West Papua: Senator Richard Di Natale questions Foreign Minister Carr

Video of Question Time in the Australian Senate on Tuesday March 20, 2012, where Senator Di Natale questioned Foreign Minister Carr about his meeting with the Indonesian Foreign Minister.

He asked Senator Carr whether he had raised West Papua in this meeting, and if not, when the Government planned to do so.

The video includes Senator Carr’s response.

[youtube http://youtu.be/v-MD9ak3ORg]

Federal parliament yesterday (Australia)


West Papua
Tuesday, 20 March 2012

PDF: http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/genpdf/chamber/hansards/ebe16d5f-1452-4285-9104-171295b6d0c4/0029/hansard_frag.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf

Senator DI NATALE (Victoria) (14:52): Mr President, my question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr. Minister, last week you met with your counterpart from Indonesia.

Honourable senators interjecting—


Senator Bob Brown: I rise on a point of order. As you know, it is impossible to hear Senator Di Natale up this end of the chamber. I am sure that the minister cannot hear the question, so he will not be able to answer.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Brown, that is a valid point of order. I had called for order. I had called, in particular, two members of the Senate to order so that Senator Di Natale can be heard.

Senator DI NATALE: I might begin again. My question is for the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr. Minister, last week you met with your counterpart from Indonesia, Marty Natalegawa, and the defence ministers of both nations. Can you inform the Senate as to whether the issue of West Papua was raised as part of those discussions? If not, when do you plan to raise the issue of West Papua with the Indonesian government?

Senator BOB CARR (New South Wales—Minister for Foreign Affairs) (14:53): Mr President, it was raised. First of all it was raised by me, when I assured the Indonesian foreign minister that Australia—both sides of Australian politics—fully recognised Indonesian sovereignty over the Papuan provinces. I reminded him that that was recognised in the Lombok treaty, signed by the Howard government with Indonesia in 2006. I underlined that I understood the case that all the governments of the world recognise Indonesian sovereignty. It would be a reckless Australian indeed who wanted to associate himself with a small separatist group which threatens the territorial integrity of Indonesia and that would produce a reaction among Indonesians towards this country. It would be reckless indeed.

I can say this: the Indonesian foreign minister nominated to me the responsiveness of the Indonesian government to oft-expressed Australian concerns about human rights in Papua. Before I could raise the subject, as I was fully intending to, the Indonesian foreign minister nominated that they have a clear responsibility to see that their sovereignty is upheld in respect of human rights standards. I was impressed by that. It reflects the fact that the previous Australian governments—I know it is the case with this Labor government and I assume it is the case with a coalition government—have raised these concerns with Indonesians, and it reflects the fact that Indonesians have listened.

I again would warn any member of the Senate against foolishly talking up references to separatism in respect of the Papuan provinces. That is reckless and it is not in Australia’s interests.

Senator DI NATALE (Victoria) (14:55): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. It does relate to the Lombok treaty and I need to remind the foreign minister—I understand he is new in his role—that the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties report of 6 December made a bipartisan recommendation:

The Committee recommends that the Australian Government encourage the Indonesian Government to allow greater access for the media and human rights monitors in Papua.

If this is still the government’s position, what has Senator Carr done to further this aim?

Senator BOB CARR (New South Wales—Minister for Foreign Affairs) (14:56): I can assure the Senate that the Australian embassy in Jakarta will continue to raise matters of human rights in respect of the Papuan provinces, and will do so in respect of the recent sentencing of five men in Papua province to three years imprisonment for subversion. Australia has a strong and consistent record of upholding the right of persons peacefully to express their political views freely. Australian officials in Jakarta will raise our concerns over these sentences. But we will do so as a friend of Indonesia, absolutely explicit and unabashed about asserting Indonesian sovereignty over the Papuan provinces. The Lombok treaty—I refer again to the fact that the Lombok treaty was signed in November 2006, coming into force in 2008—is based on such a recognition: support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, national unity and political independence of each other. Similar language is used in the preamble.

Senator DI NATALE (Victoria) (14:57): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question, which also relates to the JSCOT report, which I remind the foreign minister is about what the Australian government, not the Indonesian government, has agreed to do. Recommendation 2 says:

… increase transparency in defence cooperation agreements to provide assurance that Australian resources do not directly or indirectly support human rights abuses in Indonesia.

Again I ask the foreign minister: what steps will you take in your role as foreign minister to ensure this recommendation is applied and that transparency of Australia’s role— (Time expired)

Senator BOB CARR (New South Wales—Minister for Foreign Affairs) (14:58): In those full and frank exchanges last Thursday with our Indonesian counterparts, the defence minister and I canvassed Papua and the Indonesian foreign minister referred again to the progress being made by Indonesia in shifting responsibility for law and order in the Papuan provinces from the military to the police. President Yudhoyono—a great friend of Australia’s, by the way—has committed his government to raising the living standards of the people of Papua and reinvigorating special autonomy. Australia believes that this is the best path—the best means—to achieving a safe and prosperous future for the Papuan people. We will give support through our aid programs. We are the biggest aid donor to Indonesia, and a recognition of that is reflected in the Lowy Institute poll, which I recommend members of the Senate read, which says that Australia is held in high standing by the people of Indonesia. We will continue to work on these great tasks.

Kontras: court ruling against Forkorus far from human rights principles and spirit of fair trial

The court ruling against Forkorus CS
Still Far from the human rights principles and the spirit of fair trial

The Commission for the Disappeared and victims of violence (KontraS) has regretted over the verdict of the judges in the District Court of Jayapura, West Papua, which sentenced Forkorus Yaboisembut, S. Pd, Edison Kladeus Waromi and three others, Dominikus Surabut, August M. Sananai Kraar dan Selpius Bobii in jail for 3 years on 16th March 2012. Despite each of the sentence is lighter than indictment of the prosecutor for five years in jail, it is still far from the principle of a fair trial and not socializing with the idea to build a Peaceful Papua through the dialogue.

Indonesia, as a democratic country and adopted a number of international instruments for human rights, the government is suppose to solve the problems in Papua more wisely, in the particular case of the verdict of the treason charged to Forkorus Cs. The court is not supposed to be conducted as there is another way around which will more effective and dignified based on the human rights instruments such as through the dialogue that will socialize the case so far.

The treason charged to Forkorus Cs, in fact, is considered too extreme as no one has used violence or violates any of the national rules and regulations during the congress of Papuan People III that held in 17 to 19 October 2012. What Forkorus Cs has conducted is a part of freedom of expression in peaceful manner which stated in Universal Declaration on Human rights article 19, Civil and political rights convention article 19 and 20, and also in other international rules and regulations. From the view of the domestic regulation framework, the guaranty of the freedom of expression is also stated in national regulations such as in 1945 Constitution, Law no 39 in 1999 and Law no 12 in 2005 that related to human rights which ratified in civil and political rights covenant. It is stated by defendants’ lawyers under their defence which is known as Bring democracy to the court and struggling peace for Papuan People.

Based on the result of the investigation and monitoring of the national human rights commission, the allegation of human rights abuses were committed by the security forces (police and military), in the forms of excessive force, violence, torture and other cruel treatments. However, the fact-finding mission was never followed up by the legal basis either by the police or national human rights commission.
By observing the sentences read by the panel judges which consisted of Jack Johanis Octavianus, SH as chief justice and four other members of judge, I Ketut Nyoman Swarta, SH.MH, George Mambrasar, SH.MH, Orpa Martina, SH, Willem Marco, it has raised a number of problematic notes that need to be questioned based on the information collected by the coalition of civil society organizations, which dedicated to enforce the law and human rights in Papua such as:

Firstly, the sentence of the panel judges show inconsistency in case of dealing with evidences related to the treason. The judges argued that the defendants have convincing and legally proven by law related to the articles of treason and proven to conduct an experiment.
Secondly, no credible witnesses have been brought to the court. While only one witness who comes from the society, seven other witnesses are coming from the police who did not see directly what happened in the field. So, of course they against the defendants and moreover, another five witnesses who come from the society also against defendants too during their testimonies of the court hearing. Those five people who testified in the court are also the participants of the demonstration that arrested and violated by the police during the process of interrogation. Their witnesses are not supposed to be in any consideration during the hearing.

Thirdly, during the hearing, the judges were able to present only one evidence or banner, while there have to be mentioned 69 evidences that the sentence referred to.

Fourthly, Gustav Kawer, one of the lawyers was criminalized because he was assessed as person who disturb the hearing.
KontraS supported the measurement taking by the lawyer who would file an appeal over the judgement since the hearing is not matching with the human rights principle and fair trial. She has submitted questions to the government regarding its commitments to solve problems in Papua through peace process, considering that the way which the government criminalized and implemented the article of treason would make the peace discourse further in Papua. The agenda to push the peace process in Papua is supposed to be fitted within the policy conducted by the government such as to stop the implementation of treason articles indiscriminately and to free from arbitrary arrest to who have not committed any violence or violation during the demonstration.

Jakarta, 16 Maret 2012
Badan Pekerja,

Indria Fernida
Wakil Koordinator

Contact Person: 08161466341 (Indria Fernida)

“Enough Is Enough!” Testimonies of Papuan Women Victims of Violence and Human Rights Violations 1963–2009


March 14, 2012
ICTJ, the Women Commission, and the Women Working Group of Papuan People Assembly

“We women of Papua have been bruised, cornered, besieged from all directions. We are not safe at home, and even less so outside the home. The burden we bear to feed our children is too heavy. The history of the Papuan people is covered in blood, and women are no exception as victims of the violence of blind military actions. We have experienced rape and sexual abuse in detention, in the grasslands, while seeking refuge, no matter where we were when the army and police conducted operations in the name of security.”

In 2009–2010, ICTJ, the Women Commission, and the Women Working Group of Papuan People Assembly provided support to Papuan women in a project to document gender-based violence and human rights violations that occurred between 1963 and 2009. This documentation effort aims to understand different patterns of violence, including abuses committed by security forces and resulting from efforts to seize natural resources in Papua, as well as violence women have experienced in their own households since the army took control of the region in 1963. Of the regions in Indonesia, Papua—on the verge of becoming independent when Soehato gained power—experienced some of the highest rates of atrocities committed under the regime. And recent crackdowns in Papua indicate the government is still adopting a heavy-handed security approach.

The women in Papua worked on this collection of stories of violence and abuse over three months, interviewing 261 people (243 women and 18 men). The report finds that a range of factors within Papua—violence employed by security forces, a culture of discrimination against women, and lack of political will to change policies among others—have meant the victims are still neglected and none of the effects of violence have been addressed. “Change cannot be postponed any longer,” the women conclude.

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