Saturday, July 20, 2019

1) RI protests honoring of Papuan separatist

2) Who actually benefits from the Trans Papua Highway?


1) RI protests honoring of Papuan separatist

Dian Septiari The Jakarta Post

 Jakarta   /   Fri, July 19 2019   /  12:37 am

Indonesia has strongly criticized a decision by Britain’s Oxford City Council to honor Papuan separatist Benny Wenda with its Freedom of the City award, accusing the council of legitimizing the violence in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces.
The Indonesian Embassy in London said the award was given to the wrong individual, arguing in a press statement that Wenda was an actor and supporter of the use of violence for achieving political goals.
The mission, led by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s former foreign policy advisor Rizal Sukma, also questioned the council’s assumption that paints Wenda as a “peaceful campaigner for democracy” despite abundant evidence linking him with various bouts of armed violence in Papua. It said the award could hamper efforts to increase cooperation between Indonesia and the United Kingdom, especially with the city of Oxford, just as the two sides celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations.
“Giving an award to an individual with a criminal record [who is] in an armed separatist movement shows the Oxford City Council’s failure to understand the person’s track record, as well as the actual progress made in the development of the Papua and West Papua provinces,” the mission said in a statement issued on Wednesday (Thursday in Jakarta).
Wenda has been linked to the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), an armed separatist group that claimed responsibility for killing 31 civilians in Nduga, Papua on Dec. 2, which the government claims is the deadliest in the group’s long and often brutal campaign to gain international attention.
At least one Indonesian Military (TNI) officer was killed in a clash with the TPNPB in May, the latest incident to result in casualties and to spike tensions. Both sides have denied any wrongdoing.
A UK citizen with a Papuan heritage, Wenda is the leader of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), an umbrella organization that brings together several political and armed factions of the separatist movement.
The Foreign Ministry’s acting spokesperson, Teuku Faizasyah, mocked Wenda’s advocacy as being “disconnected from the realities” on the ground.
“The government has done a lot of development in Papua, including regional expansion and special autonomy. The conditions in Papua today are very different from what he campaigns in Oxford, where he resides comfortably,” he told reporters in Jakarta on Thursday.
The award, which is an honorary title with no rights attached to it other than to attend city council meetings, risks legitimizing the individual and his group’s actions, encouraging more armed violence against civilians and government officials tasked with maintaining sustainable economic, social and cultural progress in Papua, the embassy statement claims.
Other figures who have received the award include South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office was quick to clarify that the government’s position on Papua has not changed, that it remains supportive of Indonesia’s territorial integrity and regards Papua as an integral part of Indonesia.
“Mr. Wenda’s presence in the UK does not mean that the UK government supports his position on Papuan sovereignty and the award by Oxford City Council has no bearing on UK government policy. Local councils are politically independent from central government and so this is a matter for Oxford City Council,” it said in a statement.
Indonesia had previously also protested the Oxford City Council’s decision to permit the opening of a Free West Papua campaign office in the city in 2013.
The campaign demands Papuans’ right to self-determination, but the Indonesian government has repeatedly argued that any call for self-determination has no legal basis as West Papua was already included in Indonesia’s declaration of independence from the Dutch in 1945, together with the other regions that make up the country. (tjs)


2) Who actually benefits from the Trans Papua Highway?

KBR - July 19, 2019

Siti Sadida Hafsyah, Jakarta -- Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) researcher Cahyo Pamungkas says that the Trans Papua Highway has yet to bring any benefits to the Papuan people.

"The benefits for indigenous people can't be seen yet. So people ask who exactly is the road for? Because the there is still illegal logging in the central highlands, the highlands are being destroyed, it's easier for outsiders to exploit natural resources", said Pamungkas at a press conference on the conflict in Nduga regency at the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) offices in Jakarta on Thursday July 18.

Pamungkas explained that instead of benefiting ordinary Papuans, the Trans Papua Highway threatens their economic wellbeing.

"Pig livestock from Toraja are come into Wamena. So the Wamena's people's pigs don't sell. This threatens their economy. It is increasingly easy for outsiders to come to Wamena, so Wamena people see the road a threat to their future", explained Pamungkas.

Pamungkas said that the Trans Papua Highway project only connects regencies or cities and the benefits of this are not felt by the Papuan people. Meanwhile roads between villages and districts which are in fact what is actually needed are not being built.

"Yet roads like this (between villages and districts) are very important, for example simply to sell vegetables produced by farmers in markets", said Pamungkas.

According to Pamungkas, the Trans Papua Highway actually facilitates the exploitation of natural resources (SDA) which can be seen from large number of trees being felled and gold mining.

"Moreover when LIPI researched development on this road, we found many logging camps for logging in the direction of the Papua Lorentz National Park, which should a protected area", explained Pamungkas.

Pamungkas is of the view that the government should immediately hold a dialogue with Papuan social leaders with the assistance of appropriate mediators.

"Because the most important thing at the moment is liberating the Papuan people from the memory of suffering which has built up over time. Particularly the acts of violence by security forces which has resulted in trauma for the residents of Nduga regency, Papua province", he explained.

Local people's rights

Expressing a similar view to Pamungkas, Amnesty International Indonesia (AII) researcher Aviva Nababan believes that the Trans Papua Highway does not provide any clear benefits. He also questions the government's planning process for the road.

"Looking at it again from the process. Did the government design its function by thinking about the rights of the people the road impacts on? Did they really follow the principles of involving local communities? If not, this needs to be fixed. We think it shouldn't be seen from the perspective of western Indonesia. There's a road, lovely. There's a road, great", said Nababan at Jakarta LBH on Friday July 19.

Nababan warned that Indonesia has a commitment to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) meaning that it must involve local communities in all development planning.

He also asked the government to respect the rights of indigenous Papuans. Because according to AII's research, there have been alleged human rights (HAM) violations which have made Nduga residence traumatised and afraid of the security forces.

"When there are problems of HAM violations related to law enforcement in Papua, the tendency is that the cases are rarely investigated. Let alone followed up, or satisfactory accountability", he explained.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Peneliti LIPI: Jalan Trans Papua untuk Siapa?".]



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