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Rescuers Struggle to Reach Trapped Miners in Papua

1) Rescuers Struggle to Reach Trapped Miners in Papua
2) Effects of the Oxford OPM office on Papua
3) May Action is a Call for Justice Regarding Human Rights in Papua
1) Rescuers Struggle to Reach Trapped Miners in Papua

Timika. Rescuers dug through rocks and earth on Wednesday as they struggled to reach 25 workers trapped underground after a tunnel collapsed at a US-owned mine in Papua, killing at least four.

Ten people have so far been rescued following Tuesday’s accident at Freeport-McMoRan’s Grasberg, one of the world’s biggest gold and copper mines in the mountains of rugged Papua province.

Freeport Indonesia, the local subsidiary of the US firm, said it had suspended all production at Grasberg “as a sign of solidarity and sympathy” for the workers.

Rescuers are finding it difficult to locate those who were trapped by the collapse as they carried out safety training, as the site remains unstable.

The 50-strong team, which includes Freeport and police personnel, were using heavy machinery such as bulldozers, as well as saws, wheelbarrows and jacks to clear debris from the site.

“They have been working non-stop night and day to get to the workers, but the process is tedious and time-consuming,” said local police spokesman I Gde Sumerta Jaya.

“Each time they dig, there are small landslides, so they have to put wooden planks on the tunnel walls and roof to prevent rocks from falling.”

Oxygen was being piped into the tunnel, which is cut into a mountainside, but it is impossible to know whether those inside are dead or alive, he added.

Kristian Sitepu, who had been instructing the group, managed to dash out of the tunnel just before it caved in, Jaya said.

“He told us he heard rats on the roof just seconds before the collapse, but it turned out to be the rumbling of falling rocks,” said the police spokesman, adding it was not yet clear what caused the accident.

The 10 who were hauled out alive during overnight rescue efforts had been taken to a company hospital and were all in a stable condition, Freeport stated.

Thirty-nine people, including direct employees and contractors, had been in the tunnel, which is not part of the mining area, when the accident happened, the company said, giving no indication as to the cause of the collapse.

Mining accidents are common in Indonesia, but they normally happen in illegal and unregulated mines, not at sites run by large companies.

Freeport did not disclose the nationalities of all the workers involved in the accident, but the vast majority of the more than 24,000 employees at Grasberg are Indonesian.

The company said that production was earlier partially suspended at Grasberg to help with evacuation and rescue efforts, but they had now decided to halt production entirely.

“As a sign of solidarity and sympathy with our colleagues who are still trapped” all production had been stopped from Wednesday afternoon, company spokeswoman Daisy Primayanti told AFP.

Freeport will assess whether production could be resumed on Thursday, she added.

The tunnel collapse is just the latest problem to hit the mine. In 2011, a three-month strike by thousands of workers crippled production and only ended when the firm agreed to a major pay rise.

Earlier this month, some 1,100 workers employed by Freeport contractors staged a three-day strike over pay but it caused only minimal disruption to production.

Agence France-Presse

2) Effects of the Oxford OPM office on Papua
Paper Edition | Page: 7
The opening of the Papua separatist organization’s Free Papua Movement (OPM) office in Oxford, UK, has been met with mixed reaction. Some are calling on the Indonesian government to take tough actions against the British government while some others are standing up for the right of freedom of expression. 

This issue, however, demonstrates the inability of the Indonesian government to counter the second-track diplomacy conducted by exiled pro-independent Papua activist Benny Wenda and more importantly, the impact of this situation on the future of peaceful dialogue between the central government and the Papuan people.

The opening of the OPM office is consistent with Wenda’s campaign for Papua independence, which he has lead for more than a decade since he left Papua for the UK in 2002. After establishing the International Parliaments for West Papua (IPWP) in 2008 and traveling to Melanesian countries in the South Pacific (such as Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea) to garner support, the Papuan issue has reached the international spotlight, with an increasing number of countries expressing their intention to look into what is happening in the easternmost province. 

Benny’s latest journey to Melanesian countries followed the lifting of his Interpol Red Notice status in 2012. One of the purposes of his campaign has been to put pressure on the Indonesian government to stop the security approach it has carried out in trying to solve Papua’s problems. 

The opening of the OPM office in Oxford highlights the weakness of the Indonesian government in exercising its diplomatic instruments. Indonesia is seemingly unable to raise its image as a sovereign state over Papua. 

As we know, the government has strengthened its efforts to cooperate with the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) since this group of countries has frequently spoken about human rights conditions in Papua. 

However, this growing Indonesian diplomatic effort in the region cannot prevent these countries in the Pacific region from supporting Papua independence. 

The Papuan goal was fortified by the MSG’s plan to give Papua observer status in the upcoming meeting next month in New Caledonia. 

Meanwhile, human rights conditions in Papua have raised the concerns of many international agencies such as the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as well as outstanding figures such as Bishop Desmond Tutu and MIT prof. Noam Chomsky, who have urged for the Indonesian government to respect Papuan indigenous rights. 

Furthermore, it is noteworthy to look at the Oxford office’s impact on the future of peaceful dialogue regarding Papua, which has been sought since 2010. 

Initially, the idea of peaceful dialogue was launched by Papuan intellectual Neles Tebay in cooperation with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI). 

This effort resulted in an initiative to use active dialogue to rectify ongoing historical, political, cultural and economic grievances in Papua. Through workshops and public discussion within the province as well as lobbying the central government for support for the enterprise, this strategy pushes for a positive environment in which dialogue can take place via both top-down and bottom-up approaches. However, the challenges are still numerous, including the fragmentation of the large number of parties. 

One of the biggest impediments for consolidating a dialogue is bringing all the parties concerned with Papua to sit together and start discussing to find the best solution.

Looking back at Papua’s history, there have been many initiatives, from central and local government as well as from the non-governmental organizations, to arrange an active dialogue but these efforts have faced similar obstacles related to political fragmentation among Papuans. 

Benny Wenda’s involvement as an actor involved in Papua’s independence raises concern about the role of the party in the dialogue between the national government and the Papuan people. 

Moreover, the existence of OPM’s office in Oxford now makes the road to peaceful dialogue more complicated. On one hand, the process faces tough challenges because Benny refuses to take part in the dialogue scheme under the provincial authority of Papua. 

On the other hand, until now, the British government has been unable to disband activity within the OPM office because of national laws that respect and guarantee its citizens’ rights — and Benny is a British citizen.  

In this situation, ignoring the existence of the OPM office is impossible. All the British government can do is make public statements at the diplomatic level to affirm its respect for the sovereignty of Indonesia over Papua.

Benny and his group will continue to campaign for the separation of Papua at the international level.  His involvement is a real challenge for the Indonesian government and for other parties who are struggling to achieve peaceful dialogue in Papua. Constructive communication, including with those who have been exiled, is more likely to occur through discussions as one united country. 

It is hoped that the consternation over the opening of the OPM office does not incite an escalation of conflict in Papua. This concern is all the more grave considering the recent military shootings and killings of several Papuans on May 1, which coincided with the peaceful commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the handover of Papua to the Indonesian government by the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority. 

Although it has no direct correlation, the opening the OPM office in Oxford might lead to a high degree of oversight over the Papuan people by the security apparatuses that in turn, could create friction within society.

Hipolitus Yolisandry Ringgi Wangge is a 2012 Arryman fellow at Northwestern University in the US.

Agustinus Kambuaya is a faculty member at the department of politics, Cenderawasih University in 

3) May Action is a Call for Justice Regarding Human Rights in Papua
JUBI, 15 May 2013

A human rights solidarity group in Papua, SPP-HAM declared that the action that took place on Monday, 13 May was clearly a call for justice  with regard to human rights violations which occurred in West Papua . But even so, the action was banned by the police.

As has been earlier reported, Action to Commemorate  the 1 May which Papuan activists regard marking the 50th anniversary of West Papua's annexation by the Republic of Indonesia occurred in a number of places.

The Indonesian security forces, (TNI and Police) took repressive  and brutal  action against these actions which occurred in a number of places, such as Sorong, Fak-Fak, Biak, Nabire and Timika.

Wim Rocky Medlama, spokesman for KNPB (National Committee of West Papua) said: 'The Indonesian security forces are clinging firmly to the controversial claim that  Papua had returned to the fold of the Motherland and therefore, the authority of the Republic of Indonesia in Papua cannot be questioned  and cannot be challenged.'

He said that on the evening before annexation day, 1 May 2013, a tragic incident  occurred which resulted in the loss of life. This was when the security forces launched an attack on Papuan people in the complex in Aimas, Sorong. 'During this attack a number of people were injured, two of whom died - Abner Malagawa (20 years old) and Thomas Blesia (28 years old) died after being hit by a bullets. Furthermore a woman, Salomina Klambin (37 years old) was also shot and subsequently died after attempts by doctors at Sorong hospital to remove bullets from her body.failed.

'In response to the repressive actions of the Indonesian security forces  in various parts of Papua on 1 May and the tragic incident in Aimas Sorong, a number of Papuan activists in Jayapura, including young people and students, held meetings  in order to coordinate their actions in several places in the vicinity of Abepura.. These meetings were focussed on efforts to take joint action about the bloody incident in Aimas, Sorong.

As a result of these meetings  which were attended by activists from a number  of organisations, they reached agreement to respond to the repressive actions by the security forces against the Papuan people in Sorong and other places by organising human rights solidarity actions.

'These solidarity actions would take the form of  issuing press statements and meeting journalists, which would then be followed up by holding mass demonstrations outside the offices of the MRP, the DPRP and the Governor's office.'

After considering various levels of coordination, they decided that the action would take place on 13 May. The solidarity team would send a letter of notification of their intention to the chief of police in Jayapura and to the local chief of police. The letter was sent on 10 May,

The letter to the police contained the names of several  people who were responsible for these actions. They were: Yason Ngelia and Septi Maidodga as representatives of the BEM-MPM Uncen (Cenderawasih University), Bovit Bofra as the chairman of Garda-P (Democratic Papuan People's Movement), Victor Yeimo as chairman of the KNPB, and Marthen Manggaprouw as the representative of the West Papuan National Authority WPNA).

Later that day, these meetings were followed up by further coordination between the activists who were involved in the planned solidarity action.

One day after the announcement reporting their intention to carry out this action, a representative of the police force in Papua from the intelligence and security staff (Intelkam) phoned to say that those responsible for the action should meet the director of Intelkam regarding the planned action. Bovit Bofra and Yason Ngelia as representatives  responded to the summons at police headquarters in the centre of Jayapura on 11 May at 9am where they met  the director of Intelkam, Chief Inspector Yakobus Marzuki. During this tense and difficult meeting, the director of Intelkam asked them to explain the action that was being planned.

'In addition to questioning the names of several groups which were involved in the solidarity action whose existence has not been registered, they also complained about the politicisation of the situation because it could potentially be disruptive for the population.'This was because the announcement of the planned action talked about a 'humanitarian tragedy ' in Sorong  in which Papuan civilians had fallen as victims.

The use of the word 'tragedy' in the announcement was, according to the police, groundless and completely unacceptable. This was because the actions taken by the security forces were fully in accordance with legel procedures that are in force in the Republic of Indonesia. According to the police officer, there were indications that the people mentioned would be damaging national stability by organising an action on 13 May. Following the issuing of a  statement, the director of Intelkam issued a letter refusing permission for the action that was planned for 13 May.

But the only name that was mentioned in the police letter rejecting (the action) was that of Victor Yeimo, the chairman of the KNPB whereas the announcement of the intention to take action mentioned a number of other names from various different organisations that were nor registered.

The Director of Intelkam also referred to the position adopted by the governor of Papua, Lukas Enembe, who said that taking such an action would only disrupt development in Papua..

In response, Bovit and Yason explained their position regarding the lack o f permission by the police and clarified their intention to go ahead with the action. But this discussion revealed many differences and led to a bitter argument that lasted for twenty minutes.

Because no agreement was reached,  Bovit and Yason stated their firm commitment that, in accordance with the agreement (between the organisations), the action planned for 13 May would go ahead.

However, the director of Intelkam, said that the police had not given permission for the action to go ahead, and if it did, all those responsible as well as those who took part would have to face the consequences which included the likelihood of legal action.


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