Daily Archives: April 11, 2011

Papua Church Leader Warns Of ‘Unfair’ Gubernatorial Election

FYI
The Jakarta Post
Monday, April 11, 2011 

Ina Parlina, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The death of a prominent Papuan leader has sparked concerns over the
security of the upcoming gubernatorial election in the volatile
region.

GKI Papua synod deputy chairman Rev. Elimelekh D. Doirebo said that
the demise of former Papuan People’s Assembly speaker Agus Alue Alua
destroyed any expectations of a fair and safe election for the
province this September, as well as undermined the possibility of a
pro-Papuan Assembly.

“Agus was very vocal in fighting for the rights of the Papuan people,
including supporting the policy that Papua local administration heads
must be Papuan,” he told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.

Agus reportedly died Thursday at Dian Harapan Hospital in Jayapura.
Agus, who was re-elected to the Assembly for a second term, died soon
after being admitted to hospital. The cause of death is unknown.

Agus was known for his policies, including a decree stipulating that
Papua local administration heads and their deputies must be from the
region.“We believe Agus died as a result of the persistent
intimidation he faced,” Elimelekh said.

He claimed Agus faced threats especially from Barisan Merah Putih,
which wanted to oust the original members of the Assembly whom they
perceived as too radical in their defense of Papuan rights and their
opposition to special autonomy.

In June last year, rallies initiated by the original Assembly members
drew thousands in Jayapura, who issued 11 recommendations for a better
solution to the strife in Papua.

The protestors urged the central government to annul special autonomy,
which they claimed was a tool for the central government to win the
hearts of Papuans while toning down demands for independence.

They also called for a dialog mediated by neutral international
parties to address Papuan grievances.

“Several Papuans in Jakarta once came to Papua to meet Agus and
basically forced him to stop criticizing the election of new Assembly
members and special autonomy. They also forced him to step down,”
Elimelekh claimed.

Later, he added, Agus was removed from the roster of new Assembly
members following accusations he supported separatism.

Hana Hikoyabi, who was also re-elected to the Assembly, was likewise
disqualified. As of today, the new elected Assembly members, who will
serve until 2016, have not been inaugurated.

The GKI, along with Papua’s KINGMI synod and Papua’s Baptist churches
synod, boast a following of more than 1.3 million members, most of
them native Papuans.

NGOs Say US Got it Wrong on Indonesian Human Rights

FYI

Dessy Sagita | April 11, 2011

Indonesian activists on Sunday criticized the US government for praising Indonesia’s progress on human rights, saying that the barometer used for the report could be misleading.

“I’m a bit concerned with the diplomatic statements made by some countries regarding Indonesia’s progress on human rights, because it could give people the wrong perception about what’s really happening,” Haris Azhar, coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), told the Jakarta Globe.

As in previous editions, the US State Department’s annual survey on human rights pointed to concerns in Indonesia, this year including accounts of unlawful killings in violence-torn Papua along with violations of freedom of religion.

But US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while presenting on Friday the mammoth, 7,000-page global report, pointed to Indonesia as a success story.

“Indonesia boasts a vibrant free media and a flourishing civil society at the same time as it faces up to challenges in preventing abuses by its security forces and acting against religious intolerance,” she was quoted by foreign wire agencies as saying.

The survey covers the period before Islamic fanatics brutally killed three members of the Ahmadiyah sect in early February, raising questions over Indonesia’s commitment to safeguard minority rights.

The concern over Papua is primarily a reference to the torture of two civilians there last year by soldiers. They were subsequently court-martialed in January but given sentences of less than a year, a punishment slammed by the influential group Human Rights Watch as far too lenient to send a message that abuse was unacceptable.

Kontras’s Haris said both indicators presented by the US government — that Indonesia has been progressing in terms of media independence and better access for civil societies to voice their concern — were also incorrect.

“Freedom of journalism? I don’t think so. It’s still fresh in our minds that several journalists have been brutally attacked because of their reporting, some were even murdered,” he said.

“And in terms of flourishing civil societies, it’s true, non-government organizations are mushrooming, but what’s the point if human rights defenders and anticorruption activists are assaulted?” he added.

According to Kontras, in 2010 alone more than 100 human rights activists here were victimized and many of the perpetrators remain free.

And according to Reporters Without Borders, when it comes to press freedom, Indonesia ranks very low, much worse than it did several years ago when Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid was the president.

The US report in some ways echoes progress noted by New York-based Human Rights Watch in its own annual review of human rights practices around the globe, released in January. Then it noted that while serious human rights concerns remained, Indonesia had over the past 12 years made great strides in becoming a stable, democratic country with a strong civil society and independent media.

But Andreas Harsono, from Human Rights Watch, said it was perplexing that the US government would compliment Indonesia’s progress on rights.

“It’s a big joke,” he said. “Attacks against Ahmadiyah have been happening since 2008, after the joint ministerial decree was issued, and attacks against churches during SBY’s six-year tenure are even more prevalent than during the five decades in which Sukarno and Suharto ruled,” he said.

Additional reporting by AP, AFP