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Papua rights abuses under the spotlight

June 25, 2016

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201805680/papua-rights-abuses-under-the-spotlight

3 minutes ago
West Papua has been highlighted at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva in recent days. But as international focus grows on ongoing human rights abuses against West Papuans, Jakarta says it’s taking concrete action to address the issue.

Transcript

Allegations of human rights abuses in Indonesia’s Papua region, or West Papua, have been highlighted at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva this week.
But as the international focus sharpens on ongoing human rights abuses against West Papuans, Jakarta says it’s taking concrete action to address the issue.

Johnny Blades reports.
During the 32nd session of the Council Plenary, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association zeroed in on Papua. Maina Kiai said what was occurring in Papua was a phenomenon connected with cultural fundamentalism and nationalism where West Papuans in their own land are dominated by another culture, language and tradition.
The Solomon Islands diplomat in Geneva, Barrett Salato, told the session his government received regular reports from Papua about cases of arbitrary arrests, summary execution, torture, restriction of freedom of expression, assembly and association, committed mainly by Indonesian police. Afterwards, he said it was important to raise the issue globally.

BARRETT SALATO: It will give the international community some awareness about what’s going on (in Papua). Not much information goes out to the international community about what’s happening so we take it here to the right body of the UN to raise the voices of our fellow human beings that does not have a voice in the human rights council.

One of those in attendance in Geneva was Victor Yeimo. He is the chairman of the West Papua National Committee which has organised a recent series of large demonstrations in Papua in support of Papuan self-determination.
It’s estimated four thousand Papuans were arrested during the demonstrations.

VICTOR YEIMO: Too many people die in West Papua, many arrested, many in prison… everyone there. But today, we are very thank you to Vanuatu and Solomon islands to stand strong for us to make voice in Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Meanwhile, Jakarta has been pushing ahead with the establishment of a team tasked with addressing a number of cases of human rights abuses in Papua. As part of this, the Coordinating Minister of Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Luhut Pandjaitan, this month travelled to Papua with a number of regional ambassadors, including New Zealand’s Trevor Matheson, to monitor the handling of rights cases there. However various Papuan provincial government and civil society figures are concerned that the team is not independent. One of those is Karel Phil Erari, deputy chairman of the Alliance of Churches in Indonesia.

KAREL PHIL ERARI: I have been rejecting this team because it has never been consulted with the churches, the real churches in Papua.

He urges the international community to press Jakarta to take meangingful steps to address the abuses.

KAREL PHIL ERARI: Jakarta should open an all-inclusive dialogue to ensure that the human rights abuses in papua should be ended for the sake of humanity, for the sake of justice and peace in Papua.

Meanwhile, Barrett Salato told the Human Rights Council that while increased attention on West Papua from Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo is welcome, core violations of Papuans’ rights remain unresolved.

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http://asiapacificreport.nz/2016/06/23/papuan-citizenship-promised-soon-for-west-papuan-refugees/

2) Papuan citizenship promised soon for West Papuan refugees

By PMC Editor
June 23, 2016

By Charles Yapumi in Vanimo

Refugees from West Papua in Kiunga Diocese, Papua New Guinea, stand in front of their stilted houses in 2011. The refugees are forced to build their homes on this unwanted land as more than 90 percent of the land in the country is owned by locals. Image: Peter Balleis SJ/ JRS/Spotlight

West Papuans who have been living in Papua New Guinea for many decades will be granted citizenship soon.

The PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority will also embark on registering all West Papuan refugees who have crossed over from Indonesia to seek refugee status in Papua New Guinea.

“So far we have over 10,000 refugees from West Papua who have lived with us for a very long time, and we have commenced registration of them with the view to finally granting them legal status,” said Deputy Chief Migration officer for Refugee Division, Esther Gaegaming.

“We’re pleased to announce that for more than 1000 of them, their applications have been finalised and they will be going before the Citizenship Advisory Committee very soon for issuance of their citizenships.

“This Friday, a team from our office will commence registration in Vanimo, another one of the biggest refugee settlement areas for West Papuan refugees. We will follow onto Wewak after that and then to Lae.

“So by the end of this year, we hope to have over 85 percent of West Papuans registered.

“I am proud to say that PNG is fulfilling its obligations as a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention on the status of refugees. PNG now has a vibrant legal and procedural framework for the processing of refugee claims under the Migration Act and Regulations,” Gaegaming said.

“We also have a system in place for the registration and naturalisation of refugees from West Papua who have lived in Papua New Guinea for decades.

“We also have a national refugee policy that is clear on refugee matters, including guidance on the resettlement of refugees in Papua New Guinea and most of all, we have a dedicated team in the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority that is set up especially to manage this,” she said.

Charles Yapumi is a reporter for Loop PNG.

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http://asiapacificreport.nz/2016/06/24/solomon-islands-vanuatu-condemn-human-rights-violations-at-un-hearing/

3) Solomon Islands, Vanuatu condemn Papuan rights violations at UN hearing
By PMC Editor
June 24, 2016

Students from Papua province shout slogans during a rally in front of the US embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, demanding a referendum for the West Papuan region. Image: Al Jazeera

The Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have condemned the “unresolved” human rights violations in West Papua by Indonesian security forces, saying they have continued in spite of President Joko Widodo’s greater attention to the region.

Both countries say the agreed future visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to Indonesia should also include West Papua.

The Vanuatu statement expressed its “deepest concerns on the deteriorating human rights situation” in the region.

“We continue to receive increasing reports of gross human rights violations in West Papua,” the statement said.

The Solomon Islands strongly endorsed the International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) Forum in London on May 3 which called for an internationally supervised vote on the independence of West Papua.

The declaration had been endorsed by cross regional parliamentarians coming from 15 UN member states.

“Whilst we welcome the increased attention given by President Joko Widodo to West Papua, the violation of human rights against West Papuan remains unresolved,” said the Solomon Islands statement.

“The Solomon Islands government receives regular reports of cases of arbitrary arrests, summary execution, torture, ill-treatment, restriction of freedom of expression, assembly and association, committed mainly by the Indonesian police.”

Statement by the Permanent Mission of Solomon Islands to the 32nd session of the UN Human Rights Council.
22 June 2016

Thank you Mr President,

The delegation of Solomon Islands would like to draw the attention of the Council on the human right situation in West Papua, Indonesia. We express our deep concerns on the eroding human rights situation of the indigenous Melanesian Papuans, who are the indigenous population of West Papua. As a Melanesian state, the incumbent chair of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, and designated chair of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) would extend its solidarity to our fellow Melanesians in West Papua. We would encourage the Government of Indonesia to find peaceful and sustainable solution of the on-going conflict in West Papua through constructive engagement with the representatives of the West Papuans and respect their right as a people.

Whilst we welcome the increased attention given by President Joko Widodo to West Papua, the violation of human rights against West Papuan remains unresolved. The Solomon Islands government receives regular reports of cases of arbitrary arrests, summary execution, torture, ill-treatment, restriction of freedom of expression, assembly and association, committed mainly by the Indonesian police.

On 2 May 2016 alone, 2,109 people were arrested mainly indigenous Melanesian Papuans, while participating in peaceful demonstrations in several cities in West Papua and some Indonesian cities. The demonstrations were held in support of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) to be recognized as a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), the commemoration of 1 May 1963 as Indonesia’s annexation of West Papua and to support the International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) meeting. During the arrest, some of them experienced torture and ill treatment from the Indonesian security forces.

The Solomon Islands notes the recent outcomes of the Foreign Ministers Meeting of the Melanesian Spearhead group that was held last week in Fiji (14-17TH June 2016) where both Representatives of Indonesia and the ULMWP sat as MSG members during the deliberation.

This outcome envisages to establish a safe space for constructive engagement with all parties with a view to addressing the concerns of the MSG members about the recent developments in West Papua. In this regard, the Foreign Ministers further agreed to establish a Committee of High Level Representatives of the MSG members to accompany and facilitate this constructive engagement.

We also welcome the initiative of the MSG to work closely with the Indonesian government to visit the Melanesian Provinces of Indonesia at a later date. This important visit would allow for a clear, objective and independent view by the members of the MSG leaders and ministers.

We strongly endorsed the final declaration of this International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) Forum which took place in London on 3 May which calls for an internationally supervised vote on the independence of West Papua. The declaration has been endorsed by cross regional parliamentarians coming from 15 UN member States.

Journalists working on human rights are still prevented to have free and full access to do their work in West Papua. Our delegation is convinced that access of international community to West Papua, particularly to the UN Special Procedure, will provide an opportunity to improve the human rights situation. We reassure the Government of Indonesia to cooperate with the Human Rights Council by allowing the agreed visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to Indonesia which should include to West Papua.

Finally, we encourage the Indonesian Government to facilitate the human rights fact-finding mission to West Papua that the members of the Pacific Island Forum have decided to conduct.

Thank you Mr President

Statement by the Republic of Vanuatu
22 June 2016

Thank you Mr President,

My delegation associates itself with the statement made by Solomon Islands.

Vanuatu wishes to express to the Council our deepest concerns on the deteriorating human right situation in West Papua. We continue to receive increasing reports of gross human rights violations in West Papua.

In the recent months more than a thousand of West Papuans were arrested by Indonesia police for participating in peaceful demonstrations. This contradicts the responsibility to protect and facilitate protests that advocate for political and cultural views that differ from, and even oppose, those espoused by the Government.

Whilst we acknowledge and welcome the Report by the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom and of association, which gave example of West Papuans whose rights to freedom of assembly and of associations are restricted by the Indonesian Government, Vanuatu would like to call upon the Human Rights Council to do more.

We call on the Council to work with Indonesia Government to allow the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to visit West Papua to get objective and independent views of the situation on the ground in that region.

West also call on the Government of Indonesia to allow free and full access of international journalist to West Papua and allow the human rights fact-finding mission by the Pacific Islands Forum.

Thank you Mr President

Right of Reply of the Indonesian Republic
22 June 2016

Mr Vice President,

This right of reply is to respond to the statements made by the delegations of Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and one NGO on the matter of Papua.

My delegation reject categorically the Statements made by those Delegations today. Those statements represent an unfortunate lack of understanding of the current state and development in Indonesia, including in the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

Those statements lacks good faith and are politically motivated that can be construed as supporting the separatist group in those provinces who have been engaged in inciting public disorder and in armed terrorist attacks toward civilians and security personnel.

Such support clearly violates the purposes and objectives of the UN Charter and principles of international law on friendly relations among states and on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.

Let me be clear, Indonesia, as a democratic country, is committed to promoting and protecting human rights, including by taking necessary steps to address the allegations of human rights violations and abuses in Papua. As no one is perfect, we are always open to have dialogue on human rights issues. But we reject politicization of those issues. We deplore the way Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have abused this Council and the universal principles of the promotion and protection of human rights by supporting the cause of separatism.

Mr Vice President,

President Widodo has personally instructed relevant government agencies to take steps to settle past human rights issues, including those related to Papua, and to put in place measures to prevent future incidences.

In this regard, the government is addressing a number of cases of alleged human rights violations in Papua. To expedite the process of addressing those cases, the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs has set up an integrated team that includes the National Human Rights Commission.

Provinces of Papua and West Papua enjoy wide-ranging autonomy, and democracy, as guaranteed by the national laws. Provincial and local governments are directly elected by, and headed as well as administered by the Papuans. Moreover, it should be noted that the budget per capita in the two provinces are among the highest in Indonesia.

Mr Vice President,

It needs to be underscored here that Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are far from being perfect in their implementation and protection of human rights. They are still facing serious human rights problems.

Corruption is rampant in all segments in the society and government.

Trafficking in persons continues to take place. Children are facing continued harsh punishment, and violence against women sadly is a daily routine. It will be for the betterment of their population if the government of Solomon Island and Vanuatu give attention and priority to seriously address their respective domestic human rights shortcomings.

I thank you.

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http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307162/call-for-full-indonesian-response-to-papua-abuses

4) Call for full Indonesian response to Papua abuses

9:55 am today

Indonesia’s government is pushing ahead with the establishment of a team tasked with addressing a number of cases of human rights abuses in Papua.

The team is being created under the Coordinating Minister of Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Luhut Pandjaitan.

This month he travelled to Papua with a number of regional ambassadors, including New Zealand’s Trevor Matheson, to monitor the handling of rights cases there.

However various Papuan provincial government and civil society figures were concerned that the team was not independent.

One of those is Karel Phil Erari, deputy chairman of the Alliance of Churches in Indonesia who said the team had not consulted with the main Papuan churches and others.

He wanted Jakarta to open an all-inclusive dialogue to address the abuses.

"So we strongly urge the international community to urge Jakarta to end any kinds of human rights abuses exercised in Papua for the last fifty-three years."

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