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West Papua Covid-19 vaccination: Updates and obstacles

March 6, 2021

West Papua Covid-19 vaccination: Updates and obstacles

News Desk March 5, 2021 10:41 pm

Jayapura, Jubi – Vaccination in Papua Land, or internationally known as West Papua, has faced obstacles caused mainly by the lack of human resources and health facilities, an official said on March 4, 2021.

Papua Land comprises Indonesia’s Papua and West Papua provinces.

The head of Papua Covid-19 Task Force, William Manderi, said some areas in the province had yet to hold the vaccination drive.

Across Indonesia, the central government had vaccinated more than 2.28 million people for the first shot and more than 1.1 million people for the second, final shot, with a vaccine produced by Sinovac.

Read also: Covid-19 vaccination for health workers in Papua runs at slow pace

The province, as of late January 2021, had received 42,000 doses of vaccines, which had been distributed to all 28 regencies and to the provincial capital, Jayapura municipality. Papua’s chapter of Statistics Indonesia (BPS) showed that as of 2020 the province had 3.43 million people.

The neighboring province, West Papua, had received about 8,500 doses of Covid-19 vaccines as of late January. The province has 12 regencies and one municipality and 1.13 million people as of 2020 according to the West Papua chapter of BPS.

Both provinces are actually among those that had the highest vaccine acceptance according to a 2020 survey by World Health Organization and Unicef.

Covid-19 vaccines acceptance across Indonesia according to WHO and Unicef survey in late 2020. Courtesy of

West Papua held the lowest vaccine hesitancy or the highest acceptance across the country with 74 percent while Papua province held the third position along with Bengkulu province in Sumatra. The second position was held by East Nusa Tenggara province with 70 percent. The lowest acceptance was held by Aceh province with 46 percent.

However, the easternmost provinces also had limited health facilities and human resources, not to mention digital infrastructure.

“The regions that want to hold the vaccination drive need resources, right,” Manderi said.

Manderi said the problems in gathering vaccines recipients data, which mostly done digitally, had also been another obstacle.

Papua Health Agency showed that as of March 1, 2021, all the regencies in Papua had held a vaccination drive. Lanny Jaya Regency was the last to hold one.

Papua and West Papua provinces still focused on medical workers and public officers. Papua targeted to vaccinate 18,352 medical workers.

The head of disease prevention and control at Papua Health Agency, Aaron Rumainum, who was the first person in the province who got the vaccine shot, said other problems included the low budget and the low commitment from the regional leaders to make the Covid-19 vaccination drive a success.

Read also: 139 villages on Jayapura preparing 700 hectares farmland during Covid-19 pandemic

“We hope the regional leaders immediately reallocated their budget for Covid-19 vaccination,” said Rumainum recently.

On March 3, 2021, Lanny Jaya Regent Befa Yigibalom said 500 people had been registered to receive the shots while the regency only got 440 doses. “We have registered 500 people so there is a high possibility that the doses we received would be gone soon, so I have ordered some more,” Yigibalom said as quoted by Antara news agency.

On March 4, 2021, 85 medical workers in Tolikara Regency received the first vaccination shot from Sinovac.

The vaccination was held in two places: Kolengger Community Health Center and Karubaga General Regional Hospital.

Tolikara Health Agency head, Alsen Genongga, said 383 medical workers from Tolikara had participated in the Covid-19 vaccination workshop in Wamena in February to learn how to administer the shots. The medical workers would become the resources to give the rest of the population the vaccine shots.

Genongga said in a release made available on March 4 that they had received 400 doses.

He said the first phase would serve medical workers, scheduled to be completed by the fourth week of March. The second phase would be for the Indonesia Military, the National Police personnel, the civil servants, traders, transportation workers like motorcycle taxis (ojek) drivers and others drivers. The third would be for the rest of the population in Tolikara.

Reporter: Arjuna Pademme, Jean Bisay

Editor: Edho Sinaga, Aryo Wisanggeni, Evi Mariani


2) Papua support group praises Meg Taylor for UN rights statement
By APR editor – March 5, 2021

Asia Pacific Report

The Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) has called on the Australian government to stop trying to keep Papua off the agenda at the Pacific Islands Forum and “strenuously support” Pacific leaders in urging Jakarta to allow a PIF fact-finding mission to the territory.

Congratulating the PIF Secretary-General Meg Taylor on her statement to the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council, also called on Canberra to back the call for the visit to West Papua by the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

An AWPA statement from Sydney said Taylor raised the issues of covid-19, climate change and West Papua and pointed out that the pandemic must not hinder efforts to address critical issues.

About West Papua, she said the violent conflict and subsequent human rights violations in West Papua had been of concern for PIF leaders for more than 20 years.

Joe Collins of AWPA said, “The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), the two main regional organisations in the Pacific, are very important for the issue of West Papua,” said Joe Collins of AWPA.

Pacific leaders regularly raised the issue of West Papua at the UN and other international fora, given credibility to the issue on the world stage. This was the reason Pacific leaders were regularly condemned by Jakarta.

“The human rights situation in West Papua is an issue of great concern for Pacific governments and their people and has the potential to impact on relations between Australia and countries in the region,” Collins said.

3) Freeport shooting case: Lawyer pleads court to acquit Ivan Sambom

News Desk March 5, 2021 9:03 pm

West Papua No. 1 News Portal | Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – The lawyer of Indius also known as Ivan Sambom, a former security guard at PT Freeport Indonesia, pleaded to the panel of judges at North Jakarta District Court on March 3, 2021 to acquit his client because there was no evidence that Sambom possessed an illegal gun. Sambom was arrested following a shooting in Freeport’s office.

Gustav Kawer, the director of Association of Human Rights Advocates in Papua (PAHAM Papua), who was one of Sambom’s lawyer, said the trial so far had yet to present any facts or evidence that Sambom had an illegal firearm. PAHAM Papua also said in a release made available on March 4 that the trial had yet to present any evidence of Sambom’s involvement in a murder of a New Zealand citizen in Mimika Regency on March 30, 2020.

Read also: Freeport Indonesia declares business running as usual

Earlier in April last year, former Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw said as quoted in Jakarta-based media outlets that Sambom was a security guard at the mining company who doubled as “a spy for an armed criminal group or KKB”. KKB is Indonesian security personnel lingo to label armed groups affiliated to Free Papua Movement like the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB).

Waterpauw said Sambom often posted his support to Papua’s Independence in his social media posts.

Sambom was arrested by Nemangkawi Task Force in his house in Kampung Iwaka, Mimika, following a shooting at the mining company’s office in Kuala Kencana that killed Grame Thomas Wall, a New Zealand citizen and injured two others, both Indonesians.

The police accused him of having, possessing, or hiding a firearm and other ammunition or violating Emergency Law No. 12/1951. On Oct. 27, 2020, his trial began in North Jakarta.

On Feb. 25, the prosecutors team read their indictment, demanding three years imprisonment for Sambom.

Kawer said the witnesses who lived and had activities with the defendant had testified that they never saw the defendant storing, carrying, or using any firearm or ammunition. The defendant also denied any firearm or ammunition possession. Kawer said all the security personnel who testified in the trial said similar accounts: They “found” the ammunition in Sambom’s house.

Kawer said the facts heard in the trial had convinced him that the ammunition found was planted to trap and criminalized Sambom. He said the evidence and expert witnesses testimonies did not relate to any of the defendant’s alleged actions.

On March 30, 2020, TPNPB’s Operation Area III Commander Hendrik Wamang took responsibility for the shooting.

Reporter: Benny Mawel
Editor: Aryo Wisanggeni G, Evi Mariani


4) Papua: Six women Brimob officers join Nemangkawi task force
16 hours ago

Jakarta (ANTARA) – The National Police’s Mobile Brigade (Brimob) has dispatched six of its best female police officers to join the Nemangkawi Task Force in the Indonesian province of Papua.

They are well-trained and their excellent skills will be tested in duties with the task force, Brimob chief Insp.Gen.Anang Revandoko said.

Like other personnel of the Nemangkawi Task Force, Brimob’s women officers will also protect Papua from security threats posed by armed Papuan groups, he added.

"They will also coordinate with their counterparts from the Indonesian Military (TNI)," he was quoted as saying on @sekolah_kedinasan Instagram account here on Friday.

The six women police officers’ involvement in a challenging "humanitarian operation" in Papua is an extraordinary event, he remarked.

Police chief, Gen.Listyo Sigit Prabowo, recently lauded the performance of the Nemangkawi Task Force in arresting and securing perpetrators of violence.

"I appreciate all the task force’s personnel," he said, while urging them to stay alert, given the armed groups’ propaganda against the special autonomy bill.

Amid a spate of violence in Papua, the national police chief recently approved the appointment of Papua police chief as the Nemangkawi Task Force’s commandant.

ANTARA has reported earlier that Papua’s security and public order situation has mostly remained normal.

Security disturbances, however, have been reported sporadically from several areas where armed Papuan groups operate, such as Intan Jaya district.

According to reports, several armed Papuan groups operate around Intan Jaya, including the one led by Sabinus Waker.

Armed groups in the district have repeatedly engaged in gunfights with security personnel. They have also gone on a shooting rampage targeting innocent civilians.

ANTARA had reported the launch of a security operation, "Operation Nemangkawi”, in 2019 following the massacre of 31 workers from PT Istaka Karya in Kali Yigi and Kali Aurak in Yigi sub-district, Nduga district, on December 2, 2018.

Armed Papuan rebels, who were reportedly behind the brutal killings of the Trans Papua construction workers, also killed a soldier, identified as Handoko, and injured two other security personnel, Sugeng and Wahyu.

Papua has been witness to a repeated cycle of violence, with armed groups in the districts of Intan Jaya, Nduga, and Puncak targeting civilians and security personnel over the past two years. (INE)

Related news: Papua police chief to lead Nemangkawi task force
Related news: Riau Islands police elite unit’s 252 members deployed to Papua


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