Selasa, 13 Agustus 2013

INDONESIA'S MANOEUVRES IN FACING UP TO THE WEST PAPUAN STRUGGLE ANDA THE MSG

INDONESIA’S MANOEUVRES IN FACING UP TO THE
WEST PAPUAN STRUGGLE AND THE MSG

By: Bu By Selpius Bobii.   

Abepura State Prison, 21 July 2013
 

The political manoeuvres of the Republic of Indonesia in facing up to the Struggle of Papua for freedom,  have intensified continuously since the III National Papuan Congress (NPC III) in Jayapura on 17-19 October 2011. One of the results of the NPC III was the Declaration of the Nation of Papua in the State of West Papua, which was read at the Congress by President
Forkorus Yaboisembut, S.Pd. This Declaration was the highest legal foundation and on that was born the State of the Federal Republic of West Papua. This step was critical in the Struggle and something that had been delayed since the time of the II National Papuan Congress in the year 2000.

RI failed to prevent the Declaration of the Restoration of Independence for West Papua that was expressed on 19 October 2011 at the NPC III which was attended by some 12,000 Papuans (Refer footnote). As a result one hour after the official closure of the NPC III Ceremony, joint Indonesian forces of the Police and Military in full war apparel broke through the gate to the Catholic Mission and attacked the approximate 1000 Papuans who remained and who were at that time singing and dancing. There were around 300 Papuans arrested that day by the joint forces with support from the Indonesian Intelligence Services and 3 participants shot dead. The 300 persons arrested were treated in a brutal and inhumane way using torture, intimidation and insult. There was also widespread and significant loss of property and money that day by participants.

The following day 20 October 2011 saw most of the 300 arrested (who had been held at the Papuan Police Headquarters overnight) released with only 6 persons remaining who were to be prosecuted as responsible for the NPC III and i n particular  the Declaration of the Restoration of Sovereign Independence for West Papua. They were Forkorus Yaboisembut, S. Pd (President State of the Federal Republic of West Papua (SFRWP)), Edison Klaudius Waromi, S.H (Prime Minister SFRWP, Selpius Bobii (Chairperson of the Organising Committee and Chairperson of the Session during which the Declaration was made and the Federation created), Dominikus Sorabut (Member of the Leadership of that same Session) and Agus Sananay Kraar (Coordinator of the Logistical Organising Section). These persons were to become known as the ‘Jayapura Five’ and would be each sentenced to 3 years imprisonment by the Panel of Judges at the State Court, Jayapura on 16 March 2012. The other person not released was Gad Wenda who had been one of the Papuan guards at the Congress. He was sentenced to 4 months 15 days for carrying a kitchen knife.The international community criticized the attack by the joint Indonesian police and military forces following the official closure of the NPC III.

 At this time the politics of West Papuan are getting increasingly ‘hotter’ both inside Papua and overseas and on 19 November 2011 Dr John Otto Onawame and associates from the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation (WNPCL) acting on the heightened momentum and launched the Committee for Decolonisation of West Papua in Port Villa, Vanuatu. This was followed by the lodging of an application for membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) for West Papua.  The Republic of Indonesia (RI) is by no means waiting quietly on the sidelines watching support grow for the West Papuan Struggle. Support that is each day spreading further and reverberating around all nations of the world.  Indonesia is rather actively manoeuvering to influence other nations of the world and the United Nations (UN) and in particular at this time the nations of the Pacific region, against supporting Papuan Independence. Indonesia succeeded in lobbying leaders of the Melanesian region nations to be given observer status at the MSG Forum in 2011 then in 2012 assigned Michael Manufandu to become an Ambassador for the entire region of the Pacific nations. His role being to influence the Pacific nations against supporting the West Papuan Struggle for liberation and to the same end to develop bilateral and unilateral partnerships in the region.

Prior to the major conference of the MRP together with indigenous community members on 9-10 June 2010, followed by the Papuan Peace Conference ( 5-7 July 2011) and then the NPC III, Indonesia had actually not regarded it as important to work together with nations in the Pacific region. However clearly that has all changed since the Declaration of Restoration of Sovereignty of West Papua at the NPC III in 2011 and particularly with the recent growing support from the wider Pacific community .Suddenly Indonesia is finding itself forced to pay attention to the growing international support for Papua in a way never seen before . A number of approaches have been undertaken by RI to respond to this increasingly ‘hot’ political climate and to at the same time and to the same end, develop partnerships with the Pacific nations during this immediate period.

Two nations in particular in the Pacific region where RI has been most successful in influencing the governments against supporting the call for Papuan independence are that of Australia and New Zealand. On a number of occasions the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Bob Carr has stated that the stance of the Australian Government is that it does not support the movement of indigenous Papuans for independence. He even has gone so far as saying that indigenous Papuans are not capable of managing their own nation. He suggested that if Papua received independence and later had internal problems that Australia would experience problems in handling relations with Papua. So that in his government’s opinion it was in Australia’s interests that West Papua remains within the Republic of Indonesia.

The Australian Foreign Minister statements are but a repeat of statements by Indonesian Officials, prooving that he has been totally influenced by RI. In Papua we are constantly hearing Indonesian Officials saying that Papuans aren’t capable of running their own affairs. It’s the usual line for Indonesia. It’s interesting that very similar statements were made by RI of East Timor (now Timor Leste) before they had the opportunity to hold a referendum. But of course Indonesia’s statements have not been upheld by history as since Timor Leste celebrated independence in 1999 the world has seen that Timor Leste is quite capable of developing their own nation. Even the previous USA Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her visit to Timor Leste in 2012 stated that Timor Leste provided a model for a new democratic state that was developing well. Indeed Timor Leste was a lesson for the State of Indonesia and they really don’t want to see West Papua also separate from RI. So expect them to use all methods possible to influence the other nations of the world and the UN in order to defend their hold on West Papua.

The attitude of the government of New Zealand was conveyed by the Ambassador David Taylor when he visited Jayapura on 15 April 2013, stating that the Government of New Zealand supports the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia (including Papua). It’s interesting in light of this that nevertheless the New Zealand Government has indicated support for  Jakarta and Papua coming together to find a solution to bring an end to the existing problems. The attitudes of the Australian and New Zealand Governments are both however neglecting the voices of the majority of their own populations that are in support of the West Papuan Struggle. Yet during the recent visit of the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to Jakarta on 5 July 2013 that of the 3 important agenda items discussed, one was the issue of Papua. Prime Minister Rudd conveyed the Australian Government’s support of Indonesia in bringing to an end the problems in Papua. Kevin Rudd is indeed well aware of the problems in Papua and it is the sincere hope of the nation of Papua that if the Australia Government truly supports Indonesia bringing an end to the problems in Papua that he will strongly urge RI to enter into dialogue between Jakarta and Papua

The intensity of Indonesia’s political manoeuvres was heightened even further following WNPCL’s submission of an application for membership to the MSG Secretariat on 29 April 2013.
Support for West Papua was received from the then Chairperson of the MSG, Fijian Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama when he received the West Papuan delegation on 28 March 2013 led by Dr Ondawame. According to official reports from the WNPCL the Fijian Prime Minister is reported to have said ‘For a long time we haven’t give attention to the fate of our Melanesian brothers and sisters in West Papua but the moment has now come for us to help our people. As the Chairperson of the MSG I will ensure the issue of West Papua is included on the agenda of the coming MSG meeting in June to be held in Noumea and that the problems that have been put forward in your application will be debated and the results of the MSG discussion conveyed after that meeting.’ Although relations between the governments of Fiji and RI are good, nevertheless the Fijian Prime Minister has made clear that the problems in Papua must be brought to an end in a dignified way.

Recently in Vanuatu we saw an overthrow of the then Prime Minister Sato Kilman as a result of pressure from the people of Vanuatu due to their intense concern that he was ignoring the urging of the Vanuatu community and Vanuatu Officials who wanted to see West Papua given full support. It was believed that he was prioritizing working together with RI above support for West Papua. The motion which led to his removal was put forward by the Vanuatu Parliament and he was replaced by Moana Carcases Kalosil who is seen as a vocal supporter of independence for Papua. When the new Prime Minister Kalosil met with Otto Ondawame of WNPCL on 3 April 2013 in Vanuatu he stated  that within 100 work days under his leadership that the working relationship with RI that had been established by the previous Prime Minister would be discontinued. Vanuatu’s government has made a commitment to support the recognition of full independence for West Papua and the new Vanuatu Prime Minister has supported the problem of West Papua and WPNCL’s application being included on the agenda at the MSG 19th Summit of the MSG.

New Caledonia's Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) is acting as the frontline supporter for West Papua to be given full MSG membership. According to official reports received from WNPCL the FNLKS  leader Victor Tutugoro as the recently appointed new MSG Chairperson at a meeting the WNPCL delegation in Noumea on 11 April 2013 stated ‘ We open our hearts and extend our hands to receive you (West Papuans) back into the Melanesian family.’ It was FLNKS as the host for the 19th Summit of the MSG that invited 5 representatives of West Papua to attend the MSG Summit.

Looking at the Solomon Islands, during Dr Ondawame’s visit there on  24 April 2013 to meet with the Prime Minister Lilo, the Prime Minister stated that the case of West Papua was a decolonisation issue that has gone on far too long and which now needs to be brought to an end. He also voiced his support for the application for West Papua to become a member of the MSG. Whilst in regards to PNG, whilst the PNG Prime Minister prior to the MSG Summit had not yet indicated his support for West Papua being given full MSG membership, nevertheless the PNG community and virtually all senior PNG officials support WPNCL’s application.

Whilst support is increasing West Papua’s application for MSG membership, RI is at the same time intensifying its political games to work against that. The visit of the Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs
Djoko Suyanto to Fiji on 3 June 2013 to meet with the Fijian Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama, was clearly intended to obstruct West Papua’s application for MSG membership.It was then that Djoko Suyanto invited members of the MSG Forum to visit Jakarta and West Papua. Then on 7-8 June 2013 RI sent a delegation to Australia including Nick Meset, Frans Albert Yoku, General Mulyana and General Leonard to lobby a number of parties to block any strengthening of support for the Struggle for the nation of Papua. RI’s visit to Fiji was successful to the extent that the decision regarding West Papua’s application for MSG membership was postponed in the MSG Forum on 16 June 2013 until after a visit to Jakarta and Papua by MSG member Foreign Ministers within this 6 months.

Indonesia was angry about the open discussion concerning West Papua in the MSG and had indirectly indicated their protest, but nevertheless faced up to it with a cool head. RI’s representative Maikel Manufandu admitted that the decision of the MSG Forum concerning West Papua was a challenge for the state of Indonesia.  It’s interesting to compare this to RI’s reaction to the opening of an office of the Free West Papua Campaign in Oxford, England. The latter caused such a response throughout even the Indonesian community to the point that Indonesian officials conveyed their protest to the Ambassador and sent a delegation from the National Legislative Assembly of Indonesia to England to lobby the English Government to close the newly opened office. Their efforts were in vain as the opening of the office having been approved by the Oxford Mayor and the National Government having no authority to interfere in a decision of a region or city, but they made no small effort to oppose it.

One must ask why the Indonesian Government doesn’t have a more open attitude towards the problems in West Papua being discussed in the MSG Forum. Indonesia feels that their lobbying of Fiji has been successful with the resulting delay of final discussions regarding West Papua’s application for membership by the MSG. This of course gives time and opportunity for RI to influence the MSG member nations and especially to bring pressure to bear through the MSG Delegation of Foreign Ministers that plan to visit Jakarta and Papua in the coming months. At the surface Indonesia is choosing to not say too much publically but at the same time is going to great effort to lobby each of the Pacific nations.

Of course RI has the means available to it in every way to bring about this influence, compared to the indigenous community of Papua that struggles with restrictions on every level under the repressive hand of the armed forces of Indonesia. The politics of money are bound to come into play by RI in its efforts to prevent support developing in the Pacific for independence for Papua. 

RI has been making a lot of effort these last months working on improving its relations with the PNG Government. In a state visit on 17 June 2013 to the Indonesian Palace in Bogor the PNG Prime Minister together with President SBY signed off on a bilateral working agreement. One of those matters agreed to was an agreement on extradition. This has caused significant protest from the Opposition Party in PNG lead by Belden Naamah, which absolutely rejects an extradition agreement being put into effect that will act against West Papuans fleeing for their lives to PNG due to consequences of their involvement in the Papuan Independence Struggle. The Manus Island Governor Powes Parkop has clarified that the extradition agreement will not be applied against those fleeing across the border to PNG due to  their political activities. If the extradition agreement is to be implemented in that way such that West Papuan independence activists are given an exemption, then certainly this points to their being real support from the PNG Government towards the Independence Struggle of West Papua.

Indonesia’s political manoeuvres in Papua are continuing to intensify and we are seeing basically four ‘approaches’ being applied - security, legal, socio-cultural and the welfare illusion. Implementation of the security approach has been assigned to the Territorial Military Commander XVII Cenderawasih and those under him, whilst the implementation of the legal approach has been assigned to the Head of the Papua Provincial Police and its rank and file. Whilst both the Indonesian Military and Police are undertaking socio-cultural approaches.

In recent times the security and legal approaches by the armed forces have become more extreme in order to bring pressure onto the indigenous West Papuan community to stop seeking international support. There is absolutely no room given in Papua for democracy. At the time of writing brutally harsh military operations are continuing to take place in the regions of Puncak Jaya and Paniai and ‘orderly legal’ operations have been put into effect by the Police throughout the land. Terror and intimidation by the Indonesian military with backup by the police and intelligence units is the norm.

The welfare illusion is handled by provincial, city and kabupaten levels of government. In order to avoid attracting attention of the international community to the failures of Special Autonomy, RI has now changed it to ‘Special Autonomy Plus’. This ‘new’ political package is nothing more than an effort by Indonesia to avoid bringing an end of the problems in Papua and something to secure SBY’s position until he stands down from the presidency on 20 October 2014.

The range of political manoeuvres that RI has been playing out both within Indonesia and overseas are intended not only to ensure that the application for membership for West Papua at the MSG (and previously also to the Pacific Islands Forum) fail, but also to work against any legal recognition by other countries and the UN of the State of the Federal Republic of West Papua as created at the NPC III. The goal of course, to extend the period of colonial domination by RI in the land of Papua.

Are we going to see Papua sacrificed yet again as a result of those countries of the world that prioritize working in partnership with RI? Is not the saving of the ethnic West Papuan race that is now being annihilated by the colonial domination and resultant consequences of RI more important in principle and far more urgent? Surely  the upholding of democracy, truth, honesty, justice, human rights and peace is more glorious than neglect of these values just for the sake of achieving ones political and economic interests.

Though many of us are presently incarcerated by RI as a consequence of the West Papuan Struggle for Independence, we will continue from behind iron bars to follow closely the above political dynamics and will continue our struggle for liberation without ceasing.


Footnote:

There was a lot of inconsistency  in the months following the III National Papuan Congress regarding numbers of Papuan that attended the Congress, due to the extent of human rights violations that occurred at the closure of the Congress and as the Chairperson of the organising committee who had overseen the issuing of invitations and all aspects of organising had been arrested at that time. Accordingly informed estimates are now made available as follows: Official Participants attending with invitations 4000; Observers 500; Organisers 500; Papuan Guards/ Security 2000; Student Security personnel 1000; Security personnel from Papuan Unit Koteka Taskforce 1000,; Participants from the general Papuan community other than those who received particular invitations 3000. Giving a combined estimated total who attended of approximately 12,000 persons.



Selpius Bobii,
General Chairperson
Front PEPERA West Papua (The United Front of the Struggle of the People of Papua)
&  Papuan Freedom Political Detainee

Abepura Prison, Jayapura


Related articles:

1) Contention between representatives of West Papua and Indonesia at the 19th MSG Summit.
English version:www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1307/S00084/papua-victim-of-a-conspiracy-of-interests.htm.

5. The Challenge of the MSG Delegation visit to Jakarta and Papua. English version:   
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