Kharishar Kahfi – The Jakarta Post

Two Melanesian Students in Wamena after being shot by Indonesian army declaring independence
Two Melanesian Students in Wamena after being shot by Indonesian army declaring independence

A recent digital forensic investigation has revealed that multiple attempts have taken place in the digital world to manipulate the narrative about the protests and riots in the Papua and West Papua provinces in favor of the Indonesian government.

The joint investigation, launched by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), found at least two online influence campaigns had been “disseminating pro-Indonesian government material on the issue of West Papua”.

The Papua issue refers to widespread protests against the racial abuse suffered by Papuans, which eventually led to riots. The first of the recent incidents of abuse occurred in August in Surabaya, East Java, which triggered protests in some cities, including in Jakarta.

The second abuse allegedly occurred in Papua, where a non-native teacher at a local high school reportedly called a native student a “monkey”. The incident sparked protests and violence on Sept. 23 when mobs, reportedly made up of native Papuans, set buildings and vehicles on fire. Thirty-three people, mostly non-natives, were killed during the riots.

The Indonesian authorities claimed they limited internet access in Papua during the riots in the hope of curbing the spread of fake news. However, the digital forensic investigation found otherwise.

The findings about the manipulative narrative were made by BBC open source investigator Benjamin Strick and ASPI’s international cyber-policy center researcher Elise Thomas. The report was also published online by a United Kingdom-based investigative group Bellingcat on Oct. 11.

“The goal of both campaigns was to influence international opinion about the increasingly violent situation in West Papua, as Indonesian security forces crack down on the local pro-independence movement,” Strick and Thomas wrote in the report.

The team revealed the first campaign was operated by InsightID, an Indonesian communications firm. According to the report, the firm had been promoting pro-Indonesian government content on various websites and social media accounts aimed at international audiences.

During the campaign, the firm was also found to have targeted an opposition hashtag to influence its followers with pro-Indonesian and anti-independence content, as well as actively harass people who publicly supported independence or were reporting information that contradicted the government’s narrative on the situation in Papua.

“We have not found evidence to identify the client who has hired InsightID to run this information campaign,” Strick and Thomas wrote.

“However, based on the available facts we can conclude the client is a party which is able to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to run a ‘fake news’ information operation with the goal of influencing the international community’s political perceptions in favor of the Indonesian government’s actions in West Papua,” they added.

Findings about InsightID had been separately confirmed by Facebook, which issued a statement earlier this month saying it had identified and removed dozens of accounts and pages suspected of committing coordinated inauthentic behavior in Indonesia, primarily sharing content mainly undermining the West Papuan independence movement. 

Facebook eventually found links to a local media firm, InsightID, which was said to be spending about US$300,000 on Facebook ads, mostly paid in Indonesian rupiah.

A group claiming to be InsightID later responded to the statement, saying the group worked to counter what it claimed was massive amounts of biased disinformation disseminated by the Papuan separatist movement.

“Our content is focused on messages of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika [Unity in Diversity], the unity of Indonesia and the optimistic efforts of Indonesia to resolve the problems in Papua,” it said in a statement.

The team also found a separate and smaller campaign running on the similar topic of West Papua. This one includes three “brands”, each of which has its own website and social media accounts: Wawawa Journal (WJ), Tell the Truth NZ and Noken Insight.

A notable example of an action undertaken by the campaign was the promotion of a statement attributed to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres saying he supported the Indonesian government over the brouhaha in Papua. Later, it was found that the statement had been fabricated.

Some content spread in the campaign smeared several international media outlets based in Australia and New Zealand, including the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Moreover, it also targeted people who spoke out about the Papuan issue, including human rights lawyer Veronica Koman and United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) chairman Benny Wenda.

One of the domains used in the second campaign was registered by Muhamad Rosyid Jazuli, who had worked since 2014 in an organization called the Jenggala Center. The organization was originally a supporter of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Jusuf Kalla when the pair ran in the 2014 presidential election.

Jazuli admitted to the team his responsibility for the Wawawa Journal and Tell the Truth NZ, while denying knowledge of Noken Insight despite evidence that the WJ Facebook page once used Noken Insight’s brand as its cover photo.

“Jazuli [said] that the sites and profiles were created on his own initiative by himself and friends, using personal money and were not related to his work with the Jenggala Center,” the report said.

It added that he claimed the campaigns were simply attempts to counter negative Western media coverage, rather than being propaganda or “fake news”.

Online influence campaigns are still common in Indonesia, according to a report by Oxford Internet Institute director Philip Howard and researcher Samanta Bradshaw entitled “2019 Global Inventory of Organised Social Media Manipulation”.

The report listed Indonesia as among the 70 countries it found to have organized social media manipulation for shaping public opinions, deeming it a threat to democracy.

The report said the existence of cybertroops and computational propaganda in Indonesia was aimed at spreading pro-government or pro-party propaganda, attacking opposition or mounting smear campaigns, as well as driving division and polarization.

Kharishar Kahfi. The Jakarta Post

A recent digital forensic investigation has revealed that multiple attempts have taken place in the digital world to manipulate the narrative about the protests and riots in the Papua and West Papua provinces in favor of the Indonesian government.

The joint investigation, launched by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), found at least two online influence campaigns had been “disseminating pro-Indonesian government material on the issue of West Papua”.

The Papua issue refers to widespread protests against the racial abuse suffered by Papuans, which eventually led to riots.

The findings about the manipulative narrative were made by BBC open source investigator Benjamin Strick and ASPI’s international cyberpolicy center researcher Elise Thomas. The report was also published online by a United Kingdom-based investigative group Bellingcat on Oct. 11.

“The goal of both campaigns was to influence international opinion about the increasingly violent situation in West Papua, as Indonesian security forces crack down on the local pro-independence movement,” Strick and Thomas wrote in the report.

The team revealed the first campaign was operated by InsightID, an Indonesian communications firm. According to the report, the firm had been promoting pro-Indonesian government content on various websites and social media accounts aimed at international audiences.

During the campaign, the firm was also found to have targeted an opposition hashtag to influence its followers with pro-Indonesian and anti-independence content, as well as actively harass people who publicly supported independence or were reporting information that contradicted the government’s narrative on the situation in Papua.

“We have not found evidence to identify the client who has hired InsightID to run this information campaign,” Strick and Thomas wrote.

“However, based on the available facts we can conclude the client is a party which is able to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to run a ‘fake news’ information operation with the goal of influencing the international community’s political perceptions in favor of the Indonesian government’s actions in West Papua,” they added.

Findings about InsightID had been separately confirmed by Facebook, which issued a statement earlier this month saying it had identified and removed dozens of accounts and pages suspected of committing coordinated inauthentic behavior in Indonesia, primarily sharing content mainly undermining the West Papuan independence movement.

A group claiming to be InsightID later responded to the statement, saying the group worked to counter what it claimed was massive amounts of biased disinformation disseminated by the Papuan separatist movement.

The team also found a separate and smaller campaign running on the similar topic of West Papua. This one includes three “brands”, each of which has its own website and social media accounts: Wawawa Journal (WJ), Tell the Truth NZ and Noken Insight.

A notable example of an action undertaken by the campaign was the promotion of a statement attributed to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres saying he supported the Indonesian government over the brouhaha in Papua. Later, it was found that the statement had been fabricated.

Some content spread in the campaign smeared several international media outlets based in Australia and New Zealand, including the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Moreover, it also targeted people who spoke out about the Papuan issue, including human rights lawyer Veronica Koman and United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) chairman Benny Wenda.

One of the domains used in the second campaign was registered by Muhamad Rosyid Jazuli, who had worked since 2014 in an organization called the Jenggala Center. The organization was originally a supporter of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Jusuf Kalla when the pair ran in the 2014 presidential election.

Jazuli admitted to the team his responsibility for the WJ and Tell the Truth NZ, while denying knowledge of Noken Insight despite evidence that the WJ Facebook page once used Noken Insight’s brand as its cover photo.

“Jazuli [said] that the sites and profiles were created on his own initiative by himself and friends, using personal money and were not related to his work with the Jenggala Center,” the report said.

It added that he claimed the campaigns were simply attempts to counter negative Western media coverage, rather than being propaganda or “fake news”.

Hunger and culture in West Papua

Written by SOPHIE CHAO

In the West Papuan district of Merauke, vast swaths of forest and savannah have been razed to make way for monocrop oil palm plantations and other agroindustrial projects over the last decade. These land conversions have resulted in an array of environmental problems, including widespread biodiversity loss, deforestation, critical soil erosion, and the pollution of soil, water and air. Most directly affected by these changes are the Indigenous Marind communities upon whose customary territories monocrop expansion is taking place, among whom I have been doing ethnographic fieldwork since 2013.

Although national policy has encouraged the expansion of oil palm plantations throughout the country over the past 20 years as a valuable export crop, it is only in the last decade or so that oil palm monocrops have been established in West Papua. With arable land growing scarce in Sumatra, Java and Kalimantan, the oil palm frontier is now rapidly moving east, driven by national palm oil production targets, the perceived availability of unused lands in the region, and the need for further socioeconomic ‘development’ in West Papua.

Many Marind in rural Merauke report that oil palm projects are being designed and implemented without their free, prior and informed consent or ongoing participation. This has often resulted in conflict between communities and corporations and conflict within communities over matters of land rights, employment opportunities and compensation payments. Most significantly, the conversion of forest landscapes to monocrop plantations and the substitution of forest-based food systems with processed commodities have provoked growing malnutrition and food insecurity among Marind communities, who have traditionally relied on the forest for their subsistence. Malnutrition, or the lack of nutritionally rich and balanced foods, and food insecurity, or peoples’ limited access to sufficient quantities of nutritious food, have together created a condition of perpetual hunger – one that, as Marind frequently told me, cannot easily be satiated by processed foods.

A new kind of hunger

Certainly, experiences of hunger were far from unknown to Marind prior to the oil palm incursion. Different periods of the year were associated with the availability of different foods depending on seasonality, animal migration patterns and climactic conditions such as drought or monsoon. These periods, however, were never permanent but rather episodic, and the decline in one foodstuff was compensated by the abundance of another. In line with customary law, a range of different rituals and ceremonies helped ensure that food supplies were replenished over time and that the fertility of the soils and waters of the forest was maintained.

Deforestation and monocrop oil palmexpansion have provoked a spate of malnutrition, particularly among Marind infants and children / Sophie Chao

In contrast, the obliteration of vast areas of forest in Merauke today has resulted in a generalised scarcity of forest foods – sago, cassowary, wild pigs and fruit, among others. Animals and plants have fled or been decimated because of land clearing, forest burning and the substitution of biodiverse forests with industrial monocrop plantations. Just as non-human organisms find little to subsist on within the homogeneous environment of oil palm plantations, so too Marind say they are afflicted by a growing and unprecedented sense of hunger. As Gerfacius, a Marind elder, put it, ‘In the plantation, there is no freedom, no kin and no real food. In the plantation, there is just hunger and loneliness.’

But for Marind, food is also about much more than just nutritional intake. The particular values attributed to forest foods arise from the fact that the plants and animals from which these foods are derived are considered by Marind to be sentient kin with whom they share common ancestral dema, or spirits. Plants and animals share stories, myths and encounters with humans in the distant and near past, that together compose a vast body of traditional law and custom, passed on from generation to generation. Each species also shares a connection to a particular Marind clan, whose names commemorate these relations by way of an animal or plant prefix. For instance, members of the Balagaize clan are the ‘children of the crocodile’ (balagai meaning crocodile and ze meaning child in Marind).

Similarly, members of the Mahuze clan are the children of the dog, or mahu in Marind. Relations around feeding and being fed between Marind and their non-human forest kin are anchored in reciprocal respect and care. Eating forest foods means acknowledging that one is also food for others. In these mutual chains of consumption, humans, animals and plants participate together in a collective chain of nurture.

In contrast, imported commodities that are replacing native foods are described by many Marind as tasteless and unsatiating because, as Rosalina, a Marind mother of three put it, ‘they do not taste of the forest’. These foods, that include rice, instant noodles and biscuits, come from unknown places and are grown and processed by unknown people. These foods are not derived from plants and animals with whom Marind share intergenerational kinships and pasts. They are not procured or prepared by relatives or friends. And they lack the moral, cultural and emotional dimensions that imbue forest foods with meaning, flavour and nourishment. More than this, processed foods are said by Marind to exacerbate the hunger of those who consume them. Children, for instance, clamour for more food within hours of eating instant noodles. Women described snacking on processed biscuits throughout the day but always craving more. Young men also talked of having become addicted to rice, which they would eat in copious amounts without feeling full.

Eating the future

The disappearance of forest foods has had physically adverse effects on people. For instance, Selly, a young woman with whom I frequently walked the forest in search of medicinal herbs, spoke of her breasts becoming dry and her skin sallow from the absence of sago. Village men described how the scarcity of forest game had depleted their bodies of blood, fat and muscle. Many community members noted that their children’s skin had become thin and grey rather than glossy and taut. Experiencing hunger and witnessing the hunger of others is also a deeply emotional experience. People express feelings of sadness and anxiety as a result of food scarcity. They also describe a pervasive sense of loneliness caused by the severance of their connections to the forest and its past and present lifeforms. Many community members lamented the decline in collective hunting and foraging activities that had once sustained the mutual relationships of humans and non-humans in the forest.

While some Marind consider processed foods, like instant noodles, to be unsatiating and tasteless, other Marind associate these foods with a desired modern way of life / Sophie Chao

Yet at the same time, many Marind are attracted to processed foods because they associate them with a modern way of life and see them as a welcome change from traditional diets. For instance, rural Marind villagers who have spent prolonged periods of time working or studying in Merauke City or Jayapura have adapted to urban diets and now prefer city foods over forest foods. Tensions also arise among Marind themselves over matters of food. This is particularly evident between young and old generations of Marind, who either embrace processed foods as a way of participating in modernity or reject them because they threaten to supersede traditional foods and the forest ecologies from which these foods are derived.

In many ways, then, tensions over what to eat or not to eat replicate on a small but daily scale a broader set of frictions provoked by oil palm expansion in Merauke. These include, for instance, whether to endorse or reject oil palm projects, whether to seek employment in the city or retain forest-based livelihoods, and whether to accept or resist cultural changes associated with the spread of capitalism. Different kinds of hunger, both literal and symbolic, are at play among Marind today. Some Marind hunger for a return to forest-based livelihoods that are anchored in custom and tradition. Others, meanwhile, hunger for new ways of living achieved through alternative forms of eating.

Voices for the hungry

What can Indigenous Marind’s experiences of hunger teach us about nutritional health, diet and food security in contemporary Merauke? First, Marind conceptualise the form and effects of food itself in deeply culturally embedded ways. In other words, local norms, values and relations imbue different foods with equally diverse meanings and values, that often go beyond solely quantitative or calorie measurements. From a Marind perspective, then, food is not just about what is eaten but also where food comes from, how it is produced, and by whom.

Second, Marind experiences point to the potentially adverse impacts on local food security of large-scale agribusiness projects that are themselves designed and implemented in the name of national food sovereignty. As many Marind pointed out to me, there is a need for inclusive, multi-stakeholder negotiated action between government, corporate and indigenous representatives to ensure that traditional food systems can survive oil palm.

Meeting these local needs will not be easy. After all, Marind themselves are divided over what counts as a meaningful and nourishing diet. But including indigenous voices in dialogue and policy making pertaining to food production and distribution remains critical to ensuring that their right to food, as both a nutritional and cultural resource, is adequately respected.

Sophie Chao (sophie.chao@sydney.edu.au) is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Sydney and an honorary postdoctoral fellow at Macquarie University. She previously worked for the human rights organisation Forest Peoples Programme and has published several books on indigenous peoples and the palm oil sector in Southeast Asia. See her website for more information.

Indonesia bans foreign diplomats’ access to Papua amid separatist unrest

Indonesia has effectively banned foreign diplomats and the United Nations from visiting Papua, as separatist unrest continues to challenge Jakarta’s authority.

The government says security concerns prevent it from allowing access to foreign embassies or its citizens wanting to visit the troubled Papua and West Papua provinces.

Several embassies in Jakarta have sought permission to visit Papua but have been knocked back.Duration: 3min 13secBroadcast: Wed 9 Oct 2019, 5:00pm

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/

PNG Oposisen lida Belden Namah toktok long hevi bilong West Papua

Papua New Guinea praim minista James Marape itokim PNG parliment tete olsem gavman bilong em bai respektim sovergnity bilong Indonesia na ino inap long toktok long ol human rights hevi long West Papua.

Mr Marape itok yet olsem sapos ol West Papua refugees ikam insait long PNG long ronowe long ol hevi bai PNG gavman ilukautim ol tasol ol lhevi insait boda bilong Indonesia em gavman blong em bai ino inap long mekim wanpla toktok long en

Listen HERE

PNG welcome West Papua refugees

Port Moresby, PAPUA NEW GUINEA – October 15, 2019: 10am (NBC NEWS PNG): Papua New Guinea will stand ready to welcome refugees from West Papua if they decide to seek refuge in the country.

Prime Minister James Marape made these remarks in Parliament on Friday when responding to a series of questions by Opposition Leader Belden Namah on the Government’s stance on West Papua’s ongoing conflicts and alleged human rights abuses.

“Let me announce to the world, if refugee situations happen, we are Melanesians we are prepared to burn our last toea to accept refugees into our country.

“That is if they come, we are Melanesians our hospitality remains even to our own cost we will take care of them.

“But in the first instance whatever happens on the other side of the border belongs to the Indonesian government, it is their responsibility we can only advise and we can only raise concerns from this side,” said PM Marape.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Marape further said PNG will respect Indonesia’s sovereignty and not interfere in its affairs.

He said PNG’s foreign policy has always been ‘Friends to all and enemy to none.’

Marape said apart from supporting the call during the recent Pacific Islands Forum, for an independent investigation into allegations of human rights abuses, he’s personally summoned the Indonesian Ambassador to PNG for a briefing and conveyed his dissatisfaction on the ongoing unrests.

“As far as a responsibility to the greater international neighborhoods that we have, we remitted that concern through the diplomatic channel across the Palace in Jakarta and the Palace has heard our concerns.

“The response we got from Indonesia was that the President is interfacing more with the people in West Papua.

“In fact, he has made one known trip to West Papua since the incident has happened to sit down and start this engagement with the Councils and Chiefs there which is going,” Marape told Parliament…. PACNEWS

Source: https://nukualofatimes.tbu.to/

O’Neill faces arrest

By GYNNIE KERO and SYLVESTER WEMURU

PNG Acting Police Commissioner David Manning and Former PM Peter O'Neill
PNG Acting Police Commissioner David Manning and Former PM Peter O’Neill

POLICE will investigate Ialibu-Pangia MP and former prime minister Peter O’Neill for alleged official corruption and have obtained a warrant for his arrest from the court.

Acting Police Commissioner David Manning said the warrant was based on the “weight of the evidence brought by the investigators”. The warrant was to have been served on O’Neill yesterday but according to Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Operations Donald Yamasombi, he could not be located.

O’Neill however told The National late yesterday that he only became aware of the warrant for his arrest yesterday when it was posted on social media by Manning. He denied that anyone from the constabulary had officially communicated the matter to him or his legal representative.

“I will make myself available (to police) at any time to hear this complaint,” he said.

Manning said investigation into the case had been ongoing and police detectives after collating all the “evidence” called for an application to the court for an arrest warrant.

Manning said he had made contact with O’Neill yesterday and had requested him directly to accompany Yamasombi to the Boroko Police Station but he refused to cooperate.

“I am now appealing to the former prime minister to make himself available to the investigators for the investigation process to be completed,” Manning said.

“He will be processed by police after which he has the right to bail and defend himself in court.

“Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law so O’Neill’s constitutional rights are being respected.”

O’Neill criticised the way police had gone about the process of investigating him.

“The fact that the acting commissioner would choose to make this announcement on social media and not through official representation to my office, is telling that this is a political move,” he said.

“I was not informed or presented with a warrant to appear anywhere today (yesterday) by any member of the (constabulary).

“If this was a serious matter, not a political power play, a formal process would be in place that would have seen legal representation made to my office.”

O’Neill suspects that the investigation may have something to do with “renovations to the Yagaum health centre in Madang”.

“The question must also be asked: Since when is it criminal to help community projects for health and education?” he said.

“If someone has mismanaged the funds, they should be dealt with, not people trying to assist.

“As (former) prime minister, I was never the custodian of the funds sent to Madang for the Yagaum health centre for renovations to repair the run-down hospital.”

O’Neill said “this blatant interference in police operations must be referred to the Ombudsman Commission.”

He claimed that Manning and Madang MP and Police Minister Bryan Kramer were behind the move to have him arrested and questioned.

West Papuan refugees welcome in PNG – PM
© Getty Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister James Marape listens to Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a meeting at Parliament House in Canberra on July 22, 2019. - Marape is on a six-day visit to Australia. (Photo by MICK TSIKAS / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read MICK TSIKAS/AFP/Getty Images)
© Getty Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape listens to Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a meeting at Parliament House in Canberra on July 22, 2019. – Marape is on a six-day visit to Australia. (Photo by MICK TSIKAS / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read MICK TSIKAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Papua New Guinea’s prime minister says his country stands ready to welcome more refugees from West Papua.

James Marape was responding to questions in Parliament yesterday about the deteriorating human rights situation on the Indonesian side of the border.

He said PNG respected Indonesia’s sovereignty over West Papua and what happened there was Jakarta’s responsibility.

However, Mr Marape said he supported the Pacific Islands Forum call for an independent investigation, and personally summoned Indonesia’s ambassador.

West Papuan refugees would always be welcome in PNG, he said.

Source: https://www.msn.com/

Melanesian Spearhead Group Role on West Papua Issue

By Ambassador Brian Yombon-Copio

West Papua has ongoing issues on human rights abuses and atrocities committed by Indonesia’s guided democracy regime. They have suffered for far too long on their motherland and felt that they should exist as an independent nation state which would guarantee them absolute freedom from these issues. Most importantly West Papuans view that they belong to a Melanesian race and they fear continued suffering at the hands of a populous mongoloid race. The West Papuans are an ethnic minority which has resultant ethnic similarities to Melanesians where they have same features, cultural values and norms and importantly they have closer proximity with PNG based on ancestral ties especially West Sepik and Western Provinces which draws back to many years.

The Melanesian countries have witnessed and sympathised on the sufferings of the West Papuans and they have overwhelming views against the abuse of human rights and atrocities. The Melanesian Spearhead Group (‘MSG’) which is the central forum for Melanesian peoples has indicated support for West Papua with their aspirations for a fully pledge independent nation. However PNG being the largest Melanesian country which is viewed to have potential influence has different views under successive political leaders and supported West Papua with reservations at the MSG level.

Nevertheless West Papua was admitted as an observer recently in the Melanesian bloc instead of a full membership. The current government views PNG’s regional standing and reputation which have been shaped by its commitment to Melanesian values which include stronger democracy, maintaining the rule of law, protection of human rights and increasing trade and economic aspects of development as significantly important. The MSG is an important partner in the pursuit of these values regionally. PNG is therefore viewed as a strong influence and ‘bread winner’ for other Melanesian countries and ethnic minorities within the region. Accordingly PNG Government’s change of politics on West Papua is timely.

Historically PNG has been forced into a difficult situation as previous governments reached an understanding with Indonesia that West Papua remains an integral part of the country and PNG should not offend Indonesia in supporting West Papua’s independence aspirations. As a result PNG’s position on the West Papua issues has been grasped with mixed reactions by other Melanesian countries which expected PNG to equally support West Papua’s agenda on its political future.

The Melanesian countries do not duly consider PNG’s closer proximity to Indonesia and the strong bilateral relationship between the two countries. However the MSG countries view PNG as a ‘bread winner’ for the rest of the smaller island nations. In other words, PNG is expected to act on behalf of smaller island countries regardless of its own position and pursue the interest of smaller island nations and other minor ethnic groups like West Papua and New Caledonia. Given PNG’s perceived leadership in the region, the MSG views that PNG has an obligation to deliver desired results for the benefit of minor ethnic groups which have formidable issues. However MSG solidarity is important and if collective determinations are reached, PNG has no option but to respect such and support the decisions for realisation in the interest of the MSG bloc. At the MSG level there has to be solidarity in most of the decisions reached by the MSG for a common good of Melanesian peoples.

There is overwhelming support for West Papua for its aspiration for self-determination from majority of the MSG members and PNG’s change in position should impact certainty to a larger degree. PNG should play a lead role in encouraging the MSG bloc to make representation to Indonesia with its collective determinations to address the issues of West Papua. It is strongly believed that Indonesia would respect PNG and sense that the collective determinations reflect the views of the MSG.

The major regional players like Australia and New Zealand also have vested interests and are aware that the West Papua agenda on independence has potential issues with their own interests with Indonesia. On the other, Australia and New Zealand might have their own foreign policies on PNG-Indonesian relations as they are absolutely aware of the impeding position of PNG. Given the scenario, Australia and New Zealand should support on the West Papua issues through regional dialogues to reach solutions which would satisfy both West Papua and Indonesia.

Papua Police name 13 suspects for deadly Wamena unrest

Papua Police name 13 suspects for deadly Wamena unrest – National – The Jakarta Post

The Papua Police have named 13 people suspects for allegedly having been behind the recent deadly unrest in Wamena, Jayawijaya regency, which caused tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes.

Ten suspects, whose ages range from 16 to 40 years, were already in the custody, while the remaining three are still at large and being hunted by the police, Papua Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. AM Kamal said on Monday.

“The three wanted [suspects] are categorized as provocateurs and are allegedly involved in the KNPB [National Committee of West Papua] and the ULMWP [United Liberation Movement for West Papua],” Kamal said as quoted by kompas.com.

The Indonesian government has blamed both the ULMWP, led by UK-based Papuan exile Benny Wenda, and the affiliated KNPB for orchestrating the unrest that broke out on Sept. 23.

Police investigators claimed they found indications the three were involved with the groups after collecting the testimony of the arrested suspects and witnesses, he said.

Wamena saw violent unrest on Sept. 23 as a mob, reportedly of native Papuans, set hundreds of buildings, including shophouses and government offices, and cars on fire and attacked other residents with weapons.

The turmoil, which the government estimated to have caused material losses amounting to Rp 479.5 billion (US$33.8 million), claimed the lives of at least 33 people, most of whom were non-native Papuans, and injured at least 76 others, according to authorities.

As of Sunday, about 1,726 residents were still staying at a number of evacuation sites, while another 15,544 had left Wamena for other cities across the country after the riots, the Social Ministry said.

Kamal said the police would possibly name more suspects. (gis)

Papua Police name 13 suspects for deadly Wamena unrest – National – The Jakarta Post