Vanuatu Rural Electrification Program benefits remote communities
Vanuatu Rural Electrification Program benefits remote communities
Vanuatu Rural Electrification Program benefits remote communities

Like many Pacific Island countries, Vanuatu is a dispersed nation, with islands scattered across vast distances, and many remote communities never having access to electricity.

In 2014 Vanuatu launched its rural electrification project, with assistance from the World Bank and the Government of New Zealand, in order to provide electricity for remote areas of the country.

During a recent visit to the region, World Bank Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa was able to see first-hand the positive impact the program is having.

Pang Pang Village is a remote community on the coast of Efate Island, about 45 kilometers east of the capital, Port Vila. It was here that Victoria met local resident Lina Bae, previously one of the 75 percent of the population who had never had access to electricity. Through the project, Lina was able to purchase a solar power kit, allowing her to light her home and charge her phones other mobile devices.

After a display of the new solar lighting systems, Lina explained how in the past they relied on dangerous kerosene lamps and candles for light. Today she is happy that her children are able to read and study in the evenings after school, and feels content to leave a light on all night for her young children’s safety.

The Government of Vanuatu has set a target of 65 percent power generation from renewable energy by 2020 to increase energy security and fight climate change. With this project, 17,000 households throughout Vanuatu will be supported to access non grid, renewable electricity through solar.

With low population densities and large distances between communities, a key challenge for the project has been providing access to electricity in a way that is cost effective and efficient.

To do this, the project is subsidizing 50 percent of the cost of solar power systems for families. Community-operated and managed health posts and not-for-profit community halls also have access to subsidies to purchase solar systems. Initially, the project is focusing on solar power systems that are “plug and play” – installed easily by the owner and requiring little to no maintenance other than replacing batteries. These systems provide lighting and phone charging capabilities, with some systems able to support other uses such as radios and small televisions.

At the same time, the project is helping eligible low income families access the main electricity grid through subsidies of up to 80 percent of the cost of household connection and wiring – making electricity access a reality for more than 4,000 of Vanuatu’s lowest-income families.

Back in the hot, humid Village of Pang Pang, Victoria Kwakwa reaffirmed the World Bank’s commitment to working with the Government of Vanuatu to increase people’s access to electricity. The government’s overall goal is to provide 90 percent of Vanuatu’s population with access to electricity by 2020, and this project is an important step in that process.

To support the government’s goal of achieving 90 percent access, the World Banks is working with the Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program under the Climate Investment Fund and the New Zealand Government to scale up the rural electrification project that will supply larger solar home systems, micro grids and mini grids with an overall investment of US$35 million, to achieve an access target of 85 percent.

 Source: The Vanuatu Daily Post

Ratusan Pemimpin Aborigin Bertemu Rumuskan Referendum
Seorang pria Aborigin sedang memainkan didgeridoo di Circular Quay, Sydney (Foto: BBC)
Seorang pria Aborigin sedang memainkan didgeridoo di Circular Quay, Sydney (Foto: BBC)

ULURU, SATUHARAPAN.COM – Ratusan pemimpin Aborigin Australia berkumpul di Uluru, Australia tengah, hari ini (24/05)  untuk sebuah pertemuan bersejarah merumuskan langkah-langkah agar keberadaan mereka diakui secara resmi dalam konstitusi.

Pertemuan selama tiga hari itu bertepatan dengan ulang tahun ke-50 referendum pada 1967 yang memperbolehkan suku asli Australia dimasukkan dalam perhitungan sensus.

Sebagai catatan, Australia sampai saat ini tidak menyebut rakyat Aborigin dalam konstitusi mereka.

Pertemuan ini akan merundingkan konsensus untuk mendapatkan metode terbaik bagi pengakuan eksistensi Aborigin.

Lebih dari 200 delegasi dari kelompok-kelompok pribumi hadir pada Konferensi Nasional Pertama itu, yang akan merumuskan dasar-dasar bagi laporan yang akan disampaikan kepada para pemimpin politik Australia Juni mendatang.

Rekomendasi mereka kemungkinan akan menghasilkan referendum yang akan diikuti oleh seluruh rakyat Australia.

Pertemuan ini adalah lanjutan dari 12 pertemuan para pemimpin pribumi Australia dalam enam bulan terakhir. Diharapkan pertemuan itu akan membicarakan kemungkinan pengakuan terhadap suku asli dimasukkan dalam konstitusi atau dicantumkan secara terpisah.

Penduduk Aborigin di Australia mencapai 2,5 persen dari total 24 juta penduduk.

Baik Perdana Menteri Australia, Malcom Turnbull, maupun pemimpin oposisi, Bill Shorten, menolak dengan hormat menghadiri pertemuan ini, dengan alasan menghindari campur tangan politik.

Namun, Turnbull telah menegaskan dukungannya bagi keharusan diakuinya Aborigin dalam konstitusi Australia.

Berbicara di hadapan parlemen hari ini (24/05) dalam acara peringatan 50 tahun referendum 1967, Turnbull mengakui pengakuan terhadap penduduk asli belum cukup dari pemerintah sejak 50 tahun lalu.

Dia tidak menutup kemungkinan untuk mengamandemen konstitusi Australia.

“Kita sekarang memiliki kesempatan untuk mengambil langkah lainnya dalam perjalanan kita,” kata dia.

Referendum terhadap pengakuan Aborigin dalam konstitusi Australia sudah pernah direncanakan dan bahkan diharapkan akan berlangsung hari ini. Tetapi kemudian tertunda.

Dari hasil pertemuan tersebut, diharapkan munciul peta jalan (road map) referendum yang akan diserahkan kepada Turnbull dan Bill Shorten pada bulan Juni.

Editor : Eben E. Siadari

Indonesia rejects claims about ACP meeting

Jayapura, Jubi – Indonesia has disputed reports that this month’s African, Caribbean and Pacific meeting featured discussion about West Papua.

The ACP Council of Ministers in Brussels reportedly heard a joint statement on Papua from seven Pacific countries – Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau and the Marshall Islands.

The statement condemned Indonesian human rights violations in Papua and called for a resolution supporting the right of West Papuan political self-determination.

However, Indonesia’s embassy in New Zealand says the ACP agreed in April that the group would not cover the issue of Papua in future meetings.

It has rejected reported claims from a Vanuatu minister that African and Caribbean countries support their push for a new Papuan self-determination process.

It said that in its response to Indonesia’s embassy in Brussels, the ACP Secretariat rejected reportage of the Pacific statement, indicating the issue of Papua “did not feature” during the meeting.

Vanuatu’s government envoy Johnny Koanapo was reported to have delivered the joint statement to the Council, warning that “apartheid-like colonial rule” was wiping out West Papuans as a people.

Mr Koanapo has said that the discussion set up the likelihood of a resolution on the full range of West Papua issues at the next ACP ministerial council meeting, scheduled for November.

However the Indonesian embassy has dismissed his statement.

“The argument made by a Vanuatu politician that African countries support self-determination in Papua is false,” said the embassy in a statement.

“As close partners sharing common history and future, Indonesia and Africa have long expressed solidarity and full support towards each other’s sovereignty.”(*)

Source: RNZI

Editor    : Zely Ariane

Bougainville Referendum Commission

PNG Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato na ABG Electoral Commissioner George Manu i sainim wanpla agriman (Credit: ABC)
PNG Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato na ABG Electoral Commissioner George Manu i sainim wanpla agriman (Credit: ABC)

Radio Australia – Deputi speaker blong Autonomous Bougainville gavman itok emi hamamas tru long wok em tupla  gavman blong Papua New Guinea na Bougainville i mekim long kamapim commission blong lukautim na redi-im wok blong indipendans referendum long Bougainville.

Francesca Semoso i mekim despla toktok bihaen long ol gavman ofisa blong National gavman na Autonomous Bougainville gavman ibin lonchim Bougainville Referendum Commission aste long Port Moresby.

Oli tok bikpla wok blong despla Commission em blong redi-im despla referendum long  2019 blong save sopos Bougainville bai lusim Papua New Guinea oa nogat.

Despla wok emi bihaenim tu ol as tingting blong Bougainville peace agreement em oli bin sainim long 2001.

Oli bin kamapim peace agreement bihaenim ol bikpla fait namel long ol pipal blong Bougainville na PNG Gavman we moa long 20 tausan pipal ibin dai long en.

Tapanga Rarua applies for the registration of Holy (Healing) Water

DailyPost – Former MP, Willie Jimmy Tapanga Rarua, the holder of the lease title for the land on which the miracle water in Luganville, Santo, is located and his wife Alvin Tapanga Rarua have applied to the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC) in Port Vila to register the services under the name Holy (Healing) Water.

A Notice by Luganville Municipal Council on the Property in Question to the site advising to the people that miracle water is for free
A Notice by Luganville Municipal Council on the Property in Question to the site advising to the people that miracle water is for free

The application forms lodged with the VFSC were signed on April 25, 2017 and signed by the two applicants.

An accompanying Lands Records Office document shows that an Urban Commercial Lease dated April 17, 2007 between the Lessor, the Minister of Lands and the Lessees Willie Jimmy Tanaga Rarua and Alvin Tapanga Rarua is for 75 years.

In a letter to the Commissioner of the VFSC dated April 15, 2017, Mr. and Mrs. Tanpanga Rarua said that: “As proprietors of the Property Lease Title 03/1113/053 situated in Luganville, Espiritu Santo, we wish to register the name Holy or Healing Water that is currently being used by the trespassers into our property without our consent.”

“We are also concerned of the fact that while we allow the use of the water to be free, commercial entities such as Vanuatu Ferry, Vanuatu Cargo, Big Sister and other coastal shipping agencies and even Air Vanuatu are all providing special trips to the travelling public at discounted rates to travel to travel to Santo to bathe in the Healing Water in my property,” they wrote.

They alleged these entities are abetting and are in complicity with the traveling public to trespass into their property.

“We therefore request the Commissioner to assist us to register the words or Name ‘Healing (Holy) Water Limited’ in our favor as proprietors of the property.”

The name is to only apply to the water in Luganville and not any other place, they said.

Caretakers of the water source say that upwards to 1,000 people visit the Miracle Water site everyday and between 3,000 and 4,000 on public holidays and weekends.

These people are coming from all over the country including now from nearby New Caledonia.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

Anak-anak di Niue./RNZI
Anak-anak di Niue./RNZI

Guam, Jubi – Kesadaran bangsa-bangsa asli Kepulauan Pasifik untuk menyelamatkan bahasa ibunya kini kian meningkat. Baru-baru ini, pemerintah Guam membentuk kembali sebuah komisi bahasa asli Chamorro yang telah 20 tahun ini mengalami mati suri.

Diketuai mantan senator, Hope Christobal, komisi bahasa asli Chamorro akan ditugaskan untuk memperbaharui aturan ortografi bahasa, menstandarisasi bahasa Camorro di Mariana dan menyusun kurikulum sekolah.

Christobal mengatakan bahwa anggota komisi dipilih dari kalangan melek sejarah, bahasa dan pendidikan Chamorro. Undang-undang yang melandasi pembentukan kembali komisi ini menggunakan istilah “Chamoru” dalam teks undang-undang. Beberapa ahli berpendapat bahwa “chamoru” adalah pengejaan paling benar terhadap nama suku dan bangsa asli Guam itu.

Kesadaran untuk menghidupkan kembali eksistensi bahasa asli ini bukan pertama kali dilakukan. Akhir tahun lalu, Guam membuat langkah besar dengan membuka sekolah bahasa Chamorro pertama di negara itu.

Jumlah penduduk yang masih menggunakan bahasa asli Guam dilaporkan terus menurun dan sudah mencapai tahap kritis dibandingkan beberapa dekade lalu. Jumlah penutur bahasa Chamorro hanya tercatat kurang lebih 25.000 orang yang kebanyakan berusia lebih dari 50 tahun.

Rufina Mendiola dari Divisi Chamorro Departemen Pendidikan Guam mengatakan bahwa selama ini pihaknya telah menerima permintaan penduduk untuk membuka sekolah berbahasa Chamorro. Sekolah tersebut mirip dengan sekolah berbahasa asli yang telah lebih dulu dibangun di Hawaii dan Selandia Baru.

Pembentukan sekolah Chamorro berarti niat pemerintah untuk mencetak generasi penutur bahasa asli Chamorro sangat besar. Mendiola mengatakan, sekolah berbahasa Chamorro ini akan mulai aktif melangsungkan kegiatan belajar mengajar dan menerima siswa baru pada tahun ini.

“Kami ingin memulai dari awal yaitu dengan membuka taman kanak-kanak dengan jumlah murid kurang lebih 18 orang. Lalu jika setiap tahun jumlah pendaftar makin banyak, kami akan membuka sekolah lain,” ujarnya.

Upaya penyelamatan bahasa asli Chamorro telah dimulai sejak pemerintah Amerika Serikat menggelontorkan dananya senilai 200 ribu dolar Amerika Serikat kepada pemerintah Guam dan Kepulauan Mariana Utara pada tahun 2013.

Universitas Guam saat itu kebagian tugas untuk mengatur pusat pendidikan bahasa Chamorro di tingkat sekolah menengah. Bantuan ini merupakan bantuan pertama kali diberikan untuk digunakan selama tiga tahun proyek berlangsung.

Perwakilan Kongres AS di Guam, Madeleine Bordallo mengatakan bahwa uang tersebut digunakan untuk memastikan agar para siswa kelas bahasa Chamorro menerima hak pendidikan yang sama dengan kelas internasional. Selain itu, tujuan utamanya yaitu melestarikan kebudayaan tradisional dan bahasa asli.

Selamatkan bahasa Niue

Gerakan penyelamaan bahasa asli juga tengah menggema di Niue. Para pemimpin Niue menyerukan agar penduduk asli Niue dan penduduk Niue yang bermukim di luar negeri untuk melestarikan bahasa Niue, Vagahau.

Pertengahan bulan lalu, mereka menggelar konferensi bertajuk Konferensi Vagahau Niue yang dihadiri oleh berbagai pembicara dari pemerintah, lembaga swadaya masyarakat dan perusahaan dari seluruh Pasifik Selatan.

Konferensi yang berlangsung di desa Mutalau itu berfokus untuk membantu penduduk Niue menggunakan bahasa asli mereka dalam rangka menyelamatkan kebudayaan mereka. Jumlah penduduk Niue saat ini mencapai 1.600 orang dan 30.000 orang lainnya bermukim di luar negeri.

Ketua Komisi Bahasa Niue, Tifaole Loane mengatakan bahwa kolonisasi wilayah Niue selama ini juga telah melenyapkan bahasa Vagahau Niue. Ia mengisahkan bahwa dirinya bersekolah dasar di Niue pada tahun 1960-an dan masih ingat bagaimana anak-anak saat itu berbicara bahasa Vagahau di sekolah.

“Di masa saya dulu, saya masih ingat bahwa anak-anak akan dihukum jika berbicara bahasa Niue. Kami dihukum dengan cara harus menulis ‘Saya tidak boleh berbicara bahasa Niue. Saya tidak boleh berbicara bahasa Niue..’ demikian terus menerus,” ujarnya.

Penduduk lokal juga saat itu diajari bahwa kebudayaan dan bahasa mereka derajatnya lebih rendah dibanding kebudayaan Barat dan bahasa Inggris. Ia kini harus bekerja keras menghapuskan mental yang terbentuk akibat penjajahan bahasa seperti yang ia alami.

“Masalahnya, para penjajah telah mengajari kita bahwa kebudayaan kita lebih rendah, bahasa kita lebih rendah. Saat ini, kita harus bekerja keras menghapuskan mental seperti ini karena kita tahu bahwa sebenarnya kebudayaan kita mengandung banyak nilai-nilai luhur,” tuturnya.

Gerakan menyelamatkan bahasa asli juga terjadi di Tonga. Masyarakat asli di Tonga merayakan Pekan Bahasa Tonga dan menampilkan berbagai atraksi kebudayaan dengan menggunakan bahasa asli sebagai pengantarnya.

Dari berbagai atraksi itu, di antaranya yaitu penampilan musik rap oleh Rizvan Tu’itahi yang bernyanyi rap menggunakan bahasa Tonga. Sederet predikat disematkan kepada Rizvan yang merupakan artis serba bisa ini. Selain penyanyi rap, ia juga seorang desainer grafis, produser dan aktor film.

Salah satu nomor di albumnya bertajuk ‘Phoenix” dirilis pada tahun 2012 membunyikan seruan berbahasa Tonga seperti ‘lele ke vave ki api’ – yang artinya adalah seruan para ibu di pedesaan Tonga kepada anak-anaknya untuk kembali ke rumah.

Nama-nama desa di Tonga juga diselipkan dalam lirik ‘Phoenix’ seperti di antaranya Havelu, Kolofo’ou dan Tofoa yang merujuk pada nama-nama desa di mana keluarganya tinggal ketika ia tumbuh besar di Tonga.

Rizvan adalah sosok orang Tonga yang bermukim di Selandia Baru dan juga ambil bagian dalam upaya penyelamatan bahasa asli bangsanya. **

Reporter :RNZI
redaksi@tabloidjubi.com
Editor : Lina Nursanty

Head of Vanuatu Delegation to the 105th ACP Ministerial Session

Mr. President and I make this intervention on behalf of seven other Pacific Island nations including Vanuatu, Tonga, Tuvalu, Palau, Nauru, the Solomon Islands and the Marshall Islands also known as the Pacific Coalition on West Papua.

We have come here today in this council to amplify the serious concerns for human rights in West Papua in order to assist in providing some enlightenment to the Political Affairs Committee as well as the Committee of Ambassadors. We are very concerned indeed about the manner in which the international community had neglected the voices of the Papuan people over the last 50 years and consequently the Papuan people, their human rights have been trampled upon and severely suppressed since 1969.

Mr. President, you are presiding over this noble organisation and we have been debating the role which the ACP can play in international governance. There is no doubt that the ACP has made significant contributions to many international policies and in particular in the area of trade and socio economic progress in many countries particularly within our own regions. This organisation has contributed to numerous important projects and programs that have contributed to changing the economic landscape in most of our countries in terms of trade. And I think we have built a reputation that is credible and is recognised by many international organisations in the multilateral front.

Our role as ACP is not only to express our views on different political developments affecting our global citizens, but it is also to defend the important principles underpinning global governance, the rule of international law, human rights etc. I sincerely believe that the ACP has an important role in Global Governance and this role should complement the functions of organisations like the United Nations and the Commonwealth including various regional and sub-regional organisations.

Those deaths and all the associated acts – the violent arrests of non-violent protestors, the beatings, torture, disappearances, extra-judicial executions, rape, intimidation of the local Papuan media, the barring of foreign media from the territory – have continued through the 20 years of democracy.

This includes oversight in promoting and defending the fundamental rights of all human beings. In the case of West Papua, we ACP as a global player on the multilateral front, we cannot close our eyes especially when our very own citizens are being neglected. What do we do when the rights of the Melanesian people of West Papua is challenged with military interventions and presence? Since the controversial Act of Free Choice in 1969, the Melanesian People of West Papua have been subject to on-going human rights violations committed by the Indonesian security services. The world has witnessed the litany of tortures, murders, exploitation, rapes, military raids, arbitrary arrests and dividing of civil society through intelligence operations and immigration policies. The Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM) concluded that these acts constitute crimes against humanity under Indonesian Law No. 26/2000 (KOMNAS HAM 2001,2004). In this climate of fear and repression of political dissent, and blatant negligence by the international Community including the UN and the powerful developed countries since 1969, we find this forgotten race still fighting for equality and justice. Yet the democratic nations have kept silent.

Mr. President, as a Melanesian citizen of the Pacific, we the seven countries have come here to sensitize the council for the first time. Injustice in West Papua is a threat to the principle of justice everywhere in the world. I quote the words of one of our previous Prime Ministers, and I quote,“I do not sleep well at night when I know that in 2010 Yawan Wayeni, known as a separatist was videotaped by the security forces as he was lying in a pool of his own blood with his intestines seeping from a gaping wound in his abdomen. It concerns me that in October 2010 Telenga Gire and Anggen Pugu Kiwo were tied by the military and were severely tortured. It concerns me when I see the video footage of a group of Papuan men bounded and being kicked in the head by uniformed soldiers who are meant to protect them. I am worried because between October of 2011 and March 2013, 25 Papuans were murdered and nothing has been done to bring perpetrators to justice. And it embarrasses me. As a Melanesian, to note that roughly 10-25 % of the indigenous Melanesian population have been killed by the Indonesian Security forces since 1963. While I acknowledge the 15 years of reformation that has taken place, I am also worried that Melanesians will soon become a minority in their own motherland of Papua.” Unquote.

As the honourable ambassadors and others who have been here, and as I hope you are all aware, a month ago we also made available here in English and French, a packet of one hundred and twenty pages of information about West Papua for each member state and others, on some of these brutal acts affecting the Papuans today. We also distributed at that time USB drives for each member state with hundreds more pages and documentary films. Additionally we set up a dedicated website with even more information for all ACP member states to access.

Mr. President, Excellencies,

It is hard for me to say this any stronger: The West Papuans are Melanesian citizens who are being slowly but surely wiped out by the colonial masters and the ensuing apartheid-like colonial rule of these past 50-plus years. And we the governments of the world have stood by, are standing by, eyes turned away either in ignorance or otherwise occupied, while it happens.

But military rule in West Papua never ended. And year-by-year it increases. Relative to the indigenous Papuans, there are six times more military in the territory than anywhere in Indonesia. And they are not there to prevent some imagined invasion by anyone. They are there to maintain a brutal colonial regime that the West Papuans have refused to bow to. Because of this colonial occupation, West Papua remains a conflict zone, a zone of intense conflict up to this very day.

We have come here today, as we have come to the ACP these past two months for several reasons, to seek help for these voiceless people.

Mr. President,

We have come here for several reasons. First, we come here because it was many among you, some three dozen of you newly independent African and Caribbean countries, who stood with West Papua when others at the United Nations sought to push through Indonesia’s illegal annexation and the fake referendum they held among only 1000 people out of a population of 800,000. You are the oldest defenders of West Papua’s right to self-determination. You stood with West Papua when we in the Pacific had no political voice at that time because we were still colonies ourselves. You spoke of your solidarity with the – quote-unquote – 5 “Negro Papuans” and of your anger at how they were being passed from one colonizer to another. Denied their inalienable right to decide their own future. History is a witness to these records. We also take heart in the knowledge that it was the African and Caribbean and Pacific states who were the most consistent in their support of the struggle against South African Apartheid, which was also described as a crime against humanity, and another example of an African people being passed from one colonizer to another. (from the British to the Afrikaners)

The seven Pacific island nations, therefore, see the ACP as the right place to begin the process of ending what is another version of Apartheid and also among the longest political conflicts in the world.

President,

Secondly, we have come here to the ACP because the Europeans, Americans and today’s other Great Powers are unwilling to allow productive discussion of either the crimes against humanity perpetrated against West Papuans or the underlying denial of West Papua’s right to self-determination. That right to self-determination comes through the basic UN Covenants and by the bilateral treaty of 1962 that provisionally handed authority over West Papua from The Netherlands to Indonesia, from one colonizer to another.

For decades, during both Indonesian dictatorship and under Indonesian democracy, there have been innumerable reports decrying the human rights violations in West Papua. These have come from United Nations agencies and from its many Special Rapporteurs reports. These have come also from human rights organization within Indonesia and from other religious bodies.

Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of members have expressed the need to take a stand beyond the issue of gross human rights violations. They have agreed that any stand must make the connection between the human rights violations, and the slow-motion genocide of West Papuans and the underlying lack of political self-determination. This clear support was expressed when the issue was first tabled at the political subcommittee on March 27. It was expressed a second time at the Committee of Ambassadors on April 13 and once again back in the political subcommittee on April 19.

We therefore have now come to the Council of Ministers, this august body, and we ask for your support on this issue. This issue was taken to the ACP not to be killed at any committee level, but rather it should be guided and where possible a resolution should be drafted and adopted at the end of the process.

Mr. President,

We have nothing to gain by again and again speaking out on behalf of West Papua. True, we are Pacific Islanders, we are Melanesians and we feel a common identity. True, for Vanuatu, we too were colonized. We endured colonisation of over 74 years. We knew what it meant to be landowners but your land is taken from you. We experienced the stealing of our resources and poisoning of our people so the local tribes could be wiped out so their colonisers could take over our land. These are the challenging realities we had gone through. These are the challenges countries like Timor Leste in our region went through, but they found the support of countries around this table. Today they are sitting with us around this table and they have a voice. But the West Papuans are still crying out. We must bear the same moral burden to address the plight of this Pacific citizens.

It is incumbent on us as human beings and as nations that have all lived under racist colonial rule to speak up. It is incumbent on us if we seek, as I think we do, to establish the ACP and – I quote the Georgetown preamble and other of our guiding documents – “to became a global player on issues of importance.” If we seek, as we have said we do, to take up serious issues, grave issues, universal issues.

I conclude, Excellencies, with utmost urgency: I call on this body to follow due processes and pass a resolution to address the plight of West Papuans. I call on this body to establish a fact finding mission to West Papua and get their views of the people on the ground on human rights and self-determination. We ask that a draft resolution on this matter is prepared for the council’s consideration at the next council sitting.

God Bless West Papua, God Bless the ACP.

Papuan rights highlighted in UN review of Indonesia

Several countries have highlighted concern about treatment of West Papuans, in a human rights review of Indonesia at the UN in Geneva.

New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Germany and Mexico were among the countries raising concern about human rights in Papua during the 27th session of the UN Universal Period Review.

Indonesia's permanent representative in Geneva, Hasan Kleib (middle) responds to recommendations on human rights in the UN Universal Period Review, 2017.
Indonesia’s permanent representative in Geneva, Hasan Kleib (middle) responds to recommendations on human rights in the UN Universal Period Review, 2017. Photo: webtv.un.org

The Austrian delegation voiced concern about a “lack of accountability for human rights violations committed by security forces in Papua”.

New Zealand recommended that Indonesia “ensure human rights obligations in Papua are upheld, respected and promoted, including freedom of assembly, freedom of the press and the rights of women and minorities.”

Australia recommended that Indonesia should “finalise the investigation of all human rights cases in Papua”.

Mexico’s representative urged Indonesia to “extend an invitation to the special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples to visit Indonesia, including Papua.”

While Indonesia was praised for the improvements it has made on human rights in general, the delegations of several countries raised their concerns and recommended that Indonesia should do more.

Indonesia’s permanent representative in Geneva, Hasan Kleib said his country was open to input on addressing its human rights challenges and willing to listen to “constructive observation”.

“We consider this constructive reminders, comments and even criticism as a platform to scrutinise things that we as a state may have probably missed,” he said.

“In this regard Indonesia has solid commitment and political will to make changes for the better.”

Indonesia accepted 150 of the 225 overall recommendations it received in its review.

Hasan Kleib said the remainder would be further examined due to four reasons:

“One, further consultation with broader and relevant national stakeholders is needed. Second, an accurate formulation of the recommendations which make them difficult to be translated into policies. Third, it’s still out of national policies,” he explained.

“And fourth, lack of understanding of the context of the factual situations on the ground. Indonesia has tried to consult with the countries concerned. But apparently, further elaboration is needed.”

The country is expected to state its position on the pending recommendations by September, during the 36th session of the Human Rights Council.

Tonga, Jubi – Asosiasi penyiaran publik terbesar di dunia telah menyurati Raja Tonga untuk menyatakan keprihatinannya terhadap intervensi Pemerintah Kerajaan Tonga terhadap struktur Komisi Penyiaran Tonga.

Bulan ini, pemerintah Tonga memaksa Ketua Komisi Penyiaran Publik untuk mengundurkan diri dan meminta agar dewan penyiaran memecat manajer umum komisi tersebut, Nanise Fifita. Perdana Menteri Tonga, Akilisi Pohiva menuding orang-orang tersebut tidak bisa diajak bekerjasama dan tidak mendukung penuh pemerintahan. Selain itu, mereka juga dituding telah bersikap kritis namun tidak berimbang.

Hal ini menuai protes dari berbagai pihak, termasuk di antaranya Aliansi Media Publik. Tujuan pelayanan penyiaran publik pada dasarnya yaitu melindungi hak dan kepentingan publik dan wajib bersikap independen terhadap negara dan pemerintah.

“Dan saya kira perdana menteri yang telah menyasar komisi penyiaran dan para personel di komisi penyiaran ini sungguh tidak benar. Sebagai presiden Aliansi Media Publik, saya menyerukan pada setiap orang untuk menahan diri dan pastikan bahwa independensi editorial dan penyiaran tetap terlindungi,” ujar Presiden Aliansi Media Publik, Paul Thomson yang juga telah menyampaikan surat protesnya kepada Akilisi Pohiva.

Pengacara Nanise Fifita mengatakan bahwa pemecatan kliennya itu tidak beralasan dan menyalahi kontrak. Pemerintah tidak bisa begitu saja membatalkan surat kontrak kerja Nanise Fifita.

Sang pengacara bernama Clive Edwards mengatakan bahwa kliennya berhak untuk memperbaharui kontraknya. Jika pemecatan ini tetap dilakukan, mereka akan menempuh jalur hukum untuk menolaknya.

Pencopotan Komisi Penyiaran ini bukan sekali ini terjadi. Pada tahun 2015, hal serupa terjadi dan kasusnya berujung di Mahkamah Agung. “Cara intimidasinya sangat jelas. Jika reporter tidak mau melaporkan hal yang diminta pemerintah dan jika reporter menyiarkan hal yang tidak diinginkan pemerintah, maka reporter tersebut akan dipecat,” tuturnya. **

Dutch Journalist Rohan Radheya photographs senior West Papuan OPM commanders at their headquarters inside the jungles of West Papua. (Image: Supplied by Rohan Radheya)

Dutch Journalist Rohan Radheya photographs senior West Papuan OPM commanders at their headquarters inside the jungles of West Papua. (Image: Supplied by Rohan Radheya)

Dutch journalist and filmmaker Rohan Radheya spent five months undercover to document West Papua’s ongoing struggle for independence from Indonesia’s brutal rule.

During Radheya’s time there, the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, lifted a ban on foreign journalists in the province. That occurred in May, but Radheya says it won’t change anything because the press still has strict conditions, most notably that foreign journalists are not allowed to report critically on the Indonesian government.

Because of press restrictions — past and present — any reporting on West Papua’s struggle for independence is rare.

From his time working undercover, Radheya has compiled an hour-long documentary, Melanesian Dreams, which has its first screening at the European Parliament in Brussels under guidance of the UNPO (Unrepresented Nations and People Organization) at a member meeting in December.

See the trailer to Melanesian Dreams here:

The following is a Q&A that Radheya did with Vision Times:

Would you explain the plight of the Papuans in Indonesia’s Papua region?

“In 1945, Indonesia got independence from the Dutch after Japan was defeated. The Japanese had then returned all power into the hands of previous colonialists. Indonesia’s agreed borders were from Sabang to Maluku, which is the last archipelago before reaching West Papuan borders to the east. Maluku also has an independence struggle. The first Indonesian vice president had then acknowledged that West Papuans should get their own state, because West Papua is Melanesian and not Asian.

“West Papua was a Dutch colony, as was Indonesia, and the Dutch had promised West Papuans an independent state. Just before their departure, the Dutch gathered tribal leaders and representatives from all corners of West Papua, and created a committee which would be in charge for a transition of power back to West Papuans. This committee was called “The Nieuw Guinea Raad.” In collaboration with the Dutch, the West Papuans proclaimed a constitution, national anthem, a national flag, and a plan for transition of power.

“At that time, the Americans had discovered huge deposits of gold and copper reserves in Timika, West Papua. They realized that these were probably the largest and finest gold and copper reserves in the world. Around that time, Indonesia changed presidents. President Suharto came to power and made a secret agreement with the then American president Nixon. The U.S. had already threatened the Dutch with war if they would oppose an Indonesian invasion. The Dutch were not capable of fighting both sides, so they were silenced.

“At that time, Indonesia invaded West Papua, and the U.S. started their mining operations. The Indonesian government promised the representatives of “The Nieuw Guinea Raad” that they would help develop their land, and not stay permanently. They would leave within five years. The Indonesian government then launched secret crackdowns on their leaders, and the Papuan independence movement was systematically targeted. Assassinations and mass killings began on a large scale.

“In 1969, the now Indonesian Papua province was officially ousted from the Dutch in the so-called act of free choice under the New York Agreement. There were 1,025 handpicked tribal leaders, out of a population of around a million Papuan natives, who were forced to vote on behalf of Indonesia, while back home the Indonesian army held entire villages at gunpoint, and thus Indonesia won that referendum, and West Papua became a part of Indonesia.

“Ironically, President Suharto was later trialed on high profiled corruption, and even accused of committing war crimes and other offenses throughout Indonesia. Despite this, the replacing of the Indonesian government still did not acknowledge West Papua as an independent state, despite the fact that Suharto was a key figure and mastermind behind the colonization of the area. So West Papua remains part of Indonesia till today.”

Could you explain who the Papuan people are (in contrast to the Indonesians, i.e., religion, society, etc.)

“West Papuans are Melanesians, and everything about Papuans are different to that of an Indonesian or an Asian. Their languages, culture, religion, customs, traditions, etc., etc. The Indonesian colonization has drastically influenced the way of life in Papua in ways of dress, language, and traditions.

“Many Papuan leaders, including Papua’s governor, Lukas Enembe, have warned that the cultural identity of the Papuan may disappear within 20 to 50 years due to the transmigration program from rural Indonesia. West Papuans are already no longer the majority on their own land. West Papua had 275 different languages, and as much tribes. This has changed now, and almost everything is critically on the brink of extinction now through Indonesian colonization.”

Dutch Journalist Rohan Radheya with West Papuas most senior militant commander Richard Joweni. (Image: Supplied by Rohan Radheya)

Dutch Journalist Rohan Radheya with West Papua’s most senior militant commander, Richard Joweni. (Image: Supplied by Rohan Radheya)

What is the general feeling of the Papuans toward being ruled by Jakarta?

Today, many Papuans are on the payroll of the Indonesian government. For instance, the highest police commissioner and the governor inside West Papua are native Papuans. The Indonesian army has also recruited many natives as senior commanders inside their ranks. Of course, they all report back to Jakarta, but there is no choice today. It’s very hard to make a good and honest living in Papua as a Papuan nationalist opposing Indonesian colonization. It doesn’t matter if you are a journalist, a soldier, a politician, or a community leader, and so on. At the end of the day, every Papuan wants freedom.

“When I was in Papua, I had talked to some very high-profiled Papuan politicians and church leaders who all preached Papua as a legal part of Indonesia. At the end of the day, they always ended up telling me that they wanted independence, but they couldn’t say so openly because it is very dangerous for them to speak out. During my time in Papua, I never met a single Papuan who openly cheered for Indonesian colonization.”

Do they [the Papuans] get much support from the international community?

“Many foreign countries have huge investments in West Papua, especially the U.S., Australia, and Japan. For instance, the U.S. mining giant Freeport-McMoRan owns much of the world’s largest gold-copper mine, Grassberg, in Papua. After the closure of the Panguna mine in Bougainville, Grassberg is officially the biggest gold-copper mine in the world on daily production and estimated reserves alongside the Lihir mine in neighboring Papua New Guinea.

“Freeport-McMoRan commissions the Indonesian army a heck of security money for protection of the mine, including the area around it, which is a hotspot for human rights violations inside West Papua. For the generals and elites in Papua, it’s a big business. The Indonesian army has repeatedly been accused of even staging incidents to extract more protection money from foreign mining companies in the name of unrest created by West Papuan freedom fighters from the Free Papua Movement (Indonesian: Organisasi Papua Merdeka [OPM]).

“The Indonesian army is the major reason for the human rights violations in West Papua. Furthermore, the lack of interest from foreign media outlets to engage in West Papua has also led to the demise of West Papuan identity and its history today. But if foreign outlets are truly sincere in covering West Papua, they can collaborate with local journalists, which can also be a milestone for local social development, and shed light on the human rights situation inside West Papua.

“Today, there remain only two or three foreign news outlets regularly publishing about West Papua. It’s a total lack of willingness that stops foreign editors in engaging in West Papua. The foreign media restriction is an ultimate excuse. It’s certainly possible to cover West Papua if they truly want to.”

Rohan Radheya posing with former political prisoner and nobel peace prize nominee Filep Karma at the Abepura prison in Jayapura.Filep Karma was one of the estimated 100 political prisoners inside West Papua.He was jailed and tortured for raising the West Papua independence flag.Filep Karma has reasonedly been released after spending more then 10 years in prison. (Image: Supplied by Rohan Radheya)

Rohan Radheya posing with former political prisoner and Nobel peace prize nominee Filep Karma at the Abepura prison in Jayapura. Filep Karma was one of the estimated 100 political prisoners in West Papua. He was jailed and tortured for raising the West Papua independence flag. Filep Karma has recently been released after spending more than 10 years in prison. (Image: Supplied by Rohan Radheya)

Jakarta says it is opening up the region — is this true?

“The Indonesian government claims it has relaxed some policies for foreign journalists in West Papua, but it’s not the first time they have said that, and I don’t believe it. There have been some foreign outlets who were granted access to West Papua, but with a lot of restrictions. I was still in Papua at that time. The journalists were forbidden to visit militant independence movements, such as the TPN-OPM, who are the biggest opposition of the Indonesian government inside West Papua.”

How much of a presence does the Indonesian military have in Papua?

“I tried to do detailed research about this during my time in West Papua, and I was shocked to learn that nobody knew the exact answer on the basis of credible paperwork. Even local journalists or political representatives within the government didn’t know how big the military’s presence is. I think the real figures are carefully guarded by the elites in Jakarta, but I estimate that the Indonesians have around 45,000 armed personnel there. This number may drastically increase with the construction of new bases in Manokwari and Biak in the coming years. Not to forget that there are numerous separate groups of volunteers and nationalists.

“They are very feared by locals, and they are very extreme in their approaches. They often intimidate, stalk, and even use violence in the name of Indonesian nationalism. They are often government-backed groups with own agendas, and often participate in riots. They are in the thousands, and are ruthless even against Indonesian human rights activists in Papua. This issue is very similar to the situation back in the days of Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor.”

Musician Arnold Clemens, is one of West Papua's most prominent independence icons. He was assasinated by The Indonesian army for his participation in the West Papuan independence struggle. (Image: Supplied by Rohan Radheya)

Musician Arnold Clemens is one of West Papua’s most prominent independence icons. Radheya said Clemens was assassinated by the Indonesian army for his participation in the West Papuan independence struggle. (Image: Supplied by Rohan Radheya)

Are any forms of peaceful protest or dissent allowed by the Indonesian authorities?

“Conflict is lucrative in West Papua. It may be the only place in the world where conflict is profitable on a day-to-day basis. When there are demonstrations, these are allowed and welcomed by security officials except on critical political momentums. These allowances come with a huge security presence, with up to 100 heavily guarded military police per demo, and of course with a lot of restrictions. If the conditions are breached, the circumstances are often exaggerated and exploited, and thus more security money is hooked in. I feel that these things are chronicles of a very successful colonization.”

Is there much of an armed resistance against Indonesian rule?

“As said, conflict is lucrative in West Papua. The Indonesian army is paid a lot of security money from foreign mining companies and from Jakarta for separate, escalating incidents such as the recent Tolikara incident. It’s totally to the advantage for the Indonesian army to create an image of panic, chaos, and danger in the eyes of local and foreign audience, and by even creating incidents.

“There are three major armed OPM factions inside West Papua. They have factions and men in all corners of West Papua, but two of the biggest factions in 2011 signed a secret ceasefire with the Indonesian government, which still stands. The factions were very afraid that fighting could displace local villagers and create another exodus to Papua New Guinea, such as in 1984. Papua New Guinea already has around 10,000 West Papuan refugees.

“There is currently only one fighting OPM faction in West Papua, Puncak Jaya, that still offers armed resistance against the Indonesian army. Indonesia also has one of the most sophisticated air force capabilities in the entire region. If the rebels would pose a true problem, they could easily use this capability and end it in no time. Furthermore, the Indonesian government has created numerous fake OPM rebel factions to impose an image of fear and intimidation, often through censored media. It’s very complex, and not easily understandable.”

The West Papuan OPM has not been visited by foreign or local journalists for more then six years. (Image: Supplied by Rohan Radheya)

The West Papuan OPM has not been visited by foreign or local journalists for more than six years. (Image: Supplied by Rohan Radheya)

What is the human rights situation like in Papua and how will/can it improve?

“There was a dialogue program between Papuan leaders and the Indonesian government almost 15 years back, at the initiation of the Special autonomy law for West Papua. Many prominent Papuan church leaders and other Papuans are participating in this program today. Many general Papuans, however, have lost all hope in this. The program has costs millions and millions of dollars.

“Now, 15 years later, the Papua governor, who was part of the dialogue program, came out complaining, and sent out a press release about how another transmigration program from rural Indonesia is going on, and how these people will overwhelm Papuans. Dialogue has completely failed in West Papua, and it became something that further disadvantaged Papuans even more than before. At the same time, the human rights situation is becoming worse by the day, and so West Papuans are asking: ‘What’s next?’”

How difficult was it for you to film there?

“West Papua is as good as off limits to foreign journalists. Many shelters of activists and independence movements in West Papua are tightly monitored. These areas are surrounded by plain clothes intelligence informants who could be a betel nut seller or a cabdriver. I requested my subjects to come up with a plan of approach. I was often smuggled in at night when the informants already left, or during local holidays when everyone was on leave.

“I improved my Bahasa, and that helped tremendously. It was only myself, so I did not have access to a team. So I had to take care of the interview, camera, video, sound, light, and still photographs myself. I also had to watch my back at the same time. It was also very hot! I used very small DSLR cameras, GoPROs, and minimal equipment. Papuans knew who I was, and they were very eager to speak to me. They watched over me, and this was the main reason why I could stick around for so long.

”

Are any of the people you interviewed and/or filmed in your documentary now in a risky situation because they have helped you?

“I was terrified to death that the people around me could face arrest and punishment. The Indonesian government systematically targets the friends and sympathizers of undercover journalists.
 An example is Areki Wanimbo, a West Papuan tribal leader from Wamena, who volunteered to be the fixer of the two French journos. The Indonesians sentenced him to 20 years jail time on treason charges. The thought that my friends would be in trouble because of me was constant torture for me, and still is now.

“I worked a lot with the local people. They always insisted that it was the right thing to do to help me. They were very eager to get the news out for the sake of their country and people no matter what the consequences. They never asked me anything in return for this. I felt very little by their kindness, and without them I couldn’t achieve this film. There were also many times I wanted to give up and leave, but their commitment to me, and the thought of letting them down, is what kept me going.

“I had simply asked all Papuans and Indonesians appearing in the documentary whether they wanted to feature in this film. All of them said yes, but I still cut most of them out if I found that their circumstances were too sensitive to exposure. They were willingly filmed, and they knew I was an undercover journo.”

Do you have any hope that things could change for the better?

“Of course, West Papua should be free and independent! Merdeka!”

Dutch Journalist Rohan Radheya photographs West Papuan OPM rebels at their headquarters inside the jungles of West Papua. (Image: Supplied by Rohan Radheya)

Dutch Journalist Rohan Radheya photographs West Papuan OPM rebels at their headquarters inside the jungles of West Papua. (Image: Supplied by Rohan Radheya)

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