Monthly Archives: July 2010

Indonesian seafarers blame foreign fishing crews for spread of AIDs in Papua and Maluku

It is increasing number of locals contracting HIV/AIDS from foreign sailors stopping at fishing ports in the region.

Indonesian seafarers have lambasted the Government for its failure to control the operation of foreign fishing vessels, which they say has contributed to a surge in HIV/AIDS in Papua and Maluku.

The Indonesian Seafarers’ Association, which recently conducted a study on the fishing industry in the region, says the presence of foreign fishing vessels is out of control.

It says this is not only causing only financial losses but also a health disaster, with an increasing number of locals contracting HIV/AIDS from foreign sailors stopping at fishing ports in the region.

The Association says the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry and the Navy are unable to control the foreign fishing vessels, especially those fishing illegally.

It says their study shows the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS cases is in port towns.

Official statistics show HIV/AIDS cases have been increasing throughout Indonesia, with at least 300,000 people reportedly living with HIV/AIDS at present, but the true figure may be much higher.

Source: Radio New Zealand International

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SBY Calls for Auditing Papua To Deal With Grievances

There is a need for audits of development in the special autonomous region of Papua.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Thursday demanded an audit of Papua’s special autonomous status following rising complaints that it had failed to improve the welfare of the people after nine years.

“There is a need for audits, for example of development in the special autonomous region of Papua,” Yudhoyono said after receiving reports from his ministers on recent developments.

“There have been so many letters sent to me, as if Jakarta were neglecting the issue, as if there were not enough funds.”

Yudhoyono said that of Indonesia’s 33 provinces, Papua received the most money from the state budget, followed by Aceh, another region with broad autonomy and a secessionist history.

“Therefore, if it’s stagnant and there’s no progress, we should find out why,” he said.

“The audit will be conducted with that in mind, to find out if there’s been anything appropriate in terms of the management, the budgeting, the supervision or its efficiency.”

The special autonomous status was granted to curb separatist sentiments following the fall of President Suharto in 1998.

The deal offered a degree of economic independence by promising Papuans a greater share of receipts from the province’s wealth of natural resources.

Yudhoyono said the government had since 2005 changed its approach from a security-oriented one to a prosperity-based one.

“It’s now time for us to see everything in its entirety so that we don’t trade blame or become the target of criticism by domestic and overseas NGOs,” he said.

“We need to know, and the only way to do that is through an accountable audit.”

The president did not elaborate on the audit, including who would conduct it.

Justice and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar has accused Papuans of not knowing what they want. He said the central government had spent Rp 30 trillion ($3.3 billion) on Papua’s development.

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto has blamed the provincial administration for the lack of development.

“If there are funds for the region that haven’t been disbursed, that’s the job of the governor and the provincial legislature to supervise,” he said.

Benny Giay, the secretary general of the United Papua People’s Democracy Forum (Fordem), said the blame also lay with Jakarta for failing to address human rights issues in Papua.

“Many policies coming from Jakarta are confusing,” he told the press on Thursday.

“They shouldn’t only refer to the money, but also analyze the regulations they’re implementing here.”

Benny said problems such as the wide economic gap between natives and migrants in the region and fulfilling the basic needs and rights of Papuan people should be properly addressed instead of Jakarta simply claiming that it had distributed money.

Source: Jakarta Globe

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Papua one of the main destination for FDI

The capital Jakarta was the main destination for FDI in the first half with $1.9 billion, followed by East Java and Papua with $500 million and $200 million respectively.

Indonesia expects foreign direct investment to rise more than expected this year, as new and existing investors are drawn by strong consumer demand and increased stability in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.

The surge in FDI could improve Indonesia’s prospects of achieving a much-coveted investment grade credit rating, by providing a more stable source of longer-term investment which would in turn create jobs and spur growth.

The capital Jakarta was the main destination for FDI in the first half with $1.9 billion, followed by East Java and Papua with $500 million and $200 million respectively.

“The sentiment is much more positive. People are talking about Indonesia, good or bad, which is important,” said Madhu Koneru, executive vice president of UAE coal firm MEC Holdings, which is investing $5.2 billion in an Indonesian project.

Gita Wirjawan, head of the investment co-ordinating board, on Wednesday said foreign direct investment was forecast to reach 118.4 trillion rupiah ($13.1 billion) in 2010, an increase of 25 percent from last year’s realised investment of $10.5 billion. Previously, the government expected FDI to rise 15 percent.

The past 18 months has seen a stampede by foreign and local investors into Indonesian stocks, bonds, and the rupiah because of political stability and strong economic growth.

If Indonesia gets an investment grade rating the government would face lower borrowing costs, for example to improve ailing infrastructure which in turn would help attract investors.

A move to investment grade, which would put it alongside BRIC nations such as Brazil, would also help deepen capital markets. The stock exchange plans to ease rules to attract foreign listings, such as miners, a director said on Wednesday.

Source: FOREXYARD

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Landslide kills 1 near Freeport mine in Indonesia

A man collecting trace amounts of gold near a giant U.S.-owned mine was killed and several others were injured in a landslide in the remote Indonesian province of Papua, officials said Tuesday.

Rescuers are looking for other victims of the landslide in the village of Utikini, some two miles (three kilometers) from the Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Mine Inc., said Priyadi Kardono, the spokesman for Indonesia’s Disaster Management Agency. The company had sent heavy equipment to help the rescue efforts, according to spokesman Ramdani Sirait.

The man’s body was found early Tuesday, along with 21 injured people, Kardono said. The injured were rushed to a nearby hospital in the company’s compound.

Many traditional miners earn their living retrieving tiny amounts of gold and copper from the leftover, or tailings, of mines, a practice that is banned by Freeport because it is considered dangerous.

Sirait said all the victims were local people because the landslide occurred out of Freeport’s mine area of Tembagapura.

Landslides kill dozens of people every year in Indonesia, a vast tropical archipelago spanning more than 17,000 islands.

Source: The Associated Press

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Government Seeking More Infrastructure Projects in Indonesia’s Easternmost Province Papua

The government will help all pulp and paper producers as long as they do not damage forests.

The government will encourage more investments in pulp industry by providing more operating license in eastern Indonesian forests.

The Industrial Minister MS Hidayat said that the government planned to expand the pulp and paper industry to eastern Indonesia, including Papua, because of its vast tracts of forest.

“In future, we plan to expand the development of the pulp and paper industry to eastern Indonesia,” he said, adding that the expansion would help Indonesia increase pulp and paper exports.

Minister Hidayat urged pulp and paper producers not to damage forests to avoid criticism by foreign NGOs.

“The government will help all pulp and paper producers as long as they do not damage forests as foreign NGOs have claimed,” he said. “We will help pulp and paper companies as long as their production processes run properly.”

Meanwhile, the Director General of Forestry Production of the Forestry Department Hadi Daryanto, said proposal for license in Papua is growing lately after the government tried to guide investments especially in pulp and paper industry to the easten part of the country.

Indonesia is the ninth-largest pulp producer and the eleventh-largest paper producer in the world.

As one of the world’s biggest pulp and paper producers, Indonesia should defend its positions against negative campaigns by foreign NGOs.(wpnn)

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Papuans Don’t Understand What They Really Want, Ministers Claim

If the broad autonomy accorded to Papua had not raised the region’s prosperity it was the local authorities’ fault, government ministers said on Tuesday.

The comments came on the heel of massive protests in Papua last week that demanded a referendum on self-determination and claimed the special autonomy handed to the region in 2001 had failed.

“In Papua there are people demanding freedom from Indonesia,” Justice and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar said.

“Actually, they don’t really understand that what they really want is good welfare. In fact, we have sent Rp 30 trillion [$3.3 billion] to Papua.”

The coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, Djoko Suyanto, said it was not up to Jakarta to monitor the region’s special autonomy status.

“If there are funds for the region that have not been disbursed, that is the work of the governor and the DPRP to supervise,” Djoko said, using the acronim for the Papua Legislative Council.

Djoko said that trillions of rupiah had been sent to develop the region, making Papua the largest single recipient of special autonomy funds.

The coordinating minister said that last week he had met twice with representatives of the DPRP and the Papuan People’s Council (MRP) to discuss the calls for a referendum in Papua.

“They have stated what they need to say and we also stated our standing position,” he said.

Salmon Yumame, who heads the United Papua People’s Democracy Forum (Fordem), said that despite the introduction of special autonomy, Papuans remained marginalized.

“The special autonomy with its trillions of rupiah has never touched the lives of our people,” Salmon said.

“Those who enjoy the money are only the elite and bureaucrats,” he added.

Salmon said that special autonomy did not protect or benefit Papua’s native people and that there was a need for the policy to be evaluated.

“In the nine years since special autonomy was given, it has never been evaluated,” he said.

Salmon said that the special status given to the region had failed to raise the dignity of the Papuan people and that the MRP had seen its decisions ignored.

He said that despite the council’s recommendation that heads and lawmakers in Papua be native to the region, many were appointees from outside.

Fordem’s secretary general, Benny Giay, said that another problem giving rise to dissatisfaction in Papua and therefore fueling the demand for a referendum was the wide economic gap between natives and migrants in the region.

“There are also problems of the basic needs and rights of the Papua people, such as education and health, which are not being fulfilled by the government,” Benny said. “This reality has forced some of Papuan people to ask for a referendum.”

He said migration to Papua from other parts of the country should be halted. Benny accused the government in Jakarta of being arrogant and failing to ensure special autonomy in Papua was really implemented.

Discontent in Papua has been fueled by what local people perceive as the siphoning off of the region’s natural resources by non-Papuans and the alleged human rights violations in the region committed in the name of national security.

Source: Jakarta Globe

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Bishop: Corruption behind Papuan protests

“The majority of the people of Papua intend to work for the development and human promotion of Papua in Indonesia.”

“The real problem in Papua is corruption,” Jayapura Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar OFM Cap. has said, referring to street protests and recent requests for a referendum on independence from Indonesia.

An independent group composed mainly of young people have staged protests and rallies in Jayapura.

The protesters organized a “Long March” which, starting from locations outside the city, coming from to the provincial Parliament building, where there was a sit-in lasting a day and a night.

According to the protesters, Papua is still too poor (38% of the population is below the poverty line) despite the great natural resources it has and it lacks minimum respect for human rights by the Indonesian government in dealings with the local population.

“It should be noted that, since the admission of a special administrative status for the regional autonomy in 2002, there have been small groups against the autonomy and in favor of secession,” Bishop Fides told Fides.

“Today these groups are attracting young people who are often frustrated by unemployment and social problems.

“However, the majority of the people of Papua intend to work for the development and human promotion of Papua in Indonesia,” the bishop continued.

“There is a safety problem, as there are rebel groups, hidden in the highlands of the interior, which sometimes take revenge with weapons,” he says.

“However, since 2002 the people of Papua themselves have been governing their own territory, and the redistribution of resources by the Indonesian government, after 25 years of centralized government, has increased considerably.

“Resources that should be used for the social and economic development of Papua, however, remain trapped in streams of corruption. This is why the poverty rate is still very high (twice the national average), there are strong exclusion problems, there are delays in infrastructure and shortcomings in health services and education,” notes the Bishop told Fides.

“We need to fight a widespread mentality and form a new ruling class that puts the common good in the first place. This is why the Church and other Christian communities often denounce corruption and work for the formation of consciences,” Bishop Ladjar concluded.

Source: Agenzia Fides

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