Jumat, 03 Mei 2013

They're Taking Our Kids Islamisation in Land of Papua

They're taking our kids

Michael Bachelard

Michael Bachelard

Indonesia correspondent for Fairfax Media

Captive audience … Papuan boys at the Daarur Rasul Islamic boarding school, outside Jakarta, behind locked gates. Captive audience … Papuan boys at the Daarur Rasul Islamic boarding school, outside Jakarta, behind locked gates. Photo: Michael Bachelard
Johanes Lokobal sits on the grass that cushions the wooden floor of his little, one-room house. He warms his hands at a fire set in the centre. From time to time a pig, out of sight in an annex, squeals and slams itself thunderously against the adjoining wall.
The village of Megapura in the central highlands of Indonesia's far-eastern province of West Papua is so remote that supplies arrive by air or by foot only. Johanes Lokobal has lived here all his life. He does not know his exact age: "Just old," he croaks. He's also poor. "I help in the fields. I earn about 20,000 rupiah [$2] per day. I clean the school garden." But in a hard life, one hardship particularly offends him. In 2005, his only son, Yope, was taken to faraway Jakarta. Lokobal did not want Yope to go. The boy was perhaps 14, but big and strong, a good worker. The men responsible took him anyway. A few years later, Yope died. Nobody can tell Lokobal how, nor exactly when, and he has no idea where his son is buried. All he knows, fiercely, is that this was not supposed to happen.
"If he was still alive, he would be the one to look after the family," Lokobal says. "He would go to the forest to collect the firewood for the family. So I am sad."
Heavy learning … boys and girls at Daarur Rasul. Heavy learning … boys and girls at Daarur Rasul. Photo: Michael Bachelard
The men who took Yope were part of an organised traffic in West Papuan youth. A six-month Good Weekend investigation has confirmed that children, possibly in their thousands, have been enticed away over the past decade or more with the promise of a free education. In a province where the schools are poor and the families poorer still, no-cost schooling can be an irresistible offer.
But for some of these children, who may be as young as five, it's only when they arrive that they find out they have been recruited by "pesantren", Islamic boarding schools, where time to study maths, science or language is dwarfed by the hours spent in the mosque. There, in the words of one pesantren leader, "They learn to honour God, which is the main thing." These schools have one aim: to send their graduates back to Christian-majority Papua to spread their muscular form of Islam.
Ask the 100 Papuan boys and girls at the Daarur Rasul school outside Jakarta what they want to be when they grow up and they shout, "Ustad! Ustad! [religious teacher]."
Watch and learn … students watch a performance of singing, dancing and wrestling. Watch and learn … students watch a performance of singing, dancing and wrestling. Photo: Michael Bachelard
In Papua, particularly in the Highlands, the issues of religious and cultural identity are red-hot. Census data from over the past four decades shows that the indigenous population is now matched in number by recent migrants, largely Muslims, from other parts of Indonesia. The newcomers' domination of the economy, particularly in the western half of the province, effectively marginalises the original inhabitants. This immigration means that indigenous Papuans have a real - and realistic - fear of becoming an ethnic and religious minority in their own country. Stories of people taking away their children adds an emotive edge and has the potential to inflame tensions in an already volatile region.
For about 50 years, a separatist insurgency has been active in Papua and hundreds of thousands have died in their efforts to gain independence for the province. Christianity, brought by Dutch and German missionaries, is both the faith of a vast majority of the indigenous population, and a key part of their identity. Islam actually has an even longer history in Papua than Christianity, but it's of a gentler kind than what's preached in Java's increasingly hardline mosques and it's still, for the moment at least, the minority religion. But when the pesantren children return from Java, their faith has changed. "They become different persons," Papuan Christian leader Benny Giay, tells me. "They have been brainwashed".
The schools insist they recruit only students who are already Muslims, but it's clear they are not too fussy. At Daarur Rasul, I quickly found two little boys, Filipus and Aldi, who were mualaf - brand new converts from Christianity. One radical Islamic organisation, Al Fatih Kafah Nusantara (AFKN), makes no bones about its intention to convert, and to use religion for political ends. Leader Fadzlan Garamatan says AFKN has brought 2200 children out of Papua as part of his program of nationalistic "Islamicisation". "When [Papuans] convert to Islam, their desire to be independent reduces," says Fadzlan on AFKN's internet page.
Johanes Lokobal says his son died after being taken to an Islamic school. Johanes Lokobal says his son died after being taken to an Islamic school. Photo: Michael Bachelard
In restive West Papua, the movement and conversion of young children is politically explosive. We were warned a number of times not to chase the story. It's never reported in the Indonesian press. The chief of the Indonesia government's Jakarta-based Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua, Bambang Darmono, downplays it as just one of "many issues in Papua", and the Religious Affairs Ministry's director of pesantrens, Saefudin, says he has never heard of it. But my efforts to trace the life and death of one Papuan boy has revealed that the trade goes on. And, in the service of grand religious and political aims, sometimes young lives are broken.
Elias Lokobal smiles to himself when he talks about the feisty little stepbrother he lost, but when talk turns to Amir Lani, his expression darkens. Lani is a local cleric in Megapura and the other villages surrounding the highland capital, Wamena. It was in about 2005 when he and Aloysius Kowenip, the police chief from the nearby town of Yahukimo, began approaching families to recruit their children. The pair worked to take five boys from vulnerable families in each of five villages and transport them to Java for education. Kowenip, a Christian, says it was his idea to "help" the children, and that the funding came from "the local government and an Islamic organisation" whose name he could not remember. He says he sought out children with only one living parent because "nobody guided them".
Young Yope was one such boy. Although he had a stepmother, his natural mother had died. Neither Lani nor Kowenip ever visited Yope's father, Johanes Lokobal, to explain their scheme. It still rankles. "These people should ask permission from the parents," Lokobal says. Instead, they asked young Yope himself, who was enthusiastic about this adventure. Some friends had gone the previous year and he was keen to join them.
School spirit … students at Daarur Rasul perform chants in praise of prophet Muhammed. School spirit … students at Daarur Rasul perform chants in praise of prophet Muhammed. Photo: Michael Bachelard
When it came time for Yope to depart, it happened in a flash, stepbrother Elias recalls. "I went to school, and when I came back there was no one home."
Andreas Asso was part of the same group. Now a shy young man scrabbling a living in Jayapura, the capital of West Papua, he was perhaps 15 at the time. Like Yope, Andreas had only one parent. His father was dead and, though his mother was alive, he was living with his stepmother. Like Yope, he was approached directly. "They asked if I wanted to pursue my study in Jakarta for free," Andreas says. "The police chief never spoke to my stepmum but he spoke to my uncle, the brother of my father, and he agreed. I was born Christian and I'll always be Christian. The police chief just said we'd be put in a boarding house ... If he had told us it would be a pesantren, none of us would have wanted to go."
When the day came to leave, Andreas says a group of 19 boys were loaded into an Indonesian air force Hercules C-130 aircraft in Wamena. By some accounts, the youngest of them was just five. The plane was crewed by men in uniform. It has been difficult to verify whether the military was officially involved, but a former Papuan army chief says civilians are permitted to buy cheap tickets to fly on military aircraft as part of the military's "corporate social responsibility". "We didn't speak to the soldiers," Andreas recalls. "We were afraid."
It took two days for the plane to reach Jakarta and, "we were not fed or offered drinks. A few, especially the little ones, got sick ... a few vomited," Andreas says. "When they came to my village, I thought I wanted to go. But when I was in the aeroplane, all I was thinking was, 'I want to go back to my village.' " When they landed in Jakarta, the boys were driven about three hours to their new home - the Jamiyyah Al-Wafa Al-Islamiyah pesantren, high on the slopes of the volcano, Mount Salak, behind the regional city of Bogor. The head of the Al-Wafa school's foundation, Harun Al Rasyid, remembers Andreas Asso and the boys from Wamena, and the men who brought them, Amir Lani and Aloysius Kowenip, whom he knows as "Aloy". The two men had come and "offered the students" in 2005, he recalls. "Aloy was ambitious in politics, and bringing children to my pesantren was a way to improve his standing or image in society," Al Rasyid says.
Andreas Asso's account and his differ on many points but they concur on one: the boys from the village in the wild highlands of Papua simply did not fit in. "It wasn't like a real school because in school they have classes," Andreas says. "In this one, we just went to a big mosque and all we learnt about was Islam, just reading the Koran. Sometimes they slapped us on the face, beat us with a wooden stick. They just told us we Papuans were black, we have dark skin."
The food and education at Al-Wafa were free but the religion was strict. It has Yemeni teachers and Saudi funding and its website describes it as Salafi sholeh, or "pious Salafi". Its purpose: "Setting up a cadre of preachers and people who can call others to Islam." Andreas insists that, like him, some of the other boys were Christians, and that the head of the school changed five of their names to make them sound more Islamic - allegations Al Rasyid denies. For his part, Al Rasyid says the Papuans were an unruly rabble who exhausted the teachers "because their cultural background was different".
He says the boys urinated and defecated on the school grounds and stole the crops of neighbouring farmers. He admits punishing them by "scolding" and hitting them "with rattan on the foot". About two or three months after they arrived, one sickly boy, Nison Asso, died.
"He was 10 years old," says Andreas. "He was already sick in Wamena but ... he passed away. The body is still there in Bogor because the boarding school didn't have the money to send the body back, though his parents wanted the body sent back." Al Rasyid will not comment on Nison's fate. After less than a year, it was clear to both the boys and the school that the experiment was failing, so Amir Lani was summoned. Andreas says he pleaded with Lani to take him home, but was refused. Instead, Lani took them to Jakarta to another Papuan man, Ismail Asso, who himself had been an imported student whose name was changed. Ismail told the boys there was not enough money to return them to Papua. Their parents, it seems, were never consulted.
Some of the students were found a new pesantren in Tangerang, near Jakarta. Later they were to be expelled from there, too, because, according to Ismail Asso, "These children were already bad children in Papua." But Andreas stayed out of school and instead teamed up with another boy, Muslim Lokobal, "who was also a Christian but was given the name 'Muslim' ". The pair went to make their own way in the big city.
A persistent problem in researching this story has been pinning down details - names, times and ages. Names have been changed, roots erased, and village children rarely know their own age. The tragic end to Yope Lokobal's story suggests, however, that he may be the same boy whom Andreas Asso knew as Muslim Lokobal.
Andreas says that one night Muslim got drunk. There is no eyewitness to what happened next, and it's the subject of five or more differing, second-hand accounts. Andreas's is the most gruesome. "On the way back to the boarding house, Muslim made trouble with the local people, so they beat him up and killed him. They put his body inside the boarding house. And because they hated him, they took out one of his eyes and put a bottle in the eye socket." Does this awful scene describe Yope's death? Or was Muslim a different boy?
Back in the village of Megapura, they can shed little light. "There was a call from Jakarta to the mosque at Megapura, and the people from the mosque gave us the news," Johanes Lokobal recalls. "There was no explanation about how Yope died." Says stepbrother Elias: "It was 2009 or 2010. We just held a mourning ceremony at home, praying." Nobody knows where Yope's body is buried.
The rest of the boys from that Hercules would be in their early 20s by now. Last time Andreas Asso heard from them, they were in Jakarta as little better than beggars - "street singers or working in public transport - the drivers' assistant, collecting the passengers," he says. It's not known how many groups of children Amir Lani and Aloysius Kowenip organised to take away. Teronce Sorasi, a mother from Wamena, says she was approached in 2007 or 2008 by "the police chief", who asked her to send her daughter, Yanti, who was then five, and her son, Yance 11, to Jakarta, even though "we are a Christian family". "I said, 'no' because my husband had just passed away and we were still mourning," Sorasi says.
Amir Lani still lives in a villa in the hills near Megapura. According to Elias, whenever people ask him about the lost boys of Wamena, "he just avoids them". When I reach Aloysius Kowenip by telephone, he boasts of his scheme. "If any one of them has become somebody, then, as a Papuan, I am proud of that." But when asked about those who died or failed, Kowenip abruptly ends the call. A few days later, his friend Ismail Asso phones in a fury, then issues two threats via SMS. "I remind you ... not to dig out information about the Muslims of Wamena," he writes, otherwise the "provocative foreign journalist" will be "deported from Indonesia", or "axed, killed by the [people of] Wamena".
Internal transportation of children has a long and dishonourable history in Indonesia. Around 4500 children were removed from East Timor over the 24-year Indonesian occupation to serve, in the words of author Helene Van Klinken in her book Making Them Indonesians, a "proselytising Islamic faith", and to bind the region closer to Jakarta. Children, she wrote, were chosen because they were "impressionable and easily manipulated to serve political, racial, ideological and religious aims".
Papua has been a target in the past, too. In 1969, former president Suharto proposed transferring 200,000 children of the "backward and primitive Papuans, still living in the stone age" to Java for education. Another Saudi-backed group, DDII, used to bring children from both East Timor and Papua. And today, AFKN, which is linked to the thuggish, hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), is actively seeking children to recruit.
Daarur Rasul is half pesantren, half building site in a satellite city of Jakarta called Cibinong. Here, 100 boys from the lowlands in Papua's western half crowd up to the heavy bars of a gate to greet us. The gate is locked because, according to one member of staff, "they like to escape". Forty or so girls live downstairs with more freedom of movement. School principal Ahmad Baihaqi insists he teaches moderate Islam, and the children are at least seven, but some look younger. He doesn't deny they are locked up, but says it is only during study hours "to put discipline on them".
In 2011, four boys did escape and claimed not only that they'd been forced to work on the construction site, but that at the school, they had been left hungry, given unboiled water to drink and were taught only Islam, Indonesian language and maths. Baihaqi insists the boys exaggerate, saying they had been "naughty" from before they arrived. He agrees that sometimes his students do work on the construction site, but says they enjoy it. The boys' lessons begin at 4am with prayers. School continues, with breaks and an afternoon nap, until 9pm, during which there are seven hours of prayer and Koran reading and only 3 1/2 hours for "natural sciences, social sciences, reading and writing".
Baihaqi says he recruits new students in Papua every year and swears parents give their consent. But the children only travel home every three years. They don't miss their parents, he says, and the parents knowingly agree to the arrangement.
Arist Merdeka Sirait, the head of Indonesia's non-government child protection group Komnas PA, says separating children for that long "means erasing their cultural roots", particularly if their names and religion are also changed. "It is very dangerous," he adds. But Indonesia's powerful Religious Affairs Ministry has no problem with it. It's encouraged, in fact, says pesantren division director Saefudin, because, "The longer you stay [in a pesantren], the more blessing you'll get."
The Indonesian government's Child Protection Commission, KPAI, is also sanguine. Deputy chairman Asrorun Ni'am, who is also a senior member of the Fatwa Council of the MUI, the government's Islamic advisory body, was more worried about the "religious sentiment" we might stir up by writing the story. "It's against all efforts to build harmonious atmosphere," he warned us.
The law is clear. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Indonesia is a party, says children should not be separated from their families for whatever reason, even poverty. And Indonesia's Child Protection Act includes a five-year jail penalty for those who convert a child to religion different from their family's. In West Papua, religious leaders have little doubt that removing children is part of a broader effort to overwhelm the indigenous population; "It is Indonesia's long-term project to make Papua an Islamic place," says the head of the province's Baptist church, Socratez Yoman. "If Jakarta wants to educate Papuan children," says Christian leader Benny Giay, "why don't they build schools in Papua?"
We could not confirm if the government of Indonesia or its agencies were active in the movement of children. But some organisations have high level support. AFKN is funded by zakat (Islamic alms) delivered through the charitable arm of state-owned Indonesian bank BRI; Aloysius Kowenip talked of "local government" funding; Daarur Rasul's donors include "some police officers and military officers" acting personally, and at least one group was moved by a military plane.
Perhaps, like the well-documented movement of children in East Timor, the Papuan operation has no government endorsement but enjoys quiet consent at high levels of Indonesian society. Andreas Asso survived to tell his tale, but remains furious at how he was duped into leaving his highland home, then abandoned to his fate.
"I could have had an education there in Wamena. Some of my friends who stayed have graduated from school ... My dream job is to become a policeman. But I look back, and I've achieved nothing."


16 Warga Sipil ditangkap di Timika

Ke-16 Masyarakat Sipil dalam
 Tahanan Polres Mimika
Timika: Kepolisian Resort Mimika, Rabu (1/5) siang membubarkan secara paksa termasuk mengeluarkan tembakan peringatan untuk membubarkan sekelompok warga yang mengibarkan bendera Bintang Kejora di Jalan Trikora, Kwamki Baru, Timika. Aksi pengibaran bendera bintang kejora pada hari aneksasi Papua ke Indonesia,  50 tahun Republik Indonesia menjajah diatas tanah Papua Barat itu terjadi aksi pengibaran bendara bintang kejora sekitar pukul 13.00 WIT.

Kapolres Mimika, AKBP Jermias Rontini, SIK, M.Si, bersama anak buahnya berhasil membabi buta menangkap dan mengamankan 16 orang yang adalah masyarakat sipil yang tinggal di Kwamki Baru-Timika diantara ialah:
  1. Domi  Mom
  2. Altinus Uamang
  3. Musa Elas
  4. Jhoni Niwilingame
  5. Hari Natal Magai
  6. Jhon Kum
  7. Semuil Deikme
  8. Miryam Stenamun
  9. Mon Deikme
  10. Aminus Hagabal
  11. Yakob Onawame
  12. Heri Onawame
  13. Biru Kogoya
  14. Seorang bermarga Beanal
  15. Alpon
  16. Ada satu masyarakat yang belum tahu namanya.
Setelah itu tadi (2/5) siang perwakilan keluarga masyarakat Amungme di bawa pimpinan Pdt. Ishak Onawame dengan masyarakat  Kwamki Baru memakai 4 buah kendaraan menuju untuk mengunjungi ke-16 orang yang di tangkap itu.
Dan sesampai disana petugas pos penjagaan kepolisian di Polres Mimika di Mile 32 mempersilahkan untuk masuk menengok 16 masyarakat sipil itu.
“Kami masuk dan melihat mereka. Ada 5 orang yang didalam tahanan tidak bisa kami lihat, dan 11 orang yang ada dalam tahanan dan kami bisa melihat.” Kata Ishak.
Saat itu juga Pdt. Ishak Onawame juga tidak luput dari teguran seorang polisi yang bertugas di dalam ruangan itu. “Kau ini pendeta yang dulu sampai sekarang itu, itu, itu terus tidak bisa bertobat kah? Sudah penjara baru keluar. Saya sudah urus kau. Kau tidak ada ucapan terima kasih, kamu hargai kah? Tidak! ” Kata Onawame meniru kata polisi.
Setelah itu Pdt.Ishak juga menjawab “Pak Polisi ini ada masalah itu yang saya datang lihat dan bapak, saya hargai dan saya ucapkan terima kasih.” Ucapnya.
Ditambahkannya juga tentang aksi pengibaran Bendara Bintang Kejora itu adalah komando pusat di lakukan untuk seluruh wilayah Papua. “Presiden Forkorus dan Jonah Wenda Juru Bicara TPN-PB memerintahkan melaksanakan aksi damai.” Menurutnya juga bahwa aksi itu ada banyak cara yaitu aksi mimbar bebas, aksi demo damai, aksi kibarkan bendera.
“Surat seruan tertanggal 23 April 2013 yang bertanda tangan oleh Jonah Wenda kami sudah terima.” Terangnya.
Ishak juga mengharapkan segra bebaskan ke-16 orang itu “Saya sampaikan kepada KAPOLDA dan KAPOLRES segara membebaskan ke-16 masyarakat sipil yang biasa tinggal di Kwamki Baru ini.” Harapnya.
Tanggal 1 Mei 2013 Badan Pengurus Komite Nasional Papua Barat Wilayah Timika telah mengeluarkan sms bahwa bahwa “Seluruh Bangsa Papua Barat duduk di rumah masing-masing untuk merenungkan 50 tahun Indonesia di atas Tanah Papua sebagai hari aneksasi Papua ke Indonesia.” Pesan singkat. (wtp)
Foto-Foto Kekerasan Aparat Militer NKRI 
                    Ke-16 Masyarakat Sipil dalam Tahanan Polres         Mimika, dalam kepala mereka dengan bungkusan pukulan kepolisian
Ke-16 Masyarakat Sipil dalam Tahanan Polres Mimika, darah mengalir di kepala  karena pukulan kepolisian
Ke-16 Masyarakat Sipil dalam Tahanan Polres Mimika, darah mengalir di kepala karena pukulan kepolisian
Di tangkap setelah selesai kegiatan
Di tangkap setelah selesai kegiatan


 Papuans People victim and killing by Police and army Indonesia of celebration annexation Papua to Indonesia be with nonjustice and no peace in Papua since May 1, 1963.

Photos Crimes, victim and shooting by Police and Army Indonesia in Sorong and areas other selebratin Flag Morning Star or Bintang Kejora since May 1, 2013.
Name's victim: Abner Malagawa.(22 Year)

Victim next: Thomias Blesia (22 year)

Women victim name's: Salomina Kalaibin (33 Year)

Selebration Morning Star in Timika
since May 1, 2013


US envoy meets Neles Tebay to discuss peace in Papua

Fri, May 3, 2013 
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - US Ambassador Scot Marciel met on Thursday with Neles Tebay, the leader of the Papua Peace Network and recent winner of the Tji Hak-Soon Peace and Justice Award, according to the US embassy here on Friday.

The two have met regularly, both in Papua and Jakarta, to discuss developments in Papua, including shared aspirations for peace and security in Papua.

The U.S. Government recognizes the territorial integrity of Indonesia, with Papua as an integral part.

The U.S. Government also encourages development and dialogue that go to the heart of settling long-standing grievances.(*)
Editor: Heru


West Papua terror and Pacific free trade

Written By Papua Tanahku on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 | 8:39 PM

MR GARY JUFFA AT THE BEEHIVE. It is time to stop being 'too Pacific' let us be more assertive - think about our children’s tomorrow. Photo / F. Tauafiafi
History recorded that on Friday, 19 April 2013, Pacific parliamentarians spoke inside New Zealand’s parliament house.
It is a big deal according to Samoa’s member of parliament, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi.
“The important thing for us was having the chance to speak inside New Zealand parliament,” he told the New Zealand Pacific.
“This is their highest court, it’s the people’s court.”
Their participation in Wellington was based on a personal invitation and therefore, Pacific issues were debated based on their opinions, and not on behalf of their governments.
We can make flowery speeches and talk about the great Pacific Plan, trade liberalization and so forth but, we cannot ignore the terror that is continuing in West Papua. Photo courtesy of Mr Juffa.
And that suited Papua New Guinea’s, Mr Gary Juffa, the Governor of Oro Province. It allowed him to speak about two important issues, not only in his region, but for the whole Pacific.
“First I want to thank the New Zealand parliament for the opportunity to come and speak meaningfully without having to make diplomatic or flowery statements that really have no meaning,” he told the New Zealand Pacific.
The two issues he talked about were the acts of atrocities committed against West Papuans, and the potential negative impacts to Pacific countries of free trade agreements.
West Papuans are Pacific islanders said Mr Juffa.  There are more than three million of them and they are being terrorized in their country as a result of an act made by the United Nations (U.N.).
“In 1969, the United Nations committed a huge act of injustice by handing West Papua to Indonesia,” he said.
“And they did that for corporate interests, because of the vast natural resources of that island which the western world wanted to exploit through an Indonesian government that they could control,” he alleged.
He told members of parliament that while in Wellington they can make the most elaborate and flowery speeches, “talk about the great Pacific Plan, about trade liberalization and freeing the Pacific and so forth until the cows come home, but, we cannot ignore West Papua.”
He pointed out how the world rushed to give condolences to Bostonians and people of the United States as a result of the bombings there last week.
“The global media and countries, including the Pacific, condemned what happened in Boston. But what is invisible in our own backyard, for more than fifty years, are acts of terrorism that are happening in West Papua every day,” said Mr Juffa.
“Every month, scores of people are being killed, raped, mutilated, murdered, maimed, you name it. But where’s the media? Where is New Zealand and Australia? Where are we?”
The U.N. said Mr Juffa, must be made to correct the mistake it committed in 1969.
“As a Pacific leader that is what I want. I want this information to get out so that every Pacific leader knows what is happening and for all of us to rise up together and demand Indonesia stop this brutality.
“That includes Australia and New Zealand, who are always claiming to be fighting for the best interests of the Pacific. Well here is their chance to truly voice their concern about democracy.”
Mr Juffa highlighted New Zealand’s been lobbying the Pacific vote in order to win a seat in the U.N’s security council.
“If New Zealand wins and becomes a member, will it perform its responsibility to the people of the Pacific including West Papua?”
As far as Mr Juffa’s concerned New Zealand must do the right thing.
“I want New Zealand to demand that the brutality stop. I want them to demand for the people of West Papua to be taken back on board by the U.N. That they must go back to 1969 and re-examine what happened.”
Mr Tavita Pue from Tokelau supports the stance by Mr Juffa.
“As a Pacific Islander, I feel for them. It’s about time that the world sees what is really happening in West Papua,” he said.
“We as islanders need to support this call.”
Lealailepule agreed.
“Mr Juffa is right. This is happening in our backyard and we cannot ignore that any longer. I strongly support his views.
“The people of West Papua are Pacific islanders, they share the same values as us and we’re bonded as the Pacific family. We must help.”
The issue of ‘Free trade agreements’ according to Mr Juffa is “the re-colonisation of the Pacific.
The UN ignored the people of West Papua and handed them over to Indonesia in 1969. Photo courtesy of Gary Juffa.
“The end result of free trade agreements is that we will become spectators in our own country, watching our resources cut down. We will end up standing on the outside looking in, begging bowl in hand or waiting underneath the table to feed on crumbs from resources that we own.”
Mr Gary Juffa at the Beehive. It is time to stop being 'too Pacific' let us be more assertive - think about our children’s tomorrow. Photo F. Tauafiafi.
He is adamant free trade agreements “is the recolonisation process taking place all over again. We will end up being relegated to fruit pickers and subservient cargo boys.”
Trade liberalization he pointed out, specifically targets the removal of customs duties.
As PNG’s former Customs Commissioner, he knows what he’s talking about.
“When you do away with customs duties you are doing away with a significant portion of a nation’s budget. So how are you going to meet that shortfall?
“Well it usually means imposing a type of GST or VAT. But when that happens, you are simply transferring the responsibility from the company to the people.  That means the people are going to pay more.
“And that’s the crux. Where there is an additional shortfall that cannot be met by the people then obviously the larger economies are going to come back with their cheque books and exercise ‘cheque book diplomacy’ again and cultivate our dependency through aid and so forth.
“That is us, Pacific islanders recolonized all over again. And that is not what we want. We are supposed to be a free Pacific and how are we going to be free if we are constantly economically dependent?”
In his opinion, the best way to stop the West Papuan atrocities, and negative potential of free trade agreements is for Pacific nations to band together and have a united voice.
“We need to tell these large corporations that we own our own land, many of us are self sufficient, let us maintain that self sufficiency sustainability.
“And if we are to have any engagement with trade then we must consider:
  1. our environment
  2. health of our people
  3. consider the economic benefits to our people and
  4. most importantly, consider our future generations. Where will our children be tomorrow? Will they be participating in the development of their economies? will they be masters of their own destinies, or will they be slaves, be subservient recolonized people merely following the wishes, the will and whatever it is imposed upon them by either New Zealand, Australia, or the western world.”
It is time for the Pacific to stand up said Mr Juffa.
“In the past we have always loved to share, open our doors to strangers, bring out our ukulele perform the sing songs and treat visitors as royalty.
It is time to stop being ‘too Pacific’, and be more assertive said Mr Juffa.
“We must think about our children tomorrow. Where will they be, what will they be doing? Will the beautiful Pacific ocean still be ours? The bountiful land and wonderful mountains with their lush forests – will they still be ours?
“We must ask ourselves these questions and then determine our own future strategically and tactfully.”
As for the Pacific parliamentary forum, “If New Zealand really wanted to hear us, well we have spoken.”
- NZ Pacific

Kamis, 02 Mei 2013


Pillay concerned about persistent violence and abuses in Papua (Indonesia)

GENEVA (2 May 2013) – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Thursday expressed serious concerns over the crackdown on mass demonstrations across Papua since 30 April, with police reportedly using excessive force and arresting people for raising pro-independence flags.
“These latest incidents are unfortunate examples of the ongoing suppression of freedom of expression and excessive use of force in Papua,” Pillay said. “I urge the Government of Indonesia to allow peaceful protest and hold accountable those involved in abuses.”
Reports indicate that on 30 April police shot and killed two protesters in the city of Sorong who were preparing to mark the 50th anniversary of Papua becoming a part of Indonesia. At least 20 protesters were arrested in the cities of Biak and Timika on 1 May.
“After my official visit to Indonesia last November, I am disappointed to see violence and abuses continuing in Papua,” Pillay said. She added that there was a need for coherent policies and actions to address the underlying concerns and grievances of the local population in Papua.
Since May 2012, we have received 26 reports concerning alleged human rights violations, including 45 killings and cases of torture involving 27 people. While many incidents relate to communal violence, serious allegations of human rights abuses by law enforcement officials persist.
“International human rights law requires the Government of Indonesia to conduct thorough, prompt and impartial investigations into the incidents of killings and torture and bring the perpetrators to justice,” said the High Commissioner.
“There has not been sufficient transparency in addressing serious human rights violations in Papua,” she said. “I urge Indonesia to allow international journalists into Papua and to facilitate visits by the Special Rapporteurs of the UN Human Rights Council.”
As of March 2013, at least 20 political prisoners remain in detention in Papua, including prominent activist Filep Karma. In May 2005, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for treason after leading a ceremony to raise the West Papuan Flag. In 2011, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that Mr. Karma’s detention was arbitrary and requested that the Government take all necessary steps to release and compensate him in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Indonesia is party. So far, the Government has not complied with the request.
“During my mission to Indonesia last November, I expressed concern over Papuan activists being imprisoned for the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression,” Pillay said, reiterating that dissent is not a crime. “It is disappointing to see more people arrested for peacefully expressing their views and I call upon the Government to release all prisoners in custody for crimes that relate to their freedom of expression.”
The National Human Rights Commission, Komnas Ham, and the National Commission on Violence against Women, Komnas Perempuan, have consistently raised concerns regarding violence and freedom of expression in Papua and made concrete recommendations to the Government of Indonesia.
“I encourage the Government to implement the recommendations made by Komnas Ham and Komnas Perempuan,” the High Commissioner said, emphasizing the vital role these national institutions play in the protection of human rights in Indonesia. Pillay encouraged the Government to continue supporting them as independent bodies and to strengthen their financial support.
For more information or media enquiries please contact Rupert Colville (+ 41 22 917 9767 or rcolville@ohchr.org) or C├ęcile Pouilly (+41 22 917 93 10 / cpouilly@ohchr.org)
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Senin, 29 April 2013


West Papua's fight for freedom gets city base

Benny Wenda Benny Wenda
AN INDEPENDENCE fighter who hit the headlines after being banned from the New Zealand Parliament has set up his campaign base in Oxford.
Benny Wenda, 37, who lives in Marston Road and has been in Oxford for more than 10 years, on Sunday officially launched his new campaign office for the Free West Papua campaign at the Old Music Hall, Cowley Road.
The father of six has just returned from a world tour to press for West Papua’s independence from Indonesia, which is where he found himself banned from speaking in New Zealand’s Parliament buildings by its speaker, David Carter.
Mr Wenda, 37, said he hoped it would be the first of many campaign offices around the world. He said: “People in Oxford have always supported me and I feel it is time for me to open the office officially.”
Mr Wenda embarked on his international tour after being removed from an Interpol wanted list. He returned three weeks ago, fired up for the next stage of his campaign.
He said: “I am really optimistic because some things you believe in and, because of people power, it will change.”
After the office was officially opened, supporters gathered at East Oxford Community Centre in Princes Street for traditional music and dance.

Minggu, 28 April 2013


Masyarakat Kamoro Tahan Tongkang Perusahaan Kayu

Oleh Yermias Degei (Kontributor Papua),  April 26, 2013
Kapal tongkang yang ditahan warga di Distrik Mimika Barat, Papua. Foto: Wim

Kehadiran perusahaan kayu di Papua, selama ini merugikan masyarakat lokal. Tak heran, Sabtu (20/4/13), warga Suku Kamoro di Ibukota Distrik Mimika Barat, Kabupaten Mimika Papua , menyita sebuah kapal yang menarik tongkang bermuatan alat berat, tangki bahan bakar dan peralatan lain.
“Selama ini, perusahan ini keluar masuk tanpa izin dan izin ini siapa yang berikan kami tidak tahu. Sekarang kami tahan supaya ia (perusahaan -red) memenuhi tuntutan warga pemilik hak ulayat,”  kata Yulius Watapoka, Kepala Kampung Amar Distrik Mimika Barat, Selasa(23/4/13).
Kapal itu ditahan ketika melintasi perairan muara kali setempat. “Mereka masuk ke kali dan ambil kayu gelondongan. Hanya membayar masyarakat Rp50.000 per batang gelodongan kayu.”
Kepala Dsitrik Mimika Barat, Philipus Monaweyau mengatakan, kehadiran perusahaan ini tidak hanya merugikan masyarakat, tapi merusak biota dan ekosistem. “Perusahaan ini selain ambil kayu dan membayar dengan murah kepada masyarakat, juga merusak lingkungan karena buldozer  dan alat berat lain yang dibawa masuk merusak kayu putih, serta menutup lahan-lahan hutan alami untuk dilewati alat berat.”
Philipus meminta, perusahaan berbasis di wilayah Papua Selatan itu segera mengikuti tuntutan masyarakat. “Kami tidak minta apa-apa, tapi tolong lihat kehidupan masyarakat kampung yang hidup tidak seperti orang-orang di kota. Intinya, jangan menindis warga.”  Hingga berita ini ditulis, belum ada perusahaan yang menemui warga.