West Papuan students attacked, arrested during Dec 1 protests

A protest action by the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) in Indonesia’s East Java provincial capital of Surabaya yesterday demanding self-determination for West Papua has been attacked by a group of ormas (social or mass organisations).

Police later raided Papuan student dormitories in the evening and detained 233 students in a day of human rights violations as Indonesian authorities cracked down on demonstrations marking December 1 – “independence day”, according to protesters.

The group, who came from a number of different ormas, including the Community Forum for Sons and Daughters of the Police and Armed Forces (FKPPI), the Association of Sons and Daughters of Army Families (Hipakad) and the Pancasila Youth (PP), were calling for the Papuan student demonstration to be forcibly broken up.

READ MORE: Surabaya counterprotest, 300 arrested in West Papua flag demonstrations

“This city is a city of [national] heroes. Please leave, the [state ideology of] Pancasila is non-negotiable, the NKRI [Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia] is non-negotiable”, shouted one of the speakers from the PP.

At 8.33am, a number of PP members on the eastern side of Jl. Pemuda began attacking the AMP by throwing rocks and beating them with clubs. Police quickly moved in to block the PP members then dragged them back.

The AMP protesters had began gathering at the Submarine Monument at 6am before moving off to the Grahadi building where the East Java governor’s office is located.

However they were only able to get as far as the Surabaya Radio Republic Indonesia (RRI) building before they were intercepted by police from the Surabaya metropolitan district police (Polrestabes) and the East Java district police (Polda).

‘Independence’ day
The AMP demonstration was held to mark December 1, 1961, as the day West Papua became “independent” from the Dutch. For the Papuan people, December 1 is an important date on the calendar in the Papuan struggle which is commemorated every year.

The historical moment in 1961 was when, for the first time, the West Papuan parliament, under the administration of the Dutch, flew the Morning Star (Bintang Kejora) flag, symbolising the establishment of the state of West Papua.

Since then the Bintang Kejora was flown alongside the Dutch flag throughout West Papua until the Dutch handed administrative authority of West Papua over to the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) on October 1, 1962, then to the Indonesian government on May 1, 1963.

The UNTEA was an international mechanism involving the UN to prepare a referendum on whether or not the Papuan people wanted to separate or integrate with Indonesia.

The referendum, referred to as the Act of Free Choice (Pepera), resulted in the Papuan people choosing to be integrated into Indonesia.

Since then, the administration of West Papua has been controlled by the Indonesian government and the flying of the Bintang Kejora illegal – as it is deemed an act of subversion (maker) – and have responded to protests with violence and arrests.

Pacific Media Center

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Grace Gavera should not become JUST another statistic

Borrowed from www.ncdc.gov.pg

Apart from  her family,  friends, workmates and neighbors,  not many people knew who Grace Gavera was until this week.  

For those who have not been on Facebook,  there is a  picture that shocked many people. It shows  a Papua New Guinean woman, stripped, humiliated and tortured  before she waskilled.  There’s blood all over her bodyand she died a horrible, painful death.

On Saturday, evening her dad spent the early part of the night at her residence at Erima. They chatted for a while, then he went home.  In the morning they told her, his daughter was dead – killed by her abusive boyfriend.

Why was she killed? I don’t know.  But why should any Papua New Guinean women be killed? And why should  there even be any attempt to justify the  killing of any woman  by an abusive boyfriend or partner or husband?

The Health Minister, Dr. Puka Temu,  has come out to condemn the killing.   Powes Parkop and Robert Agarobe have both issued similar statements.  But you know what? Every killing of  PNG women at the hands of abusive partners should be condemned with the same energy every time.  This forum should be bigger.

It should be discussed in  the all male parliament with the same  passion  and determination as the  DSIP funding,  corruption  and  expensive sports cars.

Grace Gavera isn’t just another static added  to the long list of  victims of women killed by their partners.  

Yesterday, I learned that Grace died at the age of 26.  She was an  administrative clerk at the National Department of Education.  She was raised by her grand parents and later  by her aunt and uncle.

Yep… she’s not a statistic. She is a real person. 

At least two days after the  killing, the alleged  murderer was caught by police in Port Moresby.   He is now in custody.  The  pictures of the arrest were  shared on social media.

Yesterday, I asked Grace Gavera’s dad if he was going to call for the death penalty. He said:   NO.  He doesn’t want the burden of another person’s death placed on him.  But he wants  suspect to face the full force of the law.

He also made an another important point: NO COMPENSATION!

Why should we seek “justice” for a man and profit through compensation for a woman killed by her partner.

He wants justice served and I agree.

Father of slain woman: No compensation, I want justice

The father of Grace Gavera, the  26-year-old woman who was killed by her boyfriend  at the weekend  says he won’t be accepting compensation nor will he be calling for  the death penalty.

Bau Sabadi said he just wants the murderer of his daughter to be arrested, charged and  sent to prison for his crime.

Mr. Sabadi, who spent the early part of Saturday night  at her daughter’s residence in Port Moresby  was shocked when he was told the next day that his daughter was dead.

“I was with her on Saturday. We chatted for a while and then I left,” Sabadi said.  “Next day I got calls saying ‘you come to the office because your daughter is dead.’”

Grace Gavera had just joined the Education Department as an administration clerk.  Relatives said she had suffered ongoing abuse at the hands of her boyfriend, Andy Baro, for  at least two years.

On Saturday night, family members say she was  slashed on her head and body by Baro.  When she was taken to hospital she  had already lost a lot of blood.   But her ordeal didn’t stop there.  Andy Baro, followed her to the  hospital and took her from  the hospital bed, then forced her into a  cab.

Relatives couldn’t not say exactly what  happened  then.

“When I went to see her, she was in the layout at the hospital.  I saw  where her body had been cut,” Mr. Sabadi said. “They told me  he put a pipe in her private parts.”

Last night, police  arrested Andy Baro  several hours after  killing Grace Gavera.

“I want justice. I cannot call for the  death penalty. That is revenge. I cannot be held accountable for his death. But he must face the full force of the law.

Why working hard is a prayer of thanksgiving

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I am not religious. But I do believe in the existence of  a higher power and  the importance of a higher purpose.   Last weekend, I was invited to speak to a group of  youngsters  from all over the country.  This is one of many engagements I have found myself attending  for over six years.

Sometimes, I don’t understand why I end up in meetings like the one on Saturday. In fact I was struggling to understand why I was there.  I had a presentation ready but my thoughts were in a jumble.

Before me, Major General Jerry Singirok, spoke about leadership and how young people had to stand up to the challenge  and believe in what is right.  It rang true to me in my confused state.

When I took the podium about two hours later,  I also spoke about leadership and hard work.  For me, hard work and persistence driven by a higher purpose is vital in anything you do.

Many people say prayer is important. I agree.  But prayer without the action that is supposed to follow achieves nothing.  Inconsistent action also  achieves little.  Action without  belief  and without a higher purpose is energy misspent.

Some people ask me why I work so hard sometimes without  immediate results.  It’s because of a higher purpose.  As the generation that is fortunate to lead, we have to  appreciate  the  special opportunity given to us.  Every era… every time… is special.  We are born for a reason.  We have to inspire, cause positive change and teach others younger than us to do the same.

Is it about yourself?

When you are finding yourself, maybe yes.  After that, what then?  Almost always, the higher purpose exists outside of all that you were striving to achieve in your personal life.  There are questions to be asked. Personal questions. The answers are always there if you seek them.

I have shared this many times and on Saturday, I shared this again: A Japanese friend told me on a bullet train from Tokyo to Nagoya that “Work is a sacred because it is a gift from the gods.”  What would you do with a gift?  You keep it safe and you treasure it. You build on it and you nurture it. Unlike material gifts, work rewards you depending on how much effort you put in.

I’ve gone further to add value to that important lesson.

On many occasions, I have said, “work is a gift” and “working hard is a prayer of thanksgiving.”

How is that?

You give thanks for your physical and mental abilities when you work hard.  You give thanks for your ability to see, hear and feel.  You give thanks for your hands, feet, heart  and the sanity of your mind.

Where does rest come in?

Rest is important to revitalize mind body and spirit in preparation for the battle.   Rest is meant to sharpen the senses,  to enjoy achievements to see the future through the eyes of the spirit then to come back and work for a higher purpose.

REINSTATED: Thank you PNG & the many friends who stood up for me

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Dear all,

Over the last 48 hours, I have been very  humbled by the incredible support my family and I have received from people  both here and abroad.   Support also came from friends in the media,  academia, law enforcement, the military and many other circles too many to name.

I have since been reinstated to my job as Deputy Regional Head of News at EMTV

I wish to thank our media friends here and overseas, especially.  Thank you for your support and your words of encouragement.    Thank you to my immediate and extended  family and to  the strangers who offered support and words of encouragement in Port Moresby,  Lae and remote parts of PNG.

My news teams both in Port Moresby, Lae, Kokopo, Madang and Mt. Hagen  demonstrated the highest level of professionalism and maturity by remaining away from everything that has happened.  I am proud to lead this team of young journalists,  camera operators and support staff.

A great many thanks  also to management of EMTV and CEO for working through this very trying time despite the challenges and pressures. A very special thank you to Head of News, Neville Choi and the powerful, Sincha Dimara.  (I apologize if I missed out anyone.)

I was suspended on Sunday 18th November, on the last day of the APEC meetings.  The  reasons for the suspensions are now  public knowledge and  I do not wish to dwell too much on them.

However, I do wish to make the following points:

  1. Papua New Guinea is a democracy and the media is free to hold those in authority to account. This means highlighting flaws in policy and making sure mis

  2. takes are pointed out and corrected. It is an essential part of our democracy.

  3. There should NEVER be any interference at the operational level by board members. The media is an institution of democracy and must remain free and independent.  It is our constitutional right to report AND be critical.

  4. Journalists of “state owned” media are NOT government public relations officers nor are media organizations PR machines.

  5. EMTV is “State owned” which means the PEOPLE own this company through their elected government.

  6. Journalism is an art… and art and creativity cannot operate in an environment of suppression and fear.

Papua New Guinea is a critical moment of its history with the growth and influence of China, US-China trade tensions and  challenges within our own country.

We are a largely  rural nation. Many of our people  still have no access to basic services.

We will continue to promote critical,  proactive  and transparent journalism.  The people’s voice has to be heard and the media must remain as the conduit and platform for opinions and debate and those who cannot accept it MUST step aside and let progress happen.

-Scott Waide

PNGFM news boss calls for investigations, penalties for troops who assaulted journalists at Parliament

As Director of News for PNGFM, I am very disappointed at the manner at which two of my reporters, one male and one female, were assaulted by disciplinary officers while covering the storming of Parliament on Tuesday the 20th November 2018.

They were simply there to do their jobs and cover the proceedings of what was happening at National Parliament when they were accosted by a group of inflamed disciplinary officers, both police and correctional service officers.

Upon seeing the journalists – one officer called out “Em ol Reporter ya, ol laik kisim wanem kain story, paitim ol”. (“They are reporters, what kind of story are they here for, beat them up.”)

The female journalist was manhandled by a group of police officers who pulled at her shirt attempting to rip it.

“One of the police officers pulled out my camera from my bag and smashed it right in front of me. While I was trying to take in what was happening, another officer pulled my bag causing the leather handle of my bag to break. He then threw my bag on the ground, kicked it towards the other officers, they in turn kicked the bag back to him, emptying out all my belongings in my bag. Another officer picked up my phone and smashed it while others were shouting and yelling abusive languages.”

She was pushed back and forth during the commotion with just one elderly officer attempting to assist her and help her out to safety.

At the same time, the male reporter was separated from his colleague then told to put his camera away and not film or take shots.

“During the struggle, I was attacked by a Correctional Service officer at first, which then lead to police officers surrounding me and attacking me. During the incident, I was trying to see what was happening to my colleague, but kept getting punched until one Police Mobile Squad officer pulled me away to safety. I had my vest broken, my note book gone and the company camera destroyed by the officers.”

PNGFM has written a letter of Complaint to Correctional Service Commissioner Stephen Pokanis and Police Commissioner Gary Baki calling for those involved to be penalized.

Such an attack is an attack on our media freedom when journalists should be protected and not be subjected to such attacks for merely doing their jobs.

Meanwhile, at separate media conferences on Thursday, both Commissioner Pokanis and Commissioner Baki were informed of the assault against our journalists and have given assurance they will investigate this matter thoroughly.

– Genesis Ketan, Director of News, PNGFM

So Jelta, what if teachers protest over pay cuts and attack Parliament House? No action?

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I know the Police Minister, Jelta Wong, has a complicated job to do.  But this decision  announced publicly   is wrong.   It  doesn’t serve the interests of the country  or the democracy.  All it does is reinforce the notion that lawlessness is acceptable if the government doesn’t listen to you.

The concern by police officers and warders is genuine.  I totally agree that they should be paid. The action to  damage parliament is wrong.  As Minister of Police,  you should enforce the law.  We cannot allow our country to slip into anarchy.

When Major General Jerry Singirok and  the PNGDF  kicked out Sandline,  solders went to parliament, students barricaded the precincts and soldiers led by Major Walter Enuma went into the people’s house.  They did it for the nation’s interests and they didn’t destroy property.  Major Walter Enuma was mindful of the constitution  when he handed over his sidearm to another officer before going into the PEOPLE’S house.

Mr. Minister,  if the teachers who have been affected by ongoing pay cuts do the same and storm parliament, what then?  Are you going to  send it police to arrest them? Or are you going to give them a public pardon just like you are doing now?

What kind of a message are you sending here?  That we are a nation of rogues supported by the Minister for Police?

I support the fact that allowances should be paid on time.  But Sorry bro, your decision is wrong!