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Melanesian Arts and Culture Festival to Be Held in Kupang

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Director General of Culture of the Minister of Education and Culture, Kacung Marijan - Suplied

Director General of Culture of the Minister of Education and Culture, Kacung Marijan – Suplied

Jakarta, Jubi – Indonesia will for the first time be the host of the Melanesian Arts and Culture Festival 2015 to be held from 26–30 October in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara Barat.

“It is a fact that majority of Melanesian population, about 80 percent, live in Indonesia,” the Director General of Culture of the Minister of Education and Culture, Kacung Marijan, told reporters in the press conference held in Jakarta on last week.

The festival will be attended by the stakeholders in cultural affairs and artists from Indonesia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia and the Melanesian Spearhead Group’s representative based in Vanuatu.

In this festival that aims to improve collaboration among the Melanesian countries, the Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Diplomacy of the Minister of Education and Culture will held a conference, film screenings and dance performance. Representatives from East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, North Maluku, Papua and West Papua will represent Indonesia in the festival.

Three Indonesian movies that would be screened in the festival are Atambua 39 C, Tanah Mama and Cahaya Dari Timur; and the Indonesian actress Jajang C Noer and actor Chico Jericho will attend as representative of the movie.

In addition to Indonesia, Fiji and New Caledonia will also send their movies to be screened in the community forum of Melanesian culture influence for sharing knowledge, tradition and culture to improve the solidarity in Melanesian region.

Melanesia is a sub-race, which its distribution in Indonesia covers East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, North Maluku, Papua and West Papua and other countries such as Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

Archeologist from the National Archeological Research Center, Prof. Dr. Harry Truman Simanjuntak, explained their ancestors came to Indonesian archipelago some were decided to stay and some were migrated until Australia and based in Papua, Papua New Guinea and Australia. The culture were grown in Papua and Papua New Guinea later spread out until East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara and to the eastern regions such as Fiji and Vanuatu.

The evidence of Melanesian heritage was proven its presence in Australia represented by Aborigines since 60,000 years ago. Meanwhile relics in Indonesia refer to 45,000 – 50,000 years ago. The cultural differences grow in the Melanesian spreading according to Truman were influenced by local factors.

Kacung Marijan is targeting the festival could bring the comprehensive understanding about Melanesia and its distribution, including in the cultural context. “The improvement of cooperation among Melanesian countries for example in the fields of culture, education and economy,” Marijan said.

While Truman added this festival is also aimed to raise the awareness of two largest races in Indonesia, Mongoloid and Austronesia, are relatives and culturally and biologically interacted since thousands years ago. “Do not build a barrier, to know each other to let the nationality grows,” Truman said. (*)

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Will Solomon Islands change its position on West Papua case?

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Solomon officials who visit West Papua on April 2018 – Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi/RNZI – A leading foreign affairs official from the Solomon Islands government says it’s now seeing a balanced picture on Indonesia’s Papua region.

The government is consulting with the provinces as it formulates an official position on West Papuan human rights and self-determination issues.

Consultations follow a visit by a Solomons government-led delegation to Indonesia’s provinces of Papua and West Papua at the invitation of Jakarta.

The Solomons’ Special Secretary on Foreign Relations, Rence Sore, was one of the government officials in the delegation.

He said the visit was aimed at achieving a balanced picture of what’s going on in Papua.

“Before we went we had been listening to the other side of the story. And the story we heard, we were always hearing at that time, was there’s always human rights abuse, there’s always fighting for independence, someone is being killed and all that. It’s one-sided, all one-sided.”

Rence Sore said that when they went to Papua region, the story was entirely different.

He said that for now the government had yet to decide on its official position regarding West Papua and Papua provinces.

“We’re trying to give the government a good picture. Both sides of the coin we have to tell the government, and the government independently makes that policy decision.”

The delegation’s visit and resulting report were indications that the Solomon Islands government, under prime minister Rick Hou, was approaching a different stand on Papua to that of the previous prime minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Mr Sogavare, who is now the deputy prime minister, campaigned internationally about West Papuan human rights issues. He was also supportive of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, and instrumental in its admission to the Melanesian Spearhead Group in 2015.

The Liberation Movement, which Indonesia’s government opposes, last month voiced disappointment that it wasn’t notified by Solomon Islands about the delegation’s visit.

Mr Sore, who said his government consulted with Indonesian authorities for the visit, noted the Liberation Movement’s strong connections with civil society organisations in Solomon Islands.

“And to some extent, that strong connection also was with the previous Solomon Islands leadership, government, prime minister.

“We went (to Indonesia) with authorisation from the current prime minister, and official authorities were notified.

However Mr Sore would not be drawn on whether the Hou-led government had shifted position on Papua.

“That decision is not yet formal. It depends entirely on the report. We did a report when we came back, and we are still doing the consultations on the policy. That policy will go through the government cabinet.”

Regarding that visit, The Solomon Star reports Development Service Exchange (DSE) spokesperson Jennifer Wate made the comment while rejecting any involvement in the trip.

This is despite DSE chairperson, Inia Barry, being among several from civil society organisations who went along on the visit which was hosted by Indonesia.

Ms Wate said her organisation had found out about the trip the evening before the delegation‘s departure for West Papua.

The DSE did not endorse Mr Barry or any of the other civil society representatives who took part in the West Papua visit, she said

Ms Wate maintained her organisation was not aware of any details of the trip or its terms of reference and she called on the Solomon Islands government in the future to formally approach the DSE on matters that required civil sector representation.

Ms Wate also admonished the government for not informing civil society groups in West Papua ahead of their trip. (*)

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WEST PAPUA SOLIDARITY FOR EARTHQUAKE DISASTER IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA

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West Papua visit lacked transparency says Solomons group

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Downtown Jayapura – RNZ / Koroi Hawkins

There should have been more transparency around a government-led delegation’s visit to West Papua last month, a leader of Solomon Islands civil society says.

The Solomon Star reports Development Service Exchange (DSE) spokesperson Jennifer Wate made the comment while rejecting any involvement in the trip.

This is despite DSE chairperson, Inia Barry, being among several from civil society organisations who went along on the visit which was hosted by Indonesia.

Ms Wate said her organisation had found out about the trip the evening before the delegation’s departure for West Papua.

The DSE did not endorse Mr Barry or any of the other civil society representatives who took part in the West Papua visit, she said

Ms Wate maintained her organisation was not aware of any details of the trip or its terms of reference and she called on the Solomon Islands government in the future to formally approach the DSE on matters that required civil sector representation.

Ms Wate also admonished the government for not informing civil society groups in West Papua ahead of their trip. (*)

 

Source: Radio NZ

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