More capital assistance for Papuan women, officials promise

Financial help to Papuan businesswomen seriously lacking

The press in Papua has recently reported extensively on the allocation
of OTSUS funds to assist Papuans in their business operations, in
particular Papuan women referred to as ‘mama-mama’

On 11 June 2011, the JUBI tabloid newspaper reported that most of the
allocation of OTSUS funds is concentrated on public infrastructure and
government assets but insufficient attention is being paid to local
Papuan traders, including ‘mama-mama.’ The problem was raised in
particular by the head of the Oadate Major Clan, in the district of
Yapen-Waropen, Yulinus Kowela.

He said that OTSUS funds were being allocated almost entirely to
government officials, the government elite, as he called them.
‘Meanwhile, local Papuan traders and indigenous Papuan women continue to
be impoverished and on the margins, because of the nature of the
development according to OTSUS,’ said Yulinus.

‘For many years, we have been saying that OTSUS funds should be used to
combat poverty and improve the living conditions of indigenous Papuans.
But up to the present day, this hasn’t happened, people are asking about
this, including people living in the interior.’

He said that the allocaton of OTSUS funds should take account of the
fate of indigenous Papuan traders and not just focus on building
infrastructure such as road-building and building bridges in all the
districts. ‘The allocation of OTSIS money should be fairer and be used
to improve the conditions of women traders. They need help to be able to
obtain better facilities for their business activities,’ he said.

On 22 June, JUBI reported that the district chief of Merauke, Romanus
Mbaraka spoke of the need to pay attention to the little people and pay
greater attention to their need for capital. He said that the government
was planning to provide capital to groups of businesses, amounting to Rp
500,000 for each group.

At a ceremony in Gedung Negara, he symbolically handed over the money to
one group of traders. He said that the money was being allocated to
groups of businesses because past experience had shown that this was
better than allocating it to individuals. ‘In this way,’ he said, ‘the
monitoring process can be more easily managed.’

He said that the money was not being allocated for free but the groups
would be expected to repay the money but in this way, the groups would
have greater motivation to run their businesses well.’

‘If a business is successful, its earnings will increase, which means
that the government will be willing to help them again. He also said
that teams will be set up to monitor the businesses run by the women
such as those selling crabs or vegetables. This would motivate the
mama-mama to run their businesses well,’ he said.

[COMMENT: It remains to be seen whether this grand promise will bear
fruit in terms of promoting the economic interests of indigenous Papuans
in their never-ending difficulties to compete with the business acumen
of the thousands of Indonesians who flood into Papua and set up
businesses. TAPOL]

DAP rejects transmigration

JUBI, 21 February, 2011

DAP rejects transmigration

The chairman of DAP, the Papuan Traditional Council, has called on the
Indonesian government to be more judicious about plans to send yet more transmigrants to Papua.

Forkorus Yaboisembut said that plans by the Transmigration Department to move more transmigrants into Papua was a matter of great concern.

‘I very much hope that Papua will not yet again be the target for more
transmigrants because this is turning the Papuan people into a minority in their own homeland.’

He went on to say that sending more transmigrants in Papua was creating many more problems. In addition to turning local communities into minorities, it is also fostering feelings of jealousy because the
majority of people who run businesses and own plenty of capital are
those who have come from other parts of Indonesia.

Transmigration is also resulting in local Papuan cultures being swamped
by cultures from outside.

The government has announced that it has allocated Rp 600 billion to
cover the cost of bringing more transmigrants to Papua from other
parts of the country. The new transmigration programme is scheduled to continue until 2014.

DAP: Transmigration harmful to local people

JUBI,16 February 2011

Responding to a report that the government plans to send more
transmigrants to Papua, the chairman of DAP, Dewan Adat Papua, Forkorus Yoboisembut said this was a serious matter because it would turn the Papuan people into a minority, as well as triggering conflict.

‘As the representative of the adat (traditional) people in Papua, I
reject the transmigration programme which fails to safeguard the
position of the local people,’ he said. It is reported that the government has allocated Rp 600 billion to pay for the transmigration of people from Indonesia to a number of places in Indonesia regarded as being ‘under-populated’, including Papua.

‘I hope the central government will consider this matter carefully
because the transmigration programme to Papua has already resulted in the marginalisation of the indigenous people at a time when a lot of
development work is going on.’

Forkorus said that the location of transmigrants in many places in
Papua has made it difficult for the local communities to preserve
their own culture and lifestyles. Development of more luxurious
lifestyles intensifies the marginalisation of the little folk. In addition, with the government’s attention being focused on the transmigrants, feelings of envy emerge because the local people do not get the same degree of attention.

He also said that the transmigration programme under way in Papua
undermines Papuans’ sense of being masters in their own homeland because the vast majority of those now running the economy are non-Papuans. Papuans are not yet able to compete with the newcomers in economic affairs and this is something the government needs to give serious attention to.

JUBI: Defining “orang asli” in Papua

The following item is from the newspaper JUBI and was published earlier this month (apologies for not having the precise date).

BPS criteria regarding orang asli Papua is strongly rejected

In connection with the criteria that were used by the Central Bureau of Statistics (Biro Pusat Statistik, BPS) for West Papua in the publication of its data about the census which was held some time ago, DAP (Dewan Adat Papua – Papuan Traditional Counsel) regards the criteria as incorrect.

He said: ‘Those said to be OAP – orang asli Papua- indigenous Papuans – are persons whose father and mother are OAP, because in accordance with the word ‘asli’, it must mean that there has been no inter-marriage whatsoever,’ said Forkorus Yaboisembut, the chairman of DAP.

He said that according to DAP, the status of OAP includes only two
criteria, which is that both the father and mother are orang asli
Papua, or the father is OAP but the mother is from outside. Persons who mother is OAP but whose father is not, cannot be said to be OAP.

According to Forkorus: ‘Their lives would also need to be considered to
see whether they have struggled and done anything in favour of Papuan interests. A referendum could not be held about the future of Papua if they were not to vote for independence,’ he said. ‘It was very clear that someone cannot be declared to be OAP without the knowledge of DAP, bearing in mind that DAP occupies the position of the protector of Papuan traditional rights in Papua.’

For the first time last year, the BPS produced six criteria for determining who is OAP, as follows:

1. Persons whose father and mother are both OAP.
2. Persons whose father but not the mother is OAP.
3. The mother is an OAP but not the father.
4. Neither parent is an OAP but they have been acknowledged as OAP.
5. Neither parent is Papuan but they have been recognised according to ‘marga’ or ‘keret’ as OAP.
6. The person has been domiciled in Papua for 35 years.

According to this definition, the number of Papuans in the province of
Papua Barat (West Papua) was given as being 51,.67 percent, of the total population of 760,000.

In view of all this, DAP hopes that the BPS will speedily correct their
data, because it is not possible for instance to say that an OAP can
include people who have lived in the province for a very long time.

News from Papua: Filep Karma refuses offer of remission; Census time: huge increase in population of Papua

Articles from Bintang Papua, 17 August 2010
Abridged in translation

While prisoners everywhere will await anxiously for the moment when they
may receive remission of their sentence, this is not the case with a
prisoner charged with ‘makar’ (treason).

Filep Karma (who is serving a 15-year sentence) has once again rejected
the government’s offer of a remission. He made his decision known in a
two-page letter addressed to the minister for law and human rights,
Patrialis Akhar.

At a place in the prison where he was able to make contact with
journalists, he said that he rejects all offers of remission.

‘I consider that I am not guilty of anything. The mere expression of my
democratic rights is not allowed. Yet, in Jakarta, when someone sticks a
photo of the president on the backside of a buffalo, this is not
considered to be a crime.’

He said he would also refuse any offer of clemency.

In the opening paragraph of his letter copies of which are addressed to
26 other addressees including the Indonesian president and Amnesty
International, he said:

‘I, the undersigned, declare in full consciousness of what I am doing
and free from any pressure from any quarter, that I have rejected the
efforts by the government since 2005 to grant me remission by the
department of law and human rights and I shall do so into the
foreseeable future for as long as I continue to have the status of
political prisoner conferred by the Republic of Indonesia.’

He went on to say that this was being done as an act of protect against
all manner of actions by the authoritiesof the Republic of Indonesia in
violation of the Pancasila philosophy and the 1945 Constitution.

As is known, the national day 17 August is always an occasion for the
authorities to grant remission, and on this occasion, it included the
release of fourteen convicted prisoners being held in Abepura Prison
while 115 prisoners were granted remissions of between two and six months.

The remissions were granted in a ceremony led by the law and human
rights minister and the deputy governor of Papua, Alex Hasegam when the
remission letter was given to each of the prisoners in question.

On the same occasion, one prisoner, Filep Karma, who was neatly
dressed, managed to come forward holding a morning star flag in his
hand. But this had nothing to do with being granted remission; it was to
move a sack of garbage to a truck.


Huge increase in population of Papua

The population of the province of Papua has now reached 2,851,999, which
represents a far greater percentage increase than the national increase
of 1.49 percent.

[The report in BPapua refers throughout to the ‘province of Papua’,
presumably meaning this this does not include what is now the province
of West Papua.]

This was announced by the head of the Statistics Bureau of the province
of Papua who said that this was still a provisional announcement
because there would be further announcements about the composition of
the population including ethnicity, migration as well as the number of
births and deaths.

Another official of the bureau said that the huge increase was partly
due to having started from a low base, so the percentage increase
appears to be very high. In addition, he said, the census in 2000 was
far from being complete because the political situation at the time was
very tense, with on-going demands for a referendum and independence for
Papua, with the result that some districts were unable to carry out the

He said that the number of males was in excess of the number of females,
with a recorded difference of 13 percent.

The place with the greatest densisty is Jayapura with 278 persons per
square kilometre followed by Biak with 58 persons per square kilometre..
Mamberamo has the lowest density of all, with only one person per square

[Comment: We can only await the promise of more detailed information
about the ethnic composition of the population, bearing in mind the
reported regular arrival of in-migrants from other parts of Indonesia.
It could very well be that the point has been reached at which Papuans
now account for a minority of the inhabitants, a trend that can only
increase with the recent launch of the MIFEE project in Merauke. TAPOL]

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