Monthly Archives: April 2009

OPM founder Jouwe supports Suebu

Tue, 03/24/2009 12:55 PM | The Archipelago

JAYAPURA: Free Papua Movement (OPM) co-founder Nicholas Jouwe has lauded Papua Governor Barnabas Suebu for improving the welfare of the Papuan people.

“What I struggled for a long time to do from outside the country, to raise the people’s welfare, has been done by the governor from inside,” the former separatist leader told reporters after meeting with Suebu.

Suebu welcomed Jouwe’s statement, saying the people’s welfare could be achieved through the current special autonomy law in place in the province.

“The substance of freedom is the people’s welfare. The administration is trying to spread the welfare by creating a good and clean government in Papua.”

Papua Customary Council head Fadel Al Hamid welcomed Jouwe’s return, saying that although the latter was now a Dutch citizen, “he is still Papuan”.

Fadel refused to comment on Jouwe’s statement supporting the implementation of special autonomy status for the province. – JP

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OPM founder meets SBY, seeks RI citizenship

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Fri, 03/27/2009

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono received Free Papua Organization (OPM) co-founder Nicholas Jouwe at his private residence in Cikeas, Bogor, on Thursday.

At the meeting, Nicholas asked the President to grant him Indonesian nationality, which would allow him to return to Indonesia permanently, after spending more than 40 years in exile in the Netherlands.

“Nicholas wishes to spend his final years building Papua using the region’s special autonomy rights,” one of the founders of the Independent Group Supporting the Autonomous Region of Papua within The Republic of Indonesia (IGSARPRI) Franz Albert Yoku said as quoted by Antara news agency.

He added that Nicholas planned to move back to his homeland of Papua with his two daughters in the future.

The OPM emerged in the late 1960s to oppose the allegedly undemocratic *Act of Free Choice,’ which resulted in the territory becoming a part of Indonesia.

On July 1, 1971, Nicholas, along with the two other founders of the OPM, declared the independence of West Papua.

However, the movement has waned over time due to factionalism and constant pressure by the Indonesian military.

According to Franzalbert, the 85 year old Nicholas visited Yudhoyono’s residence and discussed the future of Papua within the frame of Indonesia.

The talks lasted for about an hour, well over the initially planned 25 minutes.

“Nicolas asked the President to ensure that all problems in the region be handled in a rightful manner, that no human rights violations should recur in Papua in the future, as well as that all the political prisoners be acquitted,” he said.

The OPM founder also requested the President form a Papuan Authority to handle the development of the province, Franzalbert said.

Nicholas said the government must take serious steps to eradicate corruption that is currently plaguing Papua, sinking its people even deeper into poverty.

The President responded positively to the talks, and even asked Nicholas to participate in resolving the region’s problems, Franzalbert said.

“The President hopes that Nicholas will help develop the country according to his abilities, to ensure Indonesia’s integrity,” added the Papuan integration figure. (dis)

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SBY meets Free Papua Movement co-founder

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Thu, 03/26/2009

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono met with co-founder of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) Nicholas Jouwe at the former’s residence in Cikeas, West Java, on Thursday, state news agency Antara has reported.

“The meeting between President SBY and OPM founding father Nicolaas took place in a friendly, familial and dignified atmosphere,” OPM senior campaigner Franzalbert Yoku said.

Yoku said Jouwe, 85, who has been living in exile abroad for the past 40 years, used the meeting to personally thank the President for allowing him to visit his Papuan homeland.

“Jouwe asked the President to solve current issues in Papua in the best and most dignified of ways, so as to avoid any violations of human rights. He also asked whether the political prisoners could be released,” Yoku said. (amr)

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Free Papua founder welcomed with warmth, protest in homeland

Nethy Dharma Somba , The Jakarta Post , Jayapura | Sun, 03/22/2009 9:08 PM | National
Co-founder of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) Nicholas Jouwe returned to his homeland in Papua on Sunday after more than 40 years in exile.

Upon arrival at Sentani Airport in Jayapura, Nicholas received warm welcome from dozens of extended family members. Among those welcoming him were Papua Governor Barnabas Suebu, Papuan-born Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numbery, and Papua Police Head Brig. Gen. F.X. Bagus Ekodanto.

Outside the airport gate, however, dozens of pro-independence Papua students staged a rally, stretching out banners read, “Welcome, Immediately End Oppression” and “You Started It, You (Who) Should End It, Welcome”.

Protest coordinator Viktor Yeimo told reporters Nicholas’s homecoming should end oppression against Papuans. Nicholas gave no response to the protest.

“Pak Nick Jouwe’s homecoming should not be politicized, and there should be no certain interest behind his coming back home,” Viktor said.

After engaged in a peace talk with Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Aburizal Bakrie on Friday, Nicholas is scheduled to conduct talks with local Papuan leaders in the country’s most eastern province.

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Indonesia hails talks with Papuan rebel leader

Zakki Hakim , The Associated Press , Jakarta | Fri, 03/20/2009 7:09 PM | National

Indonesia hailed meetings with a rebel leader who returned to the country after more than 40 years in exile as a good first step toward negotiating an end to a decades-long insurgency in Papua province.

Nicholas Jouwe, 85, a co-founder of the Free Papua Movement, said Friday he came back at the government’s invitation and was willing to discuss the rebel group’s struggle for independence. He denied reports that the rebels were ready to give up.

“I’ve come to speak to the Indonesians face-to-face to see what we can do,” Jouwe said. “We need each other. We are neighbors, eternal neighbors; they have to keep that in mind.”

Welfare Minister Aburizal Bakrie said he was encouraged after talks with the man who is widely considered to be the ideological head of Papua’s poorly armed separatist movement.

“It’s a start,” he said, adding that he hoped eventually for a deal like the one reached with rebels in westernmost Aceh province in 2005, which ended a 29-year insurgency that left more than 15,000 people dead.

After agreeing to lay down their arms, fighters there were given greater control over their mineral wealth and the right to take part in politics, which resulted in the election of a former rebel as governor.

Jouwe, who has been living in the Netherlands, will travel next to Papua.

Indonesia took over Papua from the Dutch in 1963 and formalized its sovereignty over the region six years later through a stage-managed vote by about 1,000 community leaders.

A small insurgency has battled Indonesian rule in the impoverished province ever since. About 100,000 Papuans – a sixth of the population – have died in military operations.

In the latest incident, suspected rebels last week attacked a security post, killing a government soldier. Papua police chief Maj. Gen. Bagus Ekodanto said Friday there was evidence separatists were planning to foil provincial elections next month.

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