West Papua: Australia’s backyard ‘genocide’ continues

By Hilda Wayne

West Papua 1In a village in West Papua, a young Benny Wenda watched as Indonesian military forced his Melanesian aunties to wash themselves by the river ‘ to clean themselves up’ before they were raped. One of Benny’s aunts had her baby ripped from her arms and thrown to the ground before she, the mother, was also raped. Both baby and mother sustained fatal injuries. They died.

Severe internal injuries were what eventually killed the West Papuan father of Wiwince Pigome, sustained many years before at the hands of the Indonesian military.

Wiwince’s family were from Wamena and her father, a school headmaster, had become a statistic of the documented violence against West Papuans in the aftermath of a general election.  The year was 1977.

When he died, Wiwince’s was just 11 years old.

Stories of how women’s breasts were cut off from their chests leaving them to bleed to death, or of West Papuans being forced to have sex with their husbands in public or raped by the Indonesian military while their husbands were forced to watch, were told, in hushed tones in the Pigome home. These, Wiwince said, were ‘just stories’ that were not permitted to be mentioned in public on threat of severe repercussions by the Indonesian authorities.

And the violence continues –  so far, close to half a million people of West Papua have died at the hands of Indonesia’s repressive regime.

Continue reading West Papua: Australia’s backyard ‘genocide’ continues

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All of the 77 evil and corrupt SABL’s are cancelled.

By PNG Echo

Today will go down in the annals of PNG history as a day when something insightful, far-reaching and concrete was finally done about corrupt practises in PNG.  But this is not my story to tell – it belongs to all those that have fought tooth and nail to save the environment.  So over to you Tiffany Twivey-Nonggorr who writes:

Tiffany Twivey-Nonggorr, lawyer and eco-warrior
Tiffany Twivey-Nonggorr, lawyer and eco-warrior

You want to talk about corruption fighting?  Well this government has just killed the biggest corrupt dealing of the past 10 years.

During the Somare government, a heinous scheme of issuing SABLs over large forest areas was created under the guise of Agri/forestry leases.

The Forests Act was amended under the then Forest Minister Belden Namah to allow for large scale clear-felling permits that had never been allowed for over 50 hectares before.  SABLs were then given over hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest under the pretext that the trees needed to be clear felled so that agricultural projects could start.

Belden Namah the Minister (and logger) who altered the laws to allow for the evil SABLs and was first to take advantage in Bewani
Belden Namah the Minister (and logger) who altered the laws to allow for the evil SABLs and was first to take advantage in Bewani

These 99-year special purpose agricultural business leases were given over 5 million hectares of land in PNG amounting to the alienation of 10% of all of the land in PNG.

The leases meant that the peoples customary rights to the land were suspended for 99 years.

Up until these leases were issued, only 3% of the land in PNG had been alienated (taken away) since Independence from the customary landowners and 97% was still held customarily by landowners but within a few years 10% went.

That was the food and social security if 100s of thousands of people just taken from them.

Literally 100s of thousands of hectares of old-growth forest was cleared – with clearance permits obtained for shonky “agricultural projects”.

Alois Jerewai - the recalcitrant SABL Commission
Alois Jerewai – the recalcitrant SABL Commissioner

A commission of inquiry into these SABLs was started – yes there were issues with the reports as only two of the three commissioners submitted their reports [ Editor’s note: Alois Jerewai was the Commissioner who did not table his report – he later went on to become a legal representative of the man who enabled these leases – Belden Namah] – so a ministerial committee was established to pool the findings of the commissioners.

Their work is done.

NEC yesterday declared all of these disgraceful SABL leases cancelled.  They are gone. Continue reading All of the 77 evil and corrupt SABL’s are cancelled.

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…and so the storyteller becomes the story

Nice writing Carmella Gware of the Post Courier.  Bravo to the editor of the Post Courier, Alexander Rheeney for having the guts to publish.  Who says PNG media is a puppet of politicians?

https://www.dropbox.com/s/dqcfp69gpnftic5/Susan%20Merrell%20Article%20Post%20Courier.pdf

Post Courier Profile

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Jo-Sapphire Kiris wrote in facebook site ‘Sharp Talk’

PUBLIC THANK YOU TO SUSAN MERRELL.
Many a times I don’t agree with you. Today I salute you! Though you may not have known her [Schola kakas] the way I have, you have captured a part of her well in your tribute to her published in todays Post Courier at page 37. I was around at the time of the vote on the Equality & Participation Bill and your description of her at that moment and of the moment was well described. You have described and as you aptly put it, “This is just one incident in the life and career of a fighter for women’s rights in Papua New Guinea.”
“Women’s Rights have never been a popular cause in PNG, yet Schola Kakas was its willing champion” (Susan Merrell, 2014).
Tenk yu tru, Susa Susan Merrell!
(Josepha Kiris)
Thank you for your kind words, Josepha.  It was my pleasure to have shared my story and I send my heartfelt condolences to all those who knew and loved her.  Vale Schola – RIP dear lady..
(Susan)
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