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Two years since Jokowi ‘s promises, Papua remains closed



Indonesia President, Joko Widodo in Wamena, Desember 2014 – Jubi/Islami

Jayapura, Jubi – Two days before May 3 of World Press Freedom Day, violence was again experienced by Yance Wenda, a journalist at and Koran Jubi in Papua. Earlier on April 28, 2017 three television journalists from Metro TV, Jaya TV and TVRI also got intimidation and death threats while covering the violation of election criminal trial of Tolikara District Court in Wamena District Court.

Yance was beaten by the police on Monday May 1 in Sentani, Jayapura District, while covering the arrest of West Papua National Committee (KNPB) activists who plan to commemorate May 1, which they called a day the annexation of Papua by Indonesia.

Two cases of violence within a week confirmed that legal protection for journalists, as regulated by Law No. 40 of 1999 on Press is a rare thing in Papua.

Violence against journalists in Papua continues, confirming the poor press freedom in this region, fulfilled the censorship practice by blocking a number of Papuan news sites that are critical of the central government’s policy on the issue of Papua.

The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) of Jayapura City noted that from 2015 to early 2016, only 15 foreign journalists were allowed to get into Papua. wrote, Radio New Zealand International journalist Johnny Blades claimed it took three months to get an entry visa to Papua.

“Despite having a visa coverage in Papua, Blades was rejected by the police and TNI when they were about to confirm some of the coverage they got. France Radio journalist Marie Dumieres is also looked by the police for coverage in Papua, ” said the newspaper’s chief executive Jubi and, Victor Mambor.

March this year Franck Jean Pierre Escudie and Basille Marie Longchamp were deported. Not long ago, Al Jazeera writer Jack Hewson, when he was about to leave Indonesia, was told he would not be able to enter the country. Whereas, Hewson said he was currently in the process of filing a request for permission coverage in Papua.

Statement by the President of Indonesia Joko Widodo that Papua is open to foreign journalists’ coverage far from the fire.

72 cases of violence

Papua is clearly one of the worst areas in enforcing the Press Law, as well as guaranteeing legal protection for journalists. However, in other parts of Indonesia, violence against journalists also continues to occur.

Based on data collected by AJI Indonesia, during May 2016 until April 2017 there have been 72 cases of violence experienced by journalists who run their profession. The case of violence was even dominated by a form of physical violence, which reached 38 cases. Expulsion and/or prohibition of coverage is also rife, with the findings of 14 cases.

The data compiled by AJI Indonesia also shows how serious is the violence. Among the 72 cases, nine violent cases were deliberately committed to rob or destroy data, photos, video recordings obtained by journalists in the field. In addition, there are two cases of criminalization.

AJI Indonesia also noted that there are still serious threats and terror to journalists (seven cases). In addition, there were two cases of verbal intimidation, including intimidation by a chairman of the regional parliament.

Of the 72 cases of violence that occurred during May 2016 until April 2017, a total of 21 cases of which were conducted by civilian residents. Other actors include cadres of political parties / politicians / and members of parliament (seven cases), Civil Service Police Unit and other local government apparatus (six cases), government officials policy makers (four cases), even legal professions such as advocates (one case) , A judge (one case) became a perpetrator of violence against journalists.

AJI Indonesia’s demands

In its demands AJI Indonesia declares the police to be the main enemy of press freedom in Indonesia in 2017, with its personnel continuing to engage in various cases of violence, and continue to practice impunity that makes perpetrators of violence against journalists free from legal liability.

They requested that the legal protection of the profession of journalists be enforced as regulated by Law No. 40/1999 on the Press throughout Indonesia, especially in Papua. By stopping the practice of violence, intimidation, restriction and prohibition of coverage, as well as censorship such as blocking a number of news sites in Papua;

They also demanded that access to foreign journalists ‘coverage in Papua be opened, ensuring that every foreign journalist is given the freedom to cover objectively the various dimensions of life in Papua, so that the international community gets a complete picture of the Papuans’ political, economic, and socio-cultural situation.(*)

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The story of illegal logging from the forests of Papua



Illegal timbers – an illustration.

Jayapura, Jubi – Tempo journalist Avit Hidayat shared his experience in doing an investigation about the circulation of illegal timbers from Papua’s forest as a resource person for the discussion about “ Papua’s Forest and Logging Disputes”.

Auriga Nusantara, Eyes on the Forest, Tempo Institute, Free Press Unlimited, and Tempo Media Grup held this forum in Jakarta, Monday, 28 January 2019 and attended by other resource persons, such as Laode M. Syarif (KPK commissionaire), Rasio Ridho Sani (Gakkum-KLHK), Hilman Nugroho (PHPL-KLHK) Muhamad Kosar (JPIK), Timotius Murib (Majelis Rakyat Papua) and Papuan stakeholders from indigenous peoples, Papuan Parliament and Papua Provincial Forestry Office.

In the discussion, Avit said it is essential for the public to know about the situation in Papua. “The tropical forests in Papua are the last (forests) in Indonesia, while the Merbau wood which is the Papuan endemic trees have been becoming the target of the international market,” he said. 

Furthermore, Avid said he conducted the investigation in many different places and interviewed many resource persons; and in Papua, the Tempo team went further to the logging sites. There, they witnessed how the workers who come from other regions carried out the illegal logging activity. They also met transporters, woodmasters, drivers, and logging company staffs.

“And the most important thing is we met the supplier. The supplier is a mediator of the logging companies who play a role to bargain with ‘ondo’—the tribal chief–for compensation. For example, if in a village there are common indigenous lands, the supplier comes to measuring the areas, and give payment to indigenous peoples.”

In their investigation, the Tempo team also met the owners of a logging company who later admitted about the illegal logging activity.  However, they called it the unregistered community logging.

Meanwhile, in Aroba Sub-district of Teluk Bintuni, Papua Barat, the team went to the forest areas of the company who received the Business License for the Utilization of Natural Forest and Timber Product (IUPHHK-HA) that formerly known as a Forest Concession Permit (HPH). There, the team found the manipulation of a wood barcode. For instance, the barcode for ketapang wood is used for Merbau wood.

Moreover, the team also investigated the primary industry in Papua, Surabaya, Lumajang, Gresik by tracing the distribution of logs. Here, they found another finding, namely the fake transport data and officials’ involvement, whereas the illegal retribution practice has also become their another concern.

In their journey from Sarmi to Jayapura Municipality, the team discovered 25 retribution posts that consist of the indigenous institution, police (military) and Forestry Office. “This is the fact that we found, but I couldn’t capture it because it was too risky. We even witness a military truck used to transport the logs.”

Furthermore, the Tempo team met the export logging companies and found those companies able to export up to 6,000-meter cubic annually, while based on the Forest Product Information Management System (SIPUH), they only allowed to export around 100-meter cubic.

“In Surabaya, we went to a barge and talked with an officer. He said not all logs are given barcode. A few logging companies intentionally inserted non-barcode logs or illegal logs in there. They are mostly the HPH holders, and they even put the timbers between the logs.”

However, all these findings did not include in the audit industry report registered in the Timber Legality and Verification System Legality and Verification System (SVLK) which consist of the Assessment Agency for Sustainable Forest Production Management (LP-PHPL) and Timber Verification Agency (LV-LK). Both agencies are responsible for assessing the sustainable forest product management and verify the legality aspect of timber based on the system and standards set by the government.

“We also got the information about the involvement of LV-LK and LP-PHPL, which means they play around with such companies and culprits from the forestry office. I think the KPK has identified these cases.”

In the meantime, a resource person from the National Accreditation Committee (KAN) acknowledged that there were bribery practices in the LV-LK. The audit report had often finished before the field assessment.

Meanwhile, the participants appreciated the findings of Tempo’s investigation. They expected the government to find a solution immediately, whether it’s a regulation or supervision and law enforcement.

On the other hand, a representative of LV-LK objected this report regarding the bribery practices in his institution. But Avit said until now none of the resource persons withdrew their statements and opposed the result of the team’s investigation.

Meanwhile, Agung Wijaya, Avit’s editor for this covered story, said he was worried about Avit’s safety during the investigation. But finally, this report was completed and published.

He further said Tempo had traced the case of illegal logging since 2017. Thus, publishing the investigation report becomes a moral burden for Tempo. Therefore Tempo will continue to monitor this issue and welcome other stakeholders who attended this forum for further discussion.

Through this coverage, Tempo attempted to look the case thoroughly even though it might not give a solution because the solution is actually in the hand of all of you (who come to this forum).” (*)


Reporter: Timoteus Marten

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Indonesian military to complete Trans-Papua Highway



Indonesian soldiers participate in a major military jungle warfare exercise in Poso, in central Sulawesi island, on March 31, 2015. -Photo: AFP

Papua, Jubi – Officials working on a troubled road project in Papua say Indonesia’s military will complete the job this year.

In December, at least 16 Indonesians working on the Trans-Papua Highway in Nduga province were massacred by fighters from the West Papua Liberation Army.

The project was put on hold with the military saying it would take over work on the 4000 kilometre highway.

Combat engineers will reportedly carry out the construction, with hundreds of extra security personnel deployed to the area.

Detik News reports a military battalion has been assigned to the building of the project’s remaining 16 bridges.

Indonesian army engineers had already been working on the Trans-Papua Highway project for a number of years.

Military involvement in the project was cited by the Liberation Army as a central reason for killing the road workers, who were suspected of being soldiers. (*)



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Indonesian soldier dead after attack at Papua airport



Members of the Indonesian Army in Papua. -Photo: AFP

Papua, Jubi – Indonesia’s military has evacuated the body of a soldier killed at an airport in Papua’s Highlands on Monday.

Xinhua reported that gunmen shot at an arriving aircraft carrying soldiers at Mapenduma airport of Nduga district, leaving one soldier dead.

Military spokesman Colonel Muhammad Aidi said when the plane was about to land, it was shot at, and soldiers who were guarding the airport shot back, triggering gunfire exchange.

He said the gunmen retreated and escaped to the forest and the plane landed.

Tempo reported that two soldiers were shot, and hospitalised, with one dying later.

The soldier’s body has been evacuated to Papua’s provincial capital Jayapura,

He is the latest apparent victim in the Highlands conflict between guerilla forces of the West Papua Liberation Army and Indonesian security forces that intensified last year. (*)



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