Category Archives: Papua

Nicolaas Jouwe: Netherlands Created OPM To Oppose Indonesia

Nicolaas Jouwe

Nicolaas Jouwe

A Papuan community leader, Nicolaas Jouwe, said the Netherlands officers created the Free Papua Movement (OPM) in 1965, to oppose Indonesia and disturb the security of eastern Indonesias territory.

“I am a leader of the National Liberation Council of West Papua. I am not OPMs member. In fact, OPM was created by Netherlands officers in 1965 to coincide with the crackdown on the Indonesian Communist Party,” Jouwe said on Monday (12/5) in Jakarta.

In the lunch that was held for a journalist of Australian TV SBS, Mark Davis, Jouwe said the Netherlands officers trained the Papuan youths to become volunteers in fighting Indonesia.

“The Papuan youth who had been trained were then asked by the Netherlands to establish the OPM,” Jouwe noted.

Jouwe, born in Jayapura on November 24, 1923 and who had designed the Bintang Kejora (Morning Star) Flag, also explained conditions in Papua after more than 50 years of integration with the Unitary State of Indonesia, since the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) handed over the governance of West Papua (used to be called Irian Jaya) to Indonesia on May 1, 1963.

Jouwe underlined that the Papuan peoples state of minds cannot be separated from the Netherlands treatment, who had isolated and banned them from attending schools since the Orange Kingdom colonized the land in 1828 until independence was proclaimed by Soekarno and Hatta on August 17, 1945.

“During the 117 years, we the people of Papua practically lived in the Stone Age,” he said.

The obsession of Jouwe with the struggle for Papuas development was captured in a book titled “Nicolaas Jouwe Back to Indonesia: Step, Thought and Desire” that will be published in 2014.

On Jouwes book, the figure who used to oppose Indonesia, said he had come back to the Unitary State of Indonesia marked by his visit to Jayapura, Papua, in 2009, to support Papuas development, after tens of years of living in the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, during his stay in Indonesia, Mark Davis will organize an investigative report in Jayapura between May 6 and May 11, 2014.

Source: ANTARA News

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Papua to build four reference hospitals

The regional government of Papua Province will build four major national reference hospitals respectively in Biak, Nabire, Wamena and Merauke districts in 2014.

Head of the Regional Development Planning Board (Bapedda) of Papua Muhammad Abud Musaad said here on Thursday that the four hospitals would be build in the four districts based on regional customary divisions.

The placement of the hospitals in the regional customary divisions is expected to reach local people with fast, quality and modern facilities in providing them with health services.

“The district governments only provided land for the construction of the hospitals while the funds will be provided by the provincial government,” Musaad said.

He said that so far the people of Papua who suffered from certain diseases should be referred to hospitals outside Papua province.

With the presence of the hospital, patients who suffered from certain diseases could be handled immediately, he said.

“In order to provide the hospitals with health equipment, the provincial government will ask assistance from the central government through the ministry of health,” he said.

In the meantime, the National Family Planning and Population Board (BKKBN) said last week the maternal mortality rate in Papua Province was still high.

“The local government should give serious attention to the high maternal mortality rate. It should protect Papuan women and maintain the healthiness of their reproduction,” Julianto Witjaksono, BKKBN deputy for family planning and reproduction health, said.

The organization of cabinet ministers wives (SIKIB) has also visited the Wulukubun village, Keerom District, Papua to observe public facilities and family planning services there.

Julianto Witjaksono said that about 500 mothers died of bleeding during labor every year in the district. It was also difficult for officials to provide family planning services for native Papuan women.

“Of the many family planning service options, they prefer to use the pills, injection and implant methods,” he said.

BKKBN Head for Papua Nerius Auparay said meanwhile a new strategy was needed to introduce the family planning program to Papuan natives.

Source: ANTARA News

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Rationale given for NZ community policing assistance to Indonesia

The New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully

The New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully

The New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, has defended a US$5 million commitment to a three-year community policing programme in eastern Indonesia, including Papua and West Papua.

The programme, which follows a pilot in 2009/10, is to be funded by the New Zealand aid programme and implemented by New Zealand police.

Murray McCully says his government wants to encourage police and others in authority in the Papua region of Indonesia to understand good commmunity policing initiatives.

“The whole basis of community policing is training people to be able to use their authority in a way that is going to engender respect from the locals. It is precisely the expertise that New Zealand imparts through the community policing project,” he said.

“It’s simply an area that New Zealand has had a long-term interest in providing assistance in. We believe that to the extent that there have been difficulties in relation to Papua, those are best dealt with by encouraging police and others in authority to understand good community policing initiatives. And that’s a capability that we’re providing through the Indonesian government at the moment.”

“It’s one of the great aspects of New Zealand police that we are world-class at community policing and that’s something we’re doing in West Papua,” he explained.

Though the program has been criticized with the Green Party saying New Zealand should instead put resources into facilitating dialogue between the West Papuans and Jakarta, McCully says that he is more broadly aware of a lot of work that is going on in Indonesia at the moment to improve that overall environment and to improve communication in relation to West Papua.

He thinks that the Green Party and others who want to go pointing fingers at difficulties in West Papua need to get themselves updated on the significant amount of work that is being done by parties in Indonesia, in West Papua and Papua to achieve better understanding and to try and improve overall relationships.

“There’s a lot of good work being done, and I want to see the New Zealand government play its part in reinforcing that work, rather than simply standing back, as the critics do, and trying to identify problems,” he said.

Source: Radio New Zealand International

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Abbott warns West Papuan activists

TONY Abbott has issued a stern warning to West Papuan activists, declaring he would not allow Australia to become “a platform to grandstand against Indonesia”.

The Prime Minister’s comments come as Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said three West Papuan activists who made a series of political demands at the Australian consulate in Bali left the building voluntarily in a taxi.

Speaking at the APEC summit, Mr Abbott said he wanted to stress “in flashing neon lights” that Australia’s relationship with Indonesia was strong and people seeking to grandstand against the country were “not welcome”.

“We have a very strong relationship with Indonesia and we are not going to give people a platform to grandstand against Indonesia — I want that to be absolutely crystal clear,” he said.

Mr Abbott said Australia respected the territorial integrity of Indonesia, and claimed the situation in West Papua was “getting better, not worse”.

Ms Bishop dismissed suggestions by the Greens that Australian officials threatened to hand three West Papuans over to the police. “I understand that the three men left voluntarily, that there were no threats made at any time,” she told The Australian.

She said the three men delivered a letter to the Australian consulate, spoke with the consul-general, and then telephoned a friend to collect them. She said when the friend could not be reached, they phoned for a taxi.

“I am advised that the consul-general did not make any threats at any time,” Ms Bishop said.

Source: The Australian

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Indonesia serious about advancing prosperity in Papua

The Government of Indonesia is fully aware of the problems existing in its easternmost province of Papua and has taken steps to reduce the gap and eliminate the feelings of injustice felt by the residents of the province.

The scarcely populated regions in the province do not seem to be at par with the rest of the country in terms of economic and social development, but the government is serious about advancing prosperity there.

During a joint press conference held with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the Merdeka Palace on Monday, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated that the government was sincere and serious about advancing prosperity in Papua.

“To the Australian Prime Minister, I say that the Indonesian policy to manage Papua is very clear, for we take the approach of welfare, justice and democracy,” the President said.

The head of state further pointed out that Papua was the region to which the highest development funds had been allocated in Indonesia, although there were local and structural problems that had to be managed well.

“Indonesia is a democratic country, and the problems in Papua are part of democracy because the region is an integral part of Indonesia. Indonesia`s sovereignty covers Papua as well,” Yudhoyono noted.

On the occasion, Yudhoyono also extended his gratitude for the Australian government`s statement regarding the country`s respect for Indonesia`s sovereignty.

“One thing is clear that Indonesia will take full responsibility to overcome the problems in Papua properly and wisely,” he went on.

Meanwhile, the Australian Prime Minister also appeased Indonesian sensitivities by taking an unusually tough line against protesters in Australia agitating for independence of the Indonesian territory of Papua.

“The government of Australia takes a very dim view… of anyone seeking to use our country as a platform for grandstanding against Indonesia. We will do everything that we possibly can to discourage this and prevent this,” Abbott said.

He also the admired Indonesian Government`s efforts to improve the autonomy and life of the people of West Papua.

The Australian Prime Minister stated that he believed that the people in West Papua could lead a better life and have a better future as an integral part of Indonesian nation.

The people of Papua were yet to enjoy the fruits of development and therefore felt isolated, Velix Wanggai, President Yudhoyono`s special aide for regional development and autonomy had said in August.

He added that the feeling of injustice with regards to economic and social gaps had been further exploited by the outlawed Free Papua Organisation (OPM), which had incited a fight for independence.

According to Wanggai, backwardness, disappointment, and dissatisfaction of the people of Papua had served as ammunition to incite resistance against the government.

However, Marinus Yaung, an international law and political observer at the Cenderawasih University (Uncen) opined that a peaceful dialogue between Papua and Jakarta was the best possible solution for the problems of Papua.

“We agree that Papua-Jakarta Dialogue will help solve the problem in Papua,” Yaung said in Jayapura recently.

He noted that the problem in Papua was not limited to economic and social development; but was a political problem that had to be solved through peaceful dialogue with Jakarta.

Meanwhile, a hearing of the People`s Assemblies of Papua`s two provinces–Papua and West Papua–at the end of July had indicated that the majority of people in Papua were in favor of a dialogue.

Therefore, the Director of the Democracy Alliance for Papua (ALDP) Latifah Anum Siregar said that all stakeholders in the region should support the Papua People`s Assembly (MRP) in recommending a Papua-Jakarta dialogue immediately.

“The regional administrations of Papua and West Papua, the regional legislative assemblies, and people of the two provinces should support MRP`s recommendations,” added Siregar.

Meanwhile, Manokwari-based Institute of Research, Analysis and Development for Legal Aid (LP3BH) Director Yan Christian Warinussy had noted in August that the Papuan people had repeatedly urged Jakarta to open a peaceful, neutral and transparent dialog, facilitated by a third party in a neutral place.

Such a dialog had long been called for, but the Papua People`s Council (MRP) and West Papua People`s Council (MRPB) had only shown appreciation for the call and given their recommendations now, he said.

“Therefore, LP3BH of Manokwari, which serves as an advocate for human rights in Papua, had urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono not to close the door for a proposed Papua-Jakarta dialog in 2013,” Warinussy stated.

He said the proposed dialog should be held immediately, adding there was no reason for a delay.

Warinussy further stated that so far no response or appreciation had been shown despite the offer to facilitate a dialog with a system universally acceptable by the Papua Peace Networks.

As a result of the hearings held by official institutions, such as the MRP and MRPB, Jakarta was expected to react favorably to a proposed Papua-Jakarta dialog before the general elections in 2014, he added.

“A Papua-Jakarta dialog should be held to honor the aspirations of the 99 percent majority of the Papuan people,” he pointed out.

The MRP-MRPB hearing, which evaluated the implementation of the Law on Special Autonomy in the two provinces, had issued a number of recommendations including the holding of a Papua-Jakarta Dialog.

Supporters of the move are being drawn from youth organizations in Papua for immediate implementation of the proposed dialog.

Source: ANTARA News

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Abbott stresses ‘respect for Indonesian sovereignty’

Australian PM says two countries ‘are determined to end scourge’ of people-smuggling after Jakarta talks

Australia's PM Tony Abbot and Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang YudhoyonoAfter weeks of escalating tensions over his hardline “stop the boats” policies, Tony Abbott’s first official visit as prime minister to Jakarta on Monday was marked by a “collegial” tone.

Speaking with Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, at the state palace, Abbott dropped talk of turning the boats around, instead emphasising his commitment to respecting the sovereignty of Australia’s northern neighbour.

Abbott said he had a frank conversation about issues of sovereignty – including the restive province of West Papua – and the talks were “candid, constructive, and collegial”.

“Australia has total respect for Indonesia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Abbott, stressing a collaborative, approach to addressing the asylum seeker problem.

“We are resolved together united to tackle this problem and to beat it, on land and at sea, and at the borders of our countries.”

Abbott campaigned hard prior to his election on the promise that he could stop the flow of asylum seeker boats, but his policies to meet this pledge have been the subject of criticism and derision by Indonesian politicians.

Under the so-called Operation Sovereign Borders, Abbott has proposed turning asylum seeker boats around “when safe to do so”, as well as buying boats from Indonesian fishermen and offering them financial incentives for key information about people-smuggling operations.

The Indonesian foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa, had been reported as saying he rejected Abbott’s plans. However, after Monday’s meeting, Natalegawa was diplomatic about future co-operation.

Saying the leaked transcript of his conversation with the Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, last week was “behind us”, Natalegawa said that mutual respect for sovereignty would underscore any future agreements on asylum seekers.

Greeted by an Indonesian marching band performing a brassy rendition of the Australian anthem on the palace lawn, Abbott emerged from his meeting with Yudhoyono championing a unified front to combat people smuggling.

“We are determined to end this scourge, which is not just an affront to our two countries but which has so often become a humanitarian disaster in our seas between our two countries,” he said.

Touching on the issue of asylum seekers, President Yudhoyono said that Australia and Indonesia were both “victims” of people smugglers, and that asylum seekers were both an economic and social burden.

Each year thousands of asylum seekers fleeing from countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Myanmar transit through Indonesia, where they pay people smugglers to ferry them to Australian territory.

Discussing other aspects of the bilateral relationship, Yudhoyono noted that trade between the two countries increased 700% from 2011-2012, and the countries have targeted bilateral trade to hit $15bn in the near future.

Abbott who is accompanied by Bishop, his trade and investment minister, Andrew Robb, and a delegation of Australian businessmen, also stressed the need for greater trade and investment ties.

Abbott praised Indonesia’s democratic transition and thriving economy, noting that in the past Australia had made economic policy mistakes. In an apparent reference to a Labor decision to end live cattle exports he said Australia should “never again take actions that would jeopardise the food supply”.

He continued to apologise for Labor policies at an official dinner in Jakarta later on. He said: “There have been times, I’m sorry to say, when Australia must have tried your patience, when we ‘put the sugar on the table’ for people smugglers, or cancelled the live cattle trade in panic at a TV programme.

“There have been times when all sides of Australian politics should have said less and done more.

“I am confident that these will soon seem like out-of-character aberrations and that the relationship will once more be one of no surprises, based on mutual trust, dependability and absolute respect for each other’s sovereignty under the Lombok treaty.”

As part of his Colombo plan – an initiative to encourage more Australians to study in Asia – Abbott also highlighted the need to strengthen people to people links, and encourage Australia’s best and brightest to fully participate in the Asian Century.

Envisaging continued strong ties between Indonesia and Australia, Abbott said the “best days” of their relationship lay ahead.

Source: The Guardian

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An Educator’s Heroic Journey to Change Gender Relations in Papua

Esteemed mythologist Joseph Campbell is famous for breaking down “The Hero’s Journey,” a template by which all heroes — from Hercules to Harry Potter — follow the same pattern: the separation, the initiation and the return.

???????????????????????????????When Nabire, Papua-born Els Tieneke Rieke Katmo decided to earn her PhD in gender studies and HIV/AIDS at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, distance and separation were never factors, and the path seems more fluid and ultimately direct — but no less heroic.

After all, Els — a professor at the State University of Papua in Manokwari, West Papua — is from a remote part of Indonesia where walking three hours to school in the morning is par for the course.

It’s more than 4,000 kilometers from Nabire to Adelaide, but distance has done little to shake the confidence of a woman who has dedicated her life to gender issues and HIV awareness.

“Suddenly my neighbor passed away because of HIV,” the 38-year-old mother of two said. “Then one-by-one my relatives and friends started passing away. The biggest problem was people still believed these deaths were caused by black magic. A lack of education of the people around me pushed me to find out more about the issue, to help people around me.”

During her undergraduate dissertation in the same university where she has taught since 2009, Els stumbled upon a number of gender issues and overall lack of education leading to the spread of HIV. “I looked closely at the use of contraception by women and realized there was a big lack of knowledge about this, which is one of the major reasons behind the spread of HIV,” Els said.

Born to a forward-thinking father from Merauke in Papua, Els knew from a young age that she and her siblings were different. School attendance was mandatory. Men and women were equal. Els learned how to ride a motorbike and mend faulty electric devices while her brothers were taught how to cook.

Most recently Els, who earned her master’s degree in gender studies from the University of Indonesia, has tackled HIV among housewives in Manokwari.

“All the projects and research I’ve been involved in, have led me to the conclusion that not only education, but also the mentality about gender and HIV have to be changed,” Els said. “This pushed me to pursue a PhD focusing on gender, the sexuality of Papuan men and women and its relation to HIV and AIDS.”

Awarded a scholarship by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), now Els is ready to take her mission to the next level.

“I strongly believe knowledge is the most important element to survival,” Els said. “After I return to Papua, I’ll collaborate with local radio to produce a program about HIV. Also, I will start a project for the economic empowerment of women and kids with HIV. The most effective way to make people understand about the topic is by giving them examples based on daily life.”

Close friend and a master’s degree candidate at the University of Adelaide Zainah Rahmiati believes it’s her friend’s deep roots and unassuming attitude that has helped her make a lasting impact on the lives of men and women in Papua.

“Els is a great person, but at the same time she’s very humble,” Zainah said. “She has great ideas to make a change in society. Papua is remote and a lack of infrastructure makes it difficult for Els to implement her changes, but she never gives up. She is an inspiration for agents of change.”

A tireless advocate of education, Els firmly believes training and proper schooling is essential to understanding and stopping the spread of HIV in Papua.

Her passion led her, together with her best friend Maria Goretti, to establish a children’s library in Edera, a tiny village 10 hours by car from Merauke.

Most children in Edera, Maria explained, are 8 years old before they can read or write properly.

“In the village where we opened the library, if you can go to church or to school it is already a blessing, let alone gain access to quality books,” Maria said. “The idea of starting to provide books to kids and teenagers came after I saw in the school where I teach the low interest children have for reading. In the library the school books are very old, some were published in the ’70s.”

Marice Aun, 12, dropped out from school after third grade because her parents could not afford to pay the fees. Because of the low quality of education, she barely learned how to read.

“I fell in love with books because of the reading garden,” Marice said. “I’m so happy to be able to read colorful and cute books, they are interesting. I want to keep studying, and when I grow up I want to become a midwife.” A midwife who can help Els explain the dangers of HIV across Papua.

“I want the next generation of Papuans to have a better future, to be healthier, smarter and to believe in themselves,” Els said. Campbell would be impressed.

Source: The Jakarta Globe

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