Saturday, September 21, 2019

1) Police interrogate 15 Papuan youngsters in Mimika

2) Police Issue Red Notice to Interpol to Track and Capture Veronica Koman

3) West Papua — Australia’s new Timor-Leste?
4) Search efforts continued to locate missing aircraft in Papua


1) Police interrogate 15 Papuan youngsters in Mimika

12 hours ago

Timika, Papua (ANTARA) - Some 15 young Papuans were questioned by Mimika police investigators for allegedly holding a traditional stone-burning ritual to welcome local students, who had left their universities outside Papua and West Papua following the Surabaya incident.

Police investigators will conclude their investigation and arrive at a decision on the provocateurs and masterminds behind the event held on Thursday at a building in the Timika Indah area, Mimika Police Chief Adjunct Sen. Coms Agung Marlianto stated on Saturday.

"We are conducting further probe into individuals believed to be the provocateurs and masterminds of this event, while those whom the police investigators conclude as innocent will be allowed to go home," he noted.

Related news: Yahukimo District head confirms 600 Papuan students returned home

Since the start, the police did not issue a permit for the event organizer to hold this traditional stone-burning ritual to welcome the returnees, as the event will potentially provoke the attendants to trigger a violent conflict as in the August 21 rally.

Marlianto further denied allegations that the dismissal of the "stone-burning" event, for what the event organizer claimed was to welcome the return of local students joining the exodus of native Papuan students, had been a sheer murder of democracy.

"We do not restrict every individual's democratic rights, but we consider a security situation wherein a massive gathering may potentially trigger an act of anarchism due to provocation by an irresponsible party," he stated.

Taking this assessment into account, the police forcibly dismissed the event, he noted, adding that third parties, including the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), with vested interests, may have played a role in the event.

"We observe that several figures of KNPB play a role in the event," he noted.

Related news: Papua an inseparable part of Indonesia: Defense Minister

In August, a spate of violence broke out in several parts of Papua and West Papua in the upshot of the Surabaya incident that had triggered public ire among native Papuans.

Native Papuans in several parts of the provinces of Papua and West Papua held demonstrations protesting alleged racist slurs against the Papuan students in Surabaya on August 16.

On August 29, the indigenous Papuan residents of Jayapura had again staged protests, venting their fury over the alleged racist slurs against their Papuan compatriots in Surabaya, but their rally then turned violent.

The brutal demonstrators went on a rampage, vandalizing and setting ablaze several government buildings. The office of Antara, Indonesia's national news agency, in the city was also intentionally damaged by the demonstrators. 
Related news: Nearly 700 native Papuan students return home

Related news: Extra care for Papua brethren crucial to maintaining Indonesia's unity

Reporter: Evarianus S, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf

2) Police Issue Red Notice to Interpol to Track and Capture Veronica Koman
Jakarta. East Java Police have officially put Veronica Koman, an Indonesian human rights lawyer and outspoken supporter of Papua independence, in its wanted persons list and submitted a red notice to Interpol to help capture her overseas, a police official said on Friday.
Police have declared Veronica a suspect, accusing her of spreading false information and provoking unrest in Papua and West Papua by publishing reports on the protests and attacks against Papuan students in East Java.
Investigators have summoned Veronica three times to be interrogated but she has yet to make an appearance. She is charged with violating the Electronic Information and Transactions Law and the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Law.
East Java Police Chief Insp. Gen. Luki Hermawan said according to police investigators Veronica has gone into hiding in Australia.
"According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Indonesian Embassy [in Canberra], Veronica has made contact with the embassy. We've put her name in our wanted persons list," Luki said in Surabaya on Friday.
Veronica was declared a fugitive after police raided her house in Jakarta, which turned out to be empty.
Police have not received any more information about Veronica's stay in Australia aside from her initial contact with the embassy in Canberra.
"She is still in Australia," the East Java Police chief said without elaborating.


3) West Papua — Australia’s new Timor-Leste?

Susan Price September 21, 2019 Issue 1238 West Papua

The decades-long struggle of the West Papuan people for self-determination has intensified in recent months — and Australia’s role in aiding and abetting the Indonesian occupation is once again being brought under international scrutiny.
Australia has had a questionable role in West Papua’s history. The Dutch occupied West Papua and Indonesia in the 16th century. When the Indonesian people won independence in 1949, the Dutch held on to West Papua.
They did so with the support of Australia, which wanted another colonial power to act as a buffer against a possible invasion from the north.
Indonesia’s post-independence president Sukarno demanded West Papua become part of Indonesia. The Dutch instead decided to prepare West Papua for independence. The Indonesian government then invaded West Papua on December 19, 1961, after West Papuans first raised their Morning Star flag on December 1.

Under the 1962 New York Agreement, signed by Dutch and Indonesian officials, a process was set in motion involving temporary United Nations administration, then full Indonesian control and finally an opportunity for “self-determination”.
However, the “self-determination” involved was a sham and instead paved the way for Indonesia’s takeover of West Papua.
In the so-called "Act of Free Choice" of 1969 — known to West Papuans as the “Act of No Choice” — 1022 West Papuans (out of a population of 800,000) were press-ganged into voting for incorporation into Indonesia.
Independence was denied.
Indonesian, Australian and other foreign interests have ruthlessly exploited West Papua's abundant natural resources, leaving West Papuans in poverty and facing the environmental and human impacts of mining and loss of land rights.
Indonesian troops, trained by Australia, Britain and the United States, have terrorised the population for decades. Human rights abuses, disappearances, kidnappings, extrajudicial killings, forced displacement and the deaths of an estimated 500,000 Papuans have been the result of what a 2016 Catholic Justice and Peace Commission fact-finding mission described as a “slow motion genocide”.
The Indonesian government’s transmigration program to resettle Indonesians in West Papua has resulted in ethnic Papuans now comprising a minority of the region’s population.
The election of Joko Widodo as Indonesian president has not improved the situation. In fact, human rights violations have risen since he took power, according to Indonesian human rights groups.
West Papuans routinely face racist treatment in Indonesia. Such abuses, including physical harassment, raids of student housing and brutal attacks, sparked the current uprising that has spread throughout West Papua.
Six thousand new Indonesian occupation troops have been deployed in West Papua since the uprising to carry out arrests, raids and murders.
Indonesian troops have attacked peaceful protesters calling for a democratic referendum to be carried out through an international mechanism. On August 28, troops shot dead six protesters in the West Papuan state of Deiyai.
Indonesia is pursuing Australian-based Indonesian human rights lawyer Veronica Koman, a long-time campaigner for the rights of West Papuans. Indonesia is seeking the Australian government’s help to hunt her down and is threatening to issue an Interpol Red Notice for her arrest.
So far, Australia has "agreed not to interfere with the legal process", according to the ABC, but this does not guarantee Koman’s safety.
Australia must grant Koman protection and not hand her over to Indonesia.
In a September 15 statement, Koman said: “For years, the Indonesian government has allocated more time and energy to waging a propaganda war than it has to investigating and ending human rights abuses in West Papua.
“Now we are seeing a clear example of ‘shoot the messenger’ in the state’s effort to persecute those, including me, who draw attention to abuses it is unwilling or unable to address.”
West Papua’s neighbour, Timor-Leste, recently celebrated 20 years since its independence. Indonesia invaded Timor-Leste in 1975 and throughout its occupation received political support from successive Australian governments.
Australia was the only country in the world to give de jure recognition to Indonesia’s annexation of Timor-Leste. At the time of Timor-Leste’s independence referendum, it was the weight of the growing solidarity movement that forced the Australian government to send troops to protect the Timorese from Indonesian-backed militia attacks.
The Timorese won their independence in spite of Australia’s continued backing of Indonesia. They did so thanks to decades of political struggle by Timorese activists, inside and outside the country, and a powerful international solidarity movement that eventually spread to Indonesia.
Such a movement is needed today to force Australia to cease its training of repressive Indonesian forces, to put the lives of West Papuans ahead of Australian corporate interests and to support the West Papuan people's struggle for self-determination.
4) Search efforts continued to locate missing aircraft in Papua
11 hours ago
Timika, Papua (ANTARA) - The search operation to trace a DHC6-400 Twin Otter aircraft, bearing registration number PK CDC, which had disappeared in Papua Province since September 18, was continued, Saturday afternoon, by involving an aircraft and three helicopters.

A Twin Otter aircraft, with registration number PK-CDJ, carrying 10 members of a joint search and rescue team, took off from the Mozes Kilangin Airport in Timika at 2:38 p.m. local time to monitor a suspected area where the ill-fated aircraft had lost contact on Wednesday.

The National Search and Rescue Agency's command post at Mozes Kilangin Airport confirmed that three helicopters had backed up the search operation. Each of them is owned by PT Carpediem, PT Freeport Indonesia, and the Indonesian Air Force.

In accordance with the plan, the pilots of PT Carpediem's PK-CDA helicopter will drop two local residents and several SAR team members in Hoeya Village to enable them to prepare for a ground search operation.

Related news: Twin Otter aircraft still missing: SAR

Head of the Timika SAR Agency Monce Brury stated that the SAR team members had, in fact, conducted two sorties on Saturday morning but their efforts were impaired by the fog-blanketed sky and heavy rain.

Owing to this weather condition, the Susi Air aircraft, with registration number PK-VVZ, used for this search operation around the areas of Timika, Wangbei, and Jila, should return to the airport, he noted.

In connection with this search mission, state-owned air navigation firm Airnav Indonesia's authority in Sentani, Papua Province, has vowed to lend assistance in the efforts to trace the missing aircraft.

Airnav Indonesia-Sentani Office's General Manager Suwandi had earlier confirmed that the search and rescue operation was assisted by several aircraft taking off from Timika, the capital city of Mimika District.

However, Papua Province's geographical conditions posed a challenge for the SAR team members.

"We all need to pray for those on board this ill-fated aircraft and their families. May the Almighty God also save the SAR team members and ensure good weather during their search, so that it leads them to find those onboard alive," Suwandi stated.

The aircraft, carrying onboard nearly 1.6 tons of the State Logistics Agency's (Bulog's) rice, disappeared after taking off from the Moses Kilangain Airport in Timika, Mimika District, en route to Ilaga, the capital of Puncak District in Papua Province. Related news: Airnav Indonesia pledges assistance to locate missing Twin Otter

Related news: Thick fog blanket in Papua impairs efforts to find aircraft

 Reporter: Evarianus S, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf

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