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November 2022

Independence activist

Thousands mourn death of West Papua independence activist Filep Karma Global Voices Français

Filep Karma file photo shared by Indonesian human rights researcher Andreas Harsono, used with permission

Thousands of people joined the funeral procession in honor of beloved West Papua independence activist Filep Karma, who was found dead on a beach in Jayapura on November 1. He was 63 years old. Police say Karma died on a diving trip, but local activists are demanding a independent investigation.

Karma is part of the self-determination movement in West Papua, which is currently a province of Indonesia.

karma was stopped in July 1998 for staging a protest on Biak Island by raising the West Papua Morning Star flag, a banned symbol of independence. He was released after 18 months in prison.

He was arrested again in December 2004 for raising the banned flag and sentenced to 15 years in prison for treason. He was released in November 2015 after years of sustained global campaigning calling for his freedom.

Scholar David Robie summarizes the tributes for Karma, which is largely considered as “Father of the Papuan Nation”. Karma was “seen as the only leader capable of bringing together dissident factions seeking self-determination and independence,” Robie wrote.

Andreas Harsono, Indonesia researcher for Human Rights Watch, wrote about Karma activism after his release from prison:

After his release, Karma adopted a broader program of political activism. He talked about human rights and environmental protection. He campaigned for minority rights. He organized aid to the families of political prisoners.

Karma’s humor, integrity and moral courage have inspired many people. His death is a huge loss, not just for Papuans, but for many across Indonesia who have lost a human rights hero.

Benny Wenda, exiled leader of the West Papua United Liberation Movement, highlighted the heroic role of Karma in the struggle for independence:

…a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and the longest serving peacemaker in an Indonesian prison. But he was above all a frontline leader, present at each demonstration, reassuring and inspiring all the West Papuans who marched or prayed with him.

For West Papuans, Filep was equivalent to Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King. The story of our struggle lived in him.

For me, as for all West Papuans, Filep’s fight continues. His legacy and his dream of freedom live on in the next generation, who face the same systematic discrimination and fight for the same goal.

Wenda also blamed the police for trying to to block Karma’s funeral procession:

How would Indonesians feel if the funeral procession of their national hero was disrupted and despised in this way? This response demonstrates the endemic racism at the heart of the Indonesian occupation. Filep has spent his life fighting.

Veronica Koman, human rights lawyer wrote that Karma “was the face and guardian of the nonviolent independence movement. He also made his people not to hate the Indonesian people but to fight against the colonial system.

She posted several tweets document the funeral procession where mourners carried the forbidden morning star flags in honor of Karma.

Karma’s family said they do not believe there was foul play involved in his death.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International in Indonesia is among the groups calling for an investigation. Local activists wanted to know the timeline and circumstances that led to Karma’s death as they doubt the supposed diving accident. They were demanding to know the person or persons who accompanied Karma to the beach.

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Self government

Report on the ‘full range’ of self-government options for Bermuda – The Royal Gazette

Updated: 06 November 2022 10:22

Deputy Governor Tom Oppenheim reads the Speech from the Throne. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The government has received a report on the full range of self-government options for Bermuda, it was revealed yesterday.

The revelation came during the presentation of the Speech from the Throne by Deputy Governor Tom Oppenheim.

“In an unrivaled display of pageantry, the UK marked the end of its second Elizabethan era. The late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has proven to be an enduring symbol of the monarchy and the mystery of the institution,” Mr Oppenheim said.

“However, the complexity of the legacy of colonialism has manifested itself in recent statements by Commonwealth countries that now seek to transcend independence and sever the final ties that bind their nations to the UK.

“As an overseas territory, Bermuda is not included. Discussions of self-determination don’t elicit the same well-rehearsed arguments in London as they do here in Bermuda.

“The UK government is approaching the issue with maturity and encouraging the territories to do the same. Accordingly, in line with this mature approach, the Government commissioned and has now received a report entitled Assessment of the sufficiency of self-governance in accordance with internationally recognized standards prepared by Dr. Carlyle G Corbin, International Governance Advisor.

“This assessment explores minimum standards and the full range of self-government options for Bermuda. This is a first step and will be the basis for the necessary large-scale community discussion and education that must accompany any future action in this area.

OBA leader Cole Simons on self-government report

“How could the PLP government raise the subject of independence at a time like this? Families are trying to figure out how they will eat and pay their bills and worry about their future.

“Increasing independence at this point is another stark reminder that Premier Burt and his government have truly lost touch with the people.”

Outlining the government’s program for the upcoming parliamentary year, Mr Oppenheim also unveiled plans to create a “corporate entity” to oversee the completion of the Morgan’s Point development.

Mr Oppenheim said: ‘The intricate web of business at the site has kept a team of advisers busy for the past two years as the government attempts to achieve a return on the costly guarantee called due to the failure of the project. .

A new change to tourism legislation will give ministers greater ‘discretion’ when awarding concessions to resort developers.

In environmental developments, MPs will consider a strategy to phase out the import and sale of petrol-powered vehicles by 2035, while legislation to improve air quality and reduce plastics for use unique will be introduced.

Mr Oppenheim said: “The world has witnessed the impact of climate change.

“Much of the biodiversity of the world’s oceans exists within island communities like Bermuda. Small island states must continue to protect the environment and adopt measures to mitigate these impacts.

Efforts to help families in difficulty will continue during this mandate. The Child Care Allowance will be increased while the financial aid regulations will be reformed “to better reflect the realistic costs of the goods and services for which aid is provided”.

An overhaul of the public school system will continue under a new school authority, while a bill to create a history and heritage committee to preserve and honor the history and legacy of education will be presented to the House of Assembly.

Describing education as the Government’s ‘biggest priority’, Mr Oppenheim added that P7 and P8 grades will be created to support the opening of parochial primary schools at Francis Patton Primary School and Primary School Purvis.

Safer driving habits will be encouraged through the creation of a learner’s permit to provide on-road instruction and testing for new drivers.

Social insurance contributions must be made more “progressive” to “conform to the ideals of equity”.

Mr Oppenheim said: ‘The government will introduce amendments to the Contributory Pensions Act 1970 to provide for a sliding scale of contributions, based on earned wages and not a flat contribution regardless of income.’

Declaring the parliamentary session officially open, he added: “There is no doubt that significant challenges lie ahead. As the cost of living rises, it is essential that, as a society, we support those who are disadvantaged and most vulnerable to global economic shocks.

“As the government implements its health and environment strategies, we will continue to leverage UK resources to support where needed.

“The world events of the past year demonstrate the importance of transparent, legitimate and inclusive governments and institutions.

“The ability of the judiciary, legislature and executive to discharge their respective constitutional responsibilities will be critical to maintaining Bermuda’s hard-earned reputation for good governance, stability, respect for the rule of law and compliance with international standards.

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Sovereignty

Speech from the Throne: report on full range of self-government options for Bermuda completed – The Royal Gazette

Updated: Nov 04, 2022 6:00 PM

Deputy Governor Tom Oppenheim reads the Speech from the Throne. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The government has received a report on the full range of self-government options for Bermuda, it was revealed this morning.

The revelation came during the presentation of the Speech from the Throne by Deputy Governor Tom Oppenheim.

“In an unrivaled display of pageantry, the UK marked the end of its second Elizabethan era. The late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has proven to be an enduring symbol of the monarchy and the mystery of the institution,” Mr Oppenheim said.

“However, the complexity of the legacy of colonialism has manifested itself in recent statements by Commonwealth countries that now seek to transcend independence and sever the final ties that bind their nations to the UK.

“As an overseas territory, Bermuda is not included. Discussions of self-determination don’t elicit the same well-rehearsed arguments in London as they do here in Bermuda.

“The UK government is approaching the issue with maturity and encouraging the territories to do the same. Accordingly, in line with this mature approach, the Government commissioned and has now received a report entitled Assessment of the sufficiency of self-governance in accordance with internationally recognized standards prepared by Dr. Carlyle G Corbin, International Governance Advisor.

“This assessment explores minimum standards and the full range of self-government options for Bermuda. This is a first step and will be the basis for the necessary large-scale community discussion and education that must accompany any future action in this area.

OBA leader Cole Simons on self-government report

“How could the PLP government raise the subject of independence at a time like this? Families are trying to figure out how they will eat and pay their bills and worry about their future.

“Increasing independence at this point is another stark reminder that Premier Burt and his government have truly lost touch with the people.”

Outlining the government’s program for the upcoming parliamentary year, Mr Oppenheim also unveiled plans to create a “corporate entity” to oversee the completion of the Morgan’s Point development.

Mr Oppenheim said: ‘The intricate web of business at the site has kept a team of advisers busy for the past two years as the government attempts to achieve a return on the costly guarantee called due to the failure of the project. .

A new change to tourism legislation will give ministers greater ‘discretion’ when awarding concessions to resort developers.

In environmental developments, MPs will consider a strategy to phase out the import and sale of petrol-powered vehicles by 2035, while legislation to improve air quality and reduce plastics for use unique will be introduced.

Mr Oppenheim said: “The world has witnessed the impact of climate change.

“Much of the biodiversity of the world’s oceans exists within island communities like Bermuda. Small island states must continue to protect the environment and adopt measures to mitigate these impacts.

Efforts to help families in difficulty will continue during this mandate. The Child Care Allowance will be increased while the financial aid regulations will be reformed “to better reflect the realistic costs of the goods and services for which aid is provided”.

An overhaul of the public school system will continue under a new school authority, while a bill to create a history and heritage committee to preserve and honor the history and legacy of education will be presented to the House of Assembly.

Describing education as the Government’s ‘biggest priority’, Mr Oppenheim added that P7 and P8 grades will be created to support the opening of parochial primary schools at Francis Patton Primary School and Primary School Purvis.

Safer driving habits will be encouraged through the creation of a learner’s permit to provide on-road instruction and testing for new drivers.

Social insurance contributions must be made more “progressive” to “conform to the ideals of equity”.

Mr Oppenheim said: ‘The government will introduce amendments to the Contributory Pensions Act 1970 to provide for a sliding scale of contributions, based on earned wages and not a flat contribution regardless of income.’

Declaring the parliamentary session officially open, he added: “There is no doubt that significant challenges lie ahead. As the cost of living rises, it is essential that, as a society, we support those who are disadvantaged and most vulnerable to global economic shocks.

“As the government implements its health and environment strategies, we will continue to leverage UK resources to support where needed.

“The world events of the past year demonstrate the importance of transparent, legitimate and inclusive governments and institutions.

“The ability of the judiciary, legislature and executive to fulfill their respective constitutional responsibilities will be essential to maintaining Bermuda’s hard-won reputation for good governance, stability, respect for the rule of law and compliance with international standards.

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Independence activist

Prominent Papuan independence activist pronounced dead after drowning – The Diplomat

Filep Karma, a prominent Papuan independence activist, was found dead on a beach in the Papuan capital of Jayapura yesterday after apparently drowning while on a diving trip.

According to a report, Karma, 63, had taken a diving trip with his brother-in-law and nephew, then went diving alone after his relatives left the trip early. A Benar News report said there was no reason to believe his death was the result of foul play. “I followed the post-mortem process, and it was determined that my father died of drowning while diving,” Filep’s daughter, Andrefina Karma, was quoted in the statement as saying.

Karma, who was born in Jayapura in 1959, was a prominent player in the independence movement from Indonesia, which has taken both violent and non-violent forms since the absorption of the region by Indonesia after a dubious referendum in 1969.

In 1998, Karma was imprisoned after leading a protest on Biak Island that called for Papuan independence and involved the raising of the Morning Star flag, a symbol of independence banned by the Indonesian government. He was released the following year.

In 2004, Karma was arrested again after helping organize a ceremony in Jayapura to mark the anniversary of Papua’s independence from the Dutch. The celebratory demonstration, which also involved the deployment of the Morning Star, was broken up by police, leading to clashes with pro-independence activists. Karma was found guilty of spreading hatred and rebellion and sentenced to 15 years in prison and was not released until 2015.

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In 2010, the advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW) describe Karma as “probably one of Papua’s most popular pro-independence leaders”, noting that he “has never advocated violence as a means to achieve this goal”. As HRW quoted, “We want to engage in a dignified dialogue with the Indonesian government, a dialogue between two peoples with dignity, and dignity means that we do not resort to violence.”

This contrasts with The approach taken by the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB in its acronym in the Indonesian language), which sees armed struggle as the only way to prevent the encroachment of the Indonesian state. Indeed, in recent years, as Jakarta installs infrastructure in the most remote areas of Papua, with all the impacts this has in terms of environmental degradation and transmigration, the TPNPB has launched a series of deadly attacks on both Indonesian military personnel and workers building vital infrastructure such as roads.

The most significant took place in December 2018, when separatist fighters killed 16 workers working on the Trans-Papua Highway, which runs through the densely forested highlands of Papua. These attacks spurred the transfer of military units to Papua and the repression of local populations, which in turn prompted separatists to launch more attacks. In a statement earlier this year, UN experts said around 60,000 to 100,000 people had been internally displaced in Papua since 2018.

Karma has taken a path that has avoided the extremes of violent rebellion and acquiescence to what many Papuans see as essentially foreign rule. Whether this approach would have ever achieved the goal of independence and self-reliance for the Papuan people of Karma is unclear, but his passing will clearly leave a great void.

“Filep Karma’s humour, integrity and moral courage have inspired many people,” said longtime HRW Indonesia researcher Andreas Harsono. wrote yesterday. “His death is a huge loss, not just for Papuans but for many across Indonesia who have lost a human rights hero.”

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Independence activist

Papua independence activist found dead after apparent drowning — BenarNews

Filep Karma, a prominent Papuan independence activist and a former longtime Indonesian political prisoner, was found dead on a beach in Jayapura on Tuesday after apparently drowning while on a diving trip, police said. He was 63 years old.

Police and Filep’s family said they had no reason to believe his death was the result of foul play. Filep had been released from an Indonesian prison in 2015 after serving nearly 11 years for raising the Papuan separatist movement’s Morning Star flag.

“I went through the post-mortem process and it was determined that my father had died of drowning while diving,” Filep’s daughter, Andrefina Karma, told reporters.

The body of the activist was found early Tuesday at Base-G Beach in North Jayapura district.

Filep had recently taken frequent diving trips to the area, his family and friends said. Last year he was found alive on Skouw beach, near the border with Papua New Guinea, after a current swept him away while diving.

Jayapura city police chief Victor Makbon said Filep’s body showed no signs of violence, but he would not comment on a potential cause of death.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Filep Karma. Please don’t speculate,” Victor told BenarNews.

Papua, on the western side of the island of New Guinea, has been the scene of a low-level separatist insurgency since the mainly Melanesian region was incorporated into Indonesia in a United Nations-administered ballot. United in the late 1960s.

In 1963, Indonesian forces invaded Papua – like Indonesia, a former Dutch colony – and annexed the region.

Only about 1,000 people voted in the UN-sponsored referendum in 1969, which locals and activists called a sham. The UN accepted the vote, essentially endorsing Jakarta’s rule.

Mourners line the streets

On Tuesday, thousands of people filled the streets of Kotaraja in Jayapura to mourn Filep as his body was brought from Bhayangkara Police Hospital.

“We have come to pay respects to the deceased and escort him to his home,” said Domi Lani, a resident of Jayapura.

Markus Haluk, executive director of the West Papua United Liberation Movement, said Filep’s death was a great loss for the Papuan people.

“Filep Karma was one of those who persevered in the struggle for the liberation of Papua. His life was dedicated to the nation and people of Papua,” Haluk said. “He was even ready to live in prison for his fight for Papuan independence.”

Usman Hamid, executive director of Amnesty International in Indonesia, called for an inquest into the death “because many activists who spoke out about Papua have become targets of violence.

“This is particularly in recognition of the work of the deceased in defending the human rights of indigenous Papuans,” he told BenarNews.

Taking another view, Beka Ulung Hapsara, a member of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), said Filep’s family said he died by drowning and their statement “should be respected”.

Advocate of non-violence

Filep, a former civil servant and son of former Wamena regent Andreas Karma, was sentenced to 15 years in prison after participating in the Morning Star flag raising on December 1, 2004.

He was released in November 2015 after rejecting a clemency offer from President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

“If I accepted it, it would mean that I admit my guilt. I expected to be released in 2019 because I refused all sentence reductions,” Filep told reporters at the time, while attributing his release to international pressure on the government over the treatment of political prisoners. .

“They forced me out of jail because I didn’t want to accept clemency,” he said.

Filep was tortured and subjected to other degrading treatment while incarcerated, including denial of access to proper medical care, according to Amnesty International.

Prior to the flag incident, Filep led what began as a peaceful rally in Biak in 1998 to demand a referendum on self-determination, but it ended in violence when police used force to dissolve protests. protesters.

At least eight Papuans have been killed, dozens injured and three missing, according to a 1999 investigation by the Papuan human rights group Elsham.

“I heard stories that people were asked to board an Indonesian navy ship. It was not known where they were taken. Later it was learned that mutilated bodies were dumped to the sea,” Filep told local media in 2020.

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