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West Papuan Melanesian Women Solidaritas – August 9th, 2020

August 9, 2020

West Papuan Melanesian Women Solidaritas express their traditional culture while commemorating the Day of Indigenous People which is celebrated by the United Nations every August 9th

Melanesian women remind the UN that there is violence from the Indonesian state in West Papua that continues so they hope that the UN Human Rights Investigation Team will go to West Papua soon.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/wphumanrightscenter/

Student in Ternate charged with treason over Papua protest

August 7, 2020

https://en.jubi.co.id/student-in-ternate-charged-with-treason-over-papua-protest/

Student in Ternate charged with treason over Papua protest
News Desk August 6, 2020 7:36 pm

Jayapura, Jubi – Indonesia’s public Khairun University on Ternate Island should reinstate four students who were expelled after taking part in a peaceful protest, Human Rights Watch said today.
A civil lawsuit brought by the four students, challenging their dismissal after the December 2019 protests, is underway in Ambon. On July 13, 2020, the Ternate police charged one of the four, Arbi M. Nur, with “treason” and “public provocation.” The Indonesian government should investigate the matter, as well as the alleged excessive use of force by police against students.
“Khairun University should support academic freedom and free expression, not expel students peacefully expressing their views,” said Andreas Harsono, senior Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Khairun University should let the students return to their studies this semester and ensure a university environment that promotes free expression.”

On December 2, 2019, the four student activists – Fahrul Abdullah W. Bone, Fahyudi Kabir, and Ikra S. Alkatiri, in addition to Nur – participated in a protest with about 50 students over human rights abuses in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces, Papua and West Papua. The students said that the Indonesian government should release Papuan political prisoners and grant Papuans self-determination.
The police immediately came to the protest site, outside the Muhammadiyah University campus in Ternate, and dispersed the students, arresting 10, including the four activists from Khairun University and Asri Abukhair, a Muhammadiyah University student.

Ternate is the biggest city in North Maluku province, a neighboring archipelago to West Papua province. Many residents from the North Maluku province travel and stay in West Papua and Papua provinces. Papuan students also often study in Ternate.
An amateur video showed the police forcibly dispersing the protest, with some officers beating the students. The police had questioned the arrested students aggressively, threatening and using violence at the Ternate police station, the students and media reports said.
Arbi Nur told Human Rights Watch that the police officers beat them on their backs, their heads, and legs. The students were released on December 3, after 27 hours in custody.
On December 12, Husen Alting, the rector of the Khairun University, signed a decree to dismiss the four students, stating that they had “tarnished the good name of the university, breached the ethics of being a student, and threatened national security.” There was no investigation or hearing at which the students could present their version of events.
In a media interview on December 26, Syawal Abdulajit, a deputy to Alting, accused the four students of “siding with” the armed group, the Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, OPM), without providing any evidence. Abdulajit mentioned Nur by name, saying that the university had reported his case to the National Police and the Education Ministry.
A dean at the private Muhammadiyah University warned Abukhair that he could face expulsion if he took part in such protests, but no further action was apparently taken.
The four students did not officially receive the dismissal letters until March. They filed a lawsuit challenging their dismissal against the university rector on April 6 at the administrative court in Ambon, the capital of the Maluku Islands province.
Because North Maluku province does not have an administrative court, any citizen who wants to bring a lawsuit against any government office in North Maluku needs to file it in Ambon, 600 kilometers south of Ternate. Ambon incurs the costs for transportation and accommodation. The students received pro bono legal assistance from the Ansor Legal Aid Institute (LBH Ansor) in Ambon. The students rented a house in Ambon to monitor the civil court case.
Nur faces up to 20 years in prison on the treason charge and 6 years for the public provocation charge. He has not been arrested because he is in Ambon.
Indonesian authorities should drop the charges against Nur, which violate the right to freedom of expression. They should also drop the charges against peaceful Papuan and Maluku activists now detained in several cities including Ambon, Fakfak, Wamena, Sorong, and Jayapura.
“The Ternate police should drop the charges against Arbi Nur,” Harsono said. “He did nothing wrong in peacefully protesting about political prisoners or self-determination in Papua.” (*)

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https://en.antaranews.com/news/153726/indonesian-soldiers-offer-rice-harvesting-assistance-to-papuan-farmers
2) Indonesian soldiers offer rice harvesting assistance to Papuan farmers
14 hours ago

Merauke, Papua (ANTARA) – Personnel of the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea Border Security Task Force from the 125/Simbisa Infantry Battalion lent a helping hand to native Papuan farmers in Kondo Village, Neukenjerai Sub-district, Merauke District, Papua Province, to harvest rice.

On Thursday, under the command of the task force’s post commander, Second Lieutenant Purwanta, seven soldiers were dispatched to help native Papuan farmers — Yakop Maiwa and Doce Sanggra — harvest rice, the task force’s commander, Lt Col Anjuanda Pardosi, stated.

The soldiers’ voluntary involvement in the villagers’ rice harvesting process is focused on supporting the government’s food security program, especially near the Indonesia-PNG border areas, and to maintain sound communication and social ties with the local people, he expounded.

"Food security is one of the important aspects for ensuring our country’s stability. Hence, solid cooperation from the entire nation is indispensable," he stated.

Pardosi believes that the soldiers assisting in the rice harvesting process was expected to encourage local farmers to boost production of the commodity.

Maiwa expressed gratitude to the soldiers for their assistance that enabled him to complete the rice harvesting process sooner than before.

Indonesia has yet to achieve food security, which by definition is related to "food availability, food access, and food utilization" (USAID 1995 in FAO) despite a steady rise in its population.

Instead of feeding its people the rice that is produced by its own farmers, the central government has repeatedly imported rice over the past years to meet the people’s demands.

This condition has, indeed, posed a grave challenge and does not bode well with Indonesia’s status as one of the world’s top agricultural countries.

Indonesia would be better off not importing rice from countries, including Thailand and Vietnam, on a permanent basis. This is since rice imports would potentially disadvantage local farmers and threaten its national security in the long term.

On April 21, 2020, President Widodo had urged officials to make a precise assessment of Indonesia’s rice stocks.

The president’s directive came close on the heels of the FAO of the United Nations’ warning of the COVID-19 pandemic triggering a global food crisis.

The Ministry of Agriculture has encouraged Indonesian farmers to implement an integrated farming method to aid in enhancing the profitable usage of their farmland to support the government’s efforts to transform Indonesia into a food barn.
Related news: Papua’s Kurik health center closed after resident contracted COVID-19

Related news: More armed Papuan rebels declare allegiance to Motherland

EDITED BY INE

Reporter: Muhsidin, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf

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https://en.jubi.co.id/139-villages-on-jayapura-preparing-700-hectares-farmland-during-covid-19-pandemic/

3) 139 villages on Jayapura preparing 700 hectares farmland during Covid-19 pandemic

News Desk August 7, 2020 6:35 am

Sentani, Jubi – Jayapura’s district government in Papua bolstered its food security program amid the ongoing novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to fulfill the food requirements of residents in five sub-districts and 139 villages by preparing farmland spanning 700 hectares.
“Local food crops will be planted in those 700 hectares of farmland to boost the residents’ economy,” Head of the Rural People’s Economic Empowerment Unit in Jayapura District Elisa Yarusabra remarked here on Thursday (6/8/2020).
The district government has worked alongside local communities to realize its food security program by offering financial aid to the tune of Rp100 million to every village, he noted, adding that the government had allotted a budget of Rp14 billion for the program.

Yarusabra stated that the district government’s food crops and horticulture office had provided agricultural advisors to assist local farmers in villages.
Despite a steady rise in Indonesia’s population, the country had yet to achieve food security, which by definition is related to “food availability, food access, and food utilization” (USAID 1995 in FAO).

Instead of feeding its people the rice produced by its own farmers, the central government has repeatedly imported rice over the past years to meet the public’s requirements.
This condition has, indeed, posed a grave challenge and does not bode well with Indonesia’s status as one of the world’s top agricultural countries.
Indonesia would be better off not importing rice from countries, including Thailand and Vietnam, on a permanent basis since it would potentially disadvantage local farmers and threaten its national security in the long term.
On April 21, 2020, President Widodo had called on officials to make a precise assessment of Indonesia’s rice stocks.
The president’s directive came on the back of the FAO of the United Nations’ warning of the COVID-19 pandemic triggering a global food crisis.
To enable the Indonesian farmers to optimize the profitable uses of their farmland for supporting the government’s efforts to make the country a food barn, the Ministry of Agriculture has encouraged them to implement an integrated farming method. (*)

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https://asiapacificreport.nz/2020/08/06/west-papua-scores-lowest-democracy-index-free-expression-declines/

4) West Papua scores lowest democracy index, free expression declines

By PMC Editor – August 6, 2020

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Indonesia’s West Papua province has again been recorded as having the worst democracy index in the republic, reports CNN Indonesia.

This year (2019), the West Papuan Democracy Index (IDI) was 57.62, even dropping lower from 2018 when it was 58.29 points.

Based on data from the National Statistics Agency (BPS), West Papua has the lowest score and is in last position – below South-East Sulawesi with a score of 65.21 points.

[Pacific Media Centre editor: West Papua in the Pacific is generally taken to mean the combined mainly Melanesian region of two provinces – Papua and West Papua.]

Following next is Papua province with a score of 62.25 points, North Sumatra with 67.65 points, West Sumatra with 67.69 points, Maluku with 68.22 points, West Java with 69.0 points and Jambi province with 69.76 points.

The BPS Democracy Index categorises the level of democracy as being good, moderate and poor. A Democracy Index score under 60 is classified as a poor democracy while a score of 60-80 represents a moderate democracy and a score above 80 is a good democracy.

Among all 32 provinces in Indonesia, West Papua was the only province with a poor Democracy Index.

BPS head Kecuk Suhariyanto said that there were seven provinces in Indonesia that were categorised as good.

Two provinces improve
“In 2018 there were only five provinces, in 2019 there are seven provinces with a category of good. From five there have been two additions making seven, namely Riau Islands and Central Kalimantan provinces,” he said during an online press conference.

Suhariyanto said Jakarta was the top rated province with a score of 88.29 points followed by North Kalimantan Utara with 83.45 points and Riau Islands with 81.64 points.

This is followed by Bali with 81.38 points, Central Kalimantan with 81.16 points, East Nusa Tenggara with 81,02 points and Yogyakarta Special Province with 80,67 points.

Nationally, Indonesia’s Democracy Index rose slightly to 74.92 in 2019. Last year in 2018 it was recorded at 72.39 points. As a whole, Indonesia’s democratic score is still categorised as moderate.

Nevertheless, looking at this in detail there are six indicators which still rated poorly in the index.

Namely threats of or the use of violence by the public which obstructs freedom of expression with a score of 57.35 points followed by the percentage of women elected as members of provincial parliaments (DPRD) with a score of 58.63 points.

This is followed by violent demonstrations or labour strikes with a score of 34.91 points, regional regulations imitated by DPRDs with a score of 46.16 points, DPRD recommendations to the executive with 16.70 points and finally efforts to provide budgetary information by regional government with a score of 53.43 points.

The Democracy Index is assessed based on three main aspects, namely civil freedoms, political rights and democratic institutions. Each of these three aspects has 11 variables and 28 indicators which are used to make an assessment.

Decline in civil freedoms
Although there was a 4.92 point increase in political rights and a 4.48 point increase in democratic institutions, there was a 1.26 decline in civil freedoms. The score for civil freedoms based on the IDI for this year stood at 77.20 points.

“The index for civil freedoms in 2019 was 77.20. A slight decline compared with the position in 2018 and its respective category is moderately [democratic]”, said Suhariyanto.

Civil freedoms were assessed using four variables with freedom of assembly and freedom of association scoring 78.03 points, a decline of 4,32 points compared with 2018.

Freedom of expression, which stood at 84.29 points, declined by 1.88 points, freedom of belief scored 83.03 points, rising by 0.17 points compared with 2018 and freedom from discrimination scored 92.35 points, rising by 0.58.

If looked at in detail, there was a step back in the indicators which covered threats of or the use of violence by government agencies which obstruct freedom of expression, assembly and association, and the threat of or use of violence by social organisations related to religious teachings.

Next, actions or statements by government officials which were discriminative in terms of gender, ethnicity or other vulnerable groups and or which restricted the freedom to worship.

Meanwhile improvements were found in the indicators covering the threat of or use of violence by the public which obstructed freedom of expression, assembly and association and or on the grounds of gender, ethnicity or other vulnerable groups.

Discriminatory regulations
There were also improvements in written regulations which restrict freedom of worship and religion and or which discriminate against gender, ethnicity or other vulnerable groups.

In the aspect of political rights, two variables were assessed. The breakdown was the right to vote and be elected which scored 79.27 points, rising by 3,5 points, public participation in decision making and government supervision which scored 56.72, rising 2.44 points.

Although this was still categorised as poor.

In terms of democratic institutions, five variables were assessed. The breakdown was free and fair elections which scored 85.75 points, declining by 9.73 points followed by the role of regional parliaments (DPRD) with a score of 61.74, a rise of 2.82 points.

Then the role of the political parties which scored 80.62 points, a decline of 1.48 points followed by the role of regional government bureaucracy which scored 62.58 points, a rise of 6.84 points and the role of an independent judiciary which scored 93.66 points, a rise of
2.94 points.

This abridged translation by James Balowski of IndoLeft News is based on two articles by CNN Indonesia published on August 3. The original title of the first article was “Indeks Demokrasi Papua Barat Paling Buruk, Jakarta Terbaik”. The title of the second article was “Kebebasan Sipil Turun, Indeks Demokrasi Indonesia Naik.”

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“MAMBESAK”West Papua Human Rights Center

August 6, 2020

Today we share a special news update in memory of the founding of the Mambesak Music Group, led by the late Arnold Ap, 42 years ago, August 5, 1978.

Some of the photos shared here are photo documentation of Yance Wainggai, one of the former political prisoners of the Proclamation of December 14, 1988 conveying:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY “MAMBESAK” MUSIC GROUP, August 5, 1978 (42 years). Even though my role is small, my fingers have fulfilled the request of the late. kaka Arnold C AP prepared drawings and designs of leather tapes and pocket books of MAMBESAK songs.

https://m.facebook.com/wphumanrightscenter/

A Poem Written by Herman Wainggai’ West Papua Melanesia

August 6, 2020

Today we share a poem written by our Executive Director, Mr. Herman Wainggai.

History

Even though I often sob
When I hear your story
Even though I’m always stunned
When I hear your testimony …

The birds also agreed that the sky was the witness
The struggle you face
The sacrifice you gave
Tears that are scattered in the pain of your heart …

You tell a story
About agreements and stories
in the past
Thousands of bitter events continue to roar in your mind ..

Because you’re part of that history …

When the season has changed,
When you made history
With a strong conviction lingering in your soul
Without doubt you write on the rock,
About the country of West Papua that you want to liberate
About the song you want to convey …

That we, they, you and me
in fact the Melanesian generation must unite
Grasp the fingers tightly and unite the heart
Then we walk the same way
Let past history live in this soul
You don’t need to look back again
Come on, walk with me.

Together in this struggle
Creating doubt becomes certainty
Calm your heart,
Will be beautiful in its time
God is our Shepherd
Melanesia
West Papua will certainly be independent

West Papua scores lowest democracy index, freedom of expression declines

August 6, 2020

West Papua scores lowest democracy index, freedom of expression declines

CNN Indonesia – August 3, 2020

Jakarta — West Papua province has again been recorded as having the
worst democracy index. This year (2019), West Papua’s Democracy Index
(IDI) was 57.62, even dropping lower from 2018 when it was 58.29 points.

Based on data from the National Statistics Agency (BPS), West Papua has
the lowest score and is in last position below South-East Sulawesi with
a score of 65.21 points.

Followed next is Papua province with a score of 62.25 points, North
Sumatra with 67.65 points, West Sumatera with 67.69 points, Maluku with
68.22 points, West Java with 69.0 points and Jambi province with 69.76
points.

The BPS Democracy Index categories the level of democracy as being good,
moderate and poor. A Democracy Index score under 60 is classified as a
poor democracy while a score of 60-80 represents a moderate democracy
and a score above 80 is a good democracy.

Among all 32 provinces in Indonesia, West Papua was the only province
with a poor Democracy Index. BPS head Kecuk Suhariyanto said that there
are seven provinces in Indonesia that are categorised as good.

"In 2018 there were only five provinces, in 2019 there are seven
provinces with a category of good. From five there have been two
additions making seven, namely Riau Islands and Central Kalimantan
provinces", he said during an online press conference on Monday August
3.

Suhariyanto said Jakarta was the top rated province with a score of
88.29 points followed by North Kalimantan Utara with 83.45 points and
Riau Islands with 81.64 points.

This is followed by Bali with 81.38 points, Central Kalimantan with
81.16 points, East Nusa Tenggara with 81,02 points and Yogyakarta
Special Province with 80,67 points.

Nationally, Indonesia’s Democracy Index rose slightly to 74.92 in 2019.
Last year in 2018 it was recorded at 72.39 points. As a whole,
Indonesia’s democratic score is still categorised as moderate.

Nevertheless, looking at this in detail there are six indicators which
still rated poorly in the index. Namely threats of or the use of
violence by the public which obstructs freedom of expression with a
score of 57.35 points followed by the percentage of women elected as
members of provincial parliaments (DPRD) with a score of 58.63 points.

This is followed by violent demonstrations or labour strikes with a
score of 34.91 points, regional regulations imitated by DPRDs with a
score of 46.16 points, DPRD recommendations to the executive with 16.70
points and finally efforts to provide budgetary information by regional
government with a score of 53.43 points.

The Democracy Index is assessed based on three main aspects, namely
civil freedoms, political rights and democratic institutions. Each of
these three aspects has 11 variables and 28 indicators which are used to
make an assessment.

Decline in civil freedoms

Although there was a 4.92 point increase in political rights and a 4.48
point increase in democratic institutions, there was a 1.26 decline in
civil freedoms. The score for civil freedoms based on the IDI for this
year stood at 77.20 points.

"The index for civil freedoms in 2019 was 77.20. A slight decline
compared with the position in 2018 and its respective category is
moderately [democratic]", said Suhariyanto.

Civil freedoms were assessed using four variables with freedom of
assembly and freedom of association scoring 78.03 points, a decline of
4,32 points compared with 2018.

Freedom of expression, which stood at 84.29 points, declined by 1.88
points, freedom of belief scored 83.03 points, rising by 0.17 points
compared with 2018 and freedom from discrimination scored 92.35 points,
rising by 0.58.

If looked at in detail, there was a step back in the indicators which
covered threats of or the use of violence by government agencies which
obstruct freedom of expression, assembly and association, and the threat
of or use of violence by social organisations related to religious
teachings.

Next, actions or statements by government officials which were
discriminative in terms of gender, ethnicity or other vulnerable groups
and or which restricted the freedom to worship.

Meanwhile improvements were found in the indicators covering the threat
of or use of violence by the public which obstructed freedom of
expression, assembly and association and or on the grounds of gender,
ethnicity or other vulnerable groups.

There were also improvements in written regulations which restrict
freedom of worship and religion and or which discriminate against
gender, ethnicity or other vulnerable groups.

In the aspect of political rights, two variables were assessed. The
breakdown was the right to vote and be elected which scored 79.27
points, rising by 3,5 points, public participation in decision making
and government supervision which scored 56.72, rising 2.44 points.
Although this was still categorised as poor.

In terms of democratic institutions, five variables were assessed. The
breakdown was free and fair elections which scored 85.75 points,
declining by 9.73 points followed by the role of regional parliaments
(DPRD) with a score of 61.74, a rise of 2.82 points.

Then the role of the political parties which scored 80.62 points, a
decline of 1.48 points followed by the role of regional government
bureaucracy which scored 62.58 points, a rise of 6.84 points and the
role of an independent judiciary which scored 93.66 points, a rise of
2.94 points.

[Abridged translation by James Balowski based on two articles by CNN
Indonesia published on August 3. The original title of the first article
was "Indeks Demokrasi Papua Barat Paling Buruk, Jakarta Terbaik". The
title of the second article was "Kebebasan Sipil Turun, Indeks Demokrasi
Indonesia Naik"
(https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20200803160536-32-531684/kebebasan-sipil-turun-indeks-demokrasi-indonesia-naik).]

Source:
https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20200803153942-32-531666/indeks-demokrasi-papua-barat-paling-buruk-jakarta-terbaik

New Guinea has greatest plant diversity of any island in the world, study reveals

August 5, 2020

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/aug/05/new-guinea-has-greatest-plant-diversity-of-any-island-in-the-world-study-reveals

The age of extinction Environment

New Guinea has greatest plant diversity of any island in the world, study reveals

The tropical island edges out Madagascar as botanists estimate that 4,000 new species could be discovered in the next 50 years
Tamarau mountains in New Guinea, one of the few places left whe
Tamarau mountains in New Guinea, one of the few places left where the rainforest is unbroken as far as the eye can see. Photograph: William J Baker/RBG Kew
The age of extinction is supported by
Band Foundation and Wyss Foundation
About this content
Phoebe Weston
@phoeb0
Published onWed 5 Aug 2020 11.00 EDT
168

New Guinea is home to more than 13,500 species of plant, two-thirds of which are endemic, according to a new study that suggests it has the greatest plant diversity of any island in the world – 19% more than Madagascar, which previously held the record.

Ninety-nine botanists from 56 institutions in 19 countries trawled through samples, the earliest of which were collected by European travellers in the 1700s. Large swathes of the island remain unexplored and some historical collections have yet to be looked at. Researchers estimate that 4,000 more plant species could be found in the next 50 years, with discoveries showing “no sign of levelling off”, according to the paper published in Nature.

“It is a paradise teeming with life,” said lead researcher Dr Rodrigo Cámara-Leret, a biologist from the University of Zurich who was previously at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

New Guinea – which is divided into the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua and the independent state of Papua New Guinea in the east – is the most mountainous and largest tropical island in the world, with snowcapped peaks reaching 5,000 metres high.

“This allows for different types of habitats, such as mangroves, swamp forests, lowland tropical forests and also montane forests, which have high levels of endemism,” said Cámara-Leret. “And then at the very top, just below the limit of plant growth, are these alpine grasslands … This habitat is basically unique to New Guinea in southeast Asia.”

The island sits between Malaysia, Australia and the Pacific and has a young and diverse geological history, with many species forming in the last million years. One of the most surprising discoveries was how many plants are exclusive to the island. For example, 98% of heather species are endemic, as are 96% of African violets and 95% of ginger species.
A local guide with a rhododendron in bloom in the Cromwell moun
A local guide with a rhododendron in bloom in the Cromwell mountains of Papua New Guinea. Photograph: William J Baker/RBG Kew

Many suspected that New Guinea would prove to have the highest diversity, but botanical exploration on the island remains limited. Unlike Madagascar – which has had a species checklist since 2008 – the island had never been systematically surveyed and previous estimates suggested it could have anything between 9,000 to 25,000 species.

In total researchers found 13,634 species of plants divided into 1,742 genera and 264 families. “I was just pleased that we could nail a number. This is not the end, this is a first step,” said Cámara-Leret, who is encouraging researchers from around the world to build on this dataset, which will be vital for International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assessments.

New Guinea has fascinated explorers and botanists for centuries. In 1700 Englishman William Dampier brought back the earliest scientific specimens from the region, which inspired decades of European exploration. In 1770, Joseph Banks, who was on Captain’s Cook’s voyage, collected a sedge – one of the earliest known samples to be included in the study. The taxonomy of the region slowly built up, with plants being collected and taken to different institutions around the world.

However, inland areas remained inaccessible until after the second world war and base camps could only be established with the use of aircraft. These mountainous regions proved to be the most diverse and in the past 50 years, 2,800 new species have been recorded.

Botanists looked through more than 700,000 specimens. Included in the finds were more than 2,800 species of orchid and 3,900 species of tree. “Part of the study’s beauty is its sheer scale and just the huge number of collaborators,” said Cámara-Leret, who started the project in 2018. “There was already a sense of New Guinea community, but it was scattered, and this project kind of brought us all together.”

Some veteran scientists involved in the study had lived on the island for decades, and many had spent their careers studying the taxonomy of a single plant family. “It united people across different generations, like scientists who are just starting up, then early career researchers and then folks who have been retired for over 20 years. We had a lot of scientists that are retired, collaborating and giving up freely their time … They have an enormous amount of knowledge and very few people are learning it from them,” said Cámara-Leret.

Another reason it has taken so long to create a list for the island is because the region has been governed by so many different European powers. Colonial education was focused on extracting materials and agricultural work, so taxonomic knowledge was limited. After independence, there was a new generation of scientists committed to doing research but the system stifled their enthusiasm.
Genus Freycinetia, with 140 species, is a group of forest climb
Genus Freycinetia, with 140 species, is a group of forest climbers in the Pandanaceae family, one of the 20 most-diverse groups in New Guinea. Photograph: RBG Kew

There is only one account written by an Indonesian and none by a Papua New Guinean in this paper. Researchers hope it will encourage the two governments to produce a new generation of botanists who will inform better conservation in the future. But botanical exploration is urgently needed to ensure unknown species can be collected before they disappear.

“It is clear, in the context of the biodiversity crisis, that this paper represents a milestone in our understanding of the New Guinea flora and provides a vital platform to accelerate scientific research and conservation,” said Dr Peter Wilkie from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, who was involved in the study. “Research at its best is collaborative and this demonstrates what can be achieved when scientists from around the world work together and share expertise and data.”

Dr Sandra Knapp, a botanist from the Natural History Museum who was also involved in the project, described it as an “incredible achievement”.

“This should now serve as a baseline for much more work and discovery in the years to come,” she said.

Find more age of extinction coverage here, and follow biodiversity reporters Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield on Twitter for all the latest news and features

3rd August 2020 “Special Autonomy is Dead” Webinar

August 2, 2020

The IAWP will be co-hosting a webinar with the West Papua Project (WPP), in collaboration with the Petisi Rakyat Papua (PRP), to bring international awareness to Jakarta’s push to renew Special Autonomy in West Papua. The Petisi Rakyat Papua (Papuan Peoples Petition) is a civil resistance movement to reject the revision of Law No.21/2001, particularly article 77, launched on July 4. You are invited to the online meeting titled – Special Autonomy is Dead: Papuans Want Jakarta to Keep it in the Grave.

Monday 3rd August 2020

Sydney, Australia – 8pm
Jayapoura, Papua – 7pm
United Kingdom – 11am

Speakers

  • Aprila Wayar (Journalist, West Papua)
  • Belinda Lopez (Academic and Author, UTS)
  • Cammi Webb-Gannon (Academic, Wollongong Uni)
  • Victor Yeimo (Spokes Person of Petisi Rakyat Papua)
  • Hipolitus Wangge (PhD Candidate, ANU)

You can join the webinar using the following link:
Solidarity,
Co-Secretaries
International Academics for West Papua

HUMAN RIGHTS CRISIS IN WEST PAPUA: CALLING ON THE US GOVERNMENT TO URGE INDONESIA TO ALLOW HR

July 27, 2020

The West Papua Human Rights Center calls on the United States government to take urgent and immediate action on human rights abuses and growing military presence in West Papua by urging the Indonesian government to allow the UN and press access to West Papua following the extrajudicial killing of two activists in July.

“My land is Melanesia, you are my homeland”

Thirty two years have passed since Melanesian National Anthem were rewritten on December 14, 1988 by Dr. Thom Wainggai, founder of the non-violent movement for West Papuan independence from Indonesia. On this date, Dr. Thom proclaimed the Republic of West Melanesia and first raised the Melanesian flag.

After seven years of imprisonment, Dr. Thom died in Indonesian custody in 1996.

His nephew, Herman Wainggai, today leads the non-violent movement and founded the West Papua Human Rights Center in Washington D.C., the organization leading this urgent action.

Indonesia has occupied West Papua for 57 years. It has been an era characterised by genocide and repression.

Activists who challenge Indonesian rule face imprisonment, and the Indonesian government continues an aggressive tactic of colonisation and land grabbing. West Papua remains closed to both foreign journalists and UN Human Rights Investigation teams.

On July 18, 2020 in a world distracted by Covid-19, the Indonesian military shot dead freedom fighters Elias Karunggu and Sellu Karunggu. The father and son had been living in the forest for months before their death in Nduga District. Deep sadness resonates throughout West Papua with this loss amid ongoing human rights violations.

Beyond the use of force, the Indonesian government has developed targeted legislation to maintain control in West Papua.

For example, ‘regulation no. 77’. This regulation effectively criminalises the use of the Morning Star Flag in West Papua. Those who raise it run risk of imprisonment and torture, contravening basic human rights to assemble and to freedom of expression. Suppression of potent cultural symbols, such as the Morning Star Flag, is indicative of Indonesia’s systemic suppression of unity and hope of West Papuans to be free.

Genocide is occurring in West Papua.

It is estimated that between 100,000 and 500,000 West Papuan lives have been lost since the Indonesian invasion began.

It is able to occur in West Papua because there is no protection for human rights or democracy activists in Indonesia or West Papua. It is able to be hidden because the region remains off limits to the press and human rights watchdogs, including United Nations human rights investigation teams.

The Indonesian Minister of the Interior Mr. Tito Karnavian recently increased the Indonesian military presence in West Papua. There are now 100.000 Indonesian military personnel in West Papua.

Mr. Wainggai asserts that there is no fair rule of law in the Melanesian lands of West Papua and that the people of West Papua continue to reject Indonesian control. The ‘special autonomy’ granted by Indonesia to the province has been likened by Papuan people to ‘a coffin’. It has allowed for ongoing military presence in West Papua, violence and intimidation.

The recent killing of Elias and Sellu Karunggu and the increased military personnel in West Papua underscores the urgency of our petition to the White House dated May 21, 2020.

The petition calls on the United States government to urge the Indonesian government to immediately allow the UN human rights investigation team into West Papua to prevent more casualties at the hands of the Indonesian government and the growing presence of the Indonesian military in West Papua.

Website https://wphumanrightscenter.org/ OR Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/wphumanrightscenter

Indonesian Govt may deploy more troops in Papua, Minister says

July 25, 2020

https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/07/24/govt-may-deploy-more-troops-in-papua-minister-says.html

Govt may deploy more troops in Papua, Minister says
News Desk The Jakarta Post
Jakarta / Sat, July 25, 2020 / 06:30 am

The government may deploy more troops in Papua if it deems the escalation necessary to maintain security, Home Minister Tito Karnavian has said, amid reports of tensions between security forces and armed civilian groups in Indonesia’s easternmost province.

“The state cannot be outdone by anyone who violates the law, including this armed group. If they kill people, we will enforce [the law]. If there are not enough troops, we will add more,” the former National Police chief said on Thursday, as quoted by kompas.com.

Tito said the government was paying close attention to development and prosperity in Papua. He called on members of local armed militia groups to unite with the government and play an active role in facilitating development in the restive province.

Those who joined with Indonesia would be guaranteed their welfare, he said, adding that those who had violated the law would still be prosecuted.

Tito said the government was considering extending Papua’s special autonomy (Otsus) status, which is slated to end next year, and asked regional heads in Papua to optimize development with the central government funds available until then.

Read also: President’s instruction to blame for rights violations, displacement in Nduga: LBH Papua

“Please really use [the funds] optimally for development to create jobs. The natural resource potential of Papua is truly extraordinary, as are its human resources, and this [development] will progress quickly,” he said.

“If everyone has a job like in West Papua then we hope they will be involved in development, rather than in killing other people.”

Actually, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data show that the open unemployment rate in West Papua province has remained consistently higher than in Papua province. In August 2014, BPS recorded a 5.02 percent unemployment rate in West Papua and a 3.44 percent rate in Papua. In February 2019, West Papua recorded a 5.28 percent open unemployment and Papua 3.42 percent.

Echoing Tito’s statement, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD said the government still considered the armed groups Indonesians.

“I think this country is very open if they want to surrender, to build. Their citizenship has not disappeared, so just go back to being Indonesian citizens,” Mahfud said.

Indonesian Military spokesperson Col. Gusti Nyoman Suriastawa said on Thursday that five members of a separatist group had surrendered to the military and rejoined Indonesia because they “felt insecure” and “wanted to live a normal life with their family”.

The five former separatists pledged loyalty to the government in front of military personnel and residents on Wednesday, he said. They then participated in an Indonesian flag ceremony and signed a statement. (syk)

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https://en.tempo.co/read/1367877/amnesty-int-demand-investigation-on-shooting-of-papuan-fatherson

2) Amnesty Int Demand Investigation on Shooting of Papuan Father,Son
Translator: Ricky Mohammad Nugraha
Editor: Petir Garda Bhwana
22 July 2020 09:56 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Following the news about two Nduga, Papua residents who were allegedly shot dead by Indonesian armed forces (TNI) personnel, Amnesty International Indonesia executive director, Usman Hamid, on Tuesday called for the government to put an end on violence and human rights violations happening in Papua.

“Authorities shooting two Papuan residents again shows that the government often acts repressive in Papua,” said Usman in Tuesday’s written release. Usman also explains that the two Nduga residents were father and son.

Apart from demanding an immediate thorough investigation that is both independent and transparent, Usman Hamid also called for the Indonesian military to appropriately punish the suspected perpetrators. He argues that disciplinary punishments would not suffice as the incident is a criminal offense and human rights violation.

The Amnesty International Indonesia director cited that the state would fail its people if the perpetrators of the shooting are only taken to the military court and cites the government has failed to uphold the 1945 Constitution (UUD 1945).

The shooting reportedly happened on Saturday, July 18, at around 15:00 local times. The father and son were identified as Selu Karunggu (20) and Elias Karunggu (34) who are both refugees of the 2018 Nduga incident. Both men were shot as they were heading to the Nduga District’s capital of Kenyam.

Read also: Minister Fachrul Razi Launches ‘Kita Cinta Papua’ Program

AHMAD FAIZ IBNU SANI


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Papuan People should have rights to determine Special Autonomy for Papua

July 24, 2020

https://en.jubi.co.id/papuan-people-should-have-rights-to-determine-special-autonomy-for-papua/

Papuan People should have rights to determine Special Autonomy for Papua
Published 2 days ago on 23 July 2020 By Admin

Enarotali, Jubi – Willem Wandik, an Indonesian parliament member from Papua, firmly said that those who have rights to decide whether the Special Autonomy in Papua should be continued or terminated are the people of Papua.
“Papuan people have rights in governing the Special Autonomy policy in Papua, and it would never be under the command of the Papuan Police Chief,” Wandik recently told Jubi.

Wandik, the politician from the Democratic Party, deeply regretted the Papuan Police Chief’s statement to ban public campaigns to decline the Special Autonomy policy in Papua. In his view, the police chief’s statement has reflected the authoritarian method to control democracy in the land of Papua.
“It demonstrates how the iron hand approach always becomes an option for security forces in responding to people’s demand, in particular indigenous Papuans in the land of Papua,” he said.

Moreover, he stated that the police chief has no right to control people from democracy. Instead, by giving this order, the police chief has violated the Constitution 1945 as the supreme law in Indonesia which provides rights for people to participate in determining regulations or policies that would influence their lives.
Separately, the Secretary for Bangun Papua fraction in the House of Representative Papua Alfred Fredy Anouw said the Papuan Police Chief’s statement could be interpreted that the chief considered Papuans were not the Indonesian citizens because Indonesia is a democratic state.
“The Papuan Police Chief should not ban people from expressing their opinion in public,” said Anouw.
He, therefore, asked the Papuan Police Chief to not publish a statement that might lead indigenous Papuans to disappointment. “Because the Special Autonomy Policy is not a small problem. It’s about the lives of Papuan people,” he said.
“So, not just because of his personal achievement, he can tell people whatever he wants. He must see Papuan people as the whole. He cannot be egoistic,” he said.
Earlier, the Papuan Police Chief Paulus Waterpauw considered the launch of Papuan People Petition initiated by 16 civil organisations to decline the extension of Special Autonomy Law as an effort to provoke the public.
“I disagree with them, with their campaign. It was an effort of provocation,” Waterpauw firmly told reporters in Jayapura on Friday (17/7/2020) as cited in suarapapua.com. (*)
Reporter: Abeth You
Editor: Pipit Maizier

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https://en.jubi.co.id/when-the-autonomy-policy-era-ends-papua-should-become-a-sovereign-territory/

2) When the autonomy policy era ends, Papua should become a sovereign territory
Published 2 days ago on 23 July 2020 By Admin1

Sentani, Jubi – Papua should become a sovereign territory following the end of the autonomy policy era. The claim has aligned with the wishes of the people of Papua.
“Sovereignty has been a long time claim of Papuan people in some congresses, and it has never changed until today,” said Zadrahk Taime, the Papuan Customary Council Chairman for Mamta Region, on Monday (20/7/2020).

He further explained that the demand for sovereignty in Papua has risen since 1961, and respectively emerged in Papuan People Congress II in 1962, Papuan People Congress III in 2011 until today.
“The struggle for Papuan sovereignty has significantly linked to international law. The Government of Indonesia should recognise it,” said Taime.

Moreover, he said if Papua becomes a sovereign country, Papua and Indonesia can still help each other in overcoming shared problems. In this sense, Papua will consider Indonesia as a ‘foster father’.
“Indonesia workers will still be able to work at PT. Freeport, while in turn, Indonesia should assist Papua to deal with its domestic affairs,” said Taime.
In the meantime, Abner Giyai from the Papuan Customary Council for Grimenawa Region said Papuan people never found justice in development since the implementation of the Special Autonomy policy in 2001. The landowners had never been invited to involve in the processes of planning or implementation of the empowerment program for indigenous Papuans.
“There were no job opportunities and access to the market for local communities. When we asked for justice, it, in turn, was politicised (accused as separatists),” said Giyai.
He claimed the Government of Indonesia has never taken a lesson and evaluated the implementation of development in Papua. “During the administration of Widodo-Kala, Rp100 trillion had spent (allocated) to Papua but that’s it (the results were invisible).” (*)

Reporter: Engelbert Wally
Editor: Pipit Maizier

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https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/07/24/presidents-instruction-to-blame-for-rights-violations-displacement-in-nduga-lbh-papua.html

3) President’s instruction to blame for rights violations, displacement in Nduga: LBH Papua

Budi Sutrisno
The Jakarta Post
Jakarta / Fri, July 24, 2020 / 05:15 pm
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo’s instruction for the military and the police to hunt down armed separatist rebels responsible for the 2018 Nduga massacre in Papua has led to a security crisis that has affected civilians in the region, the Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua) has said.
The instruction – issued shortly after the incident in December 2018 – was directed at the Indonesian Military (TNI) commander and the National Police chief and, according to LBH Papua, had since been used as justification to launch a security operation called Operation Nemangkawi.
The group has blamed the President’s instruction for “opening” rampant armed conflicts in Nduga between Indonesian security forces and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) after the 2018 incident until now.

Due to the conflicts, large numbers of civilians – whom the group deemed "victims" of the President’s instruction – had been seeking refuge in shelters, many of whom had died due to poor living conditions there, LBH Papua director Emanuel Gobay said.
“[We] firmly urge the President to immediately evaluate his instruction […] because in practice, it has resulted in displacement and human rights violations, in particular the right to life,” Emanuel said in a statement on Wednesday.
The President’s instruction, issued in response to the killing of dozens of workers of state-owned construction firm PT Istaka Karya by TPNPB fighters, has led to a protracted security operation in Nduga that has forced thousands of civilians to flee their homes and seek refuge.
According to Amnesty International Indonesia data, 263 Nduga residents that were displaced during the ongoing military operations had died of hunger or illness as of late January.

Read also: Jokowi urged to withdraw troops from Papua’s Nduga
LBH Papua also alleged that the President’s instruction led to the killing of two Papuans by TNI personnel in the regency recently.
Citing information from the TPNPB, local media outlet suarapapua.com reported that the two – identified as Elias Karunggu, 40, and Seru Karunggu, 20 – were among 58 Papuans from three districts who had long sought refuge in the forest and were forced to head to Nduga’s capital due to hunger and illness.
On July 18, Elias and Seru were shot by military personnel as the group crossed the Keneyam River in Masonggorak village using wooden boats, the report said.
LBH Papua claimed that the deadly shootings were carried out by members of the Infantry Battalion 330/TD task force, assigned to Nduga under the Nemangkawi operation.
TNI spokesperson of the Joint Regional Defense Command (Kogabwilhan) III, Col. Gusti Nyoman Suriastawa, confirmed that the task force was behind the shooting, saying that Elias and Seru were both members of the armed separatist group.
Gusti refused to comment on whether the task force’s presence in Nduga was a part of the operation as directed by the President; however, he claimed that Jokowi’s instruction was not the main guideline for the TNI’s actions in Papua.
“We must see that the reason behind the TNI’s presence there is that there is still turmoil and oppression against the people. [The President’s instruction] is not why the TNI is operating in Papua. The TNI have long been there,” Gusti told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
Read also: Independent reconciliation body ‘crucial’ to resolve past atrocities in Papua: Experts
He said the military were able to detect the position of the two "separatists" because they had two bags containing cell phones stolen from the TNI last month. Before crossing the river, the two were spotted receiving a revolver pistol from others, Gusti claimed.
“After crossing the river, the other residents immediately jumped into a pick-up [truck] heading for Kenyam, but the two did not. That posed a danger, so the TNI personnel shot them,” he said.
LBH Papua said the incident violated citizens’ constitutional rights and the right to life, as guaranteed in the 1999 Human Rights Law and provisions in the 1949 Geneva Convention relating to civil society in military operations.
Emanuel argued that Jokowi’s instruction following the 2018 incident was an operation to arrest, not kill, suspected separatist rebels.
He further urged the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) to immediately form an investigation team to study the “alleged gross human rights violations” against the two Papuans and called for the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) to immediately provide assistance for displaced persons in Nduga in times of conflict.
During his recent visit to Papua’s Timika, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD warned the TNI and police personnel not to be “provoked” into “excessive actions” and to prioritize a legal approach in handling security issues in Papua.
“I know your work is hard, but my message is to act cautiously. Don’t be provoked by other parties into taking actions that can be considered a violation of human rights,” Mahfud said on Wednesday.
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https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/07/24/lacking-supplies-papuas-biggest-lab-stops-pcr-testing.html

4 ) Lacking supplies, Papua’s biggest lab stops PCR testing
Victor Mambor
The Jakarta Post
Jayapura / Fri, July 24, 2020 / 02:55 pm

The largest PCR testing lab in Papua has announced that it will stop accepting new samples for COVID-19 testing on July 25 because of a lack of reagent and single-use equipment.
The lab at the Papuan Health Research and Development Agency (Balitbangkes) accounts for more than half of the province’s testing capacity under normal circumstances.
Typically, the Balitbangkes lab, which is managed by the Health Ministry, receives 400 to 500 samples a day. The lab was previously able to test between 300 and 400 samples a day. On Thursday, it received 599 samples and tested 382, accounting for about 60 percent of the 641 samples the province tested using PCR and molecular test (TCM) methods that day.

The head of Balitbangkes in Papua, Antonius Oktavian, said the lab still had about 1,482 samples that had not been tested and that the supply of reagent and single-use equipment, such as pipettes and tubes, was thinning.
Read also: Testing gap across provinces slows down COVID-19 response in Indonesia
“We’re worried that if we keep receiving new samples the new samples will be damaged because we don’t have reagent and other equipment,” he told The Jakarta Post. “If we get new samples, they will certainly have to wait until we finish testing the existing ones,” Antonius said.
He said the agency would accept new samples once it received more testing supplies. “We have requested them from the central government,” he added.
As of July 23, the Papuan provincial government had confirmed 2,720 COVID-19 cases. Of that number, 1,259 patients had recovered and 30 had died. On July 23, the provincial administration reported 68 new confirmed cases in Papua, a different figure than the central government had reported.
Indonesia is now grappling with a gap in testing capacity between Java and the rest of the nation. The country is operating 269 PCR testing laboratories, half of which are located in Java. None of Papua’s 10 labs are currently accepting new samples.
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