Sunday, April 22, 2018

1) Papuan uses foreign perspective in book about homeland


2) Statement by the Executive-Director of the LP3BH
----------------------------------
https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/2018641683/papuan-uses-foreign-perspective-in-book-about-homeland
1) Papuan uses foreign perspective in book about homeland
From 4:02 am today 
A former West Papuan journalist has recently finished a novel that highlights on human rights issues in Indonesia's Papua region.
Aprila Wayar's third novel, 'Sentuh Papua', which translates in English as 'Touching Papua', is written from the perspective of a foreign journalist in Papua.
Ms Wayar says the book, which is written in Bahasa, uses an informed outsider's perspective to offer new generations of Papuans an insight on the often overlooked history of their homeland.
She spoke to Johnny Blades and began by telling him about the difficulties she faced working as a journalist in Papua.




             West Papuan novelist, and former journalist, Aprila Wayar. Photo: Supplied
——————————————————
Via reg.westpapua list
2) Statement by the Executive-Director of the LP3BH
  As the year 2025 approaches, I wish to draw attention to the fact that the provisions of Article 34 points (3) nos b and 4
regarding  funds for the Special Autonomy Law for West Papua will come to an end, after having been in force for 25 years.

    This means that in accordance with point 5 which states that in the year 2026, the provisions of funds will be reduced by 50%.

    As a human rights activist and Executive-Director of the Institute for Research, Investigation and Development of Human Rights,
Manokwari, I call on the Governor of the Province of West Papua  and Papua  as well as the People's Representative Council  to immediately
undertake an investigation into the implementation of Articles 77 and 78 of Law No 21, 2001.

   This investigation should be undertaken by convening the Council of Development for the two above-mentioned provinces.as soon as
possible. The investigation should involve not only the regional organisations (OPD) but also representatives of the Traditional Papuan
People (OAP), in accordance with the provisions of Article 1 of the Special Autonomy Law . Moreover, it should include representatives of
religious organisations, of academicians, students as well as the Papuan youth..

    The agenda of such an investigation would be a critically-important occasion for the degree to which the Traditional
Papuan people have experienced the true meaning of the implementation of the provisions of the Special Autonomy Law over the past twenty
years, since it was enacted..It would also provide an opportunity for the Traditional Papuan People to being recognised by the State and
lawfully acknowledged as sharing a role of be involved at every stage of the investigation to safeguard the process from manipulations from
whatever side, including from the State.

    Such an investigation would be an important milestone to reconstruct the 'political contract' between the Traditional Papuan
People as citizens of Indonesia. This would also include a fundamental evaluation of the Special Autonomy Law and its implementation
throughout the Land of Papua.

Peace

Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive-Director of LP3BH Manokwari, Recipient of the John Humphrey Freedom Award 2005, Montreal, Canada
and member of  the Human Rights Commission, Recipient of the John Humphreys Award 2205,in Montreal Canada,

Translated by Carmel Budiardjo, Recipient of the Right Livelihood
Award, Stockholm, 1995
---

Friday, April 20, 2018

1) Papuan students in Australia ask Military to release Waa villagers


2) Economic, Social and Cultural Issues Attract the United Nations, National Commission for Human Rights Says 
3) Papuan women traders disappointed not meeting Jokowi

4) Papuan Film Festival II Sets Theme on Indigenous People

5) Government Put Rice on Priority Rather than Papuan Local Food
6) Regent’s House Burns Down, Form of Public Resentment, says Legislator
7) Solidarity for PNG earthquake collects Rp 40 million
-------------------------------------------------------


1) Papuan students in Australia ask Military to release Waa villagers
admin
Araminus Omaleng, Samson Omabak and Felix Degei; Papuan students from Kampung Waa studying in Autralia. – IST

Paniai, Jubi – Students from Kampung Waa, Tembagapura Sub-district, who are currently studying in Australia request the Indonesian Military and Police officers to release the arrested villagers. They argued that those people are civilians and have no connection with the separatist movement.
“The Waa villagers who have been captured by the Indonesian Military since April 1st are ordinary people,” Felix Degei, a student studying in Australia, told Jubi on Thursday (14/3/2018).
Degei, who is also an alumnus of the University of Cenderewasih, stated that the military must also declare that a 45-year-old civil servant, the late Timothy Ombak; a 10-year-old Heri Banal; and a 9-year-old Iron Omabak are innocent civilians who are victims of military operations.
Another student Araminus Omaleng said the military should make both oral and written announcement stating that Waa villagers can do their daily activities without any suspicion.
“Kampung Waa is the ancestral land of the Amungme people. Therefore, the military has to stop threatening the local community,” he said.
Moreover, he asked PT. Freeport Indonesia and Indonesian Military to be responsible for providing compensation to all facilities that have been damaged and burned in the military operations.
Kampung Waa comprises four villages located near the mining area of PT. Freeport Indonesia in Tembagapura Sub-district, Papua. (*)
 
Reporter: Abeth You
Editor: Pipit Maizier


-------------------------------


2) Economic, Social and Cultural Issues Attract the United Nations, National Commission for Human Rights Says 
admin
Demonstration at the Papua parliament office urged the government to resolve human rights issues in Papua – Jubi / Arjuna.

Jayapura, Jubi – Chief Papua Representative Office of the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM), Frits Ramandey, said that human rights issues in Papua are not only about violence but economic, social, cultural and political as well. Further, he said these issues are more considerate than a violence-related human rights issue.
“Just like the problems of poverty, health, and education, the economic, social and cultural issues tend to attract the attention of the United Nations more than the violence-related human rights issues, because this illustrates a series of government’s vulnerability, omission and negligence. Therefore, it needs an intervention,” he told Jubi on Saturday (14/4/2018). Moreover, he said, the violence-related human rights issue is relatively easy to turn into the issue of crimes.
Regarding the visit of the UN Envoy to Indonesia, he also wants to ensure that several reports submitted by Komnas HAM, local partner agencies and NGOs who always get opportunities to deliver a comparison report obtained the same attention from the UN.  “The UN is obliged to ensure it: making an integrated effort,” he said.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Mr Hilal Elver, has been in Indonesia from April 9th to April 18th, 2018. During the meeting with Mr Elver on April 9th, 2018, the Indonesian Minister of Agriculture, Amran Sulaiman conveyed that the Government of Indonesia determined for not being dictated by the European Union because Indonesia has a standard in the agricultural industry. Further, he called on the UN to react to the black campaign on oil palm plantations in Indonesia that rose by member states of the European Union. The UN is expected to merely not seeing this issue from the side of deforestation, but also from the community welfare.
On April 10th, 2018, Mr Elver visited Komnas HAM office to find out more information about the fulfillment of the right to food in Indonesia. Komnas HAM Vice Chairman, Ms Sandrayati Moniaga said from the aspect of health access, the Commission highlights the case of malnutrition and child mortality in Asmat District, Papua, since September 2017. Komnas HAM views that this case was emerged because of some factors, including poor health facilities, culture and poor sanitation,” said Moniaga. While in term of food access, she said the factors are including stagnant food production, small-scale farm ownership, the extent of land conversion, and population growth. (*)
 
Reporter: Arjuna Pademme
Editor: Pipit Maizier
————————————————

3) Papuan women traders disappointed not meeting Jokowi
admin
Jayapura, Jubi – Papuan women traders on the second and third floors of ‘Pasar Mama-Mama Papua (the traditional market for Papuan women)’ in Jayapura City were disappointed not meeting the Indonesian President Joko Widodo during his visit to this local market.
Mrs Nelly Pekey, a ‘noken’ seller, was upset because the president and the first lady only visited and went around the first floor.  “We don’t expect Mr President to buy our products. We only want to meet him face-to-face and shake his hand, because it can make us happy and motivated,” she said on Friday (13/4/2018).
We even left our children at home for the entire day for a chance meeting and thanking him, she added. She was also upset her goods such as vegetables, fish and raw chickens damaged because buyers were not allowed to come during the president’s visit.
The Chairwoman of Papua Gemstone Association, Doliana Yakadewa said she and other traders from the first to third floors have been waiting for the president since the morning to 16:00 Papua time. “(the market) is only for a President Jokowi’s visit. Not eat, drink or sale is allowed because the market has sterilised since the morning. So buyers are not allowed to come buying our goods,” she said. (*)
 
Reporter: Aguz Pabika
Editor: Pipit Maizier

—————————————

4) Papuan Film Festival II Sets Theme on Indigenous People
admin
Jayapura, Jubi – Papuan Voices sets the theme on ‘Indigenous People in the midst of modernisation’ in Papuan Film Festival II. This theme is to clarify the current situation of indigenous Papuans in the midst of progressive development and investment in the land of Papua.
“We select this theme as a response to the current situation occurred in Papua,” said the Chairman Committee of Papuan Film Festival II, Harun Rumbrar in a press conference held on Tuesday (17/4/2018).
The film festival will be held in Jayapura City from August 7 to August 9, 2018, with the same agenda as the previous event. “We will also conduct Papuan Voices Conference and evaluate our program,” he added.
He also mentioned that such theme in Papuan Film Festival is aimed to introduce the life of Papuan indigenous community as well as to promote public awareness of their problems. Moreover, this film festival is also to encourage and support young and skilful filmmakers in producing and distributing documentary films. “It is also an event to strengthen the filmmakers’ networks in Papua,” he said.
Documentary films received from contestants are mostly on the issues of Papuan forest and the life of indigenous Papuans.
Meanwhile, the Secretary Committee of Papuan Film Festival II, Bernard Koten said Papuan Voices already run their program in four districts, namely Merauke, Wamena, Sorong and Raja Ampat. It would continue its program to Keerom and Saireri (Biak).
 “To promote this event, we do some publications on mass media, social media, banner, and leaflets,” said Koten (*)
 
Reporter: Hengky Yeimo
Editor: Pipit Maizier
—————————————

5) Government Put Rice on Priority Rather than Papuan Local Food
admin

Jayapura, Jubi – Anthropology lecturer at the University of Cendrawasih, Jack Morin said that the government’s investment and programs are some factors in eliminating Papuan staple food.
According to him, the distribution of Rastra (rice for poor), village funds and other development programs affect the activity of indigenous Papuans in rural areas. As a result, people are less concerned about the existence of their local food. Moreover, oil palm plantations, mining areas, and other business investment have affected the availability of agriculture lands; he told Jubi on Wednesday (18/4/2018).
It is worrying, he added, this condition would lead to the problem of food security. The government has an important role to ensure that local food continues to be dominant in the community because it has everything: power, money and knowledge. With human resources it has, the government should be able to maintain the existence of local food in each region.
“It is necessary to encourage both governor and regents to be aware concerning this matter,” he said. However, he also reminds the community to be aware of their land and the potential of their local food. “Do not be consumed by investment or government’s policy;  people should maintain the sustainability of local food,” he said.
The Head of Agricultural and Horticultural Agency of Papua Province, Semuel Siriwa said the Papua Provincial Government concern about local food development. It already stipulates a policy requiring all government agencies to serve local food in meetings or events. He said this governor’s instruction is part of government’s efforts to develop food security.
“This instruction should be implemented by all government agencies. Economically, it will increase income, as well as the stability of local food security. If it occurs, farmers will be more motivated because the market is ready,” said Siriwa
The Head of the Food Security and Coordination Agency for Provincial Representative Office of Papua, Roberth Eddy Purwoko said his office would further improve local food development programs, ranging from home-scale plantation such as a home garden that can provide sustainable food.  “Local food would certainly reduce demands on food supplies from other regions,” he said. (*)
 
Reporter: Arjuna Pademme
Editor: Pipit Maizier
—————————————
6) Regent’s House Burns Down, Form of Public Resentment, says Legislator
admin

Jayapura, Jubi – Chairman of the Golkar faction of the Papua House of Representatives, Ignatius W Mimin said that people’s action in burning the private house of the Regent of Pegunungan Bintang (Pegubin), Costan Otekma, on Thursday (12/4/2018) was a spontaneous act and a form of public resentment against the regent.
He further said people told him that the masses did not only burn the Regent’s house but also blocked the regent’s office, the local parliament’s office and the airport as well. “This act disturbed the local government’s activities. Currently, people ask for a new regent. The central and provincial governments must answer this question,” said Mimin on Thursday (12/4/2018).
As long as this question is still in the queue, he said, the masses are going to block the regent’s office. Therefore, he met the Papua Police Deputy to report this incident. Moreover, he reminded the regent to not running away from his responsibility. The regent should meet and talk to the people asking for their aspiration. “As a native Pegubin, I won’t remain silent. There is a story behind this act; why has it happened in the second year of the current government; during the celebration of the 15th anniversary of Pegunungan Bintang District,” he said.
He also encouraged the police for not only investigating the perpetrators but also finding the reasons behind it. “It should not be the police, but the provincial government also need to look down. I don’t want my district government stuck,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Head of Public Relations of Papua Police, Senior Police Commissionaire A.M. Kamal said the act of masses allegedly happened because people were disappointed when finding there was no food served during the celebration of the 15th regional anniversary.
“People might also be angry because there wasn’t a door prize event as promised,” said Kamal. (*)
 
Reporter: Arjuna Pademme
Editor: Pipit Maizier
————————————————
7) Solidarity for PNG earthquake collects Rp 40 million
admin
Jayapura, Jubi – West Papua Solidarity for the victims of the earthquake in Papua New Guinea collected Rp 40 million and 520 thousand during fundraising held from March 15 to April 15, 2018.  Donators are individual, churches, mosques as well as other interfaith organisations. Despite cash, people also donate their wearable clothes, stated the Coordinator Samuel Awom in a press conference held at the Taburia Dormitory in Padang Bulan on Tuesday (17/4/18).
“This collected money will be sent directly to our friends in Vanimo.” The fundraising held in any part of Jayapura City, including Jayapura, Abepura, Sentani and Youtefa traditional market.
Meanwhile, the Secretary Kris Dogopia said this was an act of humanitarian solidarity without any political interests. 
“We want to give a good example to Papuan people of helping others because solidarity is universal. And this is purely solidarity for humanity,” said Dogopia. (*)
 
Reporter: Aguz Pabika
Editor: Pipit Maizier
---------------------

Thursday, April 19, 2018

1) Indonesia military put Aroanop under control


2) Freeport open pit mine to stop in 2019
--------------------------------------------

https://en.antaranews.com/news/115422/indonesia-military-put-aroanop-under-control

1) Indonesia military put Aroanop under control 
Reporter:  
A number of teachers who successfully evacuated by TNI from Aroanop, Tembagapura District, embraced their relatives upon arrival in Timika, Mimika, Papua, Thursday (19/4/2018). (ANTARA PHOTO/Jeremias Rahadat)

Timika, Papua (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Army has taken back Aroanop village in Papua from armed criminal groups respectively led by Joni Botak and Sabinus Waker, according to Colonel Frits Pelamonia, commander of the integrated task force armed criminal groups (KKSB).

"Aroanop is safe and under control. We from the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) have taken control of it since 5:30 a.m. local time. My striking forces, four teams, have secured the vllage, and we have cleared it of," Pelamonia said here, Thursday.

The armed criminal groups had controlled Aoranop after being pushed backed by TNI from Banti kampong in Tembagapura sub-district, Mimika District, Papua Province.

In Aoranop, the groups persecuted and seized belongings of nine elementary school teachers on April 13. One teacher was reportedly raped by three members of the groups.

"We have gathered local residents and I gave them some guidance and convinced them that Aroanop comprising six kampongs, is under control and local people could resume their normal activities," he said.

He said his officers would chase the criminals believed to have fled to Jagamin kampong. One group has ten members, and another has five to six members.

"Jagamin is one of their routes to escape, so we chase them. Our main task is to evacuate (several teachers), so we have to secure hilly areas to be used as evacuation route," he said.

The Army on Thursday managed to evacuate 13 teachers mostly women, from Aroanop by two helicopters.

A teacher of an elementary school in Arwanop was gang-raped by three members of armed criminal group (KKB) on April 12, 2018.

The victim identified by her initial as MM fell unconscious after being raped by the three men, and later she gained her consciousness but was traumatized, Senior Commissioner Ahmad Kamal, spokesman of the Papua Provincial Police, said here Sunday.

Armed criminal groups in Papua have frequently shoot police officers and kidnapped people.

In November 2017, some 1,300 people, comprising of over 850 indigenous Papuans and 346 migrant workers, had been held hostages by an armed criminal group (KKB) in several villages in Tembagapura for about three weeks.

reported by Jeremias Rahadat
(T.SYS/A/KR-BSR/A/O001) 
Editor: Heru Purwanto
——————————————————


2) Freeport open pit mine to stop in 2019
6:19 pm on 19 April 2018 



                                           Freeport's Grasberg mine in Papua, Indonesia. Photo: AFP
The management of the mining company Freeport Indonesia says it will close the operation of its open-pit gold mine in Papua next year.
An Executive Vice President of PT Freeport Indonesia, Sony Prasetyo, says that production of the mine in Papua's Mimika regency would wind down as 2019 approaches.
Indonesia's Tempo news outlet reports that exploitation of the gold resource will not be able to be sustained in the open-pit mine.
He says the only way Freeport can continue its operations at the Papua Grasberg deposit is ongoing underground mining.
But he indicated that issues around operating permits would need to be resolved before that underground operations can be extended.
Sony says closing the open-pit mine will affect revenue, but is reluctant to confirm whether there will be staff layoffs.
Freeport currently has three mining operations at grasberg: the open pit, the Deep Ore Zone underground mine, and the Big Gossan underground mine.
-----------------------------

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

1) A new take on violence in Indonesian Papua



2) Caught in a pincer
--------------------------------------


The interpreter THURSDAY 19 APR 2018 | 05:41 | SYDNEY

1) A new take on violence in Indonesian Papua 
BY Bobby Anderson
Adrian Morel
18 April 2018 07:00 AEDT  

Last year’s “hostage stand-off” in Indonesian Papua had hardly ended before more armed clashes began. Most violence in Papua is assumed to be an issue of indigenous people threatened by the state. But this assumption is anecdotal.
Despite the wealth Indonesia earns through Papua’s abundant natural resources, a dearth of government services results in ordinary Papuans having the lowest incomes, the lowest educational levels, and the highest mortality rates in the country. 
Support for independence is certainly widespread. But in an effort to quantitatively analyse violence in Papua and Papua Barat, we examined the 2008–15 National Violence Monitoring System (NVMS), a database of Indonesian district- and provincial-level newspapers.
NVMS was essentially an exercise in collective newspaper reading, where dozens of analysts captured and coded every violent incident reported across Indonesia, digging through provincial archives dating back to 1998.
Most violence and not all killings make the news, especially in Indonesia where large parts of the country lack journalists and police. But NVMS remains the most comprehensive and methodologically sound dataset available. (NVMS regrettably ended in 2015 when the funding expired.)
We studied 2014 data – the final year of NVMS, when it captured 200,000 violent incidents nationwide – and earlier. We honed in on homicide, assuming that this measure would be illustrative of the frequency of other types of violence (assaults, riots, arson) as well.
While our analysis is not yet complete, what we have discovered thus far is revealing: crime kills more Papuans than the state; both crime and insurgency are extremely localised; and security actors tend to ignore violence unless they are targeted. A threadbare state is more apparent than a police state in 2018, as well as 2014. (A draft version of the longer analysis is available for download here.)
 

Geographic parameters of homicide

Papua province contains 1.2% of Indonesia’s population, and in 2014 was home to 5% of its homicides. Killings were highly localised, with 54% occurring in Mimika Regency and Jayapura city.
Mimika’s homicide rate was 29.2 per 100,000 people – 30 times the national average – matching homicide rates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Colombia. Jayapura city came in a distant second, with 10 homicides per 100,000, equivalent to Haiti and Liberia, and matching the “violence epidemic” standard set by the World Health Organisation.
 

Crime, separatism, and homicide

In Papua province the leading cause of homicide was crime, which constituted 43.5% of murders. Deaths related to separatism came second, constituting 18% of all homicides from 2010–14. Police and military casualties were counted in this category.
All but one 2014 separatist-related death occurred in Papua province. Papua Barat was, and is, nearly free of such killings.
71% of separatist-related killings in Papua province occurred in four districts, mostly in Puncak Jaya. That district’s 48 deaths also occurred in discrete areas, namely Tingginambut and Mulia. Puncak Jaya was followed by Jayapura city (22), Lanny Jaya (17), Paniai (17), and Puncak (14).
The vast majority of Papua hosted no separatist-linked homicides.
 

Separatists kill more and better than security actors

Separatist violence killed more than security actor violence. Between 2010 and 2014, separatist attacks led to 122 deaths; security actor attacks, 43.
Security actor attacks were more frequent and more injurious, wounding 368, in comparison to 194 injured in separatist actions.
Separatist violence was also more targeted. 75% of deaths were security actors, followed by government staff. Civilians constituted only 20% of deaths and 16% of injuries. This compared starkly with security actor violence, where 65% of killings and 72% of injuries were civilians.
If we merge killings by police and military into a sole “state killing” category, across all categories only 5% of 2014 homicides were perpetrated by state actors, which is a small amount given prevailing views of the situation.
 

Other causes of homicide

In Papua province, crime and separatism as causes of homicides were followed by resource disputes (14.5%, one out of every six resource-linked deaths in Indonesia); mob justice (8.5%); “identity-based” or clan/ethnic violence (8%); domestic violence (5%); and election violence (2%).
The remarkably few election-linked homicides, in a significant reduction on previous years, still represent a quarter of Indonesia’s 2014 elections-related deaths.
 

2014 and contemporary Papua

Patterns of violence seen in 2014 form a prism through which to view 2018. Papua Barat hosts hardly any separatist activity; separatist violence in Papua remains contained primarily in Puncak Jaya and Mimika.
In the former, since 2015 at least nine civilians, three separatists, and 11 security actors have been murdered, including the TNI Kodim adjunct commander, with numerous people wounded. In the latter, intoxicated soldiers murdered two civilians in 2015 and were jailed. 
A long arc of violence in Mimika began in August 2017 and continues. State and separatist violence was not totally confined, with other incidents in Yahukimo and Tolikara. While insurgent violence remains targeted, state violence seems to have become less indiscriminate, a likely legacy of President Joko Widodo’s 2014 election. 
And violence outside the spectacle of insurgency continues, as mundane as it is pervasive. Papuan friends may support independence, and they have reason to do so, but they are more concerned about crime, alcohol, and services than state abuses.
The real structural violence found within Papua, and other areas of Indonesia for that matter, is better discerned in a recent measles outbreak, compounded by malnutrition, that killed dozens in Asmat in February this year. This illustrates the absence of services in indigenous areas, and a corruption that kills.
A picture emerges from these figures: the Indonesian state in Papua is regarded as pervasive, but its absence is glaring. Symptoms of this are found not only in crime and vigilantism, but also in deaths from easily preventable diseases and in illiteracy, among other things.
Papua’s deaths, both spectacular and mundane, hint that, while Indonesia has coherent policies toward Papua’s natural resources, it has no coherent policy toward Papuans.
—————————————————————

The interpreter THURSDAY 19 APR 2018 | 05:42 | SYDNEY

2) Caught in a pincer
BY Ben Bohane

18 April 2018 15:00 AEDT

China, China, China.
All the talk is of increasing Chinese influence in our region. But this is to wilfully ignore the elephant in the room. 
Contrary to most commentary, the biggest destabilising player in Melanesia over the past five years has not been China, but Indonesia. Through its “look east” policy, Jakarta has deliberately paralysed the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) while seeking to influence local MPs and political parties across the Pacific to try and stop snowballing regional support for West Papuan independence.
Indonesia already has Peter O’Neill onside in PNG, and Frank Bainimarama in Fiji, and is busy trying to neutralise Vanuatu, Solomons Islands, and Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) leaders in New Caledonia, who are resisting Jakarta’s influence.
The reason Vanuatu and other Melanesian nations are turning to China is because they worry more about Indonesia, which has directly threatened Vanuatu over its strong diplomatic support for the West Papuans.
Vanuatu may be pulling some “muscle” into its corner, feeling it cannot rely on Australia because Canberra continues its supine support of Indonesia, even as Jakarta directly undermines Australian and Pacific island interests. 
The accumulative “strategic failure” is not a result of Australia failing to check Chinese influence in Melanesia, but of failing to check Indonesian interference in these nations that are supposed to be on “our patch”.
For decades, islanders thought their “big brothers” Australia and America would defend Pacific peoples, as occurred in the Second World War. Instead, it appears Australia has outsourced security of Melanesia to Indonesia, giving it free rein.
There was a time when the Australian Defence Force worked with the Papua New Guinea Defence Force to actively secure PNG’s 800-kilometre border with Indonesia. Today the border is wide open, and my contacts within PNGDF intelligence continue to complain that the Indonesian National Armed Forces routinely violate PNG sovereignty with their patrols, up to a dozen times per year, sometimes even moving the border marking pegs.
How can Australia be perceived as PNG’s security guarantor when it doesn’t even help its neighbour secure its primary border, especially given the growing threat of jihadi infiltration? Why has the Australian Federal Police been given priority over the ADF in terms of security across Melanesia?
With no more engineering battalions or ADF advisers present, China has walked straight in.
From a Melanesian perspective, the two biggest security issues are climate change and Indonesia’s increasing political interference across the Melanesian archipelago. Despite the mantra from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop that Australia remains the “strategic partner of choice” for Vanuatu and the region, the fact is that Canberra is not listening to Melanesia’s security concerns, but is telling them what they should be concerned about (China).
This is not going down well, and Melanesian nations are forging their own security arrangements with or without Australia, who they see as compromised when it comes to Indonesia and climate change. 
In the past few months we have witnessed something of a pincer movement. In December, RAAF jets scrambled in Darwin after a number of nuclear-capable Russian Tupolev Tu 95 “Bear” bombers flew from Biak between Australia and Papua.
It’s the first time Russian bombers have operated like this in the South Pacific, and suggests Jakarta wanted to warn Australia and the US forces parked in Darwin that it too could bring some “muscle” into the neighbourhood. That message was likely aimed at China as much as Australia and the US.
Then, at the other end of Melanesia, we have revelations about a potential Chinese military base in Vanuatu. It’s highly unlikely China would have asked for a military base – Beijing is far too subtle to do that.
The more likely angle is something dressed up as a civilian project but with military applications, such as the “space station” speculated about in the South China Morning Post last week.
Already there is dual-use infrastructure in Vanuatu, such as the big Santo wharf. Step by step, like the “salami-slicing” strategy in the South China Sea, China will move in incrementally. 
The consequences of this pincer only serve to demonstrate Australia’s diminishing standing in the region over decades, and the strategic consequences of turning a blind eye to Indonesia’s brutal hold over West Papua, the territory at the root of both Russian and Chinese moves in the region.
Australia must now find a strategic balance among its “frenemies” Indonesia and China. This must begin with deeper engagement of the islands, acknowledgement of climate change, and a robust defence of the Melanesian archipelago, from Timor to Fiji, if it expects to be Melanesia’s “security partner of choice”.
-----------------------------