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The challenge of the MSG delegation visit to Jakarta

Pacific Scoop - July 17, 2013

Selpius Bobbi The planned visit by a delegation of member Foreign Ministers of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to Jakarta and West Papua arose as a decision of the MSG Forum held on 16 June 2013 in Noumea. As noted in the MSG Communique (point 21), the Foreign Ministers of Fiji, PNG, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front are to visit Jakarta and West Papua within the coming six months. The delegation is to be led by the Fijian Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kabuabola.

The decision was also in response to an earlier invitation from the Indonesian Government made directly by the Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Legal, Political and Security Affairs (POLKAM) Djoko Suyanto on 3 June 2013 at the moment he met with the Fijian Prime Minister Bainimarama (who at that time the Chairperson of the MSG). The question begs why did Indonesia invite members of the MSG to Jakarta and Papua before the MSG Forum was even under way in June? Without a doubt in making that invitation the Republic of Indonesia (Indonesia) had a particular motive or motives that undoubtedly was aimed at achieving the State's own interests. But what exactly was the true motive behind that invitation?

Indeed Indonesia wanted to obstruct the process of the application for MSG membership by West Papua. In early 2013 the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) had submitted an application for full MSG membership for Papua however at the 19th MSG Summit the leaders supported a recommendation of Foreign Ministers to delay any final discussion and decision on the matter until a delegation of the MSG member Foreign Ministers visited Jakarta and Papua. If Indonesia's primary motive in making that invitation before the Summit was to obstruct the processing of the application they succeeded in doing so.

The other matter that is clear is that State of Indonesia is certainly going to be making as much mileage as they possibly can out of the planned visit by the Ministers to Jakarta and West Papua and in particular to try and develop a working partnership with the MSG on the issue of West Papua. Whilst Indonesia's first step was to bring about a delay in the MSG's decision on Papua's application for membership, their next step is by various means to deceive the MSG Foreign Ministers Delegation. They'll be looking to do this by a whole range of ways including unilateral political rhetoric and the engineering of data regarding the situation inside West Papua. Undoubtedly Indonesia is going to take advantage of the situation with the MSG Delegation in Indonesia to move things towards a partnership agreement with MSG covering a whole range of areas. This was perhaps also a motive in inviting the MSG to visit Jakarta and Papua.

It's well known that Indonesia and its allies are making significant 'efforts' to prevent West Papua being accepted as a member of the MSG. If the MSG Delegation becomes convinced through these 'efforts', that indigenous Papuans' welfare will be better served by Papua remaining a part of the Republic of Indonesia (with its 'Special Autonomy' package that is at this time being altered to Special Autonomy Plus'), then that will indeed be a fatal blow to the application submitted by WPNCL. Clearly Indonesia is going to be putting forward as evidence of their efforts its packages of 'Special Autonomy' and more recently the new version 'Special Autonomy Plus'.

However the fact is that throughout the 12 years to date with Special Autonomy in place that indigenous Papuans have suffered from in fact a continued increase in the frequency of human rights violations, from discrimination, marginalization, injustice and being made a minority in their ancestors land. All of which are now leading towards genocide against the ethnic West Papuan race. A slowly occurring but certain process of annihilation. Papuans are convinced that the coming years under the new Special Autonomy Plus regulations will see no positive change in this regard as basically the nature of the colonizing state is the same. The characteristics of the Republic of Indonesia (Indonesia) remain unchanged as does Indonesia's attitude towards Papua of taking over and plundering the natural resources whilst 'eradicating' the land of its indigenous inhabitants. The reality is that Indonesia is a colonizer and as long as Papua remains part of Indonesia the people of Papua will never experience physical and spiritual peace and prosperity.

Accordingly it's going to be absolutely critical that the MSG Foreign Ministers Delegation in their visit to Jakarta and Papua, show extreme caution and a highly selective process in its acceptance of data and information given by the Indonesian Government and those groups that are pro-Indonesian. As that data and information will of course be the basis for the Delegation's report back to the MSG leadership which in turn will be the basis for determining whether West Papua's application for MSG membership will be accepted or not. If it eventuates that Papua's application is rejected by the MSG then there may be more bad news to come as it's likely that in that case Indonesia will be given permanent observer status at the MSG. So the importance of the MSG Delegation being aware of this likelihood and showing absolute caution in its acceptance of data and information from the State of Indonesia and those supporting the State's position, cannot be stressed enough. It's quite probable that this also was a motivating factor when Indonesia invited the MSG to send a delegation to Jakarta and Papua before the MSG had even discussed the issue of Papua's application.

Indonesia's international allies have intentionally supported the Indonesian Government continually putting-off taking the necessary actions to seriously try and bring to an end the many problems in Papua. It's been in the allies' economic interests also to do so. If Indonesia is now in fact to be helped by its allies to bring about the failure of the efforts of West Papua to become an MSG member, then Indonesia will have succeeded yet again in defending their colonial domination of West Papua. The colonial domination will then continue on for a further period of time the duration of which no-one can guess and indigenous peoples of the nation of Papua will have been sacrificed yet again as a result of a conspiracy of foreign interests.

The Republic of Indonesia is presently being supported by its international allies in its efforts to break-down the strength of the entire West Papuan community's resistance to Indonesia achieving its agenda in the land of Papua. The delay in the final discussion by the MSG over WPNCL's application for West Papuan membership has generated a lot of mutual 'finger-pointing' between activist components in Papua. However if we look very carefully and at depth at the situation, one can see that there is a major scenario being created by Indonesia at present to break-down the strength of the democracy (both legally and politically based) that arose as a result of the Papuan National Congress III (the Congress) on 19 October 2011 in Abepura when the forum declared the return of the sovereign independence of the nation of Papua in the State of West Papua and as a legal basis of the highest form created the state of the Federal Republic of West Papua. The Indonesian Government has been most concerned since that time to ensure that the declaration of the restoration of the sovereign independence of the nation of Papua is not acknowledged by other nations of the world or by the MSG Forum. A situation which could ultimately lead to recognition of the same by the United Nations (UN). In anticipation of that possibility the State of Indonesia has undertaken whatever means possible since the Congress to break-down the Papuan community's democratic, political and legal strength that resulted from the Congress.

If Indonesia and its allies succeed in preventing the nation of Papua becoming an official member of the MSG then the blaming presently going on between activists within Papua will become increasingly pointed and this will undoubtedly have destructive consequences for the Papuan Struggle and in so doing weaken the sovereignty of the community of the nation of Papua. Whether indigenous Papuans are aware of it or not, we are now entering this major scenario created by Indonesia and its allies intended to paralyze and incapacitate the political and legal strength of the Papuan democracy.

Indonesia's interests as seen in the States political maneuverings, are with the end goal of defending their control of West Papua within the Indonesian framework and ensuring their continued colonial domination of Papua's land and waters. Control which allows them to seize Papua's natural wealth and at the same time by overt and covert means to marginalize, discriminate against and bring to a minority the indigenous peoples of the land, finally leading to the slow but sure annihilation of the ethnic West Papuan race.

It's time were stated in black and white a few of the more common political maneuvers of Indonesia that have been used by the State until this time against the people of Papua and which will probably be used in some form or another during the visit of the MSG Delegation to Jakarta and West Papua. Firstly it needs to be emphasized that Indonesia is highly skilled in engineering situations. Whenever there are intended visits by human rights related groups or official foreign representatives to Papua, all hands and feet of the Indonesian State work together to create anarchy in the land of Papua so that Indonesia can allege that Papua is unsafe for the foreign visitors. This was seen yet again recently with the planned visit by the UN Human Rights special Observer Hina Jilani.

Indigenous Papuans are overjoyed when there are announced visits to Papua by representatives of other nations, foreign human rights groups or a UN delegation and always want to prepare traditional dances and peaceful gatherings of the people to welcome those visits by foreigners wanting to see first-hand the situation in Papua. However Indonesia's armed forces have never to date given space for that to occur and Indonesia's followers on the ground in Papua create a range of incidents to prevent those visits going ahead. We have seen this time and time again from Indonesia and know now to expect it. If as the time draws near for the MSG Delegation to visit Papua, Indonesia yet again creates a situation stating they can't allow the visit to go ahead due to security risks in Papua, then the MSG Delegation will be forced to use other means to meet with and receive official reports from the representatives of the different components of the nation of West Papua.

Indonesia is also an expert at applying tactics so as to ensure there is absolutely no opportunity for a delegation of foreigners visiting Papua to meet with the different components of the community that struggle for liberation of Papua from the colonial domination of Indonesia. A recent example of this was seen with the intended visit of the American Congressman Eni Faleomavaega to Biak and Manokwari in November 2007. As soon as he landed in Biak the armed forces took the Congressman and his entourage via a back road behind the airport to avoid the Papuan customary gathering at the front of the airport waiting to welcome the visitors with traditional dances. The party was secretly whisked away to the home of the local government Regency Head following which the entrance to the leader's home was then blockaded by the joint forces of the army and police in full fighting gear including shields. The result, Papuans from the community were prevented from meeting with the Congressman. The group then travelled to Manokwari where there was a similar manipulation of the situation with the Congressman and his entourage being taken to a Provincial Official's home via a non-main road, since the mainroad was lined along its entire length with indigenous community members waiting to welcome them with traditional dances.

Again in 2007 when the UN sent a special Human Rights Observer Hina Jilani to Papua, the visit was met with similar actions by the armed forces who wouldn't allow space for her to meet with the Papuan community that wanted to peacefully express their aspirations. At the time a peaceful demonstration organized by Front PEPERA West Papua was broken up and banned. Both Hina Jilani and Eni Faleomavaega's expressed in their reports their regret that the actions and attitude of the Indonesian military, police and Intelligence throughout their time in Papua prevented them meeting with Papuan citizens.

Having become accustomed to these common practices of Indonesia, the Papuan community is most concerned what similar occurrence is likely to be seen at the time of the visit by the MSG Foreign Ministers Delegation to West Papua. It's highly likely that the Indonesian armed forces will act to prevent the Delegation being able to access the different components of the nation of Papua who until now have struggled for the independence of West Papua. It is probable that Indonesia will once again create a scenario at that time to ensure that the MSG Delegation only meets with the Governor and Indonesian appointed provincial government level assemblies Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Papua (DPRP) and Majelis Rakyat Papua (MRP) and those groups and organizations that are pro-Indonesian (including White and Red Ranks (Barisan Merah Putih), the Papuan Customary Community Organization (Lembaga Masyarakat Adat Papua (LMA), the National Committee for Papuan Youth (Komite Nasional Pemuda Papua, KNPI), and certain churches and NGO's that are pro-Indonesian.)

Obviously if the MSG Delegation only meets with those who are pro-Indonesian then of course they will accordingly only receive data and information that will suggest that all is just fine in Papua; pro-Indonesian voices will convey that any problems in Papua have already been overcome and that Indonesia is now focusing on the next step of welfare development in the region. This was precisely what occurred when the Netherlands Ambassador for Indonesia visited on 3 July 2013 and the Chairman of Red and White Ranks (Barisan Merah Putih) Ramses Ohee conveyed exactly that at the Papuan Police Headquarters. Ohee was not speaking the truth and was hiding the woeful acts of aggression of Indonesia towards indigenous Papuans. Similar statements at that time were also made to the Ambassador by Yan Ayomi and Lenis Kogoya (the Chairperson of LMA Papua). However the fact is that Papuans who are pro-Indonesian are so very few in number and even then in their hearts that want to see Papua independent but work with Indonesia in order to feed their families (or in some cases to chase something of that moment.)

So in order to obtain balanced and accurate information regardless of what the situation is like, we dearly hope that the members of the MSG Delegation will make every effort possible to meet with the different components of the Papuan community that are pro-Papuan Independence and also to meet with Papuan Freedom Political Detainees who are incarcerated in the Indonesian Colonial Prison.

The other 'special skill' of Indonesia in manipulating and engineering situations is that they are absolute masters at political rhetoric and seducing and persuading. Whether with financial offers, offers of expensive objects or sexual favors. Of course Papua's most bitter memory of these tactics was in 1969 when Indonesia took the chosen 1026 Papuans who would vote to determine the fate of Papua (in representation for more than 800,000 Papuans) to Java where they stayed in luxury hotels and were provided with sexual services. Then on arriving home in a state of blissful oblivion they were given a handsome sum of money and a number of highly valued objects such as radios. These well known practices of Indonesia are to mention of course just a few that the nation of Papua and even foreigners who visit Papua have seen on endless occasions.

Indeed the MSG Delegation is going to face a really onerous challenge when it visits Jakarta and Papua in the very near future to get a first-hand idea of the situation in Papua. The points provided above are intended as a pre-warning of what is likely to occur during that visit and it's hoped will assist the MSG Delegation in comprehending the underlying meaning of the observed actions of the Indonesian armed forces at that time. It is also hoped that these points might benefit visitors of other nations or UN delegations who may visit West Papua into the future with the intention of wanting to observe what is really going on behind the closed doors.

For the attention of all components of the nation of Papua wherever you may be, please let this be an early warning for us all so that we don't become complacent with that which was achieved at the 19th Summit of the MSG in Noumea. As the matter of the membership of West Papua in the MSG is still undecided and will not be decided until after the MSG Delegation visits Jakarta and Papua sometime within this coming 6 months. Let us consolidate and unite and start at this very time to take real steps to bring about Internal Political Consensus for the nation of West Papua, so that we're able to establish our membership at MSG and in doing so stand on solid ground. So that the world hears us as one voice, with one goal being the liberation of West Papua.

To the international community in solidarity with Papua throughout the world, please we ask you to remember your critical role at this time and our need for your help in supporting and strengthening the members and forum of the MSG. So that they individually and together are able to maintain their commitment in urging for the process of self-determination for the nation of Papua and that they will not be tempted with the seduction of Indonesia's political rhetoric.

See also:

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