Monday, September 16, 2019

1) Indonesia must protect rights of Veronica Koman and others reporting on Papua and West Papua protests - UN experts

1) Indonesia must protect rights of Veronica Koman and others reporting on Papua and West Papua protests - UN experts
2) A tragic story from Deiyai Regent Office
3) PNG consistently supports Indonesia's sovereignty over Papua: MP
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1) Indonesia must protect rights of Veronica Koman and others reporting on Papua and West Papua protests - UN experts
GENEVA (16 September 2019) – Indonesia must protect the rights of all people to peaceful protest, ensure access to the internet and protect the rights of human rights defender Veronica Koman and all others reporting on protests in Papua and West Papua, say UN human rights experts*. 
“We call for immediate measures to ensure the protection of freedom of expression and address acts of harassment, intimidation, interference, undue restriction and threats against those reporting on the protests,” the experts said. 

Veronica Koman, a lawyer who has been subjected to harassment and abuse online for her continuing work on alleged human rights violations in Papua, was named as a “suspect” by authorities who accused her of spreading of false information and provoking unrest after she published reports on the protests and on a racist attack against Papuan students in East Java that had triggered the demonstrations. 
“We welcome actions taken by the Government against the racist incident, but we urge it to take immediate steps to protect Veronica Koman from any forms of retaliation and intimidation and drop all charges against her so that she can continue to report independently on the human rights situation in the country,” they said. 
The experts also expressed serious concerns over reports indicating that the authorities are considering revoking her passport, blocking her bank accounts and requesting Interpol to issue a Red Notice to locate her, as she is said to be out of the country. 

The experts stressed that restrictions on freedom of expression not only undermined discussion of Government policies, but also jeopardised the safety of human rights defenders reporting on alleged violations. 
Protests have been increasingly taking place in Papua and West Papua since mid-August over alleged racism and discrimination and amid calls for independence. 
“These protests will not be stopped by an excessive use of force or by cracking down on freedom of expression and access to information,” the UN experts said. 
“We urge the Government of Indonesia to recognise the rights of all protesters and to ensure continuation of the internet service. We welcome the restoration on 4 September of the internet in almost all of Papua and West Papua provinces.” 
The internet had been disconnected completely on 21 August in various parts of both provinces on the grounds of restoring security and order, with the aim of preventing the spread of “rumours” or “hoaxes” during protests. 
“Restrictions of the internet and on access to information in general have a detrimental impact on the ability of individuals to express themselves, and to share and receive information. On the other hand, access to the internet contributes to preventing disinformation and ensuring transparency and accountability,” the experts said. 
The UN experts have previously expressed their concerns to the Government of Indonesia and are continuing to urge it to engage in genuine dialogue with the protestersThe experts welcomed the engagement of the authorities on these matters and looked forward to continued dialogue.
ENDS 
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The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity. 
UN Human Rights, Country Page — Indonesia
For more information and media requests, please write to freedex@ohchr.org
For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact: Mr. Jeremy Laurence (+41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org
Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts
Concerned about the world we live in? Then STAND UP for someone’s rights today. #Standup4humanrights and visit the web page at http://www.standup4humanrights.org
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2) A tragic story from Deiyai Regent Office
Published 10 hours ago on 16 September 2019
 By pr9c6tr3_juben

Jayapura, Jubi – A rally to protest racism against West Papuans in front of the Deiyai Regent Office on Wednesday, 28 August 2019, turned to a tragedy. A local parliament member Alfret Pakage told Jubi about the tragic story.
The story began when a young man called Yustimus Takimas died in a car crash involving an Indonesian soldier. His death triggered a mass rampage that ended with the police’s gunshot.

“I don’t have an idea about what was happening at the Regent Office’s backyard because I was standing at the side door watching people coming. After the car accident that killed young Takimai, people killed a soldier who was in the car. Then, all young men joined the crowd. Some entered through the front while others from the back via BKD Office. At that time the joint security force stood at the corner of the Regent Office. I was there too facing the BKD Office,” Pakage told Jubi by phone on Wednesday, (11/9/2019).
Furthermore, he said the mob threw stones to the soldiers, and they responded it with tear gas shots. However, when they found out a soldier killed, they threw bullets against the crowd. “I told the Crime and Investigation Department Chief of Paniai Police to hold. It happened when they (security force) knew a soldier died. They shot their guns to the people,” he said.

Then, the Military District Commandant immediately came out of his office located across the street in front of the Regent Office. “He shouted ‘my soldier is dead. Where’s the Regent? He must be responsible for this. The soldiers took their gun out. Brimob personnel were also there,” he said.
Pakage was alone at the scene, while the regent, deputy regent, local parliament members and all government officials already left their office. The police step on the body of the dead victim lying under the flagpole at the office’s front yard.
“I shouted at them to stop.” While he was confused about how to stop it, he also could not do anything because he was alone and under gun threat.
“I saw people died lying under the flagpole. It’s just me. I was alone. When the soldiers found out that people taken away their guns, they prevented me from being a mediator. They even pointed their guns against me and said ‘you want to back up or not? If not, you’ll be responsible for this’. After that, I backed up. But I still told them not be overwhelming,” he said.
Furthermore, according to Pakage, he moved to a kiosk opposite the Regent Office to join some police officers of Mee origin. It was only 17:12 but already so quiet, and nobody dared to pass. He then saw the ambulance from Deiyai Public Hospital going to the scene.
“I saw the ambulance coming from Deiyai Public Hospital to collect West Papuans who injured and fell because of the shooting. But the police came to block the car, pulled out the victims and took the ambulance’s key. They put their injured friends (soldiers), sent both driver and medical workers home. Then ambulance went to Paniai and left the injured West Papuans,” he said.
It was getting late, so he hurried to go home. He reminded himself that he must keep safe from the danger. Of returning home, he observed that Waghete became so quiet. Only found the security forces standing along the street from the Regent Office to Waghete II until the airport compound.
On the next day, Thursday (29/8/2019), he returned to the scene to check whether the dead bodies are still there or taken to the hospital.
“I only saw the soldiers standing along the street. I didn’t meet any residents. First of all, I checked the Deiyai Public Hospital, but the gate was locked and no activities there. I came inside knocking the door but no one there. So, I went to the scene to check whether the victims are still there or not. So I parked my vehicle at the entrance of the Regent’s office. Suddenly, the joint security force came investigating me with anger.
“They asked, ‘where are our guns?’ I told them I am also a part of this country. Those weapons are the state’s tools; I try to find those losing guns. However, the victims were not there anymore. So I went to Damabagata, Tigi Timur sub-district because I heard from someone that they keep the weapons there. At that time, the Military District Commandant was well-equipped guarding at the intersection of Waghete, Dogiyai and Paniai,” he said.
He continued the story by saying that the Paniai Police then asked him to come to their office as a witness. “At that time, the police acted without thinking. It was a big mistake. They examined me as a witness at the regency police station,” he said.
Meanwhile, Father Santon Tekege Pr said the investigation of the Secretariat of Peace and Justice (SKP) of Paniai Dean – Timika Diocese concludes that a car accident involving a soldier that caused the death of Yustinus Takimai triggered this shooting incident.
“As a result of the gunfire and tear gas shots, seven civilians were dead, while 43 people injured with both minor and serious injuries,” said Father Santon. (*)
Reporter: Abeth You
Editor: Pipit Maizier

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(note. video footage/photo in story etc)
UN urges Indonesia to protect rights of West Papua activists

10 hours ago

UN Human Rights Council experts call for immediate measures to protect freedom of expression as demonstrations continue

A group of UN human rights experts has urged the government of Indonesia to protect the rights of activists advocating for more freedom in the country's West Papua and allow unrestricted access to information from the restive eastern region as rumblings for independence continue. 
In a statement issued on Monday, UN Human Rights Council officials said restrictions on freedom of expression in West Papua, "not only undermined discussion of Government policies but also jeopardised the safety of human rights defenders reporting on alleged violations".
"We call for immediate measures to ensure the protection of freedom of expression and address acts of harassment, intimidation, interference, undue restriction and threats against those reporting on the protests," the experts said.
On Monday, more demonstrations were reported in Yahukimo regency in Papua province, according to a social media post by human rights lawyer and activist, Veronica Koman.
Koman also said that three people have reportedly been arrested and others "forcibly dispersed" in Yapen Islands Regency, also in Papua.
Recent reports said that several West Papua activists, including Koman, have been arrested or had warrants issued for them for alleged incitement to violence, spreading false information and other actions directed at the central government.
Jakarta has issued an arrest warrant for Koman, who is currently overseas, and reportedly threatened to cancel her passport, freeze her bank accounts and request that Interpol locate her.
Last week, authorities detained activist Buchtar Tabuni after he was charged with alleged treason.
Two weeks ago, Indonesian news site Tempo reported that at least 20 people had been arrested in West Papua for alleged rioting.
The Civil Society Coalition for Democracy in Indonesia had also told Al Jazeera that eight activists had been arrested, including Surya Anta of the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua.
Three female Papuan students were also reportedly being held.



Excessive force
Protests have been going on in the West Papua region since the middle of August. 
Demonstrations started after a group of indigenous Papuan students on the island of Java were allegedly racially abused and harassed by authorities.
At times, the protests have turned violent and Human Rights Watch (HRW) has reported that as many as 10 people have been killed.
The government has responded to the protests by deploying thousands of police and military personnel to the region and shutting down the internet.

The internet was later restored and the officers accused of the racial abuse that incited the protests have reportedly been dismissed or suspended. But arrests of activists continue. 
In the statement on Monday, the UN experts warned that the protests "will not be stopped by an excessive use of force or by cracking down on freedom of expression and access to information."
"We urge the Government of Indonesia to recognise the rights of all protesters and to ensure continuation of the internet service," the experts added, while welcoming the restoration of the internet on September 4 in almost all of West Papua region, which comprises Papua and West Papua provinces.
West Papua was a Dutch colony until the early 1960s when Indonesia took control, cementing its rule later in the decade with a controversial referendum.
Jakarta maintains that West Papua, which shares an island with Papua New Guinea, is Indonesian because it was part of the Dutch East Indies, which forms the basis of the country's modern-day borders.
A low-level armed rebellion by indigenous Papuans, who now make up about half the population after years of migration by people from other parts of Indonesia, has been rumbling ever since.
In December, violence erupted again after a group of construction workers was attacked by separatist rebels, leaving at least 17 dead and triggering a military crackdown.
Some 35,000 civilians were forced from their homes as the security forces attempted to flush out the rebels from the forested mountains.
According to HRW, West Papuans have increasingly become targets of intimidation by "Islamist and nationalist groups" in Indonesia since the formation in 2014 of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, which is advocating for Papuan independence.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS
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3) PNG consistently supports Indonesia's sovereignty over Papua: MP
9 hours ago

Jakarta (ANTARA) - While receiving Indonesian Parliament’s several members in Port Moresby last week, Papua New Guinean (PNG) Foreign Minister Soroi Marrepo minced no words in declaring that PNG consistently recognizes Indonesia's sovereignty over Papua and West Papua.

"The PNG foreign minister has obviously conveyed his government's political stance," Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives (DPR) Commission I overseeing Defense and Foreign Affairs Setya Widya Yudha noted in a press statement here on Monday.

At a meeting with the House's Commission I delegation members at the foreign ministry office in Port Moresby last week, Marrepo firmly echoed his view of the PNG Government consistently supporting Indonesia's sovereignty over the two provinces, he remarked.

Indonesia's delegation constituted Evita Nursanyanti, representing the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) Faction, and Sukamta from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) Faction, as well as Indonesian Ambassador to PNG Andriana Supandi.

Related news: Papua to send 20-ton rice to PNG's dual volcano victims

At the meeting, Foreign Minister Marrepo was accompanied by his ministry's secretary, Barbara Agirigolo Age.

He was quoted by Yudha as saying that a recent rally staged by a group of people in Port Moresby to call for a referendum for the people of the provinces of Papua and West Papua did not represent the PNG government's official political stance.

However, Indonesia is expected to find a wise and peaceful way out to placate the recent violent protests that native Papuans in the two provinces staged over the alleged racist slurs against the Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, on August 16, 2019.

According to ANTARA, the PNG government's recognition of Indonesia's sovereignty over Papua and West Papua is also shared by Australia as outlined in the Lombok Treaty of 2006.

Related news: PLN preps to supply 2 MW electricity to PNG's Vanimo

The talks between Foreign Minister Marrepo and the Indonesian delegation members did not solely focus on Papua issues but also on ways to continue to strengthen bilateral multisectoral cooperation between Indonesia and PNG.

"Cooperation between the two countries in the fields of economy and culture must continuously be strengthened by, for instance, opening a direct flight connecting cities in the two countries. Inter-parliamentary cooperation is also needed," he stated. Related news: Extra care for Papua brethren crucial to maintaining Indonesia's unity

Related news: Foreigners not banned in Papua, but numbers restricted


EDITED BY INE
 
Reporter: Kelik D, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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1) Increase noted in intimidation of legal advocates for Papuans



2) THREATS AGAINST AND JUDICIAL HARASSMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER VERONICA KOMAN
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1) Increase noted in intimidation of legal advocates for Papuans
5:27 pm today 



A leading Indonesian human rights advocate has noted increased intimidation of rights lawyers representing West Papuans.
This comes amid a security forces crackdown in Papua following a surge of anti-racism and pro-independence protests and related unrest which left at least ten people dead.
Police have arrested over 80 Papuans for involvement in the protests, including some prominent independence activists.
IDN Times reports that the director of the Lokataru Law and Human Rights Office, Haris Azhar, has been collecting data on intimidation cases
He said there were a number of cases of criminalisation, intimidation and repression of legal advocates for those arrested or targeted.
This includes physical assaults, and mobilisation of mobs to intimidate advocates.
Mr Azhar cited as examples the recent demonstrations outside the Jakarta offices of the Legal Aid Institute and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence.
And according to the Jakarta Post, a number of those facing charges for staging the protests have been interrogated without access to lawyers.

Furthermore, journalists covering these developments in Papua have also been targeted, with a Jakarta Post journalist in Papua last week reported to have had his house searched by paramilitary police.
Mr Azhar accused Indonesia's government of mismanaging developments in Papua with an authoritarian response that he warned would fail to address the core problems.

Indonesian rights lawyer denies West Papua incitement

An Indonesian human rights lawyer accused by police of inciting violence in West Papua has defended her name.
Earlier this month a police warrant was issued for Veronica Koman, who is in Australia, after police claimed she spread fake news online.
Indonesian authorities have blamed disinformation and Papuan independence activists for a recent wave of protests in the region.
But Ms Koman, who has defended Papuan independence activists in court, said the claims against her were fabricated.
In her first statement since being named a suspect on 4 September, she claimed that police have intimidated her family in Jakarta and falsely stated that Interpol was hunting her down.

Ms Koman said that last year, when she gave a series of public talks in Australia, Indonesian embassy staff intimidated her by taking pictures and recordings of the events.
"The embassy reported me to my scholarship institution, with the complaint that I was supporting separatism at the events. It disrupted my relationship with the institution and my masters study," she said.
Indonesian media reported police saying they had asked their Australian counterparts to bring Ms Koman to the Indonesian embassy in Australia on Friday and that if she didn't hand herself in to Indonesian authorities by September 18, they would issue an INTERPOL red notice for her.
The Irish rights group Front Line Defenders urged Indonesia to drop its case against Ms Koman.
"Front Line Defenders expresses grave concern at the escalating threats against and judicial harassment of Veronica Koman, which it believes is solely motivated by her peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights," it said in a statement on Friday.

The Dutch rights group Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) and Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada said the charges against Ms Koman interfered with "the fundamental right to legal counsel for people whose human rights may have been violated by Indonesian security personnel".
Failing to condemn violence against lawyers "has a chilling effect on society," L4L executive director Sophie de Graaf wrote in a letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo and several other Indonesian ministers and government agencies.
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Front Line Defenders
2) THREATS AGAINST AND JUDICIAL HARASSMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER VERONICA KOMAN
13 September 2019
Threats against and judicial harassment of human rights lawyer Veronica Koman
On 13 September 2019, the East Java Police announced that Veronica Koman must appear at the Indonesian Embassy in Australia to comply with a summons which was scheduled for today. The police stated that if the human rights defender fails to present herself to the Indonesian authorities by 18 September 2019, they will include her on their wanted list and issue an Interpol red notice for her. Veronica Koman is currently in Australia as a result of ongoing threats against her in Indonesia.
Veronica Koman is a human rights defender and lawyer who advocates extensively for human rights in West Papua. She is a member of International Lawyers for West Papua, an international network of lawyers working to strengthen the human rights of the people of West Papua. Previously, she worked as a public interest lawyer at the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta). In the midst of the recent internet blackout in West Papua following mass demonstrations in the region, Veronica Koman has been disseminating information about developments in the situation on social media and has functioned as a key source of information to the outside world.
On 13 September 2019, Veronica Koman received news that she had until 18 September 2019 to appear at the Indonesian Embassy in Australia to comply with a summons that the East Java Police had issued to her, which was scheduled for today. The police had announced on 10 September 2019 that this was the second summons they had issued to the human rights defender, but she has not received either of them. The police also said that they will include Veronica Koman on the Indonesian National Police’s wanted list and issue an Interpol red notice for her in the event that she fails to comply with their directions.
The summons issued to Veronica Koman is linked to information she has been sharing on social media about the ongoing mass demonstrations in the provinces of Papua and West Papua that began on 19 August 2019. These demonstrations were sparked by the intimidation and arrests of 43 Papuan students on 17 August 2019 in Surabaya for allegedly disrespecting the Indonesian flag. Police officers had fired tear gas into the dormitory before arresting the students, some of whom were injured in the process. Veronica Koman shared videos of this incident and the resultant uprisings in Papua and West Papua on her social media channels.
On 19 August 2019, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology said that the human rights defender’s tweet on the arrests in Surabaya was a “hoax”, but later apologised for saying so on 22 August 2019. Nonetheless, as a result of this, Veronica Koman began receiving a deluge of online attacks, rape and death threats, and allegations that she was spreading false information about the situation in Papua and West Papua.
On 4 September 2019, the East Java police officially named Veronica Koman a suspect for incitement (under Article 160 of the Criminal Code), spreading fake news (under Article 15 of Law number 1 of 1946 concerning criminal law and procedure), displaying race-based hatred (under Article 16 of Law number 40 of 2008 concerning the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination), and disseminating information aimed at inflicting ethnic hatred (under Law number 19 of 2016 concerning Electronic Information and Transactions). The police also announced that they will collaborate with Interpol to arrest the human rights defender who is currently in Australia.
On 7 September 2019, the East Java police announced that they would invalidate Veronica Koman’s passport and freeze both her national and international bank accounts. Following this, on 10 September, the Indonesian immigration department agreed to a police request to cancel the human rights defender’s passport and it is reported that the process has been initiated. The Indonesian Minister of Law also publicly announced that the Australian authorities will deport Veronica Koman once her passport is cancelled.
Front Line defenders expresses grave concern at the escalating threats against and judicial harassment of Veronica Koman, which it believes is solely motivated by her peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights.
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Sunday, September 15, 2019

1) Indonesia slams door on West Papua independence referendum


2) Papua and ‘independent, active’ foreign policy
3) Biak Numfor's students urged not to join exodus: district govt
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1) Indonesia slams door on West Papua independence referendum

Published:   |  Modified: 

Indonesia has told the United Nations that it has no intention of giving in to the demands of protesters for a referendum to be held in its troubled province of West Papua.
According to a report in CNN Indonesia, Indonesian Ambassador to the UN Hasan Kleib said this during a public debate in Geneva, Switzerland.
"Regarding the issue of the aspirations of the referendum, ambassador Hasan confirmed that the referendum had been held in 1969 and the results were validated through the UN General Assembly Resolution No 2504/1969 which was final," the Indonesian High Representative's press release in Geneva quoted last Friday.
Opponents of Indonesia's rule over West Papua claimed that the referendum was conducted in an atmosphere of intimidation with just over 1,000 tribal chiefs selected and instructed to vote for West Papua to join Indonesia.

"In accordance with international law, the referendum has been legally carried out and final, and therefore it is never possible anywhere to be repeated " said Hasan who made this statement while fielding a question from Twitter during a public debate for potential member states of the UN Human Rights Council.

He was also asked questions about the guarantee of freedom of opinion and assembly in Papua, especially after the incident of racism that triggered a massive demonstration on Indonesia's easternmost island.
Hasan claimed that the demonstrations led to anarchy and were overcome by security forces without using any violence.
This contrasts sharply with reports smuggled out of the troubled province.
West Papuan activists said the Indonesian military is carrying out acts of violence and terror against an innocent and unarmed population.
They claim that in an alleged attempt to cover up its actions, Jakarta has expelled foreign journalists from its provinces of Papua and West Papua, continuing a long history of isolating the region from the outside world.
It also imposed an internet blackout on the region.
Activists were calling for a referendum on Papuan independence and an end to the racist treatment of Papuans by Jakarta. 

They also released photos which allegedly showed the Indonesian military pursuing a scorched-earth policy, burning down houses in the villages of Gome district in Kabupaten Puncak in Papua.
According to Reuters, the Indonesian authorities have arrested 85 protesters, and at least four people are dead since unrest erupted on Aug 17.
The protests concern perceived racial and ethnic discrimination, spread over two weeks in a string of Papuan towns.
Papua and West Papua provinces, the resource-rich western part of the island of New Guinea, were formerly a Dutch colony that was incorporated into Indonesia after a widely criticised 1969 referendum backed by the United Nations.
This year is the 50th anniversary of that vote.
On Sept 5, UN Human Rights Commissioner Michele Bachelet urged Indonesian authorities to engage in dialogue with West Papuans about their aspirations.
On Sept 11, thousands of Papua New Guineans marched through its capital Port Moresby in solidarity with their West Papuan neighbours.
The protests were led by two prominent PNG political leaders - the national capital governor, Powes Parkop, and Oro province's governor, Gary Juffa.
Indonesia has turned a deaf ear to such claims with National Police Chief Gen Tito Karnavian naming West Papuan activist Benny Wenda as the instigator behind the demonstrations and riots in Papua and West Papua, while Indonesian Special Forces counter-terrorism squad Densus 88 claimed that the Papuans are being influenced by the Islamic State terrorists.
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2) Papua and ‘independent, active’ foreign policy

Mangadar Situmorang and Inez Ignatzia Bandung   /   Mon, September 16 2019   /  01:27 am

The date of Sept. 2, 1948 is perceived as the origin of Indonesia’s foreign policy principle bebas dan aktif (independent and active). It was coined in the speech of then-vice president Mohammad Hatta before a heated meeting of the Central National Committee of Indonesia (KNIP), underlining newly independent Indonesia’s choice of being neither pro-Soviet nor pro-America in the bipolar world.
In the pursuit of national ideals, Hatta contended, “The government is of the opinion that the position to be taken is that Indonesia should not be a passive party in the arena of international politics but that it should be an active agent entitled to determine its own standpoint with the right to fight for its own goal.” 
Indonesian foreign policy was not only influenced by the bipolarity that led to the rise of a Cold War system. Its independent and active international outlook was also determined by domestic political contest. The push and pull factors were considered so that the independent and active principles gave Indonesia international gains and domestic settlement. 
At that time, Indonesian diplomacy was intended to win international recognition of its independence and sovereignty, including over Papua. It turns out the issue of Indonesia’s sovereignty over Papua remains a challenge.
Widely accepted as a legal condition for every player or actor in the global field, international recognition is sought after and maintained by state governments and nonstates entities. That Papuan independence campaigner Benny Wenda and its United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) and scattered affiliated fronts fight for international recognition is therefore understandable. 
However, the government’s fear about its sovereignty being undermined by different groups of people who show deep concern and sympathy to the Papuans will only be considered a show of inconfidence and immaturity.
History proves Indonesia has successfully secured international recognition in difficult times. Leaders of newly born Indonesia went through a set of exhausting and frustrating negotiations with many countries such as the United States, Soviet Union, Australia, India and Arab states, the United Nations and finally the Netherlands, to gain recognition. 
Indonesian negotiators had to seek compromise that disappointed many domestic political forces. 
Sukarno, Hatta, Sjahrir, just to name a few founding fathers, did well to convince international powers that we had an effective government with the capacity needed to rule the whole territory previously under the Dutch colonial administration, organize and control the armed forces and implement a democratic political system. 
That Sukarno afterward broke the consensus of the negotiations proved the tactical and pragmatic approach to dealing with big powers in which the bebas aktif principle has its own rationality. 
Soeharto’s New Order era demonstrates similar exercises. Facing economic hardship and domestic political fragmentation, Soeharto’s economic ministers managed to seek foreign help. It was clearly argued that for the country to be stable and united, economic development should top the priority in which international assistance and investment, mostly from the US and Western countries, was the very basic condition. Bebas aktif, again, justified such an international stance. 
When the economy gradually developed, demands for political freedom and democracy rose. It was only the coincidence of economic crisis and failure to meet the demands for democracy that forced Soeharto to step down after 32 years in power and ushered the country into a new era of reform.
Our domestic politics always comes under international scrutiny. Therefore, as we are facing demands for a self-determination referendum from some of the people in Papua, we have to respond in a proportional and positive manner. 
We have to acknowledge first of all that those people have not only rights that are universally accepted, but also capacity to call for international attention and recognition. At the same time, we have to be firm that we are in the same and the only one nation-state of Indonesia. In this regards, the racial abuse and discrimination Papuan students and people have endured on top of social and economic injustice are our collective problems as a nation.
Putting pressure on our diplomats to deal with the problems in Papua is not a solution. Rather, it might exacerbate the problem. Although the conventional wisdom says diplomats are sent abroad to tell lies, in the midst of open, online and massive flows of information, our representatives will be heard only if they work based on data, facts and strong arguments. 
And the other side of any diplomatic mission is to bring home responses and views of international communities and to capitalize on them for national interests. In other words, Indonesian diplomats have to share the same voices about domestic politics and policies. 
When the international community shows deep concern about Papua, our ambassadors and citizens overseas need to loudly warn the government in Jakarta and in Papua, including the security forces, to act effectively and democratically in maintaining peace and stability in the easternmost region. 
It is then fair to say that instead of blaming Wenda and his ULMWP or other individuals and human rights groups advocating equal and indiscriminative governance in Papua, it is much better for the government to work to capitalize on international support and sympathy. We need it to restore peace and advance democracy and development in the region.
The principle bebas aktif remains relevant and runs well in all situations and contexts. It is, however, only significant and meaningful when we show appreciation to international concerns and support, and at the same time make substantial progress in managing our own nation. 
Failure to implement bebas aktif internally and externally will only put our sovereignty under a constant question. 
__
Mangadar Situmorang is a senior lecturer and Inez Ignatzia is a student of international relations at Parahyangan Catholic University, Bandung.


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3) Biak Numfor's students urged not to join exodus: district govt
10 hours ago

Biak, Papua (ANTARA) - The Biak Numfor District Government has urged its students currently studying at various universities on the islands of Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Maluku not to get provoked by misleading issues.

"Instead, all students from Biak must remain focus on their endeavors to finish their studies," First Assistant of the Biak Numfor District Government Friets G.Senandi said here on Sunday regarding the official letter of the district's head, Herry Ario Naap.

Referring to the letter number 100/247 dated on September 12, 2019, Senandi said any student from Biak Numfor who get provoked by the calls for returning home would not be guaranteed to be admitted at universities in Papua Province.

The district government, as revealed in Herry Ario Naap's letter, would neither allocate a budget used for sending them back to the cities where the universities that have received them are located, he said.

The central government has actually guaranteed their safety and security in the cities where they reside while pursuing their study at the local universities, Senandi said.

An exodus of native Papuan students currently studying in various reputable universities outside Papua and West Papua has become a problem that both regional governments in the two provinces and central government should resolve in the aftermath of violent protests against the Surabaya incident that occurred in August.

Related news: Nearly 700 native Papuan students return home

Some 700 native Papuan students recently returned home despite the guarantees by every provincial police chief for the safety and security of all indigenous Papuan students currently studying outside their hometowns.

A majority of the returnees were previously studying in Manado, North Sulawesi Province, according to Papua Police Chief Inspector General Rudolf Rodja.

Rodja regretted the decisions of the returnees, saying that the national police chief had ordered all regional police chiefs to guarantee the safety of the students so that they could direct their undivided attention to completing their studies.

In response to the exodus of some 700 native Papuan students, the central government has encouraged them to return to the cities or towns where they are studying.

The Indonesian military commander has even kept on standby two units of Hercules C-130 aircraft for transporting the returnees from Papua and West Papua to the provinces where they are studying.

The exodus has stopped, and the government is keen to send them back to their universities, according to Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto.

Educating the indigenous Papuan students at various prestigious universities outside their homeland is important because they will receive good quality higher education and make friends with their peers from different socio-cultural backgrounds.

Related news: Komnas HAM urges Jokowi to hold dialog in Papua

Related news: Hearts, minds approach instrumental in tackling Papuan issues: speaker
Reporter: Muhsidin, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

1) Spirit of a free Papua burns on

2) West Papua groups: Indonesian military is burning our villages

3) Gus Dur’s family meets with Papuans, urges tolerance with referendum calls
4)  The forgotten neighbour 
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1) Spirit of a free Papua burns on
The remains of Jayapura’s Telkom centre, torched in the August 29 protests. Picture: Chandni Vasandani
By AMANDA HODGE PLUS CHANDNI VASANDANI IN JAYAPURA and PAPUA 12:00AM SEPTEMBER 14, 2019
In streets heavily secured by fresh contingents of Indonesian police and soldiers this week, those hit by recent violent protests and rioting in the provincial Papuan capital of Jayapura have begun rebuilding.
At intervals along the worst-affected stretches, signs erected by authorities on torched buildings read “VICTIM of riots, arson”.
Among those pitching in is Jamal, a motorcycle taxi rider whose family migrated from Sulawesi under a government prog­ram in the 1960s but who are still referred to locally as “settlers”.
“I am a victim too. They burned down my office,” he told The Weekend Australian this week on a police-sponsored trip to the province, where authorities were eager to point out damage caused by protesters but less keen for reporters to speak to locals.
Papuan students and other protesters have been carrying their own signs in recent weeks; ones with messages rejecting a state they say has long rejected them. “If we are monkeys, don’t force monkeys to fly the Red and White (Indonesian flag),” read one widely disseminated banner.
The protests across Indon­esia’s easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua — first peaceful and then deadly — were triggered last month by an attack on a university dormitory in Surabaya by a mob shouting racist slurs, including “monkey”, at Papuan students accused of dis­respecting the Indonesian flag.
In the weeks since, Jayapura airport has been packed with students flooding back home amid an unprecedented wave of civil unrest that began as mass protests against endemic racism but has lent fresh momentum to the 58-year-old push for independence.
Indonesia has responded by shutting down the internet — though police have promised full restoration this weekend — and deploying 4000 more police.
At least six people have died in clashes between security and protesters — claims that it is higher are difficult to verify — and many more injured as the two sides have traded bullets and arrows.
Dozens have been arrested, including two high-profile activists this week, Buchtar Tabuni and Steven Itlay, accused of masterminding protests that have once again turned a spotlight on a dilemma­: the irresistible force of Papuan nationalism meets the immovable object of Indonesian nationalism.
Melbourne University’s Richard Chauvel says the protests show the racism so many Papuans have experienced has “in a sense been weaponised” by pro-independence protesters. “The Pap­uans studying with students from other provinces and living in the university towns of the Indon­esian heartland should be developing a greater identification as Indonesians, as well as a deeper knowledge of the many other cultures in Indonesia,” he wrote.
Instead, the experience had simply reinforced their Papuan identity.
President Joko Widodo, in a meeting with a Papuan delegation this week, promised to build a presidential palace in Jayapura and provide at least 1000 more Papuan jobs in state-owned enter­prises.
Activists want a fresh independence referendum to replace the 1969 Act of Free Choice, in which just 1025 Papuans chosen by the Indonesian military were allowed to vote. Papuan youth leader Samuel Tabuni said the Surabaya incident was “the straw that broke the camel’s back, and an accumul­ation of the insults” Papuans were subjected to daily in a country where they did not feel welcome but were not permitted to leave.
“We Papuans joined Indonesia in 1969 and until today we still hear those terms — monkey, blackie, darkie, ugly,” he said.
“Back in my university days in Jakarta, I would board an angkot (shared van) and people inside would cover their mouth and noses. That happened to our parents, it happened to my generation and it is happening still today.
“But it’s not just racism. We feel our political rights are not acknow­ledged by the Indonesian government, law enforcement does not protect us, many Pap­uans are getting killed and there is no investigation into that. How can we feel part of this country?”
Indonesia’s security minister Wiranto has accused Papuan activ­ists of stoking unrest to keep the independence struggle in the headlines ahead of this month’s UN General Assembly, when Vanuatu is expected to raise human rights abuses in Papua.
Benny Wenda, the London-based leader of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, does not deny he wants the UN to take up the cause but said attacks such as that which triggered the latest heavy-handed security crackdown were all too reliable.

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https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/491603

2) West Papua groups: Indonesian military is burning our villages

Martin Vengadesan  |  Published:   |  Modified: 

The Indonesia military is carrying out acts of violence and terror against an innocent and unarmed population, say West Papuan activists.
In an alleged attempt to cover up its actions, Jakarta has expelled foreign journalists from its provinces of Papua and West Papua, continuing a long history of isolating the region from the outside world.
It also imposed an internet blackout on the region.
"To make things worse," a West Papuan activist told Malaysiakini, "Indonesian Special Forces counter-terrorism squad Densus 88 is spreading the lie that Papuans are being influenced by the Islamic State terrorists."

"Our motive is a referendum on Papuan independence and an end to the racist treatment of Papuans by Jakarta. The irony of them claiming Islamic extremist influence is that they have been trying to impose religion on our people," the activist said.
The activist also released photos which allegedly showed the Indonesian military pursuing a scorched-earth policy.
"They came and burned down houses in the villages of Gome district in Kabupaten Puncak in Papua," said the activist, adding that information was vague because of the restrictions.
"Please help us get our story out to the world."

According to Reuters, the Indonesian authorities have arrested 85 protesters, and at least four people are dead since unrest erupted on Aug 17.
The protests concern perceived racial and ethnic discrimination, spread over two weeks in a string of Papuan towns.
Some protesters have demanded a referendum on independence, something the government has ruled out.
Papua and West Papua provinces, the resource-rich western part of the island of New Guinea, were formerly a Dutch colony that was incorporated into Indonesia after a widely criticised 1969 referendum backed by the United Nations.

Waving the flag of free Papua, protesters set fire to a local Parliament building and blocked streets in the provincial capital of Manokwari by burning tyres and tree branches, while larger protests took place in Jayapura.
They were protesting the mass detention of Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, for bending a flagpole bearing the Indonesian flag in front of a dormitory on Indonesia’s national day, which was celebrated on Aug 17.
On Sept 5, UN Human Rights Commissioner Michele Bachelet urged Indonesian authorities to engage in dialogue with West Papuans about their aspirations.
Bachelet, a two-time president of Chile and one-time politial detainee who underwent torture during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, said she had been disturbed by reports of escalating violence.
On Sept 11, Radio New Zealand reported that thousands of Papua New Guineans marched through its capital Port Moresby in solidarity with their West Papuan neighbours.
The protests were led by two prominent PNG political leaders - the national capital governor, Powes Parkop, and Oro province's governor, Gary Juffa.
Parkop was quoted as saying PNG citizens considered West Papuans members of the same greater clan and feel their pain.
Also this week Human Rights Watch's Australia Director Elaine Pearson called on the Indonesian government to investigate the deaths in the West Papuan unrest, including a bloody clash in Deiyai regency.
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3) Gus Dur’s family meets with Papuans, urges tolerance with referendum calls
CNN Indonesia – September 14, 2019
Jakarta – Around 20 Papuan students from the Javanese cities of Bandung, Malang and Yogyakarta have met with the family of former president Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid to discuss the current situation in Papua. The meeting was held at the residence of the late Gus Dur in Ciganjur, Jakarta, on Friday September 13.
The discussion – which began at 7 pm and ended at 9 pm – lasted for around two hours. Present at the meeting was Gus Dur’s widow Sinta Nuriyah Wahid and their two children, Alissa Wahid and Anita Wahid.
“We wanted (today) to hold a kind of friendly meeting, a joint discussion on the Papua situation. Reminiscing about Gus Dur’s ways of dealing with particular situations”, said one of the Papuan students, Agustinus Kamboya, who attended the meeting.
Kamboya said that the efforts made by the government to date have failed to address the root cause of the social problems in Papua. Moreover they have been focused on Papuan communities which are still found in ethnic tribal groups.
“This dialogue is good, only it didn’t address [the real problems]”, he said.

According to Gus Dur’s daughter Yenny Wahid, what is needed is dialogue which listens to the aspirations of the Papuan people themselves. This can also be done to find a solution to the current situation.
She is pushing for sincere dialogue to create a permanent and substantive solution to the problems in Papua.
Yenny also thinks that the public should not be too quick to react to Papuan people who are demanding independence through a referendum.
“Don’t be afraid if there are still those voicing a desire for independence, wanting a referendum, just follow the process”, Yenny told journalists after the meeting.
Yenny, a figure who also known as an activist, is asking the public and the government to listen more closely to and accept the presence of Papuans people in society. Moreover, she also believes that there is a need for Papuan faces to be represented in the Indonesian national culture.
According to Yenny, one small thing which could be done is presenting more Papuan people on the screen, such as staring in advertisements. This would be influential in making Papuan people become part of Indonesian culture.
“If their faces are not presented as representatives from their communities, how can they be able to think of themselves as part of society”, said Yenny.
In addition to this, the other thing that should be done is putting an end to the circle of violence in Papua and restore the situation in Papua to normal. “This is the thing that must be the priority”, she asserted. (mjo/eks)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Keluarga GusDur Temui Mahasiswa Papua Bahas Situasi Terkini”.]

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4)  The forgotten neighbour 
AFA Weekly WITH JONATHAN PEARLMAN
Off the tip of north Queensland is a looming problem that Australia has long tried to avoid: a people suppressed. The region of West Papua receives little attention in Australia, partly because Indonesia blocks access to aid groups, foreign media and the United Nations. But Canberra, too, prefers this silence.
In recent weeks, however, the people of West Papua have shown that they don’t intend to be forgotten. Following an incident in which a group of Indonesian nationalists was filmed racially abusing Papuan students, Papuans have launched the largest independence protests in decades. 
Dozens of demonstrations have been held, some of which have resulted in deadly clashes with Indonesian forces. In Jayapura, the capital of Papua, protesters set fire to the parliament and police buildings. Indonesia blocked phone and internet access across the region and dispatched 6000 troops.
On Monday, it was reported that four Australians were being deported from Indonesia after participating in the protests. The arrests allowed Indonesian authorities to resort to their perennial claim about West Papua: that foreign forces, particularly those from Australia, are encouraging the province’s secession as a means to weaken and divide Indonesia. “We know these groups [of demonstrators] have relations with an international network,” said Indonesia’s national police chief, Tito Karnavian.
These paranoid claims are a reminder that Indonesia is an insecure archipelago, a country that consists of thousands of islands and hundreds of languages, and whose current national borders are an accident of postcolonial history. The concern among Indonesian military and political leaders is that Australia, having supported Timor-Leste’s independence (although for many years it did not), will now back West Papua, and that other countries will follow suit.
West Papua, whose people are Melanesian, has a distinctive history, and its status has never been settled. The reason to support its independence is not to destabilise Indonesia. It is to end an injustice. The region was not initially a part of Indonesia when the republic gained sovereignty in 1949, but remained under Dutch control. It was handed over to Jakarta by the United Nations in 1963, pending a vote by the province on independence. But the 1969 ballot was a sham, involving about 1000 voters handpicked by Indonesia from among a population of 800,000. Since then, Indonesia has conducted a number of brutal military crackdowns against West Papuan separatists. It deliberately moved non-Papuans into the area until the current president, Joko Widodo, ended this transmigration practice in 2015. The region now has a population of about 3.5 million, only half of whom are indigenous Papuans. It’s Indonesia’s poorest region, despite having one of the world’s most lucrative copper and gold mines – a key incentive for Jakarta to retain it.
Seeking to avoid damaging its relationship with Indonesia, Australia has rejected calls for a new West Papuan referendum. In 2006, Canberra recognised Indonesia’s territorial integrity in the Lombok Treaty, which explicitly opposed separatist movements. The Howard government had backed Timor-Leste’s independence, and now hoped the treaty would placate Jakarta.
Indeed, the Coalition and Labor, both of which have struggled to develop close ties with Jakarta, have dismissed calls for West Papuan independence as reckless. It’s been easy for both major parties to maintain this position because there is scant public discussion in Australia of the predicament in the region. But this could change, particularly if reporters are able to access information about Indonesian crackdowns, and if media outlets publish the stories. International support for a referendum could grow. And while this would not defuse Indonesian paranoia, it would help to protect Australia from being seen as the lead instigator in a push for independence. Currently, several Pacific nations support the West Papuan cause, as does British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is believed to be the only leader of a major Western political party to publicly do so.
In the meantime, Australia continues to ignore the injustice in the region, even as it occurs on its doorstep. “I’m honoured to be here to celebrate these achievements,” Scott Morrison told his Timorese counterpart during a visit to Dili last week, marking twenty years since Timor-Leste’s Australia-backed independence referendum. “Your nation forged through sacrifice is perhaps the greatest achievement of all … We are pleased to have been able to play the part that we have.”
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