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)


Egianus Kogoya’s Footsteps, the Leader of Armed Criminal Group Who Abolished 31 Road Project Workers in Papua

Egianus Kogoya is suddenly popular. He becomes a subject conversation after the tragedy of the massacre of 31 project workers by the Armed Criminal Group (ACG) in Nduga District, Papua. It is known that Egianus Kogoya is the leader of the group that executed the massacre.
Wakapendam XVII/ Cendrawasih Lieutenant Colonel Inf Dax Sianturi said, Egianus Kogoya was known already got a red report card before the bloody incident occurred.

“So, Egianus Kogoya in our records is a group that is politically at odds with the Republic of Indonesia. Not a few of them have criminal records, “said Dax.

He added, the group led by Egianus Kogoya had 20 to 25 military standard firearms. The weapon was alleged to have been captured by TNI and police personnel.

Before the incident of the massacre of 31 project workers in Nduga Papua, there was a series of red report cards by Egianus Kogoya.

  1. Attack on the Airfield
    The group led by Egianus Kogoya once attacked the airport in Kenyam, the capital of Nduga district.
    A pilot of Trigana Air and two other people were injured and four people were killed by the Egianus Kogoya group.
    It was pity, the four dead victims were consisted of two children and their two parents.
  2. Attacking the TNI Post
    Egianus Kogoya and 40 of his followers attacked the TNI post in Mbua. At least a TNI soldier was killed and one injured due to the attack.
    “So yesterday they also attacked a TNI post and one of our soldiers died and one was injured,” said Dax.
  3. Captivity
    Launched from Tribunnews, the Egianus Kogoya group once took hostage of 15 teachers and medical personnel in the beginning of October in Mependuma Sub-district, Nduga Regency, Papua.
    With all his red report cards, including the massacre of 31 project workers, Egianus Kogoya has been labeled as a terrorist by the TNI.
    “Their actions are more than terrorists. Very inhumane. “The victims built a road to open the lag,” said Dax.

Barbaric Act: Criminal Groups Killed 31 innocent civilians in Papua

The Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs instructed the Chief of the National Police and the Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces to Pursue the Perpetrators of the Killing of  Dozens of Bridge Construction Workers in Papua

By Political and Security Public Relations Office, 04 December 2018

Polhukam, Jakarta – the Coorodinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security, Wiranto, claimed to be furious with the killing of dozens of  the bridge construction workers in Yigi District, Nduga Regency, Papua.

While in fact,  these workers were carrying out noble work, namely contruction of the infrastructure for the welfare of the people of Papua.

“I think this is a very barbaric act, because our friends are doing work to build Papua, working on the construction of infrastructure, building bridges for the welfare of the people, for the needs of the people. What would  this mean ?  This means that they have served, fought, worked for the good of Papua, and were then  shot down, killed, this is  certainly a very disgraceful act,” said Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security Wiranto at the Coordinating Ministry for Politics, Law and Security in Jakarta, on Tuesday (04.12.18).

Therefore, the Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security has instructed the Chief of the National Police and the Comander of the Airmed Forces to conduct all-out efforts in the pursuit and hunting down of the perpetrators.    Because,  he said, the attempts made by the armed criminal group are to scare off  and to make  that development is not to be continued.

“Earlier on I had spoken with the Police Chief and Army Commander, to immediately mount an all-out pursuit to forestall the same from happening again.  Their attempted efforts are to frighten off and to disrupt development work, but this in fact disturbs the interests of the Papua people,” said the Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security, Wiranto.

The Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security, also emphasized that the actions of the armed group of criminals would not affect development in Papua.  He asserted that development will  continue because  it is for the welfare of the people in Indonesia’s Eastern parts.

“Thereis no effect whatsoever, development will continue,  it’s hard to believe that with such attempts development can be stopped.  Thisconstruction work is for the welfare of the people of Papua, this developmentwork connects the arteries of transportation, the arteries of communication, tounite Indonesia, to provide welfare for the people in the outskirts of thecountry.  This is in fact a very good andnoble mission, carried out by men in the field who indeed work in achieving such goal.  Isn’t this good?  “These people have volunteered their beings,their services are extraordinary, they have taken incredible risks,  and that they now are killed, what kind ofbehaviour would this be ?” said  theCoordinating Minister for Politics and Security, Wiranto.

https://polkam.go.id/menko-polhukam-instruksikan-kapolri-dan-panglima-tni-kejar-pelaku-pembunuhan-puluhan-pekerja-pembangunan-jembatan-di-papua/

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;

Names of Alleged Victims of Free West Papua Armed Terrorist Group

Free West Papua armed terrorist group (OPM) continue tocarried out terror and cruel acts. This time, 31 construction workers allegedly killed at the Yigi-Kali Aurak River, Yigi District Nduga Regency, Papua Province on Sunday (12/02/2018).

The victims were workers of state-owned company PT Istaka Karya, which currently works to open up isolation area in the center of mountainous region.

The bridge construction workers killed for taking photos during the celebration of the Independence Day of the Free Papua National Liberation Army by the OPM that located near from the crime scene.

When one of the workers took a photo and later discovered by OPM, the mad terrorist group looked for the person who took photos and killed all the workers in the construction camp.

Jayawijaya Police Chief, Yan Pieter Reba confirmed that one of the workers took a photo when the group held the ceremony to commemorate the establishment of Free West Papua armed terrorist group. That made them angry killed all of the workers in the camp.

The security forces are evacuating and investigating the perpetrators, for further legal proceedings.

List of employees of PT. ISTAKA in the Yall District, Nduga Regency as follows:

  1. Jhony Arung
  2. Grace
  3. Alrpianus
  4.  Muh. Agus
  5. Aguatinus T
  6. Martinus Sampe
  7. Dirlo
  8. Matthew
  9. Emanuel
  10. Calling
  11. Dani
  12. Tariki
  13. Mark Allo
  14. Aris Usi
  15. Muh. Faiz
  16. Yusran
  17. Job
  18. Jehoshaphat
  19. M. Ali Akbar
  20. Petrus Ramli
  21. Hardi Ali
  22. Efrandi Hutagaol
  23. Rikki Simanjuntak
  24. Marg Mare

Over the past three years, the OPM carried out a lot of terrors in the name of enforcing human rights and sacrificed many lives. Is this truly a movement of human rights when you took the innocent life and ignore their right to life?