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International Delegation Calls on President to Address Media Freedom Concerns

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An international delegation of media and freedom of expression organisations met with the Papua Province government - Jubi/Alex

An international delegation of media and freedom of expression organisations met with the Papua Province government – Jubi/Alex

Jakarta, Jubi/IFEX – An international delegation of media and freedom of expression organisations met with the Indonesian government to discuss the state of media in the country. It highlighted concernsregarding journalist safety and an environment that poses significant threats to freedom of expression.

At a meeting on Thursday [12 November 2015], Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan re-committed, on behalf of the Widodo administration, to free press access to Papua and promised to review outstanding cases of killings of local journalists raised by the mission. The Minister was open to further communication with the media and civil society, and welcomed further recommendations.

The International Partnership Mission to Indonesia travelled to the country to meet with journalists, government and civil society representatives to review the media environment one year on since its first visit in December 2014. Significantly, it also conducted a fact-finding visit to Papua.

Publicly declared open to foreign journalists by President Joko Widodo in May 2015, Papua and West Papua have been restricted for international media for half a century. Access remains problematic, with obstacles being raised by local military and police. The mission met with Papuan journalists and media activists who described an atmosphere of surveillance and intimidation, as well as claims of security agents posing as journalists.

The mission also heard about challenges to freedom of expression more broadly across the country. Continued violence against the media and the failure to bring perpetrators to justice fuels further attacks, and leads to self-censorship. The digital space is an emerging front line for the media, meanwhile the Electronic Information and Transactions Law and the broader Criminal Code are being abused to silence critical voices.
“In a region where the press is under sustained attack, Indonesia has a leadership role to play in defending media freedoms,” the mission said.

“There has been little demonstrable progress following the recommendations offered by the mission a year ago, and despite significant interventions by local civil society organisations. The government of President Widodo should do more to advance media freedom and protect journalists.”

On its first visit, the mission was briefed on the 2009 Anak Agung Prabangsa murder case in Bali, which as a result of cooperation between media, police and local government resulted in the prosecution not only of the killers but also of the mastermind.

“The Prabangsa case proves that Indonesia can tackle impunity,” the mission said. “We welcome the dialogue that has begun with the Widodo administration.”

The Mission will publish a report of its findings and recommendations by the end of November. Recommendations from the IPMI visit in 2014 are available here. (*)

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Headlines

Students ask for Jokowi’s promises following an attack in Nduga

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Students joined the Solidarity for Nduga in a protest to refuse military settlement in Nduga – Jubi/Doc

Dekai, Jubi – Dozens of students who are members of the Association of Students from the Papuan Central Highland of Indonesia (AMPTPI) urged the President Joko Widodo to solve some problems occurred following the attack by the military in Nduga on 11 July 2018.

Samuel Lokbere, the Chairman of the Student Association of Nduga said the conflict involved gunfire between the West Papuan liberation army and Indonesian security force has caused trauma for the local people in Nduga.

“Military operation in Alguru village is a real threat for civilians. Despite disturbing, it also increases the fear among Nduga people who are still traumatic with the similar incident occurred in Mapenduma in 1995-1996,” Lokbere stated in a press release recently.

Meanwhile Efer Lokobal, the Chairman of AMPTPI Manado, North Sulawesi, also regretted the failure of the President Joko Widodo to fulfil his promise during his presidential campaign for solving the human rights issues in Papua.

“Until now the President of Indonesia failed to solve the human rights issues in Papua. Lately, even there are many shooting incidents against civilians everywhere.” (*)

 

Reporter: Piter Lokon

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Headlines

Traumatised Papuans flee conflict in Nduga

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West Papua Liberation Army monitoring Indonesian military flyover in Nduga, 11 July 2018. – Photo: TPNPB/radionz.co

Nduga, Jubi – Thousands of West Papuan villagers have reportedly fled from their homes in a remote regency due to conflict between Indonesian military forces and pro-independence fighters.

This follows a string of deaths in Nduga regency where Indonesian security forces and the West Papua National Liberation Army have exchanged gunfire in recent weeks.

Three people were killed in an attack on police at the local airport two weeks ago during regional elections. A faction of the Liberation Army claimed responsibility.

Following the attack, about a thousand extra police and military personnel deployed to the remote regency as part of a joint operation.

They have been conducting an aerial campaign over the Alguru area in pursuit of the Liberation Army, with unconfirmed reports saying at least two Papuans have been shot dead and others injured in recent days.

A police helicopter was reportedly fired on by a faction of the Liberation Army last week, although it is unclear whether it was in response to rounds of aerial artillery fired by the military over Alguru.

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua has accused the Indonesian military of bombing in Nduga.

“Bombing, burning houses, and shooting into villages from helicopters are acts of terrorism,” the Liberation Movement’s chairman Benny Wenda said.

“The Indonesian government’s horrific acts of violence against the Melanesian people of West Papua are causing great harm and trauma.”

The Nduga regent, Yarius Gwijangge, last week made a plea to the security forces not to shoot from the air because he feared this could lead to civilian casualties.

With the situation in Nduga remaining tense, a local Liberation Army Field Operations Commander, Egianus Kogoya, confirmed a number of Alguru villagers had fled from their homes.

“All the (Liberation Army) soldiers scattered back into the forest with 50 heads of family from Alguru village without possessing or not carrying their possessions, in order to save themselves from the death threats of Indonesian military and police bombs,” Mr Kogoya said.

“The Indonesian military helicopters fired the bombs, four times with huge explosion through air strikes at Alguru village. As a result of this attack, the gardens and houses of the people in Alguru’s village are flattened with the ground”.

However, Indonesia’s military published a statement saying reports that security forces were conducting airstrikes or dropping bombs were a hoax.

It said military forces were working with police in “law enforcement activities” in Alguru which is considered a stronghold of the Liberation Army and the OPM Free West Papua Movement.

Indonesian authorities have described the Liberation Army as armed criminals rather than by their pro-independence moniker.

Meanwhile, Responding to the attacks, the largest organisation of Christian Churches in Indonesia called for the country’s human rights commission to open offices in Papua region.

The Communion of Churches (PGI) urged Indonesian authorities to stop repressive action and adopt a strategy of persuasion.

It said the National Commission on Human Rights should open an office in Papua, citing a government mandate under Papua’s special autonomy laws.

PGI spokesman Irma Riana Simanjuntak said Indonesia’s government should establish a fact-finding team to verify deaths in recent attacks and guarantee the public’s safety.

Human rights workers, journalists and medical workers should also be able to access Papua, Mr Simanjuntak said.

Indonesia officially ended restrictions on access to Papua in 2015 but human rights groups and journalists continue to face hurdles when trying to travel there.

Trauma revisited

Young people in Nduga are tired of violence triggered by politics, a West Papuan from the regency said.

Speaking from the Papua provincial capital Jayapura, Samuel Tabuni said he had been in contact with friends and family in Nduga.

Thousands of Nduga villagers had fled from the regency since the violence surged during last month’s elections, Mr Tabuni said.

The villagers were terrified by recent developments which echoed shootings and killings that took place in previous Indonesian military deployments to the remote region, he said.

The recent influx of Indonesian military had brought back memories from 1996 in particular, when Indonesian military commander Prabowo Subianto led special forces into the same area on a campaign to save hostages held by the Free Papua movement commander Kelly Kwalik.

“That’s why when a lot of troops… army and police coming in to Nduga, Kenyam, most of our people are afraid, you know, that the same thing is going to happen,” Mr Tabuni said.

“So we are deeply traumatised. That’s why when a lot of troops… army and police coming in to Nduga, Kenyam (the regency’s capital), most of our people are afraid, you know, that the same thing is going to happen. ”

Special Autonomy Status was granted to Papua by Jakarta in 2001 with the promise of developing its human potential but in Mr Tabuni’s view this had not transpired.

“Conflicts in Special Autonomy is more than in the past because of this politics,” he said.

“The regional politics as well as the politics in terms of campaigning (for) being head of regency and governors. So these two politics kill many Papuans, honestly, especially those that are young.”

Mr Tabuni said many young Papuans wanted dialogue between Indonesia’s government and those pursuing independence to find a peaceful solution.

“We don’t want to be invoved in all this politics and conflict and war. We have to have open dialogue to solve all the problems.”

Meanwhile, human rights activists urged the security forces to withdraw their join operation in Nduga, saying it was having a major impact on the lives of local villagers. (*)

 

Source: radionz.co

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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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