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ULMWP new leadership send gratitude to the people of Vanuatu

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West Papuans leaders of ULMWP recently gathered in Vanuatu – ISTMWP

Port Vila, Jubi – The newly elected leadership of United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) extend their gratitude to the people of Vanuatu following their first meeting in the country few days ago.

In their letter of statement received by Jubi, Wednesday (December 12) Benny Wenda, the elected chairman of ULMWP feel grateful for Vanuatu welcoming their celebration of Independence Day.

“On behalf of the newly elected leadership of ULMWP, the people of West Papua, the Papuan delegates who have travelled to be here today and our solidarity groups around the world, I would like to thank the people of Vanuatu for allowing us to celebrate our independence day here with you,” he said.

On December 1st 56 years ago, he said, West Papuans declared their independence from the Dutch and raised the Morning Star flag for the first time.

“But after all this time, we still do not have our freedom. (However) Wwe are so happy to stand with you here on your sacred ground to celebrate our national day as well as the opening of our ULMWP Head Office, thanks to the generosity and solidarity from the Vanuatu government and its people,” Wenda said.

He mentioned that the people of Vanuatu have made history for West Papua for all supports and solidarity they have been given.

“As you are aware, this journey has been a long and difficult. Quite often, we as Papuans feel that it is only us against the world. But when Vanuatu says “We will stand beside you”, it gives us hope for the future and that one day we will invite you to celebrate with us in West Papua our independence.”

Wenda admit that the challenge ahead of for them is huge, but through the unity on the in West Papua and abroad, they can achieve the goals.

“Over the last few days we have spent so many hours discussing, sharing and planning for the future of our movement. We are more united than ever. We commit to listening carefully and being accountable to our people on the ground in West Papua. It is from the people of West Papua – and all our solidarity groups around the world – that we gain our strength.”

Under our new leadership structure, Wenda said ULMWP commits to a strong and unified future as needed for the liberation of West Papua people.

He also said that the movement for liberation of West Papua is growing in strength all the time because the support they get from the Pacific.

“It is the support of our Pacific neighbours that has helped to drive the momentum we now have – and allowed nations around the world to start to support us on the international stage. Without the support of the Pacific, it would have been difficult to develop this growing international solidarity. Your continued support is essential for our cause,” he said.

On the day of global flag raising of Morning Star, Wenda paid tribute to his brothers and sisters in West Papua who will do the same (raised the banned flag—ed) , “while under threat of violence, arrest and imprisonment.”

He paid tribute to their courage and give promise to do their utmost to ensure the success of the struggle, “so that one day we will raise this flag in a free and independent West Papua,” he said.(Zely A)

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Economic factors influencing Papuan women to become sex workers in Manokwari

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A small group of covert sex workers at Sanggeng traditional market, Manokwari – Jubi / Hans Arnold Kapisa

A group of women gathered around Sanggeng traditional market or precisely behind a bank office in Manokwari act differently. Faces covered by light blush on and lipstick, they are waiting for visitors.

Acting like sex workers, they offer sex for visitors but secretly and give on-location service only. These convert sex workers are not only migrants but native Papuan women as well. It’s more than ten indigenous women who work as sex workers there.
The fact is their rate is not very expensive. A customer can only spend two hundred thousand rupiahs for their service, while their safety is guaranteed because there are a group of men work as guards.
“There’s quite a lot of visitors. They come almost every day, from the morning till night,” a woman said.
She admitted that she has to work like this because she has no choice. She do it for her living.
Even though she didn’t tell about her house and family’s background, her situation has illustrated the terrifying condition behind the privileges of many programs offered by regional government offices of West Papua Province, especially for Papuan women.
A woman figure in West Papua Province Yuliana Numberi said that this group of women is a victim of social life.
“They have a right to live and to be empowered like other Papuan women who get attention from the government through the regional government programs on Tuesday (11/12/2018).
According to her, the practice of covert prostitute in this location is not a new issue. It has been occurring for a long time. However, there is no humanitarian approach taken by those who have concern for them.
“This group of women is those who neglected. We must see this as an issue that can be improved through a program and our mutual concern because they are doing it to meet their daily needs,” she said.
Moreover, the government, said Numberi, should not only pay attention to Papuan women who sell betel nuts, vegetables and fruits in the traditional market or on the roadside, but they must also help and treat sex workers in the same manner.
“It’s terrifying because they have the same right to live like women. So, I hope in the future the government through gendered perspective development policies can involve all women without determining their status, position, religion and race. The government should empower all women and make them a subject in their lives,” she said.
If viewed from a gender perspective, sex workers are the victims of the community’s social life.
“Unfortunately, we do not know when they have a problem with their reproductive health and healthy life, especially regarding the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases that risk their health,” she explained.
On the other hand, she continued, if they don’t work like this, who will support their life. Due to their background, she also hopes that the community will not exclude them from society, instead to embrace them to find out why they do this job.
“We maybe don’t know if they have children who need expenses, or their husbands are jobless, or actually, they are the victims of their household needs. Therefore, we must look forward to ensuring that everyone can access the empowerment program which means there are participation, controls and benefits that we can provide in empowering a woman in the community,” Numberi said. (*)
Reporter: Hans Kapisa
Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Thousands of people take refuge to the forest, says the Church authority

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Jayapura, Jubi – Thousands of residents of Mbua, Yall and Yigi sub-districts reportedly sought refuge in the forest following the raid conducted by the joint police and military forces towards the West Papua Liberation Army that claimed to be responsible for the shooting incidents of the workers of PT. Istaka Karya on 2 December 2018.

The residents are mostly the congregation of the Kingmi Papua Church. “We received reports from Yigi and Yall informed that about five presbyteries have taken refuge to the forest since the evacuation of shooting victims conducted,” the Rev. Dr Benny Giay told Jubi on Sunday (9/12/2018).

Further, he described that the five presbyteries are including Yigi Barat presbytery of six congregations, Yigi presbytery of six congregations, Mbua presbytery of six congregations and Mbulmuyalma of eight congregations. Meanwhile, for Mugi presbytery, he doesn’t have detailed information yet about how many groups that fled to the forest.

“Each congregation is on average consisting of 30-50 heads of families. So, it estimated that the total of refugees is 780 householders. If each family consists of two family members, it means there are more than 1,500 refugees,” explained the Rev. Giay. The Kingmi Church, further said Father Giay, is Christian’s denomination that dominant in Nduga. They have approximately 60,000 followers in Nduga.

Moreover, he added that in the previous military raid between June and July 2018, there were fifty families in Alguru village where suspected the hiding place of the insurgent group had a refuge to the forest. Then, there were 150 people went to Timika, whereas 116 people exited Nduga to Agats, Asmat Regency regarding the incident occurred in Nduga within the last eight days.

Meanwhile, the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (MPH-PGI) expressed their profound condolences and deplored the use of violent-approach either by civilians, insurgents or state apparatus in solving the problems in Papua.

“The violence, in any form, in our opinion, would never solve a problem, but create new scars and wounds which in turn will create another circle of violence,” wrote the Rev. Dr Henriette T.H. Lebang, the Chairperson of PGI in their pastoral message regarding the incident in Nduga.

Furthermore, PGI calls on all parties to stop all forms of violence and sit together to solve the existed problems with humanity and dignity. “Only through this way we can liberate Papua from its entangled problems,” she continued. (*)

Reporter: Victor Mambor

Editor: Pipit Maizier 

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Four residents reportedly died, others run to forest following the evacuation of shooting victims in Nduga

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“Two died in Mbua, while two killed in Yigi. They are all my closed relatives. The military shot them while doing the evacuation. One of them is my uncle. He was a church board member named Yulianus Tabuni,” a Papuan youth figure Samuel Tabuni told Jubi by phone on Sunday morning.

He said that people on Mbua, Yall and Yigi sub-districts are currently moving to the forest. Therefore, he thinks this will possibly increase the number of dead victims due to lack of food and health problem during the refuge.

Further, he said he got the information about the death of four civilians in Mbua and Yigi from his family. So, he believes that it’s true. However, he cannot ensure other victims.

He also added that his family told him that the security forces had forced some priests to become their guide in the military operation against the West Papua Liberation Army that claimed behind the attack against the workers of PT. Istaka Karya. He also cannot confirm the recent rumours of military airstrikes.

“Both information and transportation accesses to Nduga are difficult now. So we cannot verify each information we received,” said Tabuni.

Meanwhile, as quoted by republika.co.id, the Public Affairs Chief of Cenderawasih XVII Military Command Colonel Infantry Muhammad Aidi asserted that the military did not use bombs and do airstrikes from plane or helicopter in chasing the insurgents in Nduga, Papua. The Indonesian Military, he further said, know and understand about the applied rule and procedure.

“No airstrikes occurred in this operation. It only involves the human resources, the soldiers who do the evacuation. No bombing,” said Aidi on Friday (7/12/2018).

By contrast, the Head of Nirkuri Sub-district Yosekat K. Kamarigi told VOA Indonesia that the shootings were targeted the residents’ shelters in the forest. The recent data affirmed that there are at least four people injured and two died because of the gunfire. The two dead victims were the civil servants from Wuridlak village and Kujondume village.

“We announced through radio asking the residents to meet in one location or to gather in the church’s yard. But they were scared because the police and soldiers shot their gun arbitrary.  So, I asked them to save the photographs, videos and so on for evidence, and they said they already kept some of it,” added Yosekat, quoted by VOA Indonesia.

A church board member confirmed dead

Separately, when confirmed by Jubi on Sunday (9/12/2018), the Rev. Dr Benny Giay confirmed that the death of a member of Kingmi Church Board named Yulianus Tabuni.

“That’s right. Yulianus Tabuni is a church board member in Mbua, has no relation with the armed group. He used to take care of the church’s collection,” the Rev. Giay told Jubi on Sunday (9/12/2018).

Moreover, according to the Rev. Giay, a member of the congregation of Kingmi Church reported that he was shot in the church by the security force while evacuation of the shooting victims in Nduga. However, the reason behind his shooting was still unclear.

Kingmi Church has approximately 60 thousand followers in Nduga

The residents of Nduga Regency is the majority members of Kingmi Church. Therefore, the Rev. Benny Giay asked President Joko Widodo to pay attention to the progress of the military operation conducted by the Indonesian Police and Military after the president’s order to chase the armed group.

“It’s near Christmas. Our followers want to have Christmas in quiet and peaceful. We also need to visit Nduga, because the majority of Nduga residents are the followers of Kingmi, but now we can’t. We only get a report from residents and the church board in Mbua, Yall and Yigi,” said the Rev. Giay.

He also hopes that the access to Nduga to be opened for independent parties for further investigation regarding the shooting incidents as well as the post-Nduga incident. (*)

Reporter: Victor Mambor

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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