29 December 2011

Filipino activists call end to military atrocities in West Papua

PHILIPPINES - Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC) and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) solidarity activists today held a silent protest in front of Indonesian Embassy in Makati City in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of West Papua's declaration of independence from the Dutch rule.

Fifty years ago on the 1st of December 1961, in the then Dutch colony of West New Guinea, The West Papuan flag, also known as the Morning Star was flown for the first time officially beside the Dutch Tricolour. History narrates that the Dutch was about to give the West Papuan people their freedom, but it is one of the great tragedies that at their moment of freedom it was brutally crushed and West Papua was handed over to Indonesia in 1963.

Mining, plantation disputes to intensify

Jakarta Post. Environmental groups predict that land disputes over mining and plantation activities will intensify throughout the country in the coming months and they have called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to immediately audit the operation of palm oil and mining companies.

The groups, including palm oil business watchdog Sawit Watch and the Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam) said that Yudhoyono should lead the cross-departmental audit, especially of the companies’ operating permits.

Freeport Link to Latest Anti-Mine Violence in Indonesia

A man who was seriously wounded during an anti-mining protest that turned deadly in Sape, West Nusa Tenggara, is taken for medical care on Saturday. (Antara Photo)

The Australian government has confirmed that it is aware of the shooting deaths of two Indonesians during a protest against the exploration activities of an Australian resources company on Sumbawa island over the weekend.

“The Australian Government is always concerned to see loss of life and injury,” said a spokesperson for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in a statement obtained by the Jakarta Globe. “We note that Indonesian authorities have ordered an investigation into the incident.”

At least two people were killed at Sape port in West Nusa Tenggara on Christmas Eve during a protest opposing the opening of a local gold mine project between an Indonesian company and an Australian company with ties to Freeport.

Nationwide Protests Decry Mistreatment of Civilians

Protesters march in front of Police Headquarters in Jakarta on Monday. They criticized the police’s shooting of and killing villagers who were rallying in Bima against a gold mining company. The protestors urged the president to remove Chief Police Timur Pradopo. (JG Photo/Safir Makki)

Jakarta Globe. Protesters in cities across the country on Monday continued to voice their outrage over police violence in the recent Sape incident. 

In Malang, East Java, hundreds of students originally from Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, rallied at the city’s main square before heading to the local City Council building to air their grievances. They carried a mock coffin to symbolize the death of human rights. 

The students also called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to dismiss the head of the National Police for what they said was negligence that had allowed the conflict to turn deadly. 

They demanded the resignation of Bima district chief Ferry Zulkarnaen, who had issued the mining exploration permit at issue in the Sape protest. They also called on the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) to probe the incident and hold accountable the individuals responsible. 

Bima violent clash: The ‘hitman’ state and corporate greed

Moh Yasir Alimi, Semarang | Tue, 2/27/2011 8:41 

Jakarta Post-opinion. The nation watched another spectacle of police brutality unfold on Saturday, this time in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, when several hundred officers used force to dispel peaceful protestors occupying Sape port at 6 a.m. when many were still sleeping, praying or cooking.

Two people were shot dead and 31 were injured. The occupation was ended suddenly and brutally. Why did the police arm themselves to evict the protestors? Why didn’t they learn from the Mesuji tragedy? 

West Nusa Tenggara is a religious and cultured society. The police or the government could have requested the assistance of clerics or the “tuan guru” as mediators.

Officials should have responded to the key issue behind the occupation of the port: Bima Regent decree No. 188/45/357/004/2010, which authorized PT Sumber Mineral Nusantara (SMN) to operate in Bima and the ensuing failure of democratic channels to represent the voice of residents. 

Residents protested because mining might endanger their livelihoods as farmers and fishermen.

23 December 2011

Gender equality remains a challenge: World Bank report

Editorial: Unequal progress
The Jakarta Post | Thu, 12/22/2011 9:30 

Noble mothers, wives and workers, with no troublesome demands — this is what Soeharto’s New Order wanted of its female citizens. And every Dec. 22 has become the annual dismissal day of the New Order’s version of the historic Hari Ibu — originally the day in 1928 when dozens of women gathered for their first national congress. Under Soeharto, the meaning of ibu was no longer the neutral term for woman, but exalted motherhood within a submissive society.

Today’s women have returned Dec. 22 back to its roots, a momentum to collectively take stock of the progress of Indonesian society, regarding how it values its female half. Addressing this issue and its solutions remains important for the country’s progress; despite defensive arguments for Indonesia’s positive image, the death of hundreds of thousands of women related to childbirth and pregnancy, last estimated at 228 per 100,000 — one of the highest in Southeast Asia, continues to stare us in the face. Such facts are a stark reminder of the absence of basic facilities, such as good roads to enable women’s access to clinics, and glaring lack of basic awareness of women’s health in families and communities.

Farmers from Java join forces to fight against injustice

Representatives of farmers from 10 regions across Java, attending a two-day congress in Yogyakarta, pledged Thursday to join forces and build solidarity to fight against what they considered injustice.

Via a declaration drawn up at the congress, the farmers said they were ready to fight against those people who made use of laws and regulations to justify social, cultural, economic and environmental destruction.

They also called on the state apparatus to stop committing any form of intimidation against, or repression and criminalization of, farmers and local people, as they possessed the highest sovereignty in the country, arguing that state officials were servants of the people, not of companies.

21 December 2011

Tired of Being Victimized, Some Women Fight Back

Activists rally in Jakarta in September after Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo said women in short skirts invite rape. (JG Photo/Safir Makki) 
Kartika was waiting for a bus when a man shouted at her from inside a small food stall across the street, “Look at those boobs!” 

Knowing she was the only woman present and seeing that a number of men inside the eatery were looking at her, she crossed the street and walked into the place. 

“I was very angry and I demanded to know who shouted at me,” the 28-year-old photographer said. “Of course, nobody dared to speak. They all tried to look innocent.” 

It was not the first time Kartika was the target of such commentary. 

“Once I was in a hurry and walking past a group of men, car mechanics, on the street when one of them said something that made me turn around and give them a look that told them they were impolite,” she said. “To my surprise, one of the men yelled at me and started calling me animal names!” 

7 December 2011

Indonesia: Strikes and protests as discontent rises

Workers rally in Batam, Indonesia. November 23.
By Max Lane

Direct Action. The simmering discontent throughout Indonesia regularly overflowed throughout October and November. There were student protests against the Yudhoyono government, attacking corruption, economic injustice and political manipulation of local government, in cities including Jakarta, Jogjakarta, Cirebon, Samarinda (in Borneo), Makassar, Surabaya and Kediri.

There were also demonstrations in Papua, after an incident in which police disbanded a political meeting in Jayapura, killing at least six people. Hundreds of others were arrested, ordered to strip to their shorts and made to squat in the sun for a long period. Days later demonstrations demanded a referendum on the region’s status, including an option for independence.

2 December 2011

Solidarity Coins for Freeport Workers

Joint Solidarity Appeal - November 26, 2011

Dear friends,

Six thousand of our comrades at PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) have been on strike since September 15. They are demanding a wage increase to US7.5 per hour. The strike is a legitimate action under Indonesian labour laws (Law Number 13/2003 Articles 137-145). The Freeport management however claims that the strike is illegal and is refusing to pay the workers.

There are four basic reasons why workers' wages at Freeport must be increased:

1. PT Freeport Indonesia's contribution to Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) is well above the average of other companies affiliated with FCX. This can be seen from a comparison between Freeport production levels in Indonesia and those in America and Africa. It is clear that the main source of FCX's profits is from the operational revenue in Indonesia. In other words, the income generated by PT Freeport Indonesia exceeds that of other companies in the FCX group.