Tuesday, September 10, 2019

1) West Papua solidarity march in PNG draws thousands


2) ‘If we are monkeys, don’t force monkeys to fly the Indonesian flag’: racism, nationalism and Papua
3) Papua protestors forced to listen to patriotic songs
4) Indonesian police say exiled separatist fomenting Papua unrest, 85 arrested 

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1) West Papua solidarity march in PNG draws thousands
6:49 pm today 


Thousands of Papua New Guineans marched through Port Moresby in support of West Papuan freedom today.
This follows weeks of protests by West Papuans, as well as unrest, in the neighbouring Indonesian-ruled territory.
PNG civil society groups were among those leading today's large demonstration of Melanesian solidarity in the PNG capital.
Those marching condemned recent cases of racism towards West Papuans in Indonesian cities which sparked the wave of mobilisations across the border.
They were also calling for West Papua to be given an independence referendum.

Video footage being shared on social media showing protest by hundreds in capital Port Moresby today with protesters condemning and calling for indigenous to be given freedom. Looking at the footage, I must say I am impressed with the numbers.

It's estimated that over two thousand people took part in today's rally in Moresby.
At least 10 people have been killed and dozens arrested amid an Indonesian secyurity forces crackdown in the two Papuan provinces.
The PNG prime minister James Marape has condemnedthe violence, saying "no human beings deserve to be killed, especially on their own land," in a televised press conference.
Mr Marape has reiterated PNG government support for Indonesian sovereignty in West Papua.
But his government supports calls for the office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner to have access to the remote territory, which Indonesia applies tight restrictions on.
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2) ‘If we are monkeys, don’t force monkeys to fly the Indonesian flag’: racism, nationalism and Papua
September 10, 2019
Richard Chauvel 
Dr Richard Chauvel is an honorary fellow at the Asia Institute at the University of Melbourne.
Protesters at one of the recent anti-racist demonstrations in Papua held a banner reading “If we are monkeys, don’t force monkeys to fly the Red and White (Indonesian flag)”.
 
The Papuans protesters were saying “if you think we are monkeys, you don’t regard us as fellow Indonesians”. The banner suggests something of a shift in the discourse about the place of Papuans in the Indonesian state.
 
The protests and demonstrations throughout Papua were triggered by a conflict at a student hostel in Surabaya on the eve of Indonesian Independence Day (17 August), when a nationalist crowd and some soldiers surrounded the hostel and called the students monkeys, dogs and pigs. The students had been accused of throwing an Indonesian flag into a ditch.
 
The soldiers and the nationalists who surrounded the student hostel in Surabaya are strongly opposed to the separation of Papua from Indonesia. However, whether they realised it or not, their racism sent a mixed message. They insist that Papua is integral part of Indonesia, but do not regard Papuans as humans, let alone fellow Indonesians.
 
If the conflict in Surabaya had been an isolated incident there would have been few political consequences. The recent protests are so significant because the clash in Surabaya followed several recent conflicts involving Papuan students studying at universities in Java. More broadly, the racist slurs directed at the Papuan students resonate with the experience of many Papuans. The racism does not distinguish between the governors, pro-independence activists or women selling fruit and vegetables in the markets. It serves to unite Papuans.
 
Speaking on Najwa Shihab’s current affairs program, Mata Najwa, Papuan church leader and intellectual Dr Benny Giay asserted that Papuans feel they are second class citizens in Indonesia.(link is external)When there are cases of racism, whether against students in Java, former governor and national hero Frans Kaisepo, or Papuan football players, the government says nothing. Indeed, in the case of the hostel in Surabaya, the security forces were present,(link is external)as they were in earlier cases.
 
In similar vein, an editorial in the Suara Papua news portal titled “Humans and Monkeys” (Manusia dan Monyet) asked: “You want evidence of racism? Just ask Papuan students in Java or Papuan footballers at various Indonesian clubs.” With the recent cases in Java, the paper argued,(link is external)this long experience of humiliation could no longer be tolerated and triggered a wave of pro-independence protests of unprecedented destruction and violence throughout Papua.
 
The political and historical context to the conflicts around Papuan student hostels in university towns in Java is critical. The conflicts involving Papuan students in Java often occur on anniversaries of political significance.
 
The day before the Surabaya protest, Papuan students had demonstrated in Malang on the 57th anniversary of the 1962 New York Agreement that transferred the administration of Papua from The Netherlands to Indonesian administration. The students demanded the right of self-determination that had been denied to Papua in 1962, when there had been no Papuans involved in negotiations. The Papuan students were met with a counter demonstration, racial abuse and stone-throwing.(link is external)
 
Following the conflicts in Surabaya and Malang, as well as the demonstrations in Papua, retired General Wiranto the Coordinating Security Minister, rejected Papuan demands for a referendum, saying the New York Agreement had determined that Papua was part of Indonesia.(link is external)
 
Wiranto reminded us that the Indonesian Government and many Papuans have diametrically opposed interpretations of the shared history of Papua’s integration into Indonesia during the 1960s.
 
Not all the recent conflicts involving Papuan students studying in Java have occurred around the politically contested anniversaries of Papua’s integration into Indonesia.
 
In July 2016, in Yogyakarta, Papuan students were prevented from demonstrating in support of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), which was lobbying to become a member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). The student hostel was blockaded by the National Police’s Mobile Brigade (Brimob) and local nationalist groups, and Papuan students were called monkeys and told to leave. As student leader Aris Yeimo noted, all this occurred in Yogyakarta, a city known for its pluralism and support for democracy and human rights.(link is external)
 
The Papuan students studying at Indonesian universities outside Papua are a critical segment of Papuan society. Most of them are studying with the support of local and provincial governments in Papua. While there is much contestation about Indonesia’s development policies in Papua and who benefits from them, the Papuan students in Java and other provinces are clearly among the beneficiaries of government policies. After they finish their studies, the students will return to Papua and some will become leaders in their societies. The students demonstrating in Surabaya, Malang and Yogyakarta will be among the political elite in the coming decades.
 
In an ideal world, the Papuans studying with students from other provinces and living in the university towns of the Indonesian heartland should be developing a greater identification as Indonesians as well as a deeper knowledge of the many other cultures in Indonesia. The conflicts in Surabaya, Malang, Yogyakarta and elsewhere suggest that, instead, their Papuan identity is being reinforced.
 
Jenny Munro’s detailed study of the educational experiences of Papuan highlander students(link is external)at universities in the province of North Sulawesi provides a broader context in which to analyse the conflicts involving Papuan students. Munro’s study found that the students saw education offering the prospect of transforming their own society and fulfilling dreams of acquiring skills in a peaceful cosmopolitan society. However, the students’ dreams were made small by oppressive racism and political constraints. Rather than encouraging them to identify more as Indonesians, the education experience in North Sulawesi consolidated the students’ Papuan identity.
 
The conflicts in Surabaya and Malang triggered pro-independence demonstrations throughout Papua of an unprecedented scale of destruction, with the loss of life among the demonstrators and the security forces. The banned Papuan Morning Star flag was flown by demonstrators in front of the State Palace in Jakarta. The Indonesian government curtailed access to the internet in Papua. Troop re-enforcements have been sent to Papua to add to an already significant deployment. This has been followed by a flurry of official meetings between government leaders, including President Joko Widodo, and Papuan leaders.
 
However, the conflicts around the student hostels and the racism expressed against Papuans expose deeper problems about the respect for Papuans by their fellow Indonesians – problems that cannot be addressed by sending more troops, building more roads or yet another presidential visit.
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3) Papua protestors forced to listen to patriotic songs

Gisela Swaragita The Jakarta Post
Jakarta / Tue, September 10 2019/ 12:40 am

Patriotic Indonesian songs were playing in the detention center of the National Police's Mobile Brigade headquarters (Mako Brimob) in Depok, West Java, according to Jakarta Legal Aid Society (LBH Jakarta) lawyer Nelson Simamora, when he and other lawyers and friends of Surya Anta visited the activist, one of those detained for rallying to call for the liberation of Papua.
Surya, who is the spokesperson of the Indonesia People's Front for West Papua (FRI-WP), was arrested on Aug. 31 for allegedly committing treason by protesting in front of the Merdeka Palace in Central Jakarta and other places on Aug. 28. Along with Surya, seven students from Papua involved in the same protest were also arrested.
Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) coordinator Yati Andriyani, who also advocated for the detainees, said that the legal team could not be sure if the songs were played specifically as a means of torturing the pro-Papua activists.
“We heard it when we were at the end of the visit and walking toward the car to go home. Therefore we could not make sure if the songs are played all day or every day and especially played for Surya and his friends,” she said.
Surya’s best friend, Suarbudaya Rahadian, a priest of the Salemba Blessing Community Church and editor of progressive Christians on the intellectual websiteIndoprogress, told The Jakarta Postthat Surya was being held in isolation.
“Surya Anta said he is detained in a different cell from the other detainees. He only can get out of the cell and see sunlight during an interrogation or a meeting with lawyers,” Suarbudaya said.
Suarbudaya confirmed that the patriotic songs are continuously played in the complex for all detainees to hear.
He also said that their meeting was supervised tightly by the authorities, limiting their talk to formal conversation.
“Two meters to our right and left there were guards with rifles. Behind me was an officer in plain clothes recording our conversation on a video. In front of me was another person with a cellphone,” Suarbudaya said.
“Surya asked how our friends were outside. I only nodded. I guess he knows what I meant,” Suarbudaya added. “It was hard to talk in such a situation.”
Surya looked healthy and well fed, although he seemed a bit confused, Suarbudaya said.
“However, he looked a bit cheered up when he saw us,” he said.
Suarbudaya said he gave his friend books to ease his boredom: Eka Kurniawan’s Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash and Wilson Obrigados’s Aluta Continua. 
The police claimed that they treated detainees well at the Mako Brimob detention center and that they did not use music to torture. However, Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Argo Yuwono confirmed that the detainees are put in different cells to limit interaction.
“There are no isolation cells [in Mako Brimob]. All detainees have their own cells. [Surya's] cell is spacious and we provide a Bible for him to read,” he told the Post during a phone call on Friday.
“They are treason detainees. They are different from terrorist detainees. They can interact only if there are visitations, Argo said.
“If you can see sunlight there, it is not a cell. It is a fenced field,” Argo said. “That’s why if you want to be free and go anywhere freely, do not commit treason. We are patriotic [for the] unity of Indonesia,” he said.

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4) Indonesian police say exiled separatist fomenting Papua unrest, 85 arrested 
10 Sep 2019 03:36PM (Updated: 10 Sep 2019 03:40PM) 

JAKARTA: Police in Papua have arrested 85 suspects since ethnic unrest erupted in Indonesia's easternmost regionin mid-August, a spokesman said, accusing a separatist leader based in Britain of fomenting Papua's most serious civil strife in years.
At least four people have been killed in the political violence following protests over perceived racial and ethnic discrimination, spread over two weeks in a string of Papuan towns.

Some protesters have demanded a referendum on independence, something the government has ruled out. Papua and West Papua provinces, the resource-rich western part of the island of New Guinea, were formerly a Dutch colony that was incorporated into Indonesia after a widely criticised UN-backed referendum in 1969.

READ: Papua protests: 5 things to know about the unrest in Indonesian province

National police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told journalists late on Monday (Sep 9) that separatist leader Benny Wenda, who has political asylum in Britain, had provided funding for his network of supporters, and instructed them to organise mass gatherings and prepare weapons.
"The riots in Papua were by design," Prasetyo said, adding that Wenda's United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) was trying to force the issue onto the agenda of the current sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Giving the update on the number of people arrested, Prasetyo did not specify what charges they faced, but he said two of the suspects were "the intellectual actors" who "designed the riots". He said police were still hunting 20 more suspects.

READ: Indonesian rights lawyer named suspect after sharing posts on Papua

READ: Indonesia restores Internet access in parts of restive Papua region

Speaking to Reuters by telephone, Wenda denied orchestrating the protests, and demanded that the government explain the heavy-handed response of security forces to the "peaceful demonstrations”. Wenda's ULMWP issued a report on Monday saying more than 200,000 Papuans took part in the protests, which saw the unfurling of "Morning Star" flags - a banned separatist symbol - at several government offices. The report also accused security forces of causing the death of 11 civilians. Police spokesman Prasetyo said only three civilians and one military personnel died, most of them as a result of being struck by arrows. In Papua, the traditional bow and arrow is still used for hunting and as a weapon. Accusing the Indonesian military of "killing my people", Wenda urged the United Nations to discuss Papua at its meetings in New York and asked Indonesia to allow UN officials to visit Papua. Indonesian officials have said that foreigners are currently barred from visiting Papua for security reasons.

READ: Indonesia restricts foreigner travel to restive Papua

READ: Police in Indonesia's Papua ban 'anarchist' demos after mass protests

In Jakarta, President Joko Widodo met with Papuan leaders and students at the presidential palace on Tuesday in a bid to soothe tensions. He offered employment at state firms for Papuan college graduates and more development in a region that has the highest poverty levels nationally. The latest protests followed racist slurs against Papuan students, whose dormitory was tear-gassed during their detention in the city of Surabaya on Java island on Aug 17, Indonesia's Independence Day, for allegedly desecrating a national flag. An internet blackout had been lifted for most parts of Papua after three weeks, though it remained in place for major cities like Jayapura, Manokwari and Sorong.
Source: Reuters
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