Archive for August, 2008|Monthly archive page

Indonesia praises PNG for smothering Papua issue

Posted at 03:27 on 28 August, 2008 UTC by RNZI
Indonesia’s ambassador to Papua New Guinea has praised PNG’s Government for blocking the West Papua issue from being raised in recent meetings of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and Pacific Islands Forum.

Bom Soerjanto made these remarks at a reception to celebrate Indonesia’s 63 years of independence.

In recent Melanesian Spearhead Group meetings, Vanuatu pushed for West Papuans to be granted observer status in the MSG.

These attempts were blocked by the PNG Government which also ensured the issue didn’t make the agenda for this month’s Forum summit in Niue.

Mr Soerjanto says relations between his country and PNG have been buoyed by bilateral arrangements which mean each country respects the other’s territorial integrity including the agreement on border arrangements.

However, the PNG newspaper, The National, reports that Indonesian military aircraft have been invading PNG’s airspace in a shift from terrestrial to aerial incursions.

This is despite Jakarta recently apologising for incursions by its troops who had been harassing Papua New Guineans in and around the border villages.

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The Source of Papuan Conflict

What are the sources of Papuan conflict?

LIPI Team Members lead by Papua expert DR. Muridan S. Widjojo give four possible answers:

1. The marginalisation and discriminatory impact on indigenous papuan people.

2. The failure of development.

3. The contradiction between some elements of Papuan and Jakarta central government about history.

4. The accountability for past state violence against Indonesian citizen in Papua.

Clashes at December 1st Papua celebrations

Sinar Harapan, 1 December 2004

A ceremony held by pro-independence activists to mark what they consider to be “Papuan Independence Day” was marred by clashes on Wednesday as crowds numbering hundreds attacked police officers.

Violence broke out after activists attempting to raise the “Morning Star” flag in the Trikora Abepura field were prevented from doing so by the security apparatus.  This led to clashes between the crowd, many armed with sharp weapons and shards of broken bottles, and police who were only using police baton.

Police came under attack as they attempted to prevent the crowd from flying the ‘Morning Star’ Flag to commemorate the December 1st Independence day. Most of the police officers were carrying firearms and immediately fired a series of shots into the air. But despite this, the mobs continued to attack police and clashes continued. Police were eventually forced to retreat from the scene, as the crowd became increasingly violent.

The Commemoration of Papuan Independence Day started with a street march, spanning around 300 metres, in which demonstrators shouted ‘Free Papua’ and performed traditional regional dances from the central mountains.  The crowd, led by Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage, then went directly to the centre of the Trikora field and dug a hole in which to fix a wooden picket to serve as a makeshift flagpole.  But, just as the picket was about to be erected, police forces led by Jayapura Police chief, High Commissioner Moh. Son Aini, intervened, provoking an emotional response from the gathered crowds.

The police captain stressed that when the picket had been removed, he had hoped out of mutual respect there would be need for the use of force. But crowds were determined to raise the flag and became volatile when Police Commissioner Terry Levin wrestled the hoe out of the hands of those attempting to plant the picket in the ground.

Police then swiftly grabbed the makeshift flag pole and took it away from the field.  But they were then chased by crowds trying to grab it back, which in turn led to clashes.  The violence was soon broken up when Filep Karma intervened to separate the two sides.

Jayapura police had deployed 600 personnel for security around the 1st December and had additional back- up from 2 Indonesian army platoons.  The evening before, police authorities had called in Yusak Pakage and Filep Karma for questioning but released them earlier this morning.  Meanwhile SH sources reported that a flag raising ceremony did take place in Kelila region in Wamena.

UK Hansard on Papua 24 Jun 2008 : Column 284W

Papua: Politics and Government

Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the political situation in West Papua. [213491]

Meg Munn: We believe that the complex issues in Papua can best be resolved through peaceful dialogue between the people of Papua, their elected representatives and the central government of Indonesia. Indonesian President Yudhoyono has committed his government to improving the situation in Papua, which we welcome. Vice President Kalla, along with a team of ministers, visited Papua most recently in February to discuss economic and social development with representatives of the Papuan people. Governor Suebu, of Papua province, is pressing ahead with his social and economic development programmes, underpinned by the significant financial resources now being directed to Papua as a result of its special autonomy status.

Our embassy in Jakarta follows the situation in Papua closely. They are in regular contact with human rights organisations, non-governmental organisations and academics working in the region. Embassy staff visit Papua regularly.

We continue to encourage all sides to maintain a meaningful dialogue that focuses on implementing fully the existing Special Autonomy legislation. We judge that this is the best way to ensure the long-term stability and development of Papua and its people.

Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government are taking through the EU to encourage the Indonesian government to enter into internationally-mediated dialogue with representatives of the West Papuan people. [213492]

Meg Munn: We believe that the complex issues in Papua can best be resolved through peaceful dialogue between the people of Papua and their central government. Indonesian President Yudhoyono has committed his government to improving the situation in Papua, which we welcome.

We continue to encourage all sides to support meaningful dialogue and to focus on implementing fully the existing Special Autonomy legislation. We judge that this is the best way to ensure the long-term stability and development of Papua and its people. We do not have any plans with our EU partners to pursue an internationally mediated dialogue on Papua. We support the territorial integrity of Indonesia and do not support calls for independence for Papua.