Indonesia’s Alleged Human Rights Abuse in West Papua Is Getting International Attention
Indonesia’s Alleged Human Rights Abuse in West Papua Is Getting International Attention
MADDISON CONNAUGHTON Mar 3 2017, 6:06pm
Allegations of “extrajudicial executions, fatal shootings of peaceful demonstrators, and persistent violence against Papuan women" were raised at the UN this week.
Representatives from Nauru, Vanuatu, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, Palau, Tuvalu, and the Marshall Islands have joined calls for the United Nations to investigate allegations of mass human rights abuse in West Papua—an Indonesian province that’s long sought independence. The seven Pacific nations are alleging there have been extrajudicial killings, and beatings of activists campaigning for the region’s sovereignty as part of the "Free West Papua" movement.
Speaking during a session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Vanuatu’s justice minister Ronald Warsal requested the UNHRC investigate "the grave situation in West Papua." Minister Warsal said the Indonesian Government had repeatedly failed to stop "killings and arrests of Papuans; extrajudicial executions of activists; the arrests, beatings and fatal shootings of peaceful demonstrators, including high school students; and reports of persistent violence against Papuan women."
Representatives from Indonesia denied the allegations. As the ABC is reporting, an Indonesian representative told the UNHRC that "the Indonesian Government has always endeavoured to address any allegation of human rights violation as well as taking preventative measures and delivering justice."
After the UNHRC meeting, the leader of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Benny Wenda—who was in Geneva but not taking part in the meeting—labelled Minister Warsal’s speech as "a historical moment for West Papua." Wenda noted it marked the first time the province had been represented at the UNHRC. "For more than 50 years, West Papua has been kept a secret. The time is now to request the UN revisit our case," Wenda said. "We ask for all brothers and sisters across the Pacific, Africa, and around the world to please support West Papua’s legal right to self-determination. We want to be free."
At the end of 2016, reports emerged that the Indonesian military had suspended cooperation with Australia over allegedly offensive training materials referencing West Papua. Indonesia’s military chief Gatot Nurmantyo told reporters that the materials, which were found by an Indonesian officer at a Perth military training base, said "Papua needs to be independent." Nurmantyo also said the materials "mocked" Indonesia’s founding principles (called pancasila) as "crazy." Australian defence minister Marise Payne assured that the materials were being investigated, and reiterated Australia’s support for Indonesia under the Lombok Treaty.
The Lombok Treaty is a broad agreement between Australia and Indonesia but it specifically states "strong support for each country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including Indonesia’s sovereignty over Papua." Indonesia’s sensitivity over West Papua arises from a dispute between the two that’s been running for at least 55 years. Most Papuans want a referendum about independence and feel they are living through an Indonesian "occupation." The Indonesian Government denies this, maintaining it has a legitimate claim over the region.
Responding to questions from VICE, a DFAT spokesperson said Australian Embassy officials regularly visit the province. "Australia believes the human rights situation has improved in recent years but there are still issues to be addressed," they said. "We have consistently urged Indonesia to allow free and open access to the Papua provinces. President Widodo’s May 2015 announcement that reporting restrictions for foreign journalists in the Papua provinces would be lifted is a positive development.
"We encourage Indonesia to fully implement this commitment."
2) KPK raises possiblity of ‘collusion’ in Papua road project
Jakarta | Sat, March 4, 2017 | 01:01 pm
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is looking into the possibility of naming another suspect in a graft case related to the Jayapura road construction project that implicates Michael Kambuaya, the head of the Papua Public Works Agency.
The anti-graft body said it had uncovered alleged collusion among the parties involved in the project.
“During the [ongoing] investigation, investigators uncovered alleged collusion committed by parties involved in the project,” KPK spokesperson Febri Diansyah told journalists on Friday.
He further said the investigation revealed an alleged mark-up in the Rp 89 billion (US$6.68 million) construction project, for which the state suffered Rp 42 billion in losses, or almost a half of the value of the project.
“There are indications that the project is 40 percent overvalued. Around 10 to 15 percent from the total mark-up [the deduction from the real and perceived value of the project] was distributed to local officials,” Febri said.
He further said the corruption case violated the rights of Papuans to enjoy the full benefits of infrastructure development.
Financed by the 2015 revised regional budget, the project involves a 24-kilometer road connecting Kemiri and Depapre in Jayapura. (mrc/ebf)
Vanuatu Daily Post
3) Vanuatu raises human rights concern for West Papua at UN
- Compiled By Fern Napwatt
- 9 hrs ago
The Minister of Justice, Ronald Warsal, delivered a joint statement in Geneva, Switzerland, before the Human Rights Council (HRC) to request the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to produce a comprehensive report on the current human rights situation in West Papua.
Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, had tasked the Minister of Justice and Parliamentary Secretary to the PM, Johnny Koanapo to ensure Vanuatu effectively participated at the HRC in Geneva.
According to media reports, Minister Warsal delivered the statement on behalf of the seven Pacific Island Nations of Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau and the Marshall Islands.
“Their joint statement follows the separate statements of urgent concern about the situation in West Papua by these countries at the UN General Assembly in September 2016,” it stated.
“West Papua has seen more than a half-century of conflict between native Papuans and the Indonesian government in Jakarta and its military, which has been long accused of grave human rights violations, most notably in East Timor.”
The report stated that the joint statement noted that the Government of Indonesia has neither provided justice for the victims of these violations, nor issued the periodic human rights reviews and reports required on UN member states, nor taken any action to address the current human rights situation in West Papua.
“The Minister (Warsal) questioned why the Indonesian government has not reported on its Human rights situation when it signed up to most human rights convention,” it stated.
“Vanuatu used to be the lonely voice calling out on this issue in the past.
“Yesterday’s(Wednesday)meeting at the HRC was an important occasion because six other PIC’s have joined the fight.
“We now have a coalition of like-minded nations who see the need to help the Melanesian citizens gain some respect in their own land, we are not fighting for any of our interest, we are just concern that the Indonesians are abusing these Melanesians in their own motherland where as the MSG is still divided on the issue,” Mr Warsal said.
The report said that an estimation of some hundred thousand into the hundreds of thousands of Papuans were killed by the Indonesian military and police.
According to Radio New Zealand, the Indonesian delegation to the UN rejected and denied the allegations made by the Vanuatu Minister of Justice.
It said Mr Warsal’s address does not reflect the real situation on the ground, accusing Vanuatu of using human rights issues to justify its dubious support for the separatist movement in Papua.
Radio NZ also reported that Indonesia again sent a message to Vanuatu to stay out of what it regards as its own domestic matters.
Jakarta said that Vanuatu’s government should not divert its focus from addressing its various alleged domestic human rights problem by politicizing the issue of Papua for its domestic political purposes.
According the media report, the delegation at the UN met the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights based in Geneva to discuss the West Papua human rights issues.
The Minister’s delegation urged the office of the HRC to commission independent inquiries to investigate human rights allegations in West Papua.
The minister’s delegation also paid a courtesy visit to the Pacific Islands Forum Trade office in Geneva where a brief was provided by the Permanent Representative, Mrs Mere Falemaka, on the status of the preparations of WTO Ministerial meeting which will be held this year.