Sunday, June 30, 2019

1) Raising West Papuans' rights

West Papua human rights advocate and development expert Rosa Moiwend has called on the New Zealand churches to keep West Papuan rights in the foreground of our advocacy efforts with Government.

TAONGA NEWS | 26 JUN 2019|

Rosa Moiwend is visiting Aotearoa New Zealand this week to raise the alarm on human rights abuses against West Papuans and to encourage advocacy on West Papuan indigenous people’s behalf.
Rosa Biwangko Moiwend is a West Papuan woman working in West Papua and in the Pacific region as a human rights activist, community organiser, civil resistance researcher, and educator. A Malind Anim woman from the southern part of West Papua, she has been active in the campaign against MIFEE, the proposed giant food and palm oil plantation in Merauke. 

Talking at Otago University on 24 June, Rosa outlined the ongoing problems West Papuan people face to achieve recognition of indigenous land rights, freedom of movement and the right to peaceful protest.
Rosa was welcomed by West Papua Action Auckland (WPA), who entitled Rosa’s speaking tour, ‘West Papua, the Pacific crisis we can no longer ignore.’
“West Papua holds the record for the worst environmental problems, human rights abuses and deforestation in the Pacific region.” declared the WPA media release. 
 “As a result of conflict in highland Nduga, thousands of displaced people are struggling to cope. These harmful conditions coupled with the loss of life since the Indonesian takeover in 1963 amount to ‘slow genocide’.”
“However, the New Zealand government is all but silent on the mounting crisis.”
West Papua – which comprises the western half of the Papua land mass adjacent to Papua New Guinea, has been under the control of Indonesia since 1963, despite the West Papuan peoples’ 1961 manifesto of independence declared in advance of the Dutch colonial power’s departure.
Rosa called on churches in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia to continue to raise West Papua’s situation with their Governments, and keep the focus on West Papua human rights in their diplomatic relations with Indonesia.
“Many groups and meetings make statements about the West Papua situation, and raise the issue of human rights abuses, but what really makes a difference is to keep up the pressure on Governments to raise West Papua issues with Indonesia.” said Rosa.

Rosa lauded the ecumenical delegationcoordinated by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and two Indonesian church groupings that visited the provinces of Papua and Papua Barat on February 15-22 this year. Increasing violence and discrimination against indigenous Papuan people In those two regions was recently highlighted in a joint statement by five UN human rights mandate-holders.
Rosa’s visit comes as a reminder to the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia that in 2016 our Hīnota Whānui - General Synod agreed to step up in solidarity with the people of West Papua, and moved to:

1. Condemn human rights abuse inflicted by the Indonesian government on the peoples of West Papua;
2. Condemn the illegal incarceration and the torture of the peoples of West Papua; and
3. Support the call for a UN controlled vote on the self-determination of West Papua to be held as soon as practical.
Political actors like the Pacific Islands Forum and the Melanesian Spearhead Group have publicly called for an investigation into human rights abuses in West Papua, said Rosa, and here close by in the Pacific, all churches, NGOs and academics can play a role in reminding their Governments as well as regional groupings of countries to meet their fact-finding obligations and address the human rights concerns they have spoken out on.
For more information on the history and current situation of West Papua you can attend one of Rosa Moiwend’s remaining speaking engagements in:
Saturday 29 June, 2019, 8:30 to 10:15am in University of Waikato, K Block: G.11.
Rosa will speak in the West Papua roundtable event Wansolwara: The Trans-Indigenous Ocean with West Papua’ roundtable as part of the Native American and Indigenous Studies conference at Waikato University.
Monday 1 July, 2019: 6.30pm in the St Colomba Centre, 40 Vermont Street, Ponsonby.
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2) Papua conflict: Two wrongs don’t make a right
Sheith Khidhir 30 June 2019

Last Tuesday, an Indonesian military spokesman was reported as saying that any use of child soldiers by Papuan independence fighters would be a violation of human rights. The spokesman said this violation would implicate both, the rebels as well as state institutions.
The statement was made following the allegation that the armed conflict between Indonesia’s military and the West Papua Liberation Army involves indigenous teenagers and boys. Many of them appear as though they have barely reached adolescence.

The military’s spokesman, Muhammad Aidi, said in a statement that if armed Papuans have involved children in the conflict it would show they’re a “wild, uncivilised” group.
Under international law, a child is anyone under 18 years of age and the use of individuals under 15 years old in conflicts is a war crime. Nearly 170 countries including Indonesia have ratified a United Nations (UN) treaty that obliges governments to stop military recruitment of anyone under 18 years and to work toward ending the military exploitation of children by state and non-state armed groups.
While the use of children for war is, without question, a gross violation of human rights and as the old adage goes “two wrongs don’t make a right”, it is still important to remember that Indonesia has not been so innocentwhen it comes to its conflict with Papua either.
Indonesia’s human rights violations
Last year, Amnesty International said in a report that Indonesia’s police and military are responsible for at least 96 unlawful killings in the Papua region since 2010. They also condemned a near total absence of justice for the mainly indigenous victims.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) also noted in its World Report 2019 that Indonesian security forces continue to pay a “little price” for committing abuses, including past unlawful killings of Papuans. It also stated that authorities continue to place far-reaching restrictions on foreign journalists seeking to report from Papua and West Papua provinces.
“In March (2019), the mysterious death in police custody of Rico Ayomi, a 17-year-old student, for alleged alcohol poisoning underscored the lack of accountability for deaths of Papuans by police,” the report read.
“Two foreign journalists were harassed in Papua in 2018 for alleged ‘illegal reporting.’ They include BBC correspondent Rebecca Henschke, arrested in February, and Polish freelancer Jakub Fabian Skrzypski, arrested in August. Henschke, who had a legitimate travel document, was questioned for a total of 17 hours before being freed. Five Papuan men, including a graduate student, were arrested separately in the Skrzypski case (Skrzypski did not have a travel permit for Papua).”
But that’s not all. The HRW report also cited a measles outbreak in the Asmat regency that killed an estimated 100 Papuan children in January 2018. This, according to the report, underscored the Indonesian government’s neglect of indigenous Papuans’ basic health care.

Source: KontraS

In May, Indonesian president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was re-elected for his second termas the country’s leader. Back in 2014 (during Jokowi’s first campaign for the presidency) he had made several campaign promises. Observers all over Indonesia have taken note of the promises he kept and the ones he didn’t but perhaps one of the unfulfilled promises that disappointed observers the most was that regarding the issue of human rights.
In October last year, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) was quoted by Indonesian media as accusing Jokowi of putting human rights on the backburner. In its evaluation report, KontraS noted that Jokowi had failed to carry out most of his own 17 priority human rights programs.
Based on the Jokowi administration’s “Nawa cita” (nine priorities) document, KontraS said Jokowi’s administration has 17 programs or promises relating to human right issues. KontraS noted six programs were not fulfilled and 11 promises were incompletely finished.
“His administration failed to accomplish most of its initial commitments about human rights,” KontraS commissioner Yati Andriyani was quoted as saying.
And so, while the Indonesian military may take issue with the alleged human rights violations by Papuan independence fighters, it must not forget that it too has to clean up its own backyard. It is hoped that the statement made by Aidi shows that Indonesia is now serious about ensuring human rights are protected on both sides of the divide.
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3) TNI Deploys Bell Helicopters to Search Missing Chopper MI-17
Translator: Antara 
Editor: Petir Garda Bhwana 30 June 2019 11:00 WIB

TEMPO.COJakarta- The Indonesian Army (TNI AD) deployed two Bell Helicopters and a CN235 aircraft to Oksibil to search for its MI-17 Helicopter (Heli MI-17) that had lost contact since Friday (June 28) at Okbibab, Pegunungan Bintang District, Papua.
Deputy of Public Relations and Media Department (Wakapendam) XVII Cendrawasih Lieutenant Colonel Infantry Dax Sianturi stated at Sentani District on Saturday that aerial and land borne search operations will be continued.
"Since yesterday evening, we had deployed 100 army personnel to Oksibil. They took the land route to Bulangkop Village, Okaoam, Pegunungan Bintang District," Sianturi remarked.
He confirmed that 100 other army personnel from Yonif 751 RK along with 10 personnel of the search and rescue team will be dispatched aboard the Indonesian Air Force's CN235 aircraft from the Silas Papare Air Base, Jayapura.
It was reported over WhatsApp messenger last night that the MI-17 had made an emergency landing, with all crew members having survived, but Sianturi denied this information. He reported that no report had been received on this until 10 p.m. Eastern Indonesian Time (WIT).
The MI-17Helicopter, bearing registration number HA-5138 and carrying onboard 12 passengers and crew members, lost contact on Friday (June 28) at 11:49 a.m. WIT. They had earlier flown to Okbibab to dispatch logistics to military officers there.
The crew members comprised pilots Captain Aris and First Lt Bambang, co-pilot First Lt Ahwar, Chief Sergeant Suriyatna, Second Sergeant Dita, Private Dwi Purnomo, and Private Aharul.
The passengers were Yonif 725/WRG soldiers: Ikrar Setya Nainggolan, Yanuarius Loe, Risno, Sujono Kaimuddin, and Tegar Hadi Sentana.

4) Pacific Forum countries urged to follow up on West Papua
6:06 pm on 28 June 2019 

Rosa Moiwend, who has been visiting New Zealand this week, said it was important that Pacific Islands Forum countries advanced this issue to reflect widespread, grassroots concern for West Papua in the region.
At the 2015 Pacific Forum summit, leaders agreed to push for a fact-finding mission to Papua.
Indonesia is yet to allow such a mission to visit, but Ms Moiwend said forum members must follow this up.
"Because otherwise it's just lip service from the forum," she said.
"Members of the Pacific Islands Forum are also UN members, so we need more and more Pacific Island countries to speak about the human rights situation in West Papua."
According to Ms Moiwend, while several small Pacific countries have raised Papua at the UN, bigger countries such as Australia and New Zealand should support them.


Indonesian president Joko Widodo's infrastructure development drive in Papua is proving traumatic for remote indigenous communities, Ms Moiwend said.
Its centre-piece is the Trans-Papua Road project which is being built through some of Papua's most remote terrain.
The project is also at the heart of heightened conflict in Papua's Highlands since the West Papua Liberation Army massacred at least 16 road construction workers last December.
While conceding that opening up access to Papua through the project had its benefits, Ms Moiwend said it also brought outsiders and development that local Papuans were not prepared for.
"It will also open a space for more and more military and police posts along the road, because of the security reason that they will say.
"And it's actually threatened people's lives because for West Papuans people are traumatic with the presence of the military."
Ms Moiwend's family are customary landowners in Merauke in Papua's south where rapid oil palm and agri-business development is underway.
"Customary land is actually affected by these big projects - food project and oil palm plantation," Ms Moiwend explained, adding that indigenous communities had little say in the development
"I think government needs to discuss with the people. You can't just come and (start) plotting the land and then invite the investor to come and invest their money because people rely on our land.
"The land is the source of our food. So if they want to replace with something else, then how can they provide food for our people?”

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