Ray Jordan, Lampung President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo insists that work on the Trans Papua road project will continue despite the recent shooting of construction workers in Nduga regency, Papua.
Widodo is asking that all infrastructure projects and Trans Papua workers always be accompanied by security personnel.
For the moment, Widodo said that the government will prioritise the evacuation of the victims of the shooting by the Armed Criminal Group (KKB, the term used by the government for the West Papuan liberation army) in Nduga.
"Yes this is because there is still a process there that isn't finished yet, we will prioritise the evacuation as quickly as possible. After that construction will continue", Widodo told journalists at the Mahligai Agung Convention Hall at the Bandar Lampung University in Lampung City, North Sumatra, on Thursday December 6.
Widodo asserted that wherever construction work is being carried out in Papua workers must be accompanied by members of the security forces in order to provide a sense of safety.
"I want to convey that wherever construction work is going on it is always accompanied by security personnel in order to truly provide security guarantees for workers who are working in the field, in the jungles, in preparing infrastructure, particularly roads in the land of Papua which will never stop, but will continue regardless", he said.
Widodo explained that the government's goal is to continue development in Papua in order to create a sense of social justice in eastern Indonesia. Widodo said he wants all of Indonesian society to experience this development.
"This is to provide infrastructure in the land of Papua and secondly also social justice for all Indonesian people to address the discrepancies in infrastructure between Java and Papua, between the east and west, that is what we can truly pursue", explained Widodo.
Earlier national police chief General Tito Karnavian said that the KKB group led by Egianus Kogoya which is suspected of carrying out the shooting of workers on the Trans Papua road project number no more than 50 people who have around 20 firearms.
"We are now sending a joint Polri-TNI [national police-Indonesian military] team, led directly by the Kapolda [regional police chief] and the Pangdam [regional military commander] to move in there. The force is not large, around 30-50 people with 20 firearms", Karnavian said at the State Palace in Central Jakarta on Wednesday December 5. (jor/zak)
The United Liberation Movement for West Papua says a separatist group which killed dozens of people earlier this week is not criminal.
The bodies of 16 people have been recovered from the Papua highlands, where a massacre of at least 24 Indonesian construction workers is believed to have taken place on Sunday.
The Papua Liberation Army took responsibility for the killings on Wednesday, claiming the workers were Indonesian military in disguise.
Benny Wenda, the chairman of the United Liberation Movement, said the Liberation Army doesn't kill civilians like the Indonesian military does.
He said West Papuans have lived alongside thousands of Indonesian migrants for more than five decades without conflict. Mr Wenda said he was concerned by reports of the killings but claimed they were unverified and no one should be blamed yet.
Karina M. Tehusijarana, Jakarta At least 20 people have been killed in Nduga regency, Papua, by an armed group with ties to the Free Papua Movement (OPM).
The casualties include 19 workers of state-owned construction company PT Istaka Karya, who were assigned to build a 275-kilometer section to connect Wamena and Mamugu as part of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's flagship trans-Papua road project. One Indonesian Military (TNI) soldier was also killed.
According to the account of surviving Istaka Karya worker Jimmi Aritonang, which he relayed to the Cendrawasih Military Command, an armed group kidnapped 25 workers from the Istaka Karya camp in Nduga regency on Saturday and forcefully marched them to the nearby Karunggame River.
On Sunday, the workers were once again forced to move, this time toward the Puncak Kabo hill. On the way there, they were ordered to squat and line up in five rows. The gunmen then shot at the workers, killing 14 on the spot, while the remaining 11 pretended to be dead.
The gunmen then left the victims and continued their journey to Puncak Kabo. The 11 workers who had played dead attempted to escape, but they were spotted. The rebels caught and killed five of them, while the other six managed to escape toward Mbua. Four, including Jimmi, have been secured by TNI forces, but the other two were still missing as of Wednesday.
Early on Monday, the TNI post where Jimmi and his friends were being protected was reportedly attacked by a group of rebels armed with guns, arrows and spears. One soldier was killed and another injured in the attack.
National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian and Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto confirmed on Wednesday that 20 people had been killed by the rebels.
"Nineteen workers and one TNI [Indonesian Military] soldier died," Tito said on Wednesday. This number seems to be based on Jimmi's account.
Initially, police had said that 31 workers were feared to have been killed by the gunmen. Istaka Karya president Sigit Inarto said, however, that there were only 28 workers at the location.
A joint military-police task force recovered 15 bodies from the area near the location of the incident on Wednesday night.
"Our joint forces have found 15 bodies and will continue the search tomorrow," Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Martuani Sormin Siregar told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
Cendrawasih Military Command spokesperson Lt. Col. Dax Siburian said the joint military-police search team in Yigi district had found the bodies and a survivor named Johny Arung in the area around Tabo hill. Johny was evacuated to the Mbua TNI post.
"The bodies have not yet been identified, so we cannot confirm whether the 15 victims are all PT Istaka Karya workers," Dax told the Post.
A faction of the National Liberation Army of West Papua (TPNPB) led by Egianus Kogoya has claimed responsibility for the deaths of the construction workers and the TNI soldier.
"Yes, we conducted the operations in Kali Aworak, Kali Yigi and at the Mbua TNI post, and we are ready to take responsibility. The attacks were led by Makodap III Ndugama commander Egianus Kogeya and operations commander Pemne Kogeya," OPM spokesperson Sebby Sanbom said in a written statement on Wednesday.
Sebby denied, however, that the workers killed were civilians, claiming that they were members of the Indonesian Army Corps of Engineers (Zipur). "Our targets are not wrong, we know which are civilian workers and which are TNI Zipur members, even if they wear plain clothes," he said.
Jokowi has pledged that the government will hunt down those responsible for the shootings and that it will not halt infrastructure development in Papua.
"Currently, the TNI commander is in Papua to handle the attack by an armed group in Papua that has resulted in the deaths of workers that were assigned to build the trans-Papua road," Jokowi said on Wednesday.
"Let us pray together that the heroes of the trans-Papua development are welcomed at God's side. I have also ordered the TNI commander and the National Police chief to pursue and arrest all the perpetrators of that savage act."
He said there was no room for such armed groups in Papua or anywhere in Indonesia. "This only makes us more determined to continue our great duty to develop Papua," he said.
Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko called on the police and military to be proportionate in their response to the attack. "The TNI should not be provoked," he said on Wednesday. "The TNI and police have to show professionalism and work proportionately."
He also called on domestic and foreign human rights groups to look at the incident with "open eyes."
Jakarta The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has urged the National Police, the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the government to be transparent in investigating the mass killing of construction workers in Nduga regency, Papua.
A rebel group led by Egianus Kogoya allegedly massacred 19 workers hired by state-owned construction firm Istaka Karya to work on the trans-Papua road project in Yigi district, authorities said.
The group, believed to be a faction of the National Liberation Army of West Papua (TPNPB), also killed a TNI member and injured another on the following day.
Commission chairman Ahmad Taufan Damanik said that whoever was behind such "brutal and inhumane" actions could not be tolerated. He said the government should pay more attention to this case, because killings in Papua had happened repeatedly.
"We ask the law enforcement authorities to immediately arrest and process the suspects. We ask for the case to be as transparent as possible," Damanik said at his office on Wednesday. He added that the background of killings in Papua often remained unclear.
The commission also requested that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo ensure the protection of witnesses and guarantee that costs for the physical and non-physical recovery of victims and witnesses are covered.
"I also hope that the Witness and Victim Protection Agency can work together with the government to handle this matter," he said. (ggq)
Helen Davidson The exiled leader of the West Papuan independence movement has called for calm after independence fighters attacked and killed up to 31 people in a remote West Papuan district on Sunday.
On Thursday the Indonesian military said it had retrieved 16 of the bodies from the district of Nduga, which would be sent to the main town of Timika. None were identified.
Benny Wenda, the chair of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), said it was hard to know exactly what happened at Nduga, amid conflicting reports on the long-running tensions, and without free access for media or human rights groups.
Indonesian authorities, which have not responded to requests for comment from the Guardian, have said civilian construction workers were killed by separatist militants.
Independence movement the Papuan liberation army, TPNPB, under commander Egianus Kogeya, claimed responsibility but said those killed were all members of the Indonesian military (TNI).
Wenda told the Guardian he couldn't stop the liberation army but wanted to tell them the UMLWP wanted to solve the issue "diplomatically". "We don't want any bloodshed, we want Indonesia to come to the international table to discuss and we can agree to a referendum. That's what our campaign is about," he said.
"In order for us to fix what is going wrong we have to know the truth, but we cannot trust the Indonesian government's account about Nduga, or any incidents in regard to West Papua, and this is a problem."
If the dead were not military the incident would mark the first time West Papuan fighters have fatally attacked civilians, and an extraordinary escalation in the more than 50-year-old conflict.
Wenda said Indonesia had a history of "creating violence" and using it to justify an increased military presence, and that this incident occurred just days after Indonesia arrested more than 500 people, reportedly including Indonesians, at West Papuan independence rallies.
"Indonesia has seen that ordinary Indonesian people have come out in support of our rights, and it sent a strong signal," said Wenda. "Then, just after that, this incident happened. That's a little bit of concern to me."
Translations of TPNPB social media posts, accounts from members of the independence movement and local media reports suggest 24 men were killed in the initial attack while five of seven escapees were then tracked down and killed.
Two are believed to be still missing, according to Victor Yiemo, international spokesman for campaign group the West Papua national committee, KNPB.
Neither Yiemo or Wenda have been able to contact members of the TPNPB, who are believed to have retreated into the jungle, but Yiemo said villagers nearby told him there was continued shooting between the two sides.
He accused Indonesia of dominating media with propaganda calling TPNPB "terrorists"."[TPNPB] are our military and are fighting for our freedom and we support them."
Jason Mcleod, a lecturer in peace and conflict studies at the University of Sydney, said retaliation by Indonesian forces would likely be "swift and deadly", with widespread civilian casualties. Indonesian media reported conflict had already begun.
Arjuna Pademme Over the last few years the online media in Papua has grown rapidly. In concert with this, online "ghost" media sites have also emerged which appear to present journalistic reports but it is unclear who is responsible, who the journalists are or what there address is.
Not infrequently the information presented by these "ghost" media deceives the public with fake news. Not to mention that the names of the websites resemble those of genuine media website.
Several ghost media websites in Papua whose names mimic those of authentic sits include, among others, cenderawasih-pos.com (mimicking the Cendewasih Pos/ceposonline.com daily), kabarpapua.net and kabarpapua-online (mimicking KabarPapua.co) and tabluidjubi.com (mimiking tabloidjubi.com).
According to an investigation by Tirto.id and Tabloid Jubi, there are at least 18 ghost websites. This does not yet include media which uses Blogspot or Wordpress as the domain address.
An analysis by Tirto and Tabloid Jubi shows that as many as 17 ghost media are framed as "new reports" which create the impression that there are no human rights abuses in Papua, that groups supporting Papuan independence are "criminals" which often commit crimes, that the military and the police are doing a good job and so forth.
These ghost websites haunt and have begun to create unease among authentic journalists and media outlets which work in accordance with the press law and the journalist code of ethics.
Cenderawasih Pos chief editor Lucky Ireeuw says that his newspaper has of course been harmed by websites which mimic the name of his media outlet. Moreover the articles published by these ghost media are unclear and the information in the reports distort the facts, tending to be filled with propaganda which is not in accordance with journalistic standards.
"As if we own these websites, yet we don't know anything about the information carried by them", Ireeuw told Jubi on Tuesday December 4.
As a consequence of the information carried by these websites, the public anger becomes directed towards the authentic media outlets and damages their image.
The Cenderawasih Post's editorial staff has received protests, public attention and complaints over reports by ghost media which people believe originate from the Post.
For example, following a cenderawasih-pos.com article titled "Senior KNPB [the pro-independence West Papua National Committee group] Member Alberth Wanimbo, Now KNPI [the ultra-nationalist Indonesian National Youth Committee] Chairperson", the Post received protests from KNPI members because the article was written without interviewing Wanimbo.
Or an article titled "Once Again, #Papuansphoto Team Disguised as 'Pornographers' Continues to Operate" [the article claims that that photographic journalism group #Papuansphoto is disseminating pornography] posted by the cenderawasih-pos.com, which forced the ceposonline.com editorial staff to issue a clarification to several parties.
"We don't just have a lot of trouble in the face of this public attention but also have to clarify incorrect statements from the public. We have already reported this verbally to the police", he said.
Ireeuw, who is also the chairperson of the Jayapura Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), hopes that the police, which have a special cybercrimes unit, can track down and find these ghost media and prosecute them because the reports clearly violate the Electronic Transaction and Information Law (ITE) and become a source for hoaxes.
"These duplicate media don't have clear addresses, company names (legal entities), who takes liability, editorial staff makeup and contact numbers. They don't have any of this. With their sophisticated capacity and facilities, the police should be able to act quickly to deal with these kinds of things", he said.
KabarPapua.co editor Cunding Levi meanwhile says that there are a number of ghost websites which use the name "Papua News" such as KabarPapua.net, KabarPapua.com and KabarPapua.co.id. His media outlet, he says, publishes articles that conform to journalistic standards, meet the journalistic code of ethics and promote the principle of independence.
"If indeed there are websites with names that mimic our name but which produce articles and content that is not in accordance with journalistic standards, clearly we feel harmed", said Levi.
Despite this, he said that they cannot do very much. In principle, the editorial staff and KabarPapua.co management leaves it entirely up to the public (readers) to make their own assessment.
"We're sure that readers can distinguish between what is true and 'criminal'. This is why we still haven't reported it yet to the police", he said.
Nevertheless Levi hopes that there will be regulations enacted which can regulate the use of media names which mimic genuine media groups.
Papua regional police Special Crimes Detective Unit Sub-Directorate (Direskrimsus) head Police Commissioner Cahyo says that although several parties have made complaints about ghost media spreading hoaxes, so far no (genuine) mainstream media outlets or journalists have reported these fake media to police over damages caused.
"The reports that have come in are dominated by personal complains. Related to defamation, immorality, online scams, threats and extortion via electronic media", said Cahyo.
The cybercrime team which operates under the Direskrimsus focuses more on law enforcement while efforts at combating fake news is carried out by the Anti-Hoax Task Force which is part of the regional police's public relations department (Humas).
"In principle we deal with complaints or crimes which take place. Detection and other things are dealt with by the Humas. If the Humas finds something, usually the information is reported to us and we will investigate", he said.
Jakarta President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo pledged on Wednesday that the government will press on with the construction of various projects in Papua, including the trans-Papua road project, following the killing of 19 workers and one soldier by the Free Papua Movement in Nduga regency, Wamena.
"It even burns the spirit to develop Papua," said Jokowi at the State Palace in Jakarta on Wednesday in response to the killing of the workers, who were involved in the construction of a bridge, which is part of the road project.
The President said he had instructed Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono to go ahead with the 4,400-kilometer road project, despite infrastructure development in two Papuan provinces facing high levels of difficulty, particularly because of geographical challenges.
Jokowi said helicopters were needed to transport heavy equipment to a location 3,000 meters above sea level. He admitted security concerns in certain areas had forced developers to temporarily stop projects.
Meanwhile, Minister Basuki said he had temporarily stopped the trans-Papua road project following the incident until the military and police guaranteed security in the location.
"We will continue after the regional military and police commanders say the locations are secured," he said, adding that the road project was scheduled to finish next year. The shooting occurred when 31 workers were working at the Nduga Bridge, one of 35 bridges being constructed along the trans-Papua road project. (bbn)
The West Papua Liberation Army is claiming responsibility for the killings of at least 24 Indonesian construction workers in Papua.
The claims confirmed initial blame placed on the separatist group by Indonesian authorities, and marked a deadly escalation of conflict in the restive region unseen in recent years.
Indonesian media reported on Tuesday that around 150 Indonesian armed forces were in pursuit of the gunmen, after President Joko Widodo ordered military and police chiefs to check in on the situation.
Witness reports described to RNZ Pacific by officials painted a grim picture of a civilian massacre which took place atop a hilltop in Tolikara regency on Sunday.
On Saturday, as members of the Liberation Army held a ceremony in neighbouring Nduga to commemorate Papua's independence from Dutch colonial rule on December 1st, 1961, a construction worker nearby snapped a photo of the scene.
The employees of the state-owned company Istaka Karya were building bridges and roads in Papua, where Jakarta has been undertaking an infrastructure drive.
But the Liberation Army, which claimed responsibility for the attack on Tuesday, described the workers as armed members of Indonesia's military, or TNI, disguised as civilians.
The presence of a camera prompted a violent reaction from the group of around 50 Liberation Army fighters, who rounded up dozens of workers, bound their hands and marched them North, to Lanny Jaya regency, said TNI spokesperson Mohammed Aidi.
On Sunday morning, the workers were taken to the top of a hill and forced to march in formation, while they were shot at by Liberation Army soldiers, who killed at least 19 people.
Eleven employees managed to survive the massacre by pretending they were dead, said Mr Aidi. But when they ran, the group was pursued by the Liberation Army and 5 more were killed with bow and arrows and spears.
Survivors took refuge at a TNI outpost, where soldiers returned fire at the Liberation Army. One soldier died in the shootout.
Four workers were evacuated by police and military on Tuesday, along with eight local health centre staff and teachers employed by TNI, said Mr Aidi. Three workers have been hospitalised with gunshot wounds, while another two who escaped remained missing.
President Widodo said on Tuesday he would visit Papua once more information on the incident became available.
"We realize that even though the development in Papua is indeed very difficult to carry out and can still be hindered by incidents such as the reported one, the development in Papua should continue," he said.
In February, the Liberation Army made a fresh declaration of war against the TNI, which it called "the invaders".
Since then, the group has been involved in a spate of skirmishes in Papua, including a series of deadly gunfire exchanges in the Highlands regencies of Puncak Jaya, Nduga, Timika and Lanny Jaya.
Two Liberation Army members were killed by TNI in November when they exchanged gunfire in Lanny Jaya.
Five others were killed in Puncak Jaya in October by the Indonesian military, it said.
In late October, Indonesian media reported that a group of 15 school teachers and medical workers were held hostages by the Liberation Army in Nduga for two weeks, and that one teacher was raped.
Helen Davidson and agencies Deadly violence has escalated in West Papua following the shooting deaths of up to 31 construction workers in a central district of the region and the reported killing of an Indonesian investigator.
The West Papuan liberation army has claimed responsibility for the attack the deadliest in many years in the ongoing independence conflict but there are otherwise differing versions of events from Indonesian authorities. There are fears of reprisals and violent crackdowns. There were mass arrests of hundreds of West Papuan protesters across the region who were marking the 1 December "independence day", a date considered by some West Papuans as marking their independence from the Dutch two years before the region was taken over by Indonesia.
Indonesian media reported the construction workers were attacked by a group of armed separatists on Sunday, with differing reports of between 24 and 31 people killed.
Police and Indonesian military (TNI) were sent to the area but came under fire, local police said, with one soldier killed and another injured.
The separatist military arm TPNPB claimed responsibility, under commander Egianus Kogeya, and put the number of dead in the initial attack on Sunday at 24. Another five TNI soldiers were killed in further attacks over following days, it claimed.
TPNPB also claimed TNI forces had launched military actions in response, including bombs dropped on TPNPB areas.
The Guardian has been unable to independently verify the details on the incident. In 2015 the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, had promised to lift a ban on international media, but in practice unimpeded reporting in West Papua remains nearly impossible.
In justifying the attack, TPNPB said the construction workers were Indonesian military, not civilians, and accused one of photographing their ceremony marking independence day.
It characterised the attack as an act of self-defence against a military that has long oppressed West Papuan people, and said the bridge construction project was for the benefit of police and military movements in the region, not for the people themselves.
The project is purported to be part of trans-Papua infrastructure works pledged by Widodo to improve the living conditions in West Papua.
In a translation of a social media post provided to the Guardian, TPNPB said it had observed the security forces in recent months and TNI had used the trans-Papua program to carry out attacks against people in Nduga.
Jacob Rumbiak, spokesman for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (UMWP), told the Guardian TPNPB "wanted the world to know" that Indonesia had been attacking West Papuans for 57 years, and they had a right to self defence. However Rumbiak said UMWP was a diplomatic group and not connected to the liberation army.
"We want to solve the problem by peaceful means, with US and UN involvement, and we are calling on the world to help and support us," he said. "We don't want to fight, we want to sit and talk at the UN, or war will be coming soon."
The human rights lawyer Veronica Koman said the lack of access to the area and limited phone signal meant they were unable to verify anything and information was "messy".
She said the Indonesian government version was that the liberation army killed civilians, but TPNPB's claim that the workers were military was in line with previous information.
"The road workers in West Papua, especially in that area, have always been the military, TNI, according to previous reports," she said.
"It's getting more urgent to solve the conflict in West Papua. The government knows the cause of the conflict is the 1960s history and integration process, but keeps using the wrong approach to solve the conflict."
Freeport's nearby Grasberg mine the largest gold mine and second largest copper mine in the world has been a flashpoint for protests and deaths in recent years, including at least two deaths earlier this year.
Independence activists have lobbied and fought for a free West Papua for decades, and there are frequent allegations of violent crackdowns, including extrajudicial killings, by Indonesian authorities.
Confirmed information is difficult to obtain from the area, as there are harsh restrictions on international press entering and operating in West Papua.
On 1 December protests across the region raised the Morning Star flag illegal in West Papua. West Papuan activists claimed Indonesian authorities arrested almost 600 protesters, including 105 in West Papua and around 450 in Indonesia, including 233 in Surabaya. All have been released.
Indonesian authorities said the Surabaya actions were not arrests, but "secured and questioned". Koman said the arrests in Surabaya were an act of "forced removal", with protesters sent back to their home cities against their will.
Koman said there were more than 100 Indonesians among those arrested, suggesting "the pro-Independence movement among Indonesians is getting bigger". One Australian woman was arrested and detained, ahead of an expected deportation.
In Surabaya police reportedly searched the the headquarters of the National Committee for West Papua on the eve of the rallies. One rally saw clashes between about 300 students and police, resulting in 17 injuries, the Jakarta Post reported.
In 2017 activists smuggled a pro-independence petition signed by more than 1.8m West Papuans out of the country and delivered it to the United Nations but was rebuffed by its decolonisation committee, which said West Papua was outside its mandate.
In April a West Papuan activist and organiser of the petition, Yanto Awerkion, was released from prison after 10 months of incarceration. Indonesian authorities have been contacted for a response.
Arnold Belau, Jakarta The government in Jakarta has decided to suspend construction work on some parts of the trans-Papua road project following reports that armed Papuan rebels have allegedly killed dozens of workers in Nduga regency, Papua.
Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono told reporters on Tuesday the government would suspend the construction of 35 bridges on the 278-kilometer road that is to connect Wamena and Mamugu.
"With this incident, we will stop all the work from Wamena to Mamugu while waiting for the situation to be conducive [for continuing]," he said.
The National Police and the Indonesian Military (TNI) are still investigating claims that between 28 and 31 workers building a bridge on Yigi-Kali Aurak River in Nduga were shot dead by members of a National Liberation Army of West Papua faction led by Egianus Kogoya.
According to the police, the incident took place after one of the workers most of whom come from South Sulawesi took a photo of a pro-Papuan independence ceremony on Saturday. The workers were reportedly murdered on Sunday.
Two state-owned construction firms PT Istaka Karya and PT Brantas Abipraya are responsible for the construction work along the road.
PT Istaka has been assigned to build 14 bridges, 11 of which are under construction. PT Brantas, meanwhile, has been tasked with building 21 bridges and is currently working on five of them.
PT Brantas has halted the construction of some bridges based on the recommendation of the Papuan military command, Basuki said. "In Papua, we couldn't work without guaranteed security. The security coordinating center called for the projects to be suspended."
The development of the 4,300-kilometer trans-Papua road in Papua and West Papua provinces in Indonesia's easternmost provinces is expected to be completed this year, Basuki said last year.
Despite the work suspension, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who is seeking re-election and has been touting his infrastructure drive in his campaigns, made assurances that the development in Papua would continue. "Papua's infrastructure development will not stop because of this."
The government, along with PT Istaka Karya, the construction company for which the allegedly murdered men worked, has yet to confirm the number of victims in Sunday's killings. It was previously reported by the National Police that as many as 31 workers had died.
"There were 28 workers in the location the workers came from South Sulawes i which we expect to be victims now, but we will confirm it later," PT Istaka Karya's president director, Sigit Inarto, said. (ggq)
Jakarta The National Police have said that an armed group linked to the Free Papua Movement (OPM) has reportedly massacred 31 workers of state-owned construction company Istaka Karya in Nduga regency, Papua.
"We haven't checked the details yet, but the Indonesian Military [TNI] and the National Police are heading toward the scene," National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. M. Iqbal said in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Jayawijaya Police chief Adj. Comr. Yan Pieter Reba said he had received information about the alleged massacre, but added that authorities were still verifying it.
"The information is that 24 people were killed in the workers' camp. Another eight people managed to escape to the residence of a local councillor. But seven of them are now reportedly dead, while another has escaped," he said as quoted by tribunnews.com on Monday.
The workers were assigned to build a road and open access to the hilly area in Kali-Yigi-kali Urak in Nduga.
One of them, according to the police, reportedly witnessed a pro-independence ceremony held by the National Liberation Army of West Papua on Dec.1 and decided to take a photo of it. "[What he did] angered [the group], so they killed the workers staying in the camp," Reba said.
The TNI and the police deployed 150 security personnel to verify the report and recover the bodies if a massacre did take place. (spl)
Indonesian authorities say independence supporters in the restive province of Papua have slaughtered up to 31 people who were working at a state-owned construction company.
Papua police spokesman Suryadi Diaz said 24 workers were killed when gunmen stormed a government bridge construction project in a remote mountainous village in Nduga district.
Eight other workers fled to the nearby house of a local Parliament member, but an armed group came a day later and killed seven of them, Mr Diaz said, citing reports from several witnesses. One managed to escape and remains missing.
"This is the worst attack launched by the armed criminal group recently amid intensified development by the Government," Mr Diaz said.
He said security forces were trying to recover all 31 bodies but they were scattered and guarded by gunmen in the district, a stronghold of separatists who have battled Indonesian rule for nearly 50 years.
For years, a low-level insurgency has plagued the mineral-rich but impoverished region, which is ethnically and culturally distinct from much of Indonesia.
Papua, a former Dutch colony in the western part of New Guinea, was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a United Nations-sponsored ballot that was widely criticised as a sham.
Local media reports said the violence flared after the workers angered pro-independence supporters by taking photographs at a rally on Saturday.
Some Papuans regard December 1 as their independence day from Dutch colonial rule, raising a banned separatist flag and holding rallies.
Minister of Public Works and People's Housing Basuki Hadimuljono told a media briefing in Jakarta that the victims were among dozens of construction workers employed by a state-owned construction company to build bridges along a 278-kilometre road project connecting the towns of Wamena and Agats.
The workers, migrants from other parts of Indonesia, are considered outsiders by the separatists.
The Government, which for decades had a policy of sending Javanese and other Indonesians to settle in Papua, is now trying to spur economic development to dampen the separatist movement.
Indonesia's human rights commission has also urged President Joko Widodo to end rights violations by security forces in Papua, an area where access by foreign media is restricted.
Karina M. Tehusijarana and Wahyoe Boediwardhana, Jakarta/Surabaya Police in Surabaya, East Java, ordered 233 members of the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) to leave the Papuan student dorms on Jl. Kalasan where they were staying on Monday following a rally that turned violent on Saturday.
Around 300 Papuan students gathered in Surabaya from various cities across Java and Bali, to hold a rally on Dec. 1 to commemorate what some Papuans claim to be the birth of the West Papua nation in 1961.
The students marched from the Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI) studio on Jl. Pemuda to the Grahadi Building on Jl. Gubernur Surya and made speeches calling for the right of Papuans to self-determination. They also displayed images of the Morning Star flag, a symbol of the Papuan independence movement.
The situation became tense when around 200 people from various mass organizations, including the Communication Forum of Indonesian Veterans' Children (FKPPI) and Pancasila Youth (PP), arrived on the scene to stage a protest against the AMP.
The counter-protestors accused the Papuans of committing treason and the two camps launched verbal attacks on each other, which escalated into a physical clash, resulting in injuries to 17 people.
On Saturday night, when the students had returned to the student dorms, Surabaya Police surrounded the building and detained the 233 AMP members, two non-Papuan students, and an Australian citizen.
The 233 Papuans were released on Sunday evening, under the condition that they immediately leave the dorms and return to their respective homes.
Fifty students were put on a bus headed to Malang, East Java, 90 others were sent to other cities, while 80 were sent back to their residences in Surabaya. The remaining 13 were residents of the Jl. Kalasan dorm.
AMP human rights lawyer Veronica Koman confirmed the release of the students and condemned the police's actions as "forceful removal" that violated the students' civil rights. "It clearly violates their freedom of movement as well as their freedom of expression," she told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) Surabaya commissioner Fatkhul Khoir agreed. "What happened to the students is in violation of the principles of human rights that state that every citizen has the right to chose where to stay," he told the Post.
The two non-Papuan students, Fachri Syahrazad and Arifin, had been thought missing after the police raid on the dorms, but were actually being held in a separate police station in Surabaya. They were also released on Sunday.
The Australian citizen, identified as Ronda Amy Harman, was handed over to the Surabaya immigration authorities. Veronica said Ronda had not taken part in the rally and was at the dorm to meet her boyfriend, who is an AMP member.
"I have spoken to immigration officials and they told me she is being 'secured' at a hotel but I have not been allowed to see her," she said. "It is my understanding that she is likely to be deported. This is the third time this year that a foreign citizen has had problems with immigration because of their connection with Papua."
In February, Australian journalist reporting for BBC Indonesia, Rebecca Henschke, was told to leave Papua after she posted several tweets criticizing the provision of aid. In August, Australian PhD candidate Belinda Lopez, who was planning to visit Papua, was barred from entering Indonesia for unspecified reasons.
East Java Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Frans Barung denied allegations that the police had violated the students' rights, claiming that the officers were actually trying to ensure their safety. "Police deliberately brought [the students] to the station to protect them from the threat of groups opposed to the AMP," Frans said.
The Solomon Islands prime minister Rick Hou says his government wants nothing to do with West Papua.
In his most public comments on the subject to date the Solomon Star reported Mr Hou saying West Papua was a domestic one issue for Indonesia to deal with.
This was in response to questions from local journalists asking whether West Papua was discussed during his meeting with Indonesia's president Joko Widodo on the fringes of the recent APEC leaders meeting.
Mr Hou likened the plight of West Papuans to that of the indigenous peoples of New Zealand Australia. He said Solomon Islands had no policy on West Papua so it is a non-issue for his government and he did not discuss it with Mr Widodo.
The Solomon Islands prime minister's stance is in direct contrast with his predecessor and now deputy prime minister Manasseh Sogavare who championed the cause for self-determination for West Papuans and who regularly urged world leaders not to turn a blind eye to alleged atrocities committed by Indonesia's security forces in the region.
Jason Abel The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) in partnership with the Vanuatu West Papua Association and the South Moluccas association have joined in with West Papuans around the globe to commemorate the West Papua Day, celebrated annually on the 1st of December at the Chiefs Nakamal compound yesterday morning.
West Papua first raised its Morning Star flag on December 1, 1961.
The celebration began with the President of Malvatumauri Council, Chief Willie Grey Plasua, making a welcome speech to the special guests and the public to witness the flag raising and commemorating the day for the people of West Papua.
A moment of silence was conducted in memory of the loved ones who have died in the struggle for self determination.
Chief Plasua appealed to the churches, NGOs, the public and Melanesia as a whole to unite always and stand beside West Papua's struggle for freedom. He reaffirmed to the ULMWP delegates that they have the full support of his council.
Chairman of West Papua Association and Reconciliation Committee, Pastor Alan Nafuki, said that he believes the time has come for West Papua to achieve their right to self determination and their freedom. He said through God alone anything is possible.
Government representative and special envoy to the West Papua Movement, Lora Lini said that Vanuatu, a small country with a loud voice, has been in the frontline always and will continue to advocate towards West Papua's self determination and freedom.
She said that only Vanuatu can feel the urgent need and struggle the West Papuans are feeling as Vanuatu came out from such struggles from two colonial powers in 1980.
Dr Alexander Manuputty, Leader of the South Moluccas acknowledged the ULMWP role of pushing for self-determination. He says it is time West Papua, South Moluccas and Vanuatu build mutual friendship and trust towards the principle of equal rights and the self determination of the people in West Papua and South Moluccas.
Andy Ayamiseba, a long time Vanuatu resident, said that it is time youths take up responsibility in the struggle as the time is near for them to step down and allow active strong advocators back the West Papua movement. He encourages unity always among youths for success.
Paula Makabory, ULMWP executive member acknowledged Vanuatu for its continuous support and said that the flag raising ceremony is not just an identity for West Papuans but also a stamp of the existence of West Papua in the global arena.
The day saw youths performing dramas and skits to celebrate the special day for West Papuans followed by refreshments.
West Papuans want to be free from Indonesian rule and the people of Vanuatu have pledged their support to the people of West Papua.
Jakarta (Antara) Papuan Students Alliance activist Alince Tekege said that the 233 students arrested in Surabaya had been sent home. The students had been taken by the Surabaya Police for their safety.
"They have all returned to their respective hometowns," Alince said via text message, Monday, December 3.
According to Alince, the 233 students returned home in safe condition, although three of them suffered head injuries. "They had been treated at the Dr. Soetomo Hospital, in Surabaya."
The Papuan students were taken into custody by the police during the December 1 march celebratin the proclaimed 57th independence day of Papua. A total of 537 people were arrested in Kupang, Ternate, Ambon, Manado, Makassar, Jayapura, Asmat, Waropen, and Surabaya.
During the demonstration in Surabaya, 16 students were injured, three suffering head injuries from stone throwing and beatings.
A number of mass organizations, including Pemuda Pancasila, FKPPI, Hipakad and the pencak silat organization held their own protest that day to counter the students. They intercepted the students who were marching towards the Grahadi Building on Jalan Gubernur Suryo.
The mass organization members tried to attack the Papuan students, but were prevented by the police. After the demonstration ended, the police took the students in their custody for safety reasons.
The police also arrested an Australian citizen who was at the students' dorm that night. The unknown foreign female citizen was immediately handed over to the Surabaya Immigration Office.
According to the Papuan student legal counsel, Veronica Koman, the Australian woman actually had nothing to do with the December 1 demonstration. "She knows some of the students, so she was just visiting their dorms," Veronica said.
Jakarta (Antara) The East Java Police clarified that the Surabaya Police resort has not arrested 233 college Papuan students and civilians in Surabaya on Sunday, December 2.
East Java Police Spokesman Grand Commissioner Frans Barung Mangera said that police personnel was securing the hundreds of students for protection purposes following a report of a number of mass-organizations provoked by the Papuans that reportedly chanted about Papua's freedom.
"We, in fact, secured them because there were groups outside that were already triggered, groups like KPPI, Pemuda Pancasila (Pancasila Youths), and many more," said Frans on Sunday.
He explained that this was deemed necessary by police since the mass-organizations were already surrounding the area where the students were.
"They chanted slogans that enraged other groups such as the 'free Papua' chant. We secured the 233 people to the police station for the sake of their own safety," Frans explained.
537 people were arrested following the December 1 movement which commemorates Papua's independence movement. The hundreds were arrested in Kupang, Ternate, Ambon, Manado, Makassar, Jayapura, Asmat, Waropen, and Surabaya. Surabaya was where the movement was concentrated.
Jakarta An Australian was among hundreds of pro-Papuan independence activists arrested across Indonesia at the weekend, police and rights groups said Monday (Dec 3).
Some 233 activists, including Australian Ronda Amy Harman, were detained late Saturday in Indonesia's second-largest city Surabaya, East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera said. Local media reported that the arrests were made at a student dormitory.
They were among more than 500 activists swept up in a nationwide police crackdown that coincided with rallies on Dec 1, a date many Papuans consider should be the anniversary of their independence from the Dutch.
Papua declared itself an independent nation on that date in 1961, but neighbouring Indonesia took control of the region by force in 1963. It officially annexed Papua in 1969 with a UN-backed vote, widely seen as a sham.
No one was formally charged in the Surabaya arrests including Harman, Mangera said, adding that the 35-year-old woman was reported to immigration officials. A spokesperson at the Australian embassy in Jakarta could not immediately be reached for comment.
The arrests followed a rally in which counter protestors threw stones at around 300 Papuans, injuring 16 people, Amnesty International said. Rights groups have blasted authorities for the mass detentions, saying it was an assault on Papuans right to freedom of expression and assembly.
"These people did nothing but peacefully attend public events," Amnesty International Indonesia's executive director Usman Hamid said in a statement. "These arbitrary arrests add to the long list of acts of harassment, intimidation and arrests faced by Papuans."
Jakarta keeps a tight grip on resource-rich Papua, which has been the scene of a low-level independence insurgency since the late Sixties. Some of the violence has been centred on protests against a huge gold and copper mine owned by US-based firm Freeport McMoRan a frequent flashpoint in the local struggle for independence and a bigger share of the region's rich resources
Supporters of West Papuan self determination gathered for the province's symbolic independence day over the weekend.
December 1st marked 57 years since West Papuans first raised their Morning Star flag as the symbol of forthcoming independence from Dutch colonial rule.
Dominic Godfrey caught up with the movement's supporters outside New Zealand's parliament.
A year after the Morning Star was first flown, Indonesia annexed the territory. The flag is now a symbol for indigenous West Papuans' struggle for independence from a country where the flag is outlawed.
A small but vocal crowd of academics, politicians, students and activists showed their solidarity in Wellington and flew the Morning Star, calling for an end to Indonesian occupation and colonisation of the territory.
The Green Party MP and spokesperson for Human Rights, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Golriz Gharaman, says she was exercising her freedom to stand with West Papuans who couldn't speak out.
"What the people of West Papua are suffering is such grave injustices, such grave human rights breaches, you know, arbitrary detention. Their resource is not available to them because of corporate access being prioritised."
The coordinator of Peace Movement Aotearoa, Edwina Hughes, says a hundred-thousand West Papuans have been killed since Indonesia took control of the former Dutch colony in 1963.
"For people in West Papua flying their flag, they're often imprisoned or tortured or sometimes killed and that's why there's an international solidarity movement who fly the Morning Star around the 1st of December every year."
Ms Hughes organised this year's event and says it marked a first for demonstration, with apologies being received from government ministers acknowledging the event but not being able to attend.
One Labour MP who could attend was Anahila Kanongata'a-Suisuiki. "In support of the West Papua fight for freedom. We all enjoy it here in Aotearoa and this is a place where we come to voice our opinion or stand up for things we believe in."
While having New Zealand government ministers acknowledging the event may have been a first, Golriz Gharaman, herself a member of the coalition government says New Zealand has to take a harder line with the government of Indonesia.
"We actually have to stand strong on this in our dealings with Indonesia. The New Zealand government has to take this on seriously because we can't sort of prioritise trade over something as egregious as the atrocities that are happening in West Papua."
Ms Gharaman says the Indonesian colonisation of West Papua is about economics and resource extraction. She says New Zealand is complicit in the subjugation of West Papuan aspirations as trade with Indonesia still takes priority over the human rights of the territory's indigenous people.
Others at the Morning Star flag raising had their own reasons for being there.
"I went to West Papua in 2014 and saw a situation that needs to change, that's why I'm here."
"I'm here out of a spirit of solidarity and I love seeing that there's other people that really care for this."
"I'm here every year waiting for our government to make a stand and a call for action to some of the atrocities that are happening in West Papua.
"I'm from Estonia, a formerly occupied country and the struggle for independence has been a really big part of our history, our identity even, so I'm here out of solidarity for other countries who have to go through the same."
"I'm a Kanak student from New Caledonia and I grew up hearing about West Papua. This is my first time coming and yeah, Kanaky stands in solidarity with West Papua."
And they were united in their call for freedom. "Papua... merdeka! Papua... merdeka! Papua... merdeka!"
A human rights activist says New Zealand needs to rethink its policy towards West Papua in the wake of violent demonstrations and mass arrests over the weekend.
Saturday marked the 57th anniversary since the Papuan Morning Star flag was first flown officially, and rallies took place across Indonesia.
More than 500 people were arrested in the fallout, including hundreds in Surabaya, where Papuans openly clashed with counter-protestors. Seventeen people were reportedly injured.
In New Zealand, supporters marked the event peacefully, including MPs from the coalition-government Labour and Green parties.
Activist Maire Leadbeater says New Zealand should urgently respond to the weekend's arrests. She told Mackenzie Smith they marked an escalation of violence towards Papuans.
Arnold Belau and Wahyoe Boediwardhana, Jayapura/Surabaya More than 500 Papuans in several cities were arrested following rallies on Dec. 1 to commemorate what some Papuans claim to be the birth of West Papua nation in 1961.
The lawyer of the arrested Papuans, Veronica Koman, said in a statement on Saturday that 537 people were arrested in Kupang in East Nusa Tenggara, Ternate in North Maluku, Manado in North Sulawesi, Makassar in South Sulawesi, Jayapura, Asmat and Waropen in Papua and Surabaya in East Java. Among the total, 322 were arrested in Surabaya. In Papua, 90 people were arrested in separate places and times.
On Friday, a day before the rallies, joint forces of the Indonesian Military and the National Police searched the headquarters of the National Committee for West Papua (KNPB) in Kampung Vietnam in Jayapura. The joint force also arrested Larius Heluka on Friday.
The following day, the joint force arrested 89 people in Abepura in Jayapura municipality, in separate places in Jayapura regency and in Yapen regency. As of Sunday, all 90 had been released by the police.
In Kupang, the police arrested 18 people early Saturday morning. East Nusa Tenggara Police chief Insp. Gen. Raja Erizman said the Papuans were not arrested but "secured and questioned". "I have ordered [Kupang Police chief] to treat them well," Raja said Saturday.
In Surabaya, which saw one of the biggest Dec. 1 rallies, a clash occurred between about 300 people grouped under the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and other groups that accused the Papuans of committing treason. Seventeen people were injured, with some sustaining head wounds.
The Papuan students in Surabaya made a public speech, calling on Papuans to not remain silent when it came to discrimination and restrictions on their freedom of speech. They also campaigned for self-determination for Papuans' future.
However, the situation became tense when a group consisting of around 200 people from several mass organizations, including the Communication Forum of Indonesian Veterans Children (FKPPI) and Pancasila Youth (PP), arrived on the scene to stage a protest against AMP.
The two camps launched verbal attacks at each other, which escalated into a physical altercation.
"At first, this rally ran peacefully, until we were blocked in front of the Grahadi building and then came the Pancasila Youth mass organization, which intimidated us and turned the situation into an [altercation]," AMP human rights lawyer Veronica said after the incident on Saturday.
The East Java Police and Surabaya Police deployed 1,055 police personnel, aided by two Army groups and the Surabaya Public Order Agency (Satpol PP), to disperse the two clashing camps.
Veronica said the AMP had respected the aspirations of the mass organizations, but they should not have incited the riot by throwing bottles and sharpened bamboo at the students.
AMP spokesperson Dorlince Iyowau said the Papuans only demanded the right to decide their own fate. "Our main demand is the right to decide our own fate, as a democratic solution for West Papua. We want Papuans to have their own political rights," Dolince said.
Meanwhile, PP Surabaya secretary Baso Juherman accused the alliance of committing treason. "The rally [by the alliance] was clearly a treasonous act. The PP took to the streets to prevent them [from committing treason], because the rally hurt Surabaya residents," Baso said.
The coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) in Surabaya, Fatkhul Khoir, called on the release of the 322 people in a statement on Sunday. (foy/evi)
Hundreds of Papuan students faced off with counter-protesters in Indonesia's second largest city of Surabaya today in a rally calling for the Melanesian region's independence while pro-independence sources reported more than 300 people arrested in West Papua.
The Surabaya rally was organised by the Papua Students Alliance. The demonstrators chanted "Freedom Papua" in Surabaya city to mark December 1, which many West Papuans consider as the 57th anniversary of what should have been their independence, report news agencies.
The crowd, many of whom wearing headbands of the Morning Star flag banned by Indonesian authorities, was blocked from marching to the city center by scores of counterprotesters from several youth organisations waving the Indonesian flag.
They confronted the pro-independence protesters with sharpened bamboos. Several hundred members of anti-riot police prevented the two rival groups from clashing. The protest ended after about two hours.
However, human rights sources reported tonight that Indonesian police and military had surrounded Papuan student dormitories in Surabaya and arrested 223 people. They were being detained at the Surabaya City sector police station.
The Free West Papuan Campaign reports that more than 300 people have been arrested across West Papua.
In several regions of West Papua, peaceful demonstrations took place. Protests were reported in Jakarta, Surabaya, Palu, Kupang, Ternate, Makassar, Manado, Ambon, Poso, Sula, Timika, Meruake, Waropen, and Tobelo.
In addition to police intervention during public gatherings, the London-based campaign's website said it had received reports that Indonesian security forces had also raided several student dormitories, and the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) headquarters was vandalised.
From the monitoring team, below is the interim report of arrests throughout West Papua and other parts of Indonesia:
Philipus Robaha is among students still detained in Polsek KP3, Naval Base, Jayapura.
1. Kupang 18 people arrested.
2. Ambon 43 arrested.
3. Ternate 99 arrested. One of the activists was rushed to hospital due to suffocation
4. Jayapura around 85 people from 4 different locations: Dok IX, Abe, Jayapura and Sentani.
5. Jakarta 140 arrested
6. Surabaya hundreds involved in a long march towards Kamasan III student dormitary were confronted by tni-polri and some students were bruised from confrontation.
7. Manado 29 arrested
8 Waropen 7 arrested. Names: Jhon Wenggi, Yulianus Kowela, Monika Imbiri and Fiktor Daimboa
9. Sorong and Merauke, including KNPB HQ in Waena, Perumnas III: in lock down and an urgent need for advocacy at these places.
RNZ Pacific also reports mass arrests over West Papuan demonstrations in several Indonesian cities.
Today marks the 57th anniversary of the first time West Papua's flag of independence, the Morning Star, was raised. In commemoration of the historic event numerous non-violent peaceful demonstrations and prayer vigils were organised around the country.
Worldwide flag raisings of international solidarity increase each year as the support for West Papuan independence gains momentum. In New Zealand, flagraising events were held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
This protests comes at a time of increased violence in West Papua, including suspected extrajudicial killings in the region.
Urgent issues of concern also include increased military presence, the killing of civilians caught in crossfire in the mountain regions, and armed civilian movements of Papuans protecting their villages.
The International Coalition for Papua (ICP) compiles data on political arrests and violence in West Papua. This information has been made public through quarterly reports. The latest ICP reports are at www.humanrightspapua.org
Tony Firman A protest action by the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) in the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya on December 1 demanding self-determination for West Papua has been attacked by a group of ormas (social or mass organisations) who demonstrated on the west and eastern sides of Jl. Pemuda.
The group, who came from a number of different ormas including the Community Forum for Sons and Daughters of the Police and Armed Forces (FKPPI), the Association of Sons and Daughters of Army Families (Hipakad) and the Pancasila Youth (PP), was calling for the AMP demonstration to be forcibly broken up.
"This city is a city of [national] heroes. Please leave, the [state ideology of] Pancasila is non-negotiable, the NKRI [Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia] is non-negotiable", screamed one of the speakers from the PP.
At 8.33am a number of PP members on the eastern side of the road began attacking the AMP by throwing rocks and beating them with clubs. Police quickly moved in to block the PP members then dragged them back.
The AMP protesters had began gathering at the Submarine Monument at 6am before moving off to the Grahadi building where the East Java governor's office is located.
However they were only able to get as far as the Surabaya Radio Republic Indonesia (RRI) building before they were intercepted by police from the Surabaya metropolitan district police (Polrestabes) and the East Java district police (Polda).
The AMP demonstration was held to mark December 1, 1961 as the day West Papua became independent from the Dutch. For the Papuan people, December 1 is an important date on the calendar in the Papuan struggle which is commemorated every year.
The historical moment in 1961 was when, for the first time, the West Papuan parliament, under the administration of the Dutch, flew the Morning Star (Bintang Kejora) flag, symbolising the establishment of the state of West Papua.
Since then the Bintang Kejora was flown alongside the Dutch flag throughout West Papua until the Dutch handed administrative authority of West Papua over to the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) on October 1, 1962, then to the Indonesian government on May 1, 1963.
The UNTEA was an international mechanism involving the UN to prepare a referendum on whether or not the Papuan people wanted to separate or integrate with Indonesia.
The referendum, referred to as the Act of Free Choice (Pepera), resulted in the Papuan people choosing to be integrated into Indonesia. Since then, the administration of West Papua has been controlled by the Indonesian government and the flying of the Bintang Kejora deemed an act of subversion (maker) and responded to with violence and arrests.
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.
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 handpicked 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.
Arnold Belau, Jayapura As many as 96 activists from the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) in Ternate, North Maluku, were arrested after police forcibly broke up a rally in front of the Barito Market.
A Suara Papua source from Ternate said that the FRI-WP action was closed down by police and intel (intelligence) officers and the demonstrators forced into trucks as they were about to begin protesting in front of the Barito Market.
The source said that several activists were dragged and assaulted as they were forced into the truck. "Several comrades who were at the action were dragged and forced to get into a truck by police and intel in Ternate", they said.
The source said that as many as 99 people were arrested, 12 of which were from West Papua and the remainder activists from FRI-WP. One of the protesters had to be rushed home because they were experiencing breathing difficulties.
"One of the people had difficulty breathing and was rushed home. 12 people were from Papua and the rest from Ternate. Currently they are being taken to Polres [district police station]", they said.
Ternate district police Tactical Police Unit head (kasat sabhara) M. Aninab was quoted by semarak.news.com as saying that the protesters will be taken to the Ternate district police station.
"We will take them to Polres, question them. If in the process of delving into the matter it is discovered that they committed a violation then they will be charged, but we will bear in mind that are still young and [they should be] given guidance", he said.
Earlier, the protesters sent a written notification of the action to the Ternate district police but it was rejected with police saying that the planned action was subversive (maker).
Upon arriving at the Ternate district police station they will be registered and those who originate from Papua will be separated from those from North Maluku.
FRI-WP is demanding that the Indonesian government resolve human rights violations in Papua and that the Papuan people be given the freedom to hold a referendum to determine their own future.
December 1, 1961 marks the embryonic birth of the West Papuan state. Every December 1, West Papuan people throughout the world commemorate the date as Independence Day.
On December 19, 1961 the Papuan state was dissolved by Indonesia with the declaration of the Trikora operation by founding president Sukarno's in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta.
Suara Papua has sought confirmation of the arrests from Ternate district police chief Assistant Superintendent Ashari Juanda via an SMS message and two phone calls but as of posting this report there has been no response.
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.
Operation Trikora was declared by Indonesian founding President Sukarno in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta on December 19, 1961. It was an Indonesian military operation aimed at harassing and forcing the Dutch out of Netherlands New Guinea in 1961-62 rather than one intended to suppress a nascent independence movement.
Jakarta Police stopped hundreds of activists from the Indonesian Front for West Papua (FRI-WP), the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and the Papuan Central Highlands Indonesian Student Association (AMPTPI) from leaving the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) offices in Menteng, Central Jakarta, on Saturday December 1.
The activists had planned to march to the Dutch Embassy in nearby Kuningan to commemorate 57 years since the declaration of West Papuan independence on December 1, 1961. From the Dutch Embassy they were to continue the action at the United Nations representative offices in Central Jakarta.
"But the protesters are still being blocked by scores of Brimob [para-military Mobile Brigade] officers (some in civilian clothing) at the LBH Jakarta exit gate", FRI-WP spokesperson Surya Anta told CNN Indonesia.
Anta said that although security personnel have prohibited the protesters from holding the action he asserted that they will still go ahead with the protest as planned and will push to be allowed to hold the march.
The demand being taken up in the action is Papuan independence from the Republic of Indonesia.
Police in several parts of the country have increased alert levels in anticipation of protests commemorating the anniversary of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) on December 1 and December 10.
Speaking earlier in Timika on Friday November 16, Mimika district police chief Assistant Superintendent Agung Marlianto said security had been increased in order to prevent unwanted incidents taking place during the OPM anniversary.
"We all hope that things will not happen that none of us want. The public doesn't need to worry or be overly anxious", he said as quoted by the state news agency Antara. (wis)
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.
There have been mass arrests of people demonstrating in cities across Indonesia to mark the anniversary of a declaration of independence by West Papuans.
It's 57 years since the Papuan Morning Star flag was first flown officially when the indigenous people of the former Dutch New Guinea declared independence.
The Morning Star flag a symbol of the West Papuan Independence movement. It was first raised on 1 December 1961 prior to the territory coming under administration of the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority.
Demonstrations to mark the anniversary occur annually in Papua region, other parts of Indonesia, and in cities around the world.
Indonesian police and security forces were out in large numbers to crack down on the demonstrations which have grown in recent years in non-Papuan cities.
Dozens of demonstrators, not restricted to Papuans, were arrested in each event in cities including Kupang, Ambon, Surabaya and Ternate.
In Ternate, around a hundred are reported to have been taken into custody. Demonstrators in Jakarta and Yogyakarta faced opposition by security forces.
In Surabaya, hundreds of West Papuan students were met with violent opposition by nationalist paramilitary forces, leaving around sixteen demonstrators injured.
Meanwhile, there were the usual high numbers of arrests over demonstrations in the urban centres of Papua and West Papua.
Around 80 people are reported to have been arrested in Papua's provincial capital Jayapura, where the headquarters of one of the main pro-independence organisations, the West Papua National Committee, or KNPB, was raided.
Premises of the KNPB's secretariat were also targetted by security forces in several Papuan cities or towns, including Timika, Sorong and Asmat. This follows recent raids by police on KNPB activities in Jayapura.
Demonstrations to mark the anniversary were also held in several cities in Australia and New Zealand.
1961's declaration of Papuan independence was the following year eclipsed by a US-brokered agreement between the Dutch and Jakarta which paved the way for an Indonesian takeover.
The Morning Star flag is outlawed in Indonesia, and Papuans caught raising it publicly have been given prison sentences of up to fifteen years.
As the demonstrations took place, a traditional double-hulled canoe, the Wairon, making a symbolic journey from the far west of New Guinea to its eastern-most tip approached its destination.
The Wairon's voyage from Sorong in West Papua to Samarai in Papua New Guinea is promoting cultural solidarity between the indigenous Melanesians of both sides of New Guinea.
A spokesman for the crew said human rights and self-determination issues in West Papua highlighted the importance of people on that side maintaining contact with Papua New Guineans.
The canoe was due to arrive at its destination in PNG's Milne Bay province before sunset on December 1st.
Jakarta and Surabaya Around 300 members of the Papuan Students Alliance in Surabaya, East Java, staged a protest on Saturday, nearly clashing with a separate group that appeared to be staging a counter-protest.
The students initially gathered in front of the RRI Studio on Jl. Pemuda. They displayed images of the Morning Star flag, the symbol of the separatist movement for Papuan independence, and demanded that Papuans be given the right to self-determination in the name of democracy.
The group held a march that was to head toward Grahadi State Building on Jl. Gubernur Suryo, but the police blocked access because there was a ceremony in the front yard of the building.
Tensions escalated when a group consisting of around 200 people from the Communication Forum of Indonesian Veterans' Children (FKPPI) and youth organization Pemuda Pancasila showed up to stage what appeared to be a counter-protest, resulting in the two groups yelling at each other.
The two groups attempted to attack each other, but the police prevented any physical altercations from breaking out.
FKPPI East Java deputy chairman Gatot Sutantra said that, by demanding an independent Papua, the Papuan Students Alliance was committed to a separatist movement. "We reminded them to disperse, otherwise the police would disperse them," Gatot said as quoted by tempo.co.
The police also gave a warning to the students, calling on them to disperse as they had no permit to stage the demonstration. (foy)
Toyiban, Manokwari, W Papua West Papua Governor Dominggus Mandacan has said the province was safe for investment, and thus, invited investors to invest in the area.
"Indonesia is included in the list of the top 10 safest countries in the world, and West Papua ranks first as the safest in the country," the governor remarked here on Friday.
He said the safest predicate was obtained by West Papua based on the results of a survey conducted by the central government. Hence, the governor has called on the community and all elements to keep the West Papua area conducive.
According to him, the West Papua Provincial Government has a motto, "Realizing West Papua safe and dignified". The motto has been implemented and must be interpreted so that all government development programs run smoothly.
"So far, we have lived in harmony and unity. All religions can coexist, maintain each other and this is a blessing for us all," the governor said.
Mandacan then invited the investors to invest in West Papua, for along with the community, he is ready to provide security guarantees to investors who want to contribute to regional development through the business that will be carried out.
"I have conveyed this to investors at a meeting held some time ago. We have guaranteed that West Papua is safe and conducive," the governor said.
Linda Yulisman, Jakarta Every Thursday for more than 560 weeks, Ms Maria Katarina Sumarsih, clad in black and holding a black umbrella, has stood in front of the presidential palace in Jakarta.
Refusing to be silent, the 68-year-old mother has consistently sought justice for her first child, student activist Bernardinus Realino Norma Irmawan, who was shot on Nov 13, 20 years ago, during Indonesia's transition from an authoritarian regime to the world's third-largest democracy.
In the period since the fall of Indonesia's strongman Suharto, a time also known as Reformasi, several leaders have failed to meet the demands in Ms Sumarsih's petition to bring the murderer of Wawan, as he was called, to court.
They include reform-minded President Joko Widodo, who has yet to take concrete steps to address past human rights abuses even as his five-year term is nearing its end. These abuses include the shooting by a soldier that claimed the life of Wawan, according to activists.
Wawan, an Atma Jaya University law student, was among dozens killed in a series of incidents in 1998 and 1999, called Semanggi I, Semanggi II and Trisakti Tragedies, as they fought for the decreasing role of the military in business and politics, following Suharto's ouster.
When no moves were forthcoming to bring the killers to justice, Ms Sumarsih and activists in the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence and the Humanitarian Volunteer Network initiated, on Jan 18, 2007, the weekly gathering in front of the presidential palace. A few people attended the first gathering. Now, dozens, including families of victims and students, turn up.
Through these protests, popularly known as Aksi Diam Kamisan (Thursday Silent Protest), they have demanded that the government solve past human rights violations perpetrated by the military, including the rapes, lootings and burning of buildings during the May 12-15, 1998 riots, 1998-1999 student shootings, and mass killings of 1965.
I don't want my friends to have the same fate as Wawan, who was shot dead without a clear reason. The best solution to this case is to hold trials for the mastermind of the incident.
Ms Vebrina Monicha, a third-year law student at Atma Jaya University. She is among many young people, especially university students, who are joining the weekly Thursday gatherings.
The gathering was inspired by Argentina's Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, a group of mothers who began a weekly march in 1977 to protest against the military dictatorship under whose rule their children had disappeared.
On the day her son was killed, Ms Sumarsih had warned him to stay away from the student protests outside Parliament. As an employee at the House of Representatives, she had heard from her colleagues that soldiers and armed militia guarding Parliament had been permitted to shoot the protesters. But in the hospital later that day, she cried over his dead body, with a hole in his chest.
"I can't accept he was shot," Ms Sumarsih told The Straits Times. "I feel the anger until now."
The mother of two had pinned high hopes on Mr Joko, a non-military leader. In his campaign before his election in 2014, he had promised to solve past human rights cases, including the Semanggi I shooting, and end the impunity under previous administrations.
But, "in the midst of his tenure, Jokowi appointed a suspected perpetrator of human rights violations as the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs", she said, referring to Mr Wiranto, the former defence minister and commander of Indonesian Armed Forces from 1998 to 1999. "It means he is pro-human rights criminals."
The Suharto-era general was the man in charge while atrocities were carried out by the military in East Timor during its vote for independence in 1999, according to a 2003 indictment by the United Nations.
The Thursday gatherings have also been a protest channel for Mr Asih Widodo, who lost his only child Sigit Prasetyo during the Semanggi I shooting.
He has found solace in being with the families of other victims, even as countless meetings with lawmakers and justice apparatus from the State Court to the Constitutional Court have been to no avail, with the absence of legal proceedings against the perpetrator who took the life of his son, a civil engineering freshman at the University of Persada Indonesia YAI. Mr Asih said his anger over the state's inaction outweighs his sorrow over losing his child.
At a recent gathering, the 67-year-old rode a motorbike with a written board above the headlight stating that his son was killed by the military. He has also travelled on his bike to other parts of the country, such as Central Java and East Java, blaring loud music to attract attention to his personal battle for justice.
"I am always optimistic. Before I die, I will keep seeking justice," said Mr Asih.
The investigation into the three incidents by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) in 2002 found they were gross human rights violations, involving "murders, torture and forced disappearance". But since then, the Attorney-General's Office has yet to follow up with its own probes.
Early last year, the government decided to solve the cases through a non-judicial settlement reconciliation without legal process or proceedings a measure strongly rejected by families of the victims. They prefer having an ad hoc human rights tribunal that can clarify who the perpetrators of the human rights abuses were.
But settling the case through the courts is still feasible, said Komnas HAM chairman Ahmad Taufan Damanik. "It all depends on the President now. If he is firm, the chance is bigger" to solve the cases by way of a judicial measure, Mr Ahmad said, noting that Mr Joko has the power to order a probe by the Attorney-General.
Political shocks caused by bringing high-profile military figures into court trials should not be feared as the country has done so in the past, he added.
Nevertheless, Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid questioned the track record of Mr Joko's administration in addressing past human rights abuses. "There has been a discourse to make the victims (of Semanggi I, Semanggi II and Trisakti Tragedies) heroes, but it has not been executed," said Mr Usman, a student activist back in the late 1990s.
Ms Sumarsih also sees the appointment of senior generals to strategic posts in Mr Joko's administration as a reconsolidation of the New Order power the power of the authoritarian regime under Suharto which her son and other activists fought hard to dismantle, at the sacrifice of their own lives.
She said she would continue to stand outside the palace for many more Thursdays, and become a constant reminder lest anyone forget.
"Death cannot break a love relation. Because I love Wawan and I know what he was doing at that time, I want to continue his unfinished struggle," Ms Sumarsih said. "I want to see the supremacy of law as the Reformasi agenda upheld."
And 12 years on, many young people, especially university students, are joining the weekly Thursday gatherings.
"I don't want my friends to have the same fate as Wawan, who was shot dead without a clear reason," said Atma Jaya University third-year law student Vebrina Monicha. "The best solution to this case is to hold trials for the mastermind of the incident."
Jakarta Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) political observer Hermawan Sulistyo believes that promoting the achievements of Suharto's New Order (Orba) regime in the 2019 presidential elections will not prove attractive to the millennial generation.
According to Sulistyo, only particular groups will be attracted by the issue. "Only a crazy person would want to return to that regime. A life full of fear every day", said Sulistyo during a discussion at the offices of the Populi Center in Jakarta on Thursday December 6.
Sulistyo is convinced that you just can't sell the New Order to the millennial generation which is curious about history and in general wants to know about what really happened during the New Order era. "Many millennial kids are smart, they investigate, open old files, so they know who the human rights criminals are, who ransacked our economy", he said.
According to Sulistyo only millennials who tend to be indifferent and some older people who fell they were better off during that era will be attracted to this New Order nostalgia.
"Millennials who don't have a sense of curiosity may perhaps be attracted, be interested. Older people, who took part in the repression, will of course be interested. But this doesn't represent a lot of people", he said.
A different view was conveyed by Sunanto, the central leadership board chairperson of Muhammadiyah Youth, the youth wing of the Islamic mass organisation Muhammadiyah. According to Sunanto, the New Order is still sellable among some groups in the presidential election campaign.
"Don't assume all millennials are the same. The Orba segment is still big, not to mention those who hope for the prosperity of the past", said Sunanto.
He admits however that there is a quite a big gap between this and attracting the interests of the millennial generation in the New Order. "Unless there is some new idea that emerges. If not then a point of agreement is still some way off", he said.
Sunanto believes that the presidential candidates (capres) contesting the 2019 presidential elections incumbent President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and former Kopassus (Special Forces) General Prabowo Subianto both have New Order tendencies.
"Actually both capres have Orba characteristics, but with different perspectives", said Sunanto.
Nevertheless, Sunanto is of the view that the group which is most inclined towards continuing the spirit of the New Order is the camp supporting Prabowo and his vice presidential running mate Sandiaga Uno. On several occasions the Prabowo camp has brought up the achievements of the New Order under Suharto.
The camp supporting Widodo and his vice presidential running mate Ma'ruf Amin meanwhile, said Sunanto, still has a number of New Order era figures who are part of the Widodo-Amin election campaign team.
They include, among others, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan and Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Wiranto. "One is perhaps part of his group, the other is involved in his policy making", he said.
Because of this therefore, in his view both presidential tickets have equal potential to apply policies which are not very different from those of the New Order.
Sunanto also believes that New Order tendencies have continued to emerge during the era of reformasi the political reform process that began with the overthrow of Suharto in 1998 such as power cartels, corruption, collusion and nepotism (KKN) and a tendency towards authoritarianism.
"If these three characteristic have persisted to this day then it cannot be said that we are now in reformasi. If they still exist it means that the characteristics of Orba still exist", said Sunanto.
The Prabowo camp has often touted the achievements of the New Order era under Suharto's leadership. Moreover if Prabowo and Sandiaga are elected in the 2019 presidential election they say they will take up the spirit of food sustainability which was pursued by Suharto.
Suharto's second daughter and chairperson of Tommy Suharto's Working Party advisory board has said on her Twitter account that it is time for a return to the era of Suharto's leadership which [it is claimed] achieved food self-sufficiency, received international acclaim and world recognition. (pris/pmg)
Adam Prireza, Jakarta An organization comprised of Soeharto lovers called Hasta Mahardika Soehartonesia (HMS) filed a police report against Ahmad Basarah, PDIP's deputy secretary general, for his comment which referred Soeharto as a corruption teacher.
"We don't want past problems to be a bad precedent in the future," said HMS brigade commander Rizka Prihandy when the group filed the police report on Monday night.
Rizka said that he alleges that Ahmad Basarah had violated Article 156 juncto Article 14 and 15 of the criminal code (KUHP) upon insults and the spread of false information. According to Rizka, the president that reigned Indonesia for 31 years before stepping down under public pressure in 1998, is considered to be a hero.
He claims that Soeharto's services in developing Indonesia as a nation should not be easily put aside and likened the second president to first Indonesian president Soekarno and VP Mohammad Hatta.
Previously reported on November 28, Ahmad Basarah referred Soeharto as the teacher of corruption in Indonesia, which he claims aligns with; "The Temporary People's Consultative Assembly Decree (TAP MPR) No. 11/1998 suggests that the teacher of corruption is President Soeharto."
Basarah argued that his statement about Soeharto was a response to the statement issued by presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto in an international event, claiming that corruption in Indonesia is as fatal as a stadium four cancer.
Fikri Arigi, Jakarta Commissioner of National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) Riri Khariroh said that 50 percent of sexual violence cases were not reported and were solved through mediation, where often resulted in the victim forced to marry the perpetrator.
"This has happened because of the misconception against sexual violence," said Riri at the United Development Party (PPP) Headquarters on Thursday, December 6, 2018.
Riri explained that this misconception is the main cause of the victim's reluctance to report the violence they experienced. Other than that, there is also an element of the attitude shown by authorized personnel that lack of sensitivity in handling the case and would often blame the victims.
Riri revealed that sexual violence against women has increased annually, with the commission's record showing 335,062 cases in 2017, which is a dramatic increase compared to the 259,150 cases recorded in 2016.
She maintained that there are four factors that caused the increase, such as power relation inequality, patriarchy, society's permissiveness, and weak law enforcement.
Riri also talked about the urgency of discussing the Revised Law upon eradicating sexual violence (RUU PKS) by the House of Representatives (DPR) which should be able to prevent cases of sexual violence. "Based on the legal aspect, so far it has always burdened the victims," Riri said.
Jakarta App-based ride-hailing company Grab Indonesia has announced a plan to expand in-app safety features and educate drivers about sexual harassment for the provision of a service that is safer for both female drivers and female passengers.
Grab Indonesia managing director Ridzki Kramadibrata said his company would double its safety-related investments in order to execute the plans, although he did not state the exact amount.
"Our goal is to bring to zero the number of sexual harassment incidents that are completely preventable," he said in Jakarta recently.
The announcement came after Grab came under fire last month when the company tweeted that it was trying to arrange a meeting between a Grab Indonesia driver and a victim in order to settle a sexual harassment accusation the driver allegedly kissed the victim on the lips without consent and then asked for a five-star rating.
Grab Indonesia subsequently tweeted "the victim still refuses to meet the driver", prompting netizens to launch the #UninstallGrab campaign on Twitter, criticizing the company for being incapable of understanding and protecting its female customers.
The campaign was a hard blow to a company already facing stiff competition from homegrown rival Go-Jek, which dominates the domestic tech-based transportation industry, including in food and goods delivery, with an 80 percent market share, according to the Business Competition Supervisory Commission.
If Grab weakens its foothold in Indonesia, it may mean losing Southeast Asia's largest and fastest-growing ride-hailing market, which is expected to triple in value from US$3.7 billion this year to $14 billion in 2025.
Responding to the outcry in early November, Grab Indonesia launched a new feature in Jakarta that conceals passengers' and drivers' phone numbers from each other, which it claims has reduced unsolicited phone calls by 70 percent.
Grab also launched, for the protection of passengers, a "share my ride" feature that would allow passengers to share their locations with trusted persons and an emergency SOS button that would send a pre-set text message to a customer's trusted contact person.
Ridzki said these two features would be extended next year to drivers, who were equally vulnerable to assault from passengers.
Grab motorcycle driver Maya, who started to work for the company three years ago to help feed her three children, told The Jakarta Post that she welcomed both the recently added and upcoming safety features.
Maya, a part-time housewife, said she worked almost every day delivering food, packages and passengers, about 50 percent of whom were men and who sometimes sent her unsolicited flirtatious messages. "I'm not bothered by the men. I feel quite safe as a driver now," she said.
Ridzki added that Grab would partner with the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) to outline a better procedure for handling sexual harassment cases and to design a workshop on sexual harassment for drivers.
He said the workshop would be compulsory for newly recruited drivers and be condensed into a mandatory in-app online course for existing drivers, although he did not provide details of either the workshops or procedures.
However, Komnas Perempuan chairwoman Azriana Manalu urged Grab Indonesia to design a procedure that assigns a person instead of an automated response system who understands sexual harassment to hear out, console and advise victims.
In regards to the workshop, she said Grab should inform drivers of the shame they would bring upon themselves, their families and their affiliated institutions if they are implicated in a sexual harassment case.
She praised Grab for its proactive effort in trying to improve itself, but said it still needed to create a support system to facilitate the recovery of past victims. "We hope that Grab's initiatives can become industry best practices for a transportation service safe for women," she said.
Fachrul Sidiq, Jakarta The Jakarta administration has earned praise for issuing Gubernatorial Regulation No. 48/2018 on safe houses for children and women who are victims of violence.
The safe houses, whose locations are confidential, allow victims to get maximum protection from perpetrators. They also offer counseling and legal assistance.
Since being launched in May, two safe houses administered by the city have housed 79 victims out of 1,510 residents who reported their cases to the administration.
Once the reports are examined, the authorities will decide whether to send victims to a safe house, which is guarded 24 hours a day, or not.
"Not all of the women and children, who are victims violence, will be automatically housed in the safe houses. It depends on their need," Tuty Kusumawati, the head of the city's Child Protection and Empowerment and Population Control Agency (PPAPP), told The Jakarta Post on Saturday, adding that 52 percent of the 1,510 victims were children and the rest were adults.
This year's figure is an increase from last year, when 1,217 cases were reported.
Tuty, however, said violence against children and women had not increased in Jakarta as the spike could be "due to the victims becoming more courageous and speaking out".
The city plans to add more safe houses in five municipalities across the capital next year.
Jakarta was ranked the world's ninth-worst megacity for women in a survey released by the Thomson Reuters Foundation last year, which measured the prevalence of sexual violence, harmful cultural practices and access to health care and economic opportunities.
A study commissioned by the United Nations Women Asia Pacific in three municipalities South, East and West Jakarta found that women were vulnerable to street crime and sexual violence in public spaces.
According to the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), the prevalence of sexual harassment in Jakarta was among the highest in Indonesia. Throughout 2016, the commission reported 13,602 cases of violence against women nationwide, 2,552 of which occurred in Jakarta.
Komnas Perempuan commissioner Indriyati Suparno said victims of sexual or domestic violence were often reluctant to report cases to law enforcement officials because of bureaucratic red tape or the inappropriate treatment they have to endure.
For example, investigators would often ask them whether they went out at night or what type of dress they wore at the time of the incident instead of focusing on the case, Indriyati added.
"The presence of safe houses should be appreciated. But what is more important is the legal assistance and counselling the victims get from the administration," she said, adding that similar houses were already present in several other provinces, including Central Java and Yogyakarta.
Tuty said the PPAPP was working on integrating the reports it received from the Jakarta Police, which would enable them to be used by the police to investigate cases without having to ask the victims the same questions.
"Since September, we have also cooperated with the Ancol Recreational Park in [North Jakarta] to allow victims to visit the site as part of an attempt to help them overcome their trauma," she added.
In May last year, the administration issued a regulation that allows women who are victims of sexual violence to be examined for free at hospitals. The exam is a crucial element for victims to file police reports.
Nurul Fitri Ramadhani, Jakarta The Press Council has appointed nine new members to serve for the 2019-2022 period, consisting of journalists, representatives of press companies and public figures.
Representing journalists at the council are Tempo magazine chief editor Arif Zulkifli, former Warta Kota daily deputy chief editor Hendry Ch Bangun and MNC News Channel chief editor Jamalul Insan.
Ahmad Djauhar, a director of PT Aksara Grafika Pratama Jakarta, the publisher of the Bisnis Indonesia daily, Agung Darmajaya of the Association of Indonesian Local Television and Metro TV executive Asep Setiawan will sit at the council to represent press companies.
The public will be represented by media observer Agus Sudibyo as well as lecturer and Indonesian National Private Radio Association (PRSSNI) member Hassanein Rais and former education minister Mohammad Nuh. Hendry and Ahmad will serve their second consecutive terms.
Press Council Election Body (BPPA) chairman Margiono said the election body had appointed the nine from a pool of 13 candidates at a plenary meeting on Thursday.
All of the new members have signed an integrity pact to underline their commitment to their duties and to help maintain the good name of the institution.
"The appointed members face tough challenges. That's why they are required to sign the integrity pact. If they violate their commitments, there will be serious consequences," Margiono said in a statement on Friday.
The BPPA will report the appointment results to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who is expected to issue a presidential decree to confirm the appointment.
Jakarta As the presidential election draws near and has begun to divide the nation, Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Idham Azis has called on his subordinates to maintain impartiality and avoid making hand gestures while being photographed.
He said hand gesturing could cause controversy, as it may be interpreted as showing support for a certain presidential candidate.
"We should maintain neutrality in the presidential election and legislative election," he said while on a working visit to the North Jakarta Police headquarters on Wednesday.
"Be careful while taking pictures. Don't show a [one-finger salute] or [two-finger salute], just [show your fist] a commando salute," Idham said, as reported by kompas.com.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and his running mate, Muslim cleric Ma'ruf Amin, got number 1, while challenger Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno got number 2 for the upcoming presidential election.
He said when police officers were pictured with hand gestures, the pictures would circulate widely across social media.
"We will be [attacked] on social media. We are not afraid of being [attacked], we're just tired of having to provide clarification," he said. (fac)
Karina M. Tehusijarana, Jakarta Presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto's history has been the subject of many attacks from political opponents.
A former Indonesian Military (TNI) general and son-in-law of former president Soeharto, Prabowo has been accused of being involved in human rights violations and wanting to bring back the New Order.
The "blue book" recently released by the Prabowo-Sandiaga Uno campaign team has sought to address all these allegations and more in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. The questions answered range from the gravely serious ("Is Prabowo a human rights violator?") to the trivial ("Why does Prabowo like horses?"). Below is a selection from the 36 questions and accusations covered in the chapter:
Background: Prabowo was allegedly involved in the forced disappearances of 13 pro-democracy activists between 1997 and 1998 in his capacity as commander of the Army's Special Forces (Kopassus) at the time.
Blue Book Answer: "It was not kidnapping but securing. And it was not Prabowo who secured [the activists] but Tim Mawar [a team of soldiers implicated in the action]. Nine people were secured and they are now free and alive and some are Gerindra Party members."
Background: Besides the alleged kidnappings, Prabowo has also been accused of being involved in other human rights abuses, including during the Army's counter-insurgency operations in East Timor.
"If he violated human rights why is he allowed to freely go to any country? He was even chosen by [Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairman] Megawati to be her vice presidential candidate during the 2009 election."
Background: Shortly after the fall of Soeharto in 1998, Prabowo was discharged from the military. Both Prabowo and then-TNI commander Wiranto denied that the discharge was for disciplinary reasons, but military documents leaked in 2014 showed that the TNI Officers Honorary Council had fired him because of his involvement in the forced "securing".
"He was not fired, but honorably retired early. If he was fired, how could he still receive pension payments every month."
Background: Prabowo married Soeharto's daughter Siti Hediati Haryadi, popularly known as Titiek Soeharto, in 1983. The couple separated not long after Soeharto's fall in 1998.
"He did not get a divorce, but was banished by the Cendana [Soeharto] family who were incited by anti-Prabowo generals."
Who will be Prabowo's first lady if he does not have a wife?
"This is a presidential election not a first lady election, so there is no requirement from the KPU [General Elections Commission] for a candidate to have a wife. One's mate is in the hands of the ALMIGHTY ALLAH SWT, not in the hands of KPU [General Elections Commission]."
Background: Prabowo is known for his love of horses and has often appeared on horseback during party and campaign events.
"What is wrong with horses? Horses are not something new to Indonesia. [Horses have been part of Indonesian history] from the Majapahit period to Prince Diponegoro. Horseback riding is an analogy for ability and competence in leadership. The philosophy of horseback riding is how to work together with another of God's creatures. If Prabowo can communicate and work together even with horses, then how much better will he be with his fellow humans and citizens? Horseback riding is also part of sunnah, which was exemplified by the Prophet Muhammad SAW."
Background: Prabowo's background and closeness to Soeharto, as well as previous statements that he has made about democracy, have raised concerns that he wants to turn Indonesia into a dictatorship.
Blue Book Answer: "Every government has positive and negative sides to it. We will continue the positives, and abandon the negatives."
Background: Prabowo has allied himself with conservative Islamic groups that advocate for further implementation of sharia in Indonesia.
Blue Book Answer: "He is a TNI general, whose duty is to safeguard the NKRI [Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia]. [His] commitment toward the NKRI is final!"
How will Prabowo act toward minorities if he wins the election?
Blue Book Answer: "[He will] guarantee a harmonious life among citizens regardless of their tribe, religion, social background, or race based on the Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution."
What would be the difference between Prabowo and Jokowi as president of Indonesia?
Background: The Blue Book's choice of the term petugas partai (party officer) is a reference to Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle's (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri's repeated statements that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is a petugas partai. She first said it in 2014, and most recently repeated it in January this year.
Blue Book Answer: "Prabowo has a proven ability to lead, a wide network and is not just a party officer."
Devina Heriyanto, Jakarta Incumbent Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and running mate Ma'ruf Amin have released their platform for the 2019 presidential election, giving it the title Indonesia Maju (Indonesia Moving Forward).
The Indonesia Maju program, outlined in a 38-page document, aims to create a developed Indonesia that is "sovereign, independent and with characteristics based on gotong royong [mutual cooperation]" a repeat of Jokowi's vision when he first ran for president.
There are nine "missions" in Jokowi's platform, each comprising several points and programs. The number of missions, nine, is also an echo of his 2014 Nawa Cita, or nine-point development program. However, while the President's new platform certainly has areas of continuation from his first term, there are also some key differences.
Priorities that remain part of the new platform are human development, economic competitiveness, arts and culture, rule of law and defense and security. If the Nawa Cita put significant emphasis on maritime affairs, the new platform shelves the issue of maritime security and development under defense and security. Village and rural development also remains a priority.
New issues highlighted in the Indonesia Maju platform are economic inequality, sustainable development, bureaucracy and relations between the central and regional governments. In terms of the economy, Islamic or sharia-based finance has been given significant focus.
Here are the salient points of Jokowi-Ma'ruf's Indonesia Maju platform:
The Jokowi-Ma'ruf pair aim to deliver basic services such as clean water and sanitation to support child development and health care. Stunting, a prevalent issue in Indonesia, is a focus of the pair's child development agenda. In health care, Jokowi's flagship National Health Insurance-Healthy Indonesia Card (JKN-KIS) program is intended to provide wider coverage and better services.
In education, the Smart Indonesia Program through the Kartu Indonesia Pintar (Smart Indonesian Card) will also continue. Affirmative action for the poor and people from underdeveloped regions will be available under existing programs such as the LPDP and Bidik Misi scholarship programs. Vocational schools will be designed to suit the needs of industry, so as to prevent a mismatch between education and the job market. Wider access to funds and scholarships will be provided for workers to increase their skills.
Religious education institutions will also be given added attention, as there is an emphasis on religious institutions as providers of "national character education" and an aim to instill religious values through education. There is also the Santripreneur program, described as a cooperative initiative between religious education institutions and the business sector. The aforementioned affirmative action will also be available for santri (Islamic boarding school students) and students in religious education institutions.
The focus on human development also encompasses gender equality and women empowerment. The pair's program also introduces a gender-responsive budgeting system as well as objectives to increase female participation in education, with the goal of boosting women's representation in politics and to empower women in the economy.
The Santripreneur program, described as a cooperative initiative between religious education institutions and the business sector, will be available for santri (Islamic boarding school students) and students in religious education institutions.The Santripreneur program, described as a cooperative initiative between religious education institutions and the business sector, will be available for santri (Islamic boarding school students) and students in religious education institutions. (The Jakarta Post/Nedi Putra AW)
Infrastructure development remains a priority, but the focus has now been turned to urban and digital infrastructure to accommodate the development of the digital economy. Infrastructure development will be integrated with special economic zones and industrial zones to support businesses, including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). One significant goal is to ensure access to house ownership for 5 million poor people, low-wage workers, soldiers and police.
Another program is industry revitalization for industry 4.0. This includes a change of policies in natural resources management, switching from a commodity-based economy to developing national industry, as well as increasing the minimum domestic component requirement. The preparation for industry 4.0 also calls for development in logistics infrastructure, the creation of innovation centers and more funding for research.
Jokowi-Ma'ruf aim to develop new economic sectors, with a focus on tourism, Islamic finance and the digital economy. Fiscal and structural reform will be conducted to increase efficiency and ease of doing business, as well as to reduce interest and increase productivity. Fiscal reform is aimed at reducing inequality, while tax reform is intended to deliver a sense of national justice.
Jokowi's agrarian reform will continue, in the form of asset distribution and land certification. The government will provide assistance to increase productivity to ensure an inclusive economy through, among other measures, providing technology to farmers and fishermen.
MSMEs and cooperatives will serve as a means for achieving economic equality. The pair promises to provide credits for funding, tax incentives and help to go digital and start exporting. An export-oriented marketplace is one of the objectives in this point.
MSMEs and cooperatives will serve as a means for achieving economic equality. The pair promises to provide credits for funding, tax incentives and help to go digital and start exporting.MSMEs and cooperatives will serve as a means for achieving economic equality. The pair promises to provide credits for funding, tax incentives and help to go digital and start exporting. (Antara/Harviyan Perdana Putra)
Economic equality also relies on the principle of ekonomi kerakyatan (people's economy), which according to the new platform, will center on religious institutions including places of worship. Zakat and waqf will serve as instruments for poverty alleviation and reducing inequality. Islamic finance and the halal industry will also be developed, and pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) are expected to have their own business units in partnership with the public and private sectors.
Jokowi will continue his decentralization program, strengthening regional economies through infrastructure development and fostering local industries. Subdistricts are to play a greater role in poverty alleviation through fiscal management rearrangement. Villages will also become an engine for economic development, in the form of village industries and the creation of competitive products. The village fund program will continue.
The new platform still aims to have a one map policy for spatial development, combined with more monitoring and enforcement. Among other priorities, the pair will focus on waste management, including of hazardous waste and plastics.
Climate change mitigation will still focus on preventing forest fires and peatland conservation, developing renewable energy, ecofriendly public transportation and green spaces in urban areas. Indigenous people will also be involved in environmental conservation.
Arts and culture development is mainly focused on culture for tourism and the development of the music and film industries. In music, the pair emphasizes the protection of intellectual property and musician welfare, while in film, the focus turns to funding, workers' rights and people's appreciation the latest might be related to rampant piracy in the country.
Sports will be promoted and developed through education, leisure and as an industry. Sports infrastructure will be provided to villages. Partnerships and entrepreneurships will be fostered to develop the sports industry. The pair aims to improve the country's competitiveness in sports, in particular those featured in the Olympics.
The national characteristics platform is focused on a mental revolution within the bureaucracy and the maintenance of social harmony, with the latter concerning moderation in religious activities. The youth is expected to play a role in tolerance building through interfaith and intercultural exchange programs. In addition, the youth is also encouraged to counter cyber-bullying and negative content on the internet. The government will also protect the youth from drug and alcohol abuse, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.
The pair's law enforcement platform focuses on the harmonization of existing laws and regulations and deregulation when needed. The aim is to foster creativity and productivity, in addition to ensuring security and justice for all.
Legal reform will cover both criminal law and civil law, and focus on reducing overcrowding in penitentiary institutions. Efforts will be focused on antidrug operations, as well as fighting vandalism and organized crime.
The pair promises to strengthen the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and introduce a national anticorruption strategy. Cooperation among governmental institutions will be increased, and cashless transactions will be promoted to reduce money laundering and graft.The pair promises to strengthen the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and introduce a national anticorruption strategy. Cooperation among governmental institutions will be increased, and cashless transactions will be promoted to reduce money laundering and graft. (The Jakarta Post/Wienda Parwitasari)
The pair promises to strengthen the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and introduce a national anticorruption strategy. Cooperation among governmental institutions will be increased, and cashless transactions will be promoted to reduce money laundering and graft.
Once again, Jokowi promises to resolve past human right abuses and to include human rights in the education curriculum. Religious freedom is guaranteed and the pair has taken a stance against "those who use force in the name of religion". Other human rights issues include the protection of indigenous people's rights, agrarian rights and disability rights.
Diplomacy is the first line of defense in Jokowi-Ma'ruf's new platform. The pair emphasize participation in international organizations including the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), with diplomacy identified as a means to attract investment and tourism. The pair promises to improve security in border areas and protect Indonesian citizens abroad.
Jokowi also aims to modernize the military, including by updating the main weaponry system and developing the cyber and defense industry. The defense budget will be reformed to pay greater attention to soldiers' welfare and military development, although the new platform makes no mention of the existing minimum essential force (MEF) program.
Police reform will be conducted to gain public trust. Coordination with intelligence agencies will also be increased. The pair aims to create a better synergy among the military, police and other institutions in the government, and ensure a more integrated counterterrorism effort.
The bureaucracy program of the platform begins with the objective of improving the implementation of Demokrasi Pancasila. This includes guaranteeing civil rights and press freedom, as well as increasing digital literacy and strengthening the electoral process.
The new platform mentions the need for professional law enforcement, beginning with greater transparency in the recruitment and budgeting processes, to more education and training, smart office reform to a better retirement and remuneration system. For better efficiency and effectiveness, Jokowi-Ma'ruf will rearrange agencies with overlapping functions and pursue interagency relations reform.
An e-government system is expected to deliver better performance and transparency, with data integration as one key point. Online-based public services will also continue.
The last key program in the new platform aims to deliver a better synergy between the central and regional governments. Jokowi-Ma'ruf aim to promote regional autonomy by designating subdistrict, district and villages as the frontier for the delivery of public services and the implementation of the Village Law. To combat widespread corruption at the regional level, the pair promises greater budget transparency. There will also be deregulation through the revoking of problematic bylaws.
Interregional cooperation is expected in sectors such as transportation, waste management and river basin area management. Regional governments are expected to improve cooperation to boost economic development and economic competitiveness.
Devina Heriyanto, Jakarta Presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto and his running mate Sandiaga Uno have released their platform for the 2019 election, titled Indonesia Adil Makmur (Fair and Prosperous Indonesia). Detailing the pair's programs for the next five years, the platform is included in 15 pages of a so-called blue book.
Besides the pair's platform, the blue book also includes short biographies and a frequently asked questions (FAQs) section for both Prabowo and Sandiaga.
The grand vision is "to create an Indonesia that is fair, prosperous, dignified, politically sovereign, economically independent and with strong national characteristics, as well as to guarantee harmony among citizens regardless of ethnicity, religion, social and racial background based on Pancasila and the Constitution".
Prabowo-Sandi has divided the platform into seven main parts: the economy, human development, food and energy sovereignty, social programs, infrastructure development, environmental protection and government.
Here are the key summaries of Prabowo-Sandi's Fair and Prosperous Indonesia platform:
The pair has put forth the concept of people-centered development, aimed at creating jobs, increasing purchasing power and developing infrastructure in villages and the farming sector. The platform mentions the aim of increasing the quality of economic growth by focusing on inequality, GDP per capita and the human development index (HDI).
The implementation of the people's economy includes, among other elements, modernizing traditional markets, encouraging the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and cooperatives, as well as increased funding for the agricultural, forestry, fisheries, maritime and husbandry sectors. Agriculture and village industries are mentioned as instruments to promote development by creating new economic centers.
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are described as a "fortress of national economic resilience" and as the state's tool to intervene in the market. The pair aims to stop "leakages" in natural-resources management by building raw-material refineries, promoting value-added exports and in trade by preventing "misinvoicing" in export books. National banks are expected to provide funding for farmers, fishermen, labor, MSMEs and traditional traders.
Appealing to labor, Prabowo-Sandi promises to prioritize local workers over foreigners, as well as revoking Government Regulation No. 78 2015 on wages and to stop outsourcing in order to deliver better welfare. Appealing to labor, Prabowo-Sandi promises to prioritize local workers over foreigners, as well as revoking Government Regulation No. 78 2015 on wages and to stop outsourcing in order to deliver better welfare. (Antara/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)
Appealing to labor, Prabowo-Sandi promises to prioritize local workers over foreigners, as well as revoking Government Regulation No. 78 2015 on wages and to stop outsourcing in order to deliver better welfare.
Prabowo-Sandi guarantees affordable public transportation for labor and poor people, stipulated in a law for public transportation motorbikes and the right to unionize for online ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers.
Indonesia is envisioned as a center for Islamic finance and Muslim creative industry. The pair also promises to support startup development and have "wiser" debt and loan management.
The White Revolution, a program from Prabowo's 2014 platform, is once again set out as a tool to reduce malnutrition, and stunting in particular. The White Revolution in agriculture refers to a program in India that increased milk consumption in the country in the 1970s. The pair will also focus on "the quality of families" through poverty-alleviation programs and education and healthcare services.
Literacy is a key to the human-development program, along with education. Aiming to increase literacy, the pair promises to provide libraries and reading parks in villages. On the larger scale, Prabowo-Sandi aims to revise tax policies for the publishing industry in order to make books more affordable and also to guarantee better welfare for writers.
The objective of improving educational quality begins with increasing teachers' welfare and education budget efficiency, including scholarships according to the platform. Aside from vocational school development, the pair will introduce a remote education program for students in poor and remote areas and a leadership program through the National Strategic Leadership School.
The national education system should uphold national character building, with eight main characteristics: religious, moral, healthy, smart and creative, hardworking, disciplined and orderly, independent and beneficial.
To achieve food and energy self-sufficiency, the pair will open up 2 million hectares of land. The key commodities in the food-sufficiency program are rice, corn, sago, soybeans and sugarcane while in the energy-sufficiency program, the key produces are palm sugar, cassava, yam, sago, sorghum, coconut and other bioethanol materials. The pair also aims to increase the production and consumption of dairy and fishery products, in line with Prabowo's White Revolution program.
Agrarian reform will be continued for better farmer welfare and increasing productivity in the agriculture and forestry sectors. The pair will boost fertilizer production, maintain price stability and provide technical and facilities support.
The pair aims to restore mining and oil and gas management in accordance with Article 33 of the Constitution. The development of oil refineries, ethanol factories and gas terminal plant and distribution will be led by both SOEs and private firms. State-owned electricity form PLN will be expected to convert to cleaner energy.
The social programs include free health care, with an emphasis on pregnant women, eradicating human and drug trafficking, protection for women, children and vulnerable groups, revitalizing the role of the Family Welfare Movement (PKK), integrated health service posts (Posyandu) and community health centers (Puskesmas), continuing the family planning (KB) program, conserving art and cultural heritage and achieving better in national sports.
Prabowo-Sandi promises to accelerate infrastructure development, especially on the outer islands of the archipelago, through increasing budget transfer allocations from central government to regional governments. Cyber security infrastructure is mentioned but not in detail.
The pair promises house-ownership programs, including land banking and low-cost apartment units (rusunami).
The programs in environmental protection include prevention and punishment for polluters, the development of city forests, rehabilitation of deteriorated forests, eco-friendly mining activities and recycling for plastic waste. The programs in environmental protection include prevention and punishment for polluters, the development of city forests, rehabilitation of deteriorated forests, eco-friendly mining activities and recycling for plastic waste. (JP/Zul Trio Anggono)
The programs in environmental protection include prevention and punishment for polluters, the development of city forests, rehabilitation of deteriorated forests, eco-friendly mining activities and recycling for plastic waste. The pair also aims to increase the certification of forest products to meet international standards.
Climate change mitigation efforts are mentioned without further elaboration.
Prabowo-Sandi promises to uphold the rule of law and law enforcement without discrimination and states that "the law is not a political tool". Bureaucratic reform will continue and the pair promises better welfare for state employees as well as greater efficiency in running the government. Corruption eradication efforts in the bureaucracy will be enacted through open and accountable management in cooperation with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), the police, military, and judicial institution.
Better welfare for the military and police is promised. A former military general himself, Prabowo does not elaborate much on security and defense except for promising weaponry system updates and military modernization.
The pair's foreign policy program is limited to sticking with the free-and-active foreign policy and participation in global peacekeeping efforts, while focusing on the Palestinian and Rohingya issues.
Dewi Nurita, Jakarta A research by KedaiKOPI (Kajian Opini Publik Indonesia/Indonesian Public Opinion Study) shows that only 4 percent of voters in West Java can identify fake news or hoaxes. The remaining 96 percent couldn't.
West Java is recorded to have 32.63 million registered voters for the 2019 general elections. "Of the total voters, only four percent was able to tell which news stories were fake," KedaiKOPI executive director Kunto Adi Wibowo told Tempo on Friday, December 7.
Kunto said that the hoax identification test was done by asking respondents to look at four news stories, and decide whether they were fake or real, or if they simply didn't know. From the research, it was revealed that all demographic variables (age, sex, education) did not affect hoax identification skills.
The research also revealed that undecided voters have even less ability to identify hoaxes compared to those who know their choice. "The number of undecided voters in West Java is 13.2 percent," he said.
This research was conducted in West Java from October 3 to 10. There were 488 respondents surveyed using face-to-face interview method. The data is weighted so the last sample is 471 with a margin of error 4.51 percent out of a 95 percent confidence range.
Jakarta President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has spoken out about banners which have appeared with the writing #JokowiBersamaPKI (#JokowiSameAsPKI Jokowi is the same as the Indonesian Communist Party, PKI). The white banners smacking of slander have been put up around the Kebon Kacang area of Tanah Abang in Central Jakarta.
"Much has been conveyed about the issue of President Jokowi being PKI. And even of late there have been many banners like that. For four years I've been patient, patient, patient", said Widodo at Bumi Perkemahan Ragunan on Friday December 7.
The banners were put up on Tuesday December 4. On the banners was written: #PKI Disguised As Pancasila (#PKIBerkedokPancasila), #JKW Same As PKI (#JKWBersamaPKI), #JKW National Hoaxer (#JKWHoaksNasional), #JKW National Idiot (#JKWSontoloyoNasional), #JKW National Monster (#JKWGenderuwoNasional) and "Sink the PKI in 2019" (2019 Tenggelamkan PKI) referring to the 2019 presidential election.
In addition to this, also appearing on the banners are the words "Prabowo-Sandi for a Strong Indonesian President". Photographs of presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto and his vice-presidential running mate Sandiaga Uno are displayed on the right with the election ticket number 02 and the symbols of the political parties backing Prabowo in the presidential election.
Widodo claimed that up until now he has been silent but the issue has continued to circulate. Yet on numerous occasions of late he has clarified the issue but the banners were still put up over the last few days.
The former Solo City mayor asserted that he was only born in 1961 and the PKI was dissolved in 1965. He also clarified the issue of photographs of a person resembling him alongside PKI leader DN Aidit when he was giving a speech in 1955.
Widodo is of the view that these issues must be straightened out because based on a survey around 9 million Indonesian still believe it to be true.
"Is there such a thing as a PKI infant? This kind of politicking must stop. It destroys our attempts to build democracy and develop the life of the nation and state", he said.
Earlier the Jakarta Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) said it was still pursuing the people who put up the banners. Bawaslu Jakarta commissioner Puadi said that the content of the banners are provocative and divisive as regulated under Article 280 and Article 1(d) of Law Number 7/2017 on General Elections.
The time limit for investigating the banners is seven days or next Tuesday December 11. If sufficient evidence is not found in this time Bawaslu will not continue the investigation. (chri/osc)
Widodo himself is partly to blame for the persistence of these kinds of black campaigns. Instead of publically stating what according to surveys most people already believe that the PKI was obliterated by Suharto and the military in 1965 and there is no indication that it has or is being revived Widodo has instead helped maintain what some have called the "biggest hoax of all" by calling on the TNI (Indonesian military) to "clobber the PKI" if it resurfaces, warning the public about the threat of communist ideologies and taking part in TNI organised public screenings of the Suharto era propaganda film "The Betrayal of the September 30 Movement/PKI", a dramatisation of the New Order's version of the events surrounding the alleged communist coup in 1965.
Rachmadea Aisyah, Jakarta A researcher from Yayasan Kehati (Biodiversity Foundation) has called on stakeholders in the country's palm oil business to listen to the aspirations of foreign buyers, who have voiced concern over the production of Indonesia's flagship commodity.
Ichsan Saif, Yayasan Kehati's environmental policy researcher, said foreign buyers' concerns should not always be treated as a negative campaign against the commodity.
"Those [concerns] are assumed [to be a negative campaign], but the government has never even conducted any in-depth studies to find out whether the concerns are indeed negative campaigns to bring down pam oil," Ichsan told The Jakarta Post over the weekend.
"[Maybe] they are purely a suggestion from consumers demanding products that are managed sustainably." Ichsan said the government had never attempted to substantiate its concerns.
The government has been trying to improve the image of palm oil, the country's biggest export commodity in terms of volume. Indonesia is the biggest palm oil producer in the world.
Ichsan said the ongoing efforts by the government to promote the sustainability of Indonesia's palm oil management should be able to demonstrate to the world Indonesia's commitment to fix issues surrounding the commodity.
"The next question is whether these policies can be implemented effectively and change the national management of palm oil for good," he added. (bbn)
Theresia Sufa, Bogor Bogor municipality officially implemented on Dec. 1 a ban on single-use plastic bags at all modern stores.
Through Mayoral Regulation No. 61/2018 on the elimination of single-use plastics, Bogor Mayor Bima Arya ordered that modern stores stop providing their customers with plastic bags.
"We are now focusing on modern markets first because they're easier to regulate. One day, we'll also apply the regulation to traditional markets," Bima said.
According to Bima, Bogor residents produce up to 1.7 tons of plastic waste every day. Bima said he believed the residents would slowly adjust to the new regulation. Modern retailers are now obligated to replace plastic bags with eco-friendly alternatives and shoppers are advised to bring their own reusable bags when shopping.
A shopping center in Bogor, Plaza Ekalokasari, has stopped providing plastic bags and offers eco-friendly bags that cost Rp 12,000 (82 US cents) each. Many other shops have put up banners to announce that they no longer provide plastic bags.
Bima suggested that local residents use bags made from cassava or corn fiber. Such bags were produced by the Family Welfare Movement (PKK), a community family welfare organization run by women, and sold in 38 districts across the city, he said.
A resident of Tajur, Wita, 60, said she was happy with the new regulation. "There is a lot of plastic bag waste in my house alone. The regulation reminds us to always carry a personal bag for the sake of the environment," she said. (vla)
Jakarta Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan has rebuffed claims that he and the government were not paying attention to the deforestation and forest fires caused by oil palm plantations.
He said he was also worried about their environmental impacts on younger generations, but he claimed the government was struggling to make progress since the land concessions for the plantations, some of which were on fire-prone peatlands, had been given out by past governments.
"We're just fighting fires [created by] past sinners," he said during a press conference at his office in Central Jakarta on Friday, as quoted by tempo.co.
Luhut reiterated his derision for environmental group Greenpeace Indonesia, which had disrupted the operations of a tanker carrying palm oil belonging to the Wilmar trading company in the Bay of Cadiz near Spain, saying that the government has every right to question the local chapter of an international group.
However, he denied allegations that the government had not done anything to achieve a sustainable palm oil industry. The government, he said, would next year release its One Map, an integrated map recording land ownership all across the country.
"Those who make noise now will later be proven to have four or five properties," said Luhut. "Those who claim to be poor cannot hide that they have land everywhere."
He said the map would also reveal the operations of companies like Wilmar and whether they are linked to plantations in protected areas.
Luhut said he was the one who had been tasked by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to lead a team to quell forest fires in 2015, which were among the worst ever experienced in the country.
While he said it was previous administrations that had carelessly issued land concessions, he lamented how people now criticized Jokowi, who was the one who banned the expansion of plantations on peatlands and the expansion of oil palm plantations.
Luhut claimed that not a single plantation concession has been issued during the Jokowi administration.
Arya Dipa, Bandung The government's focus on jailing drug users while providing only little funding to help users get healthy again is not effective in combating drug abuse and amounts to "a waste of money", a study finds.
The policy study from Rumah Cemara, a community-based organization helping drug users and people living with HIV/AIDS, proposes an increase in spending on health treatment for drug users from 0.3 percent of the total antidrug budget to 10 percent by 2020. Dubbed 10 by 20, such a policy would be more effective in reducing drug abuse, the researchers believe.
Ingrid Irawati Atmosukarto, a researcher with Intuisi Inc. and Rumah Cemara, said the government currently allocated only Rp 6.5 billion of the total "war on drugs" budget of Rp 1.9 trillion to health programs.
Ingrid said the 10 percent should go to community health and social protection programs for disease infection prevention as well as drug consumption and production control until 2020.
There was no scientific study to prove that the war on drugs, which had focused on drug raids and law enforcement in the past 10 years, was solving the problem, she went on.
She said the researchers had come up with the 10 percent figure after a modeling method using global experiences in diverting some of the law enforcement funds to health programs. "Such an allocation can be more effective in tackling the negative impact of drug abuse," she said Thursday. A survey conducted in all of the country's 34 provinces by the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and the University of Indonesia (UI) last year showed that 1.9 million people had begun to use drugs and used drugs fewer than five times in the last year. Rumah Cemara said those 1.9 million beginners proved that the government had failed to prevent drug abuse.
The same survey showed that spending on drugs was increasing, rising from Rp 42 trillion in 2014 to Rp 69 trillion in 2017.
Patri Handoyo of Rumah Cemara, who wrote a book criticizing the war on drugs, said the policy had allowed a thriving black market for drugs.
"If we continue the war, of course the number of drug convicts will continue to rise; but will the drug dealing stop? It will go on, and the ones who benefit are the dealers," Patri said. He also raised concerns about dealing from behind bars, as shown by news reports about drug dealing being conducted from within correctional facilities.
Ingrid said sending drug users to prison failed to create a deterrent effect, let along improve users' quality of life. It just causes overcrowded prisons, where erstwhile drug users are recruited to become dealers upon their release, she said.
The Law and Human Rights Ministry was spending a lot of money to take care of inmates serving time for drug offenses, which account for more than half of prison inmates across the country.
Data from the Directorate General of Correctional Services as of September 2018 show that correctional facilities across the nation accommodated 177,145 inmates, which includes 100,897 drug inmates.
If the number of drug inmates was 100,000 and each would get Rp 14,700 per day for their meals using this year's figure, the government spends Rp 1.47 billion a day, or Rp 536 billion a year, just for the meals.
Indonesia has experience in facilitating healthier drug consumption through the sterile needle service to prevent the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C among drug users. The country also has a methadone maintenance therapy program (PTRM) targeting opiates or heroin derivative users.
The PTRM clinic at the Hasan Sadikin General Hospital in Bandung has recorded at least 493 clients since the service was started in 2006. The hospital covers 15 PTRM clinics across West Java.
"We serve an average of 54 patients a day. We call them clients," said the chairman of the hospital's PTRM team, Lucky Saputra.
Responding to public concerns, Lucky said the program would not lead to the emergence of new injection drug users. He argued that each client had to pass a tight preliminary evaluation called addiction severity index, which covers the client's heroin dependence, failure to overcome the dependence in the last 12 months, and family support.
"Our patients are hardcore users," said Lucky, assuring it would be difficult for new users to avail themselves of the service. (evi)
Marchio Irfan Gorbiano, Jakarta The government has insisted that its plan to liberalize the tobacco industry will trickle down positively in terms of job creation and export outputs despite the product being largely consumed inside the country, prompting criticism from tobacco control activists.
Aside from creating jobs and boosting exports, the proposed plan, which is part of a government effort to revise the negative investment list (DNI), would be put in place to reinvigorate small and medium business players, a ministry official said.
By opening up the industry to foreign investment, small-scale producers, who had been hurt by high excise rates, would have a new capital injection to improve their businesses and hire more workers, said Abdul Rochim, the Industry Ministry's director of beverages, tobacco and refreshments.
Small and medium businesses in the tobacco industry shrank from 2,540 in 2011 to 487 last year, according to government data, as tobacco excise rates were gradually increased.
Exports of tobacco and its derivative products were recorded at US$906.2 million during January to September this year, according to Trade Ministry data, up by 7.11 percent from $846 million over the same period last year.
Abdul said the Industry Ministry had also proposed that new investments from big cigarette producers should be made in the bonded logistics zone to boost exports.
Clove and white cigarettes, along with cigars and other tobacco products, are among 49 business sectors that are to be opened up to foreign investment in the upcoming DNI relaxation.
The proposal comes from the Industry Ministry, which hopes that new investments in the tobacco industry, both foreign or domestic, will free big companies from the requirement to partner with small and medium businesses. Abdul said this requirement discouraged new investments in the industry.
However, the Indonesian Tobacco Society Alliance, an industry group whose membership ranged from tobacco farmer associations to cigarette producers, declined to comment as the DNI relaxation for the industry was still in the proposal stages.
Tobacco farmers, meanwhile, lauded the government's move as it would trigger competition among producers that would, eventually, allow farmers to sell their product to the highest bidders.
"If they [foreign investors] come and compete to buy tobacco from farmers, I think it will benefit the farmers," said Soeseno, the chairman of Indonesian Tobacco Growers Association.
He, however, added that local tobacco farmers might struggle to cope with the increasing demand as the government's attention to the upstream sector in the tobacco industry remained limited.
Soeseno said most farmers lacked access to adequate capital and their crop yields could not compete with neighboring countries, such as Vietnam, where farms have higher productivity rates.
Tobacco control activists criticized the government's move as it could be seen as supporting an industry many saw as being harmful to people.
Prijo Sidipratomo, the chairman of the National Commission on Tobacco Control, said liberalizing the cigarette industry was equal to handing over the overall domestic market to the tobacco industry.
Prijo added that the move was contradictory to the government's National Medium-Term Development Plan 2015-2019, whose goal was to reduce smoking among people below the age of 18 from 7.2 percent in 2013 to 5.4 percent next year.
A study released in September by the National Planning Development Board projected that without strict control, the prevalence of Indonesian smokers aged under 18 would grow to 10.7 percent by next year, 15 percent by 2024 and 16 percent by 2030.
Indonesia is the only ASEAN member country that has yet to sign the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a global framework from the World Health Organization that mandates strict rules regarding tobacco production, advertising and taxation that aim to reduce tobacco consumption.
Rezanti Putri Pramana In 2011, Indonesia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In 2016, the country issued a law that acknowledges the rights of people with disabilities and that they should be treated equal to those without disabilities.
Indonesian organisations focusing on the issue of disability have praised this law for introducing a more equal perspective for people with disabilities. It provided a framework to look at the issues in a bigger context, seeing these not only as an individual problem but as the result of the interactions between the individuals and their environment.
But, two years after the law was enacted, Indonesia still fails to involve people with disabilities in public life and in the development process. This can be defined as a process of improving people's welfare not only in economic aspects but also social, political and health aspects. This process includes designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the development.
The failure to involve disabled people in the development process stems from stigma against people with disabilities, which exists both among the public and in government. Below are six problems that perpetuate exclusion of people with disabilities.
Research has shown that including all elements in society including people with disabilities in the development process brings more economic benefits. The latest study shows that excluding people with disability from the workforce has a cost of lost GDP potential of between 3% and 7% per year.
To ensure a disabled person can take part in the development process, principles of participation, non-discrimination and accessibility must be upheld.
But Indonesia have yet to uphold these principles to support people with disabilities. People with disabilities have limited access and space to share their voice in planning development policies, blocking their participation.
The government tends to discuss development policies in forums that are not disability-friendly. A forum is considered disability-friendly when people with disabilities can access the location.
Aside from access, the forum needs to provide tools that can accommodate disabled people's needs to express their opinions. Examples of these tools include devices for hearing disability and sign language translators.
Most development meetings in Indonesia, however, do not provide facilities for people with disabilities. The latest data show that people with disabilities participated in only one-fifth of development planning meetings in 70 surveyed locations.
A similar problem is believed to have caused low participation by people with disabilities in the 2014 presidential election. Only 2.95% of people with disabilities voted in the election due to poor access to voting booths.
Based on my findings, the government allocates a mere 0.015% from the national budget for disability-related issues. The allocation is only Rp309 billion, from a total national budget of Rp2,080 trillion (US$144.7 billion). Most of this budget goes to salaries, leaving only Rp76 billion to be used.
By comparison, in Australia such allocations total up to 1.1% of its 2016 budget. Australia has been considered one of the developed nations that care about the issue of disability.
As well as being small, 90% of the disability-related budget in Indonesia is given to one ministry, the Ministry of Social Affairs, despite the fact that disability is a cross-sectoral issue.
Aside from the salaries, the budget should be allocated to different ministries to empower people with disabilities and create disability-friendly public spaces and better health services for them.
Even though Indonesia has enacted a law on people with disabilities, the government has not yet issued government regulations for implementation.
Additionally, Indonesia does not have a mechanism to monitor disability issues. There is no agency that ensures the government is doing its best to ensure disability inclusion.
Weak law enforcement results in lack of awareness among officials of the changes brought by the new law and what is expected of them in each of their agencies or administrations.
Based on my observation, only officials at the national-level government know about this. But, as these officials continue to be rotated around, the transfer of knowledge was found to be lagging.
As a result of this, many regional officials tend to treat disabled people as a charity case without any intention to empower then.
Indonesia does not have reliable data on the number of people with disabilities in the country. This can happen due to disagreement over the definition of disability by different ministries. So far, each government institution has its own version in determining the number of people with disability.
The latest research from the Ministry of Health states that the proportion of people with disabilities aged 15 years and above is at 11%, based on its 2013 research. Meanwhile, figures from other institutions are different.
The different interpretations of the number of people with disabilities has made the process of designing an inclusive development policy difficult. Accurate calculations are required to ensure that the policy matches with the problems.
People with disabilities face discrimination as most people underestimate them and even consider them incapable.
This stigma has contributed to the low education of people with disabilities. Families of disabled people tend not to enrol them. If they do go to school, they become the subject of bullying, making them reluctant to finish their education.
The latest data show less than half (46.21%) of disabled people from the age of 7 to 24 attended school. Up to 65% of people without disabilities within that same age group attended. The low education level of people with disabilities hampers their participation in the development process.
Many disabled people cannot find jobs. The data recorded that only 24% of people with disabilities aged between 18 and 64 were recruited in 2015. The recruitment rate for people without disabilities within the same age group was 42.8%.
Eliminating stigmas against people with disabilities is the first step in eliminating the barriers to inclusive development. The government must also ensure adequate infrastructure to encourage participation of people with disabilities in the development process.
The government must ensure that people with disabilities have access to forums and discussions on development. Facilities like hearing aids or sign language translators must be made available so people with disabilities can express their ideas in these forums.
The government must not allocate the budget in one ministry only, as disability is a cross-sectoral issue that involves the economy, health, education, politics and culture.
Benefiting from the country's development is every citizen's right. And it is also a duty of the government to include all elements of the society, including people with disabilities, in the development process. In this process, we must not treat people with disabilities as incapable as they can also contribute to maximise the nation's potential.
Tasha Wibawa and Erwin Renaldi An Indonesian city has launched a new campaign to "cleanse" LGBT people of their "social sickness" through religious exorcisms, a move that's been seen as part of the country's growing intolerance towards the community.
Local media recently reported that police in Padang had apprehended 18 couples for "psychological support and rehabilitation" 10 were women identified as lesbians, and eight were transgender.
The belief is that homosexuality and transgenderism are caused by a mental health disorder triggered by supernatural and demonic influences known as "djinn", which can be cured through a ruqyah, or exorcism, to expel the spirits.
Ruqyah has become the preferred method of conversion therapy partly due to it being permissible in the Islamic religion as well as its portrayal on mainstream national television.
One show also called Ruqyah conducts televised exorcisms to allegedly cure an array of physical and mental illnesses.
One episode titled Djinn Interference in the Sodom Community featured an allegedly gay man crying, screaming, and shaking uncontrollably as an Islamic cleric reads him verses from the Koran.
The cleric goes on to say a traumatic incident in his past gave way for a "female spirit" to enter his body.
Islamic cleric Aris Fathoni, from the Ruqyah Association for Sharia in Indonesia, told the ABC that he performs the practice by reading religious verses and hitting his patients with a sapu lidi an Indonesian broomstick on their backs.
Mr Fathoni claimed the practice is meant to address all ailments "whether medical or non-medical" including "curing" the LGBT community who he believes is suffering from both mental illness and supernatural disturbance.
"There's been a number of cases who have reacted [to the procedure] meaning they're not pure and that there's a supernatural interference inside their bodies pushing them to commit [homosexuality]," he told the ABC. Mr Fathoni said that in the early 2000s he had "cured" a man who is now married with children.
The Indonesian transgender community regularly faces verbal assaults from government and religious figures. While they are under pressure to change, some are living their lives undeterred.
During the interview with the ABC, Mr Fathoni mostly avoided referring to which acts he deemed "unpure" in the LGBT community, instead referring to the acts in question as "it".
The news comes on the back of a new by-law in the city of Pariaman in West Sumatra to fine gay or transgender people up to 1 million rupiah ($96) for behaviours which are considered to be immoral or "disturb public order".
Homosexuality is not regulated by national law in Indonesia, but the country has seen a growing number of by-laws and local initiatives to target LGBTQI people. Thousands of resident in Padang have recently come out to rally in favour of the new initiatives being pushed by the local government.
However, the deeming of homosexuality as being deviant is not a broadly held view across the country for example homosexuality is more moderately viewed in metropolitan areas like Jakarta, although stigmas still persist.
The ABC contacted the Padang Government who declined to comment.
A study published by La Trobe University this year found conversion therapy has caused deep and long-lasting harm to LGBT communities around the world due to the "extreme psychological distress" it causes.
Tim Jones, a cultural historian at La Trobe University, said all of the participants in the study who had undergone some form of conversion therapy were suicidal at one point in their lives.
"Everyone that we had interviewed had contemplated suicide at some point, every single person, and many of them knew people who had killed themselves," he said.
The study's findings do not end there all 15 participants have had to undergo psychological counselling in response to the conversion therapy practices, and had difficulties functioning sexually and forming relationships later in life.
One-third of the participants were encouraged to marry to "become straight," leading to immense guilt. Another one-third were coerced to engaged in conversion therapy while they were underage.
"LGBT people were told that they're particularly broken... and couldn't be full members of the community until they became straight," Dr Jones told the ABC.
The therapies conducted in varying religious communities were found to be strangely similar: they were all based on religious teachings with prayers and scripture reading as a part of the "healing" process, and they all applied some form of psychoanalysis based on the assumption that the individual must have gone through some form of childhood trauma.
"Religious teaching about normative gender and sexuality... is central to all the groups we spoke to," Dr Jones said.
Charles McDermid Amanda, who identifies as bisexual, whispers about deep fear and frustration in Indonesia's LGBTI community. Fajri, a 29-year-old gay cartoonist from Jakarta, says police raids on homes and nightclubs have made for an atmosphere scarier than anything he's seen in years.
And Papang Hidayet, a veteran researcher for Amnesty International, says what he sees in his once-tolerant country is as worrying as it is irrational.
These are just a few of the voices emanating from Indonesia, where a wave of arrests, state-sanctioned discrimination and public hostility has struck terror into the gay community. Rights groups and LGBTI activists now warn that the situation could deteriorate even further ahead of national elections in April.
"It's definitely getting worse," said Hidayet by phone from Jakarta. "The persecution of the LGBTI community is escalating, becoming more systemic and it's happening everywhere, not just in conservative Muslim areas." On gay sex, India has assumed an ancient position. Read the kama sutra
The motivation behind the anti-LGBTI campaign, which Human Rights Watch has called a "government-driven moral panic about gender and sexuality", offers little mystery.
The rising influence of hardline Islamist groups looks set to play a crucial role in next year's vote, and as Hidayet puts it, "religious identity has become populist politics, all politicians are using religion to appease their base".
Both candidates are have pandered to conservative forces. President Joko Widodo, a moderate, has chosen as a running mate Ma'ruf Amin, a formidable 75-year-old Islamic cleric and scholar.
The challenger, Prabowo Subianto, was generally seen as the more religious candidate when he narrowly lost a hard-fought race to Jokowi in 2014 and this year he seems eager to raise the stakes.
On Sunday, he led tens of thousands of supporters in Jakarta in a "reunion" for a series of late 2016 rallies that targeted the former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who is known as Ahok.
An ethnic-Chinese Christian and close Jokowi ally, Ahok was charged with insulting the Koran and sentenced to blasphemy charges. The conviction was largely based on testimony from Amin, and some observers point to this as a foundational moment in the nation's conservative drift.
Against this backdrop, troubling questions have arisen about the political future of Indonesia, home to more than 12 per cent of all Muslims and the world's third-largest democracy.
For one, if playing the anti-LGBTI card is good politics, what will be the long-term effects to the LGBTI community? And perhaps more important: what cost will it have for Brand Indonesia an economically booming nation that has no national laws against same-sex unions, has nurtured dozens of pro-LGBTI organisations dating to the 1980s, and that has always lived by a mantra of "unity in diversity?"
This year in Indonesia has been marked by a string of anti-LGBTI episodes, each more disturbing than the last.
Last month, 10 women were arrested and accused of being lesbians based on pictures posted on Facebook. Also in November, the mayor of Padang, the capital of West Sumatra, led thousands of followers in a march against the "sinful"LGBTI community, and reportedly issued a warning against those who might try to defend them.
In October, according to news reports, government officials in West Java called for policies that would target LGBTI people for arrest and "rehabilitation".
Most troubling, last week the city of Pariaman in West Sumatra passed a regulation banning "acts that are considered LGBTI". The deputy mayor told Reuters that the proposed public by-law was part of the city's effort to "eradicate LGBTI".
Kyle Knight, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, has documented what he calls the "abusive and absurd" LGBTI rights crisis in Indonesia for several years. In an email exchange from New York, Knight pointed out that the anti-LGBTI campaign is not ending but rather becoming even more insidious.
"The current tension began nationally in January 2016, when Indonesia's higher education minister Mohammed Nasir tweeted that he wanted to ban all LGBTI+ student groups from university campuses," he wrote. "Within two months, dozens of public officials had contributed to a cascade of anti-LGBTI+ vitriol. Defence minister Ryamizard Ryacudu labelled gay and trans rights activism a 'proxy war' on the nation led by outsiders, and more dangerous than a nuclear attack."
Knight points to police raids throughout 2017 on "saunas, nightclubs, hotel rooms, hair salons and private homes on suspicion that gay or trans people were inside".
Other consequential events, according to Knight, may have gone unnoticed amid the "cacophony of anti-LGBTI statements from officials". These episodes included the national psychiatric body calling homosexuality a "mental illness" and the national Child Protection Commission calling to protect children from "gay propaganda".
The Indonesian government, the state-funded National Commission for Human Rights and the Consulate of Indonesia in Hong Kong all failed to reply to requests for comment on this report.
"What's important to remember is that the anti-LGBTI moral panic that has engulfed Indonesia for nearly three years is not random bigotry," Knight told the Post, "but rather a government-driven campaign of scapegoating that has metastasised into outright violence and proposed policy changes."
If there is a ray of hope amid the current anti-LGBTI crisis in Indonesia, it is almost certainly Dede Oetomo.
For more than 30 years, the 65-year-old has campaigned for rights and awareness in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. He is the founder of Gaya Nusantara, the first LGBTI rights organisation in Indonesia, and is an adviser for the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies.
"We are fighting back: There is a national strategy," Oetomo said by phone from Surabaya, Indonesia. "We didn't expect this, I'll tell you that. We thought things in 2015 were getting better, but now we have put our national advocacy on hold and we're focusing on local levels."
He is reticent about details, but concedes he has met with foreign diplomats, some of whom have pledged "digital and physical support" as the anti-LGBTI crisis continues. "For an old activist like myself, you have to watch your back," Oetomo said.
He's not alone. Hidayet, the Amnesty researcher, points out that Indonesia was a "role model for decades in terms of tolerance". He hopes the government's anti-LGBTI rhetoric will unite the nation's progressive factions.
"Indonesia is home for lots of contradictions. Human rights groups grew in the 1990s, including LGBTI organisations, but vigilante and hardline groups also grew. The trouble is that Indonesia politicians listened to the latter rather than the former they weren't worried about personal convictions, just about getting votes," Hidayet said. "But in our country we have cultural proof: we accept LGBTI people."
That may be so, but Oetomo is quick to point out how politicians are playing their own games at the expense of the LGBTI community. "It's still the old story: if you are useful as a bogeyman they use you and they're using us right now."
Syafiul Hadi, Jakarta The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) denied several findings issued by Ombudsman regarding maladministration during the probe on the attack against the senior investigator Novel Baswedan.
First, KPK refuted that it seized the CCTV recording installed in Novel's residence. KPK spokesman Febri Diansyah said his side had submitted a master copy of the CCTV to the officers who handled the case. "It is not true that KPK takes the recording," said Febri Thursday, November 6.
Febri mentioned the anti-graft body had indeed installed CCTV in Novel's house as a part of risk mitigation to its employees.
KPK also denied that Novel was unhelpful during the investigation process. According to Febri, the police had several times examined Novel, even when the latter underwent treatment in Singapore. By saying that Novel was uncooperative meant that police made him as the victim for the second time. "Do not burden the victim by asking him for proof," Febri noted.
Ombudsman previously released its findings that there were several maladministrations during the probe on the attack case of Novel Baswedan. Ombudsman commissioner Adrianus Meliala said Novel did not provide enough statement to the investigators. Thus, Adrianus demanded Novel's cooperativeness and willing to be re-examined by the police.
Adrianus also suspected KPK confiscated the monitoring camera from Novel Baswedan's residence and submitted the clone one to the police, whereas it was required to seek clues about the perpetrator of the acid attack.
Kharishar Kahfi, Jakarta As part of the commemoration of International Anticorruption Day, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is building on its momentum to urge for internal reform within political parties, which are considered the Achilles' heel of the country's fight against graft.
Politicians and party members are involved in corruption cases more often than people from other professions. According to data from the KPK's Anticorruption Clearing House, there were at least 229 politicians in legislative institutions prosecuted by graft busters from 2007 to September this year.
While the idea of party reform had been around since Antasari Azhar was KPK chairman between 2007 and 2009, the KPK's current chairman Agus Rahardjo said it became important once again because of Indonesia's latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) score.
During the opening of Tuesday's commemoration of International Anticorruption Day, which falls every Dec. 9, he highlighted Indonesia's CPI score, which has remained stagnant at 37 out of 100 for the second year in a row.
"We obtained a low score in political and democratic aspects political parties play roles in both. Therefore, we will ask for commitments from these parties to enforce the political integrity of their respective institutions," Agus said.
It was not the first time political parties have been considered the weak links in the country's graft fight. Another survey conducted by Transparency International Indonesia (TII) in 2017 had listed the House of Representatives as the institution judged by Indonesians to be the most corrupt, followed by government officials and regional councils.
In accordance with the findings, the TII called on political parties to conduct reform and improve their performances at the House and in regional councils.
"The successful of the antigraft movement is not measured by the number of people prosecuted for alleged corruption, but the low number of people committing the crime," President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said during in his opening speech.
The antigraft body said the reform package, which is called the Political Party Integrity System, would focus on a number of components of political parties: codes of ethics, internal democratic processes within parties, member recruitment and party funding.
The KPK has revealed a number of instances when party officials asked businesspeople to illegally fund their party's activities, with the latest being a case of alleged bribery related to the construction of a coal-powered power plant in Riau implicating two Golkar Party politicians: Eni Saragih and Idrus Marham.
In a KPK indictment against Eni dated Nov. 29, prosecutors said they suspect Idrus of telling his fellow Golkar politician to ask for US$2.5 million from businessman Johannes Budisutrisno Kotjo to fund the party's extraordinary congress in December 2017.
The KPK has been working on the system since last year, when the antigraft body visited various political parties to campaign for better party accountability by improving their integrity and financial transparency.
While the 2011 law on political parties requires all to make their financial reports available to the public, a survey by Indonesia Corruption Watch in 2015 showed only three parties had done so, namely the Prosperous Justice Party, the Hanura Party and the Gerindra Party. All high-ranking officials of parties participating in the 2019 election stated their agreement for reform and said each had or would adopt the integrity system soon.
Indonesian Institute of Sciences political analyst Syamsuddin Haris said verbal commitments from parties on the integrity system would not be enough. "High commitment to the system could be shown when parties submit it for the revision of the Political Party Law. This should be the public and civil society organization's focus from now on."
Jakarta Depok in West Java is recruiting volunteers to monitor places and people in its efforts to map potential targets for dakwah (Islamic preaching).
Include in the map are entertainment spots as well as a list of ustadz (Muslim preacher), hajj pilgrims, majelis taklim (Quran study congregations) and Islamic boarding schools.
Depok Mayor Mohammad Idris said the map was necessary to keep the city's preaching program right on target.
"The dakwah map shall be filled with many elements, including the types of dakwah, educational background [of the listeners], etc.," Idris said on Friday in Depok as quoted by Antara news agency.
He said other elements that should be included in the map were the trajectory of dakwah, for instance in facing ideological challenges, thus, there had to be alternative programs to tackle that.
The Depok branch of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) secretary Khairullah Ahyari said that the dakwah map, of which the MUI branch would in charge, would be implemented in the form of any drawings inscribed on a map that include all subdistricts.
"For instance, in Sawangan subdistrict, we would know how many ustadz there are, as well as people who have gone on the hajj, majelis taklim, Islamic boarding schools and people within the productive age," he said.
Khairullah added that entertainment places such as karaoke would also be listed by the volunteers so that specific sermons could be adjusted by the local ustadz.
"If there are [people] who lack aqidah [creed], we would recommend that aqidah topic as the focus [in that particular area], or other material needed," he said. (sau)
Pasti Liberti, Jakarta We'll just call him Teguh, who along with Hartoyo and his friends are active with Suara Kita (Our Voice, https://www.suarakita.org), an organisation fighting against discrimination and for the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in Indonesia.
Teguh was only able to make a brief comment when he was shown an article from Haaretz, an Israeli publication, which was uploaded to its website several weeks ago.
"Wow... I didn't know what to say", Teguh told detikX (https://x.detik.com) several days ago. The article reported on the results of a months-long Haaretz investigation on Israeli companies that sell spyware and bugging devices.
Haaretz claims to have interviewed more than 100 sources from 15 different countries that have bought Israeli made spyware including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Mexico, India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Botswana.
In relation to the spyware sold to Indonesia, a journalist from Israel interviewed three sources who knew about the sales from the company, Verint System.
Although it was established by Israeli citizens and around half of its employees work out of offices at Herzliya Pituah in Israel, the company's stocks are listed on the US stock exchange and its central office is in Melville, New York.
The Haaretz article does not cite which institutions in Indonesia have bought and are using Verint products. A source said that Verint products are used by these institutions to spy on the activities of the LGBT community and religious minority groups in Indonesia.
One source said that some time ago they traveled to Indonesia to train people on how to use the equipment. "Upon arriving in Indonesia, I was asked to assist in a stalled investigation into a public figure who was caught up in a religious blasphemy case", said Natanel, not his real name.
As a community that still finds it hard to be accepted in Indonesia, according to Teguh he and his friend know how to "play safe" on the internet and social media. "We have several kinds of basic training related to digital security", Teguh said.
On key issue for example is how to send secure emails. Once, the Suara Kita website was hacked by an unknown party. But thanks to some help from a friend the site was able to be restored.
"[We] don't know who the perpetrator was. We're also not interested in finding out. The site can be accessed again, that's enough...".
Verint, according to an analyst from a security company in Indonesia, is a big player in the spyware business. Verint has representative offices at the Batavia Tower in Jakarta where it shares and office with PT Ciboodle Indonesia. Verint is written in large letters displayed on the wall of the office lobby located on the 26 floor of the Batavia Tower.
When detikX visited the office and expressed a desire to conduct an interview, the receptionist who greeted us said that PT Ciboodle Indonesia does not have a special employee representing the company that could issue an official statement on Verint.
In the end we left a number questions and a phone number for a company senior official. As of this report being posted however, there has been no response from PT Ciboodle Indonesia.
"Which institution is spying on the LGBT community", read the full report at DetikX: https://x.detik.com/detail/intermeso/20181127/Siapa-Memata-matai-Komunitas-LGBT-Indonesia/index.php.
Andreas Harsono Following your own religious beliefs shouldn't be a crime, but in Indonesia, new technologies are helping authorities identify and potentially prosecute religious minorities who follow "deviant teachings."
On November 22, Bakor Pakem, a body charged with religious oversight in the Indonesia Attorney General's office, launched an app that allows mobile device users to report individuals suspected of "religious heresy."
The app, Smart Pakem, available in the Google Play store, is an extension of an official website and hotline service. They were all set up by Bakor Pakem ostensibly to "protect" Indonesia's six officially recognized religions Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism and facilitate prosecutions under the blasphemy law.
The app lists several religious groups, including the Ahmadiyah, Shia, and Gafatar, names their leaders and Indonesian office addresses, and describes their "deviant teachings." It risks inflaming tensions and increasing the potential for Islamists to abuse Indonesia's increasingly besieged religious minorities.
Human Rights Watch has long documented the role of government officials and Islamist militant groups in cases of intimidation, humiliation, violence, and arbitrary detention of religious minorities.
Bakor Pakem was created in 1952 under Indonesia's Ministry of Religious Affairs and moved to the Attorney General's Office in 2004. Its main goal is to enforce the 1965 blasphemy law and it has branches in every province and regency under public prosecutors' offices.
Over the last five decades, Bakor Pakem has been instrumental in banning more than 30 religions, ranging from indigenous faiths like the Agama Djawa Sunda in 1964 to global religions like the Jehovah's Witness in 1976. In 2016, the office was instrumental in charging Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Purnama with blasphemy against Islam. Ahok lost his reelection and was sentenced to two years in prison in May 2017.
Indonesia is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that "[e]veryone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.... No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice." Indonesia needs leaders who have the moral courage to revoke the toxic blasphemy law and dissolve Bakor Pakem.
Andita Rahma, Taufiq Siddiq, Jakarta National Police confirmed the status of a cleric Muhammad Bahar alias Bahar bin Smith as the suspect for allegedly defaming President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo.
They named him as a suspect after the National Police's criminal investigation department (Bareskim) questioned the latter on Thursday, December 6.
"Based on the investigation result, HBS (Habib Bahar bin Smith) is named as a suspect," said National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Syahar Diantono via a short message, Friday, December 7.
Syahar explained that his institution named Bahar as the suspect after a long investigation yesterday. However, he added, the police did not arrest Bahar.
Earlier, Bahar's lawyer Azis Yanuar said Thursday, December 6, in the Bareskrim building that his client had been named as a suspect after underwent 29 questions for 11-hour investigation.
Bahar bin Smith was charged with Article 4b (2) in conjunction with Article 16 of Republic of Indonesia Law No. 40/2008 concerning Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination, Article 28 (2) in conjunction with Article 45 of Law No. 19/2018 on the amendment of Law No. 11/2008 concerning ITE, and Article 207 of the Criminal Code with criminal penalties of more than five years imprisonment.
Dewi Nurita, Jakarta Deputy Chief of the Jokowi-Ma'ruf campaign team, Abdul Kadir Karding, argues that it is not appropriate for Prabowo Subianto to express his distaste against news agencies for not completely covering the 212 Reunion Rally.
"His statement should have not been said in the first place, especially with an angry tone and accusing the media of being subjective," said Karding in Jakarta on Wednesday, December 5.
Prabowo's level of disdain against the media baffled Karding, who maintained that it would be fair if the criticism came from the event's committee members and not from Prabowo as a guest of the event.
"Why should Prabowo be angry? The event committee should be the ones who were furious. If Prabowo was triggered, this is a clear sign that the event was mobilized by himself," Karding said.
During the 26th International Day of Disabled Persons event today, Prabowo Subianto expressed his disdain against Indonesian mainstream news media that did not cover the 212 Reunion Rally held in Monas on Sunday, December 2.
The presidential hopeful protested that the media failed to mention the scale of the event's attendees which he claimed were at the millions instead of at the thousands as said by some news sources.
Prabowo Subianto did not stop there and further said that the lack of mainstream media coverage on the 212 Reunion Rally shows its journalists' betrayal against journalism.
Whisnu Mardiansyah, Jakarta Presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto claims that the majority of journalists are publishing lies. He even claims that the media are lackeys of those who want to destroy the [Unitary State of the] Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).
Prabowo says that the public should no longer respect journalists who work to report the news.
"Quite frankly the press is just lots of lies rather than the truth. Every day there are around five to eight newspapers which come to my place. Mostly I just like to see the lies", said Prabowo at a commemoration of International Disabilities Day at the Sahid Hotel in Central Jakarta on December 5.
The chairperson of the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and former Kopassus (Special Forces) commander accuses journalists and the media of being lackeys to those who want to destroy democracy in Indonesia.
"You may well [have articles] printed here and there, [but] I don't acknowledge you as journalists. There's no need for me to suggest to you that you respect them anymore, they're just lackeys, people who want to destroy the Republic of Indonesia", asserted Prabowo.
Prabowo was furious because of the lack of reporting on the 212 reunion in Central Jakarta on December 2 which he attended [as a special guest]. Prabowo is accusing the media for not being objective because it failed to report on the 212 reunion.
"There were tens (of millions) [at the event but] they didn't want to report it, they as journalists have betrayed their duty as journalists. You no longer have the right to be called journalists anymore", he said. (FZN)
M Guruh Nuary, Jakarta The 212 Reunion is over and proceeded in an orderly fashion. Presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto however has criticised the media over its coverage of the event at the National Monument (Monas) on December 2.
Prabowo highlighted the reports on the number of people attending the event and strongly criticised the media.
"We were viewed with distain, we weren't deemed worthy, because it was said that we don't have any money. They covered everything up. The evidence, almost no media was willing to report that there were more than 11 million people who gathered [at the event], this has never before happened in the world", said Prabowo in a speech at the commemoration of International Disabilities Day at the Grand Sahid Hotel in Jakarta on Wednesday December 5.
Prabowo said that the 212 Reunion was the first time that millions of people gathered without being paid by anyone and said he was surprised over why many of the big media outlets failed to cover the event.
"They paid for themselves and their friends and they wanted to help the ordinary people around them. I don't think this has ever happened before. But what's amazing it was well known media, big name media outlets, media which claim to be objective, responsible for defending democracy, yet in fact they must also take responsibility, they are part of an effort to manipulate democracy", said Prabowo.
The chairperson of the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) said that there is a massive effort to manipulate democracy. The method, he said, was with money. Prabowo again criticised the press.
"They think that with lots of money, money obtained from questionable practices, crude money from those that get it from stealing ordinary Indonesian's money, with this money they want to bribe all [social] layers in the Indonesian nation. All layers [of society]. Parpol [political parties] are willing to be bought, government officials everywhere are willing to be bought, they want to lie to the people, they want to brain wash the people with a press which continuously lies about the truth", he continued.
Prabowo continued his criticism by relating how every morning he receives newspapers from eight media outlets. The former Kopassus (Special Forces) commander claimed that he only looks at the newspapers to find out the latest lies which is being published.
"Ladies and gentlemen, every day I get around five to eight newspapers that arrive at my place, I want to see, what more lies there are, what more lies there are, only that, I just want to see that. What lies do they want to print? And the culmination of this was last Sunday, when they exposed themselves before the Indonesian people. The tens of millions that they didn't want to report, they betrayed their duty as reporters, their duty as journalists", said Prabowo.
"I say, 'Hey to the media that the other day didn't want to say there were tens of millions of people or at least several million there, you no longer have the right bear the title of journalists. Go ahead and print [the news], you are free to go here and there. I do not recognise you as journalists. There's no need for me to suggest to you that you respect them anymore, they're just lackeys, people who want to destroy the Republic of Indonesia'", concluded Prabowo.
Jakarta 212 Alumni Brotherhood (PA 212) chairperson Slamet Maarif says that regardless of the outcome of the 2019 presidential election the group will remain a moral movement similar to a street parliament. This is because the origin of the movement was a moral calling in a case of blasphemy.
"God willing we will stay true to the way of the believer and become a moral movement like a street parliament regardless of who becomes president", said Maarif when contacted by CNN Indonesia on Wednesday December 5.
He said that the PA 212 does not want to become a political party (parpol). According to Maarif, the PA 212 was formed as a moral movement to challenge an act of blasphemy against Islam [by former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama]. Because of this therefore, the PA 212 will continue to be active as a moral movement.
Maarif also declared a desire for the PA 212 to become a street parliament back in November 2017. At the time, he said that the PA 212 will not disband even though Purnama had been found guilty of blasphemy and jailed.
Maarif also does not want the PA 212 to become parpol or ormas (mass or social organisation) saying that there are already a lot of ormas in Indonesia. He would prefer if the PA 212 holds power without becoming a parpol or ormas.
"There's already lots of ormas, leave us to be a street parliament to control those in power", Maarif told CNN Indonesia in an SMS message in late November.
At the time Maarif was responding to efforts to maintain the PA 212's relevance. But not however by registering it as an ormas. He sees the PA 212's present format is an alliance of several Islamic ormas. With a format such as this, it is believed that the PA 212 will have more freedom to consolidate its forces.
In the future, continued Maarif, the PA 212 will continue to monitor parties which attempt to tarnish Islam. This he said will be done for the sake of improving the country. "Making the NKRI [Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia] better with hope in God's blessing", he said.
Maarif believes that the struggle against religious desecration has not stopped even though Purnama has been jailed. According to Maarif, they cannot rule out the possibility that there will be new attempts to tarnish Islam. The PA 212's duty, he said, is to fight against those who do.
"Religious desecration and the criminalisation of ulama [Islamic leaders] continue to take place and the phenomenon of Islamaphobia is becoming ever stronger", said Maarif.
Earlier, National Awakening Party (PKB) chairperson Jazilul Fawaid challenged the PA 212 to become a political party because he believes that the organisational activities of the PA 212 have consistently been charged with politics. (arh)
Jakarta The Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) has launched an investigation into potential violations of election regulations in a rally held on Sunday and organized by a group calling itself the 212 Rally Alumni, referring to a rally held in 2016.
Sunday's rally, attended by hundreds of thousands of people, called on Muslim voters to shun presidential candidates and political parties that supported former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, the city's first Chinese and second Christian governor.
Ahok is serving a two-year prison sentence after being convicted of blasphemy in 2017. In 2016, the 212 movement staged what observers said was the largest peaceful protest since 1998 to demand Ahok's prosecution for insinuating that politicians had used Quranic verse to manipulate voters to vote against Ahok.
Bawaslu member Mochammad Afifuddin said the agency decided to proceed with the investigation based on its own findings. "We haven't received any reports yet but now we are reviewing the potential violations," he told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
During the rally, Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab, who is currently in Saudi Arabia, said in a prerecorded video that it was haram to vote for presidential and legislative candidates backed by Ahok's supporting parties, based on edicts issued by religious leaders.
The FPI also endorsed the anti-President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo movement united under the hashtag #2019GantiPresiden (2019ChangePresident).
Based on the General Elections Law, a campaign event involving more than 3,000 people on a national scale can only be held between March 24 and April 13, 2019. (ggq/swd)
Jakarta Members of the coalition endorsing the President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Ma'ruf Amin ticket shrugged off the call on Muslim voters to shun presidential candidates and political parties that supported former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama at a rally on Sunday, organized by a group calling itself the 212 Rally Alumni.
The call was a strong reference to Jokowi, who led Jakarta together with Ahok between 2012 and 2014, as well as most parties in the Jokowi coalition. Ahok, Jakarta's first ethnic Chinese and second Christian governor, was sentenced to two years' imprisonment for blasphemy following a series of rallies in 2016 organized by the 212 movement to demand his prosecution.
Billed as a "reunion", the rally, attended by hundreds of thousands of marchers, quickly turned into a political arena for opposition leaders and outspoken critics of the Jokowi administration.
Komarudin Watubun, chairman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), said actions against a nationalist party in Indonesia were not unusual. He was of the opinion that the PDI-P would not be affected much because eventually the hubbub would die down.
"I think we also wouldn't need to anticipate problems from this because our voters are also Muslims. They are rational and mature Muslims. They are used to facing issues like this," he said in Jakarta on Monday.
He believed that a straightforward call like this would backfire on presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto's supporting parties because such aggressiveness could discourage prospective voters.
"After all, the call was conveyed to people who were against the PDI-P from the beginning. So, it would not affect our voters as each party has its own base," he said.
Prabowo's coalition includes the Gerindra Party, Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), National Mandate Party (PAN) and Democratic Party.
NasDem Party secretary-general Johnny G. Plate said the call was predictable given that the 212 movement's leaders were also opposition leaders. "Of course there could be an electoral impact for us but it would not be significant enough to affect Jokowi's electoral base," he said.
Jazilul Fawaid, executive of the National Awakening Party (PKB), another member of the Jokowi coalition, suspected a potential violation of the Elections Law during the rally.
"For me, reunions are usual; people come together. However, reunions do not usually involve a political agenda," he said without elaborating on the details.
After the rally, politicians with the Prabowo coalition expressed their gratitude because the rally had run smoothly and peacefully. Prabowo's running mate, Sandiaga Uno, who was in Magelang, Central Java, at the time of the rally, said he believed the rally would boost Jakarta's economic growth.
PAN chairman Zulkifli Hasan, who is also the People's Consultative Assembly speaker, said the rally was proof that Indonesian Muslims were tolerant, as evidenced by the peaceful spectacle. "No one was harmed and no building was destroyed," he said on his Instagram account.
During the rally, a video featuring leader Rizieq Shihab, who is residing in Saudi Arabia, was shown. He said it was haram (forbidden) to vote for presidential and legislative candidates backed by Ahok's supporting parties, based on edicts issued by religious leaders. The Islam Defenders Front also endorsed the anti-Jokowi movement, bearing the moniker#2019GantiPresiden (2019ChangePresident).
A political communication expert from Paramadina University, Hendri Satrio, said in consideration of Ahok's defeat in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election to Anies Baswedan, the call for Muslim voters should be taken into account by Jokowi's coalition. "The problem is the non-212 who came to the reunion," he said.
He believed this issue would erode gradually as the election date is still four months away. "This will mean Prabowo will be on the rise for a while, but it will not mess Jokowi up," he added. (ggq)
Jakarta The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) has received reports about the involvement of children in a massive rally staged by Islamic groups around the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta on Sunday.
KPAI commissioner Jasra Putra said on Monday that people had submitted reports through Facebook about children having to walk far, because public transportation vehicles refused to pick up rally participants.
Jasra said children's rights were potentially violated at the rally, as reported by tempo.co.
"Bringing children to such an activity potentially violates their rights, especially their right to free time for resting," Jasra said on Monday, citing Law No. 35/2014 on child protection.
He said the children had been brought on long trips without considering their safety, while some of the children were seen voicing their support for one of the presidential candidates during the rally.
According to Article 15 of the Child Protection Law, children should not be involved in political activities. "The KPAI is on the side of the children, so [we want] all the [political camps] to look out for what's best for the children," Jasra said.
He said the KPAI had requested that the local administration advise participants in public protests, such as Sunday's so-called 212 rally, not to bring their children along, to prevent unwanted incidents.
The rally was the second event dubbed by the protesters a "reunion" on the anniversary of the Dec. 2, 2016, rally that called for the prosecution of then-Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama over blasphemy. The rally was attended by various Islamic groups and opposition figures. (ami)
Apriadi Gunawan, Medan Thousands of Muslims gathered in Medan, North Sumatra, on Sunday to mark the anniversary of the 2016 anti-Ahok rally as they followed in the footsteps of their counterparts in Jakarta who held a similar rally in the capital.
The rally at Al-Jihad Mosque in Medan, which kicked off with an early morning prayer, ended at around 1 p.m. Participants gathered in and around the mosque despite the rain.
People attending the rally put on a number of performances, which included parading on horses and waving flags bearing the tawhid (oneness of God).
Horseback riding is commonly believed to be one of the teachings of the Sunnah from Prophet Muhammad, although some, including clerics from Indonesia's largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, have begun to cast doubt on the suggestion that Muslims should learn to ride horses.
Aidan Azwin Pangabean, the deputy chairman of North Sumatra chapter of the National Movement to Safeguard the Ulema Fatwa (GNPF), said the movement decided to hold a similar rally in Medan because not everyone had the opportunity to go to Jakarta.
In his speech, he responded to the fact that most of the attendees had held up two fingers as a symbol of their support for presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and his running mate, Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno.
"If participants demand that the president should be changed, it's their constitutional right. We can't limit or prohibit their rights," Aidan said.
Bobby, who attended the rally, said it was held to unite and strengthen all faiths. "Participants came from various sects. Everyone here is part of the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia."
Medan Police had dispatched around 500 personnel to secure the rally, said police chief Sr. Comr. Dadang Hartanto.
Apart from Medan, similar rallies were also held in a number of regions across the province, such as Asahan, Langkat and Deli Serdang regencies as well as Binjai city. (kuk)
Dewi Nurita, Taufiq Siddiq and Rosseno Aji, Jakarta Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab repeatedly reminded participants of the 212 reunion rally that 2019 marks the year where a change in Indonesia's presidency is needed.
"Remember everyone, 2019 is time to change the president," said Rizieq in a telephone call that was blasted through speakers placed around the Monas area where the event was held. Rizieq Shihab has yet returned to Indonesia following the criminal cases that incriminated him last year.
However, Rizieq did not stop there and continued to entice participants by barring them from voting a presidential hopeful that is endorsed by a political party which he claims is responsible for blasphemy against Islam.
"It's haram to vote for a presidential hopeful and legislative candidate that is backed by a political party that supports a blasphemous individual," said the person that is currently in Mecca after numerous criminal charges in the past years.
Rizieq also rambled on about the presidential and vice presidential hopeful criteria that must be voted by the 212 reunion rally participants, which he said is the candidate pair chosen by the Ijtima Ulama.
His statement is, in fact, referring to the candidates for the 2019 presidential election, Indonesia's opposition party leader Prabowo Subianto and his VP hopeful, Sandiaga Uno.
Moreover, responding to the reunion's theme, the Jokowi-Ma'ruf campaign team deputy Abdul Kadir Karding accused the 212 movement as a hidden campaign in support of the Prabowo-Sandiaga team.
"Since the beginning, we are aware that this movement is not about morale, let alone religious affairs, this is a purely political movement which is blatantly a hidden campaign," said Abdul Kadir Karding when Tempo reached him on Sunday, December 2.
However, the Prabowo-Sandiaga camp, through one of its members Ferry Juliantono, said that the statement issued by Rizieq Shihab is merely a spiritual guidance for the Muslims that were present in the 212 reunion rally.
Karina M. Tehusijarana, Jakarta Sectarianism is looming large over the 2019 general elections, with the Islamist groups behind the downfall of former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama calling on Muslims to vote against the presidential candidate and political parties that backed the city's first Chinese and second Christian governor.
In a big rally that shows the growing clout of the Islamists in Indonesian politics, hundreds of thousands of conservative Muslims flocked to the National Monument (Monas) in Jakarta on Sunday to commemorate the second anniversary of the 2016 anti-Ahok rally that led to his imprisonment for blasphemy.
Ahok, a close ally and deputy of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo when the latter served as Jakarta governor, was found guilty of insulting the Quran in a blasphemy case that was widely condemned as flawed and politically charged.
The rally, organized by a group calling itself the 212 Rally Alumni, was billed as a "reunion" for those who participated in the 2016 protest, although it quickly turned into a political stage for opposition leaders and outspoken critics of the Jokowi administration.
Other than calling on Muslims to boycott candidates backed by political parties that had supported Ahok, they also endorsed the anti-Jokowi movement bearing the moniker #2019GantiPresiden (2019ChangePresident).
Protesters brought thousands of flags of various colors bearing the Islamic creed "There is no God but Allah", also known as the tauhid, and chanted slogans in defense of the flag, which they called "the Prophet's banner".
The flag seems to have served as a unifying symbol for the various Islamist groups joining the 212 movement in the wake of a controversy surrounding the burning of one by members of Banser, a paramilitary group under the Nahdlatul Ulama's youth wing, GP Anshor, which is considered to be pro-Jokowi.
A report released in April 2018 by the Institute of Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) highlighted fractures in the 212 Movement following Ahok's conviction, but analysts said the upcoming elections might prove to be a unifying factor among sympathizers of the political-religious movement.
Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto, who is challenging Jokowi in the presidential race for the second time, made a brief appearance at the rally together with Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, who beat Ahok in the 2017 regional elections.
Other opposition coalition politicians were also in attendance, including National Mandate Party (PAN) founder Amien Rais, People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Zulkifli Hasan and Gerindra deputy chairman and House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Fadli Zon.
"I'd like to thank the committee for inviting me today. I'm proud at seeing millions of Indonesians, millions of Muslims, gathering here peacefully," Prabowo said in his speech at the rally. "I am proud to be an Indonesian Muslim."
Jokowi, who appeared at the 2016 rally, was not invited to this latest event and neither was his running mate and Indonesian Ulema Council chairman Ma'ruf Amin, once an influential figure among the 212 activists.
Ma'ruf had previously signed a fatwa declaring that Ahok's remarks were blasphemous, which was considered a trigger for the 2016 rallies.
Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab took part in the rally through a phone call from Saudi Arabia, where he lives. He called on his supporters to continue the fight against Ahok during the 2019 presidential and legislative elections.
"During the 2019 elections, it is haram for us to vote for presidential and legislative candidates backed by parties supporting the blasphemer," he said, in a reference to Ahok. "Let's vote for presidential and vice presidential candidates based on the decision of ijtima ulama [the consensus of the ulema]."
Prabowo had been recommended as a presidential candidate at a gathering organized by the National Movement to Safeguard the Ulema Fatwa (GNPF) in August, while all the parties that backed Ahok in 2017 are now supporting Jokowi.
ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute research fellow Quinton Temby said the upcoming elections and the flag-burning incident contributed to the scale of Sunday's rally.
"I think the approaching election is focusing the views of a certain constituency that the government is in some sense against Islam," he told The Jakarta Post.
"There's a sense of the movement building momentum and small incidents like a flag burning in a regional town take on national significance."
Antara, Jakarta Deputy Secretary General of the Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI) Tengku Zulkarnain called on younger generation who attended the 212 alumni reunion in Jakarta on Sunday to help protect the Unitary State of Indonesia (NKRI).
"It is you all who will protect the NKRI in the future. We do not want the country to become depraved that justifies homosexuality. We want Indonesia to become a peaceful and prosperous country blessed by God," Zulkarnain said in the 212 Alumni Reunion Rally at the National Monument (Monas) Square on Sunday.
He said the Unitary State of Indonesia is based on the Belief in One God philosophy. Therefore, the state policy or that of individuals should not be against religion, including justifying brothels.
The alumni reunion was attended by a number of noted figures, including presidential candidate number 02 Prabowo Subianto, Speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Zulkifli Hasan and Deputy Speaker of MPR Hidayat Nur Wahid.
It is estimated that more than three million participants from a number of regions are present at the grand reunion.
The participants not only packed the National Monument area, but also packed thoroughfares that lead from MH Thamrin to Sudirman, Gunung Sahari, Merdeka Selatan, and Agus Salim.
Muhamad Al Azhari, Jakarta Opponents of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has marked Dec. 2 a historical date, as two years ago they managed to gather hardline-Islamists, fundamentalists, and religious conservatives Muslims to rally against the then Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy.
In May 2017, Ahok was sentenced with two years for insulting Islam in a controversial case when he was referring to a verse in the Koran during a campaign speech a year earlier. The verdict was harsher than expected.
Dogged by blasphemy allegations and protests by Islamic organizations, Ahok lost the race in April 2017 to opposition candidate Anies Baswedan. Ahok was endorsed by the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, which has been backing President Jokowi, and Anies was backed by Prabowo Subianto, the leader of opposition party the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra).
Since then, three little numbers: 212 has become a symbol to describe the movement of the opposition.
This Sunday (2/12), Prabowo, his close aide Fadli Zon, who is also the Deputy Speakers of the House, the speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Zulkifli Hasan, MPR deputy chairman Hidayat Nurwahid and Anies, along with other opposition politicians, made an appearance in front of the crowd to commemorate the historical date.
"I won't speak long, because as you all know [...] as a presidential candidate, I must obey and follow all the regulations. I cannot speak politics, I cannot do any campaigns, yet. So I just want to thank the organizer that I was invited today," Prabowo told the crowd in the National Monumen (Monas), Central Jakarta on Sunday.
The man, who entered politics 14 years ago when he competed for the Golkar presidential nomination in 2004 and made two further attempts to win the country's highest office, said: "Our friends from other religions, ethnics, and races participated today's commemoration. We are proud because Islam in Indonesia is Islam that unites others. We will maintain peace for everyone."
The Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) has previously warned it will monitor the 212 rally celebration, as Monas has been declared by the country's Election Commission (KPU), as a sterile area for political activities. Bawaslu member Rahmad Bagja had previously told some local media if the rally lead to any political campaigns, then Bawaslu will take "some serious actions".
Meanwhile, despite currently living in his exile in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the leader of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) Muhammad Rizieq Shihab, did not want to miss momentum to give his words to his supporters.
Through live streaming, he called participants of the so-called 212 reunion to maintain the unity of the Republic Indonesia. "Take a good care of our country, guard Islam, respects other regions, there should not be a hateful comments [against other religions]," he said.
Rizieq also called the country's legal enforcers not prosecuting religious movement supporters.
The leader of the FPI has been a fugitive for over one year after being named a suspect in a pornography case (some believe as politically-driven) by the Jakarta Police, but in July the authorities were reportedly to have dropped his suspect status, citing a lack of evidence.
Analysts have said it was that 212 rally two years ago, dubbed as the largest demonstration during Jokowi's term, which have led to an increasing political intolerance in Southeast Asia's largest economy.
"In a democratic society, political movement by the oppositions can be undertaken by parties losing the elections or from non-party. That's legitimate. Then, to answer the question whether this 212 reunion is considered a political movement of the opposition? Automatically it is [a political movement]," Director of Indonesian Voters Institution (LPI) Boni Hargens on Saturday.
Boni was speaking in a discussion event held by LPI tittled: "The 212 Reunion, A Moral Movement or Political?". "Just pay attention of this move in three aspects, the historical aspect, the timing, and the discourses or narratives they seek to promote," he said.
Boni, who is also a lecturer of political science in state-owned University of Indonesia, explained the movement becomes historical, as at that time moral movement by Islam people to defend their religion was effectively capitalized by some political elites to defeat the incumbent, which at that time leading in terms of popularity.
"212 is a political movement that takes advantage of a moral religious movement," Boni said.
Prior to the 212 rally in 2016, there was a violent protest in Nov. 4, which was organized by several Islamic organizations, including the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI). Popular celebrities like Ahmad Dhani and Rhoma Irama threw up their supports in this rally.
The country's two biggest Islamic organizations Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah did not encourage their members to attend the November protest, but did either prohibit members to attend it. The government, at that time, had made attempts to reduce hateful religious sentiments by blocking access to websites affiliated with the planning of the protests.
It did not stop what was started as a peaceful rally from Istiqlal Mosque to the Presidential palace to becoming violent after the nightfall, when authorities tried to disperse the protesters as time allotted for the protest was up. One died in the riots and hundreds of protesters and dozens of police officers were injured.
Fast-forward nearly two years, the numbers 212 apparently made its way into some economical aspects as it inspired a failed political party called the 212 Sharia Party (who failed KPU screening), a minimart (212Mart), and Sharia cooperative (Koperasi Syariah 212). But those are just the only things owned by anyone with connections to the actual 212 group.
It was the National Movement to Defend the MUI Fatwa (GNPF-MUI), which started to organize demonstrations against the governor in October 2016. GNPF MUI, the mastermind of the movement, actually sought to coin the 212 term and made it a trademark, with missions to promote Islamic economy. In simpler word, they thought they could monetize what was at the time a protest movement through Koperasi Syariah 212 and 212Mart.
According to Boni of LPI efforts to build brand identity over the three little numbers failed as many supporters back to routines after they escorted the victory of Anies against Ahok.
Ironically, the man who actually came up of the numbers is now persona non-grata amongst his fellows in GNPF Ulama, as now it is called. It was Kapitra Ampera, a former lawyer of FPI leader Rizieq, who recently betrayed the opposition and joined the PDI-P. He was no longer welcome at any GNPF Ulama gatherings.
Jokowi, who is a popular Islamic moderate, also has chosen ally with a 75-year-old Islamic cleric, Ma'ruf Amin, as his running mate in 2019 election, in a bid to ease movement of Islamic hardliners, who have gained ground in recent years, as they emerges from the fringes of society in the Muslim-majority country. Ma'ruf is backed by liberal Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama, which is the largest Muslim organization in the country.
Still, Boni said, with regards to timing, he said the community that supports 212 is getting more active ahead of the legislative and presidential elections. He said this movement is no longer a pure moral and religious movement, but now is a confirmed political campaign.
"Political contract, or integrity pact between GNPF Ulama signed by Prabowo and Sandi (Sandiaga Uno, his vice president candidate pair), is a proof that movements with religious jackets has now entered political arena. The 212 move, which has been active since 2016, is likely to remain alive and kicking until 2019 elections [...] to defeat incumbent President Jokowi," he said.
Proud Fadli zone posted a comment in his official Twitter account that exaggerated the participants of the event. "Millions of participants of #ReuniAkbar212 (the great reunion) has filled Monas and its surrounding area this morning. Amazing," he said in his tweet.
Boni of LPI said the 212 is wide-spreading a propaganda in social media platforms or comments in mainstream media that criticizes the current administration.
"The 212 has become a movement by the political oppositions in their fight for power. They wish the administration of President Jokowi ends in the 2019 elections. In other words, the reunion is pure movement by oppositions against the current administration," he said.
Karina M. Tehusijarana, Jakarta Islamist groups and the opposition camp held a major rally marking the 2016 anti-Ahok rally in Jakarta on Sunday with a call for Muslims to shun political parties that backed the imprisoned former governor in the 2017 Jakarta election.
A group calling itself the 212 Rally Alumni was established to gather people who were involved in the rally on Dec. 2, 2016, to call for the prosecution of then-Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent, for blasphemy.
The rally drew a huge turnout, possibly the biggest show of force from the opposition camp and the Islamist groups, which have long had a troubled relationship with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, after the campaign season kicked off in September.
The incumbent is running for reelection in the 2019 presidential candidate, facing his old rival Prabowo Subianto of Gerindra Party and running mate Sandiaga Uno, the former deputy governor of Jakarta.
Thousands of people, mostly wearing white clothes, had gathered at the National Monument (Monas) square since Saturday night. While most of them came from Greater Jakarta, there were also others who came from other regions, such as Central Java's Surakarta.
Apart from Monas square, other rally-goers also crowded the area around the Horse Statue in Central Jakarta located roughly 1-kilometer from the monument. Some people eventually decided not to join the rally as there was no room left, The Jakarta Post observed.
Presidential candidate and Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto attended the rally, as well as Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, who beat Ahok in the 2017 election.
They were present alongside officials from political parties supporting Prabowo and his running mate Sandiaga, including National Mandate Party (PAN) founder Amien Rais and party chairman Zulkifli Hasan, as well as Gerindra deputy chairman and House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Fadli Zon.
The committee, however, omitted their intention to invite President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to attend the rally. The committee issued a circular, as reported by tempo.co, that said it decided not to invite the President because Jokowi "was seen as opposing the rally and tried to incriminate clerics."
On Sunday morning, President Jokowi was scheduled to visit Bogor, West Java.
Making a speech during the rally, Prabowo said he could not talk much because he "bears the task of being a presidential candidate; therefore, he could not talk about politics during the occasion."
"I'd like to thank the committee for inviting me today. I'm proud of seeing millions of Indonesians, millions of Muslims, gathering here peacefully," he added.
During the rally, the committee played a recording of a speech by firebrand cleric and Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab. Later, the cleric joined the rally through a phone call from Saudi Arabia. He called on his supporters to continue the fight during the 2019 presidential and legislative elections.
"During the 2019 elections, it is haram [forbidden] for us to vote for presidential and legislative candidates backed by parties supporting the blasphemer. Let's vote for presidential and vice presidential candidates based on the decision of Ijtima Ulama [the consensus of the ulema],"
A 51-year-old rally-goer from West Jakarta, Sukarno, said the rally was meant to tighten the relationship among Muslims.
"There's no political interest [behind the rally] or any intention of supporting certain candidates," Sukarno said. Minutes after talking to the Post, he welcomed Rizieq's call to reject candidates backed by parties that supported Ahok.
Another participant from Bandung, Hendra, 22, said he would follow the call to support candidates produced from Ijtima Ulama "because it's a mutual agreement."
The crowd began to clear Monas square at 11:15 a.m. as the rally concluded. (foy/kuk)
Jakarta, CNN Indonesia The name of presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto was shouted repeatedly during a 212 Reunion action on December 2 at the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta with a number of demonstrators calling for Prabowo to become president in 2019.
Initially, several groups at the action sung the national anthem Indonesia Raya. The action coordinator then screamed out "God is great", which was repeated by the crowd.
He then called out the name Prabowo. "Prabowo" called out the action coordinator. "President", screamed the crowd in response.
The official 212 Reunion itself started at 3am in the morning with joint midnight prayers, which was then followed by dawn prayers and the zikir chanting in praise of Allah.
Thousands of people had been arriving since 6am and several among them had walked from nearby Cikini, the Horse Statue and Jl. Kebon Sirih.
Roads leading to Monas were also closed because they were being used to park vehicles belonging to those taking part in the 212 Reunion. The entire length of Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan from the entrance to the Ikatan Restaurant and Indonesia Park (IRTI) were filled with parked cars.
The participants brought paraphernalia bearing the tauhid the Islamic creed "There is no God but Allah". A number of roads had indeed been closed since early morning including those from Cikini to Jl. M Ridwan Rais which were redirected towards Kwitang. Traffic from Jl. Abdul Muis heading towards Jl. Budi Kemuliaan was redirected towards Harmoni.
Presidential candidate and Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) chairperson Prabowo Subianto, who was invited to the reunion as a special guest, arrived at around 7.40am. He came wearing a white koko (a kind of pajama-like garment), black sunglasses and a black kopiah cap.
Prabowo was welcomed by the crowd as he walked towards the VIP guest area. Although security personnel had formed a line, many still tried to shake hands with Prabowo.
"Prabowo! Allahuakbar! [God is Great]", screamed the crowd.
Prabowo could be seen smiling repeatedly and greeted the people on the left and right as he quickly walked towards the VIP tent guided by his aide.
Prabowo arrived accompanied by Gerindra deputy chairperson Fadli Zon and House of Representatives (DPR) deputy speaker Fahri Hamzah. The pair walked behind Prabowo and immediately entered the VIP area.
"Prabowo for president!", screamed the crowd. (bmw/DAL)
Jakarta Dozens of bicyclists entered City Hall on Wednesday morning (Dec 5) to send a warning to the Jakarta administration and the central government that, if they do not do something about Jakarta's air pollution within 60 days, they will file a citizen lawsuit.
Three of them wore orange jumpsuits and respirator masks while yelling: "Clean the air of the capital city!"
The citizens, who are grouped under Gerakan Inisiatif Bersihkan Udara Koalisi Semesta (Coalition for the Clean Air Initiative), or Gerakan Ibu Kota for short, plan to sue the President, the Jakarta governor and other officials because they were seen as "doing nothing" to reduce the city's air pollution.
Nineteen citizens, including Inayah Wahid, Melanie Subono and Sandyawan Sumardi, are prepared to become plaintiffs should the government fail to deliver in 60 days. Ms Inayah said she was worried about the level of air pollution in Jakarta.
"We are concerned about this. That's why we ask the government to be really serious about reducing the pollution to prevent (people from becoming) victims, especially those from the most vulnerable groups," she said. Ms Melanie, a musician, said breathing clean air was a citizen's right.
The citizens demanded better governance and law enforcement to tackle air pollution problems stemming from factories, coal-fired power plants and vehicle emissions.
"We are notifying the related officials that, if they do not make any significant moves to reduce air pollution in Jakarta within 60 working days, we are going to take this case to the Central Jakarta District Court in the form of a citizen lawsuit," Mr Nelson Nikodemus Simamora, a member of the movement and advocate from the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute, told The Jakarta Post.
"We send the message not only to the Jakarta governor, but also to the governors of Banten and West Java, because factories and coal-fired power plants in those provinces have spread pollution to Jakarta as well."
According to a 2017 Greenpeace report titled Jakarta's Silent Killer, eight coal-fired power plants operate within 100km of Jakarta, producing hazardous pollutants that affect the capital city.
"This bad governance affects more than 10 million people living and working in Jakarta. We can obtain cheap energy from the coal-powered electric plants, yes, but we should think about the excessive price we have to pay if this many people have bad health due to the bad air quality," Mr Nelson said.
Committee for the Phasing Out of Leaded Fuel (KPBB) executive director Ahmad Safrudin, who is part of the movement, said this was not the first time citizens planned to sue the Jakarta administration over poor air quality.
"In May this year, we went to see Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan and urged him to take real action to reduce air pollution," Mr Ahmad told the Post.
"If we see the data from the last five years, the Jakarta air quality is far below the ambient air quality standards set by the government. The comparison is worse if we see the ambient air quality standards set by the World Health Organisation," he said.
The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network
Jakarta More than a quarter of Jakarta's 661.52 square kilometres will be submerged in less than a decade, and the sprawling capital will continue to sink rapidly unless significant measures are taken to ensure the survival of the city, experts have warned.
Seawater could cover as much as 26.86 per cent of Jakarta by 2025, and if this trend continues, 35.61 per cent of the city will be completely submerged, according to a study by the geodesy research division of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB).
"North Jakarta alone could be 90 per cent underwater by 2050," a member of the team, Mr Heri Andreas, told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday (Dec 4). The city's submergence, according to the study, was not primarily caused by rising sea levels but by the sinking of the city itself.
ITB's research into land subsidence from 1925 to 2015 showed that significant land subsidence began in 1975, with North Jakarta the worst affected area. Land in Marunda and Cilincing had sunk 1.5m by 2015. Kelapa Gading has reportedly sunk by up to 2.4m, while the worst affected area, Pluit, has sunk up to 4m. Like many other global cities in the world, overuse of ground water has served as the leading cause of Jakarta's problem.
The issue was also highlighted by a study conducted by the University of Indonesia's (UI) maths and sciences department.
UI geophysicist Syamsu Rosid said that recently published 4D microgravity research of Jakarta's soil revealed an alarming rate of land subsidence, especially in North Jakarta. The method registers land subsidence by recording the gravitational strength of an area over the course of four years, from 2014 to 2018.
"The research shows the most affected area is on Jakarta's coast, as North Jakarta is sinking approximately 11cm per year because of human activities, especially over exploitation of groundwater," he told the Post, adding that it could affect the stability of buildings and infrastructure in addition to increasing the risk of tidal flooding, as the land was now under sea level.
Jakarta's piped-water service only covers 60 per cent of the capital, according to data from Jakarta tap water company PAM Jaya. That means the remaining 40 per cent of the city relies on groundwater.
Poorly enforced regulations have also led to excessive illegal groundwater use, and not only by residents. Data from the Jakarta Industrial and Energy Agency show that 4,231 commercial buildings, such as hotels and offices, in the city still use groundwater.
Besides the uncontrolled usage of groundwater, land subsidence has also been aggravated by a lack of green spaces, as concrete and asphalt prevents the absorption of water into the soil. As Jakarta is crossed by 13 rivers, the city's soil is also made up of alluvium, or sediment, deposited by rivers, which is loose and susceptible to erosion.
"Looking at those factors, we really urge the city administration to re-evaluate its spatial plan (RTRW)," Dr Syamsu said adding that all parties needed to follow the designated zones set in the RTRW.
North Jakarta is home to nearly 1.7 million residents, according to 2015 population data. In addition to being the area worst affected by land subsidence, it is also arguably the area where the socioeconomic gap between residents is the most apparent in the city, with slums only a stone's throw away from elite gated communities like those in Pluit, Pantai Indah Kapuk and Kepala Gading.
The country's busiest port Tanjung Priok, as well as the city's industrial areas are also located in North Jakarta.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan had said that the city administration and central government had taken measures to prevent further land subsidence, including by continuing work on a sea wall as part of the National Capital Integrated Coastal Development in Jakarta Bay to protect the city from tidal flooding. He also said the city had focused on expanding infiltration wells to help the soil better absorb rainwater.
Jakarta Industrial and Energy Agency acting head Ricki Marojahan Mulia said the agency had built up to 1,333 infiltration wells throughout the city, although he did not elaborate on how exactly expansion would continue given the city's densely populated nature.
The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network
James Massola & Karuni Rompies, Jakarta The man who helped pay the protesters demonstrating against Australia at its embassy in Jakarta is the head of "Jomin", one of President Joko Widodo's official volunteer teams campaigning for his re-election.
But Nanang Kosim insisted his role in helping organise and pay for two rallies outside the Australian embassy on Tuesday and Friday last week had nothing to do with his work with the campaign to re-elect Mr Joko, who is widely known as "Jokowi".
Mr Nanang said instead that it was related to another activist group he recently helped establish, the little-known Unity of Indonesia Muslim League.
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age revealed last week that many of the people protesting against Scott Morrison's suggestion to move Australia's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem were paid 35,000 rupiah each (a little less than $3.50) to appear at the rally. Some had little idea what they were actually protesting against.
The crowd chanted slogans in support of Palestine, opposing the embassy move and criticised Mr Joko's opponent in the presidential election, Prabowo Subianto, who has said it was Australia's sovereign right to determine the location of its embassy in Israel.
Mr Nanang said: "I am head of Jomin but Jomin is unrelated to this issue. You can Google search my background. I was always there whenever there are protests related to Palestine or Islam.
"I participated in the creation of the 212 Movement," he said. The movement is a large coalition of Islamist protest groups who targeted the Christian former governor of Jakarta Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy in 2016.
Mr Nanang said he had helped create the Unity of Indonesia Muslim League following Australia's announcement that it could shift its embassy in Israel.
Despite insisting the protest had nothing to do with Jomin, Mr Nanang confirmed it was Mr Prabowo's statement about the Jerusalem embassy move that had served as the catalyst for the protest because it gave "the impression that [he] agreed with the moving of Australia's embassy to Jerusalem".
If Australia followed the United States' lead and moved its embassy to Jerusalem, Mr Nanang predicted "Muslims will be the ones who'll go on the frontline to oppose it. What we did last week was somehow mixed with Prabowo's [statement] that hurt Muslims.
"But if [Australia] does move its embassy, even pro-Prabowo people will go to Monas [the National Monument in Jakarta and location for large protests]."
Mr Nanang said Jomin was a "big group" and that some 500 people had attended the ceremony when the volunteer group was launched. He became defensive when asked where the money had come from to pay the protesters to attend the rallies last week.
"Well, I'm telling you, even journalists won't go covering events without having eaten first. Of course people need to eat before a protest, otherwise how can they be active? It applies everywhere," he said.
Mr Nanang did confirm, however, that "we used our own money" to pay for buses to bring protesters to the embassy rally.
The name "Jomin" is a combination of Mr Joko's first name and that of his vice presidential running mate, Maruf Amin, an Islamic scholar and leader of the Nahdlatul Ulama, a moderate Islamic organisation with millions of members in Indonesia.
Several pictures of Mr Nanang with Mr Ma'ruf exist online, and he uses a photo of the pair on his Whatsapp profile.
Jomin is one of about 700 groups officially registered with the Directorate of Volunteers within the Jokowi-Maruf Amin national campaign team.
While it is common for people to be paid to protest in Indonesia, Mr Nanang's affiliation with the official campaign to re-elect Mr Joko in the April 2019 presidential election is potentially awkward for the Indonesian leader.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison's decision to review whether Australia's embassy in Israel should be moved has caused significant disquiet in majority-Muslim Indonesia. A decision is due before Christmas.
The signing of the Australia-Indonesia free trade agreement has been delayed since the possible move was announced and the Indonesian government has made clear its displeasure with the potential move.
Usman Kansong, the director for political communications for the Jokowi-Ma'ruf national campaign team, said the team was not aware that Mr Nanang was involved in organising and helping pay for the protest. "We didn't know it [the protests] took place, let alone paying and supporting them," he said.
"However, as a campaign team we did issue a statement protesting Prabowo's statement regarding the issue [the possible embassy move to Jerusalem]... as far as the campaign team is concerned, we protested Prabowo's statement, we never issued a statement against the Australian Government.
As to the appropriateness of Mr Nanang's involvement, Mr Usman said that from a legal point of view, "it is appropriate because in a democratic nation, everybody has the right to protest, it is just normal... though I'm not saying as a campaign team we supported the protest last week."
Aaron Connelly, a research fellow at Singapore's International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the protest "looks like a half-hearted attempt by Jokowi's supporters to diminish Prabowo's credentials as a Muslim leader".
"In that sense, as is often the case with these things, it has more to do with Indonesian politics than Australia or the bilateral relationship. It doesn't seem to have worked," he said.
"But if Jokowi and his people continue on this path, they could paint themselves into a corner, and make it harder to do the trade deal before the election."
Lowy Institute non-resident fellow Matthew Busch said the connection between the protests and the Jokowi campaign team was "interesting" but cautioned there was a very large number of volunteer groups connected to Mr Joko's re-election bid and that "they don't always exercise control over these people at all times".
Dian Septiari, Jakarta The Foreign Ministry expressed concern over a statement made by Saudi Arabian Ambassador Usamah Muhammad al-Syuaiby on Twitter regarding an Islamist rally over the weekend, and on Monday summoned representatives from the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Jakarta.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir said on Tuesday that the ministry had taken swift action regarding the ambassador's online statement.
"After learning about the statement by the Saudi Arabian ambassador on social media, the Foreign Ministry communicated on Sunday with the ambassador, who's still abroad," Arrmanatha said on Tuesday.
After learning that Al-Syuaiby was not available, the ministry moved on to request the presence of the deputy chief of mission or the charge d'affaires of the embassy.
Arrmanatha said the Indonesian government had deemed the ambassador's statement on social media as inappropriate. "Ethically, such a statement, as made by the ambassador on social media, is not consistent with the principles of [good] diplomatic relations," he said.
Al-Syuaiby posted a number of photos onto his Twitter account, @Os_alshuaibi, on Sunday with a caption in Arabic that read: "the actions of millions of Muslims as a reaction to the burning of a flag bearing the tawhid by a deviant organization."
The tweet referred to an incident in October in which members of the civilian security unit under the Nahdlatul Ulama's (NU) Ansor youth wing (Banser), burned a flag bearing Islamic text.
The NU's leadership issued on Monday a statement calling on Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to expel the Saudi Arabian ambassador.
"[We] urge the Indonesian government to send a diplomatic note to the Saudi Arabian government to recall the ambassador, as punishment for his reckless move of involving himself in a matter of national politics," NU chairman Said Aqil Siradj said in a press briefing on Monday.
Responding to the backlash, Al-Syuaiby deleted his post on Monday afternoon.
In his statement, Said Aqil also accused the ambassador of intentionally making a libelous statement by alleging that the burning of the flag was conducted by members of "jamaah al-muharifah" (a deviant organization).
The NU chairman said those who took part in the flag burning incident were "rogue members" of the organization that had been duly punished. "We have also expressed regret over the burning of the flag."
Said Aqil further lambasted Al-Syuaibi, whom he accused of committing a "serious diplomatic violation" by getting involved in internal Indonesian affairs, in violation of his authority. "This clearly undermines Indonesia-Saudi Arabia relations," he said.
This is not the first time Al-Syuaibi has weighed in on Indonesian politics. In early November, he made a statement in which he defended the move of firebrand cleric and Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab, who was questioned by authorities in Mecca for flying a black Islamic flag.
Al-Syuaiby said the tawhid had a significant meaning for Muslims, but displaying it on a flag was not necessarily a criminal act. "Are you a criminal for installing the flag on your house? I don't think so," he said.
In responding to the ambassador's statement, the Indonesian government appears to have walked a fine line between responding to a demand from the NU, the country's largest Islamic organization, and maintaining good ties with Saudi Arabia, the custodian of Islam's holiest sites in Mecca and Medina, which allocates quotas for the number of haj pilgrims allowed to enter the country.
The Saudi Arabian government was accused in 2016 of blocking access for Iranians to go on the haj following a diplomatic rift between the two nations. The Saudi Arabian government severed its diplomatic ties with Iran after a mob stormed and looted the kingdom's embassy in Tehran, retaliating for the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Among other counter-measures, the kingdom banned Iranian airlines from entering its airspace, and with no Saudi Arabian diplomatic missions in Iran, pilgrims did not have access to visas for traveling to the holy sites.
Hamdan Basyar, an expert on the Middle East from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) said Al-Syuaiby had gone too far by getting involved in Indonesia's domestic affairs. "He even mentioned the word 'deviant', which means he already made a judgmental statement. I can totally understand why the NU protested," Hamdan told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
Riska Rahman, Jakarta President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said on Monday that the country needed to develop its upstream industries to help reduce the manufacturing industry's dependence on imported raw materials.
He stressed that the large amount of imported raw materials had widened the current account deficit, which had increased from 3 percent of GDP in the second quarter to 3.37 percent of GDP in the third quarter, or US$8.8 billion.
"We know that Indonesia has been facing the same problem of this deficit for years, but the problem has never been addressed," he said in his speech on Monday at a CEO networking event in Jakarta.
He explained that the government had been developing upstream industries in the last two years to produce more bauxite ore, coal and palm oil to supply more domestically produced raw materials to downstream industries.
Jokowi said that even though the country exported millions of tons of bauxite ore, aluminum producers were still importing large amounts of alumina (aluminum oxide) as raw material in manufacturing aluminum products. Alumina is chemically processed from bauxite ore.
"If we had bauxite mills, we could reduce our imports as well as provide value-added bauxite ore [exports]," he said.
Jokowi said the government was now trying to reduce oil and gas imports through a coal gasification program that would turn coal into a gaseous form for use in combination with the expanded 20 percent blended biodiesel policy. (bbn)
Jakarta Indonesia is unlikely to hit its target of getting 17 million tourist arrivals this year because of a series of disasters the country experienced in 2018, according to Tourism Ministry official Judi Rifajantoro. He said the arrivals totaled only 13.24 million in the first 10 months of 2018.
Judi was referring to earthquakes, tsunami and landslides in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara and Palu, Central Sulawesi, and to a recent plane crash near Jakarta that killed everyone on board.
"Disasters always affect the tourism sector. It is hard to achieve the target of 17 million arrivals," Judi said as quoted by tempo.co on Wednesday.
He said he still hoped the arrivals in November and December would be consistent at 1.5 million each, although the figures in September and October were only 1.2 million and 2.9 million respectively, 5.74 percent lower than in the previous months.
However, the ministry still wants to welcome 20 million foreign tourists in 2019 with the hope that there would be no more barriers for the industry, Judi added.
Tourism Ministry spokesman Guntur Sakti said a number of programs and promotions had been prepared to reach the target of 20 million arrivals in 2019, including ones for cross-border tourists from Malaysia and Timor Leste.
"We will also carry out promotions through operators and agents in major tourist destinations like Thailand and Singapore," he added. (bbn)
Erwida Maulia, Jakarta Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday renewed his call for the country's miners to move into processing, citing the need to curb imports to narrow its persistent current-account deficit.
Speaking at a CEO forum at the Indonesia Stock Exchange, Widodo said, "There is no other way but going downstream. I'm calling on all the CEOs and the real sector to immediately engage in industrialization and go downstream. Stop exporting raw materials, reduce [such exports] significantly."
Widodo cited cases where Indonesia's dependence on imported processed products has contributed to the current-account deficit, which widened to 2.9% of gross domestic product in September, nearing what the central bank sees as the safe limit of 3%.
Indonesia's current-account deficit since 2011 makes the country more vulnerable to external shocks compared with others in the region. It is struggling with capital outflows brought on by the U.S. Federal Reserve's interest rate increases and trade tensions between the U.S. and China. These have pushed the rupiah to its lowest level against the dollar in two decades, although the currency has strengthened somewhat since the end of October.
The previous government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono introduced policies in 2014 aimed at encouraging miners to build smelters and engage in higher value-added manufacturing. But the ban on raw mineral exports pushed miners such as state-owned Aneka Tambang into the red.
The policy was relaxed in January 2017, temporarily lifting the ban on exports of low-grade nickel ore and copper concentrates, among others. The aim was to allow miners to earn enough cash to finance smelter projects.
In his speech, Widodo pointed out that bauxite mined by Aneka Tambang is exported, while state-owned aluminum producer Inalum has to import the intermediate material, alumina, to make the finished product. The practice has been going on for decades and Widodo wants it to end.
"We have known since long ago that industrialization and going downstream are the key, but never pursued the implementation. [That is why] I keep pursuing this," he said.
Inalum in November 2017 was made the holding company for three miners: Aneka Tambang, which mainly produces gold, nickel and bauxite; coal miner Tambang Batubara Bukit Asam; and tin miner Timah. The holding company structure is designed to give the companies more access to credit to finance downstream projects.
Aneka Tambang, better known as Antam, hopes to complete a second ferronickel smelter by the end of December, increasing its capacity by 50% to 40,500 TNi, or tons of nickel contained in ferronickel.
The company will also build a $320 million nickel pig iron plant. Both ferronickel and nickel pig iron are intermediate products. The facilities are expected to use all the nickel ore mined by Antam, allowing it to halt ore exports by 2022.
Antam is also partnering with Inalum and Aluminum Corporation of China to build a $850 million alumina smelter in West Kalimantan Province, on the island of Borneo.
Tambang Batubara Bukit Asam, meanwhile, plans to begin construction of a coal gasification plant next year in Riau Province, on Sumatra. The project will be its second venture outside coal mining, following a move into the power sector.
Jakarta The manufacturing sector in Indonesia grew slower in November, as indicated by a decline in the purchasing managers' index (PMI), according to a Nikkei and IHS Markit report.
November's index stood at 50.4, lower than 50.5 in the previous month, the lowest level in the last five months. IHS Markit principal economists Bernard Aw said the Indonesian manufacturing sector lost the momentum to grow in the fourth quarter.
He added that he did not foresee a better performance in the manufacturing sector in the near future. "The new demand is still stagnant, while the export is still declining," said Aw as quoted by kontan.co.id on Tuesday.
A PMI score higher than 50 indicates expansion in the industry, while figures below 50 indicate a contraction.
The report explains that a number of factors had caused the decline in the manufacturing sector, including a strengthening US dollar, bad weather and a lack of raw materials.
The demand throughout November was similar to that in the previous month, while exports have declined in the last 12 months.
The Nikkei, however, estimated that output in Indonesia would still move positively next year thanks to the launch of new products, capital investments, sales increases and promotional activities. "The long-term prospect is still promising because generally, companies expect an output increase next year," he added. (bbn)
Jakarta The Finance Ministry has said that the Taxation Directorate General recorded Rp 1.14 trillion (US$78.24 billion) in tax revenue in the first 11 months of this year or 79.8 percent of the full-year target of Rp 1.42 quadrillion.
The figure shows that tax revenue grew 15.3 percent year-on-year, compared to the previous year's growth of 1.6 percent yoy.
"The tax revenue grew quite delightfully, particularly the growth in tax revenue from oil and gas income tax because it was supported by good prices and the rupiah exchange rate weakening," said Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati as reported by kontan.co.id.
She added that the tax revenue from the oil and gas income tax was Rp 59.8 trillion or 156.7 percent of the target set in the 2018 state budget. It grew 26.7 percent yoy.
Meanwhile, non-oil and gas tax revenue up to the end of November reached Rp 1.08 trillion or 77.7 percent of this year's target. A total of 591.6 trillion of income taxes came from the non-oil and gas sector, Rp 459.9 trillion from value-added taxes, Rp 18.7 trillion from land and property taxes and Rp 6.6 trillion from other sectors.
Separately, Taxation Director General Robert Pakpahan said the tentative estimate for tax revenue realization was 95 percent of the target set in the state budget. (bbn)
Jakarta Several state-owned enterprises (SOEs) had a combined third-quarter debt of Rp 5.57 quadrillion (US$369.04 billion), most of which were owed by state-owned lenders, an official has said.
State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Ministry business restructuration and development undersecretary Aloysius K. Ro, however, said that the debt figure was not a cause for concern, saying that the SOEs were capable of repaying their debts.
"Debt equity ratio to the capital is relatively secure. Therefore, we do not need to worry," Aloysius said as quoted by kontan.co.id on Tuesday.
He explained that the ability of any company to repay debt was also reflected in the company's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), and not their annual profit.
If the debt-to-EBITDA ratio ranged between 3 and 4, the company was still capable of repaying its debt, he added.
Aside from state-owned lenders, the other indebted SOEs are electricity company PLN with Rp 543 trillion in debt, oil and gas holding company Pertamina with Rp 522 trillion, pension company PT Taspen with Rp 222 trillion, developer PT Waskita Karya with Rp 102 trillion, telecommunications company PT Telkom with Rp 99 trillion and fertilizer producer PT Pupuk Indonesia with Rp 76 trillion. (bbn)
Damien Kingsbury West Papua is in turmoil with the killing of 31 construction workers and a soldier, widespread protests and the arrest of 537 West Papuan activists across Indonesia. These events follow what West Papuan sources say have been the killing of numerous villagers in recent weeks.
Taken together, these events mark a significant escalation of the otherwise low-level conflict. In September, 1.7 million Papuans signed a petition calling for an act of self-determination, indicating that the desire for independence among indigenous West Papuans is as strong as ever.
The Indonesian government has blamed West Papuan separatists for the killing of the construction workers, most of whom were from Sulawesi, and a soldier on Sunday. Reports say that the construction workers angered locals by taking photographs of a protest on Saturday that marked the 1961 West Papuan declaration of independence, two years before Indonesia occupied the territory.
Indonesian military spokesman Colonel Muhammad Aidi said the incident occurred after members of an "armed criminal separatist group" held a ceremony to commemorate the 1961 declaration. He said that one of the construction workers a company building a bridge in remote region of West Papua took photographs of the protesters, which triggered the attack the following day.
Troops and police who went to investigate the attack were fired on, leaving one soldier dead and another wounded. United Liberation Movement for West Papua chairman Benny Wenda said there had been numerous clashes between the West Papua Liberation Army and Indonesian forces recently. "Bombing, burning houses, and shooting into villages from helicopters are acts of terrorism," he said of the Indonesian military's activities.
The West Papua Liberation Army had not previously been active in the Nduga-Wamena region where the attack took place and had no history of such attacks. However, the area is well known for clan violence. A self-described "faction" of the Liberation Army has, however, claimed responsibility for the attack.
There have also been past acts of violence undertaken by aggrieved locals. In at least one other case, too, a 2010 attack against a mine worker convoy was later shown to have been fomented by the Indonesian military seeking to restore their declining role.
Last Saturday marked widespread protests across Indonesia by West Papuan students and other activists. The protests called for a vote on self-determination in West Papua.
The protests follow the reorganisation of West Papuan activist groups in February under the umbrella United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). There has been an upsurge in activism since the formation of the ULMWP.
Protests by around 300 West Papuan students in the Javanese port city of Surabaya on Saturday was met by at least as many paramilitary police and soldiers, and a nationalist counter-demonstrators who threw rocks and sharpened bamboo poles. Footage of that protest shows several injured people, with others being arrested.
In 2015, Indonesian President Joko Widodo declared that West Papua would be opened to outsiders, including the international community. However, the Indonesian military quickly contradicted Widodo's proposal and the territory has remained all but closed to outside access, and foreign journalists remain restricted.
Papua has vast natural resources, including the world's largest gold and second largest copper deposit at the $100 billion Freeport mine, but remains the poorest province in Indonesia. Low-level violence has continued in West Papua since the mid-1960s, in the past punctuated by major human rights violations of West Papuans by the Indonesian army and police.
Arie Ruhyanto Almost every December, the Indonesian region of Papua makes headlines both nationally and further afield. In 2018, following the arrest of hundreds of Papuans commemorating the region's "independence day" on December 1, the nation was shocked by the killing of 31 construction workers allegedly by armed separatists although the details are still unclear. There are now fears the violence could escalate.
Ironically, these events took place as the Indonesian government makes a tremendous effort to develop Papua which makes up the western half of the island of New Guinea and includes the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua. In fact, no other Indonesian region outside Java receives so much attention, with the nation's president, Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, visiting two or three times annually in recent years.
But while his attention has been appreciated, Jokowi has also been accused of having a poor attitude to human rights abuses and state violence in the region. And while the president enjoys wide public support in Papua, the aspiration of Papuan self-determination is gaining traction both domestically and internationally.
Since Papua was granted special autonomy (or "Otsus") status by Indonesia in 2001, Jokowi's prosperity-based approach has focused on developing infrastructure and improving connectivity. The government's 4,330km Trans-Papua road project, for example, aims to put an end to the isolation of many Papuan communities.
Jokowi also introduced the "BBM Satu Harga", a national standard price for fuel. This policy aims to bring down the cost of fuel in Papua, which can reach Rp50,000-100,000 (#2.70-#5.40) per litre, nearly ten times the average price nationally. The pricing policy has proved popular, although in practice Papuans in the region's highlands only enjoy the standard national price once or twice a month due to supply constraints.
During Jokowi's presidency, central government funding has also increased for both Papuan provinces. In 2016 alone, the central government allocated a 85.7 trillion rupiah (#4.6 billion) development fund for Papua and West Papua. On top of this Otsus fund, both provinces also have benefited from additional infrastructure spending.
But while Papua has received a larger share of the country's development fund than any other region, its public service provision is among the worst in the country. Major public health disasters are commonplace, such as the recent measles outbreak in Asmat Regency, which along with malnutrition killed hundreds of children. In fact, Papua has been at the bottom of the national human development index for decades.
Jokowi has also focused on developing security, deploying thousands of additional soldiers to the region. Although aimed at strengthening national defence, there are ongoing concerns about human rights abuses in the region. A recent report by Amnesty International indicates that extrajudicial killings involving security personnel are still taking place in Papua.
Jokowi has also been criticised for failing to deal with such abuses when they occur. So far, none of the human rights cases relating to Papua have been resolved during his administration, leading to growing Papuan distrust of Jakarta (Indonesia's capital and the seat of the national government). According to one Papuan leader I interviewed: Jakarta is busy chasing away the smoke but not trying to put out the fire.
Against this backdrop, the campaign for Papuan self-determination is growing. While there is some armed resistance, most Papuans campaign peacefully through democratic action such as mass rallies and social media campaigns. Domestically, this peaceful campaign is directed by the National Committee of West Papua (KNPB), the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP), and The Democratic People's Movement of Papua (Garda Papua). These organisations are mostly supported by Papuan youths and students.
But they have also been active beyond Papua, including in many of Indonesia's biggest cities, such as Yogyakarta, Jakarta, Bandung and Surabaya on the island of Java, Denpasar on Bali, Medan on Sumatra, and Makassar and Manado on Sulawesi. Recently, the cause also received support from non-Papuan groups, such as the Jakarta-based Indonesian People's Front for West Papua (FRI WP).
Nor is this just a domestic issue. The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) was established in December 2014, two months after Jokowi took office, and has since been building support for the cause among Pacific nations. Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu have raised the Papuan issue in UN forums many times.
Which all goes to show that the Indonesian government's strategy in the region has been less fruitful than expected.
Jakarta's trust-building project in Papua is falling short because of the government's narrow perspective of the problem. Since the late 1990s, all Indonesian presidents except Gus Dur have tended to make the Papuan issue all about economic development. Other crucial issues stated in the "Otsus Law", such as Papuan identity, local political parties, law enforcement, human rights and the protection of indigenous people, have been overlooked.
Consequently, rather than facilitating the emergence of a strong and autonomous Papuan government, Otsus has made Papua even more dependent on Jakarta. And as the human rights issues remain unaddressed, the slogans of self-determination are being shouted even louder.
Jakarta and Papua must now come together and reconsider the best options for a more constructive future relationship. For if the 17 years since the region was granted Otsus status have revealed anything, it's that economic development alone is not enough to win the hearts and minds of the Papuan people.
On 11 November, at the fourth birthday celebration of the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), party chair Grace Natalie delivered her formal address. With the April elections fast approaching, and with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in attendance, the former television journalist and former CEO of Saiful Mujani Research articulated PSI's three 'missions', the third of which was to prevent injustice, discrimination and all acts of intolerance.
As part of this third mission, Grace explained "PSI would never support Christianising local regulations (perda-perda injil) or Islamising local regulations (perda-perda Syariah)". She said PSI would also work to prevent the forced closure of places of worship, a problem that legal scholar Melissa Crouch and others have argued has resulted from increasing majoritarian sentiment in Indonesia.
Five days after Grace delivered her address, the secretary-general of the Indonesian Muslim Workers' Brotherhood (PPMI), Zulkhair, reported Grace to the police, claiming her remarks on shari'a-inspired regulations were blasphemous and, therefore, contrary to article 156a of Indonesia's Criminal Code (KUHP).
Eggi Sudjana, one of Zulkhair's lawyers, explained that his client objected to three of Grace's assertions: that shari'a-inspired regulations give rise to injustice; that they are discriminatory; and that they give rise to intolerance. Eggi who was a key figure in the protests against former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama and a lawyer for Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab even contended that Grace's remarks were worse than those made by Ahok. According to Eggi, the former Jakarta governor had only made one blasphemous remark "don't be misled by Surat Al Maidah 51" while Grace made three.
But will Grace's fate be similar to that of Ahok?
On Saturday 17 November, Grace explained the meaning of her remarks. Reminiscent of Ahok's explanation of his comments on Al Maida 51, Grace, who is Christian and of Malay, Chinese and Dutch descent, found herself defending her remarks and the position of the political party she leads. Less bullish than Ahok, however, Grace calmly stated that PSI was by no means an anti-religion party, but that its position was that religion should not be politicised and that Indonesia's laws should be universal, impartial, and should not be based on any religion whatsoever.
Grace also articulated her party's hope that Indonesia would return to a "correct" interpretation of the country's 1945 Constitution in line with what its drafters intended. Grace noted that the Constitution's preamble upholds belief in Almighty God (Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa) but that the Constitution itself includes no reference to any particular religion and draws no distinction between the (religious) majority and (religious) minorities. Rather, all Indonesian citizens, Grace contended, should be free to exercise their right to freedom of religion and belief in accordance with their own convictions.
Grace was essentially arguing for the rights to freedom of religion and freedom of expression that are guaranteed by Indonesia's liberal democratic 1945 Constitution. These principles prioritise the protection of religious adherents over the protection of religious ideas and sensibilities. This is a construction at cross purposes, however, with an Islamist majoritarian view of human rights, which replaces the liberal concept of religious freedom with the illiberal concept of "religious harmony".
At its core, religious harmony, as the Constitutional Court articulated in its landmark 2010 decision to uphold the Blasphemy Law (Law No. 1/PNPS/1965), is the notion that public order is maintained in Indonesia by prioritising the religious sensibilities of the majority over the fundamental human rights of the country's religious minorities. The concept can also be found in two other regulatory instruments a 2006 joint ministerial regulation on the construction of houses of worship and the 2008 joint ministerial decree on Ahmadiyah both of which oblige government and society to ensure that religious expression neither blasphemes religion nor disturbs the peace.
Grace's fate is by no means sealed. But the conviction of Ahok, and ethnic Chinese woman Meliana, who was jailed for blasphemy after complaining about the volume of the call to prayer, suggest that this majoritarian notion of religious harmony resonates with the courts.
Courts appear to expect religious minorities to exercise far greater caution when expressing their religious convictions or when providing public comment on the religion of the majority. The fact that certain Muslim public figures might share that sentiment is apparently irrelevant.
Indeed, in Ahok's case, three Islamic scholars from MUI, the Indonesian Council of Ulama, gave expert evidence in court defending Ahok's interpretation of Al Maidah 51. While their evidence failed to exonerate Ahok, the fact that none of the three expert witnesses were accused of blasphemy themselves for siding with Ahok's remarks arguably reveals the absurdity of Ahok's indictment and conviction.
On the contrary, the court found that Ahok, particularly as a holder of public office, should have known that his remarks about the Qur'anic verse might cause social unrest. As the Institute for an Independent Judiciary (LeIP) notes, however, Article 156a does not prohibit saying something knowing that it might cause offence it only prohibits saying something with the intent to deliberately insult or to display hostility towards a religion followed in Indonesia.
It follows that Grace should not be charged with blasphemy, let alone indicted or convicted. Indeed, for a court to find that advocating religious freedom and equality is akin to having the intent to insult Islam would be, at best, a conflation of her remarks. As the LeIP report also concluded, however, courts typically base blasphemy judgments on three considerations: the opinion contained in the MUI fatwa that invariably leads to the accused being indicted; their own personal beliefs; and public sentiment, coupled with the fear of being perceived as a blasphemer themselves if they fail to convict.
As PSI spokesman Rian Ernest told me on 28 November, PSI remains optimistic that Grace's case will not be escalated. Rian told me that neither Grace nor the party had the intent to discredit anyone or anything and that PSI remains hopeful that Grace's address will not be used to mobilise Muslims en masse in the name of protecting Islam.
For any significant level of mobilisation, an MUI fatwa is, as mentioned, typically required. But with PSI having pledged its support for Jokowi, and with MUI Chairman Ma'ruf Amin now in Jokowi's corner as his 2019 presidential election running mate, the likelihood of MUI issuing a potentially decisive edict should be diminished.
Coupled with the fact that PSI is a new political party and that Grace unlike Ahok does not yet wield the political influence of a gubernatorial or presidential candidate, it would be surprising if Grace's detractors were able to generate the moral panic necessary to trigger the charges that would bring about her political demise.
Indeed, as Rian suggested, if PSI's detractors escalate matters, that would also thrust PSI further into the political spotlight, providing the party with a greater platform to convey its message of religious freedom and equality, something that Grace's opponents would surely not want to see.
But then again, Indonesia is in the midst of a fevered election campaign, and the politics of religious identity are already a central theme, so Grace Natalie probably can't rest easy yet.