Jayapura, Jubi – Benny Wenda, a tribal chief of West Papua exiled to the United Kingdom by Indonesia, told Asia Pacific Report last week during his tour in New Zealand, that time was running out for West Papua if governments such as New Zealand do not act.
“If we live with Indonesia for another 50 years, we will not be safe. We will not be safe with Indonesia.”
He said the purpose of his visit to New Zealand was to highlight the importance of West Papua returning to its Melanesian family.
“We really need Pacific Islanders, our sisters and brothers across the Pacific – particularly New Zealand and Australia – to bring West Papua back to its Pacific family. Then we can survive. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to survive with Indonesia,” he said.
New Zealand support sought
Wenda is calling for the New Zealand government’s integral commitment to the campaign for a free West Papua.
He said this was because New Zealand had a duty, as a part of the Pacific, to raise awareness of the atrocities in West Papua.
“West Papua is a very close neighbour, so that’s why I hope the New Zealand government will speak more about the human rights situation in West Papua.”
Wenda said it was high time for New Zealand to pull away from its business, trade and investment focus with Indonesia and speak about Indonesia’s human rights abuses.
New Zealand “needs to do more” as a country, he said, because New Zealand is a country which is meant to value human rights, respect the rule of law, freedom of speech and the right to self-determination in other parts of the world.
Catherine Delahunty, a Green Party MP who has campaigned strongly for West Papua on New Zealand’s political front, echoed Wenda’s views.
“They are insistent – the New Zealand government – that West Papua is part of the territorial integrity of Indonesia, so we can’t get past that critical issue.”
She said she therefore did not have much faith in the current government to step up and was looking for future leadership, such as through the Labour-Greens alliance, to move the campaign for West Papuan self-determination forward on the home front.
“I really do think we need a different government that actually has some fundamental commitment to human rights over and above trade and being part of the US military complex around the world. We have to have change to get change. It’s not going to happen through these guys.”
In her eight years in Parliament, Delahunty said the situation in West Papua was the toughest she had had to face.
“This issue, for me, has been one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever worked on. It’s been one of the most horrible and one of the most powerful examples of the cynical use of power and the way in which people can just completely close their eyes.”
‘Everything swept under the carpet’
Wenda said there was deep-seated inaction on Indonesia’s part because of its prejudice in prosecuting people who have attacked and tortured and beaten both West Papuans and also West Papuan journalists.
“Indonesia is getting away with impunity. Nobody is brought to justice. Everything is swept under the carpet.”
Delahunty reflected, however, that the world was seeing the lack of free and frank reporting play out in West Papua.
Wenda called to an audience gathered at his talk at the Pacific Media Centre-hosted Auckland University of Technology on Tuesday evening. “I really believe there are some very, very brave young people, including journalists, who are committed to this issue and I guess it’s that thing: if you have a voice, use it.”
Wenda highlighted a “united” Pacific was key in raising awareness of the “Melanesian genocide” occurring in West Papua.
Wenda and Delahunty both closed their interviews with a clear message for Indonesia: “Start talking, start listening, and stop thinking that you can ever brow beat people into the dust because you want their resources because in the end, the human spirit doesn’t work like that and these people will never give up. It’s up to us to support them.”
This is written by Kendall Hutt, contributing editor of Pacific Media Watch.
Source: Pacific Media Centre
Editor: Zely Ariane
Call for Pacific regional groups to investigate Papua chemical attacks
Jayapura, Jubi – The United Liberation Movement for West Papua is calling for Pacific regional groups to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons in Indonesia’s Papua region.
The movement’s chair, Benny Wenda, said the Pacific Islands Forum and the Melanesian Spearhead Group should urgently send fact-finding missions to Nduga regency.
This comes after unverified reports of the suspected use of white phosphorus weapons by Indonesia’s military against civilians in Nduga.
Indonesia last month called the claims “totally baseless”.
But Mr Wenda said its security operations in Nduga had created a “humanitarian crisis”.
In a statement, he said Indonesia should also grant the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights access to West Papua to complete its own fact-finding mission.
Mr Wenda said humanitarian aid organisations should also be allowed in to Nduga to “relieve the suffering of West Papuans”.
A massive joint police and military operation has been underway in the remote Highlands regency, as well as neighbouring regencies, since December, in a hunt for members of the West Papua Liberation Army.
The armed group is responsible for the killings of at least 16 Indonesian construction workers and one soldier in November.
The joint operation has sparked sporadic shootouts between the Liberation Army and Indonesia’s military, with at least one soldier and one rebel fighter shot dead this year. (*)
Attorney says Skrypski forced to attend the trial
Wamena, Jubi – The trial against the Polish man Jakub Fabian Skrzypski and Simon Magal accused of treason finally be held at Wamena District Court on Monday (1/14/2019).
Chief Judge Yajis, SH, MH accompanied by member judges Roberto Naibaho SH and Ottow W.T.G.P Siagian, SH read the 14 pages charges for both defendants.
Earlier, the Polish Jakub Fabian Skrzypski went on a hunger strike and declined to attend the trial on 8 January 2019 as he preferred to continue the hearing in Jayapura. His act consequently caused a delay.
For the recent trial, however, as Skrzypski still denied the trial, his attorney Yance Tenoye said the prosecutor came to the police custody to force his client attending the hearing.
Furthermore, Tenoye said the attorney team has tried to persuade his client to pursue the trial, but he remained to refuse. However, they thought he has the right to do so.
“However, the prosecutor said that he would take Jakub to the trial after coordinating with the security forces. So Jakub was forced to attend the trial. Even the prosecutor said inappropriate words against him,” Tenoye told reporters after the trial.
Moreover, Tenoye said the trial run smoothly. However, the defendant’s application to have a Polish interpreter was denied by the court, as English was considered enough by the judges.
“I think it’s defendant’s right to ask for the Polish interpreter and the court should consider it,” said Tenoye.
By contrast, the prosecutor Ricarda Arsenius, who’s also the Head of the General Crime Department of Jayawijaya Prosecutor Office, said no intimidation occurred regarding the attending of the defendant at trial.
He further claimed what he did was only to prompt the order of the panel of judges to bring the defendant to the court. “Jakub initially objected to coming to the hearing, but after we talked and convinced him, he changed his mind. The next session will be held on 21 January 2019 to hear the exceptions by defendants’ attorney team,” Arsenius said.
Meanwhile, Latifa Anum Siregar from Skrzypski’s attorney team admitted that in the next trial, her team would present their exceptions from two aspects. First, the chapters of law applied by the prosecutor to charge her client. The prosecutor uses the alternative chapters 1 or 3 or 4, which show the hesitant of the prosecutor which sections should he presents at the hearing. Moreover, according to her, these articles are weak to apply in the court.
“The second aspect is we will observe the clearance and the compliance of the charges. We will prepare our exceptions for the next 21 January,” she said. (*)
Reporter: Islami Adisubrata
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Indonesian Punk Band talks about West Papua issue in ASEAN countries
Jayapura, Jubi – A good band gets you raving about their music but a brilliant band takes the discourse one notch higher. A striking name like Koteka Is The Reason is enough to get people wondering: “what the hell does that mean?” and that is exactly what its founder Anca was trying to do, he told Good Times2 during an interview on Monday.
Let’s not beat around the bush. Koteka, essentially, is a penis cover traditionally worn by some of the indigenous tribes in the Papua Island. Made out of dried-out gourd, it symbolises the Papuans’ struggle to protect their heritage against all sorts of exploitation.
“West Papua is a part of Indonesia too, but not many people are at all concerned about the situation there – with all the genocides, massacres and gold-minings that are still happening.
“Papua contributes well to the country’s economy with our rich natural resources but what do the people get in return? Nothing. No good education or healthcare. Literally nothing,” Anca said as he looked on the floor of Oscar’s on the Corner, his left hand mindlessly tucking his long, wavy hair behind his ear.
We were sitting at the smoking area outside, away from the rage-filled screams of Reign in Slumber, a local fave who opened the Punky Monday night at Oscar’s – the same gig where Anca’s band was headlining.
It was apparent that Anca was looking for just the right words to explain about West Papua, where he was born and raised for 16 years before moving to East Java. He took a small pause and added: “I figured if I gave the band a catchy name like Koteka, more people would be intrigued about West Papua and would like to learn more about it.”
Anca and his bandmates: Hasan (guitar), Sinyo (bass), Samson (guitar) and Dani (drum) were on a Southeast Asia tour called Sempoyongan (Indonesian for tottering or wobbling) where they played at venues in Thailand, Vietnam and several parts of Malaysia. After this, the boys were headed to the final leg of their tour in Singapore.
“The punk scene in Indonesia is huge. There are so many movements related to the scene too, like art exhibitions, free library initiatives and fundraising for disaster-stricken communities.
“It is exciting for us to check out the punk scene elsewhere, exchange music banters – that is always fun. Hopefully our presence will open the locals’ eyes to the bigger punk scene in the region. We also hope to go back to Indonesia and give the same exposure to Cambodian bands that we met,” he said.
On Monday, they played in Phnom Penh for the first time ever and their enthusiasm was evident during a 12-song set that lasted way, way too short.
I am going to say it: Koteka is the Reason is a big, fat tease. There was no way all five of them could fit on Oscar’s stage so Anca planted himself in the middle of the dancefloor, gripping his microphone hard on one hand, with only the side of his face visible to the crowd. That, to me, was an invitation to mosh.
“Hello Phnom Penh, we are from Indonesia. Thanks for having us,” Hasan the guitarist, taking his place on the left of the stage, said into the microphone, ever-so-sheepishly. He took us by surprise when he launched straight into heavy riffs right after, which riled up the entire pub.
The lads served up a mean hardcore-punk platter and the crowd just gobbled it all up.
Some fifty seconds into the first song, just as the adrenaline started to kick in and the patrons were just about to slamdance their sweaty bodies against each other, the song died abruptly with Hasan capping it with a “thank you” and a satisfied grin on his face.
Get this. Each of their song lasts just a little over one minute. The boys sure know how to leave the crowd hungry for more.
The ‘teasing’ continued with 11 Others including An Ounce of Gold, Ready to Shoot and In the Name of Mountain Gold. It is hard to tell if he was doing it on purpose, but Anca was pretty elusive with his movements when he performs. If you are lucky, you would catch a glimpse of his face for a good two seconds before the dimmed lighting swallows his silhouette again.
The boys completely ignored the many chants of “one more, one more” from the crowd and emptied up the stage within seconds for homegrown death metal act, Doch Chkae.
Commenting on his new Cambodian peers, after the show, Anca said: “They were really good.”
“I don’t know about others but punk has really shaped me up. Prior to this, I do not give a rat’s ass about politics or current affairs. Punk helped me to become more open minded and accepting to differences – skin colour, religion, ideas, sexuality – whatever they may be. Under the big punk umbrella, we unite as one,” he said. (*)
This article was appeared for first time in khmertimeskh.com
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