Radio NZ – Vanuatu, Fiji and Samoa are among eight prescribed countries whose passport holders will be allowed to hold dual citizenship in Papua New Guinea.

PNG’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Rimbink Pato launched the PNG Citizenship and Dual Citizenship Pathways system.

It means citizens of Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Germany and USA can now apply for dual citizenship in PNG.

The flag of Papua New Guinea.
The flag of Papua New Guinea. Photo: Supplied

Other foreign nationals eligible to apply for dual citizenship in PNG include investors, people married to Papua New Guineans, long-term residents, sportsperson and people with PNG descent.

The minister said the benefits of dual citizenship were many, including the prospects for fostering more investment in PNG.

Mr Pato said there were two categories of people who could apply for dual citizenship.

The first category covers people from the eight prescribed countries to apply for dual citizenship with PNG.

The second category is for PNG citizens opting to hold citizenship of another prescribed country while also maintaining their existing PNG citizenship.

BY GORETHY KENNETH, Post Courier

EIGHT countries have been allowed dual citizenship in Papua New Guinea, a historical moment announced by Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato yesterday.

People of these prescribed countries Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, United Kingdom, Germany and United States of America can now apply for appropriate dual citizenship options.

Others eligible for dual citizenship and allowed to apply include investors, by marriage, long-term resident, sportsperson and by descent.

Mr Pato made the announcement in Port Moresby flanked by the chairman of the Citizenship Advisory Council Solan Mirisim and PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority acting chief migration officer Solomon Kantha.

“Following my statement made in February 2017 on implementation of Dual Citizenship, I am pleased to announce that all legal and administrative requirements are now in order for the implementation of dual citizenship,” he said.

“This is a historic moment for PNG as PNG will for the first time enable foreigners to hold dual citizenship with PNG and PNG citizens to hold dual citizenship with another country.

PNG is part of the globalised world and after 41 years there are many reasons why we must be on par with the changes taking place in the world,” Pato said.

“Many citizens have either married, lived or are working abroad and want to maintain their connection with the country.

“Similarly, foreigners who are married to Papua New Guineans and those working, investing and actively contributing to the development of the country want to be part of this country without losing the connection to their country of origin,” he said.

“As mentioned in my last statement, there are two categories of people who can apply for dual citizenship.

“The first category covers people from the eight prescribed countries to apply for dual citizenship with PNG.

“The second category is for PNG citizens opting to hold citizenship of another prescribed country while still maintain their PNG citizenship,” Mr Pato said.

By Godwin Ligo, 

In March 2017, China and Vanuatu celebrated the 35th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two countries and their people.

In Port Vila, both the Chinese Ambassador to Vanuatu, Lui Quan, and the Vanuatu Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, recalled in their respective speeches to mark the occasion, many achievements between the two countries that continue to provide diplomatic and bilateral relationships between Beijing and Port Vila.

In his speech on the occasion, the Vanuatu Prime Minister Salwai, reflected on the 35 years of relationship between the two countries which he described as “enduring ties between our two countries but also the acknowledgement to China for its recognition of Vanuatu as a newly independent state back in 1982.”

He emphasized that this period of time laid the foundation of the important relations which had progressed in succeeding years from strength to strength,” the Vanuatu Prime Minister Salwai expressed during the occasion.

“We recall with gratitude and satisfaction, the solidarity exhibited by China during the past 35 years.

“We have come to know one another and built our relations based on mutual trust, understanding and confidence which exist only between the closest friends.

“Fundamental to Vanuatu’s relations with China is the adherence to the one China policy, which is a pillar of Vanuatu’s foreign policy.

“With joint efforts from both sides, we have witnessed remarkable progress in our bilateral relations and a level of exchanges continued to be enhanced,” Salwai emphasized.

The PM further recalled China’s support to Vanuatu before the country gained independence in 1980.

“It is interesting to recall on the events that led up to 26th March, 1982 in our history.

“By China’s stern support to Vanuatu in its fight for Independence, it had gone a long way in recognizing Vanuatu as a state.

“It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the contribution and efforts of the past leadership who have made tremendous contribution in growing the relation between our two countries.

“As we celebrate the 35th anniversary of this important relations, I wish to also pay respect to our former leaders some of whom are still with us today, for their vision and insight,” said PM Salwai.

“Our strong relations have provided the impetus which has led to increasing dimensions in bilateral cooperation particular in the areas such as Agriculture, Fisheries, Health, Sports, Rural Development, Infrastructure and Telecommunication, programs of which have contributed immensely to the economic and social development of the

country.

“Our people to people contacts have steadily increased as well as at the level of our two governments.

“Our Governments have widened the avenues of cooperation and collaboration not only at the bilateral level but also at the regional and international levels,” the Prime Minister stressed.

Salwai also highlighted in his speech, the number of Chinese in Vanuatu which he described as our friends: “More than 2,000 local Chinese, who have lived in Vanuatu for generations, are our good friends and dear relatives.

“For many years, they have been living in harmony and amity with the people of this land; have made unique and important contributions to the national economy and promoting the Sino-Vanuatu friendship.

“On behalf of the Vanuatu Government I wish to extend our greetings and sincere appreciation to the Chinese community in Vanuatu and commend them for their efforts. The Government looks forward to your continued support towards achieving our development aspirations,” PM Salwai expressed in his speech.

“Today China stands as one of Vanuatu’s major development partners where mutual cooperation and development aid program has brought tangible benefits to our people.

“The Government is indebted to China’s genuine flexibility in its assistance which is targeting the 80% predominantly rural population in Vanuatu.

“These key infrastructure investments are transforming the environmental landscape and surely will spur economic activities in the rural

areas of Vanuatu and positively contributing to the wellbeing and livelihood of our people.

“The construction of China’s new chancery in Vanuatu is warmly welcomed.

“It sends a clear message together with all the development support that you are providing that the future of our relations is bright,” remarked Salwai.

The head of Government said through the lens of history, the relationship between Vanuatu and China sets the direction for the deepening and expansion of the relationship into the future between the two countries.

He said Vanuatu will continue political trust, deepened mutual cooperation and promote exchanges with the People’s Republic of China.

“Through these efforts I am adamant that this current government can achieve its policy initiatives, one of which is to grow our economy by attracting more genuine investment to our shores,” Mr Salwai stated in his speech.

The prime minister concluded his speech by welcoming China’s assistance to Vanuatu: “To this end the government is determined to improve our key international ports of entry to facilitate increased visitors from China to take advantage of and enjoy the pristine and untapped natural environment and resources which makes Vanuatu what it is,” said PM Salwai.

“In closing, it is my desire that with concerted efforts from both sides, we will step up cooperation by cultivating wider engagements in the areas of our common interests towards our shared destiny,” PM Salwai conclude his speech on the 35th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Vanuatu and China.

New Mandala: West Papua worries
Free West Papua Campaign WorldWide
Free West Papua Campaign WorldWide

Olivia Tasevski – 30 Mar, 2017, New Mandala

History shows that the province has been a perennial problem for the Australia-Indonesia relationship, writes Olivia Tasevski.

In January 2017, Australia and Indonesia suffered yet another diplomatic spat due to Indonesian displeasure over West Papua-related training materials used by the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) at an Australian military base in Perth.

But, tensions over West Papua are not new in the Australia-Indonesia relationship, with the Indonesian province being a perennial source of strain since the 1950s.

In 1949, Indonesia gained independence from the Netherlands, who did not relinquish control over the nearby territory of West New Guinea (later known as West Papua). Despite Dutch opposition, Sukarno, the first leader of newly-independent Indonesia, began expressing his desire to annex West New Guinea (WNG) on the grounds that it constituted a part of Indonesia as they had both been Dutch colonies. In 1961, Sukarno sent troops into WNG.

From 1950 until early 1962, the Australian government, led by Robert Menzies, staunchly opposed Indonesia seizing WNG and supported Dutch retention of the territory as it feared that if Sukarno held WNG, he would soon seek to add the Australian trust territory of Australian New Guinea. Canberra’s opposition towards Indonesia’s claims over WNG resulted in a serious deterioration in Australia-Indonesia relations until early 1962, when the Australian government finally conceded to Indonesia’s claims over WNG.

Despite the fact that all Australian governments since 1962 have supported Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua, in 2006, West Papua again became a sticky point in the two countries’ relationship. At that time, 43 pro-independence Papuans arrived in Australia by boat seeking asylum on the grounds of persecution by the Indonesian government and were subsequently granted sanctuary in Australia. Indonesia’s then president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, responded by temporarily recalling Indonesia’s ambassador to Australia, Hamzah Thayeb.

The Indonesian government’s hostile and unprecedented reaction was unsurprising as the provision of asylum to these Papuans provided legitimacy to Papuans’ longstanding claims of repression by the Indonesian government, and legitimised the Papuan independence movement, which has been opposed by successive Indonesian governments.

This January was yet another example of how quickly the issue can lead to a stand off. Indonesia temporarily suspended language training courses with Australia due to the aforementioned West Papua-related training materials, which offended an Indonesian military officer working as a language trainer at the base. The material purportedly included homework that suggested that West Papua should have independence, a view steadfastly opposed by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and his predecessors.

The West Papua lobby in Australia has also contributed to tensions in the Australia-Indonesia relationship, notably via a pro-Papuan independence activist raising the Morning Star flag (the flag of the Papuan independence movement) on the roof of the Indonesian Consulate-General in Melbourne in January 2017. This action was significant as the Morning Star flag is banned in Indonesia. Individuals who have attempted to raise the flag in Indonesia have, at times, been subjected to prolonged jail terms.

The raising of the Morning Star flag at the Consulate-General was predictably condemned by the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi, who labeled the act “completely intolerable.” Retno also publicly chided Australia’s decision to not immediately arrest the individual involved in the flag raising.

West Papua is highly likely to continue to negatively impact upon Australia-Indonesia relations in the future, particularly since Australia’s support for East Timor’s independence from Indonesia in 1999 now means that many Indonesians fear that Australia will eventually support West Papuan independence or has strategic designs on the province.

The continued existence of a West Papua lobby in Australia alongside the continued perpetration of human rights abuses by Indonesian forces in the region will also ensure that West Papua remains a sore point in the relationship between Canberra and Jakarta in the years to come.

 Olivia Tasevski is a Politics and International Studies tutor at the University of Melbourne, where she completed her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and Master of International Relations. 

PM Salwai: Vanuatu maintains its support to the struggle of Kanaks

Prime Minister Charlot Salwai re-affirmed this morning that Government and people of Vanuatu have not change their support to the cause of their Melanesian brothers and sisters of Kanaky. Mr Salwai made the comments when he received this morning a high level delegation of the independent movement of the french territory of New Caledonia, the FLNKS lead by their spokesperson, Victor Tutugoro in his office. He said Vanuatu will continue to raise the issue of independence of Kanaky in regional and international organisations.

Mr Salwai said that the issue of independence of kanaks is currently absent within their melanesian organisation of Melanesian Spearhead Group but it is only with the leaders and not their people. He said the issue of the independence of melanesian people is rooted in the minds of the people of Melanesia.

The Prime Minister also congratulated the leaders of the FLNKS for their ground works towards then self determination of the kanaks. Mr Tutugoro and the members of his delegation also briefed Mr Salwai on the current political situation in Kanaky. The FLNKS delegation met with Mr Salwai this morning and also Deputy Prime Minister, Joe Natuman, former prime minister, Barak Sope, former president of the Republic of Vanuatu, Kalkot Mataskelekele and one of the former minister of internals affairs, Pastor John Sethy Regenvanu.

They will also meet with Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs and others leaders of Vanuatu during their four days visit in Vanuatu. The purpose of their visits is to gather information on how Vanuatu achieved its independence from Britain and France in 1980.

Source: https://www.gov.vu/ 

Andre Barahamin – 28 Mar, 2017, New Mandala

Why have Jokowi’s promises to open up Indonesia’s “forbidden island” to journalists and rights monitors flunked?

On 20 December 2016, the Legal Aid Foundation for Indonesia Press (LBH Pers) staged a press conference. It highlighted censorship by The Indonesia Ministry of Information and Communication (Kominfo) towards Suara Papua, a local news outlet based in Abepura, Papua. With no prior notification, Suara Papua was silently listed alongside 11 websites blocked by the government. Those websites allegedly violated principles of journalism by promoting hoaxes and hate.

Later that evening, Rudiantara, the Minister of Information and Communication called Asep Komarudin from LBH Pers, promising that the ban would be lifted  the next day.

On  21 December, Suara Papua could  be accessed again, but not for those using Telkomsel – the largest telecommunications service provider in Indonesia. In Papua, Telkomsel is the main player and controls more than 65 per cent of the market for mobile phone services users. When I recently published an article with Suara Papua, dozens of people told me that they could not read it due to the Kominfo block.

Arnold Belau, Suara Papua’s Editor-in-Chief says that there were no reasons given for the censorship. There was no early warning or official letter of notification. He discovered the website had been consistently censorsed since 14 November 2016, based on screenshots sent by readers from different regions of Papua. Belau strongly believes that blocking the website and censorship represses freedom of press, and violates public rights to access information, particularly for Papuans.

Franky Samperante, the Executive Director of PUSAKA Foundation says that the censorship of Suara Papua shows how Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is once again following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. He believes the censorship of Suara Papua is an act of repression against alternative media that raises awareness regarding issues such as ongoing human rights violations, land grabs against indigenous people, massive environmental destruction, education and health problems, and poverty — issues that are rarely mentioned by the mainstream Indonesian press.

This mirrors concerns raised in a 2015 report from Human Rights Watch (HRW), “Something to Hide? Indonesia’s Restrictions on Media Freedom and Rights Monitoring in Papua.” The 75-page account outlines the government’s roles in obstructing access to the provinces of Papua and West Papua. Phelim Kine, the Asia Director of HRW said that government access restrictions have for far too long made Papua Indonesia’s “forbidden island” for foreign media and rights monitors. Foreign journalists describe an opaque and unpredictable permit application process in which they often never receive a final response. Many have waited fruitlessly for months – and in some cases years – for approval.

Journalists who enter Papua under a tourist visa face the threat of arrest by security forces, as experienced by Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat in 2014. The pair — who were working for Franco-German TV channel Arte — was arrested by Indonesian security forces on 7 August while interviewing Areki Wanimbo, a local indigenous leader. Dandois and Valentine were sentenced to 2.5 months prison and fined $US200  They were released on 28 October 2014. But Wanimbo – who was charged with conspiracy to commit treason – had to wait eight months before release.

Suara Papua was one among few publications regularly providing updates on Wanimbo when all eyes were focused on Dandois and Bourrat.

When Jokowi announced the opening of Papua to foreign journalists and monitors in 2015, it was met with strong resistance from senior government and security forces officials. The promise was never realised because Jokowi provide any specific written directives after the announcement. This opened space for non-compliance by state agencies and security forces opposed to loosening restrictions on foreign observers’ access to Papua.

Various senior officials have since publicly contradicted the president’s statement. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, has announced that the government will take serious action towards those who are trying to limit journalist access and work in Papua. However in contrast to this statement, HRW has discovered no changes on the ground. Andreas Harsono, the Indonesian researcher of HRW, has confirmed that foreign journalists seeking to travel to Papua are still required to provide details of their likely sources and dates of travel in advance. Those details are believed to be used by the security forces to keep an eye on the journalists’ work and to prevent negative press circulating out from Papua.

As of 10 March, Suara Papua is online once again. But, despite the grand proclamations from government ministries and Presidential pledges for press freedom, it is no surprise that an increasingly intolerant Indonesia continues to block West Papua from the truth.

Andre Barahamin is researcher of PUSAKA Foundation, and member of Papua Itu Kita (Jakarta-based solidarity campaign for Papua). He is also serving as editor for IndoPROGRESS, an online platform connecting progressive scholars and activists.

Tiga Suku Besar Papua Ingin Diakui sebagai Bangsa Melanesia
Para tokoh adat yang tergabung dalam Dewan Adat Wilayah Balim pada 21-23 Maret mengadakan rapat pleno di Gedung Sosial Katolik (Soskat), Hubula, Wamena. (Foto: Ist)
Para tokoh adat yang tergabung dalam Dewan Adat Wilayah Balim pada 21-23 Maret mengadakan rapat pleno di Gedung Sosial Katolik (Soskat), Hubula, Wamena. (Foto: Ist)

WAMENA, SATUHARAPAN.COM – Tiga suku besar yang terhimpun dalam Dewan Adat Wilayah Balim (La Pago), meminta kepada pemerintah Indonesia dan Perserikatan Bangsa-bangsa (PBB) mengakui masyarakat adat dan wilayah hukum adat Papua sebagai sebuah ras dan rumpun bangsa Melanesia di Pasifik Bagian Barat.

Mereka juga mendesak PBB, RI dan negara-negara di dunia untuk mengakui hak menentukan nasib sendiri bagi mereka, sebagai  pengakuan atas HAM, kedaulatan demokrasi dan sosial politik, termasuk kedaulatan adat dan budaya untuk berbahasa ibu di dalam suku.

Permintaan itu disampaikan dalam  resolusi berisi 14 pokok yang mereka rumuskan dalam sebuah rapat pleno Dewan Adat Wilayah Balim pada 21-23 Maret lalu di  Gedung Sosial Katolik (Soskat), Hubula, Wamena.

Suasana rapat pleno Dewan Adat Wilayah Balim (Foto: Ist)
Suasana rapat pleno Dewan Adat Wilayah Balim (Foto: Ist)

Menurut siaran pers yang diterima satuharapan.com  dari Sekretaris Dewan Adat Wilayah Balim (La Pago), Dominikus Surabut, rapat pleno itu dihadiri 150 orang yang merupakan perwakilan dari tiga suku besar di wilayah Balim.

Tiga suku besar tersebut adalah suku Yali Besar, suku Hubula dan suku Lani Besar.

Masing-masing suku besar itu diwakili oleh sejumlah kepala suku dalam menandatangani resolusi.

Penandatangan resolusi dari suku Yali Besar, adalah Wilem Alua, kepala suku/ketua Dewan Adat Daerah Baptekma, Email Omoldoman, kepala suku/ketua Dewan Adat daerah Mek, Yulius Bai, kepala suku/ketua Dewan Adat Daerah Yali Selatan, Pontius Sunyap, kepala suku/ketua Dewan Adat Daerah Una Ukam dan Silas Wamu, kepala suku/ketua Dewan Adat Daerah Yali Barat.

Penandatangan resolusi dari suku besar Hubula masing-masing adalah Bonifasius Mulait, kepala suku/ketua Dewan Adat Daerah Hubula, Kares Watipo,kepala suku/ketua Dewan Adat Daerah Kurima, Julius Heselo, kepala suku/ketua Adat Daerah Hubla dan Dius Hiluka,kepala suku/ketua Dewan Adat Daerah Ngalik Momuna.

Sementara itu perwakilan suku Lani Besar, masing-masing adalah Simet Jikwa, kepala suku /ketua Dewan Adat Daerah Bogo, ISebel Murib, kepala suku/ketua Dewan Adat Daerah Yamo, Koyon Dius Murib, kepala suku/ketua Dewan Adat Daerah Koyon, Kelibenus Tabuni, kepala suku/ketua Dwean Adat Daerah Mamid/Kembu, Bernandus Yigibalom, kepala suku/ketua Dewan Adat Daerah Tiom Mangga, Gerard Wakerkwa, kepala suku/ketua Dewan Adat Daerah Buguk/Gonak/Balim Barat, Menes Murib, kepala suku/ketua Dewan Adat Daerah Kuyawani, Orowi Wenda, kepala suku/ketua Dewan Adat Daerah Balim Tengah dan Pandinus Wanimbo, kepala suku/ketua Dewan Adat Daerah Toli.

Menata Diri dari Tercerai-berai

Rapat pleno yang mengambil tema, “Masyarakat Adat Balim Menata Diri dari Tercerai Berai,”  bertujuan untuk merevitalisasi kelembagaan masyarakat adat  dari ancaman hak-hak dasar, kehancuran otoritas, dan perlindungan identitas dari kepunahan.

Disebutkan bahwa selama ini masyarakat adat Balim, banyak dirugikan dan menjadi korban secara politik.
Kerugian masyarakat adat Balim  terjadi baik di bidang  ekonomi, politik, hukum, lingkungan hidup maupun di bidang sosial dan budaya serta demokrasi.

Makan bersama sebagai bagian dari kegiatan adat dalam rangkaian rapat pleno (Foto: Ist)
Makan bersama sebagai bagian dari kegiatan adat dalam rangkaian rapat pleno (Foto: Ist)

Secara khusus disebutkan bahwa angka kematian masyarakat adat Balim semakin tinggi, anak putus sekolah juga semakin banyak. Lebih jauh dikatakan bahwa ruang demokrasi dan hak kebebasan dibungkam dan sistem perekonomian masyarakat adat, secara sadar dihancurkan.

Dalam upaya mempertahankan hak dasar, otoritas dan melindungi identitas,  yang diakui sedang tercerai berai menuju pada pemusnahan, Dewan Adat Wilayah Balim sepakat menyatakan sudah saatnya bagi rakyat Papua menentukan nasibnya sendiri diatas tanahnya secara bebas.

Ditekankan bahwa Tanah, Hutan, dan Air di wilayah adat Balim adalah hak milik mutlak masyarakat adat sebagai sumber hidup dan kehidupan.

Dalam resolusi, ditegaskan pula keinginan untuk diakui sebagai ras dan rumpun bangsa Melanesia di Pasifik bagian Barat, diberikannya hak penentuan nasib sendiri, dukungan pada United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), IPWP dan ILWP, dan desakan agar pemerintah Indonesia membuka akses Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) untuk datang ke Papua.

Mereka mendesak Pemerintah Indonesia segera membuka akses bagi jurnalis asing, diplomat, senator, akademisi dan pemerhati hak asasi manusia untuk masuk di Tanah Papua, dan mendukung pemilik Hak Ulayat Gunung Nemangkawi dan Danau Wonagon bagian Timur dan Utara, menyatakan agar operasi tambang PT. Freeport  Indonesia ditutup, karena kehadiran mereka dianggap sumber utama  kejahatan kemanusian terhadap masyarakat adat.

Mereka juga menyerukan agar para pelaku pelanggaran HAM di Papua ditangkap dan diadili melalui mahkamah internasional. Pada saat yang sama mereka meminta agar Pekerja HAM Internasional segera masuk ke Papua, menginvestigasi kasus pelanggaran HAM sejak Papua diintegrasikan ke NKRI sampai sekarang.

Di bagian lain diserukan agar pemerintah RI menarik pasukan organik dan nonorganik dari Papua serta menmbatasi arus migrasi masuk ke Papua, dengan alasan sedang terjadi penurunan jumlah jiwa penduduk masyarakat adat Papua.

Editor : Eben E. Siadari

  • Bambang MuryantoThe Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta | Tue, March 21, 2017 | 08:19 pm

Papuan student faces trial in Yogyakarta over political activitiesFight for justice: Activists and Papuan students join with the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua’s Yogyakarta branch and the Alliance of Papuan Students to stage a rally in front of the Yogyakarta District Court on March 21. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)

The Yogyakarta District Court on Tuesday began the trial of Obby Kogoya, 22, a Papuan student suspected of committing violence against police personnel before a rally on Jl. Kusumanegara in July last year.

Obby is the first ever Papuan student in Yogyakarta to face trial because of political activities.

Prosecutor Iswahyudi said in his indictment that Obby had fought against on-duty state officials, using violence or violent threats. The defendant had violated Article 213 (1), Article 212 and Article 351 (1) of the Criminal Code (KUHP), which carried a maximum sentence of five years in prison, he added.

“When the defendant was to be taken into custody, he brutally hit police officer Ronny Prasadana using his left hand, affecting his face, temples and eyes,” Iswahyudi said during a hearing at the court on Tuesday. Another officer, Priambodo Rochman, also allegedly suffered injuries in the attack.

The incident occurred as Obby prepared to join Papuan students in a rally on July 15 to support the United Liberation Movement for West Papua becoming a permanent representative of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, which was meeting in Vanuatu. The students had planned to march from the Kamasan I boarding house to Titik Nol in the center of Yogyakarta.

Obby raised his objections over the indictment. Presiding judge Wiwik Dwi Wisnuningdyah said the trial would continue next week, when the court is scheduled to hear from the defendant. (ebf)

Papuan student faces trial in Yogyakarta over political activities was originally published on thejakartapost.com

2:42 pm on 23 March 2017

New Zealand’s parliament has been presented with a public petition urging government action on the human rights situation in West Papua.

Maire Leadbeater presents her petition asking urging the government to address the ongoing human rights situation in West Papua.

Maire Leadbeater presents her petition urging the government to address the ongoing human rights situation in West Papua. Photo: RNZ / Daniela Maoate – Cox

Activist Maire Leadbeater and Murray Short, who was representing the Religious Society of Friends (or Quakers), presented their petition, with 729 signatures on it, to the Foreign Affairs and Defence Select Committee.

This petition focuses on continued abuses of the right to freedom of expression and assembly in Indonesian-ruled Papua, citing thousands of arrests of people taking part in peaceful demonstrations last year.

Earlier this month in Geneva, seven Pacific nations called on the UN Human Rights Council to request that the High Commissioner for Human Rights produce a consolidated report on “the actual situation in West Papua”.

Ms Leadbeater said their petition simply asked government to recognise the abuses and to take a strong stand on them.

“And we’ve suggested specific things, like calling for the UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression to go to West Papua, and we’ve suggested that they take this up at the Pacific Islands Forum, and get them to support this, and also at the United Nations.”

Maire Leadbeater (right) and Murray Short (left) present a petition to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee urging the government to address human rights issues in West Papua.

Maire Leadbeater (right) and Murray Short (left) present a petition to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee urging the government to address human rights issues in West Papua. Photo: RNZ / Daniela Maoate – Cox

“We obviously put this petition forward in the context of serious concerns about grave and ongoing rights abuses,” Ms Leadbetter explained.

“But we have to go step by step. An important first step would be to make it possible for there to be much freer access to West Papua, and for the Indonesians to have to take note of the fact that the rest of the world won’t accept that they just go on arresting people who do nothing more than peacefully protest.”

The committee thanked Ms Leadbetter for her presentation, with several MPs expressing appreciation at gaining a slightly better understanding of the situation in Papua, which remained a blindspot for many New Zealanders.

Chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade committee Todd Muller hears from petitioners asking the government to address human rights issues in West Papua.

Chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade committee Todd Muller hears from petitioners asking the government to address human rights issues in West Papua. Photo: RNZ / Daniela Maoate – Cox

Indonesia’s Joko Widodo-led government has made tentative moves towards opening up West Papua to outside access by foreign journalists.

But extensive restrictions remain for media in Papua, as well as international humanitiarian groups and NGOs, which are almost totally barred.

Jakarta is sensitive to what it sees as interference in its own domestic affairs.

Indonesia’s Defence Minister recently urged Australia to tell Pacific Island governments not to talk about West Papua.

A Papuan pro-independence demonstrator is arrested by police in Jakarta on December 1, 2015 after police fired tear gas at a hundreds-strong crowd hurling rocks during a protest against Indonesian rule over the eastern region of Papua.

A Papuan pro-independence demonstrator is arrested by police in Jakarta, December 2015. Photo: ROMEO GACAD / AFP

However Ms Leadbetter said Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua should not override legitimate concerns about protecting an indigenous people systematically under threat.

She cited the research of Jim Elmslie, an Australian scholar who has studied the marginalisation of West Papuan people, amid demographic patterns in Indonesia’s eastern region.

Dr Elmslie’s research into the situation in Papua uncovered a marginalisation so serious that it meets the stringent criteria under the Genocide Convention.

“That’s a strong thing to say but his academic research backs that up carefully,” Ms Leadbetter explained.

“So he says this is genocide and as far as he is concerned nothing trumps genocide, not even territorial integrity. And I think we have to make that loud and clear. It’s all very well saying sovereignty and territorial integrity, but not in the face of genocide – that’s absurd.”

Indonesian security forces hold demonstrators

Indonesian security forces detain hundreds of West Papuans at the Brigade Mobile headquarters in Kotaraja, 2 May 2016. Photo: Tabloid Jubi

Petition seeks NZ govt stand on abuses in West Papua was originally published on radionz.co.nz

Visit Shines Light on Government Policy Failures

Andreas Harsono Indonesia Researcher

The United Nations special rapporteur on the right to health did something remarkable last week: he traveled to the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua.

Dainius Puras’ two-day trip to Papua, part of a two-week official visit, was notable for the simple fact the Indonesian government allowed it to happen. Given the government’s long history of blocking scrutiny of conditions in Papua by foreign media and international observers, including UN experts, this development may indicate a change in policy.

In 2013, the government rejected the proposed visit of Frank La Rue, then-UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression, because he insisted on travelling to Papua. The government has justified limiting international observers’ access to Papua on security grounds, but the reality is the government and the security forces are just unwilling to face criticism from nongovernmental organizations and the foreign media.Puras’ observations about health conditions in Papua are a searing indictment of the government’s failings on public health. He singled-out the fact that ethnic Papuans “are two times more likely to have HIV/AIDS than the rest of the population and new infections are on the rise.” He called for the development of “culturally sensitive”

HIV/AIDS treatment in the region.Other statistics are equally alarming: Papua has the lowest life expectancy in Indonesia and the country’s highest infant, child, and maternal mortality rates. Despite Papua’s glaring health service deficiencies, the government severely restricts access of international NGOs, including those that provide much-needed healthcare services. In August 2010, the government banned from Papua the Dutch international aid organization Cordaid. The government asserted the organization had assisted Papua pro-independence activists, an allegation Cordaid denied.

Puras’ concerns about health rights in Papua should be a wakeup call to the government that its current policies on health in Papua are seriously inadequate. The government should recognize that international NGOs – and allowing media to freely report in Papua – can play a crucial role in supporting official efforts to fill gaps in public health delivery systems. Permitting Puras’ visit will hopefully open the door to wider international access to Papua, so that the government can get support to address the appallingly poor health indicators of ethnic Papuans.