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Indonesia News Digest 29 – August 1-8, 2018

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West Papua

Armed group returns firearms to TNI

Jakarta Post - August 8, 2018

Nethy Dharma Somba, Jayapura – An armed group returned on Tuesday four firearms it seized from the Indonesian Military (TNI) in a recent incident in Wagemuga village in Paniai, a restive regency in Papua's central highlands.

The firearms were handed in to the TNI via Wagemuga village head Deki Gobay and his counterpart of nearby Wegebino village on Tuesday morning, a day after the incident took place in Bokoa, Wagemuga.

"Three of [the firearms] are rifles and one is a handgun," Cendrawasih Military District Command spokesperson Col. Muhammad Aidi said on Tuesday.

An unidentified armed group ambushed the Papua Terang (Bright Papua) expedition team on Monday when it entered Bokoa to map out electricity needs.

The armed assailants seized four firearms from a group of 16 TNI personnel who were deployed to guard the expedition team, which was deployed by state-owned electricity company PLN. At least five military personnel were injured in the incident.

The group's decision came following a discussion between its members and local leaders who urged the group to turn in the firearms to authorities.

"The incident was a misunderstanding. The Wagemuga people are in fact longing for development and access to electricity," Muhammad said. It is reported that the survey team consisted of three PLN experts, four University of Indonesia (UI) students and seven students from Jayapura-based Cendrawasih University.

The survey team was immediately transported to Enarotali, the capital of Paniai. They are now safe. (ipa)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/07/armed-group-returns-firearms-to-tni.html

Indonesian officials ruin Australian researcher's honeymoon over Papua

Asia Pacific Report - August 6, 2018

An Australian doctoral researcher whose honeymoon plans in Indonesia included a cultural festival in the insecure Papua region has been deported after Indonesian officials accused her of being a journalist, a news agency reports.

Belinda Lopez, a Bahasa speaker, is back in Australia with a week left of her holiday but her plans ruined.

Her husband had already been barred from boarding the flight to Bali because his Dutch passport had less than six months validity. She was forced to fly alone.

Lopez told the Jakarta correspondent of the US-based Associated Press agency she had been detained on arrival in Bali on Friday and had been told she would be deported on a 10pm flight on Saturday.

She told of her ordeal at the weekend on social media, saying immigration officials wanted to know if she was a journalist and repeatedly asked her if she had "done something bad to Indonesia."

Almost a decade ago she was a subeditor for English-language newspapers in Jakarta and had produced podcasts for Australia's state broadcaster ABC Radio National This Is About programme.

As a former journalist she was described on a website as having won awards as a producer for Radio Netherlands Worldwide in 2012 and 2013.

'Emerging creators'

"As an educator and producer, she has worked with several not-for-profit organisations, encouraging emerging creators and local communities to tell their own stories," the website said.

She is currently a PhD student at Sydney's Macquarie University, researching the cultural experiences of migrants to Java, Indonesia's most populous island.

Being deported is "devastating," Lopez told AP. "It's the first place I moved to as an adult, have visited so many times since, to learn the language and to visit people who have become some of my best friends in the world," she said in a WhatsApp message.

Her holiday plans included the Baliem festival in the Melanesian region of Papua that Indonesia strictly controls, including restricting foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers from visiting.

A pro-independence insurgency has continued in the Melanesian region since it was annexed by Indonesia in the early 1960s. Indonesia's police and military are frequently accused of human rights abuses in Papua, reports AP.

Unlawful killings

A recent Amnesty International report documented 95 unlawful killings by security forces in Papua since 2008.

Lopez told AP she had been refused a visa renewal two years ago in Papua because officials suspected she was a journalist. At that time they said she could not re-enter Indonesia for six months, according to Lopez.

The head of the Immigration Office at Ngurah Rai airport in Bali, Amran Aris, said Indonesia's military had added Lopez to a government blacklist as a "covert journalist".

He said he couldn't give other details because it was a state secret. "We only carry out the duties as her name is listed on the government's blacklist, so we have to refuse her entry," said Aris.

The Pacific Media Centre's director, Professor David Robie, described the treatment given Lopez as "shameful".

He said it was high time Indonesian authorities dropped its "paranoid" and "secretive" policy and allowed an open door with journalists and researchers freely visiting the two provinces of Papua and West Papua.

Dr Robie is convenor of the Pacific Media Watch freedom project.

Source: https://asiapacificreport.nz/2018/08/06/indonesian-officials-ruin-australian-researchers-honeymoon-over-papua/

Jokowi asked not to 'sell' Papua human rights issue in presidential election

Tabloid JUBI - August 4, 2018

Hans Arnold Kapisa, Jayapura – Manokwari, Yang Christian Warinussy, the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Study and Research (LP3BH) Manokwari, asserted President Joko Widodo, known as Jokowi, not to 'sell' the issue of human rights violations in Papua in regards to his candidacy in the Presidential Election 2019.

"I need to confirm this in regards to several steps taken by President Jokowi through his assistants to endorse the settlement of many cases of the alleged human rights violations in Papua which have been going for a long time and has never been a legal settlement," he stated in the press release received by Jubi on Wednesday (1/9/2018).

Meanwhile, Tinus Pigai, the Coordinator of the Solidarity concerned about public and development of Paniai, said he would boycott the presidential election in Paniai if the 'Bloody Paniai case' continue to use by a few of people who will take advantage on this.

"President Jokowi should give an order the civil administration and the military and police to not hamper the ongoing legal actions carried out by the Human Rights National Commission (Komnas HAM) as the authorised institution to investigate this case," said Pigai. (*)

Source: http://tabloidjubi.com/eng/jokowi-asked-not-selling-human-rights-issue-in-papua-in-presidential-election-2019/

Australian student barred from Indonesia and 'blacklisted' by government

Reuters - August 4, 2018

Indonesia has denied entry and will deport an Australian graduate student who was travelling via Bali to Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua on holiday.

Belinda Lopez, a PhD candidate in Indonesian studies at Macquarie University in Australia, wrote on social media that she had been detained at Bali's Denpasar airport since midnight on Saturday and was told she was on a government blacklist.

Papua has suffered a simmering separatist conflict since it was incorporated into Indonesia after a widely criticised UN-backed referendum in 1969 and remains one of its poorest regions. Access to international media remains restricted.

Lopez, who was formerly a reporter in Jakarta, said on Facebook that she was on her honeymoon and had planned to visit the Baliem tourism festival in Papua.

But on arriving at Bali airport, she was denied entry by immigration and asked if she was a journalist and whether "she had done something wrong to Indonesia".

Lopez wrote she had previously been deported from Papua in 2016, after being suspected of being a reporter.

Immigration office spokesman Agung Sampurno denied Lopez was being deported on suspicions she was heading to Papua as a journalist.

"Belinda was barred from entering Indonesia on an immigration issue," he said. However, he confirmed that Lopez was on an immigration blacklist.

Sampurno declined to provide an explanation for the immigration issue, noting it was Indonesia's sovereign right to deny entry to travellers.

Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono said Lopez's "case shows once again that the Indonesian authorities are still restricting foreign journalists, or anyone suspected [of doing] journalism, to enter Papua".

President Joko Widodo, after coming to power in 2014, pledged to ease media restrictions for Papua, but activists say journalists continue to be blocked when trying to report from there.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/04/australian-student-barred-from-indonesia-and-blacklisted-by-government

Oz student devastated after being barred from RI on what 'was meant to be a

Jakarta Post - August 4, 2018

Dyaning Pangestika, Jakarta – An Australian graduate student studying Indonesia and planning to visit Papua said she was devastated after being barred from entering the Southeast Asian country.

Belinda Lopez, a PhD candidate at Macquarie University in Australia, wrote on her Twitter account that she had flown to Indonesia for a holiday but had been told by officials at Ngurah Rai airport in Bali that she was "blacklisted" by Indonesian immigration authorities.

"I've been refused entry to Bali and have been held in a room at Denpasar airport on a couch since midnight. I am told I can only board a flight at 10 p.m. tonight, so that means I'll be detained for nearly 24 hours before I'm deported," she posted on Twitter on Saturday morning.

Belinda, who has worked as a subeditor for The Jakarta Post and The Jakarta Globe and made podcasts for the ABC, said she did not know why she was denied entry. "Immigration asked me if I was a journalist. Two staff members kept asking me if I had 'done something wrong to Indonesia'."

Other than visiting her friends, Belinda said she was also planning to attend the Baliem tourism festival in Papua.

This is not a joke: I'm blacklisted by the Indonesian government. Saya termasuk dalam daftar tangkal Indonesia (terjemahan dibawah). pic.twitter.com/diMWQhPC6h – Belinda Lopez (@belle_lopez) August 3, 2018

Immigration spokesman Agung Sampurno said Belinda had been denied entry due to "immigration matters."

"Every country has the right to deny an individual entry to for various reasons. In Belinda's case, it was only due to immigration matters," he told The Jakarta Post over the phone on Saturday.

He dismissed the notion that she had been denied entry because of her past profession as a journalist. "Situations like this are quite common. For example, the Australian government denies entry to our people every day without revealing the reasons."

Belinda said she had visited Papua two years ago and that the immigration office refused to renew her visa over suspicion she was also doing journalism. She had been told at the time that she could return to Indonesia six months later.

"So why am I now on the Indonesian government blacklist? For how long? For what reason? For going to Papua? This is devastating for me," she said. (ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/04/oz-student-devastated-after-being-barred-from-ri-on-what-was-meant-to-be-a-holiday.html

Indonesian influence in the Pacific grows, despite Papua disquiet

Radio New Zealand International - August 3, 2018

Johnny Blades – Indonesia's influence in the Pacific Islands is growing, but is shadowed by disquiet over its region of Papua, known widely as West Papua.

The West Papuan independence movement has significant traction in the region, where it continues to push for its self-determination aspirations to be addressed by the international community.

Considering Papua's political status as non-negotiable, Indonesia has been busy strengthening ties with a number of countries in the three Pacific Islands regions of Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia.

Amidst a flurry of diplomatic activity in recent months, Indonesian cabinet minister Wiranto attended independence anniversary celebrations on tiny Nauru, and the president of the Federated States of Micronesia was given red carpet treatment in Jakarta.

Jakarta says this is about working together with Pacific island countries on mutual interests. Others say it's principally about quelling support for West Papuan independence aims.

Some regional observers even suspect the hand of Jakarta was at play behind the change in the Solomon Islands government's policy on West Papua since Rick Hou replaced Manasseh Sogavare as prime minister last December.

April's visit by a Solomon Islands delegation to Indonesia's Papua and West Papua provinces caused an upset among some elements ofcivil society in Honiara, but showed how extensive Jakarta's diplomatic outreach has become.

The secretary of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Rex Rumakiek, said Australia's angst about the rising influence of China in the Pacific missed a more serious regional threat.

"The Melanesian countries are not very much concerned about Chinese influence. They are concerned mostly about the Indonesians' influence in Melanesia, because they're very destructive, they go right down to village level.

"They bribe people and buy political parties to change the government and so on. It's already happening. It's much more serious than the Chinese influence," Mr Rumakiek said.

A spokesperson from Indonesia's Embassy in Canberra, Sade Bimantara, said Mr Rumakiek's accusation was unsubstantiated and false.

He said Indonesia had consistently engaged and worked with Pacific Island nations for many years while respecting each other's domestic affairs and sovereignty.

"On the contrary, a handful of people claiming Papuan heritage and living overseas are the ones interfering in the domestic politics of Papua and West Papua provinces," Mr Bimantara said.

"They are not citizens and were never democratically elected into public offices in those provinces by the 2.7 million voters of Papua and West Papua. And yet, they claim to be the rightful heir to the provinces."

According to Franzalbert Joku, who is a consultant for Jakarta on Papua issues, President Joko Widodo and his administration recognise that Indonesia is a part of the Pacific.

"Demographically, geographically, we are part of the Pacific. One third of the total area of the country, to the east, is inhabited by Melanesians and Polynesians," he said.

Mr Joku, a West Papuan who frequently represents Indonesia at meetings of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Pacific Islands Forum, said the country wanted to help small island countries with their development needs. He cited Indonesian assistance in plans to build a convention centre in Tuvalu and a sports stadium in Kiribati as examples.

Indonesia is also offering help to Pacific Island countries with efforts to protect their all-important marine environment, although it is not the only larger country doing so.


Foreign governments sometimes take up the issue of human rights abuses in West Papua in their representations to Indonesia's government.

But few human rights defenders would have been satisfied with the wan assurances by the Dutch Foreign Affairs minister Stef Blok that he discussed a recent damning Amnesty International report on the issue when in Jakarta last month.

Some Pacific governments, notably Vanuatu, are concerned that Indonesia has obstructed efforts in regional forums to address West Papuan grievances.

A former Vanuatu prime minister and leader of the Vanua'aku Pati, Joe Natuman, said the move by some members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group to accept Indonesia into the regional organisation was problematic. "Whoever had that wise idea is causing us problems," he explained.

"You know, they said Indonesia comes into join [the MSG] to discuss issues of West Papua; Indonesia comes in and it doesn't want to discuss West Papua. So I think we have to review the Indonesian membership of MSG."

But Franzalbert Joku said it was not the responsibility of the MSG or Pacific Islands Forum to speak for Papuans. He said Papuans should be allowed to speak for themselves "by dealing with our own leaders in Jakarta and our own government".

"It's not for offshore organisations like the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Pacific Islands Forum to decide what should happen in Papua. Our position and especially our future is firmly within our grips."

However, the Liberation Movement, which has observer status at the MSG, argues that West Papuans are not free to express themselves and their political aspirations in their homeland.

Indonesian police arrested thousands of Papuans in 2016 when they demonstrated in Papuan cities in support of the Liberation Movement.

Jakarta also remains sensitive to regional calls for West Papua's political status, and the controversial process by which the former Dutch New Guinea, was incorporated into Indonesia in the 1960s, to be reviewed.

Last month while in Fiji, Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill was reported to have encouraged regional countries to take the issue of West Papua to the United Nations decolonisation committee.

Following this, PNG's Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato made a visit to Jakarta for talks with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi, reaffirming his country's support for the status quo in the Papuan provinces.

"They are an integral part of the Republic of Indonesia," he said. "There has been some misreporting on this issue. Papua New Guinea's position has not changed and there is no intention to ever change it."

Mr Natuman said he understood the sensitivity of the matter for PNG as West Papua's neighbour.

"But I think they should be honest with themselves and discuss openly with the MSG and with Indonesia, and of course eventually we have to involve the United Nations," he said.

"This is a mess created by the United Nations, and the United Nations have to come clean on this."

The regional calls for international action on West Papua persist from the likes of New Zealand government MP Louisa Wall, who is among a small but vocal group of local MPs pushing for the issue of West Papuan self-determination to be heard at the UN.

"I believe in self-determination, I believe in indigenous rights. This is a right of the West Papuan indigenous peoples to re-litigate something that has been highlighted, actually was done in an unjust and unfair way," Ms Wall said.

Ms Wall's voice is still only party of a minority in New Zealand's government whose formal position remains in support of Indonesian control of Papua.

New Zealand's prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, reiterated this support to Indonesia's president Joko Widodo during his state visit to Wellington earlier this year.

The issue of human rights abuses in Papua is a standing item on the agenda of the Pacific Islands Forum, whose leaders meet in Nauru next month.

Yesterday, the outgoing Forum chairman, Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, suggested some Pacific leaders sensationalised the alleged abuses by Indonesian military in Papua.

Speaking on national Radio 2AP, Tuilaepa, who has forged closer ties with Indonesia in the past year, conceded that various West Papuans wanted independence and sought to stop infringements of their human rights.

Tuilaepa said that where it concerned human rights issues, they should take up the matter through United Nations Human Rignts Commission.

Source: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/363267/indonesian-influence-in-the-pacific-grows-despite-papua-disquiet

Refugees not here by choice, says academic

The National - August 2, 2018

Junior Ukaha – West Papuan refugees seeking to live in Papua New Guinea have not come to look for land or home but were forced out of their country, according to John Lanta.

Lanta, 48, originally from Skou village in West Papua, was one of the 39 West Papuans who took the oath to be Papua New Guinea citizens at a ceremony in Lae yesterday. Lanta, an academic at the University of Technology, said the West Papuan refugees in PNG were a "special case" people.

"West Papuans did not initially come looking for a permanent home. We are different from other settlers," he said.

"We have a home, we have land, we have everything. But our reasons for being here, we cannot express further. You already know. Our fathers and mothers thought that the journey across the border would be a temporary one.

"Those who arrived in the '60s thought they would be back by the '70s. Those who arrived in the '70s thought it would be the '80s. The wait prolonged. "Then more came in the '80s and in the '90s."

He said they then realised "that we may be here for a lifetime". "Integrating into PNG culture was slow and hard at first maybe because we refused to believe that our separation from our people and loved ones was going to be permanent," he said.

"Many suffered depression and many died without a peace of mind. "But as time went on, our wounds have healed and, for some, perceptions have changed."

Source: https://www.thenational.com.pg/refugees-not-here-by-choice-says-academic/

NZ MP urges redress of West Papuan issue

Radio New Zealand International - August 2, 2018

A New Zealand government MP says the issue of West Papuan self-determination should be heard at the United Nations.

Louisa Wall made the comment at the launch of a new book examining New Zealand's position on Indonesia's Papua region, known widely as West Papua.

In her book 'See No Evil: New Zealand's betrayal of the people of West Papua', author Maire (my-ree) Leadbeater criticises successive governments for failing to support Papuan rights.

Ms Wall told Johnny Blades that she hopes more MPs will read the book and learn about Papua.


Louisa Wall: I believe in self-determination, I believe in indigenous rights. This is a right of the West Papuan indigenous peoples to re-litigate something that has been highlighted, actually was done in an unjust and unfair way. It was post-World War II. Obviously it was a convenience for the powers at that time. But I would hope what would guide us are issues of principle, fairness, justice, human rights...

JB: Do you think if more MPs knew about the context of the Act of Free Choice and the referendum, do you think there might be some changed attitudes?

LW: Yeah I do actually, because I believe that through information, people make informed decisions, and the fact now that we have a book titled 'See No Evil' that is quite critical of New Zealand's position, but it outlines the history of the issue, means the pathway forward really is, is there an appetite and a priority to redress an historical wrong? There are growing numbers of us that have become aware and do support the call for a free vote. I supported the call to add West Papua back on to the (UN) decolonisation list. Because actually they were on there and then they were taken off there. But there are mechanisms, and I believe we just need to continue to push the United Nations. And when I say "we" it's the coalition of the willing, really. There are parliamentarians right across the world that support this. But probably the entity that I think would have the greatest ability to influence New Zealand and Australia is the Pacific Islands Forum. And I know it is a priority for them. But at minimum, we should be making sure that the health needs, the social needs of west Papuans are taken care of. And when I hear stories of 72 children dying from a preventable disease (recent measles outbreak in Asmat regency) it's heart-breaking. We really need to hold Indonesia accountable, because they're responsible for ensuring their citizens have equal access to everything that that government provides to its citizens.

JB: Jakarta is very sensitive over international representations over Papua. How do you counter that?

LW: We just have to control what we can do as a parliament. We have a membership across the parliament. It's not more than fifty percent of us. Then obviously we could start to push for change more cohesively as a parliament. But I think individual MPs do what we can. I mean certainly within the Labour caucus, through our Pacific caucus and our Maori caucus, because this is an issue of indigeneity, and it's a result of colonisation, where we understand what West Papuans were fighting for, which is why we've addressed this issue and discussed this issue at our caucus. So we fully support the call for a free vote.

Source: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/2018656366/nz-mp-urges-redress-of-west-papuan-issue

Nationalist group attempts to disrupt Papuan independence rally in Jakarta

CNN Indonesia - August 2, 2018

Kustin Ayuwuragil, Jakarta – A group called the NKRI Volunteers (Relawan NKRI) attempted to disrupt an action by the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) in front of the State Palace on Thursday August 2.

The group, which arrived not long after members of the AMP and FRI-WP began giving speeches in front of the State Palace, intended to forcibly break up the action supporting independence for West Papua.

"NKRI [the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia] is non-negotiable!" shouted the group trying to compete with the megaphone being used by the FRI-WP and AMP.

The group considered that the speeches being given by their rivals were not based on evidence and were lies. Because of this therefore, they wanted the action to be halted immediately.

"Expel them now! These are historical lies", cried one of the group's members as they tried to force their way into the crowd of AMP protesters.

The police, which were watching over the action, immediately moved to separate the two groups trying to placate the Relawan NKRI by inviting them to take shelter at a security post.

When interviewed by CNN Indonesia, the group, which numbered around eight people, was reluctant to answer questions and said only that "We are Papuans".

Based on CNN Indonesia's observations at the rally, the number of protesters taking part in the AMP and FRI-WP action grew to around 30 or so people. The speeches also took up the exploitation of Papua's natural wealth by companies such as PT Freeport Indonesia and the like.

The protest action was held to commemorate 49 years since the Act of Free Choice or Pepera which was held in 1969. (arh/gil)


Pepera – Known as the "Act of Free Choice", in 1969 a referendum was held to decide whether West Papua, a former Dutch colony annexed by Indonesia in 1963, would be become independent or join Indonesia. The UN sanction plebiscite, in which 1,025 hand-picked tribal leaders allegedly expressed their desire for integration, has been widely dismissed as a sham. Critics claim that that the selected voters were coerced, threatened and closely scrutinized by the military to unanimously vote for integration.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Massa 'Relawan NKRI' Ganggu Aksi Pembebasan Papua Barat".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20180802141632-20-318956/massa-relawan-nkri-ganggu-aksi-pembebasan-papua-barat

Papuans commemorate 'Act of Free Choice' in 13 cities across Indonesia

CNN Indonesia - August 2, 2018

Kustin Ayuwuragil & Ramadhan Rizki, Jakarta – Commemorating 49 years since the 'Act of Free Choice' (Pepera), the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) held protest actions in 13 cities across Indonesia including Jakarta, Bandung and Ambon.

AMP spokesperson Surya Anta said that they were taking to the streets based on two principal issues related to West Papuan independence.

"They already declared their independence in 1961 deciding not to be part of the 1945 [declaration of Indonesian] independence [from the Dutch]", Surya told CNN Indonesia in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta on Thursday August 2.

Surya explained that at the time, the people of West Papua already had a state symbol, flag and currency, although no administration had yet been established.

The second reason meanwhile is that the people of West Papua want to separate from Indonesia because for years and years they have suffered slow-motion genocide.

This is in no way in accordance with the values enshrined in the state ideology of Pancasila in realising independence for all nations.

"They suffer oppression, abuse, slow-motion genocide, rape, abductions, no freedom of expression and access to information, and many other things", he continued.

The problems facing the West Papuans also include the massive exploitation of natural resources, which according to Surya, is because of the PT Freeport Indonesian gold-and-copper mine problem. Social inequality is also high compared with other parts of Indonesia.

Surya added that the West Papuan people want to separate from Indonesia because they do not feel Indonesian because of the numerous problems mentioned earlier.

"Yes (they want to separate from Indonesia) because from the very beginning they did not feel Indonesian. Go ahead and check the [1948] Youth Pledge. Was West Papua mentioned there?", he said.

Furthermore, Surya said that the infrastructure develo0ment which is being touted by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in Papua has not been enough to make the people feel Indonesian.

"Yeah, like the Dutch [colonial] period, we got schools, but did this then make us become Dutch citizens? No. We still felt convinced that our identity was different", he answered.

Widodo has become known as the Indonesian president which has most often visited Papua. His agenda has been varied but in his Nawa Cita [nine point priority program], Widodo prioritised the resolution of past human rights violations and the development of infrastructure in Papua.

Same old song

Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Menko Polhukam) Wiranto referred to protests by Papuan pro-independence activists such as today's as being a separatist action seeking to attract international attention.

"It's a small separatist movement but by methods such as this [they] want to get world attention", said Wiranto at his office in Jakarta.

The former commander of ABRI (Indonesian Armed Forces, now TNI) said that threats by Papuan pro-independence groups which have been widespread of late are just the "same old song" which has been played repeatedly for a long time.

As has been reported, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) will be holding actions in Jakarta and London to support a new referendum for the Papuan people.

Not only that, at today's action in front of the State Palace the AMP and the FRI-WP expressed their support for West Papuan liberation from the NKRI or Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

Responding to this, Wiranto suggested that people do not need to become upset or anxious about the frequent actions by such groups.

"This old song is the same as the one played in the past, we don't need to get upset, we don't need to get anxious, we will just fight it", he said.

Wiranto also said that the government would not be influenced by the separatist threat from such groups.

He asserted that in principle the government still considers Papua will remain part of the NKRI forever and does not need to be disturbed by challenges by any party at all.

"It is clear that we have a principle and standing position which cannot be disrupted by challenges from movements such as this", he said.

Soft diplomacy

In addition to this, Wiranto also insisted that the government has repeatedly made efforts to develop diplomatic relations with neighbouring countries in order to suppress biased issues related to development in Papua.

Wiranto claimed that heads of state in the Asia-Pacific region such as Micronesia, Nauru, and Australia are often invited to help in suppressing such groups.

"Soft diplomacy activities which we are carrying out in the South Pacific continue apace. They [the Papuan separatist groups] perhaps then feel angry about the soft diplomacy activities that we are conducting", said Wiranto.

Not only that, Wiranto claimed to have invited officials from these countries to see for themselves the current conditions and social developments in remote parts of Papua.

This is aimed at preventing countries in the Asia-Pacific region from misunderstanding the current social developments and situation in Papua.

"So we invite them to see the facts [on the ground]. As if we do not provide good education to our friends in Papua. This issue is being continually pushed, continually made an issue of, in Europe, the South Pacific, but you know yourself right, the reality is not like that", he said.

Wiranto said that there are still potential threats from irresponsible parties which results in the emergence of separatist groups in Papua.

He was reluctant however to city which parties he means. Wiranto said only that these parties do not want Indonesian to be united and only want to take the profits from mining in Papua.

"Because there are still parties that do not want our country to be united, there are still parties which take the profits from mining activities", he said. (osc)


Pepera – Known as the "Act of Free Choice", in 1969 a referendum was held to decide whether West Papua, a former Dutch colony annexed by Indonesia in 1963, would be become independent or join Indonesia. The UN sanction plebiscite, in which 1,025 hand-picked tribal leaders allegedly expressed their desire for integration, has been widely dismissed as a sham. Critics claim that that the selected voters were coerced, threatened and closely scrutinized by the military to unanimously vote for integration.

Although it is widely held that West Papua declared independence from Indonesia on December 1, 1961, this actually marks the date when the Morning Star (Bintang Kejora) flag was first raised alongside the Dutch flag in an officially sanctioned ceremony in Jayapura, then called Hollandia. The first declaration of independence actually took place on July 1, 1971 at the Victoria Headquarters in Waris Village, Jayapura, when Oom Nicolas Jouwe and two Free Papua Organisation (OPM) commanders, Seth (sometimes spelt Zeth) Jafeth Roemkorem and Jacob Hendrik Prai, raised the Morning Star flag and unilaterally proclaimed Papua Barat or West Papua as an independent democratic republic, complete with a National Liberation Army (TPN), a provisional constitution, government, senate and parliament.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Aksi Referendum Papua: Infrastruktur Jokowi Bukan Jawaban".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20180802173019-20-319027/aksi-referendum-papua-infrastruktur-jokowi-bukan-jawaban

Papuan independence protest to go ahead 'peacefully' despite police permit

CNN Indonesia - August 2, 2018

Ihsan Dalimunthe, Jakarta – Actions commemorating 49 years since the Papuan "Act of Free Choice (Pepera) in 1969 will be held at several different locations, one of which was in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta on Thursday August 2.

The action, which will begin at 11am, will be held by the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) and the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP).

AMP Jakarta organisational bureau head Gideon M Adii said that police refused to issue a permit for the action which is to take place in front of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's office.

"The permit for the action was refused, but this will not be a benchmark. Regardless of the situation we will still take to the streets", Gideon told CNN Indonesia on Thursday.

Guideon also confirmed that the action, which will be joined by more than 50 people, will proceed peacefully. He also called on all parties not to be concerned that the action would create a disturbance or traffic congestion in front of the Palace.

"We will be conveying [our demands] peacefully", said Gideon.

According to Gideon, they will be conveying nine points in the action. The most important of these is that the central government must immediately acknowledge that West Papua has the right to self-determination and independence.

Gideon again asserted that if the referendum or 'Act of Free Choice' (Pepera) held in 1969 which resulted in West Papua's incorporation into Indonesia was ridden with manipulation and intimidation by the Indonesian military or ABRI as they were then called.

In addition to the Jakarta action, a similar action will be held in London to support holding another referendum for the Papuan people.

The London action is being organised by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). In his Facebook account, ULMWP spokesperson Benny Wenda stated that the action would be held at Parliament Square in London.

Wenda stated that a referendum for independence is a concrete choice for the people of West Papua.

"1.8 million people in West Papua have called for a referendum of self-determination. A vote for independence which was overseen internationally", said Wenda.

Wenda again emphasised that independence is a free choice that is real for the people of West Papua.

He has been promoting the hashtag #LetWestPapuaVote and openly inviting other Facebook users to join. As of submitting this report, there were eight Facebook users who stated that they would take part and 63 who said they were interested.


Pepera – Known as the "Act of Free Choice", in 1969 a referendum was held to decide whether West Papua, a former Dutch colony annexed by Indonesia in 1963, would be become independent or join Indonesia. The UN sanction plebiscite, in which 1,025 hand-picked tribal leaders allegedly expressed their desire for integration, has been widely dismissed as a sham. Critics claim that that the selected voters were coerced, threatened and closely scrutinized by the military to unanimously vote for integration.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Tanpa Izin Polisi, Aksi Referendum Papua Diklaim Tetap Damai".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20180802090237-20-318859/tanpa-izin-polisi-aksi-referendum-papua-diklaim-tetap-damai

Indonesian police thwart separatist plot in west Papua

Xinhua News - August 1, 2018

Jakarta – Indonesian police have foiled a plan by separatists in west Papua to establish a transient administration of an independent state, police said here Wednesday.

Spokesman of Indonesian national police Inspector General Setyo Wasisto said that police had seized all attributes and banners before the planned inauguration event kicked off on Tuesday outside Cendrawasih university.

"When we were snatching the banners and the attributes they (the participants) immediately dispersed themselves just before the event commenced," Wasisto said at Jakarta Convention Center.

The spokesman said that police had found invitation letters widely distributed before the event, which were signed by Yoab Syatfle who claimed himself as prime minister of the transient administration of the planned state, said Wasisto.

The invitation was directed to all ethnic groups and the people of Papua, according to the police. Papua is home to the Free Papua Movement separatist group, which has engaged in guerrilla wars to establish an independent state.

Source: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-08/01/c_137361856.htm

Papuan activist reminds Jokowi of 3 severe human rights violation

Tempo - August 1, 2018

Hans Arnold Kapisa, Jakarta – Papuan human rights activist Yan Christian Warinussy asked President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo to avoid setting aside human rights violations in Papua for the sake of the upcoming 2019 Presidential Election.

"I highly urge President Jokowi through his [state ministers] to push for an to human rights violation cases in Papua that have long existed and has never been legally settled," said Yan in a press statement in Manokwari, West Papua on Tuesday, July 31.

According to the man who received the John Humphrey Freedom Award in 2005, there has been three major cases that arises upon mentioning human rights protection in Papua. The first is the Wasior case in 2001, Wamena case in 2003, and the Enarotali-Paniai in 2014.

"I would like to state that the three cases are considered severe human rights violations according to Article 7, Article 8, and Article 9 of Law No. 26/2000 on human rights," said Yan.

The Wasior case in June 31, 2001, was sparked by the killing of five police mobile brigade (Brimob) members and one civilian at the Vatika Papuana Perkasa. Authorities that were hunting the suspects had allegedly conducted violations including torture, murder, and abduction.

Meanwhile, the Wamena case in April of 2003 is when authorities swept 25 villages following a break-in of a military base weapons warehouse where two Armed Forces (TNI) members were killed. This caused the death of nine civilians and injured 38 people. The latest case happened in 2014 where five were killed.

Yan urged for these three cases to be solved accordingly by Jokowi's administration and said he would take it to the International Human Rights court if it does not.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/08/01/055920420/Papuan-Activist-Reminds-Jokowi-of-3-Severe-Human-Rights-Violation

NZ govt MP calls for West Papua issue to go to UN

Radio New Zealand International - August 1, 2018

A New Zealand government MP says the issue of West Papuan self-determination should be heard at the United Nations.

Louisa Wall made the comment at the launch of a new book examining New Zealand's position on West Papua.

In her book "See No Evil: New Zealand's betrayal of the people of West Papua", author Maire Leadbeater criticises successive governments for failing to support Papuan rights.

Ms Wall said the book offers telling insights on how Papuans had no say in their homeland's incorporation into Indonesia in the 1960s.

She said there is support within the ruling Labour Party caucus, as well as the M?ori and Pacific caucuses, to help Papuans get a fair self-determination vote.

"The pathway forward really is – is there an appetite and a priority to redress an historical wrong? There are growing numbers of us that have become aware and do support the call for a free vote. I supported the call to add west papua back on to the [UN] decolonisation list."

Indonesia's government, however, said that the incorporation of the former territory of Dutch New Guinea into Indonesia was final.

It said this was formalised with 1969's so-called Act of Free Choice, in which around 1000 Papuans voted for Indonesia rule over independence. However, this referendum is widely regarded as having been stage-managed.

The New Zealand prime minister and Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern reiterated the government's formal support for Indonesian control of Papua to Indonesia's president Joko Widodo during his state visit to New Zealand earlier this year.

However, Ms Wall and a number of government MPs consider West Papua's political status to be an unresolved issue of colonialism.

"We have to act on principles, and principles of justice and indigeneity," she said, conceding that the number of MPs pushing this issue were not currently a majority.

"I believe in self-determination, I believe in indigenous rights. This is a right of the West Papuan indigenous peoples to re-litigate something that has been highlighted, actually was done in an unjust and unfair way."

Source: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/363121/nz-govt-mp-calls-for-west-papua-issue-to-go-to-un

Regional forums urged to leave Papua affairs to Papuans and Jakarta

Radio New Zealand International - August 1, 2018

An Indonesian government consultant on Papua issues says political matters in Papua region should be dealt with internally.

Franzalbert Joku said concerns about human rights issues in Papua expressed in Pacific Islands regional forums were welcome.

But he said it's not up to regional organisations such as the Melanesian Spearhead Group, (MSG), and the Pacfic Islands Forum to speak for Papuans.

Last week the MSG director-general Amena Yauvoli said discussions about West Papua didn't belong in his organisation.

Mr Joku said Papuans should be allowed to speak for themselves. "By dealing with or own leaders in Jakarta and our two government," he said.

"It's not for offshore organisations like the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Pacfic Islands Forum to decide what should happen in Papua. Our position and especially our future is firmly within our grips."

Mr Joku said there were avenues open to Papuans to be able to achieve their aspirations within Indonesia. Mr Joku also said West Papuans stand to receive a greater share of local resource extraction projects.

He said that for many years Papuans didn't get a fair share from, or participate in, the management or development of their resources. But he said Indonesia's government of Joko Widodo had taken significant steps to change this.

Mr Joku said one example is Papua's Freeport gold and copper mine, whose owner is in the process of divesting 51 percent of its shares to Indonesian entities.

"It's a long process. The president and national government are doing all they can to negotiate with Freeport McMoran in order to secure a controlling interest in Freeport, (its mine in Papua), 51 percent. 10 percent of that is going to be allocated to Papua," he said.

Mr Joku said it's a better deal than that offered to resource owners in most mining projects in other Pacific countries.

Of the 10 percent of the share in Freeport mine which is to go to Papua, seven percent is expected to go to Mimika Regency where Freeport's Grasberg mine complex is located, while three per cent would go to the provincial government.

Source: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/363098/regional-forums-urged-to-leave-papua-affairs-to-papuans-and-jakarta

Human rights & justice

Rights commission won't join government's integrated team to 'resolve' rights

Tempo - August 6, 2018

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) is reluctant to take part in the integrated team to investigate past gross human rights violations which is being touted by Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Menkopolhukam) Wiranto.

Komnas HAM commissioner Beka Ulung Hapsara believes that the plan to establish the integrated team is not in accordance with the core principles of Komnas HAM or its authority in resolving past cease of human rights violations.

"Komnas' main principle is when talking about resolving past gross human rights violations that it is to be through judicial means", said Hapsara at the Komnas HAM offices in Central Jakarta on Monday August 6.

Hapsara said that the judicial process has three implications. First that the public understand the construction of the incident that actually happened. Second, to find the perpetrators who carried out the act and bear command responsibility for humanitarian crimes.

And third, obtaining clarity on the matter of compensation for victims. "[So] it's clear that we go through a judicial process which is tested in court", he said.

Hapsara said that it is a judicial mechanism that is mandated by Law Number 26/2000 on Human Rights Courts. If the government is envisaging a non-judicial mechanism, said Hapsara, then Komnas HAM does not have the authority to take part in such an endeavor. "Komnas is not in a position to join the team", said Hapsara.

Earlier, following a meeting at the Ministry for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs on July 31, Wiranto said that they are considering a non-judicial mechanism to resolve past gross human rights violations.

Wiranto claimed that the meeting was attended by representatives from the Department of Home Affairs, the Attorney General's Office and Komnas HAM. He said that the integrated team would investigate and find evidence on past gross human rights violations.

Komnas HAM chairperson Ahmad Taufan Damanik said that during a meeting with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on June 8 they explained Komnas HAM's position on the matter.

At the time, he said, Komnas HAM handed over a position paper to the president the contents of which called for judicial measures to be taken to resolve past rights violations. "We asked Bapak [Mr] President to pursue the steps that we had earlier discussed", said Damanik.

Today's statement meanwhile, said Damanik, is a clarification on the earlier claim by the Menkopolhukam that Komnas HAM would be involved in the integrated team.

"We have studied the matter. And on this occasion [I] want to clarify this to the concerned parties, particularly the victims, because in moral terms Komnas HAM acts under the advice of the victims", said Damanik.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Komnas HAM Enggan Bergabung ke Tim Terpadu yang Digagas Wiranto".]

Source: https://nasional.tempo.co/read/1114397/komnas-ham-enggan-bergabung-ke-tim-terpadu-yang-digagas-wiranto

After 20 years of fighting for justice, missing activist Bimo Petrus' mother

Kompas.com - August 6, 2018

Andi Hartik, Malang – Genoneva Misiati (76) is now resting in peace. Her long wait to find her beloved son, Petrus Bima Anugrah or Bimo is over but without success.

Bimo Petrus was an activist from the left-wing People's Democratic Party (PRD) from the city of Malang in East Java who was disappeared along with other pro-democracy activists in 1998. To this day, Bimo's whereabouts remain unknown.

Meanwhile the family continues to wait for news on the plight of the student from the Airlangga University in Surabaya who had moved to Jakarta. They are also demanding a resolution to the case.

They last heard from Bimo Petrus when he told them he would return home for Easter. 20 years later however, Bimo has still not arrived. His mother continued to wait until finally her wait ended when she died peacefully in her sleep.

Genoneva Misiati died at the age of 76 on Monday August 6 at 5.30 in the morning. She drew her last breath at the Panti Nirmala Hospital in Malang after undergoing a series of treatments.

"Between April and July she was admitted to Panti Nirmala six times. She complained of stomach pains. But right untill the end the illness was never diagnosed", said Dionysius Utomo Rahardjo, Misiati's husband and father of Bimo Petrus.

Misiati's body has been laid in state at the Gotong Royong Foundation I Malang. She will be buried on Tuesday August 7 at 8am at a cemetery in Malang.

Utomo said that his wife always thought about their missing child and this also affected her heath. "If she was thinking, naturally of course it would be about her children", he said.

There was no last request from Misiati for her lost son. Although at every chance, the residents of Jl. R Tumenggung Suryo II/20, Malang City, prayed and hoped for news about their abducted son. "There was no last request. But he was always in her prayers", he said.


Although he will continue to fight for justice for his child, Utomo has become pessimistic that the case will ever be solved. Moreover there are no signs that the government wants to resolve the case.

"Jokowi [President Joko Widodo says he] wants to be open, that's impossible. Jokowi's administration is overrun by the military, it's impossible", he said.

Suciwati, the wife of the late Munir Said Thalib, a renowned human rights activist who was assassinated in 2004, says that Misiati was a strong fighter because she continued to try and find news about the fate of her child.

"Bu [Mrs] Misiati was quite extraordinary. Together with Pak [Mr] Utomo and the families of the disappeared they came to Jakarta to advocate and tirelessly look for their missing children", she said.

"[She fought] for 20 years, a journey that was not short. I think that to this day she remained the most consistent among the families of the disappeared who have already died", she said.


Between 1997 and 1998 as many as 23 pro-democracy activists were abducted by members of the elite Special Forces Kopassus. After extended periods of detention – in many cases the victims were severely tortured – most were released although 13 remain missing and are presumed dead. Former Kopassus chief Lieutenant General Prabowo Subianto who was at the time President Suharto's son-in-law is alleged to have ordered the abductions. In April 1999, 11 low-ranking Kopassus officers were tried by a military court for the kidnappings and given sentences of between a year and 22 months in prison, although six of them were allowed to remain in the army. Subianto himself was discharged from the military for ordering the abductions but has never been tried. He now chairs the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and is expected to be the main contender in the 2019 presidential election.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "20 Tahun Berlalu, Ibunda Aktivis Bimo Petrus Meninggal dalam Penantian".]

Source: https://regional.kompas.com/read/2018/08/06/16051061/20-tahun-berlalu-ibunda-aktivis-bimo-petrus-meninggal-dalam-penantian

Criminalisation & political violence

Criminalised for fighting polluting company, 7 activists to appeal jail

Detik News - August 8, 2018

Angling Adhitya Purbaya, Semarang – Seven environmental activists have been put behind bars for fighting against pollution caused the company PT Rayon Utama Makmur (RUM) in Sukoharjo, Central Java.

An appeal against the sentences is still underway on the grounds that the judges [failed] to heed the facts in reaching the verdict.

The activists and local residents, Iss, Brilian, Sutarno, Sukemi, Kelvin, Bambang and Danang, received different sentences during the final hearing at the Semarang District Court (PN) on Tuesday August 7.

Iss was sentenced to two years and three months in jail under Article 406 Paragraph (1) of the Criminal Code (KUHP). Brilian and Sutarno were sentenced to two years under the same articles.

Sukemi and Kelvin meanwhile who were charged under Article 187 Paragraph (1) and Article 406 Paragraph (1) of the KUHP were sentenced to two years and three months jail.

Two others, Bambang and Danang, who were charged under Law Number 11/2018 on Information and Electronic Transactions or the ITE Law, were sentenced to three years in jail.

Responding to the sentences, the activist's lawyers from the Semarang Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) said they would appeal.

Mayaza Latifasari from LBH Semarang said that the advocacy team has issued a clear statement on the verdict. The panel of judges failed to acknowledge the fact that the actions of the defendants were in response to the environmental pollution caused by PT RUM.

"The verdict by the panel of judges was unjust because it ignored the objective conditions and the background behind the criminal acts as was acknowledged by the panel of judges in the considerations on the verdict in the case. Because of this therefore the verdict must be rejected", Latifasari told Detik.com on Wednesday August 8.

In addition to launching an appeal, the advocacy team will appeal to civil society networks to voice their support for the jailed environmental activist's fight against environmental pollution cause by PT RUM.

"[We] declare that we will submit a legal appeal against the panel of judge's verdict at the Semarang PN against this case", he asserted.


Since October last year, environmental activists along with local residents have been fighting to get the Sukoharjo regency government to halt operations by PT RUM's because the it has been emitting a foul smelling waste which has inundated villages in the vicinity and sickened local residents. The arrests were made following a blockade of the factory by local residents in front of the PT RUM factory on February 23 which ended with a security post being torched and the factory vandalised.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Dibui Karena Melawan Pencemaran, 7 Aktivis Langsung Banding".]

Source: https://news.detik.com/jawatengah/4156467/dibui-karena-melawan-pencemaran-7-aktivis-langsung-banding

Women's rights & gender

For economic growth, Indonesia should further gender equality: McKinsey

Jakarta Globe - August 3, 2018

Sheany, Jakarta – Indonesia could add $135 billion, or 9 percent, to its annual gross domestic product, if it advances gender equality, McKinsey & Company said on Wednesday (01/08).

In a report published this week, McKinsey revealed that countries in the Asia-Pacific region could add $4.5 trillion to their collective GDP by 2025 by promoting equality for women.

Guillaume de Gantes, a partner at McKinsey & Company, said the global consulting firm organizes training on unconscious biases and help alter people's mindsets to provide equal opportunity for everyone.

"Everyone has unconscious biases, so we do a number of roleplays in very specific situation settings... [It allows us to] create equal opportunity in the workplace, and I think this has really helped us get the most of all our talents at McKinsey," Gantes said. He added that the more micro the level, the more impactful this kind of training is.

McKinsey's report, "The Power of Parity: Advancing Women's Equality in Asia Pacific," also shows a strong correlation between gender equality at work and gender equality in society. The former cannot be achieved without the latter.

Clean India, according to McKinsey Indonesia president director Phillia Wibowo, is an example of a campaign that helps support women to be more productive members of society.

Also known as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the campaign was launched in 2014 to clean up streets, public infrastructure and improve sanitation. While it does not take the form of direct advocacy for achieving parity for women, Clean India addresses some of the main social causes that hinder it.

"[There is value in] broadening the horizon of awareness campaigns, so it's not always [just] about achieving parity for women, but [addressing] causes that can help achieve that," Phillia said, giving campaigns on early childhood education and mentoring for women as other examples.

In Indonesia, 30 percent of households have no clean water, clean cooking fuel or sewerage installations.

Unpaid care work, such as looking after children and the elderly, cooking and cleaning, is more often than not undertaken by women. When access to clean water and sanitation is improved, the amount of time women spend on these most obvious tasks will be greatly decreased and women would be able to participate more in the economy.

Companies and government institutions should also consider establishing daycare facilities for the children of their employees, McKinsey suggests.

These efforts ought to include promoting equal sharing of unpaid care work, which may be achieved through more gender-neutral work benefits and policies, like introducing both paternity and maternity leave.

Source: http://jakartaglobe.id/news/economic-growth-indonesia-gender-equality-mckinsey/

Sexual & domestic violence

Indonesian shaman accused of keeping girl as sex slave for 15 years

Reuters - August 7, 2018

Agustinus Beo Da Costa, Jakarta – An elderly village witch doctor in Indonesia entrapped a 12-year-old girl and tricked her into having sex with him for the next 15 years by claiming to be possessed by the "jin", or spirit, of a young boy, police said on Tuesday.

The woman, an identified by police as "H", was rescued on Sunday in Tolitoli regency, in Central Sulawesi province.

Acting on a tip-off, police said they had found the woman, who was now aged 28, in a rocky crevice in a jungle near Bajugan village, where she had been held during the day since her disappearance in 2003.

At night, police said she stayed in a hut near the house of the 83-year old man, identified by police as JG.

Central Sulawesi Police Chief Muhammad Iqbal Alqudusy said the man had shown the girl a picture of a boy named Amrin "who she thought was her boyfriend".

"She was led to believe that Amrin's spirit had entered (the elderly man's) body," Iqbal said on Tuesday at a news conference that was posted online. "It is obvious that he was satisfying his lust."

Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country but old beliefs about spirits and other paranormal activity are still held by some.

Iqbal later told Reuters the woman said she had been having intercourse with "Jin Amrin" since 2003 "but she was really having sex with JG". The man, he said, admitted to sexual relations since 2008.

Police said they found the woman after her sister alerted neighbours she was nearby. According to the Jakarta Post, the sister was married to the son of the shaman, known for his traditional healing methods and abilities to channel spirits.

The man explained the victim's disappearance to her parents by saying she had gone to Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, to work, the newspaper reported.

The man has been charged with offences under Indonesia's child protection laws, which carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

[Additional reporting by Jessica Damiana; Writing by Tom Allard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore.]

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-kidnapping/indonesian-shaman-accused-of-keeping-girl-as-sex-slave-for-15-years-idUSKBN1KS0QA

Court suspends prison sentence for Jambi rape victim

Jakarta Post - August 2, 2018

Jon Afrizal, Jambi – In a rare decision, the Muara Bulian District Court in Jambi has decided to suspend the six-month prison sentence for a 15-year-old girl who was sent to prison for aborting her pregnancy after being raped by her own brother.

Derman Nababan, who heads the district court, said on Thursday that the decision was made on "humanitarian grounds".

The verdict against the teenage rape victim has sparked criticism from human rights activists who believe her trial was flawed, and they have launched a major campaign demanding that the girl be released from prison.

More than 9,000 people have signed a petition demanding her release at change.org. The petition was initiated by the Jambi Women Consortium.

Activists, citing a number of irregularities during the trial, have also reported the judges handling the case to the Judicial Commission for alleged ethics violations. The commission has said it would look into the report.

Among the irregularities is the fact that both the victim and the perpetrator were represented by the same lawyer in two different cases: abortion and sexual assault.

The Jambi High Court said on Wednesday that they had summonsed the judges for questioning. "[We summonsed them] to listen to the explanation," Jambi High Court spokesperson, Hasoloan Sianturi, said on Thursday.

The case came to light in early June when local residents found a dead, 8-month-old male fetus on an oil palm plantation in Pulau village, Muara Tembesi district. Based on the results of the investigation, the police found that the 15-year-old girl was the mother of the deceased baby.

The brother admitted that he had forced his own sister to have sex with him eight times since September last year. He threatened to harm her physically if she refused.

The girl was found guilty of abortion as stipulated under Article 77 of the Child Protection Law, while her brother was found guilty of both abortion and sexual assault as stipulated under Article 81 of the same law.

According to the Health Law, rape victims can legally abort their pregnancy within the first 40 days of conception. However, the victim in this case decided to terminate her pregnancy after she was eight months along.

The girl's lawyer, Damai, who initially accepted the conviction, said he would appeal his client's conviction as the case had triggered global criticism. "We want her to be free," he said.

Save Our Sister Jambi spokesperson Zubaidah said her organization, which has provided counseling for the girl, welcomed the court's decision to suspend her prison sentence, citing the fact that a legal effort had been made to overturn her conviction.

"[The girl] is currently incarcerated at Muara Bulian penitentiary. She is deeply depressed," she said. (ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/02/court-suspends-prison-sentence-for-jambi-rape-victim.html

Protests in Indonesia as girl raped by brother is jailed for abortion

The Guardian - August 1, 2018

Kate Lamb, Jakarta – Indonesian activists have filed an official complaint against three judges in Sumatra, who sentenced a teenage girl to six months in prison for having an illegal abortion after she was repeatedly raped by her brother.

An alliance of women's rights and child protection activists met with members of the Indonesian Judicial Commission in Jakarta on Monday to urge them to investigate, saying the decision to imprison the girl was "grossly unfair".

"In Indonesia they only see abortion as black and white, that we really can't have abortions, whatever happens," said Genoveva Alicia, a researcher from the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) who attended the meeting. "And they [the judges] see this as a normal case."

The 15-year-old girl from Sumatran province of Jambi was sentenced by the Muara Bulian district court earlier this month for having an abortion while she was eight months pregnant.

Abortion is illegal in Indonesia except if a woman's life is at risk or under certain circumstances if she has been raped, but only within the first 40 days.

Jambi Police arrested the siblings this June, after a foetus was discovered in a palm oil plantation.

Her 17-year-old brother told police he had raped his sister eight times since September last year and that when she refused his advances he would beat her. He also claimed that watching porn had driven him to sexually assault her.

He was sentenced to two years in prison for sexually assaulting a minor, while their mother is facing charges for assisting her daughter in aborting the pregnancy.

Activists have called for the government to review the decision to imprison the teenage girl, arguing she should be viewed as a victim, and her abortion as a medical emergency.

Despite the outcry the case has caused and widespread coverage in the media, sparking criticism of the government for punishing rape victims rather than helping them, Monday's meeting was the first time the judicial commission had heard of the case.

"When we went to the commissioner they did not even know the case existed before we talked about it," said Genoveva.

"Our main concern is that the girl should not be detained and the abortion that she had should not be counted as a criminal offense, she should not be criminalised," said Ferena Debineva, from the Indonesian Family Planning Association, who was present at the Monday meeting.

Debineva, described the jailing of the 15-year-old as a "failure of the system".

Activists also pointed out irregularities in the case, including the fact the 15-year-old girl and her brother were both represented by the same lawyer, who was government-appointed.

A commissioner told the alliance representatives they were limited by judicial commission's scope of authority, which only permits it to investigate alleged ethical violations.

However, the commission agreed to respond to the complaint within 30 days and to monitor the ongoing trial of the mother. The development follows reports the 15-year-old girl now plans to appeal her sentence at the Jambi High Court.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/01/protests-in-indonesia-as-girl-raped-by-brother-is-jailed-for-abortion

Raped and jailed: Indonesian girl's plight prompts call to legalise abortion

Reuters - August 1, 2018

Beh Lih Yi, Kuala Lumpur – Calls to decriminalise abortion grew louder in Indonesia on Wednesday after a teenage girl who was raped by her brother was jailed for six months for terminating her pregnancy, sparking anger among activists who demanded her immediate release.

The 15-year-old, from Jambi province on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, was sentenced last month after a judge found her guilty of having an abortion, according to rights groups including Amnesty International.

Her brother, 18, was jailed for two years for sexually assaulting a minor, while their mother was arrested for assisting in an abortion, Amnesty International said.

Budi Wahyuni, vice chairwoman of the government-backed National Commission on Violence Against Women, called the girl's punishment a "gross injustice".

"She was raped and now jailed, it is a double injustice. All women must be given the right to decide on abortion and not being subjected to any punishments," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Jakarta on Wednesday.

Abortion is illegal in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country, unless the mother's life is at risk or it is performed under certain circumstances such as rape.

The procedure, however, must be carried out no later than six weeks into a pregnancy, or the woman may face up to four years in jail. Those who assist in carrying out an abortion can be sentenced to up to 10 years. The 15-year-old was about six months pregnant, officials have said.

Calling for decriminalisation, Amnesty International said that denying a rape victim an abortion violates her right to be free from torture or inhumane treatment.

"Indonesia has a legal obligation under international human rights law to ensure that victims of rape or incest can have timely access to safe and legal abortion," the group said in a statement.

Several children and women's rights groups on Monday lodged a complaint with Indonesia's Judicial Commission, demanding that the verdict be reviewed and accusing the judge of acting unethically.

"The judge should have taken into account the background of this case. She is clearly a victim," said Genoveva Alicia from the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, a Jakarta-based non-profit and one of the groups that filed the complaint.

Alicia said that many women and girls, especially in rural areas, are unaware of their pregnancy in the first six weeks. Criminalising abortion forces some to seek unsafe abortions, while others must marry, even if they are children, she added.

"In this case, the girl should not be serving her jail term now. What she needs is support and counselling," Alicia said. "She must be freed."

[Reporting by Beh Lih Yi @behlihyi, Editing by Jared Ferrie.]

Source: http://news.trust.org/item/20180801100609-d79tc/

Labour & migrant workers

Government expects facts to dispel rumors of Morowali foreign workers influx

Jakarta Post - August 8, 2018

Marchio Irfan Gorbiano, Jakarta – The government expects that the rumors of an influx of foreign workers at Central Sulawesi's Morowali Industrial Park would be laid to rest after journalists investigating the story uncovered facts that negated the rumors.

"Yes, there are foreign workers here [Morowali Industrial Park], but do they number in the millions? No," Bisnis Indonesia journalist David Eka Setiabudi said on Tuesday by video conference to a meeting at the President's Jakarta office.

Data at developer PT Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park (IMIP) shows that only 10.9 percent of the 28,568 workers employed at the industrial park, or 3,121 people, are foreign nationals, while the remaining 25,447 are local workers.

Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri, who also attended the meeting, said the journalists' findings should put an end to the controversy surrounding the issue of foreign workers in Morowali.

He said that many parties, including lawmakers and manpower officials, had provided similar testimonies following their visit to the industrial park.

Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko concurred with Hanif, expressing his hope that the rumors would "not be exploited for the political interests" of certain parties.

Hanif added that foreign workers in Indonesia were expected to provide knowledge and skills transfers to local workers to improve their competence. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/08/govt-expects-facts-to-dispel-rumors-of-morowali-foreign-workers-influx.html

Government recognizes mental health problems as occupational hazard

Jakarta Post - August 8, 2018

Ivany Atina Arbi, Jakarta – After decades, Indonesia has finally recognized mental disorder as an occupational hazard by issuing a new ministerial regulation that requires employers to ensure that their workers have a good work-life balance, among other things.

The inclusion has expanded worker protection to not only the usual blue-collar workers who work with machinery that could be dangerous but also to white-collar workers toiling in front of computers. Apparently, for some people, this kind of job can be hazardous.

Rosihan, not his real name, is a senior graphic designer who understands how designing advertisements can be hazardous to his health. He says he finds his job very stressful because his boss is demanding. Working seven days a week is something he has to do quite often. The workdays are also sometimes long.

"Oftentimes, I need to redo a design because my boss is not satisfied with it. Even if a client says the design is alright, my boss will still ask me to do it all over again," Rosihan said.

He said the company did not tolerate workers who came late in the next morning even when they worked very late the night before. His salary is cut Rp 15,000 for every 15 minutes he is late. "I feel like the company regards us, the employees, as machines rather than human beings."

The Manpower Ministry has included psychological well-being in a 2018 ministerial regulation on occupational safety and health standards issued in April. The regulation replaces an old one on occupational health standards issued in 1964.

The regulation stipulates that companies or employers must implement stress management to avoid their workers having mental health problems.

Workplaces should provide work training, counseling, a reward system and allow organizational changes to give employees the chance to convey their aspirations while carrying out their duties.

In another case of overwork, having the title "manager" can mean more pressure than privilege. A senior sales manager at a Jakarta-based digital agency, Suryani, not her real name, said she was trying to follow better time-management to avoid her old habit of staying overnight at the office to get through her mounting workload.

"I used to stay until 2 a.m., even overnight at the office to plan for a project," Suryani said, adding that she now arrived earlier at the office to complete work from the previous day.

Working overtime is the norm

Having a mounting workload and excessive working hours is common in the world of white-collar workers, especially those working at advertising agencies. Instagram account @overheardahensi captured this very condition and shared the workers' stories with 15,000 followers.

One of the posts reveals the thoughts of an advertising agency's account executive (AE), which reads, "My life as an AE is full of work. I work before sleeping, after waking up, even while I am pooping. Alas, I am still not rich." The post has been liked by more than 1,800 Instagram users.

Sindikasi, a media and creative workers union, has been campaigning for the government to pay attention to mental health at the workplace. Data gathered by Sindikasi from its members showed nearly 32 percent of media and creative workers experience excessive working hours of more than 48 hours per week. Meanwhile, the 2013 Manpower Law regulates that a regular workweek should be a maximum 40 hours.

Overwork often leads to depression, the union said of its data from members' reports.

Unhealthy behavior

The International Labor Organization (ILO) in a 2016 study emphasizes that a heavy workload and job demands, as well as conflicts at the office, are strongly related to mental health problems like exhaustion, burnout, anxiety and depression. To some extent, it results in other physical impairments, such as cardio-vascular disease and musculoskeletal disorders.

Work-related stress is also related to unhealthy behavioral patterns, like heavy alcohol consumption, less frequent exercise, increased smoking and sleep disorders.

"The impact of such unhealthy behavioral patterns is evident, as every year around 6 million deaths are caused by tobacco and over 3 million are attributable to alcohol consumption," the study says.

Indonesian Occupational Medicine Association 2017 data, posted on the Health Ministry's website, reveals that more than 60 percent of small and medium industry workers suffer from depression, and 57 percent of them find it hard to sleep or have insomnia.

Among the causes are high job demands, unclear job description and bad interpersonal relations with supervisor and colleagues.

Sindikasi chairwoman Ellena Ekarahendy expressed appreciation for the government's move to regard mental health important, and she hoped that all companies would comply with the new regulation.

"We are now developing guidelines for companies based on the regulation," Ellena said, adding that some things to be highlighted in the guidelines were clear working hours and job description.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/07/govt-recognizes-mental-health-problems-as-occupational-hazard.html

Negotiations stalled, motorcycle taxi drivers to strike at start of Asian Games

Coconuts Jakarta - August 6, 2018

One of the most remarkable changes to daily life in Jakarta and many other cities in Indonesia is the recent rise of ride-hailing services like Go-Jek and Grab that have hugely increased the number of convenient transportation and delivery options.

But instead of being able to show off the industry's innovations to visitors coming to the capital for the upcoming Asian Games, motorcycle drivers working for the two companies might create chaos instead.

Online ojeks (the local term for motorcycle taxi drivers working for app based ride-hailing services) have been protesting for months over the current minimum fares paid to partner drivers by Go-Jek and Grab, which are currently set at just around IDR1,600 (US$0.12) per kilometer. They previously threatened to hold a massive strike involving "2 million" drivers starting August 18, the day of the Asian Games opening ceremonies, if their demands for a higher rate were not met.

On Friday, members of the Two-Wheel Action Movement Presidium (Garda), a union representing motorcycle taxi drivers working for Go-Jek and Grab, met with representatives of the two companies for negotiations facilitated by the Jakarta Police's Intelligence Directorate. According to Garda representatives, the meeting did not go well and their plans to strike on the 18th were still going forward.

Igun Wicaksono, a Garda representative, told the media that Go-Jek's management said they would at least consider their demand to raise the tariff to IDR3,000 per kilometer. But he said that Grab's negotiators were not willing to budge.

"Grab's management rejected our demands. It was as if they were encouraging us to go ahead with our plans to demonstrate at the opening of the 2018 Asian Games. They were not cooperative," Igun told Kompas, adding that there were not yet any plans for further negotiations before the start of the massive regional sporting event.

During a major demonstration in front of the Presidential Palace in April involving thousands of drivers, President Joko Widodo himself met with representatives from the driver's side and instructed his transportation and IT ministers to meet with representatives of Go-Jek and Grab to find a solution.

The companies made tentative promises to increase their tariffs upon review, but have yet to make any major rate hikes, claiming that increases in fares would lead to lower demand and lower overall salaries for drivers.

Both Go-Jek and Grab have raised billions of dollars in investments to fuel their competition for market share in Indonesia and throughout the region, with Go-Jek raising over USD1 billion this year alone from numerous investors including Google.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/negotiations-rate-hike-stalled-motorcycle-taxi-drivers-determined-strike-start-asian-games/

Political parties & elections

SARA politics could potentially hinder 2019 presidential election

Tempo - August 8, 2018

Muhammad Isa, Jakarta – The main issue that the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) predicts would hinder the 2019 Presidential Election is the emergence of identity politics and SARA (ethnicity, religion, and race) issues.

Head of LIPI Political Research Center Firman Noor said both of them can prevent the democratic consolidation. "Other elements such as intolerance among society, radicalism, and other elements will be a hindrance," he said.

According to a LIPI research, the level of tolerance among Indonesians is currently in a critical condition with 62.8 percent respondents stating that the tolerance level is in a bad situation. This is caused by SARA issues being politicized, stigmatization, discrimination against minority groups, and other social conflicts.

Firman corroborated the research by the level of persecution cases that increased to a worrying level, circulation of hoax news, hate speech, and distrust among ethnicity groups, religious groups, and racial groups.

What makes it worse is that sensitive issues are often capitalized and amplified by political elites. However, LIPI researcher Syarif Hidayat said that these worrying SARA issues seldom emerge in the grass roots level, "As what happened in the Jakarta Gubernatorial Election which was manipulated by political elites."

The only solution to the problem according to Syarif is to control politicians' behavior and urging them to stop capitalizing on SARA issues for the short term benefit that it holds, but is able to have significant effects in the long run and possible horizontal conflicts.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/08/08/055920627/SARA-Politics-could-Potentially-Hinder-2019-Presidential-Election

Fadli Zon confirms AHY as Prabowo's VP candidate

Tempo - August 8, 2018

Dewi Nurita, Jakarta – Gerindra Party Deputy Chairman Fadli Zon confirmed that there was a one-on-one meeting between Gerindra Chairman Prabowo Subianto and Democratic Party Chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) on Tuesday afternoon, August 7, at SBY's residence in Kuningan, Jakarta.

"Yes, they met, discussed the progress and I think it became more obvious," said Fadli Zon on Tuesday night, August 7.

Fadli Zon said Prabowo already had two candidates, one of whom is the Head of Democratic Kogasma (Joint Task Force Command) Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (AHY). "AHY's name is definitely listed," he said.

Prabowo's coalition parties have not decided the vice presidential candidate but each of them wants their cadres to accompany Prabowo in the 2019 presidential election.

The National Mandate Party (PAN) wanted to propose its Chairman Zulkifli Hasan, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) insisted on proposing the Chairman of the Shuro Council of the Salim Segaf Al-Jufri party or Ustad Abdul Somad which is a recommendation from the National Movement of Fatwa Guards (GNPF) ulemas.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party claimed to have fully submitted the decision to Prabowo. The discussion of the coalition on Prabowo's party allegedly took a long time.

Gerindra held an internal meeting to discuss the progress of the political dynamics of presidential candidacy on Tuesday night, at Prabowo's residence at Jalan Kertanegara, Jakarta.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/08/08/055920624/Fadli-Zon-Confirms-AHY-as-Prabowos-VP-Candidate

PAN may join Jokowi's camp, PDI-P says

Jakarta Post - August 7, 2018

Marguerite Afra Sapiie and Nurul Fitri Ramadhani, Jakarta – There is a likelihood that the National Mandate Party (PAN) joins the coalition of parties that backs President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's reelection bid, despite uncertainty over whether the party will support him in the 2019 presidential election, a senior politician from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has said.

"We will see [...] whether there will be nine or 10 political parties that back [Jokowi]," Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday.

The ruling PDI-P is part of a coalition of nine political parties that supports the incumbent leader. The coalition is currently preparing to register a presidential candidate pair at the General Elections Commission (KPU) on Friday, the deadline for registration.

Pramono, however, refused to elaborate on whether the coalition was in serous talks with PAN.

PAN is technically still a member of the pro-government coalition, but it has shown signs of leaving it following cooperation with opposition parties in the Gerindra Party and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election, which resulted in a victory for Anies Baswedan and Sandiaga Uno.

Still, PAN has yet to officially support either Jokowi or his prospective contender, Gerindra's Prabowo Subianto.

Separately, PAN secretary-general Eddy Soeparno said he could not confirm whether his party would officially support Prabowo's coalition. "We're still in the process of discussing [which coalition to back]. We have yet to come to a conclusion," Eddy said on Tuesday.

The party planned to make a final decision in its national working meeting, which was initially scheduled on Aug. 6 to 7. However, party elites later postponed the meeting over internal matters, saying that they needed time to gather input from party members.

Speculation is rife that PAN's indecisiveness was due to division within the party, with chairman Zulkifli Hasan reportedly inclined to join Jokowi's camp while patron Amien Rais, one of the staunchest critics of the President, prefers Prabowo.

PAN has long been associated with Muhammadiyah, the second-largest Muslim organization, and its endorsement would give a boost to any camp it supports.

Jokowi met with the Muhammadiyah Student Association (IMM) at the Presidential Palace on Monday. The group handed the President a list of suggestions for his key government programs, adding fuel to speculation.

Muhammadiyah chairman Haedar Nashir swiftly brushed off any rumors, saying that, as a mass organization, the group had distanced itself from politics. (rin)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/07/pan-may-join-jokowis-camp-pdi-p-says.html

Jokowi denies inciting hatred

Jakarta Post - August 7, 2018

Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo defended his recent speech on Monday, which has stirred accusations of inciting hatred by his opponents, saying that he never intended to promote violence.

"I said [at that time] that our biggest asset is [the nation's] unity. Therefore let us refrain from inciting hatred and mocking others. That was what [my speech] was about," he said as quoted by kompas.com. "Please watch it [the speech] thoroughly and in context."

He was referring to a controversial speech he made on Saturday during a national meeting with thousands of his supporters in Bogor, West Java.

In his speech, Jokowi urged his supporters, who have worked on his campaign since the 2014 presidential election, to avoid inciting hatred or making libelous statements to attack rival camps during the campaign.

But his statement, which called on his supporters to "take on the challenge to fight bravely", immediately provoked accusations from his opponents, including the Gerindra Party who said it could be interpreted as a call to violence.

In his speech, Jokowi also used the word berantem, an Indonesian term that generally refers to a physical conflict between two or more individuals. His controversial comment came just after the registration for presidential candidate pairs opened on Saturday.

Jokowi's nomination has been officially announced but the candidacy of Gerindra's presumptive presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto, Jokowi's rival in 2014, is yet to be confirmed. Neither Jokowi nor Prabowo have named running mates. (ipa)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/06/jokowi-denies-inciting-hatred.html

Berkarya still hopes Tommy Suharto will run for president

Jakarta Globe - August 5, 2018

Sheany, Jakarta – The Beringin Karya Party, commonly known as Berkarya, is still holding out hope that the Constitutional Court will approve a petition to scrap the current threshold needed to put forward a presidential candidate.

If the court decides to amend the regulation, which requires a party to have 20 percent of all seats in the House of Representatives, or 25 percent of the national vote, to nominate candidates in presidential election, Berkarya Party will be able to endorse its chairman as a presidential candidate.

The chairman, Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra, is a son of former President Suharto.

"If the Constitutional Court decides to scrap the current threshold, the Berkarya Party will endorse Tommy Suharto as a presidential candidate," Berkarya Party secretary general Priyo Budi Santoso told reporters in Jakarta on Friday (03/08).

In January, the court rejected an appeal by various political parties to remove the threshold, as it does not violate the country's 1945 Constitution.

On June 13, a group of academics and activists, including former Finance Minister Chatib Basri and former General Election Commission (KPU) chairman Hadar Nafis Gumay, filed another appeal, which is currently being reviewed by the court.

Petitioners argue that the threshold prevents alternative candidates from contesting, limiting Indonesians' choice of leaders. They also expressed hope that the ruling will be announced before Aug. 10 – the last day for candidates to register.

Should the appeal be rejected, Berkarya Party will have to decide which presidential candidate it will endorse instead of Tommy.

According to Priyo, Tommy "gave a signal" during a recent event organized by Islamist group the National Movement to Guard Fatwas (GNPF) that Berkarya will follow its choice of Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto.

Prabowo is former husband of Siti Hediati "Titiek" Hariyadi, Tommy's elder sister. Berkarya will announce its decision before Aug. 10.

Source: http://jakartaglobe.id/news/tommy-suhartos-berkarya-party-holds-out-hope-for-removal-of-presidential-threshold/

Gerindra considers Jokowi's statement encourages violence

Tempo - August 5, 2018

Friski Riana, Jakarta – The Communication Agency member of the Gerindra Party Central Board (DPP) Andre Rosiade deplored the statement by the President Joko Widodo or Jokowi to his volunteers at Jokowi's volunteer general meeting.

"Gerindra deplores Jokowi's statement, asking his volunteers to be brave if they are invited to fight," Andre said in a short message received by Tempo on Sunday, August 5.

Andre said the statement could encourage violence. Jokowi previously briefed his volunteers at the Sentul International Convention Center, Bogor, West Java, Saturday, August 4.

Jokowi asked his volunteers not to start hostility, denounce, slander, and demonize others. "But if being invited to a fight, be brave," said Jokowi.

Jokowi also asked his volunteers to work harder than the political opponent in the 2019 presidential election.

"I ask the volunteers to work hard. If they [political opponent] are militants, we must be more militant. If they work hard, we must work harder. If they unite, we must unite more," he said.

According to Projo (Pro Jokowi) Chairman Budi Arie Setiadi, Jokowi's statement was not excessive. The president, he said, only pumped up the spirit of volunteers to be more militant.

"The President's statement is appropriate and good for pumping up the power struggle in the midst of hoaxes and slander with fake data," said Budi Arie.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/08/05/055920544/Gerindra-Considers-Jokowis-Statement-Encourages-Violence

PAN support for Jokowi or Prabowo determined at national meeting

Tempo - August 5, 2018

M Rosseno Aji, Jakarta – Chairman of the National Mandate Party (PAN) Zulkifli Hasan, said his party has not determined its support for Joko Widodo or Prabowo Subianto.

"Wait for the National Working Meeting, on Monday and Tuesday," he said in Jakarta, Saturday, August 4.

Zulkifli said the meeting would discuss the 2019 legislative and presidential election. "Just wait for the results of the national working meeting," he said.

Previously, Jokowi's coalition parties still opened the opportunity for PAN to join, in a meeting of the secretaries general of the coalition parties with Jokowi in Bogor on Tuesday, July 31.

"We did not specifically discuss PAN, but in the current government configuration, the PAN minister is inside," Secretary General of PDI-P Hasto Kristiyanto said.

Responding to that, Zulkifli said the party's decision would be taken through the National Working Meeting. "Yes, of course, we will hold the national work meeting on Monday in Jakarta. Later, just come," he said.

Chairman of the Gerindra Party Central Board, Ahmad Riza Patria, said he respected PAN that had not decided its support. "Every party has its own mechanism which must be respected," he said.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/08/05/055920535/PAN-Support-for-Jokowi-or-Prabowo-Determined-at-National-Meeting

Berkarya Party compares Jokowi to Soeharto

Tempo - August 4, 2018

Jakarta – Secretary-General of the Berkarya (Working) Party Priyo Budi Santoso, said that the blusukan (field monitoring operation) by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo had actually been done by former President Soeharto.

"Maybe [Jokowi] wanted to continue previous presidents' habits, including Pak Soeharto," Priyo said at the Berkarya Party Central Board office on August 3, 2018.

However, Priyo said that there is a difference between Jokowi's field trip compared to Soeharto's. Priyo said that former President Soeharto never called a field trip it as 'blusukan'.

"The difference is that Pak Harto never calls it as blusukan, and Pak Harto's blusukan was never broadcasted, which means it was really discreet," Priyo explained.

However, Priyo still appreciates Jokowi's style of doing field inspection. "We really appreciate such style of blusukan," he said.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/08/04/055920509/Berkarya-Party-Compares-Jokowi-to-Soeharto

KPU demands Gerindra remove Taufik from its candidate list

Jakarta Post - August 3, 2018

Jakarta – The Jakarta General Elections Commission (KPU Jakarta) has issued a letter to the Gerindra Party's Jakarta executive board asking it to replace councilor Mohamad Taufik on its list of legislative candidates because of Taufik's background as a former corruption convict.

Based on KPU Regulation No. 20/2018, political parties are required to exclude individuals who have been convicted of corruption, sexual crimes against children and drug dealing from their candidate lists. If the KPU discovers such candidates running in the 2019 election, it will disqualify them immediately and ask the related political parties to submit replacements.

KPU Jakarta head Betty Epsilon Idroos said the KPU Jakarta had received confirmation about Taufik's background from the court, the head of the correctional facility and the media.

"We delivered the letter to ask the political party to find [Taufik's] replacement based on KPU Regulation No. 20/2018," Betty said on Thursday as quoted by kompas.com. Betty said the name of the new legislative candidate should be submitted before Aug. 8.

Taufik, who currently serves as the council's deputy speaker, was declared guilty of corruption in 2004 while he was the head of the KPU Jakarta.

The court sentenced him to 18 months in prison for causing state losses of Rp 488 million (US$33,687) in a corruption case surrounding the procurement of election materials. Taufik has filed a judicial review to the Supreme Court to challenge the KPU regulation. (cal)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/02/kpu-demands-gerindra-remove-taufik-from-its-candidate-list.html

Prabowo appoints SBY as political mentor at the upcoming election

Tempo - August 1, 2018

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – Democratic Party Deputy Secretary General Putu Supadma Rudana said that democrat's party chairman Susilo 'SBY' Bambang Yudhoyono was asked by Gerindra Chairman Prabowo Subianto to specifically be his mentor in the 2019 presidential election.

"Prabowo personally requested this. He asked SBY to be his mentor," said Putu at the Senayan parliamentary complex yesterday.

He also said Prabowo mentioned that he looked up to SBY as a personal role model during the meeting yesterday. Putu suggests that SBY will be involved in strategic roles in assisting Gerindra win the 2019 election.

Putu further reasoned that SBY will not hesitate to share his experiences with Prabowo and acknowledged that both leaders are able to build a chemistry and has communicated well with each other.

"SBY is always nice with anyone, he can be really positive if asked to. I also see that Prabowo is well-mannered in communicating with SBY," Putu testified.

Gerindra and the Democratic Party publically announced its coalition for the 2019 presidential election on Monday, July 30, after the meeting between SBY and Prabowo earlier in the day.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/08/01/055920418/Prabowo-Appoints-SBY-as-Political-Mentor-at-the-Upcoming-Election

Environment & natural disasters

At the epicentre of the Lombok earthquake, villagers cry out for help

Sydney Morning Herald - August 8, 2018

James Massola & Amilia Rosa, Sembalun Bumbung, Lombok – Indonesia's government, military and aid agencies are struggling to deliver aid to people in some of the areas hardest hit by Sunday's magnitude 7.0 earthquake.

The death toll from the earthquake rose to 131 on Wednesday and will climb higher, while the number of severely injured jumped from 239 to 1477. An estimated 458 schools and 42,239 houses are uninhabitable.

Nearly three days after the quake hit, and as aftershocks continued to be felt across the island, Fairfax Media travelled to within a handful of kilometres of the earthquake's epicentre.

In towns like Sembalun Bumbung and Bayan, which sit in the shadow of the Mount Rinjani volcano, basic food, water, and clothing aid has only just begun to arrive.

Roads between villages such Kayangan and Gangga in the far north of the island were cracked wide open – in some places by more than a foot – bridges have suffered extensive damage, huge trees have been ripped out of the ground and evidence of landslides was frequent.

In village after village in the north of the island, houses lie in ruins, crushed by their rooves and abandoned by their walls.

Aid agencies including Oxfam, the Red Cross and Save the Children, working with local partner agencies, say they are scrambling to get sufficient aid to those most in need.

Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Wednesday more than 156,003 refugees had been created by the earthquake, a day after admitting assistance had not reached all because of road closures, and markets and shops standing empty.

"We still very much need food for adults and for children, [including] blankets, tents, drugs and water."

The Australian government is one of several countries to have offered assistance to Indonesia, but Mr Sotopo said Indonesia "does not need international assistance at the moment".

Mr Sotopo also reminded NGOs in Lombok that they "must remain in hotel and cannot do humanitarian aid" – though this did not apply to NGOs without local partners or offices.

A spokesman for Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) Arifin Hadi said Australia, through the department of Foreign Affairs and the Australian Red Cross, had promised $150,000, China's embassy had donated $US100,000, USAID had given $US60,000 and the International Red Cross 211,000 Swiss francs.

"To get an international assistance coming from out of Indonesia especially in the form of goods and personnel, the procedure is first to get confirmation from central government that this is a national-scale disaster and not a provincial one," he said.

Save the Children and its local partner Yayasan Sayangi Tunas Cilik flagged grave concerns for the thousands of people living in makeshift shelters in remote villages.

The organisation's Silverius Tasman said it and the Indonesian Government were "doing all we can to help these people, but we do need more support to allow us to reach these most affected populations".

Oxfam's local project manager in Lombok, Meili Narti, said there needed to better coordination of aid efforts between the government and the military.

"Right now it is almost three days, and still we are getting information that a lot of areas get no help yet, so I think we should all work harder to reach these people by the end of the week."

In Sembalun Bumbung, village elder Hasbi Haer took a break from tearing down what was left of his house to tell Fairfax Media that it could be at least six months before he and his family could move out of their tents.

"The government did give us aid, rice, noodles, and tarpaulin after the first quake [on July 29, which was magnitude 6.4], but it wasn't enough, there were too many of us," he said.

No aid had arrived after the more severe earthquake on Sunday night, he said, because of difficulty accessing the remote location.

"President Jokowi promised that government will assist with 50 million rupiah [about $4600] for each house flattened, but we don't know when that will be. We are now just thinking of surviving."

"We will tear down our houses, they are too damaged to fix, we will rebuild with plywood and timber, it is safer, cheaper and warmer."

His father, 90-something-year-old Hajji Kurniadi, said that an eruption by Mount Rinjani decades ago was "the big one". But damage from Sunday's earthquake to the village was actually worse.

His nephew, Ahmad "Adi" Munadi, 25, said he could no longer work at his coffee shop and his house, too, was now uninhabitable. Instead, Adi was now helping other family members cope with the aftermath of the disaster.

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/at-the-epicentre-of-the-lombok-earthquake-villagers-cry-out-for-help-20180808-p4zwbg.html

Carnage everywhere as Lombok locals plead for help

Sydney Morning Herald - August 7, 2018

James Massola, Amilia Rosa & Karuni Rompies – Faded road signs serve as a poignant reminder that the island of Lombok is usually a destination for tourists from Australia and other parts of the world.

Instead, all along the Pemenang Raya road, which sweeps and dips its way around this spectacular, scenic coastline, there is carnage.

Groups of teenage boys sit on plastic chairs in the middle of the road every few kilometres, waving cardboard placards asking for water, food, money and help. In one kampung, an angry local has spray painted a message to Indonesia's much-loved: "President Jokowi, look at us".

In another a furious woman, collecting what was left of her possessions from the ruins of her house, rounded on us. "What are you doing, just taking photos, you're not making any donation, you're not helping me to rebuild. You are of no use".

Time and again, locals tell us that help from government agencies in the form of food and water has been slow to arrive, or hasn't arrived at all.

The sense of anger and frustration among locals at the patchy government response seems to be growing – especially in some of the harder hit areas in the north of Lombok.

Help is coming, but slowly. Army trucks, police and ambulances whiz past on a regular basis and aid agencies are starting to mobilise.

But with so many destroyed houses, roofs thrown violently to the roadside and walls struck to the ground, the more populated, easy to access areas are receiving help first.

Ismail and his wife Suhaini, from a sub-village in Pemenang of about 40 families, returned to their destroyed house on Tuesday to try and salvage some of their possessions. "Our house, maybe in three seconds, it was gone and everybody else's in the village too. All gone, flat, ruined!"

"We escaped just with the clothes on our back, we [the villagers] set up camp nearby. Everybody was afraid to go home, this is the first time we came home. I've been wearing the same clothes for three days now. We need a change of clothes."

Four houses down, an eight-year-old girl had been crushed to death. Two doors down, eight members of the same family were severely injured. These stories are repeated up and down the Pemenang Raya road. Loading

An hour north up the road, a joint team comprising search and rescue agency Barsanas, the army and the police is still working to find survivors from the Lading-Lading mosque.

Barsanas' leading officer on the scene, Agung Alit, is blunt: "We can't really say how many were trapped" when the sprawling two storey mosque collapsed. Two people have come out alive, three bodies have been found and work will continue until the head Imam, Wira Kelana, is found.

"He was last seen by the side door of the mosque. We will continue maybe a day or two till we find him," Alit says. The likelihood of him being found alive is diminishing every day.

The full impact of Sunday's earthquake on Lombok, which lacks the infrastructure and popularity of Bali, is only now becoming apparent.

The death toll is now 105, with 236 people injured and it is expected to rise further because authorities believe people have been hit and killed by buildings including mosques, health clinics and houses which have collapsed.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, BNPB, said at a briefing that most of the dead had been found in North Lombok. The number of people evacuated from the holidays islands of Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air has reached 4636.

Hopefully the eyes of the world remain on Lombok and more help is sent, even as the tourists flee and the locals begin the slow rebuild.

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/carnage-everywhere-as-lombok-locals-plead-for-help-20180807-p4zw2v.html

Death toll rises, foreigners evacuated after Lombok, Bali earthquake

Sydney Morning Herald - August 6, 2018

James Massola, Amilia Rosa & Karuni Rompies, Lombok – Indonesian authorities expect the death toll from a magnitude 7 earthquake that hit the Indonesian tourist islands of Lombok and Bali will keep rising, after a first frantic day of rescue efforts got underway.

Already, 91 people have been confirmed dead and 209 have been injured after the earthquake hit on Sunday night, while tens of thousands of people have been forced to seek refuge after buildings and houses collapsed.

Lombok's main airport was near-overwhelmed on Monday afternoon by hundreds of local and foreign tourists seeking a rapid escape.

Many tourists who were caught out on the three Gili resort islands described a chaotic trip back to Lombok, with authorities struggling to organise an orderly evacuation.

There were about 1000 tourists on Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno evacuated, but authorities later said the evacuation of low-lying Gili was not mandatory.

The earthquake of 7 magnitude on August 5 caused extensive damage which is still being assessed.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, BNPB, said at a briefing on Monday afternoon that the agency believes the death toll will rise.

Mr Sutopo said it was difficult for rescuers to reach victims because of a lack of heavy lifting equipment to assist the rescue operations.

He described a congregation praying at a mosque in Tanjung district, North Lombok, which was hit by the building collapsing when the earthquake struck.

"We believe there are dead people under the debris but we are rescuing them manually. So we don't have any number of how many died under that mosque in Tanjing district," he said.

So far all of the dead are Indonesians but Lombok and the nearby Gilis are popular with foreign tourists, including Australians. There are reports that 19 foreigners have been injured, but it's unclear what countries they are from.

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Monday afternoon that no Australians were known to have died or been seriously injured as a result of the earthquake.

Australia's Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who was in Lombok for a regional counter-terrorism meeting, told Fairfax Media the quake "was powerful enough to put us on the floor".

Dutton and his delegation, along with his New Zealand counterpart, have since left their hotel and have gone to Bali, where the quake's effects were less severe. "We were up on the 12th floor, the lights went out and we were able to evacuate," Dutton said.

"I think we were pretty lucky in the end. Emergency services responded really well. They were able to evacuate us to safe ground and we are very grateful. There have been no reports of any local injures that we are aware of but we are anxiously awaiting further advice on that." Loading

The Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry said the Bali Process meeting on people smuggling in Denpasar, which Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is due to attend, will go ahead.

Bishop has arrived in Bali, and said consular staff are being sent to Lombok to assess the damage and assist Australians who might need help.

The most severely damaged area is north Lombok, partly because it is the most populated area. By 8am on Monday morning (10am AEST), there had been more than 132 aftershocks, according to Sutopo.

Bridget O'Kane, from Melbourne, who was holidaying on Gili Air Island, said she and three friends "heard a huge bang, someone said it was an earthquake, and we raced outside".

"I don't think I've ever been so scared in my life. The earthquake itself wasn't so bad, it was the fear of the tsunami afterwards."

She said local people had been very kind, bringing blankets and they spent the night in a field. "In the field there might have been about 100 people with us, a mixture of locals and tourists."

Irish backpackers Sharon Boot and Fiona Hughes were also on Gili Air and "the restaurant we were at literally came down around us".

"All the staff started to run, the lights went out, the whole roof shook. It was mayhem, the place was wrecked, we got out of the restaurant and got back to our hotel.

The pair said there were chaotic scenes on Monday morning as foreign tourists attempted to take boats back to Lombok. "There were no authorities, people were massively overcharging for boats back. It was ridiculous."

Like Ms Boot and Ms Hughes, other foreign tourists at Lombok airport complained about some locals price gouging both for boats to Lombok, and for taxi rides on to the airport.

Hundreds of tourists appeared to have been stranded at Lombok's main airport, and it was unclear if extra flights had been put on to cope with demand.

In one district of North Lombok, an estimated 85 per cent of buildings had collapsed.

The quake hit about 6.46pm Jakarta time (9.46pm AEST) on Sunday, 27 kilometres north-east of northern Lombok at a 15-kilometre depth, triggering a tsunami warning just a week after another quake in the same region killed 16 people.

Most of the fatalities occurred as a result of debris falling from houses that had collapsed in the earthquake.

The epicentre of the quake was the northern slope of Mount Rinjani, near where the previous quake struck a week ago.

Indonesia's BMKG (the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency) issued a tsunami warning soon afterwards, but that warning was lifted about an hour and 45 minutes after the quake hit, at 8.30pm local time.

There were also reports of blackouts and of mobile phone networks going down in northern Lombok, near the epicentre of the quake. Footage of damage to local businesses in Bali quickly emerged, too.

Australian tourist Sarah Lucy Rice, who is in holiday in Canggu, Bali, told Fairfax Media that she and her friends were eating dinner when they felt the ground begin to shake.

"I had one foot on the ground and one foot on a chair and shaking began to increase. Then we realised the earth was moving. Across the road, at a massage parlour, we saw people run out onto the street in towels and sarongs, and that's when we moved," she said.

At the Matahari shopping centre in Denpasar, staff had a major clean-up job ahead of them after roof tiles were shaken down onto the street below after the earthquake hit.

Indonesia's minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, former General Wiranto, said the regional counter-terrorism summit had been postponed following the earthquake.

"All delegates who will participate are safe. And due to the quake we decided to postpone the sub-regional meeting on counter-terrorism and let delegates go back to their countries," Wiranto said.

Australian actress Teresa Palmer is among a number of celebrities holidaying on Bali who tweeted about the quake.

US model and television presenter Chrissy Teigen posted a series of brief updates on her Twitter profile. The host of Lip Sync Battle initially wrote: "Oh my god. Bali. Trembling. So long," before adding "Phewwwwww," indicating that the tremors had stopped.

Teigen, 32, is with her husband, singer John Legend, and their two young children, Luna and Miles.

The former Sports Illustrated cover star revealed the house in which they are staying is elevated from the ground, which added to the terrifying experience. Teigen wrote: "Oh man. We are on stilts. It felt like a ride. 15 solid seconds of 'holy shit this is happening."

Like Bali, Lombok is known for pristine beaches and mountains. Hotels and other buildings in both locations are not allowed to exceed the height of coconut trees.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", an arc of volcanoes and faultlines in the Pacific Basin. In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

– with AP

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/death-toll-rises-foreigners-evacuated-after-lombok-bali-earthquake-20180806-p4zvru.html

Home industries in West Jakarta pollute environment

Jakarta Post - August 3, 2018

Jakarta – More than 100 home industries in West Jakarta have been warned to stop polluting the environment, with half of them dumping untreated industrial waste into rivers.

"All of them have been given three months to correct their practices," Edy Mulyanto, head of West Jakarta Environment Agency, said on Friday as quoted by wartakota.tribunnews.com.

He said the agency had sent 121 home industries warning letters from 2017 to July 2018. Edy said most of the home industries did not have wastewater treatment installations, as such a facility cost about Rp 100 million (US$6,894).

"It is expensive for home industries," he said. "However, it [a water treatment facility] is mandatory when establishing an industry. They should have known this from the start," Edy added.

Meanwhile, the agency inspected 40 home industries along the Mookervaart River in Kalideres, West Jakarta, and had taken samples of the river water to determine its quality. The result should be available in seven days, he said. (gis)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/03/home-industries-in-west-jakarta-pollute-environment.html

Indonesia's list of protected flora, fauna species grows from 294 to 921

Jakarta Post - August 2, 2018

Gemma Holliani Cahya, Jakarta – An updated list of protected flora and fauna has seen a jump in the number of species, from 294 in 1999 to 921 this year.

The new list, issued by the Environment and Forestry Ministry last month, aims to promote sustainability and a proper treatment of the protected animals and plants.

The ministry's biodiversity conservation director, Indra Exploitasia, said the updated list, revised for the first time in 19 years, was the result of a long discussion that began in 2007 and intensified in 2015.

"We hope that with the preservation effort, the management of the protected flora and fauna can be sustainable," Indra told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

On the list, the names of several birds appear, including kenari melayu (finch), gelatik jawa (sparrow) and kacamata jawa or pleci (Javan white-eye.

These birds are popular for the beautiful sounds they make when they chirp and are often kept at houses as pets, especially by Javanese people.

Indra said they were added to the list because they met the criteria for protected flora and fauna as stipulated in Article 5 of Government Regulation No. 7/1999.

The article states that any species of flora and fauna that are endemic to the country, have a small population or saw its population decline significantly are required to be included in the protected class.

"We are currently preparing a policy for the management of the protected flora and fauna. For example, the flora and fauna that can be brought [home] as pets must be certified first. But we are still preparing the policy," she said.

However, several species on the 1999 list are not on the new list, including 13 species of hardwood timber tree of the genus Shorea.

"The list can change anytime. If there is a study proving that the population of a certain [species of] flora and fauna is increasing or decreasing, then it could be used as consideration for the list," Indra said. (evi)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/02/indonesias-list-of-protected-flora-fauna-species-grows-from-294-to-921.html

NTB declares seven-day state of emergency after earthquake that claims 17 lives

Jakarta Post - August 1, 2018

Panca Nugraha and Gemma Holiani Cahya, Lombok/Jakarta – The West Nusa Tenggara administration has declared a seven-day state of emergency following a magnitude 6.4 earthquake that rocked Lombok Island and claimed at least 17 lives on Sunday.

"The state of emergency is for seven days and each team at three main posts will conduct an evaluation meeting every afternoon," West Nusa Tenggara Disaster Mitigation Agency head Muhammad Rum said on Wednesday, adding that the emergency was declared through a gubernatorial decree on Sunday and would last until Aug. 4.

During the state of emergency, the authorities will conduct inventory and data verification of destroyed houses to further decide what needs to be distributed to the owners for house renovations in accordance with the damage level.

The agency, along with various stakeholders are currently focusing on distributing aid to residents. The main priorities for evacuees include clean water and sanitation facilities.

Meanwhile, East Lombok regent Moch. Ali bin Dachlan has also issued a seven-day emergency as his regency was the worst-hit by the shallow magnitude 6.4 quake. Out of 17 total fatalities, 12 were killed, 200 were injured and 7,600 people had to stay in shelters in the regency.

In an official letter circulated among the related institutions, Zainul wrote that based on observations in the field he declared the emergency status for Sembalun and Sambelia, two districts facing the most destruction after the earthquake.

"The status can change anytime according to developments, the situation and condition in the field," he said.

As of Wednesday morning, the National Disaster and Mitigation Agency (BNPB) had recorded 10,062 displaced people and 5,448 destroyed houses across Lombok, most of which are located in East Lombok regency. (rin)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/01/ntb-declares-seven-day-state-of-emergency-after-earthquake-that-claims-17-lives.html

Fish in Brantas River ingest disposable diapers: Study

Jakarta Post - August 1, 2018

Wahyoe Boediwardhana, Surabaya, East Java – A study has found that 21 fish species in the Brantas River in East Java are threatened by solid waste that is dumped into the water, including disposable diapers.

In its latest study, Ecological Observation and Wetlands Conservation (Ecoton) estimated that half a metric ton of disposable diapers was dumped into the river each year. They calculated the figure after conducting 30 clean ups at one sluice gate in a year.

"Imagine, we got that number only from the samples we took from one sluice gate, Karangpilang," said Prigi Arisandi, executive director of Ecoton, on Tuesday.

A microscopic picture of the stomach of a fish taken from the Brantas River shows the fish had ingested plastic fibers and fragments.A microscopic picture of the stomach of a fish taken from the Brantas River shows the fish had ingested plastic fibers and fragments. (Courtesy of Ecoton/-)

Ecoton's research manager Riska Darmawanti said the organization had found plastic fibers akin to those found in diapers in the stomachs of several types of fish, including those known locally as rengkik, nila, keting, bayer merah, bader putih and jendil. The researchers found the plastic fibers in 80 percent of the fish they examined.

"When disposable diapers are immersed in water and exposed to sun shine, over time the diapers break down into smaller pieces. The fish swallow the pieces, which can be transferred from the stomach to the meat. When people eat the fish, the plastic will be transferred to their bodies," Riska explained.

Ecoton said solid waste had also contaminated the river water with plastics, compromising the health of 3 million tap water customers in Surabaya.

Ecoton urged the city administration to protect the rivers from solid waste, especially diapers. Recently, it took its protests to the streets, along with colleagues from the Diaper Evacuation Brigade Community, to urge the administration to remove diapers from the Brantas River.

Andreas Agus, a researcher at the community, said residents commonly ate keting and rengking fish. Ecoton also called on the public to return to using reusable cloth diapers.

"Consumers must change their behavior, the more comfortable a product makes us, the more threatening it is to our lives," Agus said.

East Java Governor Soekarwo called on mayors and regents to pay serious attention to solid waste in rivers.

East Java administration spokesperson Benny Sampir Wanto said the governor had asked regents and mayors to establish waste sorting facilities and instruct residents not to dump waste into rivers.

In December 2017, three residents, including Riska from Ecoton, filed a lawsuit against the governor. They accused the governor of showing negligence toward the management of disposable diaper waste in the Brantas River.

Last year, the United States-based NGO Trash Free Seas Alliance (TFSA) revealed that micro plastics had been found in 28 percent of fish in Indonesia's markets. The micro plastics come from plastic waste that enters rivers and ends up in the sea.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/01/fish-in-brantas-river-ingest-disposable-diapers-study.html

Health & education

Indonesia to ban dog meat consumption

Jakarta Post - August 7, 2018

Jakarta – The government has agreed to issue a regulation banning the trade in dog meat amid concerns over the spread of rabies and animal abuse following a series of campaigns against the consumption of dog meat in the country.

The pledge was made during a two-day meeting on the "National Coordination of Animal Welfare" in Jakarta earlier this month, which was attended by government representatives from the Agriculture Ministry and NGOs.

"All national participants agreed to issue a ban on the trade of dog meat in Indonesia and to prohibit the issuance of health certifications for dog meat for human consumption," the Dog Meat-Free Indonesia coalition said in a statement to The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

The coalition comprises local and international pro-animal welfare groups such as the Jakarta Animan Aid Network (JAAN), Animal Friends Jogja (AFJ), Change for Animal Foundation (CFAF), London-based Humane Society International (HSI) and Four Paws (FP). They have long campaigned against dog meat consumption and the cruelty behind the trade.

The results of the meeting, initiated by the ministry's directorate of veterinary public health, will be used as a recommendation to formulate a ministerial regulation regarding the ban on the dog and cat meat trade as well as other exotic animals in Indonesia. No further details were available as to when the regulation will be issued.

The statement cited the ministry's director of veterinary public health, Syamsul Ma'arif, who was reported as saying that the trade posed a risk to Indonesia's international reputation.

"Foreign countries find a low standard of animal welfare and cruelty unacceptable and will stop visiting Indonesia, which is bad for tourism," he said as quoted by the statement, adding that the trade in dog meat and animals that were not registered as farm animals were illegal.

The coalition commended the move, saying that the regulation would be a victory for animal welfare that it would make Indonesia dog-meat free. HSI president Kitty Block said the organization applauded the Indonesian government's pledge to end the brutal dog meat trade.

"We hope that this bold step will send a strong message to other countries across Asia, such as China, South Korea, India and Vietnam where 30 million dogs and 10 million cats suffer unimaginable cruelty for the meat trade, many of them stolen pets," Block added.

Several regions in the country such as Central Java, Yogyakarta, Bali, North Sumatra and North Sulawesi are known to have dishes made of dog meat that are sold at street food stalls and restaurants. In Surakarta, Central Java, an estimated 1,200 dogs are slaughtered and eaten daily by dog-meat connoisseurs in the city. (sau/rin)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/07/indonesia-to-ban-dog-meat-consumption.html

Aceh governor orders postponement of MR vaccine immunization

Tempo - August 7, 2018

Jakarta (Antara) – Aceh Acting Governor Nova Iriansyah instructed the establishment of Measles-Rubella or MR Vaccines to be postponed upon waiting for its halal certification.

"We have ordered the Health Agency to forward it to the city/regency to postpone the immunization," said Nova Iriansyah at Banda Aceh, Tuesday, August 7.

The delay, Nova explained, due to the vaccine status which has not been halal certified yet by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI). The immunization would be conducted after the MUI issue the halal certification.

"Thus, we demand the immunization be halted until MUI as the authorized institution releases its halal certification," said the acting governor.

Nova went on to say that MR vaccines distributed across Aceh regions would be taken and would later be replaced with the halal one.

"For those having vaccinated, we cannot take further action because it already absorbs in the body but for those who have not been immunized, all immunizations are postponed without exception," Nova underlined.

Earlier, Health Minister Nila Moeloek sent a circular letter for regents and governors regarding the implementation of MR Vaccines immunization. The minister let the regents and governors who willing postpone it in light of its halal status.

"The MR immunization for the public who do not relate to syar'i (Islamic law) issue will be done in professional based on the technical standard, while for those communities who consider the halal issue can wait for MUI's edict on the matter," said Minister Nila in a circular letter at Jakarta, Monday, August 6.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/08/07/055920597/Aceh-Governor-Orders-to-Delay-MR-Vaccine-Immunization

Bangka Belitung health department halts vaccine drive over lack of halal

Coconuts Jakarta - August 2, 2018

Yesterday, the Indonesian government started a massive month-long nationwide drive to get around 31.9 million children immunized with measles-rubella (MR) vaccines.

However, their efforts are being held up in many regions due to messages from the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the nation's highest Islamic clerical body, telling Muslims not to get the vaccine yet as they have not yet certified them as halal.

Following a letter sent out by MUI's chapter in Riau on Monday urging Muslims to not get the MR vaccine, the Provincial Health Office of Bangka Belitung has announced that it is temporarily stopping its MR vaccine program due to the lack of halal certification.

MUI Central sent out a letter on July 25 saying that it had never tested the MR vaccination, produced by state-owned Biofarma, that were being used in the immunization drive to make sure it was halal. In response, MUI Bangka Belitung sent a letter to MUI Central asking about the MR vaccination drive starting on August 1.

"Alhamdulillah, the letter we sent was quickly responded to and the provincial government immediately issued a letter of postponement," said Ahmad Luthfi, the secretary General of MUI Bangka Belitung told Kompas.

Bowing to MUI's demands, the Provincial Government of Bangka Belitung Islands issued an official letter of temporary suspension for the program.

Lufti said that officials from MUI Central would meet with the Healthy Ministry in Jakarta on Friday to discuss the vaccine's halal status and said he hoped their discussion would bring clarity to the matter.

There have been numerous stories about parents and schools in other regions where the immunization drive is taking place rejecting the MR vaccines due to the lack of halal certification such as South Kalimantan.

Central MUI Deputy Secretary General K.H. Tengku Zulkarnain was quoted on by Klik Balikpapan on Saturday as saying he was angry at the government for not submitting samples of the MR vaccine or the diphtheria vaccine being distributed throughout the country for MUI's halal certification process for over a year and demanded the government stop using them until the certification could be given.

Last week, officials from the Ministry of Health admitted that the MR vaccines produced by state-run Biofarma had not yet been certified halal but that it was currently in process. However, they said that MUI had already issued a fatwa in 2016 allowing vaccines to be administered to children who would otherwise get sick, regardless of whether they had been certified halal or not.

Sadly, this is not the first time MUI's obstinate attitude over halal certification has endangered the health of the country's children. Late last year, Indonesia was experiencing what doctors called an "extraordinary" outbreak of diphtheria that killed dozens, mostly for young children.

The government undertook a massive immunization program aimed at giving millions of children the diphtheria vaccine, but MUI made headlines across the country saying they had not certified the vaccine halal, claiming that it had never been submitted to them for testing either.

MUI has long been accused of using their halal certification authority as a lucrative money making scheme. Last year, the government enacted legislation that would transfer final authority over halal certification to them in 2019, though MUI would still play a major role in the certification process. Also, the government promised the certification process would be free, unlike in the past.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/health-department-bangka-belitung-halts-mr-vaccine-drive-lack-halal-certification/

Riau Islands starts MR vaccination despite Batam MUI's call for postponement

Jakarta Post - August 2, 2018

Fadli, Batam – The Riau Islands Health Agency has commenced with the national measles and rubella (MR) vaccination program in the province against the advice of the local Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) chapter in Riau Islands.

The national MR vaccination program is to scheduled run from August to September.

The MUI's Riau Islands provincial chapter had asked the agency to postpone the vaccination, pending a halal certification for the measles and rubella vaccines from the MUI's. The Riau Islands MUI reached its conclusion following an internal meeting a few days earlier, and had also called on residents not to participate in the program until the MUI advised otherwise.

"Should the vaccination [program] trigger doubts among Muslims, then it is better to postpone [the program]," said Batam MUI chairman Usman Ahmad on Wednesday.

The Riau Islands Health Agency, however, disregarded the Batam MUI's request and commenced with the government program on Wednesday, when Riau Islands Governor Burdin Basirun launched the program at an elementary school in Batam.

Riau Islands Health Agency head Tjetjep Yudiana said the provincial administration was not discouraged by the Batam MUI's advice against the vaccination program.

"It is an internal matter of the MUI. We haven't received any formal instruction [from the central government] to stop, so we are going ahead with the program," he told The Jakarta Post.

The agency has set aside Rp 11 billion (US$761,051.5) of its budget to finance the program and has deployed over 3,000 personnel to provide the MR vaccination from August to September. The province has targeted vaccinating 604,000 children between the ages of 19 months and 15 years.

"We have advised parents not to be confused. If they are concerned [about their children], then they should have their children vaccinated," Tjetjep said. (swd)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/02/riau-islands-starts-mr-vaccination-despite-batam-muis-call-for-postponement.html

Riau MUI urges Muslims to not get measles-rubella vaccines yet

Coconuts Jakarta - August 1, 2018

Health care professionals in Indonesia have faced huge setbacks in their battle to contain the spread of immunizable infectious diseases such as diphtheria and measles due to growing public skepticism about vaccines.

Unlike in some countries where anti-vaxxers rely on pseudoscience fears about autism or other side effects, in Indonesia the skepticism about vaccines come down to religious concerns and the country's top Islamic clerical body continues to help fuel this dangerous trend.

The Riau Islands chapter of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) released a letter on Monday urging Muslim citizen of the region to not get measles-rubella immunizations because the vaccine has not been certified halal by the central MUI.

The letter says that MUI Riau's board of directors had a meeting on Saturday and agreed on four points they wanted to deliver to the public:

First, until now the MR vaccine has not received halal fatwa from central MUI. Second, they called on the government health agency to postpone administering the vaccine until it had received halal certification from central MUI. Third, they called on all Muslims to not get the vaccine until central MUI issued their halal certification. Fourth, they called on the central MUI to immediately hold a discussion related to the MR vaccine with the House of Representatives (DPR), Ministry of Health, and related institutions to convey the results of MUI's decisions throughout Indonesia to become a reference in conducting socialization.

The timing for the letter is due to the government's current archipelago-wide MR vaccine drive, which started today and is scheduled to run until September.

Central MUI Deputy Secretary General K.H. Tengku Zulkarnain was quoted on by Klik Balikpapan on Saturday as saying he was angry at the government for not submitting samples of the MR vaccine or the diphtheria vaccine being distributed throughout the country for MUI's halal certification process for over a year and demanded the government stop using them until the certification could be given.

Last week, officials from the Ministry of Health admitted that the MR vaccines produced by state-run Biofarma had not yet been certified halal but that it was currently in process. However, they said that MUI had already issued a fatwa in 2016 allowing vaccines to be administered to children who would otherwise get sick, regardless of whether they had been certified halal or not.

Sadly, this is not the first time MUI's obstinate attitude over halal certification has endangered the health of the country's children. Late last year, Indonesia was experiencing what doctors called an "extraordinary" outbreak of diphtheria that killed dozens, mostly young children. The government undertook a massive immunization program aimed at giving millions of children the diphtheria vaccine, but MUI made headlines across the country saying they had not certified the vaccine halal, claiming that it had never been submitted to them for testing either.

MUI has long been accused of using their halal certification authority as a lucrative money making scheme. Last year, the government enacted legislation that would transfer final authority over halal certification to them in 2019, though MUI would still play a major role in the certification process. Also, the government promised the certification process would be free, unlike in the past.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/indonesian-ulema-council-riau-urges-muslims-not-get-measles-rubella-vaccines/

Government plans making social aid programs contingent on recipients not smoking

Coconuts Jakarta - August 1, 2018

The Indonesian government recently touted new economic data showing that poverty levels in the country had reached a historic low in March 2018 of 9.82% (the first time it had dropped below the 10% mark).

But that same data also once again spotlighted something well-known to Indonesian officials for a long time: on top of their disastrous health consequences, cigarettes also remain one of the primary causes of poverty among low-income Indonesian families.

Despite that, the government still seems stubbornly unwilling to pass strong national tobacco control regulations or increase cigarette taxes significantly (even though polls suggest that a vast majority of the public wants that) in order to decrease demand.

Minister of National Development Planning Bambang Brodjonegoro does have a plan to address the connection between cigarettes and poverty in a different way, however, one which we imagine would be quite controversial if implemented.

"I have submitted to [Harry Hikmat, the director general of social security at the Ministry of Social Affairs], a plan stipulating that, in the future, all families receiving PKH or who receive BPNT will no longer allowed to smoke," Bambang said during a forum yesterday at quoted by Kompas.

PKH is the abbreviation for Program Keluarga Harapan, a conditional social assistance program aimed at accelerating poverty reduction through the use of Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT) which are used to encourage participants to utilize various health and education services, especially those aimed at pregnant women, children and the disabled. BPNT is the government's non-cash food assistance program under which recipients are eligible to get eggs and rice worth up to IDR110,000 (US$8) per month.

Bambang, whose ministry helps oversee the programs, said that implementation of the non-smoking regulation would require government agents out in the field to check in on recipients to make sure they weren't lighting up.

"The point is that PKH is conditional and one of those conditions is that the family's living and spending patterns have to conform to what is stated in the PKH manual," Bambang added.

Bambang said there was strong data to support making non-smoking a requirement of the programs, considering it showed around 10-11% of the average poor household's budget going to paying for the patriarch's tobacco addiction

The results of a survey conducted by The National Commission on Tobacco Control and the Center for Social Security Studies at the University of Indonesia (PKIS-UI) showed that respondents from lower income households tended to have significantly higher rates of smoking. Those with a family income of less than IDR 2.9 million had smoking rates of 44.61% while those with income levels between IDR 3 million and IDR 6.9 million were 41.88%. Smoking rates of those from households with incomes of over IDR 7 million were only 30.91%.

In light of those facts, making non-smoking a requirement of poverty alleviation programs seems like a reasonable idea. But the chance of this plan actually getting implemented seem remote. On top of the difficulty of strictly enforcing such a condition, we imagine the potential backlash from pro-tobacco business and government forces would be strong.

Even in recent years, the Indonesian Government officials and tobacco industry lobbyists have consistently been able to hold off stricter regulations and higher tariffs on cigarettes by arguing that the economic benefits that tobacco brings to Indonesia outweigh the negatives. They often focus on the plight of poor tobacco farmers who might be put out of work if the government were to crack down on smoking (though some will admit to the crucial importance of tobacco excise taxes to government revenue).

But the real pressure comes from foreign-owned tobacco companies who seek to keep Indonesia's cigarette market growing strong to offset their losses in countries that wised up and made cigarettes expensive and hard to access long ago as comedian John Oliver explained in this brilliant segment (also featuring an appearance by Indonesia's infamous smoking baby)

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/indonesian-govt-plans-making-social-aid-programs-contingent-recipients-not-smoking/

Terrorism & religious extremism

Suspected terrorist arrested in Bogor

Jakarta Post - August 6, 2018

Jakarta – The National Police's Detachment 88 counterterrorism unit arrested on Saturday a suspected terrorist identified only by his initials TDW, 28, in a housing complex in Rawa Kalong, Bogor, West Java.

TDW was arrested on Saturday morning just minutes after he left his rented house, where he lived with his wife and two children. Local neighborhood unit (RT) head Ali Makmur Siregar, confirmed the arrest.

"I became aware of the situation after learning that there was a raid on one of my residents' houses," he said on Sunday as reported by tempo.co., adding that TDW had rented the house since January. "As far as I know, he is a herbal expert," Ali said.

Ali said that during the raid, the police confiscated several items, including some jihad-themed books, a laptop, several flash drives, cash in rupiah and United States dollars, and a passport.

Ali said that TDW regularly welcomed guests in his house. "The gatherings took place twice a week in his house, during which the doors were closed. There were five to seven motorcycles and the guests all wore cadar [full-face veils]," he said.

Ali said TDW and his wife rarely socialized with their neighbors.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/05/suspected-terrorist-arrested-in-bogor.html

West Java Police arrest 37 suspected terrorists ahead of Asian Games

Jakarta Post - August 5, 2018

Arya Dipa, Bandung – The West Java Police have arrested at least 37 suspected terrorists ahead of the 2018 Asian Games, in which several events will be held in the province.

West Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Agung Budi Maryoto said the arrests were part of counterterror measures being taken by the police. Most of the suspected terrorists were believed to be part of the banned terror network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).

"We carried out proactive measures against the JAD, which has the potential to commit acts of terror," he said on Friday after leading a ceremony for Asian Games security in Bandung, West Java.

In addition to Palembang, South Sumatra, Jakarta and Banten, West Java will host five events for the continental multisport event that will run from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2.

The police made the arrests from May to August in several locations across West Java, including in Tasikmalaya, Bandung, Subang, Cirebon, Indramayu and Bogor.

There will be 10,200 security personnel on duty throughout the Asian Games in the province, comprising 7,500 personnel from the West Java Police and 1,400 personnel from the Indonesian Military and other civil offices.

Agung urged the public to be alert and inform officials if they found something suspicious.

The Police have also anticipated a rise in street crime such as pickpocketing, jambret (a thief who snatches valuables) and motorcycle robbery by identifying repeat offenders of such crimes.

"From the thousands we have arrested, we have taken their photos and fingerprints hoping that they will not repeat any criminal acts," he added. (hol/rin)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/05/west-java-police-arrest-37-suspected-terrorists-ahead-of-asian-games.html

Freedom of religion & worship

Mother claims daughter's scholarship cut after she converted

Jakarta Post - August 2, 2018

Apriadi Gunawan, Medan – Lisnawati, a resident of Simalungun regency in North Sumatra and the mother of Arnita Rodelina Turnip, has accused the regency administration of cutting her daughter's scholarship because her daughter converted from Christianity to Islam.

Simalungun regency has denied the accusation, saying the scholarship was cut for administrative reasons. "There is no SARA [ethnic, religious, racial or ideological] element in the decision. It was an administrative glitch," said Resman Saragih, the head of the Simalungun Education Agency on Tuesday.

North Sumatra Ombudsman summoned Resman to explain why in 2016 his agency had cut Arnita's scholarship. Arnita has been studying at the Silviculture Department of Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB) in West Java since 2015.

Lisnawati said on Monday the regency had cut the funding after learning her daughter had converted to Islam. She said it was a discriminatory action.

The IPB said in a statement on Tuesday that they had received a notification from Simalungun regency that they would no longer send money to five students including Arnita.

"The reason for the other four were because the students had dropped out, but they did not give any reason for Arnita's case," the statement said. The IPB sent a letter to the Simalungun administration to ask them not to cut the scholarship for Arnita because her score during the first year was 2.71, which was satisfactory.

The agreement between the IPB and Simalungun in 2015 was to fund her education up to nine semesters.

Resman said after the first semester, his administration could not contact Arnita. She did not send a request letter or bank details for the scholarship transfer. In the scholarship program Arnita got Rp 20 million (US$1,385) each semester: Rp 11 million for tuition and Rp 9 million for living costs.

Lisnawati, who was also at the Ombudsman office on Tuesday, responded to Resman's explanation, accusing him of dissimulating. "My daughter was still at the IPB until the third semester, why do you say she could not be contacted? You're just making this up," she said.

The IPB said Arnita was still a registered student in the school although her status was non-active. "She filled in her study plan for the 2016/2017 academic year but she did not attend the classes because of financial problems," the statement said.

"Arnita is submitting a request to reactivate her status as a student again and the IPB is processing her request," the IPB communication bureau said in the statement. (evi)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/01/mother-claims-daughters-scholarship-cut-after-she-converted.html

Religion & politics

Group of ulemas pushes for VP slot in Prabowo coalition

Jakarta Post - August 7, 2018

Nurul Fitri Ramadhani, Jakarta – Ulemas and Muslim activists united under the National Movement to Safeguard the Ulema Fatwa (GNPF) are pushing Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto over the certainty of a vice president candidate.

The GNPF visited Prabowo at his private residence in Kertanegara, South Jakarta, late on Monday, asking about the recommendation it made regarding two potential VP figures for Prabowo.

"They came to ask [Prabowo] about the result of the discussion among the parties in the coalition regarding their recommendation," Gerindra secretary-general Ahmad Muzani said after the meeting.

The Prabowo coalition, despite no official declaration, now comprises the Gerindra, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Democratic Party.

The GNPF held an ulema gathering on July 24 and issued a recommendation proposing two figures as potential hopefuls to be Prabowo's running mate in the 2019 race. The two are Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) advisory board chairman Salim Segaf al-Jufri and popular preacher Abdul Somad Batubara.

Salim was a former social affairs minister and once an Indonesia ambassador to Saudi Arabia. However, most surveys have shown that his electability is too low to be able to help boost Prabowo's in the election. Meanwhile, Somad has reportedly refused the suggestion to be nominated for VP candidate.

Prabowo said he still needed more time to discuss the recommendation. But reports have said the former general is more interested in Agus Harimurti, the 39-year-old son of Democrat chief patron and former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. (jun)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/07/group-of-ulemas-pushes-for-vp-slot-in-prabowo-coalition.html

212 Presidium Alumni disagreed with GNPF

Tempo - August 4, 2018

Taufiq Siddiq, Jakarta – Alumni of the 212 Presidium expressed their dissatisfaction over the results of the Ulema Ijtima (Meeting) conducted by the Fatwa Safeguard National Movement (Gerakan Nasional Pengawal Fatwa – GNPF) in relation to the recommendation for president and vice president candidate for the 2019 presidential election.

"We are not satisfied, our choices were not represented by the names decided by the Ulema Meeting," said Chairman of the 212 Presidium Alumni Aminuddin on Friday, August 3, 2018.

The Ulema Meeting conducted by the GNPF resulted in two possible pair recommendation of the 2019 presidential election. The first proposed pair is Chairman of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) Prabowo Subianto as presidential candidate and Chairman of the Syuro Council of the Justice and Prosperity Party Salim Segaf Al Jufri.

The second proposed pair is Prabowo Subianto and a religious figure ustadz Abdul Somad.

Aminuddin said that he always followed the progress of the Ulema Meeting from the very beginning starting from the National Coordination Meeting of the 212 Alumni Brotherhood back on May. During the coordination meeting, some names were recommended for the 2019 presidential election.

However, Amin said that the names decided by the GNPF Ulema Meeting was not satisfying. Nevertheless, Amin said that the 212 Presidium Alumni will accept the decision because it is only a recommendation.

Amin explained that he disagreed if political parties are forced to comply with the recommendation. "Results from the Ulema Meeting must not be enforced by force, because the result is just a recommendation," Amin stated.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/08/04/055920514/212-Presidium-Alumni-Disagreed-ith-GNPF

Pornography & sexual morality

Luna Maya and Cut Tari remain suspects in Ariel sex tape case after pretrial

Coconuts Jakarta - August 7, 2018

The infamous 2010 pornography case involving the leaked sex tapes of pop star Nazril Irham (better known as Ariel) was thrust back into the spotlight recently after a legal organization submitted a pre-trial motion to finally revoke the 8-year-old criminal suspect statuses of the two women who also appeared in the illicit videos.

At the conclusion of the pre-trial motion hearing this morning in the South Jakarta District Court, the judge ruled that the court did not have the authority to revoke the suspect status of celebrities Luna Maya and Cut Tari, who officially remain suspects in the 2010 pornography case.

"The South Jakarta District Court has no legal authority to grant the termination of the investigation into Cut Tari Aminah Anasya binti Joeransyah M. and Luna Maya Sugeng. This matter is not a pre-trial object, and so this application is declared unacceptable," Judge Florenssani Susanti said before reading the verdict.

Kurniawan Adi Nugroho, the deputy chairman of the Indonesian Law Enforcement and Oversight Institute (LP3HI), said he suspected the judge would reject his organization's motion because the police had never issued their own official SP3 letters terminating the investigations.

"I suspected that might happen because (police have not yet issued an SP3 for the investigation) and that would be a consideration in the decision," Kurniawan said as quoted by Republika.

When questioned why police had not issued an SP3 for Luna Maya or Cut Tari in all of these years, a National Police spokesperson insisted yesterday that their 8-year-old cases had not been left "hanging" and they were both still "in process".

Kurniawan said it was now up to the police to either issue the SP3s to formally stop their investigation against the two women or begin actively investigating the case again as it was intolerable to force people to live with that kind of legal uncertainty.

Before this morning's hearing, Kurniawan had told CNN Indonesia that both women were the victims of the actions of other people and never should have been named suspects in the first place. He said his group's pretrial motion would teach police not to act arbitrarily in carrying out their duties as well as give legal certainty to Luna Maya and Cut Tari.

LP3HI said they had no personal affiliation with either Luna Maya or Cut Tari and had not been asked to submit the motion by either of them.

Neither woman has yet to make a statement following the pre-trial motion's dismissal, but one of Luna Maya's celebrity friends, Melaney Ricardo, said yesterday that Luna was upset due to the all the recent news stories about the old case and worried that it could hurt her career, which she managed to resuscitate after being ostracized by her industry in the wake of the 2010 scandal.

Ariel's leaked sex tape scandal caused a massive moral panic in Indonesia, ultimately leading to the musician becoming the first charged under Indonesia's then recently passed pornography law (though he was eventually convicted under UU ITE, the Law on Electronic Transactions and Information) and getting sentenced to 3.5 years in jail.

Both Luna Maya and Cut Tari were named suspects by the police in the pornography case but were never brought to trial following Ariel's conviction.

The chances that the police would restart the investigation now seems extremely unlikely, but their insistence that the two women's suspect status was still "in process" and not an oversight may make it awkward for them to now find a justification to formally issue an SP3. Hopefully they'll find a way to move on from the case, just like the rest of the country.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/luna-maya-cut-tari-remain-suspects-8-year-old-ariel-sex-tape-case-court-denies-pretrial-motion/

Intolerance & sectarianism

LIPI Report: Political elites capitalized hateful SARA issues

Tempo - August 7, 2018

M. Isa, Jakarta – An Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) research report concluded that ethnicity, religion, and race (SARA) issues were amplified as the issue is being capitalized and manipulated by the country's political elites.

"A LIPI poll result showed that SARA issues are not too significant in the grass roots level. The SARA issue outbreak during the Jakarta Gubernatorial Election happened because of the tendency that issue was manipulated and capitalized by political elites," said LIPI researcher Professor Dr. Syarif Hidayat in a LIPI event in Jakarta today.

The poll was conducted on 145 experts in politics, economics, social issues, culture, and human rights that were spread across 11 provinces from April 2018 to July 2018. The poll itself was a part of a program attempting to map the domestic political, economic, socio-cultural, and security defenses.

According to the professor, the results of the poll shows that the public persecution that happened lately among Indonesia's society was caused by the spread of hoax information (92.4 percent), hate speech (90.4 percent), radicalism (84.2 percent), social discrepancy (75.2 percent), and religious aspects (67.6 percent).

The percentage showed by the report strongly suggests that the existence of SARA issues are not too significant in the grass root level and is mainly a product of political elite's politicizing strategy.

Professor Syarif said that the solution to manage SARA issues and prevent it from spreading even wider is to control the behavior of Indonesia's political elites. He also warned elites to return to traditional political strategies rather than exploiting SARA as it can cause horizontal conflicts.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/08/07/055920600/LIPI-Report-Political-Elites-Capitalized-Hateful-SARA-Issues

AHY criticizes practices of identity politics and keumatan

Tempo - August 4, 2018

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – Chief of the Joint Task Force Command (Komando Satuan Tugas Bersama – Kogasma) of the Democrat Party Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, also known as AHY, expressed his concerns over the rising issues of identity politics, which can tear the country's unity apart.

"Regrettably, the issue of identity politics is slowly growing strong," said AHY an event on Friday, August 3, 2018.

AHY argued that identity politics in Indonesia can potentially cause a rupture among Indonesia's multiple races and religion. AHY further asked the country's youth to stop desecrating and placing blame among each other.

"Don't let our motherland shed her tears, do not let that happen," said AHY in his speech.

AHY, who is the eldest son of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, continued to rally the country's youth and urged for every element of society in Indonesia to create a safe, fair, prosperous, and developed country in the international stage.

AHY continued by criticizing the terminologies often used by political party coalitions for the 2019 Presidential Election, such as Keumatan (for the Muslim community), Kerakyatan (for the people), and Kebangsaan (for the country).

"We are all one, for the Muslim community, for the people, and for the country must be brought under one spirit," AHY stated.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/08/04/055920516/AHY-Criticizes-Practices-of-Identity-Politics-and-Keumatan

Jakarta & urban life

Anies and police in open disagreement over removal of HI pedestrian bridges

Coconuts Jakarta - August 1, 2018

The Asian Games start in just two-and-a-half weeks, but while Indonesia's athletes may be unified in their quest for glory at the massive sporting competition, the team in charge of Jakarta is arguing in public over the capital's preparations for the high-profile event.

The latest to join the chorus of critics who have lambasted Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan and his administration's poorly thought out pre-game policies is National Police Traffic Corps chief Royke Lumowa.

With the traffic police under serious pressure to keep the capital's notorious congestion in check during the duration of the games so that athletes and officials can travel between the sporting venues in under 30 minutes, Rokye could not hide his bewilderment over Governor Anies' decision to hastily remove the pedestrian bridges around the Hotel Indonesia Roundabout (aka Bundaran HI, perhaps the most iconic spot in Jakarta after Monas and certainly one of the most heavily trafficked).

"I do not know why it was hastily demolished, they should have waited until the Asian Games," Royke said at Jakarta Police Headquarters today as quoted by Detik.

Governor Anies had previously announced that the pedestrian bridges around the Jakarta landmark would be removed to beautify the area and make the Selamat Datang (Welcome) statue at the center of the roundabout more visible to visitors.

The bridges were removed on Monday night and have now been replaced with pelican crossings (which is just the term for crosswalks with traffic lights and indicators for pedestrians to signal when they can cross).

Anies said the pelican crossings would only be temporary as new underpasses were being built around the roundabout to connect pedestrians to the new Bundaran HI Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station. The MRT is scheduled to start service in March of next year

Royke said the police were worried that the pelican crossings will cause heavy traffic throughout the area (which wasn't exactly known for having light traffic to begin with). He also accused Anies of failing to coordinate with the police on his plans.

Anies responded to the police objections by saying that breaking down the pedestrian bridges would take the same amount of work if it was done in July or December. He did not address police concerns about how bad the pelican crossing will affect traffic along one the capital's busiest thoroughfares.

Media reports show pedestrians giving the new pelican crossings mixed reviews, with some saying it was more convenient now that they didn't have to climb up the bridges' stairs but others noting that cars still often ended up stuck in the middle of the crossing paths due to the heavy traffic. Transportation Department officers have been assigned with trying to keep vehicles from crossing the line.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/jakarta-gov-anies-police-open-disagreement-removal-hi-roundabout-pedestrian-bridges/

Jakarta administration ignores KASN questions about demotions: Official

Jakarta Post - August 1, 2018

Jakarta – The State Civilian Bureaucracy Commission (KASN) has revealed that the Jakarta administration has ignored its letters questioning the demotion of several high-ranking officials.

"The first incident [of demotions] was on January 10. We sent a letter [to the administration]. Our letter was not responded to and there was another round of demotions," KASN commissioner I Made Suwandi told Kompas TV on Tuesday.

On June 3, the administration demoted several officials again, including former Jakarta Education Agency head Sopan Adrianto, former Jakarta Public Housing and Buildings Agency head Agustino Darmawan and former Goods and Services Procurement Agency head Indrastuty Rosari Okita.

Made said the commission had also sent a letter questioning the administration's decision to demote the three officials, as demotions were typically only made if violations had occurred.

On July 5, the administration demoted several officials again, including four mayors, who claimed they did not receive any verbal or written warnings before being dismissed.

"Before the administration responded to our letters, another round of demotions happened. It kept coming," Made said.

Made said the commission had questioned the demoted officials, city secretary Saefullah and the governor and had also asked the administration to submit an investigation report on the demotions, but that the latter had used media reports to justify demoting the officials.

On Friday, July 27, the commission published a press release, urging the governor to reinstate 16 civil servants that he had fired, on the grounds that procedures and regulations had been violated during the process. (ami)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/01/jakarta-administration-ignores-kasn-questions-about-demotions-official.html

Sport & recreation

Oops, Asian Games banners have bloopers

Jakarta Post - August 8, 2018

Jakarta – Jakarta has welcomed the Asian Games by putting up banners, but they have typos and misplaced elements.

One banner in Palmerah, West Jakarta, is landscape-oriented and displays a collapsed mascot and the Jakarta administration logo, and a missing "g" in the Indonesian word terselenggara, becoming terselengara. Terselenggara means "being staged".

Another banner bearing the administration's logo has gone viral on social media because it has a typo, with Asian Games written as Asean Games. ASEAN stands for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Prominent writer Goenawan Mohamad rhetorically questioned who was to blame for the typo – the Jakarta administration or whoever made the picture that was used.

Goenawan tweeted another picture with the misspelling of "Asian Games" as "Aisan Games", adding jokingly "We're waiting: ASINAN GAMES". Asinan is an Indonesian dish of salty vegetables or fruits.

Public policy analyst Agus Pambagyo commented on his Facebook account: "How could [the Jakarta administration] not be thorough? [It] has become a public mockery." He also pointed out the banner bearing the term "Aisan Games", which was seen in Kartini subdistrict in Central Jakarta.

Meanwhile, Jakarta City Council's head of Commission D overseeing development, Iman Satria, showed the assistant to the governor for development and the environment, Yusmada Faizal, a picture of the misspelling on the banner, which went viral on the internet

"Here is one, Sir. Why was it spelled "Asean" on the Asian Games banner?" Imam questioned during a session at the City Council on Tuesday. "We could be a laughingstock. This is embarrassing, Sir. Especially with the Jakarta government's logo on it." (stu)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/08/oops-asian-games-banners-have-bloopers.html

More schools to close for Asian Games

Jakarta Post - August 4, 2018

Jakarta – The Jakarta administration has said that it will close 70 schools during the 2018 Asian Games.

Previously, the administration had announced plans to close only 34 schools, but it has since decided to keep more schools closed during the sporting event, which will be held from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2.

"Yes [...] there are 36 additional schools," Jakarta Education Agency secretary Susie Nurhati said, as quoted by tempo.co on Saturday.

She said there were nine additional athlete routes from the athletes village in Kemayoran to the Bulungan Sports Center in South Jakarta. Those routes had been approved by the traffic division of the Jakarta Police, the Jakarta Transportation Agency and the Jakarta Education Agency.

The school closure is expected to help ease traffic and thereby facilitate athletes' commute. (gis)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/04/more-schools-to-close-for-asian-games.html

Indonesia beefs up security ahead of 2018 Asian Games

Agence France Presse - August 4, 2018

Indonesia will deploy tens of thousands of security personnel to prevent street crime and potential terrorist attacks during this month's Asian Games, police said Friday.

Some 40,000 troops and police officers will deployed in the capital Jakarta and Palembang in Sumatra, which are co-hosting the August 18 to September 2 Games.

Another 10,000 police officers will be on standby in Jakarta, while hundreds of CCTV surveillance cameras have been installed inside and outside sports venues.

"Preparations are going well and we are ready to safeguard the Asian Games," national police spokesman Yusri Yunus told AFP.

Security would be tightened at public places including airports, malls, hotels and tourist spots, he added.

Terrorism, street crime and Jakarta's notorious traffic congestion are top priorities for the Games, national police chief Tito Karnavian said earlier this week.

Indonesia suffered its most deadly terror attack in more than 10 years in May when suicide bombers killed 13 people in the nation's second-biggest city Surabaya.

Karnavian said 242 suspected terrorists have been arrested since the attack, which reignited concerns about Islamist militants in the Muslim-majority nation.

Police say they have been rounding up terror suspects and petty criminals in a pre-Games crackdown. Some 700 street criminals have been arrested and 15 were shot dead for resisting arrest, according to police.

Earlier this week more than 500 elite members of the army, navy and air force conducted security drills in Jakarta.

More than 11,000 athletes from 45 countries are set to compete at the second-biggest multi-sport event behind the Olympics.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/indonesia-beefs-security-ahead-2018-asian-games/

National armed forces, police ready to secure Asian Games

Tempo - August 1, 2018

Jakarta (Antara) – Pangdam Jaya Military Commander Major General Joni Supriyanto stated that the National Armed Forces (TNI) and the Police are ready to maintain security during the Asian Games event which to be held from August 18 to September 2, 2018.

"All officers involved in security tasks are ready to maintain security during the Asian Games event," Supriyanto remarked at the Metro Jaya Police Headquarters on Tuesday.

The Pangdam Jaya Military commander and Metro Jaya Police Chief Inspector General Idham Azis led a show of force of Among Raga Operation for ensuring security during the Asian Games.

Supriyanto stated that the TNI Commander, Chief of Police, and Chairman of the Indonesian National Asian Games Organizing Committee (INASGOC) have held coordination meetings and provided directions for successfully hosting the Asian Games.

He revealed that the TNI, Police, and INASGOC, as the organizers of the Asian Games, have been making preparations for the international sporting event since some time ago.

The security officials will safeguard the contingent of athletes and officials from other countries in Jakarta for offering maximum security and comfort while competing.

Meanwhile, INASGOC Deputy Chairman Syafrie Syamsuddin noted that the show of force by the Military and Police is the starting point of the security simulation activities in the Asian Games match venues.

Syamsuddin insists security is an important part of support during the international sporting event of the Asian Games.

"The principle used in security to support the Asian Games is comfort and vigilance," Syamsuddin added.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/08/01/055920415/National-Armed-Forces-Police-Ready-to-Secure-Asian-Games

Film & television

Films on 1965 anti-communist stigma dominate awards at Purbalingga Film Festival

Wawasan - August 5, 2018

Joko Santoso, Purbalingga – A short film by a student whose family were victims of the 1965 anti-communist purge has won best fictional film at the 2018 Purbalingga Film Festival (FFP).

The awards were conferred on Saturday evening, August 4, at the Purbalingga Square.

The fictional film titled "Against the Current" (Melawan Arus) was directed by Eka Saputri and produced by the Kebumen 1 State Vocational School.

Facilitated by the Ministry of Education and Culture's (Kemdikbud) Cinematography Development Centre (Pusbangfilm), the film tells the story of a man and wife defending their rights to their land despite being branded decedents of the banned Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).

Yono, the husband, has lost his spirit to defend the land which is being disputed with the authorities. He suggests to his wife Siti that they move. Siti however who is strong in her convictions remains living in the house squatting on the land. The 10-minute film researches a land conflict in Urut Sewu, Kebumen.

According to one member of the fictional film jury, Teguh Trianton, "Against the Current" succeeds getting viewers to explore the psychological aspects of the issue. "The film leaves viewers contemplating deeply and leaves behind questions the answers to which can be found outside of the film", explained Trianton.

"We hope that our film can inspire viewers through the courage of community farmers in Urut Sewu in defending their right to land", said director Eka Saputri.

The best documentary film category was won by the film "Sum" by director Firman Fajar Wiguna and produced by the Purbalingga 2 State Vocational School.

The 15-minute film tells the story of a woman named Suminah, a former Indonesian Peasants Union (BTI, affiliated with the PKI) activist. After being incarcerated in jail for 13 years, Sum lives in solitude. She continues to wait for things to take a turn for the better.

According to the documentary jury board's notes, the film "Sum" was put together through selected esthetic pictures and a sequence of clear informational narratives.

"As an endeavor at visual communication, this film enriches the national historical language through a grass-roots perspective and the victims who were impacted upon by the excesses of political struggles at the national level", explained one of the jury members, Adrian Jonathan Pasaribu.

The favorite fictional film category was won by the film "Banner" (Umbul-Umbul) directed by Atik Alvianti and produced by the Purwareja Banjarnegara Group Indonesian Farmers Association (HKTI) 2 Vocational School.

In the favorite documentary film category meanwhile, viewers sided with "Unseen Legacy" (Warisan Tak Kasat Mata) directed by Sekar Fazhari from the Bukateja Purbalingga State senior high school.

The Lintang Kemukus award for Banyumas Raya maestro of the arts and culture was awarded to R. Soetedja (1909-1960), a composer from Banyumas, and the Kamuajo Musical Group was awarded the Lintang Kemukus category of contemporary arts and culture.

Purbalingga regent Dyah Hayuning Pratiwi, SE, B. Econ who attended the high-points of the FFP event, said that the Purbalingga regency government is committed to supporting cinematographic activities and the film festival in Purbalingga.

"Aside from being an arena for friendly gatherings, cinematographic activities are also an arena to improve respective regency's reputations and prestige", he explained.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Film Tragedi 65 Raih Penghargaan di FFP 2018".]

Source: http://www.wawasan.co/home/detail/5526/Film-Tragedi-65-Raih-Penghargaan-di-FFP-2018#.W2hPse7rsuo.twitter

Criminal justice & legal system

Jokowi receives all-women shortlist for MK seat

Jakarta Post - August 3, 2018

Gemma Holliani Cahya, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is expected to appoint a female legal expert to replace the first and only female Constitutional Court (MK) justice, Maria Farida Indrati.

Maria, who has been lauded for her progressive opinions, particularly regarding women's rights, will retire on Aug. 13.

The President has received the names of candidates shortlisted by an independent selection committee that he set up to find a replacement for Maria, according to State Secretary Minister Pratikno.

The three candidates are all women: Enny Nurbaningsih, head of the Law and Human Rights Ministry's National Law Development Agency (BPHN), Ni'matul Huda, a law professor at Yogyakarta's Indonesian Islamic University, and Susi Dwi Harijanti, a senior lecturer at Padjadjaran University in Bandung.

Enny, Ni'matul and Susi got the highest scores during interview sessions, the final stage of screening, and have gone through tight screening and beat other six candidates, including three men.

"(The President) will soon choose one, and [the chosen one] will take the oath in front of the President before Maria Farida ends her term," Pratikno said.

The Constitutional Court was set up in 2003 to protect people's constitutional rights. In recent years, the court has become a battleground for the conservative and progressive forces in the country. (ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/03/jokowi-receives-all-women-shortlist-for-mk-seat.html

Police & law enforcement

Investigation into possible extrajudicial killings held up by lack of data from

Coconuts Jakarta - August 1, 2018

Following a wave of news stories about violent street crimes, the Jakarta Police announced that they would conduct a month-long operation against thieves and other street criminals from early July to early August in order to make Jakarta safer before the start of the Asian Games on August 18.

In mid-July, they released the results of the first nine days of the operation, from July 3-12. It showed that officers had arrested 320 criminals, 52 of which were shot for allegedly attempting to resist in some way and 11 of whom were killed.

It seemed like the police were proud of the accomplishment, but rather than receiving praise they got heavy criticism from numerous parties over the shockingly high number of shootings. Officers taking part in the operation had been instructed to "act decisively" aka not hesitate to shoot suspects if they attempted to resist, which activists denounced as a violation of basic human rights opening the door to extrajudicial killings by the police.

Concerns over the large number of shootings fortunately led to more than just criticism but also action on the part of the National Government's Ombudsman office, which opened an investigation into the Jakarta Police's operation.

Today, a member of the Ombudsman team tasked with the investigation, Adrianus Eliasta Meliala, said he was disappointed with the Jakarta Police for not providing his office with any of their data from the operation, including the number of suspects shot, arrested and killed July 3 until today.

"We are disappointed, we asked for the data in written form, but it has not been given," Adrianus told Tempo today.

The Ombudsman official said he had a meeting with senior police officers on Friday to discuss the shootings and hear the police's explanation for their high numbers. He also asked for the data on the rest of the operation but until now has not received anything.

Adrianus said that his investigation was focused on trying to determine whether the shootings were done extra-judicially or not. Therefore he needed the police's data to check on things such as if acting officers had warrants and whether testimony about the shootings matched forensic data from the victims.

According to the Ombudsman official, the police gave him various excuses for not releasing their data to him, including data on injured suspect still needing to be gathered from various hospitals as well as general business ahead of the Asian Games.

Although the number is not official, the head of forensic medicine at Kramat Jati Police Hospital, Commissioner Edi Purnomo, said 15 suspects had been killed over the course of three weeks of the operation. Police stopped releasing official data on the operation after the second week following the criticism.

The anti-street crime operation involves around 1,000 officers divided into 16 teams tasked with monitoring certain areas of the capital prone to crime including bus terminals, train stations, shopping centers and highways.

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) criticized the police operation and warned that it was reminiscent of law enforcement under Suharto's New Order dictatorship.

"Playing around with shooting thieves, what's the difference between them (the police) and what happened during the Petrus incidents," said National Commissioner of Human Rights, Sandrayati Moniaga on July 12 as quoted by Tempo

(Petrus referring to "penembakan misterius" or the mysterious shootings that took place from 1983-1985 involving thousands of suspected criminals who were mysteriously shot to death by undercover snipers and had their bodies placed in public places as a crime deterrent. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's allegedly said that his his bloody war on drugs was directly inspired by the Petrus killings.)

The director of the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute, Alghifarri Aqsa, has urged victims of police shootings and their families to report unlawful actions and called on the police to reevaluate the policy, saying that it was not about protecting thieves but protecting the principle that suspects must be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/investigation-possible-extrajudicial-killings-held-due-lack-data-jakarta-police-ombudman/

Foreign affairs & trade

US seeks $350 million annual sanctions in Indonesia trade dispute

Reuters - August 7, 2018

Geneva – The United States has asked the World Trade Organization to let it impose sanctions on Indonesia after winning a trade dispute that it said cost U.S. business up to $350 million in 2017, a U.S. filing published by the WTO showed on Monday.

The United States and New Zealand both won WTO rulings last year against Indonesian import restrictions on food, plants and animal products, including apples, grapes, potatoes, onions, flowers, juice, dried fruit, cattle, chicken and beef. Indonesia also lost an appeal.

The latest U.S. filing said Indonesia had not complied with the ruling, so Washington was seeking annual sanctions to compensate for the damage done to U.S. interests.

"Based on a preliminary analysis of available data for certain products, this level is provisionally estimated at up to approximately $350 million for 2017," it said. "The United States will update this figure annually, as Indonesia's economy continues to expand.

Indonesia is still studying the U.S. move to seek sanctions, said Oke Nurwan, trade ministry's director general of foreign trade, adding that authorities believe Jakarta had complied with the WTO panel decision. He said rules on Indonesian food imports had already been revised.

The process of seeking compensation often take years, and Indonesia is likely to contest the size of any potential sanctions.

There was no immediate sign of a similar sanctions request from New Zealand, which said last year Indonesia's restrictions were estimated to have cost New Zealand beef sector up to NZ$1 billion. ($673 million)

Indonesia has been lobbying senior U.S. officials to keep the Southeast Asian nation on a list of countries that receive special trade terms under the Generalized System of Preferences, a facility that gives reduced tariffs to about $2 billion of Indonesian exports.

The U.S. Trade Representative's Office in April said it was reviewing Indonesia's eligibility for GSP in light of Jakarta's imposition of a wide array of trade and investment barriers that create serious negative effects on U.S. commerce.

Indonesia's trade minister Enggartiasto Lukita in July said he will advise Washington that Indonesia will remove trade barriers for U.S. apples following a WTO ruling as part of lobbying for GSP. Indonesia scrapped a quota system for beef imports in 2016.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/07/us-seeks-350-million-annual-sanctions-in-indonesia-trade-dispute.html

Jokowi receives visit from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Tempo - August 5, 2018

Ahmad Faiz Ibnu Sani, Jakarta – President Joko Widodo received a visit from the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, on Sunday, August 5.

"On this occasion, it will be used to discuss further on bilateral and international issues. But before I continue, I invite the noble to give the opening speech," said Jokowi.

Pompeo said he was grateful to be able to visit Indonesia and meet with Jokowi. He had heard the story of visiting Indonesia from the US Vice President Mike Pence. "Our vice president expressed his honor of enjoying the trip to here," he said.

Jokowi explained that Indonesia is the largest country in Southeast Asia and the largest Muslim country in the world. "We are also proud that democracy is growing rapidly in Indonesia," he said.

According to him, the challenge currently faced by all nations is to maintain the diversity of each other and mutual respect. "All this time I have continued to develop diversity and tolerance," he said.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/08/05/055920539/Jokowi-Receives-Visit-from-US-Secretary-of-State-Mike-Pompeo

No minor matter: Indonesian children jailed in Australia seek justice

WA Today - August 2, 2018

Jewel Topsfield & Amilia Rosa – The date April 27, 2010 is seared into Colin Singer's mind. Singer, an independent prison visitor, had reported for duty at Hakea, a maximum-security adult prison in Western Australia.

He was met at the prison door by the superintendent, the deputy superintendent, the chaplain and a senior officer. "Sir," they said. "We think we have a problem. We would like you to speak with the medical director."

The doctor showed Singer a printout of names of prisoners who had undergone medicals. Several names were highlighted and the doctor had scrawled: "These are juveniles."

Singer, whose wife is Indonesian, recognised the names as Indonesian. "I remember saying to the doctor: 'They are Asians sir, how do you know they are young?' He [the doctor] said: 'Some of these are prepubescent. How could they possibly be 20 years old? This is ridiculous'."

Singer spoke to one of these prisoners, whose name was Ali Jasmin (also known as Ali Yasmin). "Hey Mas," he said gently, using the Indonesian term to address younger males.

"The kid was petrified. I said 'calm down, calm down'. We talked to him for five minutes and I said: 'How old are you Yasmin?' And I am sure that at that time he told me he was 13."

As soon as Singer left the jail he started making phone calls. "And like an idiot, I thought I would wake up the next morning and it would be all fixed. If someone had told me it would take two years, I would have thought they were on drugs."

A 2012 report by the Australian Human Rights Commission revealed that between late 2008 and late 2011, 180 Indonesians who said they were children arrived in Australia having worked as crew on asylum-seeker boats.

Some were returned to Indonesia because they were found to still be children. However in other cases, Australian authorities ignored the youths' claims that they were under 18.

Sometimes they were determined to be adults solely on the basis of wrist X-rays, a method of assessing age that has been completely discredited.

Some were convicted of people smuggling and sent to adult prisons alongside murderers and rapists, others were held in immigration detention for long periods.

The report, An Age of Uncertainty, found the "Australian Federal Police, the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Prosecutions and the Attorney-General's Department engaged in acts and practices that led to contraventions of fundamental rights".

"As a nation that is understandably anxious that the rights of our own children should be respected when they come into contact with the authorities of other countries, it is troubling that between late 2008 and 2011 Australian authorities apparently gave little weight to this cohort of young Indonesians," wrote former Australian Human Rights commissioner Catherine Branson.

In May 2012, attorney-general Nicola Roxon announced a review of 28 Indonesians convicted of people-smuggling offences where substantial reliance had been placed on wrist X-ray analysis or where age was raised as an issue.

Of these, 15 were released early, on the basis there was reasonable doubt they were adults when they arrived in Australia.

Ali Jasmin, the terrified child Singer had met in Hakea jail, was deported back to Indonesia. Six years later, Singer is still angry. "The thing I am most embittered about is we depend on our justice system being fair and transparent."

But he is hopeful that a new complaint to the Human Rights Commission on behalf of 123 (and counting) Indonesians who were detained in Australia while allegedly still minors will pave the way to justice finally being served.

The complaint, lodged by law firm Ken Cush & Associates on behalf of the Indonesian youths, alleges the Indonesians were racially discriminated against.

Solicitor Sam Tierney says the respondents to the complaint are the AFP, the officer of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and Perth radiologist Dr Vincent Low, whose evidence based on the wrist X-ray technique was relied upon in multiple court cases.

He says the complaint is about both "raising a significant injustice" and "righting wrongs".

This could mean compensation being paid or people-smuggling convictions being quashed, as occurred in Jasmin's case in the WA Court of Appeal last year.

Jasmin spent more than two-and-a-half years in a maximum-security prison. Last year he told The Age/Sydney Morning Herald he had been sexually assaulted in the jail, when a man invited him to his room and then asked Ali to massage him.

"He pushed me to the bed. His hands were all over me. After I reached my limit, I got angry, stood up, broke down the door and ran outside. I was scared, I was traumatised after that."

Tierney says the respondents have until late July to provide their preliminary response. According to the Human Rights Commission website, it will attempt to resolve the complaint through conciliation.

"If conciliation is unsuccessful or inappropriate and the Commission finds that there has been a breach of human rights... has occurred – then the Commission can prepare a report of the complaint, including recommendations for action, for the Attorney-General," the website says.

The AFP and Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions both said it would not be appropriate to comment on a complaint before the Australian Human Rights Commission.

On Oelaba, a tiny fishing village on the Indonesian island of Rote, Siti Rudi still weeps when she talks about her son Abdul Rayan's disappearance nine years ago. "I didn't know what to think – was he dead at sea, why was there no news, why didn't he come home?"

Rayan was her youngest – he would have been at elementary school if they could have afforded it. Instead he worked crewing small fishing boats that ferried fuel drums between Kupang and Rote.

In late 2009 he was offered a million rupiah ($100) to work as a cook on a boat headed for Makassar to buy rice.

"But in Makassar, instead of rice, about 40 people showed up, Arab-looking people," Rayan says. "I was surprised but I didn't ask anything."

He was told the men were tourists and that the boat was taking them to Komodo, an island famous for its prehistoric-looking giant lizards.

But instead their boat – officially known as Suspected Irregular Entry Vessel (SIEV) 89 – was intercepted by Australian authorities on December 29, 2009, carrying 30 asylum seekers from Afghanistan.

At the time the federal government had a policy of not prosecuting Indonesian boat crew who were children and sending them home. Rayan insisted he was born in 1997 and was 13 when SIEV 89 was apprehended.

The problem was he couldn't prove it. Like many Indonesians from poor rural areas, he didn't have a birth certificate. And according to a wrist X-ray, it was determined that he was 19.

In 2001, the Australian Federal Police told a Senate committee it was prepared to treat all persons who were not clearly adults as if they were juveniles. But this benefit of the doubt was never afforded to Rayan and other Indonesian boat crew.

In An Age of Uncertainty, Branson says "insufficient resilience" in the face of political and public pressure to take people smuggling seriously seems to have contributed to a high level of scepticism about whether crew were still children.

"The X-ray said I was 19. I wasn't. I worked in boats, hard labour, maybe that's why my bones aged faster," Rayan says.

"I told my lawyer and the immigration officers that I was not 19, that I was born in 1997. But I had nothing, I couldn't prove how old I was and since the X-ray said I was 19, that was just that."

Rayan was convicted of people smuggling, a crime that carried a mandatory minimum sentence of five years' jail (with a three-year non-parole period) under Australia's tough border protection laws.

He was transferred from "baby camp", the phrase he uses to describe immigration detention, to an adult jail in Western Australia.

"Lebaran [the Islamic celebration that comes at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan] was the hardest. I missed home the most during Lebaran."

After two years and six months in Australia, Rayan was told by prison officers he was being sent back to Indonesia.

He was among a cohort of incarcerated Indonesians whom the Australian government sent back to Indonesia after the Age of Uncertainty report prompted a review, although then attorney-general Nicola Roxon stressed they would not be pardoned.

Their return home was a victory for Singer, who had never stopped fighting, and Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, one of the few politicians prepared to take up their cause in a political climate where prime minister Kevin Rudd had in 2009 claimed people smugglers should "rot in hell".

Hanson-Young first became aware of young boat crews when visiting immigration detention centres and was later alerted to the fact they were also in jails. "There wasn't much sympathy for boat crews but I wasn't deterred by that," she recalls.

She says the children had been exploited by people-smuggling syndicates and then had their human rights breached by Australian authorities.

Hanson-Young raised her concerns with the Australian Human Rights Commission and pushed for a parliamentary inquiry into the detention of Indonesian minors in Australia.

The hearings were "incredibly alarming". "There were instances in which kids had families find their birth certificates and school enrolment records and this information was just absolutely ignored and not taken into account," Hanson-Young says.

A number of witnesses and submitters raised concerns about the use of wrist X-rays to determine age.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists argued there was "overwhelming evidence that bone age estimation is too inaccurate to be used for determining chronological age for legal reasons".

In response to the inquiry, the government amended legislation in 2013 to remove wrist X-rays as a prescribed age-determination procedure.

The Migration Act was also changed to clarify that the prosecution bore the onus of proving someone accused of people smuggling was an adult at the time of the offence.

In June last year there was a massive legal breakthrough. The WA Court of Appeal quashed the people-smuggling conviction of Jasmin, the boy Singer met in 2010 in Hakea jail.

Jasmin was incarcerated for 689 days – 386 of them in adult detention – on the basis of a wrist X-ray that put his age at about 19.

This was despite the Crown possessing a verified copy of his birth certificate, which was not tendered because it was not considered credible evidence.

Perth radiologist Low had given evidence there was just a 24 per cent chance that Jasmin was 18 or younger at the time of the offence, based on a wrist X-ray.

But the president of the WA Court of Appeal, Justice Michael Buss, said Low's evidence had been "entirely discredited".

"In truth it had no acceptable basis in fact or by reference to generally accepted scientific methodology. Dr Low's opinion was unsatisfactory and unreliable."

Back in Indonesia, Jasmin says he is grateful his conviction was overturned but he will continue to fight. He had been advised a complaint to the Human Rights Commission was the best way to proceed.

"I believe I am entitled to compensation, because Australia made a mistake by imprisoning me," he says.

"I thought it was just me and some other kids, I thought there were only like seven of us, but now it turns out there are more than 100 and still more out there. They are my friends now, it is now our fight, we struggle together. I am now more confident than before with our case."

Meanwhile, he has vowed to warn other Indonesian children not to be fooled by people smugglers. "I am sure they are still out there, targeting other children, looking for more victims."

Source: https://www.watoday.com.au/politics/federal/no-minor-matter-indonesian-children-jailed-in-australia-seek-justice-20180727-p4zu0w.html

Mining & energy

Freeport permit extended another month

Jakarta Post - August 2, 2018

Jakarta – The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has extended PT Freeport Indonesia's (PTFI) temporary special mining permit (IUPK) for another month after it expired on Tuesday.

"Yes, the Freeport IUPK has been extended until Aug. 31," Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry mineral and coal director general Bambang Gatot Ariyono said on Wednesday as reported by kontan.co.id.

With the extension of the permit, PTFI, the local affiliate of American mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Inc., can continue exporting copper concentrate.

Bambang explained that Freeport had been given an extension on its temporary permit while the government waited for the completion of negotiations on four points – divestment of Freeport shares, the construction of a smelter, investment certainty and a contract extension to 2041.

Previously, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said the government would issue a regular IUPK after completion of negotiations on the four issues.

PTFI received its first temporary IUPK in February 2017, which expired eight months later. The government then extended the IUPK for a second time until December 2017. The third extension expired on July 4 and the fourth IUPK extension expired on Tuesday.

The government, represented by state-owned mining holding company PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum), signed a heads of agreement with Freeport-McMoRan, last month. Under the agreement, the government will get a majority stake in PTFI for US$3.85 billion. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/01/freeport-permit-extended-another-month.html

Economy & investment

Jokowi's growth goal for Indonesia elusive as GDP rises 5.3%

Bloomberg - August 6, 2018

Viriya Singgih and Tassia Sipahutar, Jakarta – The Indonesian economy is offering little cheer for President Joko Widodo as he gears up to run for a second term.

Gross domestic product rose 5.3 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said in Jakarta on Monday.

While that was better than the 5.1 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg survey, it's nowhere near the 7 percent goal Widodo set for himself when he took office in 2014.

Time is running out for Widodo, known as Jokowi, to stimulate the economy as the presidential and parliamentary elections approach next year. He is focused on shoring up foreign-exchange reserves to support a currency that's weakened more than 6 percent this year amid a deepening emerging-market rout and a widening current-account gap.

He also has to counter charges by the opposition of economic mismanagement. "It's unlikely for the economy to take off and growth of 5 percent seems the most reasonable," Gareth Leather, senior Asia economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London, said before the data was released.

"The sharp fall in the rupiah, the interest-rate hikes – these are going to weigh on demand and be a drag on the economy.

"The central bank has increased its benchmark rate by 1 percentage point since May to help stabilize the currency, a move that banks like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. say will curb growth.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/06/jokowis-growth-goal-for-indonesia-elusive-as-gdp-rises-53.html

Strong consumption boosts GDP growth to 5.27 percent in Q2

Jakarta Post - August 6, 2018

Marchio Irfan Gorbiano, Jakarta – The Indonesian economy expanded by 5.27 percent year-on-year (yoy) during the second quarter of 2018 thanks to strong growth in consumption, the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) announced on Monday.

The latest figure was better compared to this year first quarter's growth of 5.06 percent yoy and also 5.01 percent booked in the second quarter of 2017.

Household consumption, which accounted for more than half of GDP growth, grew by 5.14 percent during the second quarter of this year, higher than 4.95 percent booked over the corresponding period last year.

The household consumption growth figure marked the first time that the GDP component broke through 5 percent growth since 2017, during which it usually hovers around 4.9 percent.

"The 5.14 percent [consumption] growth was exceptional," said BPS head Suhariyanto in Jakarta on Monday, adding that momentum in the fourth quarter in the form of long holidays could also boost consumption going forward.

Investment is the second-largest contributor to GDP growth, which grew by 5.87 percent, lower than 7 percent average growth in the past three quarters but higher than 5.34 percent recorded in second quarter of 2017.

Exports, meanwhile, grew 7.7 percent in the second quarter and imports rose 15.17 percent over the same period.

The activities surrounding the concurrent regional elections in the second quarter have also boosted non-household spending, which grew 8.71 percent. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/06/strong-consumption-boosts-gdp-growth-to-5-27-percent-in-q2.html

Investors wait and see ahead of 'year of politics': VP

Jakarta Post - August 3, 2018

Jakarta – Vice President Jusuf Kalla has said investors were in a wait and see position ahead of the presidential and legislative elections in 2019 as they were concerned about the possible impact of the political events on the country's economy.

He explained that investors were also still waiting for the result of the presidential election, which would likely be a rematch between President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Prabowo Subianto.

"Investors are particularly concerned about the policy. Will there be any policy changes if President Joko Widodo wins? And what about if Prabowo wins?" he said in Jakarta on Thursday as reported by kontan.com.id, adding that the wait and see position affected the country's economy.

However, he expressed optimism that the impact of "the year of politics" was not so significant. He called on the media to help ensure that the "year of politics" did not cause worry and uncertainty among the people.

He also expressed hope that whoever won the election would have a positive impact on the country's economy.

Kalla said it was not only the "year of politics" that had negatively affected the country's economy, but also the trade war between the United States and China, because it had affected Indonesian exports to its traditional markets.

He said the Federal Reserve hinting at further increases in its reference rate had also affected performance in the financial sector in other countries, including Indonesia, with the rupiah still under pressure. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/03/investors-wait-and-see-ahead-of-year-of-politics-vp.html

Banking & finance

Moody's changes outlook for RI banking system to stable

Jakarta Post - August 8, 2018

Jakarta – Moody's Investors Service has changed its outlook for the Indonesian banking system from positive to stable.

"The stable outlook reflects stabilizing asset quality in a robust macroeconomic environment and banks' thick loss absorbing buffers, which are underpinned by strong profitability," Moody's said in a statement received by The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

Macroeconomic policies will help the country's real gross domestic product (GDP) grow 5.2 percent annually in 2018 and 2019, building on a 5.1 percent expansion in 2017, the statement said, adding that loan growth will accelerate to an annual pace of 10 to 12 percent during this outlook period from 8.2 percent in 2017.

Asset quality will broadly stabilize over the next eight to 12 months as a stronger economy will drive corporate revenue growth, while formation rates of new nonperforming loans (NPLs) and restructured loans will remain far below their 2016 peaks after sharp declines in 2017, Moody's added.

Moody's also sees robust revenue growth and declining credit costs enabling banks to generate sufficient capital to support accelerating asset growth.

"The system's Tier 1 capital ratio, which exceeded 20 percent at the end of May 2018, is well above those of other Asian systems," it said, adding that faster loan growth will pressure banks' funding, with loan-to-deposit ratios (LDRs) at some banks rising.

Moody's also expects Indonesian banks' core profitability to remain strong, supported by wide net interest margins (NIMs) of around 5 percent, well above levels for their regional peers, saying that stabilizing credit costs will also help banks maintain robust profitability.

It also sees the sovereign rating upgrade in April 2018 as reflecting the government's improved capacity to provide support for banks. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/08/moodys-changes-outlook-for-ri-banking-system-to-stable.html

Low saving leads to heavy reliance on foreign capital: Economic chief

Jakarta Post - August 3, 2018

Jakarta – Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution has warned that Indonesia relied very much on foreign capital because of the low savings rate among Indonesians. He considered it to be a factor of a weak fundamental economy.

The minister said foreign capital entered Indonesia through portfolio investment such as stocks and government debt papers.

Darmin explained about 45 to 50 percent of shares in the stock market in the country were owned by foreign investors, compared to the situation in Malaysia and Thailand in which, foreign investors only control about 12 to 14 percent of the stocks.

He said low saving in Indonesia was not caused by corruption and overspending among the Indonesian people, but because not all foreign exchange obtained by Indonesians through export and other businesses was taken home by the exporters.

He said about 80 percent of foreign exchange from export was taken home to Indonesia.

"We call it an economic leakage in economics terms," he said as quoted by kompas.com, when speaking at a "Business Lunch with Jusuf Kalla" event in Jakarta on Thursday.

He further explained that from 80 percent of funds that were taken home, only about 15 percent were exchanged into rupiah, while the remaining funds were deposited in United States dollars.

He said such practices did not violate any regulations in Indonesia, but it negatively affected the country's economy. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/03/low-saving-leads-to-heavy-reliance-on-foreign-capital-economic-chief.html

Book & film reviews

See No Evil: New Zealand's betrayal of the people of West Papua

Book Review by Joe Collins (AWPA) - August 6, 2018

In Maire Leadbeater's new book, "See No Evil: New Zealand's betrayal of the people of West Papua", the theme of the title is also relevant for Australia. Both countries were involved in the tragic betrayal of West Papua.

It is a valuable record for anybody interested in the issue of West Papua. It's a well-documented timeline of the history of West Papua from its early links with Asia through the period of Dutch colonisation, the Indonesian takeover and up to the present day.

It was surprising to discover that New Zealand and Australia both shared a deep fear that they may be overwhelmed, of being swamped by the Asian masses to our north and NZ had an equivalent of the white Australia policy. Also a surprise (to me) the fact that New Zealand troops were involved in Kontfrantasi, not just British and Australian.

The book is full of interesting insights.

New Zealand officials even had their own version of the domino theory. The NZ Foreign Minister Frederick Doidge went to visit President Sukarno and Prime Minister Mohammad Hatta in January 1950, to help cement relations with the newly independent country to our north.

He continued on to attend the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers conference in Colombo where the Colombo Plan was inaugurated with the aim of preventing Southeast Asian nations turning to the communist world. His officials warned him that the unsolved problem of Dutch New Guinea might be raised at the conference.

His officials argued "that New Guinea (or any major part of it) in the hands of an enemy or potential enemy would constitute a threat to New Caledonia, Fiji and hence to NZ, and also in same memo 'it is part of the long broken spine of mountains that runs from Central Asia through Burma, East Indies, New Guinea, New Caledonia down to New Zealand and would be on the direct route for any potential aggressor from South or South -eastern Asia". If such a scenario seems far-fetched today the memory of the Japanese advance south in the Second World War was still fresh in peoples memories.


The Japanese occupied the Dutch East Indies during the Second World War. In 1945 the Indonesian people declared their independence from the Dutch and achieved it in 1949. The Dutch held on to their colony of West New Guinea. However, as Sukarno continued to demand that Dutch New Guinea should be part of Indonesia, the Dutch prepared the West Papuans for independence.

If at first New Zealand (and Australia) supported the Dutch in holding on to their colony it was because it was seen by both countries to be in their strategic interest, to have another colonial power acting as a buffer zone from any potential invader from the north. As Maire points out (New Zealand) "was not looking at the Papuan people but rather at its own strategic interests and the need to stay in step with Western allies".

Marie methodically follows the time line through, the Dutch preparation to give the West Papuans independence, leading to the raising of the West Papuan national flag, the Morning Star officially for the first time (beside the Dutch tricolour) on the 1st December in 1961.

She covers the various initiatives proposed to solve the issue such as the Walter Nash plan. Walter Nash, Prime Minister of NZ in 1957-1960 proposed that a united New Guinea, be formed from both the Dutch and Australian colonies and should eventually be granted independence and supporter to form one nation. However it was the plan by US diplomat Elsworth Bunker (The Bunker plan) the bases of the New York agreement which eventually paved the way for the Indonesia's takeover of West New Guinea.

As Maire points out the New York Agreement was to "set out a semblance of international involvement and fair process: first temporary UN administration, then full Indonesian control and finally some opportunity for 'self-determination', which would involve the United Nations".

Tragically the so-called Act of Free Choice held in 1969 was a farce. The West Papuans call this the Act of No Choice. They became another victim of the cold war between the East and West.

The West Papuans continued to protest during the 1950's. Two West Papuans, Nicolaas Jouwe and Markus Kaisiepo represented West New Guinea at the first South Pacific Commission conference and Papuan representatives lobbied in the Netherlands, Africa and at the United Nations in New York. On one shameful occasion Australia stopped two West Papuan representatives, Willem Zonggonau and Clemens Runawery as they were about to depart by plane for New York (to lobby at the UN) from Australia's then colony of PNG. They were told to disembark or face arrest.

Australia was probably the last country to continue to support the Dutch in holding on to West New Guinea, finally caving in after the New York Agreement. An indication of Australia's commitment to supporting the Dutch was an anecdote told to me by an ex Australian defence person who attended a West Papuan information day. He told me that with other Australian troops he had been held in a large aircraft hanger for three days and then released (after Australia's change of heart about West New Guinea). It appeared they had been getting ready to fly to New Guinea in order to support the Dutch.

Maire also covers the effect the various regional issues had on the issue of West Papua. The most important being the horrific mass killings in 1965-1966 of communists or those suspected of having communist sympathies (after claims they had planned a coup). Up to a million people are believed to have been killed with thousands imprisoned.

This tragedy began when on the 1st October six generals, including the Indonesian army commander were kidnapped and murdered. Their bodies discovered in a well. Although Sukarno condemned the killings he refused to support the military crackdown. As Maire says "within months of the killing of the generals, Sukarno's left-leaning nationalist regime gave way to the 'New Order' – an anti-communist dictatorial regime with a welcome mat for foreign corporations". It also led to the rise of Suharto and the Wests reluctance to criticise the farce that was the Act of Free Choice in 1969.

Maire's timeline continues down the tragic path of West Papuan history. The Indonesian takeover from UNTEA. The various uprising by the West Papuan people against Indonesian rule and the tragedy of the so-called Act of Free Choice.

Maire also writes about the Papuan cultural revolution in the 1980s which was led by Arnold Ap. Arnold Ap was an anthropologist, musician and the leader of the Mambesak group and curator of the Museum at the Cenderawasih University. He was arrested in November 1983 as a suspected Free West Papua Movement (OPM) sympathiser. He was shot while allegedly escaping custody in April 1984.

She documents the growing support in the Pacific region, the formation of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) in 2014, led by Octo Mote and Benny Wenda which was critical to presenting a united front to the Melanesian Spearhead Group who the West Papuans were lobbying for membership. (The ULMWP was granted observer status at the MSG in June 2015). Support by governments in the region has led to the issue being raised at the UN and support by civil society continues to grow in the Pacific region. Indonesia has responded to this growing support in the by sending officials to the region and offering aid to Pacific countries.

NZ civil society groups have hosted many visits from West Papuan activists and leaders including Rex Rumakiek, Paula Makabory, Jacob Rumbiak, John Rumbiak and the late John Ondawame. The NZ media have also been continuous in their coverage of the West Papuan issue, in particular Radio New Zealand International (now Radio New Zealand Pacific) and the Asia Pacific report. She is hopeful at membership of the cross-party shows signs of growing. In fact at Maire's book launch, NZ Labour party MP Louisa Wall say "the issue of West Papuan self-determination should be heard at the United Nations".

And to the future.

Its now 55 years since Indonesia took over the administration of West Papua and the West Papuan people are still marching in the streets risking arrest and torture and calling for their right to self-determination. As long as the West Papuan People continue to protest the injustices they suffer under Indonesian rule and their supporters continue to help in raising awareness of the issue, they will be successful.

As Maire says in her conclusion "Freedom finally came to East Timor, and international solidarity was a key factor in bringing about change".

Hopefully the international solidarity movement supporting the West Papuans will help them achieve their freedom.

The author

Maire Leadbeater is a spokesperson for West Papua Action Auckland and has campaigned on the issues of East Timor and West Papua. Her previous books are "Negligent Neighbour: New Zealand's collusion with the invasion and occupation of Timor Leste (2006)" and "Peace, Power and Politics: How New Zealand became nuclear free". In 2017 she was awarded the Order of Timor-Leste by the Timorese Government.

Publication details

Paperback, full colour, 240 x 170 mm, 296 pp, ISBN 978-1-98-853121-2, $49.95. Published 2018. https://www.otago.ac.nz/press/books/otago690040.html.

Source: http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com/2018/08/book-review-see-no-evil-new-zealands.html

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