Tag Archives: Netherlands

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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The Dutch Return, This Time as Friends

Cornelis de Houtman, the first Dutch traveler to arrive in Indonesia and generations of other Dutch officials, traders and investors that came later, knew well how Indonesia could provide a lifeline for the Netherlands for hundreds of years, while making themselves very rich in the process.

And now, with Europe still struggling to cope with an economic downturn, Indonesia’s significance is back on the table, offering massive opportunities for the Dutch economy.

The Netherlands is sending its largest delegation since the independence of its former colony in 1945, a visit that has been dubbed by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as “the most serious effort to synergize the two countries that have deep historical ties for the sake of present and future mutual benefits.”

Dutch PM Mark RutteRutte, who leads 200 businesspeople representing more than 100 companies and research institutes on a three-day visit, will meet today with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the Netherlands aims to build a new chapter of deeper cooperations with Indonesia, while trying to offset incidents that have damaged relations with its former colony in recent years.

“We have a long and difficult history together. But we must focus on the future, not only on the past, for the mutual benefits of the two countries,” Rutte told the Jakarta Globe in an interview in his office last week.

New era of relations

To show that the visit is historic and crucial, Rutte and Yudhoyono will sign an unprecedented joint declaration on comprehensive partnership between the two countries to take the relations to a new high.

The declaration will become an umbrella agreement for both countries to boost their cooperation further.

“The declaration marks the new era of our relations and cooperation. The partnership will focus on water management, logistics, infrastructure, food security and agriculture and education,” said Rutte, who will be accompanied by several key ministers and officials, including Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen and Minister for Agriculture Sharon Dijksma.

Rutte stressed that what is important for both the Netherlands and Indonesia is how the countries can benefit each other in the future.

Bernard Bot, an influential Dutch senior diplomat and former foreign minister, who declared in 2005 that the Netherlands acknowledged Indonesia’s independence in 1945, agreed that it’s time for both countries to come to terms with past and move ahead. “There’s so much we can do together for the sake of our future,” he said.

“It’s for real now,” Retno LP Marsudi, the Indonesian ambassador to the Netherlands, said in a separate interview.

Concrete offers

On water management, the Netherlands has funded a master plan for a massive sea wall in Jakarta Bay to prevent tidal flooding and to manage the flow of water within the capital.

The area behind the 35-kilometer long, 15-kilometer wide wall will be turned into office complexes, malls and other commercial buildings. There is even a plan to relocate all government offices to the area once it is completed by 2025.

“The master plan will be finished by early next year and groundbreaking will begin later in the year,” Retno said.

The Netherlands, Rutte said, has always had to deal with high water and sea waves in order to survive, considering that the country is partly below sea level. He added that his country would bring state-of-the-art technology for Indonesia to use.

“It’s time for the Netherlands to empower Indonesians by equipping them to fish, not by merely providing the fish,” said Jesse Kuijper, a businessman who will join Rutte to Jakarta and who heads the Netherlands-based Indonesia-Nederland Society.

On logistics, Dutch companies could help Indonesia build world-class seaports across the country while in agriculture several Dutch firms have offered their Indonesian counterparts investment and technology to enable the country’s farmers to produce food with the latest technology at a time when prices are rising and the nation is struggling to feed its people.

“The Netherlands is the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products, and we have many areas we can work together,” said Rutte.

In education, Indonesia has asked the Netherlands to treat Indonesian students as local students, so that they pay lower tuition fees. “It would be an excellent gesture from the Dutch government if the Indonesian students are treated as locals,” said Kuijper.

Difficult time in Europe

Rutte acknowledged that Europe and the Netherlands are facing tough times. “We have a difficult period at the moment. I do believe that we have made good strides but there is still a long way to go,” he said.

He said he admired Indonesia’s high economic growth of 6 percent annually. “We are jealous,” he said, smiling.

The latest figures from the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) show the Netherlands economy grew by just0,1 percent in the last quarter compared to the previous.

The CBS also reported that there were 46,000 fewer jobs in the third quarter.

“Indonesia can offer Dutch businesspeople a place for investment with a huge market of 240 million people and a growing middle class of over 100 million, as well as entry gate to the bigger market of Asean,” said Aleksius Jemadu, dean of Pelita Harapan University’s School of Social and Political Sciences.

He said the Netherlands now sees Indonesia as a successful democracy with long-term stability. “Relations between Indonesia and the Dutch should be more special — more than other ties — because we have a long history together. We can synergize, with Indonesia providing natural resources and markets and the Dutch providing capital, knowledge and technology,” Aleksius said.

He added that the Netherlands can offer Indonesia the opportunity to become a producer and not just a consumer. “It is now depending on Indonesia to realize the goals,” Aleksius said.

The Netherlands already is Indonesia’s second-biggest trading partner in Europe. In 2012, trade between the two countries was worth $4.7 billion.

Blast form the past

Relations between Indonesia and the Netherlands have experienced ups and downs, with two incidents proving particularly embarrassing for leaders of both countries in the last few years.

President Yudhoyono was forced to cancel his trip to the Netherlands in 2010 after a group of Moluccan independence activists filed a motion in the Dutch courts to arrest the president for gross human rights violations in Maluku and Papua.

Relations became tense after the trip was canceled, with many in Indonesia blaming the Dutch for insulting Yudhoyono.

The relations plunged into a new low when the Dutch government had to cancel the sale of Leopard tanks to Indonesia last year after the parliament voted to reject the deal. Indonesia then angrily turned to Germany to buy the same tanks.

Rutte, who loves Indonesian food like nasi goreng and sate and whose parents lived for some time in Indonesia, gave assurances such incidents would not happen again under his administration. “In fact, we are expecting President Yudhoyono to visit us next year,” he said.

About the Moluccan activists, Retno said everybody has the right to keep on dreaming. “But the question is whether or not it is realistic.”

She said relations between the two countries are getting better, with both sides understanding and trusting each other.

Retno also said the close connections between the people of the two countries meant Indonesia and the Netherlands could not afford to let relations cool.

Currently, 10 percent of the Netherlands’ 17 million population has direct or indirect links to Indonesia. And every year, Retno said, thousands of Indonesians travel to the Netherlands as tourists or for business, with the Dutch doing likewise.

Aleksius said fewer and fewer people in Indonesia see the Netherlands as a former colonial power.

“I don’t think it matters much now. People are becoming pragmatic, seeking concrete benefits and looking forward instead of being bothered by the past,” he said.

Source: The Jakarta Globe

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The Netherlands Sends Largest Ever Trade Mission to Indonesia

This week, a group of Dutch politicians and businessmen, led by prime minister Mark Rutte, will pay a four day visit to Indonesia.

The aim of the visit is to smoothen bilateral relations and search for business opportunities between both countries.

This Dutch group, which includes more than one hundred Dutch company delegates, forms the largest Dutch trade delegation that has visited Southeast Asia’s biggest economy in the modern history.

However, relations between the Netherlands and Indonesia are still complex today.

Obviously, the complexity of relations between both countries traces back to the colonial period, which brings along more emotions, in particular on the part of Indonesia.

Last year, commotion emerged after the Dutch parliament refused to sell army tanks to Indonesia because the Indonesian government might use these against its own people. This then became a laughing stock for Indonesians who pointed to the colonial past.

Moreover, in 2010, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono cancelled a trip to the Netherlands at the last minute because the Dutch government could not guarantee Yudhoyono’s inviolability regarding a lawsuit filed by the government-in-exile of the Republic of South Maluku (RMS). The RMS issued legal proceedings to have Yudhoyono arrested upon entering the Netherlands.

Indonesia is a highly promising market. The country contains a large population (over 240 million people) with a rapidly expanding middle class.

Per capita GDP has been increasing strongly in recent years, implying that the expanding middle class segment has more and more money to spend.

Regarding commodities, Southeast Asia’s largest economy contains an abundance and variety, including palm oil, coal, nickel, rubber, and cocoa.

Despite the political sensitivities, trade relations between both countries have been growing robustly.

In the last three years, bilateral trade rose 25 percent to approximately €3.5 billion in 2012. As such, Indonesia is the fastest growing export market for the Netherlands in Asia.

However, there is still ample room for further growth and that is why the Dutch trade delegation, which includes Shell, Unilever, Philips and ING, is heading for Indonesia this week.

Source: indonesia-investments

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Dutch apologise for Indonesian executions

Formal apology for colonial era mass killings comes ahead of state visit by the Dutch prime minister to Jakarta.

The Dutch government has formally apologised for the mass killing of Indonesians during colonial occupation which ended in 1949.

The Dutch ambassador in Indonesia, Tjeerd de Zwaan, officially presented the state’s apology at a Jakarta ceremony on Thursday.

“On behalf of the Dutch government I apologise for these excesses,” De Zwaan said,

The Netherlands had already apologised and paid compensation in certain specific cases, but this was the first general apology for atrocities carried out during the colonial era.

“The Dutch government is aware that it bears a special responsibility in respect of Indonesian widows of victims of summary executions comparable to those carried out by Dutch troops in what was then Celebes (Sulawesi) and Rawa Gede (West Java),” De Zwaan added.

Representatives of the victims welcomed the apology.

“We feel grateful and very happy to be here. Before that we never imagined that it would be like this,” said one, Nurhaeni.

Westerling executions

Special forces from the Netherlands carried out a series of summary executions in its former colony between 1945 and 1949, killing thousands.

In total, about 40,000 people were executed during the colonial era, according to the Indonesian government; however, Dutch figures mention only a few thousand.

South Sulawesi was the site of one of the worst atrocities. On January 28, 1947, Dutch special forces executed 208 men on a field in front of a local government office.

It was one of the many mass murders by notorious captain Raymond Westerling who was long considered a hero in the Netherlands.

Westerling and his troops held summary executions in tens of villages for a period of three months in a bid to wipe out resistance against Dutch colonisation. Neither he or his men were ever prosecuted.

Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen, reporting from Jakarta, said the Dutch government suddenly seemed in a hurry to apologise for the atrocities that were committed over 60 years ago.

“In a couple of months from now, the Dutch prime minister is visiting Indonesia and many have said it would actually be much more appropriate to issue the apology then. But suddenly they decided it had to happen today at the Dutch embassy and not in the places where these war crimes have taken place,” Vaessen said.

“They chose the embassy because they want to apologies for a lot more than only what happened in South Sulawesi and other places. They are apologising for all the war crimes, which the Dutch merely call excesses,” Vaessen added.

The Hague had previously apologised and paid out to the widows in individual cases but it had never said sorry or offered compensation for the victims of general summary executions.

Legal action

Two high-profile legal actions have resulted in 20,000 euros being awarded to the widows of some victims and a public apology for summary executions that took place on the island of Sulawesi and Rawagadeh, on the island of Java.

“When I received the money from the Netherlands I smelled it, I was so happy. But when I was smelling it I could not forget what happened to my husband. I was so sad,” Nani, a 93-year-old widow told Al Jazeera.

The father of Andi Mondji was one of 208 executed in Sulawesi. He witnessed it when he was still a small child.

“Look what I have lost back then, my grandmother was shot when she was 80 years old and my father was shot and another relative too. All of them shot dead. They should be able to imagine how I as a child have suffered because of this,” Mondji told Al Jazeera.

Source: Al Jazeera

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PPI Netherlands Recommendation Statement on Papua


This recommendation statement is made in order to convey the aspirations and ideas of Indonesian students in the Netherlands, who joining in the Indonesian Student Association in the Netherlands (PPI Belanda), as a concern over Papua, and to be submitted to the Head of the Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B), Bambang Darmono.

The PPI’s recommendations are as follows:
1. PPI Netherlands urges all parties to work together to build a peaceful Papua. As Martin Luther King Jr. pointed out that true peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice.
2. PPI Netherlands promotes impartially law enforcement in Papua, particularly to them who do not want peace in Papua. Justice is not only addressed to the separatist or pro-integration groups, but also to a certain Indonesia’s parties who take benefit from the continuation violence in Papua.
3. PPI Netherlands urges the Indonesian government to engage in peaceful dialogue, do heart-to-heart, build trust and confidence in Papuans, and convince Indonesian people that the government is serious in resolving the problems in Papua.
4. PPI Netherlands sees that one of the problems in Papua is the presence of Freeport Indonesia mining company that does not have much effect to the prosperity of Papuans. There are some problems between Freeport Company and the workers that need government’s attention, such as on salary, pension, and welfare negotiations. The government should be concerned in amending Labor Law, particularly in protecting the welfare and promoting the rights of the workers in foreign companies.
5. PPI Netherlands promotes Papuans’ basic rights and works for sovereignty over natural resources in Papua.
6. PPI Netherlands encourages the results of the Conference of Peace in Papua on 5-7 July 2011 and highlights the importance of Papua Peace agenda.
7. PPI Netherlands considers that there is a problem of identity crisis in Papua case. The question is how to make the Papuans feel as a part of Indonesia and the other Indonesians outside Papua also feel that Papua is really an integral part of Indonesia.

Den Haag, February 28th, 2013
PPI Belanda,
Secretary General,
Ridwansyah Yusuf Achmad

Read bahasa Indonesia version.


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Indonesia, Netherlands pledge to further ties

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa met here with visiting Netherlands Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, pledging to further promote bilateral relations between the two countries.

Speaking at a news conference with his counterpart Marty, Timmermans said both sides agreed to bring the bilateral relations to a higher level, as it deserves to be.

“Indonesia is increasingly a global player with global responsibilities, my ambition is for the Netherlands to be Indonesia’s gateway to Europe,” Timmermans said, adding that his country sees Indonesia as the country’s prime partner in Asia.

Marty said the two ministers had a fruitful and productive discussion on cooperation ranging from trade, investment, infrastructure development, water management, to agriculture and city planning.

However, bilateral ties between the two countries were believed to have been turned downward in recent years triggered by the abrupt postponement of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s state visit to the Netherlands in 2010 over a human rights trial in the host country which would lead to his arrest.

Last year, Dutch Media reported the majority of parties in the Netherlands parliament opposed the deal of selling 100 Leopard battle tanks to Indonesia because of Jakarta’s poor human rights record.

When asked about these issues’ repercussion in the development of bilateral relations, Marty said the tasks for the two ministers are to be able to observe, acknowledge and to be aware of these different dynamics within the two countries, yet at the same time able to see the broad picture.

“We recognize that our two countries have special ties in the past, we must move forward and make our relationship more contemporary,” Marty said, adding that the two countries should not be taken hostage by the past development.

The Netherlands, Indonesia’s colonial master for centuries until 1945, is Indonesia’s largest foreign direct investment source and one of the most important trade partners in Europe.

The Netherlands’ direct foreign investment in Indonesia totaled 966.5 million U.S. dollars last year, accounting for 38 percent of the total investment from Europe. The trade between the two countries reached 3.3 billion U.S. dollars in the first three quarters of 2012 amid weakening European economy.

Source: Xinhua

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Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs’ letter to the Dutch Parliament

Dear Chairman,

Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Uri RosenthalAs promised during the general discussions on Papua on December 22nd 2011 I herewith send you further information on the situation in Papua with a focus on the events that happened in Paniai.

This letter is based on inquiries with the Indonesian authorities, other embassies in Jakarta, among which the EDEO-representative and human rights organisations.

Interlocutors share their concern about incidental violence by the security forces in Papua, such as after the ending of the Third Papuan Congress early October.

I will continue to insist with the Indonesian authorities to respect human rights in Papua, to restraint actions of security forces during peaceful demonstrations and to a free admission of diplomats, press and NGO’s to the area.

The Netherlands will continue to support Indonesia with an improved implementation of the Special Autonomy Law 2001.

Here we join up with initiatives conducted by the Indonesian authorities themselves, such as the recently founded special development unit for Papua, called UP4B.

It is the task of UP4B to support the coordination, synchronisation and planning of the development programs in both provinces of Papua. The unit even has the authority to inspect the development and execution of the programs in order to guarantee an effective implementation.

On determining the powers of UP4B the Special Autonomy Law was taken into account, giving authority and responsibility to the local administration to conduct and plan programs for both provinces.

UP4B will report on a regular basis to a Steering Committee, which is presided by vice-president Boediono. Together with several ministers the governors of Papua and West Papua are also member of this committee.

In this respect I would like to mention that the Indonesian president Yudhoyono repeatedly voted for a dialogue between all parties in Papua in order to achieve a sustainable and peaceful solution.

As I mentioned during the budget debates in the House of Representatives a special envoy has been appointed fort his dialogue. This concerns dr. Farid Husein who was closely involved in the peace negotiations in Aceh and is a man with the right experience.

During a meeting with the chief editors of the Indonesian media on January 12th vice president Boediono indicated the the government aims at regaining the trust of the people with the new approach of Hearts and Minds. He acknowledged that safety and justice are just as important as investments in the social and economic development of the province.

Taken the aforementioned into account, president Yudhoyono and members of his government conducted talks on December 16th with church leaders in Papua. Also present during these talks were the chief commander of the armed forces and the chief commander of the police force.

During these talks the church leaders criticized the discrimination of the local people, human rights violations in the province together with the institution of the special development unit UP4B by Jakarta, which has been founded without support of the Papuans. In a declaration held after the talks the church leaders welcomed the president’s willingness to find a solution for the problems in Papua. It was agreed upon to continue the talks in the course of 2012.

The Indonesian government has confirmed to investigate the brutal actions of the security forces at the end of the Third Papuan Congress at the beginning of October, organised by the indigenous movement West Papua’s People’s National Reconciliation Team. It was stressed that police officers and soldiers who have broken the law, will be prosecuted and will be punished.

As far as the actions of the security forces at Paniai are concerned on December 13th, it is difficult to verify all that has happened.

The national police force indicated that this was an operation by Brimob (mobile police brigade) against freedom fighters of the independence movement Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM). The armed branch of OPM strives for an independent Papua with violent means.

There are no indications that the anti-terrorism unit Densus 88 was involved in the action at Paniai. It proved to be impossible to confirm any deadly casualties. The only report so far stems from the independence movement OPM, reporting 14 fighters killed in action. The OPM-information is also mentioned by Human Rights Watch, but has not been verified by this organisation. The Indonesian police force confirmed one wounded officer but does not report any deadly casualties. Since the 13th of December the area is supposed to be quiet.

The local representative of the official human rights committee in Papua (Komnas HAM Papua) reported to see no special reason to conduct an investigation on the events of the 13th of December 2011.

Enquiries revealed that no helicopters were used from Australian companies.

Following the exchange of thoughts in The House of Representatives about the Australian opinion on the matters concerned I contacted my Australian counterpart.

He reported that indeed there was a clash between the OPM and the security forces. He also mentioned the fact that the OPM not only strives for independence with violent means in Papua, but is also a part of intercommunal conflicts in the area.

I will see to it that also in the European Union attention will be given to the situation in Papua.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Dr. U. Rosenthal

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