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Authorities Sent Health Team to Nduga after 32 Toddlers Die

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Children in highland of West Papua - Jubi

Children in highland of West Papua – Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – Authorities have sent a health team after 32 toddlers in Nduga died of acute respiratory infections apparently triggered by the dry season, Nduga health chief Mesak Kogoya said.

This extreme weather also killed pigs, chickens and dogs, he said.
“We received this report from the Head of Nbuwa Puskesmas (public health center) and a team was established to conduct a field mission on 16 November 2015,” Kogoya told Jubi during the break of the Working Meeting of Papua Provincial Health Office and the Launching of book ‘Melawan Badai Kepunahan Gebrakan Papua Sehat Menuju Papua Bangkit Mandiri dan Sejahtera’ held at Cenderawasih University Auditorium on Tuesday (24/11/2015).

He added when team from Nduga and Wamena Health Offices went to the field, they found three toddlers already died.
“Until now there is no update report and I have not yet contact them to up date the progress,” he said.

Here the following report received by Jubi from the Head of Nduga Health Office: Digilmo Church reported five children were died, Imanuel Church reported eight children, Berapngin Church reported four children, Opmo Church reported four children, Dal Church reported three children and Labirik Church reported five children.

He said the deaths happened from 20 October to 11 November, and when he received the report from the Mbuwa Puskesmas Head, he immediately formed a team on 16 November 2016. “The team went itmmediately o the field and found a case of three children died,” he said. He denied the number of children died is forty.

He said he believed they died because of bronchitis pneumonia or shortness of breath.

Earlier several toddlers under two years old were reportedly dead in Mbuwa Sub-district, Nduga Regency. The medical team derived from Wamena said they also were not certain about the cause of death.
“Initially the children got sick, but not too long they died instantly. Until now forty-one children died. The medical team from Wamena has returned from the field but the cause of death has not been founded,” Mbuwa Sub-district Chief Erias Gwijangge told reporter on Tuesday (24/11/2015).

He explained Nduga Regency and surrounding areas were hit by drought season, even shortly exposed by fog due to He explained Nduga Regency and surrounding areas were hit by drought season, briefly exposed to smoke from land fires, and last month it started raining.  In the early weeks of raining, a number of people’s cattle such as pigs, chickens were suddenly dead. “In the past three days we didn’t receive the report on the about the children who died,” he said.

Analyst officer at Puskesmas Wamena City, Yan Huby who joint the team said the team examined the blood sample of local children whether they had malaria but the result was negative. According to him, why did the team assume it was malaria because in 1998 when long drought stroke the Papua Central Highland area including Nduga, malaria plague has caused the death of hundreds of people.
“It was started with flu, fever, diarrhea then passed away. We were only asked to do malaria test, we did a rapid test in sub-district, and then another microscopic test in a laboratory in Wamena. Of 70 blood samples, all are negative malaria,” he said.

Mothers and their children in Highland of West Papua - Jubi

Mothers and their children in Highland of West Papua – Jubi

Concerning to this case, the Head of Papua Provincial Health Office, Drg. Aloysius Giay when confirmed after opening the Health Office Regional Working Meeting at Cenderawasih University Auditorium on Tuesday (24/11/2015) said he recently received a report three days ago related to incident. “We just received a report three days ago, there had not report at all during the time. Even Nduga Regent whom we confirmed also claimed he had not receive any report yet,” he said and further added he instantly instructed the team of Papua Health Office on field mission.

The team led by Yamamoto Sasarari, the Plague and Disaster Department Chief of Papua Provincial Health Office with the Regional Red Cross Chief Dr. Berry Wopari and a medical doctor, a pediatrician, nurses, laboratory analysts and surveillance staffs.

In the same place, the Head of Nduga Health Office, Mesai Kogoya said those who suffered of sudden dead are toddlers under two years old and origin of two sub-districts in Nduga, namely Mbuwa and Bumul Liama. “In

Mbuwa, there is Puskesmas (community health center) as well as doctor and Barefoot Task Force team (trained health volunteer) of seven, but because of the villages are located far apart, it took two hours at least, the medical staffs could not reach all the villages,” he said.

Meanwhile there is no Puskesmas at Bumul Liama but Pustu (community health sub-center). While Satgas Kaki Telanjang (Barefoot Task Force) is a team formed by UP2KP (Papua Health Development Acceleration Unit), a team of seven members who assist the health services in remote areas that had been unreachable by health services. Mesak explained the victims initially experienced heat, fever, chills, convulsion before died. “No diarrhea. They were only suffered by heat and fever. After get medicine, their temperature dropped to normal but hit by heat fever and convulsions and died,” he said.

Separately, the Plague and Disaster Department Unit of the Papua Provincial Health Office, Yamamoto Sasarari explained according to the clinical description reported by his team, he assumed those toddlers suffered from bronchopneumonia.
“But it is just an assumption. We can ensure it after examination on the ground. From the clinical description, there is also founded no hog cholera,” he explained.

Sasarari said his team received a report that 31 toddlers who died were come from Dolgimo, Opmo, Berapngin and Labirik that all are located in Mbuwa Sub-district. A member of Papua People’s Assembly Luis Madai said the Nduga Regional Government, Papua Provincial Government and the Indonesian Health Ministry must handle the case that occurred since the early of November 2015 immediately.

“This is a catastrophe, and all relevant stakeholders must take a prompt action to handle this incident, whether it was caused by kind of virus or something else, they must find out immediately and give help,” he said. (Roy Ratumakin/Dominggus Mampioper/rom)
    

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Indonesia’s political system has ‘failed’ its minorities – like West Papuans

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Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono … violent repression has “created unnecessary paranoia and racism among Indonesian migrants in West Papua”. Image: HRW

By David Robie

A human rights defender and researcher has warned in a new book published on the eve of the Indonesian national elections tomorrow that the centralised political system has failed many of the country’s 264 million people – especially minorities and those at the margins, such as in West Papua.

Author Andreas Harsono also says a “radical change is needed in the mindset of political leaders” and he is not optimistic for such changes after the election.

Harsono is author of Race, Islam and Power: Ethnic and Religious Violence in Post-Suharto Indonesia, a book based on 15 years of research and travel between Sabang in Aceh in the west and Merauke in West Papua in the East.

Founding President Sukarno used the slogan “from Sabang to Merauke” when launching a campaign – ultimately successful – to seize West Papua in 1961.

But, as Harsono points out, the expression should really be from Rondo Island (an unpopulated islet) to Sota (a remote border post on the Papua New Guinean boundary.

Harsono, a former journalist and Human Rights Watch researcher since 2008, argues that Indonesia might have been more successful by creating a federation rather than a highly centralised state controlled from Jakarta.

“Violence on post-Suharto Indonesia, from Aceh to West Papua, from Kalimantan to the Moluccas, is evidence that Java-centric nationalism is unable to distribute power fairly in an imagined Indonesia,” he says. “It has created unnecessary paranoia and racism among Indonesian migrants in West Papua.

‘They’re Melanesians’

“The Papuans simply reacted by saying they’re Melanesians – not Indonesians. They keep questioning the manipulation of the United Nations-sponsored Act of Free Choice in 1969.”

Critics and cynics have long dismissed what they see as a deeply flawed process involving only 1025 voters selected by the Indonesian military as the “Act of No Choice”.

Harsono’s criticisms have been borne out by a range of Indonesian activist and watchdog groups, who say the generals behind the two presidential frontrunners are ridden with political interests.

The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) and the Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM) have again warned that both presidential candidate tickets — incumbent President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and running mate Ma’ruf Amin as well as rival Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno — have close ties with retired TNI (Indonesian military) generals.

These retired officers are beholden to political interests and the prospect of resolving past human rights violations will “become increasingly bleak” no matter who is elected as the next president.

Kontras noted that nine out of the 27 retired officers who are behind Widodo and Ma’ruf have a “problematic track record on human rights”.

“Likewise with Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno where there are eight retired officers who were allegedly involved in past cases of HAM violations”, said Kontras researcher Rivanlee Anandar.

Prabowo himself, a former special forces commander, is implicated in many human rights abuses. He has been accused of abduction and torture of 23 pro-democracy activists in the late 1990s and he is regarded as having knowledge of the killing hundreds of civilians in Santa Cruz massacre in Timor-Leste.

90,000 killed post-Sukarno

Harsono’s 280-page book, with seven chapters devoted to regions of Indonesia, documents an ”internally complex and riven nation” with an estimated 90,000 people having been killed in the decade after Suharto’s departure.

“In East Timor, President Suharto’s successor B. J. Habibie agreed to have a referendum [on independence]. Indonesia lost and it generated a bloodbath,” says Harsono.

“Habibie’s predecessors, Megawati Sukanoputri and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, refused to admit [that] the Indonesian military’s occupation, despite a United Nations’ finding, had killed 183,000 people between 1975 and 1999.”

Harsono notes how in 1945 Indonesia’s “non-Javanese founders Mohammad Hatta, Sam Ratu Langie and Johannes Latuharhary wanted an Indonesia that was democratic and decentralised. They advocated a federation.”

However, Sukarno, Supomo and Mohammad Yamin wanted instead a centralised unitarian state.

“Understanding the urgency to fight incoming Dutch troops, Latuharhary accepted Supomo’s proposal but suggested the new republic hold a referendum as soon as it became independent. Sukarno agreed but this decision has never been executed.”

The establishment of a unitarian state “naturally created the Centre”, says Harsono. “Jakarta has been accumulated and controlling political, cultural, educational, economic, informational and ideological power.

Java benefits

“The closer a region to Jakarta, the better it will benefit from the Centre. Java is the closest to the Centre.

“The further a region is from the Centre, the more neglected it will be. West Papua, Aceh, East Timor and the Moluccas are among those furthest away from Jakarta.”

The centralised political system needed a “long and complex bureaucracy” and this “naturally created corruption”, Harsono explains.

“Indonesia is frequently ranked as the most corrupt country in Asia. Political and Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd listed Indonesia as the most corrupt country in Asia in 2005.”

Harsono also notes how centralised power has helped a religious and ethnic majority that sees itself as “justified to have privileges and to rule over the minorities”.

The author cites the poet Leon Agasta as saying, “They’re the two most dangerous words in Indonesia: Islam and Java.” Muslim majority and Javanese dominance.

Harsono regards the Indonesian government’s response to demands for West Papuan “self-determination” as “primarily military and repressive: viewing Papuan ‘separatists’ as criminals, traitors and enemies of the Republic of Indonesia”.

He describes this policy as a “recipe for ongoing military operations to search for and destroy Papuan ‘separatists’, a term that could be applied to a large, if not overwhelming, portion of the Papuan population”.

Ruthless Indonesian military

 

“The Indonesian military, having lost their previous power bases in east Timor and Aceh, ruthlessly maintain their control over West Papua, both as a power base and as considerable source of revenue.

“The Indonesian military involvement in legal businesses, such as mining and logging, and allegedly, illegal businesses, such as alcohol, prostitution, extortion and wildlife smuggling, provide significant funds for the military as an organisation and also for individual officers.”

Pro-independence leaders have called on West Papuans to boycott the Indonesian elections tomorrow.

Andreas Harsono launched his journalism career as a reporter for the Bangkok-based Nation and the Kuala Lumpur-based Star newspapers. In the 1990s, he helped establish Indonesia’s Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) – then an illegal group under the Suharto regime, and today the most progressive journalists union in the republic.

Harsono was also founder of the Jakarta-based Institute for the Studies on the Free Flow of Information and of the South East Asia Press Alliance (SEAPA).

In a separate emailed interview with me in response to a question about whether there was light at the end of the tunnel, Harsono replied: I do not want to sound pessimistic but visiting dozens of sites of mass violence, seeing survivors and families’ who lost their lost ones, I just realised that mass killings took place all over Indonesia.

“It’s not only about the 1965 massacres –despite them being the biggest of all– but also the Papuans, the Timorese, the Acehnese, the Madurese etc.

“Basically all major islands in Indonesia, from Sumatra to Papua, have witnessed huge violence and none of them have been professionally understood. The truth of those mass killings have not been found yet.” (asiapacificreport.nz)

Professor David Robie is director of the Pacific Media Centre.

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TAPOL and ETAN seek judicial review of 1969 ‘self-determination’ Papua vote

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“West Papuans refer to the 1969 referendum as the ‘Act of No Choice’. The referendum was by no means a legitimate exercise of self-determination. Image: Benny Wenda FB

Papua, Jubi – TAPOL and the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) have applied for a judicial review of the “Act of Free Choice” by the Indonesian Constitutional Court.

Recently filed by human rights lawyers on behalf of West Papua customary leaders and churches, the submission states that the highly contested self-determination “referendum” held in 1969 must be deemed contrary to the rights granted under Indonesian constitution, including the rights to freedom of thought and conscience, right to life, right to feel safe, and the right to not be tortured.

The “Act of Free Choice” took place between July 14 and August 2, 1969.

It was implemented following the guidelines of the New York Agreement (Agreement Between the Republic of Indonesia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands Concerning West New Guinea (West Irian [West Papua])of August 16, 1962.

The New York Agreement set the terms of the self-determination process. The UN was to assist Indonesia in overseeing an exercise of free choice by the people of West Papua on their political status, choosing between independence or remaining under Indonesian control.

There was to be full participation by all adults in accordance with best international practice. However, there was no meaningful support from the United Nations to guarantee a freely-held vote.

Instead, note TAPOL and ETAN in their joint statement, Indonesia took control of the process and backed by threats from its military, hand-picked 1025 men and women and forced them to vote for annexation by Indonesia.

Strategic litigation

It is why West Papuans refer to the referendum as “Act of No Choice”. The referendum was by no means a legitimate exercise of self-determination.

“This strategic litigation reminds the international community about the root cause of the long-running conflict in West Papua,” the joint statement said.

“The right to self-determination is an erga omnes norm which means that every State has the obligation to ensure that everyone’s right to self-determination is fulfilled.

“This 50 years of injustice has cost the loss of hundreds of thousands of indigenous West Papuan lives.

“West Papuans today still suffer persecution for expressing their rights to self-determination. We encourage the Indonesian government to accept the submission and to acknowledge that the vote staged in 1969 was contrary to rights granted under the Indonesian Constitution.”

TAPOL and ETAN believe that the right to self-determination is fundamental and that the people of West Papua have not yet been given the freedom to exercise that right.

Both TAPOL and ETAN note that each organisation works to promote human rights, justice and democracy in Indonesia and Timor-Leste.

“We join West Papuans in calling for an internationally-supervised referendum conducted according to international standards,” the joint statement said. (asiapacificreport.nz)

 

Source: Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

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West Papuans call for mass boycott of Indonesian elections

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Exiled West Papuan leader Benny Wenda on a visit to New Zealand’s Pacific Media Centre at Auckland University of Technology in 2013. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

By Tom Stayner of SBS News

A West Papuan independence leader and Nobel peace prize nominee is calling for a mass boycott of Indonesia’s upcoming elections to bring attention to their independence struggle.

Benny Wenda was granted political asylum in the United Kingdom 16 years ago – following an escape from custody while on trial in West Papua.

In exile, he has led the campaign for the self-determination that his countrymen say they have lacked since Indonesia gained internationally-recognised control of West Papua through a disputed referendum vote 50 years ago.

Wenda told SBS News from London, that he is calling for a mass boycott of Indonesia’s upcoming elections to again bring attention to a decades long independence struggle.

“This is a critical time for our people because the election for a colonial occupied force is not legitimate,” Wenda said.

“FROM NOW ON WE WILL NOT TAKE PART IN INDONESIAN ELECTIONS BECAUSE WE ARE NOT INDONESIAN.”

“We are Melanesian. We are the Pacific islanders… People are fed up – enough is enough,” he said.

Indonesian elections

On April 17 – more than 190 million registered Indonesian voters will go to the polls for presidential and general elections.

Favoured incumbent President Joko Widodo is being challenged by former military general Prabowo Subianto.

Subianto is also the son-in-law of long-time former President Suharto – who led Indonesia for three decades.

Southeast Asia analyst Damien Kingsbury said both candidates have adopted “nationalist” sentiments in their campaign so far.

“There are both populists that are operating on a populist agenda,” he said.

“Jokowi is trying to broaden his appeal out to the middle ground of Indonesian voters. Prabowo is appealing much more to a base.”

Professor Kingsbury said despite making up some recent ground, Subianto is well behind President Widodo in most polling.

“The polls have been showing that Jokowi is running at around the 50 percent mark in terms of popularity,” he said.

“Prabowo is running at around the 30 percent mark with a significant number of undecided voters.”

This is the second time the two rivals will face off after President Widodo defeated Subianto in elections five years ago.

According to the West Papua National Committee, hundreds of thousands of West Papuans boycotted those elections in 2014.

West Papuan militants back boycott

Indonesia’s control of West Papua has long been a flash-point for ongoing low level conflict between Indonesian forces and Indigenous Papuan militants.

Indonesia recently deployed 600 soldiers to protect the building of a major highway in West Papua, in response to the killings of 19 Indonesian road workers. The road project was a signature promise that President Joko Widodo made to the region.

In following clashes with militants, Indonesia’s military said three of its soldiers were killed along with up to 10 rebels.

But despite this escalation, Professor Kingsbury said West Papua had essentially been a “non-issue” in the election campaign.

“Both candidates believe that that Melanesian West Papuans should accept they are Indonesian,” he said.

“[They believe] the separatist movement [in West Papua] is essentially a criminal organisation.”

In a statement seen by SBS News, the West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB-OPM) declared its intention to support the push to boycott 2019 elections.

“The TPNPB-OPM never recognised the existence of the Colonial Government of the Republic of Indonesia in Papuans Customary Lands,” the statement reads. (asiapacificreport.nz)

 

Source: asiapacificreport.nz

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