Tuesday, October 25, 2016

1) Papuan rebel leader reiterates call for referendum

2) Papua administration pursues cross-country watershed management plan


1) Papuan rebel leader reiterates call for referendum
Marguerite Afra Sapiie
Jakarta | Wed, October 26, 2016 | 08:52 am
Papuan pro-independence leader Filep Karma has called on the government to hold a referendum on independence for the country’s easternmost region.
Filep, a former political prisoner of 11 years, claimed the long-demanded referendum was a win-win solution for both the government and the Papuan people, who still suffered from mistreatment and abuses despite the region being granted special autonomy status.
The referendum would provide a fair mechanism for Papuans to decide for themselves whether they wanted to remain as part of the unitary state of Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) or wanted independence, Filep said.
“We used to fight for separation, but now a referendum is better to find out the true aspirations of Papuans. If they want to still be a part of Indonesia, why should [Papuan rebels] continue to struggle for independence?” Filep told the journalists on Tuesday.
Should the referendum result in Papuans wanting to remain Indonesian citizens, the rebels would stop demanding for separation, Filep said, however, the government should also promise Papuans a peaceful transfer of independence if the referendum showed otherwise.
Filep went on that in 2008, when he was still imprisoned, he had sent a letter to then president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, demanding a referendum.
Papuans also had long-awaited dialogue with the government over the referendum plan, even though President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had given the green light, Filep said. (bbn)

2) Papua administration pursues cross-country watershed management plan

Rabu, 26 Oktober 2016 08:01 WIB | 714 Views
Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA News) - The Papua provincial administration is disseminating awareness about Indonesia and Papua New Guinea cross-country watershed management by involving a number of stakeholders from several administrations.

General Assistant at Papua provincial administration Elysa Auri said here on Tuesday that watershed management would have to involve personnel from the governments, academicians, private sector and common people.

According to him, the any watershed management model should accommodate the interests of various stakeholders living in the watershed area.

"The watershed management falls within the ambit of the Environment and Forestry Ministry. In Papua, the watershed management involves Papua New Guinea (PNG) as nine rivers flow through the territories of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea," Elysa added.

He explained that the cross-country watershed management plan between Indonesia and PNG was initiated after deliberations on the issue in several regions of Papua, covering Boven Digul, Mappi, Pegunungan Bintang, Yahukimo, Kerom and Jayapura districts as well as Jayapura city.(*)

1) 40 candidate pairs pass selection for Papua regional elections

2) Government still lacks in protection of rights activists
1) 40 candidate pairs pass selection for Papua regional elections
Nethy Dharma Somba The Jakarta Post
Jayapura, Papua | Tue, October 25, 2016 | 04:15 pm
The Papua General Elections Commission (KPUD Papua) has approved 40 out of 45 candidate pairs that registered on Sept.25 to run for public office during the simultaneous regional elections in 11 regencies and municipalities across the province on Feb.15, 2017.
Five candidate pairs were declared ineligible due to various reasons, such as inadequate political party support and late wealth report (LHKPN) submissions. It was also reported that one candidate pair running on an independent ticket failed to submit its second vote pledge support evidence to KPUD Papua.
Candidate pair John Tabo-Barnabas Weya from Tolikara regency was deemed ineligible due to inadequate political party support.
“While it supported John-Barnabas, the United Development Party (PPP) also supported candidate pair Usman Wanimbo-Dinus Wanimbo. As the KPUD Tolikara’s factual verification results gave legal support to Usman-Dinus, the candidacy of John and his running mate was deemed ineligible because they were supported by only five seats on the Tolikara Legislative Council. They comprise two seats from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle [PDI-P], two from the Hanura Party and one from the Golkar Party, lower than the minimum requirement of seven seats,” said KPUD Papua commissioner Tarwinto.
Tarwinto said incumbent candidate pair Stefanus Kaisma - Mustafa Salam from Mappi regency had been deemed ineligible because it was late to submit its LHKPN. “Thus, there will be only three candidate pairs running in next year’s election.” 
Three other candidate pairs deemed ineligible are incumbent candidate pair Mesak Manibor- Soleh from Sarmi regency, incumbent candidate pair Herman Awue - Stefanus Wakey from Dogiyai regency and candidate pair Abisai Rollo- Dipo Wibowo from Jayapura. (ebf)
2) Government still lacks in protection of rights activists
Jakarta | Tue, October 25 2016 | 08:40 am

Rights activists have urged the government to increase the protection of rights defenders amid mounting violence against them.

Activists of the Indonesian Forum for Environment (Walhi), Protection International (PI) and Arus Pelangi said their fellow activists across the country had experienced various abuses when fighting for people’s rights.

“Activists are always abused because they are at the forefront of human rights conflicts, so the opposing side always wants to shut them down,” PI activist Cahyadi told The Jakarta Post, adding the government should protect activists.

However, according to a survey from the Centre for Applied Human Rights at the UK-based University of York, the government is the most common violator against human rights activists. The survey stated that the “government” included the police, the military and regional government officers.

Companies, particularly those related to environment and labor rights issues, come second, while fundamental religious organizations rank third, according to the survey.

The survey was conducted earlier this year on 87 human rights activists of various issues like the environment, LGBTs, women’s rights and religious freedom. The activists originated from Jakarta, Surabaya, Ambon, Aceh, Palu and Manokwari.

The survey also found that activists received various types of abuse, most commonly threats through phone calls and text messages. They also experienced assault, became subject to investigations and criminal charges and faced defamation in the media. As many as 90 percent of the respondents said they were worried about their safety.

Protection of activists is recognized in the United Nation’s 1998 Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. The protection of privacy rights also appears in several laws, including Article 32 of Law No. 39/1999 on human rights.

The laws recognize the legitimacy of human rights activities and that those who carry it out have to be protected.

Many expected President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to suppress violence in his two years of rule, but activists recently said that he had failed to do so, highlighting the growing violence that the President had been unable to manage.

Kontras coordinator Haris Azhar said human rights could not be enforced in Indonesia if Jokowi still gave strategic positions to people who had been involved in human rights violations.

“The violations against human rights increased in Jokowi’s era,” he said earlier this year as quoted by tribunnews.com.

Haris said that Kontras recorded at least 300 human rights violations in 2015, higher than the previous year, or when former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was still in office.

Walhi activist Khalisah Khalid cited two human rights defenders, Salim Kancil and Yanes Balubun, who were allegedly assassinated in the past year.

In September last year, Salim was beaten to death by a group of people in Selok Awar-Awar subdistrict, Pasirian district, East Java. Salim had co-arranged a protest against invasive sand-mining in his village, which was conducted by companies.

Meanwhile, Yanes was a coordinator for the Ambon-based environmental group Humanum and the Indigenous Peoples Alliance. He passed away in April after a vehicle accident, but fellow activists argued that Yanes’ death was premeditated by parties that opposed his stance in Maluku. (adt)

Monday, October 24, 2016


(Note.West Papua was part of the story)


Aussie actress Adele Perovic stars in the political thriller series from ABC, The Code and since showing her true acting grit in the first series, returns for a second.
Perovic began first took acting classes at the age of five, before studying drama during high school and majoring in Theatre Arts at University in Toowoomba, Queensland. After University, Adele got the role of Eva Lee in the short lived TV series Slide in 2011 and then went onto greater things such as the movie Fell in 2014 and now the ABC TV series The Code.
We recently caught up with Adele to get to know her a little better, and we ask about her thoughts on some of the scary subject matter her character Hani comes across in The Code series and how scary it really is in West Papua, one of the show’s settings. We find out what makes Adele smile and what makes her tick. We also discover her favourite movies, TV shows and whether or not Adele plays video games.
I first wanted to congratulate your show on the huge win at the Australian Writers’ Guild’s 49th Annual Awards. The Code has now actually made history winning twice in a row now for the major award.
Yes, thank you so much, I love how Aussie it sounds too – nicknamed ‘ AWGIE’.
The Code has become quite the favourite Aussie cult hit as of late. With so many other shows available now and great shows being cancelled all the time, did you think The Code would make it back for a second outing?
I guess because it was so successful the first time around, we sort of felt it would be. But with the first one’s plot being so complicated, we were like, can we do that again? Can Shelley (Shelley Birse – Writer & Creator) do that again? But she did and in a very short space of time which was pretty amazing.
Your character of Hani Parande whom is now with the character of Jesse Banks (played by Ashley Zukerman) in The Code, really came through to me as a sort of protector in the first series. Someone that ended up looking out for him and falling for him of course. What I love, as with most TV shows and even books, is it’s down to interpretation. What is your take on Hani as a character and why you think Hani and Jessie ended up together?
When you’re playing someone that is duplicitous, especially in the first season, it’s kind of hard to figure out how much do you play on either side of being that kind of double sided character and we came to the conclusion that she had always had a crush on him from afar and that this is her opportunity to get closer to him.
Seeing someone that’s not neurotypical in a neurotypical world, having someone to support his differences is a strong choice for a writer to make. What I also love about Hani is she is kind of motivated by her own personal factors in a very different way to Jessie. Hani and her parents are sort of refugees, but she has a loving family and other things that Jessie doesn’t have. I like the gaps in their relationship, like when Hani realises Jessie doesn’t have certain stuff and Jessie realises that she has things that he doesn’t have. It’s an interesting space to be able to look around. I guess Hani is very privileged also, when Jessie isn’t and that works in very well to the plot.
I loved how they don’t overplay or focus too much on Jessie and his mental disability, it wasn’t a major problem when Hani falls for him and they never bring it to the forefront as being a major issue. Just focus on the character, know he has these issues and move on.
Yeah, that he is allowed to be different. Obviously there are some issues being with someone that is not neurotypical, but I like how this is celebrated here.
The subject matter of series two revolves around child abduction and human trafficking. Was it a scary thing to bring to the screen and what were your thoughts when you read the script?
That it was incredibly intense. The child abduction was frightening to read. But, learning about West Papua, I actually found that the most horrifying actually. Also meeting the activists that helped and worked on the show. Knowing there is this real present danger for activists in West Papua. It is an intense situation partly because Australia benefits from Indonesia being in West Papua with mining interests. It was a very intense place to exist in and an intense topic to be putting on Australian television. I am very proud to have been a part of it all.
The most stand out for me was meeting the West Papua activists Ronny Kareni (who plays Theo in The Code) and his wife Sixta, it was a personal highlight for me.

                                               Adele’s highlight, meeting West Papua Actvist Ronny Kareni

A slightly different question here, your character of Hani seems to be pretty well set with how she copes with stress and just comfortable in who she is. But she can get angry too. What makes you tick in real life? What makes you angry the most?
Oh god, so many things. I am quite an angry person really. Hani and I share this characteristic because we are both so ideological. Things like the government and policies I think are just stupid like Australia’s relationship to different countries of the world. So many things, probably everything makes me angry in some way.
What makes you smile? That is probably a harder question.
Strange people, unique people. Strange and unexpected stories make me smile. Weird and flawed people. People who don’t get what they want I think, like unsuccessful people are the most interesting.
Do you and the cast get together outside of filming The Code?
Yeah we do. It’s a little hard because we are all kind of split. Ash (Ashley Zukerman) works a lot in the states and his partner is from Holland so he is there a lot as well. Dan Spielman has kind of been back and forth from New York with his wife Yael Stone to Australia. When they are around and in the same continent we hang out when we can.
What are some of your favourite movies?
My favourite would be a Romanian film that is called Four Months, Three Weeks & Two Days which is about a young woman trying to get an abortion in the Ceausescu regime in the 80’s.

My most recent favourite was Kelly Reichardt’s new film Certain Women. Not even the whole movie was the reason, mainly the ending, because it had some of the most incredible acting I have ever seen.

Do you have any favourite TV shows?
I have so many, I am into TV more than I am film. I just finished Mr Robot which is very akin to The Code with ‘hacking’ as well. HBO’s Insecure is great as well, loving that. I also just watched Fleabag which is this new BBC show. My all-time favourite though? Shit? I can’t choose, maybe I won’t choose. I will just pause on that one.
Any other actors you look up to and would love to work with in the future?
Lily Gladstone (Certain Women) who is from the Pacific North West, I believe she is going to get much bigger now that she has been in this film. She is such a wonderful actor I would love to work with somebody like her. To be honest, I love working with normal people, like what we talked about before, not so successful people. I feel like regular people are so much more interesting than a lot of the big time stars.
What’s your stance on gaming? Do you play any or even smartphone apps?
You know what? I don’t. I did just start tutoring this Chinese girl called Sue and she has been showing me all these hectic games that she plays and it is cool, so maybe I will try get into some of that, but no. I am very interested in those kind of worlds though. I did play Dungeons and Dragons the other day though. It was so cool; I am into it. Maybe I will start with the low-fi version of gaming and go from there.
What’s coming up for you next and any word on The Code series three?
No word on series three just yet, we will see what happens. It would be great to do it all again. I am just trying to work on my own stuff at the moment. We shall see how all that goes.
Thank you again for your time Adele. I love your work and I really do hope we see you for a series three of The Code.
The Code Series 1 & 2 are now available on DVD and digitally.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Indonesian military officer shot in shootout with separatists in Papua


Indonesian military officer shot in shootout with separatists in Papua

Minggu, 23 Oktober 2016 21:04 WIB | 506 Views
Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA News)- An Indonesian military officer was shot in an exchange of gunfire with separatists in Philia, Gurage, Puncak Jaya District, Papua Province, on Saturday.

"Thats right, one military officer was shot in an exchange of gunfire with armed group members," Major General Hinsa Siburian, commander of the Cenderawasih XVII Military District, said here, Sunday.

The shootout occurred in Philia, Gurage, when several military officers were on patrol.

First Private Yani was shot at his right hand and left leg, Siburian said.

The injured officer was rushed to Mulia Hospital. (*)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

1) West Papua, Indonesia and the Pacific

2) Papua to be pilot project for tackling sexual violence cases

1) West Papua, Indonesia and the Pacific
Free Public Lecture-Melbourne
Dr Budi Hernawan and Nic Maclellan will explore political developments in West Papua and the intractable conflicts between the Jakarta Government and its Papuan opponents. The diplomatic struggle between the Indonesian Government and United Liberation Movement for West Papua in the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Pacific Islands Forum will also be discussed. 
The Melanesian Spearhead Group is the only forum where both Papuans, through the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, and the Indonesian Government have a seat at the same table. Human rights abuses and the behavior of the Indonesian security forces are critical issues both in the politics in West Papua and the diplomatic struggle in the Pacific. At the recent United Nations General Assembly Session the leaders of seven Pacific states raised human rights abuses in West Papua.



2) Papua to be pilot project for tackling sexual violence cases

Sabtu, 22 Oktober 2016 18:38 WIB | 833 Views
Jayapura (ANTARA News) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has plans to make the easternmost Indonesian province of Papua a pilot project for handling cases of sexual violence, according to ICRC spokesperson Ita Prawira.

Papua was selected as a pilot project because the number of the victims of sexual violence in the region was quite high, Ita said when contacted by ANTARA here Saturday.

"We have conducted research and coordinated with relevant institutions in the region, and results indicate that the number of the victims of sexual violence in the province is quite high," she said.

Although Papua had been selected, she remained uncertain which districts and towns would be the focus of the project, Ita added.

"The ICRC will not work alone, we will cooperate with the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) as partner, as we did in the previous programs," she said.

One reason for cooperating with the PMI is that people are not familiar with PMI other than as a blood bank, Ita explained.

"So, we also want to show the public that the PMI focuses on other fields such as sexual violence," she said.(*)

1) Continuing Restrictions on Free Expression in West Papua

2) Minister vows to improve logistics flow in East Indonesia

3) Indonesia to apply uniform fuel prices next year


October 21, 2016

1) Continuing Restrictions on Free Expression in West Papua

UNPO conducted an interview with Aprila R.A. Wayar on her experiences as a journalist carrying out her profession in West Papua. Wayar was born in West Papua and grew up in Java. After graduating from the local university in Java, she returned to West Papua to work as a journalist. Her personal experiences shed light on the restrictions of the freedom of opinion and expression frequently experienced by local and foreign journalists in West Papua.
As the experiences by Ms Wayar reveal, journalists working in West Papua are limited in their freedom of expression out of fear of legal and social sanctions if they openly display their genuine opinions. She emphasizes that “as a journalist in West Papua, I cannot express to people around me what is truly going on.” Such self-censorship, which generally arises from fear of violence and harassment by public officials as well as from social condemnation of pro-independence sentiments, often provokes journalists to conceal their political views. Journalists who do report from the Papuan perspective while opposing those of other people, Wayar points out, are often condemned for being separatist or labelled pro-independence. In addition to social denouncement, journalists that have reported on sensitive political topics as well as persons interviewed by journalists have often been subject to physical violence as well as murder and kidnapping.
Foreign journalists have additionally been subjected to foreign media restrictions. Even though a 25-year ban on foreign media that prevented foreign journalists from entering West Papua was lifted last year, “the ban was lifted only on paper,” Wayar reveals.  She points out that the Indonesian government and security forces continue their efforts to impede foreign media access. Foreign journalist that have uttered critical political views have been placed on visa-blacklists. In 2015, Cyril Payen for example, a reporter for France 24 television, faced a visa ban after having produced a documentary that was condemned for generating pro-independence sentiments. Furthermore, journalists that have managed to get a visa to report on West Papua have been subjected to monitoring of their activities in the area, which might influence the content of their news reports. Such control that government officials have over journalists might produce a lack of news stories that cover multiple sides, including those of people that are critical of government policies. The result of such restricted foreign media access is, Wayar argues, that the international community including those who promote the human rights of the West Papuan people are insufficiently aware of the local issues experienced by Papuan people. 
Raising awareness of the challenges that indigenous peoples in West Papua face is crucial for enacting change in the area, Wayar emphasizes. Papuan people run the risk of losing their identity: “in 2050, there will be no Papuan people left.” She points out that the age-old history of Papua and its unique culture is being lost because it is not transferred to the next generation. Instead, a new ‘history’ is taught that ignores Papuans’ indigenous culture and promotes an Indonesian flavored story. Additional challenges that Papuan people face are widespread immigration from foreigners as well as poverty and insufficient access to education and health care, which is only accessible for those living in large cities. In order to generate improvements of the living and social conditions of the Papuan people, Wayar argues, the marginalization of indigenous peoples needs increased national and international awareness. As such, the profession of journalism and the safe performance thereof might be of crucial importance for the wellbeing of the people in West Papua.


2) Minister vows to improve logistics flow in East Indonesia

Jumat, 21 Oktober 2016 23:03 WIB | 607 Views
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-10/21/c_135772259.htmJakarta (ANTARA News) - Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi vowed to improve the logistic flow in Eastern Indonesia, considering the gap between the countrys Eastern and Western sides, which results in the East not receiving the best services.

"There is some sort of a gap between Indonesias Eastern and Western sides, where the East is not receiving the best services possible. The vast area of land and the low income of the residents often result in goods with high price tags. They are also often hard to obtain that in some cases, people can go hungry," Sumadi said in a press release received here on Friday.

The majority of logistics in East Indonesia can only be delivered by air transportation, as there are about 250 airports scattered in different areas of Papua, through which logistic supplies can be distributed, he added.

"Looking at the current situation, we will continue to make serious efforts to improve the logistic flow in the Eastern region. The ministry is also working to come up with a solution to solve the issue of connectivity in logistic supply not only to the Western zone but also to the Eastern territory," he stated.

He further said that there will also be few plans lined up to improve East Indonesias logistic flow.

The ministry has also called on the Indonesian National Air-Carriers Association (INACA) and the Indonesian National Ship Owners Association (INSA) to take efforts to solve the issue of logistics flow in East Indonesia.

Sumadi stated that in 2017, private entities will also be involved in marine highway projects, for which tenders have already started coming in and the subsidy will be about Rp200 billion.

"In January 2017, we will start the projects in three areas, namely West Sumatra, East Kalimantan and Maluku. These projects will improve the roles of private and public organizations in the marine highway program," he revealed.

He also said that he will evaluate the routes, increase occupancy levels, improve the quality of goods and involve more private institutions to be in line with the efforts to improve logistic flow.

He expressed hopes that the logistics will then be distributed evenly to all the areas in the Eastern part of the country, including regions surrounded by mountains like Mulia and Ilaga, through air tolls and rivers routes.

"There will also be new flight routes around the Papua territory, which are established to distribute supplies to areas that are harder to reach by means of land transportation. We are also considering the use of rivers routes to boost the distribution of goods in Papua," he reiterated.(*)

3) Indonesia to apply uniform fuel prices next year

JAKARTA, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Indonesian government planned to adopt uniform fuel prices across the country next year.
Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said on Friday that the government was to create related regulation and design fuel distribution mechanism, expecting that the policy would take into effect next year.
"The price of fuel from Sabang to Merauke and from Miangas to Rote island would all be the same, enabling our fellow bothers to enjoy similar fuel prices," Jonan said in a statement, referring to Indonesia's tip regions in all directions.
The policy was formulated following President Joko Widodo's visit to the easternmost region of Papua where fuel prices were much higher than that in key island of Java and in western regions.
During his visit on Tuesday, the president assigned the state-run enterprises minister and state oil and gas firm Pertamina to take efforts in addressing the issue.
Jonan said the government would guarantee prices of fuel sold in gas stations would be at the same level anywhere nationwide.
The disparity of fuel prices between western and eastern region has long been blamed for hindering the development in the east, which lags far behind the nation's center of economic activities in the west.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

1) Editorial Papua priority

2) Countdown on for Indonesia’s response


1) Editorial Papua priority

October 21, 2016 | 07:15 am
The latest visit by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo raises both hope and worry. Can he win over the hearts and minds of people in Papua and West Papua? He certainly is trying — by improving traditional markets, inaugurating power facilities and eliminating the wide price gap of fuel compared to other areas in the country.
Jokowi’s new “one fuel, one price” policy, however controversial and difficult, should serve as an example of the President’s commitment and his clear leadership in demanding that his policy is supported.
Although state-run oil company Pertamina will have to cough up subsidies estimated at an annual Rp 800 billion (US$61.53 million) to end soaring fuel prices in Papua, what’s important, Jokowi insisted, was “[…] justice for all Indonesians”.
Papuans would certainly hope that this presidential wish and clear understanding of their sense of injustice applied beyond their neglected needs of fuel and infrastructure. Justice for all includes an end to what Papuans say is general stigma toward them as either being separatists, incompetent or both. This underlying attitude, they say, leads to discrimination and suspicion against Papuans voicing any sign of dissent, which leads to dangerous accusations of treason.
Therefore, like his new fuel policy, Jokowi needs the full support of his government, the military and police in ending that stigma, which has served to justify violence in the hunt for separatists and hurting innocents in the process, often fatally.
Society’s attitude that such violence is rightly targeted at suspected rebels has immensely contributed to continued impunity and repeated abuses. As a result, earlier arrests of protesters in Papua cities, Jakarta and Yogyakarta, for instance, have led to accusations that Indonesia is surely a free and democratic country – except for Papuans voicing their grievances.
The government must also ensure serious follow up in relation to the team tasked to resolve human rights abuses in Papua by the end of the year. The team was set up by Jokowi’s former security chief minister Luhut B. Pandjaitan.
Despite billions of rupiah poured into Papua, the President, who has just served two years, bears the legacy of past failures to address Papuans’ sense of discrimination and Jakarta’s obliviousness to human rights abuses against them, even with the Papua Special Autonomy Law. These factors have contributed to today’s louder international campaign against Jakarta regarding Papua.
Our diplomats’ splendidly articulated thrashings of criticism of our alleged continued neglect and abuse and/or discrimination of Papuans won’t work, as long as those grievances are not perceived to be seriously addressed by Papuans.
Australia’s statements that an independent Papua is not in its best interest has boosted our confidence on the world stage — but it doesn’t wash with Papuans who say they are not getting enough decent jobs compared to migrants, for instance, or still don’t feel safe amid security personnel hunting suspected rebels.
President Jokowi now can repeat, loudly and clearly, that he wants dialogue with all stakeholders, mainly his citizens from Papua.

2) Countdown on for Indonesia’s response

  • By Len Garae

The Chairman of Vanuatu Free West Papua Association, Pastor Allan Nafuki says all civil society organisations in country are united with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pacific Islands Association
of Non-Government Organisation (PIANGO), Emele Duituturaga, to support the request made by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) to Indonesia, to formally respond to allegations of racial violence and discrimination against Papuans by November 14.
It is a sign that the attitude of the UN to West Papua’s case is beginning to change.
The PIANGO CEO expressed these sentiments following UN CERD chair, Anastasia Crickley’s notification to Indonesia’s UN Permanent Representative, Triyono Wibowo that the committee’s recent session had considered allegations of killings and violence of indigenous Papuans in West Papua.
“I write to inform you that in the course of its 90th session, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has considered, under its early warning and urgent action procedure, allegations of excessive use of force, arrests, killings and torture of persons belonging to the Papuan indigenous people in West Papua, Indonesia, and allegations of discrimination against this people, that have been brought to its attention by a non-government organization”, Miss Crickley stated in the October 3rd dated correspondence.
“Reportedly, between April 2013 and December 2014, security forces killed 22 persons during demonstrations and a number of persons have also been killed or injured since January 2016. It is alleged that in May 2014, more than 470 persons belonging to the Papuan indigenous people were arrested in cities of West Papua during demonstrations against extraction and plantation activities”.
The letter continues, “... Such arrests have reportedly increased since the beginning of 2016 amounting to 4000 between April and June 2016 and have included human rights activists and journalists. Such acts have reportedly never been investigated and those responsible have gone unpunished.
“The submission claims that repression of persons belonging to the Papuan indigenous people is the result of a misinterpretation and lack of a correct implementation of the Special Autonomy Law by local and national authorities of Indonesia. The submission also claims that actions by security forces constitute violations of the rights of freedom of assembly and association”.
Duituturaga said the committee’s requests for information indicates how seriously it is treating the allegations made by civil societies to the UN about the treatment of indigenous West Papuans by the Indonesian government.
“CERD has given Indonesia until Novembers 14 to provide information on its response to the allegations, the status of implementations of the Special Autonomy Law in West Papua, measures taken to ensure the effective protection of indigenous people in West Papua from arbitrary arrests and detentions as well as deprivation of life”, she said.
Indonesia has also been requested to report on measures taken to ensure that indigenous people from West Papua effectively enjoy their rights to freedom of assembly and association including persons with dissenting opinions, measures taken to investigate allegations of excessive use of force by security forces including killings and steps taken to improve access to education of Papuan children in West Papua in particular those living in very remove areas of the UN CERD.
“Indonesia is not only the third largest democracy in the world, they are an emerging economic powerhouse but their inability to apply democratic principles in West Papua threatens their credibility with the international community.
“The ball is in their court now and Pacific civil societies are eagerly awaiting November 14 alongside UN CERD to read their response,” Duituturaga said