Three Indonesian Soldiers Killed in Fresh Papua Violence

Three Indonesian soldiers who attempted to guard the construction of a bridge had been massacred by the National Liberation Army of West Papua (TPNPB) in Nduga, Papua.

The soldiers had just arrived in Yigi village in Nduga district on Thursday (7/3) morning when they were suddenly attacked by a large group of 50-70 people from TPNPB.

It happened on the same ground where another massacre that killed at least 19 workers occurred back in December 2018.

Too many innocent souls had become victims of the separatists while taking part in efforts to boost infrastructure in Papua.

The world should know this truth – the one who should take responsibility for human rights violation in Papua is the separatist group, TPNPB.

A Review on Chagos, Papua, and Vanuatu

A few days ago, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivered its advisory opinion stating that the UK should return Chagos to Mauritius in order to put an end to decolonization, as Chagos is an inseparable part of Mauritius since its independence day in 1968.

ICJ then refused to give a further opinion by valuing this case as a bilateral case between Mauritius and UK.

This case is surely not related to sovereignty issues, but rather an issue of decolonization which has not yet been settled.

However, the decision of ICJ was seen by few parties, who did not fully understand the meaning of the decision and associate this case to Papua issue, as a decision that supports the separation of Papua from Indonesia―making it seem as if the situation in Papua was also an unfinished decolonization process, and that Papua is a colony of Indonesia.

To straighten the fatal mistake of associating the Chagos issue with Papua’s, there should be an understanding on how Papua had become a province and an inseparable part of Indonesia.

History notes down that Papua case was a dispute between Indonesia and The Netherlands, which resulted to the Netherlands giving back Papua to Indonesia via the establishment of New York Agreementin 1962. This agreement was established due to Netherlands’ refusal to surrender all of its colonized areas when Indonesia declared its independence in 1945.

Both cases of Chagos and Papua is basically connected with an international law doctrine, Uti Possidetis Juris (you possess under law), which basically states that newly formed sovereign state should have the same borders as their preceding dependent area before their independence. This principle lays a foundation to defend the newly formed state not to be divided and separated into several different entities by its colonial power. History taught us that some colonial powers tend to divide their colony into several new entities.

Uti Possidetis Juris was then crystalized and strengthened with norms that prohibit colonial (invading) countries to separate or break the colonized countries with territorial integrity and right to self-determination. It was comprised in paragraph 6 of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoplesthat was set through UNGA Resolution No. 1514/XV 1960.

We have witnessed that UK and the Netherlands had taken similar actions where they decided to hold on to some parts of their colonized territory and separated the territory into several entities.

In Papua’s case, the bilateral dispute was then facilitated by UN Secretary-General, where the discussion led to the New York Agreement 1962. The agreement included the process of “handing over” Papua from the Netherlands to the UN, and then back to Indonesia. After Papua was handed back to Indonesia, PEPERA was set to take place. The Preamble Agreementhighlighted that Papua is a dispute matter between Indonesia and The Netherlands.

UN’s involvement in this process was intended to avoid further conflict between Indonesia and the Netherlands, which could have potentially caused an open war. This conflict was then concluded with the ceasefire agreement on the 15th of August 1952.

PEPERA itself was not convened by UN, but by Indonesia itself with the participation of the UN special envoy in it. The term which was used was “plebiscite”, not “self-determination”.

The result of PEPERA was reported to the UN Secretary-General separately both by Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the UN special envoy. The Secretary-General then reported this to UN General Assembly. During the discussion in the General Assembly, the Netherlands accepted the results of PEPERA as how it was in the resolution. UN General Assembly was also very “correct” in responding to PEPERA. It did not position itself as a party who endorsed the results of the agreement, but rather only to “take note” on the Sec-General report of PEPERA. This confirmed that PEPERA was not a self-determination mechanism like the one typically done by UN.

The facilitation process done by UN’s Secretary-General (even by using PEPERA) needs to be understood as a way to avoid bilateral conflict between Indonesia and the Netherlands, and not as an implementation of the UNGA Resolution No. 1514 (Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples) and No. 1541 (self-determination).

Therefore, history has witnessed the facts that Papua has always been a part of Indonesia since the declaration of independence in 1945.

In this regard, related to the title of this article, the confusing and misleading support of Vanuatu towards Chagos being handed back to Mauritius and Papua to be separated from Indonesia, also needs to be taking into account.

Vanuatu’s support for Mauritius is rather correct and accurate. However, if the same support is used in the Papua case, then it clearly shows that Vanuatu has double standard which demonstrates its embarrassing hypocrisy.

The author has questioned the ideological foundation that motivates Vanuatu to take such contradicting actions related to Mauritius-Chagos and Indonesia-Papua.

Here are few possibilities:

Vanuatu’s support towards decolonization is built on the international law principal of Uti Possidetis Juris. If this is the answer, Vanuatu accepted such doctrine in relation to Chagos, but rejected it if it is used in the case of Papua. Vanuatu’s response in this case can be regarded as irresponsible and hypocritical.

If that is not the reason, then the next possibility for Vanuatu to build its argument on a racist mindset is that they view the establishment of a country based on a monogamous race. This is very likely as Vanuatu often express such ideas through equally racist jargons, such as Melanesian race, etc in various events. The same things always come up in various Vanuatu’s statements to support Papua separation from Indonesia. They used a simple argument: Melanesian Papua is invaded by Indonesia which is a Malay or Asian nation. Vanuatu completely dismissed the fact that many provinces outside Papua in Indonesia are also majorly populated by Melanesians and fundamentally Indonesia is made up of different races, religions, and beliefs. Perhaps, Vanuatu still adheres to an outdated and ancient mindset.

Another possible reason why Vanuatu took such actions is that it wants to raise its name in the international community and to distract their attention from troublesome and difficulties in their own domestic condition such as acute conflicts in politics, social, and economy. Corruption, poverty, and other social issues has put Vanuatu as one of the poorest and backwards country in the world.

However, in the end, it is only Vanuatu that can explain this strange attitude. One advice the author would give to the leaders of Vanuatu: buy a good mirror, and take a look at yourselves.

Ministry Seeks to Set Record Straight on Papua

Dian Septiari / The Jakarta Post

Indonesia is intensifying efforts to weed out what it calls “the threat of fake news” cast over the country’s easternmost provinces, just as Papuan separatist groups begin shifting from political to legal arguments to justify the local population’s right to self-determination.

The Foreign Ministry has found itself having to defend against legal claims to the right of Papuan self-determination, which it says have no grounds in Indonesia’s own history of independence, according to Damos Agusman, the director general for legal affairs and international treaties.

Damos said the right to self-determination argument was legally unsound as West Papua province was already included alongside Indonesia’s other regions in the country’s declaration of independence from the Dutch in 1945.

Citing an international law principle stipulating that newly formed sovereign states should retain the same borders as that of the preceding dependent area, he said the area now known as West papua was already part of the Dutch East Indies, according to its constitution from 1938.

He also defended the legitimacy of the 1969 “Act of Free Choice”, the result of an agreement between the Netherlands and Indonesia regarding the administration of the territory of West Papua signed in New York in 1962, saying it was a legitimate bilateral deal that could not be tampered with by third parties.

The ministry official informed people of the need to understand the historical context under which issues such as control over Papua was negotiated, especially in the context of colonialism.

“Self-determination must be based on several criteria, otherwise it will create chaos,” Damos told an audience of students in a seminar held at the ministry compound in Jakarta on Thursday (10/1).

The tone of Thursday’s seminar underscored Indonesia’s effort to push back on “fake news” that it says was being spread online by ill-minded activists from Indonesia and abroead.

In the past, the narrative carried by separatist groups focused more on political arguments such as the affinity of the Papuan people to the Melanesians of the South Pacific. “[Nowadays] we have detected that there are massive changes in their arguments – from political arguments to legal arguments that are wrong and misleading,” Damos said.

The issue of Papua has made it into Indonesia’s foreign policy priorities this year, despite years long efforts to stave off concerns from the international community about the country’s fight against separatist rebels.

The conflict between them flared again last month when armed separatists in Nduga, Papua killed more than a dozen people working on a trans-Papua highway construction site that was part of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s efforts to bring development to the province.

The issue was addressed by Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in her annual policy speech on Wednesday, which saw her pledge to take firm action against any disryptions to Indonesia’s sovereignty, including hoaxes, lies and violent acts carried out by separatists and their supporters.

“Indonesia will not give up even an inch to defend the country’s sovereignty,” Retno said in her speech.

Speaking in the context of the Nduga attacks that led to the death of 19 PT Istaka Karya construction workers and one soldier, Retno said such “disturbances” would not reduce the government’s commitment to improving the welfare of the Papuan people.

On the foreign policy front, she said she would strengthen the Melanesian kinship not only among the provinces in the eastern part of Indonesia but also with the countries of the South Pacific.

Jakarta has drawn criticism for using military approach in dealing with security issues in Papua.

According to a statement by the Human Rights Working Group, sovereignty diplomacy, especially on the issues of Papua, “will be doomed to failure” if the state insists on employing security apreach and repression”.

Source: The Jakarta Post (11 January 2018)


Statement of the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing on the Shooting of Workers on the Bridge Construction in Papua

Jakarta –  Amid the serious efforts of the Government through the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) to build infrastructure for equitable development in our country, especially those related to increasing inter-region connectivity to open isolated areas in Papua Province, an incident was perpetrated namely a shooting on the construction workers of the Aorak Kali Bridge (KM 102 + 525) and the Kali Yigi Bridge (KM 103 + 975) in Yigi District, Nduga District, Papua Province. The two bridge projects are part of Trans Papua segment 5, namely Wamena – Habema – Mugi – Kenyam – Batas Batu – Mumugu segment with a length of 278.6 km.

Based on information from the Papua Police Public Relations, December 3, 2018, the fatal shooting of workers from PT. Istaka Karya that occurred on Sunday, December 2, 2018 was allegedly done by the Armed Criminal Separatist Group (KKSB). We are still waiting for Confirmation from the Police and the Armed Forces on the number of workers who perished, sustained injuries and survived.

In response to the above, the Minister of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) Basuki Hadimuljono conveyed several important matters at the press conference, on December 4, 2018 in the Press Room of the Ministry of PUPR, Jakarta, as follows:

  1. We were shocked and deeply regret the re-occurrence of shooting on the construction workers of the Kali Yigi Bridge and the Aorak River Bridge on the Wamena – Habema – Kenyam – Batas Batu – Mumugu Section. We would convey our deep sorrow to the families of the workers from PT. Istaka Karya that fell victim.;
  2. We reiterate that the construction of the Wamena – Habema – Mugi – Kenyam – Batas Batu – Mumugu section is a priority program in President Joko Widodo’s and Vice President Jusuf Kalla’s Working Cabinet, as the implementation of Nawacita’s vision of “Building from the Periphery”. Bapak Jokowi happened to come on a working visit to directly monitor the progress of road construction on this section on May 10, 2017, and assigned the Ministry of PUPR to accelerate the completion of the construction of roads and bridges on the section;
  3. The construction of roads and bridges on this section has long been awaited by the local community and therefore received strong support from the people of Papua because it will be the closest route from the Port of Mumugu to the residents in the Central Mountains region. The existence of these roads is vital to reduce the cost of logistics and lower the level of expensiveness in the Central Mountains region of Papua;
  4. Between 2016 and 2019, the Ministry of PUPR through the Papua XVIII National Road Implementation Center, Directorate General of Highways, has programmed the construction of 35 bridges on the Wamena – Habema – Mugi – Kenyam – Batas Batu – Mumugu section to complete the whole road infrastructure, of which the details are as follows :
    • 14 bridges are being undertaken by PT Istaka Karya with a contract value of Rp 184 billion, where the construction of 11 bridges is under implementation, and 3 bridges will start construction in 2019;
    • 21 bridges are being undertaken by PT Brantas Abipraya with a contract value of Rp 246.8 billion where the construction of 5 bridges has been completed (Gat III Bridge, Gat II, Arwana, Merek and Wusi), while 9 bridges are under implementation (al Kali Kotek I, Kali Wolgilik, Kali Jun, Kali Labi, Kali Abeak, Kali Simal, Kali Moit, Kali Dumit and Kali Rora). But, since 4 months this was stopped due to a serious secuirity disturbance with victims. 7 bridges will start construction work in 2019;
    • Without bridges, road users must cross the river on this section. At present the construction of the 35 bridges has been 70% completed.
  5. Considering the above mentioned matters, starting today (Tuesday, December 4, 2018) we will temporarily suspend the construction of bridges on the Wamena – Habema – Mugi – Kenyam – Batas Batu – Mumugu segments and will resume work according to the recommendations of the TNI and Polri;
  6. For this reason, we fully support the efforts and quick steps of the security forces, both TNI and Polri, to find and to take firm action against the perpetrators so as to create a conducive atmosphere for staff, contractors and consultants who work for and on behalf of the Ministry of PUPR and the Ministry / Other Institutions to build infrastructure for the realization of social justice and welfare in Papua;

Papua Separatists Group Killed 31 Civilian Workers in Nduga

Jayapura – On Monday 03 December 2018 around 15:30. local time, the police had been informed that there had been killing of the PT Istaka Karya workers who were building bridges in Yigi River and Aurak River. It is informed that the killings of the workers occurred on Saturday and Sunday, 1-2 December 2018 in Yigi River and Aurak River, Nduga Regency, Province of Papua.

“31 people, according to report that we received, had been killed,” Head of Public Relation of Papua Regional Police, Ahmad Musthofa Kamal told CNN Indonesia via SMS, Tuesday (4/12)

Kamal explained that the suspected group initially killed 24 workers, on Saturday (1/12). Then, eight other workers fled and hid in the house of one of the local legislators. However, on Sunday (2/12), the group came to the house and executed seven of them.

“On Sunday they were visited by the group and executed. Seven people were shot dead, one person was unknown,” Kamal said, when interviewed by CNN Indonesia. “The group is still in Nduga,” he said.

The police then coordinated with the military and tried to get to the scene. However, the personnel have not been able to enter the location because the road access was blocked by the group, on Tuesday (3/12) before sunset.
“Our members have not yet arrived at the crime scene, the road to the crime scene was blocked,” Kamal said.

Earlier on Saturday, December 1, 2018 at around 20:30 local time, Mr. Cahyo (Project Manager of PT. Istika Karya Habema-Mugi bridge construction package) received a call from a number normally held by Mr. Jhoni (Field Coordinator of PT. Istika Karya working on the construction of the Habema-Mugi bridge project) but Mr. Cahyo did not understand what the person calling was talking about.

Mr. Jhoni (Field Coordinator of PT. Istika Karya is working on the construction of the Habema-Mugi bridge project, which is currently carrying out the construction of bridges in Aurak River, Umtlat River, Yigi River, Nigidirik River, in Yigi District of Nduga Regency). Last communication with Mr. Jhoni was via SMS on November 30, 2018.

Meanwhile, information from the 755 / Yalet Satgaspamrahwan post in Napua-Wamena said that on November 30, 2018 at 04.00, a car was registered with Mr. MS as the driver carrying diesel fuel owned by PT. Istaka Karya heading to the Istaka Karya Camp in Yigi District and brought 5 employees. The car arrived back in Wamena at 18.30.

Then on December 1, 2018 at 2:00, there were 2 cars heading to Yigi District Camp each carrying 15 workers of PT Istaka Karya. On December 2, 2018, at 20.00. 1 Strada car returned to Wamena and on Monday 3 December 2018, the car returned from Wamena to Mbua District, Nduga Regency.

One of the cars carrying 15 project workers from PT Istaka Karya has yet to return to Wamena. Receiving this information on Monday, December 3, 2018 at 15.30, joint police and military personnel led by the Head of Ops for Jayawijaya Regional Police, AKP. R.L. Stageary left from Wamena to Yigi District, Nduga Regency, but when they arrived at kilometer 46, the team met with a car from the direction of Bua District and informed them that the road was blocked.

Papua Police PR Head, Ahmad Musthofa Kamal, S.H said that currently the joint TNI / Polri personnel had been deployed to check the information and were always ready to evacuate the victims and arrest the perpetrators.

14 Papuan Youth join Diversity for the Nation Expedition

A total of 14 youths from Papua took part in the 2018 Bhinneka Bagi Bangsa (Diversity for the Nation) Expedition in Jatiluhur, West Java.

This expedition was held to commemorate the Sumpah Pemuda (Youth Oath) Day which fell on 28 October,

These young people are students from the Jayawijaya Educational Foundation, Mimika which was founded by PT Freeport Indonesia.

The 14 Papuan participants joined others from various parts of Indonesia in a five-day nature expedition and education activity from 24-28 October at OBI Eco Campus, Jatiluhur, Purwakarta, West Java.

In this activity, the participants took part in a natural expedition which included mountain climbing, flag raising, reading of the Youth Oath pledge, and mutual cooperation to build rafts.

At the end of the activity, they participated in a mini talk show at the Jatiluhur OBI Eco Campus, West Java.

“There are 14 children from Papua, they consist of junior high school students in grade 7, 8 and grade 9. In this activity, they become accustomed to being able to get along with friends from diverse backgrounds. They are used to being in a pluralistic environment. They live and attend school in the PT Freeport Indonesia corporate work area in Papua, where people value​​ mutual respect,” said Head of Public Relations of the Jayawijaya Education Foundation, Omih Gobay in his press statement.

Wendy Kusumawidagdo as the initiator of the “Diversity for the Nation Expedition” said that this activity was expected to strengthen the bonds of the participants.

“We gather youth from Aceh to Papua, a total of 13 provinces, and consist of different ethnic groups, religions, ages and races. The children carry out various kinds of natural activities such as hiking and various other activities that train cooperation, tolerance and mutual understanding,” Wendy explained.

One of the participants from the Jayawijaya Educational Foundation Junior High School, Pamella, stated that this program enabled her to get to know the outside world more and have a broader perspective.

“I became more familiar with others, so I did not discriminate friends based on culture, ethnicity or skin color. I appreciate the difference more. I think diversity is very important to fight for. Because without diversity we cannot unite. Indonesia consists of various tribes and races, people that possess various kinds of diversities. Diversity as a strength to face challenges in the future. The diversity makes us one,” Pamella said.

13 Regencies in Papua Generate USD 8.4 Million from Agriculture Products

By Akfa Nasrulhak – detikFinance

Jakarta – The Ministry of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration (Ministry of PDTT) together with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) checks and validates the Self-sustain Village Development Program (PPMD) in Abrose Village, Ransiki District, South Manokwari, West Papua.

Head of Sub-directorate of Technology Efficiency (Kasubdit TTG), Directorate of Natural Resource Utilization (PSDA) of the Directorate General of Community Development and Empowerment (DG PPMD) of PDTT Ministry of Agriculture, Anastutik Wiryaningsih revealed that the PPMD ​​activities have been implemented since March 2017 and will end on 31 December 2018.

“In this period we carried out capacity building and community empowerment programs, especially in agriculture,” Anastutik said in a written statement on Thursday (11/08/2018).

Anastutik revealed that there were 13 districts where 6 districts in Papua and 7 districts in West Papua were targeted by the program and received funding in the form of grants and loans of USD 8.4 million from IFAD.

“The community is given training starting from cultivation or processing of chocolate or cocoa, seaweed, vanilla, to empowering women. The community is also taught to save their income and so on,” said Anastutik.

According to Anastutik, the year before PPDM came in, the community in Abrose complained about their cocoa plants being affected by tree diseases.

“Because the treatment were not good, cocoa has been stricken with disease. We gave proper treatment exercises. Now their cocoa is healthy and produce more,” she said.

PPDM has also succeeded in helping farmers to send 4 tons of seaweed from Fak Fak to Surabaya.

“In Fak Fak, seaweed is only valued at Rp. 6,000 per kg, in Surabaya the price can reach Rp. 18,000 per kg,” she said.

During the visit, Anastutik also took time to meet one of the 30 residents who were members of the PPMD ​​program, Helena (60). Wearing a shirt with a picture of Monas and Bajaj bearing the Jakarta sign, Helena came out to meet the group from the Ministry of PDTT and IFAD in her newly built house in the middle of lush cocoa plants around her.

The location is not far from the Village Development and Community Empowerment Service (PPMK) of Ransiki District which is also the Capital of South Manokwari Regency, West Papua. Precisely in the village or village of Abrose which is on the roadside towards the city of Manokwari.

Helena, who was accompanied by Village Assistant Abrose Abdul Rahim Arkan Semoryai, said that the group’s success with the Independent Village Development Program (PPDM) was initiated by the Ministry of Defense PDTT and IFAD.

“We were taught how to take care of our cocoa, to cut, harvest, store and to dry,” said Helena.

Meanwhile, IFAD’s Country Program Officer Anissa Lucky Pratiwi said, in addition to conducting training to improve community skills in agriculture, IFAD is also starting to focus on how people in these villages can sell their produces.

“After they produce products in the agricultural sector, we also begin to think about how they can sell them to improve the community’s economy,” said Anissa who has participated in community empowerment programs in Indonesia for approximately 8 years. .

Funds from IFAD are used to organize various trainings in agriculture from planting, harvesting, post-harvest production, to marketing agricultural products. To support the training, various interactive and interesting modules are made that are easy to use

News Source: Detik Finance

Pic. Source: Flickr