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Cook Islands Teachers Condemn West Papua Injustices

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President of Council of Pacific Education Conference (COPE) Thomas Taurongo Wynn - Cook Islands News

President of Council of Pacific Education Conference (COPE) Thomas Taurongo Wynn – Cook Islands News

Jayapura, Jubi – The COOK Islands Teachers Institute has initiated strong condemnation by regional educators of atrocities reportedly committed by the Indonesian government in West Papua.

The formal stance was adopted at the recent 21st Council of Pacific Education Conference (COPE) held in Fiji by CITI representatives, president Thomas Taurongo Wynn and executive member Apii Napa.

CITI is understood to be the first national organisation to independently make a formal submission at regional level regarding the West Papua situation and for that submission to be unanimously endorsed by 12 Pacific nations.

Taurongo Wynn says COPE has formally denounced the atrocities committed by the Indonesian government against the indigenous people of West Papua and that “…we stand in solidarity with all educators, education staff and students affected.”

“We are very proud of our efforts as one of the smaller teacher unions to raise the issues surrounding the plight of the people of West Papua and to stand together unanimously as Pasifika people and teacher unions to condemn what are outright atrocities being committed on our very doorstep.”

Taurongo Wynn adds: “As Pasifika Teacher Unions, we would encourage the governments of all our Pasifika nations, union bodies and NGO’s to do the same. We can’t afford in our view to be silent on this matter or ignore the growing political and social outcry of what is happening in West Papua.”

He says CITI was prompted to champion the cause because, “social injustice can never be justified, be it social issues in our own communities, or those communities in countries we are in partnership with, anywhere for that matter, we must speak and make a stand or by our silence condemn those to the treatment they face at the hands of their oppressors.

“Silence is not an option in my view.”

Taurongo Wynn says it is becoming increasingly apparent that West Papua teachers, students and schools are suffering under the Indonesian regime and “…we must stand in solidarity with them.”

“They must know that they are not suffering in silence and that we as a union and hopefully as a country and region will stand with them and call it for what it is. As president of the CITI we were morally bound to say something.

“Silence on this matter was really not an option, and I was confident that our fellow Pacific Union members would be in agreeance.”

For over 50 years, indigenous West Papuans have been struggling for independence from Indonesia and an end to Indonesian military occupation.

An estimated 500,000 Papuans have been reportedly been killed by Indonesian troops, with many of those horrific images posted on social media.

Pacific Islands Forum countries resolved at their most recent summit that “…concerns about alleged human rights abuses by Indonesia in Papua should be discussed with Jakarta,” reported Radio NZ.

THE RADIO NZ report said the summit’s outcome on Papua was “largely a disappointment to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua which was seeking membership in the Forum.”

The movement sought Forum action on pursuing Papua human rights issues and the Papuan self-determination struggle at the United Nations.”

The movement’s ambassador for the Pacific Islands region, Amatus Douw, said Forum leaders could do more to push for Papua’s reinscription on the UN decolonisation list. Douw has expressed doubt whether the Forum would have meaningful dialogue with Indonesia regarding the serious human rights issues facing West Papuans.

Taurongo Wynn says he and Napa did not have to lobby other national teachers’ organisations for support, as all were “unanimous in their condemnation of what could only be described as atrocities to the indigenous people of West Papua.”

“Social media has been awash with information, so it has hardly been out of the view of the worlds media, and the media in the Pacific.”

He admitted failing to understand “how silence on this issue can be an option and we do encourage all and sundry to join with us in this stand. People are suffering in West Papua, teachers and children are suffering and we need to be their voice.”

He added with so little being said regionally or locally about this travesty for the people of West Papua, given the opportunity to raise this issue at a multi-national level with so many Pacific Nations present, was an opportunity that could not be missed by the Cook Islands teachers union.

With over 300 members, CITI was formed in 1978. Taurongo Wynn said over the years under the leadership of women teachers like Tiraa Anguna, Teina Etches and Nga Charlie, a strong women’s network the Association of Women Teachers was formed. Regional and global membership has since been achieved as a teachers union.

Another first that CITI can lay claim to is being the only union to have taken industrial action in the Cook Islands since independence.

This occurred in 1997 due to the economic melt-down here that resulted in teacher’ s salaries undergoing huge cuts. CITI took industrial action and went on strike for five days. The issue this was subsequently settled in court.

Taurongo Wynn confirms they will be assisting the new COPE executive to continue to apply pressure about West Papua and the resolution will be progressing to Education International next August. (*)

This article written by Florence Syme-Buchanan and published first time by Cook Islands News

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Solomon Islands delegation visit to West Papua is ‘a visitation by robbers’

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Jacob Rumbiak (right) – Island Sun

Jayapura, Jubi – United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) spokesperson Jacob Rumbiak has described the recent seven-person delegation from Solomon Islands to West Papua as ‘a visitation by robbers’.

The recent delegation visit to West Papua had included the PMO Chief of Staff John Usuramo, Special Envoy to West Papua Rence Sore, Chairman of FSII Wilfred Luiramo, DSE chairman Inia Barry, Lawrence Makili, Gloreta Anderson and Lilly Chekana.

Speaking during his meeting with SICA General Secretary Holmes Saeve Monday, Rumbiak said a summary of Chekana’s account of their trip given by Holmes highlighting that the West Papuan people are not united is ‘very misleading’.

“I bring voice from inside West Papua as the delegation that recently visited West Papua was like robbers. They came and hid and never met with the people struggling for their right.

“I think they are blind and they do not know what we already have set up.”

He said ULMWP is the answer to their report as they have a Federal Republic of West Papua, a 14 political organisation affiliating with the Federal Republic, six organisations affiliating with West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation, six affiliating with the National Parliament of West Papua being 26 West Papuan organisations already inside.

And the United Liberation Movement for West Papua is a West Papua national political body.

“When someone says we are not united, that is misleading, said Rumbiak.

“They say how can they meet with West Papua, they do not have a leader, no political body and they do not have any agenda. We have an agenda, we have a political body, we have leadership member, adjective, we have a legislative leader and member, judicial leader and member, we got Bureau Officers working inside and Diplomats outside, and the support from the whole region of West Papua including churches (7 religions). They recommended support.

“The movement of West Papua is based on the advice from the Melanesian leaders.”

On meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare last week, Rumbiak said the group should have involved Fiji and Papua New Guinea before visiting independently and should not have allowed the trip to be funded by Indonesia. They should have went and stayed on the ground with the people of West Papua.

The ULMWP spokesperson’s recent visit to Honiara was to meet with the DPM, SICA and organisers of the Melanesian Arts Festival and to reiterate that the recent seven-person delegation from Solomon Islands was done with Indonesian Government incentive for its own interest.

Rumbiak gave a detailed description of the group’s visit to the SICA General Secretary, questioning why the group did not visit and call into various civil and interest groups within West Papua.

Rumbiak described how the protestors went to welcome the Solomon Islands delegates but were instead arrested.

He showed videos of the documentaries about the atrocities in WP and a protestor who was arrested during the group’s stay there.

SOURCE: Island Suns

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Mama Yosepha Met Pacific’s Catholic Church Leaders

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Mama Yosepha Alomang, Markus Haluk, and the interpreter were talking to Cardinal Ribat and Cardinal Mafi – Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – After the closing of the Federation of Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania that held in Port Moresby from 12 to 16 April 2018, Mama Yosepha Alomang met two Pacific Catholic Church leaders: the Archbishop of Port Moresby Cardinal John Ribat, and the Archbishop of Tonga Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi, on 17 April 2018. Mama Yosepha accompanied by a Papuan Catholic figure Markus Haluk during the meeting.

In the meeting, she gave the Cardinals two noken (Papua’s traditional bag) of the morning star and Papuan motives to express a message of natural resources deprivation that leads to the human rights violations and religious and moral degradation. She entrusted her message to both cardinals for the World’s Catholic Church Leader the Pope Francis in the Vatican.

“I am hanging these bones on the shoulders of Cardinal John and Cardinal Mafi who are the representatives of the Holy Father Pope Francis,” said Mama Yosepha while hanging the nokens to the necks of both cardinals.

She believed that the Catholic Church leaders, especially the Pope Francis, must speak about the death occurred in West Papuans due to the repression of the Indonesian Government. She told the Cardinals that the murders still continue to prevent self-determination as well as to exploit the natural resources. “They keep arresting and murdering us because of the picture of the morning star in this noken,” she said.

She further said the Catholic Church leaders in Pacific and the world should speak up to protect the life and nature of Papuans. Praying and doing a real action should be urgent for the church at the moment. “If the Pope does not pray for us, Papuans, we must be dead. The church is our support and last hope. You must take care of us,” she hoped.

Meanwhile, Markus Haluk, who accompanied Mama Yosepha and also the Head of the ULMWP Coordination Office in West Papua, said he appreciated her tireless spirit and struggle. “Mama Yosepha handed over the nokens and her message to Cardinal Mafi and Cardinal John with a stammered and teary voice,” he said.

In separated place, Dominikus Surabut, the chairman-elect of the Papuan Customary Council, said the Catholic Church should listen to the voice of Papuan people. Papuans have waited so long for a protective prophetic voice. Papuans have waited so long for a protective prophetic voice. “The church has long been silent. Therefore the Catholic Church in Pacific should open the silent door of the Catholic Church in Papua, Indonesia,” he told the reporter on Thursday (19/4/2018) in Expo Waena, Jayapura City Papua. (*)

 

Reporter: Benny Mawel

Editor: Pipit Maizier 

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Indigenous Peoples of Papua

West Papua Solidarity for PNG launched

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Candles Action and West Papua Solidarity for the victims of the earthquake in PNG launched in Lingkaran Abepura. – Jubi/Dok.

Jayapura, Jubi – West Papua Solidarity for the earthquake victims in Papua New Guinea has been launched on Monday, 12 March 2018 in Lingkaran Abepura, Jayapura City, Papua.

“Starting today, we are in solidarity,” the Coordinator of West Papua Solidarity Sem Awom read his statement in front of hundreds of students and youth activists in Abepura.

He said the act of solidarity is aimed to express sympathy for their brothers in PNG who were died, injured or traumatized in the recent earthquake. He also said the victims certainly need supports from the people of Papua, Melanesia and the world as well. “This solidarity has to break all boundaries,” said Awom.

Another Papuan activist Nelius Wenda said the earthquake that stroked Papua New Guinea has reminded him of the solidarity and ties of Papuan brotherhood. “We actually have a common ancestor, but separated by State border,” he said.

When the earthquake happened, he said, Papuans grieved for the victims who died and injured. “We will do our best,” said Wenda.

Separately, the Secretary of West Papua Solidarity Kristianus Dogopia said fund raising to help the victims would continue until the end of the month. “We will come to houses and student dormitories to collect the funds. We will also speak to the church leaders to get involved in this fund raising,” he said. (*)

 

Reporter: Benny Mawel

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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