welcome, selamat datang, koha, koyao, wa, tabea (jouw), foi moi, amole, kinaonak, lu'uk, dormomo, nayaklak, nare, yepmum, arako, aiwe/a', men, amakane ...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Indonesia allows US congressman to visit Papua

A very good start of being open and honest to international community has been showed by Indonesian government. As an opening stage we can not expect that it will satisfy all parties regarding Papua's issue, especially for all political and economical opportunist abroad. They always try to manipulate any positive efforts in Papua.

I personally not in the position to create more complicated problem in Papua, I believe that Indonesia should take gradual step in order to develop Papua, including the transparency of Papua development. We can not close Papua's door only to protect the mismanagement problem and other problems such as environment, human rights, poverty, health, prosperity, democracy, relations among the tribes, reconciliation, and the future of Papua.

Then...what should be done by Indonesian government ? I would say that Indonesian government should prepare for the next step after allowing US Congressman Eni Faleomavaega visited Papua.

Here is the news....

Nov 28, 2007
JAKARTA (AFP) — A US congressman who once supported separatism for Indonesia's Papua has been permitted to visit the province to meet with local government members and Papuan people, a policeman said Wednesday.

US Democrat congressman Eni Faleomavaega visited Indonesia in July after he changed his position on separatism, but the congressman was still not permitted to travel there.

Foreign diplomats, journalists and rights workers must obtain permission to visit Papua, where a low-level separatist insurgency has rumbled for decades and activists claim Indonesia's military has carried out human rights abuses.

Local policeman, Aloysius Kowinet, told AFP that Faleomavaega had arrived on Tuesday for a two-day visit and would meet with the Papuan governor, lawmakers and other Papuans.

"All the meetings will take place in Jayapura," the provincial capital, Kowinet said, adding that Faleomavaega would be escorted by police throughout his stay for his security reasons.

Indonesia's defence minister Juwono Sudharsono was quoted by the online Detikcom news portal as saying that the objective of the congressman's visit was "to see that Papua's condition is not as bad as previously reported by NGOs (non-government organisations) in the United States."

Faleomavaega said during his last visit, when he met with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, that he was encouraged by the nation's commitment to address the needs of people in the troubled region.

Indonesia has fought numerous insurgencies since its independence in 1945 to remain intact.

Technorati Profile

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Religious leaders in Indonesia’s Papua province demand halt to development programmes

Almost everyday we can see so many factual developments of democracy in Papua. One of the facts is that religious leaders in Papua can speak their mind regarding development programmes. Something that would never occurred during the period of New Order before 1998.

Hopefully these positive development can create a strong civil society in Papua, so the domestic problem within Papua can be solved by Papuan people and not by political opportunist abroad.

Here is the news...

From Radio New Zealand International
Posted at 17:07 on 23 December, 2007 UTC

Some religious leaders in Indonesia’s Papua province say the six-year-old autonomy law for their area has been violated.

During talks on the province’s future, representatives from the Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu, Muslim and Protestant faiths said the law had been ignored over development programmes, land rights, and by the police.

The religious leaders said programmes in the province had split local ethnic groups and marginalised Papuan workers.

They had demanded a halt to development programmes at town, district and provincial levels and insist the national government must consider local culture properly before undertaking development programmes.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

What Child is this who laid to rest On Mary's lap, is sleeping? Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, While shepherds watch are keeping? This, this is Christ the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing. Haste, haste to bring Him laud, The Babe, the Son of Mary.
Why lies He in such mean estate, Where os and ass are feeding? Good Christian, fear: for sinners here, The silent world is pleading: Nails, spear, shall pierce Him through, ......

...The Cross be born, for me, for you: Hail hail the Word made flesh, The Babe, the Son of Mary.
So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,Come peasant king to own Him,The King of kings, salvation brings, Let loving hearts enthrone Him. Raise, raise the song on high, The Virgin sings here lullaby: Joy, joy, for Christ is born, The Babe, the Son of Mary!

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Friday, December 14, 2007

West Papua: Special Treatment

A very interesting article by Erica Vowles on Papua Issue....

West Papua: Special Treatment
By: Erica Vowles
Wednesday 22 August 2007
The rights and revenue that were supposed to flow from West Papua’s Special Autonomy Law — implemented by the Indonesian Government in 2001 — are yet to transpire for the majority of West Papuans, according to delegates at a conference in Sydney last week.

‘Most of them don’t know what Special Autonomy is,’ said J Budi Hernawan, director of the Jayapura-based Office for Justice and Peace, at the Paths to Justice and Prosperity conference at Sydney University last Thursday. ‘They hear that the money will be available but they are waiting and nothing happens.’

Hernawan believes that the Papuan political elite are too distracted by the fight over resources to implement real changes in the standard of living for Papuans.

There is a power struggle amongst the elites but for their own interests. The ongoing creation of new provinces is simply in the interests of political parties and the incumbent government officials, and I think that for most Papuans, looking at many different statistics in the area of HIV/Aids, health, education, the money does not go to their level. Where does it go? Don’t ask me, better you ask the politicians.

And while Special Autonomy was supposed to lead to a reduction in troop levels, Agus Alue Alua, Chairman of the Papuan People’s Assembly, says numbers have escalated sharply since 2001, with concerning consequences.

Human rights violations are part of the Military presence — [they are] never [conducted by] outsiders — and during the Special Autonomy Law, the Military presence has increased. That means that military human rights abuses have [also] increased.

Hernawan says that while human rights abuses have not yet reached the scales seen in Aceh and East Timor, the population nevertheless remains terrorised.

In May we received a report of torture in Wamena [in the Central Highlands]. A person stole money, he confessed that he stole that money from a solider, but it didn’t stop there. They tortured him in public. This is a way to say to the community ‘we have the authority to do what ever we want to control you.’

Faced with the ongoing impunity of the Indonesian Military, the thoughts of many Papuans inevitably turn to independence, says Hernawan.

I think many Papuans still want independence, and I believe it’s an expression of the desperate situation. They don’t see the concrete progress of welfare, they don’t see that their fundamental freedoms and their fundamental rights are respected, protected, so basically they have nothing to lose in their support for independence.

With the province seemingly bogged down in a quagmire of competing problems — a lack of political will from Jakarta to implement necessary legislation, resistance if not outright opposition to autonomy from the military and a Papuan political elite potentially lining their own pockets — one could be forgiven for thinking that aspiring for independence is naive and short sighted. However, Dr John Otto Ondawame, International Spokesperson for the Free West Papua Movement and member of the Papuan Presidium, refuses to accept autonomy as anything other than a bridge to independence.

Any discussion of autonomy should clearly spell out the possibility to give Papuans the opportunity to decide if they want to be part of Indonesia or a separate State and there should be an option for a referendum after 15 years, or 20 years. In West Papua, Special Autonomy law never spelled it out clearly on this matter.

As far as West Papuan people are concerned, as far as OPM is concerned, we don’t trust Jakarta.

Faced with allegations of corruption at a local level, I ask Ondawame how he proposed to prevent this scourge from continuing to pollute an independent West Papua.

‘A culture of corruption is not only in West Papua, it’s part of the world community,’ says Ondawame.

So of course it’s very hard to say we will be free from corruption. But we have to look into the legal system to prevent any further corruptions resulting from the large amounts of money.

The legal system must be strengthened, democratic values have to be strengthened, and institutions have to be established in order to prevent this sort of corruption. We don’t want to continue the Indonesian style of corruption in West Papua.

Any discussions of self-determination in the Asia Pacific region also invoke inevitable comparisons with unstable nation States like the Solomon Islands and the world’s youngest country, Timor Leste.

Director of the Australia Asia Pacific Institute at Victoria University, Dr Richard Chauvel, concedes that the shopping list of problems currently plaguing Papua — the HIV/AIDS pandemic, labour problems associated with the Freeport gold mine in Timika, corruption, poor health services and education problems — would continue to blight the province, whether it was independent or autonomous. However, he believes comparisons with neighbouring Papua New Guinea, which has its own problems with political corruption, are too simplistic.

‘I’ve always been disinclined to make the simple comparisons over the border, or elsewhere out into the further South Pacific and say from that that West Papua is going to be another failed State.’

He says the historical legacy of the Dutch colonial masters’ moves to educate a ruling elite in preparedness for handover to Papuan independence — an event that was stymied by the Act of Free Choice in 1969 — needs to be appreciated, along with the skills the elite in West Papua already have, which have been honed from a difficult operational environment.

‘By highlighting all the problems that an independent Papua or even an autonomous Papua would confront is not saying that it is doomed to be a failed State. But it would inevitably be a fairly difficult place to govern.’

For his part, Ondawame believes the Asia Pacific region’s more troubled countries — like the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Timor Leste — are not failed States but emerging States.

European nation States weren’t free from being ‘failed States’ in the 16th and 17th centuries. They went through a similar experience. Now the Melansian States, or perhaps other third world countries, are going through the same experience. And that’s a process that will need to be gone through for a few generations until the population comes to respect some fundamental level of democratic rights.

However, Chauvel points out that an independent West Papuan State would face a series of challenges, not least the thousands of Indonesian migrants who now call West Papua home, some going back generations. Then there would be the ongoing issue of the Freeport gold Mine in Timika.

‘The enclave mining operation at the Freeport mine in Timika is essentially Indonesian settler run and dominated,’ says Chauvel.

How would an independent West Papua deal with an economy that is essentially run by outsiders? That would be a particularly important issue. An independent Papua would face all of the problems that PNG has faced dealing with large multi-national corporations; an independent Papua would be highly dependent on the revenue generated by Freeport.

However, Dino Kusnadi, spokesperson for the Indonesian embassy in Australia, maintains that not enough time has been given to enable Special Autonomy to work as well as moves to reform the Indonesian Military to take effect.

My argument is that on the table you have Special Autonomy — wide ranging autonomy, it’s on the table — [the] best way forward is to make that work. We’ve seen today that there is a lot of incompetence within the local Government or even the [Indonesian] Government but again out of this incompetence at least there should be an enlightenment process about how to get that job done.

Some of his sentiments were shared by Franz Albert Joku, Chairman of IGSSARPRI (Independent Group Supporting the Special Autonomous Region of Papua within the Republic of Indonesia). While remaining a believer in Papuan self-determination and conceding that Jakarta still needed to implement aspects of Special Autonomy, he maintains Papuans must work within the current framework.

Papuans should have every reason to now, I believe, firmly embrace Special Autonomy however diluted, imperfect or incomplete [it] may be in the present form, realistically there is no other option on the table right now that we can legitimately discuss and pursue.

For Papuans, the reality of living with a Special Autonomy that is ‘diluted, imperfect and incomplete’ often means occupying the lowest rung in the economy of their own province. It also means living with torture — or the threat of it — that is ongoing and unchecked.

About the Author

Erica Vowles is the Sydney-based Producer of The Wire, a national current affairs program broadcast on community and Indigenous radio. She is also the Australian correspondent for US current affairs radio program Free Speech Radio News.

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The Hardliners on Either Side Need Each Other

I just read an enlightened article from Contradiction Blog with title Who supports what? I should congratulate the way the writer put the objective situation in Papua Indonesia.

It seems to me that the writer is a field researcher or activist who really understand that to distinct between different positions in Papua is often obscured. This may be too simple when we talk about the complexity of Papua's picture. This may be the situation is really that simple and we can ignore the complexity which has been made for 40 years.

I would like to share the article in this blog so all elements of Papuan Leaders can see the problem from a new angle; imparsial and in the name of Papuan people, not to take side and struggle in the name of personal intention.

Here is the article....

I went up to the conference on ‘Paths to Justice and Prosperity in Papua’ last week, and it was insightful, confirming some ideas, and demolishing others.

My experience of activism has been a somewhat frustrating one. While groups I’ve been involved with have often had very worthwhile aims, the methods and strategy used have often been less than they could have been. So it was interesting to attend a conference that was equally pitched at activist and academic contexts, and to be a somewhat impartial observer - that’s not to say I came without ideas, or that I don’t support certain concepts, but rather that I wasn’t perceived as belonging to any particular group.

It seems to me at this stage that the distinction between different positions in Papua is often obscured or put aside. This may be to create a simpler picture, or because acknowledging other positions would recognise the challenge these pose.

The most significant of the questions facing Papuans (and thus those internationally who advocate for or with Papuans), is whether to support special autonomy (Otonomi Khusus, Otsus). The Special Autonomy package gives the region a much greater share of the national budget than it would otherwise receive, and in theory, greater political autonomy and special decision making powers. However, since it was made law in 2001, conditions have not changed significantly, and in some cases have got worse. This is not however, a problem entirely caused by the Republic of Indonesia (RI) [I use the terminology RI to separate the government from the people - I’ve seen racism slip in where the distinction is obscured], rather, the distribution of funds to various levels of government in Papua (now overwhelmingly run by Papuans) has caused greater inefficiency, and exacerbated high levels of corruption. It’s failure is also in part due to the presence of the Indonesian military (TNI).

And is it the ‘only game in town’? There are those who think that the RI is unlikely to make greater political concessions in the near future, so making the best of Otsus is the best move at this point. And there are others who believe that Otsus stands in the way of eventual independence, and was offered by the RI as a compromise position. As someone who sees the RI as being in a position of strength, the former position seems more real, but I acknowledge that others see things in a different way.

One question that stood out at me was ‘Is the international activist movement making things worse for the people of West Papua?’In a conversation with another attendee, I had to agree that the TNI needed the continued violence, or perception of violence generated by the OPM (Free Papua Movement) and vocal separatists in order to justify its heavy presence. In the world that the TNI inhabits, defending the unitary Republic of Indonesia trumps human rights. In turn, the human rights abuses and injustice caused by the TNI are fuel for those opposing the presence of the RI in any form. Quite simply, the hardliners on either side need each other. There also seems to be a degree of naivety among some activists, who give prominence to factors that would seem to bolster the possibility of West Papua gaining full political independence, and underplay factors that challenge this. This isn’t to excuse the activities of the Indonesian military and police in West Papua, nor to undermine efforts to challenge this behaviour, but rather to acknowledge the situation as it presently exists.

Another question that arose was whether the international solidarity movement was in fact giving false hope to West Papuans, by interpreting the international situation so as to present a picture where independence was still a possibility. As I asked in a question to a panel member, while a solution was reached in East Timor (and to a lesser extent Aceh), that came through a quite unique set of political circumstances, and these have in some cases have been reversed in the case of Papua. While a movement is not possible without at least a glimmer of hope, acting on a false hope means that you end up with much less than you might otherwise. This was highlighted near the end, where Clinton Fernandes challenged John Ondawame over the eventuality of a Papuan state. In conversation afterwards an activist remarked to me that they thought that his challenge was quite inappropriate. I remarked that I thought otherwise, and that a movement with unrealistic perceptions would only do itself and Papuans damage. We didn’t really get the opportunity to discuss this in greater detail, which I would have liked, as it isn’t my aim to criticise without offering alternatives!

In this conflict, the rights of ordinary Papuans are squeezed, not only through military and police oppression, but in limiting the space available for those delivering essential services such as health and education. It’s hard to describe the feeling I have towards all of this - but I do worry that the issues that will most effect Papuans in the next 20 years, independent of the political status of West Papua, are being pushed to the side. Some of these, such as the very rapid increase in HIV infections, are worrying indeed.

The above contains a number of (necessary?) (over)simplifications, and this is still very much thinking out loud. Forgive me if it seems overly critical, but I feel like I need to give the above as context for later thinking I have planned.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

West Papua

Regency/District in West Papua
Electoral Regions 2004

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Regency/District in Papua
Electoral Regions 2004

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Papua Indigenous Peoples Empowerment (PIPE) Programme

Do international community aware that there are many programmes in regard to the development of Papuans? Those programmes are not only initiated by Indonesian government and local government of West Papua and Papua Province, but also supported by international donor agencies such as UNDP, ILO, and many other international NGOs.

A very convincing example is the Papua Indigenous Peoples Empowerment (PIPE) Programme Reducing Poverty and Strengthening Peace and Development Mechanisms involving Indigenous Peoples in Papua and West Papua (Indonesia). The project focuses on providing support to poverty reduction and community development initiatives of indigenous peoples at the village level; support to initiatives for
strengthening peace and development mechanisms; and, support to mainstreaming gender issues in the development process at the community level.

Lessons learn and progress of the PIPE project:

The project, which is covered by a Memorandum of Understanding between the
Provincial Government of Papua and the ILO has just been through its first year of
implementation. During this period, the preparatory stage has been completed and the
implementation stage has begun.
Project orientation meetings with partner agencies have already been conducted and, in order to systematize the delivery of support by the partner agencies, the NPAC and the PSC have been organized.

Through the coordination of the PSC, pilot project sites have been identified and
validated. Community development facilitators (CDFs) have been selected by the
partner communities and have undergone training on community-driven participatory
development and poverty reduction techniques. Community leaders have also
undergone initial training on village development and organizational management.
With the help of the CDFs, all four partner communities have completed their respective baseline survey and action plan for poverty reduction and village development. They have also prepared their specific activity proposals and identified corresponding training needs.
The implementation by the partner communities, through their own traditional community organizations, of their community action plans for village development and poverty reduction has started. Basic socio-economic skills development training activities covering priority local areas of production such as in agriculture (vegetable production), horticulture (Kakao and Coffee production), poultry/animal husbandry (native chicken,hogs and cows), inland/deep sea fishing, fruit/food processing and cooperatives management have been completed. More than 700 community members have already participated in these skills development activities.

Preparations are now underway for follow-through activities and the implementation of
activities under the second and third objectives – the strengthening of peace and
development mechanisms and the mainstreaming of gender equality issues in the development process.

Initial feedback indicate that most partner agencies as well as indigenous community
leaders and members welcome the CDPD approach to poverty reduction and village
level development. They are enthusiastic and willing to support and participate in the undertaking.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Time to think about the future of West Papua

Early this month in the year of 2007, a very small number of West Papuan still try to celebrate the 46th anniversary of its declaration of independence, a document that has never been recognized by any member of the international community. Yet every year separatists in the Indonesian province of West Papua raise their rebel flag and engage in traditional celebrations.

This year's celebration were prompted with unclear and mixed feeling and hope because there is no sincerity among Papuan separatist, each party just wanted to targeting a specific aim of political gain or economic motive. From the side of Papuan local government, there is growing concern that militant separatists will be emboldened the celebration within the territory of Indonesia and in international for such as Europe and Australia. Even though the situation could not become explosive, the province of West Papua is under military guard and in recent weeks there have been a rising number of attacks from separatist.

Indonesia's vast archipelago since 1998 has suffered escalating ethnic and religious violence, including the act of terrorism and separatism. To stabilize the situation, the government of Indonesia has offered regional autonomy to restive provinces like West Papua and to Aceh on the island of Sumatra. The power-sharing plan would decentralize authority and enable the provinces to exercise greater administrative control. It would also allow them to retain a larger share of the profits from their natural resources.

In the era of Abdurrahman Wahid presidency, regarding West Papua, Wahid has proposed to rename the province back to West Papua from Irian Jaya, while during Megawati presidency, she has proposed return as much as 80% of revenues from copper, gold, timber and other resources to local people. She had visited the province in during her period of presidency to convince Papuans to accept a new autonomy law.

Like the rest of Indonesia, West Papua was colonized by the Dutch. Some non representative leaders declared its independence in 1961, two years before the Dutch departed without any single international recognition. Though the Dutch were willing to grant independence, Papuans ultimately acceded to Indonesia via a United Nations-supervised referendum in 1969. Separatist leaders maintain that this referendum was flawed because only tribal leaders were allowed to vote.

Since 1998, an active Papuan pro-independence movement has emerged as a byproduct of Indonesia's overall democratization. Some Papuans believe that only independence can help them achieve power control over the land of Papua. Indonesia with its principle of unity within diversity do not allow any discrimination. Papuan leaders with a high level capability in governance can become a Member of Parliament and event member of Indonesian National Cabinet. As Melanesians, Papuans contribute to the development of Indonesian identity as a plural society.

Within the democratic Indonesia, it is the right time to build West Papua with a comprehensive and transparent program of development. It is a challenging time for all Papuans to administer autonomy and distribute the proceeds from natural-resource sharing with a fair and open mechanism.

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Views & Perspectives, Facts on Indonesia's Sovereignty over West Papua

1. What was the nature of the West Papua issues ? Was this issue a case of decolonization or incomplete decolonization of Indonesia ?

West Papua was a bilateral matter between the Netherlands and Indonesia regarding an incomplete process of decolonization of the Netherlands East Indies. West Papua was neither a separate entity nor a non-self-governing territory detached from the Netherlands East Indies. The problem arose when the Netherlands insisted on maintaining its presence in the western half New Guinea. At the beginning, there was no international dimension to this problem until Indonesia brought the issue to the United Nations in 1954 after all bilateral means had been exhausted. Therefore, it would not be relevant to draw a comparison between East Timor and West Papua as the crux of the problem is totally different. East Timor was recognized by the United Nations as a non-self-governing territory, with Portugal as the administering power, while West Papua remained an resolved question of decolonization of Indonesian territory of what was once the Netherlands East Indies. It was the disruption of the Dutch decolonization process in 1949 that led to struggle of more than a decade by Indonesia to consolidate its territorial integrity and sovereignty over Irian Jaya.

2. Did the Dutch renege on its earlier agreements with Indonesia ?

The Dutch reneged on a series of commitments made prior to the Round Table Conference of 1949 in Den Haag. For before that time, there was never any doubt in the negotiations between the Dutch and the Indonesians on the status of Irian Jaya. This is reflected in several agreements concluded between Indonesia and Netherlands : The Linggardjati Agreement of 1947 explicitly stated " The United States of Indonesia shall comprise the entire territory of the Netherlands East Indies". The Renville Agreement of 1948 further underlined " Sovereignty throughout the Netherlands Indies is and shall remain with the Kingdom of Netherlands until, after a stated interval, the Kingdom of the Netherlands transfers its sovereignty to the United States of Indonesia", and the Roem-Van Royen Agreement of 1949 which in sum stated that the "United States of Indonesia shall comprise of the entire territory of the Netherlands East Indies in accordance with the terms of the Revile Agreement". Two other documents prove in an unmistakable way that it had never been the intention of the Dutch to separate West Papua from the rest of the East Indies colony. These were the Netherlands Constitution of 1948 and the Netherlands Report on its colony to the United Nations in 1949. Later, the Round Table Conference of 1949 settled the conflict between the two countries, resulting in the full recognition and acceptance by the Netherlands of the independence and sovereignty of Indonesia. It did not however settle the conflict in a comprehensive manner as it left out the territory of West New Guinea. In Indonesia’s view, this constituted a case of incomplete decolonization. For, it left out the unsettled question of West New Guinea was to be resolved within a period of one year after the transfer of sovereignty to Indonesia through peaceful negotiations between the Government of Indonesia and the Netherlands.

3. On what basis did Indonesia claim sovereignty over West Papua ?

As far as Indonesia was concerned it was the legal successor to all territories, which during colonial times were called the Netherlands East Indies, in accordance with the provisions of agreements concluded between the two countries as well as by established international legal principles. Thus, it viewed West Papua as an integral part of the Republic of Indonesia at the time of the proclamation of independence on August 17, 1945. In this regard, it should be emphasized that the international principle of "uti posseditis juns" asserts that the boundaries of nascent post-colonial countries conform to their pre-sovereign ones. For whatever reasons, in principle and logic, the issue of tittle ends there.

4. Why did West Papua become an issue at the United Nations ?

The bilateral question became an issue at the United Nations because Indonesia brought up the matter before the UN General Assembly at its ninth session in 1954 as no progress had been made to resolve this matter in the bilateral talks and therefore there was a need to solicit international support. Such support was further obtained at the Bandung conference of 1955 and was incorporated into the final communique requesting to the United Nations to help the two sides reach a peaceful solution. The United Nations General Assembly discussed this items from the years 1954 to 1957 and then again in 1961 but a peaceful solution provide elusive.

5. What were the background developments to the New York Agreement in 1962 ?

For eight long years, the General Assembly had been unable to assist the parties in finding a solution. In light of the breakdown of relations between the two countries, Indonesia therefore availed of the initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General to join the Netherlands in informal discussions. Both the Indonesian and Netherlands Governments agreed to the intermediary of the Secretary-General U Thant and Ambassador Eilsworth Bunker of the United States of America. Largely due to their tireless efforts and coupled with the desire of both Governments, a bilateral settlement was reached between Indonesia and the Netherlands, with the conclusion of the New York Agreement.

6. What was the role of the UN with regard to the question of West Papua ? Who were the parties to that Agreement ?

The role of the United Nations was limited to an intermediary one. In this regard, it should be noted that Article XVII of the New York Agreement stated "Indonesia will invite the Secertary-General to appoint a Representative who, together with a staff made up, inter alia, of experts refered to in Article XVI, will carry out the Secretary-General’s responsibilities to advise, assist and participate in arrangements which are the responsibility of Indonesia". It is also pertinent to note that financial expenses incurred by the Secretary-General were borne by the Indonesian and the Netherlands Governments in equal shares. Nothing was to be paid for by the United Nations. From the outset, the UN’s involvement was aimed at finding a solution to bilateral matter through dialogue and peaceful means.

7. What are the salient features of the New York Agreement ?

The central feature of the agreement was the provision for an initial transfer of administration of this territory from the Netherlands to an interim UN authority (United Nations Temporary Executive Authority/UNTEA) effective 1 October 1962 and then for a final transfer from UNTEA to Indonesian control after 1 May 1963.

In addition, it was stipulated that an act of free choice would take place before the end of 1969 in order to determine whether or not the West Papuans peoples wished to remain subject to Indonesian jurisdiction, the arrangements of which were to rest solely with the Indonesian Government. It is important to stress that the Agreement was clearly a bilateral one and not called for by resolution of the United Nations or by any other mandate of the General Assembly.

8. Were the transfers of authority in West Papua from the Dutch to the UN and later from the UN to Indonesia in line with the terms of the Agreement ?

The transfers of administration from the Netherlands to the UNTEA (United Nations ) took place on 1 October 1962, in accordance with Article V and VI of the New York Agreement, in a ceremony when the UN flag was raised and flown side by side with that of the Netherlands. Later, on 31 December 1962, the Netherlands flag was replaced by the Indonesian flag and flown next to the UN flag. In line with the provisions of Article XII of the New York Agreement, the Administrator of UNTEA, transferred full administrative control to Indonesia on 1 May 1963. The transfer of administration from the Netherlands to UNTEA and thereafter to Indonesia was achieved peacefully and without incident. The population was prepared for the changes to be brought about by the Agreement. The disruption of essential public services was avoided and continuity in employment was maintained.

9. What were the grounds to pronounce that the act of free choice in 1969 was internationally acceptable and valid?

The act of free choice was final, legal and irrevocable as Article XVII of the Agreement was implemented whereby the representative councils of West Papua were consulted on the appropriate procedures and methods to ascertain the will of the people. Indonesia’s proposal was accepted and the enlarged councils, which included a total of 1,026 members, pronounced themselves, unanimously on behalf of the people of West Papua to remain with Indonesia. Considering the specific difficulties of the terrain and the condition of the population at that time, the modalities of consultations with the representatives councils on procedures on methods were the best option to ascertain the free will of the people. This position was also reflected in the Secretary Generals report to the General Assembly in 1969 in which his quoted his Representatives conclusions of the implementation of the act of free choice by stating that "…it can be stated that, with the limitation impose by the geographical characteristics of the territory and the general political situation in the area, an act of a free choice in West Papua". It is also noteworthy to point out was that this episode mark a significant event for the United Nations, considering it’s participation in such an activity for the first time.

In sum, it is an indisputable fact that the people of West Papua exercise their right of self-determination through an act of free choice conducted from 14 July to 2 August 1969 in accordance with the relevant provision of the 1962 New York agreement.

10. Was the UN successful in mediating the bilateral conflict between Indonesia and the Netherlands? Why did the United Nations General Assembly only take note of the result of the New York Agreement?

Bearing in mind the limited role of the United Nations in this conflict, in can be concluded that the Organization was successful in acting as a mediator by bringing to an end long-standing bilateral dispute between Indonesia and the Netherlands. Indeed, the United Nations had completed its task finding a lasting and peaceful solution to a question, which could have post a real threat to regional security and stability of South East Asia. In affirming the successful outcome of this act of free choice, UNGA resolution 2504 (XXIV) only took note of the result of the New York Agreement in light of its bilateral nature while acknowledging with appreciation the fulfillment of the Secretary General and his representatives of the tasks entrusted to them under the Agreement of 1962 between the Republic of Indonesia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

In reflecting the overwhelming support of the international community, the latter solution was adopted with 84 members voting in favor, none against and 30 absence, as the entire process had met the requirements of the New York Agreement. It should be recalled in this context the earlier UNGA 1752 (XVII) had taken note of that instrument went authorizing the Secretary General to carry out the task entrusted to him. The UNGA took note of the Agreement as envisaged in the Article 1 of the Agreement which says that ‘… Indonesia and the Netherlands will jointly sponsor a draft resolution in the United Nations under the term of which the General Assembly of the United Nations takes note of the present Agreement.

11. Is the claim of the Second Congress of Papua in June 2000 that West Papua has been independent since 1 December 1961 true?

Such a claim without foundation as the fact of free choice had already been conducted in line with the provisions of the New York Agreement and all parties, including the United Nations, played their respective roles and fulfilled their responsibilities. In this regard it should be reiterated that the UN General Assembly has noted the results of the act of free choice through resolution 2504 (XXIV) and thus consideration on this question cannot be renewed. The Dutch never recognized West Papua as a sovereign entity, a fact which was confirm in the proceedings of the New York Agreement in 1962. Neither did they ask the other party to the bilateral Agreement challenge its outcome. West Papua as an integral part of Indonesia occupies a status equal to the other provinces, its people join political parties, participate in election and send representatives to the Indonesian Parliament.

12. Considering the historical evolution and contemporary developments, what is the most appropriate solution to the issue?

The issue of West Papua has to be put in the right perspective that West Papua was an integral part of the Netherlands East Indies during the Dutch colonialism. The Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1945 as well during the proclamation of Indonesian independence in 1945 the restoration of Indonesian sovereignty through the transfer of authority from United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) to Indonesia and the conclusion of the act of free choice solidified Indonesia’s territorial sovereignty over West Papua. Therefore, any solution to the issue must be within the framework of the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia. It is important to stress that Indonesia is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural and multi-linguistic nation with "unity in diversity" as its model. It is therefore important to find common ground to bridge differences among its peoples as differences are common in democratic societies through out the world. One such way is to accord greater autonomy to provinces, including West Papua at the regional level so that the people can improve their lives an assured access to the government. Indeed, regional autonomy is destined to emerge as a unifying factor of a diverse, united and democratic Indonesia.

Problems arising of the province of West Papua has to be dealt with on a national basis and the Government would view any attempt to disrupt Indonesia’s sovereignty over West Papua as interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.

(Source: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations in New York, April 2001)

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Avoiding deforestation will help eradicate poverty

Jakarta Post, Friday, December 7, 2007 10:49:08 AM

Many understand that deforestation contributes a lot to global warming, but few are aware that forest plundering will lead to poverty. On the sidelines of the UN climate change conference in Bali, Papua’s Governor Barnabas Suebu, one of Time’s Hero of the Environment awardees, talked to The Jakarta Post contributor I. Christianto about his efforts to combat poverty through the protection of 31-million hectares of forest remaining in the province.

Question: You often mention Papua’s forests are rich but the people are poor. What are you trying to say?
Answer: Papua is impoverished. The state of people’s health, their nutrition, education, housing and clean water, to name a few, is still very poor. It will worsen if the forest is destroyed. Therefore we are trying to protect our forest and stop deforestation.

There must be a funding mechanism from the international community, an issue that we have discussed with some parties like Greenpeace. The fund must go to the people to improve their welfare. No single tree can be felled.

The benefit of forest exploitation for the local government and people is trivial, but the impact is devastating, including the loss of rich biodiversity inside the forest. There’s no benefit at all to plunder the forest, as it is the people who are then made to suffer. Logging activities, for example, have impoverished the people. A timber log is valued at US$10, but the price can climb to more than $10,000 after being processed into wooden goods. That’s why we have introduced a policy aimed at benefiting both the government and people.

What do you expect from declaring a moratorium on deforestation in your province?

There’s been a joint decree signed by the governors of Papua and West Papua, which is scheduled to take effect next January. We are now preparing details of the policy, which will involve various sectors. There will be some supporting regulations to ensure legal certainty, in case of violations.

What is the consequence facing companies that defy the policy?

We will revoke their licenses without paying them compensation. Before a company is granted a concession, it will have to sign a forestry agreement, which requires the company to develop the forest industry in Papua. There has been no development. The agreement is as legally binding as a constitution, so if a company violates the agreement, it must be punished. The agreement will prevent companies from selling their licenses to others. The forests belong to Papua. It is the people who hold the right to award concessions. The companies have to take part in developing Papua by managing the forest sustainably.

What are the potential social, economical and political impacts of the moratorium?

It will be good and better for the people in Papua and bad and worse for those who intend to exploit Papua’s forest for their own benefits, but at the expense of the Papuans. In many cases legal logging has become illegal business practicing illegal trading. Everybody knows about this, but many of us pretend to see nothing, as if the illicit practice never happens.

Do you think such a moratorium can be implemented nationwide?

I’d say in our case, firstly, moratorium is about the responsibility of the central government, not just the forestry minister. We will propose to the government to issue a regulation on regional governments’ authorities, responsibilities, resources and other issues related to forest conservation. Initially, these things must be clear. We don’t want to fall into a state of ‘tug of war’. The moratorium is a part of efforts to stop illegal logging, illegal cutting and illegal trading. Without any moratorium it’s impossible to stop deforestation.

Many people commit illicit practices in the forestry sector as there is no awareness of and affection for trees. It’s no use to launch a tree-planting campaign without the commitment to take care of the trees. It’s scientifically proven that trees grown with music will be healthier than the others.

There have been several proposals on deforestation emissions reduction. Your comment?

Papua is ready to enter the reduced emissions from deforestation. We have to consider and discuss good proposals, such as the ones prepared by NGOs, like Greenpeace. It’s important to underline our participation in such a program, which aims at achieving two objectives: to ensure emission is reduced significantly through a clear and workable policy; and to increase significantly the welfare and prosperity of the people.

What kinds of challenges are you facing now after winning the environment award?

I feel like I’ve been named a hero without going onto the battlefield. The war is just about to start. This is the real challenge and I am about to start my work. This is about protecting and saving the good side. And, most importantly, it’s the people who are the real heroes. They are fighting for their welfare and justice. It’s still a long fight. We are obliged to protect the forests. Humankind will only survive alongside and together with other creatures.

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But is it democratic?

Indonesian democrats have mixed feelings about Papua's independence


To what extent has democratisation at the centre benefited Papua? When Habibie took over from Suharto, Papuans demanded that he give them what he gave East Timor, a choice for autonomy or independence. The new government under president Gus Dur tried to be more accommodating, for example by changing the name from Irian Jaya to Papua and sending home a lot of troops. He even gave a billion rupiah to Theys H Eluay to hold the Papuan People's Congress at the end of May 2000.

But if Gus Dur hoped this would dampen separatist demands he was wrong. The umbrella Papua Presidium Council (PDP) set up a militant Papuan Task Force (Satuan Tugas Papua) in many places. Its original purpose of preventing violence was soon buried under its own brutality towards non-Papuan settlers. These transmigrants are impoverished peasants from Java and Sulawesi and themselves victims of the New Order. Task Force members also demand money from business people and generally act thuggish. PDP leaders, meanwhile, take advantage of Papuan anti-Indonesian emotions in order to get themselves more gifts from the centre, for their personal use.

Unfortunately Papuans who interpreted Gus Dur's sympathy as a readiness to give them an independence option were also wrong. Papua was for Gus Dur just part of the political bargaining to retain power. Under pressure from parliament over alleged corruption, he said that if he was forced to resign, five Indonesian regions would secede - among them Papua.

The separatist issue, in other words, is a game for elites in Papua and in Jakarta. It has no significance for the great mass of Papuans.

As 'ethno-nationalism' grew and the PDP promised independence, economic envy led to clashes between indigenous Papuans and non-Papuan settlers, for example in Wamena in late 2000. Tensions also arose between highland and coastal people, with highlanders accusing coastals of dominating the PDP. Where nationalism should have been a force for democracy, PDP leaders turned it into an anti-democratic one with overtones of racial hatred, also among Papuans themselves.

The PDP leadership tried to accommodate popular feeling by forming the Penis Gourd Brigade (Pasukan Koteka) from Wamena to represent highlanders. Many of them flooded into Jayapura just before 1 December 2000, creating fresh tensions there. Non-Papuan settlers began to arm themselves - encouraged by the police chief. Hoping to prevent more trouble, the security forces took repressive action by arresting some PDP leaders on treason charges and bringing in more troops - a total of 12,000 of them. All this demonstrates a failure of democracy in Papua. Not to mention the many roadblocks and attacks on strategic economic assets.

Amidst this confusion, the media have thrown up many 'instant' leaders who might best be called democracy consumers, while the important figures of a real democracy movement in Papua are overlooked because they refuse to use primordial sentiments. Examples of such genuine democrats are Bishop Herman Munninghoff who fights military human rights abuse in the interior, Rev Herman Saud who campaigns against violence and discrimination, Agustinus Rumansara who works to strengthen civil society, Tom Beanal who pursues human rights violators and supports indigenous empowerment, and John Gluba Gebze who works to create clean government.

Nor do many Papuans get to hear much about important human rights institutions like the Jayapura Legal Aid Institute (LBH), the Papuan NGO Cooperative Forum (Foker LSM Papua) or Elsham Papua. People are as if transfixed by the PDP's promise of independence, even in the absence of a clear agenda to get there.


The democratisers are overshadowed by the likes of Theys Eluay, Thaha Al Hamid, Don Flassy and Herman Awom, who in reality merely manipulate group sentiment for their personal ends. Their backgrounds make interesting reading. Theys Eluay was part of the Pepera council in 1969 that voted unanimously in favour of joining Indonesia. He was a provincial parliamentarian for several terms under Suharto. Thaha Al Hamid is a failed student and a failed administrator in a range of non-government organisations (NGOs). For the 1999 elections he campaigned with Adi Sasono on behalf of the Partai Daulat Rakyat, a party seriously stained by corruption allegations. Don Flassy, meanwhile, is the secretary of the provincial planning agency (Bappeda Irian Jaya) who failed to win the governorship.

Papuan nationalism has also turned several OPM guerrillas into popular heroes. What most people don't know is that they have now joined the National Liberation Army (Tentara Pembebasan Nasional, TPN), which has a dubious relationship with the Indonesian army.

So what do Indonesian democracy activists think about Papua? Most are quite ignorant, but some Jakarta NGOs like Elsam and Isai work with local NGOs to strengthen Papuan civil society. There are differences among these Indonesian activists. Older ones want Papuans to join them in a common struggle against injustice everywhere. Younger ones are more open and ready to support anything they feel is good for the Papuan people themselves, including a desire for independence.

Stanley is a journalist and a manager at Isai, the Institute for the Free Flow of Information (isai@isai.or.id)

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Pluralism, Tolerance and Stability in West Papua

Pluralism, tolerance, peace and security in interactions among tribes of Papuans and between Papuans and other ethnic groups is under democratic umbrella. Indonesian is a pluralistic society; that is many differences within one Indonesia. All ethnic groups can live peacefully and interact each other within the spirit of pluralism. It is very similar to the United States society, but there is one big problem of unequal economic distribution.

In autonomy policies, opportunities and access to public services were given to Papuans and other ethnic groups equally. West Papua has been under special status, with special treatments; - meaning that an increased of budget; a better education, a better sosial and health facilities, freedom of speech, a higher technology and improvement of infrastructure have been normal.

However, the kidnapping and murder of Papuan people, leaders and activists were carried out by the OPM. These have frightened most of indigenous Papuans human beings in their own lands.

This special autonomy package is in fact strengthening the direction of development by giving more power to local Papuans, including all ethnic groups live in West Papua. Consequently, all ethnic groups should work hard together to maintain a high economic growth and a peaceful communication.

Again, the political and economic opportunist work closely with OPM to declare War against the will of Papuan. This clearly complicates the problem. Thus, conflicts were pushed by OPM into religious and ethic differences, so OPM is the one who doesn't have the mentality of pluralism and tolerance. OPM is the one who shake the stability of West Papua by terror. At the same time, the autonomy policy is also creating an open wide oppotunity for job creation in many field.

As a response to Special Autonomy (SA), OPM create an issue of religious war; "Indonesian Muslims fighting against Papuan separatists and Christians". It is so crazy and cruel. OPM groups are standing behind the will of political and economic opportunist abroad, especially di Australia and UK.

Another threat to pluralism in West Papua is the intimidation of OPM against against different tribal groups in West Papua, including migrants and foreign workers. OPM create many militia groups of pro-independence to support the movement of TPN/OPM. The groups and conflicts are clearly simple, criminals against West Papuan society.

Where should Papuans go to ask for help? Can multiculturalism, multiethnic or pluralism or tolerance exist in such circumstances?

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Democracy within West Papua Special Autonomy

After the New Order Suharto regime stepped down in 1998, the aspiration for democracy was aired throughout West Papua and other parts of Indonesia. East Timor was given options to vote for independence or autonomy within Indonesia because East Timor has a strong historical background as non Dutch colony, whereas other parts of Indonesia, particularly Acheh and West Papua was given the special autonomy, democratically offered by Jakarta.

Special autonomy was given to West Papua based on Autonomy Bill for West Papua No.21 of 21 November 2001a. While regional autonomy was offered to other provinces (according to the Bill of Regional Autonomy No. 22 of 1999).

According to the UN Declaration on Democracy [Declaration of the UN on Democracy, Adopted by Inter-Parliamentary Group Council, on its 161st session, (in Cairo, 16 September 1997) in DEMOCRACY: Its principles and achievement, Inter Parliamentary Union, Geneva: 1998], the fundamental function of a state is to guarantee the civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights. Democracy goes hand in hand with an effective government, honest and transparent, freely chosen and responsible for public governance.

One of the free expressions of Papuan people is that they neither accepted nor refused special autonomy package that entered into force on 1 January 2002. West Papuan want to accept the offer with guarantee of improvement in all sectors of development but a small number of opportunist try to politicize the special autonomy simply because they don't get the access for economic and political control.

The Special Autonomy Bill has considerable impacts to the livelihood and survival of indigenous Papuans. It will create a democratic atmosephere that will be very conducive for regional development, and at the same time will facilitate the process of cross cutural communication.

West Papuan are Indonesian, the same human being with the same right and opportunity and equal in the development process. The special autonomy is a challenge for all human being who live in West Papua to help each other, to work hand in hand, for the betterment of the future.

However, the Liberation Army of Free Papua Movement (TPN/OPM) is always terrorizing West Papuan to create chaos and to stop the process of democratization. It is not true that the use of local languages as well as the use or practice of traditional identities and symbols has been banned by local or central government. In contrast the creation of Majelis Rakyat Papua (Papua People's Assembly) has opened a wide opportunity for all Papuan people to support the development, the democratic system and also the creation of West Papuan identity. We are West Papuan and We are also Indonesian. We have the right to join any activities in local and federal level. As an example, we can see our Papuan brother such as Mr. Fredy Numbery as a Minister in the central government of Indonesia.

The organs and systems for democratic governance in West Papua are in the right place. The democratic elements of the autonomy bill is including the establishment of the Papua People’s Assembly (MRP), which considers the voices of tribal elders, religious leaders, and other elements of the community. However, the challenge for most of tribal elders, leaders of youth and women, and religious leaders maybe too big and too difficult especially when they should deal with a complicated situation among them. It is very difficult to reach a consensus for many issues of development.

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Stay Safe

The Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka or OPM) continues to operate throughout Papua and all of Papua's major cities have seen violently suppressed riots. The OPM has also kidnapped Western hostages on two occasions, although their targets are mining company employees and Indonesian security personnel, not tourists. Travel permits (surat jalan) are required for travel beyond the major cities; they can be obtained at Jayapura and Biak. Some parts are off-limits to all visitors and journalists of any stripe are not welcome.
Large saltwater crocodiles can be encountered in all low-lying waterways and beaches.

source: wikitravel

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Breaking News

Indonesia's Papua Governor Barnabas Suebu during an interview with Reuters in Nusa Dua, Bali island December 5, 2007. Indonesia's Papua offers seven million hectares of pristine rainforest under a pay-and-preserve plan to help the world deal with global warming, the governor said on the sidelines of the Bali climate talks. Picture taken December 5, 2007. REUTERS/Supri (INDONESIA)

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

True Hero of West Papua

BARNABAS SUEBU, the Governor of Papua, works for West Papuan people and peacefully channels West Papuan aspirations to the central Government of Indonesia which has legally and helpfully developed the land of WEST PAPUA, for many years.

Now the American magazine “TIME” has called him a “Hero of the Environment”. They have invited him to London for a “Heroes Awards Ceremony”. They say he is a “hero” because he wants Western countries like Britain and the USA to pay millions of dollars to Indonesia not to cut down the forests.

The Land of Papua always belonged to West Papuan. West Papuan is also Indonesian, the same blood of nation. The Government of Indonesia represents the interest of the people who live within Indonesia territories, including West Papuan. So, when Indonesia get money for cutting the trees down, it should also benefited West Papuan. Now, when Indonesia get the money for not cutting the trees down, it should also for the development of West Papua.

We want Britain and the USA to give more money to Indonesia with a transparent procedure. People of Indonesia especially who live in West Papua should know the amount and the management of the money. It is an obligation for international community to help West Papua with the right method. The money should not go to the TNI [Indonesian military] or Police. The role of TNI and Police is to protect West Papuan from terrorist group that have already caused a long conflict with so many casualties. The terrorist group gets funds, weapons, and supports from political and economic opportunist abroad. The terrorist group of OPM only knows how to kill, torture, terrorize and kidnap even more of West Papuan People who don’t want to join them.

Mr Suebu is truly Papuan, his ancestors are Papuan. He was born a Papuan and he loves peace and cleverly knows how to develop West Papua by governing special autonomous government. Suebu is truly a hero for us Papuans, and he is also a hero of Indonesia, more widely he is a hero of environment, and the world recognizes it. Those whoever tries to disgrace the real hero is a coward with a jealous heart.

Mr Suebu says he cares about our Papuan forests, and he always attentive to the suffering of our Papuan people. At the same time as he travels to Jakarta, London and other cities around the World, we Papuans are waiting for further results of his efforts to get foreign investment.

For us Papuans, People & Nature are as ONE. We cannot be separated from our Sacred Land – our forests, our mountains, our rivers, our seas. Mr Suebu says he cares about our forests, and at the same time he does care about our PEOPLE. He cares about the forests, and about the People. He will never separate us from our forests. People and Land and Nature. We are all ONE.Mr Suebu has been Papuan loyalist and at the same times an Indonesian nationalist all his life. He has visions for our future, WE ARE PAPUAN and WE ARE ALSO INDONESIAN. We should be proud of Mr. Suebu’s future vision as Papuan Governor for us.

For Mr Suebu, protecting the interests, dignity and honour of West Papua, Nusantara and NKRI (The Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia) is his duty. Seeing the bright future of democratic Indonesian laws all together with the prosperity of Papuan people. It is therefore his duty as a Papuan and as an Indonesian to work very hard for West Papuan people.

For this reason Mr Suebu is a hero of West Papua and Indonesia. And for this reason he is a hero for environment and humanity, whatever any political opportunist abroad defames him. International magazine chooses to call him as a true hero.

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Root of Conflict and Peace Agendas for Papua

A nice article from Jakarta Post

by Muridan S. Widjojo

The meeting between Vice President Jusuf Kalla, flanked by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Widodo AS, Minister of Home Affairs Mohammad Ma'ruf and Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. Endriartono Sutarto, and the official leaders of the province of Papua on Nov. 24, followed by the talks with the leaders of West Irian Jaya province the next day, resulted in a positive consensus.

The conflict over the election of local leaders in West Irian Jaya will be settled based on Law No. 21/2001 on special autonomy and Government Regulation No. 54/2004 on the Papuan People's Assembly (MRP). This implies that the process of creating a legal umbrella for West Irian Jaya will start with a white paper drafted by the governor of Papua, which will then be studied by the Papuan provincial council and brought to the MRP for approval. Subsequently, it will be forwarded to the central government via the minister of home Affairs.

This process is expected to last a month. According to the consensus, the central government will issue a regulation in lieu of law to provide legal protection for West Irian Jaya. If Jakarta firmly adheres to the accord, the door will likely be open for a comprehensive resolution of the root causes of the Papuan conflict.

However, it is worth noting that the agreement was reached only after the provincial council and MRP had rejected the unilateral plan by the Ministry of Home Affairs to hold local elections in West Irian Jaya, and threatened to reject the government initiated special autonomy and demand a referendum. This threat reflected the pinnacle of disappointment and anger among Papuan people and provincial leaders at the government's arbitrary policies and disregard for the Special Autonomy Law.

The success of Vice President Jusuf Kalla in breaking the political deadlock in Papua is in fact only superficial. The conflict over the elections in West Irian Jaya is just a small symptom of a much bigger problem.

Throughout 2005, the central government and provincial administration found themselves at loggerheads over a number of issues. The most significant consequence of this was a high level of Papuan dissatisfaction with the application of special autonomy, as manifested in the demonstration by 15,000 people organized by the Papuan Tribal Council in August.

Their reasons are obvious.

First, socioeconomic development in the region is making little significant progress. The public health service is seen as inadequate, and the HIV/AIDS question is not being properly handled. The education sector remains plagued by a lack of facilities and teachers. Widespread poverty amid Papua's natural riches is still the order of the day.

Second, little progress has been made on the human rights and state violence questions. To mention but a few cases, the legal process in respect of grave rights violations in Wamena and Wasior has stalled in the Attorney General's Office. A 2004 military operation in Puncak Jaya (2004) that resulted in serious rights abuses has not even been officially reported yet. Worse still, the first permanent Human Rights Tribunal (2005) has failed to punish rights violators in Abepura (2000). The victims in the case were taken aback by a defense attorney's statement that the accused should be considered "heroes" and the injured parties "separatists".

Third, the demand for "setting the historical record straight" in Papua and hopes for reconciliation have not been responded to wisely.

The Papuans' demands for freedom are connected with the historical issue. This problem will hamper Papua-Jakarta reconciliation and the effort to build healthier political ties. The people of Papua will continue to question their political history in various local, national and international forums.

The Vice President, and even the President himself, have emphasized the need to settle the problems of West Irian Jaya and Papua by taking account of the aspirations of the Papuan people and provincial leaders. Whatever course of action is decided upon in resolving the West Irian Jaya issue, Jakarta must avoid unilateral action. The Papuan side, particularly state leaders in the provincial council and MRP, and the governor, should be fully involved.

The West Irian Jaya problem looks likely to be long drawn out and will not be settled within one month as targeted by Vice President Jusuf Kalla. Differing views will arise between the governor of Papua and the MRP, with the governor accepting the splitting of Papua into five provinces and the MRP tending to reject this. This is not to mention the possible introduction of another agenda by the Ministry of Home Affairs in Jakarta, which is apparently set on pushing through the local election plan.

If the West Irian Jaya issue can be properly resolved, the central government and Papuan leadership will be able to prepare three peace agendas to get to the root of the conflict in Papua.

First, Papua's development can be accelerated based on a new special autonomy paradigm that prioritizes the empowerment of indigenous Papuans in the social economy, health and education sectors. Conflicts over natural resources should be resolved based on the principles of justice and benefit to local communities.

Spending on the Papuan bureaucracy should be reduced and priority given to community development spending. Parallel to this, corruption cases, such as that involving the Jayawijaya regent, should be brought to trial.

Second, human rights should be upheld while at the same time putting an end to the impunity enjoyed by the military and police. As a start, the Abepura case should be appeared. The files on the Wamena and Wasior cases should also be improved and delivered to the court for trial without delay. The entire legal process and control over prosecutors and judges should be tightened to prevent outside intervention on behalf of defendants.

Third, the question of "straightening out Papuan history", the territorial integrity of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia and reconciliation should be addressed by opening a dialog between Jakarta and Papua. This should be aimed at reaching a compromise between the "nationalist" and "separatist" poles.

In this regard, all the important elements of Papuan society should be represented, covering the grassroots like the Papuan Tribal Council, the Presidium of Papuan Councils and Churches and official leaders in Papua. The President should appoint a committee made up of members knowledgeable about Papuan affairs and experienced in negotiating. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has promised that the Aceh peace deal will be a model for Papua.

In the context of the internationalization of Papua, the government should realize that the best diplomacy would be improved Jakarta-Papua relations based upon concrete action in line with the three agendas described above.

There are two principal views in international circles on Papua.

Some NGOs and Indonesian experts believe that Papua could become a second Timor Leste. Other NGOs and Indonesian specialists disagree with this view because, first, Papua has been recognized as part of Indonesia by the United Nations since 1969 and, second, there has been explicit confirmation by influential nations like the U.S., Australia, the Netherlands and Britain that Indonesia has sovereignty over Papua.

The second group tends to believe that special autonomy is more logical and realistic for Papua.

Nonetheless, all the optimism could dissipate if, first, rights violations are ignored and the security forces continue to enjoy impunity; second, Indonesian troops, perhaps also police personnel, go out of control and commit new rights infringements; and, third, a unilateral policy on Papua continues to be imposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, thus increasing antipathy on the part of both informal and formal Papuan leaders.

All this would give more reason to the international community to question the 1969 decision on integration and encourage a referendum in Papua. If this were to happens, a Jakarta-Papua political stalemate would be inevitable. Political violence would increase and disintegration would become part of the agenda.

The writer is a researcher at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Jakarta, and a PhD candidate in history at University of Leiden in the Netherlands.

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Papuan Traditional Dance

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Freedom Inside Indonesian Democracy

What is happening right now to my people in West Papua is showing the world the true democracy where people can rely on the strength of their words to actualise ideas they have. Indonesia uses the peaceful force of democracy, development, free election and harmony.

So now, when things are turning in favour of freedom and justice in West Papua (with visits by the US Congressman Faleomavaega and the EU and UN Human Rights envoys), Indonesia openly shows the to international community that democracy is the right medicine for West Papua. However Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) and its Army Teror Wings are always turning to the only way it knows: violence and Terror.

In recent years, several factions of OPM such as the Koteka Tribal Assembly and other West Papuan independence movement in some Western countries have tried to tell lies to the international community. They claim that because they are not get involve in Indonesia's democracy, the democracy is false. They use violence in West Papua to create tension like in the past.

The lies story about TNI (Indonesian Military) in West Papua from West Papuan Independence Movement is just unbelieveaable. For example they always claim that TNI is responsible for all violence, intimidation, threats, racist abuse, etc. In contrast, the OPM forget that they the one who threath Papuan people, Oh my God we are the same ethnic, we are one. For the shake of individual needs and ambitions West Papuan daily life is like at the hands of the OPM Terror and the protection from Indonesian military and police sometimes not enough. We West Papuan people are very simple and just simply try to campaign peacefully for economic and cultural development.

OPM, together with support from its international network is currently forming terror group in every regency (district) across West Papua with the express purpose of using violence against peaceful development campaigners to challenge the territorial integrity of the Republic of Indonesia.

We Papuans are calling on the international community to intervene OPM international network in Australia, Papua New Guinea, United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherland, United States, Canada, and any other part of the world. Don’t wait for the creation of OPM terror group to start the war among Papuans. Please stop helping liar opportunist.

1) We call on the international community to send a UN envoys to West Papua and help the development my people. The Indonesian Military must be strengthen to guard West Papuan from terror by OPM. We Papuans don’t have guns, please protect us from terror group of OPM.

2) All Terror group of OPM must be disarmed and disbanded immediately. I urge any of my fellow Papuans who are tempted by OPM money to join one of these militia groups to think again. If you do, you will be helping political and economic opportunist to commit crimes against humanity – against your own people. You have no idea how the opportunist make use of the West Papua issue for money.

3) OPM must stop all forms of violence and intimidation against West Papuans immediately, whether against ordinary Papuans speaking out about human rights abuses.

Now is the time for all Papuans to work together peacefully for our birth-right together with our Indonesian brother and sister: to live in peace and prosperity, free at last from OPM terror, in our own sacred Land, West Papua.

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