plans to form an independent team to find out what happened. He hopes that there will be no more violence against the people of Nduga.

"The team will be made up of [representatives] from the DPRP, Komnas HAM [the National Human Rights Commission] and the government, they will be divided up and sent to Nduga, as soon as possible", said Enembe.

DPRP Speaker Yunus Wonda said that the independent team would not involve members of the security forces in the hope that the findings of the investigation can be maximised.

"Security personnel will not be involved in the team. The independent team will work to uncover what happened in Nduga. Particularly in inviting local people who have fled into the forests to return to their respective homes", he said.

The governor will personally lead the team. They will also involve a team of healthcare workers and psychologies to provide trauma counseling for Nduga residents. (rzr/pmg)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "TNI: Gubernur Papua Tak Pantas Minta Tarik Pasukan dari Nduga".]


INDOLEFT News service


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