Indonesia Secures seat on UN Human Rights Body

“Indonesia returns to the United Nations Human Rights Council for a fifth time after winning the most votes in the Asia-Pacific region in a secret ballot” -Jakarta Post

Despite countless gross violations of Human Rights, Indonesia has won top vote to secure a seat at UN Human Rights Council and will serve as the council member starting in January 2020.

Indonesia collected the highest vote (174) from the Asia Pacific, surpassing Japan (165) and South Korea,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi in an interview via Whatsapp with Tempo news.

Indonesia secured the highest vote of 174 from 193 countries of the UN members making it the country’s fifth term on the council, the Jakarta Post reported today.

The question running through my mind right now is ‘How is it that a country who has failed miserably to address human rights violations and is known largely for violations and atrocity of Human Rights against its indigenous population is given a pass by the UN plus is given the highest votes of 174 from member countries of the UN to be given the honor to seat at UN Human Rights Council?’

Indonesia as we all know, for the past 50 years has suppressed West Papua’s Human Rights and continues to do so today, it has suppressed West Papua’s rights to freedom of expression, of peaceful assembly and of association continues to be arbitrarily restrictive. Blasphemy provisions were used to imprison those who peacefully exercised their rights to freedom of religion and belief. (Amnesty International) And most importantly the RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION!

Did UN or the member states even for one bit considered Indonesia’s record of violating human rights?
This only shows how ignorant the 174 member states are when they voted for Indonesia to be given a seat at the Human Rights Council, how stupid are these people?

How can one be a Human Rights advocate when you’re constantly violating Human Rights on unspeakable levels?

There should be a criterion for member countries who wish to be part of UN’s functioning bodies such as the Human Rights Council, these countries need to be thoroughly scanned before they are considered for the secret ballot to be a part of UN’s functioning bodies.

Voting Indonesia to the UN Human Rights Council is a slap to the West Papua people and those countries who stand in solidarity with West Papua calling for West Papua’s right to self-determination.

The organization (UN) and its member states have turned a blind eye to the gross violations of Human Rights in West Papua and by the looks of it, won’t be addressing the issue anytime soon.

The United Nations also in its capacity has failed to perform its main role which is to maintain international peace and security, to safeguard human rights and to develop friendly relations among nations on the basis of equality and the principle of self-determination.

The UN Human Rights Council, which is an intergovernmental organ of the UN consists of 47 UN member states and is responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights throughout the world, which includes dealing with situations of human rights violations and making recommendations to address them should only have member countries who have no record of or are not known for violating the human rights of their citizens or other peoples.

The UNHRC’s main function is to investigates allegations of breaches of human rights in UN member states, and addresses important thematic human rights issues such as freedom of association and assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of belief and religion, women’s rights, LGBT rights, and the rights of racial and ethnic minorities (Wikipedia), however, to my knowledge, UNHRC has made no investigations into the current breaches of human rights in West Papua nor has questioned Indonesia for the continuous violations of human rights in the region which are ever worsening.

Earlier this year, we saw Indonesia being condemned by the largest group of independent experts within the UN human rights system for violations of Human Rights, impunity and racism in West Papua.

They also issued a statement calling for ‘those who have committed human rights violations against the indigenous population of Papua’ to be ‘held to account’. But seems to me, The UN isn’t paying attention. They took a step of madness today (18/10/2019) in ensuring Indonesia got a seat AGAIN on the UN Human Rights Council.

Many Pacific Island nations like Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu who stand or have stood in solidarity with West Papua at UN called out Indonesian human rights abuses in West Papua and seek support for decolonization process. Support for West Papua independence and the genocide has garnered international attention and many around the world are now calling on West Papua independence except for the toothless UN.

On October 11 2019, we saw at least 14,000 plus people in Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby sign a petition calling on the UN to intervene on the human rights abuse and push for a fair referendum for the Melanesian people of West Papua. The petition was presented to the UN Resident Coordinator Gianluca Rampolla on behalf of the West Papua community by NCD Governor Powes Parkop, Oro Governor Gary Juffa, and Reverend Roger Joseph, General Secretary, PNG Council of Churches. The UN Resident Coordinator said to forward it immediately to the UN Headquarters.

Nearly a week after the petition was presented, the suppressor (Indonesia) is given a seat at the UN Human Rights Council, how do we address human rights issues in West Papua when Indonesia is a member of the council and has been for the past four terms?

The UN is weak like its forerunner, the League of Nations and therefore should be disbanded.

They’re not Leprosy Patients- Namah

Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes. The disease has been around since Biblical times and those with the disease were separated from the people as they were deemed unclean.

Lepers were considered unclean, and they were forced to separate themselves from the public. The mere touch of a leper brought uncleanness, and breathing the same air of a leper was believed to be dangerous. When someone was pronounced “leprous” they were looked upon as dead and cast out of society to dwell in a special place or colony in the wilderness, living in caves or tents. In ancient Israel lepers were commanded to wear certain clothes, keep themselves a certain distance from people, wear special bells, and they had to cry “unclean unclean” if someone was too close (Lev 13:45). The rabbis viewed leprosy as a chastisement from God because of moral issues. (Wiki)

What Namah was saying is clear, You’re not leprosy patients and therefore we cannot turn you away. You’re welcome to join the club, you don’t have to separate yourselves from us (Opposition) by isolating yourselves in the middle bench.
Namah is a Seventh Day Adventist and knows his Bible, that is why he made the reference. But as a Christian, Namah fails to recognize that spiritually, O’Neill has leprosy

Namah and O’Neill used to be friends turned enemies, as Namah himself claimed “I am the king maker” referring to making O’Neill PM in 2011. In the past years, they didn’t see eye to eye when O’Neill was in power. Now with O’Neill out of power, Namah once again seeks to make enemies with Marape attacking Marape with all he got stating that Prime Minister Marape is incapable of running the country.

As they say “In politics, there are no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, but permanent interests.”

Namah is now taking the “Enemy of my enemy is my friend” approach towards O’Neill and PNC who have fallen out of Marape’s favor. Namah is out here extending his hand to O’Neill. We now have a common enemy (Marape), come join me O’Neill.
You no nogut, Marape les lo you but mi barata blo you lo Vanimo-Green mi stap!

Paliau Maloat & The Paliau Movement

Paliau Maloat was born on 1907 on Baluan Island in a Matangkor village of Lipan, an island off the south coast of Manus. He was an orphan by the age of seven, both his parents died when he was young and was raised by his relatives.

Paliau Maloat in 1924 entered the formal employment sector when he was about seventeen and at the age of twenty-one, Paliau enlisted in the Police Force in the year 1928. Paliau served as a policeman in Rabaul from 1935 up till the coming of the World War II (WW2). He attained the rank of Sergeant during this period and was in charge of 280 policemen when WWII broke out. After the war in 1946, Paliau returned to Manus and began the formulation of plans to break away from the old way of living and bring his people into the modern world.

Paliau’s own life is his testimony, his life, hardships and struggles he faced and the struggles faced by his people made him to make a difference, to make life better for his people.

Paliau saw that there was a dire need to make a complete break from the ways of the past because the ways of the past were not helping the people progress, instead it handicapped them thus not allowing them to respond positively to the challenges and developments that were taking place. And this is true, the old ways of the past hindered development.  The old way of life according to Paliau contained so much hatred, divisiveness, bad thoughts and negative personal and clan rivalries. He advocated a complete break with the past, he even advocated about breaking away from the missions and setting up an indigenous church that would preach the core values of Christianity.

The colonial administration during that time had certain requirements that the villages had to follow or face the penalties if they disobeyed, the requirements were like, the villagers had to pay head tax levy, keep their villages clean and build new houses and toilets. But the people were not able to properly carry out the requirements of the colonial administration, why? Because, these were new to them, for examples paying of taxes, or building toilets, I do not think they had toilets in the old days so for them to build toilets to use was something new am assuming. And why would the colonial administration want to put such strict measures?

Paliau so badly wanted a complete break from the past that he emphasized on the abolishing bride-price system which saw food crops being given away during the bridal exchange feasts and when all the food was gone, they would experience famine. From my own observation, bride-price is an expensive practice which leaves the groom’s family penniless and without food crops and makes the bride’s family wealthy with food and money so I am in agreement with Paliau.

Paliau also emphasized on equality for everyone (the emancipation of women) and also wanted the people to have the whiteman’s good but in order for them to get the goods, they had to work for money so they could purchase. Maybe Paliau saw the goodness of the whiteman’s goods as he was exposed to them while working out of the province and that is why he also wanted his people to have those goods as well.

Abundance of food and good housing for all in the community was in line with what he had envisaged within his Nupala Pasin concept – the new way of doing things. Paliau experience the pain his people went through during food shortages in his young years so I think here he decides to make sure his people had abundant food, with his new concept doing away with the old ways like bridal feasts which finished the people’s food crops and left them with nothing.

Paliau Maloat also formed a new religion based on Christianity in which life revolved around the church built in the center of the village, and distinct rituals. The Paliau church’s job was to cater for the spiritual needs of those within the movement. The church was established as a result of the Catholic mission’s negative approach, the Catholic mission turned away followers of the movement who went for worship, they came back reported to Paliau who came up with an inspiration for a church for his followers. Paliau’s move to build his church was just like the early protestant movements of Martin Luther who broke away from the Catholic in the sixteenth century in what was known as the “Reformation” which began as an attempt to reform the Catholic Church, by priests who opposed what they perceived as false doctrines and ecclesiastic malpractice. In Paliau’s mind was the suspicion that the missions were not genuine. They profess God’s love and forgiveness on the one hand, while on the other hand turn the people away from worshipping him. Paliau saw that the spiritual need of the people was important, and if the missions were going to turn people away then it was up to him as the one who ‘save rot’ (knows the way) to show the way. (Kais, 1998 )

I think the church’s decision to turn away Paliau’s followers were genuine as they believed they were involved in cultic activities so following Biblical teachings, they turned them away. Paliau did not waste time, he went ahead and established a church which I believe was already in his plan and he just needed some moving factors to help him establish it. Most of his followers were Catholics so the Paliau church practiced the religious rites and rituals of the Catholic church, he even used trained Catholic catechists to teach the people about religious faith. If he wanted to bring in new rites or rituals, I think he would not have gotten his followers to attend his church if he introduced new doctrines so he just used what was already in place in his new church. There were no new doctrines introduced by Paliau’s church.

Paliau also tried to establish a new social order in which traditional cultural distinctions, including the authority of the ‘big men’, would be swept aside. What made Paliau to want to do away with ‘big-men’ system? When Paliau was a young and working, he would visit his village on his leave, he brought with him the wealth he acquired. His uncle would however distribute Paliau’s wealth among the relatives. Paliau understood that his uncle was making a name for himself as it was the way of doing things in the past.

I think this is what led to Paliau wanting abled people in his village to find employment for money so they can purchase their own whiteman’s goods instead of waiting for one to work and come home with such goods so the lazy people can benefit from the acquired wealth. And if everyone had their own wealth, they would not consider the other to be a ‘big-men’ because they all have acquired whiteman’s goods.

References

Kais, K. (1998 , April ). The Paliau Movement. Retrieved from PAPUA NEW GUINEA – BUAI DIGITAL PROJECT: http://www.pngbuai.com/100philosophy/paliau-movement/default.htm

The Treaty of Mutual Respect, Friendship and Co-operation- PNG and Indonesia

What is the Treaty of Mutual Respect, Friendship and Cooperation?

Treaty of Mutual Respect, Friendship and Cooperation was a bilateral non-aggression pact that governs border relations that was signed between the governments of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea on October 1986.

Under the terms of this treaty the two countries agreed not to threaten or use force against one another and not to cooperate with others in hostile or unlawful acts against each other or allow their territory to be used by others for such purposes. Provision was made also for consultation and negotiation in the event of any dispute.

Why was the treaty signed?

Some Papua New Guineans after independence have expressed fears that Indonesia might one day invade Papua New Guinea as it invaded East Timor so in signing the treaty, they believed the treaty would stop Indonesia from ever invading PNG in the near future as the treaty says that both countries should agree not to threaten or use force against each other. And the most important and probably Indonesia’s hidden agenda in signing the treaty was to stop border crossovers, especially the West Papuans seeking refuge in PNG.

What is Papua New Guinea’s stance on the issue?

 PNG, the host of the inaugural MSG summit in 1986, and the largest country in Melanesia, is perhaps the most politically influential as well as populous member of the group. With regard to support for West Papuan independence, it is also the most reserved. PNG shares a border with Indonesia (West Papua) and its army is outnumbered 322 to one by Indonesia’s, factors which explain PNG’s reticence to challenge Indonesia on its neighbor’s plight. PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has been conscientious in condoning Indonesia’s “sovereignty” in West Papua, probably in the hope of reducing the border conflicts and infiltration by Indonesian troops into PNG that occur several times a year, in spite of the 1986 treaty.

There are also many economic and development opportunities for PNG to exploit through collaboration with Indonesia; in 2013 PNG agreed to work with Indonesia on joint border gas exploration, highway construction and hydro-power projects. At the 2013 MSG summit PNG’s previous prime minister and one of the founders of the MSG, Michael Somare, addressed those gathered: “There is strong and growing support among the MSG peoples for West Papua’s membership to MSG and West Papua’s aspirations to self-determination.

I believe that MSG should actively make representations to Indonesia to address human rights abuses in West Papua”—because West Papua is “a significant Melanesian community”. However, PNG’s current prime minister, Peter O’Neill, did not even attend the summit. Instead, he was leading a delegation of PNG leaders to Indonesia for discussion of border controls, trade and investment. While there, O’Neill reiterated to the Indonesian press that PNG is committed to supporting West Papua as a part of Indonesia.

PNG’s Foreign Minister, Rimbink Pato, visited Indonesia and West Papua for the FMM, together with the Foreign Ministers of Fiji and the Solomon Islands and a representative of the FLNKS and When quizzed by media on human rights violations in West Papua he responded, “I have not seen the evidence. As I’ve said, we have a clear mandate and we have conducted an investigation … our mission has been completed”.

And while in Jayapura, West Papua, Pato reaffirmed that the MSG members “support Papua to remain under Indonesian sovereignty”. Nevertheless, civil society and local and opposition politicians in PNG support West Papuan independence. The Melanesian United Front launched a campaign and petition to support the WPNCL at the MSG, and the leader of the opposition in PNG, Belden Namah, stated that: “Papua New Guinea has a moral obligation to raise the plight of West Papuans and their struggle for independence with the Indonesians and before international bodies and forums”

Despite the earlier pledge to support West Papuan independence, following a meeting with Yudhoyono in Jakarta, the MSG delegation made it clear it would not interfere in Indonesia’s “internal affairs”. In a joint statement, Indonesia and the MSG concluded they “supported respective sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, consistent with the Charter of the United Nations”.

To conclude, the reason that PNG Government has not shown support to West Papuan independence is that it wants to maintain a peaceful and productive relationship with Indonesia. Papua New Guinea’s official position is that West Papua belongs to Indonesia. because we have signed a treaty with Indonesia and according to pacta sunt servanda, we must keep the agreement.