Monthly Archives: March 2010

Papua Govt. seeks Grasberg mine royalties hike for Freeport Indonesia stake

A Papua provincial government official says increasing Papua’s percentage of Grasberg royalties would help finance the government proposed 9.36% stake in PT Freeport Indonesia without partnerships.

The provincial government of Papua is asking to receive a larger share of royalties from Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold’s Grasberg mine to help it buy a 9.36% stake in PT Freeport Indonesia, the Jakarta Globe reported Tuesday.

Earlier this month Freeport spokesman Budiman Moerdijat said the sale of the stake in PT Freeport Indonesia is expected to be completed this year.

Investor Daily Indonesia has suggested in December 2009 that the Papua provincial government could join with Indonesia’s second largest nickel miner, PT Aneka Tambang (Antam), to buy the stake. The Papua government says it has not been approached by Antam or Indonesia’s Central Government about jointly buying the Freeport Indonesia stake.

The Globe reported Tuesday that Agus Sumule, an economic advisor to Papua’s governor, said Papua planned to fund the $1 billion purchase price through bank loans. A larger share of mining royalties would strengthen the government’s balance sheet and help to raise the money, he suggested.

Papua now receives 6% of the taxes and other financial obligations that Freeport Indonesia pays to the Indonesian Central Government. PT Freeport Indonesia paid an estimated $6.9 billion in the form of royalties, dividends and taxes to the central government between 2004-2009 of which 9.4% was paid to local governments, the company recently told the Indonesia Parliament.

Agus told the Globe that Papua’s government has proposed to the Finance Ministry and the House of Representatives that its share of Grasberg revenue should be increased to 30%.

Freeport owns 90.64% of PT Freeport Indonesia while the Indonesian Central Government owns the remaining 9.36%. Deputy State-Owned Enterprises Minister Sahala Lumban Gaol said earlier this month that the central government is considering increasing its stake and has submitted a proposal to Freeport Indonesia.

Sahala said the government had yet to decide how large a stake it wants to purchase. Meanwhile, PT Freeport is not legally obligated to sell part of its stake to local governments.**



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Radicalisation and Dialogue in Papua


Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua saw an upsurge in political violence in 2009, continuing into 2010. One factor was the increased activity of militant activists from the central highlands, many of them members of the West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB). They decided there was no longer any hope of achieving their main objective – a referendum on independence – through peaceful means, and led some to advocate violence and in some cases directly participate in violent acts. Their tactics are decried by many Papuans, but their message resonates widely, and the frustrations they articulate are real. A dialogue between Papuan leaders and central government officials, if carefully prepared, offers the possibility of addressing some longstanding grievances, without calling Indonesian sovereignty into question.

The KNPB had its origins in the growth of pro-independence student activism in Papua following the fall of Soeharto in 1998. As various coalitions formed and fissured, KNPB emerged as a group of mostly university-educated students and ex-students who adopted a militant left-wing ideology and saw themselves as revolutionaries, fighting the Indonesian state and the giant Freeport copper and gold mine near Timika. There were two main consequences to their increased militancy. They moved closer to their highland counterparts in the guerrilla army of the Free Papua Movement (Tentara Pembebasan Nasional/
Organisasi Papua Merdeka, TPN/OPM) and they increasingly saw that the only hope of achieving their cause lay in showing the world that Papua was in crisis – and that meant more visible manifestations of conflict.

Violence rose in 2009 in part because it was an election year, and the polls provided a focus for action. It was also because activities abroad – particularly the establishment in October 2008 of a then tiny group called International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) – encouraged the militant activists to believe that more international support could change the political dynamics at home. Several violent incidents in the provincial capital Jayapura and the university suburb of Abepura in April, around the time of legislative elections, are directly attributable to the KNPB. Its members may also have helped spur violence in the highland district of Puncak Jaya, through communication and coordination with the local TPN/OPM commander, Goliat Tabuni.

In other areas where violence took place, the KNPB either claimed responsibility when it apparently had no direct role, as in the occupation of an airstrip in the village of Kapeso in Mamberamo Raya. The most dramatic violence in Papua over the last eight months has been the series of shootings along Freeport’s main mining road linking the towns of Timika and Tembagapura, aimed at either Freeport vehicles or those of the paramilitary police, Brimob. Many inside and outside Papua believe the security forces themselves are responsible as a way of increasing their numbers and therefore their rent-seeking opportunities in Timika. Crisis Group believes there is a stronger case to be made for the involvement of one or more TPN/OPM commands, because of statements claiming responsibility for some but not all of the attacks and various witness testimonies. But the possibility remains that multiple parties were involved, in what the Papuans refer to as “one plate, two spoons”.

The violence, combined with the activities of the KNPB, has succeeded in raising the profile of Papua both at home and abroad, and has increased interest in the possibility of dialogue between Papuan leaders and Jakarta on a range of issues aimed at resolving the conflict. The path toward dialogue is full of pitfalls, and there are potential spoilers and much distrust on both sides. Many in the central government believe that any discussion of non-economic issues such as greater autonomy or historical grievances will only fuel the push for independence and obscure the positive changes taking place. Not only has there been “Papuanisation” of local government and a commitment to accelerated development, they argue, but the police have gradually replaced the military as the front line of response to separatist activity.

Some Papuan activists believe that dialogue should only take place with international mediation and with the political endgame left open, rather than accepting autonomy and not independence as final. Even some of those who accept Indonesian sovereignty as a given believe that Jakarta has a history of promising but not delivering, and that if it does agree to dialogue, it will be as a public relations effort without any intention of changing the status quo. But the radicalisation of the KNPB is proof of the dangers of leaving political grievances to fester. Moreover, though many of the Papuan elite disagree with its tactics, the KNPB’s message resonates more widely than its small numbers would suggest.

A joint initiative of Papuan intellectuals and researchers at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia, LIPI) to outline a road map that would form the basis of a dialogue between the two sides is potentially the most fruitful option on the table to end the conflict. If it is to succeed, it will require acknowledgment that the solution for Papua is more than just economic development, though that is critically important. It will also need public backing from Indonesia’s president, Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono. ***

Source: ICG
Read full report in PDF format: Radicalisation and Dialogue in Papua

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Strong quake rocks Papua, Indonesia, no casulties

Jakarta — An earthquake with the magnitude of 6.0 struck Papua in easternmost of Indonesia on Saturday, the Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency reported, but there were no reports of damage or casualties, officials said.

The quake struck at 09:53 am Jakarta time (0253 GMT) with the epicenter 342 km northwest of Manokwari of Papua and with the depth 30 km, the agency reported.

Spokesman of the Indonesian Disaster Management Agency Priyadi Kardono told Xinhua by phone that so far there were no reports of building damage or casualties.

Indonesia has been frequently hit by quake as it sits on a quake-vulnerable zone called the pacific ring of fire.(Xinhua)

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Merauke set to be National Breadbasket

The program to set Merauke district as a national breadbasket has gained some supports.

A group of member of the House of Representative (DPR) who in charge of agriculture, marine and fisheries visited Merauke and engaged
dialog with some representatives of the farmer in Wasur, Semangga and Tanah Miring.

“We support the Merauke regent Johanes Gluba Gebze program to set Merauke as national breadbasket,” said chairman of Commission IV of the House of Representatives, Akhmad Muqwan recently.

“We will push the central government to give serious attention to this issue.”

Merauke region has an ideal field for agriculture development. Anyhow, it needs some attention and support from the central government especially in irrigation and infrastructure.

Once Merauke to be national breadbasket, there will be a lot of investor coming to this most-eastern region of the Republic of Indonesia. (wpnn)

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Canberra backs Indonesia’s sovereignty over Papua

Linda Mottram, Canberra — Australia’s foreign minister Stephen Smith has reiterated Canberra’s support for Indonesia’s sovereignty over Papua.

Activists have used the visit of Indonesia’s president to Australia this week, to call on Canberra to raise alleged human rights abuses in the region.

They say economic benefits from mining have not gone to local communities and they have suffered during the fighting between the Indonesian military and Papuan separatists.

Mr Smith says Australia’s formal recognition of Indonesia’s sovereignty over Papua and West Papua, under the Lombok Treaty, has been a positive step.

“What we saw the president do, and his government do, was say we can make improvements in Papua and West Papua, we can have sensible autonomy for various decision-making and we can look to improvements in economic and social conditions, including the way in which people are treatment so far as their right to express a view is concerned. So we think Indonesia has made progress on that front.”

Source: Australia Network News

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Report: Papuan radicals behind Freeport attacks

Sunanda Creagh — Separatists in Indonesia’s politically sensitive Papua province were behind deadly attacks in 2009 on workers near a mine run by a unit of Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc, a report released on Thursday said.

A secessionist movement has smouldered for decades in Papua in the far east of the Indonesian archipelago. In recent months, unidentified gunmen launched a series of attacks on vehicles travelling to Freeport’s Grasberg copper and gold mine near Timika, wounding more than 20 people and killing two.

The attacks have not disrupted production at the mine which accounts for nearly 40 percent of Freeport’s total copper reserves and boasts the world’s largest gold reserves.

The International Crisis Group report says the culprits were likely to be elements of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) who may have believed that attacks would lead to the mine’s closure.

The report, titled “Radicalisation and Dialogue in Papua”, said some elements of OPM and the National Committee for West Papua (KNPB) — a group with its roots in the student movement — were becoming increasingly militant.

“They decided there was no longer any hope of achieving their main objective — a referendum on independence — through peaceful means, and led some to advocate violence and in some cases directly participate in violent acts,” the report said.

The ICG report recommended broadening talks between Jakarta and Papuan leaders to address grievances related to political, historical as well as economic issues.

“A dialogue, if carefully prepared, offers the possibility of addressing longstanding grievances, without calling Indonesian sovereignty into question,” said Sidney Jones, senior adviser to Crisis Group’s Asia programme.

The report said Papua “is not the land of horrors that KNPB would like to portray”.

“The best way to marginalise the radicals of KNPB is not to lock them up. It is to throw the doors wide open to the central highlands and elsewhere, and let NGOs and journalists report back.”

Foreign journalists need government clearance to visit Papua, which was incorporated into Indonesia under a widely criticised U.N.-backed vote in 1969, after Jakarta took over the area in 1963 at the end of Dutch colonial rule.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa has said many foreign journalists were granted permission to report in Papua last year and has called on more to apply, said his spokesman, Teuku Faizasyah.

“It is very clear that we are actually not closing Papua off but there are certain procedures that must apply. It’s a matter of how to conduct journalism activities following certain procedures which, I think, many countries have.”

Faizasyah said dialogue was ongoing and Jakarta was “always looking forward to how to bring about better conditions for the Papuans”.

Source: Reuters India

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Regulations ‘needed’ to back Papua autonomy

Nethy Dharma Somba — The government is being urged to immediately issue 19 government regulations to assist the implementation of special bylaws in Papua.

Sophie Maipauw, Regional Representatives’ Council (DPD) from Papua and West Papua, said the Home Ministry should prioritize the regulations to serve as guidelines in implementing the bylaws.

She said that before serving at the DPD, she was active in pushing the Papuan Legislative Council and the governor to approve draft bylaws.

“After I got elected to serve at the council, I saw that the bylaws cannot be enforced without the regulations backing them up,” she said in Jayapura recently.

The regulations, she said, served as technical guidelines for implementing the bylaws.

“We ask Home Ministry to prioritize the 19 government regulations. The special autonomy status [for Papua] has been running for eight years but it was not backed up by special regulation for its implementation.”

Sophie cited the bylaw on the management of Papua special autonomy fund, which was issued in 2007 but could not yet be enforced due to the lack of technical regulation, opening up opportunities for corruption.

Rector of Cendrawasih University, Bert Kambuaya, said the absence of regulations on the management of Papua’s special autonomy fund could serve as a trap that could put officials in jail.

Citing an example, he said Papua regents were directly elected by people, making people feel that as voters they had the right to ask for something in return.

“People come to the regents’ offices to ask for money. The regents then give the money [from the special autonomy fund]. This is a real situation in Papua,” Bert said.

“If what the regents do is considered as corruption based on the latest regulation, then all the regents could be incarcerated.

”We hope the 19 regulations can be immediately issued to ensure the special autonomy in Papua is fully implemented.”

Source: The Jakarta Post

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