International attention drawn to West Papuan struggle – West Papua No.1 News Portal
Connect with us

Headlines

International attention drawn to West Papuan struggle

Published

on

Papuan student protesters burning a coffin in Jakarta on 18 January, 2019. Photo: Twitter/Veronica Koman

Jayapura, Jubi – Efforts to focus international attention on the West Papua independence cause surged in the past week.

First, a petition claiming to represent the voices of 1.8 million West Papuans calling for decolonisation of Indonesian-ruled Papua was handed to the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, in Geneva.

It was presented by the chair of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), Benny Wenda, who was included in an official delegation of the Vanuatu government to a meeting with Ms Bachelet.

Loading...
;

Then, the office of the commissioner confirmed that Indonesia had, in principle, agreed to grant her office it access to Papua.

It represented a tentative breakthrough after the previous High Commissioner last year upset Jakarta by complaining that an invitation for his office to visit Papua hadn’t been honoured.

Thirdly, representatives of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) and its armed wing, the West Papua Liberation Army, held a rare press conference in neighbouring Papua New Guinea where they re-asserted their war on the Indonesian state.

They made an urgent appeal to the UN secretary-general to ensure relevant UN agencies applied scrutiny to the human rights situation in Papua, and pressed their insistence that Indonesia has occupied Papua illegally.

At yesterday’s event, they were joined by PNG civil society groups and two high-profile local MPs in calling for the international community to act on the “crisis” happening in the neighbouring territory.

Escalation

Nduga regency in Papua’s central Highlands region is the current focal point of armed conflict between Indonesian security forces and the West Papua Liberation Army.

In the most serious escalation of hostilities for years, additional Indonesian military capabilities deployed to Nduga in December after the Liberation Army massacred 17 Indonesian road construction workers.

The Liberation Army was suspicious of Indonesian military involvement in President Joko Widodo’s massive Trans-Papua road project.

Given Papuan concerns about preserving their forests and ancestral lands, the project is viewed as a threat to many communities in the Highlands heartland.

Still, the president told media his resolve to forge ahead with his government’s infrastructure development drive in Papua was all the stronger since the attack on the workers.

In her recent annual foreign policy review statement, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi, said her country would “not back down, not even an inch, when it comes to its sovereignty”.

But with shootouts and killings continuing in Nduga and the surrounding region, humanitarian concerns are growing for thousands of Papuan villagers who have fled to the bush to avoid the violence.

Claims that chemical weapons have been used by Indonesia’s military against civilians in Nduga have been vehemently denied by Indonesia.

The claims are just the latest reason cited by the ULMWP in its call for the international community, specifically the United Nations, to intervene in the Pacific’s longest running conflict.

The chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Benny Wenda, peruses the petition calling for West Papuan decolonisation. Photo: Benny Wenda FB

Moresby rumblings

With concern about conflict in Papua running deep among Melanesian countries, Papua New Guinea’s Peter O’Neill-led government is under pressure to act on the issue.

The Governor of PNG’s National Capital District, Powes Parkop, announced at Thursday’s OPM press conference that he was working on introducing a motion in parliament for a change in government policy on Papua.

According to the Oro Governor, Gary Juffa, the 1986 treaty with Indonesia, which commits PNG to not interfere in domestic matters of its neighbour, is outdated and must be changed.

“And it has to be done by parliament, because it was enacted by parliament,” Mr Juffa said.

“And that’s the whole purpose of this gathering. But it is also their statement that no matter what, there’s no going back for them. Their only statement to the Indonesian government is that ‘we are willing to negotiate for freedom, nothing else’.”

Invoking the current urgency around the independence movement, the Oro Governor said West Papuans were determined and deserved the support of their neighbours.

“As Melanesians, as a Pacific nation, we have to rise up and stand up for our fellow Pacific Islanders.”

However PNG’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rimbink Pato, has repeatedly ruled out PNG pushing Indonesia on the matter of Papua’s political status.

He recently said PNG was working with Indonesia on various projects in the common border area that he claimed would help foster economic development and steadily improve living conditions for West Papuans.

But chair of PNG’s Union For Free West Papua, Ken Mondiai, said the issue of West Papua should be addressed by the UN.

“Indonesia has come in in a very forceful way since the 1960s to take over using its military force. The United States of America, the UN, the Netherlands, and many of the big countries like Australia are collectively responsible. So they should be responsible to try and fix the mistakes of the past.”

Diplomatic surge

At the Moresby press conference, an OPM spokesman, Jeffrey Bomanak, announced the Movement’s official support for the Liberation Army’s declaration of war against the Indonesian state.

He said its armed struggle to end Indonesian rule would not cease until Jakarta agreed to meet for peaceful negotiations, for which the OPM is establishing a negotiating team.

However, Indonesia’s government has previously ruled out negotiations with the OPM, which it brands as a criminal group, and is unlikely to change its stance now.

Indonesia’s Political, Legal and Security Minister Wiranto recently told media that the government would not enter any discussions with the Army.

But apart from Indonesia, those involved in this intractable conflict are looking to the UN to help resolve the problem.

According to Mr Wenda, while the OPM and Liberation Army are united in support of his Liberation Movement’s international efforts, he cannot control them.

“We cannot control the guerillas in the West Papuan bush, who face the threat of torture and death by the colonial Indonesian military every day,” he explained.

“The guerillas have their own command structure and their own leadership, and due to geographical, logistical and communicative difficulties we do not try to direct them. The ULMWP is focused relentlessly on its goal of achieving international support for an internationally-supervised vote on independence for West Papua.”

On that front, Mr Wenda’s delivery of the petition in Geneva last Friday was described by Indonesia as a ‘manipulation’.

Indonesia’s permanent representative at the UN, Hasan Kleib, alleged that Mr Wenda has infiltrated the Vanuatu delegation.

He added that Vanuatu was disrespectful and had broken the principles of the UN charter by allowing Mr Wenda to deliver the petition.

But Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister, Ralph Regenvanu, said his government had always maintained its support for the self-determination of West Papuans.

Vanuatu continues to advocate for the UN to revisit the controversial process by which Indonesia took control of the former Dutch New Guinea in the 1960s.

Indonesian officials, who say the question of sovereignty over Papua is final, delivered their own shot at Vanuatu this week in Geneva where the Melanesian country was undergoing its universal periodic review at the UN Human Rights Council.

However, this week it was mainly the Papuans who made the diplomatic running. (*)

 

Source: Radionz.co.nz

(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headlines

Hundreds of people were detained in Papua ahead to 1 December

Published

on

By

One of four students who arrested by police at Gereja Gembala Baik, Abepura on 1 December. – Courtesy of LBH Papua

Jayapura, Jubi – Around 112 people were arrested by police in several towns of Papua and Papua Barat provinces within a week ahead to 1 December 2019 under the treason article concerning the Morning Star flag-raising.

Five days before 1 December which commemorated as the Papuan political manifesto by Papuans, a young Papuan activist Pilipus Robaha arrested by police in his house on 26 November 2019. The police questioned him in association with a letter posting on social media appealing people to attend the commemoration worship of 1 December at Trikora Square. Lack of evidence to accuse his involvement connected to the report, the police released him the next day.

A day after his arrest, the police detained eight people in Manokwari at around 3 in the afternoon of local time. The Regional Police Chief of Papua Barat Province, Brigadier General Herry Rudolf Nahak, said during the police seized twenty-nine big-sized Morning Star flags, some posters and pamphlets and two cars.

“During the interrogation, these eight people admitted that they participated in the event after reading the pamphlet about a rally at Borasi Square, Manokwari on Wednesday morning,” said the police chief.

Loading...
;

Until Thursday (5/12/2019), they are still under the custody of Manokwari Police. So far, the police declared none of these eight persons named suspects. However, the police have charged seven detainees under the treason article, according to Yan Warinussy, the Executive Director of Legal Aid Research, Study and Development Study (LP3BH) Manokwari. Meanwhile, another one only named as a witness.

Another arrest occurred in Sentani City of Jayapura Regency. The police detained thirty-four people on Saturday evening (30/11/2019) while marching towards Trikora Square, Abepura to participate in a flag-raising ceremony. The police also accused them as the members of the West Papuan National Liberation Army from Demta sub-district and Sarmi Regency after finding evidence of their membership cards.

Jayapura Police Chief Adjunct Commissionaire Victor Makbon said “We already released fourteen of them, but twenty people have named suspects. We charged six of them under the Emergency Law on the possession of sharp weapons and the Treason Article 106 and Article 2 verse (1) of the Criminal Code.”

In the meantime, there are 13 people charged under the Treason Article 106 of the Criminal Code, while one also charged under the Treason Article 106 and Article 160 on incitement.

Regarding this case, Yohanis Mambrasaar, a lawyer from Papua Human Rights Advocates Association (PAHAM), confirmed that the report on twenty people charged for treason. Currently, he said PAHAM is preparing the power of attorney to provide legal assistance for detainees.

Separately, the police arrested four students at Gembala Baik Church in Abepura on Sunday Morning. Marvin Yobe, Desepianus Dumupa, Paul Halapok and Devion Tekege wore the Papuan highland traditional clothes and pained their bodies with the Morning Star pattern. They also brought the Morning Star flags to the Church during the worship time.

The arrested student Desepianus Dumupa said the purpose of their act was to ask God for freedom. “Our purpose carrying the flag in the worship was to ask God’s help, ask Him to liberate our nation,” said Dumupa.

However, the police then released these four students after being interrogated until 1 morning on Monday. They first questioned at Abepura Police Headquarters, then at Jayapura Police Headquarters after the police had not found any evidence at their accommodation.

By Monday morning, the police called Father James Kosay who led the worship at Gembala Baik Church on 1 December to question related to the arrest of four students. “At the time of arrest, there were twenty police officers, both without and with uniform, entered the church during the worship that made people panic,” said Father James.

A day before the incident in Gembala Baik Church, the police also called Markus Haluk, the Executive Director of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) in connection with The Call for Communal Worship on 1 December 2019. The police interrogated Haluk with twenty-nine questions for six hours.

Another detain also occurred in Fakfak. The local police of Fakfak arrested 54 people in Warpa, Pikpik and Mabuni-Buni villages of Kayauni sub-district at around 3 in the afternoon on Sunday (1/12/2019). The police accused them intending to raise the Morning Star flag at the residence of Fakfak Regent. Also, the police claimed the fifty-four detainees as the members of TPNPB after finding their membership cards during the arrest.

Fakfak Police Chief Ary Nyoto Setiawan said that the Morning Star flag was already raised in Warpa village by twenty-three people with sharp weapons. When the arrest took place, according to the chief, the police also found the amount of IDR 88 million on the scene.

“The money was about to send to their highest rank leader in Jayapura,” said the chief.

Based on their investigation, the police has officially named twenty-three people as suspects.

The Recherche and Crime Investigation Chief of Fakfak Police, Misbahul Munir, said, “ These twenty-three people wanted to come to Fakfak to wave the flag at the official residence of Fakfak Regent.“

A picture of the arrest in Fakfak widely spread in social media

A photo of the arrest in Pikpik village of Fakfak raised criticism among Papuan people following its circulation on social media. In the picture, almost naked, some people tied up together and remained sitting by the road.

“The right word for the picture is slavery. Only those who experienced colonialism can do this. They experienced the same oppression before their independence. So, they want to practice the same thing against the oppressed people,“ said Filep Karma to comment on the photo that goes viral on social media.

However, Fakfak Police has not yet confirmed about the picture. So far, the Recherche and Crime Investigation Chief of Fakfak Police has not answered the phone and WhatsApp message to clarify the photograph allegedly describes the arrest in Pikpik village. However, several Fakfak residents confirmed that the circulated photo about the detain in Pikpik village on 1 December 2019 is valid.

“They arrested on 1 (December). A man with white hair body on chess was my classmate, Yance Hegemur,” said a Fakfak resident by phone to confirm the photograph.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Domberai Customary Council Finsen Mayor also believes the same way. “Yes, it was the picture of the incident on 1 December in Fakfak. They transported to Fakfak Police Headquarters in the evening,” said Mayor.

From Tuesday (26/11/2019) to Wednesday (4/12/2019) afternoon, there are 101 people arrested and interrogated by police in connection to 1 December. So far, 82 people are still detained in Fakfak, Manokwari and Sentani, while the rest already released by police. At least 27 people have named suspects under the treason article, in which twenty people in Sentani and other seven in Manowakri.

In the sense of police acts to anticipate 1 December by arresting Papuans, according to Yan Warinussy, it would only worsen the image of the Indonesian Government among Papuans as Papua has a different historical background to other regions in Indonesia. This recognition is implicitly acknowledged the verse e of the Law 21/2001 about the Special Autonomy for Papua.

“1 December should be used as a milestone to create constructive efforts to straighten the history of Papua by the people of Papua and the state for the sake of peace,” said Warinussy.

He further asserted that every social and political movement of Papuan people, which contain different aspirations, should be responded with the kind response and accommodated through peaceful dialogue. (*)

 

Reporter: Victor Mambor

Editor: Pipit Maizier

(Visited 14 times, 8 visits today)
Continue Reading

Headlines

Tabi Province, for whom it established?

Published

on

By

Illustration. -Doc

Jayapura, Jubi – An intellectual youth figure of Tabi Frangklin Wahey said the establishment of new Tabi province does not benefit the people of Tabi.

“This becomes a current big issue for native people in Tabi, and it needs further clarification from a group of regents and mayors who propose new administrative regions. In this sense, I only focus on Tabi region as the capital of Papua Province lay on it. So, I think it is weird if some native Tabi wants a new split regency. I suggest to those who propose this idea to clarify their specific needs and interest behind this,” he said.

As a native Tabi, he questioned why this regional split issue is becoming a critical issue now while did not get any attention during the first administration period.

“I think it is the interest of people who want becoming a governor in Tabi. If you want to be a governor, I suggest that better you provide a good example (to the public) and be prepared to compete (in the election). For the regent and mayor in Tabi region, I ask you to not making this issue complicated because it may disturb the harmony among indigenous Tabi,” he said.

Loading...
;

Further, he said politically, the economy and education of indigenous Papuans in Tabi has long been left behind compared to others. If Tabi becomes a new province, it does not make them better. Instead, they will more marginalise.

“We must allow Mr Lukas to run his duty as a current governor and support him for what he has done in Tabi through outstanding development. He has made the region of Tabi a beautiful place. So, I ask the mayor and regent to build good coordination with the governor, provincial parliament and people’s assembly. Because they have authority and capacity to speak on behalf of the public interest in Papua,” he said.

Meanwhile, a native from Tobati Mrs Nonce Hanasbey hopes the government to be more focus on human resources development and local economic empowerment. According to her, it can improve indigenous livelihood and welfare.

“So far, infrastructure development has significantly progressed, and many primary changes have done. It only needs to support indigenous people in using their potential and existing natural resources for assuring these infrastructures benefit for them instead of other groups. (*)

 

Reporter: Aguz Pabika

Editor: Pipit Maizier

(Visited 24 times, 1 visits today)
Continue Reading

Headlines

Carrying Morning Star flags in the worship, four students arrested in Church

Published

on

By

Four students were taken to Abepura Police station while attending Mass at Gembala Baik Catholic Church, Abepura on Sunday (1/12/2019)

Jayapura, Jubi – Four students were taken to Abepura Police station while attending Mass at Gembala Baik Catholic Church, Abepura on Sunday (1/12/2019). Wearing the traditional clothes of Papuan highlands, two of them decorated their faces with the pattern of Morning Star.

The four students are Marvin Yobe, Desepianus Dumupa, Paul Halapok and Devion Tekege. “They brought three Morning Star flags,” said Mario, an Abepura resident who was at the worship.

A police officer who not wear uniform at that time stood to arrest the students when they were about to receive the Host, but hold by the congregation asking him to respect the Holly Communion. Then, the police officer took the students out of the Church after seizing their flags.

Among the four, Desepianus Dumupa (26 years old) said their aim bringing the Morning Flags to the Church was to ask God for freedom. “Our purpose coming to the worship with the flags is to ask for help from God. We ask God to give freedom for Papuans,” said Dumupa.

Loading...
;

At the meantime, the Director of Legal Aid Institute (LBH) Papua, Emanuel Gobay, said the police took the students to Abepura police station for questioning. During the investigation, Jayapura Police Chief Gustaf Urbunas came and met with the Coalition Team of Papua Legal and Human Rights Advocates who accompanied the four students.

Urbinas stated the four students would be taken to Perumnas III Waena to inspect their accommodation after the examination for searching other evidence. After that, they would go to Jayapura Police Headquarter for further investigation.

“When asked about the legal status of the four students, the police chief said the police still ask their clarification before taking a decision,” said Gobay, the Coordinator of the Coalition team.

However, Gobay continued, after their inspection to Perumnas III, the police did not found any evidence. Then, the police took the four students to Jayapura Headquarters, took their pictures and fingerprints before continuing the interrogation.

The examination continued until 00.59; Monday, 2 December 2019 before the four students were finally released.

Meanwhile, as quoted by Antara News Agency, Papua Police Chief General Paulus Waterpauw confirmed the interrogation against the four students. “I ordered Jayapura Municipal Police Chief to explore the case, to find out what do their plans,” said Waterpauw.

He stated in general the security situation in Papua is conducive during the commemoration West Papuan Independence Day which held every 1 December. Moreover, he said there were no public activities considered disturbing the security and public order.

“Generally safe, conducive and controlled. We are grateful to all stakeholders. Therefore, the commemoration of 1 December, which is an annual event, can run in a conducive, safe and controlled,” said Paulus Waterpauw on Sunday (1/12/2019). (*)

 

Reporter: Victor Mambor

Editor: Pipit Maizier

(Visited 62 times, 1 visits today)
Continue Reading

Most Read Posts

Latest Post

Advertisement

Trending