Daily Archives: February 26, 2011

SBS Radio – Torres Strait weapon smuggling claims

The police commander of Papua New Guinea’s Western Province says high-powered weapons are regularly being smuggled into the country from Australia’s Torres Strait in exchange for drugs.

Commander Peter Philip says he has raised the issue as a member of the bilateral council administering the Torres Strait Treaty between the two countries, but little has been done.

Last week a man was sentenced to 18 months prison in PNG for trying to bring three rifles and ammunition from Saibai Island to the Western Province capital of Daru.

Only a few kilometres of water separate some Torres Strait islands from PNG.

Police commander Peter Philip says the weapons are in big demand in PNG’s Highland provinces, where marijuana is grown in large quantities.

But he told Queensland correspondent, Stefan Armbruster, PNG police don’t have the resources control the trade.

CLICK ON THE LINK TO HEAR FULL INTERVIEW

http://www.sbs.com.au/podcasts/Podcasts/world-view/episode/146087/Torres-Strait-\weapon-smuggling-claims

SMH: A Worm Inside the New Indonesia

FYI – Media Information

[With reflections on West Papuan situation.]

The Sydney Morning Herald
February 26, 2011

A Worm Inside the New Indonesia

by HAMISH McDONALD

WITH popular uprisings turfing out rulers in Tunisia, Egypt and perhaps elsewhere in the Arab world, a lot of analysts have focused on fears of ”contagion” in other regions, notably on China’s censorship of news reports about the protest wave in the Middle East.

Yet the Middle East event that might have the most far-reaching effect is not the awakening of the Arab ”street” against authoritarian rulers, but the vote in a United Nations supervised referendum a month earlier.

The largely African people in the south of Sudan voted overwhelming to secede from their Arab-dominated country and form a new nation – a result accepted by the Khartoum government and its main foreign backers, including China.

This has followed the declaration of independence from Serbia by Kosovo in 2008 that was accepted by most of the world and approved by the International Court of Justice, and Russia’s unilateral recognition of Georgia’s South Ossetia and Abkhazia as sovereign states soon afterwards in retaliation. It has left respect for the ”territorial integrity” of states and post-colonial boundaries somewhat tattered.

Already the example is being applied to an intractable issue right on Australia’s border and forming the touchiest part of what many see as our most important foreign relationship – the question of West Papua, the western half of New Guinea now part of Indonesia.

As Akihisa Matsuno, a professor at Osaka University, pointed out this week in a conference at Sydney University’s Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, South Sudan and Kosovo take West Papua out of the usual context of debate about the rights and wrongs of its decolonisation from Dutch rule in 1962 and ”act of free choice” under Indonesian control in 1969.

Kosovo’s independence was a case of ”remedial secession”: no states claimed the Kosovars had a right to self-determination, there was just no prospect of its peaceful reintegration back into Serbia or the rump Yugoslavia. Protection of people in Kosovo had more weight than Serbia’s territorial integrity.

Sudan became independent in 1956 from British rule, but has been in civil war most of the time since, with a 2005 peace agreement finally conceding a referendum. This suggests lack of integration between territories ruled by the same colonial power can justify a separate state, Matsuno said. ”This means that colonial boundaries are not as absolute as usually assumed.”

Indonesia itself went down this path in 1999 by insisting, for its domestic political reasons, that East Timor’s vote in 1999 was not a delayed act of self-determination that should have been taken just after the Portuguese left in 1975, but a ”popular consultation” with the result put into effect by Indonesia’s legislature. This amounted to conceding a right of secession to its provinces, Matsuno said.

West Papua’s act of free choice was seen as a farce from the beginning. As the historians Pieter Drooglever in Holland and John Saltford in Britain have documented, monitors were kicked out of the territory by the Indonesians in the seven-year interval between the Dutch departure and the ”act” – which was a unanimous public vote by an assembly of 1022 handpicked, bribed and intimidated Papuans in favour of integration with Indonesia.

Revolt has simmered and broken out sporadically ever since. Canberra’s relations with Jakarta went into crisis in 2006 when 43 Papuan independence activists and family members crossed the Torres Strait by motor canoe and requested political asylum.

Richard Chauvel, an Indonesia scholar at Melbourne’s Victoria University, told the conference Jakarta feels Papuan independence is not seen as the threat it was a decade ago when a ”Papuan spring” of breakaway sentiment and protest followed East Timor’s departure. The territory has been broken into two provinces so far, and numerous district governments, Papuan separatists fragmented, and no state bar Vanuatu is questioning Indonesian sovereignty (though the US Congress last September held its first committee hearing on West Papua).

Yet Chauvel says West Papua has become an ”Achilles’ heel” for a democratising Indonesia over the last 10 years. ”Papua is Indonesia’s last and most intractable regional conflict,” he said. ”Papua has become a battleground between a ‘new’ and an ‘old’ Indonesia. The ‘old’ Indonesia considers that its soldiers torturing fellow Indonesians in a most barbaric manner is an ‘incident’. The ‘new’ Indonesia aspires to the ideals of its founders in working towards becoming a progressive,
outward-looking, cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic and multi-faith society.”

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called the recently reported
torture cases ”incidents” by low-level soldiers, not the result of high-up instructions. Chauvel says he is probably correct: ”A more likely explanation is that instructions were not necessary. These acts reflected a deeply ingrained institutional culture of violence in the way members of the security forces interact with Papuans.”

Matsuno argues that South Sudan makes Indonesia’s post-colonial claim to West Papua more shaky, since it too had racial, religious and other differences to the rest of the country and had been administered separately within the former Netherlands East Indies. A ”more moral question” behind self-determination is coming to the fore, he said, the factor of ”failure” in governing.

The Japanese scholar sees echoes of East Timor in the late 1980s, when even foreign policy ”realists” started recognising the failure of Indonesian rule on the ground: serious human rights abuses, foreign media shut out, migrants flooding in, local leaders turning away from government, a younger generation educated in the Indonesian system refusing to identify themselves as Indonesians.

”These young people were increasingly vocal and continued to expose the ‘unsustainability’ of the system,” Matsuno said. ”Indeed the unsustainability of the situation in West Papua seems to be a truth. Only it takes some more time for the world to realise the truth.”

No one expects any outside power to intervene. But as we are seeing in the Arab despotisms, the new media make it harder and harder to draw a veil over suppression. In the Indonesia that is opening up, the exception of West Papua will become more glaring.

West Papuans Call For Dialogue With Indonesia

(Note: West Papua Media was a participant in this conference, and a paper calling for development of Papuan media was a key part of this conference also.  Over the next fews weeks, we will be publishing a selection of observations from this conference, and a book will also be forthcoming from CPACS West Papua Project)

 

ABC News/Radio Australia
Friday, February 25, 2011

West Papuans Call For Dialogue With Indonesia

The ramifications of the fast moving events in Libya and the middle
east could be felt as far away as Papua in Indonesia, a Sydney
Conference has been told.

A movement for greater autonomy or even independence from Indonesia has been active since Papua was absorbed by the Muslim state in 1969.

It has been at times ruthlessly suppressed by successive governments
in Jakarta, fearful of the loss of national unity and rich resources.

But observers say with demands for greater democracy reverberating
around the world there might be a new willingness in Jakarta to take
on board the calls for change.

Presenter: Karon Snowdon

Speakers: Peter King, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Sydney
University; Jacob Rumbiak, coordinator of the foreign office of the
West Papua National Authority; John Otto Ondawame, Vice President of
the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation.

SNOWDON: Indonesia has faced strong resistance to its rule in Papua,
or West Papua, as it’s also known. The complaints include the appalling human rights record of the security forces, lack of development, resource stripping, cultural insensitivity and unwelcome migrants.
Often these complaints have been ignored or dealt with inadequately,
but perhaps this is changing.

KING: The political situation in Jakarta is now being driven by events
in Papua and also international reaction to what’s happening in Papua.

SNOWDON: Peter King is the convenor of the West Papua Project at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney,
where he spoke at an international conference on Papua.

Peter King says the government of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been embarrassed by the worldwide release of the video showing Papuan men being tortured by Indonesian security.

And by the symbolic return of special autonomy to Jakarta through huge public demonstrations in June last year. Indonesia’s effort at appeasement, special autonomy has been a failure.

KING: Anybody would be encouraged by what’s gone on in the Middle
East. And the Papuans are even more mobilised than those Arab
populations were – it’s a kind of permanent Papuan mobilisation
against Jakarta. And the tactic so far of cultivating an enriched
elite of bureaucrats and politicians, which has been the main
Indonesian strategy to pacify Papuans, plus the influx of migrants
from outside Papua, that’s not going to wash in the post-Tahir Square
milieu that we’re living in.

SNOWDON: And there has been something of a breakthrough.
Jacob Rumbiak was jailed for nine years, part of the time he spent
with East Timor’s Xanana Gusmao. He returned to Jakarta for the first time this month at the invitation of the Indonesian government. He’s now an academic and the coordinator of the foreign office of the West Papua National Authority, which he calls the transitional government of an independent West Papua. He was afforded high level access over two weeks of talks in Jakarta.

RUMBIAK: Visiting Jakarta is part of how to negotiate with Jakarta
about how to build trust between Jakarta and the people of West Papua.

SNOWDON [TO RUMBIAK]: To what end, independence or just more autonomy for Papua?

RUMBIAK: The aim is based on [democracy]. Let Papuans choose. If they want to integrate with Indonesia, it’s OK, but when they want to [be] independent, that’s the right.

SNOWDON: A lack of unity in the past has set back the resistance movement. John Otto Ondawame, the vice president of the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation based in Vanuatu says a united call for dialogue for the peaceful resolution of issues with Indonesia mean the old divisions have ended.

ONDAWAME: Papuans are united in their aspirations for political change.

SNOWDON [TO ONDAWAME]: Are the groups working together successfully now?

ONDAWAME: Yes, we’re working together both inside West Papua in the
guerilla camp in the jungle and also in the outside world to raise the
voices of the West Papuans to the international community that we are
united.

SNOWDON: And he calls on the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the
Pacific Island Forum to do more to promote reconciliation between
Indonesia and Papua.

ONDAWAME: These two bodies must stand together to address the issue of West Papua and to send a fact finding mission to investigate the human rights situation in West Papua and other related issues.

SNOWDON [TO ONDAWAME]: Given the recent case of torture case against members the Indonesian military do you see any change in Jakarta and in the president’s office towards a better deal for Papua?

ONDAWAME: The culture of torture [by the] military has continued for
the past 54 years after occupation.

SNOWDON: Is there no improvement?

ONDAWAME: No improvement at all.

Kampung inhabitants need more medical personnel

JUBI, 22 February 2011

Kampung inhabitants need more medical personnel

People living in Mosso kampung, district of Muaratami have urged the
Health Service to increase the number of medical personnel available to kampung dwellers because it is very inadequate at present.

‘We need help from the medical service because we are getting complaints every day from patients about the lack of medical facilities,’ said Charle Wetapoa, an official.

He said that the lack of personnel had been a problem for years, with
the result that people living in the kampung are finding it difficult to
get the medical assistance they need. He said that there were only two people working at the clinic in the kampung

He said that they have called on the Health Service in Jayapura to
prioritise medical personnel for Mosso this year , which would help
improve the conditions of the people in the kampung, especially with
regard to their health.

The Mosso kampung is part of the administrative district of Jayapura
Municipality but is located at a great distance from other kampungs in
the same district, meaning that it is very difficult for the people to
get the service they need. There are altogether 45 people living in the
kampung.

[COMMENT: This is happening in a territory like Papua that is providing
revenues for the Indonesian state coffers from the hugely profitable
mining operations of Freeport copper-and-gold mine. TAPOL

Papua New Guinea Raises Concerns Over Arms Smuggling At Indonesian Border

Media Information:

(Note: West Papua Media and illegal arms smuggling investigators have long raised this issue with the PNG and Australian governments, however, evidence collected from the ground has implicated INdonesian military sources, not West Papuan opposition sources. The reporting in this piece is disingenuous and misleading by lumping this together with Operation Sunset Merona, implying that West Papuan refugees were involved in weapons smuggling. This has never been the case. Widespread research has documented a pathway of Indonesian military officers exchanging weapons for Marijuana with Raskol gangs from the PNG highlands, and with Indonesian officials in PNG openly flooding the country with small arms via illegal logging networks. Please contact West Papua Media for more background).

BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific
February 21, 2011

Papua New Guinea Raises Concerns Over Arms Smuggling At Indonesian Border

Text of report by Papua New Guinea newspaper The National website on 21
February

[Article by Isaac Nicholas: ‘Weapons smuggling a concern’]

Western law enforcement authorities have raised concerns about arms
smuggling into the province from Australia and Indonesia, saying it is
a threat to national security.

Provincial Police Commander Peter Philip said his men had confiscated
arms ranging from high-powered semi-automatic weapons to small arms
and shotguns.

He also raised concerns that Operation Sunset Merona refugees had been flown into East Arwin refugee camp without consultations with
provincial authorities, adding that the flight of more than 50 refugees by the PNGDF Casa aircraft into Kiunga was causing further strain on the limited resources in the province.

Philip said the frequency of illegal gun smuggling was higher than
what was happening up at the West Sepik border.

Ningerum Prison acting Commander Wini Nemo also raised similar
concerns that the extra people on the ground would also put pressure
on the jail holding capacity of 30 inmates, adding that the jail was
already over-crowded.

Similar sentiments were conveyed to Correctional Services Minister
Tony Aimo during a visit to the North Fly township of Kiunga last
week.

Provincial Magistrate Patrick Monouluk said arms smuggling was a
concern for authorities which lacked the capacity to police the vast
border province.

Last week, Monouluk sentenced a man to 18 months imprisonment for
smuggling arms and ammunition. Simon Somo Harquart from Mapos Village, Buang, in Morobe, was arrested by police when he attempted to move three firearms from Saibai Island in the Torres Strait into Daru.
Acting on a tip-off, police confiscated a .22 squibman rifle, 303
rifle, self-loading rifle and more than 150 rounds of ammunition.
Monouluk found him guilty and after sentencing, Harquart was
transferred to Bomana Jail outside Port Moresby.

Aimo admitted that arms smuggling and free movement of people across
the border of Indonesia and Australia was a major security concern and
he would raise the issue through reporting to the National Executive
Council to extend the operations from West Sepik to Western.

“We are sitting on a time bomb. There is exchange of guns and drugs
along this Western border which Waigani does not know about,” Aimo
said.

“It is very fragile and a threat to our national security.”

Source: The National website, Port Moresby, in English 21 Feb 11