Tag 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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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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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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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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