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Jakarta imposes internet blackout in Papua as violent protests spread

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People run as fire engulfs a market in Fakfak regency, in eastern Indonesia’s West Papua province, Aug. 21, 2019. AP

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.

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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.

Demanding self-determination

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. (*)

 

Source: Benarnews.org

 

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HIV/AIDS transmission in Jayapura Regency claimed to decline

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Photo illustration of health services. – Pexels.com

Sentani, Jubi – Jayapura Health Office claims HIV/AIDS cases in Jayapura Regency has declined with only 3,202 cases occurred until last year.

“HIV/AIDS prevention is a complex issue. It would not only the responsibility of the health office, but all parties should contribute in educating the community,” said Pungut Sunarto, the Division Head of Disease Prevention and Management of the Jayapura Regional Health Office, on Tuesday (21/1/2020).

People living with HIV/AIDS in Jayapura Regency are mostly the productive age group ranging from 20-49 years old. There are also infants and children among patients.

“We are always updating the report on people living with HIV/AIDS [in our region]. If not, they would not be able to access the ARV,” said Pungut.

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He further said that the family plays a crucial role in preventing HIV/AIDS transmission. Similarly, he continued, life endurance among people living with HIV/AIDS depends on the support from their closest family.

“Those living with HIV/AIDS who regularly take their medicines (ARV) can reduce their medicine (ARV) can reduce the risk of virus transmission. So, please do not blame and stigmatise them,” said Pungut.

Meanwhile, a Sentani resident Edison Sineri agrees that parents have a significant role in preventing their children from behaviours that likely lead to the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other sexual diseases.

“Currently, young people are easily get involved in promiscuity that difficult to control by parents. It possibly leads them to negative behaviours.” (*)

 

Reporter: Yance Wenda

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Lawyers question commitment over Papuan political prisoners’ right

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Three of seven Papuan political prisoners. – Jubi/Piter Lokon

Nabire, Jubi – The Papua Coalition for Law Enforcement and Human Rights urges the attorney general to fulfil the right of health for seven political prisoners detained in Balikpapan, Kalimantan Timur and consider it as a neglection of the prisoners’ rights.

“We release this statement after one of our clients experienced vomiting blood. He had an internal disease issue,” said the Coordinator Emanuel Gobay on Friday (24/1/2020).

The coalition team asks the Papuan Attorney General’s commitment to providing the right of health to the prisoners as previously promised. It never occurred. Indeed, the Attorney General has neglected their family’s right to visit.

“If the seven detainees were in Papua, of course, their family can come to visit and find an alternative for health treatment.

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Therefore, Gobay urges the Attorney General of Papua to recall the seven political prisoners to Jayapura. He said the security issue is no longer relevant as a reason to allocate their trial outside of Papua.

“It is unfair (for the seven detainees) referred that all the trial hearings of anti-racism case held in Papua. All those trials are going well and safe,” asserted Gobay.

Meanwhile, a coalition member Oktovianus Tabuni added that in principle the seven political prisoners are respecting their legal process. However, they want to have their trial in Papua.

“The principle of a trial is to have a timely and low-cost process. Do not let it (the trial) float up like what has been happening now,” said Tabuni. (*)

 

Reporter: Titus Ruban

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Autonomy budget cut off, Jayawijaya Government reduce supplementary feeding budget

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Photo illustration of milk. -Pixabay.com

Wamena, Jubi – The Government of Jayawijaya Regency has reduced the number of schools to receive funding on the Supplementary Feeding Program (PMTAS). The reduction relates to the Special Autonomy Funds cut off for the PON (the National Games) 2020

Nurlili, an official at the Jayawijaya Village Community Empowerment Office (DPMK), said last year the program was running in five schools in Napua, Maima, Musaftaf, Wita Waya and Wadangku subdistricts.

“There allocate for only two schools this year because of the budget cut off for the PON. We depend on the Special Autonomy Funds for this program,” Nurlili said in Wamena on Tuesday (21/1/2020).

In 2020, the local government plans to implement the program in four sub-districts, namely Asolokobal, Wesaput, Muliama and Tagime. “But, Muliama and Tagime sub-districts are a bit far, so we decided to implement the program in the zone two, namely in SD YPPK Hepuba in Asolokobal Sub-district and SD Inpres Wesaput in Wesaput Subdistrict,” he said.

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The budget allocation for PMTAS Year 2020 reduced from IDR 857 million to IDR 468 million.

However, Nurlili hopes that in February they can conduct training for teachers and women at sub-districts and village levels on healthy food for children.

“At the end of the training, we will purchase some items that are not available in sub-districts and villages to deliver in March. They will be cooking food for the pupils, and we will monitor its implementation. There will be a payment for the cooks, but they should submit the report first,” he said.

In addition to food ingredients, the local government also provides cash for schools to purchase some food from the local markets to help the cash flow of villages and sub-districts.

“This program is very critical because President Jokowi has instructed us to decrease stunting among children. Therefore, we allocate the PMTAS for the primary school children because it is their growth period,” he said. (*)

 

Source: ANTARA

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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