A matter of trade: Highway plan in Indonesia’s Papua threatens forests

June 26, 2008

Physical development versus ecological disaster is a matter of trade and it should be managed in a very-very careful way. Which one do we prefer? If we choose to develop a highway we must realise that a warning from Greenpeace and some Papuan NGOs about explosion in palm oil plantations, illegal loggers and biodiversity loss should be taken seriously. If we choose to let Papua as a jungle without any significant physical development, then we should also creatively think about any possible way to develop Papua without destroying its environment.

Precise calculation on what we will loss and what we will get is very important. By developing a highway from Papua Province to West Papua Province, economic development will increase sharply. But the question is who will get the largest part of economic pie? Are we Papuan ready for the economic booming of palm oil plantation, land transportation, housing, services, etc? I believe that most of the economic pie will be eaten by capitalist or investor from Jakarta, China or maybe Malaysia. While Papuan will become a low level labor in Palm oil plantation. Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Festival at Lake Sentani

June 20, 2008

Local residents with bows and arrows stage a war dance on a boat during the opening of a culture and arts festival at Lake Sentani in Jayapura, Papua, on Thursday. The festival, officially opened by Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik, will last until Saturday. (JP/Nethy Dharma Somba)

Lake Sentani Festival

Indonesia: Communal Tensions in Papua

June 20, 2008

The International Crisis Group has warned Indonesia of potential conflict in the country’s easternmost province due to strained relations between Muslims and Christians.  Although the situation in Papua is not as dramatic as the report suggests, all Papuan people should be very careful in understanding the potential conflict.  Our awareness of such danger can avoid misunderstanding, which will lead to a real physical conflict.

Here is the report.

Asia Report N°154
16 juin 2008


Indonesian Papua has seen periodic clashes between pro-independence supporters and goverment forces, but conflict between Muslim and Christian communities could also erupt unless rising tensions are effectively managed. Violence was narrowly averted in Mano­kwari and Kaimana in West Papua province in 2007, but bitterness remains on both sides. The key fac­tors are continuing Muslim migration from elsewhere in Indonesia; the emergence of new, exclusivist groups in both religious communities that have hardened the perception of the other as enemy; the lasting impact of the Maluku conflict; and the impact of developments outside Papua. National and local officials need to ensure that no discriminatory local regulations are enacted, and no activities by exclusivist religious organisations are supported by government funds. Read the rest of this entry »

Indonesia has given Papua self-determination, says Somare

June 2, 2008

News from RNZI

Posted at 00:05 on 31 May, 2008 UTC

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister says that West Papuans don’t meet the same criteria for observer status at the Melanesian Spearhead Group that New Caledonia’s FLNKS movement does.

Responding to questions why PNG blocked the push by Vanuatu to have West Papuans of Indonesia granted observer status at the MSG, Sir Michael Somare said that it is an issue for Jakarta and not the Melanesian block. The issue was missing from the official communiqué for the just-concluded MSG Leaders Summit in Port Vila.

However MSG foreign ministers and senior officials had canvassed the issue earlier, with many delegates comparing the West Papuan bid for observer status to that of the Kanaks of New Caledonia who were admitted at the inception of the MSG in 1986.

But Sir Michael says the difference is the FLNKS has an official timetable towards and is preparing for possible independence.

“The Indonesian government is doing everything possible to look after their interests, they are now giving autonomous region of West Papua self determination. They are now looking after their own affairs, when you come to that stage it’s depending on the country that this administrating authority over that particular part of the country, so that’s what happening.”

Sir Michael Somare.

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