Monday, 28 Nov 2011
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GIVE JAKARTA'S PAPUA INITIATIVE A CHANCE
THOSE WHO WANT TO SPEAK ABOUT PAPUA SHOULD FIRST KNOW THE FACTS
The REAL Papuan heroes are . . . .
A PAPUAN SPEAKS IN PALEMBANG
POLICE FORCED TO RELEASE PAPUAN “REBELS”
WHO SPEAKS FOR LOCALS?
Papuan Athletes Fly Flag for Troubled Region
GIVE JAKARTA'S PAPUA INITIATIVE A CHANCE
The Jakarta Post | Fri, 11/25/2011 Opinion
Calls for the Indonesian government to settle the long-standing conflict in Papua through dialogue with representatives of local people are no longer relevant.
The government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has publicly admitted the need to hold a dialogue with Papuans in order to seek better solutions and options to settle the issue.
The government has already taken the initiative to realize the much-awaited dialogue. Demonstrating his commitment to developing a prosperous and peaceful Papua, the President has taken two progressive initiatives. First, he has appointed Lt. Gen. (ret) Bambang Darmono as the head of the Special Unit for Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B).
Looking from the Papuan perspective, Darmono’s appointment is very meaningful — not only for Papua but also for Jakarta. The central government and the local governments of Papua and West Papua now know and should recognize Darmono as the man who is fully in charge of development in the country’s easternmost territory.
Darmono is the one who will coordinate activities related to the acceleration of development in the two natural resource-rich provinces. He will also be playing a mediating role between central and local governments by conveying messages from Jakarta to Papua and vice versa.
Second, the President has appointed Farid Husein, an Indonesian negotiator in the Aceh peace process six years ago, as his special envoy in the dialogue with the Papuans.
The Papuans understand that Farid is assigned not to deal with issues related to development. Rather, he is representing the President in initiating talks with various groups, including leaders of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), a rebel separatist group.
The OPM is composed of a political and armed wing. Leaders of the political wing are scattered across Papua and West Papua provinces, as well as overseas such as in Australia, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, the US, the UK and the Netherlands. They are persistently campaigning for an independent state in West Papua.
Meanwhile, commanders of the armed wing live in the jungles of Papua. They adopt hit-and-run tactics in their resistance against the Indonesian government, which is represented by the police and military.
Therefore, as the President’s special envoy Farid should visit all the OPM’s leaders, both in Papua and overseas. He will then communicate to them Jakarta’s commitment to the dialogue and at the same time tap into their opinions of the dialogue. By so doing, both parties can develop a better understanding of each other and mutual trust, which are required if the dialogue is to proceed.
It is good to know that Farid has already started to visit some of the Papuan leaders (The Jakarta Post, Nov. 17).
Under President Yudhoyono, the government has opened up wider possibilities and demonstrated a commitment to talks that will settle the Papua issue through peaceful means.
All parties in Papua and Jakarta have to support this commitment.
To show their good will to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, Papuan leaders, both in Papua and abroad, as well as commanders of the OPM armed wing, should welcome the visit of Farid.
Genuine support should also come from other related parties, such as local and central governments, the police, the Indonesian Military (TNI), regional and provincial legislative councils in Papua and West Papua provinces, the House of Representatives, the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) and the Papua People’s Assembly (MRP) by creating a favorable atmosphere on the ground for the talks.
This government’s initiative also requires full support from the international community. The US and the UK have already manifested their respective support for the Indonesian initiative to settle the Papua conflict through dialogue with the Papuans.
It is also important to have similar support from all Melanesian states in the Melanesian Spearhead Group: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Island Forum, the European Union and ASEAN countries. Their support can be manifested through a variety of ways and means.
For the sake of peace and prosperity in the territory, all parties can contribute to the settlement of the Papua issue by giving the government’s initiative a chance.
The writer is a lecturer at the Fajar Timur School of Philosophy and Theology in Abepura, Papua.
THOSE WHO WANT TO SPEAK ABOUT PAPUA SHOUDL FIRST KNOW THE FACTS
The call by Eni F. H. Faleomavaega and Donald M. Payne in The Jakarta Post on Nov. 18 on Indonesia to “Step up and end systematic abuses in ‘West Papua’” is another example of one those apparently eloquent opinion pieces, full of emotion but short on facts, produced by supporters of secession of the Indonesian part of the island of Papua.
Let’s try to deal with Faleomavaega’s and Payne’s arguments, where emotion and misinformation, either due to ignorance or as a deliberate move, have replaced the facts.
There is no country, and there has never been a country, called West Papua; neither has there been a country with a similar name.
Historically, there was the Dutch — or western — part of the island of New Guinea, as it was called, of the former Netherlands East Indies (NEI), in the same way as there is now an Indonesian part of the island of Papua. The eastern half is now the independent state of Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Inhabitants of both halves of the island are now being called Papuans, who are indeed related to the Melanesian peoples of the South Pacific. But, over the centuries and increasingly in recent times, other peoples from nearby East and Southeast Asia and Europeans have settled in both parts of the island of Papua.
Without any substantiation, Faleomavaega and Payne allege that on Oct. 19, “Indonesian security forces opened fire” on so-called “West Papuans”, killing “at least three”, who had gathered at the third Papuan People’s Congress. The facts regarding these tragic deaths are still under investigation. Such an isolated incident cannot be regarded as systematic abuse without substantial evidence.
In contrast, systematic attacks by the Free Papua Movement, which have killed many Papuan police officers, were never raised by Faleomavaega and Payne.
Indonesia’s media and public relations in regard to its domestic problems might not be as thorough as the US media management in detailing the cases of military abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq, but Indonesia is indeed moving forward to strengthen its democracy and protect its own people.
Other people were apparently detained after the Papuan Peo-ple’s Congress, including Forkorus Yaboisembut, the self-styled, newly elected “President” of the so-called “Republic Federal State of West Papua”.
People who are intent to start an insurgency and a secessionist movement can expect a firm response under the jurisdiction of any state; Filep Karma was imprisoned in 2004 for raising a flag that symbolizes insurgency and secession.
For instance, in the respective federal republics of Germany and Austria, displaying flags and symbols of the former “Third Reich” is illegal and is a punishable crime! In this particular case, the level of punishment may need further judicial review to create balanced justice and security.
Faleomavaega and Payne continue with the usual misrepresentation of the historical facts to suit the narrative of the supporters of the secessionist movement, the minority in the Indonesian part of the island of Papua, and their equally small but vociferous foreign supporters.
So-called “West Papua” was not “handed over to Indonesia” by what some are trying to ridicule as the 1969 “Act of No Choice”.
On the contrary, this was the end of a long, slow and painful — for all those concerned — process of decolonization in the former NEI, following the proclamation of Indonesian independence on Aug. 17, 1945, because of Dutch intransigence and obstructionism in recognizing that the Republik Indonesia was the legitimate sovereign successor of the territory, including the western part of the island of Papua, under the principle of uti posseditis juris, which was endorsed by the UN as the guiding legal principle for decolonization.
The Dutch authorities had to be brought kicking and screaming by the UN, the US and Australia between 1945 and 1949, and again during 1959-1962, before accepting the legally and historically inevitableAnd it is equally unhistorical by Faleomavaega and Payne to suggest that prior to the Dutch colonial conquest there were no historical and cultural ties between the peoples of Papua and those of Sumatra, Java and Bali; archaeological, historical and anthropological evidence, in fact, point to long-standing and lively contacts.
It was the Europeans, such as the Portuguese and the Dutch, who gave the name of New Guinea to the island of Papua because the skin color of its inhabitants reminded them of the peoples they had met on the Guinea littoral of West Africa.
Indeed, the peoples of a Pacific (Melanesian and Polynesian) ethnic and cultural background live in the “Great East” of Indonesia, as they have historically done so in the past; in the same way as people with cultural and ethnic links to Southeast Asia and beyond have historically lived in the western part of the Indonesian archipelago.
It is Western colonialism and imperialism that ultimately divided peoples of similar ethnic and cultural backgrounds, such as, for instance, the Malay of Sumatra and the Malaccan Peninsula, or the peoples of northern Kalimantan, all of which now make up the Malaysian federation, from the rest of Kalimantan, as much as the peoples of the island of Papua became divided.
The desire to undo the course of history unilaterally and through physical force will only create mayhem and havoc.
It is therefore disingenuous and duplicitous of Faleomavaega and Payne to allege that whatever grievances as exist in Papua are caused by “racism”, invoking as they do the words of Nelson Mandela to support their argument, when he fought tooth and nail against the division of South Africa along racial lines and for the establishment of the Republic of South Africa as a “Rainbow Nation”!
The Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia equally cherishes diversity and officially guarantees equal rights, culturally and otherwise, for its people of different cultural traditions.
Whatever grievances may exist in the present, or may have taken place in the past, about the “1969 Act”, or allegations of human rights abuses, environmental degradation and economic underdevelopment, they must be solved peacefully and constitutionally within that context.
The writer is an Indonesian diplomat based in London, UK. The views expressed are his own.
Donny | Sun, 27/11/2011 - OPINION:
The REAL Papuan heroes are the Papuans that try to achieve succes and fortune within the framework of the Republic of Indonesia.
The West Papua seperatist supporters fail to see the reality of demographics. A large percentage of Papua's population are the offspring of transmigrants nowadays. No matter what you think of them, many have made a living in Papua, many were born there, all of them have a right to stay there.
Any scenario's of Papuan independence will have to deal with a huge number of non-papuans living in that country. So what to do then? Mass deportation? A Malaysian style bumiputera system for ethnic papuans? Racial conflict on the scale we've seen in Ambon? Even if the Indonesian government would leave today, ethnic Papuans would still have a huge social and economic disadvantage compared to their transmigrant countrymen. Even after ten years of Papuan independence, people would still be complaining about 'Javanese domination'. Mark my words.
The time that an independent West Papua was feasible is over.
The Jakarta Post | Tue, 11/22/2011
“Please, never underestimate the Papuan people,” said Franklin Ramses Burumi, the talented young sprinter and Papuan native who has contributed three gold medals to Indonesia’s tally in track and field at the 26th SEA Games in Palembang, South Sumatra.
I believe he did not intend to be arrogant because he also represented his fellow Papuans. His message tried to remind us of these forgotten people. I definitely agree with him. I would say that we should see Papuans as important as other people and treat them with honor and respect.
Papua has been a troubled province over the past few months. Bloodshed occurred following a massive strike at PT Freeport Indonesia. Then, violence reared its head following the third Papuan’s People Congress in Abepura. But Papuan athletes have shone brightly in this sporting competition. They have contributed greatly to promoting the name of Indonesia in sports. During the past decade the country has had almost nothing to be proud of.
“I tried to stay focused on defending the red and white squad. I wanted to help Indonesia win gold,” said Franklin’s fellow Papuan Titus Bonai, who is now a rising star of Indonesia’s soccer squad.
We have to be aware of the performance of Papuan athletes. It must be a wake up call for us, especially for Indonesia’s elites, to send a sign that Papua really exists. When our dignity as a nation has dropped to its lowest point because of the disgraceful actions of our elites, sport has often become a savior, serving to unite Indonesians and raise their pride. During the SEA Games, glittering athletes from Papua have surprised us. Unfortunately, sinful elites look at Papua and the only thing they see that glitters is the province’s gold.
Not only have Papuans shown their quality in sport, but they have also proven that they are indeed a black pearl from the east that is still able to shine despite life in the motherland not being as glittering as the gold they own.
Those who love this country must surely also love Papua and will defend it as part of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI). However, we should not forget what happened with Timor Leste, the former 27th province of Indonesia that separated from us in 1999.
Papua bears similarities with Timor Leste in that it has experienced oppression, poverty and injustice, despite it being granted special autonomy status. Do we think that Timor Leste’s déjà vu is an absurdity? Are we overconfident that the snow ball is not already rolling and will not run over us?
Moreover, Papua has more abundant natural resources than Timor Leste, which should boost its confidence. It will make our sleep restless every night before it is settled amicably. And it will never be settled amicably with guns.
To be frank and honest, we need Papua more than Papua needs us. Perhaps if Papua separated it might even become more advanced than Indonesia in the future, with its soccer team enjoying international success, while Indonesia still struggles with corruption, deception and hypocrisy.
POLICE FORCED TO RELEASE PAPUAN “REBELS”
Jayapura. In a major embarrassment for Indonesian authorities, police have been forced to release 12 innocent men just 24 hours after National Police announced they had made a major breakthrough in the war against the Free Papua Movement (OPM).
Puncak Jaya Police shot and killed one man, also presumably innocent, during the same raid on Wednesday.
On Thursday, National Police Spokesman Gen. Saud Usman Nasution said that after months of pursuit they had arrested the 12 men believed to be part of a larger group responsible for a number of armed attack on security authorities, including the killing of Mulia Police Chief Adj. Comr. Dominggus Otto Awe on Oct. 24.
“We have successfully arrested 12 people alive, but one was shot dead when he tried to escape during the operation on Wednesday,” Saud said.
Puncak Jaya Police Chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Alex Korwa said on Friday, however, that they had released the men because they had “no proof” that the men were OPM rebels.
Julex K, a prominent member of the Mulia community in Puncak Jaya, told the Jakarta Globe that people in the violence-torn are were living in fear, scared that police would repeat the same mistake.
He said a curfew had also been imposed.
“After 7 p.m, there are no more people going out of their houses,” Julex said. “Mulia people are uneasy with the existence of Mobile Brigade [police officers] as they suspicious of our communication and limit the freedom of people’s activities.”
He also said that people with a certain appearance, such as with beards and long and dread-locked hair were often arrested.
“We are scared and are no longer free to do daily activities.”
The Papua branch of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) was quick to criticize the arrests.
“Police must uphold the law according to existing procedures and regulations and not just randomly arrest and shoot people,” said Matius Murib, the Komnas HAM deputy chairman.
“When they arrest someone, they need to have sufficient preliminary evidence. These kinds of actions create further unrest among civilians.”
Al Araf, the program director at human rights watchdog Imparsial, said the police’s actions were in keeping with their treatment of all indigenous Papuans as suspected separatists.
“This is a very serious problem that needs to be immediately stopped,” he said.
These kinds of attitudes, he added, impede negotiations between Papua and Jakarta aimed at increasing development in the region and quelling the growing separatist sentiment there.
Johnson Panjaitan of Indonesian Police Watch said the National Police must be willing to admit that they had made the arrests with inadequate evidence and acknowledge responsibility for an innocent civilian’s death.
“They can’t just arrest someone for nothing,” he said.
Johnson added that the National Police’s internal affairs unit should investigate the incident.
Araf said that for decades the police had enjoyed impunity for violence and illegal arrests in Papua, which further encouraged them to engage in such behavior.
He pointed to the seven police officers who received only written warnings for their role in a brutal crackdown on last month’s peaceful Papuan People’s Congress, where an independent West Papuan state was declared.
The violence led to the deaths of at least six congress participants and three bystanders. Komnas HAM’s investigation into the deaths found that a number of congress participants had been tortured.
When asked over the phone to respond to allegations of rights violations, Alex, the Puncak Jaya Police chief, raised his voice and said, “Don’t ask me about that. That is internal police business.” He then hung up.
The National Police has struggled to locate the Papuan militants, who use dense forest areas and rugged terrain to cover their tracks.
Saud, speaking on Thursday, said that group members had also been blending in with civilians in the area. He said the National Police were increasing security ahead of Dec. 1, which is the OPM’s anniversary.
With the date nearing, a number of text messages have been circulating calling for massive pro-independence rallies and the occupation of strategic government installations.
Papua Police chief Insp. Gen Bigman Lumban Tobing said people should not believe the messages, which he blamed on “irresponsible” people.
Violence has plagued Papua since 1969, when Indonesia took over control of the region from the Dutch, ignoring Papuan demands for political sovereignty. Allegations of injustice have fueled the mounting pro-independence demands in Papua.
Jakarta granted the region special autonomy in 2001, but with the absence of improvements on the security and human rights fronts, the situation has failed to quell widespread separatist sentiments.
As Calls for Dialogue in Papua Rise, Govt Asks:
WHO SPEAKS FOR LOCALS?
Agus Triyono & Markus Junianto Sihaloho | November 24, 2011
While experts and activists agree that mutual dialogue is the only way to solve problems of growing separatist sentiment and lack of economic development in Papua, finding the right people to talk to is a different matter altogether.
Farid Hussein of the Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B) said on Wednesday that with hundreds of tribes and political elites, finding a unifying figure who could speak on behalf of all Papuans was nearly impossible.
The unit, he said, is mapping out the various leaders in Papua, with whom the government will stage discussions.
“The mapping is done to get figures who can truly represent Papuan people and communities, whose voice can immediately be heard and implemented by people there,” he said. “And there are a lot of figures there.”
Farid, who previously negotiated with rebels in Aceh, said the mapping could take some time.
“Based on my experience in Aceh, the mapping could take two years,” he said. “But it could be less or even more than that.”
The UP4B, he said, will try to accommodate different groups in Papua, including armed rebel group the Free Papua Organization (OPM).
Rev. Socratez Sofyan Yoman, a Papuan religious leader, said in a hearing at the House of Representatives that Papuans could not afford to wait out a lengthy mapping process, stressing that dialogue must be conducted immediately.
“This is about a mutual and dignified dialogue,” he said. “Papuan problems are not those concerning welfare. Papuans are not poor, they are not hungry, so stop these demeaning statements.
“Just go to each district and listen to the people there one by one, listen to what they want. Just listen with your own ears.”
The National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) called on the government to reorganize the security forces’ presence in Papua.
“We don’t need units like Brimob [the police Mobile Brigade] or Densus 88 [antiterror unit] to uphold the law there,” said Komnas HAM chairman Ifdhal Kasim.
Muridan Satrio Widjojo, a senior researcher at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said the overwhelming number of security forces in Papua and West Papua had created a vicious cycle of violence there.
“You cannot break the cycle [of violence] by deploying more troops and conducting more military operations,” he said.
Police and the military have been accused of torturing and abusing the human rights of unarmed Papuans as well as enjoying impunity under the excuse that they are fighting a rebel movement in the province.
Sayid Fadhal Al Hamid of the Papuan Customary Council (DAP) said that military officers from Jakarta always stigmatized Papuans as “curly-haired men who cause trouble.”
“The military must commit itself,” he said. “Stay out of the dialogue. Don’t do anything that can destroy the peace process.”
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Papuan Athletes Fly Flag for Troubled Region
November 21, 2011
By firing his side into the Southeast Asian Games football final, Titus Bonai earned the adulation of all Indonesians, but his success perhaps resonated most in his troubled home region of Papua.
“Papuans call us to send their support — from the capital Jayapura even to the most remote parts,” the wildly popular striker, whose goals in Indonesia’s five games and Mohican hairstyle have catapulted him to fame, told AFP.
“So I think it means something to them to see Papuans playing in the national team.”
Papuan athletes have starred in Indonesian colors at this year’s Games, with sport — for a brief moment at least — widening the focus from the violence and political unrest afflicting their region.
Papua region is split into Papua province and the smaller West Papua province. Jayapura is the capital of Papua province.
For decades, ethnic Papuans have rejected the region’s special autonomy status within Indonesia and poorly armed separatist groups have fought a low-level insurgency.
Tribal and local leaders accuse the central government of robbing rich forests and mines, polluting water and land in the resource-rich province, and putting little back into one of the country’s poorest areas.
Rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch, say that Indonesian forces have killed civilians and imprisoned peaceful activists in an effort to quell the unrest. The region is off-limits to foreign journalists.
The simmering problems have come back to boil in recent weeks.
Thousands of Papuans in Jayapura staged a protest earlier this month calling for a vote on self-determination — after which at least three people were found dead — while an ongoing strike over wages at a giant US-owned gold and copper mine has seen nine people die nearby.
“I’m not sure if sport can help Papua overcome its problems, but for now I’m going to focus on developing my talent to inspire others. That’s the part I can play,” Bonai said.
“Hopefully through football we can feel a sense of unity and respect.”
Fellow Papuan Patrich Wanggai scored the first goal in Saturday’s semi-final against Vietnam, before Bonai’s deflected shot found the net to ensure the hosts’ footballers made the final in front of 90,000 delirious fans.
Bonai and co. face arch-rivals Malaysia in Monday night’s showdown, gifting deeply patriotic Indonesians the dream opportunity to revel in the demise of their nemesis.
But they are far from the only Papuan success stories.
The 20-year-old Franklin Ramses Burumi took gold in both the headline 100-meter and 200-meter sprints, while Serafi Anelis Unani claimed the women’s 100-metre title.
Papuan fighter Yolanda Asmuruf also secured a karate gold.
Burumi’s time of 10.37 seconds put him within range of the 10.17 secs record for the fastest man in Southeast Asia, set by Indonesian Suryo Agung Wibowo.
Indonesian media has responded enthusiastically to the Papuan factor, hailing it as a potential watershed in relations.
And in spite of the recent upsurge in violence, fans have gathered at cafes and street food stalls in Jayapura to closely follow the fortunes of Indonesia’s footballers.
“Football is full of pride,” fan Fernando Fairyo said, watching the game with his family.
“This sport can help eliminate ethnic and political differences.”
Indonesia midfielder Octavianus Maniani says that while football is “beyond politics,” the achievements of fellow Papuan players will be felt 3,800 kilometers away from Jakarta in his home area.
“I am a citizen of Indonesia so I feel honored to play for the Indonesian team. We want to bring something positive to all Indonesians,” he said.
“But when Papuan children see Papuans playing on the team, they see a better Indonesia.”
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