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

Former Leading Campaigner for West Papua Independence who Advocated Compromise

Fransalbert Joku, a former leading West Papua independence campaigner who then became an Indonesian government supporter has died in Jayapura at the age of 66 on 28 of March after illness linked with heart disease and kidney failure.

He was a prominent landowner from Sentani and formerly the spokesman for the Papua Presidium Council which galvanised momentum in the West Papuan independence struggle at the turn of the century.

After the death of Theys Eluay, Franzalbert Joku eventually threw his support behind the Special Autonomy Status which Indonesia granted Papua in 2001 in response to the demands for independence. He returned to Indonesia in 2008.

He became a frequent representative of Indonesia’s government on West Papua matters at regional fora such as the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Pacific Forum.

Fransalbert Joku with other West Papua figures Nick Messet (left) and Michael Menufandu (right)

“Now I say this without meaning to undermine my brothers and sisters who are still out there in the jungle or in other countries advocating outright independence,” he told RNZ Pacific in 2015.

“I just look at the issues and try to place them within the context and try to look at what options are within the realm of possibilities.”

Mr Joku’s shifting of allegiances has made him a distrusted figure among many in the West Papuan independence movement.

But when asked last year in his last interview with RNZ Pacific about whether Papua should have independence, Mr Joku said a “deeper look at the issues” was required.

“Independence, for some of us, doesn’t mean an instant action of declaring a sovereign nation,” he said.

“I think it’s more a value. In order to find that value of freedom, of being independent, it is a continuing process.

“I differ between being an independent, sovereign nation of Papua, than being free and well-off economically, socially within a government structure that is in existence today,” he explained.

“Like in any other political processes, you can never win outright. You always end up with political compromise.”

“Special Autonomy, however imperfect and incomplete it may be, is an acceptable political compromise, and we need to grab hold of it earnestly, and make it serve our interests.” (Source: RNZ)

Armed Criminal Group Kills Three TNI in Nduga

Jayapura – Three members of Indonesia military (TNI) who were members of the Nanggala task force were reported killed by armed criminal groups (KKB) in Mugi District, Nduga District, Papua Province on Thursday.

Commander of XVII / Cenderawasih Major General TNI Joshua Sembiring confirmed this from Jayapura, the capital of the province Papua.

“It is true. But I haven’t received a full report about the incident”, said Major General Sembiring.

“How far is the progress, I have not received yet. Please contact Kapendam (Kodam Chief of Information) because currently I’m not in Papua”, he continued.

When asked about the reports of nine KKB being killed and five firearms brought by the KKB were successfully secured, Seimbing confirmed this as well, but for further details please contact Kapendam.

Meanwhile, the data gathered was revealed that the three soldiers who were killed in a gun battle with the KKB namely Serda Mirwariyadin, Serda Yusdin and Serda Siswanto.

Serda Mirwariyadin NRP 21150184631093 Position Babakduk unit 1/2/2/14, Serda Yusdin NRP 21150175490396 Position Barintis Unit 3/2/3/14, dan Serda Siswanto Bayu Aji NRP 21160168880494 Position Bakes Den 1/14.

At Least 3 Indonesian Soldiers Killed by National Liberation Army of West Papua (TPNPB)

7 March 2019, Commander for Defence Area III of Ndugama, has seized 4 weapons, consist of 3 modern weapons and 1 minimi chain weapon.

During the fire contact accompanied by weapons deprivation, at least 3 Indonesian soldiers were killed on the spot in the Windi Village of Derakma District.

This situation happened at 12.30 p.m. It started with 8 Indonesian soldiers from the District Post who went to Widi Village and had a chance to meet with Amos Kogeya as well as his wife. Both of them were interrogated.

After the interrogation, Indonesian soldiers burnt 5 honai belongs to the locals. Because of this situation, TPNPB surrounded those Indonesian soldiers and fire contact was started. They were then involved in the chase which exhausted Indonesian soldiers. TPNPB succeeded to shoot them down and seized 4 weapons.

At 3.00 p.m, 2 choppers entered the area and evacuate the corpses. That is all the report from Ndugama by Egianus Kogeya via Operation Commander, Pemne Kogeya, to TPNPBnews.

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)