Monday, May 23, 2016

Standoff in PNG: Students take on Prime Minister Peter O'Neill

An NBC News report on May 17 - a useful backgrounder, but much has happened since.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill's "I will not resign" reply to UPNG and Unitech student presidents over their "stand down" petition - May 23

By Bal Kama

Students at the University of Papua New Guinea are the latest in a long list of those in the firing line for denouncing the leadership of PNG’s seemingly impregnable Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

The students have been on strike against the government since the end of last month. Students from the University of Technology and Divine Word University are also boycotting classes.

The UPNG students want O’Neill to resign from office and have demanded the police commissioner not suppress criminal investigations against the PM.

The students have threatened to withdraw en masse from their studies if the Prime Minister refuses to go. [Editor: He refused on Monday].

But what are their ultimate chances of success? Will O’Neill give in?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

West Papua: The crackdown aftermath - finding a dignified solution

The arrests of more than 1600 protesters in West Papua earlier this week are part of a broader systematic oppression of Papuans by the Indonesian government. Pictured are many detained protesters in the Mobile Brigade compound at Kotaraja, Jayapura.  Photo: Tabloid Jubi

OPINION: By Rev Benny Giay
LAST MONDAY, Indonesian police arrested more than 1600 people in Jayapura, Papua. They were rallying in support of a coalition of groups representing West Papuans’ aspirations for independence.

The police stopped the protesters, who were heading to the local parliament, forced them to board military trucks, and took them to the Mobile Brigade compound.

The protesters were demonstrating their support for the United Liberation Movement of West Papua's (ULMWP) bid to gain full membership in the grouping of Melanesian countries, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

The ULMWP holds observer status in the group, which consists of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. Last year, Indonesia was granted associate membership.

To prevent further violent mistreatment of protesters, together with several Papuan councillors and church leaders, that day I [May 2] went to the Mobile Brigade’s compound to negotiate with the security forces to release the detainees peacefully.

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