Monthly Archives: October 2011

President establishes a unit to settle conflict in Papua

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has established a special unit to settle conflict in Papua, said presidential special staff for regional autonomy Velix Wanggai on Saturday (29/10).

The team is named the Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B).

“The team was led by Bambang Darmono (former commander for military operations in Aceh),” Velix said. Bambang, who is also the former secretary general of the National Defense Council, would be assigned to formulate the change in Papua and to build constructive communications between central and regional administrations.

“The team is ready to accelerate development, chop down bottlenecks between the central and local governments and initiate breakthroughs to solve socioeconomic and political problems in Papua,” Velix said.

“We hope the unit can bridge aspiration of Papuans and the government,” said Velix.

The Jayapura-born presidential aide explained that the team would initiate the “new deal for Papua”, saying the deal could spark a transformation in the way the government dealt with Papua.

According to Velix, the new deal would embrace the local Papuans by inciting dialogue with strategic groups in the region.

Velix said the UP4B would have a specific department assigned to supervise the use of Papua’s special autonomy funds to strengthen the budget’s control and evaluation system, “This would ensure that the money was being spent according to [Papua’s special autonomy] blueprint.”

The autonomy funds for Papua jumped into the spotlight following the government’s decision to increase the 2012 budget allocation for Papua by 23 percent. In the 2012 budget, the provinces of West Papua and Papua would receive Rp 1.64 trillion (US$186.96 million) and Rp 3.8 trillion, respectively; which are significant increases from this year’s budget, which allotted the two provinces Rp 1.33 trillion and Rp 3.1 trillion, respectively.

In line with the UP4B’s objective to strengthen supervision of Papua’s special autonomy funds, a House Commission I lawmaker from Papua, Paskalis Kossay, agreed that the government should impose stricter controls and thoroughly evaluate how this year’s funds were used, citing the fact that the Supreme Audit Agency found indications that Rp 4.12 trillion of the Rp 19.12 trillion in special autonomy funds for Papua and West Papua between 2000 and 2010 may have been misused or embezzled.

In August, the International Crisis Group (ICG) urged the UP4B to start its work quickly in Papua, citing the special team’s massive authority that allowed it to address not only issues relating to Papua’s development, but also more sensitive problems such as land, conflict and human rights.(*wpnn)

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Australian Ambassador to Indonesia: Papua conflict challenge for Indonesia

The issue of seceding Papua from the unitary state of Indonesia was not the best way out, because what the government of Indonesia has been doing so far was good.

Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Greg Moriarty is of the opinion that the conflict in Papua is a bid challenge for the Government of Indonesia in overcoming it.

“It is a challenge for Indonesian government to improve the welfare of the people of Papua,” the Australian envoy said in his lecture on “Australia in the Asian Century” at the University of Indonesia in Depok, West Java, on Friday (28/10).

Since Indonesia has so far been maintaining the country`s territorial integrity, Gred said the conflict in Papua was not because of foreign intervention.

“The government of Australia deplores endless horizontal conflict in Papua,” Greg said, adding that it was a big challenge for Indonesian government.

But he also asked the people of Papua to support the process of government policy to speed up the development full autonomy in the province.

“Indonesia has to be able to find the way out of the conflict in Papua,” said the Australian envoy.

Greg further said that the issue of seceding Papua from the unitary state of Indonesia was not the best way out, because what the government of Indonesia has been doing so far was good.

“I really appreciate what the government of Indonesia has done for Papua,” Greg said.

According to him, the decision of the people of Papua to secede from Indonesia was a contra-productive issue because what President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono`s government has done so far in term of administration of autonomy policy was much better.

Therefore the Australian envoy asked the Indonesian government to open an active and intensive dialog with the people of Papua to solve the problem.

Source: ANTARA News

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House slams SBY over Papua violence, demand dialogue

Legislators threw staunch criticism at the government on Thursday (27/10), accusing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of turning a blind eye to escalating violence involving the populations of Papua and West Papua.

Effendy Choirie and Lily Chadidjah Wahid, both members of House of Representatives Commission I on information, defense and foreign affairs, warned the government that the mounting tension could lead to the two provinces’ separation from Indonesia.

The legislators also urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to go to Papua directly to hold a dialogue with Papuans to resolve the issue peacefully, rather than deploying security forces in efforts to crush separatist sentiment.

“The escalating tension is not only a security disturbance but and mainly a serious human rights violation with the killing of Mulia Police chief Dominggus Awes, a Papuan police officer fighting for a humane approach for the Papuan people,” Lily said.

She added that the government should not blame the Free Papua Movement (OPM) for the shooting but rather the security personnel in Papua, who have have received US$14 million from miner PT Freeport McMoran Indonesia to safeguard its assets in Timika.

Effendy suggested the President assign former vice president Jusuf Kalla, known for his track record in mediating conflicts in Poso and Aceh, to help mediate the issue in an effort to win back the Papuan people’s confidence in the government of the Republic of Indonesia.

Irene Mupui and Paskalis Kosai, two Golkar Party legislators from Papua, said Jakarta and the government in Papua should be held responsible for the mounting problems and for its failure to improve the Papuan people’s social welfare under its “special autonomy” or fix the widening social gap in the two provinces.

All legislators present at the session agreed that the government should end its military-operation approach, and that the President should hold a long-awaited dialogue to resolve Papua issues.

Source: The Jakarta Post

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Papua separatist groups building strength by stealing guns

The escalating attacks against police officers in Papua are due to the fact that separatist groups (OPM) are in need of guns to help them strengthen their might.

“Their strategy is hit and run, or stealing guns, killing and then fleeing. This is done so that they can collect firearms to strengthen their power,” National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Anton Bachrul Alam said on Wednesday (26/10).

He explained that the perpetrators of the shootings of police officers were old players who belonged to different groups based in forests and on mountain slopes.

Each group consisted of 30 people armed with 10 long-barreled firearms, which Anton said was insufficient for them.

“So they still need more firearms,” he said.

On Monday, a police officer was wrestled to the ground and shot in the face by two unknown attackers at the Puncak Jaya airport.

In June, a Mobile Brigade officer was shot at the same airport. On both occasions the perpetrators stole the officer’s gun and ran away with it.

Source: The Jakarta Post

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No military reinforcements sent to Papua

Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said no military troops from outside Papua had been deployed there to back up security forces in the restive province.

“(There have been) no TNI personel shipments to Papua from other regions. Security (there) is fully under the police`s control,” he said on Wednesday (26/10).

The minister said security in Puncak Jaya is still under police coordination and it is under public security category.

Purnomo admitted that there had been an increase in the intensity of security maintenance following shooting incidents recently claiming among others the life of the chief of the Mulia police sector in the district of Puncak Jaya, Adjunct Commissioner Dominggus Otto Awes but the situation there was still under control.

“If any military personnel are conducting security operations there, they are from the local command to help police. Once again, there has not been any deployment of TNI personnel there,” he said.

Purnomo said if needed his office would certainly be involved in deciding it. “So far there has not been any report about it to me,” he said.

National Police Chief General Timur Pradopo echoed Purnomo`s s statement saying that security in Papua was being maintained by local forces. “Security there is being maintained by fully employing the existing personnel there,” he said.

Source: ANTARA News

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SBY Pledges to Punish Lawbreaking Security Officers in Papua

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has largely avoided responding to claims of a heavy-handed security crackdown in Papua following the deadly dispersal of a pro-independence rally last week, saying only that security personnel violating any laws will be duly punished.

“They are there doing their duty for the state. If during the course of that duty they commit any infractions, they will not be exempted from punishment,” he said at a cabinet meeting in Jakarta on Thursday (27/10).

He added that while the security forces would be kept strictly in check in the wake of the recent upsurge in violence in Papua, there would be no concessions for other groups inciting violence.

“Anyone found engaging in the kind of violence that we have seen there lately will be processed to the fullest extent of the law in order to keep the peace,” the president said.

Yudhoyono called on military and police chiefs to ensure their personnel in Papua did not use excessive force or go beyond their orders in the restive province, which has been gripped by a spate of violent attacks that have resulted in at least 12 deaths in recent weeks.

The president stressed it was important that the response to the situation be calm and not influenced by the violence on the ground. “The government must keep a clear head. So, too, must our brothers over there and the international nongovernmental organizations concerned with this issue,” he said.

“Our policies to date [on Papua] have been the right ones.”

He denied Papua and West Papua were still a theater of massive military operations, saying the military and police presence there was meant to keep the peace and ensure justice in the case of security disruptions by separatists.

He also ordered military and police chiefs, as well as the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, Djoko Suyanto, to initiate a dialogue with NGOs that were critical of the administration in Jakarta and the way it was dealing with the problems in the easternmost provinces.

“Host a dialogue with Amnesty International,” Yudhoyono said.

“Make it clear to them what our fundamental position on Papua is, so that there is no longer any misunderstanding. The government of Indonesia has always been very open in dealing with their allegations of human rights abuses in the two provinces. We stand fully accountable for our policies there.”

Amnesty has called for the release of at least 14 participants of the independence rally still being held by police. More than 300 were arrested and at least six killed, although police deny their personnel were responsible for the deaths.

Source: The Jakarta Globe

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OPM Separatist group claims responsibility for Papua police chief killing

The Free Papua Movement (OPM) has claimed responsibility for yesterday’s (24/10) fatal shooting death of a provincial police chief in Indonesia.

The reports say two men lunged at Dominggus Awes and pinned him down before shooting him in the head.

The incident reportedly happened in front of a plane at the airport in Puncak Jaya.

The separatist group’s coordinator Lambertus Pekkir believes that the military wing of OPM was behind the attack.

The Free Papua Organisation says even if they claimed to be OPM members, the organisation would not assume responsibility for their actions. Police would have to arrest the perpetrators and question them before making accusations.

The spokesman says he would trust the Indonesian police in handling the case.

Indonesia’s chief security minister Djoko Suyanto has instructed law enforcing agencies in Papua to take stern actions against perpetrators of violence and attacks on the government.(*wpnn)

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