Search This Blog

Total Pageviews



Blog Archive

Ahead of Christmas, military, police officers killed in latest conflicts in Papua

Benny Mawel, The Jakarta Post

Two military officers and a policeman have been killed during recent clashes in Papua, sparking fear among residents of the predominantly Christian region with the conflicts breaking out just one week prior to Christmas day.

In Papua’s Intan Jaya regency, two soldiers – identified as First Lt. Erizal Zuhri and Second Sgt. Rizky – were killed in a shootout with members of West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) in Sugapa district, Indonesian Military (TNI) spokesman Col. Taibur Rahman said.

The TNI soldiers, who were deployed to the restive region as part of a joint military and police security task force, were attacked when they were on duty to secure the district while its residents prepared for Christmas celebrations on Tuesday, he said.

Taibur claimed the task force had received reports from residents that members of an armed criminal group in the area had intimidated and physically abused them.

“The security staffers were intensifying patrols in the area suspected to be the group’s base when suddenly a shootout broke out and the two TNI soldiers were killed,” he said in a statement.

Taibur added that the attackers were suspected to have also been behind the shooting of three ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers, who were found dead in the district with bullet wounds to their heads on Oct. 25.

In Yahukimo, meanwhile, Brig. Hendra Saut Sibarani – a member of the Riau Police’s Mobile Brigade (Brimob) unit deployed as part of a security operation to the regency – died during a brawl with several locals on Wednesday, Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Ahmad Mustofa Kamal said.

Ahmad said the conflict broke out at Yahukimo Police headquarters after several officers reprimanded a resident for urinating on a wall next to a police post.
The resident, angered by the police’s response, reportedly initiated the brawl. “He called bystanders around the post and by the road. They formed a group and then attacked the police’s headquarters,” Ahmad said.

The Jakarta Post asked Ahmad via text message for an update on the situation in Yahukimo on Thursday. “Everything is under control. Thanks,” he replied.

As Christmas nears, these conflicts in Papua ─ which follow a string of violent and deadly incidents in the restive region since August this year ─ have caused fear and a sense of insecurity among many locals, head of Sugapa’s St. Mikael parish council John Abugau said.

He said many residents were too afraid to go about their normal daily activities and were also frightened by the sound of military helicopters patrolling the area.

“People choose to stay at home, while the helicopter flies overhead. They are frightened by just the sound of the helicopter,” he told the Post on Thursday.

He called on military officers to adopt a different approach to safeguard the area so that people could resume their normal daily activities. (vla)


from WordPress
via IFTTT December 25, 2019 at 07:26PM

Indonesia’s military says 2 soldiers killed in Papua clash

By Niniek Karmini | AP

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Two soldiers were killed in a clash between security forces and independence fighters in Indonesia’s restive easternmost province of Papua, the military said Wednesday.
Military spokesman Col. Taibur Rahman said rebels opened fire at troops on patrol in a village in Intan Jaya district on Tuesday, killing at least two soldiers. The village is known as a hotbed of separatist rebels.
He said the troops had been deployed to help police prevent any disturbances by separatists ahead of Christmas celebrations in the predominantly Christian region.
The shootout is the latest in a series of violent incidents this year in the mineral-rich but impoverished Papua region, where conflicts between indigenous Papuans and Indonesian security forces are common.

The military said two suspected rebels were killed in a gunbattle on Dec. 2 in Lanny Jaya district, in an apparent escalation of attacks by the West Papua National Liberation Army, the military wing of the Free Papua Movement, marking Dec. 1, which many Papuans consider to be the anniversary of what should have been their independence.

Police said they arrested at least 34 people accused of treason on Dec. 1 for attending a ceremony and raising flags with the separatist symbol. A declaration of independence from Dutch rule on Dec. 1, 1961, was rejected by the Dutch and later by Indonesia.
In September, more than 30 people were killed during violent protests by thousands of people in Papua and West Papua provinces against alleged racism toward Papuans.

An insurgency has simmered since the early 1960s in Papua, a a former Dutch colony in the western part of New Guinea that is ethnically and culturally distinct from much of Indonesia.

Papua was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a U.N.-sponsored ballot that was widely seen as a sham.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

from WordPress
via IFTTT December 25, 2019 at 07:07PM

Gunmen attack plane in Indonesia’s Papua; no casualties

By NINIEK KARMINI Associated Press December 21, 2019 — 5:30am

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Gunmen opened fire on a small commercial plane as it landed in Indonesia’s restive province of Papua carrying nine passengers, one of the plane’s pilots said Saturday. No casualties were reported.

The attack occurred Friday in the hilly district of Puncak, a stronghold of separatists who have battled Indonesian rule in the mineral-rich but impoverished region since the early 1960s, said the Indonesian co-pilot, Purwanto Condro Usodo.

Usodo said that he and the Australian pilot, Michael Cumming, were initially unaware of the shooting and managed to land the aircraft safely at Beoga airport from the mining town of Timika until passengers told them that they saw gunmen spray the plane with bullets while landing.

Usodo said in a video obtained by The Associated Press on Saturday from a source in the Indonesian army that about 30 minutes later, the gunmen tried to shoot people who were unloading supplies and luggage from the plane. But the gunmen fled into the jungle after soldiers on the ground returned fire, while the pilots and passengers were evacuated to a security post near the airport.

It was unclear whether any of the gunmen were killed in the shootout, which lasted over three hours, Usodo said.

Military spokesmen did not answer calls seeking comment on the shooting, which happened amid an apparent escalation of attacks since Dec. 1 by the West Papua National Liberation Army, or TPNPB, the military wing of the Free Papua Movement. A declaration of independence from Dutch rule on Dec. 1, 1961, was rejected by the Dutch and later by Indonesia.

A low-level insurgency for independence has simmered in Papua since it was transferred from Dutch to Indonesian rule in 1963. The region, which makes up the western half of the island of New Guinea, was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 following a U.N.-sponsored ballot that has since been dismissed as a sham.

Indonesian military and police said earlier that three soldiers and a policeman have been killed during recent clashes in Papua, sparking fear among residents of the predominantly Christian region, with the attacks coming just ahead of Christmas.


from WordPress
via IFTTT December 21, 2019 at 09:13AM

Third woman elected to Solomon Islands’ parliament

A third woman MP has been elected in Solomon Islands.

Lillian Maefai registered an historic by-election win in the East Makira constituency, becoming the third woman to be elected to the current parliament and setting a new record for women’s representation in the 50 member house.

According to results released by the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission, early on Saturday morning, Mrs Maefai polled 3371 votes – over 2000 more than her nearest rival, Alfred Ghiro.

For the Solomon Islands chief electoral officer Mose Saitala, the by-election itself was already special as it was the first time the commission had trialled simultaneously running a provincial election alongside a national by-election, he said.

Mr Saitala said then to get such an historic result was the icing on the cake.

“We have elected for the first time the third woman into the national parliament. So we are having three sitting women MPs for the very first time in the Solomon Islands parliament. So that is a very, very satisfying result,” he said.

The East Makira by-election was called after the sudden death, in July, of Mrs Maefai’s late husband, Charles Maefai, a first time MP who had only been elected three months earlier.

Mr Saitala said he understands arrangements are being made to try and get Lillian Maefai to return to the capital Honiara from her constituency sometime in the next few days so that she can be sworn in on the floor of parliament before it adjourns for the year.

The other women MPs in Solomon Islands current parliament are Freda Soriacomua, the MP for Temotu Vatud, and Lanelle Tanangada, the MP for Gizo Kolombangara.

In the 41 years since Solomon Islands gained its independence from Britain, Lillian Maefai is only the fifth woman to be elected to the country’s parliament.

The first woman to be elected in Solomon Islands was Hilda Kari representing North East Guadalcanal in the 1980s. There was not a second until 2012 when Vika Lusibaea won the by-election for North Malaita, a seat left vacant after her husband Jimmy Lusibaea was convicted of a criminal offence.

from WordPress
via IFTTT December 16, 2019 at 07:07PM

Bougainville voters back independence by landslide

Voters backing Bougainville’s independence from Papua New Guinea have won a landslide referendum victory, according to results released Wednesday — a major step toward the troubled isles becoming the world’s newest nation.

Chairman of the Bougainville Referendum Commission Bertie Ahern declared 176,928 people — around 98 percent of voters — had backed independence with just 3,043 supporting the option of remaining part of Papua New Guinea with more autonomy.

The announcement prompted loud cheers, applause and tears as dignitaries soon burst into song, with strains of the islands’ anthem “My Bougainville” ringing out.
“Happy is an understatement” nursing graduate Alexia Baria told AFP, “you see my tears, this is the moment we have been waiting for.”

The historic vote caps a decades-long peace process and a long recovery from a brutal civil war between Bougainville rebels, Papua New Guinea security forces and foreign mercenaries that ended in 1998 and left up to 20,000 people dead — 10 percent of the population.

“Now, at least psychologically, we feel liberated,” said John Momis, the priest-turned-leader of the autonomous region’s government.

But independence will not be immediate, a long political process lies ahead and leaders face formidable financial and administrative challenges to turn a cluster of poor Pacific islands into a fully-fledged nation.

The result must first be ratified by Papua New Guinea’s parliament — where there is opposition to the move for fear it may spark other independence movements in a nation defined by disparate linguistic and tribal groups.

But the scale of the victory for the pro-independence side will heap pressure on Port Moresby to endorse the outcome.

“There’s no misinterpreting this result — Bougainville wants independence” said Shane McLeod of Sydney’s Lowy Institute. “The strength of the vote would seem to make it all but inevitable.”

“Port Moresby will need to quickly digest the result,” he said, “they’ll need to be ready to talk about the timetable for independence.”
Speaking in Buka, Ahern urged all sides to recognise a vote that was about “your peace, your history, and your future” and showed “the power of the pen over weapons”.
Puka Temu, Port Moresby’s minister for Bougainville affairs, said “the outcome is a credible one” but asked that voters “allow the rest of Papua New Guinea sufficient time to absorb this result”.

‘First hurdle’

In stark contrast to past internecine bloodshed, voting began on November 23 with ecstatic residents — some festooned in grass garlands — forming makeshift choirs that stomped through the streets, waving independence flags, blowing bamboo pipes and chanting in chorus.

The vote officially ended on December 7 and according to the Bougainville Referendum Commission it passed off without major incident.

from WordPress
via IFTTT December 12, 2019 at 07:58AM

Christmas Message by the Prime Minister Manasseh Damukana Sogavare, MP

My fellow Solomon Islanders,

We have reached another milestone in our journey as a Christian country. Today we reach another Christmas in which we collective celebrate the birth of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

Christmas is a time to share the love of Christ between and among ourselves. It is a unifying theme in all Christian countries as we collectively reflect on our own relationships with each other as families and as a nation.
My fellow Solomon Islanders, on behalf of my family and the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement, I extend to you all, this Christmas day, our very warm and sincere Christmas greetings.

It is my greatest desire that each and every Solomon Islander experiences the joy, love, peace and goodwill that flows from our heavenly father to us during this Christmas season.

Wherever you are, whatever you do, let us join hands as we celebrate this joyous occasion, with the recognition that it is our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ together with the rich cultural diversity that spans across our beautiful islands and atolls that provides the platform for our national pride and purpose.
As we celebrate Christmas, let us reflect further in its true meaning – the gifting of our Lord Jesus Christ to ensure that those who believe in him will be saved.
So whatever it is that we all do in addition to celebrating the birth of our Lord, I encourage you all to also take time and enjoy life in all its splendour – whether it is dancing to the ‘ruteku’ in Santa Ana or to the cheerful ‘saleolo’ in Isabel Province, or whether it is village feasting in Malaita or enjoying some charcoal grilled fish along the white sandy beaches of the West, may God continue to guide and protect you and your families during this Christmas season.
My fellow Solomon Islanders, the last eight months of the DCGA government have been fruitful. We have faced many challenges – but we have also made some tremendous gains and achievements for our people and our country – for example:
• Our new submarine cable system will be operational early in 2020 and will transform our communication platform with the cheapest, fastest and most reliable internet services this country will ever experience – benefiting all of us.
• The Tina River Hydro project is well on its way now to construction to ensure that by 2023 the power supply to our capital city will be 80% derived from our new hydro power base.
• The Munda International Airport is operational
• The Development Bank of Solomon Islands has been launched
• The analytical work on our new transformational project to revolutionise infrastructure development for all the 50 constituencies – the national transport core is on track. This project will touch and improve the lives of all Solomon Islanders.
• The project to transform our capital city and all provincial capitals is underway
• The 2023 Pacific Games which our nation will proudly host and where I hope our youths and sports people will excel is on track. The 2023 Games will unify our nation as we prepare to host this major event.

Fellow Solomon Islanders, I believe that in everything we do, we will have agreements and disagreements, be it in our own families, our communities, our provinces and even the national level.
However, I also believe there is more that unites us, than divides us. I believe that deep down inside each one of us, lies the spirit of peace, progress, reconciliation and unity. The challenges we face will make us even stronger as a people and a country – if we put our faith in the one whose birth we are celebrating today – Jesus Christ.
Let us use this Christmas season to also acknowledge the role of each one of us and our families play to push our nation forward.
My good people, as diverse as our nation is, we are also united in our wish for a better future – a future we can leave for our children and future generations that follow us.
Let us remember that the most important thing about Christmas is the demonstration of God’s love to each one of us, to our families and to our nation.

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus today, let us reach out to each other, to wish each other God’s love that has been fulfilled through the birth of Christ on this day – two thousand years ago.
Fellow citizens, let me close with a very well know verse in scripture that most is us have memorised …

… John 3 verse 16 and I quote from the good news translation …
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life”
Fellow Solomon Islanders, the depth of God’s love for each one of us is such that he sent his one and only son – Jesus Christ. Our faith in Jesus Christ will determine where each of us will spend eternity on life’s end.
As we celebrate this Christmas, let us reflect on, and let us put into practice the type of love demonstrated by our Heavenly father. Let us extend our love to each other and to all citizens of this beautiful God-given nation of ours. In this way we will bring to fruition the vision that underpins our National Anthem … of joy, peace, progress and prosperity…
Let me also convey my Christmas greetings to our citizens who maybe sick at home or in hospitals and also to those serving time in our correctional centres. Merry Christmas to you all.

Let me now close by wishing you all a Blessed Christmas season. In particular let me also pass on my Christmas greetings and wishes to:

• The Governor General and his family
• The Speaker of the National Parliament and his family
• The Chief Justice and his family
• Cabinet Ministers and backbenchers & their families
• Leader of the Official Opposition Group and his family
• Leader of the Independent Group and his family
• All members of parliament and your families
• All constitutional post holders and your families
• Provincial Premiers, Members of Provincial Governments, Chiefs and Village Elders and all people in all our provinces
• Government Ministries, Departments and other Public Offices
• The Churches and Faith-based organizations
• The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF)
• The Judiciary and Legal Services and the Legal Fraternity
• Members of the Diplomatic Corps
• Our Development Partners and Friends
• The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and their members;
• Our Farmers and Fishermen in our Rural Areas;
• Our Shipping Operators, and other Transport Services Providers
• Management and Staff of State-Owned Enterprises (SOE’s) and Authorities
• Non-Government Organizations
• Media Organizations
• Our Pensioners and Retirees
• All the men and women, boys and girls throughout Solomon Islands.
Finally, let me finish as I began, by wishing all citizens of our beautiful country a very happy Christmas season and a very happy new year on behalf of myself, my family and the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement.

May God Bless us all
May God Bless Solomon Islands from shore to shore
Merry Christmas to you all and a very happy new year.


from WordPress
via IFTTT December 25, 2019 at 06:27AM

XI Jimping–the president of China responding to an interviewer on Afrika and PNG.

Your thoughts fellow PNGeans/ fellow black people.

“The only thing that the black man has inherited from the european colonization is the religion that he practices and that’s exactly what the european colonizers and land occupiers wanted.

Have you not noticed in black countries or black neighborhoods around the world; the education is disaster, the administration is corrupt, health is deplorable, but religion is doing wonderfully well?

Black people rebels against everything and are audacious to question everything except religion. The literally even brag about being more religious than those who brought them these concepts.

Black people even claim themselves to be the original race from whom Jesus has descended. You have some black people having a white man hanging on their walls believing that he is their savior and foolish enough to be thinking that this white man will actually save them before saving his own people, the white race.

Noticed that any society that’s full with superstitions, religious indoctrination, lack of education,lack of nationalist spirit and who idolizes their historical enemies is a society that’s always war ridden and a backward society.

And let me add that only the black race would be blessed with a continent as rich as is Afrika and the Pacific but then accept to live as poor as is the Afrikan and PNG people ”


from WordPress
via IFTTT December 25, 2019 at 06:24AM

ACP and West Papua – and PNG’s Foreign Policy on West Papua?

The 79 Member States of the Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP) group passed a resolution at last week’s 9th ACP Summit of Heads of State and Government calling for urgent attention to be paid to the ongoing human rights crisis in West Papua.

PNG and ACP 110th Summit – West Papua’s Time Has Come.

Last week PNG’s Foreign Minister Patrick Pruaitch successfully chaired the110th Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Council and 9th Summit held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 6 – 10 December 2019.…/article_9e25a50a-1ebe-11ea-bd79-3758…

However, the rigorous scrutiny on West Papua began on the floor of Parliament which was an explosive examination of
old questions that were left on the table for decades since PNG attained self – rule in 1975.

Opposition Leader and Vanimo Green River MP Belden Namah on the 11 October 2019 asked a series of questions relating to West Papua.

He wanted the Prime Minister to inform this Parliament if he has advanced West Papua human rights issues at the United Nations, APEC, or any Pacific islands Forums or any other global leadership forum.

‘ I heard the Prime Minister only talk about what he dreams of doing in PNG and he has not even spelt out one single foreign policy.’

The Opposition Leader pointed out the contradiction in which PNG was already in the conflict between Indonesia and its role as natural proxy to Melanesian brothers and sisters of West Papua, by default.

He also wanted the Prime Minister to inform Parliament of the Government’s foreign policy on West Papua and human rights concerns in West Papua.

In the aftermath of last week’s international event in which PNG’s Foreign Minister Patrick Pruaitch successfully chaired the110th Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Council and 9th Summit held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 6 – 10 December 2019, West Papua and the momentum it needs to put its case for self – rule has been sustained, shepherded, by men of God, and men of science.

West Papua is approaching freedom.

And, walking in the shadows of Bougainville Referendum 2019.

West Papua represented by ULMWP Chairman Benny Wenda; mass solidarity for West Papua - afforded by social media;1st December 2019, Global Flag Raising Day, Vanimo
West Papua represented by ULMWP Chairman Benny Wenda; mass solidarity for West Papua – afforded by social media;1st December 2019, Global Flag Raising Day, Vanimo

(Photo caption: Opposition Leader Belden Namah – asked 6 questions on West Papua, 11 October 2019, Parliament Session; ACP 110th Council and 9th Summit – chaired by PNG’s Foreign Minister Patrick Pruaitch; West Papua represented by ULMWP Chairman Benny Wenda; mass solidarity for West Papua – afforded by social media;1st December 2019, Global Flag Raising Day, Vanimo)

from WordPress
via IFTTT December 19, 2019 at 09:08AM

Kenya welcomes African Caribbean and Pacific Group of states attending the 9th Summit of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) at KICC in Nairobi, Kenya.

Nairobi, Kenya, Source:

Kenya welcomes African Caribbean and Pacific Group of states attending the 9th Summit of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) at KICC in Nairobi, Kenya

Delegasi KTT 2019 Kelompok Negara Karibia dan Pasifik Afrika (Foto: - GOOD INDONESIA)
Delegasi KTT 2019 Kelompok Negara Karibia dan Pasifik Afrika (Foto: – GOOD INDONESIA)

Global Pan Africanism Network has been advocating for Swahili to be embraced as a language for reunification of all people of African descent and the move by the Deputy President to spread Kiswahili in the summit is a brilliant idea.

African Caribbean and Pacific Group of nations summit being held in Nairobi has renewed hopes of ACP states being integrated into the African Union.
Here is the Program for the Summit:
Pre-Summit Events

6-10 December 2019 – Investment Village (Exhibition)

8 December 2019

  • ACP Business Summit
  • Women and Youth Side-event: “Empowerment of Women and Youth in ACP States”

9-10 December 2019 – 9th Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government

West Papua Independence Leader Benny Wenda and Vanuatu Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu.
are among those attending.

West Papua is finally home.
Now is the right time for Africa to support Decolonization of West Papua and take action to end Black Genocide in West Papua.

This summit is an opportunity for Kenya to stand against Indonesian colonialism in West Papua.
Over 500,000 Papuans been killed invasion of West Papua by Indonesian military and each day Papuans are landing in jail for expressing their desire to be free.
Just raising the morning star flag can earn West Papuans 15 years in prison.
The time has come for the world to respond to Indonesian atrocities against people of African descent in West Papua

from WordPress
via IFTTT December 13, 2019 at 10:02AM

KTT 2019 Pan Afrika Khusus Bahas ‘Genosida Hitam’ di Papua

Delegasi KTT 2019 Kelompok Negara Karibia dan Pasifik Afrika (Foto: - GOOD INDONESIA)
Delegasi KTT 2019 Kelompok Negara Karibia dan Pasifik Afrika (Foto: – GOOD INDONESIA)

Nairobi – Pemimpin Kemerdekaan Papua Barat Benny Wenda dan Menteri Luar Negeri Vanuatu Ralph Regenvanu menghadiri Konferensi Tingkat Tinggi (KTT) ke-9/2019 Kelompok Negara Karibia dan Pasifik Afrika (African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, ACP) di KICC, Nairobi, Kenya.

Situs web melansir KTT itu diikuti kalangan diaspora Afrika di seluruh dunia. Peserta yang hadir berasal dari 51 negara di Afrika, 14 di Pasifik, dan 10 di Karibia.

KTT 2019 khusus membahas tema rasisme dan kejahatan hak asasi manusia HAM di Papua, Indonesia.

Disebutkan, “Papua Barat adalah rumah kita. Sekarang waktu yang tepat bagi Afrika untuk mendukung Papua Barat, dengan mengambil tindakan untuk mengakhiri ‘genosida hitam’ di sana.”

Dilansir pula bahwa lebih 500.000 orang Papua terbunuh di Papua Barat. Setiap hari orang-orang Papua dijebloskan ke penjara karena menyatakan keinginan mereka merdeka.

“Waktunya telah tiba bagi dunia untuk menanggapi kekejaman terhadap orang-orang keturunan Afrika di Papua Barat,” papar situs web milik Global Pan Africanism Network (GPAN).

Wakil Presiden Kenya William Ruto menyambut delegasi yang tiba di lokasi konferensi.

Pra konferensi digelar sejak 6-10 Desember 2019. Sesi ini diisi pameran ekonomi pedesaan. Pada 8 Desember, peserta membahas khusus tema pemberdayaan perempuan dan remaja di negara-negara ACP.

Puncak KTT berlangsung dua hari sejak Senin, 9 Desember 2019. Agenda puncak dihadiri kepala negara dan pemerintahan.

GPAN merupakan organisasi Hak Sipil Internasional dan Pan Afrika untuk menyatukan kembali semua orang keturunan Afrika, serta mengadvokasi hak-hak dan kebebasan mereka di seluruh dunia. Organisasi ini terdaftar di Accra, Ghana. []GOOD INDONESIA-RUT

from WordPress
via IFTTT December 09, 2019 at 09:17AM

The Morning Star (2019)

The Morning Star

The Morning Star 2019
The Morning Star 2019

There’s a bright and burning star in an equatorial sky,
And it burns for a people who’s day is yet to come,
It burns with a quite burning,
It burns with quite yearning.
And it burns to the beat of a Melanesian drum.

And the drumming tells a story of that people and it’s cry,
Of the darkness and the danger and of sacrifice,
Of the alien in the land,
Of the bloody alien hand,
And of dead and dying in that paradise.

Hills and valleys take up the call of scarred and battered land,
And the cry goes round the world for those with ear to hear,
And it tells of desecration,
And it calls for consecration,
And it tells of friends and neighbours who disappear.

But the dark secrets will be heard and the truth will have its way,
And all the children of West Papua will smile once more,
But the cross they love to wear,
Is a cross hard to bear,
In a land controlled by a strangers crushing law.

from WordPress
via IFTTT December 05, 2019 at 08:16AM

Morning Star Flag in Australia 1 December 2019

In solidarity with West Papuans today on Gumbaynggirr Country- Bellingen, Pacific Highway Australia

Flying the Morning Star Flag with lots of toots of support for a Free West Papua. People are learning the truth, it can not be hidden.

58th anniversary of what was supposed to be Independence for the people of West Papua.

As the Morning Star rises tomorrow in the skies it will bring another day closer to freedom.

West Papua we stand with you!


from WordPress
via IFTTT December 02, 2019 at 08:14AM

Commemoration of ‘Papuan Independence Day’- 104 reportedly arrested, at least 20 with treason

Published Monday 2nd December 2019, 22:47

Reports by human rights defenders and media articles mention a total of 104 arrests in multiple locations across West Papua. The arrests occurred in relation to commemorations of 1st December, which many indigenous Papuans regard as the ‘Papuan Independence Day’. This year marks the 58th anniversary of the first official Morning Star flag raising under the Dutch colonial government. In Jayapura, the police summoned two leaders of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Markus Haluk and Edison Waromi. At least twenty arrestees were charged with treason.

Eight Papuans arrested in Manokwari

On 27 November 2019, the local police arrested eight indigenous Papuans on their way the Borasi Field in the city of Manokwari, where they wanted to participate in a peaceful political demonstration. They were taken into custody and are currently under investigation at the Manokwari District Police Station (Polres Manokwari). According to local media outlet Jubi, the police seized 29 Morningstar flags, posters, leaflets and two cars. The detainees stated that they had received leaflets calling for a peaceful demonstration at the Borasi field.

Four KNPB supporters arrested in Merauke

Police officers arrested four supporters of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) on 2 December 2019 in the Papuan town of Merauke. Police suspects that the four men sprayed Morningstar symbols on public buildings in various locations in Merauke. All four arrestees were allowed to leave the police station after officers had questioned them and seized several of their pro-independence attributes.

Police summons ULMWP leaders

The police summoned ULMWP Executive Director, Markus Haluk, and ULMWP Executive Chairman, Edison Waromi, in relation to a leaflet calling for a worship ceremony in commemoration of 1st December. Mr. Haluk and Mr. Waromi, together with a team of lawyers, came to Jayapura Municipality (Polresta Jayapura) police station on 30 November where they were questioned for several hours. The leaflet showed the names and electronic signatures of both ULMWP leaders. However, Markus Haluk and Edison Waromi claim that they neither made the leaflets, nor authorised them with their signatures. The police requested Markus Haluk to return to the police station on 1 December 2019 for further questioning. So far, the police has not pressed charges against the ULMWP leaders.

Police arrests four students in Jayapura after bringing morning star flag to Church

Police officers arrested the four Papuan students Marvin Yobe, Desepianus Dumupa, Paul Halapok and Devion Tekege on 1 December 2019 at the Gembala Baik Congregational Church in Abepura, Jayapura Town. The students brought Morningstar flags to the Sunday worship. They wore traditional clothes with morning star face paint. Plain cloth police officers arrested the four students during the worship ceremony and subsequently brought them to the Abepura sectoral police station and later to the Jayapura municipality police station, where the students were questioned (see intro image). They were released without charges on 2 December 2019 at 1.00 am. The police also summoned the pastor of Gembala Baik Congregation as a witness.

34 Papuans arrested in Sentani – 20 charged with treason

On 30 November 2019, police officers arrested 34 indigenous Papuans in Sentani, Jayapura Regency, on their way to the Trikora field, where they allegedly intended to raise the Morning Star flag. Fourteen of them were released because the police could not find sufficient evidence to press legal charges. The remaining 20 suspects were taken into custody. They have been charged with article 106 jo 87 and/or 110 jo 88 of Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on treason. Six of them were additionally charged with Article 2 (1) of Emergency Law12/1951 regarding illegal possession of slashing or stabbing weapons (see table below). The police claims that the 20 suspects carried member cards of the West Papua National Liberation Army.

54 Papuans arrested in Fakfak

We are a black nation in Melanesia West Papua and we are being colonized by Indonesia, now 58 years of colonial Indonesia have usurped our independence from 01 December 1961 and until 1 December 2019. This is evidence of torture that is always used by Indonesia. This photo was taken on December 1, 2019 in Fak-Fak West Papua when demanding independence
We are a black nation in Melanesia West Papua and we are being colonized by Indonesia, now 58 years of colonial Indonesia have usurped our independence from 01 December 1961 and until 1 December 2019. This is evidence of torture that is always used by Indonesia. This photo was taken on December 1, 2019 in Fak-Fak West Papua when demanding independence

Arrests Pikpik Fakfak editOn 1 December 2019, members of the Police Mobile Brigade Special Unit (Brimob) and 1803 Fakfak District Military Command arrested 54 indigenous Papuans in the districts Kayauni and Kramonmongga of Fakfak Regency. According to information received, the joint security forces applied force against 23 villagers in Warpa Village. The Head of the Fakfak District Police claimed in a public interview that the villagers allegedly resisted the arrest using traditional weapons like spears, bows and arrows. He further accused the suspects of planning to raise the Morning Star flag at the Regency office. It is currently not known what injuries the arrestees sustained during the arrest. The villagers had raised the Morning Star flag in their village around 3.00 pm. Subsequently, the joint security forces arrested one person in Kramongga Village and further suspects in the villages of Pikpik (see image on the right) and Mambuni-buni. The police seized morning star flags, 12 million rupiahs (about € 850) and machetes and other traditional weapons. All 54 Papuans were detained and are currently investigated by the police.


from WordPress
via IFTTT December 07, 2019 at 08:11AM

Warome raises West Papua Flag

By Len Garae Dec 2, 2019 Updated Dec 2, 2019. Vanuatu Daily Post

December 1, the Morning Star West Papua flag was hoisted next to the Vanuatu flag
December 1, the Morning Star West Papua flag was hoisted next to the Vanuatu flag 

Yesterday morning on December 1, the Morning Star West Papua flag was hoisted next to the Vanuatu flag by the Caretaker of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua Office, Freddy Warome, in full military uniform at Sea Front in Port Vila.

The Chairman of both Vanuatu Christian Council and Vanuatu Free West Papua Association, Pastor Alain Nafuki, was on hand to bless the Flag and West Papua National Day December 1 before it was raised in the breezy sunshine, to flitter next to the Vanuatu Flag.

Meanwhile West Papua Leaders have confirmed to a handful of witnesses of the ceremony that reports have reached them of further shooting at one of the world’s largest open cast mines in West Papua.

They said the shooting was carried out by the West Papua Liberation Army. At this stage, it is still not clear if there were any casualties.

However latest report yesterday afternoon said several West Papua students who entered a university dressed in indigenous attire to mark December 1, were arrested by Indonesian Police.

No further information was available as the article was published.

West Papua Day was officially celebrated in the afternoon marked by a number of speakers from the Vanuatu Christian council, West Papua Committee and Chiefs and Civil society from three to five in the afternoon.

Pastor Nafuki said the purpose of the ceremony is to confirm to the world that while Vanuatu is a tiny country, it has remained steadfast in its commitment to West Papua Freedom since day one when their political plight was first brought to the country’s attention prior to the country’s freedom on July 30 of 1980.

With a population of approximately 3 million, the people of West Papua have been struggling for self-determination from colonialism for 58 years.

The struggle has reached the United Nations with support from approximately 90 countries Spearheaded by the World Council of Churches through the Pacific Council of Churches, Vanuatu Christian Council and Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs and the Government of Vanuatu and its people.

from WordPress
via IFTTT December 06, 2019 at 09:31PM

West Papua freedom is “our responsibility”

“What I wish to stress is that fighting for freedom (for West Papua) is everyone’s business beginning with chiefs, church leaders, papas and mamas and young people especially since they have so much energy and power to do those things that their parents cannot do”.

Former Cabinet Minister and former politician, Hilda Lini is the sister of the once ‘Father of Independence’ and first ever Prime Minister of the newly born Republic of Vanuatu, Father Walter Lini, who led the country for the first eleven years after a joint colonial period of 74 years of statelessness.

The once outspoken political leader dared to contest political elections with her male counterparts and won fairly years before any thought of ‘reserve seat’.

Hilda Lini was invited to attend the West Papua Day on December 1 on the Sea Front and became one of the very few invited guests to attend.

While all West Papuan leaders as well as local speakers heartily thanked the Government and people of Vanuatu for their steadfast support towards the West Papua Struggle, no cabinet Ministers nor MPs were present in the ceremony.

Her presence was an assurance of the country’s continuing responsibility over West Papua after the hosting of the historic meeting of West Papuan factions in the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs Nakamal in 2014.

The Chairman of the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association, Pastor Alain Nafuki said that meeting became the stepping stone to where west Papua is today after the formation of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua following that meeting.

“The Government went ahead to allocate land at Crow’s Nest to host the ULMWP Office”, he said.

Looking back at country’s struggle for freedom, Lini said Vanuatu’s struggle and its Unity Day on November 29 marking the hoisting of the Vanuaaku Pati flag to proclaim the formation of the People’s Provisional Government was similar to West Papua’s December 1 National Day.

“The only difference was that the West Papua people hoisted their own flag in 1961 so they started their struggle earlier than we did ours but we have achieved our freedom while they are still fighting to achieve theirs”, she noted.

“On July 30 of 1980 here at Independence Park, our first ever Prime Minister, Father Walter Lini, made this statement to all invited guests from near far including guests from West Papua saying, ‘Vanuatu has become an Independent Nation today but yet it is not completely free until every country that is fighting for freedom has achieved its freedom and only then will Vanuatu be completely free’.

“This is the biggest responsibility in our hands in Vanuatu today; little children, young people who were born after 1980, those who were born before 1980, papas, mamas, church leaders and chiefs and every one of us – all members of parliament and the Government, altogether we have this responsibility in our hands.

“While we rejoice for our freedom but we must not forget that we are not totally free until our brothers and sisters who are not far from us are totally free.

“This is our responsibility that is ahead of us and we must get involved to enable West Papua to be free, Kanaky and Tahiti and Wallis and Futuna must be free, while we stayed with East Timor (Timor Leste) until it achieved its freedom. The others are not yet free.

“My message to us the mamas is for us to stand firm at all times because in all situations, we have proved ourselves that we are capable so with all our people, let us stand in solidarity with West Papua until it achieves its independence.

Source: Vanuatu Daily Post

from WordPress
via IFTTT December 01, 2019 at 05:44PM

���� Papua: Neglect threatens remote Indonesian tribes

Pole jailed in Indonesia’s West Papua faces ‘declining health’

European diplomats step up pressure as they call on Jakarta to move Jakub Skrzypski to another facility pending appeal. by Tomasz Augustyniak29 Nov 2019

European diplomats are stepping up pressure on Indonesia to look into the case of a Polish man who has been jailed in its easternmost region for more than a year, amid reports of his declining health.

Jakub Skrzypski is the first foreigner to be found guilty of an attempt to overthrow the Indonesian government and imprisoned under Article 106 of the Indonesian criminal code.

He was sentenced to five years in prison in May. Since his arrest in West Papua in August 2018, he has been detained in the town of Wamena, one of the several places in the region that saw a wave of deadly violence in recent months.

Skrzypski has denied the allegations and is appealing his conviction.
Skrzypski has denied the allegations and is appealing his conviction.

As he awaits the result of his appeal, the European Union and the Polish government vowed to press Jakarta to resolve the issue.

Last week, EU Ambassador to Indonesia Vincent Piket met Indonesia’s Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly. On the agenda for the meeting was the Skrzypski case.

EU Spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said European diplomats asked Indonesia earlier this month to review the case and transfer the Polish man to Bandung, where he could receive visits from a representative of the Polish consulate.

In October, the European Parliament had referred to Skrzypski as a political prisoner and expressed concern over his continued incarceration, given the unrest in West Papua. It demanded his release and deportation to Poland.

Poland’s foreign ministry has claimed there were procedural mistakes during the court proceedings, and that the case’s connection to the current political situation in West Papua adds to its complexity.

Last week, a Polish embassy official visited Skrzypski and urged the government to apply international standards to his treatment.

Fair trial promised

Jacek Czaputowicz, Poland’s minister of foreign affairs, has met his Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi, three times since the arrest of Skrzypski.

Marsudi reportedly assured him that Skrzypski’s trial would be fair and the Polish consul in Jakarta would have free access to the detainee.

But Al Jazeera learned that it was not always the case, and several diplomatic notes regarding the Pole’s detention were reportedly ignored.

Skrzypski’s lawyer, Latifah Anum Siregar, told Al Jazeera that her client has long complained about conditions at the police detention centre where he is being kept instead of a prison facility.

Jakub Skrzypski - Poland - West Papua

Skrzypski, left, seen here with his Indonesian co-defendant Simon Magal, has denied the charges against him and called his trial a ‘sham’ [George Yewun/AP]

Latifah said Skrzypski has not been allowed out of his cell for walks and had not been seen by a doctor.

The lawyer, who is based in Papua’s provincial capital, Jayapura, and the Jakarta-based diplomats also have to deal with long hours of travel to reach Wamena.

While Skrzypski’s life is not under direct threat, locals who used to bring him food have left since violence erupted in the region.

In addition, there was nobody available to treat him when he suffered severe eye inflammation, as most doctors have also reportedly fled.

Caught in political turmoil

Skrzypski had been in Indonesia several times as a tourist, visiting West Papua to verify claims of human rights violations against ethnic Papuans.

In August 2018, he was travelling across the region, briefly crossing to neighbouring Papua New Guinea, when Indonesian police arrested him and accused him of joining the separatist West Papua National Liberation Army – an armed group Jakarta calls a terrorist organisation.

Initially, the police claimed to have evidence that he was involved in arms trading but the allegation was not raised during the trial.

Skrzypski rejected all the criminal charges but admitted to having met people who turned out to be the members of the National Committee for West Papua, which supports a non-violent approach to Papuan independence.

Latifah, his lawyer, said Skrzypski was merely visiting friends he met online and did not intend to join any organisation.

In May, Wamena district court found Skrzypski guilty and sentenced him to five years in prison. Local student Simon Magal, who met the Pole, was also jailed for four years.

Skrzypski rejected the verdict, saying all charges were trumped up and the trial was a sham, alleging the prosecution witnesses were bribed and that potential defence witnesses were also too frightened to testify.

Sham trial

Asked about Skrzypski’s case, Teuku Faizasyah, spokesperson for the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Al Jazeera that the ministry acted based on the notes and provided reply “when needed”.

Regarding the requested transfer, Teuku said it would only be possible when all the legal options were exhausted and the court’s decision had come into force.

“His rights have also been fulfilled and facilitated in respect of process law,” he added but did not comment on the security problems in Papua.

The Ministry of Law and Human Rights has not responded to Al Jazeera’s queries.

Authorities in Wamena have promised to provide the needed medical attention, but Febiana Wilma Sorbu, one of the prosecutors in charge of the case, refused to answer Al Jazeera’s questions on the conditions Skrzypski is being kept in.

Andreas Harsono, Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said he has no doubt that the treatment of Skrzypski violates human rights under international and Indonesian law.

“Jakub Skrzypski has been unfortunately entangled in Indonesia’s paranoid bureaucracy.

“The longer his imprisonment continues, the more Indonesian machinery is making him to document the rotten prison cells, something that Indigenous Papuans are very familiar with,” Harsono said.

Latifah, Skrzypski’s lawyer, added: “This is a highly political case with extremely weak evidence.”

Evidence reportedly included photos of Skrzypski at a recreational shooting range in Switzerland and unconcluded Facebook conversations.

After the Papua High Court upheld the sentence in July, Skrzypski’s advocates appealed the case before the Supreme Court, asking for him to be acquitted of all the charges.

Meanwhile, prosecutors are seeking a tougher sentence.


from WordPress
via IFTTT November 30, 2019 at 02:47PM

WPRA: Happy National Awakening Day!

In an official letter to West Papua Army (WPA), one of the Affiliated Command of the WPA, The West Papua Revolutionary Army (WPRA) Secretary-General I, Gen. Amunggut Tabi expresses National Greeting from the Central Defense Headquarters of the WPRA and says the struggle for West Papua independence is not ONLY beneficial to Melanesians in West Papua, but for all life on this planet Earth and the planet itself as New Guinea Island contribute significant oxygen to our life system.

Gen. Tabi also encourages Melanesians to re-claim collective identities of “Melanesian Peoples” socially, culturally, economically and politically, because Melanesian people are already one socially, culturally and geographically. He says modern political, economic and legal divides made by colonial powers make us all Melanesians think in their way of thinking, and feel in their way of feeling, looking at each other as if we are different from one another.

He says “it is colonial powers and governments want to see us separated and divided” because they want to come in and do everything they want, take away all our natural resources and destroy our planet Earth.”

Melanesians should not call ourselves West Papuans, Papua New Guineans, Solomon Islanders, Fijians, Bougainvilleans, New Caledonians, ni-Vanuatu, but we are Melanesian People in West Papua, in Papua New Guinea, in Fiji, in Bougainville, in Solomon Islands, in Vanuatu and in Kanaky.

from WordPress
via IFTTT November 30, 2019 at 08:41AM

Bougainville referendum: voting begins amid scenes of jubilation

People are ‘in the mood for celebration’ as they choose whether to split from Papua New Guinea

After 20 years, the big day has finally arrived for the people of Bougainville. Large crowds gathered on Saturday at the aptly named Bel Isi (Peace) park in Buka for the first day of a two-week referendum to decide whether the archipelago should become independent from Papua New Guinea.

Amid a significant security presence, hundreds of Bougainvilleans marched through the streets as they followed the autonomous region’s president, John Momis, as he arrived at a polling booth to cast his vote.

Momis, accompanied by his minister for Bougainville affairs, Sir Puka Temu, and the referendum commissioner, Ruby Mirinka, was the first to cast his vote.

Bougainville regional president John Momis waves as he arrives at a polling station in Buka on Saturday. Photograph: Ness Kerton/AFP via Getty Images
Bougainville regional president John Momis waves as he arrives at a polling station in Buka on Saturday. Photograph: Ness Kerton/AFP via Getty Images

The jubilant crowd cheered on as groups danced to the beat of bamboo pipes, singing songs of freedom that described the crisis of the past and a peace process that started at the end of the civil war 20 years ago and which paved the way for the referendum.

As he exited the polling booth after casting his vote, Momis waved to the crowd who replied with shouts of support as they waited for their turn to vote.

“It’s obvious that the people are now in the mood for celebration and I join them as they have every right to celebrate,” Momis told a media conference. “This is a forecast or beginning of good things to come if we collaborate and work as trusted partners to implement something that both parties have contributed to.”

With tears in her eyes, Justina Panu, a voter from Arawa, said that it was thrilling to watch her president vote. “We are excited and emotional,” she said.

Janet Chigoto, from Buin, waved her large Bougainville flag and said: “I am proud and happy. The time has come for us to vote for what we’ve been waiting for. Blood has poured on our island. We want our own powers to run our country so I am going for Box Two.”

“It’s a great moment for me,” said Barnabas Matanu from Buka. “It’s been long overdue and we’ve been waiting for years. We are enthusiastic and on cloud nine.”

Over the next two weeks, everyone over the age of 18 will have the option of requesting greater autonomy within Papua New Guinea, or full independence. Voting will take place in select towns and stations around the island of Buka and mainland Bougainville.

A young voter, Tanya Okia from Kieta, hoped that her generation would see a free and independent Bougainville. “Bougainville will rise. Myself and the other 365 youths here, we are all heading for number 2 box.”

“I will be putting my ballot in box 2,” said Moses Seropa from Arawa. “I want to see Bougainville become our own country, in my lifetime. I want to see us producing our own products. We have tons of natural resources, good lands and great farmers so we need to take ownership starting with this vote.”


from WordPress
via IFTTT November 25, 2019 at 07:59AM

Powes Parkop on Bougainville Referendum: A Historical Day for Our Country


Bougainville has impacted our country in so many ways. Whether it was contributing to the economy, shaping of the constitution and system of governance, or the tragic years of conflict in 1988 to 1997 and in many other ways, Bougainville remains an integral part of PNG.

Today we enter another historical day for Bougainville and the rest of PNG. Whatever happens from here on will be historical, as it will impact our country and the history we shared. Despite the outcome, let us be comfortable with the fact that this nation of a thousand tribes is strong and it’s future is stronger because of this diversity. This is our strength and not our weakness. Diversity makes us stronger and we become better people and a better nation. It is not an easy Union but it’s an opportunity for us to build a greater nation and future.

Remember without Goliath, a mere Shepard boy with no skills and knowledge other than being a sherpard, could never be the King of Israel.

This massive fusion of our diverse nation of a thousand tribes and 860 languages into one prosperous nation is a mammoth task and our own Goliath. But it is also an opportunity for us to challenge ourselves to foster a respectful, tolerant and grateful country where we can all thrive together to build a prosperous future.

How wonderful it would be when we overcome all our stereotypes and inhibitions that we have against each other. It will be like David has slain Goliath who had been tormenting the Israelites for so long. So here, we have an opportunity to show equality, to allow freedom, and show true democracy where all tribes and languages have a stake at the table. It has been painful, tragic and a long journey, but let us be confident that we will prosper after today and we will secure a greater future with Bougainville still having a strong place and role in our stride to prosperity.

Congratulations to Sir Puka Temu and all the leaders who have shaped this journey since the Peace Agreement, up to this historical day. Let us be confident about the future, as a unique rainbow nation of a thousand tribes and 860 plus languages. Together, we are stronger!

from WordPress
via IFTTT November 25, 2019 at 07:45AM

Bougainville: World’s newest nation expected to form as islands vote in independence poll

Region thought likely to break away from Papua New Guinea would be first new country since South Sudan

The Pacific islands of Bougainville are voting in a historic referendum to decide if it will become the world’s newest nation by gaining independence from Papua New Guinea.

The vote will run over two weeks and is a key part of a 2001 peace agreement that ended a civil war in which at least 15,000 people died in the cluster of islands to the east of the Papua New Guinea mainland.

Experts believe the 250,000 people of Bougainville will vote overwhelming in favour of independence ahead of the other option, which is greater autonomy, but the vote will not be the final word.

The referendum is non-binding and a vote for independence would need to be negotiated by leaders from Bougainville and Papua New Guinea. The final say would go to legislators in the Papua New Guinea parliament.

Gianluca Rampolla, the UN resident co-ordinator in Papua New Guinea, said the world body has been working hard to ensure the vote is peaceful, transparent, inclusive and credible. He said there are 40 UN staffers on the ground and more than 100 international observers.

He said it is unlikely there will be violence during voting.

“They’ve been waiting 19 years for this historic moment,” he said. “I think they will be left with joy.”

Just over 200,000 people are eligible to vote in the referendum, with the results due in mid-December. Mr Rampolla said the extended voting period of two weeks is due to the region’s rugged terrain.

“There are people coming on boats, there are people walking,” he said. “It’s the rainy season. There are rough seas. Flexibility is needed to adjust on the ground.”

Voters have two weeks in which to cast their ballot (AP)
Voters have two weeks in which to cast their ballot (AP)

John Momis, president of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, told reporters on Friday the region stood on the verge of a new socio-economic and political order.

“We are trailblazers forging a new path into the unknown with the sheer determination to face any challenge that comes our way,” he said. “We will face this together as one people and one voice to decide our ultimate political future.”

In his weekly column in the Post-Courier newspaper, Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape said complex discussions and negotiations would be needed after the referendum before a political settlement could be reached.

The violence in Bougainville began in the late 1980s, triggered by conflict over an enormous open cast copper mine at Panguna.

The mine was a huge export earner for Papua New Guinea but many in Bougainville felt they got no benefit and resented the pollution and disruption to their traditional way of living.

The mine has remained shut since the conflict. Some believe it could provide a future revenue source for Bougainville should it become independent.

The civil war lasted for a decade before the peace agreement was signed. The other key aspects of the agreement were a weapons disposal plan and greater autonomy for the region.

Mr Rampolla said the peace agreement had been one of the few in the world that had lasted so long. He said it could end as a success story if the referendum and subsequent negotiations resulted in an outcome that everybody could support.

Press Association

from WordPress
via IFTTT November 24, 2019 at 07:59AM

PNG’s O’Neill sounds warning on eve of Bougainville referendum

Papua New Guinea’s former prime minister Peter O’Neill has sounded a note of warning on the eve of Bougainville’s independence referendum.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill talks to the media as he visits the international media center, set up for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, in Port Moresby on November 14, 2018. (Photo by Saeed KHAN / AFP)

Photo: AFP or licensors

People from the autonomous PNG region are this Saturday to begin a two-week polling period for a non-binding vote on whether Bougainville should be independent or have greater autonomy.

The result of the referendum is subject to ratification by PNG’s national Parliament.

Mr O’Neill, who was replaced as prime minister by James Marape in May, said people needed to make an informed decision in the vote.

Referring to the Bougainville civil war, he said PNG could not go back to the crisis and loss of life.

“We have to all work together to ensure the peace and unity of our people,” Mr O’Neill said in a statement.

“Now the vote must be undertaken in a peaceful manner, properly supported by our security forces to ensure transparency and public confidence.”

Recently, numerous past and present PNG prime ministers have been advocating togetherness and urging Bougainville to stay with the nation.

But a grandmother from Bougainville’s Guava village, atop the Panguna mine which sparked the civil war, said the overtures had come too late in the piece.

Maggie Voring said the trauma of devastated families lingered on decades after the civil war, and that Bougainvilleans had largely made up their minds.

“That is too late. Long time ago, [PNG] they step on us. I’m thinking that after this next move, we’re just going independent… because of our bloodshed.”

Source: RNZ

from WordPress
via IFTTT November 23, 2019 at 08:15AM

PNG leaders cautious ahead of Bougainville vote

Bougainvilleans will begin voting tomorrow in an historic referendum to decide if they want independence from Papua New Guinea.

Over a two week period they will be taking part in vote on whether to become independent or to settle for a greater degree of autonomy.

While it is a non-binding vote, it is seen as the culmination of the peace process that ended a bloody civil war in Bougainville.

The Post Courier reports that while the world waits in anticipation for the result national leaders have issued strong statements.

PNG Prime Minister James Marape was very apologetic about PNG not recognising the will and desire of Bougainvilleans in the past but said they now had the right to be heard.

To allow for the referendum to proceed was a commitment he made when he became prime minister, he said.

He is quoted in the newspaper saying the referendum is “the means by which the voices of the people of Bougainville will be heard. It is the basis on which the two governments will consult after the referendum has taken place.’

But Mr Marape has repeated earlier statements that political independence is meaningless without economic independence.

He said complex discussions and negotiations would take place after the referendum before any proposed political settlement is reached.

The man known as the Father of the Nation and three time prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, said he has a “heavy heart” about the referendum.

He has called for a united PNG for which he had always led and stood for as prime minister.

Sir Michael told the paper that, “as Bougainvilleans make their voices heard in the referendum, it is my hope that PNG remains ‘united and free’ in the aftermath of this historic poll.”

He said “our country has remained united for more than 40 years, which is an achievement in itself. So it with heavy hearts that the rest of our country awaits the decision that the people of Bougainville will be taking in the next couple of days.

Recent former Prime Minister Peter O’Neill described it as one of the most important public votes in the nation’s history and called for care in the decision-making by Bougainvilleans.

Peter O'Neill

Peter O’Neill Photo: Supplied

Bougainville President John Momis appealed for people to respect the rule of law.

Bougainville President John Momis

Bougainville President John Momis Photo: supplied

He said they had worked hard to abide by and effectively implement the three pillars of the Bougainville Peace Agreement; autonomy, weapons disposal and referendum.

The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Dame Meg Taylor, who is Papua New Guinean, has sent best wishes.

She said she commends both governments on their commitment to lasting peace, and all the work done to ensure a free and fair vote.

The secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor.

The secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor. Photo: RNZ / Jamie Tahana

The Forum has an observer mission in Bougainville throughout polling and vote counting.

Source: RNZ

from WordPress
via IFTTT November 23, 2019 at 01:21PM

Expectations high as Bougainville referendum gets underway

Johnny Blades, RNZ Pacific

Polling for Bougainville’s independence referendum gets underway today.

The autonomous Papua New Guinea region’s non-binding referendum is the ultimate provision of 2001’s Peace Agreement which formally ended hostilities in Bougainville’s civil war.

Bougainvilleans have entered into celebratory mode for this historic occasion. Bougainville flags are everywhere, festivities have broken out, and the mood around the region indicates that the favourite option on the ballot is number two: for independence, rather than greater autonomy within PNG.

The two week polling period starts in the main centres of Buka and Arawa as well as numerous remote locations and then will move around Bougainville progressively.

In coming days polling also gets underway in other parts of PNG and two locales in neighbouring countries – in Brisbane, Australia and Gizo in Solomon Islands.

Bad weather is threatening to delay the start of polling in Bougainville’s atolls. But at this stage nothing will dampen the spirits of a people who are clearly expectant that this is the next step towards the birth of a new nation.

A cultural group performing in Bougainville Photo: RNZ Pacific / Johnny Blades
A cultural group performing in Bougainville Photo: RNZ Pacific / Johnny Blades

Cultural groups have been performing in anticipation of the start of polling in parts such as Tinputz district.

A ward representative in Tinputz, Peter Aromet, said Bougainvilleans had been eagerly awaiting this moment since the end of the crisis about two decades ago.

According to him, the experience of going through civil war had shaped the region’s aspirations for independence.

“During the crisis people went through a lot of traumas. If we can turn those traumas into something good, from pain to something positive… I believe that all these traumas that we’ve come through, that we went through, we can use them for something positive.”

“People are very excited about what is expected especially the process between now an December,” said Theresa Jaintong, an Arawa-based social worker and reconciliation leader.

In terms of how the vote may pan out, Ms Jaintong said the ball was firmly in the court of Bougainvilleans.

“It’s up to us Bougainvilleans really to embrace the outcome and then what government will go into, and then drive it together. We have to be really united – the whole Bougainville – at all cost.”

Like many people in Bougainville, Mr Aromet is anticipating a period of transition following the outcome of the referendum, although a time frame is yet to be mapped out by the PNG and autonomous Bougainville governments.

Expectations placed in the referendum by Bougainvilleans are high, although the vote result requires ratification by PNG’s parliament before being implemented.

“If the outcome is positive or in favour of the Bougainvilleans, it might not turn out as people expect,” Mr Aromet admitted.

“But I believe it’s going to take a process. We’ll go to a transitional period – it might take five or ten years, then we’ll go to independence.”

from WordPress
via IFTTT November 23, 2019 at 01:13PM

Bougainville vote results to be delivered in one announcement

Results in Bougainville’s upcoming referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea will be delivered in just one announcement.

The two-week polling period for the non-binding referendum begins on 23 November.

The verification, scrutiny and count process is to begin at the Count Centre in Buka once polling closes on 7 December.

The Bougainville Referendum Commission’s chairman Bertie Ahern said the vote would be delivered to the highest of international electoral standards.

He said that given the need to deliver a clear and credible process, a running tally of votes would not be provided, in order to avoid confusion.

“We are sure that the process will be safe, secure and will enable us to deliver an accurate and credible result,” he said.

“We are also following internationally recognised steps to ensure that the process is open to scrutineers, observers and the media.”

Mr Ahern said that the commission hoped to conclude counting well before the final date for the return of the writ – 20 December.

“Given the emotions of the vote, we will announce just one set of results, which will be the final one so as not to confuse people.

“The BRC will announce the final number of votes cast for greater autonomy and independence, plus the number of informal ballot papers. No more, and no less.”

Meanwhile, hundreds of scrutineers and observers have received accreditation to monitor Bougainville’s upcoming independence referendum.

Briefings were held yesterday in Bougainville’s three main centres, Buka, Arawa and Buin, for 95 observers and 554 scrutineers.

The Bougainville Referendum Commission said the briefings were to ensure the observers and scrutineers understood their role in supporting a transparent and credible referendum.

As well as dozens of domestic observers, several teams of international referendum observers will be converging on Bougainville in the next week ahead of the vote.

Source: RNZ

from WordPress
via IFTTT November 13, 2019 at 01:27PM

Bougainvilleans encouraged to prepare for post-referendum

Bougainvilleans are being encouraged to consult with teams holding transitional dialogue on what happens after the upcoming referendum.

People from the autonomous Papua New Guinea region begin a two-week polling period tomorrow for a non-binding vote on whether Bougainville should be independent or have greater autonomy.

The result of the referendum is subject to ratification by PNG’s national Parliament.

The co-ordinator of the Bougainville Transitional Dialogue for the region’s central district, Agatha Banako, said they were helping people prepare for the period following the vote.

It was an ongoing process that was overseen by the PNG and Autonomous Bougainville governments.

“Whatever the result is, we still have to let the people speak their minds out – what they think on how Bougainville should be run. What are the things, the priorities and how they should be set up, for example areas of economy, education, health,”

she said.

Ms Banako has also been helping disabled people in her ward to get papers to participate in the referendum by postal vote.

As the deadline for obtaining papers for postal voting approached, Ms Banako said it was important for disabled people and others who might struggle to reach a polling station to get papers with the correct information.

Source: RNZ

from WordPress
via IFTTT November 13, 2019 at 01:24PM

Former Bougainville president backs independence

Former Bougainville president James Tanis is calling for people to vote for independence from Papua New Guinea in the referendum which begins on Saturday.

Mr Tanis said he did not want people to listen to those who said Bougainville lacked the capacity to manage as an independent nation.

Bougainville is a resourceful region with resourceful people and a lack of capacity is not a permanent order in society, he said.

“But rather it is something that changes and it grows.

“The lack of capacity should not be used as an argument to discourage people from choosing independence because, from a personal level, what I know is that, yes, we do not have the capacity at the moment, but that should not stop the people from choosing independence.”

James Tanis, who was president from 2008 to 2010, has recently been working in various roles preparing Bougainville for the vote.

Souce: RNZ

from WordPress
via IFTTT November 21, 2019 at 07:33PM

Bougainville Referendum: Applications for postal voting open

Bougainville is about to enter a two week polling period for a non-binding referendum on independence from PNG.

The devastation to infrastructure from a civil war over two decades ago is still evident, but today Arawa is upbeat and a hive of activity.

Polling officers are completing their training, polling material is ready to go, and scrutineers and observers are converging on the region.

Locals say they have been waiting for this moment for a long time and they’ll grab the opportunity to place their vote with over 200,000 Bougainvilleans enrolled for polling which begins this Saturday.

Bougainville’s president has told Parliament the post-referendum period will be critical to the end of the peace process.

John Momis said whatever the outcome, the negotiations and consultations would be complex.

It would require careful and strategic thinking about what Bougainvilleans wanted the region to look like in the future.

But Mr Momis added that he was confident they were united and ready for hard negotiations.

Bougainville President John Momis

Bougainville President John Momis Photo: supplied

He has called for the best team of negotiators for Bougainville, one that includes women, churches, business people, veterans and Bougainvilleans living outside of Bougainville.

Mr Momis has called on the people of Bougainville to ensure peace is maintained before, during, and after the referendum.

“Whatever the outcome, it must be both peaceful and mutually acceptable,” he said.

The president, who is nearing the end of his second and last term in office, said 2019 would go down in history as the year where Bougainvilleans finally got to express their views about their future political status.

It was a year where Bougainvilleans could demonstrate to the world that they were a mature and democratic people, he said.

Source; RNZ

from WordPress
via IFTTT November 20, 2019 at 07:51PM

Solomons boost border security for Bougainville referendum

Police in Solomon Islands have beefed up security along the shared maritime border with Papua New Guinea, ahead of the Bougainville independence referendum this weekend.

The non-binding referendum, which begins on Saturday, is the final expression of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, signed in 2001 to formally end the decade long civil conflict.

Fighting during the war often spilled into Western Solomons.

Officers from the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force have this week been visiting communities in the Shortland Islands, which are only a few hours by boat from Bougainville, to reassure them that they will be maintaining an increased presence in the region while the referendum is being conducted.

from WordPress
via IFTTT November 20, 2019 at 07:48PM

Referendum offers possibility of change for Bougainville’s atolls

Communities on Bougainville’s atolls hope the upcoming independence referendum is an impetus for improved services to the remote islands.

A two-week polling period begins this Saturday for Bougainville’s referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea.

The non-binding referendum is a provision of 2001’s Bougainville Peace Agreement, which formally ended hostilities from a civil war which raged through the 1990s.

Sione Paasia, an aviation consultant who hails from Takuu atoll (also known as Mortlock), says all of Bougainville has suffered from neglect of public services since the civil war.

He says that for people of Bougainville’s atolls, their biggest need is for more frequent shipping services.

On average a ship comes by only about five or six times a year, he says.

“And that makes it hard for a lot of things, including economic activities, including health and education services especially.

“So as a result there’s been a huge urban drift from the atolls to Buka and a lot of other parts of PNG.”

According to Mr Paasia, he is one of about 1600 Takuus who left their atoll in search of opportunity and are now scattered around PNG and other parts of the world.

He’s been told there’s less than 400 people left on Takuu itself.

Nukutoa village, Takuu.

Nukutoa village, Takuu. Photo: Briar March

The Bougainville Referendum Commission has gone to significant lengths to enrol people of Bougainville’s atolls to participate in the vote.

The islanders see the referendum as a potential step towards restoring some of the cohesiveness that Bougainville’s economy and public services had before the civil war.

Apart from the Panguna copper mine, which was central to sparking the crisis, the Bougainville economy had been been under-pinned by agriculture, especially based on thriving cocoa and coconut plantations which have still not recovered.

And Mr Paasia says that Bougvainville has another valuable resource – good leaders.

“I believe the reason why we did so well back then was that we had leaders who had convictions and who were not involved in self-interest. They were focussed on what we need to do for Bougainville,” he says.

“Natural resources don’t necessarily make a country prosper, unless you have good leaders.

“Suffering tends to change people,” Mr Paasia says, adding that he feels there are now more people who seek benefit without putting in the hard work.

It didn’t help Bougainville that widespread destruction of its public infrastructure, and the lasting trauma of armed conflict, robbed multiple generations of access to education.

“Today there’s a lot of opportunists out there, and I think it’s been driven by this mindset – which we have probably borrowed from the rest of PNG of handouts,” Mr Paasia says.

In his view, the upcoming vote for independence or greater autonomy offers a chance to change this.

“PNG will be a better country if Bougainville becomes independent.”

He believes Bougainville and PNG can co-exist harmoniously and prosper in partnership.

“As long as we identify the right leaders who are progressive and have that mindset and integrity to lead Bougainville post-2020.

“There’s a lot of good Bougainvillean leaders out there who are yet to step up onto that platform of leadership. And if we can get those leaders in there, we’ll turn Bougainville around and we’ll turn the services to the atolls around as well.”

Source: RNZ

from WordPress
via IFTTT November 19, 2019 at 07:46PM