Friday, February 23, 2018

1) Condition in Asmat, Papua, improving: Minister

2) They’re killing the Koroway with mercury and precious metals.

3) Government Launches New Program for Asmat, Papua

1) Condition in Asmat, Papua, improving: Minister 

Illustration. The atmosphere of Kampung As, Pulau Tiga District, Asmat District, Papua. (ANTARA/Joko Susilo)

Timika, Papua (ANTARA News) - The condition of people in the district of Asmat, in the eastern province of Papua, has continued to improve following an outbreak of measles and malnutrition in the region from September 2017 until early January, a senior minister said.

"We have monitored the condition after the extraordinary case has been improving. Hopefully, it will continue to be better," Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Puan Maharani told ANTARA here on Thursday.

Maharani, along with Health Minister Nila Djuwita F Moeloek, Social Affairs Minister Idrus Marham, Education Minister Muhadjir Effendi, and presidential chief of staff Moeldoko, will visit Asmat to monitor the current condition there and check if all programs have been carried out.

She noted that almost 90 percent of the programs of ministries and institutions concerned have been carried out, including the delivery of aid supplies.

While in Agats, the capital of the district, Marham distributed Family Hope Program aid to mothers, while Effendi distributed Indonesia Smart Card education subsidy.

Maharani and the entourage also checked clean water facility in a 200-meter deep well made by the Public Works Ministry, as well as food crops to support food resilience program carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Regarding malnutrition problem that has affected children in the district, Maharani remarked that the problem has been tackled well by a health team, adding that only one person was still being treated in a hospital.

"Out of 80 children treated for malnutrition at the RSUD (regional) hospital, only two patients are still there. One of them has been allowed to go home, while the other still requires treatment for medical irregularity," she revealed.

The health ministry plans to send around 30 more medical personnel to Asmat in the near future.

"The team members from Nusantara Sehat (archipelago healthy) will be spread to other regions to check for any anticipatory measures," she pointed out.

Regarding education, Effendi has pledged to increase the number of teachers for schools in Asmat.

"The education minister noted that each school must have teachers to assure adequate education for the children," Maharani stated.

She explained that the mitigation program now being carried out in Asmat could not be completed immediately due to difficulty to access the region.

"This will continue until the end of the year. Everything that we establish in Asmat will be implemented in stages. We will evaluate it again in the next six months. It is still continuing," she pointed out. 

Reported by Evarianus Supar 
Editor: Heru Purwanto

2) They’re killing the Koroway with mercury and precious metals.


[This is one of the images which circulated on social media in early 2018, purporting to show a new helicopter landing pad made by illegal gold miners in the remote forests of the Koroway people. Now it appears that mining was already taking place in the area three years ago]
At the start of this year, several photographs showing illegal gold mining in the Koroway lands went viral on social media. The photos show work to build a helicopter landing pad to drop off and pick up mining equipment, believed to be near the head of the Deiram River. The authenticity of these photos can’t yet be confirmed. However, a similar case had previously occurred in the Danowage area three years ago, in 2015 or thereabouts. Our knowledge of that incident comes from the reports of Koroway schoolchildren. They told their teacher about illegal gold mining around Danowage. These schoolchildren had been working for the gold miners.
This article is based on the stories four Koroway schoolchildren told to their teacher in early February 2018. The name of the teacher is being withheld in this article, and the names used for the children who gave evidence are not their real names.

‘Silver Water’

Yakobus told of how he had worked for a gold miner in the Landslide area, to the south of Danowage, 15 minutes away by katingting (a boat with a small motor). As he explained to his teacher, he had worked for straight-haired (a term for migrants from outside Papua) miners, from the Bugis ethnic group. He was given the task of building a base camp, carrying equipment, splitting firewood and other odd-jobs. However Yakobus claimed he had witnessed the whole mining process from start to finish. The person Yakobus was working for was called Koprak.
Yakobus told his teacher that the people who came to mine gold used a water pump, carpet, cloth for straining, pans and also ‘silver water’.
“The silver water is so heavy, even half a jerry can of cooking oil is so heavy, I can’t even pick it up”, said Yakobus.
Yakobus explained in simple language how silver water forms into balls, as if it were from outer space. He compared the weight of the jerry can with a battery from a solar panel system which weighs around 48 kilogrammes.
Obviously when Yakobus said silver water, he was referring to mercury, a heavy metal.
“Did they throw the silver water in the river?”, the teacher tried to make the question clearer, trying to get more information from Yakobus.
Yakobus said no. The illegal miners used the silver water to process more gold.
However the teacher was still not satisfied, and so asked Yakobus to describe how the silver water was used.
Yakobus related how the silver water was used to separate gold from black sand. The method used was to add a little water and silver water to the gold and sand mix and then stir. Then the gold would automatically be separated from the sand, and was kept, while the remaining water and black sand was thrown away. The silver water was poured into a bottle, and then strained through a cloth to filter out the water.
“After that they stored the silver water to use again and threw away the left-over water”, Yakobus said.
Yakobus didn’t know that the left over water which still contains mercury poses a danger to the environment. He went on to say that this water would be  thrown anywhere, into the bushes, on the ground, or even into the river.
This practice represents a serious risk to the Koroway people’s livelihood, bearing in mind that the Koroway community depend on the Deiram river for their lifelihood, including transportation, a source of food and a source of clean water.
The miners gave Yakobus 900,000 Rupiah for 12 days work. During those twelve days they were working, the yields had been low. So after 12 days they stopped mining and moved to Yaniruma. The miners asked Yakubus to come with them to Yaniruma, but Yakobus refused saying he wanted to go to church, as it was a Saturday when they asked.

Lazarus’s Circle, Abiowage and  Landslide.

Another schoolboy, Imanuel, had a different story. Imanuel was working for another person, called Jimi, who came from Kendari in Sourth-East Sulawesi province. However, Imanuel was not heavily involved, he was only asked to do some odd-jobs.
Imanuel admitted he was not permitted to be directly involved in the gold mining process. However he could confirm that the miners were using silver water. His job was to bring them the silver water and mining equipment.
“I was given 300,000 Rupiah pay for five days work”, said Immanuel.
Imanuel was working in the river to the north of Danowage towards Abiowage. He said that the name of the place the illegal miners were working was Lazarus’s Circle.
“It’s called Lazarus’ Circle because there’s an island in the middle of the river and the owner of that land is called Lazarus”, explained Imanuel.
The third schoolboy to tell his story was Anis. Anis was from Abiowage, and he also worked for Koprak,  Yakobus’s former boss. Anis told his teacher that his work was similar to that of Imanuel, general labour, including carrying the silver water.
“Koprak’s mining operation started in Abiowage, but then Koprak split his team in two, and part of the team started working in the Landslide area, the rest in Abiowage”, said Anis. Anis worked for six days and was paid 600,000 Rupiah.
Some other schoolchildren said they were only playing in the mining area, sometimes helping a little or becoming day labourers. One of them is called Tius. He says he was paid 50,000 Rupiah for one day’s work. However, Tius backed up his friend’s statements about the silver water. Another pupil, Nahyu, said that he had only helped to carry equipment and was paid as a day labourer. Asked about their transport, he said they only used boats and katingting, they didn’t have a helicopter.
The scenes witnessed by these Koroway children make the theory that illegal gold mining is taking place in several parts of the Koroway territory, not just in Danowage, seem more plausible.
“In fact we only know about these three locations. It could well be that mining is taking place all along the upper reaches of the Black Deiram river, bearing in mind that this recent mining incident has been revealed as having occurred in the headwaters of the Deiram River”, said the teacher after listening to the schoolchildren’s claims.
The teacher, who is also from the Koroway ethnic group, added that the illegal miners came and met the landowners, asked permission, gave them some money, and enticed them with the idea of great riches. They made a lot of Rupiah by panning the gold belonging to the Koroway people. They even used the Koroway to work stealing the gold that they were the rightful owners of.
“And then the children and other Koroway people who worked for them were only given low wages,” the teacher added.
The Korowai people live in the border areas between five regencies: Boven Digoel, Asmat, Mappi, Yahukimo and the Star Mountains. This ethnic group was discovered by workers from the Sorong branch office of the French oil and gas company PT Conoco in 1982 or thereabouts. The workers were carrying out seismic surveys at the time. At the time, the Koroway could still be classed as a nomadic hunter-gatherer community.
This kind of illegal gold-mining is a common occurrence in Papua, including in Degeuwo, Paniai Regency. Since gold mining started in Degeuwo, many people have arrived from different regions. They arrive using different routes, by air or over land, lured by the promise of gold. However Degeuwo subsequently grew rapidly, becoming a kind of wild west city in the middle of the rainforest. Entrepreneurs and traders tried to build houses as fast as they could, followed by kiosks and cafes. Places of worship were also built. Businesspeople opened nighttime entertainment spots, such as discotheques and billiard halls. Hard liquor started to become rampant. Before long, female sex workers also arrived.
Local people also started to map out the nearby locations as their property. Places for which the ownership had never been an issue became disputed between local people. This came about since each person felt that they could claim ulayat rights (a form of collective customary ownership recognised by Indonesian law) over the land which was formerly forested. Disputes  emerged within the local community, and enemies were made.
More often than not agreements are never found to resolve these situations, so slowly Degeuwo is also being “killed” with silver water and gold.


FRIDAY, 23 FEBRUARY, 2018 | 12:10 WIB
3) Government Launches New Program for Asmat, Papua

TEMPO.COJakarta - Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko said that the central government is set to launch a rehabilitation program for the people of Asmat in Papua following the malnutrition and measles outbreak.
Moeldoko said the community service program will be realized in the form of Tentara Manunggal Masuk Desa (TMMD). “The program will start by improving the environment that needs to be fixed,” said Moeldoko at the Agats District public hospital in Asmat, Papua, on Thursday, February 22.
According to Moeldoko, besides the national armed forces (TNI), several ministries will also join the TMMD program.
In order to overcome the lack of sufficient amount of vegetables, the team will also educate local people about simple farming. Moeldoko said that during the work visit led by the Coordinating Minister of Human Development and Culture Puan Maharani at the Agats district in Asmat, Papua.
Other than Puan and Moeldoko, other ministers who also present were the Health Minister Nila F. Moeloek and Education and Culture Minister Muhajir Effendi. The team was accompanied by Asmat Regent Elisa Kambu during the visit to Papua.
The team monitored the region’s clean water pump, schools for young children, a sports arena, and the Agats public hospital. 
Adam Prireza

Thursday, February 22, 2018


2) Halltekamp Bridge to be completed despite suspension


Country report INDONESIA 2017/2018
Indonesia failed to address past human rights violations. The rights to freedom of expression, of peaceful assembly and of association continued to be arbitrarily restricted. Blasphemy provisions were used to imprison those who peacefully exercised their rights to freedom of religion and belief. At least 30 prisoners of conscience remained in detention for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression or of religion and belief. The security forces carried out unlawful killings and used excessive force during protests and security operations. Two men were caned in public in Aceh after being convicted by a local Shari’a court of same-sex consensual sexual relations…..


2) Halltekamp Bridge to be completed despite suspension
Jayapura | Thu, February 22, 2018 | 08:42 am
Nethy Dharma Somba The Jakarta Post
West Papua’s capital of Jayapura will soon have a new icon as the construction of Halltekamp Suspension Bridge is nearing completion.
Despite the government’s recent decision to halt the construction of elevated projects following accidents on construction sites, director general of Bina Marga Road Agency, Ari Setiadi Moerwanto, attended the installation of the main section of the bridge at the construction site in Jayapura on Wednesday.
“We have obtained a special permit from the Bridge Safety Commission,” he said.
The second section will be installed within the next two weeks.
The parts of the bridge are arranged in Surabaya, East Java, before being shipped to Jayapura by tugboat on a 17-day voyage.
The central and provincial governments have spent Rp 1.7 trillions (US$1.19 million) on the construction of the four-lane bridge, which will extend 732 meters with a width of 21 meters.
The bridge, which is planned to be finished by October 2018, will cut travel time from Jayapura city center to Skouw, an area on the border of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
“The bridge will reduce driving time from 2.5 hours to only 60 minutes,” Rustan Saru, Deputy Mayor of Jayapura, said.
He expressed hope that the easier travel would encourage Jayapura residents to settle in areas closer to Skouw instead of in the densely populated capital of Jayapura. (gis/swd)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

1) ULMWP Can Pass Muster: Foreign Minister

2) Papua election candidates' indigenousness confirmed
3) West Papua Liberation Army in fresh campaign against Indonesia

1) ULMWP Can Pass Muster: Foreign Minister

PM Charlot Salwai speaks at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new ULMWP headquarters in Port Vila. The land grant was facilitated by then-Lands Minister, and now Foreign Minister, Ralph Regenvanu.

In a brief message yesterday, Vanuatu Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu responded to an Indonesian spokesman's claims by Indonesia's First Secretary for Political Affairs in Australia that West Papua's 'game is up'. 
Radio New Zealand reported earlier this week that Mr Sade Bimantara said that the "United Liberation Movement for West Papua's bid to be a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead group has reached a dead end."
In the interview with RNZI's Johnny Blades, Mr Bimantara opined "I don't think they qualify to be a full member of the MSG. They are not a state, and as opposed to Kanaks, they are not on the C24 (UN) Decolonisation Committee, they are not on the list, West Papua. And also the separatist group does not obtain full support from all the West Papuans. And West Papua and Papua is also politically free, so there's no reason for the MSG to accept them as full members."
This was disputed yesterday by Vanuatu's Foreign Minister. In an email exchange with the Daily Post, Mr Regenvanu wrote, "Well, that's for the MSG Leaders to decide once the application is presented to them.
"Technically, the ULMWP can meet the new criteria just agreed upon."
The issue, he wrote, would not be decided by the technicalities outlined by Indonesia's spokesman. "The question is only whether a political compromise can be achieved by the MSG Leaders before the next Summit at which the application for membership will be considered."
"Vanuatu is working on achieving this political compromise," he concluded.
Mr Regenvanu has been an outspoken supporter of West Papuan Independence movement. One of his last acts as Lands Minister before he took up the Foreign Affairs portfolio was to facilitate a grant of land to provide the United Liberation Movement for West Papua a permanent headquarters in Port Vila.
A ULMWP statement following the announcement of Mr Regenvanu's appointment to the portfolio said that it "is certainly a very effective state policy closely linked to the direction of the effective support of... Vanuatu for the West Papuan independence struggle."


2) Papua election candidates' indigenousness confirmed
2:58 pm today 

The Papuan People's Assembly in Indonesia has cleared the indigenous credentials of candidates for the upcoming provincial gubernatorial elections.

After days of postponement, the Papua Elections Commission announced that incumbent Lukas Enembe and challenger John Wempi Wetipo would compete in June's election for Governor.
According to the Jakarta Post, Papua province was late in submitting candidates' verification documents to the Commission.
The 2001 Special Autonomy Law established by Indonesia in Papua stipulates that all candidates for Governor, and their running mates, must be indigenous Papuans.
The Assembly has conducted a factual verification on the candidates and confirmed they all originate from Papua.

3) West Papua Liberation Army in fresh campaign against Indonesia
12:26 pm today 
The West Papua National Liberation Army's central command in the Papuan Highlands has made a fresh declaration of war against Indonesian military.
The Liberation Army is the armed wing of the Free West Papua Movement. Since forming in the early 1970s after Indonesia took control of West Papua, the army has been waging a sporadic guerilla campaign for independence with limited weaponry.
However, it's been linked to a spate of skirmishes with Indonesian security forces in the Highlands region of Papua province in the past few months.
It claimed responsibility for the killing of an Indonesian soldier in remote Puncak Jaya regency last week.
The Army's recently appointed Chief of Field operations, Major General Telenggen Lekkagak, has issued a new declaration about driving Indonesian forces out of Papua.

The Liberation Army also wants to close the operations of foreign companies that are exploiting Papua's resources.
Major General Telenggen specifically mentioned the oil and gas multi-national BP with its gas project in Bintuni Bay, and the US mining giant Freeport which runs the massive Grasberg gold and copper mine in Mimika.
The Freeport mine, which is one of Indonesia's largest single sources of revenue, has long been the subject of West Papuan grievances over environmental and social impacts.
As well, Papuans have complained about not being consulted over the control of Freeport, and about not gaining any benefit from its lucrative operations.

Attacks by the Liberation Army on Indonesian security forces have often occurred in the area around Freeport, and have at times extended to attacks on the miner's infrastructure and personnel.
In the declaration, Major General Telenggen says that Papua's resources must be protected for the sake of West Papuan independence.
"As long as Indonesia occupies our homeland, the war's resistance continues until Papuan independence becomes real," read an English version of the Army's declaration.

He said that as of last month, the Liberation Army had ordered a general mobilisation of all its soldiers in Papua to carry out operations against what it calls "the invaders".
Although its membership has, in the past, been divided into various groups over West Papua's rugged interior, a spokesman for the Army says all of its wings are now united

1) Indonesia says Uncle Sam to lift last bans on Kopassus troops

2) Lukas-Enembe, John-Wempi to face off in Papua election
1) Indonesia says Uncle Sam to lift last bans on Kopassus troops
The Australian12:00AM February 21, 2018
Indonesia says the US has undertaken to lift the remaining ­restrictions on engagement with Indonesia’s Kopassus special ­forces, ending a 19-year ban on the unit linked to civilian killings and human rights abuses in West Papua, Aceh and East Timor.
Former Indonesian military commander Moeldoko, now chief of staff to President Joko Widodo, said US ambassador Joseph Donovan had confirmed on Monday during a meeting at the presidential palace that the US would “gradually lift” the last restrictions on the military unit.
This follows a request last month from Defence Minister Ryacudu Ryamizard to his US counterpart Jim Mattis to end the ban, imposed in 1999, on US engagement with the unit.
Successive Indonesian governments have lobbied for the ban to be lifted, but have had only partial success despite support from the Pentagon. Former president Barack Obama in 2010 lifted the outright ban on US military contact with Kopassus, although its 6000 members are still banned from travelling to the US or training with US forces.
In a statement issued after Monday’s meeting, General Moeldoko said Mr Donovan had emphasised the importance of co-operation between the two armed forces in preserving stability in the Asia-Pacific region and said the US intended to “reopen the possibility of a military training ­co-­operation, (beginning) with Kopassus”.
But the US embassy in Jakarta appeared reluctant to confirm General Moeldoko’s statement yesterday, or give a time line for when US training of Kopassus might resume.
Instead an embassy spokesman said: “As Secretary Mattis’ trip to Indonesia demonstrated, we are committed to deepening our defence co-operation with ­Indonesia and are seeking opportunities for further engagement in various areas. All engagement ­activities are conducted in accordance with US law.
“We support Indonesia’s ­efforts to promote human rights and the rule of law, and we continue to discuss the importance of accountability for past abuses.”
The move would be in line with the unveiling last month of a shift in US national security focus from counter-terrorism to contain the rising power of China and Russia.
American forces are prevented under the “Leahy Law” from providing assistance or training to units known to have engaged in human rights abuses, unless they have addressed the abuses and held those responsible to account.
Mr Mattis said last month he understood Kopassus had turned a corner and removed those from the unit believed responsible for a crackdown on student activists under the Suharto regime, as well as the deaths of independence and secessionist activists in East Timor, Aceh and Papua.
Australia also cut ties with Kopassus after its members fired on Australian soldiers sent to East Timor in the lead-up to independence in 2002. Its ban also cited links between Kopassus and the disappearance and killings of political activists and civilians.
Canberra lifted the restrictions about a decade ago following a series of deadly bomb attacks in Bali and on the Australian embassy in Jakarta, rationalising that improving the skills of Kopassus was in Australia’s interest and could save Australian lives.
Amnesty International Indonesia spokesman Usman Hamid said the military had not fulfilled its promise to bring to justice high-ranking officers responsible for kidnapping and murder in Papua, East Timor and Aceh.
He also said those accused of human rights violations continued to enjoyed strategic positions within the military and in the Joko administration.

2) Lukas-Enembe, John-Wempi to face off in Papua election
Nethy Dharma Somba The Jakarta Post
Jayapura, Papua | Tue, February 20, 2018 | 07:03 pm

After days of postponement, the Papua Elections Commission (KPUD) announced on Tuesdaythat incumbent pair Lukas Enembe - Klemen Tinal and the pair of John Wempi Wetipo - Hebel Melkias Suwae would compete in the province's gubernatorial election in June.
The Papuan People's Assembly (MRP) declared that both pairs were indigenous Papuans, a necessary requirement to run in the election.
The Lukas-Klemen pair is endorsed by the Democratic Party, the Golkar Party, the National Awakening Party (PKB), the United Development Party, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the National Mandate Party (PAN), the NasDem Party, the Hanura Party, the Crescent Star Party (PBB) and the Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI).
John and Hebel, meanwhile, are supported by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Gerindra Party.
"The MRP conducted a factual verification to check whether the four people originate from Papua. They all passed the verification process," KPUD Papua chairman Adam Arisoi said in a plenary meeting in Jayapura.
The national date to announce candidates was initially set for Feb.12, however the country’s easternmost province was late to confirm its election candidates, as the MRP was late to submit the verification documents to the election offices of the four candidates’ home regions.
Article 12 of the 2001 Special Autonomy Law stipulates that all candidates in the Papua election must be native Papuans, and that the MRP has the authority to determine whether or not the applicants meet the requirement. (foy/ebf)

Monday, February 19, 2018

1) Indonesia told to respect media freedom in Papua after expelling BBC reporter Rebecca Henschke

2) Government prepares sustainable program to address Asmat problems

1) Indonesia told to respect media freedom in Papua after expelling BBC reporter Rebecca Henschke
Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF) 19 February 2018 
This statement was originally published on PFF's Facebook page on 19 February 2018. 

Jakarta must regain authority over Papua, demands PFF, the Pacific Freedom Forum, after the latest action by "rogue" security forces. 

"Free speech should not suffer because of cookies," says PFF Chair Monica Miller, referring to removal of a BBC journalist from West Papua earlier this month. 

Biscuits were highlighted by the BBC's Indonesia Editor Rebecca Henschke in a tweet about low-quality emergency relief food given to infants during a serious outbreak of measles, including sugary drinks, noodles and cookies. 

"Removing BBC journalists from Papua provinces over such a tiny detail is proof that Indonesian security forces are still acting outside the law." 

An official release from TNI, the Indonesian military, accused Henschke of "hurting soldiers' feelings" with her reporting. As previously noted by PFF, security forces in Papua have long operated outside the law, defying Indonesia constitutional protections for free speech, along with free press legislation. 

"Papua free speech is worth more than cookies and fizzy drinks", says Miller. 

PFF is calling on Jakarta to "end a slow genocide against free speech, and assert authority over rogue security forces." This call extends to development partners concerned at continued resource corruption in Papua, and across Indonesia. 

From Port Moresby, PFF co-Chair Alexander Rheeney compares Indonesian 'feelings' with Papua anger over mass arrests, assault, killings and jailing of those holding up free speech rights. 

"Papua people have suffered decades of free-speech loss, to tragic result - half a million documented deaths in half a century. "We then have a free-speech farce with Indonesia hosting World Press Freedom Day last year - but officially ignoring Papua." 

"This deportation from Papua just adds to the farce." 

From Palau, PFF co-Chair Bernadette Carreon says it is time the region paid closer attention to the role of TNI, an Indonesian armed forces badge. "That badge is the same badge currently being considered for fresh funding from the United States," notes Carreon. 

"American law makers must ask themselves - can a country that gets angry over a packet of cookies be trusted with advanced security training?" 

PFF supports statements from AJI, the Alliance of Independent Journalists in Indonesia, RSF, Reporters Sans Frontiers, and IFJ, the International Federation of Journalists, condemning the arrests and removal of the BBC journalists. PFF is also welcoming an invitation from Indonesia for the United Nations Human Rights Commission to visit Papua province as "long overdue.

2) Government prepares sustainable program to address Asmat problems

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government has prepared a sustainable program after the extraordinary status of measles and malnutrition in Asmat District, Papua, has been lifted.

"The Ministry of Social Affairs has prepared the Emergency Response Unit Forum (Tagana) and 46 mentors to support the implementation of the Family Hope Program (PKH) and the distribution of rice social assistance (Rastra)," Social Affairs Minister Idrus Marham said here on Monday. 

In addition, the ministry has also prepared the Village Disaster Alert (KSB) to handle Asmat people continuously. 

"The Village Disaster Alert will be officially inaugurated by Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Puan Maharani," the minister said. 

Health Minister Nila Moeloek earlier said as many as 13,300 children in Asmat District, Papua Province have been vaccinated as an effort to control the epidemic of measles.

Not all sub-districts in Asmat District, however, get the vaccination due to difficult terrain. 

The ministry has alternately deployed medical personnel and delivered aid packages every 10 days to handle measles and malnutrition in Asmat.

The medical personnel provided assistance in hospitals and church halls, Moeloek revealed.

"Some people have returned to their homes. However, if they do not get any health supervision from medical institutions, there could be recurrence of the disease," she explained.

Editor: Heru Purwanto

1) Indonesia helps finance Melanesian Spearhead Group secretariat

2) Education is often out of reach for Papuan families
1) Indonesia helps finance Melanesian Spearhead Group secretariat
4:56 pm today 

Leading delegates at the 2018 Melanesian Spearhead Group summit in Port Moresby, including Charlot Salwai and Rick Hou, prime ministers of Vanuatu and Solomon Islands (third and fourth from the left) and West Papuan leader Benny Wenda far right). Photo: Supplied

Indonesia's government has been helping fund the Melanesian Spearhead Group's secretariat.
The secretariat, based in Vanuatu's capital Port Vila, has experienced funding limitations in recent years.
The five full members - Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia's FLNKS Kanaks Movement - are meant to pay annual contributions.
However, some members have struggled to pay their dues on time in the past few years.
According to a spokesman for Indonesia's embassy in Australia, Sade Bimantara, Jakarta has been helping the MSG out.
"And we have been giving our annual contribution. On top of that we have also helped the secretariat in procuring vehicles and other things for their secretariat. Yeah, so we have been assisting them financially as well."
Sade Bimantara, a representative of Indonesia's government, which has associate member status in the MSG.
2) Education is often out of reach for Papuan families
Author : Matyas Baan
Jayapura, Jubi – I wish I could begin this article by storytelling about my latest trip to this mysterious, little-known part of the World: formerly Irian Jaya – or, as more of you may know it, West Papua (officially two provinces: Papua and West Papua). This supposedly semi-autonomous region of Indonesia occupies the western half of the island of New Guinea, the second largest island in the World.  It might be seldom talked about, rarely mentioned in the news, but West Papua is no stranger to hardship and oppression. An isolated region for millennia, it was colonised by the Dutch in 1898 only to gain independence 63 years later in 1961. Unfortunately, its freedom was short-lived, as in the turmoil of the Cold War the United States along with the Netherlands and the UN let the new nation slip into the hands of neighbouring Indonesia in 1963. The reason? They feared potential Soviet influence taking foot in South-East Asia during Indonesia’s push for control over the western half of the island of New Guinea. Today, Indonesia restricts the travel of foreigners into the region and foreign journalists are prohibited to enter all together.
As the Free West Papua Campaign ( see ) reports, human rights abuses and the devastation of the abundant natural resources of the region are rife. The Indonesian government regards West Papua as nothing more than a resource to fuel its economy and its people as primitive, subordinate to the mainstream population. What about the children of this ravished region? Where do they stand? How are their rights respected, protected and fulfilled? These are the questions I ask myself attempting to reveal a bird’s eye view of the situation on the ground to a greater audience.
The word “headlines” has a mass media connotation even though headlines can be found in niche publications too. From a children’s rights activist’s point of view, two headlines at are particularly disturbing: West Papuan teenager shot dead by the Indonesian police on Christmas Day and West Papuan youth tortured to death by the Indonesian military on New Year’s Day. Both articles tell the story of Papuan youth falling victim to the Indonesian Armed Forces stationed in West Papua. They claim frequent graves human rights abuses such as torture and extrajudicial killings targeting the native population, with little to no chance for justice to be served.  As a result of heavy-handed oppression, ongoing atrocities and human rights violations resulting in racial segregation, Papuan children are nearly six times less likely to survive into adulthood than non-Papuans living in Irian Jaya. According to recent research by the Netherlands based NGO Foundation for Sustainable Society Papua Barat ( ) infant mortality among Papuans stands at a staggering 18,4 % while among the non-indigenous population at “only” 3,6 %.
The result of the decades-old transmigration program in Indonesia, 50 % of the population of Irian Jaya are non-Papuans today. The report alleges that the Indonesian government is violating the Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified by Indonesia in 1990) and is non-adherent to the Maastricht Guidelines (ICESCR, ratified by Indonesia in 2006) is not catering for the needs of the mainly rural-dwelling native population. Cities, largely populated by immigrants, are disproportionately better supplied with medicine, healthcare personnel and equipment. Observers claim that rural clinics are often dysfunctional due to lack of staff and supplies. Stocked medicine is often past the expiration date.
Education is often out of reach for Papuan families.
The educational establishments are limited to cities where the mounting costs of tuition and board have resulted in native children missing out on receiving an education. Paid work for native youth is scarce and hard to find and as a result, some end up joining the ranks of the underground independence movement. These young people are frequently confined to remote hideaway locations in fear of prosecution. The West Papua flag and all related symbols have been outlawed by the Government and anyone suspected of supporting independence can face arbitrary arrest, detention, torture or even death.
The past year seemed to hold some promise for West Papuans. After all, an independence petition signed by 1,8 million Papuans (70% of the population) declared illegal by Indonesia reached the UN in September 2017. The petition, calling for a free vote on independence, could only be held in secrecy, was secretly delivered from village to village by courageous individuals who put their cause before their safety. Hopes were high coming up to the delivery of the petition but all hopes were shattered when the UN’s decolonisation committee (C-24) stated that its mandate did not extend to the issue of West Papua. Indonesia labelled the petition a publicity stunt while also prosecuting activist Yanto Awerkion for helping to gather signatures.  The voices of the children have not been heard. Nor the pleas of the mothers. Or the tearful cries of the fathers. Not yet. When the voices of the oppressed are not heard, there are those who speak for the oppressed and will be heard. I offer the following quote by Audrey Hepburn to the children of West Papua:
“I speak for those children who cannot speak for themselves, children who have absolutely nothing but their courage and their smiles, their wits and their dreams.”
Writing this article has got me wonder about our understanding of who a child is. According to UNICEF, a child is a person below the age of 18 – a definition almost too simple. The words child and childhood often remind people of the vulnerability of children, of their dependence on the adults who make decisions for them while growing up (and sometimes beyond). West Papua within Indonesia was “born” a little more than 18 years ago, however, its people, both below and above the age of 18, are children of their native lands, are vulnerable to oppression and their fate depends on the decisions of those in charge: Indonesia and the international community. I genuinely hope that the children of West Papua will be listened to. (*)