Jayapura, Jubi – The controversy over Freeport’s requested contract extension has sparked reactions in Papua, including from the local legislators.
A member of the Commission I of the Papua Legislative Council for terrestrial, legal and human rights, government and politic affairs, H. Syamsunar Rasyid questioned whether the contract extension would benefit the people of Papua in general and customary landowners in particular.
“It needs to be considered whether could it benefit the Papuans, in particular the landowners. During the time they have been scarified,” said Rasyid on Monday (7/12/2015).
He also asked the Central Government to read the Papua Autonomy Law carefully. He said the Law has provided authorities to the Papua Provincial Government to manage everything, including the natural resources.
“I question the rights of Papuans, especially after the Special Autonomy Law. We should remember that the Central Government provides the Special Autonomy Law for Papua in the Article 4, that the authority has given to the Provincial Government, except for foreign political policy, security and defense, monetary, fiscal, religion and Judicial Court,” he said. According to him, before negotiating with the Freeport, the Central Government must consult with all stakeholders in Papua, not only with the Provincial Government but also involved the Papua Legislative Council, Papua People’s Assembly and customary landowners.
“Papua has special authority, including the right of tenureship. Is the tenure right of the customary people has been solved? It should be reminded. Do not just argue about the shares, but forget the people’s tenure right,” he said.
He said the current situation is different with the situation before the Special Autonomy Law. He also reminded the Papua Provincial Government to involve the entire relevant stakeholders in solving the Freeport’s issue.
“The purpose is for the welfare of Papuans. I asked the governor, vice governor, Papua Legislative Council, Papua People’s Assembly and the land owners to sit together to discuss about the Freeport’s issue that is now a headline issue in Jakarta,” he said.
Separately, a member of Commission IV of the Papua Legislative Council for mining affairs, Thomas Sondegau said the Central Government should not only think about the distribution of royalties. Now the Moni tribe also demanded compensation. They thought the Freeport’s mining area has crossed their customary land.
“Do not ignore the rights of customary people. The representative of Moni tribe has submitted their aspiration in written to us. We will forward their aspiration to the Chairman of Commission to be submitted to the Chairman of Papua Legislative Council,” he said.
He said before the Freeport’s contract was discussed; the issue of the border of Freeport’s mining area should be clarified. According to him, the area is not belonging to a tribe but several tribes. Moni tribe Chief of Intan Jaya Regency at Papua Provincial level, Agustinus Somau asked PT. Freeport Indonesia to pay 10 percent compensation to his tribe because the Freeport’s mining area has crossed their customary area.
“Moni tribe asked Freeport to pay 10 percent compensation. We have written an official letter to the Papua Legislative Council related to our demand. We submitted it to the Commission IV for mining afffairs,” Somau told on last week. (Arjuna Pademme/rom)
Yalimo’s students reject military posts built in two subdistricts
Jayapura, Jubi – Yalimo Students Association in Indonesia (HMKY) states their rejection towards the military plan to build new posts in Abenaho and Apahapsili subdistricts located in Yalimo Regency.
Concerning the plan, HMKY Chairman John West Wandik says Yalimo residents always respect the importance of family, harmonious, religious and cultural virtues. In regards to this plan, he is worried that it might create a conflict between civilians and the military.
“We can see that in many regional towns in Papuan mountainous area as well as other regions in Papua where military and police come to maintain security and stability, even build their military command posts, there are conflicts between military and civilians. So, it’s enough. Let it occur in other regions, not in Yalimo. Here, we do not need any support from the military. But they can build a post in the capital of Yalimo Regency, Elelim,” said Wandik in the press conference held in Jayapura on Wednesday (26/2/2020).
If it was the local government who asked for the military to build their posts in every Yalimo’s subdistricts, it means the government wants to create new conflict, he says.
“Referring to the incidents of the past few years, when the military through the program of the military-goes-to village came to
Apahapsili in 2002 while we were in elementary school, we have seen that the people’s life never been changed better,” he said.
Meanwhile, a local figure Mothis Yohame said people also decline the military posts proposal in five subdistricts because it regards to raise a new conflict. So far, he observes that many disputes occurred due to the military’s presence in the community.
“We have never faced any security issue in Yalimo from the past until today. Everything runs very well. Therefore, we firmly refuse the military posts to build,” said Yohame.
Meanwhile, the military spokesperson deputy Lieutenant Colonel Dax Sianture when confirmed by Jubi says he does not know about the plan and will check it with the local authority for verification.
“Okay, I need to check this information first to find out whether we have plan to build new post or not. So, I cannot give any comments now,” he says. (*)
Reporter: Piter Lokon
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Jakarta imposes internet blackout in Papua as violent protests spread
Papua, Jubi – Indonesia imposed an internet blackout to restore order in its easternmost Papua region on Wednesday, officials said, during a third straight day of unrest sparked by the perceived harsh treatment of anti-Jakarta protesters by government security forces.
Demonstrators torched several stalls at a market and a few buildings in Fakfak, a regency in West Papua province, and more than 1,000 policemen were deployed to the region on Wednesday, national police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal said.
“The ministry decided to temporarily block telecommunication data services starting Wednesday until the situation in Tanah Papua returns to normal,” the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology said in a statement, using the local term for Papua and West Papua provinces, which make up the Indonesian half of New Guinea island.
Tensions rose when local residents who rallied outside the Fakfak regent’s office on Wednesday clashed with a rival group of protesters armed with machetes and iron bars, local resident Freddy Warpopor told BenarNews.
Security forces could do little because they were far outnumbered, he said.
“Members of the local community wanted to voice their aspirations to the regency chief, who promised to convey their message to President Joko Widodo,” Warpopor said.
During the rally in Fakfak, the crowd chanted, “We are not Red and White [the colors of the Indonesian flag]. We are the Morning Star [the banned Papuan separatist banner],” witnesses said.
Iqbal, the police spokesman, said 1,200 officers had been deployed to West Papua from neighboring provinces. More than 300 soldiers also arrived in the province on Tuesday to beef up security.
“We are talking to community and religious leaders,” Iqbal told reporters. “Soldiers and police are not being equipped with live ammunition.”
He insisted that things were under control, especially in Manokwari regency and Sorong city, the scenes of violent protests on Monday and Tuesday.
On Friday, dozens of people were injured when Papuan students who were demonstrating and calling for self-determination clashed with counter-protesters in Malang, a city in East Java province, police and Papuan activists said.
The next day, anti-riot police fired tear gas on a Papuan students’ dormitory in Surabaya, East Java’s main city. They arrested and briefly detained 43 people there over accusations that they had desecrated an Indonesian flag, local media reported.
In response, thousands marched in Papua and West Papua provinces on Monday to protest the alleged racist treatment by security forces and residents against the Papuan students.
Protesters in Manokwari, the capital of West Papua, attacked the provincial parliament and set fire to several other government buildings, including the provincial House of Representatives, police said.
Also on Monday in Sorong, a crowd set fire to a section of a prison, prompting a riot that led to the escape of more than 250 inmates, officials said. Most of the escapees remain at large, police said.
No violence was reported in Sorong on Wednesday, but protesters submitted a petition to the mayor demanding that the government act against non-indigenous Papuans who used racist slurs.
“The protesters also demand that the mayor limit the growth of the non-indigenous population, because all this time the influx of outsiders has been out of control,” a local resident, Poly Way, told BenarNews.
The petition urged the president, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, to visit and apologize to the Papuan people in person, he said.
A low-level separatist conflict has been taking place since the 1960s in Papua, where the population is predominantly Melanesian. Papua declared its independence from Dutch colonial rule on Dec. 1, 1961, but that was rejected by the Netherlands and later by Indonesia
In 1963, Indonesian forces invaded the region and annexed it. In 1969, the region held a referendum in which security forces selected slightly more than 1,000 people to agree to Papua’s formal absorption into the nation, according to human rights advocacy groups.
Violence has been on the rise in Papua after separatist rebels allegedly killed 19 members of a crew working on a government road project and a soldier in Nduga regency.
In response to the killings, the government sent additional 600 troops to Nduga.
The anti-insurgency campaign has forced more than 20,000 Nduga residents to flee to the forest and neighboring regencies to avoid being caught in the violence, local rights and church activists said.
At least 182 people had died of hunger and disease after fleeing, they said. (*)
Who actually benefits from the Trans Papua Highway?
Papua, Jubi – Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) researcher Cahyo Pamungkas says that the Trans Papua Highway has yet to bring any benefits to the Papuan people.
“The benefits for indigenous people can’t be seen yet. So people ask who exactly is the road for? Because the there is still illegal logging in the central highlands, the highlands are being destroyed, it’s easier for outsiders to exploit natural resources”, said Pamungkas at a press conference on the conflict in Nduga regency at the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) offices in Jakarta on Thursday July 18.
Pamungkas explained that instead of benefiting ordinary Papuans, the Trans Papua Highway threatens their economic wellbeing.
“Pig livestock from Toraja comes into Wamena. So the Wamena’s people’s pigs don’t sell. This threatens their economy. It is increasingly easy for outsiders to come to Wamena, so Wamena people see the road as a threat to their future”, explained Pamungkas.
Pamungkas said that the Trans Papua Highway project only connects regencies or cities and the benefits of this are not felt by the Papuan people. Meanwhile roads between villages and districts which are in fact what is actually needed are not being built.
“Yet roads like this (between villages and districts) are very important, for example simply to sell vegetables produced by farmers in markets”, said Pamungkas.
According to Pamungkas, the Trans Papua Highway actually facilitates the exploitation of natural resources which can be seen from large number of trees being felled and gold mining.
“Moreover when LIPI researched development on this road, we found many logging camps for logging in the direction of the Papua Lorentz National Park, which should a protected area”, explained Pamungkas.
Pamungkas is of the view that the government should immediately hold a dialogue with Papuan social leaders with the assistance of appropriate mediators.
“Because the most important thing at the moment is liberating the Papuan people from the memory of suffering which has built up over time. Particularly the acts of violence by security forces which has resulted in trauma for the residents of Nduga regency, Papua province”, he explained.
Local people’s rights
Expressing a similar view to Pamungkas, Amnesty International Indonesia researcher Aviva Nababan believes that the Trans Papua Highway does not provide any clear benefits. He also questions the government’s planning process for the road.
“Looking at it again from the process. Did the government design its function by thinking about the rights of the people the road impacts on? Did they really follow the principles of involving local communities? If not, this needs to be fixed. We think it shouldn’t be seen from the perspective of western Indonesia. There’s a road, lovely. There’s a road, great”, said Nababan at Jakarta LBH on Friday July 19.
Nababan warned that Indonesia has a commitment to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) meaning that it must involve local communities in all development planning.
He also asked the government to respect the rights of indigenous Papuans. Because according to Amensty’s research, there have been alleged human rights (HAM) violations which have made Nduga residence traumatised and afraid of the security forces.
“When there are problems of HAM violations related to law enforcement in Papua, the tendency is that the cases are rarely investigated. Let alone followed up, or satisfactory accountability”, he explained. (*)
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