Skip to content


June 21, 2017

AdminJun 21, 2017

Wamena, Jubi – A police officer in Wamena, Jayawijaya allegedly mistreated a minor, Friday afternoon, June 16, 2017.

As a result the victim named Albert Nawipa (15) had to be treated at Emergency Installation (IGD) RSUD Wamena.

Yance Tenoye from Jayawijaya Institute for Law and Human Rights Studies and Advocacy said that Albert was beaten by police officers who served in Pasar Potikelek. After got beaten the victim was also told to clean up the post in the market.

“When the family saw and took the child out of the post, saying that the police post was not his place of work and took him out, he was brought home. Arriving at home, the family saw the bleeding from victim’s nose and finally took him to Wamena hospitals,” he said.

Tenoye regretted the actions of police officers, especially because the victim is under age. He and the families of victims did not understand what cause of the child persecution.

Jayawijaya Police Chief, AKBP Yan Pieter Reba confirmed to have received a report related to the alleged persecution.

“I have not been able to give response, since Friday I am preparing for the visit of Kapolda to Wamena,” said Kapolres.

Separately, Chairman of Advocacy Network of Law and Human Rights of the Middle Mountains, Theo Hesegem asserted that the police was not professional. Moreover, the victims of abuse are minors and persecuted in Pasar Potikelek.

According to him, the officer/police post should be a place to serve and protect the community. (*)



AdminJun 21, 2017

Ophir energy acreage in Indonesia – IST

Jakarta, Jubi – Ophir Energy Indonesia (West Papua IV) Ltd and Ophir Energy Indonesia (Aru) Ltd, are likely to carry out drilling of exploration and appraisal wells in the first quarter in its deep-water working area in eastern Indonesia.

“Initially, we plan to conduct the (exploration) drilling this year, but it looks like to be realized early next year,” Ferdinandus Tetro, external relation officer of Ophir Indonesia midst May 2017.

Ophir has a 49.9% operated interest in the West Papua IV Block and a 60% operated interest in the Aru Block covering a gross area of 5,701 km2.

Ophir said it has completed the 3D seismic survey on the West Papua IV and Aru licenses in the fourth quarter 2016.

Asking about the results of the seismic survey, Tetro said Ophir is currently evaluation the results of the survey.

In its website, Ophir said this is a deep water oil play within the Miocene-aged, New Guinea platform carbonate, with the potential to contain in excess of a billion barrels recoverable.

“Once this has been fully processed and interpreted, we will determine whether to move ahead and drill in the Q4 2017-Q2 2018 window,” it said.

The wells to be drilled will be between 2,500 and 3,500 meters measured depth.

Ophir Energy acquired the West Papua IV and Aru Blocks from Canadian oil and gas company Niko Resources Limited in 2015. (*)



AdminJun 21, 2017

Sentani, Jubi – The circulation of marijuana and shabu-shabu in Papua is getting massive, but there is no serious handling to know the entry of marijuana and shabu-shabu.

From the results of examination conducted by BNN (National Narcotics Agency) Jayapura District, 93% from the highest user are Orang Asli Papua/Papua indigenous (OAP). Until June 2017 OAP’s usage are still the highest.

Papuan Empowerment Staff Nurjana said drugs can damage the pattern of thinking, physical, and endurance a person who consumed them.

“To make sure whether someone is using or not, it must go through the urine examination,” said Nurjana (June 20).

Even so, to know someone is drug users or not also can easily see in the way they look, ranging from body shape, body odour and excessive sweating.

“He will never dare look at people, in just three months his body has changed and the average person who comes to BNN for rehabilitation has become a mental disorder and if someone reaches the level of mental disorder, it cannot be overcome anymore. We can also see from their eyes, if they got red eyes during the day (below 7 to 9 o çlock PM) they are possibly users,” he explained.

In Papua, he added, 90 percent of shabu-shabu users from Makassar are circulating through the air ways. But mostly comes from PNG.

AKP Katrin, who works in the field of eradication and intelligence in Jayapura District, said there are 13 cases of drugs that have been tried and delegated to court this year.

“The average is marijuana and shabu and for the users is mostly Papuan, ranging from elementary school students to university students and public servants,” he said.(*)


What’s Happening in West Papua? An exclusive video

June 18, 2017
What’s Happening in West Papua? An exclusive video
Logline: Nearly 2000 people were arrested on 2 May 2016, in mass unarmed civilian based uprisings across West Papua. ‘The Indonesian police were completely overwhelmed by the size, scale and disciplined defiance of the activists who came from a range of groups organised by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.’

Interview with Dr Jason Mcleod

Dr Jason MacLeod is the author of the recently published Merdeka & the Morning Star: Civil Resistance in West Papua (UQP). He works as an organiser, educator and researcher. He has been active in the West Papua solidarity movement since 1991.

From Jason Mcleod: Last Monday (2 May) the Indonesian police ar

From Jason Mcleod: Last Monday (2 May) the Indonesian police arrested nearly 2000 people. As the jail cells filled up there was no where to hold those arrested. This picture shows the police detaining people on the sports oval of the mobile police brigade’s grounds in Kotaraja, Jayapura (Port Numbay). You can see that the police have stripped the activists down to their pants. They kept them there all day in 35 degree heat without water.

How many people were arrested on 2 May? Why were they arrested?

Nearly 2000 people were arrested 2 May 2016, in mass unarmed civilian based uprisings across the country: in Jayapura, Wamena, Merauke, Manokwari, Timika, Sorong and Fak Fak.

The Indonesian police were completely overwhelmed by the size, scale and disciplined defiance of the activists who came from a range of groups organised by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.

In Jayapura, for instance, activists were detained on the oval inside the mobile police brigade’s headquarters. Most people arrested were released by last night. At the time of writing 45, including 19 children aged 8-18, remain in detention in Fak Fak.

The Indonesian police routinely use torture against Papuan dissenters so we are concerned about their welfare. I expect the organisers will be charged with treason and rebellion later this week.

At the same time we are noticing that Jakarta is becoming constrained, or at least uncertain of what to do, in the face of rising international support for a free West Papua, especially in the Pacific.

What does this video clip above show?

The video shows activists being transported by an Indonesian police truck from Waena, a suburb in Jayapura, to the Mobile Police Brigade’s headquarters in Kotaraja, about 15-20mins away, where they were detained on a sports oval.

You can see fists being raised in defiance and hear them yelling ‘merdeka’ (freedom). This is the 5th truck with activists that went past in minutes. The film was shot by a local organiser hidden behind a fence.

From Jason Mcleod: Activists being arrested in Waena, Jayapura

From Jason Mcleod: Activists being arrested in Waena, Jayapura (Port Numbay). Much of the equipment – weapons, trucks, body armour – is supplied by foreign countries including Australia and the European Union.

What are the demands of the West Papuans?

Since November last year the ULMWP has been campaigning to become a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, a sub regional forum comprised of Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji and the pro-independence coalition from Kanaky (New Caledonia), the FLNKS (the National Liberation Socialist Front of Kanaky).

In June last year the ULMWP gained Observer Status. At the same time Indonesia was accepted as an Associate Member. Through the MSG the ULMWP has an opportunity to take their concerns to the 16 member country Pacific Island Forum and the United Nations.

That is why activists in West Papua are calling for the ULMWP to get full membership of the MSG. This will legitimise and internationalise the struggle in a major way. Of course that move challenges Indonesia’s legitimacy and the economic and political interests of other countries – notably Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand/Aotearoa and is being resisted.

Consequently, the ULMWP are taking to the streets inside West Papua to raise the political costs of the occupation for Indonesia and that same time try to compel Pacific Island countries to take a position on West Papua.

It’s a strategy that is working. Last month for instance the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat agreed to put West Papua on the agenda of the forthcoming leaders meeting in September as a result of grassroots pressure from across the region.

Why is it so difficult to see videos about what’s going on in West Papua?

Foreign journalists are effectively banned from traveling to West Papua. In recent years, particularly since 2011, social media has been the quickest and most reliable way to get information out. It has only really been in the last six months that we have been able to send video out quickly.

Given the Indonesian government’s media blockade citizen media activism is vital. The movement is seeking to strengthen its capacity to use video and various digital platforms to extend it reach into new audiences and to deepen it’s impacts on those audiences, mobilising them in support of movement led goals.

What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on this platform?

The ULMWP together with their allies invite film makers to come to West Papua to tell the story of Papua resistance to the Indonesian government occupation. But we are also looking for other industry people who can work with movement leaders to develop short 90 sec films that we can integrate into various campaign strategies like the campaign to end foreign support for the Indonesian police in West Papua, to secure full membership of the MSG and other campaigns. Here is one example of a 30sec animation we used as part of the MSG campaign last year.

What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?

What would it take for film and creative industry people to work with movement leaders and solidarity groups to mobilise resources in support of West Papuans’ aspirations for self determination and independence?


West Papua is a nation in waiting, one half of the island of New Guinea, currently occupied by Indonesia. Like East Timor, West Papuans want to be free, to determine their own political future. At least 100,000 people have been killed by the Indonesian military since they took control in 1963 but the West Papuans continue to struggle, determined to be independent.


June 16, 2017


AdminJun 15, 2017

Musa Mako Tabuni 1976-2012 – IST

Jayapura, Jubi – Today, June 14, five years ago Mako Tabuni was shot dead with sharp bullet allegedly released by Papua Police Densus 88 officers.

The late Mako Tabuni, the Papuan fighters were killed at 9:30 AM in Perumnas III Waena, Jayapura on June 14, 2012.

The family of Mako Tabuni, Aseal Wenda when he visited Jubi’s office said there is no legal justice or certainty over the death of former chairman of West Papua National Committee (KNPB) until today. “It seems wasting time to look for justice,” Wenda said, feeling that there was no legal liability for Mako Tabuni’s murder.

“Since May 1, 1963 until now there is no victim of human rights violations in Papua who got certain degree of justice under the law of Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI),” said Asel Wenda to Jubi, Tuesday (June 13).

Wenda says justice for victims is only exaggerated as an issue but there is no legal certainty.

“We do not demand justice under NKRI law, since sacrifice of the people of Papua does not bear fruit of justice. It is almost impossible to get legal certainty for victims of military violence in Papua because they have been accumulated,” he said.

He wonders how the state will be able to provide legal certainty and justice for the death of the late Mako Tabuni while the bloody Wasior case and the Bloody Paniai case on December 8, 2014 remain idle.

“We are living in the Republic of Magic, everything can be transformed, which nothing actually solves and settled,” he wrote recalling Mako Tabuni.

The Report of Kontras (Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence) on June 13, 2001 suspected Brimob Police Officer of Papua Police to have carried out a raid on the villagers in Wondiboi Village, Wasior, Manokwari, West Papua. The raid was triggered by the killing of five Brimob members and one civilian of PT Vatika Papuana Perkasa company. Four people were killed, one was sexually abused, five were missing and 39 were tortured.

“16 years the case of Bloody Wasior has passed without a complete settlement by the state. The case of Wasior is one of the few cases whose root problem is the Natural Resources Conflict. We question the commitment of law enforcement on cases of Wasior and cases of natural resource conflict and human rights abuses in Papua, ” John Gobay said at a press conference commemorating the 16th anniversary of Bloody Wasior.

While in Jakarta, Siti Noorlaela, Commissioner of Komnas HAM’s Sub-Commission for Monitoring and Investigation, acknowledged one of the obstacles to the completion of gross human rights violations cases in Papua, including Wasior and Wamena case, because the Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs (Menkopolhukam) was occupied by people with problems in human rights.

“Human rights violations are fact but Menkopolhukam expect ‘justice’ from reconciliation,” said Norr Laila, quoted by Tirto ID, Monday (June 12).

According to her, Wiranto who was given the responsibility by the president to resolve the case, along with his expert team, refused to acknowledge the incident. “We were very surprised. So this is a setback, ” she said. (*)



2) Seeking government`s intervention in Freeport`s labor problem

15th June 2017 | 982 Views

Pewarta: Fardah

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Over the past several years, labor strikes have hit PT Freeport Indonesia (FI), but the subsidiary of the US mining giant Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold has managed to find win-win solutions to the problems.

Having operated the Grasberg mine in Papua, Indonesia’s easternmost province since 1967, PT Freeport Indonesia is into the business of exploration, mining, processing, and worldwide marketing of minerals such as copper, gold, and silver.

PT FI, one of the three biggest gold and copper mines on the planet, has provided jobs to local people and supported developmental programs in Indonesias easternmost province of Papua.

However, since May 1 this year, thousands of PT Freeport workers have been on strike following a dispute between the management and its labor union.

The workers of Freeports contractors have also joined the strike. The labor union has even proposed to extend the strike until June 30, 2017.

The dispute began when the government banned the company from exporting copper concentrate as it failed to build a smelter for its minerals. The company was forced to lay off many workers for efficiency as it had to stop production.

As a consequence, PT Freeport and its sub-contract companies fired more than 2.5 thousand workers.

The layoff caused major concern for the authorities and the affected workers as well as their families, in particular.

Septinus Soumilena, Head of the Mimika manpower and transmigration office, said his office has tried its best to prevent the layoff by writing to the management of PT Freeport to cancel the layoff, but it was to no avail so far.

The Mimika district government is also ready to act as soon as possible to facilitate a meeting between the management of PT Freeport and the leaders of labor unions.

In fact, a group of workers of PT Freeport Indonesia staged a demonstration in early June in front of the Mimika district administration, demanding interference in their dispute with the management of the mining company.

Many of the striking workers, who have been dismissed after long absence from work, presented a nine-point demand during the demonstration.

Among the points in the demand is that the government should be responsible for settling the working dispute with the management of PT FI.

They demand the government and the company to immediately reemploy the workers without any sanction. The workers include those laid off for efficiency.

They also urged the company management to stop alleged discrimination and criminalization of workers taking part in the strike, unilateral dismissal of workers, and intimidation of the leaders of labor union.

The district administration is asked to facilitate negotiations between the management of the workers.

Earlier, the district administration had already facilitated negotiations between the company management and the leaders of the workers, but the meeting ended in a disagreement.

Besides, International Mining Workers Organization IndustriALL Global Union has sought to draw high-level attention to the protracted dispute between Freeport Indonesia and its striking workers.

A local labor union leader Tri Puspita remarked that IndustriALL Global Union has sent a letter to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and to Freeport McMoRun leader Richard Adkerson in the United States to step in and settle the dispute.

"IndustriALL Global Union sent a letter to Jokowi on May 24, 2017, asking the Indonesian government to handle the labor problem in PT Freeport Indonesia. Letters are also sent to a number of related ministries and state agencies," Tri Puspita explained.

It has also sent similar letter to Adkerson, leader of Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc, the parent company of PT Freeport Indonesia.

Secretary General of IndustriALL Global Union Valter Sanches, in his letter, urged Jokowi to ask the management of PT Freeport to give back the rights to the workers.

Sanches stated that PT Freeport has to re-employ those workers who have been dismissed earlier, including those dismissed over furlough program.

Tri asked the government to step in to settle the problem especially there has been no attempt made for negotiations between the management of the company and leaders of the labor union after the last meeting end of April.

"We have been asked to return to work . In principle we want to work again but on condition, there is no layoff," Tri said.

PT Freeport Indonesias spokesman Riza Pratama said the management has twice asked the workers to return to work although they have been absent for five days.

The management said it would not reemploy workers who have repeated committing offenses despite warnings and sanctions especially those trying to intimidate loyal workers.

Meanwhile, the Papua Police has said it can solely protect and maintain security in PT Freeport Indonesia in Papua while a strike is ongoing but will not interfere in the companys labor problem.

The solution to the manpower problem should be in line with Law No 13 of 2003 and its derivative regulations, Chief of the Papua Provincial Police Inspector General Boy Rafli stated in Mimika, recently.

The deployment of police personnel around the company is solely to protect it and ensure that thousands of striking workers do not commit actions that could disadvantage others, he remarked.

"There has been a tripartite effort. For the labor problem particularly, there is a clear ruling in the Law on Manpower," he added.

He urged striking workers to abide by the law and to maintain order and security.(*)



AdminJun 15, 2017

Jayapura, Jubi – Papua House of Representative Commission I in charge of government, politics, law and human rights urged PT Freeport Indonesia to stop the employees’ lay off.

Member of the House Commission I, Laurenzus Kadepa consider Freeport has gone too far for laying off its employees. The company is now casually laying off workers who demand what is rightfully and cannot be fulfilled by the company.

“Responding SPSI demo with layoffs is not a solution,” said Kadepa on Monday (June 12).

He warn the company for not acting authoritarian by responding the demands of employees with deployment of security forces.

“I support the actions and SPSI’ demands. We also ask for no more layoffs. Hire back the laid-off employees. Freeport has pocketed the IUPK from the government so the company’s demands have been fulfilled by government. What else is the company looking for?” he said.

While the Mimika Regent, Eltinus Omaleng stated that 2,800 people who involve in the strike and staged protest were no longer have the status of employees in PT Freeport Indonesia.

“They are no longer employees of Freeport since they have no IDs and conducted no activities in the work place, they are not registered as active employees in the company,” Omaleng said last weekend.

According to him, the government has no right in this disputes. The government can only facilitate companies, employees and SPSI of Mimika Regency. (*)



AdminJun 15, 2017

Jayapura, Jubi – Vice Chairman of Papuan House of Representatives Commission V, Nioluen Kotouki suspects, there is a scenario to prevent the implementation of Perdasus No. 16 of 2008 on population control in Papua, which has been legislated several years ago.

He said the Perdasus on demographic have been enacted by previous members of Papuan House. But it seems there are various parties who are not in line to that because it was considered not in favor of non-Papuans.

“We suspect there is a conspiracy within the executive itself to prevent the implementation of this Perdasus. It has been fixed, ready to announce and applied but until now it is not implemented,” said Kotouki Monday (June 12).

According to him, the contents of Perdasus described in Law Number 21 Year 2001, concerning Otsus Papua. Some of its articles are very crucial because it speaks for indigenous Papuans.

“The gov population service has never socialized this Perdasus, people come to Papua without controlled, now the impact is on the indigenous people of Papua. The related agencies do not analyze and interpret the law well,” he said.

Commission V promise to invite related agencies and the Perdasus will be socialized.

“The Perdasus is aimed for indigenous Papuans, which will have an impact on the welfare of indigenous Papuans and politics as well. If the issue is funding for socialization, we can push it in the house. But I think we can see that there are some interests are playing in this field, we hope that the governor see this. Those who do not want this Perdasus to be implemented is actually violate the Special Autonomy Law because as it is the mandate of Otsus,” he said.

While member of Commission V Natan Pahabol said this issue of population control and data, is closely related to the protection or safety of Papuans. People in Papua must be well regulated.

“In Perdasus the rules are clear; the problem is only implementation by the government. Population checks must be tightened,” said Natan.

The population law, he said, were also related to Papuan health, education, welfare, and issues of gap. If the population is well regulated, prosperity will be seen.

“Do not let the Papuans be marginalized. This is Otsus, so there must be a partiality to the indigenous Papuans in all legal products in Papua,” he said. (*)



AdminJun 15, 2017

Jayapura, Jubi – Early 2018, Jayapura City Government will record number of indigenous Papuans (OAPs) based on their home region.

Mayor of Jayapura, Benhur Tomi Mano (BTM) said, funds allocated for data collection have been budgeted for Rp 500 million.

“The data collections for Port Numbay indigenous have been conducted in 14 villages in the city of Jayapura based on clans and tribes,” he said on Monday (June 12).

According to BTM, the program has been done and appreciated by Papua Governor, Lukas Enembe.

“I also ask the district and village heads to be able to help the program,” he said.

He also asked the district and village heads to coordinate and communicate with Ondoafi (indigenous bigmen) at Port Numbay for them to inform the citizens about the program.

He gives example that as how many people of Biak tribe who live in the city and what are their family klan name. It’s also applied with other OAP clans and tribes in the capital of Papua province.

Chief of Population and Civil Registration Office (Disdukcapil) of Jayapura City, Merlan S. Uloli admitted that they had recorded the indigenous persons of Port Numbay. Data collection on other OAP would be done according to the direction of the mayor.

The indigenous population of Port Numbay per December 3, 2015 was 10,723 people from about 491,000 residents of Jayapura City.

It is known from the Numbay Port System Application (SIAP) Jayapura City Government which was launched along with the provision of SNI ISO 9001: 2008 to Disdukcapil Kota Jayapura. (*)


An Evening with Herman Wainggai, an international human rights advocate, West Papuan Independence Leader, and former political prisoner of Indonesia.

June 14, 2017

West Papuan leader in the struggle for self-determination and independence from the Indonesian military occupation of West Papua, Herman Wainggai, will address the subject of brutality and racial subjugation of the Melanesian people by Indonesian occupation forces in West Papua.

When: Friday, June 30 at 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM EDT

Where: Umoja House, 2015 Bunker Hill Road, NE, Washington, DC

RSVP to learn more about the human rights issues faced by the West Papuans. To learn more about Wainggai and his cause, you may visit his website “A Journey to Freedom” here:


INDONESIA: Army personnel in Papua brutally attacked protesters in front of the military base

June 14, 2017

An U/A from AHRC that people can respon

INDONESIA: Army personnel in Papua brutally attacked protesters in front of the military base

June 9, 2017


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-052-2017

9 June 2017

Papua movement challenges Jakarta on climate

June 13, 2017
Papua movement challenges Jakarta on climate

9:24 pm on 13 June 2017
The United Liberation Movement for West Papua has urged Indonesia’s government to put words into action about helping the Pacific with climate change.

The secretary-general of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Octo Mote (centre) and the Movement’s Pacific regional ambassador Akaboo Amatus Douw to his right, talk to New Zealand MPs, Wellington 2015.The secretary-general of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Octo Mote (centre) and the Movement’s Pacific regional ambassador Akaboo Amatus Douw to his right, talk to New Zealand MPs, Wellington 2015. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

This follows comments by Indonesia’s ambassador to New Zealand, Tantowi Yahya, that Jakarta was committed to helping Pacific Island states confront big issues such as climate change.

He said Indonesia would assist the Pacific with capacity building on the issue.

However the Liberation Movement’s Pacific regional ambassador says if Indonesia wants to help on climate change it should stop allowing high rates of carbon emissions across the republic.

Akaboo Amatus Douw says Jakarta must stop the many national and international companies whose operations in Indonesia contribute to the global warming causing havoc for Pacific Islands.

Papua region, where clearance of forest for palm oil development remains rampantis considered by environmental groups as one of the areas of most concern regarding emissions.

No captionPhoto:
Meanwhile, Mr Douw said the Indonesian ambassador made a false statement in claiming that West Papuans are happy being part of Indonesia.

He said Papuans feel "culturally, ethically and socially" distinct from the rest of Indonesia and seek independent statehood.

The Liberation Movement diplomat also said Jakarta’s claims about developing Papua for the better were misleading

"Indonesia just wake up yesterday to try infrastructure development in West Papua after the course going to world attention globally," he said

West Papua, he said, would not develop better with what he called Indonesia’s "discriminative model of infrastructure and social economic development".

Wansolwara Student Report on West Papua Human Rights Struggle

June 9, 2017

Wansolwara Student Report on West Papua Human Rights Struggle

By Wansolwara

June 8, 2017

  • [][

Student reporter Vilimaina Naqelevuki (left) and Wansolwara chief-of-staff Heather Traill interview Papua New Guinea journalist Alexander Rheeney about West Papua via Skype. Image: Wansolwara

By Vilimaina Naqelevuki in Suva

Media access to West Papua, where more than half a million of its indigenous people have reportedly been killed over five decades, remains restricted.
[] Full support … West Papuan Independence leader Benny Wenda (in red shirt) holds the banned West Papuan Morning Star flag with key supporter Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare during his visit last year. Image:

News coverage of the alleged genocide is extremely difficult because of the restrictions on local and foreign media.

Some West Papuan journalists have also died in their effort to tell the truth about the deaths that largely occur in remote rural areas.

This makes news coverage of the alleged atrocities in the Indonesia-occupied land extremely difficult.

West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda, in an online interview, told Wansolwara the restrictions allowed for the atrocities to remain “silenced”.

And even if access was granted after the labyrinthine effort, “journalists cannot go freely to report on politics in West Papua,” he said.


“They will get followed and questioned by Indonesian intelligence and West Papuans will suffer intimidation and threats if they speak to journalists.”

Recent prominence
Papua New Guinea Media Council president Alexander Rheeney said West Papua’s struggle of more than 50 years had only been given prominence in the region’s mainstream media in recent years.
[] Papua New Guinean journalist Alexander Rheeney, who is also president of the PNG Media Council. Image: PNG Media Council

Less than 10 years ago, the mainstream news media – in neighbouring countries like Fiji, Australia and New Zealand, ignored the situation in West Papua. It was effectively a media “black hole”.

Rheeney said it was more challenging for Pacific journalists whose governments recognised the sovereignty Indonesia had over West Papua.

“The media in PNG have reported on West Papua and all the human rights abuses but not as much as we would want it to despite the fact that PNG and West Papua share a land order,” he said.

The increasing coverage by Pacific news media should be commended, said journalism educator Professor David Robie.
[] Professor David Robie speaking at the Free Media in West Papua seminar in Jakarta, Indonesia, last month. Image: Alves Fonataba

Dr Robie, director of the Auckland-based Pacific Media Centre, who has regularly written and published news on West Papua’s struggle for more than three decades, said it was a huge relief that the Pacific was “finally waking up to the issue of West Papua”.

“This an issue of Melanesian solidarity, Pacific solidarity – an issue of self-determination, and the Pacific countries that got independence on a plate ought to be telling this story,” he said.

Jakarta media freedom conference
Dr Robie was one of the keynote speakers invited last month to the Free Media in West Papua forum at the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day 2017 conference in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

He spoke along with Indonesian and Papuan human rights activists and Tabloid Jubi editor Victor Mambor of Jayapura.

Pacific Freedom Forum editor Jason Brown said it was an utter disgrace that some in mainstream media published or broadcast stories on wars from other regions and “not in our own backyard”.

“In recent years, RNZI has done a much better job of covering West Papua. The recent closure of shortwave services by Radio Australia, however, means that the region has lost reliable access to news on West Papua from that source,” said Brown.

Rheeney warned that the region could not afford to fail fellow Pacific Islanders of West Papua.

He said to do so would be to doom the Pacific region to more instability.

“If a prosperous Pacific region is to be ensured, the issue of West Papua must be addressed,” he said.

Timor-Leste lessons
“As journalists we can no longer continue to turn a blind eye on all the human rights abuses that is happening.

“The PNG government can no longer turn a blind eye on what is happening on the other side of the border.”

Dr Robie said that informed political decisions could not be reached if the news media were not allowed to report freely on West Papua.

He said this lesson could easily be drawn from East-Timor’s road to independence.

East Timor, which was also occupied by Indonesia in 1975, secured its independence after a handful of journalists exposed the human rights violations through video smuggled out of the Indonesian-ruled territory, especially after the Santa Cruz massacre in the capital Dili in 1991.

Indonesia’s control rapidly fell apart after international pressure.

“In-depth and timely media coverage will save lives as West Papua lurches towards independence ­ which will come eventually ­ no matter how hard Jakarta tries to block this,” said Dr Robie.

Rheeney is also optimistic. He said Pacific journalists should continue to report on the issue, to keep the struggle in the news so that lasting solutions were found sooner and more bloodshed is prevented.

Vilimaina Naqelevuki is a final year journalism student with the USP Journalism Programme. Naqelevuki is pursuing a double major in journalism and politics, and is pictures editor of Wansolwara, the student news publication produced by the Journalism Programme.