Sunday, August 25, 2019

1) The elephant in the room: Racism in Indonesia

 2) Outcry intensifies over Papua blackout 
3) Government hands-off on West Papua violence  
4) Indonesia Imposes Internet Blackout On West Papua 2

1) The elephant in the room: Racism in Indonesia
Ghina Ghaliya and Fadli The Jakarta Post
Jakarta and Batam   /   Sun, August 25, 2019   /  01:51 pm
Fueled by a viral video that appeared to show alleged security personnel using the derogatory slur “monkey” against Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, the longstanding racial prejudice against residents of Papua and West Papua boiled over during recent tensions in the two least developed provinces in the country.
The 2010 census conducted by Statistics Indonesia (BPS) found that the country had 1,340 etnicities, with the Javanese  formingthe majority at about 40 percent and Papuans comprising only 1.14 percent. Soeharto’s New Order repressed sectarian tensions, including anti-Chinese and anti-Islam sentiments, by banning individuals from public expression of tribal affiliations, religion, race and societal groups (SARA).
Enacted during the New Order, Article 156 of the Criminal Code bans all SARA-based prejudice and carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison. Two additional laws were later issued – Law No. 40/2008 on eliminating racial and ethnic discrimination and Law No. 19/2016 on Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) – to protect citizens from all discrimination based on their religion, ethnicity and race and to ban hate speech on the internet.
President Joko Widodo has instructed National Police chief Gen.Tito Karnavian to take legal action against acts of racial and ethnic discrimination in the Surabaya case. While the country has seen many religious conflicts, it has often overlooked racially motivated public tension and conflicts.
Has anyone been convicted of SARA?
The Tanjungpinang Police of Riau named on Thursday Bobby Jayanto, the chairman of the NasDem Party's Tanjungpinang chapter, as a suspect of "racist" speech following a nearly two-month investigation.
Bobby, who is of Chinese descent and a leader of the local Chinese-Indonesian community, reportedly used "black skin" to refer to non-Chinese-Indonesians in a public speech, and has been accused of violating the Criminal Code and Article 16 of the 2008 Anti-discrimination Law.
Citing the same law, the Foundation of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) demanded on Friday that the government investigate law enforcement personnel and members of the public for alleged racial abuse against Papuan students in Surabaya.
As the Anti-discrimination Law has not been fully implemented, it is rare for an individual to be convicted of racial discrimination.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan faced a civil lawsuit and was accused of violating the Anti-discrimination Law for using the term “pribumi” (native Indonesian) in his inaugural address in October 2017, which some people viewed as a revival of colonial racism. In June 2018, the Central Jakarta District Court dismissed the suit, saying that it did not meet the legal requirements.
Does racism persist in Indonesia?
According to the YLBHI, at least 33 alleged human rights violations against Papuan students have occurred over the last two years in areas such as Surabaya, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Bali and Makassar. These occurred through intimidation and threat, hate speech, raids, and arbitrary arrests or detentions.It said that the racially motivated acts were believed to have involved law enforcement personnel.
Emmanuel Gobay, a lawyer with the Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua), said that racial abuse targeting minority groups was rampant in the country. He added that racial discrimination was also prevalent in the criminal justice system, considering how quickly law enforcement responded when an alleged violator hailed from a minority ethnic group or religious background.
"When the perpetrators are Papuans, the police will process any crime swiftly," he said.
Human rights lawyer and activist Febi Yonesta of YLBHI said Chinese-Indonesians generally had socioeconomic privilege compared to Papuans, with greater access to good education, health care and other public services, as long they could pay more.
As most Papuans were underprivileged, any acts of discrimination against them would only add to their suffering.
“In terms of persecution, [Chinese-Indonesians] are more prone to [being victims of] racial violence because of their social status, while Papuans have been victims of state persecution due to their stigmatization as 'rebels' and racial profiling by state apparatuses. The negative public perception of Papuans  is prompted by the actions of officials,” he said.
Who has the power to end racial discrimination and abuse?
While the YLBHI's records show that racial discrimination and abuse are widespread against Papuans, the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has different data.
Komnas HAM recorded only 12 reports on general acts of racial discrimination in 2018 and only two in 2017. The reports primarily concerned restrictions and hate speech, and the highest reported parties were regional administrations, law enforcement personnel and mass organizations.
Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) researcher Wahyudi Djafar said that Komnas HAM was not fully aware of its functions, and that it had contributed to the persistence of racial discrimination and abuse.
Komnas HAM has a major role in upholding the law under Government Regulation (PP) No. 56/2010, and it may report on, review, provide counsel for, monitor and mediate racial discrimination and abuse cases. The PP also stipulates that Komnas HAM can recommend legal proceedings against any  alleged acts of racial discrimination and racially motivated crimes it uncovers, whether they are perpetrated by individuals, community groups and private institutions, or even state institutions and the government.
The commission is also authorized to request that the House of Representatives or regional legislative councils (DPRD) pursue an investigation, in the event that the the government or state institutions do not act on its recommendations.
"As for the Surabaya case, Komnas HAM must oversee it until it is resolved, as it possesses many powers according to the regulation. It is important for Komnas HAM because if [the case] is resolved, it could be a benchmark of how to handle racial abuse [cases] in the future so that it does not happen again,” said Wahyudi.
What can be done in the Papuan students case?
Although Komnas HAM has not yet issued a recommendation, commissioner Beka Ulung Hapsara said it was committed to overseeing the case until its completion, as the law was still discriminatory in its implementation. The greater an individual's political power, the easier it was for them to "play with the law", he said.
"At the same time, we urge the President to manage the implementation of the law and prevent similar cases from reoccurring in the future,” Beka said.
The House has also expressed its willingness to closely monitor the military and police to ensure sure that all perpetrators were tried and convicted.

2) Outcry intensifies over Papua blackout
Gemma Holliani Cahya and Ardila Syakriah The Jakarta Post
Jakarta   /   Sat, August 24 2019   /  12:14 am
Papua is widely known for its poor telephone and internet network, and coupled with challenging geographical terrain, it is a difficult region for gathering and verifying information.
But conditions have worsened since Wednesday when the government decided to block cellular services in Papua and West Papua under the pretext of security and maintaining stability amid unrest following racial abuse against Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java.
Dozens of human rights activists protested the blackout in front of the Communications and Information Ministry building on Friday, demanding that the government lift the restriction.
The situation has frustrated residents who want to stay informed about further violence erupting in their area. For example, witnesses in Sorong, Timika, reported hearing gunshots and tear gas being fired in their neighborhood. 
A witness contacted by The Jakarta Post in Fakfak reported arson and tear gas being shot on Wednesday. The blackout was announced only hours after the government said it would deploy an additional 1,300 security personnel to the restive region.
The National Police have also confirmed that one man was killed in a shootout in Wamena, Papua. National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Asep Adi Saputra said on Friday that the gun battle broke out as Jayawijaya Police officers and military personnel were searching for a group they believed to have fired shots near Jimawa traditional market on Thursday. The police said the man was a member of a Papuan armed group. 
Ferdinandus Setu, acting head of the ministry’s public relations bureau, said the government was quite happy with the results of the internet cutoff.
“It was an effective approach. We can see that today, the situation is getting [calmer] in Papua. Since Wednesday, the traffic [of fake and provocative news] on Papua has been decreasing drastically because we blocked every cellular operator in the province. We saw a few [stories] go out because some people are using Wi-Fi to communicate. But at least we can block [...] mobile phones that use cellular internet data,” Ferdinandus told the Post on Friday.
He added that the government had not blocked all cellular communication but only cellular data or the internet.
Activists, however, fear that the block would not only prevent hoaxes from spreading but also the truth.
Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) researcher Wahyudi Djafar raised concerns over the fact that the internet blackout was implemented just as over 1,000 security personnel from the Indonesian Military and National Police were deployed to Papua and West Papua.
“Internet connection is an important instrument to ensure that there are no human rights violations. When internet access is blocked, it is worrying because there is no accountability and no open information from various sources that can be accessed by the public. We have one source only and that’s the government,” he said.
Separately, Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Jakarta chairman Abdul Manan pointed out that with the internet blackout, many things that happened in Papua would be missed from the public’s eye, and that means human rights violations were prone to happen with no accountability.
“It prevents the public from having factual information from Papua. It also limits journalists working to report information from Papua,” Abdul said.
Further concerns have been raised that the blackout may affect residents who find themselves in emergency situations.
Karina Larasati, 22, could not reach her father when she and her mother, a breast cancer patient at Cipto Mangunkusmo Kencana Hospital in Central Jakarta, needed him the most. Karina’s father was in Bintuni regency in Papua, where cellular services had been cut off by the government.
She wanted to tell her father that her mother had to undergo a mastectomy to treat her stage 3 breast cancer. The doctor’s order came at the same time as the internet blackout.
“I messaged him on WhatsApp and tried to reach him through all kinds of social media platforms, but we can’t [reach him]. I can’t call him either. This is a very reactive response from the government and I can’t believe they would be this inconsiderate. [The blackout] just worsens the situation,” she said.
“What about Papuans who are living outside the province? With limiting cellular access, how can they get information about what is happening to their hometown? So, we’re supposed to rely on the government’s version of truth, just like that?”


3) Government hands-off on West Papua violence

Marc Daalder Marc Daalder is a journalist based in Wellington who writes on politics, infrastructure, and international relations. Twitter: @marcdaalder.

AUGUST 26, 2019 Updated 2 hours ago

Green Party MP Golriz Ghahraman called on the Government to take a stronger stance on the violence in West Papua. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

With concerns over violence in West Papua escalating, New Zealand officials appear reluctant to wade in more significantly - despite the Green Party calling for action.
As Indonesia cracks down on protests in the disputed West Papua territory, the Government has declined to condemn the violence.
Indonesia has deployed a thousand troops to the disputed territory of West Papua and shut down the internet in the region in an effort to quell protests alleging racist police violence and supporting self-determination.
The New Zealand Government has re-emphasised earlier commitments to human rights but declined to comment on the specific situation.
The latest wave of violence began after dozens of Papuan students in Surabaya were arrested by police forces while a mob allegedly called them "monkeys".
In a statement, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) spokesperson said that "New Zealand continues to encourage the Indonesian government to improve the promotion and protection of human rights in Indonesia, including in Papua."
"New Zealand regularly raises human rights with Indonesia bilaterally, and through other mechanisms such as the United Nations Human Rights Council."
The MFAT spokesperson also said New Zealand "continues to support the position taken by the Pacific Islands Forum" on West Papua.
"The most recent attempt to control West Papuans protesting for their rights by closing down internet services is another example of heavy-handedness and overreach."
At the 50th forum in Tuvalu earlier this month, Pacific leaders raised concerns over human rights abuses and violence in West Papua.
But Green Party MP and human rights spokeswoman Golriz Ghahraman took a stronger stance.
Ghahraman said that the Green Party has raised "the ongoing human rights abuses experienced by indigenous West Papuans ... with the Foreign Minister [Winston Peters]".
"The most recent attempt to control West Papuans protesting for their rights by closing down internet services is another example of heavy-handedness and overreach.
"We also have concerns about an increased police presence given a history of brutality and a recent allegation of tear gas being fired at students in their dormitories."
Ghahraman added that "West Papuans have long cried out for self-determination and we support them in those calls".
Disputed territory
West Papua was colonised by the Dutch in the 17th century. After Indonesia won independence from the Netherlands in 1945, it claimed West Papua as part of its territory.
Instead, the Netherlands retained the territory until 1962, when the United States brokered an agreement with Indonesia under which West Papua would be handed over and prepared for a self-determination vote in 1969.
Indonesian authorities handpicked a thousand West Papuans to participate in the vote. They were threatened and given pre-prepared statements to read. The vote was unanimous in favour of remaining part of Indonesia.
Since 1969, there has been an active and at-times militant movement for West Papuan independence. The flag of the independence movement is banned in Indonesia.
In January, Papuan activists presented the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights with a petition, allegedly signed by 1.8 million indigenous West Papuans, asking for a new referendum on independence.
The Organization for World Peace  

4) Indonesia Imposes Internet Blackout On West Papua 2
25 Aug, 2019  in Asia / Current Events by Maddy Eagan (updated today)

Following days of unrest, the Indonesian government blocked internet access on August 22nd in the provinces of Papua and West Papua (known collectively as West Papua). On August 19th, violent protests started in response to the mistreatment and racial abuse of Papuan students by the police in the Javanese city of Surabaya on August 17th, Indonesia’s Independence Day. Buildings have been set ablaze, roads have been blocked and protesters have been flying the Morning Star flag, a symbol of Papuan self-rule that is banned under Indonesian law.
The Indonesian government has defended its decision, stating that blocking internet access is intended ‘‘to accelerate the process of restoring the security and order.’’ Minister for Communication and Information Technology Rudiantara added that the internet blockade helps ‘‘filter information and prevent the spread of rumours.’’
Not many people seem to share the government’s view and the decision has come under fire. Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network’s (SAFEnet) executive director Damar Juniarto called the blackout ‘‘a serious backward step in democracy and a serious violation.’’ Benny Wenda, the exiled West Papuan independence leader and founder of the Free West Papua campaign, focused more on the unrest itself, opining that the Surabaya incident ‘‘lit the bonfire of nearly 60 years of racism, discrimination and torture of the people of West Papua by Indonesia.’’
Unfortunately for West Papua, the internet blackout suggests that Indonesia’s treatment of the two provinces is not about to improve. Blocking the internet restricts freedom of expression and access to information. It also gives the Indonesian government more control over information. In theory, it should make it more difficult to organize protests although it does not seem to have stopped West Papuans. 
The destructive nature of the protests is regrettable but the racial abuse suffered by the students in Surabaya is worse. Calling Papuans ‘‘monkeys’’ is bad enough, but chanting ‘‘kick out Papuans’’ and ‘‘slaughter Papuans’’ is atrocious and should have no place in 2019. Although there have been demonstrations in Jakarta supporting West Papua, it shows that racism still has a place in Indonesia’s relationship with West Papua. The provinces’ natural resources will always come before the interests of the people in the government’s eyes. 
Papua and West Papua are two of the poorest provinces in Indonesia, despite their wealth of natural resources. The Grasberg mine, the world’s largest gold mine and second largest copper mine, is located in Papua. 
This goes some way to explaining why Indonesia made so much effort to annex West Papua, which was a Dutch colony until the early 1960s. From 1963 onwards, it was governed by Indonesia, and formally became a part of Indonesia in 1969 after a UN-backed referendum. Only 1025 men and women were allowed to vote on whether to accept Indonesian occupation, all selected by Indonesia’s military. 
The referendum has been criticized and there have been calls for another one. In 2017, 1.8 million people, 70% of West Papua’s population, signed an illegal petition calling for another referendum that was carried around the provinces.
President Joko Widodo has urged for calm and forgiveness in response to the protests, but asking West Papuans to forgive what Wenda has termed their ‘‘slow-motion genocide,’’ is a tall order. Decades of mistreatment are not easily forgotten. Full integration of West Papua is not impossible, but it will not happen if its people are treated so much worse than the rest of Indonesia. The recent crackdown is not going to win the government any West Papuan popularity contests anytime soon.

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