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World Council of Churches support the struggle for human rights of the people of Papua

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The meeting of ICP at WCC headquarters in Geneva, last month – Jubi/Victor Mambor

Jayapura, Jubi – Members of a church-backed coalition have called on Indonesia to open access to West Papua for international journalists, independent observers, human rights organizations and the International Red Cross (ICRC).

The call came at an international consultation hosted by the World Council of Churches (WCC) with the International Coalition on Papua on 22 February at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva.
Peter Prove, director of the WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) quoted from the WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, who visited West Papua in 2012 saying he was fully behind his statement after the visit.
“We support the struggle for human rights of the people of Papua. We urge an end to the ongoing violence and impunity.
“We support the call for social and economic justice through serious dialogue and a concrete political process that seeks to address root causes of the present problems,” Tveit had said.
West Papua is a province of Indonesia and the two western peninsulas of the island of New Guinea, which neighbours the Indonesian territory and has a population of less than one million people, mostly Melanesians.
The round-table gathered also civil society proponents, human rights experts and diplomats to meet with defenders explaining current patterns of human rights abuses in West Papua.
Participants at the round table also expressed civil society’s expectations for the 34th session of the Human Rights Council from 27 February to 24 March and the current Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Indonesia.
Victor Mambor of the Papua Coalition for Law Enforcement and Human Rights and the JUBI Association said that the Civil Society Coalition for the Enforcement of Law and Human Rights in West Papua has made a number of recommendation to the government of Indonesia.
As well as demanding open access to Papua for international journalists and human rights groups they called for ensuring “that perpetrators of the police and military responsible for past and present human rights violations in West Papua are prosecuted in public and fair trials, resulting in the appropriate sentences for perpetrators and the restitution, compensation and rehabilitation of victims”.
Rev. Dr Jochen Motte of the United Evangelical Mission in Wuppertal Germany said that, “Together with the WCC and partners in Papua in 2005 the Faith Based Network has been able to publish a study on economic, social and cultural rights in Papua.”
Rev. Francois Pihaate, general secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches based in Fiji, said the churches in the region are very concerned about violence in Papua.
“How can we as churches be ignorant of what is going on outside our own world? That is why we as churches are concerned,” said Pihaate.
Denny Abdi, a member of the Indonesian mission to the United Nations in Geneva also made an intervention disputing the number of people arrested, 4,996, cited by Victor Mambor.
Mambor said as his role as journalist, he had asked Indonesian President Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo to allow international journalists into West Papua but this had not been adhered to.
“There is no trust between the people of West Papua and the government in Jakarta so it is not possible to talk heart to heart about what is going on,” said a member of a churches group in West Papua who works with the WCC.
“We have to talk. As a church the prophetic voice needs to go beyond boundaries.”
Veronica Koman of the Papua Itu Kita based in Jakarta said, “The government of Indonesia fails to address the root problem, which is the historical problem. The West Papuan people will not stop screaming for independence until the root cause is addressed.”
Bartlett Salato, the chargé d’affaires of the Solomon Island mission in Geneva said that his country stands behind West Papua. (*)

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Papua Governor says will facilitate Morobe Governor to visit Freeport

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Papua Governor Lukas Enembe, visited PNG recently – RNZI

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

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Latvian climber evacuated from Cartenz Peak

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Illustration of Cartenz Peak in Papua – feedyeti.com

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)

 

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Human Rights violations in West Papua observed by Christian Conference of Asia

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Members of CCA delegation with Gereja Kristen Injili di Tanah Papua (GKI) leadership – Supplied

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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