Jayapura, Jubi – The handling of Papua problems must not only focus on defense and political interests, but also on the cultural aspect.
The Directorate General of Culture of the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture, Hilmar Farid, said cultural approaches could prove to work to ease tensions.
“How to find a new way in solving the problems in Papua. Culture is a tribute towards diversity. In the Papua context, it must be seriously considered. It is not only referring to diversity of opinion but also the diversity of the way of life. If it is well noted, it would contribute to develop a peaceful Papua,” said Hilmar last week in Jakarta.
According to him, a simple example connected to the way of life. The indigenous Papuans depend on taro for living. But in the last twenty years, many Papuans eat rice and forget about the taro, and even gave not enough space for it to be developed.
“When take a look, it is part of an ecosystem. The culture is not only about to live symbolically or formally, but it is connected to life chances. It needs to pay attention to people’s understanding about the rights in connection with their land,” he said.
He believed it’s time to pay attention to history. Especially for Papua and other places in Indonesia, had a diverse and centralistic history in the political and social life. Talking about the past is important, that we cannot talk about the present and the future without it. However, he said, it would better if seeing Papua in the future framework.
“It’s not talking about what was happened within two or ten years. Papua is currently one of the few places that relatively protect its nature, although it doesn’t mean any destruction. It is not only good for Papua, but also for Indonesia and the world as well,” he said.
According to him, talking about forecast Papua within the future framework, it could be built in the argument in every dialogue. Papua could be projected to rescue this planet. That people live to protect nature with care in the way of life that has started to change.
“Starting from modernization, the pressure of many parties including the pressure to live as people in other places is very strong. As a result of this friction, we can see its manifestation during the time. So, I think it’s good to set Papua in many things,” he said.
At the same place, Director of the Alliance for Democracy in Papua (ALDP), Latifah Anum Siregar, said to understand Papua it should be viewed in many perspectives for the right approach and solution.
“The President Jokowi has enough good communication with Papuans. About dialogue, it’s not expected to come to Papua for one or two hours or invite people from Jakarta. What people want is to invite people to sit together and talk in the same forum,” said Siregar.
She said, if they wanted a dialogue, each party should have similar point of view. Many parties should be involved. Additionally, it should be cleared who’s going to be appointed by the president to take care of Papua. Papuans should talk to whom and the Central Government must talk to whom. (Arjuna Pademme/rom)
Discrimination handling refugees hurts Papuans
Jayapura, Jubi – The way government handling the humanitarian conflict in Papua has become a spotlight. Many people think the government are being discriminative in handling Nduga refugees compared to refugees from Wamena.
A native Ndugama Resina Lokbere said that she is discouraged seeing how the government differently treated refugees from both areas. “I see a huge difference approach here. Although the government always declare our national motto ‘unity in diversity’, but I have not seen this applied in Papua. A conflict in Nduga has occurred since 1 December 2018. Since then, Nduga residents must leave their villages and flee to other regions and the jungle to avoid a military operation,” she said.
Moreover, she said if the government are a concern in settling the humanitarian conflict in Papua, they should treat people fairly. The government should treat people equally, regardless of indigenous Papuans or non-Papuans.
“Thousands of youth and children drop out of school, and now they are living under poor health condition. There is economic loses as well. Who knows whether they will be survived or dead after a few months of suffering without enough food and water? I don’t know. Only God is the witness of their suffering,” said Resina whose relatives refuge from Nduga.
In her view, the way the government handling the issue of refugees can create a barrier in society. She thinks the government has indirectly built a wall between one community to others.
“The government should not perceive conflicts in Nduga and Wamena merely from a political view but also a humanitarian aspect. They are all your people. They need you. They need your action, not your promises on the public stage,” she said.
Meanwhile, a local parliament member Laurenzus Kadepa also think the government has shown different response in handling refugees due to conflicts occurred in Nduga and Wamena.
According to him, he observed that the victims of conflict in Wamena were promptly evacuated or accommodated with adequate facilities. They had enough food and other basic needs during the evacuation. It was opposite to what had happened to Nduga residents. They had to walk for days from their villages to Wamena and other regions.
“While there was a lack of access to food aid distribution for Nduga residents, it didn’t happen for Wamena refugees. They had planes to transport them, shelter and enough food,” he said.
Seeing what has been happening lately in Papua, the relevant stakeholders in Papua and the central government should immediately think a solution to end this current complicated situation. (*)
Reporter: Agus Pabika
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Conducive, school activities resume in Wamena
Wamena, Jubi – Following the unrest on 23 November 2019, most schools closed down their activities. Schools activities just resume on Monday, 7 October 2019 despite less attendance of teachers and students.
The Secretary of Jayawijaya Education Office Bambang Budiandoyo said at least ten schools which are directly impacted by the riots: four primary schools, three secondary schools and three high schools, have students’ participation of ten to twenty percent.
“At the first day of school, we focus more on recovering trauma among teachers and students, no learning activities yet,” he said on Monday (7/10) in Wamena.
The Jayawijaya Education Office remarks there are 25 of 61 schools of a range of degrees from pre to high schools reported the impact of riots toward their schools.
“The twenty-five schools already filed report on schools’ damages. Their reports have been forwarded to the regent via the Public Works Office (PUPR). They hope the government can immediately respond it for repairs,” said Bambang.
Now, in the sixth day after the riots, people can see many schools were damaged in different scales, from broken windows’ glasses to broken classrooms. In order to motivate teachers and students back to school, the regional education office calls Wahana Visi Indonesia (WVI) to assist them providing a trauma healing consultation.
“The Education Office also get an assistance from WVI to provide a trauma healing consultation for students and teachers for two weeks,” he said.
Meanwhile, the SMA Negeri 1 Wamena Principal Yosep Wibisono said after the incident both parents and students mostly decided leaving Wamena for a while. “So I am taking an initiative to clean our school with the help of the rest of teachers and students left. This is for reducing the unrest feeling when learning activities resume to normal.
There is no major damages occurred in SMA Negeri 1 Wamena. Only some windows’ glasses in the classroom, staff office hit by stones and broken as well as the school’s signpost and fence.
Separately, Efaim Yeuruan, the principal of SD YPPK Santo Yakobus Hone Lama, said the school has opened but only seven teachers and two of 490 pupils coming to school. “I have heard that students who are today absents because their parents are taking them to their hometowns after the riots,” he said.
Meanwhile, on the last 4 October 2019, the officials of the Jayawijaya Regional Government together with locals and police and military cleaned some debris from any exposed schools from Wouma to the areas of Wamena City including Hom-Hom.
Many locals and other community’s members participated to clean debris at SMP YPPK Santo Thomas. A classroom which burned down in the incident need more attention in addition cleaning the broken glasses.
Jayawijaya Regent appreciates teachers and students attending school
The Jayawijaya Regent Richard Banua expresses his appreciation to teachers and students attending the first day of school though it’s only a few.
“I hope these pupils can motivate others who might be now in a refuge. They can see that our schools start to operate,” said Banua.
He also hopes some absent teachers can resume teaching. To students and their parents, he said the government want everyone not feeling worried because it is now safe.
“Do not worry about the spreading rumours. But if you notice that schools are now open, let us sending our children to school as usual,” he said.
He also asks the security forces to maintain their performance in doing their job securing the situation. “I have talked to the local police chef asking him and his personnel to persistently maintain the security by doing patrol and deploying personnel at certain threat points,” he said.
Police name 13 suspects related to Wamena unrest
Jayawijaya Police name six other suspects to add the previous seven involving in a protest led to unrest in Wamena on 23 September 2019. Papua Police spokesperson Senior Commissionaire Ahmad Mustofa Kamal said the total number of suspects are currently 13. Ten of them are in the detention of Jayawijaya Police while three are still on the wanted list.
He told reporters the initial names of suspects are DM (19), RW (18), AO (16), RA (16), AK (19), DJ (32), YP (22), ES (27), MT (27), SK (40).
“YA, B and MA are still in the wanted list. There are students among the suspects. It assumes that they were only joining when destruction and burning had happened, while those in the wanted list allegedly provoked,” said Kamal in the press conference on Monday (7/10).
Moreover, he said these suspects are charged with Article 187 of the criminal code on combustion, Article 170 on destruction on people or goods collectively in public, and Article 160 on incitation to people to conduct crime.
“The police has kept the evidences related to the riots in Wamena, namely 34 stones allegedly used for destruction, 22 motorbikes and a car burned in the riots as well as a video footage of the incident,” he said.
Furthermore, Kamal said the number of suspects might be increased because the police are still continuing their investigation.
Meanwhile, the new appointed chief of Papua Police, the Inspector General Police Paulus Waterpau said there are two troops of Mobile Brigade deployed to help securing Wamena and now Papua Police plans to add another troop of Mobile Brigade to help the settled police and military troops in Wamena.
“I think the number of local troops in Wamena is enough. But we might add some more. This is also relevant to some other areas. Well, nothing, it’s just to look after and give understanding to the community,” said Waterpauw. (*)
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Veronica Koman ‘won’t be silenced’ despite daily death threats
Papua, Jubi – A pro-Papuan lawyer who has been threatened with an Interpol Red Notice said she has received daily rape and death threats as the uprising in the Indonesian provinces ramps up.
Veronica Koman, a respected Indonesian human rights lawyer, now lives in Australia but continues to be pursued by the Indonesian government for allegedly disseminating evidence of security forces carrying out violence in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua.
“I started to receive death threats two years ago and it’s almost like a daily experience now to receive death and rape threats online,” the 31-year-old told SBS News in an exclusive interview.
“They’re trying to kill the messenger. They cannot refute my data, all the footage they cannot refute that so they’re trying to destroy my credibility.”
Koman became involved in the West Papuan struggle for independence in 2014 after five protesters were allegedly killed and another 17 injured by the Indonesian military in an event known as the Paniai killings.
“I thought at the time … ‘wow, why is there no outrage? School children are killed by security forces,'” she said.
“It has become my personal mission to expose what’s happening in West Papua.”
Last week, the provinces – which share a border with Papua New Guinea – suffered one of their bloodiest days in 20 years, with at least 33 people killed in the central town of Wamena.
Footage of the incident, obtained by SBS News, showed Indonesian forces opening fire as Papuan high school students held an anti-racism rally.
According to the government, most of the victims were killed in fires. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has blamed an “armed criminal group” without providing further detail.
Despite living overseas, Koman said her family in Indonesia were still in danger. Recently, police said they raided her family home in Jakarta.
“My family in Jakarta have relocated for more than a month now because to avoid that intimidation,” she said, adding that many of the threats she received are directed at her family as well.
“People say you are in Australia but your family is in Indonesia and we can look for them.”
‘Unprecedented crack down’
More than 6,000 Indonesian soldiers have been deployed to the provinces in an attempt to quell the independence rallies and anti-racism demonstrations taking place over the past six weeks.
Koman said at least 100 West Papuans have been jailed for participating and some charged with treason for holding the banned West Papuan Morning Star flag.
Ethnic and religious tensions have simmered between Indonesia and the Indigenous Papuans of the region since the 1960s, culminating in the recent unrest.
In 1969, the so-called ‘Act of Free Choice’ saw just over 1,000 hand-selected Papuans vote at gunpoint to unanimously remain under Indonesian rule.
Since then, West Papuan independence groups say their people have been subject to a “slow genocide”, comparing their situation to Timor-Leste two decades ago.
“We are at the darkest time in 20 years,” Koman said.
“I have not seen this much crackdown and the death toll, the government’s version of 33 in a single day, that is the worst.”
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne has urged “restraint on both sides”, angering many Papuans who believe Australia should be taking a stronger stance on the violence.
“It’s difficult to access accurate death tolls from the provinces because there is a “total lockdown at the hospital”, Koman said. West Papuans also often avoid going to the hospital if they are injured because of fears they will be killed there.
“That’s exactly the aim of the security forces, lock it down so only government version can go out,” she said.
Foreign media is heavily restricted from entering West Papua.
In recent days, Widodo has offered to meet with pro-independence groups as rallies across the country called for demilitarisation of the Papua provinces.
Koman, who has an Indonesia tattoo on her left forearm, is unable to return to her home country due to fears of persecution but is choosing to see the positive in the situation.
“This is a new beginning, this is a new chapter,” she said. (*)
Source: Asia Pacific Report
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