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‘We’ll not be safe with Indonesia,’ says Benny Wenda

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AUT doctoral student Stephanie Sageo-Tupungu of Papua New Guinea makes a presentation to Benny Wenda on behalf of the Pacific Media Centre. Image: Kendall Hutt/PMC

Jayapura, Jubi – Benny Wenda, a tribal chief of West Papua exiled to the United Kingdom by Indonesia, told Asia Pacific Report last week during his tour in New Zealand, that time was running out for West Papua if governments such as New Zealand do not act.

“If we live with Indonesia for another 50 years, we will not be safe. We will not be safe with Indonesia.”

He said the purpose of his visit to New Zealand was to highlight the importance of West Papua returning to its Melanesian family.

“We really need Pacific Islanders, our sisters and brothers across the Pacific – particularly New Zealand and Australia – to bring West Papua back to its Pacific family. Then we can survive. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to survive with Indonesia,” he said.

New Zealand support sought

Wenda is calling for the New Zealand government’s integral commitment to the campaign for a free West Papua.

He said this was because New Zealand had a duty, as a part of the Pacific, to raise awareness of the atrocities in West Papua.

“West Papua is a very close neighbour, so that’s why I hope the New Zealand government will speak more about the human rights situation in West Papua.”

Wenda said it was high time for New Zealand to pull away from its business, trade and investment focus with Indonesia and speak about Indonesia’s human rights abuses.

New Zealand “needs to do more” as a country, he said, because New Zealand is a country which is meant to value human rights, respect the rule of law, freedom of speech and the right to self-determination in other parts of the world.

Catherine Delahunty, a Green Party MP who has campaigned strongly for West Papua on New Zealand’s political front, echoed Wenda’s views.

“They are insistent – the New Zealand government – that West Papua is part of the territorial integrity of Indonesia, so we can’t get past that critical issue.”

She said she therefore did not have much faith in the current government to step up and was looking for future leadership, such as through the Labour-Greens alliance, to move the campaign for West Papuan self-determination forward on the home front.

“I really do think we need a different government that actually has some fundamental commitment to human rights over and above trade and being part of the US military complex around the world. We have to have change to get change. It’s not going to happen through these guys.”

In her eight years in Parliament, Delahunty said the situation in West Papua was the toughest she had had to face.

“This issue, for me, has been one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever worked on. It’s been one of the most horrible and one of the most powerful examples of the cynical use of power and the way in which people can just completely close their eyes.”

 ‘Everything swept under the carpet’

Wenda said there was deep-seated inaction on Indonesia’s part because of its prejudice in prosecuting people who have attacked and tortured and beaten both West Papuans and also West Papuan journalists.

“Indonesia is getting away with impunity. Nobody is brought to justice. Everything is swept under the carpet.”

Delahunty reflected, however, that the world was seeing the lack of free and frank reporting play out in West Papua.

Wenda called to an audience gathered at his talk at the Pacific Media Centre-hosted Auckland University of Technology on Tuesday evening. “I really believe there are some very, very brave young people, including journalists, who are committed to this issue and I guess it’s that thing: if you have a voice, use it.”

Wenda highlighted a “united” Pacific was key in raising awareness of the “Melanesian genocide” occurring in West Papua.

Wenda and Delahunty both closed their interviews with a clear message for Indonesia: “Start talking, start listening, and stop thinking that you can ever brow beat people into the dust because you want their resources because in the end, the human spirit doesn’t work like that and these people will never give up. It’s up to us to support them.”

This is written by Kendall Hutt, contributing editor of Pacific Media Watch.

Source: Pacific Media Centre

Editor: Zely Ariane

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Australia Greens Party is ready bringing support to West Papua

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The panellists in a discussion ‘On Our Doorstep – West Papua’s Deadly Struggle for Independence’ that held at the Australian Greens Party National Conference, 19 – 20 May 2018 in Brisbane – Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – The Australian Greens Party reaffirms their support for West Papua’s political demands on self-determination and its inclusion into the UN Decolonisation List at the upcoming General Assembly of the United Nations in 2019.

“Around 30 people including senators from the Greens attended the National Conference,” Veronika Koman, a human rights lawyer told Jubi on Wednesday (05/23/2010). Ms Koman was a panellist in a panel discussion at the Australian Green Party consolidation that held on Saturday, 19 May 2018 at Griffith University, Southbank Campus, Brisbane.

“I described the current state of human rights in Papua as well as how the response of the movement in Indonesia to support Papua’s issues. Regarding human rights, I spoke about the rights to self-determination according to the international law,” she told Jubi via WhatsApp call from Sydney, Australia (23/5/2018).

Also joined in the discussion entitled ‘On Our Doorstep – West Papua’s Deadly Struggle for Independence’ as panellists were Dr Jacob Rumbiak representing the ULMWP; a community-based researcher, lecturer and activist Jason MacLeod; and two senators from the Greens Richard Di Natale and Andrew Bartlett.

The panel discussion was part of a two-day Australian Greens Party National Conference held on 19 – 20 May 2018, which addressed strategic issues of the party’s working program. The theme for May’s Conference was ‘From the little things, big things grow’.

“We are honoured to hear from speakers regarding their activism for West Papua. Therefore, we urge the National Conference to support the Papuan people’s struggle for self-determination,” said the International Secretary of the Australian Green Party Viviene Glance in a press release for Jubi on Tuesday. (5/22/2018)

The Greens, as it commonly known, through a consensus post-panel discussion on 19 May 2018 set a resolution to show their support to West Papua, as follows:

1. To reaffirm our commitment to the right to self-determination of the West Papuan people;

2. To recognise the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) as the representative of political aspirations of the West Papuan people;

3. To support West Papua to be re-incorporated into the UN Decolonization list at the upcoming General Assembly 2019;

4. To urge the full disclosure of Australian aid in West Papua granted to the Indonesian Police and the military, including the Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation, Special Detachment 88;

5. To request the Indonesian government to support the human rights of West Papuans, including freedom of the press and freedom of expression;

6. To ask freedom of access for foreign journalists to West Papua.

“As a result of the panel discussion, the Greens Party members agreed in a consensus to establish an urgent resolution for West Papua at the conference,” Glance wrote.

Since May 2016, the Australian Greens Party has joined with other parliamentarians from several countries to support West Papuans towards their political future. The Greens Party leader Di Natale, who launched the Australian International Parliamentarians for West Papua in 2012, regretted Australia’s lack of interest to West Papua in his 2016 speech.

“Though the UN has stated the Papuan people are threatened with extinction if human rights in Papua still violated, unfortunately, their suffering ignored by the Australian Government,” said Di Natale.

The Australian Greens Party is a political party based on four key principles, namely ecological sustainability, grassroots democracy, social justice and peace and non-violence. They have nine senators representing eight states and one territory, and a senator representing the party in the Australian federal parliament. (*)

 

Reporter: Zely Ariane

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Shift in Solomon Islands government’s view on Papua

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Solomon Islands parliament Photo: RNZ/ Koroi Hawkins

Solomon, Jubi – 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.” (*)

 

Source: radionz.co

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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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