Monday, April 8, 2019

1) West Papua – the world’s forgotten injustice

2) Papuan governments haven't agreed over ownership shares in Freeport

3) Kafka in Australia: the trial of Witness K  


1) West Papua – the world’s forgotten injustice

Alex Sobel writes on the ongoing military occupation and its gross human rights abuses.

 April 8, 2019 · 6 min read

We think we know all about the great injustices of the world. The people who have been killed, who have had their human rights transgressed, who have been illegally imprisoned, and have seen their calls for a right to Self-Determination unanswered. We might be familiar with the situations faced by the peoples of Kurdistan, Western Sahara, Kashmir, Tibet and Palestine. However much less is spoken of West Papua even though the International Headquarters of the Campaign to fight for against Human Rights abuses and self-determination is based right here in the UK.
West Papua is the Western half of the Island of New Guinea off the North coast of Australia sharing the Island with Papua New Guinea which achieved its Independence from Australia in 1975. However the Western part of the Island which was a Dutch Colony is under occupation by the Indonesian State. The indigenous people of the Island of New Guinea are Papuans of Melanesian descent, quite distinct from the majority of Indonesians.  
The History of the Struggle for West Papua
There was a chance for Independence as the Dutch prepared for de-colonisation after the Second World War they included West Papua in these plans. West Papua held a Congress at which its people declared independence, and raised their new flag – the Morning Star in 1961.
However Indonesia which had been Independent since 1950 wanted all of the former Dutch colonies in the Asia-Pacific region and the Indonesian military invaded West Papua. As it was the Cold War the Indonesians unable to secure enough support for its invasion of West Papua went to the Soviet Union for help. The US government was worried that Indonesia seeking Soviet support might increase the spread of communism in the Pacific. In a letter from John F Kennedy to the Dutch Prime Minister, the US government strongly urged the Dutch government to hand over West Papua to Indonesia, in an attempt to appease the Sukarno government. The US government managed to engineer a meeting between Indonesia and the Netherlands resulting in the New York Agreement, which in 1962 gave control of West Papua to the United Nations and one year later transferred administrative control to Indonesia.  The Papuans were never consulted on this decision. However, the agreement did promise them their right to self determination – a right which is guaranteed by the UN to all people in the world. The Indonesians used the next 7 years to gain control over all aspects of West Papuan life and in 1969 the promised plebiscite on Independence came. However rather than a vote of all people in West Papua the Indonesian military hand-picked just 1,026 ‘representative’ people who voted under duress and West Papua became a province of Indonesia.

Military Occupation and Human Rights
In the 50 years of Indonesian Control there is significant evidence of Genocide and Yale Law School in a report for the Indonesian Human Rights Campaign in 2004 found “in the available evidence a strong indication that the Indonesian government has committed genocide against the West Papuans”. The Indonesian Military have also carried out widespread acts of Torture and Sexual Assault against the native Papuans. Every week those protesting for their rights are imprisoned by the Military. You may now be asking yourself why haven’t I heard about this, why isn’t this on the news? Well reporting is banned, Journalists cannot travel to West Papua and Journalists that have tried have been expelled. In February 2018 the BBC sent a Journalist to cover the Measles and Malnutrition Crisis that engulfed West Papua was expelled by the Military before she could even file a report. Without any reporting the plight of the West Papuans needs to be carried by word of mouth and Social Media.
Economy and Environment
West Papua is rich with natural resources it has the world’s largest Gold Mine and second largest Copper Mine. West Papua has also seen mass deforestation with the native trees being replaced by Palms for Palm Oil production. West Papuans are being exploited for their labour, land and their Island is being destroyed by pollution of the land and rivers. 
However the West Papuan people sat in the midst of all these resources are some of the poorest people in Asia.
How are the West Papuans campaigning for Self-Determination
The people of West Papua have been campaigning since 1969 and many have had to flea and campaign from their new homes. A United Campaign representing all those in the West Papuan diaspora and in West Papua. The United Liberation Movement for West Papua was formed in 2014 bringing together all the Liberation Organisations together. The Free West Papua Campaign is based in the UK and supports the All Party Parliamentary Group on West Papua which I chair. Benny Wenda who lives in Oxford is the Chair of the Free West Papua Campaign and also The United Liberation Movement for West Papua. The bringing together of the organisations has led to two major steps forward recently, the first is the signing of the Westminster Declaration which calls for an Internationally Supervised Vote for Independence and was signed on 2016 by representatives of Governments of 4 Pacific States and Parliamentarians from around the world, since then other Parliamentarians including me have signed up to the Declaration. The West Papuans in secret and often in fear of discovery collected a petition in West Papua calling for an internationally supervises vote for Independence was signed by 1.8 million, Benny Wenda has presented the petition to the UN but was rebuffed after pressure from the Indonesian Government who sit on the UN Decolonisation Committee, how Colonising Nations can be on a Decolonisation Committee is a travesty in itself. If you want to find out more and take action for West Papua please go to
Alex Sobel is Labour and Co-operative MP for Leeds North West and Chair of International Parliamentarians for West Papua and the All Party Group on West Papua


2) Papuan governments haven't agreed over ownership shares in Freeport

Victor C. Mambor The Jakarta Post

Jayapura   /   Mon, April 8, 2019   /   12:27 pm

State-owned mining holding company PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum) is waiting for a deal to be made between the Papua provincial and Mimika regental administrations on the ownership of 10 percent of the 51.23 percent of shares owned by Inalum in PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI).
Inalum head of corporate communications Rendi Witular said the ownership of the PTFI shares for the two local administrations had not been formalized because neither government had agreed on a percentage split.
“We are still waiting for the establishment of a regional administration-owned enterprise (BUMD) by the provincial and regental governments. The ball is in their hands as Inalum waits for them,” Rendi said when asked to comment on the issue on Saturday.
Rendi explained that in February, the Mimika regental administration sent a letter to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to protest the distribution of shares stipulated in Papua Provincial Bylaw No. 7/2018 on BUMD PT Papua Divestasi Mandiri, which would manage PTFI’s shares.
Under the bylaw, the distribution of the 10 percent of PTFI shares would go as follows: 51 percent for the Papua provincial administration; 29 percent for the Mimika regental administration and 20 percent for other regencies located close to the PTFI mining site.
Meanwhile, an agreement signed by Inalum, the Papua provincial administration and the Mimika regental administration on Jan. 12, 2018 stipulates that 7 percent of the 10 percent of shares is owned by Mimika, while 3 percent is owned by the provincial administration.
“The Mimika regental administration does not agree with the content of Bylaw No. 7/2018, particularly Article 15 that rules on the ownership shares of PT Papua Divestasi Mandiri. It was not in line with the basic [previous] agreement,” Rendi added.
In late March, Mimika Regent Omaleng threatened to establish a BUMD that is separate from the enterprise established by the provincial administration.
Rendi explained that before the regent sent the letter to the President, there was an effort to mediate the differences through a meeting on Jan. 11 at the Finance Ministry, but the Papuan provincial administration had not revised Article 14 of Bylaw No. 7/2018.
Papua Governor Lukas Enembe said he had not planned to revise the bylaw, including the composition of shares stated in it.
He said he would meet with PTFI executive vice president Tony Wenas and Freeport McMoran CEO Richard Adkerson in the United States in May. (bbn)


3) Kafka in Australia: the trial of Witness K  
Susan Connelly 06 April 2019

Franz Kafka's book The Trial is a waking nightmare. Josef K, a bank clerk, is arrested. He is never charged, and no evidence of wrongdoing is ever revealed. For the next 12 months he undergoes a series of encounters with strange people, hearing insinuations and veiled accusations.

The narrative is filled with a sense of suffocation, like the airless rooms from which he longs to escape. He confronts the psychological weapons of suspicion, concealment and pressure being used against him, but gradually becomes more and more a willing victim, ultimately passive as he walks to his death. He succumbs 

to the oppression of a system which presses down on him by unexplained laws and the constant threat of an invisible but sleepless court.
Although written in 1914 before the rise of the 20th century totalitarian regimes, the book's foreboding atmosphere is a fitting herald of those dehumanising systems. 'Kafkaesque' seems such clever adjective, as though we can look back to a flawed age, and sail above the soulless system that demolished Josef K. How very wrong we are. Our own chilling version of The Trial is being played out under our very noses, in the matter of 'Witness K' and his lawyer Bernard Collaery. The similarities do not end with names. In an appalling doubling, the pursuit of Josef K is mirrored in the prosecution of Witness K.
Witness K and Collaery have been charged with making known Australian state secrets in connection with the spying on Timor-Leste undertaken by the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) in 2004. Under the guise of an AusAid program, operatives bugged the walls of the Timorese prime minister's offices and listened to negotiators' planning sessions. Australia thus duped the Timorese into signing the 2006 treaty governing the split of the revenues of a section of the Timor Sea.
One of the spies, now known as Witness K, became aware that high Australian officials involved in the spying were lobbying for Woodside, an Australian oil company with interest in the area. Witness K pursued ASIS's internal processes and was advised to get a lawyer, engaging Collaery.
Once the fact of the spying was clear, the Timorese took Australia to the International Court of Justice. Both Collaery's and Witness K's premises were raided and papers seized. K's passport was taken, thus preventing him from testifying at the Hague. Meanwhile, the Timorese revoked the treaty and began negotiations for a border with Australia, which (after Australia had exhausted every avenue of opposition) was signed in March 2018. Two months later, Witness K and Collaery were charged with offences against the Intelligence Services Act of 2001.
The nightmare is gathering momentum. As in Kafka's story, a parody of a proper trial is being played out, with secrecy, postponements, months-long delays, and late delivery of documents frustrating the process. And all this concerns merely the preliminary hearings. The two men and their families are demeaned: 'innocent people are humiliated in front of crowds rather than being given a proper trial', as Kafka writes.

"Kafka's dark tale appears hopeless. But that is a state into which those who know the story of Witness K and Bernard Collaery refuse to descend."

The Attorney-General has issued a non-disclosure certificatedesigned to prevent information likely to prejudice national security from being disclosed in court. So information connected to the unethical pursuit of wealth at the expense of a smaller and weaker partner is now dressed up as 'national security'.
In the interests of that security the defendants have not received the brief of evidence against them, and it is possible that the court case, in whole or in part, could be conducted in their absence. Kafka writes: '... but K should not forget that the trial would not be public ... the accused and his defence don't have access even to the court records, and especially not to the indictment ...'
Yet what is at stake is not some threat to Australians, but knowledge of the fraud committed by the government of Australia on the Timorese, and rightful public pursuit of those who ordered the illegal spying. Kafka's hero mused in hope that 'those who were really guilty, the high officials whom nobody had so far dared point out to him, received their punishment'.
Kafka's dark tale appears hopeless. But that is a state into which those who know the story of Witness K and Bernard Collaery refuse to descend. Australians have the responsibility to oppose the erosion of the fair trial process which is underway. The Attorney-General has the power to discontinue the case. He should do so immediately.
Susan Connelly, a Sister of St Joseph
has been involved in education as a primary school teacher and principal
and has also taught scripture in state schools full-time for ten years. She has had extensive involvement with the Timorese people
mainly in cultural pursuits and justice advocacy.

Bernard Collaery will be launching Professor Clinton Fernandes's book Island off the Coast of Asia on Saturday 13 April 2019


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