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Apia confrontation highlights sensitivity over West Papua

September 14, 2017

eight_col_West_Papua_independence_movement_protest_campaign_in_Samoa.JPG?1504645005 Apia confrontation highlights sensitivity over West Papua
A confrontation between media and Indonesian officials in Samoa last week has highlighted the depth of regional feelings about West Papua.

1) Apia confrontation highlights sensitivity over West Papua
4:49 pm today
Sela Jane Hopgood, Journalist
A confrontation between media and Indonesian officials in Samoa last week has highlighted the depth of feelings in the region about West Papua.
Pacific Islanders are increasingly speaking out over their concern about reports of human rights abuses in Indonesia’s Papua region, and the cause of West Papuan self-determination aspirations.
A protest supporting West Papua’s independence was staged during the summit outside the Forum’s venue in Samoa’s capital Apia, which upset Jakarta.

Following the protest, Indonesia government representatives held a press conference. One of the representatives, Franzalbert Joku, told reporters in a rowdy exchange that the Forum summit was not the place for the Papua issue to be discussed. The sound of raised voices briefly drew local police to the venue of the press conference.
The co-ordinator of the Samoa First union who had organised the protest, Jerome Mika, later said he disagreed with Mr Joku’s comments.
"The theme of the whole Pacific Leaders Forum was about looking at leadership and being able to find ways to be able to help and prosper our Pacific region." he said.
"I think it’s appropriate for us to be dealing with issues of West Papua at the Forum. Samoa’s independence was in 1962 and West Papua’s been colonised since the 1960s.
“It’s important for us to stand up for our Pacific brothers and sisters and we ask as a Pacific Leaders Forum that they consider working through putting West Papua on the decolonisation list," he said.

Indonesia’s Ambassador to New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga, Tantowi Yahya, was alongside Mr Joku at the heated press conference where local journalists were taken to task. The ambassador was later asked by the ABC if it was reasonable to expect Pacific journalists not to ask questions about West Papua.
"No, it’s not our authority to say that, but our concern was only that we are afraid that those quote unquote additional issues would overshadow the main objective of the conference," he explained.
Mr Yahya indicated that Indonesia sees much of the reporting by international media in regards to West Papua as unbalanced.
"In many ways what happens lately, many that speak of Papua do not really know what happens in Papua today. In other words, they are not well equipped about the information in a balance manner," he said.
“They [media] have been pampered with informations, which sometimes are fabricated news, twisted news and even hoax and we from Indonesia don’t really get the right chance to tell the people about what happened."

The General Secretary for the Pacific Conference of Churches felt the comments made by Mr Joku about West Papua ‘doing fine’ did not make sense. Reverened Francois Pihaatae was not impressed.
"Whatever the Indonesians say, I will never, never believe that something is fine in West Papua, because we have evidences that are going out every day that the living of these people is rough, the killing of these people is real."
At the heated Apia press conference, Mr Joku – an indigenous West Papuan – accused Pacific Islanders of being misled on a human rights situation that had largely improved.
"It’s regrettable that Pacific Islanders all of the sudden want to address the Papua issue, now," he said.
"The Papua issue has been at the forefront since the late 50s and early 60s. We have seen our worst. Where the hell were the Pacific Island nations when we really needed that kind of expression and that kind of concern coming from them?”

Mr Mika was appalled by Mr Joku’s remarks about Pacific Islanders raising concern about the state of West Papua.
"I think it’s arrogant and we won’t be bullied by people like the Indonesian representative," he said.
“I think that it also shows just the sort of behaviour and the condesending behaviour that we are getting as Pacific when we should be standing together for our West Papua brothers and sisters."

The West Papua independence issue was not advanced at the Forum summit as hoped by supporters, but a number of Pacific countries plan to raise their concern about Papua to within the United Nations.
Pacific concerns are due top be heard at the annual session of the UN General Assembly which got underway this week.


2) Special Autonomy provides for rights justice, says Papuan legislator
4:49 pm today
A member of the Papua Provincial Legislative Assembly says the Special Autonomy Law provides for a human rights court in Papua and should be pursued.
Laurenzus Kadepa, who is also part of the Legislative Council on Political, Legal and Human Rights, is among those pushing for the establishment of such a court.

Tabloid Jubi quoted him saying both the court and a Truth and Reconciliation Commission had been mandated by the Autonomy Law which Indonesia granted Papua region in 2001.
Mr Kadepa said that to date little had been done to get the court off the ground, but he suggested that was the best available option to address Papua’s human rights matters.
According to him, many suspected cases of human rights violations by security apparatus that have gone through the general court or in their respective security forces units did not give a sense of justice to victims and their family.

He said the effort to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission or human rights court in Papua needs cross party support in Papua’s parliament.
This was echoed by another member of the commission I in the Legislative Council, Tan Wie Long, who stressed the need for unity among all stakeholders regarding this issue.
"Victims of human rights violations must be open to anything that can contribute positively," Tan said.

3) Churches unimpressed by Indonesia’s comments on West Papua
8:53 am today

The Pacific Conference of Churches says it is unimpressed by comments made by Indonesian officials at the recent Pacific Island Forum Leaders’ Summit in Apia.
The General Secretary, Reverend Francois Pihaatae, said a protest that took place during the forum supporting West Papua’s independence was nothing new.

Indonesia’s Ambassador to New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga, Tantowi Yahya, was at the meeting and condemned the protest and accused Pacific Islanders of being misled on a human rights situation that had largely improved.
But Mr Pihaatae said the demonstrators believe that people in West Papua are still struggling.
“Whatever the Indonesian said, I will never, never believe that something is fine in West Papua because we have evidence that [they are] living out everyday, the killing of the people," Reverend Francois Pihaatae said.
AdminSep 14, 2017

Honiara, Jubi – The Solomon Islands has successfully moved a new agenda to include human rights on any agreement Pacific Island Countries signed with Indonesia during the recent Pacific Island Forum Leaders meeting.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Milner Tozaka, moved the agenda and was supported by Vanuatu and Tonga during the recent Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Samoa.

Previously, the bilateral agreement between Indonesia and Pacific Island countries only recognised trade relations, but now human rights will be included in any relationship countries in the Pacific have with Indonesia.

In the 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting communique, leaders recognised the constructive engagement by the Forum countries with Indonesia with respect to elections and human rights in West Papua and Papua and to continue a dialogue in an open and constructive manner.

In an interview with Island Sun after the Leader Retreat at Taumeasina Island Resort in Apia, Samoa, Tozaka said the Solomon Islands is happy that the West Papuan issue has been included in the communique.

He said the Solomon Islands position on West Papua is still a top priority and will continue to seek further dialogue to present West Papua on top level discussion.

Tozaka said the Solomon Islands is pleased to have the support of Tonga and Vanuatu, among others, in pushing the West Papua issue to the floor for further discussion during the meeting.

More support needed

While acknowledging that the West Papua issue is in the communique, he said the issue is still a long way to achieve and that there needs to be more support.

Tozaka explained that there are a growing number of Free-West Papua movements in many countries in the Pacific region, but the road to the United Nations for presentation of ideas for West Papua depends on respective countries.

He said the present Pacific island countries who supported West Papua have no chance to go as a group to the UN.

“We try to push for a collective effort for this West Papua issue, but what we get was that, individual countries can hold dialogue with UN,” Tozaka said.

He said the West Papua issue is gaining momentum given that leaders have put their vote to the West Papua issue in the communique.(*)

Source: Island Sun


AdminSep 14, 2017
Jayapura, Jubi – Through his legal advisor, Serda BS, who was accused of the burning incidents of holy book, asked the Military Court III-19, Jayapura, to free himself. Serda BS was charged 12 months, cut the prison term.

“We demand the rights of the accused to be noticed, and the defendant is released,” said the defendant’s lawyer, Major Andreas Ledo, at the defendant’s pledoi reading hearing in Jayapura Military Court on Tuesday (September 12).

The head of Komnas HAM’s Office of the Papua Representative, Frits Ramadey, said it was the job of legal counsel to defend his client. But he hopes the judge’s decision on September 28, 2017 to come to give a sense of justice to the community.

“Not only people of certain religions, but also other religious followers,” said Frits Ramadey.

He considered the act of negligence of the defendant to cause vulnerability to friction in society. Frits hopes there is no other consideration that makes the judges decide without giving a sense of justice.

In June, the Commander of Cemderawasih XVII said in Article 156a of the Criminal Code that anyone intentionally publicly exposes feelings or acts that are essentially hostile, abusive or defamatory to a religion held in Indonesia in order to prevent adheres to any religion, which is contained Belief in the One Supreme God is sentenced to five years.

“If there is an element of intent, the punishment can be maximized so that I order Denpomdam to process by law. I have reported to the Chief of Military Commander and Chief of Staff of TNI, the guidance, according to the rule of law applicable to the process of the soldiers who made mistakes, ” he said at the time. (*)

AdminSep 14, 2017
Jakarta, Jubi – Indonesian police have demoted two officers who fired at a crowd of protesting Papuan villagers, killing one man, in a decision that rights groups said was too lenient and shows a chronic lack of accountability for abuses in Papua.

Papua province police spokesman Ahmad Musthofa Kamal said Tuesday (September 12) that a national police ethics panel made the decision two weeks ago after an investigation into the Aug. 1 shooting by police. The officers were demoted for two years and also ordered to make public apologies.

The confrontation between police and villagers erupted after workers at a company in a remote area refused to take a dying villager to hospital. A 22-year-old man died in the shooting and several others were injured including two children.

Human Rights Watch said the demotions of the two officers, their platoon commander and a local police chief were a “wrist slap.” Amnesty International’s Indonesia executive director also condemned the ruling, local media reported.

“Until President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo delivers on his promises to address human rights abuses in Papua, expect apologies, not justice, for future police killings of Papuans,” U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

Indonesia maintains a significant police and military presence in the volatile provinces of Papua and West Papua, a mineral-rich region where a decades-long separatist movement simmers and the predominantly Christian indigenous people resent an influx of Muslim Indonesians.

“The life of a Papuan is worth only an apology. This is the law in Indonesia,” Victor Mambor, the editor of Papuan news site, wrote on Facebook.

Kamal said the two officers had misinterpreted comments from their commander during the confrontation and filled their magazines with live ammunition.

He said a criminal prosecution could not proceed because the officers’ actions were akin to self-defense and witnesses refused to be questioned by investigators.

Indonesia restricts foreign journalists from reporting from its two easternmost provinces despite Jokowi’s announcement in 2015 that the media were free to travel there.(*)

Source: Associated Press


7) Gama Plantation: Building on deforestation and conflict

By ADMIN | Published: SEPTEMBER 13, 2017

While the forests of Indonesia’s outer islands continues to diminish year by year, the concrete ‘forest’ of skyscrapers around Jakarta’s Central Business District continues to sprout relentlessly. These two trends are not unconnected – much of the capital needed to build the urban architectural marvels came from the exploitation of natural resources, and the indigenous communities which live on the lands where they are found.

In 2016, Jakarta’s newest tallest skyscraper, the Gama Tower, opened for business for the first time. At 69 stories and 285 metres high, it is intended for offices and a luxury hotel. It’s a project of the Gama Corporation, who also have in their portfolio of planned developments the second tallest building in Western Europe, 1 Undershaft in London.


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