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UN chief waffles over West Papuan human rights violations

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Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu (background) and UN Secretary-General António Guterres during a visit to Port Vila’s seafront … West Papua issue raised in vain. Image: Dan McGarry/Vanuatu Daily Post

Papua, Jubi – During his visit to Port Vila last weekend, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres was confronted with questions about West Papua – but he waffled in his responses.

The matter was on the agenda during a bilateral meeting held between Guterres and key government officials, including Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and Foreign Affairs Minister Ralph Regenvanu.

In a joint press conference, Salwai was unequivocal about Vanuatu’s continued commitment to support and help drive the decolonisation process globally, and especially in West Papua.

The UN head did little more than acknowledge the PM’s words in his own prepared remarks.

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Guterres also responded to questions on the topic from the media. The following exchange occurred during a pooled interview with Agence France Presse’s Ben Bohane. He had little more to offer there.

The most serious deforestation, the most serious ecological trouble, as well as the most serious human rights abuses in the whole Pacific are happening in West Papua, Bohane said.

Shouldn’t the UN be doing more to try and stop the human right abuses, and the ecological disaster that is unfolding there?

UN ‘doing its job’

Guterres did little to raise expectations of a resolution to this crisis any time soon.

“There is a framework in the institutions, namely the human rights council… there are special procedures, there was a panel, that recently made a report on those issues, a report that was then presented internationally. Indonesia also responded,” he said.

“So the UN is doing its job, with a major concern that there and everywhere, human rights are respected.”

The problem is, he was told, that Indonesia is blocking Pacific island delegations, and they also appear to be blocking the UN Human Rights Commission from visiting West Papua.

At the moment, all international media is banned. Again, shouldn’t the UN be doing more to open up West Papua?

The Secretary-General appeared to grant that there were indeed concerns about access to the area.

“The Human Rights High Commissioner has reaffirmed availability to visit the territory, and that remains our concern, and our objective.”

So, if Indonesia says no, he was asked, is there nothing anyone can do, even the UN?

“As I said, we had the institutions working, we have a panel of experts, but there are also from our side strong commitments there and everywhere.”

Little evidence of those commitments was on display in Port Vila. (Dan McGarry)

 

Source: Pasific Media Centre

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NGOs questions KPA on billions of funds channelling for people living with HIV

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HIV/AIDS Care volunteers who were recruited by KPA Papua province a few months ago to help KPA in counselling. – Jubi / Agus Pabika

Jayapura, Jubi – Some NGOs and communities working with people living with HIV in Jayapura asked the Provincial Aids Commission (KPA) of Papua to transparently report the distribution of funds amounted Rp 1.5 billion allocated to increase nutritional intake among people living with HIV in Papua Province.

The chairperson of the Papua Community Health Development Foundation (YPKM) Joice Erlerly said so far these institutions are not aware of the funds distributed by the KPA Papua.

“We knew about this information after reading an article published in a printed newspaper in Jayapura City. However, the article did not state who had received the funds? Where did it distribute? Regional or provincial level?” said Joice on Tuesday (08/13/2019).

Moreover, she added her institution have never had the coordination or communicated with KPA about any distribution of funds for people living with HIV/AIDS. “YPKM along with those who care about this issue still provide nutritional intake for people living with HIV,” she said.

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Concerning the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Papua, she clarifies there are 48 thousand in which 6,000 alone are living in Jayapura City.

Meanwhile, Roberth Sihombing, an HIV activist in Papua, said that the five thousand people living in HIV/AIDS mentioned by the KPA Papua must be held accountable. “It would be nice if the KPA Papua works together with health services such as hospitals, community health centres and NGOs that assist people living with HIV/AIDS to get a valid data,” he said.

As clearly stated by him, people living with HIV/AIDS, in particular, those who registered in the community health centres need nutritional intake, especially pregnant women.

“A good program will only be more effective if it’s been well because the program of HIV/AIDS prevention and elimination requires the involvement of all parties. If the KPA Papua already had a study on nutritional intake needs among people living in HIV/AIDS, they can go ahead. Unfortunately, I think they don’t,” he said. (*)

Reporter: Agus Pabika
Editor: Maizier Pipit

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GempaR-Papua asks Indonesia to stop exploiting Papua Resources

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GempaR-Papua in a protest conducted in front of the University of Cenderawasih’s gate, Perumnas 3 Waena some times ago. – Jubi / Agus Pabika

Jayapura, Jubi – GempaR-Papua (Papuan Student, Youth and People Movement) of Jayapura Municipality urges the Government of Indonesia to discontinue all projects that often related to economic development, but in reality threatening the life of the indigenous community.

The Chairman of GempaR-Papua Samuel Womsiwor said it involves many interests ranging from long-term investments to the exploitation of natural resources in which triggering many human rights violations for both Kamoro and Amungme peoples.

“We decline the national food security program –the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate—in Merauke. Also, we reject the militarization of all efforts to spread the investment throughout Papua that supported by President Joko Widodo. Therefore, we urge the Government of Indonesia to open the access to Hak Guna Usaha (HGU) for the community,” Wamsiwor stated in a release received by Jubi on Tuesday (13/8/2019).

Further, GempaR-Papua also asks the Indonesian Government to immediately withdraw its troops from Nduga due to human rights violations occurred against indigenous peoples. Importantly, they also urge the government to open access to local, national, international journalists and humanitarian workers to work in Nduga and throughout Papua. (*)

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Reporter: Agus Pabika
Editor: Maizier Pipit

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PNG governor wants West Papua referendum

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Powes Parkop, the governor of Papua New Guinea’s National Capital District. Photo: RNZ /Johnny Blades

Papua, Jubi – The governor of Papua New Guinea’s capital district wants Indonesia to allow West Papua to undertake an independence referendum.

In a statement, Powes Parkop also backed a call from Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers to raise the issue of human rights abuses in Papua at next week’s Forum leaders summit.

Mr Parkop said the crisis in Papua had escalated due to Pacific nations letting fear of Indonesia dictate their approach to it.

He said the Melanesian Spearhead Group should also accept an application for full membership by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.

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“Indonesia must realize that when it choose to restore the rights and dignity of the West Papuan people it will unleash great joy.”

Mr Parkop said he had delivered the same message on West Papua to PNG Prime Minister James Marape and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogovare.

According to him, he planned to also deliver it to the governments of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the US, adding that he had requested a meeting with Indonesia’s government.

Jakarta says Papua’s incorporation into the Indonesian is final and non-negotiable.

Papuan Liberation Movement welcomes foreign ministers’ call

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua has welcomed a resolution by Pacific foreign ministers to push for a UN Human Rights office visit to Papua.

In January, the UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said Indonesia’s government agreed in principle for a team from her office to visit Papua.

However, Pacific Forum members are concerned that the invitation is not being honoured. Forum foreign ministers have called for the timing of the visit by to be finalised by both parties.

They also seek for a resulting report on the Papua situation to be presented before the next Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting in 2020.

The Liberation Movement’s chairman, Benny Wenda, urged Pacific Forum leaders to endorse this call when they meet for their annual summit in Tuvalu next week.

Mr Wenda said such a stand reflected the values at the heart of the Blue Pacific campaign to develop a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity where all Pacific people can lead free healthy and productive lives.

Accordnig to him, Pacific civil society networks continue to provide support to Forum Leaders and Government regarding the human rights issues of West Papua. (*)

 

Source: RNZ

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