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PNG Offers Citizenship to West Papuan Refugees



West Papua refugees in Iowara, Kiunga, Papua Nuw Guinea - Jesuit Refugee Service

West Papua refugees in Iowara, Kiunga, Papua Nuw Guinea – Jesuit Refugee Service

Jayapura, Jubi – Papua New Guinea is preparing measures to give citizenship to refugees from West Papua work and live in the entire parts of this country. The State’s authority though the department of immigration states they are running a process that would be required to grant citizenship for West Papuan refugees.

The Deputy Chief of PNG Migration and Refugees Affairs, Esther Gaegaming said about 3000 refugees from West Papua who are currently stayed at refugee camp in East Awin, Iowara, Kuinga of North Fly Province have been registered. “Our division has started with registration and naturalization towards West Papuan refugees in the entire country. My team has registered about 3000 of West Papuan refugees. Most of them are eligible to obtain citizenship and we will run this process with them,” Gaegaming told Jubi on Monday (14/12/2015).

Further she said the PNG Government has made decision in offering citizenship to West Papuan refugees but they must make detail verification on the refugees and process their application if they took this offer. Gaegaming proclaimed that refuges are the most vulnerable people in the world who need helps.

The West Papuan refugees, further she explained, have lived in PNG for over fifteen years ago. “There is the greatest humanitarian crisis of all time, that is the displacement is happening at around the world,” she said.

She explained millions of people have fled their home because of war, persecution and seek for protection. “West Papuan refugees have come to our country over the last fifteen years since 1960 and we are fully aware of their situation.”

Because they have lived quite long time in PNG, according to Gaegaming her country sometimes considers the West Papuan refugees are just fine. “But everyone in the world has rights on housing and legal rights attached to citizen. The PNG Government has also set a naturalization fee of K10,000 for each refugee.

But this cost as mentioned by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in its report “2015 UNHCR Sub-regional Operations Profile – East Asia and the Pacific” would be exempted.

UNHCR consider the measures taken by the Papua New Guinea Government as positive act to integrate the West Papua refugees. In order to protect the refugees, a clearer legal basis of this new migration is also in preparation.

“UNHCR will facilitate the sustainable solution for the West Papua refugees, in particular for local integration, and will support the capacity of both government and NGOs to provide protection and effective aid for asylum seekers and non-Melanesian refugees,” reported UNHCR.

In the early of 2015, the Head of Boven Digoel Regional Boarder Area, Martinus Torip said as many as 30,000 residents of Boven Digoel and Merauke are living in PNG territory. “During the time, the Indonesian citizens in PNG are spreading at several villages,” said Torip at that time.

He said it’s more about 30,000 of Indonesian citizens have status as refugee in PNG, after the political conflict that was occurred in 1984. (Victor Mambor/rom)


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




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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Military could only arise trauma among locals




Student activists from BEM Uncen and PMKRI speak during press releases. -Jubi / Doc

Jayapura, Jubi – Chairman of Student Executive Board of the Cenderawasih University (BEM UNCEN) Paskalis Boma asks Papua Police to withdraw officers from Nduga District to prevent people from trauma.

He said the attack by the police officers occurred in Langguru and Kenyam on 11 July 2018 was very violent. “Nduga is part of Indonesia. If the police want to attack the National Liberation Army and Free Papua Movement (TPN/OPM), they shouldn’t harm the civilians,” he told Jubi on Wednesday (19/7/2018).

Further, he said the military’s attack in Nduga District was excessive as they attacked unarmed people whereas they were well-equipped. “People don’t carry weapons; they can’t fight back. They can’t do it because they are the citizens of Indonesia. This incident remains a scar and is rooted in the hearth of the local Nduga community. It only arises a fear.”

Meanwhile, Benediktus Bame, the Chairman of the Catholic Students Association of Indonesia (PMKRI) St Efrem Jayapura, the government could apply some human approaches towards the TPN/OPM. “The action taken by the government officials was very excessive. It would only arise a fear among the local people,” he said. (*)

Reporter: Hengky Yeimo

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Papuan Liberation Movement wants dialogue




Members of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua at a Melanesian Spearhead Group summit in 2013: Paula Makabori, Dr John Ondawame, Rex Rumakiek. – RNZ / Johnny Blades

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua supports the idea of dialogue with Indonesia as long as it is mediated internationally, the movement’s secretary says.

Indonesia’s government of Joko Widodo has recently made overtures to West Papuan customary and civil society leaders for dialogue over a range of issues in Papua region.

Secretary Rex Rumakiek said the push for dialogue was not a bad thing.

“But dialogue internationally, not Indonesian type of dialogue that resulted in 1969’s Act of Free Choice. That’s the type of dialogue Indonesia wants. We are not going to go back to that approach,” Mr Rumakiek said.

“We want an international dialogue and the best place to dialogue is the United Nations general assembly. Let us vote on the issue.”

The movement hoped to have questions over the legitimacy of the self-determination act under which West Papua was incorporated into Indonesia debated by the UN General Assembly in the next year or two, Mr Rumakiek said.

Since being admitted to the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) in 2015 with observer status in the regional grouping, the movement has had more opportunities to engage with Indonesia, which enjoys associate member status in the MSG.

The dynamic between the two parties, however, is clearly strained, as Indonesia’s government has characterised the movement as a separatist group that does not represent Papuans.

The full MSG members – Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia’s Kanaks – have been working to facilitate dialogue between the movement and Indonesia

“We can talk direct to them with the MSG members as witnesses. That is what we call a third party” Mr Rumakiek explained.

“We cannot talk direct to Indonesia by ourselves, but with the MSG facilitating. We try to avoid other people speaking on our behalf. The MSG is trying to arrange for meetings (between the West Papuans and Indonesia’s government).”

Meanwhile, the Australia-based Mr Rumakiek said the movement was disturbed by the reports from Papua’s remote Nduga regency that Indonesian security forces and the West Papua National Liberation Army had 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 – which is not directly linked to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua – claimed responsibility.

Following the attack, about a thousand extra police and military personnel deployed to Nduga 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.

The Indonesian aerial operations over Alguru echoed previous military operations in the area, which devastated the livelihoods of Papuan villagers, Mr Rumakiek said.

“They are applying the same strategy that they bomb villages and chasing the people who live in the bush, so the after effects are much more serious than the actual destruction itself,” he said.

“Those people, when they come back to their village there will be nothing left for them to return to because the schools and clinics are destroyed and the churches are destroyed.”

But in a statement, Indonesia’s military said reports that security forces were conducting airstrikes or dropping bombs in Nduga were a hoax.

Military forces were working with police in “law enforcement activities” in Alguru, it said. (*)



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