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Papuan war cries echoed through the jungle canopy

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West Papua National Liberation Army – Jubi

By : Craig Harris

IN the jungle of West Papua the Indonesian military was on the move. Freedom fighters were hiding out in a certain village, and make no mistake, the military knew of their presence. Papuan lookouts caught sight of the military 10 miles before the village. Quickly, through ancient communication skills, the village was warned. All women and children ran to higher ground and safety. The freedom fighters laid the foundation for evident battle. These small skirmishes happen throughout the highlands of West Papua, at times on a daily basis. As the military approached, the first arrow was shot and laid to rest in a soldier’s leg. Papuan war cries echoed through the jungle canopy.

In a land the size of California with a population of two million Papuans, the region remains one of the most isolated in the world. Many human rights activists call Papua “Indonesia’s dark dirty secret.”

Indonesia’s latest president, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, is desperate to keep hidden its brutal 50-year war in its eastern-most province. Indonesia seized West Papua, the western half of the island of New Guinea ,in 1963, shortly after the Dutch colonists pulled out. Since then all foreign journalists have been banned from the territory. A police state has shackled the vast region ever since. It battles a low-level tribal insurgency and suppresses independence aspirations with such vigor that raising the Papuan national flag, Morning Star, can land you 15 years in prison. It’s estimated, according to Yale University research, that over 200,000 Papuans have lost their lives, 10 percent of the population.

Most Papuans consider themselves Melanesian, with more in common with darker-skinned Pacific populations, such as the people of Vanuatu or Solomon Islands. Indonesians often treat Papuans as racially inferior. Culturally, linguistically, and ethnically, Papuans have little in common with Indonesians. For the overwhelming majority, nothing short of independence will suffice.

However there is another truth to the Papuan struggle, those who have turned their backs on their own people — otherwise known as “fat cats.” These so-called Papuans have learned to work both sides of the confrontation and have profited largely. Their ambition seems to be strictly monetary. Well-connected to the government they strategize in hopes of keeping the conflict never ending.

Theys Eluay, at one time the Papuan tribal chief, mastered the game. In 1965 at the early age of 27 Eluay became chief of the Sentani tribe. Sentani is located in Jayapura, the capital of Papua. At 32 he voted to join Indonesia under the fraudulent UN “Act of Free Choice.” Unlike most chiefs, he believed it was the best choice. He cooperated with the military and provided intelligence about the resistance movement. Years later, he was imprisoned on charges of treason, accused of plotting Papua’s violent succession. While in jail he confessed to friends that he had given authorities information that led to the deaths of Papuan independence fighters.

In 1977 Eluay was given a seat in the provincial parliament as a member of President Suharto’s ruling Golkar party. Eluay’s transformation to Papuan hero began in the early 1990s. Denied reappointment to parliament by his party after 15 years in office, he became preoccupied with restoring his name. He saw that his future lay in fighting for independence.

In 2002, Eluay was killed by Kopassus, Indonesia’s elite military. Many Eluay supporters believe it was assassination by the government to squash Papua’s growing separatist movement.

Eluay recognized in his later years that his passion lay in supporting his people toward a better life. He had a vision above and beyond money. “Those Papuan’s that continue to profit from the chaos have no vision and will meet their destiny at a later date.”

As I write this, the world is becoming more aware about Papua. Through social media and lobbying by hardworking Papuans living in exile in other countries, progress is moving forward in a multitude of ways. Benefits, concerts, and demonstrations across the world are bringing attention to the Papuan cause.

Even the world surf community is asking its followers to boycott Indonesia. Under websites such as akrockefeller.com word is getting out. (*)

Craig Harris is a correspondent for independent.com

Headlines

KNPB supports Kanaky for self-determination

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KNPB and Gempar Papua activists at the Secretariat of Central KNPB. – Jubi / Hengky Yeimo

Jayapura, Jubi – Central West Papua National Committee (KNPB) held a limited discussion to support FKLNS (Organization of the Liberation Struggle of the Kanaky Tribe in New Caledonia) which has been well received by the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to conduct a referendum in November 2018.

The First Chairman of Central KNPB Agus Kosay said it’s time for Kanaky to get self-determination from French colonialism.

“Kanaky must declare their self-determination. If Kanaky gets their independence, it would be able to give their support to West Papua because we share the same situation, which lives under the colonialism,” he said on Wednesday (08/12/2018) in Jayapura.

Meanwhile a member of Gempar (Papuan Youth and Student Movement) Nelius Wenda said as a nation oppressed by Indonesia, West Papua fully supports the referendum agenda of New Caledonia.

“Kanaky must determine their destiny. It must be far better than being under the French colonialism. In the future we Papuans are just like Kanaky,” he said. (*)

 

Reporter: Hengky Yeimo

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Headlines

In Papuan human rights context, Jokowi considered no different from Prabowo

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Papuan students and youth are arrested by the police on Tuesday (4/9/2018) in a rally to support Vanuatu to bring up the issue of West Papua in the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). – Jubi / Doc.

Jayapura, Jubi – The current president of Indonesia Joko Widodo is considered to be no different from Prabowo in Human Rights violations in Papua.

If Prabowo recognised as a perpetrator of human rights violations in Papua, Widodo considered allowing violent conflicts and human rights violations in Papua to continue. Now both will compete in the Indonesian presidential election 2019.

“For us from Mimika District, Jokowi is no different from Prabowo. Why? If Prabowo is a perpetrator of human rights violation in Papua, the current president Jokowi knows about these violations but let it happened repeatedly,” said Odizeus Beanal, the Director of Amungme Tribal Society (Lemasa) told Jubi on Tuesday (11/9/2018) while mentioning some cases of human rights violations occurred in Paniai, Timika, Ndugama and other regions.

Today the allegations of human rights violations in Papua still continue. Some violent incidents against civilians that resulted in casualties and arrests of random people still occur under the current administration.

The Amnesty International Indonesia has recorded 38 cases of extrajudicial killings from 2014 to mid-2018 that confirmed 51 victims. This report launched in mid-July 2018.

Government efforts and victims rejection

The Indonesian government through the Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security has formed an integrated team whose task to collect data and information, make analyses and report to the president. The team who consist of 39 members from Papua and Jakarta established in May 2018 as an integrated team to resolve cases of alleged human right violations in Papua. However, it obtained rejection from many Papuans to consider them as not neutral.

“It is impossible to accept those who suspected as perpetrators to become referees. Furthermore, we know this team facilitated by the Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security who has a military background. From the beginning, the Police has supported this team. So how could we believe them?” said Peneas Lokbere, the Coordinator of United for Truth (BUK).

According to Lokbere, who continuously are accompanying victims of Papuan human rights violations, the team only maintained the strategy of former minister Wiranto who at that time suggested that the alleged human rights violations in Papua resolved through the customary law.

Moreover, he said until now there are hundreds of victims of human rights violations in Papua who still fight for justice. For instance, the family of victims of the Bloody Paniai incident of December 8th, 2014. The number of victims might be up to thousands because these alleged human rights violations have occurred since Indonesia annexed Papua in the 60s.

“Jokowi once expressed in front of five thousand more Papuans at Mandala Stadium in Jayapura that he would immediately resolve the Bloody Paniai case. But it was only a promise, “said Tinus Pigai, a relative of Apinus Gobai who was the victim of the incident at Karel Gobai Square, Paniai.

According to him, Jokowi’s visits to Papua were in vain, because he had not been able to fulfil his promise to resolve the Bloody Paniai case. (*)

 

Reporter: Victor Mambor

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Economy

Migration is a factor of increasing poverty in Papua

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Indigenous Papuans. – Jubi / Doc

Jayapura, Jubi – Septer Manufandu, the former Executive Secretary of Non-Governmental Organization Working Forum of Papua (FOKER LSM Papua), stated stakeholders in Papua need to the right solution to strict the flow of migration into Papua.

So far, he said that Papua is an open region and anyone is free to come to Papua without strict control. Therefore he urges the authority to establish a proper mechanism to control the migration, but respect everyone’s right at the same time.

“In the Special Regulation about Population, it does not prohibit people outside of Papua to enter Papua, but rather to control it. So migrants must have a clear purpose coming to Papua,” Manufandu told Jubi on Friday (9/9/2018).

Meanwhile, a Papua Parliament Member Mustakim said a factor that causes the increase in the percentage of poverty in Papua is the rapid influx of migrants.

“No matter how hard the government tried to reduce the poverty rate in Papua, it becomes difficult to work as people from the outside continue to come,” said Mustakim.

Furthermore, he said a proper solution to regulate the influx of population in Papua is the government should stipulate the provincial regulation (Perdasi) or special regional regulation (Perdasus) on migration. (*)

 

Reporter: Arjuna Pademme

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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