Monday, April 24, 2017

1) Labor union condemns alleged shooting on Freeport workers

2) Company threatens workers over plans to strike at West Papua mine

1) Labor union condemns alleged shooting on Freeport workers
Jakarta | Mon, April 24, 2017 | 01:28 pm
Andi Gani Nena Wea, president of the Indonesian Workers Union Confederation (KSPSI), lamented the actions of police officers who allegedly fired shots at PT Freeport Indonesia workers during a rally in Timika, Papua.
Andri Santoso, Sakarias, Puguh Prihandono, Wibowo, Faisal and Zainal Abidin were reportedly injured during a protest in front of Timika District Court on Thursday, demanding the release of Sudiro, a colleague who is standing trial in an embezzlement case.
"Thousands of our workers called on the judge to suspend Sudiro’s detention because of his [poor] health, but the judge denied [our demand]," Andi said.
The judge’s decision to return Sudiro to his cell angered protesters, which led to a clash with police personnel, said Peter Selestinus, one of Sudiro’s lawyers.
"Someone threw rocks at the feet of the Timika police chief, and officers responded by firing shots – they were aimed at protestors, not the air," he added.
Andi said he has been in direct communication with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to report on the incident and the actions of the Papua Police.
KSPSI will stage a solidarity rally for the victims on Labor Day, or May Day, on May 1.
Neither the Papua Police or the National Police have responded to queries related to the case. (dis/wit)

2) Company threatens workers over plans to strike at West Papua mine

The global mining giant, Freeport McMoRan, is threatening to punish workers at its Indonesian unit who are threatening to strike over employment conditions.
2:08 pm today 

Tensions have been rising around the massive Grasberg mine in West Papua after Freeport laid off thousands of workers to stem losses from an ongoing dispute with the Indonesian government.
The Freeport workers' union said the company's efforts to reduce its workforce by as much as 10 percent have had extensive impacts, and announced plans for a 30-day strike from 1 May.
Indonesia halted Freeport's copper concentrate exports in January under new laws that require Freeport to get a special licence and divest a 51 percent stake in its operations, among other measures.
Negotiations had been underway, and Reuters reported an agreement was expected to be reached soon to allow exports to temporarily resume.
But a strike would severely impact those efforts to ramp up production.
A Freeport spokesperson, Eric Kinneberg, said absenteeism would be tracked at the mine, and disciplinary action would be enforced under the terms of a collective agreement.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

1) Police shooting victims treated at Mimika Hospital



1) Police shooting victims treated at Mimika Hospital
Jakarta | Sat, April 22, 2017 | 05:17 pm

Taking a stand: Workers of US-based gold and copper mining company Freeport Indonesia stage a rally in front of Timika District Court on April 20. (Antara/Vembri Waluyas)

Two employees of US-based gold and copper mining company PT Freeport Indonesia, who were victims of a rubber bullet shooting allegedly committed by Timika police personnel on Thursday, are receiving intensive medical treatment at Mimika Regional General Hospital (RSUD) in Timika, Papua.
According to RSUD Mimika spokesperson Lucky Mahakena, the two Freeport employees are Andrian W. Santoso and Muhammad Faidsal.
Faidsal was reportedly shot on the left side of his buttocks while Andrian suffered wounds to his left leg, directly under his knee.
“Two other people who were rushed here have returned home,” Lucky said as quoted by Antara on Saturday, referring to Zainal Arifin, who was shot in his right thigh, and Pukuh Prihantono, who was shot in his left knee. Another Freeport employee wounded in the sole of his foot returned home immediately after receiving treatment by medical personnel at the hospital.
The five Freeport employees suffered the wounds during a clash between police personnel and mining company workers who staged a protest in front of Timika District Court on Thursday. The police shot rubber bullets in their attempt to disperse the crowd.
Mimika Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Victor Dean Mackbon suffered injuries, including a punctured vein, to his left heel because of shrapnel from rubber bullets. He is currently receiving intensive treatment in a VIP room at RSUD Mimika.
Lucky said a team of doctors at RSUD Mimika had removed the shrapnel from Victor's wounds. “After surgery, he [Victor] may need two or three weeks for recovery,” he added. (mrc/ebf)

Community of seven villages in Demta District, Jayapura District, blocked te street of Demta 18th April – Jubi/Simon Daisiu
Demta, Jubi – Residents of seven villages led by the heads of each village blocked the Trans road Brap-Demta, Demta District, Jayapura District.
Road blocking was triggered by road condition that has been damaged for long time, but failed to repair.
Tarfia community leaders Abubakar Eli, one of the villages participated in the action said on April 18th that a palm oil company, PT. SInar Mas has operate and crossed this area since 2000. He suspects the damage is caused by cars/trucks passing carried goods belonging to PT Sinar Mas.
According to Eli, residents have organised five demos to demand the road to repair. But until now their demands never responded.
“We, the people of Demta District have been very disappointed. We asked the government about the road work from Kilometer 17 to Demta, is it (the improvement) is just a lip service? We demand it now. Do not use us a political object,” he said.
According to him, road damage hampered economic activities of the people. Residents who want to sell their farm products to the city were forced to discourage.
The protest action coordinator, Oto Tauruy said they blocked the main road to prevent PT Sinar Mas’ vehicles from passing the road.
“Public vehicles may pass,” said Oto.
The blockade starts from port of Sinar Mas in Demta from the morning until afternoon. Jubi failed to get any explanation from the company.
Head of Tarfia Village, Silas Tauruy said the blockade will continue until they get response from the company.(*)



Waisai, Jubi – The Raja Ampat Regency Government, West Papua Province is said to be drafting a draft regional regulation (draft) on prohibition of large-ships and cruise ships entering the area.
Head of Legal Division of the Raja Ampat Regional Secretariat, Mohliat Mayalibit, said they are discussing the draft with indigenous leaders.
“We are discussing the draft, and we have consulted with West Papua Legal Bureau for the revision,” he told Jubi in Waisai, capital of Raja Ampat, Wednesday April 19th.

He said the Raja Ampat regency involves indigenous leaders to formulate the regulation, so they do not feel alienated in their own village.
“Iindigenous leaders are involved to keep their customary rights,” he said.
In early March the Caledonan Sky-flagged British cruise ship, weighing 4,000s and a length about 90 meters, hit a coral reef in Kri waters, Mios Mansar District, Raja Ampat, West Papua.
It is expected after the regulation will be passed; large ships and cruise ships cannot go without control into Raja Ampat coastal, known as the world’s coral reef triangle.
Once corrected, the draft legislation will be brought to local parliament to be ratified into a local regulation.
“But we will review portions of each authorities such as Sayahbandar, Transportation and Fisheries and Marine Service,” he said.
Head of Sorong Syahbandar, Jhoni Silalahi supports the good step of Raja Ampat Regency initiative in designing the rules.
He said he also ready to provide input for proposed draft discussion so it does not conflict with the rules of Ministry of Transportation. (*)


Sentani, Jubi –  The implementation of Local Regulation (Perda) Number 3 Year 2000 on Sago Forest Area Protection in Jayapura District will soon be evaluated.
Member of Legislative Commission B of Jayapura District, Freddy Kaway said it seems that legislation has not functioned. This local regulation has struck with the interests of indigenous peoples’ customary rights.
“We forbid any construction of building in sago forest areas, but those who have customary rights are local people, so this is also often became a barrier in the implementation,” he told Jubi in Sentani, Wednesday April 19th.

He refer to the facts that some customary rights owners sold their land and turn them to property buildings.
Therefore he added, this law will be reviewed for evaluation. Thus, there would be a protection for local potential that still exists in the area.
At different occasion, Boaz Enok, Ondoafi (indigenous Papua who owned customary land) in Sosiri village said the problem is the protection of sago trees which regulated in Local Regulation No. 3 of 2000 has not been socialized well to the public.
“If there are rules or regulations made by the Government, it should be socialized widely. Now the impact of development implemented by different interests who seek profits in this area has been very difficult to handle, “said Enok. (*)


Jakarta, Jubi – Ministry of Health asked the public, especially tourists who want to travel to eastern Indonesia, to be cautious of malaria transmission.
Based on data from Ministry of Health quoted in Jakarta, April 19th the achievement of malaria eradication in NTT Province, Maluku, North Maluku, West Papua and Papua is still zero percent, or still considered high endemic malaria.
Director of Vector and Zoonotic Disease Control and Prevention at the Ministry of Health, Vensya Sitohang reminded tourists, especially those who travel backpacks and adventure to various remote areas in order to prepare for malaria anticipation.

Vensya said the most important anticipation is to keep away from being bitten by anopheles mosquito, the cause of malaria.
He suggested, if possible, for tourists not to go out at night when anopheles mosquitoes are more active.
“If they have to go out at night, protect the body with lotion, and if sleep must use mosquito net,” she said while suggested people regularly visit the health service for laboratory checks to know whether they are infected.
In addition, tourists are also advised to take preventive malaria drugs before traveling that can be obtained at health centers. The drug is given free of charge.
NTT and West Papua provinces are now popular tourist destinations with several favorite places, such as Raja Ampat and the stunning islands of Labuan Bajo.(*)
Antara/Zely Ariane

Friday, April 21, 2017

1) Freeport warns Indonesia copper mine workers as Grasberg strike looms

2)  Papuan women told to avoid old-fashioned traditions
3) Ministry warns tourists traveling to Eastern Indonesia of malaria infection
4) Research reveals low number of female whale sharks in Papua
COMMODITIES | Fri Apr 21, 2017 | 8:46am ED
1) Freeport warns Indonesia copper mine workers as Grasberg strike looms
By Kanupriya Kapoor and Fergus Jensen | JAKARTA
Copper miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc warned on Friday it would punish workers for absenteeism at its Indonesian unit, a day after one of its main unions announcedplans to go on a one-month strike over employment conditions. 
Tensions are rising around Grasberg, the world's second-biggest copper mine, after operator Freeport laid off thousands of workers there to stem losses from an ongoing dispute with the Indonesian government over mining rights. 
While Freeport is expecting to soon seal agreements with Jakarta to allow it to temporarily resume copper concentrate exports after a more than three-month hiatus, a strike could impact its efforts to ramp up production. 
"Freeport Indonesia has experienced a high level of absenteeism over the last several days," Freeport spokesman Eric told Reuters. 
"Absenteeism is being tracked and disciplinary actions will be enforced under the terms of the Collective Labor Agreement," Kinneberg said. 
As of last week Freeport had "demobilized" just over 10 percent of its workforce of 32,000, a number expected to grow until its dispute with the government is fully resolved.
Further adding to tensions around Grasberg, several Freeport workers and police were injured in a clash in Papua on Thursday, when officers fired rubber bullets at demonstrators in Timika. 
The Freeport workers' union said in a statement on Thursday that the company's efforts so far to reduce its workforce have had "extensive impacts on workers and their families". 
Workers are worried about the layoffs "because there are no limits or specific criteria on workers who will be furloughed," the union said. It demanded an end to the furlough policy, and notified Freeport of plans to strike for 30 days from May 1. 

"Efforts by the company to cut costs and reduce their numbers of workers, this is what has made them feel agitated," said Virgo Solossa, a Freeport workers' union member told Reuters. He added that in his view Freeport was only doing what it needed to survive, and that he and many other workers would not join the strike.

Some workers on Thursday "carried out acts of anarchy ... so police took action and fired rubber bullets," Solossa said. He said four workers and seven police were injured in the clash but that the dispute was not related to the planned strike.
Timika Police Chief Victor Machbon confirmed the details of the incident, adding that approximately 1,000 demonstrators attempting to free a union leader at a court hearing had not dispersed when tear gas was fired. 
Indonesia halted Freeport's copper concentrate exports in January under new rules that require the Arizona-based company to adopt a special license, pay new taxes and royalties, divest a 51 percent stake in its operations and relinquish arbitration rights. The stoppage has cost both the company and Indonesia hundreds of millions of dollars, but negotiations over sticking points is expected to continue for the next six months at least. 
In February Freeport served notice to Jakarta in the dispute, saying it has the right to commence arbitration in 120 days if no agreement is reached.
(Reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor and Fergus Jensen; Additional reporting by Wilda Asmarini; Writing by Fergus Jensen; Editing by Tom Hogue)


2)  Papuan women told to avoid old-fashioned traditions
Nethy Dharma Somba The Jakarta Post
Jayapura, Papua | Fri, April 21, 2017 | 09:31 pm

Empowerment: Papuan women attend a discussion and training session provided by the Papuan Working Group to develop the economy of their families. (JP/Nethy Dharma Somba)
The struggle of Kartini, a young female hero who strove to release Indonesian women from old-fashioned traditions, must be followed by women in Papua, where local communities still adopt a strict patriarchal system.
“Papuan women should not let themselves be shackled by old-fashioned traditions. It doesn’t mean we should no longer adhere to our customs and traditions. But what should happen is that our traditions must become our motor to keep moving forward,” said Jacoba Lokbere, a Papua Legislative Council member from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), in Jayapura on Friday.
The lawmaker further said many Papuan women were still shackled by old-fashioned traditions, such as marriage at a young age, because there was a common belief there that once a woman got her period, she was ready to get married. Youth marriage was common especially in remote villages with poor access to information and communications.
“It is still widely considered that women’s sole responsibilities are to give birth to their children, tackle housework and work in plantations. Only men are allowed to work outside the home,” said Jacoba, in her statement on the commemoration of Kartini Day on April 21.
The female Papuan politician said she could release herself from the adoption of old-fashioned traditions because of her strong will to see more Indonesian women having a successful career in various fields, but without forgetting the support of their families.
“Families play a great role in releasing a woman from the adoption of old-fashioned traditions,” she said. (ebf)

Equal rights: US Ambassador to Indonesia Joseph Donovan (right, wearing brown batik shirt) attends the International Women's Day celebration at Hamadi Beach in Jayapura, Papua, recently. (JP/Nethy Dharma Somba)

3) Ministry warns tourists traveling to Eastern Indonesia of malaria infection
Jakarta | Fri, April 21, 2017 | 09:08 am
The Health Ministry has warned the public, especially tourists traveling to the Eastern part of Indonesia, to be cautious about malaria infection in the region.
According to the ministry's data, malaria is still highly endemic in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Maluku, North Maluku, West Papua and Papua provinces.
The ministry’s director of vector and zoonotic infection disease prevention and control, Vensya Sitohang, said that tourists, especially backpackers, should anticipate and take necessary measurements against the disease. "Avoid going outdoors at night since the anopheles mosquito is more active during that time. If you must travel after dark, apply [mosquito repellent] lotion; and install a mosquito net for when you are sleeping," she said as quoted by Antara news agency.
For those already bitten, Vensya advised travelers to immediately visit health services and conduct laboratory checks for malaria.
Tourists are also encouraged to take precautions by taking antimalarial medications prior to their trip, which are available for free in health facilities like Puskesmas (community health centers) and hospitals.
NTT and West Papua are currently among the country's most popular travel destinations with highlights including Raja Ampat and Labuan Bajo. (mas/kes)


4) Research reveals low number of female whale sharks in Papua
Arya Dipa The Jakarta Post
Papua | Fri, April 21, 2017 | 10:24 am
A research team from the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia reveals that the population of whale sharks in Cenderawasih Bay, Papua, is quite large, amounting to 135 individuals.
“Only four out of the total population are female, however,” said Evi Nurul Ihsan, WWF Indonesia’s monitoring and surveillance officer for Cenderawasih Bay in Kwatisore, Nabire, Papua, last week.
“Such a situation has also occurred in other places, such as in the Philippines and other parts of the world,” he said, adding the causes remained a mystery of the global research on whale shark populations.
Together with other whale shark observers, Evi recorded their numbers by using underwater photographic devices. They took pictures of scratches and white freckles behind the left and right gills of the whale sharks for identification purposes because each of them has a different pattern. They also recorded their size and sex.
Based on satellite monitoring results, the migration area of the whale sharks is quite large, Evi said. They not only moved within Cenderawasih Bay National Park waters but also reached the northern waters of West Papua that directly connect to the Pacific Ocean.
“But they will always return to the national park. Hence, its existence is important for the whale sharks,” said Evi.
Whale sharks also can be found in waters around Alor and Flores in East NusaTenggara and around Bali, Maluku, North Sulawesi, Papua, Sabang in Aceh and Situbondo in East Java. In Probolinggo, East Java, the presence of whale sharks is seasonal. “But in Papua, they appear throughout the year,” said Evi. (ebf)
RIDAY, 21 APRIL, 2017 | 21:00 WIB
US Vice President Pence Trusts Indonesia in Fighting Terrorism
TEMPO.COJakarta - United States Vice President Michael R. Pence said that the US and Indonesia will continue to work together in the war against terrorism. Pence said that Indonesia is a US strategic partner in the war against terrorism.
“I can convince the Indonesian people that we won’t stop fighting terrorism,” he said in Jakarta on Friday, April 21, 2017.
Pence suggested that cooperation is important to deal with terror threats.
He explained that the terror attack launched in Paris, France, was a warning that a terror attack can happen anywhere and anytime.
“Indonesia and the United States have been there,” he said, adding that both countries need to anticipate such an attack.
Earlier on Thursday, April 20, 2017, Mike Pence arrived in Indonesia to sign a number of memoranda of understanding on business cooperation between Indonesia and the US. Indonesia is the first country in Southeast Asia visited by Pence before he departed for Australia.
During the first day of his visit, Mr. Pence met President Joko Widodo or Jokowi to discuss trade and terrorism topics. Pence said that strong partnership in the defense sector would be useful to anticipate security threats.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Grasberg mine dispute off the table in US Indonesia talks

Grasberg mine dispute off the table in US Indonesia talks
APRIL 20 2017 - 7:16PM
The Vice-President of Indonesia has signalled he prevented his US counterpart from discussing the contract row that has crippled operations at Grasberg – the world's second largest copper mine – by telling him "the affair is finished".
Rio Tinto – which revealed on Thursday its copper production had taken a heavy hit due in part to the dispute at Grasberg – was expected to be closely watching US Vice-President Mike Pence's visit to Indonesia this week.

The company's majority partner in Grasberg, US mining giant Freeport McMoRan​, said earlier this month it had lost about $1 billion in revenue after the export of copper concentrate was halted on January 12 under new rules issued by the Indonesian government.
"As a consequence of the export ban Rio Tinto is reporting its metal share for the first quarter as zero," Rio Tinto said in a report released to the exchange on Thursday morning.
"Discussions are continuing between Freeport and the Indonesian government to reach a mutually satisfactory longer-term agreement."
The Freeport saga was expected to be raised during Mr Pence's visit, especially given US President Donald Trump's adviser on regulatory issues, Carl Icahn, is Freeport's third biggest shareholder.

However, asked by reporters if Freeport was discussed during a bilateral meeting, Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla said: "No. I preceded it by saying the affair is finished so he would not mention it. I said it's finished, it's business to business. It is finished."
Mr Kalla said what was left were improvements to the contract. "He [Mr Pence] did not respond to it. He did not talk about it."
Grasberg, which is located in the restive province of Papua, is the world's largest gold mine and second largest copper mine.
The row is over new rules that require Freeport to convert its contract of work to a special mining licence, build a smelter, pay new taxes and royalties and divest a 51 per cent stake in its operations.
Freeport threatened to take the dispute to arbitration but a compromise was reached earlier this month that allowed Freeport to export its copper concentrate while negotiations continued over the next six months.
Rio Tinto is entitled to a 40 per cent share of output from Grasberg above specific levels until 2021 and 40 per cent of all production after 2021.
However, the company indicated on Thursday it might not take ownership of 40 per cent of copper production from Grasberg after 2021.
"Rio Tinto's participation beyond 2021 is likely to be affected due to the application of force majeure provisions in the joint venture agreement between Rio Tinto and Freeport McMoRan," it said.
Last month Rio Tinto Group chief Jean-Sebastien Jacques said it was considering its stake in the Grasberg mine.
"There is a big difference between a world-class resource and a world-class business and depending on how the situation will evolve, today I can't confirm it's going to be a world-class business for Rio Tinto," he was quoted saying by Bloomberg.
The situation was "very fluid" and "depending on what happens in weeks, months or even years, then we'll have to take a call".
Rio Tinto revealed on Thursday its copper production was down 37 per cent in the first quarter and compared to the same quarter last year due to the Grasberg mine impasse and a 43-day strike at the Escondida mine in Brazil.
Rio Tinto shares were down 0.39 per cent to $58.67 on Thursday.
Mr Pence did not mention Freeport but told the media that the US was seeking trade relations that were both "free and fair" for job creation and growth for both countries.
"American companies have been doing business in Indonesia for years and American products and services have contributed greatly to Indonesian economic development, but we believe we still have room for significant progress," he said.
Jakarta based lawyer and mining expert Bill Sullivan said he was sure Rio Tinto would be watching closely to see if Mr Pence's visit to Indonesia "clarifies the situation with regard to Freeport and results in certainty as to how Freeport can move forward in developing the Grasberg mine on a commercially realistic basis – fiscal certainty is key".

Leading up to ANZAC Day

Leading up to ANZAC Day

As ANZAC Day (25 April) approaches and Australians and New Zealanders remember those who fought and lost their lives in wars,  we must not forget  the Indigenous people who died in Australia’s frontier wars and remember those who are still not free in our region.  In particular we should remember the West Papuan people who are still struggling for justice 54 years after Indonesia took over control of West Papua.

33rd commemoration-The death of Arnold Ap

Another important commemoration at this time is the death of Arnold Ap, who is believed to have been killed by Kopassus soldiers 33 years ago on the 26 April 1984. According to the military he was shot in the back while trying to escape although many believe he was executed. He was arrested by Kopassus troops In November 1983, imprisoned and tortured for suspected sympathies with the Free Papua Movement.

Arnold Ap was a West Papuan cultural leader, anthropologist and musician. He was the leader of the group Mambesak, and Curator of the Cenderawasih University Museum. He also broadcast Papuan culture on a weekly radio show. His Mambesak music is still very popular and his songs are regarded as symbols of Papuan cultural identity and continues to be an integral part of the West Papuan resistance. At the time Indonesian officials were trying to crush Papuan identity and their music and dance became key weapons in the West Papuan Peoples nonviolent struggle for cultural survival.    

photo from Jubi 24 April 2013 

Last year supporters in Sydney added his name to the Honour Roll at Marrickville Community Centre along with West Papuan leader John Ondawame and those Australian Soldiers who served in Merauke in the war, Dr Norman Lee, John Collins and Alan Noonan. 

Joe Collins of AWPA said, ‘we would like the anniversary of the death of Arnold Ap to be commemorated  yearly,  not only another day of significance in West Papua history but linking Australia’s and West Papua’s shared history which should not be forgotten”.

               Ceremony at Addison Rd Community Centre, Marrickville 19 April

                                                     As ANZAC Day approaches a little bit of history.

John Collins, pictured speaking at rally in Hyde Park Sydney in 2006 in support of the 43 West Papuan Asylum seekers. He served in Merauke in the war. He did the two sketches below while there. An  Xmas card and one of the main street in Merauke in 1944.


Upcoming events

West Papuan leader Rex Rumakiek will be raising the West Papua flag at Frontier Warriors in Canberra tomorrow Friday 21st April  at 11am. 

Wednesday May 17 - 5 PM - 7 PM

Forum with West Papua freedom fighters Benny Wenda, Rex Rumakiek  Hosted by Resistance University Sydney