A small, but vocal, group of protesters gathered this morning outside the Sheraton Aggies Resort in Apia, venue of the 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting, to raise awareness about the plight of West Papua and its people.
Protest organiser Jerome Mika said the protest was to ensure Pacific leaders did not ignore the issue of West Papua.
Mika, who is with the local Samoa First Union, said this was also a call on some Pacific leaders to join the seven Pacific countries pushing to resist West Papua with the United Nations Decolonisation committee.
The seven countries are Nauru, Marshall Islands, Solomons, Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Tonga.
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Forum General Secretary Dame Meg Taylor visited the protest and reaffirmed their right to protest but did not speak on the issue of West Papua.
Radio NZ International – The Pacific Conference of Churches says it is unimpressed by comments made by Indonesian officials at the recent Pacific Island Forum Leaders’ Summit in Apia.
The General Secretary, Reverend Francois Pihaatae, said a protest that took place during the forum supporting West Papua‘s independence was nothing new.
Mr Pihaatae said it illustrated the strong support from some. But he urged all Pacific nations to express their concern as seen in Samoa.
Indonesia’s Ambassador to New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga, Tantowi Yahya, was at the meeting and condemned the protest and accused Pacific Islanders of being misled on a human rights situation that had largely improved.
“Whatever the Indonesian said, I will never, never believe that something is fine in West Papua because we have evidence that [they are] living out everyday, the killing of the people,” Reverend Francois Pihaatae said.
Radio NZ International – There’s more fallout from a confrontation between media and Indonesian officials at the Pacific Island Forum Leaders summit in Samoa’s capital last week after the topic of West Papua was brought up.
A protest supporting West Papua’s independence was staged during the summit outside the Forum’s venue which upset Jakarta.
Sela Jane Hopgood reports.
The co-ordinator of the Samoa First union, Jerome Mika was the person who led the West Papua protest during the Forum summit in Apia. Mr Mika disagreed with comments that followed from the Indonesian government representative, Franzalbert Joku, that the forum was not the place for the Papua issue to be raised.
“The theme of the whole Pacific Leaders Forum was about looking at leadership and being able to find ways to be able to help and prosper our Pacific region, so I think it’s important for us to be dealing with issues of West Papua especially when in Samoa we had our independence in 1962 and West Papua’s been colonised since 1960s and I think it’s important for us to stand up for our Pacific brothers and sisters and we ask as a Pacific Leaders Forum that they consider working through putting West Papua on the decolonisation list.”
Indonesia’s Ambassador to New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga, Tantowi Yahya, was alongside Mr Joku at the heated press conference where local journalists were taken to task. He was later asked if it was reasonable to expect Samoan and Pacific journalists not to ask questions about West Papua.
“No, it’s not our authority to say that, but our concern was only that we are afraid that those quote unquote additional issues would overshadow the main objective of the conference.”
He told ABC that Indonesia sees reporting from international media in regards to West Papua as unbalanced.
“In many ways what happens lately, many that speak of Papua do not really know what happens in Papua today. In other words, they are not well equipped about the information in a balance manner. They have been pampered with informations, which sometimes are fabricated news, twisted news and even hoax and we from Indonesia don’t really get the right chance to tell the people about what happened.”
The General Secretary for the Pacific Conference of Churches felt the comments made by Mr Joku about West Papua ‘doing fine’ did not make sense. Reverened Francois Pihaatae was not impressed.
“Whatever the Indonesian say, I will never, never believe that something is fine in West Papua because we have evidences that that the living out everyday, the killing of the people.”
Mr Mika found Mr Joku’s remarks about the state of West Papua disgusting.
“I think it’s arrogant and we won’t be bullied by people like the Indonesian representative and I think that it also shows just the sort of behaviour and the condescending behaviour that we are getting as Pacific when we should be standing together for our West Papua brothers and sisters. We should also be speaking out as a collective rather than as an individual.”
The West Papua independence issue was not advanced at the Forum summit as hoped by supporters. But several Pacific countries plan to raise their concern about Papua to the United Nations.
Pacific Islanders are increasingly speaking out over their concern about reports of human rights abuses in Indonesia’s Papua region, and the cause of West Papuan self-determination aspirations.
A protest supporting West Papua’s independence was staged during the summit outside the Forum’s venue in Samoa’s capital Apia, which upset Jakarta.
Following the protest, Indonesia government representatives held a press conference. One of the representatives, Franzalbert Joku, told reporters in a rowdy exchange that the Forum summit was not the place for the Papua issue to be discussed. The sound of raised voices briefly drew local police to the venue of the press conference.
The co-ordinator of the Samoa First union who had organised the protest, Jerome Mika, later said he disagreed with Mr Joku’s comments.
“The theme of the whole Pacific Leaders Forum was about looking at leadership and being able to find ways to be able to help and prosper our Pacific region.” he said.
“I think it’s appropriate for us to be dealing with issues of West Papua at the Forum. Samoa’s independence was in 1962 and West Papua’s been colonised since the 1960s.
“It’s important for us to stand up for our Pacific brothers and sisters and we ask as a Pacific Leaders Forum that they consider working through putting West Papua on the decolonisation list,” he said.
Indonesia’s Ambassador to New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga, Tantowi Yahya, was alongside Mr Joku at the heated press conference where local journalists were taken to task. The ambassador was later asked by the ABC if it was reasonable to expect Pacific journalists not to ask questions about West Papua.
“No, it’s not our authority to say that, but our concern was only that we are afraid that those quote unquote additional issues would overshadow the main objective of the conference,” he explained.
Mr Yahya indicated that Indonesia sees much of the reporting by international media in regards to West Papua as unbalanced.
“In many ways what happens lately, many that speak of Papua do not really know what happens in Papua today. In other words, they are not well equipped about the information in a balance manner,” he said.
“They [media] have been pampered with information, which sometimes are fabricated news, twisted news and even hoax and we from Indonesia don’t really get the right chance to tell the people about what happened.”
The General Secretary for the Pacific Conference of Churches felt the comments made by Mr Joku about West Papua ‘doing fine’ did not make sense. Reverend Francois Pihaatae was not impressed.
“Whatever the Indonesians say, I will never, never believe that something is fine in West Papua, because we have evidences that are going out every day that the living of these people is rough, the killing of these people is real.”
At the heated Apia press conference, Mr Joku – an indigenous West Papuan – accused Pacific Islanders of being misled on a human rights situation that had largely improved.
“It’s regrettable that Pacific Islanders all of the sudden want to address the Papua issue, now,” he said.
“The Papua issue has been at the forefront since the late 50s and early 60s. We have seen our worst. Where the hell were the Pacific Island nations when we really needed that kind of expression and that kind of concern coming from them?”
Mr Mika was appalled by Mr Joku’s remarks about Pacific Islanders raising concern about the state of West Papua.
“I think it’s arrogant and we won’t be bullied by people like the Indonesian representative,” he said.
“I think that it also shows just the sort of behaviour and the condescending behaviour that we are getting as Pacific when we should be standing together for our West Papua brothers and sisters.”
The West Papua independence issue was not advanced at the Forum summit as hoped by supporters, but a number of Pacific countries plan to raise their concern about Papua to within the United Nations.
Pacific concerns are due top be heard at the annual session of the UN General Assembly which got underway this week.
New Zealand’s Foreign Minister says Pacific leaders are determined to develop the economic potential of each of their island countries.
Gerry Brownlee made this comment after attending the Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit in Apia, where he was standing in for New Zealand’s prime minister Bill English.
He told Johnny Blades that the Pacific Islands’ leadership is well focussed on interacting with other countries to improve living standards for their own people.
GERRY BROWNLEE: I think one of the stronger outcomes has been the commitment to further develop the regional security strategy and various countries will now look at what they can contribute to that with a view to first making some reccomendation to the Forum in the future.
JOHNNY BLADES: I note that in the security section of the communique as well as tensions in the North Pacific you have got West Papua. Just a small wording in there but saying about continuing dialogue with Indonesia. What is that about?
GB: It is predominantly human rights issues. But of course if you think about Timore Leste started out as being a similar dialogue with the Indonesian government and it think what it is really saying is no desire to see this escalate into out and out warfare. But concern about the situation there and wanting to make sure that the lines of communication remain open. So that there can be a good discussion about how people live in that part of the Pacific.
JB: When you say not wanting it to escalate to warfare. You mean.
GB: Well perhaps that is a little extremist on my part what I should have said perhaps is not wanting to see this develop into any significant conflict that would adversely affect the way people live.
JB: The banning of or at least the move to sort of look at getting rid of plastic bags and plastic that is an interesting one isn’t it? I mean is it something New Zealand supports? Is it realistic?
GB: Well New Zealand certainly does not support the idea that you can just abandon any amount of plastic into the ocean at any old time. We have got fairly sophisticated recycling programs here and what I would observe is certainly a lot of individual households now are much more concious about even purchasing product in various types of packages that contain plastics. And I suppose that is the way in which certainly our government would like to see things progress for there to be a natural rejection of too much plastic packaging and then a proper treatment of that packaging once it is in the disposal position. But across the Pacific they do worry very much about how much is just tossed overboard. There was some mention of the island I think further in the western Pacific sorry the eastern Pacific that has an extraordinary load of plastic that appears to on the currents just gravitate to that island. And when you think of all that volume of rubbish being in the oceans it is not a really healthy picture. So yea a fair bit of expression about that. And I hope that will lead to a commitment in many of those Pacific countries that is as in line with where New Zealand is at and it is also a rising standard of concern here in New Zealand as well.
JB: You know can New Zealand do a bit more on that front to help you know allay the plastic coming through?
GB: Well you know New Zealand is of course trying to close up all the recycling schemes it can. By that I mean, that seems like the wrong way of putting it, by making sure that the cycle of use is as closed as possible and you know I am sure that other Pacific Island countries will sort of adopt those sort of arrangements as well. It is certainly the expression that was there. In many ways what you need at the start of any of these new initiatives is the expression of what you would like. And then of course you back it up by action in your own countries. I think that is what was most encouraging about this particular issue.
JB: Do you see things getting better in terms of the Pacific Island nations being able to harness the benefits of their marine resources and look after the ocean at the same time?
GB: Yes the concept of the Blue Pacific that ran right through the various agenda items of the Forum is the concept of it being a continent in itself. We know that is not what it is. But if you think of it that way as a huge mass then your interest in its protection is increased and every island state made it very clear how important the ocean is to them. To their existence and to the heart of their cultures as well.
JB: Were there any announcements that you government came up with?
GB: We made a commitment there to an eleven-and-a-half-million-dollar program to make sure that Pacific airports particularly were brought up to international standards for security. New Zealanders as of course you know are great travellers but there is also the prospects of less than desirable people coming through the Pacific to other countries and so for them to maintain the international airlinks that they have got they do have to bring their airports up to a higher security standard and we have indicated that $NZ11.5 million over the next 4 years to help with that program.
JB: So which countries are these?
GB: Look you will have to go to civil aviation.
JB: That is okay.
GB: Hang on I can give you a proper answer on that. The program will be run by civil aviation out of New Zealand and with the Pacific Aviation Authority as well. And they will make choices about which airports in the Pacific get treatment on a priority basis.
WELLINGTON, SATUHARAPAN.COM – Dipertahankannya isu pelanggaran Hak Asasi Manusia (HAM) di Papua dalam komunike bersama Konferensi Tingkat Tinggi (KTT) ke-48 Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) di Apia, Salomon Islands, akhir pekan lalu, masih mendatangkan pertanyaan dari berbagai kalangan tentang apa yang melatarbelakanginya.
Delegasi Indonesia yang hadir dalam KTT dengan status mitra dialog, diketahui berusaha keras agar isu tersebut tidak dibahas dalam KTT. Sementara sejumlah negara Pasifik diketahui tetap menginginkan agar isu tersebut tidak lenyap dari agenda.
Johnny Blades, wartawan radionz.co.nz, sebuah media yang berbasis di Selandia Baru, menanyakan hal tersebut kepada Menteri Luar Negeri Selandia Baru (New Zealand), Gerry Brownlee, yang hadir di Apia mewakili Perdana Menteri negara tersebut.
Dalam komunike bersama KTT PIF, isu Papua disinggung di bawah judul besar perihal keamanan dan Brownlee mengakui bahwa salah satu hasil yang menonjol dari KTT tersebut adalah komitmen untuk mengembangkan strategi keamanan regional. Ia mengatakan berbagai negara di Pasifik sekarang akan melihat apa yang dapat mereka sumbangkan terkait dengan keamanan regional dan memberikan beberapa rekomendasi kepada PIF di masa depan.
Namun terkait dengan isu Papua, menurut Brownlee, poin utama adalah mengenai pelanggaran HAM. “Ini adalah isu hak asasi manusia,” kata dia.
Ketika disinggung bahwa dalam komunike bersama KTT PIF, dikatakan bahwa negara-negara anggota PIF akan melanjutkan dialog konstruktif dengan Indonesia mengenai isu HAM, Brownlee mengatakan bahwa penting untuk terus menjamin adanya komunikasi yang terbuka dengan pemerintah Indonesia.
“Tentu saja jika Anda berpikir bahwa Timore Leste dulu memulai dialog seperti itu dengan pemerintah Indonesia, sebenarnya yang ingin dikatakan adalah tidak ada keinginan untuk melihat hal ini meningkat menjadi perang. Tapi kekhawatiran yang ada adalah tentang situasi di sana dan ingin memastikan bahwa jalur komunikasi tetap terbuka. Sehingga bisa ada diskusi yang baik tentang bagaimana rakyat tinggal di bagian Pasifik yang itu (Papua),” kata Brownlee.
Ketika diminta menjelaskan lebih jauh tentang apa yang dimaksudkannya sebagai perang, Brownlee mengatakan bahwa ia ingin mengatakan bahwa negara-negara Pasifik tidak ingin melihat masalah di Papua berkembang menjadi konflik signifikan yang akan mempengaruhi cara hidup rakyat.
Sementara itu Perdana Menteri Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, mengatakan ia termasuk yang berjuang untuk mempertahankan dimasukkannya isu Papua dalam komunike.
Dalam dua KTT PIF sebelumnya, para pemimpin negara-negara Pasifik itu sepakat untuk mendorong pemerintah RI untuk menyelesaikan kasus pelanggaran HAM di Papua. Namun, Indonesia sendiri menolak gagasan untuk mengirimkan misi pencarian fakta ke Papua.
PM Samoa menolak anggapan bahwa kalimat tentang isu Papua pada komunike KTT PIF terkesan lebih lunak dibanding pada komunike pada KTT PIF sebelumnya. Menurut dia, apa yang ada pada komunike tersebut adalah kata-kata terkuat yang dapat disepakati pada forum tersebut.
“Ini adalah kata-kata yang paling kuat yang bisa kami temukan. Anda tahu, isu-isu ini sangat sensitif,” kata dia, dikutip dari radionz.co.nz.
Samoa baru-baru ini menandatangani kerjasama perdagangan dengan Indonesia.
Jayapura, Jubi– Sekretaris Jenderal Konferensi Gereja Pasifik, Rev. Francois Pihaatae menyebutkan respon dan sikap diplomat Indonesia, Frans Albert Joku saat konferensi pers di Apia, Samoa dalam pertemuan Forum Kepulauan Pasifik (PIF) sangat tidak masuk akal. Selain disampaikan dengan suara tinggi, sehingga menyebabkan polisi mendatangi tempat konferensi pers, Joku dianggap mengecilkan negara-negara Kepulauan Pasifik.
“Kami sama sekali tidak terkesan dengan sikap diplomat Indonesia. Tidak masuk akal apa yang dilakukan diplomat Indonesui di Apia,” kata Pihaatae kepada Jubi, Kamis (14/9/2017).
Frans Albert Joku Joku dalam konferensi pers tersebut mengkritik ‘campur tangan’ negara-negara Pasifik dalam soal Papua karena menurutnya, negara-negara itu tak memberi bantuan saat dibutuhkan.
“Sangat disesalkan bahwa orang-orang di Kepulauan Pasifik tiba-tiba ingin membahas masalah Papua, sekarang,” kata Joku saat itu.
Menurut Pihaatae, relasi Pasifik dengan Papua bukan baru terjadi. Jauh sebelum Papua dianeksasi oleh Indonesia, Gereja-gereja di Papua sudah punya hubungan dengan Gereja-gereja di Pasifik. Hubungan inilah yang meyakinkan komunitas Gereja Pasifik tentang apa yang terjadi di Papua.
“Apa pun yang orang Indonesia katakan, saya tidak pernah dan tidak akan pernah percaya di West Papua baik-baik saja. Karena kami memiliki bukti-bukti yang muncul setiap hari, pembunuhan orang-orang (West Papua) ini adalah kenyataan,” lanjutnya.
Pihaatae juga menyampaikan keheranannya terhadap diplomat Indonesia yang mempersoalkan aksi demonstrasi warga Samoa yang memberikan dukungan untuk West Papua. Sebab Samoa adalah negara berdaulat dan warganya dijamin bebas dalam menyampaikan pendapat.
Ia kembali menegaskan bahwa anggota-anggota Dewan Gereja Pasifik ingin pemerintah Indonesia mengakhiri apa yang disebutnya sebagai genosida terhadap rakyat Papua.
“Kami serukan agar Indonesia hentikan pembunuhan orang-orang Papua. Itulah prioritas kami paling pertama kepada militer Indonesia atau polisi, atau apapun cara lain yang digunakan (negara) untuk membunuh rakyat di Papua. Dan hal kedua yaitu mengangkat isu West Papua ke daftar dekolonisasi,” kata dia.
Ia berharap rakyat West Papua bisa menikmati kebebasan seperti orang-orang Pasifik Selatan lainnya yang merdeka, bebas.
Duta Besar Indonesia untuk Selandia Baru,Samoa dan Tonga, Tantowi Yahya yang juga hadir dalam konferensi pers tersebut mengatakan Frans Albert Joku agak tersengat sedikit dengan pertanyaan yang diajukan oleh satu wartawan yang bersifat tendensius dan menuduh.
“Situasi cepat reda ketika Frans menjelaskan secara runut sejarah Papua. Kita malah jadi sahabat dengan wartawan itu,” jelas Tantowi.
Media (internasional), menurut Tantowi dimanjakan dengan informasi berita palsu, berita yang dipelintir dan bahkan tipuan dan Indonesia benar-benar tidak mendapatkan kesempatan untuk memberi tahu tentang apa yang terjadi.
Tantowi melanjutkan, Indonesia berusaha semaksimal mungkin untuk mengatasi masalah pelanggaran hak asasi manusia (HAM) di masa lalu secara terbuka dan dalam cara yang transparan.
“Siapapun, terutama wartawan, orang-orang LSM, yang benar-benar ingin tahu apa yang terjadi di Papua dan bagian lain dari Indonesia, mereka boleh menghubungi saya sebagai Duta Besar untuk Selandia Baru, Samoa dan Tonga,” katanya, menyampaikan undangan untuk datang ke Papua. (*)