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West Papua petition caused a stir, these are responses from Papua

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Benny Wenda submitted a petition to Jeremy Corbyn, Member of the UK Parliament and Chairman of the UK Labor Party, July 2017 – Jubi/Victor Mambor

Jayapura, Jubi – A petition claimed to hold the wishes of Papuan people on a referendum in the Land of Papua has been debated since last week among people in the Land of Papua, the Government of Indonesia and the United Nations (UN).

Denials and accusations have sprung up in various national media since the petition was published by the British media, The Guardian. The Indonesian government accused Benny Wenda, the actor behind the petition of lying and spreading hoax.

Quoting the statement of the Chairman of Decolonization Special Committee known as C24, Rafael Ramirez, Permanent Mission of the United Nations in New York said there was no petition from West Papua received by C24.

On the other hand, Benny Wenda said that if the petition was a hoax as stated by the Indonesian government, why would anyone be jailed for organizing the signing of the petition? He already suspects Indonesia will do anything to discredit the petition, himself and other West Papuan leaders, even the people of West Papua.

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However, some Papuans have the view that submitting the petition is not a substantial matter. The Indonesian government must recognize that the policy in the Land of Papua has not yet satisfied the Papuan indigenous (OAP).

Response from Papua

Responding to the furor of this petition, Papuan legislator Laurenz Kadepa said the current mutual claims between the Indonesian government and Benny Wenda are not the substance of the Papua issue. The most important thing it should be a lesson for the government so that policies for Papua should be evaluated from all aspects, especially human rights.

“Hoax or true, the petition information is not to be debated. Now the human rights issue in Papua is on the UN agenda and it will be an obstacle for the Indonesian government. Because the states that concern of Papua human rights continue to grow, not just Melanesian countries,” said Kadepa, Sunday (October 1).

“The Indonesian government should correct itself and improve its policy in Papua,” Kadepa continued.

While the Chairman of West Papua National Committee, Victor Yeimo to Benar News confirmed that even if without any petition everyone knows the desire of the people of Papua, which is to hold a referendum as a media to shape the fate of Papuan people.

Regarding the Chairman of C24’s rebuttal, according to Yeimo, if Chairman C24 refuses to accept the petition in his capacity as chairman it is reasonable because the authority of the commission is still in the 17 territorial of non self governance territories. Ramirez has the right to refuse the formal acceptance.

“What must be understood by the people of Papua is the chairman of C24 himself in the interview video said that West Papua was listed by General Assembly. It means he explains the procedural issues that are need to be encouraged. So, the petition is good as public awareness, but the main thing for the Papuan people is to strengthen the strength of domestic struggle, to encourage the liberation process of the people of Papua, “said Yeimo.

The same is said by Markus Haluk, one of the ULMWP’s work teams. In fact, on Tuesday 26 September 2017 Benny Wenda, accompanied by Rex Rumakiek, one of the executives of United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), submitted a petition to the chairman of the UN Decolonization Commission in New York.

“If there is a response from the Government of Indonesia that says it is a lie, I think it’s all okay. We pray and work that in time the truth is upright for the Nation of Papua and Indonesia and the UN,” said Haluk.

ULMWP continues, focusing and working on the right of self-determination without being disturbed by the furor that arose from the petition.

Benny Wenda and his petition

Benny Wenda, a Papuan independence leader claimed to have handed the West Papua People’s Petition to a C-24 representative. After the news of the submission was released by British media, The Guardian, the Government of Indonesia immediately denied it and named the petition as a publicity stunt without any credibility.

To Jubi, Benny Wenda said he submitted the petition to C24 representatives on September 26 at the Office of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. He was with Rex Rumakiek who submitted the petition to C-24 representatives.

“More than 70% of the population in Papua wants a referendum in West Papua. Bishop Desmond Tutu and Noam Chomsky are two of the world’s leading figures who signed the petition, “Benny Wenda told the contents of the petition.

Wenda further said that the people of West Papua who are supported by the international community very much trust in the petition demand. West Papuan people demand West Papua to become a non-self-governing territory with full rights to liberty and freedom.

The signing of this petition does not go smoothly. Recorded petitions distributed online through the avaaz.org site were blocked by the Indonesian government by the end of 2016. Similarly, petitions were manually executed since April 2017. According to the ULMWP records, 57 people were arrested for supporting the petition. Among them are Yanto Awerkion, Vice Chairman of West Papua National Committee (KNPB) of Mimika and its secretary Sem Ukago on Tuesday (December 7, 2016).

“Yanto and Sem are threatened with Article 169 of the Criminal Code for participating in associations aimed at committing a crime, or participating in other associations prohibited by general rules, are punishable by imprisonment of up to six years,” added Benny Wenda.

Indonesian denial

The petition has made the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York, Triansyah Djani, issued a press release quoting an interview with Rafael Ramirez.

“As the Chairman of the UN Decolonization Special Committee (C-24), I and the Committee Secretariat, have never received, formally or informally, any petition or anyone about Papua as reported in the Guardian newspaper,” Rafael Ramírez said in a press release.

Ambassador Ramirez further affirmed that he highly respects the integrity and sovereignty of all members. The mandate of the Decolonization Committee, he added, is limited to 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories and Papua is not included in the 17 territories.

Ramirez’s statement is supported by an interview video broadcasted extensively through a youtube channel by the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the UN, New York.

Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir, who participated with the Indonesian delegation at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, called the petition an unfounded action.

“It’s a pure publicity action without credibility,” he said, quoted by The Guardian.

Papua, continued Nasir is an integral part of Indonesia as stipulated in United Nations General Assembly resolution 2504 (XXIV) 1969.

Support of British MPs

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) of England is fully supports the West Papua people’s petition. APPG release received by Jubi on Wednesday (September 27) said this petition provides strong evidence that the people of West Papua want to express their hope for a better future.

Therefore, according to Hon. Alex Sobel, APPG member (from the British labor party) acknowledged that all APPG members support West Papuan people in calling for their inalienable right to self-determination democratically, so that they can freely decide their own future peacefully.

“We will also step up this significant development with the British Government,” Alex Sobel said.

Sobel continued, West Papua people have experienced more than 50 years of widespread human rights violations without a satisfactory solution. So it is clear that in a situation that continues to deteriorate, the people of West Papua are not secure under Indonesian occupation.(tabloidjubi.com/Zely Ariane)

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West Papuans rally calling Australia stands against human rights violations in West Papua

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Melbourne West Papua community photographed in Federation Square after the solidarity rally. -Jubi

Melbourne, Jubi – Dozens of people stands in solidarity with West Papuans in front of the State Library Victoria on Saturday (14/09/2019) for calling the Australian Government to against human rights violations occurred in West Papua.

Further, the Melbourne West Papua Community is also asking the Australian Government to urges the Indonesian Government to allow the UN Right Commissioner Michele Bachelet to conduct a fact finding mission into human rights violations.

Mr. Novenus Obamak, the Chairman of the Melbourne West Papua Community, through a press release told Ms Bachelet has been trying to gain access to West Papua since 2018, but until now she has been refused to entry by the Government of Indonesia. “Contrary to claims made in Australia that the Indonesian Government is facilitating Ms Bachelet’s visit to West Papua, the Indonesian Government has been blocking her access,” said Obamak.

He also urged the Indonesian Government to restore the internet access in West Papua and allow international journalists free access to West Papua. “On behalf of the Melbourne West Papua community and our brothers and sisters in West Papua, I strongly urge Indonesia to withdraw its more than 6000 non-local military forces from West Papua to allow the situation there to stabilize,” said Mr. Obamak.

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He also said, “We need to see the end of the criminalization of human rights defenders and students in West Papua. Human rights defenders and concerned students should be supported from their stand against lawlessness rather than being made out to be the criminals.”

Meanwhile, the solidarity rally was opened with speeches from speakers representing the Australian first nation, local councilors, West Papuan leaders and students. Speakers called the Australian Government to pay more attention to what have been happening and West Papua and to take action to end oppression and human rights violations against West Papuans.

Moreland Councillor Sue Bolton said in her speech that Australia could do a lot to stop the oppressions and violations in West Papua. “What Australia does will going have to impact to West Papua. Australia through different government has tragically supported the Indonesian Government to violate West Papuans through training Indonesian military forces, mining companies that contribute to the killing and torture of many West Papuans. Meanwhile, Darebin Councillor Mark Riley in his speech emphasized the needs of open access for journalists to West Papua.

In the meantime, Papuan student Cyndi Makabori said as young West Papuan student who’s living in Australia, she is fortunate for not experiencing discrimination, torture, detention or mockery like other Papuan students in Indonesia. She also criticizes that during 57 years of integration, Indonesia has committed more than five hundred thousand of murders. It means Indonesia has failed to civilize and educate its citizens about the value of humanity and human rights. Finally, in her speech she thanks to non-Papuan supporters who stand in solidarity with West Papuans. She acknowledges the spokesperson of Free West Papua Surya Anta Ginting who’s the first Indonesian citizen arrested for treason.

After speeches, the crowd goes for a rally towards Federation Square. During the rally, they continuously chanted “Papua Merdeka,” “Free West Papua”, “Kami bukan merah putih” and “Indonesia Out”.
A supporter from Vanuatu who wish anonymous said she joined the rally to show her solidarity to West Papuans. “In solidarity as Pacific region. We are Melanesians; and all together we are strong. We support sovereignty as an obligation to the international laws.”

The West Papua solidarity rally in Melbourne marked a series of peaceful protests conducted in dispersed cities in Australia including Canberra, Darwin, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns. (*)

 

Reporter: Pipit Maizier

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A tragic story from Deiyai Regent Office

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Anti-racism protest in Waghete, the capital of Deiyai Regency, Papua, on Wednesday (28/8/2019). – Jubi/IST

Jayapura, Jubi – A rally to protest racism against West Papuans in front of the Deiyai Regent Office on Wednesday, 28 August 2019, turned to a tragedy. A local parliament member Alfret Pakage told Jubi about the tragic story.

The story began when a young man called Yustimus Takimas died in a car crash involving an Indonesian soldier. His death triggered a mass rampage that ended with the police’s gunshot.

“I don’t have an idea about what was happening at the Regent Office’s backyard because I was standing at the side door watching people coming. After the car accident that killed young Takimai, people killed a soldier who was in the car. Then, all young men joined the crowd. Some entered through the front while others from the back via BKD Office. At that time the joint security force stood at the corner of the Regent Office. I was there too facing the BKD Office,” Pakage told Jubi by phone on Wednesday, (11/9/2019).

Furthermore, he said the mob threw stones to the soldiers, and they responded it with tear gas shots. However, when they found out a soldier killed, they threw bullets against the crowd. “I told the Crime and Investigation Department Chief of Paniai Police to hold. It happened when they (security force) knew a soldier died. They shot their guns to the people,” he said.

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Then, the Military District Commandant immediately came out of his office located across the street in front of the Regent Office. “He shouted ‘my soldier is dead. Where’s the Regent? He must be responsible for this. The soldiers took their gun out. Brimob personnel were also there,” he said.

Pakage was alone at the scene, while the regent, deputy regent, local parliament members and all government officials already left their office. The police step on the body of the dead victim lying under the flagpole at the office’s front yard.

“I shouted at them to stop.” While he was confused about how to stop it, he also could not do anything because he was alone and under gun threat.

“I saw people died lying under the flagpole. It’s just me. I was alone. When the soldiers found out that people taken away their guns, they prevented me from being a mediator. They even pointed their guns against me and said ‘you want to back up or not? If not, you’ll be responsible for this’. After that, I backed up. But I still told them not be overwhelming,” he said.

Furthermore, according to Pakage, he moved to a kiosk opposite the Regent Office to join some police officers of Mee origin. It was only 17:12 but already so quiet, and nobody dared to pass. He then saw the ambulance from Deiyai Public Hospital going to the scene.

“I saw the ambulance coming from Deiyai Public Hospital to collect West Papuans who injured and fell because of the shooting. But the police came to block the car, pulled out the victims and took the ambulance’s key. They put their injured friends (soldiers), sent both driver and medical workers home. Then ambulance went to Paniai and left the injured West Papuans,” he said.

It was getting late, so he hurried to go home. He reminded himself that he must keep safe from the danger. Of returning home, he observed that Waghete became so quiet. Only found the security forces standing along the street from the Regent Office to Waghete II until the airport compound.

On the next day, Thursday (29/8/2019), he returned to the scene to check whether the dead bodies are still there or taken to the hospital.

“I only saw the soldiers standing along the street. I didn’t meet any residents. First of all, I checked the Deiyai Public Hospital, but the gate was locked and no activities there. I came inside knocking the door but no one there. So, I went to the scene to check whether the victims are still there or not. So I parked my vehicle at the entrance of the Regent’s office. Suddenly, the joint security force came investigating me with anger.

“They asked, ‘where are our guns?’ I told them I am also a part of this country. Those weapons are the state’s tools; I try to find those losing guns. However, the victims were not there anymore. So I went to Damabagata, Tigi Timur sub-district because I heard from someone that they keep the weapons there. At that time, the Military District Commandant was well-equipped guarding at the intersection of Waghete, Dogiyai and Paniai,” he said.

He continued the story by saying that the Paniai Police then asked him to come to their office as a witness. “At that time, the police acted without thinking. It was a big mistake. They examined me as a witness at the regency police station,” he said.

Meanwhile, Father Santon Tekege Pr said the investigation of the Secretariat of Peace and Justice (SKP) of Paniai Dean – Timika Diocese concludes that a car accident involving a soldier that caused the death of Yustinus Takimai triggered this shooting incident.

“As a result of the gunfire and tear gas shots, seven civilians were dead, while 43 people injured with both minor and serious injuries,” said Father Santon. (*)

Reporter: Abeth You
Editor: Pipit Maizier

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JDP: Government must arrange the customary-based dialogue in Papua

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Pastor Jhon Bunay Pr, JDP Coordinator. – Jubi/Hengky Yeimo

Jayapura, Jubi – A dialogue on Papua should represent the people of Papua, Father Jhon Bunay Pr, the Coordinator for Papua Peace Networks (JDP), told reporters in a press conference held in Jayapura on 7 September 2019.

“The dialogue should conduct in seven Papuan territories, namely Mamta, Anim Ha, Lapago, Meepago, Saireri, Domberai and Bomberai and involve each representative of the central government, military and police, liberation army, Papuans living in Papua, Papuans domicile outside of Papua, other residents of Papua, investors and mass media,” he said.

Furthermore, he emphasises that the involvement of indigenous representatives in the dialogue is crucial. He hopes the government does not initiate the discussion with Papuans from outside of Papua because it could make problems difficult to solve.

“We are the same. We are brothers, no suspicion. There shouldn’t be the police or military’s spies or those who have no concern come in this dialogue. It’s important to ensure that everyone is free to express their feeling and thought, and we’ll find a solution together,” he said.

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He also reminds the government to not organising the dialogue in the form of a seminar. It would not work in terms of producing a satisfactory result for everyone. “We will never find a real solution (through seminar); the result is null. Instead, we must invite local peoples to speak,” he said.

Moreover, he says the dialogue between Jakarta and Papua would never happen due to the high suspicions amongst stakeholders. “Perhaps we are too suspicious of each other. Talking about Papua’s issues should not be done with another approach, because the dialogue is the best approach,” he said.

Therefore, he said the relevant stakeholders must sit together to recover painful and bitter memories during the long conflict that occurred in Papua, including to put suspicious away.

“We must do reconciliation in the seven Papuan territories with involving all relevant stakeholders in Papua. Meanwhile, other components such as military and police, liberation army, Papuans from inside and outside of Papua, other residents of Papua, and mass media must attend (and involved in the process of) in the reconciliation,” he said.

Therefore, the process of reconciliation will turn out to be a transformation point for Papua to plan the best future for Papua. He also reminds that instead of discussing Papua in or inside Indonesia, it is more important to talk about the indigenous rights in Papua, and the welfare of all indigenous Papuans.

“I believe that the dialogue will solve all the problems from the past. Using guns, arresting and putting people in jail would not solve the problem. Instead, it makes it worse,” he says.

Meanwhile, JDP Deputy Daniel Randongkir said authorities must prioritise the principles of human rights and justice. “Once again, for JDP, the dialogue is the only way to solve the problem in Papua with rights and pure. Therefore it can be solved on behalf of justice and dignity,” he said. (*)

 

Reporter: Hengky Yeimo
Editor: Pipit Maizier

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