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Slow response to measles outbreak in Papua

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Solidarity to help Asmat health crisis by young people in Biak Island, West Papua Province/Paul Finsen Mayor facebook

Jakarta, Jubi – Indonesia’s Government has come under fire for its slow response to a severe measles outbreak in the province of Papua that has claimed the lives of dozens of children.

The alarming number of deaths in Asmat has also led to outrage in local Indonesian media, as ABC news reported.

But Jakarta defended its response and said the remote area was difficult to access quickly.

“Yes we have very limited means and staff but this doesn’t mean we aren’t trying very hard,” Agats health department spokesman Steven Langi told Al Jazeera.

“What we need is not just to be criticised, but real help. Those who criticise us I want to invite to work here.”

Indonesia’s Government announced it was setting up a taskforce in Papua to help contain the outbreak and the Indonesian military said it was also sending more medicine and doctors to the province.

Scramble to attend Papua measles outbreak

Indonesian health teams are scrambling to attend to the deadly measles outbreak in Asmat district of Papua province, as reported by RNZI (29/1).

Since reports of the extent of outbreak filtered out of Papua earlier this month, Indonesia’s government has moved quickly to attend to the situation, but is copping criticism for neglecting the health of Papuans over many years.

Papua’s police commander, Boy Rafli Amar last week said the number affected by malnutrition had surpassed 10,000, which was exacerbating the measles problem.

An integrated health team to respond to the crisis has been dispatched from the Papua Province Health Office, Indonesian National Army, and the Ministry of Health.

The epidemic is being attributed by health officials to food shortage, a poor sanitary environment, and a lack of medical personnel and facilities in Asmat.

Jakarta responsible

Despite Papua region’s abundant resources, which provide significant revenue for the Indonesian state, Papua continues to lag in human development outcomes.

Across the whole Indonesian republic, the highest poverty rates, in relative terms, are all in its far east provinces of Papua, West Papua and Maluku, according to Jakarta’s Statistics Agency.

The health situation is of particular concern. Papua has the lowest life expectancy in Indonesia and the highest infant, child and maternal mortality rates. Diseases such as malaria, leprosy and malnutrition have strong footholds in in Papua, as does HIV/AIDS.

Although since coming to power in late 2014, President Joko Widodo promised to bring greater economic and social development to Papua, as well as improved health care, the welfare of Papuans appears to have deteriorated.

In the past couple of years, several reported outbreaks of endemic diseases in various parts of Papua have killed hundreds of people.

The government still significantly restricts access to Papua for international humanitarian and health NGOs who could help bolster public health services.

The United Nations special rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Pūras, reported after visiting last year that he was “concerned about the health status of ethnic Papuans” and called for greater health investment.(abc.net.au/RNZI/Zely)

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Provincial health team takes more rest than work, says Kopkedat

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GIDI church missionaries, pastor and Kopkedat Papua provide public health services in Okmakot Village, Seradala Sub-district, Yahukimo District. – Jubi/Agus Pabika

Jayapura, Jubi – Chairman of Humanitarian Care Community for Remote Areas Papua (Kopkedat) Yan Akobiarek states despite education, public health services in Papua’s remote areas are still an issue.

Although the provincial health office has provided services to remote areas through several health programs such as Satgas Kaki Telanjang, Save Korowai and Nusantara Sehat, these programs have not well implemented.

“I think sending teams to remote areas is a good idea, but I get the impression that some team members only come for vacation, to work less and get more rest,” said Akobiarek told Jubi by phone on Tuesday (10/7/2018). For instance, he pointed out the team of Satgas Kaki Telanjang who are supposed to provide health service to villagers in Korowai. After the Ied al-Ftir break, their members are still not returning to their duty station.

Meanwhile, Maria Duwitau, the Vice Chairman of the Commission V on education and health of the Papuan House of Representative said doing health services in Papua, in particularly remote areas, is always connecting with a commitment. “No matter how greater of the offer, but without willingness and commitment, I think it’s useless,” Duwitau told Jubi not long ago. (*)

 

Reporter: Arjuna Pademme

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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SKP HAM urges the government to open democratic space for Papuan students

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SKP HAM in a press conference in LBH Papua office. – Jubi/LBH Surabaya.Doc

Jayapura, Jubi – Solidarity for the Victims of Human Rights Violation (SKP HAM) Papua urge the Indonesian Government to open democratic space for Papuan students and conduct a thorough investigation on sexual harassment by a police officer at Papuan dormitory in Surabaya on last Friday (6/7/2018).

The Coordinator of SKP HAM Peneas Lokbere said the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia of1945 in the Article 28E Paragraph 3 and the Law No. 39 of1999 on Human Rights Article 24 Paragraph 1 state, “Each person has the right to associate, assemble and express his opinions peacefully” but what have been occurred to the Alliance of Papuan Students is a violation against the constitution.

“The police and military officers and members of the civil service police unit came to student dormitory trying to stop the weekly discussion. The students also witnessed the security forces carrying long-barrier guns. It was such an ironic,” Lokbere stated in the press release received by Jubi on Wednesday (11/8/2018).

Further, he stated that according to the Legal Aid Institute (LBH) Surabaya, the incident occurred when the Tambaksari Sub-district Chief accompanied by the police, military and civil service police unit of Surabaya Municipality came to the dormitory in the inspection of civil registration. “However, when students and public attorney from LBH Surabaya asked for an official letter, the sub-district chief was not able to show it.”

Meanwhile, the Director of LBH Papua Simon Pattirajawane said what have done by the security forces, in this case, is a violation against the human rights. “The Human Rights Commission should immediately form an investigation team to investigate this alleged case of intimidation, terror and racism against Papuan students in several cities in Java, including Surabaya, Malang and Yogyakarta.” (*)

 

Reporter: Hengky Yeimo

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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West Papua activists stopped by Solomons police

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Ben Didiomea displays the West Papuan flag as Indonesian staff try to usher him away. – Photo: Facebook/ Ben Didiomea

Solomon, Jubi – Solomon Islands police says they confiscated a West Papuan flag at the Melanesian Arts Festival to stop any provocation aimed at the Indonesian delegation.

Ben Didiomea had his flag taken by police over the weekend after he held it up in front of Indonesia’s festival stall to protest its inclusion at the event.

A video on Facebook shows Mr Didiomea – who was part of a group of demonstrators – holding up West Papua’s Morning Star flag as Indonesian officials tried to move him away from the stall.

He was then approached by Solomon Islands Police who confiscated the flag.

Mr Didiomea said he had been standing in solidarity with fellow Melanesian people of Indonesia’s Papua region, where the Morning Star is banned.

He said the Melanesian Arts Festival, which Honiara hosted over the last ten days, was not intended as an Asian festival.

Police issued a statement saying the flag was removed to prevent provocation of the Indonesians, reminding the demonstrators that it was not a political event.

Mr Didiomea, who along with two other demonstrators was questioned by police, said the inclusion of Indonesia at the Arts Festival was a political move by the Solomons government.

“Because it was a festival of Melanesia, Indonesia is not part of Melanesia. So why does it need an Indonesia stall at the arts festival? It’s a Melanesian festival, so what are Indonesia coming to arts festival?”

Changing relationship

According to Mr Didiomea, the police action was a sign that the country was forming a closer relationship with Indonesia.

The Solomon Islands government under prime minister Rick Hou has recently shown signs that it was pursuing a different policy regarding West 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.

However after he was replaced by Mr Hou late last year, the Solomons government has been notably less vocal about West Papua human rights issues in international fora.

A visit in April by a Solomons delegation to Indonesia’s provinces of Papua and West Papua at the invitation of Jakarta was billed as having added “balance” to the government’s view on West Papuan issues.

The Solomons government told RNZ Pacific in May that it was consulting with the provinces as it formulated an official position on West Papuan human rights and self-determination issues. (*)

 

Source: radionz.co

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