1) ULMWP Chairman: My condolences and sympathy for people in Sentani, West Papua
March 18, 2019 in Statement
It is with a heavy heart that I am sending this message to you on behalf of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). The people of West Papua are currently facing a double humanitarian crisis: a humanitarian crisis caused by Indonesian military operations, and a humanitarian crisis because of climate change.
On Saturday, flash floods hit Sentani, destroying dozens of people’s houses and livelihoods. Around 70 people are suspected to have died.
I give my deepest condolences and sympathy to those who have died and those who have lost their homes, farms and possessions in these floods. This is another episode in nearly 60 years of pain my people have suffered.
In Nduga, Indonesian military and police operations have continued since December. Unknown thousands of women and children have fled to the bush, dozens have died and 200 displaced children are still unable to return to school. The entire region has been shut down by the Indonesian security services. As the World Council of Churches stated during their recent historic visit to West Papua, ‘Papuan people seem to be systemically marginalized and excluded in all areas of life’.
The people of West Papua have been in mourning since December because of these violent military operations. As the death count increases in Sentani, they are now doubly mourning.
The ULMWP calls on the world’s humanitarian agencies to assist the West Papuans suffering in Sentani. The Red Cross, Oxfam, UNICEF, Médecins Sans Frontières, Christian Aid and others must immediately request access to the region to assist people. The Indonesian government must not block their entry, as it has done in Nduga and the rest of West Papua for decades.
I also call on the UK government to use some of the resources taken from our land to provide aid to West Papua immediately. The UK and other governments around the world have a moral obligation to help my people because you and your corporations have invested heavily in West Papua.
Benny Wenda Chairman United Liberation Movement for West Papua
Translator: Dewi Elvia Muthiariny Editor: Markus Wisnu Murti 18 March 2019 19:14 WIB
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that to date a total of 77 people died in the flash floods in Sentani, Jayapura, on March 17, 2019.
“In Jayapura regency, 70 people were killed by landslides, while 7 others in Jayapura city in flash floods and landslides as well,” said Sutopo during a press conference today, March 18, at the BNPB office.
According to him, as many as 43 people were still unaccounted for. “The joint SAR team is still searching, evacuating, and rescuing victims,” Sutopo noted.
Most of the affected areas, Sutopo added, were now accessible. However, the team is still sweeping each area. “The team has evacuated 74 injured people. Meanwhile, some 4,226 people were evacuated to six locations, and 11,725 families were affected [by the flash floods].”
Based on the latest data, 350 houses were badly destroyed and 211 others in BTN Bintang Timur Sentani were still inundated. “One unit of twin otter helicopter was damaged at Adventist Doyo Sentani airfield.”
Sutopo continued to say that the areas worst hit by the fash floods out of nine sub-districts were Dobonsolo, Doyo Baru, and Hinekombe.
3) Indonesia urged to invest in understanding Papuans
3:44 pm on 18 March 2019
A Papuan academic says Indonesia's approach to development in his homeland shows a lack of understanding about Melanesian culture.
Australia-based anthropologist Yamin Kogoya said there is too much emphasise on ramming the Indonesian state ideology down Papuans' throats.
Indonesia's president Joko Widodo has pushed major infrastructure development projects in Papua in the past three years.
But Mr Kogoya said the government's approach sees Papuans as a threat or even second class citizens in need of handouts.
He urged Jakarta to develop Papuan human resources.
"See Papuan people as ahuman being who have history and language. These people have survived in this part of the world for millenia. And I think Indonesia, after 60 years, they don;t really fully understand the value system and the culture and the language of the Papuan society."
Mr Kogoya said another major factor inhibiting Papua's development was the presence of Indonesia's military.
He said the effect of having a military or police post in every town and many villages in Papua could not be under-estimated.
"These people, they're fully armed and carrying around these big machines guns and weapons. You don't use this sort of mechanism to help people understand the value system of Indonesia as a nation," he said.
According to him, the military's involvement in education in Papuan villages was problematic.
"You see Indonesian military going to the villages and starting teaching the Papuan children in their village schools," he explained.
"I have experienced this many times when I was growing up in the village, in the Highlands. They obviously don't use the curriculum or have clear guidelines, but they go in there with their weapons where the children can see."
According to Mr Kogoya, this was how the military sought to teach Papuan children about the state ideology regarding the integrity of the Indonesian republic, and the Pancasila ideology.
"If you want Papuan children to love Indonesia, this is not the way to do it," he said.