Saturday, December 3, 2016

Pacific CSO commemorate West Papua flag raising ceremony in Kenya

Pacific CSO commemorate West Papua flag raising ceremony in Kenya
11:19 pm GMT+12, 01/12/2016, Kenya

By Pita Ligaiula in Nairobi, Kenya
Pacific regional civil society delegates attending the High Level Meeting (HLM2) in Nairobi Thursday commemorated the West Papua flag raising ceremony.  
Pacific Islands Non-Governmental Organisation (PIANGO) Executive Director Emele Duituturaga said the event is another opportunity to raise awareness of the struggle faced by West Papua in their quest for independence from Indonesia.
“For us in civil society and those of us who have been very supportive of the West Papua campaign today is the 1st of December where in 1961 the Papuan flag was raised as part of Netherlands preparation of Papua for independence. So we commemorate that day. We are calling for the recognition of West Papua peoples struggle for self-determination which was a human right.
"And we also calling for decolonisation of Indonesia because West Papua is a nation that was prepared for independence and the people have suffered for the last 50 years. They have been killed and deprived off their right to self-determination,” Duituturaga told PACNEWS.
Duituturaga also welcomed Pacific Leaders who champion the cause of self-determination in West Papua.
“In fact Pacific Leaders have already recognised their rights as indigenous people and we want to bring that back. Certainly we are calling other Pacific nations and other Pacific countries to support that cause. It’s good to see seven Pacific leaders champion this at the UN.
"We are now working with the Human rights Council to ensure that violation of human rights continuing in Indonesia are  brought back  to the UN  and that we calling for UN intervention of what is really going on in West Papua,” said Duituturaga


Friday, December 2, 2016

‘Rize of Morning Star’ boosts global ‘free Papua’ movement with new video

‘Rize of Morning Star’ boosts global ‘free Papua’ movement with new video
The new video Sorong Samara. Video: The Rize Of The Morning Star
While Indonesian authorities tried to brutally suppress West papua “independence day” rallies across the republic this week, the creative empowerment group Rize of the Morning Star (ROTMS) has been campaigning with passion, determination and focus.
A new video, Sorong Samarai, from the group is rapidly raising global awareness for the Free West Papua Movement, with self determination through non-violence a core focus.
Filmed on location from the tip of West Papua (Sorong) to the tip of Papua New Guinea (Samarai), producers Airiliki say the programme features from from the highlands to the islands, and the bush to the city streets.
“Sorong Samarai….One People, One Soul, One Destiny. A celebration of Papuan Identity, fighting for a free West Papua.”
Using music as a key unifier and amplifier of energy and action, ROTMS has successfully organised some of the largest scale international Free West Papua solidarity actions so far.
According to the ROTMS website, the group “engages in a broad cross section of activity including mobilising, training and resourcing community, fund raising, concerts, partnerships, publicity, promotion and educating predominantly through the arts and entertainment industry”.

Activating a collective of musicians, filmmakers, journalists, publicists, activists, companies, brands and the wider community, ROTMS inspires and empowers individuals and communities to uphold equal rights for human beings, hold persecutors accountable and to play an integral role in the global momentum for a Free West Papua.
Let the light shine into the darkness, for the dawning of a new day comes, with the Rize Of The Morning Star!


2) Flag day in Papua takes form of prayer events, petition
3) World stands with 78 million HIV-positive people: UNAIDS

4) Inspirational farm girl from Greenvale immortalised in print





More mass arrests at West Papuan demonstrations are clouding Indonesian government claims that it is trusted by indigenous people of Papua region.
Yesterday was the 55th anniversary of the first official raising of the Papuan nationalist Morning Star flag when the indigenous people of the former Dutch New Guinea declared independence.
The Morning Star was subsequently banned after Indonesia took over, but each year global rallies mark this anniversary in support of Papuans.
Johnny Blades reports.

Listen duration3:


This year, non-Papuan Indonesians were among the hundreds demonstrating in Jakarta. They were blasted by water cannons, before police arrested 203 of them. A public interest lawyer who was present, Veronica Koman, says demonstrators were roughed up by undercover police, and that ten of those taken in by police sustained injuries. They were all released without charge within a few hours, but Ms Koman says the arrests follow an ongoing pattern of infringement of constitutional rights.
"It's just basic freedom of expression. As long as Papua is still a part of Indonesia it means they still have the right to freedom of expression, and it's being violated systematically by the state."
Thursday's demos also occured in Papua region itself, mainly as prayer events and under the tight watch of police. Unlike December 1st demos in global centres such as London and Sydney, the Papua events were not allowed to feature raising of the Morning Star. Two days earlier a new organisation called the Indonesia's People Front for West Papua declared support for a legitimate self-determination process. Its spokesman Surya Anta was among those arrested in the capital
"All the members of this organisation, and also the individuals that support this United Front for West Papua, we are from Indonesian people. All the members of this organisation. There are no Papuans who are members of this United Front."
Although Jakarta says it is final, 1969's Act of Free Choice under which Papua was subsumed into Indonesia, voted on by only 0.2 percent of its population, remains a core grievance for Papuans. Mr Surya says if Indonesian and Papuan people can work together, and combine with international pressure, it is realistic that Jakarta can be encouraged to address the question of legitimacy. However the government prefers to focus on its economic development efforts in Papua, which include a major infrastructure drive taking in remote regions. The government's official on development in Papua, Judith Dipodiputro says in grassroots communities there is a growing sense of positivity about  the opportunities opening up.
"Most of my work is at the village level and I see this willingness, this positive wanting to... (like) this is the time, what can we do; creativity, wanting to innovate, try this, try that. Papuans in Papuan villages try to serve themselves with the help of the district, or Kabupaten (regency) or municipal or provincial government."
Yet Veronica Koman says that as far as Indonesia's general public is concerned, the state has long censored accurate information about Papua.
"And we in Jakarta are really campaigning, letting Indonesians know what's actually happening in West Papua, and also the history of manipulation by state. So people are opening their eyes, and it's growing, the solidarity is definitely growing."
She says since April this year, police have made 4,800 arrests of people participating in demos in support of West Papuan self-determination.


2) Flag day in Papua takes form of prayer events, petition
8:40 pm on 2 December 2016 

Events held in the cities of West Papua to mark the anniversary of the Papuan nationalist day mainly took the form of prayer events.

Yesterday was the 55th anniversary of a declaration of independence by the indigenous people of the former Dutch New Guinea declared independence.
The Papuan nationlist Morning Star was subsequently banned when Indonesia took over, but each year global rallies mark this anniversary in support of Papuans.
In Papua, the biggest of yesterday’s events was in the Highlands town of Wamena where 3000 people converged for a large prayer event at the Traditional Council headquarters.
Benar News reported that organisers of the event thanked the Indonesian authorities for permitting the opportunity to worship.
Among the speakers at another peaceful event, across in Papua's provincial capital, was Filep Karma.
Mr Karma was released from prison a year ago after serving eleven years for raising the Morning Star in 2004.
At the Jayapura event, hundreds signed a petition in support of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua with its growing representative role in the Pacific region.

'Political maturity'

Unlike December 1st demos in global centres such as London, Sydney, the Papua events were not allowed to feature raising of the Morning Star.
"Papuans are already aware and do not want to be provoked by violence and conflict," Mr Karma was reported as saying.
“Prayers and speeches such as these show political maturity and a dignified struggle."
The event also heard a speech written by the Liberation Movement secretary-general Octo Mote.
He said Indonesians "are starting to acknowledge that crimes have been committed by the government and military of Indonesia in Papua".
In Jakarta police arrested over two hundred people for participating in a demonstration in support of West Papuans' right to self-determination.
14 were arrested in the other Indonesian city of Yogyakarta.

3) World stands with 78 million HIV-positive people: UNAIDS
Jakarta | Fri, December 2 2016 | 08:50 am

Awareness: Volunteers from NGOs campaign for HIV/AIDS awareness in Sorong, West Papua, on Thursday. West Papua is reported to be the third-ranked province in Indonesia in terms of HIV/AIDS prevalence, with Sorong being the city with the highest number of cases at 1,841 as of this year.(Antara/Olha Mulalinda)
In commemorating World AIDS Day on Thursday, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) executive director Michel Sidibé said the international community stood “in solidarity with the 78 million people who have become infected with HIV”. 

With this year’s theme of “Hands Up for HIV Prevention”, the world also remembers “the 35 million who have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the first cases of HIV were reported”, the UN under-secretary-general said on the UNAIDS website.

Today, “more than 18 million people are on life-saving HIV treatment and country after country is on track to virtually eliminate HIV transmission from mother to child”, Sidibé added.

However, the number of new infections of HIV “is not declining among adults”. Sidibé cited young women in sub-Saharan Africa who face the triple threat of a high risk of HIV infection, low rates of HIV testing and poor adherence to HIV treatment.

On Wednesday UNAIDS in New York awarded UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his leadership in “reducing the impact of HIV and expanding access to health for millions of people”, said Sidibé. “He has been consistent in his support for the most vulnerable [...] and remains a staunch human rights defender for the people most affected by the epidemic.” 

Reports cited stigma as a major reason for low rates of HIV testing.

From Manila, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on Thursday that a senator, Risa Hontiveros, underwent HIV testing at the senate on Tuesday to not only raise awareness about the virus but also to encourage the public to take the test, which she said was free at social hygiene clinics.

An HIV test, Hontiveros said, could spell the difference between life and death. “It’s important that all individuals should be open to undergoing a voluntary HIV test especially now that our health authorities are saying that one out of two people with HIV are not aware of their disease so we need this kind of information for our safety, so we can save our lives and become healthy,” she said.

“We need to break down this barrier that prevents Filipinos from getting tested, especially that one in two persons living with HIV is not diagnosed,” Hontiveros, chairperson of the senate committee on health and demography, said in a separate statement.

The senator cited a Department of Health report that said there were 25 new cases of HIV infection every day in the Philippines.

Hontiveros is also pushing to lower the age of those allowed to take the HIV test, from the present 18 years old to 15 years old and above.

“If HIV testing would be opened to youth as young as 15 years old, then they would no longer need parental consent,” she said. 

Young people are seen at the losing end of the fight against HIV, with Hontiveros citing some adolescents’ “risky behavior”, which she said could lead to the spread of the virus.

Also on Thursday, Reuters reported that China’s first lady and World Heath Organization HIV/AIDS prevention goodwill ambassador attended an event at a Beijing university on Tuesday to raise awareness among students. 

Over 2,300 students between 15 and 24 tested positive for HIV/AIDS in the first nine months of this year, with new cases in the group increasing four times since 2010, according to the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Xinhua News Agency reported.

From Laos, the Vientiane Times reported that the health ministry and development partners had set up 168 centers countrywide to provide free consultations and HIV tests.


4) Inspirational farm girl from Greenvale immortalised in print
Alesha Capone, Hume Leader November 29, 2016 12:00am

THE inspirational life of Jessie Williamson, a Greenvale farm girl who became a missionary nurse, is the subject of a new book.
Brisbane writer John Algate has penned Jessie’s House of Needles, about a little-known but extraordinary woman.

Jessie was born as Roseabel Jessie Williamson in 1938, the ninth in a family of 10 children.
Jessie’s mother and father lived in Greenvale, which was a small farming community at the time.
As a youngster, Jessie attended the Greenvale Primary School.
A childhood accident left her with a hearing impairment, but she graduated from Essendon High School and became a nurse.
Mr Algate’s biography about Jessie details how she chose to leave a successful medical career in Melbourne to face the dangers and uncertainty of life in the remote villages of West Papua, between 1966 and 2001.
“For 35 years, Jessie served the Dani, Kimyal and other indigenous people of the region where she nursed, evangelised and built networks of local medics and midwives who continue her lifesaving work today,” Mr Algate said.
In 1998, Jessie was honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of her services to international humanitarian assistance.
Jessie passed away two years ago, after a three-year fight against leukaemia.
Jessie’s House of Needles by John Algate is published by Ingram Spark.
The recommended retail price for the paperback edition is $19.95.
An e-book is also available.

1) Call for Vanuatu to seek seat on UN committee of 24

2) RI and the Pacific: A history of cooperation

1) Call for Vanuatu to seek seat on UN committee of 24
3:44 pm today 
A former Vanuatu prime minister Barak Sope wants Vanuatu to become a member of the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation to counter Indonesia's influence.
Barak Sope said Indonesia is only on the committee to ensure the subject of self determination in West Papua is not discussed.
Vanuatu is one of the strongest supporters of Papuan self determination and Mr Sope has been one of the strongest advocates.
He said Vanuatu has a right to sit on two UN committees and should push to have its say on what is known as the Commmittee of 24.
"The reason why Indonesia is there is to prevent West Papua's case. That is all they are doing - always wanting to be in that top committee to ensure that West Papua is not discussed in that committee," he said.
"That is why it is important that we have countries that would support the idea of West Papua to get independence and the proper way of doing it is to be on the Committee of 24."
While West Papua is not on the list of 24 territories being considered for independence, six Pacific territories are on it - namely French Polynesia, New Caledonia, American Samoa, Guam, Tokelau and Pitcairn.
2) RI and the Pacific: A history of cooperation
Jakarta, Indonesia | Fri, December 2, 2016 | 12:00 am
Inforial The Jakarta Post
Indonesia has had a long history of positive and fruitful relations with the South Pacific region and its 14 countries and 10 million inhabitants.
The overall relationship between the two sides has shown a slow but steady increase in economic cooperation over the years.
In 2013 alone, Indonesia donated millions of US dollars to Pacific countries to be used in various fields. In early 2016, Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi visited Pacific countries to reiterate Indonesia’s interest in strengthening relations with them.
The Foreign Ministry has expressed its belief that this relationship has the potential for further development.
“Becoming part of the Pacific is destiny. You can choose your friends but not your neighbors,” said Desra Percaya, who is director general for Asia-Pacific and African Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.
“Indonesia’s diplomatic mission in the Pacific is to create a territory that is safe, stable and friendly, and to increase economic cooperation, trade, investment and social-cultural relations.”
The country has developed diplomatic relations with nearly all countries in the Pacific, and is currently in the process of opening a relationship with the Cook Islands.
Its relations with Pacific nations encompasses aspects like capacity building, diplomatic training, inter-university partnerships (such as between Pasundan University and Fiji National University) and work on dealing with common concerns, such as climate change.
With the Fiji archipelago, for instance, Indonesia has maintained a strong and dynamic relationship for the past 30 years. It has helped Fiji respond to disaster. In the aftermath of the recent category-five tropical storm, Cyclone Winston, which devastated Fiji last February, the Indonesian government has given the Fiji island nation US$5 million in reconstructive and rehabilitative aid.
The government has also pledged to help Fiji rebuild its Queen Victoria School by deploying engineer troops. It has also offered cooperation in areas of fisheries, food security and general disaster mitigation. In helping Fiji develop its agriculture sector, Indonesia has also sent 100 hand tractor units to aid the Fiji government.
Another Pacific nation, Papua New Guinea, has also enjoyed positive relations with Indonesia. In April this year, Rimbink Pato, Papua New Guinea’s foreign affairs and immigration minister, said that both countries had signed 11 memorandums of understanding and three corporate arrangements that spanned issues such as economic cooperation and politics.
The ministers of both countries have also discussed security arrangements, intelligence sharing and working in close cooperation on the border.
Throughout the years, Indonesia’s work with its neighbors in the Pacific region has also resulted in a number of influential intergovernmental sub-regional organizations, such as the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), the Southwest Pacific Dialogue (SWPD), the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF) and the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF).
Among the most notable of the organizations is the MSG, which began in 1988 as a means to promote economic cooperation among Melanesian nations – Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Indonesia was recognized as an associate member in 2015, after initially being accepted as an observer in 2011.
The relationship between Indonesia and the MSG countries is not simply economic. Indonesia in the past has used its common cultural background with these Melanesian countries to strengthen bilateral relations.
Indonesia has 11 million people of Melanesian descent spread across provinces such as Maluku and East Nusa Tenggara.
In fact, according to Vice Minister of Foreign Affair A. M Fachir, increased connectivity between Melanesians in Indonesia and the MSG nations could pave the way for broader access to the Indonesian market.
“Stronger connectivity will create wider opportunities,” Desra added.
“To answer this challenge, Indonesia is pushing for a meeting of the SWPD Group on Connectivity under the leadership of Papua New Guinea to discuss strengthening connectivity between Indonesia and the Pacific, especially the Southwest Pacific.”
In 2014, Indonesia and the MSG nations also agreed on a nine-paragraph joint statement that identified potential venues for cooperation in fields such as food security, education, democracy, good governance and social and cultural issues.
The country’s desire to improve cooperation extends to the natural world as well. In 2009, during the World Ocean Conference, Indonesia spearheaded the CTI-CFF with countries like Malaysia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.
Aside from protecting nature, Indonesia has also used the CTI-CFF as a way of fighting against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and to have it classified as a Transnational Organized Crime.
This decades-long history of cooperation between Indonesia and the Pacific nations has all been part of Indonesia’s diplomacy goal of building good relations with all of its neighbors and maintaining a stable, prosperous and secure regional neighborhood, which in turn is crucial for Indonesia’s own security, development and prosperity.
“Indonesia has an interest in pushing for stronger political stability and economic growth in the Pacific by playing its role in building bridges to Southeast Asia,” Desra said.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

1) Police accused of beating pro-referendum activis

2) Morning Star flag raised
3) A voice from Papua, Indonesia

4) More mass arrests at Papua rallies in Indonesia


1) Police accused of beating pro-referendum activists
Jakarta | Fri, December 2 2016 | 08:53 am

Moses Ompusunggu The Jakarta Post

Papua protest: People chant slogans during a protest by university students from the Free Papua Organization and the Papua Student Alliance in Jakarta on Thursday. The police detained at least four of the protesters, who were rallying against Indonesian rule over the eastern province of Papua.(JP/Wendra Ajistyatama) (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)
Papua protest: People chant slogans during a protest by university students from the Free Papua Organization and the Papua Student Alliance in Jakarta on Thursday. The police detained at least four of the protesters, who were rallying against Indonesian rule over the eastern province of Papua.(JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)
Lawyers for protesters attending a West Papua liberation rally in Jakarta on Thursday have accused police officers of beating their clients after a clash broke out between the two sides, leading to the arrest of 10 protesters.

One of the lawyers, Veronica Koman, claimed some of the 10 apprehended protesters were beaten by Jakarta Police officers on Jl. Imam Bonjol, Central Jakarta, when rally participants insisted on marching to the nearby Hotel Indonesia traffic circle.

The rally was organized by an alliance named the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-West Papua), which consists of numerous civil society organizations, aimed at supporting residents of the country’s easternmost region to exercise their right to self-determination through a referendum.

FRI-West Papua argues that the need for a referendum is a consequence of abuses carried out by the government that have resulted in a persistent lack of welfare in the restive region.

Those detained by the police included FRI-West Papua spokesperson Surya Anta, who was one of the protesters allegedly beaten by the police, and Alliance of Papuan Students (AMP) chairman Jefry Wenda.

The 10 apprehended protesters were released by the police on the same day. 

Veronica said the legal team, consisting of representatives from the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta), the Press Legal Aid Institute (LBH Pers) and the Keadilan Bogor Raya Legal Aid Institute (LBH KBR) based in Bogor, West Java, may report the incident to the Jakarta Police. Beatings, she said, were also carried out by police in plain clothes. 

“We may report the police because we saw the police violated many procedures. They beat and arrested [some of the protesters] without wearing police uniform, making it difficult for us to identify whether it was officers who allegedly beat the protesters,” Veronica said.

Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Raden Prabowo Argo Yuwono said he had not received any reports about the alleged beatings by police officers, but added that he would allow the activists to report the incident to the National Police’s internal affairs division (Propam). 

Apart from Jakarta, West Papua rallies were held on Thursday in nine other cities, such as Jayapura and Yogyakarta, coinciding with what West Papua liberation proponents see as their national day.

Hundreds of protesters participating in the rally in Jakarta initially planned to march from the LBH Jakarta office on Jl. Diponegoro, Central Jakarta, to the Presidential Palace. The plan, however, did not materialize as the mass was forced to stop and stage the rally at an intersection on Jl. Imam Bonjol, which was guarded by around 700 Jakarta Police personnel. 

During the rally, a leader frequently told the mass, which consisted of members of the FRI-West Papua and the AMP from various cities, that the event had to be conducted in a peaceful fashion, warning them to remain calm amid possible “provocation”.

But some protesters, who were seen wearing headbands resembling the Morning Star flag, insisted on advancing to the Presidential Palace via the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, prompting Central Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Dwiyono, who led the police effort, to issue several warnings to them.

Clashes broke out as the protesters nevertheless tried to break through the police barricade, during which Surya claimed he and other protesters were apprehended and beaten by a number of uniformed and non-uniformed police officers.

— Nethy Dharma Somba and Bambang Muryanto contributed to this story from Jayapura and Yogyakarta.


2) Morning Star flag raised

Chiefs, politicians, Ministers, community leaders, women, and youths from around Port Vila gathered yesterday morning to raise the Morning Star, West Papua’s flag The gathering which took place at the Chiefs Nakamal joins other gatherings around the globe in commemoration of the first raising of the flag in 1961, in West Papua. Vanuatu’s support towards West Papua’s struggle for Independence has always remained strong over the years and this year’s flag raising was attended by Deputy Prime Minister, Joe Natuman, Minister Ralph Regenvanu, and the President of Malvatumauri, along with Barak Sope, a former prime minister. “We raise the Morning Star flag every year in support of West Papua’s struggle for independence and to commemorate the first ever flag raising of 1961,” said Chairman of Vanuatu Free West Papua Association, Pastor Allan Nafuki. “The first raising of the Morning Star took place when West Papua was still under the colonial rule of Holland. “They asked Holland for Independence but when Holland left, West Papua was left with Indonesia after the creation of the Act of Free Choice which a lot of West Papuans had no knowledge of at that time.” Yesterday’s event included speeches from the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister Regenvanu, Malvatumauri President, Pastor Nafuki and Rex Rumakiek, Secretary General of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) who travelled to Vanuatu this week especially for the event.


3) A voice from Papua, Indonesia

WHEN journalist and media activist Victor Mambour wants information from inside Papua, Indonesia, he knows how to get it — he has to ask someone who isn’t Papuan.
“I’m Papuan so when something happens, I ask the police about it but they don’t give me an answer,” says Mambour. “My friend, who isn’t Papuan, can ask the same thing and get an answer.”
The situation epitomises how Mambour has had to operate in order to fill the pages of his Papuan-based newspaper, Jubi.
“If you want to be a real journalist in Papua and committed to ethics, it’s very hard, from the reporting to the salary,” says Mambour. “There’s a double standard for Papuan journalists and a lot of discrimination.”
The Indonesian government has used the long-standing conflict in Papua to justify implementing harsh rules in the region, offering limited opportunities and restricted access to journalists. While authorities may withhold information from local Papuan journalists — who are identified by their family name or physical characteristics — foreign journalists have little chance of even accessing the region.
But while the lack of access to Papua means that coverage of the region remains limited, some say that the coming year will be a test for Indonesia as it gets set to host Unesco’s World Press Freedom Day celebrations on May 3, 2017. Many Papuan journalists say they are fed up with the censorship, self-censorship and dangers that go along with reporting from and about the region and they are ready to let the world know.
Papua and West Papua have a long-standing history of human rights abuses, ever since the Free Papua Movement began its low-level guerrilla war against the Indonesian state in the 1960s. Since then, West Papuans have protested for independence, accusing the Indonesian government of violence and abuses of freedom of expression. In an attempt to mask the suppression of Papuan nationalism, the Indonesian government has long made outside access to Papua a challenge.
For journalists who do tackle the task of reporting on Papua, the primary focus is often related to the environment, with topics on resource extraction or corruption — topics very difficult and dangerous to report on.
Recently, the Indonesian government looked ready to open access to Papua, when President Joko Widodo made an announcement in May 2015 stating that the government would lift restrictions on foreign media access. But Phelim Kine, the deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch in New York, says that the announcement hasn’t pulled much weight.
“It was never followed up by any written decree, so while it was a rhetorical opening to Papua, foreign media still can’t get in,” says Kine. “And if they do get in, they’re subject to surveillance and harassment that makes effective reporting very difficult.”
Kine says journalists routinely self-censor material, and that the Indonesian government and security forces in Papua often infiltrate informers into media organisations to monitor and influence coverage. At other times, an intelligence operative will be required to follow a journalist into the region, restricting what they can report on and how sources offer testimony.
The result is that little or no coverage exists about the realities inside Papua, where civilians — especially in remote areas — are victims of civil, social and economic rights violations. Many in the region have no access to health or education services, or risk having their land stolen by the police or military. Because of their isolation, they have no one to whom they can report the violations.
But as much as authorities within Papua have tried to censor incriminating material, much of the news that comes out of the region remains negative, says Lina Nursanty, WAN-IFRA’s Indonesian Media Freedom Committee chair and a West Java-based freelance editor.
“Whenever we hear anything about Papua, it’s always about a tribal war or human rights abuses,” says Nursanty. “The news we get from there is always violent.”
As hosts of next year’s Unesco World Press Freedom Day celebrations, Indonesia has the challenging task of convincing the world that it deserves to act as a platform for media freedom. Nursanty says that while attending last year’s Press Freedom Day event in Helsinki, she joined a meeting with the Indonesian ambassador, where the discussion of Papua was at the top of the agenda.
“The Indonesian press council representative said that our biggest homework for next year is press freedom in Papua,” says Nursanty.
The Indonesian press council is currently creating a press freedom index for each region. And while the country’s overall index is improving, many Papuan journalists say it’s not enough. Mambour says that at next year’s World Press Freedom Day, he is willing to expose the truth about Papua, even if it puts his personal safety at risk.
“We need to take the opportunity to tell the world about what’s happening in Papua,” says Mambour. “We need to say how we are not granted freedom of the press and about the discrimination there.”
“I’m already past paranoia. I’ll talk about what’s going on. I’m not worried. Sometimes you have to take the risk.”
The WAN-IFRA Indonesia Media Freedom Committee is organising a joint reporting trip to Papua at the beginning of 2017. The initiative will see 10 Indonesian media organisations provide a week of joint coverage from the region, working with local Papuan journalists to shift the national news agenda and provide more detailed coverage of issues of importance to Papuans.
Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2016

4) More mass arrests at Papua rallies in Indonesia
20 minutes ago 
An Indonesian lawyer says the police continue to make mass arrests on spurious grounds at West Papuan rallies.
Police arrested over two hundred people in Jakarta yesterday for participating in a rally to mark the West Papuan nationalist day, 1st December.
A public interest lawyer who was present, Veronica Koman, said police subsequently released those arrested, without charge, a few hours later.
But she said the arrests follow the pattern seen in the large demonstrations across Papua region in May and June, where authorities violate citizens' right to freedom of expression.
She said that in their bid to silence West Papuan solidarity, police created excuses such as wanting to prevent traffic jams.
"The police will always find ways to forbid the demonstration. This year alone, since April, April 2016 until now, there have been at least 4,800 arrests,” said Veronica Koman.

1) Papuan Leaders Tell Pro-Independence Activists to Trust Jokowi Administration

2) NZ MPs among those sending message of hope for Papuans

1) Papuan Leaders Tell Pro-Independence Activists to Trust Jokowi Administration
By : Alin Almanar | on 11:09 PM December 01, 2016

Police disperse a demonstration by the Papuan Students Alliance and the Indonesian Front for West Papua in Central Jakarta on Thursday (01/12). Protesters are demanding the government to hold a referendum for Papuan independence. (Antara Photo/Juan Ferdinand)

Jakarta. A protest in support of Papua's independence in Jakarta on Thursday (01/12) ended up with the police beating up the protesters and drew criticism from fellow Papuans, who called on the demonstrators to heed efforts by the government to speed up development in Indonesia's easternmost province.
The protest was the latest in a string of demonstrations recent years that saw authorities repressing protesting Papuans in various parts of the country as decades-old insurgencies in the province showed no signs of abating.
Around 100 Papuans joined the pro-independence rally at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle to celebrate the Free West Papua Movement's anniversary.

The Indonesian government claims it has been intensifying efforts to ease tension in Papua by starting a number of infrastructure projects to boost economy in the island.
But many Papuans say the developmental approach could barely address the root causes of injustice in the province, which has led to rampant cases of human rights abuses.
Hours after Thursday's demonstration, senior Papuan leaders in Jakarta called on the protesters to calm down, saying President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration has been doing its best to find a solution for Papua.

"The government is trying to understand the conditions in Papua while at the same time carrying out those development programs," Nico Yarangga said. "Maybe the protesters have yet to see the results as the programs are still underway."
Police prevented dozens of Papuans from marching from the busy Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in the city center to the Presidential Palace. The police fired water cannons at the protesters before taking some of them to their headquarters.
Protesters wore Morning Star headscarfs, the banned symbol of the Papuan independence movement, prompting police to move against them.

"We brought them into custody because they were wearing accessories that are an insult to the state," Supt. Hendy Kurniawan of the Jakarta Police told reporters after the demonstration.
Papuan insurgents have long protested against a UN-backed referendum in 1969 that saw Papua becoming part of Indonesia, saying it was rigged. They have complained the central government has since given the resource-rich region an unfair share of the state's wealth.
"There will always be insurgencies if Papuans are hungry. But they will calm down if they are happy. And what the government is doing now is trying to make them happy," Nico's colleague, Max, told the Jakarta Globe.


2) NZ MPs among those sending message of hope for Papuans
7:23 pm on 1 December 2016

New Zealand MPs were among those demonstrating today in cities across the country to raise the West Papuan nationalist flag.

t's 55 years since the Papuan Morning Star flag was first flown officially when the indigenous people of the former Dutch New Guinea declared independence.
However 1961's declaration was soon eclipsed by a US-brokered agreement between the Dutch and Jakarta which paved the way for an Indonesian takeover.
The Morning Star was subsequently banned in Indonesia, but each year on December 1st rallies around the world mark this anniversary in support of Papuans by raising the Morning Star.

Up to 20 New Zealand MPs are involved in ongoing West Papua soldarity activities, having voiced concern about human rights abuses in the Indonesian-ruled region.
Half a dozen of them were present to hold the Morning Star at today's demonstration outside parliament.
Global Morning Star flag raising events are also taking place today cross Australia, Britain, South Africa, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria and elsewhere.
In Wellington, on the steps of the New Zealand parliament, the Greens MP Catherine Delahunty conveyed a message of hope to Papuans.
"People of West Papua who are not allowed to raise their own flag, all over the world today we say to them do not give up hope. Merdeka! Freedom! Solidarity with West Papua."
The MPs gathered to raise the Morning Star in the capital today say Papuans should be able to raise their flag without fear of imprisonment.
Meanwhile, civil society groups planning to demonstrate in Indonesia's capital Jakarta today to raise West Papua's nationalist flag have been warned they face arrest.
And in Papua itself, in recent days, security forces had launched crackdowns in some towns in the region in anticipation of December 1st rallies.