Friday, February 1, 2019

1) Indonesia Criticizes Vanuatu over Papua Separatist Leader’s UN Petition

2) TNI to Hold Psychological, Territorial Operations in Papua
3) International attention drawn to West Papuan struggle
1) Indonesia Criticizes Vanuatu over Papua Separatist Leader’s UN Petition
Victor Mambor Jayapura 2019-01-31

Benny Wenda, chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, protests against the Rio Tinto mining company outside its annual meeting in London, April 15, 2010.

Indonesia has strongly criticized the tiny Pacific island-nation of Vanuatu for including an exiled Papuan separatist leader as a member of its delegation during a meeting in Geneva last week with the U.N. human rights chief.
Benny Wenda, chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, joined the Vanuatu delegation during the discussion with Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet on Jan. 25.
While attending the closed-door session, Wenda said he presented a petition signed by 1.8 million Papuans that seeks a referendum on independence for Indonesia’s easternmost province. BenarNews could not confirm Wenda’s claim about the signatures.
“Vanuatu’s action is very regrettable and inconsistent with the fundamental principles of the United Nations charter,” Hasan Kleib, the Indonesian ambassador to the U.N., said in a statement. “Vanuatu deliberately deceived the U.N. High Commissioner with their manipulative step of slipping Benny Wenda into their delegation.”
He said Wenda’s name was not included on an official delegation list submitted before the meeting.
“Indonesia will never back down in protecting and defending its territorial integrity,” Kleib said.
The Papua region, which consists of Papua and West Papua provinces, is home to about 5 million people, including more than 2.5 million members of indigenous tribes.
Wenda said he briefed Bachelet about the situation in Papua’s Nduga regency, where government forces launched a security operation after the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), the armed wing of the separatist movement, killed 19 construction workers and a soldier in early December.
Rebels claimed that at least seven civilians were killed in the operation and hundreds fled to the jungle.
“We urged the United Nations to use its mandate to pressure Indonesia to open access to Nduga because to this day access to Nduga is still blocked by the TNI (military),” Wenda said.
Wenda also asked for an investigation into allegations that the military had used white phosphorus during anti-rebel operations. White phosphorous is highly toxic and burns when it comes in contact with oxygen.
Col. Muhammad Aidi, the Indonesian military spokesman in Papua, denied Wenda’s allegation.
“The TNI has never done those things. He could not show proof for his accusations,” Aidi said.
Papua visit
Last week’s meeting focused on discussing Vanuatu’s periodic review before a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, said Ravina Shamdasani, a U.N. spokeswoman in Geneva.
“When the meeting was under way, Benny Wenda submitted the petition,” Shamdasani wrote to BenarNews in an email.
Shamdasani said the office was waiting for a follow-up invitation from Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to visit Papua. The president extended an invitation last year to Bachelet’s predecessor, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein.
“The U.N. Human Rights Office is working with Indonesia on human rights issues in Papua and is still awaiting access,” she said.
Ambassador Kleib, meanwhile, said the invitation stood.
“A schedule is still being worked out and hopefully it can be done in 2019,” he said.
Ongoing violence
Meanwhile in Papua on Thursday, a soldier was injured when rebels attacked a military patrol in Nduga’s Mapenduma area, according to Aidi, the provincial spokesman for the Indonesian armed forces. The rebels retreated to the jungle when soldiers returned fire, he said, adding that three soldiers had been killed in clashes with the insurgents in January.
Most recently, a soldier guarding the airfield in Mapenduma was killed on Monday when rebels opened fire on an aircraft carrying Nduga regent Yarius Gwijangge and two other officials.
Military officials believe a local rebel group under the leadership of Egianus Kogoya was responsible for the attack, said Brig. Gen. Irham Waroihan, the TNI chief of staff in Papua.
“This group’s actions have been beyond the pale,” he said. “To avoid more casualties, I have asked our members to be vigilant at all times.”
Rebel spokesman Sebby Sambom said the attack was carried out after a National Police helicopter landed in the airfield.
“The police dropped goods and weapons to be used during raids on the people of Nduga,” he said.
Papua declared its independence from Dutch colonial rule on Dec. 1, 1961, but that was rejected by the Netherlands and later by Indonesia.
In 1963, Indonesian forces invaded the region and annexed it following a contentious referendum in 1969. During the plebiscite, according to rights groups, security forces selected slightly more than 1,000 people to agree to the region’s formal absorption into the archipelagic nation.
Tia Asmara in Jakarta contributed to this report.

2) TNI to Hold Psychological, Territorial Operations in Papua

Translator: Dewi Elvia Muthiariny   
Editor: Laila Afifa 
1 February 2019 08:48 WIB 
TEMPO.COJakarta - The Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto said that his institution would establish psychological and territorial operations in Papua in a bid to engage the locals to be familiar and have no fear of the TNI officers.
Hadi explained the operations would be carried out to lessen the combat operation as to reduce the number of victims.
“Thus, a possible strategy is a community approach and showing them that their wishes will be fulfilled as long as they against separation from NKRI (the Unitary State of Indonesia),” said Hadi in a written statement, Thursday, January 31.
Hadi made the statement in companion with TNI Army Force Chief of Staff Gen. Andika Perkasa, TNI Navy Force Chief of Staff Admiral Siwi Sukma Adji, and TNI Air Force Chief of Staff Marshall Yuyu Sutisna after the 2019 TNI leader meeting in GOR Ahmad Yani, TNI headquarters, Cilangkap, East Jakarta.
Hadi explained that TNI would fulfill their hopes, which is local employment for Trans Papua construction project, and would discuss the matter with the local heads. “We have coordinated it with PUPR and SOE Ministries to actualize their demand,” he added.
As reported earlier, a total of 28 workers of Trans Papua were brutally killed by armed groups KKB led by Egianus Kogoya in Nduga, December 2, 2018. The incident prompted trauma in the community.


3) International attention drawn to West Papuan struggle
4 minutes ago 
Johnny BladesRNZ Pacific Journalist

Efforts to focus international attention on the West Papua independence cause surged in the past week.
First, a petition claiming to represent the voices of 1.8 million West Papuans calling for decolonisation of Indonesian-ruled Papua was handed to the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, in Geneva.

It was presented by the chair of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), Benny Wenda, who was included in an official delegation of the Vanuatu government to a meeting with Ms Bachelet.
Then, the office of the commissioner confirmed that Indonesia had, in principle, agreed to grant her office it access to Papua.
It represented a tentative breakthrough after the previous High Commissioner last year upset Jakarta by complaining that an invitation for his office to visit Papua hadn't been honoured.
Thirdly, representatives of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) and its armed wing, the West Papua Liberation Army, held a rare press conference in neighbouring Papua New Guinea where they re-asserted their war on the Indonesian state.
They made an urgent appeal to the UN secretary-general to ensure relevant UN agencies applied scrutiny to the human rights situation in Papua, and pressed their insistence that Indonesia has occupied Papua illegally.
At yesterday's event, they were joined by PNG civil society groups and two high-profile local MPs in calling for the international community to act on the "crisis" happening in the neighbouring territory.


Nduga regency in Papua's central Highlands region is the current focal point of armed conflict between Indonesian security forces and the West Papua Liberation Army.
In the most serious escalation of hostilities for years, additional Indonesian military capabilities deployed to Nduga in December after the Liberation Army massacred 17 Indonesian road construction workers.
The Liberation Army was suspicious of Indonesian military involvement in President Joko Widodo's massive Trans-Papua road project.

Given Papuan concerns about preserving their forests and ancestral lands, the project is viewed as a threat to many communities in the Highlands heartland.
Still, the president told media his resolve to forge ahead with his government's infrastructure development drive in Papua was all the stronger since the attack on the workers.
In her recent annual foreign policy review statement, Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi, said her country would "not back down, not even an inch, when it comes to its sovereignty".
But with shootouts and killings continuing in Nduga and the surrounding region, humanitarian concerns are growing for thousands of Papuan villagers who have fled to the bush to avoid the violence.
Claims that chemical weapons have been used by Indonesia's military against civilians in Nduga have been vehemently denied by Indonesia.
The claims are just the latest reason cited by the ULMWP in its call for the international community, specifically the United Nations, to intervene in the Pacific's longest running conflict.

Moresby rumblings

With concern about conflict in Papua running deep among Melanesian countries, Papua New Guinea's Peter O'Neill-led government is under pressure to act on the issue.
The Governor of PNG's National Capital District, Powes Parkop, announced at Thursday's OPM press conference that he was working on introducing a motion in parliament for a change in government policy on Papua.
According to the Oro Governor, Gary Juffa, the 1986 treaty with Indonesia, which commits PNG to not interfere in domestic matters of its neighbour, is outdated and must be changed.
"And it has to be done by parliament, because it was enacted by parliament," Mr Juffa said.
"And that's the whole purpose of this gathering. But it is also their statement that no matter what, there's no going back for them. Their only statement to the Indonesian government is that 'we are willing to negotiate for freedom, nothing else'."
Invoking the current urgency around the independence movement, the Oro Governor said West Papuans were determined and deserved the support of their neighbours.
"As Melanesians, as a Pacific nation, we have to rise up and stand up for our fellow Pacific Islanders.”

However PNG's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rimbink Pato, has repeatedly ruled out PNG pushing Indonesia on the matter of Papua's political status.
He recently said PNG was working with Indonesia on various projects in the common border area that he claimed would help foster economic development and steadily improve living conditions for West Papuans.
But chair of PNG's Union For Free West Papua, Ken Mondiai, said the issue of West Papua should be addressed by the UN.
"Indonesia has come in in a very forceful way since the 1960s to take over using its military force. The United States of America, the UN, the Netherlands, and many of the big countries like Australia are collectively responsible. So they should be responsible to try and fix the mistakes of the past."

Diplomatic surge

At the Moresby press conference, an OPM spokesman, Jeffrey Bomanak, announced the Movement's official support for the Liberation Army's declaration of war against the Indonesian state.
He said its armed struggle to end Indonesian rule would not cease until Jakarta agreed to meet for peaceful negotiations, for which the OPM is establishing a negotiating team.
However, Indonesia's government has previously ruled out negotiations with the OPM, which it brands as a criminal group, and is unlikely to change its stance now.
Indonesia's Political, Legal and Security Minister Wiranto recently told media that the government would not enter any discussions with the Army.
But apart from Indonesia, those involved in this intractable conflict are looking to the UN to help resolve the problem.
According to Mr Wenda, while the OPM and Liberation Army are united in support of his Liberation Movement's international efforts, he cannot control them.
"We cannot control the guerillas in the West Papuan bush, who face the threat of torture and death by the colonial Indonesian military every day," he explained.
"The guerillas have their own command structure and their own leadership, and due to geographical, logistical and communicative difficulties we do not try to direct them. The ULMWP is focused relentlessly on its goal of achieving international support for an internationally-supervised vote on independence for West Papua."
On that front, Mr Wenda's delivery of the petition in Geneva last Friday was described by Indonesia as a 'manipulation’.

Indonesia's permanent representative at the UN, Hasan Kleib, alleged that Mr Wenda has infiltrated the Vanuatu delegation.
He added that Vanuatu was disrespectful and had broken the principles of the UN charter by allowing Mr Wenda to deliver the petition.
But Vanuatu's Foreign Minister, Ralph Regenvanu, said his government had always maintained its support for the self-determination of West Papuans.
Vanuatu continues to advocate for the UN to revisit the controversial process by which Indonesia took control of the former Dutch New Guinea in the 1960s.
Indonesian officials, who say the question of sovereignty over Papua is final, delivered their own shot at Vanuatu this week in Geneva where the Melanesian country was undergoing its universal periodic review at the UN Human Rights Council.
However, this week it was mainly the Papuans who made the diplomatic running.
‘Don’t be afraid’ – give Bougainville, West Papua freedom, says Parkop
By Clifford Faiparik in Port Moresby
National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop is pushing for Bougainville and West Papua to gain independence from Papua New Guinea and Indonesia respectively.
Parkop said this in no uncertain terms during a West Papua forum in Port Moresby yesterday.
Northern Governor Gary Juffa, who was also present, expressed similar sentiments.
“The government must give political independence to Bougainville,” Parkop said. “Likewise, the Indonesian government should also give political independence to the West Papua provinces.
“Both of these people have struggled bitterly for independence for a long time, resulting in widespread deaths. The governments of both countries should not deny these respective people’s rights.”
Parkop said Bougainvilleans would be given the opportunity to determine whether they wanted to remain as part of PNG, or go separate.
“We are not afraid and I’m not afraid,” he said. “If Bougainville chooses independence, they will not move the island of Bougainville to Europe or another place in the world.
‘Still be there’
“They will still be there. We are all inter-married now. There are family and tribal relationships been bonded already.
“We might have a better future because if you look at the history of PNG, because of Bougainville, we were political and economically shaped.”
Parkop said the same message must be told to Indonesia.
“Indonesia must know that if West Papua becomes independent, they will not move the land to the United States,” he said.
“They will still stay there. The people speak Bahasa. Intermarriages have already been forged and established with people from other parts of Indonesia.
“Economically, they can be integrated. Socially, they can still move around in Indonesia. I don’t think the West Papua freedom movement will remove Indonesian investments.
“The Indonesians must overcome their fear.”
Clifford Faiparik is a journalist with The National daily newspaper.

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