Sabtu, 12 Januari 2013

West Papua Advocacy Team Urges Unrestricted Visit by UN in Papua

West Papua Advocacy Team Urges Unrestricted Visit by UN

West Papua Advocacy Team Urges Unrestricted Visit by UN Special Rapporteur
For immediate release
January 13, 2013 - The West Papua Advocacy Team is deeply concerned about the Government of Indonesia's unilateral decision to restrict the planned visit of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression Frank La Rue.
The government invited La Rue to visit Indonesia last May during the UN Human Rights Council's periodic review of human rights in Indonesia. Indonesia came under pressure during that meeting because of its poor record of protecting human rights, notably in West Papua.
The government's proposed restrictions would prevent La Rue from visiting West Papuan and other political prisoners held in Jayapura and elsewhere. These political prisoners are incarcerated for their peaceful political dissent. For many years the Indonesian government has sought to limit freedom of expression by West Papuans, often by smearing dissenters as separatists and disingenuously claiming that these dissenters are tied to the Papuan armed opposition.
According to reliable sources, the UN Special Rapporteur -- who is scheduled to arrive in Indonesia on January 14 -- plans to postpone his visit unless he is allowed to visit prisoners in both Jayapura and Ambon in the Moluccas. The government proposed only to allow him to meet with officials in Jakarta and with a religious cleric imprisoned in Sampang. Moluccan political prisoners, like Papuan political prisoners, have been incarcerated because of their peaceful dissent.
Human rights groups estimate that there are up to 100 political prisoners in Indonesia, mainly Papuans and Moluccans, including at least 15 Papuans imprisoned under charges of treason.
The West Papua Advocacy Team strongly urges the Indonesian government to lift any restrictions that would prevent the Special Rapporteur from meeting with political prisoners in Jayapura and in Ambon. The Indonesian government is accountable to the international community to respect rights of political prisoners under terms of numerous international conventions to which it is party. A visit by the Special Rapporteur is an important means by which to ensure Indonesian compliance with its international obligations.
The West Papua Advocacy team encourages the Special Rapporteur to postpone his visit until such time as he is able to set his own agenda for the visit, including meetings with political prisoners in Jayapura and Ambon.
The West Papua Advocacy Team is a U.S.-based NGO composed of academics, human rights defenders and a retired U.S. Diplomat.

Kamis, 10 Januari 2013

Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues Every Week- News 2013: Canada, Chile, Belize, Bangladesh and West Papua

Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues Every Week - News

Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues For The Week Of January 3 - 10, 2013: Canada, Chile, Belize, Bangladesh, West Papua

Canada: Federal Court Recognizes Mètis And Non Status Indian Rights

The BC Mètis Federation applauds a Federal Court ruling today that recognizes and reinforces Mètis and non status Indian rights in Canada under section 91(24) of the Canadian Constitution of 1867. The off reserve community is an estimated population of 600,000 and access for health care, education, and other Aboriginal rights have been largely ignored by governments despite Constitutional protection. For years Mètis communities and organizations have called the inequality of defining Aboriginal rights and access as discriminatory. This has led to fighting between a Federal and Provincial Governments disputing about who is legally responsible for the Mètis people of Canada and in British Columbia. Moreover this jurisdictional confusion has also created tension between Mètis and First Nations.

Deceased Mètis leader Harry Daniels led the original legal action in the 1999 when he had sought to have the court clarify whether Ottawa or the Provinces were responsible for the more than 600,000 Aboriginal peoples across Canada who are either Metis or live off-reserve. This case was advanced to address issues such as:
  • Access to the same health-care, education and other benefits made available to status Indians;
  • Being allowed to hunt, trap, fish and gather on public lands; and,
  • The ability to negotiate and enter into treaties with the federal government.
Chile: Historic Mapuche Land Conflict Flares Up

A string of attacks in the southern Chilean region of Araucanía, where native Mapuche people are struggling for their land rights, puts the spotlight squarely on what analysts call the “supine ignorance” displayed by authorities about the country’s history.

Two persons died in an arson attack on Friday Jan. 4 in one of a series of recent crimes in the so-called “red zone”, the epicentre of the Mapuche conflict, which has often been marred by violence and frequently met with bloody retaliation from security forces. There were more incidents over the weekend, including the torching of lumber trucks, in which no one was injured.

The Mapuche, the country’s largest indigenous group, numbering some 700,000 people, are demanding the return of their ancestral lands.

Wealthy landowner and forestry businessman Werner Luchsinger and his wife Vivianne McKay died on their Lumahue ranch, in the municipality of Vilcún, 640 kilometres south of Santiago, when their home was burned to the ground.

Preliminary police reports indicated that the perpetrators were 20 masked or hooded individuals who set fire to the property belonging to the 75-year-old timber tycoon, who fought the attackers with gunfire until he was overwhelmed.

A man fleeing the scene, suffering from a gunshot wound, was arrested by police. The justice authorities have designated a prosecutor specifically for this investigation. Read more about the ongoing land conflicts in southern Chile with the Mapuche here....

Belize: Toledo Alcaldes Association Conducts Swearing-In Of New Alcaldes

On Saturday January 5th, 78 First and Second Alcaldes were sworn at Father Ring Parish Hall, Punta Gorda Town. This ceremony was a momentous event for the 38 Maya villages of the south as their traditional leaders take office to lead them into 2013 and 2014.

Special remarks were made by Mr. Enerst Banner of the Ministry of Rural Development who maintained that the ministry will continue to collaborate with the Alcaldes. Inspector Ernel Dominguez, commanding officer of Punta Gorda Police formation, affirmed that the Alcaldes play a very important role in policing and that the police will remain committed to their partnership with the Alcaldes especially through its Community Policing program.

Attorney for the Maya people, Antoinette Moore, spoke on the topic of Rights. She asserted that as Indigenous Peoples, the Maya communities have a right to exercise their own forms of social institutions such as the Alcalde system. Guest speaker Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith congratulated the Alcaldes for taking on the mantle of being custodians of law and order especially in these times when crime is becoming more prevalent. She spoke to the Alcaldes on principles of Integrity, Independence and Fairness. She encouraged the Alcaldes to ‘do right when no one is looking’, to be ‘free from improper influence’ and to be ‘balanced in their reasoning.’ The Chief Magistrate asserted that incorruptibility must be a bench mark of all magistrates and ‘to be one of the Alcaldes who cannot be bought.’ Read more about the election of new alcaldes in Belize by the Maya Toldeo Alcaldes Association here....

Bangladesh: A Minor Indigenous Marma Girl Killed After Rape In Kaukhali - Update Of Rape And Killing Of Thumaching Marma - One Perpetrator Arrested

On 6 January 2013 one of the alleged perpetrators Md. Alauddhin s/o late Mafijur Rahman who was believed to rape and kill a 14-year old indigenous girl Thomaching Marma at Kaukhali upazila in Rangamati district was arrested by the police. Sources also confirmed that the arrested perpetrator raped another indigenous Marma girl at same some couple of months ago.

It is reported that the arrested person along with another three settler youths namely Md. Selim Khan, Md. Dider s/o Badam Soudagor and a son of Sahabuddhin used to go to jungle regularly to collect firewood. It is alleged that a few months ago, Md. Alauddhin raped another indigenous girl at the same spot. The case was settled internally by local people fining taka 5,000 as a compensation of rape case. The same miscreants were believed to have been involved with the rape and killing of Thomaching Marma with an aim to occupy land belonging to indigenous Marma villagers.

Thomaching’s uncle Mr. Chaithowai Prue Marma initially filed a case against unknown persons, but later on, Mr. Aisamong Marma, UP member of Kalampati union in Kaukhali upazila submitted the names of aforesaid suspected settler youths to the Kaukhali police station. Though, one of them Md. Alauddhin was arrested by the police, but other three suspected perpetrators went fugitive. On the other hand, a vested fanatic group became active to get Md. Alauddhin release on bail from the court. Read more about the rape and murder of a minor indigenous Marma girl in Bangladesh here....

West Papua: Recent News Reports On MIFEE Mega-Agriculture Project

Representatives of the Lembaga Masyarakat Adat (Customary People’s Association), together with other people affected by the MIFEE mega-agriculture project, made a visit to Papuan provincial capital Jayapura just before Christmas. In meetings with Papuan media, they explained the new problems local communities in the Merauke Area are facing as different companies rush to develop oil palm and sugar cane plantations.

Here is a selection of articles published in local media Tabloid Jubi and Alliance for Democracy In Papua(ALDP). Amongst the issues the delegation raises are the companies’ broken promises about the facilities they said they would provide or the compensation for the land, pollution, lack of information about the legal status of the land and coercive behaviour from the military that back up the companies.

When they have accepted work in exchange for giving up their forests, wages have been too low to provide for daily needs. They also ask for all company permits to be revoked, as local people have not been involved in decisions about development. Read more about theMIFEE mega-agriculture project in West Papua and ongoing indigenous concerns here....

Last Weeks Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues can be found here (note - there was no Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues produces for Dec. 27, 2012 - Jan. 2, 2013).