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West Papua Report June 2015: What’s with Jokowi; prisoner release; media access; more arrests and torture; palm oil; PNG, Fiji and the MSG

June 15, 2015

West Papua Report

This is the 133rd in a series of monthly reports that focus on developments affecting Papuans. This series is produced by the non-profit West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) drawing on media accounts, other NGO assessments, and analysis and reporting from sources within West Papua. This report is co-published by the East Timor and IndonesiaAction Network (ETAN). Back issues are posted online at edmcw. If you wish to receive the report directly via e-mail, write to etan. Link to this issue:

The Report leads with PERSPECTIVE, an analysis piece; followed by UPDATE, a summary of some recent news and developments; and then CHRONICLE which includes analyses, statements, new resources, appeals and action alerts related to West Papua. Anyone interested in contributing a PERSPECTIVE or responding to one should write toedmcw<a href="mailto:edmcw. We also welcome suggestions of resources and analysis to for listing in the CHRONICLE section. The opinions expressed in Perspectives are the author’s and not necessarily those of WPAT or ETAN.For ongoing news on West Papua subscribe to the reg.westpapua listserv or visit its archive; the list is also available on Twitter .


This edition’s PERSPECITVE examines Indonesia President Widodo’s failure to follow through on his election promises concerning West Papua, as his policy changes are regularly contradicted by those charged with implementing them.

In UPDATE: Five political prisoners in Papua were released as the fate of the rest remains in question. Jokowi’s opening of West Papua to foreign journalists will only be meaningful with explicit rules governing access. A Papuan charged with treason over his assistance to journalists in West Papua has been acquitted. New reports tell of torture of Papuan civilians and of security force assaults and mass arrests at peaceful Papuan demonstrations. Plans to establish a new military command in West Papua has met with opposition. A prominent human rights advocate has been threatened with prosecutionover his reports of security force excesses. U.S. authorities have inexplicably revoked the visa of prominent Papuan leader Benny Wenda. Jokowi goes to PNG, as the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) summit nears. Fiji groups attack their government’s stance on West Papua.

In CHRONICLE: President Widodo is backing a major transformation of Papuan land through food plantations. which has prompted loud objections from local people for years. A palm oil supplier continues to destroy of Papuan forests. Morning star flags for sale. Global Day of Action’s free expression demands remain unfulfilled.


What to Make of President Widodo
by Ed McWilliams

Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is expected soon to be making his first official visit to Washington. Discussions will likely include expanding bilateral military cooperation, pumping up commercial ties and reviewing joint efforts to counter "international terrorism." U.S. officials are not likely to seriously address the many human rights problems that plague Indonesia. The Obama administration, like its predecessor, has ignored serious human rights violations by an unreformed and unaccountable Indonesian military and instead continues to expand military-to-military ties.

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