Indonesia & East Timor News Updates - December 8, 2018

* Papua rebels demand independence talks
* Komnas HAM former chief: Jokowi has no thoughtful plan for Papua
* UGM apologizes for slow handling of rape case
* Tolerant city index: Singkawang highest, Tanjung Balai lowest
* Prabowo camp doubts pollster, LSI: Let's compare data


Papua rebels demand independence talks

Associated Press - December 8, 2018

Jakarta -- Rebels in Indonesia's troubled Papua province demanded that the government hold negotiations on self-determination for the province and warned of more attacks.

Sebby Sambom, spokesman for the West Papua National Liberation Army, the military wing of the Free Papua Movement, said in a telephone interview that they attacked a government construction site last weekend because they believe the project is conducted by the military.

"Trans-Papua road projects are being carried out by Indonesian military and that is a risk they must bear," Sambom said. "We want them to know that we don't need development -- what we want is independence."

Jakarta, which for decades had a policy of sending Javanese and other Indonesians to settle in Papua to dilute the number of indigenous people, is now trying to spur economic development to dampen the separatist movement.

Local media have reported that army engineers are involved in several sections of a trans-Papua road network that will connect cities and districts in the province.

"Our leaders have declared a war zone since last year and warned that the trans-Papua road should be stopped, but Indonesia has ignored it," Sambom said.

He called for the government to agree to peace talks similar to ones that led to another province, Aceh, becoming semi-autonomous, or a "real referendum" on independence as occurred in the former Indonesian territory of East Timor.

"If Aceh and East Timor can get that opportunity, why don't we?" said Sambom, who said he was speaking near the border with neighbouring Papua New Guinea.

Papua is a former Dutch colony in the western part of New Guinea. A declaration of independence from Dutch rule on Dec 1, 1961, was rejected by the Dutch and later by Indonesia.

An insurgency has simmered in Papua since the early 1960s, when Indonesia annexed the region. It was formally incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a UN-sponsored ballot that was seen as a sham by many.



Komnas HAM former chief: Jokowi has no thoughtful plan for Papua

Tempo - December 8, 2018

Taufiq Siddiq, Jakarta -- Former commissioner of National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), Natallius Pigai, opined the Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's administration did not have thoughtful planning to carry out the Trans Papua project in the conflict-prone area. Thus, he added, it became one of the conflict triggers that caused casualties.

"[The government] must have a well-planned strategy. Soeharto himself did not dare [to start the development project] because of potential conflict," said Natallius in a phone call on Saturday, December 8, referring to the second President of Republic of Indonesia.

He also criticized policies issued by Jokowi that involving military forces for the project. The involvement of Indonesian military Forces (TNI) personnel in conflict-prone regions is a high-risk order considering it is potentially disturbed public security and order in Papua.

According to Natallius, civil workers also felt serious threats when they stayed with TNI while on work. "People who are threatened are civil workers because they stay among military forces," he added.

During the planning of Papua toll road development project, Natallius along with Sipil Society had staged a protest to Jokowi in light of the involvement of TNI in the project in the conflict-prone region. However, the government maintained to deploy armed personnel. "Until what we've been worrying about happened; the shooting incident that took ones' life."

Earlier on December 2, a shooting carried out by an armed group killed 31 workers of Istaka Karya, while building bridges in Yigi River and Aurak River, Nduga, Papua.



UGM apologizes for slow handling of rape case

Jakarta Post - December 8, 2018

Bambang Muryanto, Yogyakarta -- Gadjah Mada University (UGM) rector Panut Mulyono on Friday apologized to the public for the slow handling of a recent case of alleged sexual assault involving two students, which put the top university under a national spotlight.

"UGM leadership admits that the handling of this case has been slow and UGM apologizes for that," Panut told a press conference in Yogyakarta.

Throughout the press conference, Panut avoided calling the case one of rape or attempted rape, pending consultations with legal counselors and ethics committee members.

"UGM acknowledges that the culture of victim-blaming is one of the reasons behind the slow progress in fulfilling the survivor's rights," he added.

On Nov. 5, UGM student magazine Balairung published an investigative report based on the testimony of a female student with the pseudonym Agni, who said a fellow student had assaulted her during a community service assignment at a Maluku village on June 30, 2017.

The alleged perpetrator, an engineering student, has completed his undergraduate degree pending a graduation ceremony.

Panut further lamented the impact of the slow handling of the case on the psychological, financial and academic progress of both the accuser and the accused.

During the press conference, a group of students participated in a rally, holding posters bearing messages such as #kitaAGNI (WeAreAgni) and "I'm Agni. I'm watching you!"

The university's official apology was made after #kitaAGNI movement representatives met with UGM leaders in late November. (swd)



Tolerant city index: Singkawang highest, Tanjung Balai lowest

Tempo - December 8, 2018

Jakarta (Antara) -- Human rights advocacy group Setara Institute has revealed its study that ranked cities based on its tolerance level through its third tolerant city index (IKT) that involved 94 Indonesian cities.

"The city with the highest IKT is Singkawang in West Kalimantan, which scores a final result of 6,513 points," said Setara Institute chairman Hendardi today.

According to Hendardi, Singkawang has successfully promoted tolerance by adopting its regional mid-term development plans (RPJMD) and other legal products. Meanwhile, the city with the lowest tolerance level is Tanjung Balai, North Sumatra.

The 10 most tolerant cities in order are Singkawang (6,513), Salatiga (5,447), Pematang Siantar (6,280), Manado (6,030), Ambon (5,960), Bekasi (5,890), Kupang (5,857), Tomohon (5,833), Binjai (5,830) and Surabaya (5,823).

Meanwhile, the least tolerant cities besides Tanjung Balai are Banda Aceh, Jakarta, Cilegon, Padang, Depok, Bogor, Makassar, Medan and Sabang.

Hendardi said the IKT scoring system aimed at promoting cities that uphold tolerance with the hopes that it would prompt other cities to better their tolerance level.

The determining elements of the tolerance index are practices involving religious freedom, gender equality and social inclusion that are guaranteed and protected by the Law (UU). In addition, elements regarding city administrations' actions toward tolerance are also taken into account.



Prabowo camp doubts pollster, LSI: Let's compare data

Tempo - December 8, 2018

Fikri Arigi, Jakarta -- A researcher at the Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI) Denny JA, Ardian Sopa, has invited the campaign team of Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno to respond to the pollster's study and conduct a direct comparison after the team cast doubt on LSI's poll results.

"This is interesting, contesting poll results, data against data," said Ardian today, who maintained that the comparison must be published to let the public determine which poll was more credible. "Let the public be the final judge," he said.

However, Ardian reminded the Prabowo camp also needed to conduct an electability survey adhering to the same principles to avoid disparities in results.

Previous reports said a spokesman of the Prabowo-Sandiaga Uno campaign team, Ferry Juliantono, said the team would rather conduct an evaluation into the pollster rather than evaluate its campaign strategies.

The Prabowo Subianto camp has voiced its doubt against LSI Denny JA's poll results, which found the Prabowo-Sandiaga Uno pair was lagging behind rival Jokowi-Ma'ruf Amin ticket, saying they often contradicted other pollsters'.



Asia Pacific Solidarity Network (APSN)