Tag Archives: Jakarta’s apathy

Papua, a Thorn in the Side of Indonesia

Opinion / Analysis

by Selpius Bobii in Abepura Prison

written 25 September 2013

“The Republic of Indonesia is quite capable of removing a thorn in the side of another nation but is not capable of removing the thorn in its own side” were the words of a certain Indonesian commenting on the State of Indonesia at this time.

For some time now Indonesia has been busily involving itself in finding solutions for problems of other nations, as if it had no domestic problems of its own.  Yet there are still many extremely serious problems within Indonesia that need the Indonesian Government’s urgent attention and Papua is one that’s most obvious.  For the last 50 years Papua has been a ‘thorn in the side’ of Indonesia . Indeed the Indonesian Government has tried to ‘fix’ the problem by applying a range of strategies and approaches, however all have been according to Indonesia’s agenda and so each has failed to remove the thorn. The reality is that as long as the thorn remains buried deep in Indonesia’s flesh that there will continue to be problems.

Indonesia has been using its charm in a number of both official and non-official forums held around the world, talking of its commitment to being involved in handling various issues of conflict currently being faced around the world. Problems such as that in Palestine, Egypt and the Moro Islamic tribal issue in the Philippines to name but a few. However the Indonesian Government is not ready to face up to addressing the situation in its own backyard when it is Indonesia that is under the spotlight by the international community.

Indonesia has continued until this time to accuse foreigners of meddling in the internal affairs of Indonesia, however Indonesia for some reason doesn’t seem to recognise that Indonesia itself has meanwhile continued to interfere in the affairs of another nations. The Indonesian Government has for instance had a hand in the affairs of Israel and Palestine with Indonesian having stepped forward to the front line to defend the acknowledgement of the world community regarding the independence of the Palestinians. Yet despite Indonesia giving attention to these various problems overseas it has not addressed the matter of that thorn in the side back home in Indonesia. Not only have the problems in Papua remain unaddressed, but in fact there has never even been any efforts made to find a solution to bring an end to the problems in Papua, such as through dignified unconditional dialogue between the nations of Indonesia and Papua.

Following the launch of the branch of the Free West Papun Campaign in Oxford in the United Kingdom (UK) for example, the Indonesian Government at both the legislative and executive level were infuriated. Even Indonesian civilians became involved with the upset and it was talked about at every level of society. The UK Government was criticised and even accused of meddling in the affairs of another nation. The Deputy Chairperson of the Indonesian Legislative Assembly (DPR) Priyo Budi Santoso  stated “ The Indonesian Government must officially convey its protest to the UK Foreign Affairs Minister with a copy to the Queen of England. There should be mutual respect.”(www.merdeka.com/peristiwa/dpr-inggris-terlalu-mencampuri-urusan-indonesia.html).

Then there was the most recent issue with the Freedom Flotilla from Australia entering Indonesia waters. An incident that attracted harsh and high level criticism from a number of parties within Indonesia. The Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security was most concerned at the time of the Flotilla’s expected arrival and stated that the Indonesian Navy and Airforce were both on alert in anticipation of its arrival. Even the Indonesian President made a severe warning to other nations  at the time stating that other nations must not violate the sovereignty of Indonesia and in so doing create international friction (www.majalahselangkah.com). Through its Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa, Indonesia diplomatically sought the Australian Government’s assistance to interrupt the Flotilla’s journey. However as a democratic nation Australia could not interfere as no law had been broken and they were obliged to allow the allow freedom of expression and opinion and accordingly the convoy to continue. The Australian Government however through its Foreign Minister Bob Carr made quite clear that they would give no assistance to, and were in no way responsible for the Australian citizens on the Flotilla, if they entered Indonesian or PNG rterritory and were arrested by Indonesian or PNG armed forces and legally charged (www.republika.co.id/berita/internasional/). Tony Ervianto even made accusations that there was some foreign interests behind the Freedom Flotilla. (www.news.detik.com).

Internationally, Indonesia has always stressed that the problems in Papua are domestic business and not the business of foreign nations, however the circumstances are clearly proof that the Indonesian Government is not in fact capable of handling and bringing an end to that so called ‘domestic business’. In the Indonesian President’s state speech on 16 August 2011, he promised that the problems in Papua would be finalised through an approach of dignified dialogue. However until this time SBY’s promises have yet to be realised. Indeed fine words but words with no actions.

If Indonesia could bring a dignified end to the problems in Papua, then of course those in the international community who are concerned about Papua would not feel a need to interfere in the internal affairs of Indonesia. However as Indonesia is only capable of the talk and there is no realisation, whilst meanwhile human rights violations continue unceasingly, so that ‘thorn in the side’ of Indonesia will continue to  attract the international spotlight.

Until this time Indonesia has undertaken a range of strategies and means to stem the spread of support for Papuan independence aspirations, yet all their efforts have failed totally. One of those strategies was the implementation of Special Autonomy in Papua but that also failed to achieve Indonesia’s objective of repressing Papuans independence aspirations. Special Autonomy was not something born out of the desires of the Papuan community but rather something was based on Jakarta’s agenda with the hidden goal of repressing Papuan’s desire for independence.

Following the failure of Special Autonomy in Papua, Indonesia is now in the process of planning to pass certain Papuan Governance legislation. The fact that the draft of that legislation is but a copy of the Aceh Governance legislation has attracted concern from a number of circles. The Executive Director of the Organisation for Research, Investigation and the Development of Legal Assistance (LP3BH), Yan Christian Warinussy, commented that the draft was the work of a few people around President SBY acting recklessly and unconstitutionally in allowing the draft Papuan Governance legislation to slip through. That this draft legislation is but a copy and paste of Aceh’s legislation is indeed an embarrassment and poor reflection of the Presidency(www.majalahselangkah.com).

Indonesia has also tried the welfare (illusion) approach in its efforts to face up the movement of the Struggle of the Papuan nation. Then there has been the security approach, the legal and then the social-cultural approaches.  Not one of these approaches however will ever be successful in removing that ‘Papuan thorn’ in Indonesia’s flesh.  Indonesia must change its paradigm and undertake an approach based on wisdom to handle and bring an end to the Papuan problem.  As long as Indonesia has an attitude that the issue of Papua was finalised back in 1969 with the ‘Act of Free Choice’ and continues to defend its hold on Papua through a number of approaches that are but one of the same, so the problems of Papua will continue without cease, like a thorn that irritates Indonesia.

To avoid the Papuan issue attracting the constant spotlight of the international community, Indonesia should have taken real steps before now to deal with the problems in Papua, one of which should have been the mechanism of dignified dialogue between the nations of Indonesia and Papua.  As long as Indonesia continues NOT to take real steps to bring an end to the problems in Papua, the international community in turn will continue to keep the spotlight on Papua.

Or is Indonesia is actually waiting for the international community to intervene to sort out the Papuan problem? If Indonesia is not capable of sorting out the Papuan problem, then Indonesia should be honest about that before the international community including the UN. So that others can handle and bring an end to the problems. Indonesia has not only allowed the problems in Papua to continue too long already without any real steps or solutions to make’ Papua a land of peace’ but in fact  Indonesia has continuously taken actions intended to delay the time when the problems in Papua will be brought to an end.  Allowing the problems in Papua to continue will only lengthen the list of victims; And not only loss of human lives but also the loss of earthly things, time, and endless thoughts and feelings as a consequence of the oppression.

The international community including the USA, have again and again requested Indonesia to bring an end to the problems in Papua through means of dialogue between Jakarta and Papua. However until this time Indonesia has constantly  ignored pressure from the international community. Perhaps because Indonesia considers the matter of Papua was already finalised back in 1969. However this perception is so very wrong! If the problem of Papua had already been finalised why are there still constantly people in Papua losing their lives? Why is there relentless marginalisation and discrimination? And why are Papuans intentionally being increasingly made a minority on their ancestor’s land? All of which are amounting to an annihilation of the ethnic Papuan race.

These things have continued without ceasing from the origin of this political conflict commencing with the annexation of the nation of Papua into the Republic of Indonesia through a military and political invasion by Indonesia. It’s time that Indonesia left its longtime paradigm that closes the door on finding a solution and rather undertakes a democratic and dignified approach through dialogue and negotiations, to give rise to a dignified solution – as the first step towards bringing peace and prosperity to the land of Papua and its people.

 ‘Humans which value basic human rights are those who will protect and respect the rights of their fellow beings.’

Selpius Bobii is the General Chairperson of Front PEPERA West Papua & is a Papuan Freedom Political Detainee held in Abepura State Prison

 

MRP Recommendation on Jakarta-Papua Dialogue must be followed up

Bintang Papua
24 August 2013Jayapura: The Deputy Director of the Alliance of Democracy for Papua (ALDP), Yuman Corona, has called on all Papuans at home and abroad to press for the implementation of the recommendation by the Majelis Rakyat  Papua (Papuan People’s Council) that  the correct way to solve the Papuan problem is by means of dialogue between Jakarta and Papua.

‘At a plenary session held on 12 August 2013, the MRP said that Special Autonomy for Papua (OTSUS) has  been a failure and there should be a dialogue between Jakarta and Papua. ‘

As has already been reported, the MRP called on the President, the Governor of Papua and the Governor of West Papua to carry  this recommendation forward. The MRP recommendation stated that Dialogue should occur within the next sixty days.

In this connection, the ALDP, as part of civil society in Papua, made the following points:

1. The MRP which is the representative body of the Papuan people as stipulated in Law 21/2001, must be consistent and focus on the recommendation it adopted at its plenary sessions for a dialogue to take place.

2.  Fully supports the policy and  position adopted by the MRP which needs to be publicised to all the Papuan people.

The DPRP (Legislative Assembly of West Papua ) and the DPR PB (Legislative Assembly of Papua) ‘should both support the MRP recommendation  and keep in close communication with the MPR. and convene plenary sessions in order to set up a PANSUS (Special Committee) for the Jakarta-Papua Dialogue.

It  further called on the Governor of Papua and the Governor of West Papua to fully support the  recommendation of the MRP and maintain close communications with the MRP (Papua) and the MRPB (West Papua) in order to work out their strategy  and to make the question of Dialogue their top priority.

Furthermore, the President of the Republic of Indonesia should fully support  the recommendation of the MRP for Dialogue as the way to solve the problem of West Papua in accordance with what he said in his State Address on 16 August  2011 regarding the resolution of the question of Papua and should set up a special committee in preparation for the Jakarta-Papua Dialogue and hold talks with various elements in Papua and Jakarta.

Furthermore, the DPR RI (National Parliament ) and the DPD RI (Assembly of Regional  Representatives)  should express their full support for the recommendation of the MRP as the way to resolve the Papuan issue. Commission 1 of Parliament should discuss this matter with the various political groups and commissions  to declare their support for Jakarta-Papua Dialogue in order to resolve the Papuan issue.

Finally, he said: ‘Why do we (ALDP) support the idea of dialogue between Jakarta and Papua? Because this is the way to solve the problem without resorting to the use of violence. It is our vision to promote justice and a democratic process  in Papua  The MRP which is a legal institution  must act to find the best possible solution for Papua.’

[Translated by TAPOL]

Primary school education must be improved: teachers often fail to turn up in school

JUBI,2 May 2012
Many more primary schools needed

Merauke: The district head of Merauke, Drs Romanus Mbaraka has called for an improvement in primary school education. Teachers must be prepared to stay in remote places and accept responsibility for improving the level of primary education.

He said that the government should provide the necessary facilities to make this possible, in particular providing houses for the teachers.. He made these remarks while addressing a meeting of head teachers of higher level education.’ We cannot put too much pressure on  pupils at middle school who are not able to do well at school, because the education that they received at the primary school failed to reach the required level and the children did not get the education they needed at primary school.

He said that all too often, young people who had completed their education at secondary schools were not able to pass entry tests when they wanted to enrol at tertiary-level colleges in Java because they had not reached the same level as children from other parts of the country.

Such a situation represents a challenge for all of us, especially for teachers who should be thinking about  how to improve the level of schooling available for children living in kampungs. If children receive good education at primary school, it will be much easier for them to pass tests to go on to a higher school.

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Merauke: A deputy district chief has said that  one of the basic problems in the kampungs is that educational facilities are not sufficiently available. The problem is that teachers prefer to stay in the cities in order to get certificates for their own career promotion, and earn a better wage.

Sunarjo said that he had asked the central government  to provide the necessary funds to pay higher wages to teachers in Merauke. The certificates should be granted   step by step, making it possible for others to stay in the kampungs and deal with the educational needs there.

He said if the government fails to provide the certificates they need, this will make it difficult for them to improve their prospects. However, teachers who fail to comply with their teaching schedule for forty-five days running should be dishonourably sacked.

Medical personnel seriously lacking in Papua

JUBI, 2 April 2012

Taking into account the vastness of the territory of the Province of Papua, there is a serious shortage of medical personnel here. Moreover, the ratio between the number of medical personnel and the number of hospitals and clinics is also far too low.

‘If you take into account the number of hospitals, clinics and medical centres, I reckon that the shortage of medical personnel amounts to as much as 2,700,’ said the Head of the Provincial Medical Services in Papua, Josef Rinta Rachatmaka.

He said that as a way of reducing this shortage, the Provincial Medical Services intends, in co-ordination with the Agency for Personnel Education and Training in the Province of Papua, to look more closely at the data about healthcare personnel in the area.

‘On the basis of our present calculations, the number of healthcare personnel in Papua is very low indeed.. With 20 hospitals, 310 clinics and 760 healthcare centres, we need a further 2,700 medical personnel,’ he said. He said in particular that there was a need for more medical personnel in the medical health centres that are spread right across the territory.

He said that the shortage would become even more acute if new hospitals were built. The medical personnel includes the number of doctors, midwives, dieticians and so on. The key factor in any healthcare provision is that there is the right number of personnel. However many medicaments and however much money is available, if there are not enough personnel, then nothing will function properly. While agreeing that there are enough facilities, the most important thing is to have enough medical personnel. ‘Many of the facilities we have here are standing empty.’

He went on to say that whenever there are plans to build new hospitals, if the personnel are simply taken from those at the already existing facilities, this would only lead to a further lack of personnel. He said that they plan to open up new diploma courses for nurses, midwives and dieticians.’We very much hope that, as new healthcare facilities are built, there will be a sufficient number of personnel and not continue with the situation as it is at present.’

[Abridged in translation by TAPOL]

Food Crisis after Papua Floods

CRITICAL INFORMATION


Banjir Ambarita | April 17, 2011

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/food-crisis-after-papua-floods/435985

Jayapura. Thousands of people are at risk of starvation and disease after heavy flooding in Papua’s Paniai district, an official said over the weekend.

District head Naftali Yogi said heavy rains over the past three months have led to Lake Paniai overflowing and flooding at least seven subdistricts in up to 4 meters of water, destroying homes and farmland and rendering thousands of families homeless.

There have been no reports of casualties as a direct result of the flooding.

“The situation now is pretty grim because so much agricultural land and so many fish farms have been flooded and can’t be harvested,” he said.

“This means that around 10,000 people who are subsistence farmers and rely on prompt harvests are at risk of starvation.”

Naftali said the extent of the flooding also made outbreaks of diseases such as cholera, respiratory ailments and malaria more likely.

“We don’t have enough medical supplies or health workers to respond to a potential outbreak,” he said.

“So we’re calling on all residents not to drink water from the lake. Drink rainwater instead.”

He added his administration was already distributing food supplies to residents, including uncooked rice and instant noodles — both of which need to be cooked in clean water. However, authorities have not distributed any potable water.

“We’ve been given Rp 1 billion [$115,000] in relief aid from the provincial administration and Rp 500 million from Jakarta, but that’s only enough for a month,” Naftali said.

“We expect many residents won’t be able to farm for another two years, so they’ll need food aid until then.”

Authorities have not set up shelters for the evacuees, who have been forced to stay with family and friends or out in the open.

“We’re still looking for sites where we can set up temporary shelters for those rendered homeless,” Naftali said.

He blamed the flooding on the increased sedimentation in Lake Paniai, which he said was a result of the clearing of forests in areas adjacent to the lake.

“About 10 years ago the military scorched the forests because they suspected that separatists were hiding out there, and since then there hasn’t been any effort to reforest the area,” he said.

Besides the effects of deforestation and subsequent flooding, Naftali said the district was also at threat from illegal mining.

He said illegal gold mines in Baya Biru subdistrict were responsible for large-scale pollution and environmental degradation.

“We’ve given the companies responsible until June to halt their activities, but obviously this is a tricky issue to handle,” Naftali said.

“There are an estimated 7,000 people working in the industry there.”

He said previous calls by the district and Papuan administrations for a halt to the illegal mining had fallen on deaf ears because of the many interests involved in the industry.

“Those mines are so remote that you can only get there by helicopter,” he said.

“If those helicopter services could be stopped, there would be no more mining, but they continue to transport workers, supplies and ore in and out of there.”