Papua: Vanuatu Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Around 190 countries gathered in New York for the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) from Sept. 17 to 30. Its themes included galvanizing multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion. As sovereign nations, however, participating countries were free to touch upon any issue pertinent to their supreme national interests.

United States President Donald Trump, for example, used this event to promote his “America First” ideology, stating that “The Future doesn’t belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots” (Politico, Sept. 24).

It is in this context that prior to and during the UNGA session, the so-called leader of the United Liberations Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), Benny Wenda, and his cohorts had moved around to lobby countries, especially state parties to the Pacific Islands Forum and Melanesian Spearhead Group, trying to convince them to pressure Indonesia to organize a referendum in Papua.

And at the same time, banking on the already tense politics in Papua, mainly due to the heinous killing of around 20 construction workers in Nduga regency last December, Benny stands accused of provoking a series of brutal acts in the restive province, in which scores of innocent people perished in Jayapura and Wamena respectively, in an attempt to attract the General Assembly’s attention.

More than 30 innocent people were dastardly killed and around 10,000 have become displaced.

This tragedy has exposed the true colors of Benny, defeating his claim of being a peaceful freedom fighter, as he has tried desperately to portray during his recent interview with the BBC. The recent killings, looting and burning of civilian property and public infrastructure in Papua speak volumes of this man, who apparently will do anything imaginable to justify his end. It is rather shameful that Vanuatu has – all these years – failed to see this fact and was willingly manipulated by Benny to become ULMWP’S mouthpiece, by constantly raising the Papuan issue at international forums.

The fact that only Vanuatu out of 196 participating countries in the General Assembly session pressed for Papuan self-determination is clear evidence. Indeed, the question of Papua had long been put to rest when the UNGA issued Resolution No. 2504/1969.

The 1969 resolution affirmed the return of Papua from the colonial past to the realm of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, based on the principle of utipossidetis juris, an international maxim that states borders of the newly independent countries conform to its colonial ones.

While regretting the ignorance of Vanuatu on this well-established international principle, Indonesia should welcome the constructive engagements by Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, which briefly expressed their concerns over what happened recently in Papua, while appreciating the intention of Indonesia’s government to invite the UN High commissioner for human rights to visit the country.

It is to be expected that Indonesia will take commensurate measures to rein in Vanuatu from meddling in its domestic affairs, which may include breaking up diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Practically, Indonesia gains nothing from its diplomatic relationship with this relatively less than US$1 billion economy, as compared to Indonesia, which has a gross domestic product that surpasses $1 trillion, according to the World Bank. In terms of socio-economic benefits, Vanuatu surely needs Indonesia more than Indonesia needs Vanuatu. As the menacing global economy recession starts to manifest itself, instead of engaging in confrontation, all UN members are required to corporate closely to fend off this threat.

Accordingly, all countries have to identify all obstructing elements in their quest to multilaterally confront the approaching economic turbulence, amid UN failures to resolve recalcitrant conflicts around the world, among others, in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Korea Peninsula, apart from the Rohingya humanitarian crisis in Myanmar.

As far as Vanuatu is concerned, to continue raising the Papuan issue internationally will lead it nowhere. It is just like barking up the wrong up the wrong tree, for no country will support Vanuatu, as has been made crystal clear all these years. Hence, getting rid of the Papuan issue from its international agenda is highly recommended to build a more productive cooperation with Indonesia.

As for the Indonesia’s maturing democracy, we hope it is able to resolve its multifaceted challenges, including the Papua issue, in the near future. Soon after his inauguration this month and with his renewed mandate, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo will be very well equipped to pull Indonesia out of this trying moment. Let us give him enough space and ample time to carry out his constitutional duties, resolving all pressing matters, chiefly among those the issue of Papua, once and for all.

Source: The JakartaPost

Female Papuan Pilots Join Garuda Indonesia and Citilink

Two female students from West Papua managed to put their name in history. Vanda Korisano and Martha Itaar became the first officers in two of Indonesia’s top airlines.

Both are recipients of scholarships from the Special Autonomy fund of the Papua and West Papua Province who studied at Nelson Aviation College, New Zealand, since 2014. There are around 150 students from Papua and West Papua who received the scholarship and study abroad.

“Vanda was accepted as a pilot at Garuda Indonesia, while Martha was accepted at Citilink,” said Indonesian Ambassador to New Zealand Tantowi Yahya in a written statement on Wednesday (31/7).

Meanwhile, Papua Governor Lukas Enembe in his statement on the sidelines of attending the 1st Pacific Exposition in Auckland on July 14, stressed that the main task of Papuan students and students abroad is to study. He appealed to them not to be affected by negativity.

“You are not obliged to go back to Papua after you finish college. If you want to work here or in Australia or anywhere else, please. Later in Papua we will be proud to hear that there are Papuans working in a big company,” Enembe said.

The success of this Papuan student made Marveys Ayomi, a teacher and mentor at the International Pacific University (IPU) of New Zealand proud. He also thanked Ambassador Tantowi and the ranks at the Indonesian Embassy in Wellington for their efforts in helping and paying attention to Papuan students as long as they studied in New Zealand.

The Indonesian Embassy in every activity such as seminars, sports and culture always involves Indonesian students and students, including those from Papua. Students and students are involved in the Pacific Exposition 2019 which was held in Auckland on 11-14 July.

Garuda Indonesia President Director Ari Askhara expressed his pride in being able to recruit the best Papuan women. This proves that anyone can become a pilot.

According to Ari, to be part of the cockpit of the Garuda Indonesia Group crew, they must pass high qualification standards and a long process. Ari hopes that the steps made by Vanda and Marta can be a towing locomotive for other Papuan sons / daughters at Garuda Indonesia.

Vanda and Marta, who arrived in New Zealand in 2014, once awarded as the best pilots throughout the year for international students (Best all round flying performance for international students). They got certification for Private Pilot License, Commercial Pilot License and Multi Engine Instrument Rating.

After graduating from New Zealand in early January 2018, they decided to continue their education at the Ganesha Flight School, Jakarta. Here, they get Indonesian DGCA Pilot License certification. In June 2019, their hard work and struggle finally paid off, their dream of becoming a pilot for Indonesia’s biggest airline, Garuda Indonesia Group, was fulfilled.

Source: Kumparan.com

The Ministry Continues the Construction of the Road near Indonesia – PNG Border

Jakarta – The Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) continues the completion of the 1,098 km border road near Indonesia-Papua New Guinea (PNG) border spanning from Merauke to Jayapura. It is part of the President Jokowi instructions to develop and open access to isolated areas and improve life of the communities.

“The development of the border area is needed by the border community to create new economic growths in the border region,” said PUPR Minister, Basuki Hadimuljono.

One of the border road sections that is currently under construction is the Oksibil-Towe Hitam – Ubrup – Jayapura Road (5.52 km). The construction starts from KM 15.5 to KM 21.2 in Pegunungan Bintang District. The main challenge in border road development in Papua is its natural conditions which are still covered by tropical forests, mountains and extreme weather. Also the availability of construction materials which still is limited in Papua.

“This work is carried out in few stages considering the terrain that makes it hard to access, we have to cross steep mountains and forests which make it difficult for construction workers to mobilize the tools,” said Minister Basuki.

The current stage is carried out by the contractor PT Wijaya Karya (Persero) using state budget amounting Rp 108.5 billion. The construction will take 376 days since the beginning of 2018.

Although it is still a dirt road, this new road provides tangible benefits to the border community in Papua. The travel time between the regional economic center which was originally in the number of weeks by foot, is shorten to days because now the vehicles can cross. If the road conditions gets better, then the travel time will be shortened to hours.

Meanwhile, the 111 km road constructed from Sota – Erambu – Bupul is fully paved. Furthermore, the 38 km Bupul-Muting section and the 195 km Muting-Boven Digoel section also have been paved so vehicles can easily pass. Of the total 1,098 km border road from Merauke – Jayapura, by the end of 2018, 919 km have been connected. (*)

Source:
Public Communication Bureau
Ministry of PUPR

Open Letter to Benny Wenda

Dear sir,

For all these years you claimed your struggle is freedom of people of West Papua. You claimed that Papuans are still under colonial power, oppressed, and ruthlessly controlled by Indonesian government. You expressed your anger seeing and witnessing the genocide conducted by Indonesian toward Papuans. Therefore, you will continue your struggle and fight to get rid Indonesian from the land belong to Papuans.

By then, as part of your struggle, you and your group called OPM engaged Indonesian in any way that may serve your goal. The group ambushed and killed fellow Papuans and burning their houses. Even not long ago they butchered innocent civilian workers of road and construction projects and were rationalized as a necessity.

With the help of your supporters, you claimed that Indonesian is illegally colonized Papua. You spread your movement internationally and expecting sympathy from international community for your struggle. And lately you asked all Papuans to boycott the Indonesian election because it’s an election for Indonesian not for Papuans. And you also claimed that appeal to boycott the election has succeeded.

Let check all your claimed one by one, whether your argument that your interest is the welfare of people of Papua is valid or not and can be supported by facts. 

  1. You said that Papuan people have been subjected to human rights violations yet there are 191 officials and 56 civilians fell victims to OPM’s crimes since 2009
  2. You claimed that Papuan boycotted the 2019 General Election yet Papua has more than 80% turnout voters in 2019 General Election. One of the highest number when compared to other provinces in Indonesia.
  3. You said that you’ve handed petition by 1,8 million Papuans to the UN Decolonisation Commission but again it’s confirmed as another lie.

And now let see what the government of Indonesia have been done in Papua

  1. 854 schools with more than 157.000 students in 2016
  2. At least 30 hospitals and 394 clinics
  3. At least 4.330 km of Trans-Papua road has been connected

To compare all these number, objectively, anyone can see that whatever the argument you and OPM try to convey to the world, will fail since almost all of them are baseless and are not supported by facts. It is that your interest is hunger and lust for power just like ant thugs anywhere in the world.

But still, among all arguments that rally interest me most is your keen focus on Papua as a race. Personally, I cannot believe anyone still continue to believe in racism. It is an ideology that is invalid and morally wrong. No one can give any excuse for believing that humanity can be divided into certain category without destroying and degrading humanity themselves.  History has proven that racism only creating hatred, misery in the ugliest and dirtiest form of cruelty and yet you still cling on to it. 

You, Mr. Benny Wenda, as Papuan have experienced how degrading it was being treated the way the European colonial treated people in Papua. And there you are, now you use the same stands as what the European has thought you. Shame on you Mr. Benny Wenda. For your personal gain, you are willing to sacrifice the innocent, whether they are Papuan or fellow human being.

Batik and Weaving at the UNSC Session to Celebrate Indonesia’s Presidency

Indonesia should be proud because batik and weaving were chosen as dress codes in the United Nations (UN) Security Council (SC) Session at the UN headquarters, New York, United States on Tuesday (05/07/2019).

The meeting was an Open Debate Meeting to discuss the capacity building of peacekeepers in various missions all over the world.

As we know, Indonesia was appointed as the President of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on May 1 to May 31, 2019. This is the first time for Indonesia to have the opportunity to chair a UN Security Council session.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, who chaired the hearing, said that batik was chosen as a dress code of the UN Security Council as a form of respect for UN Security Council members for Indonesia who held the UN Security Council presidency for May 2019.

Retno also mentioned that the batik worn by delegates from the UN Security Council was their personal collection, not from Indonesian gifts.

“The various batik worn by the UN Security Council delegation today is their own personal collection. “A number of delegates collected batik not only from the Indonesian delegation in New York, or when they became chair of the delegation at the conference in Indonesia, but also there were those who bought it themselves during a visit to Indonesia,” said Retno Marsudi, quoted by VOA on Wednesday (8/5 / 2019).

The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, also wore a bright coloured weaving. In addition to Guterres, delegates from the United States (US), Germany, Ivory Coast, France, Perus, the Dominican Republic, and China also seen wearing batik at the session.

“It’s very nice, today’s session (Tuesday) is pretty and colorful. Because, most delegates wear batik,” added Retno Marsudi.

Indonesian batik has been recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage. The selection of batik at this session is expected to introduce and increase popularity of the motifs of Indonesian batik. (Geosiar)

7 Papuans Graduated from Corban University, Oregon

On May 4th 2019, A total of 10 Indonesian students are among those who celebrate their graduation at Corban University in the city of Salem, State of Oregon. 7 students are from Papua and West Papua, and 3 students from West Java and Banten.

The ceremony also attended by the Governor of Papua Province, Lukas Enembe, along with the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in San Francisco and the Education attaché of the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, DC. Governor Lukas Enembe encourages Papuan youth to study abroad with scholarships offered by the Papua Provincial Government.

Among them, 3 Indonesian students from Banten, West Java and Papua managed to get cum laude predicate in their graduation. In addition, one of the Indonesian students from Papua also received a ministry award from the Corban University campus.

The achievements of the young Indonesians is an honor that make Indonesia proud. Governor Lukas covey in his remarks “to all graduates, please continue to excel and contribute for the development of Indonesia. For students who still pursue their studies, keep focus on your study and take this opportunity to the fullest in your learning processes that can be useful for the people and the nation of Indonesia wherever they are. “

Governor Lukas Enembe also stressed that they are Indonesian citizens who are obliged to protectbring the name of Indonesia. He also advised Indonesian students from Papua to become agents of change for the development of Papua province and thrive for even better in the future. The graduates also received prizes from the Governor of Papua for graduating on the same year.

Minister Counselor / Economic Consul of the Indonesian Consulate General in San Francisco, Hanggiro Setiabudi congratutaled all the graduates, and requested all Indonesian students in the United States to pursue their study seriously so that can give contribution for the advancement of Indonesia. Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia in the United States are ready to help and assist all Indonesian students.

The education and cultural attaché from the Indonesian Embassy in Washington DC, Popy Rufaidah, offer the students the opportunities of internships (optional practical training) at local companies for 1 year after their graduation. It is hoped that Indonesian students may take advantage of these opportunities.

The Governor of Papua also attended a series of graduation events with the celebration of Bakar Batu at the campus area of Corban University, which was also attended by 200 invitee of Indonesian lived in the city of Salem and local communities who had been supporting Indonesian students from Papua during their study in Corban Campus.

Source: Sindonews