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Independence Activists Detained in Papua

April 6, 2016

Independence Activists Detained in Papua
By : Jakarta Globe | on 11:55 AM April 06, 2016

Jakarta. At least 12 activists of pro-independence group the West Papua National Committee, or KNPB, were detained after a rally turned violent in Kampung Bhintuka-SP13 field in Mimika, Timika district, Papua on Tuesday (05/04).

Mimika Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Yustanto said the protest was forcefully dispersed after rally coordinator Steven Itlay gave a speech about Papua independence.

While police and military personnel dispersed protestors, Yustanto was allegedly attacked and beaten by the mob, leaving him with minor bruises to the face.

“They had earlier promised they would not speak about a referendum and such things. But, they did it during the rally,” Yustanto said in Mimika, on Tuesday as reported by Antara news agency.

The 12 protestors were detained at a police’s detention facility in Kuala Kencana for further investigation and questioning.

Yustanto also called on religious figures in the area to avoid politically-driven activities in house of worships, including the movement to seek Papua freedom.

The rally took place at the same time as President Joko Widodo visit West Papua’s Manokwari, forcing officials to beef up security parameters across the province.


2) Pacific News Minute: Indonesia’s Diplomatic Effort to Suppress Support for West Papuan Independence

By NEAL CONAN • APR 5, 2016

A senior Indonesian official’s tour through Melanesian countries has stirred up controversy after officials in Jakarta described it as an effort to suppress regional support for the independence movement in West Papua. More on the minister’s reception from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.



Indonesia’s Luhut Binsar Padjaitan could not have asked for a better welcome in Port Moresby, where Papua New Guinea’s foreign minister Rimbink Pato described his country’s relations with Indonesia as excellent. Papua New Guinea, which occupies the eastern half of New Guinea, regards the western half as an integral part of Indonesia and, the Foreign Minister told Radio New Zealand, "We’re not interested in entertaining the issue of self-determination." he added “Human rights is a concern, but that has nothing to do with any call for self-determination”.

Last year, the Melanesian Spearhead Group granted the United Liberation Movement for West Papua observer status, but popular support for Melanesian activists does not always outweigh the political and economic might of Indonesia.

For example, on his stop in Fiji, Minister Padjaitan shook hands with Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama in front of a cardboard blow-up of a check for five million dollars, part of an aid package in the wake of last month’s Cyclone Winston. But the money may have come with strings attached. The reverend Francois Piha’ata-e of the Pacific Conference of Churches noted that during his visit, the Indonesian minister had called for the expulsion of West Papuan activists. The Reverend also pointed out that two of Prime Minister Bainimarama’s most persistent critics…New Zealand and Australia….rushed assistance to Fiji with no pre-conditions.

3) Discrimination Against Minority Groups Rampant: Komnas HAM
By : Edo Karensa | on 11:41 AM April 06, 2016

Jakarta. Discrimination against religious minority groups remains rampant across Indonesia, according to the National Commission of Human Rights, or Komnas HAM, in its first quarterly report released on Tuesday (05/04).

Jayadi Damanik, coordinator for religious freedom affairs at Komnas HAM, said discriminatory regulations which attack minority groups and the blocking of house of worship construction dominated the first three months of 2016.

In West Java, the commission identified at least 33 discriminatory policies and regulations implemented by regional administrations.

Bekasi topped the list with 12 discriminatory policies, followed by Bogor at second place with 10.

“The most-prone group is Indonesian Ahmadiyah Congregation because the Bekasi administration implemented some regulations to ban their activities,” Jayadi told a press conference in Jakarta.

In Bogor, the GKI Yasmin Protestant congregation faces discriminatory policies, with the local government continuing to seal off its church despite a Supreme Court ruling which found the move unlawful.

Komnas HAM also noted intolerance in Papua, after the Jayawijaya Church Alliance (PGGJ) rejected the building application of Baiturahaman Mosque in Wamena, Papua, on Feb. 26. PGGJ called on the Jayawijaya district administration to revoke the building permit and to impose a ban on women wearing hijab in the district.

In Bangka Belitung, the local government of Bangka district issued a circulating letter on Jan. 5, demanding the Ahmadiyah community either convert to Sunni Islam or face expulsion from Bangka.

Jayadi said the Ahmadis moved to a safe location for several days before returning to their homes after police guaranteed the Ahmadis’ safety.

The commission called on President Joko Widodo to help educate local administrations about human rights and religious tolerance issues.

“Religious freedom must be an indicator of the public service implementation in this country. The government should increase its authorities to help regional administrations to solve the religious freedom issues,” Jayadi said.

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