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Home � Australia West Papua Association (Sydney) AWPA update. August 2010

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney) AWPA update. August 2010

By AWPA Sydney
Sep 9, 2010, 00:59

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Australia West Papua Association (Sydney) AWPA update. August 2010
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088
AWPA update. August 2010

It was disappointing that the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) leaders failed to condemn the human right abuses being committed by the Indonesian military in West Papua and failed to grant observer status to the West Papuan people at it annual meeting in Port Vila. Although the smaller Pacific Island countries must come under great pressure from Indonesia, Australia and PNG to keep West Papua off the agenda at the PIF, one would of thought that pacific solidarity would have at least raised concern about the human rights situation in West Papua in the Forum’s official communiqué.

Indonesia tries to gag Papuan lecture
DANIEL FLITTON SMH August 11, 2010
INDONESIAN officials have tried to put a stop to a public lecture in Melbourne tonight to discuss the troubled province of West Papua. In an echo of the pressure brought by China last year to dump the Melbourne screening of a film about a separatist struggle, an Indonesian official this week asked the Victorian branch of the Australian Institute of International Affairs to cancel the event. Speakers at ''West Papua's Search for Self-Determination'' will include Herman Wainggai - one of 43 West Papuans granted asylum after fleeing by boat to Australia in 2006 - and Deakin university academic Scott Burchill, who was banned from travelling to Indonesia the same year.

AIIA vice-president Graham Barrett said last night West Papua was clearly sensitive for Indonesia but the Institute's policy was to present all views without favour. Indonesian embassy spokesman Eko Junor said it was disappointing more notice of the event had not been given so the Indonesian ambassador or officials could have attended, to ''enrich the event with another side of the debate''. Mr Junor said the request to cancel the event was most likely a misunderstanding. Dr Burchill said Indonesia had pressured countries at the recent Pacific Island Forum to keep West Papua off the agenda. ''The less you talk about it, the more you try to block it, the more intensive the pressure becomes. You'd think they'd learned that from the East Timor experience,'' Dr Burchill said. The event will be held this evening at Dyason House in East Melbourne at 5.30pm. Source: The Age


144 Soldiers at Papua Base Infected With HIV: TNI
Jakarta Globe Banjir Ambarita | August 10, 2010
Jayapura. The Indonesian military announced on Tuesday that at least 144 of its 15,000 servicemen stationed at the Cendrawasih Army base in Papua have tested positive for HIV. “That figure was based on medical examinations of all personnel at Cendrawasih,” spokesman Maj. Gen. Hotma Marbun said at a press conference at the base in Jayapura. “Four of those infected have since died,” he said. Hotma added that the prevalence of HIV here was the highest among Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) bases. “Most of those who have the virus were sexually promiscuous,” Hotma said, adding they were mostly between the ages of 18 and 20. To prevent more soldiers from contracting the virus, he went on, base commanders were now carrying out an awareness and education campaign to disseminate information about the dangers of HIV and how to prevent infection . Meanwhile, those who have been diagnosed with the virus are receiving regular medical treatment, Hotma said. “We’re doing our best to stop the spread of the disease by reminding the soldiers not to engage in unsafe sex practices, and by reminding the infected soldiers to diligently stick with their treatment plans.” The revelation comes amid a wider campaign by the government to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in workplaces, as well as to provide treatment for infected workers. The joint venture by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration and the National AIDS Commission (KPAN) is also backed by the International Labor Organization. “Workplaces are ideal for the spread of a virus because they bring people together in close confinement,” said Bambang Giatno Rahardjo, the Health Ministry’s head of human resources development and empowerment. “Those whose immune systems are already weakened by HIV/AIDS are at greater risk of catching tuberculosis at work.” There are an estimated 390,000 people living with HIV in Indonesia, according to the latest KPAN data from March 2010. The commission warns this figure could increase to 500,000 by 2014 unless more is done to promote prevention and treatment programs in workplaces.


One killed in armed attack in Papua
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 08/05/2010
Puncak Jaya people: JP/Irawaty Wardany
A migrant was killed and another injured after unidentified gunmen attacked them in Wuneri village in the restive Papua regency of Puncak Jaya, police reported. Spokesman for the papua police Sr. Comr. Wachyono said Thursday that 25-year-old Wahid, a kiosk owner in the village, was shot dead late Wednesday afternoon. A motorcycle taxi (ojek) driver, who was passing by, also suffered gunshot wounds. Wachyono said that Wahid was shot inside his kiosk. The police found an AK-47 bullet shell at the crime site, he said. It was the second armed attack in Puncak Jaya in as many days. On Tuesday night a group of gunmen opened fire at a car carrying a district chief and his family on their way home from the regency capital of Mulia. The family survived the attack unhurt.

Papua situation calls for ‘flexibility’: Ex-minister
Dina Indrasafitri, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 08/05/2010
Flexible policy implementation in the field is required to handle tension in Papua, a natural resources-rich province plagued by decades of separatist movement, a former minister says. Former defense minister Juwono Sudarsono said that a cross-cultural approach should be taken into account in dealing with security problems in the easternmost province. Papua has again come under international scrutiny after a video showing a Papuan activist lying with a gaping wound on his stomach – allegedly inflicted by Mobile Brigade personnel, voicing calls for "Freedom". The activist, identified as Yawan Wayeni, died last year. "Security officers in the field are frightening that Jakarta would reprimand them. Jakarta should acknowledge that there should be flexibility in the field," Juwono said on the sidelines of a seminar on nationalism. He added that the problem of "Jakarta versus Papua" was a cultural matter. "There needs to be a dialogue between Jakarta and Papua...[there has to be] a new approach...the Papuans should agree to stop blaming Jakarta and they are also competing with each other," he said.

Editorial: Papua’s four lessons
The Jakarta Post | Thu, 08/05/2010 9:19 AM | Editorial
The release of the International Crisis Group’s latest report again highlights the important — yet often neglected — issues surrounding our easternmost province. It is ironic that only piecemeal attention has been given to a territory which has contributed so much to funding our development, holds a special place in the nation’s struggle for independence and adds much to the nation’s richness in biodiversity and pluralism. The history of Indonesia’s largest province has taught us four lessons since it was incorporated in 1963:

First, its problems are deeper more complex than anyone would like to admit, whether in terms of religious tensions or in integrating Papuans with migrants from other parts of Indonesia. Authorities tend to have short attention spans. Its programs and efforts in the province have been unsustained in execution and have failed to produce tangible results. The government presumes that people will adapt, adjust and live in harmony just because they are told to do so. As in other parts of the country, the authorities in Jakarta would rather sweep convoluted ethnic, religious and societal problems under a rug as quickly as possible. This challenge will not be fixed in days or even in years. Serious, patient and prolonged attention must be invested if the process of true “integration” and “assimilation” is to succeed.

Second, Papua has been ground zero for exploitation. The abundance of natural resources has been a scourge rather than benefit. Much has been taken, little has been returned. The prospect of riches has led to the rise of monopolies and “cartels” that are eager to exploit Papua’s wealth. Tensions frequently flare, even when discussing how to redress the problems of exploitation profit taking. A mountain of gold always attracts the greedy before the noble.

Third, there are flaws and problems with the leadership of the indigenous Papuans themselves. Papua’s most senior tribal leaders and elders have profited from a status quo that has encumbered and disadvantaged its people. Alliances of local elite figures have created divisions in their own society, restricting Papuan camaraderie to “checkbook” and tribal alliances. It is a self-inflicted divide et impera. Many leading Papuans are as complicit, if not as culpable, as those from outside the region when it comes to profiting from Papua’s wealth.

Fourth, is the international dimension. Papua has often been referred to as the next Timor Leste (formerly East Timor). Many conspiracy theorists have even suggested that ‘foreign’ interests are scheming to separate Papua from the republic. While these claims may be an exaggeration, it is an indication that Papua remains very much in the minds of many international commentators. It is a reminder that Indonesia cannot take an ostrich-like approach by simply burying its head in the sand while stubbornly claiming that the issue has been resolved by a UN referendum.
These challenges will not go away. Failure to systematically address the issues through sustainable and equitable process of negotiation will only raise more international concerns. A solution cannot be found tomorrow, but there is always hope if an honest effort is made. Ultimately that is what our brothers and sisters in Papua seek from us all.


Freeport pays $899m in taxes, royalties
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 08/30/2010
JAKARTA: PT Freeport Indonesia, the Indonesian unit of US-owned mining firm Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold Inc, reported that it has paid the government as much as US$899 million in financial obligations in the first semester of this year.
The payment is made up of $581 million in Corporate Income Tax; $137 million in Employee Income Tax, Regional Dues and other taxes, $105 million in royalties, and $75 million in the government’s share of dividend, Freeport Indonesia’s spokesman Ramdani Sirait said in a press statement sent Friday. Freeport Indonesia operates the Grasberg copper and gold mine in Papua Province. The mine accounts for nearly 40 percent of Freeport’s total copper reserves. For the full year of 2009, Freeport said it paid its financial obligations to the Government to the sum of $1.4 billion, comprising $1 billion in Corporate Income Tax, Employee Income Tax, Regional Taxes and other taxes and levies, $128 million in royalties, and $213 million in dividends. — JP


Massive Papua Food Estate to Serve As Nation’s Bread Basket Launched
Jakarta Globe Arti Ekawati | August 11, 2010

Indonesia. Indonesia on Wednesday launched a giant project to create a $5 billion agricultural estate spanning three districts in Papua. The Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate program is the latest attempt by the government to gain self-sufficiency in food production, with a longer-term goal of someday becoming a food-exporting nation. At a ceremony held in Merauke district on Wednesday, Agriculture Minister Suswono said he expected that the area would become the nation’s bread basket. “Merauke needs support from all stake holders to become the center for food crop production and renewable energy in the eastern part of the country,” Suswono said. A number of local investors are currently developing large-scale farms in Merauke, including the Medco Group, the Artha Graha Group and Sinar Mas Group. According to documents from the Agriculture Ministry, there will be four areas developed between 2010 and 2014 in Merauke and the surrounding areas of Semangga, Sota and Tanah Miring. Slated to cover about 480,000 hectares, the project is expected to yield a number of agricultural products, such as rice, corn, nuts, fish and cattle. Speaking about the potential harvests the land could offer, Suswono said he expects the area to produce enormous annual output, including almost two million tons of rice, two million tons of corn and 167,000 tons of soybeans. He added that the area would also provide grazing for 64,000 cattle. He said the state could also yield 2.5 million tons of sugar and 937,000 tons of palm oil per year. The government initially calculated the project would require as much as 1.28 million hectares of land, but after a review by the central government found that large amounts of the land surveyed belonged to indigenous people or was classified as peat land, the estimate was lowered to 480,000 hectares

From Tapol
Bintang Papua: 30% of Papua's forests destroyed; 3,100 kms of road to be built across Papua
Bintang Papua 6 August 2010

Jayapura: Already 30 percent of Papuan forests have been destroyed according to Benja Viktor Mambai, director of WWF Sahul Jayapura, speaking at a seminar in Jayapura. This means that close attention needs to be paid to the impact of future development projects. 'While this means that 70 percent of Papuan forests are still preserved, this can be seriously affected if care is not taken,' he said. He also spoke about the incomparable richness of Papua's forests, its rich flora and fauna , the importance of the environment within the forests as well as their social and cultural aspects. He said that research was going on to discover yet more unknown species in Papua. 'Given the richness of its natural resources, we need not be afraid of development but the most important thing is to ensure that development takes account of these social and cultural factors as well as sustainability.' He said that sustainability of the forests must keep in mind the sustainability of the social and cultural factors.
[Comment: These words were spoken on the eve of the launch of the MIFEE project which will profoundly affect the sustainability of the way of life of Papua's indigenous inhabitants, as pointed out in a press release issued today by TAPOL and Down to Earth.]

Bintang Papua, 8 August 2010
Plan to build 3,100 kms of road
Jakarta: The public works department of the Indonesian Republic is planning to build 3,100 kms of road across the province of Papua,according to Diaz Gwijangge, member of Commission X of the Indonesia parliament. 'Many parts of the province are very isolated,' he said, 'added to which is the fact that because of the topography, many places are inaccessible either by air, sea or land.' He said that if the government in Jakarta is serious about developing Papua to the level achieved in other parts of the country, building roads is part of the solution. He told Bintang Papua that the main focus of the road building programme will be on 'strategic' roads. He went on to say that besides the lack of infrastructure, Papua was also very much behind other parts of the country in the availability of education and health facilities and in empowering the local communities. All these are matters to which the central government should pay proper attention, he said. He went on to say that Papua has enormously rich natural resources which make a huge contribution to the Indonesian state. 'Yet, unfortunately, the people of Papua living in poverty and physical isolation. These are serious matters that must be attended to by Jakarta.' Minister of Public Works Djoko Kirmanto explained that what meant by 'strategic roads'. was roads that link the main centres of economic activity. 'The products of the province can be exported through the ports of Merauke or Jayapura.
[Comment: It would be interesting to know the extent to which the Indonesian state depends on the revenue and dividends received from the Freeport mining of Papua's copper and gold while cmmunities in the vicinity of the mine were forced to leave their land to make way for the company's operations, with little to show for it in terms of their standard of living. TAPOL]

Doubts that extra funds for Indonesian province will get to Papuan people
RNZI 22 August, 2010
An Australia-based Papua specialist says it remains to be seen whether an increase in state funding for Indonesia’s Papua region will have any benefit for indigenous people. Indonesia’s President has announced a 63 per cent increase of special autonomy and regional funds allocated to Papua, West Papua and Aceh for 2011. About a fifth of the money would be for public service, with Papua receiving US$340-million and West Papua receiving US$130 million. The two provinces would get additional 150-million US dollars for regional infrastructure as well as more money for education. Jim Elmslie of Sydney University’s West Papua Project says from the outset in 2001, Special Autonomy has sent large sums of funding to Papua.“But very little of that funding has gone to actual services on the ground, to improve schools and aid posts and so. It’s been gobbled up in the bureaucracy so the general level of health and education services is very poor.”


Reports/press releases/opinion pieces etc.


NGO groups around the world call on the Indonesia President to release Papuan Political Prisoners
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/08/16/open-letter-president-indonesia-papuan-political-prisioners


Activist's death angers Papuans
see Al-Jazeera report on video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxHTpQho5es&feature=channell

INDONESIA: Economic marginalization fuelling conflict in Papua
humanitarian news and analysis
a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
JAKARTA, 13 August 2010 (IRIN) - Economic marginalization of the indigenous population in Indonesia's easternmost Papua region is fuelling conflict, experts and activists warn. 

Papua, home to ethnic Melanesians, has experienced a low-level separatist conflict for decades, while a recent political standoff with the central government over political representation has sparked growing calls for a referendum on the region's status...
http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=90159

Time Magazine’s report on West Papua refuted
August 31st, 2010
The Australia West Papua Association (Sydney) Media release:
“As the US Congress debates a human-rights crisis in West Papua, the Australia West Papua Associations (AWPA) refute TIME Magazine and NGO reports purporting human-rights concerns have been driven by impoverishment in the territory.
In a statement issued today AWPA asserts Papuan protests have been driven by Indonesian administration and denial of self-determination since a US drafted contract in 1962. The association refutes Indonesian assertions that West Papua is a domestic matter.”……………….
http://pacific.scoop.co.nz/2010/08/time-magazines-report-on-west-papua-refuted/


Press release
Journalist’s death overshadows launch of Papua food project
Click here for Bahasa Indonesia version
11 August 2010 - The death of a local journalist has increased concerns about a giant food estate launched today in Merauke, Southeastern Papua by Indonesia’s Minister of Agriculture. TAPOL and Down to Earth, the International Campaign for Ecological Justice in Indonesia are calling for a moratorium on the food project, known as MIFEE (Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate) until independent assessments of the political, economic, socio-cultural, environmental and gender impacts of the project have been undertaken. The suspicious death of the journalist, Ardiansyah Matra’is, in late July, following threats against him, has been linked to his coverage of this week’s local elections for the district head in Merauke. ………
http://tapol.gn.apc.org/press/files/pr100811.html

Vanuatu may hold key to Papuan independence
Peter Woods August 23, 2010
The conclusion of the Pacific Island forum has left a great sense of disappointment. There was every reason to think that Vanuatu would be the prominent voice in the forum for the West Papuan demand for a seat at the table. As recent as June 19 the Vanuatu Parliament passed a motion to bring the matter of West Papua to the UN this year………………
http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/vanuatu-may-hold-key-to-papuan-independence-20100823-13he8.html


West Papua: Autopsy of journalist Ardiansyah suggests he was murdered
16:47 August 24th, 2010
Pacific Scoop:
Slightly abridged in translation by TAOL.
JUBI: According to a police statement, the autopsy of the body of West Papua journalist Ardiansyah Matra’is has revealed that he was struck several blows before falling into the water and drowning in Maro River, Merauke……
http://pacific.scoop.co.nz/2010/08/west-papua-autopsy-of-ardiansyah-suggests-he-was-murdered/


West Papua: Yoman Socrates receives summons over statements made on Police actions August 10th, 2010
Pacific Scoop:
Report – Translated by TAPOL
Bintang Papua, Jayapura: Yoman Socrates: Church is not subordinate to government or security forces – A summons from the police in Papua dated 7 August to Sofyan Yoman , in connection with a statement he made regarding actions of the army and police in Puncak Jaya will be ignored, he said.
Duma Socrates said no one should run away with the idea that the security forces, namely the TNI/Polri, are purveyors of the truth.This is the old way of thinking that has no relevance in the present era. Read more »
http://pacific.scoop.co.nz/2010/08/west-papua-yoman-socrates-receives-summons-over-statements-made-on-police-actions/

PIF: Vanuatu stands alone on West Papua human rights violations
August 6, 2010
The plight of West Papua’s indigenous Melanesian peoples has been ignored by leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum.
Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Josephine Latu, in Port Vila.
Vanuatu continues to stand alone in the Pacific on the issue of extensive human rights abuses allegedly wielded on West Papuans at the hands of the Indonesian military.
At the same time, West Papuan activists have expressed frustration that Vanuatu Prime Minister and Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Edward Natapei did not bring up the issue at this week’s leaders’ meeting in Port Vila…………
http://pacific.scoop.co.nz/2010/08/pif-vanuatu-stands-alone-on-west-papua-human-rights-violations/


West Papua: 50 Congressmen urge Obama to make West Papua a priority concern. August 4, 2010
Press Release:
Us Congressmen Faleomavaega and Payne.
Washington DC: Congressman Faleomavaega and Congressman Payne spearhead effort in US Congress calling upon the Obama Administration to make West Papua one of its highest priorities. The Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment, Rep. Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, and Chairman Donald M. Payne of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health have spearheaded an effort in Congress calling upon President Obama to “make West Papua one of the highest priorities of the Administration.”………….
http://pacific.scoop.co.nz/2010/08/west-papua-50-congressmen-urge-obama-to-make-west-papua-a-priority-concern/

Indonesia And The Challenge Of Papuan Separatism
26 AUGUST 2010 WRITTEN BY IDSA
By Bilveer Singh If there are any symbols of Papuans’ continued quest and determination for sovereign independence1, it is their continued attachment to their flag, the Morning Star or Bintang Kejora (in Indonesian), their Anthem, Hai Tanahku Papua (in Indonesian) or Oh, My Land Papua, written by a Dutch missionary in the 1930s and the continued existence of the OPM, Papua Independence Movement since 1964. The Morning Star was first formally unveiled on 1 December 1961, symbolising the onset of the Republic of West Papua and flew till October 1962, when the former Dutch colony was transferred to the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority through a deal brokered by the United States, mainly to prevent Indonesia from joining the Soviet Camp during the Cold War…………….
http://www.eurasiareview.com/201008257415/indonesia-and-the-challenge-of-papuan-separatism.html

ReliefWeb
Indonesia: Investing in Papua - The Dual Challenges of Governance and Development
Source: Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
Date: 04 Aug 2010
Full_Report (pdf* format - 2.5 Mbytes) by Alistair D. B. Cook
Recent events surrounding the Special Autonomy status of Papua in Indonesia have caught the eye of the international media and engaged public opinion. In particular, the protests in Jayapura in early July 2010 illustrated community tensions in Papua. This paper attempts to carve through the economic and political issues surrounding these events to analyse and evaluate the economic and political challenges in Papua, and thus provide an assessment on the prospects for conflict resolution……..
http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/EGUA-87ZQWS?OpenDocument

ROGUE TRADERS
EIA 05 August 2010
The murky business of merbau smuggling in Indonesia
A detailed expose of some of the key players behing Indonesia's illegal timber trade.
http://www.eia-international.org/cgi/reports/reports.cgi?t=template&a=204


Resentful Papua Turning pebbles into boulders
Asian politics Banyan's notebook Aug 9th 2010by Banyan
SLOWLY but surely, Papua is emerging as a serious international problem for the otherwise well-liked Indonesian administration of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The latest report on the region by the International Crisis Group (ICG), a think-tank, shows how the government’s own missteps are escalating tensions, which, in turn, will draw increasing foreign attention. The specific issue the report focuses on is the fate of “SK14” , a decision taken last November by the Papuan People’s Council, or Majelis Rakyat Papua (MRP). This recommended that elections for some senior local-government posts be reserved for indigenous Papuan candidates—ie, migrants from Java, the most populous island, and other parts of Indonesia would be excluded…….
http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2010/08/resentful_papua

Papuans' future an open question after failure of autonomy
Tom Allard SMH September 4, 2010
JAKARTA: A broad consensus is emerging in Indonesia that special autonomy for the country's fractious provinces of Papua and West Papua has failed miserably.
From military advisers to the President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to respected think tanks and the indigenous population of the resource-rich region, there is near unanimity that the policy introduced almost 10 years ago to placate separatist sentiment has resulted in only deeper discontent. However, there is little agreement on who, and what, is to blame, or how to repair the situation…………
http://www.smh.com.au/world/papuans-future-an-open-question-after-failure-of-autonomy-20100903-14ucc.html

Engage Papua Now to Avoid Trouble Later: Experts
Jakarta Globe Nivell Rayda | August 30, 2010
Jakarta. The government must rethink its relationship with Papua as soon as possible if it wants to avoid further civil violence and more adamant calls for independence, activists and social scientists have said. If security conditions in Papua could be equated to a volcano, a violent eruption is due very soon,” said Amiruddin al Rahab, of the civil-society Papua Working Group (Pokja Papua)…………..
http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/engage-papua-now-to-avoid-trouble-later-experts/393654

http://www.infopapua.org/artman/publish/article_2296.shtml

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