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A member of Bawaslu Merauke arrested during Jokowi’s visit

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Agustinus Mahuze (centre) with his friends – Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – Agustinus Mehuze, the Coordinator of Prosecution and Investigation Department of Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) Merauke, was arrested and checked by Merauke Police following his act of appointing a paper with a say “SOS Our Earth” when President Joko Widodo’s convoy crossed Lepro junction in Merauke on Friday (16/11/2018).

The president and group was visiting Merauke to inaugurate the Time Capsule monument.

Mahuze is known as an environmentalist and indigenous people activist as well as education practicioner in Merauke before he becomes a member of Bawaslu Merauke.

“At that time I was walking from Wasur toward the city. Around half past three in the afternoon, I saw the presidential convoy crossing Lepro. I took a paper and pencil and spontaneously wrote those words and lifted it to show to them. I wanted the president to see it and raise this environmental issue during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea,” Agustinus Mahuze told Juby by phone on Saturday morning (17/11/2018).

Then, a soldier who’s in charge to secure the event approached him and asked why did he hold up the paper, while police officers that were also in the scene seem not to be bothered with his act. They didn’t even bother to ask him. By contrast, the soldier intimidated him.

“The soldier asked from which organisation am I? I said I didn’t represent any organisation here. Then he checked my wallet and bag. I only have some documents related to my work at the Election Supervisory Body,” said Mahuze.

Then the soldier asked the police to bring Mahuze to Merauke Regional Police Headquarter for further investigation. Police then took him to the police station at around 3:30 p.m. and he  was questioned in the general section of Merauke Police Headquarter before undergoing a follow-up investigation at the intelligence department.

However, the officer who’s in charge in the intelligence department was not there, so he had to wait until 18:00 before they let him go. “At six in the afternoon, the police said that I could go home and asked me to leave my telephone number so that they can call me. But only about thirty minutes I left their office, the police called me to return,” he said.

When they called, he was taking dinner with his friends who accompany him during the investigation in a place near the police station. So he returned to the police station and underwent the examination in the intelligence department.

“Shortly, I clarified the purpose of my writing and why I showed it. I gave the same answer as before that because I only want to raise the environmental issue and had no political purpose,” explained Mahuze.

After half an hour investigation, then the then let him leave.

However, Mahuze regretted the soldier’s attitude who questioned and intimidated him. “The police are very cooperative. But the intimidation by the military member shows that their attitudes in Papua has not changed,” said Mahuze. (*)

 

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Papuan activists dispute Indonesia’s poll numbers, claim boycott success

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Papuans called for a boycott of the Indonesian national elections in April … and demanded a self-determination referendum. Image: [email protected]

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.” (*)

 

Source: asiapacificreport.nz

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UN chief calls for immediate climate action to ‘save Pacific – and world’

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres (centre) with Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and local leaders … “political will needed”. Image: Dan McGarry/Vanuatu Daily Post

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.

Actual progress?

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

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UN chief waffles over West Papuan human rights violations

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Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu (background) and UN Secretary-General António Guterres during a visit to Port Vila’s seafront … West Papua issue raised in vain. Image: Dan McGarry/Vanuatu Daily Post

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

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