Papua, Jubi – A human rights group has reported that tens of thousands of people in Indonesia’s Papua province have been displaced by conflict.
The estimate is the gravest yet in an months-long war between security forces and rebel fighters in Papua.
The group, Front Line Defenders, claims more than 32,000 people have been forced to flee the central highlands regency of Nduga due to military operations.
Rights advocates with the group reported that some civilians had died in refugee camps, where conditions are poor and people lack food and water.
They allege Indonesian security forces shot dead two school children, damaged 34 schools and likely dropped bombs using helicopters in Nduga.
The military, which has been hunting rebel group the West Papua Liberation Army since December, has denied the use of bombs.
Front Line Defenders plan to submit their findings to Indonesia’s human rights commission.
Indonesia’s military has rubbished the reports that thousands have been displaced by the conflict.
A spokesperson for the military, Colonel Mohammed Aidi, said there is no population data for Nduga, implying the information is impossible to verify.
He said security forces have only provided safeguards and social assistance for members of the public.
Since January, Colonel Aidi said six soldiers have died in gunfire exchanges with rebels who have instigated attacks.
He also denied claims dozens of school buildings in Nduga had been damaged by soldiers. (*)
Papuan activists dispute Indonesia’s poll numbers, claim boycott success
Papua, Jubi – It may be more than a month since Indonesians went to the polls, but the country is still being shaken by violence related to the election, including in the Papua region.
At least six people died in clashes in the capital Jakarta, during protests against the election outcome that saw President Joko Widodo declared the winner over Prabowo Subianto.
There are also reports in the Jakarta Post that post-election violence erupted in the troubled Papua region with investigations taking place into the deaths of four protesters allegedly killed by Indonesian soldiers.
It comes as President Widodo’s re-elected government has promised greater infrastructure development in Papua province.
But West Papuan activists pushing for independence from Indonesia have declared their election boycott was a success, saying that a majority of West Papuans did not vote.
Benny Wenda, the exiled leader of the United Liberation Movement, called for the peaceful boycott to show that West Papuans were not interested in electing Indonesia’s president.
After the preliminary count came in he claimed that 60 percent of West Papuans had not taken part in the election.
However, the official results from the electoral commission show that 88 per cent of West Papuans did vote.
ULMWP spokesman Ronny Kareni said that while West Papuan activists were glad that Joko Widodo remained in power, they did not think anything would change citing that Joko Widodo had not addressed any of the human rights cases in Papua that he said he would in his first term.
“The trust that has always been there, that gap is widening,” he said.
“The general feeling is that nothing will change, even though Jokowi is back serving for the second time.” (*)
UN chief calls for immediate climate action to ‘save Pacific – and world’
Papua, Jubi – Vanuatu and other Pacific nations can teach a lesson to the world, says UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
“That lesson is very simple. We absolutely need to save the Pacific, and to save the world, that the temperatures will not rise above 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.”
“And this needs a lot of political will.”
The UN head arrived in Vanuatu on Saturday with literal as well as metaphorical storm clouds looming on the horizon. An out-of-season cyclone north of Fiji brought low cloud and high winds to Vanuatu, casting a light drizzle on the tarmac as the Guterres disembarked from a Royal Australian Air Force Hercules.
He was welcomed by representatives of the Vaturisu Council of Chiefs and given the high honour of passing under a pair of namele leaves as he entered the airport VIP lounge.
After a brief courtesy visit to the Head of State, where he toasted Vanuatu with a fresh coconut, the SG headed to the Prime Minister’s Office, where a bilateral meeting discussed climate change, as well as other priority matters, including Vanuatu’s continued support for decolonisation the world over.
Lip-service to West Papua
Guterres gave little more than lip-service to West Papua and other concerns, but he spoke passionately about the emerging climate emergency.
“The Pacific,” he said, “has the moral authority to request all countries to be able to abide by what the international community—and the scientific community—now consider essential: that temperatures will not rise more than 1.5 degrees by the end of the century, and for that purpose, that we reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
He insisted “that these objectives are possible. They only depend on political will.”
Later, in an interview with the AFP news agency, he said: “I was in Tuvalu yesterday, and to see the existential risks that Tuvalu is facing really breaks my heart.”
Asked if action was needed in 50 years, 20 years or next year, he said, “No. We have to deal with it immediately. We have the risk of making [climate damage] irreversible, and the targets that were fixed cannot be reached.”
Pacific Islanders have never seen such a high-level endorsement offered in-person and with evident sincerity.
But it is debatable whether that will translate into meaningful international action.
If he thought there was any chance of finding a receptive audience in Washington, London—or Canberra, for that matter—Guterres would be saying those words there, not here.
And if it meant actual progress, Pacific islanders would be more than content to listen to them on the nightly news broadcast.
But with hardening attitudes among the most resource-rich nations, and the superpowers’ increasing fixation on trade wars and territorial disputes, it’s exceedingly difficult to see Guterres’ fervent entreaties having any impact whatsoever.
Less than a day after his surprise win in the Australian general election, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was being encouraged by Sky News commentators to walk away entirely from the nation’s remaining climate commitments.
The only substantial climate promises Australia has made to the Pacific relate to adaptation, not mitigation.
Australia signed the Boe Declaration along with all the other Pacific Island Forum countries. The declaration emphasises that the damage caused by a rapidly changing climate is the single greatest security threat the region faces.
Boe debate disappeared
But in the ensuing months, no mention whatsoever has been made of this by Australian diplomats or politicians. It has simply disappeared from their vocabulary.
And António Guterres is powerless in the face of this intransigence. His own speeches made no mention of Boe, presumably for fear of giving offence.
Given the opportunity, he refused to encourage Australian voters to think of the environment.
The most pressing global crisis facing the human species today has near-zero traction on the global stage.
There is no more striking evidence of this than the commendable but quixotic decision by António Guterres to use the Pacific as his backdrop in what will most likely be a vain attempt to build momentum for action. (*)
Source: Asia Pasific Report
UN chief waffles over West Papuan human rights violations
Papua, Jubi – During his visit to Port Vila last weekend, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres was confronted with questions about West Papua – but he waffled in his responses.
The matter was on the agenda during a bilateral meeting held between Guterres and key government officials, including Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and Foreign Affairs Minister Ralph Regenvanu.
In a joint press conference, Salwai was unequivocal about Vanuatu’s continued commitment to support and help drive the decolonisation process globally, and especially in West Papua.
The UN head did little more than acknowledge the PM’s words in his own prepared remarks.
Guterres also responded to questions on the topic from the media. The following exchange occurred during a pooled interview with Agence France Presse’s Ben Bohane. He had little more to offer there.
The most serious deforestation, the most serious ecological trouble, as well as the most serious human rights abuses in the whole Pacific are happening in West Papua, Bohane said.
Shouldn’t the UN be doing more to try and stop the human right abuses, and the ecological disaster that is unfolding there?
UN ‘doing its job’
Guterres did little to raise expectations of a resolution to this crisis any time soon.
“There is a framework in the institutions, namely the human rights council… there are special procedures, there was a panel, that recently made a report on those issues, a report that was then presented internationally. Indonesia also responded,” he said.
“So the UN is doing its job, with a major concern that there and everywhere, human rights are respected.”
The problem is, he was told, that Indonesia is blocking Pacific island delegations, and they also appear to be blocking the UN Human Rights Commission from visiting West Papua.
At the moment, all international media is banned. Again, shouldn’t the UN be doing more to open up West Papua?
The Secretary-General appeared to grant that there were indeed concerns about access to the area.
“The Human Rights High Commissioner has reaffirmed availability to visit the territory, and that remains our concern, and our objective.”
So, if Indonesia says no, he was asked, is there nothing anyone can do, even the UN?
“As I said, we had the institutions working, we have a panel of experts, but there are also from our side strong commitments there and everywhere.”
Little evidence of those commitments was on display in Port Vila. (Dan McGarry)
Source: Pasific Media Centre
- Papuan activists dispute Indonesia’s poll numbers, claim boycott success 17 June 2019
- Activists protest the conservation award to Governor Mandacan 15 June 2019
- CSOs decline logging company in Wondama 14 June 2019
- Indonesia’s Kopassus Commandos to Train Again with US Military 12 June 2019
- UN chief calls for immediate climate action to ‘save Pacific – and world’ 31 May 2019
- Dilantik, Pemuda Katolik diminta junjung nilai kemanusiaan 17 June 2019
- Petani anggrek Papua juga butuh perhatian 17 June 2019
- Telaga Biru di Wamena harus dilestarikan 17 June 2019
- Rp3,5 juta masuk SMAN 1 Nabire 17 June 2019
- Halangan anak dan remaja perempuan Kepulauan Solomon selesaikan pendidikan menengah 17 June 2019
- Perang suku berlanjut, puluhan korban tewas di pegunungan PNG sejak Februari 17 June 2019
- Kepulauan Solomon akan batasi ekspor kayu 17 June 2019
- Mosi tidak percaya dibatalkan, PM Vanuatu shuffle kabinet 17 June 2019
Headlines5 months ago
Three refugees reportedly died in Nduga Forest
Headlines6 months ago
Papuan people demand the President to withdraw troops from Nduga
Health & Education Service5 years ago
Sex Education Taught at School In Jayawijaya
Headlines8 months ago
When a dense forest turns into an oil palm plantation
Economy8 months ago
Freeport Indonesia disregards Papua Manpower Office’s Decree
Headlines8 months ago
Civilians are allegedly among casualties in Tingginambut gunfire
Environment8 months ago
Green economy development would be on five indigenous territories
Headlines3 months ago
Indonesian Military: Papuan Rebels Mount Deadly Attack on Soldiers