WCC mission criticises Papua rights violations in plea for ‘openness’ – West Papua No.1 News Portal
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WCC mission criticises Papua rights violations in plea for ‘openness’

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Villagers welcome the WCC delegation in Kaliki village near Merauke in Papua province. Image: Jimmy Sormin/WCC

Papua, Jubi – A special mission from the World Council of Churches has criticised the ongoing human rights violations by Indonesian security forces in the West Papua region after its five-day visit to Indonesia last week and has called for “more openness” by the authorities.

It is also said Papuan people seemed to be “systemically marginalised” and urged more dialogue without conditions.

The ecumenical delegation coordinated by the WCC visited Indonesia on February 15-22, including the provinces of Papua and Papua Barat (West Papua) – where increasing violence and discrimination against indigenous Papuan people was recently highlighted in a joint statement by five UN human rights mandate-holders.

The purpose of the delegation’s visit was to express solidarity and encourage member churches and related organisations in their efforts for justice and peace in Indonesia.

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While in Papua and Papua Barat, the delegation members met local church leaders, victims of human rights violations and conflict, traditional leaders, the governors of both provinces and other local government representatives, and Indonesian military and police officials in Jayapura, Manokwari, Merauke and Wamena.

“Access to the Papua region has been severely restricted in the past,” said WCC director for international affairs Peter Prove.

“We greatly appreciate the fact that Indonesian authorities enabled our delegation’s visit to take place, and we hope that this will be the beginning of more openness and increased access for others to the territory and its people.”

Severe problems

However, members of the delegation were alarmed to hear from almost all the Papuans they met of the severity of the problems they continue to face.

Dr Jochen Motte, deputy general secretary of United Evangelical Mission, said: “As somebody who had the opportunity to be part of the WCC team visit in 1999, it was sad to realise that the issues mentioned in the report at that time today are almost the same and that the Special Autonomy Status … could not meet the expectations of the Papuan people and bring an end to discrimination and human rights violations.”

The Special Autonomy Law was enacted in 2001 as a basis for Papuans to play a role in determining their own political, social, cultural and economic development within the Republic of Indonesia.

But almost all Papuans the delegation members encountered – including local government officials – considered Special Autonomy a failure, and that its most important elements had not been implemented.

The delegation was concerned to learn that due to migration and demographic shifts, indigenous Papuans now form a minority in their own land.

Landgrabbing, environmental degradation and accelerating destruction of the forest and river resources upon which Papuans’ livelihoods traditionally depended were frequent complaints heard by the delegation.

According to Papuan counterparts the prevailing development model in the territory “is for others, not for us”.

‘Systemically marginalised’

Dr Emily Welty, vice-moderator of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, said: “Papuan people seem to be systemically marginalised and excluded in all areas of life.”

In Wamena and Jayapura, delegation members met internally-displaced people who had fled from conflict and Indonesian military and police operations in the Nduga region following an incident on 2 December 2018 in which 21 road construction workers were reported killed by an armed group.

The total number of IDPs is unknown, but many are thought to be still taking refuge in the forest without support.

Bishop Abednego Keshomshahara of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania said: “It was painful to see so many child victims of this violence who fear to return home because of the presence of military and police who should be the ones protecting them in their villages and schools.”

During the visit to Papua the delegation received a joint appeal from the leaders of four churches in Papua – the GKI-TP, the KINGMI Church in Tanah Papua, the Evangelical Church in Tanah Papua (GIDI), and the Fellowship of Baptist Churches of Papua – calling for international ecumenical support for a comprehensive political dialogue for the resolution of the situation in Papua.

Rev. James Bhagwan, general secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches, said: “It is clear that dialogue without preconditions is the only path forward in such a situation as we encountered in Papua.”

Organised as part of the WCC’s “Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace”, the visit focused on issues concerning religious freedom and inter-religious harmony in Indonesia, and the human rights situation in Papua. (Asian Pasific Report)

 

Source: asiapacificreport.nz

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Environment

Locals allege cement factory to cause dusty air pollution

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A resident lives near Maruni cement factory shows his soles of feet, merchandises and furniture covered by the black dust. – Jubi/Personal Doc.

Manokwari, Jubi – Residents of Dobut Village and other surrounding villages in Manokwari Selatan sub-district feel anxious concerning black dust scattered by the wind to their villages. They allege Maruni cement factory to cause this dusty air pollution.

The Village Chief of Dobut Septinus Aibu said hundreds of residents complained to have respiratory problems. Besides inhaling polluted air, the black dust now covers the roof of houses, get in the homes and pollutes everything inside.

“We have respiratory problems. It’s hard to breathe. There is thick dark haze during the day though it’s only the dust blown by the wind,” Septinus Aibu told Jubi in Manokwari on Wednesday (27/11/2019).

He further admitted to reporting his incident to the Provincial Environment and Land Office of West Papua. He hopes this relevant office will promptly follow up this report. However, his response has not yet responded, said Aibu.

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“I have met the official from the Provincial Environment Office, but I found no definitive answer,” he said.

In the meantime, a resident Slamet who lives in a location near Maruni cement factory also has a similar complaint. He said kiosks and food stalls along the road where the cement factory built fully covered of black dust. “Stalls and everything inside fills with dust; even it covers the floor of houses. It’s all full of black dust,” said Slamet.

In responding to this issue, Derek Ampnir, the Head of West Papua Provincial Disaster Management Agency (BPBD), confirmed Jubi by a short message on Wednesday that the agency will immediately address the alleged air pollution. “Where is the location? Okay, we’ll take action,” texted Ampnir.

The black dust incident that allegedly comes out from the manufacturing activity of Maruni cement factory has been viral on social media, including some photographs, showed the black dust. However, until the news is published, both representatives of the cement factory and local government official do not give any comments on this issue. (*)

 

Reporter: Hans Kapisa

Editor: Pipit Maizier

 

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Economy

Anticipating toxic spills in Papua New Guinea, DKP monitors fishermen’s catches at Hamadi fish landing

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Map of Papua Island showing the location of sea waters in Basamuk, Madang, Papua New Guinea. – Google Maps

Jayapura, Jubi – The Office of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs (DKP) of Jayapura Municipality continues to monitor local fishermen’s catches at Hamadi fish landing following the toxic spills in Madang, Papua New Guinea. Municipal DKP took a few samples of fish to a laboratory for further research whether the incident would impact to the local catchment or fishing ground areas.

The Head of Jayapura Municipal DKP Martheys Sibi said by Monday, his office is still waiting for a clarification from the Indonesian Ministry of Maritime and Fisheries (KKP-RI). “But, based on our observations, so far [the condition of] Hamadi Fish Landing (PPI Hamadi) runs as usual. Fishing activities at the local fishing ground by local fishermen have not yet had a significant impact,” he told Jubi when asked for confirmation via WhatsApp on Monday (18/11/2018).

Sibi further said by Monday the local fishermen continue to bring their catches to sell in PPI Hamadi and such fishes look normal. “However, we will continue to monitor the impact of nickel waste (on fish and catchment areas) while waiting for a follow-up from KKP-RI in Jakarta,” said Sibi.

Moreover, he said the fish monitoring in PPI Hamadi would keep running while awaiting the result from the laboratory. “If there would be a complaint from fishermen (about their catches), such fish would be taken to the laboratory for testing. We have communicated with the Fish Quarantine and Quality Analysis Centre of KKP in Sentani, Papua, to examine a few samples of fish from fishermen,” he said.

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Earlier, the sea waters in Basamuk, Madang, Papua New Guinea has reportedly been contaminated by waste spills from China-owned nickel mining company. A report published by Dr Alex Mojon said pollution from Chinese-owned Nickel Ramu has caused fish to die around Madang sea. (*)

 

Reporter: Sindung Sukoco

Editor: Pipit Maizier

 

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Environment

WWF conduct community forest management training

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A facilitator from the Papua Provincial Forestry Office during a presentation. – Jubi / David Sobolim

Jayapura, Jubi – The World Wide Fund for Nature or WWF-Indonesia conducted training for indigenous people to manage their customary forests.

The training was a response to illegal logging occurred in Papua as well as illegal timber companies who take benefits on timber sales in Papua by purchasing wood at a low price then selling in in the market with the higher price.

To address this issue, WWF-Indonesia held a specific training on wood harvesting planning technique using the Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) method on Tuesday, 13 August 2019, in Jayapura. Participated in the training were indigenous people holding a Business License for the Utilization of Indigenous Forest Timber Products (IUPHHKA-MA) whom members of Koperasi Serba Usaha (KSU-a cooperative).

Piter Roki Aloisius, the Northern Papua Landscape Manager of WWF-Indonesia, told Jubi that WWF involved seven groups of the provincial legal timber business permits holders who are accompanied by WWF in this training.

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“There are 13 groups, but not all working due to the implementation of Governor Regulation No. 13 on the Business Permit for the Utilization of Customary Community Timber Forest Product. Also, there is no synchronization between the provincial government and the central government related to the Forestry Law Number 41 of 2019 with Perdasus (special regional law) Number 21 of 2010 in Papua Province, “he said.

The seven KSUs and an ecotourism business group of WWF’s fostering groups are located in various regencies. They are KSU Mo Make Unaf from Merauke, KSU Jibogol from Jayapura, KSU Nafa from Nabire, KSU Kumea Ampas from Keerom, KSU Sapusaniye from Sarmi, and KSU Kornu and KSU Year Asai from Yapen Island Kepulauan Yapen, with the total of concession area of 33,691 hectares, whereas the ecotourism group Rhepang Muaif is located in Nimbonkrang Sub-district of Jayapura Regency.

So far, no coordination was made regarding the issuance of NSPK. However, while waiting for the issuance of NSPK, Aloysius said that WWF is responsible for fostering the established group by providing technical assistance.

“So, these groups will understand why they cannot carry out activities until now. However, by the time they got their NSPK, they will ready to manage their forests independently in sustainably and responsibly manners. Also, after this training they will understand how to manage the timber and forest products properly by reducing the impacts of its utilization,” he said.

He also explained that so far indigenous Papuans were not visibly utilizing their forest products. However, he believes that through a series of training and mentoring, indigenous people can take an initiative to carry out customary forest management.

“In Papua, if indigenous people process can process their timber by themselves, their daily income will higher,” he said.

According to him, the local community sell woods from the customary forest at the price ranging of Rp 300 thousand per tree, but a businessman sells the wood to the city market at a higher price. So, the local community loses twice because of this businessman.

“Community empowerment to improve the welfare of indigenous peoples is not only the responsibility of NGOs but also the government,” he said.

Meanwhile, Andreas Simoberef from KSU Tetom Jaya in Sarmi Regency said after being accompanied by WWF, he had opened a furniture industry. The income from this industrial business is higher than selling wood at a low price and the forest is being damaged, while it needs decades to growing trees.

He just opened this business for a year and found enthusiastic demand. Therefore, he is unable to serve all orders in a month. “This is a sign that indigenous peoples should not sell the wood. If indigenous peoples carry the timber management by themselves, they earn more income,” he said. (*)


Reporter: David Sobolim
Editor: Maizier Pipit

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