Pohnpei, Jubi – Pacific civil society organisation representatives have put in a strong bid for Pacific leaders to support the involvement of the United Nations in the case of the people of West Papua.
This was one of the key points CSO reps submitted during their scheduled breakfast meeting in Pohnpei today with members of the Pacific Islands Forum troika, comprising the past, current and future chair of the 16-member island group.
Outgoing chair and Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neil was absent from today’s breakfast as he is not due to arrive into the FSM until later today. His Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato stood in for him.
“What was encouraging in the dialogue was the consideration and the recognition that the United Nations process is available,” head of the Pacific Islands NGO Association, Emele Duituturaga told journalists at the end of the breakfast meeting.
“We detected an acceptance that this possibly could be one of the pathways. I think the difference is that up until now, we always thought this is a Melanesian issue. In our recommendations, we tried to assist our leaders recognise some of the bilateral arrangements, bilateral assistance that somehow might be hindering the options we need to look at.”
Speaking to journalists at the end of the breakfast meeting, Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Neioti Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi confirmed that the CSO reps raised the issue of West Papua, but declined to be drawn into what the Forum leaders would decide.
“There are two issues involved here, that is human rights and self determination. Human rights is okay, we can address it in a normal situation but when it comes to the issue of self determination, then there are processes that we must follow.
“In saying this, I did mention that what arises in West Papua is very similar to the situation of what my own country went through when we agitated to become independent. Of course later the
United Nations came in and guide us along the path to final independence in 1962. So the processes are there, and those are the formal ones to take.”
Pushed by Pacnews as to what his recommendations would be to his fellow leaders when they meet on Saturday at the debate chamber of the FSM Congress for their annual retreat, Tuilaepa replied: “Well its already incorporated, and we will discuss this at the retreat. At this time your question has been posed but I cannot disclose to you what we will talk about. This is why we arrange the meeting of the Forum to have retreats so that we can discuss.”
Pacnews: As next year’s chair of Forum, will you push for some concrete decision on West Papua? Many submissions have been received from the people of the Pacific for action on West Papua, just like last year’s Forum, but last year’ Forum did nothing on West Papua.
PM Tuilaepa: Yes, (laughs) you are trying to speculate. Never speculate on sensitive issues.
Pacnews: So would you like to put the speculations to rest sir?
PM Tuilaepa: All I can say is, have faith in God!
Ms Duituturaga told Pacnews later that her group of 16 CSO reps gave “all they wanted to submit” at today’s meeting, and it is now up to the leaders to decide. Her group also raised the issues of youth unemployment, gender based violence, disability, decolonisation and self-determination.
The breakfast meeting at Cliff Rainbow Hotel on the waterfront of Pohnpei went overtime, finishing more than one hour behind schedule. Prime Minister Tuilaepa has offered to upgrade the dialogue with CSO when his country hosts the Forum next year.
“Dialogue with the 16 governments of our Pacific leaders Forum can only be all inclusive when they address these issues and all the 16 leaders listen. If there are only 5 of us, we are the only ones that will benefit from their direct views and contributions.
“It does not mean that we will fully convey all the issues. We are in an imperfect world where many things can happen and we may not be able to convey 100% the issues they have raised. It is better that they voice their aspirations in the presence of all the 16 leaders. In that way, there is no secondary information. It comes straight from the horse’s mouth.”
The Forum Leaders summit proper gets underway tomorrow at the Gymnasium of the College of Micronesia in Palikir, Pohnpei. Today, the Pacific members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific grouping, are meeting to discuss common issues, including the collapsed trade negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union.
The Forum meeting will conclude on Sunday with the traditional Post Forum Dialogue where Forum leaders or their representatives meet and consult with donor governments and development partners. (*)
Papua Governor says will facilitate Morobe Governor to visit Freeport
Jayapura, Jubi – Ginson Sauno, the Governor of Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea (PNG) asked Papua Governor Lukas Enembe to facilitate the visit of Morobe Provincial Government to the mine site of PT. Freeport Indonesia in Timika.
He conveyed this during a dinner that held by Morobe Provincial Government in Lae City on Thursday (09/20/2018) to welcome the governor and the contingent of Papua provincial government.
“Morobe’s capital, Lae City, often hosts some national events on mining. Therefore, we ask the Governor of Papua to facilitate us visiting PT. Freeport Indonesia,” said Governor Sauno.
Morobe is crucial for PNG because it has main ports in the Pacific region, agricultural industry and plantations, as well as cattle and poultry farms, mining and other major industries. So, it provides and distributes most of the daily needs of the national community.
Geographically, Morobe is a province located on the northern coast of Papua New Guinea with a population of around 750,000 people living in 33,705 km² area. As a result of the division of the Southern Highlands Province in 2012, the province becomes the most populous province in PNG which consists of Huon Peninsula, Markham River, Delta and the coastal areas along the Huon Bay.
In responding the request of Governor Saonu, Governor Enembe promised to facilitate a team of Morobe Province to visit the mining site of PT. Freeport Indonesia. “As far as known, we just gained 10 of 51 per cent of Freeport’s shares. So I will help to facilitate the visit of Governor Morobe and his team,” said the governor.
Besides visiting PT. Freeport Indonesia, Governor Saonu also offered Governor Enembe the teaching and learning exchange program. According to him, the main obstacle for two provinces in the collaboration is language. Therefore, Morobe Province will send their English teachers to Papua, and in turn, Papua Province will send the Indonesian language teachers.
Meanwhile, for the student exchange program, Governor Saonu offers a scholarship program for Morobe students who want to continue their higher education in Papua.
Governor Enembe has very welcomed this offer. “We have sent many Papuan students abroad for study. So we will follow up the offer from Governor Saonu soon,” he said.
He also regretted not being able to meet with Governor Saonu last year to sign the Letter of Intent (LoI) because at that time he had to report to the President of Indonesia in Jakarta.
“I also regret not being able to bring my office staff because I was just appointed as a governor for the second period a few days ago,” he added.
Regarding the demand of beef supply in PON (National Sports Event) 2020, Governor Saonu has a positive response. “We are ready to supply meat for PON 2020. We have the largest cattle farm in PNG as well as the chicken farm. This cooperation will benefit the two provinces,” said Governor Saonu.(*)
Reporter: Victor Mambor
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Latvian climber evacuated from Cartenz Peak
Timika, Jubi – A Latvian, Northern European climber, Mike Cruss, suffered a broken foot and was hypothermic while climbing Cartesz Peak on Thursday (January 18th).
Public Relation Officer of Timika SAR Team, Muhammad, said after receiving the report they immediately coordinated with PT Freeport Indonesia’s Emergency Response Group to carry out the relief effort.
“We also coordinate with Timika Airforce based, the travel agent of the climbers and the Timika Community Partners Hospital,” said Muhammad, Friday (January 19), in Timika.
On Friday morning SAR rescue team went to Cartensz Peak using helicopter owned by Papua Trans Mandiri company.
The helicopter returned to Timika Airport hangar on Friday morning at around 8:30 pm with Mike Cruss.
The victim was immediately rushed to RSMM Timika by ambulance to undergo treatment.
The information collected said that Mike Cruss made the climb to Cartensz Peak with eight other climbers.
Cruss and his friends were reportedly walking from Ilaga to Cartesz Peak, one of the world’s seven highest peaks, with a height of 4,884 meters above sea level on Thursday morning.
The streets are rocky and slippery with rain and cold temperatures, leaving the victim falling and having a right leg fracture and hypothermia.
“Victims are still undergoing medical treatment at the Emergency Installation of RSMM Timika,” said RSMM Public Relations Elfinus Omaleng. (Antara)
Human Rights violations in West Papua observed by Christian Conference of Asia
Jayapura, Jubi – A three-member pastoral solidarity team of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), visited West Papua, heard stories of grave human rights violations and repression against the indigenous West Papuans in their own home land.
The visit, organised by the CCA from 4 to 8 December 2017, was part of its pastoral accompaniment to churches and people who live in vulnerable situations in Asia.
During four days of intensive visits and meetings, indigenous West Papuans shared with the CCA delegation about the on-going repression and systematic human rights violations in West Papua, including the passing of laws that suppress freedom of speech and freedom of association.
“Impunity for the human rights abuses by the police and the military is a growing concern; the Special Autonomy Law is a dismal failure, as it did not meet the basic needs of the indigenous people of West Papua”, described the community leaders and civil society representatives.
“The Indonesian government systematically restricts the right to freedom of the press as well as the initiatives of West Papuans who come forward to monitor human rights violations. Many indigenous West Papuans are being arrested and detained for non-violent expressions of their political opinion. The indigenous West Papuans constantly face discrimination as well as violent attacks. Peaceful demonstrations are often dispersed by force. In many instances, non-violent participants have been arrested, detained and tortured, while others have been killed. Many prisoners and human rights activists have died while in detention. Reports of torture and ill treatment of political detainees have been increasing. Civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are being violated”.
“CCA’s visit to West Papua was an opportunity to express solidarity with the struggling West Papuan indigenous people and listening to their grievances on behalf of CCA’s member constituencies and the Asian ecumenical movement”, said Bishop Dr. Daniel S. Thiagarajah from Sri Lanka, a member of CCA’s programme committee.
“A long-delayed pastoral solidarity visit to Papua was an expression of Asian churches and the CCA’s commitment to the CCA’s member church Gereja Kristen Injili di Tanah Papua (GKI), and the people of West Papua,” said Rev. Cindy Huang Shin-Yi, a young pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan and a member of CCA’s Executive Committee.
The visit of the CCA delegation included meetings with members of the Papuan Parliament, the Office of the Governor of Papua, interactions with the faculty members and students of the Izaak Samuel Kijne Theological College, GKI Jayapura Presbytery, the GKI Synod Board and staff members as well as meetings with leaders of different churches and communities in Sentani.
West Papua is a land rich in gold, copper, tropical rain forest, and coral reef. However, the majority indigenous Papuans continue to suffer as their ancestral lands have been confiscated; natural resources have been exploited by non-Papuans settled through government’s transmigration policies over the years. About 80% of the indigenous Papuans, the original sons and daughters of the land, now live in poverty without access to medical care, safe drinking water or education. They are constantly under attack by security forces.
The delegation was informed that, many indigenous West Papuans and others are infected with HIV/AIDS. The delegation visited the Walihole HIV/AIDS Clinic and the GKI Women’s Center. The church responds to the epidemic by setting up an HIV/AIDS clinic that serves the people in need of care. The church plays an active role in empowering the indigenous West Papuan women.
During the meetings, the CCA delegation was told by West Papuan community leaders that international community should come forward to implore the Indonesian government to stop human rights abuses in West Papua and to respect and protect the human dignity of West Papuans; to support the appeal of West Papuans to the government of Indonesia to open the door in order to seek a just and dignified political solution and respect the right and dignity of the indigenous people of West Papua to determine their own future through an all-inclusive Papua-Indonesia national dialogue.
“Having seen and heard the stories of the dire oppression of the indigenous people in West Papua, the CCA delegation learned first-hand about the pains of the suffering indigenous West Papuan people, and we share their pain and agony”, said Dr. Rey Ty, CCA programme coordinator for Building Peace and Moving Beyond Conflict. (*)
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