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In West Papua, thousands upon thousands of displaced people lack basic life-giving services

People from Nduga, Puncak, Intan Jaya, Maybrat, Pegunungan Bintang, and Yahukimo are suffering while the armed conflict between the West Papua National Liberation Army and Indonesian security forces in these areas is ongoing.

Many internally displaced people have little choice but to live in remote shelters in the forest, where they lack access to food, sanitation, medical treatment, and education. Local human rights defenders and churches, managing to access some of these shelters, have documented extremely poor living conditions.

In Maybrat, for example, people are reluctant to return to their villages as military deployments and security force raids continue. According to data received from church informants, the total number of internally displaced persons from Maybrat has reached 1,836 persons, some of whom testified that the local government distributed rice and other food supplies. However, the funds used for the aid were deducted from the funds the village administration receives regularly.

Internally displaced persons in Pegunungan Bintang had to deal with extreme weather conditions in the central highlands. Almost all from the Kiwirok District continue to live in forest shelters, although an estimated 200 people—many of them women and children—crossed the border to Papua New Guinea, where they live in a refugee camp in the town of Tumorbil. The displaced people’s food and supplies come from small gardens and hunting in the forest. Their informal camps are often located in remote areas in the forest which can only be accessed through small mountain trails.

Church workers visiting such camps documented many health issues, as well as the danger of Indonesian military attacks and snipers.

Human Rights Monitor is an EU-based international group promoting human rights through documentation and advocacy. The group works in collaboration with the World Council of Churches on situations of conflict and human rights violations in West Papua.
#westpapua #humanrights #genocida

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May 30, 2023 in Statement

I am very sad to announce the death of Tom Beanal, a West Papuan freedom fighter, Head of the Papua Presidium Council, and leader of the Amungme Tribal Council. On behalf of the ULMWP and the West Papuan people, I send my sympathies and condolences to Tom’s family, friends, along with everyone he inspired to join the struggle. 

Tom was a member of the Amungme tribe. Along with the Kamoro people, the Amungme have been the primary victims of the Grasberg Mine, the world’s largest gold and second largest copper mine, opened and operated by the US mining company Freeport McMoran. Amungme and Kamoro people are the indigenous landowners – tribes who have tended and protected their forest for thousands of years. But they have been forced to watch as their lands have been destroyed, physically and spiritually, by an alliance of big corporations and the Indonesian government. 

As a leader of his tribe, Tom fought steadfastly against the illegal Indonesian occupation. After the state-sponsored assassination of Papua Council leader Theys Eluay, Tom – who was Eluays’ deputy – was targeted as Indonesia’s next victim. This was part of the Indonesian attempt to destroy the Papuan Spring, a great peaceful uprising from 1999-2000. I was a young man at this time and was inspired by his spirit. Together, we mobilised for the Papuan People’s Congress in June 2000, which rejected Indonesian colonialism and called for true self-determination for West Papua. Because of Eluays’ assassination and my imprisonment, along with brutal Indonesian repression of other leaders, the Papuan spring did not achieve its goal of liberation.  

Though Tom himself was poisoned by the colonial regime, suffering paralysis as a result, his desire for freedom did not change. Later, on behalf of the Amungme people, Tom filed a US lawsuit against Freeport for their destruction of the Papuan environment and complicity in the cultural genocide of West Papua. 

Tom Beanal did all he could for his people, and I join with all West Papuans in mourning his sad passing. But while he may be physically gone his spirit continues to bless our freedom struggle. I want to assure all West Papuans, and especially the Amungme and Kamoro people, that we will continue to fight for his dream of liberation.  

Benny Wenda
ULMWP Provisional Government

Indonesia - Democracy Back On Slippery Slope


Twenty-five years since the start of the Reform era, which had carried the hopes for democracy and stronger civil rights, the nation finds itself in a familiar position, with renewed efforts to bring back what observers fear to be the hallmarks of the autocratic New Order regime.

The potential return of the military in civilian life and no commitment to resolve past abuses, paint a grim picture of democratic backsliding.

Read. Here:

The US led the free world to rally behind Indonesia in 1960s.  After the fall of Soeharto in 1999, there was much optimism.

The success of Jokowi as the first non - military candidate who put away military icon Prawobo convincingly in the presidential race to become two - term president of Indonesia did not translate the options on the table to build democracy.

 Away, from Oligarchy.


It is heading back into the past. Stormy. The West, free world, had expectations, now unfinished assignment.

Oligarchy. Military.The uncertainty of tomorrow.

Archipelagic state of Republic of Indonesia? Or, 'balkanization' of the Indonesian archipelago. The time capsule. A worse - case scenario is likely based on data available. Perhaps.There are rumblings of discontent.

Read. Here:

US - PNG Defence Cooperation Agreement or Pact.

The Pertinent Points:

(1)The ripples of APEC PNG 2018 continue five years on.

(2)PNG national interest is blurry, then and today, defies definition. Perhaps.

Read. Here:

And, national interest? We need a definition.

Definition 1. Australian National University, Dr Bal Kama.

Definition 2. PNG Foreign Service Insider.

Definition 3. US State Department. Democratic Proposition for PNG.

Definition 4. APEC PNG 2018. The Distinct Economic Model.

Aboriginal group to be compensated for historic mining damages

MELBOURNE: Western Australia state has agreed to compensate an Aboriginal group for historic acts including issuing mining leases on their traditional lands, setting a precedent that is set to allow Indigenous groups a greater say in future developments.

The state has been strengthening its laws to protect Indigenous cultural heritage since iron ore mining operations by Rio Tinto three years ago destroyed historic rock shelters that showed human habitation dating back 46,000 years.

The Western Australian government said it had reached a “historic settlement” with the Tjiwarl people of the state’s northern Goldfield’s region for three native title compensation claims and had finalised an agreement for land use in future.

The state will pay the Tjiwarl Aboriginal Corporation A$25.5 million (K58.8 million) for acts such as approving roads and issuing leases that damaged or destroyed the group’s legal rights over their traditional lands.

The new agreement sets out a greater say for the Tjiwarl on future developments by miners and others on issues including water management and mining or petroleum leases, and removes the need for future compensation claims. It also returns some land parcels to Tjiwarl and expands the group’s conservation area.

Bellevue Gold and lithium developer Liontown Resources Ltd, which operate on Tjiwarl lands were involved in the compensation litigation.

BHP Group, which declined to comment, struck a land use agreement in 2018 for its nickel operations and was not part of the settlement


PORT VILA, VANUATU (25 May 2023): The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat has reiterated its support for the call by the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) on the Administering power to return to the spirit of the Noumea Accord, in the negotiations post-Referendums, which has resulted in the peaceful co-existence of all stakeholders in New Caledonia.

Director General of the MSG Secretariat, Leonard Louma, made the call while delivering his remarks at the Pacific Regional Seminar on the Implementation of the Fourth International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism in Bali, Indonesia on 24 May 2023.

With the theme “Innovative steps to ensure the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Non-Self-Governing Territories”, the seminar was held under the auspices of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (C-24).

DG Louma said that the FLNKS, a member of the MSG family, consists of and represents the indigenous and colonised people of New Caledonia – a Non-Self-Governing Territory within the meaning of the UN Charter and Resolution 1514 (XV) and entitled to the ultimate objectives of the decolonisation process – that of independence.

“We are here to support the FLNKS and Kanaks call for New Caledonia to be released from the shackles of colonialism.”
“For us at the MSG, that were in the vanguard of action to have New Caledonia re-inscribed on the Committee of 24 list in 1986, we value the recognition by the UN family of New Caledonia’s continuing status as a Non-Self-Governing Territory and by that virtue affording its colonised people’s an entitlement to aspire for independence,” he stated.

DG Louma said that as a party and signatory to the Noumea Accord, FLNKS continues to engage, in good faith, with the Administering Power to achieve its aspirations of full sovereignty. He emphasised that the spirit and intent that went into the framing of the Noumea Accord embodies the “irreversibility” of the process towards full sovereignty. 

He noted that the circumstances and manner in which the Third Referendum in New Caledonia was conducted in December 2021 during the height of Covid 19 challenges, and despite calls to defer the referendum by the FLNKS, leaves much to be desired. 

This he said, has inevitably called to question the credibility of the process and the legitimacy of the results when 56.13% of the registered voters did not participate in the referendum. 

“We remain ready to assist FLNKS in its efforts to seek legal validation of its position on the Third Referendum and the questionable validity of its results,” he added.    

DG Louma emphasised that, MSG is of the view that in the absence of a decision by the General Assembly that New Caledonia, a Non-Self-Governing Territory, has attained a full measure of self-government in terms of Chapter XI of the UN Charter, the Administering Power has the obligation to faithfully discharge its responsibilities to prepare New Caledonia for independence within the spirit and meaning of the UN Resolution 1514 (XV).    

MSG countries he said, are committed to do whatever they can to help New Caledonia through the FLNKS vehicle attain its aspirations of sovereignty through peaceful means.

“Let us all utilise the opportunity provided by the Fourth International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism to re-examine our efforts and inject more vigour in our commitment to end colonialism. In some cases we may require to correct course in our strategies and efforts,” he noted. 

DG Louma proudly acknowledged Fiji and Papua New Guinea, for their unremitting involvement in the work of the Committee of 24, with regards to specific contribution by MSG to advance the decolonisation agenda concerning the remaining territories on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories (New Caledonia), 

“We at the MSG recognise our responsibility to assist with the efforts to prepare the Kanaks and New Caledonia towards the genuine exercise of their right to self-determination and eventual accession to independence status,” DG Louma said.

New Caledonia continues to enjoy invitations from the MSG to participate in our sporting and cultural events, as part of the MSG’s recalibrated strategy and plans, namely their participation at the MSG’s flagship cultural event, the Melanesian Arts and Culture Festival (MACFEST), and the MSG Prime Minister’s Cup Football Tournament.  

Another is the inclusion of FLNKS Representatives on MSG countries’ Delegations to International Meetings as part of the diplomatic efforts to solicit support for New Caledonia’s independence, among others.

In an effort to build transformative pathways to advance the Fourth International Decade for Ending Colonialism, DG Louma proposed a number of ideas including the proposal that New Caledonia be allowed to enter into Trade Agreements with neighbouring Pacific Countries. 

DG Louma concluded that there is an important nexus between the attainment of SDG in Non-Self-Governing Territories and their aspirations of self-determination and independence.

“Actions aimed at attainment of these SDG targets will ensure that when Territories and Peoples to which Resolution 1514 (XV) applies eventually attain full self-determination and independence, they will be better placed to take on responsibilities of governance, better assured of maintaining sustainable economic prosperity, better able to sustain equitable and decent living standards and able to take their seats amongst the family of nations as viable independent states,” he said. 

For DG Louma's full speech please click below:

Caption: Director General of the MSG Secretariat, Leonard Louma delivering his remarks at the Pacific Regional Seminar on the Implementation of the Fourth International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism in Bali, Indonesia on 24 May 2023.

Joint statement of the US-Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Dialogue, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

May 22, 2023

We—the Pacific Islands Forum, represented at this meeting by the governments of Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu, and the United States of America—meet on the occasion of the U.S.-Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Dialogue in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on May 22, 2023.

At the first ever U.S.-Pacific Islands Summit in Washington, D.C. in September 2022, we announced the Declaration on U.S.-Pacific Partnership. Today, we reaffirm our shared vision for a resilient Pacific region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity.

We are committed to bolstering Pacific regionalism, with a strong and united Pacific Islands Forum at its center. We will continue to work together to tackle shared challenges such as the climate crisis, to advance inclusive economic growth and social equity for the people of the Pacific and to jointly advocate on shared priorities.

We reaffirm our commitment to comprehensively address the legacies of conflict and the promotion of nuclear nonproliferation, and we acknowledge the nuclear legacy of the Cold War. We remain committed to addressing the Republic of the Marshall Islands’ ongoing environmental, public health concerns, and other welfare concerns.

We support the vision of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and recognise its centrality in the strengthening partnership between the United States and the Pacific Islands Forum. This meeting builds on three decades of close cooperation between the United States and the Pacific Islands Forum and we look forward to the Second U.S. – Pacific Islands Forum Summit in 2023.

Finally, and most importantly, we commend and acknowledge the warm hospitality of the Government and people of Papua New Guinea for hosting this Dialogue. 



Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi says climate change is a significant issue in the Pacific Region. 

 Narendra Modi says India supports the call to address and find solutions to this issue in a global forum and alliances are part of it.

Modi made this statement during his courtesy visit to the Government House this morning at Konedobu. 

The Indian Prime Minister says the purpose of the 3rd Forum for Indian-Pacific Islands Cooperation is for India to showcase and promote the importance of capacity building as an important foundation for countries in the Pacific region.

Modi reiterated that since taking office, India took the presidency of ‘One Sun, One World and One Grid’. He said this is geared towards the conservation of renewable energy on a global stage for global welfare.

The Indian Prime Minister also expressed his gratitude to Papua New Guinea for its support towards India’s International Solar Alliance which PNG advocated in 2015 and was one of the first countries to sign as a member.

Modi says the objective of the Alliance is to promote efficient consumption of solar energy over fossil fuels.

Concluding his courtesy visit to Governor General Bob Dadae, Prime Minister Modi extended an invitation to Sir Bob to visit India.
PM Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Papua New Guinea.

He is expected to fly out of the country at 4pm this afternoon.

NBC News PNG-Jack Lapauve


Students at the University of Papua New Guinea staged a sit-in protest at the University Forum Square as early as 7am this morning.

They protest against the proposed Defence Cooperation Agreement that is scheduled for signing this afternoon.

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken is already in the country to sign Defence Corporation Agreement and Shiprider Agreement with PNG.

The students raised grievances that the proposed Agreements between PNG and the United States concern national security and its content must be made known for public scrutiny and transparency before signing takes place. 
However, Prime Minister James Marape had said earlier that the agreements to be signed are transparent.

Marape added that not all agreements signed should be presented to Parliament earlier. He said the country's State Solicitor who represents PNG's legal checks and balances has been with this every step of the way and has given the clearance on this matter representing the laws of this country. Marape said as soon as it is stable for transparency the country will be privy to those agreements as we table in Parliament.

''I just wish to assure everyone, that Parliament will be privy to what we are about to sign and at the moment our Foreign Affairs team has been leading the negotiations and we are at the stage where we are almost there for signing.

''I want to give assurance to our country, it is nothing to be sceptical about,'' said Marape.

Marape further elaborated that similar agreements and cooperation have been reached with other countries and we can reach out to other bilateral partners with similar agreements as stipulated in the Constitution as well as the country's foreign policy-''Friends to All and Enemies to Non''.

 The US and PNG already have a Status of Forces Agreement or SOFA. A status of forces agreement (SOFA) is an agreement between a host country and a foreign nation stationing military forces in that country. SOFAs are often included, along with other types of military agreements, as part of a comprehensive security arrangement.

Marape briefly stated that the SOFA agreement does allow for Defence Corporations with the US and others and those have been the blanket in which operations of other forces have been engaged up till this pointing time and PNG is just elevating this specific with the USA.

Deputy Prime Minister John Rosso also clarified that once the agreement is agreed by the NEC and signed off by the Prime Minister and Defence minister it will be brought before Parliament and discussed in Parliament before it becomes law.

Finance Minister Rainbo Paita on behalf of the Government addressed the students at the UPNG Forum Square and received the petition presented by the Student Representative Council President, Luther Kising.

Other Tertiary Institution's student bodies such as the University of Technology have also protested against the Defence Cooperation Agreements.

Meanwhile, there is a high presence of Police personnel at the entrance to the UPNG preventing further escalation of the protest.

NBC News PNG- Stella Martin/Rose Amos


Port Moresby, 20 May 23 - The Fijian Association of Papua New Guinea warmly welcomed Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka of Fiji and his wife, along with Prime Minister James Marape of Papua New Guinea and his wife, for a night filled with culture, friendship, and celebration. The event, held at the Stanley Hotel, symbolized the growing ties between the two nations.
The event was graced by Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Hon. James Marape, and attended by notable dignitaries, including Minister for Police, Hon. Peter Tsiamalili, Minister for Community Development, Soroi Eoe, Minister for Justice and Attorney, Hon. Pila Kole Niningi, Chairman of Motu Koita and Deputy Governor, Hon. Dadi Toka, Police Commissioner, David Manning, and several others. 

Immersed in the vibrant Fijian and Papua New Guinean cultures, the evening showcased unity and camaraderie. The venue was adorned with exquisite decorations honouring Fijian Melanesian heritage, setting a captivating atmosphere. A highlight of the night was the ceremonial kava drinking, symbolizing the traditional bond between the nations.

Prime Minister Rabuka expressed heartfelt gratitude and emphasized the importance of the Fijian community supporting PNG in all their events, highlighting the mutual benefits between the two nations.

While Governor Powes Parkop emphasized the importance of mutual respect and connection through arts, education, employment, and sports, highlighting Port Moresby's potential as a tourism destination, not just Brisbane and Auckland.

Distinguished guests, including ministers and dignitaries, shared kind words and aspirations for further strengthening Fiji-Papua New Guinea relations. The Prime Ministers' joint cutting of a symbolic cake marked their commitment to integration and collaboration, fostering closer ties between the nations.

The Fijian Association of Papua New Guinea extends its gratitude to all attendees for their presence and support. This memorable evening serves as a reminder of the importance of supporting all Pacific Island nations as "Wan Solwara" - one ocean, one community, a testament to the enduring friendship between Fiji and Papua New Guinea, as well as a beacon of hope for the Pacific community.

The Forum of India Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) is currently being held in Port Moresby, with the arrival of leaders from various Pacific Islands, including New Zealand, Australia, and India (Prime Minister Modi). The forum concludes on Monday.


Papua New Guinea will now benefit from two historic Military enhancement and Maritime Surveillance agreements.

This follows the signing of the Defence Cooperation Agreement and the Shiprider Agreement this afternoon. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Minister for Defence Win Bakri Daki inked on paper their credentials, signifying the start of more US assistance in terms of military support and addressing illegal fishing and other maritime security issues. 

This is despite students and civil society protesting against the agreements earlier today calling on the government to allow for public scrutiny and transparency before the signing.

Prime Minister James Marape says both agreements are good for the country and will grow the economy including protecting the nation's sovereignty going forward. 

US Secretary of State Bliken says PNG plays a more strategic avenue for the US hence the agreements will enhance both PNG's military and maritime capabilities.

The event was witnessed by US state officials including senior cabinet ministers from PNG the US.

Stay tuned for more details at 6pm on NBC-TV and NBC Current Issues at 7:30 pm on NBC National Radio on 90.7fm



Pacific Islands leaders arrive in Amazing Port Moresby to attend the Forum for India and Pacific Island Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit. Traditional dancers gave a rousing welcome to the leaders at the Jackson’ International Airport as the capital city host, Governor Hon. Powes Parkop and Deputy Governor, Hon. Dadi Toka Jnr, received them.

The leaders in order of arrival are; Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon. Hu'akavemeilik Siaosi Sovaleni; President of Nauru, His Excellency Russ Kun; Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Mr Henry Puna; President of Kiribati, His Excellency Taneti Maamau; and Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Hon. Manasseh Sogavare.

Governor Parkop welcomed each of the leaders on behalf of the Prime Minister, assuring them that Port Moresby was their home away from home and bid them a pleasant and memorable stay.

More leaders of the Pacific will be arriving today and tomorrow for the 3rd FIPIC Summit hosted in Amazing Port Moresby.


Prime Minister Rabuka's State Visit and Bilateral Meeting

It is with great honour and pleasure that we welcome the Prime Minister of Fiji, Hon. Sitiveni Rabuka, and his wife to the vibrant capital of Papua New Guinea.

Yesterday, alongside fellow leaders, I had the privilege of receiving Prime Minister Rabuka at Jackson's International Airport and attending the State Dinner hosted by our esteemed Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape.

On behalf of the National Capital District Commission and City Manager, Mr Ravu Frank, I extend a warm welcome to Prime Minister Rabuka as he joins us for the Forum for India Pacific Island Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit.

Welcome to Amazing Port Moresby, a city that cherishes its ties with our Melanesian comrade and recognizes you as an icon of the Pacific. The warm and heartfelt exchange between our Prime Minister and yourself epitomizes the deep cultural and shared bonds we hold dear.

As Governor of the City, I hope your stay here, accompanied by your lovely wife, will be truly enjoyable. Feel free to embrace the spirit of our city and consider it your home away from home.
May your visit leave you with cherished memories of our city and country, and we hope for a fruitful bilateral meeting and successful outcomes from the FIPIC Summit.



All Pacific Island leaders will be arriving today, for the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation summit or FIPIC.

The summit will be held tomorrow Monday 22nd May in Port Moresby.

PNG and India are co-hosting the summit, which was last held in India in 2015.

It is part of India’s Act East Policy, where much of its engagements with Pacific countries, is through development assistance under the south – south cooperation. 

Fiji had a head start with Prime Minister Rabuka arriving for a state visit on Thursday, Tuvalu on Friday and Palau and Micronesia earlier this morning.

The other Island nations, Tonga, Nauru, Mashall Islands, Solomon Island, Vanuatu, Niue, Kiribati, and New Caledonia will all arrive later today.

Among those who will be arriving today, is the first Female Prime Minister for Samoa, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa this evening at 6pm.

Pic: Palau President - His Excellency Suranges Whipps Jnr (Blue Shirt) being escorted to his vehicle, upon arrival at the Jackson Airport - Port Moresby.


Fiji has been offered a 99-year land lease in the Central Business District in Port Moresby for the construction of its chancery  in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

This was revealed by the PNG Prime Minister Hon. James Marape during a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Hon. Sitiveni Rabuka today.

The Fiji Government will also reciprocate through making land available in Suva for the construction of the PNG chancery.

The establishment of the Fiji-PNG Missions will not only strengthen traditional ties and people-to-people links but also socio-economic development between the two countries.

Prime Minister Rabuka reaffirmed Fiji’s commitment in working together with PNG and to further improve and strengthen our bilateral relations.

He said both the countries "are united in our resolve to build a more prosperous and resilient Pacific region".

The leaders also discussed prospects for more collaboration on higher education, security cooperation, agriculture, climate change, trade and investment and promoting regional solidarity.

On the upcoming 3rd Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC), Prime Minister Rabuka commended India and PNG for their timely collaboration in bringing together the Pacific leaders to further discussion and dialogue on matters affecting the region as a whole.  

In response, Prime Minister Marape welcomed Prime Minister Rabuka for his first official visit to PNG which demonstrated the significance of our diplomatic relations.

He further reiterated that the discussions would certainly build stronger cooperation between the two nations in the face of the current geo-political environment. 

Hon.Marape also announced at the meeting that Fiji will now be able to obtain visa on arrival while travelling to PNG.
Prime Minister Marape, at the same time, expressed his heartfelt appreciation to Prime Minister Rabuka for his commitment to regional solidarity. 

Hon.Rabuka is expected to meet 
with the Fijian community in PNG tomorrow.

#Fiji #FijiGovernment #governmentnews #Fiji2023 #TeamFiji


#PNGSUNnews: #AmazingPortMoresby is thrilled to host world leaders arriving for the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation and the US-Pacific meetings, reaffirming its position as the gateway to Papua New Guinea and the region.

 Building on the success of the 2018 APEC Leaders' Summit, the city has become a dynamic hub for global events.

NCD Governor, Powes Parkop and City Manager, Mr Ravu Frank, are leaving no stone unturned to ensure the city is ready. Roads are being fixed, the city is being spruced up, and cultural activities are being organized to showcase our diverse culture.

Governor Parkop stressed the importance of showing respect and good behaviour to the visiting leaders. With the global spotlight on Port Moresby and the entire country, this is a valuable opportunity to showcase the best of our nation to the world.

With 13 leaders arriving, including the Fijian Prime Minister and India's Modi, this historic visit will garner international attention. President Biden has reportedly cancelled his visit to PNG and Australia.

 Governor Parkop emphasized the need to seize this window of opportunity and actively engage city residents, including students, in extending a warm welcome to the leaders.

Let's embrace this moment with immense pride as Port Moresby shines brightly, putting Papua New Guinea on the global map!

Concern in Indonesia over illegal arms supply to Papuan rebels

There were 27 cases of buying and selling of weapons and ammunition by members of the military to rebel groups, says army chief 

The Commander-in-Chief of the Indonesian National Army, Admiral Yudo Margono (middle) said there had been 27 cases of buying and selling weapons and ammunition in 2022 by members of the military to Papuan rebels. (Photo: Indonesian National Army)

There were 27 cases of buying and selling of weapons and ammunition by members of the military to rebel groups, says army chief

Concern in Indonesia over illegal arms supply to Papuan rebels

There were 27 cases of buying and selling of weapons and ammunition by members of the military to rebel groups, says army chief

Concern in Indonesia over illegal arms supply to Papuan rebels

The Commander-in-Chief of the Indonesian National Army, Admiral Yudo Margono (middle) said there had been 27 cases of buying and selling weapons and ammunition in 2022 by members of the military to Papuan rebels. (Photo: Indonesian National Army)

UCA News reporter

Published: May 16, 2023 11:15 AM GMT

An Indonesian Catholic lawmaker has called on the army chief to explain the alleged sales of arms and ammunition to rebel groups by military forces in the restive Christian-majority Papua region.  

"This matter is very serious and we in parliament certainly want to hear a full explanation from the Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces," said Christina Aryani, a lawmaker on the parliamentary commission related to defense, foreign affairs, communications, informatics, and intelligence.

During a media briefing on May 16, Aryani said the case of arms sales to rebels deserves attention so that effective prevention and action steps could be taken immediately.8

More universal than Catholicism?

Mary among Asian religions

She responded after military chief Admiral Yudo Margono made public a report on May 6 that says there had been 27 cases of buying and selling of weapons and ammunition in 2022 by members of the military to Papuan rebels, a drastic increase from one case reported in 2021.

"We appreciate the openness from the military on this matter which certainly makes it easier to stop this practice immediately," Aryani said, adding that she wants to discuss the issue in detail to find out patterns, actors, and locations of such practices.

"We don't want this very crucial matter to go away without a clear resolution," she said.

She stated that this kind of practice is "very inhumane because it is the same as giving way to killing fellow soldiers and terrorizing civilians."

Jones Douw, a Papua-based human rights activist and chairman of the Justice and Peace Department at Kingmi Church told UCA News that this is not a new problem but has been going on for a long time, both individually and in groups.

"It's just a shame that it really isn't being taken seriously. Even though this is an embarrassing matter that should be a serious record for the Indonesian government," he said.

Jones cited several previous cases, including three soldiers who were fired and jailed for life in February 2020 for selling weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition to pro-independence groups and another case on March 12, 2020, where a soldier was also jailed for life for selling firearms and 1,300 ammunition.

"When things like this recur, it's hard not to say that the conflict in Papua is sort of being allowed to," he said.

"On the one hand, the Indonesian apparatus has always claimed to be carrying out various forms of operations to crush pro-independence groups, but is instead arming them," he said.

Made Supriatma, a research fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore who specializes in Indonesian security and military issues, said that this practice continues because of economic factors.

Soldiers or police "want to take risks because the economic value is large," he said.

"One SS-21 gun costs 250 million rupiah (US$ 16,866) and the guerrillas are more than willing to get it," said.

In a July 2022 report entitled Escalating Armed Conflict and a New Security Approach in Papua, the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) stated that the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB), labeled as an armed criminal group by the Indonesian government, is one of the rebel groups that received an increasing number of manufactured firearms.

The report stated that the TPN-PB is estimated to have 400-450 manufactured firearms of various types, from SS-1, M4, and M16, obtained by seizing or buying them from the military and police.

TPNPB gets money to buy weapons in various ways, ranging from ransoms for hostages, extorting local business owners, donations from sympathizers, and misappropriation of village funds provided by the government, it stated.

Papua declared independence in 1961 after the Dutch colonial rule ended. However, Indonesia annexed the territory within two years, promising to have an independence referendum. The subsequent voting in favor of staying as part of Indonesia was widely considered a sham.

Indonesia’s occupation of Papua triggered an armed struggle for independence. The government responded with a heavy military presence to suppress the insurgency. The conflict left thousands dead and tens of thousands displaced.

Currently, about 16,900 military soldiers with combat skills are stationed in Papua, according to the advocacy group, Imparsial.

Last month, the military beefed up combat operations in the region following the killings of five soldiers by the TPN-PB. The soldiers were killed during the efforts to free New Zealand pilot Phillip Mehrtens, who has been held hostage since February.

Papua rebels ambush Indonesian troops looking for kidnapped pilot

Armed separatists say they attacked soldiers as army was searching for a captured New Zealand pilot

Papua rebels ambush Indonesian troops looking for kidnapped pilot

Armed separatists say they attacked soldiers as army was searching for a captured New Zealand pilot.

In this undated photo released by West Papua Liberation Army, the armed wing of the Free Papua Movement, Papuan separatist rebels pose for a photo with a man they said is New Zealander pilot Phillip Mark Mehrtens, third right, who they took hostage last week, at an undisclosed location in Papua province, Indonesia. Mehrtens, a pilot for Indonesian aviation company Susi Air, was abducted by the independence fighters who stormed his single-engine plane shortly after it landed on a small runway in Paro in remote Nduga district. (West Papua Liberation Army via AP)
In this undated photo released by the West Papua National Liberation Army, the armed wing of the Free Papua Movement, Papuan separatist rebels are shown with a man they said is New Zealand pilot Phillip Mehrtens, third from right [File: West Papua National Liberation Army via AP]

Separatists in Indonesia’s Papua region say they have killed nine soldiers in an ambush, but the military says one soldier was killed during search operations to find a kidnapped New Zealand pilot.

Indonesian military spokesman Julius Widjojono said on Sunday that soldiers were dispersed to several sites in the search for captured Susi Air pilot Phillip Mehrtens and they were having communication difficulties due to bad weather.

Mehrtens was kidnapped by the rebels at an airport in the remote Nduga district in February.

“As of 2:03pm local time [05:03 GMT Sunday], the information we have is one died,” Widjojono said when asked about the higher casualty numbers. “We have not received any other information because it is difficult to reach the area, especially with the uncertain weather.”

Widjojono said the military will intensify the operation to rescue Mehrtens because they have identified the pilot’s location.

Erratic weather has made the effort challenging, he said.

The West Papua National Liberation Army, the military wing of Papua’s main separatist group, claimed responsibility for an attack on Saturday that they said killed nine soldiers.

The rebels had previously demanded that Indonesia recognise Papuan independence in return for the pilot’s release as well as a meeting with President Joko Widodo facilitated by the international community.

The separatists said Saturday’s attack was an act of defence against military activity in the region and demanded the government instead negotiate for Mehrtens’ release.

“The United Nations and the New Zealand government have an obligation to push Indonesia to stop the military operation,” rebel spokesman Sebby Sambom said on Sunday.

Flying is the only way to reach mountainous areas in Papua, where rebel attacks have risen in recent years.

Papua’s Melanesian population shares few cultural connections with the rest of Indonesia, and the military has long been accused of human rights abuses there.

A former Dutch colony, Papua declared itself independent in 1961, but neighbouring Indonesia took control two years later, promising an independence referendum.

The subsequent vote in favour of staying part of Indonesia was widely considered a sham.