TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has suspended flights to two points in Papua due to security concerns. Joko Harjani, chief of Airport Operational Unit (UPBU) at Jayawijaya capital Wamena, said they were informed about the decision last week.
The suspended routes are pioneering flights between Wamena and Mugi and between Wamena and Mapenduma.
"We have three routes for cargo pioneers. The Wamena-Anggolok route is still operating, but for the time being the other two are suspended due to security conditions at the destination airport," he said.
Previously, UPBU and Susi Air had agreed to keep flying cargos to three districts. However, the pilots refused to fly to Mugi and Mapenduma.
"We started the contract in April, but then the pilots said they did not want to fly there," he said.
To keep the cargo pioneering flight service running, the government diverted the two routes to the safest area in Yahukimo Regency.
"According to the latest decision of the Directorate General, flights from Wamena to Mugi and Mapenduma will be diverted to districts Kurupun and Sobahan in Yahukimo," he said.
3) Future of children’s studies unclear in Nduga conflict
Hipolitus Yolisandry Ringgi Wangge
Jakarta / Tue, September 17 2019 / 01:09 am
JP/Nethy Dharma Somba
Massive demonstrations and riots in Papua are not the only pressing issues in Papua. After nine months of armed conflict in Nduga regency, hundreds of school-age children are still in the dark about the future of their studies. Living in poor conditions in Wamena does not shed light on how they will manage to keep surviving, let alone continue studying.
The armed conflict, which has been going on since December, has merely resulted in the displacement of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDP) in neighboring Nduga regency. A local humanitarian group has reported the deaths of 184 displaced Nduga people, 41 among them being school-age children. What is the future for school children amid the current armed conflict, particularly in Wamena?
The local voluntary group, which I joined during fieldwork, and local teachers who were also affected by the conflict in Nduga, have built an “emergency school”. There are two objectives of this school. First, it is a symbol of the existence of IDPs, particularly women and children. The absence of a plan to relocate IDPs, particular from Wamena, has resulted in the denial of local governments and local security personnel regarding the existence of displaced Nduga people. Having the school established in Wamena exhibits a strong presence of those affected by armed conflict without government recognition or assistance.
Second, the emergency school paves the way for conflict-affected children with their trauma to be treated differently from their friends. In contrast to the government’s initial plan to place the children from Nduga in regular schools in Wamena, those children have been living in traumatic conditions that affected their studies. Accordingly, the children would first need formal trauma-healing treatment before being placed in regular schools. Not to mention, their learning abilities are relatively behind their peers who studied in normal educational environments.
The barefooted children used to come earlier to class before teaching started at 8 a.m. because they had to walk a long distance to reach the emergency school. Now they struggle to continue studies with only two available teachers and a few volunteers, chiefly due to the refusal of Nduga’s local authority to acknowledge the school in Wamena; not to mention the school’s poor condition which lacks funds for necessary renovation.
The Nduga regency has the lowest human development index (HDI) in the country at 27.87 percent, which is below the 2017 provincial average of 59.09 and the national average of 70.81. Both Papua and West Papua have low HDIs.
Providing children with good access to education and health care is a critical component of improving the HDI. However, children in Nduga have been struggling to have such access. The continuing cycle of violence in Nduga, which has caused suffering and trauma since the 1990s, leaves children without a good education.
A report from a solidarity team for Nduga in August 2019 shows that none of the conflict-affected high school graduates from Nduga have registered at universities. This is an obvious effect of the conflict that is supposedly the responsibility of the national and local governments.
Two recommendations can be made to help the displaced children in Wamena. First, understand the local wisdom of Nduga to relieve the children of their trauma, which inhibits their learning abilities. It is urgent to have joint coordination, not only to distribute basic supplies and stationery but also professional trauma healing services for these children. By law the national chapter of the International Committee of the Red Cross can provide such formal treatment with the help of local volunteers in Wamena.
I met teachers who experienced difficulties teaching elementary and junior high school-aged children because they themselves could not speak Indonesian properly. They do not have specific methods for dealing with traumatized children at the emergency school. As a result, the children lacked the courage to be active in class.
Second, relevant authorities at the local and national levels, particularly the Education and Culture Ministry, must work with the local civil society groups. Local groups, such as voluntary teams and churches in Wamena, have been actively assisting IDPs, particularly the children.
The IDPs turned down aid from the Social Affairs Ministry and Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry two months ago as they involved the military in the distribution process.
Since then, there has been no strong initiative from the government to meet stakeholders in Wamena, and no more aid from the government since authorities visited Wamena last July. The key to building trust among IDPs is engaging local voluntary groups and churches that have been assisting the IDPs for the last nine months.
Given their history, the Nduga people have more trust in informal leaders, such as tribe and church leaders, than in formal leaders. Having the former help in speeding up aid distribution will be beneficial for the government to address humanitarian problems in Nduga and its surrounding regencies.
The future of conflict-affected children has been at stake since December 2018. As a joint operation is still under way and security personnel still occupy public places in Nduga, such as schools and health facilities in 11 conflict-affected districts, it would be challenging to ask the children to return to Nduga and continue their studies there.
It is urgent to create a friendly and supportive learning environment for displaced children by assisting local volunteers and teachers. After all, one priority of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is to boost the quality of education in his second term in office.
Researcher at Marthinus Academy, Jakarta, who conducted fieldwork in Jayapura and Wamena, Papua, from December 2018 to August 2019.
The widespread unrest in occupied West Papua continues. The mass demonstrations across the region have moved into their third week, as protesters send a clear message to Indonesia that locals want their right to self-determination upheld.
The uprising began on 18 August, following the abuse and torture of West Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java at the hands of Indonesian security forces. And as the protests have grown, Jakarta has responded by deploying more troops and cutting access to the internet.
On Sunday, three West Papuan students were shot in their dormitories by Indonesia police in the Jayapura suburb of Abepura. This follows the death of at least six locals last week, when Indonesia forces fired upon peaceful protesters occupying the regent's office in Deiyai city.
The demonstrations are the largest seen in West Papua in almost two decades. And they come as a months-long crackdown by Indonesian forces in the highland regency of Nduga has led to the displacement of tens of thousands of villagers.
And according to West Papuan independence protesters, these actions are set to continue right up until the 74th session of the UN General Assembly that commences on 17 September, as they want their calls for an internationally supervised referendum on independence to be heard in New York.
"Of course, this is not new for West Papuans, because the language of racism has been ongoing for more than 50 years with West Papua being a colony of Indonesia," the political leader living in exile in Australia added.
Although, the spontaneous demonstrations began as a reaction to the racist incidents in several parts of Java, Rumbiak explained that they've taken on a greater significance as the Indigenous population calls for an end to oppressive Indonesian rule.
And Mr Rumbiak is all too familiar with the iron fist of the Indonesian military in his homelands. Whilst teaching at Jayapura's Cenderawasih University in Papua province, the academic joined the nonviolent resistance, only to be sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of subversion.
"Maybe bloodshed will be coming, because Jakarta said they can't allow West Papua its freedom," Mr Rumbiak warned Sydney Criminal Lawyers. "But, in West Papua, it is their right and the struggle will continue."
"We are not red and white"
On 17 August, 40 West Papuan students were arrested in Surabaya for allegedly damaging an Indonesian flag. On the following day, protests erupted in Manokwari, the capital of West Papua province, after a video circulated showing Indonesian troops calling students "monkeys".
Thousands of locals took to the streets across the two provinces of West Papua and Papua. In a divide and rule tactic back in 2003, Jakarta split the region into two. And in Manokwari, the ongoing demonstrations have seen government buildings set on fire, including the parliament.
Following the shootings at the student dormitories in Jayapura last Sunday, Jakarta said it would be deploying a further 2,500 troops, on top of an initial 1,200 that were sent in towards the beginning of the protests. And an internet blackout was imposed in the region a fortnight ago.
Indonesian troops fired upon peaceful protesters in the city of Deiyai in Papua province on 28 August. Mr Rumbiak said that initial death toll of six West Papuans has now risen to eight in an incident being described as the Deiyai massacre.
The Act of No Choice
As part of the 1962 New York Agreement, the United Nations handed over the administration of West Papua to Jakarta in 1963. This followed a brief period of UN administration, after the Netherlands gave up its colonial rule of the region.
The United Nations stipulated that as part of the handover agreement, the Indonesian government had to hold a referendum to allow the West Papuan people to decide on whether they wanted to remain under the control of the foreign power or become an autonomous nation.
So, in 1969, Jakarta handpicked a mere 1,026 West Papuans to take part in the UN brokered Act of Free Choice. And under the threat of military reprisal, all of those selected voted in favour of remaining an Indonesian colony.
Over the time of Indonesian occupation, 500,000 West Papuans have lost their lives, with countless others incarcerated. And a transmigration program has resulted in West Papuans accounting for 49 percent of the local population, whereas back in 1971, they made up 96 percent.
Time for justice
Mr Rumbiak made clear that the unrest in West Papua is going to continue right up until the UN General Assembly meets in two weeks' time. He said the protests will increase, as they call on the UN Human Rights Council to visit the region, as well as to send in a UN peacekeeping mission.
In January, ULMWP chair Benny Wenda handed the West Papuan People's Petition to the UN Human Rights high commissioner. Around 1.8 million West Papuans – 70 percent of the population – risked their lives to sign the document, which calls for an internationally supervised vote on self-determination.
And at last year's meeting of the UN General Assembly, the heads of state of Vanuatu, the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu called for action on West Papua. Vanuatu's prime minister Charlot Salwai told the meeting that West Papuan decolonisation must remain on the agenda.
"I hope all Pacific countries will open their mouths when debating at the UN meeting," Mr Rumbiak concluded. "West Papua and Indonesia must sit and talk in New York to make a clear decision on West Papua's future."
The Free West Papua campaign is holding a Global Day of Action with solidarity protests set to take place across Australia on 5 September.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.