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Indonesia Stresses Papua Development Despite Attacks

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Indonesia President, Joko Widodo - Jubi

Indonesia President, Joko Widodo – Jubi

By Ainur Rohmah

Tuban, Jubi – President Widodo says 40-kilometer road project to continue, after separatist group claims attack that killed 4 construction workers.

Indonesia’s president stressed Friday the government’s commitment to development projects in troubled Papua province, following the killing of four construction workers in an attack claimed by an armed separatist group.

President Joko Widodo — popularly known as “Jokowi” — said that while authorities found Tuesday’s violence “regrettable”, construction on the 40-kilometer road project to connect Sinak district to Mulia district would continue.

“We are not afraid of the obstacle,” Kompas.com quoted him saying as he stressed that the conflict-ridden region was in serious need of infrastructure.

The government of Widodo — who took office in Oct. 2014 following a populist campaign — is aiming to have all districts of Papua connected by roads by 2018.

Papua has been home to a low-level insurgency ever since the former Dutch colony was transferred to Indonesian rule in 1963.

Despite its wealth of resources, the province is among the most impoverished and has witnessed the arrest of political prisoners and alleged abuses by security forces over the decades.

Last year, the government allocated $460 million for infrastructure projects in Papua focusing on roads, bridges, irrigation and sanitation.

Widodo announced Friday that he had instructed security forces to tighten measures at the road construction site.

The slain workers were reportedly killed by an armed group blamed for an earlier attack on military personnel patrolling the area.

National Police Chief Badrodin Haiti said Thursday that authorities had identified the assailants as members of the same group that killed three police officers in an attack in Sinak last December, according to Detik.com.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the armed wing of the Free Papua Movement, the West Papua National Liberation Army, claimed responsibility for the March attacks.

“We hope that with this action, the Indonesian government can open up channels of dialogue to discuss the independence of Papua,” Kompas.com quoted Sebby Sambom as saying Friday.

“If officials and citizens become victims, it is the fault of the government that does not give us freedom,” he insisted, describing the actions as part of a gradual revolution.

Earlier this year, President Widodo instructed that the government deal with separatism through a “soft approach” involving dialogue and the possible granting of clemency and unconditional release to political prisoners, according to The Jakarta Post.

He, however, underlined that any resistance would be handled through a “hard approach”.

After the January cabinet meeting, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung had said the government would implement a similar strategy as that used in dealing with a separatist group in conservative northern Aceh province.

In 2005, the secular government and the Free Aceh Movement signed a peace deal ensuring that the region would be allowed to enforce a form of Sharia law.

During a visit to Papua in May 2015, Widodo pardoned five political prisoners in Papua and announced that foreign journalists would no longer need special permission for visits — which had also been restricted to human rights activists, aid workers and researchers.

The president has expressed hope that Indonesia’s past repressive security approach would be replaced with an approach prioritizing development and welfare. (*)

This piece was originally published over at Video News here.

Economy

Women protest the electricity cut off

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Indigenous women traders who barred the road in front of the market due to the electricity cut off by PLN. – Jubi / IST

Jayapura, Jubi – Dozens of indigenous women who are selling local products at the traditional market ‘Pasar Mama-Mama Papua’ blocked the road in front of the market on Friday afternoon (8/10/2018) to protest the National Electricity Company (PLN) for cutting off the electricity at the market for several hours due to late payment for the last four months amounted to Rp 60 million.

The coordinator for the Solidarity for indigenous Papuan traders (Solpap) Franky Warer said it just happened spontaneously because of their disappointment. “The electricity was cut off at around 11.00 Papua time when I was still at home, then someone called me. I then went to the market and called the mayor,” Warer told Jubi by phone on Friday evening (08/10/18).

After that, he said, the Municipal Government agreed to contact the PLN and the electricity in the market turned normal at around 18:00 Papua time.

Meanwhile, the Papuan legislator John NR Gobai commented that relevant parties should pay attention to this matter for not outsizing the traders. “This market is managed under the Trade and Industry Office of Jayapura Municipal Government. So the agency needs to find a solution immediately,” he said. (*)

 

Reporter: Arjuna Pademme

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Economy

Freeport’s one percent fund cannot guarantee Kamoro’s future

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Mathea Mamayou, a native Kamoro woman whose tribe affected tailings produced by PT Freeport Indonesia. – Jubi / Doc

Jayapura, Jubi – The Secretary for the Government, Politics, Law and Human Rights Commission of the Papua House of Representatives Mathea Mamoyao, who is also a Kamoro native, said ‘one percent fund’, 1% of Freeport’s gross revenues go to the local tribes, does not guarantee the sustainable future of those tribes.

“I don’t know whether this compensation is still there or not. I don’t want certain people took advantages on it, while people are still living under the poverty,” she told Jubi on Wednesday (18/7/2018).

Further, she said what she wants is a guarantee for the Kamoro tribe to live in a better condition in the future. But the fact is the education and health services in the Kamoro region is still poor. “For all the times, I’ll keep talking about it, because as a native, I don’t want the young generation of my tribe not to survive in the future,” she said.

Meanwhile, the board of Meepago Customary Council John NR Gobai said indigenous peoples as the tenure landowners collect the promise of the Indonesian Government on the bargain involved Freeport, the Central Government and the landowners on 4 September 2017.

“At that time, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Ignatius Jonan agreed to accommodate the request of Amungme tribe asking Freeport to give a reimbursement of 1% fund which they received as the Corporate Social Responsibly funds into larger value shares,” he said. (*)

 

Reporter: Arjuna Pademme

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Headlines

Provincial health team takes more rest than work, says Kopkedat

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GIDI church missionaries, pastor and Kopkedat Papua provide public health services in Okmakot Village, Seradala Sub-district, Yahukimo District. – Jubi/Agus Pabika

Jayapura, Jubi – Chairman of Humanitarian Care Community for Remote Areas Papua (Kopkedat) Yan Akobiarek states despite education, public health services in Papua’s remote areas are still an issue.

Although the provincial health office has provided services to remote areas through several health programs such as Satgas Kaki Telanjang, Save Korowai and Nusantara Sehat, these programs have not well implemented.

“I think sending teams to remote areas is a good idea, but I get the impression that some team members only come for vacation, to work less and get more rest,” said Akobiarek told Jubi by phone on Tuesday (10/7/2018). For instance, he pointed out the team of Satgas Kaki Telanjang who are supposed to provide health service to villagers in Korowai. After the Ied al-Ftir break, their members are still not returning to their duty station.

Meanwhile, Maria Duwitau, the Vice Chairman of the Commission V on education and health of the Papuan House of Representative said doing health services in Papua, in particularly remote areas, is always connecting with a commitment. “No matter how greater of the offer, but without willingness and commitment, I think it’s useless,” Duwitau told Jubi not long ago. (*)

 

Reporter: Arjuna Pademme

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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