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Pacific Island Bishops make Surprise but Welcome Visit to Papua

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Visiting Pacific island bishops in Jayapura, West Papua - Jubi

Visiting Pacific island bishops in Jayapura, West Papua – Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – Visiting Pacific island bishops have heard of on-going violence and repression faced by Papuan people during a rare visit to Indonesian’s most easterly province.

A delegation of 20 bishops from the Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands were also told of Papuan desires for independence from Indonesia, during a visit to the Papuan provincial capital, Jayapura.

Local rights activists were given only short notice about the visit as the bishops arrived in a vehicle convoy across the PNG and Indonesian border under military escort.

In a letter presented to the bishops, Catholic Women of West Papua wrote of the significance of the visit:

“Few foreigners and even fewer esteemed guests like yourselves are able to get permission to come, or are willing to risk visiting our country,” the statement said.

“We want you to know that we are not free. We are confined in a situation that is full of violence. Because of the Indonesian police and military we do not feel safe in our own land. We desire to determine our own future, freely and fairly. We want you to know that the United Liberation Movement for West Papua represents us. They have our full support.”

The ULMWP, formed in late 2014, brought together factions of the West Papua independence movement.

It has observer status at the Melanesian Spearhead Group, an influential regional forum, which includes representatives from PNG, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia’s indigenous Kanak movement.

The letter to the bishops, which included the president of the Bishops conference, Archbishop John Ribat of Port Moresby, implored support to resolve numerous cases of human rights abuse.

It blamed Indonesian authorities for alleged abuses, and accused the Church, at a local level, of silence on the issue.

“Our people experience violence and death because of the brutal actions of the Indonesian military and police,” the letter said.

“Every day more and more migrants arrive. We are becoming a minority in our land and even in our own church while the Indonesian people master all aspects of life. In fact, they (the State) are often the perpetrators or protect the perpetrators, so we feel we have nowhere to turn. Sadly the Catholic Church in West Papua is largely silent about this and does not give voice to our cry for justice.”

The letter calls on the Conference of Bishops to encourage the Pacific Island Forum to immediately send a human rights fact-finding mission to West Papua.

The letter also said Catholic Papuan women were ready to greet Pope Francis; expressing a hope that the pontiff would visit West Papua as part of a planned visit to Indonesia scheduled for July 2017. The bishops’ visit to Jayapura, follows the release of a Church report released last month containing allegations of recent military and police intimidation, beatings and torture, kidnapping and murder in West Papua.

The report author, Josephite Sister Susan Connelly, a respected human rights advocate, visited West Papua, accompanied by Brisbane archdiocese’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission executive officer Peter Arndt.

They interviewed more than 250 Papuan community leaders.

Sr Connelly compared the situation there to “stepping back twenty years when I first went to East Timor”.

“The same oppressive security presence everywhere, the same suspicion, bewilderment, frustration and sadness,” she said. (*)

Source : Chatolic Leader

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Journalist turns tales of undercover Papuan reporting into love novel

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Aprila Wayar poses with her latest novel Sentuh Papua which chronicles a Dutch journalist’s undercover reporting of Papua and is based on actual events – Bambang Muryanto/Jakarta Post

By Bambang Muryanto

A Dutch freelance journalist, Rohan (a pen name), had been interested in the political turmoil in Papua for years. In 2015, his application for a journalistic visa was denied. The 32-year-old then decided to embark on an undercover reporting assignment in the country’s easternmost province.

For 153 days, he observed the way local people lived, met with leaders of the pro-independence Free Papua Movement (OPM) in the jungle, enjoyed the beauty of Papua’s nature and met Aprila Russiana Amelia Wayar, or Emil, a local journalist who later became his girlfriend.

It was Emil who wrote about Rohan’s adventures in Papua and their love story in the novel Sentuh Papua, 1500 Miles, 153 Hari, Satu Cinta (Touch Papua, 1500 Miles, 153 Days, One Love).

In the novel, Rohan’s character said foreign media agencies in Jakarta refused to publish his report on Papua, worrying that the government would revoke the visas of their Jakarta correspondents.

Emil recently launched her 374-page novel in a discussion forum organised by the Alliance of Independent Journalists’ (AJI) Yogyakarta chapter and the Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH).

Emil has been in Yogyakarta since early this year to publish the book. She chose Yogyakarta because she had spent time there as a student at Duta Wacana Christian University (UKDW).

The 38-year-old author said she initially intended to write a journalistic piece that was rich in data and interviews. She used the character of Rohan to describe the lack of press freedom in Papua, human rights violations in the province and challenges to OPM’s quest for self-determination.

‘Easier to understand’

“I then chose [to write a] novel to make it easier for Papuans and Indonesians to understand the [province’s] issues,” she said.

Through the book, Emil, who used to work for independent media platform Tabloid Jubi, was determined to represent the other side of Papua’s story vis-a-vis mainstream reporting on the province, which she deemed mostly biased.

She said many journalists covering cases of human rights abuses in Papua only interviewed security personnel and neglected the victims.

“Journalists writing about Papua have to cover both sides,” she said.

However, she realised both the challenge and risks that come with reporting Papua as a journalist, as she herself often received threats and harassment while doing her job.

In her book, the characters Rohan and Amelia, who is based on herself, are chased by a group of people armed with machetes.

According to Reporters Sans Frontier’s (RSF) latest World Press Freedom Index, Indonesia ranks 124th out of 180 countries – the same position as last year.

Open access promise

The Paris-based group highlighted the restriction of media access to Papua and West Papua as a factor that has kept Southeast Asia’s largest democracy at the bottom of the list.

The condition prevails despite President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s campaign promises to open access to Papua for foreign journalists.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Press Council categorised Papua and West Papua as “medium/relatively free” in its 2017 press freedom index.

Yogyakarta-based lawyer Emmanuel Gobay said Emil’s book, despite being published as fiction, was a good reference for those who want to understand Papua from both the local and professional perspective.

“This novel reflects the state of press freedom in Papua,” he said.

The novel, which Emil wrote in eight months, is her third after Mawar Hitam Tanpa Akar (Black Rose Without Its Stem) and Dua Perempuan (Two Women), both of which told stories about social issues in Papua.

Emil was the first indigenous Papuan novelist invited to the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF) in Bali in 2012. She plans to write a fourth book in the Netherlands, where she is currently undergoing medical treatment for a heart condition. (*)

Bambang Muryanto is a Jakarta Post journalist and an Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) advocate.

 

Source: asiapacificreport.nz

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MRP urges the Police investigating Goo’s shooting

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An illustration of Dogiyai residents staged action to reject all acts of violence in Dogiyai DPRD Office- Jubi / Abeth You

Paniai, Jubi – The Papuan People’s Assembly urged the Papua Police Chief to investigate the shooting over a resident Geri Goo in Moanemani that was allegedly committed by the police member from the Kamuu Sector.

“The shooting incidents happened repeatedly. Legal action clearly should be held. Therefore we ask the Papua Police Chief to investigate this case thoroughly,” said an assembly member of Religious Division Niko Degey to Jubi on Friday (4/5/2018).

He claimed these unceasing shooting incidents indicate that as law enforcement, the Police never change their mindset and paradigm. Degey, who is also the coordinator of SKKI GKI Kingmi of Paniai District, asked the Police for not only investigating who the perpetrators are but the intellectual actors as well, including the police commanders at Moanemani Police Sector and Nabire Police Department.

“This investigation will become evident to the public that even the police are not immune from the law. It is also to respect the victim’s family in Dogiyai,” he said.

Meanwhile, Papuan legislator Laurenzus Kadep also urged the police to investigate this case immediately. Kadepa, who is a member of Law and Human Rights Division, said he expects the victim Geri Goo to not experiencing the same situation as other violation victims in Papua that is the case has never resolved.

“The police must investigate it immediately and reveal who the perpetrator is and conduct a legal process,” said Kadepa. (*)

 

Reporter: Abeth You

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Solomons delegation to Indonesia sought balance

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Solomon Islanders have displayed strong support for West Papuans, including in this 2015 march through the streets of Honiara in support of a West Papuan bid to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group – Photo: Supplied

Solomon, Jubi – A Solomon Islands civil society worker says a delegation from his country which visited Indonesia sought a balanced view on West Papua human rights issues.

 

Wilfred Luiramo was one of several civil society people selected by the government to visit Indonesia, including West Papua and Papua provinces, last week.

 

Mr Luiramo said he wasn’t travelling on behalf of the group Forum Solomon Islands International, which he is chairman of, but rather as an individual civil society worker.

He said the Solomons government of Rick Hou was seeking a balanced approach on human rights in Papua region.

“Our relationship with Indonesia must be built and the human rights issue in West Papua must not be forgotten. It has to be part of the document. And generally, looking through it, Solomon Islands as a Melanesian country, and the West Papuan issue is very sensitive to us, we still feel that more can be done,” said Wilfred Luiramo.

Wilfred Luiramo said the approach on Papua being taken by Mr Hou’s leadership was different to that of the previous leadership of Manasseh Sogavare.

Of the rights situation, he said Papuans had different views on the issue of human rights abuses.

“Some propose that these things happen. Some say that these things happened previously, in the past,” he explained.

“So we have been collecting different views from them. All of them are not having the same view, but the issue remains that we try to make a balanced document out of all the informations we get.

Mr Luiramo said delegation members were yet to finalise their reports on the information garnered from the visit.

“We met with even the military generals, the governors and the CSO (civil society organisation) people, and tried to ask them what is their view… we keep trying to get a balance on it.”

He noted that some people saw the rights situation in Papua as having improved.

“Because Indonesia as a country is just coming to democracy in 1998, full democracy. Previously it was military-controlled.

“So they said there are improvements over time, and even some of the leaders told us, one of the common sayings, that ‘we are not a perfect country’ which is true.

“They are changing over time, and even some of the indigenous say that there are improvements within the human rights issue,” Mr Luiramo said, adding that some Papuans conveyed that they wanted independence from Indonesia. (*)

 

Source: radionz.co

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