Labour rally in Jakarta, Fiji march highlight global human rights issues

How UN agencies strive to put human rights at the centre of their work. Video: UN

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Hundreds of workers from the Confederation of United Indonesian Workers (KPBI) held a protest march at the weekend in the capital of Jakarta and Fiji’s Coalition on Human Rights staged a march today to commemorate World Human Rights Day.

In Jakarta, the Indonesian workers marched from the Farmers Monument in Central Jakarta to the nearby State Palace on Saturday, reports CNN Indonesia.

During the action, the workers highlighted the problems of corruption and the failure to resolve human rights violations.

READ MORE: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70

“This action is a reflection of the regime that is in power, Jokowi [President Joko Widodo] has failed, particularly in cases of corruption and human rights violations in Indonesia”, said KPBI secretary-general Damar Panca.

The Jakarta rally for human rights at the weekend. Image: Rayhand Purnama Karim/CNNI

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Panca said that during Widodo’s administration corruption had become more widespread as had human rights violations. Trade unions had also suffered human rights violations when holding protests.

Panca said that not long ago during a peaceful demonstration, workers were assaulted and had tear gas fired at them by security forces.

“Not just that, 26 labour activists have been indicted. So we are articulating this now because it is the right moment – namely in the lead up to Anti-Corruption Day (December 9) and Human Rights Day (December 10),” he said.

Social welfare demands
In addition to highlighting human rights violations, they also demanded that the government take responsibility for providing social welfare for all Indonesians and rejected low wages, particularly in labour intensive industries, low rural incomes and contract labour and outsourcing.

Panca said that Saturday’s action was also articulating several other problems such as inequality in employment, the criminalisation of activists and the need for free education.

The KPBI is an alliance of cross-sector labour federations. Saturday’s action was joined by the Indonesian Pulp and Paper Trade Union Federation (FSP2KI), the Cross-Factory Labour Federation (FBLP), the Populist Trade Union Federation (SERBUK), the Indonesian Harbour Transportation Labour Federation (FBTPI), the Indonesian Workers Federation of Struggle (FPBI), the Industrial Employees Trade Union Federation (FSPI), the Solidarity Alliance for Labour Struggle (GSPB) and the Greater Jakarta Railway Workers Trade Union (SPKAJ)

“This action is not just in Jakarta, similar actions with the same demands are also being organised by KBPI members in North Sumatra. In Jakarta they have come from across Jabodetabek [Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi, Greater Jakarta],” he said.

According to CNN Indonesia’s observations, the hundreds of workers wearing red and carrying protest gear continued to articulate their demands from two command vehicles near the State Palace, directly in front of the West Monas intersection.

They also sang songs of struggle and followed the directions of speakers shouting labour demands. The protest was closely watched over by scores of police officers.

Fiji rally for rights
In Suva, Fiji, the NGO Coalition on Human Rights organised a march for today to commemorate World Human Rights Day.

The march will begin at 10am from the Flea Market ending in a rally at Sukuna Park and is the culmination of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence from November 25 to December 10.

World Human Rights Day is celebrated annually on December 10 to mark the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

This year is a significant milestone for the UDHR as it marks its 70th Anniversary.

Human Rights Day is a day to celebrate and advocate for the protection of Human Rights globally. Since its launch in 1997, the NGOCHR now includes members such as the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, Citizen’s Constitutional Forum, FemLINK Pacific, Ecumenical Centre for Research and Advocacy, Drodrolagi Movement, Social Empowerment and Education Program and observers, Pacific Network on Globalisation, Haus of Khameleon and Diverse Voices and Action for Equality.

The Indonesian report was translated by James Balowski of Indoleft News. The original title of the article was “Ratusan Buruh Berunjuk Rasa di Istana, Soroti Pelanggaran HAM”.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

SODELPA’s Rabuka cleared for Fiji election – FICAC appeal dismissed

A media scrum at the Fiji High Court 2 today for the anti-corruption agency FICAC’s unsuccessful appeal against the acquittal of SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka on a false declaration of assets charge. Image: Sri Krishnamurthi/PMC

By Sri Krishnamurthi in Suva

In a dramatic afternoon, more than 1000 people sang Fijian songs of jubilation as Chief-Justice Anthony Gates dismissed the appeal by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) against former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka.

In a jam-packed High Court 2, Chief Justice Gates said the magistrate was correct to dismiss the original charges of not guilty of providing a false declaration of assets under electoral rules.

The FICAC took its appeal to the High Court as was its legal right.

Chief Justice Gates said that had Rabuka been found guilty, he would have had the right to appeal his case in the High Court too.

In his 36-page ruling, Chief Justice Gates said the magistrate had been correct in his findings that the prosecution had not been able to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

He said that the interview conducted by FICAC with Rabuka left many answers unprobed or unclarified.

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He went on to say such interviews should always be conducted on the basis that reliance may have to be made solely on that procedure.

Acquitted last month
Rabuka was acquitted of the charges last month but FICAC had appealed that decision, taking its case to the High Court.

The hearing lasted more than an hour, after which Rabuka emerged to the cheers of joy from his supporters wearing a white shirt over which he draped a red scarf, all the time smiling but looking relieved.

Now that he is a free man he can stand as a candidate in the Fiji general election as the leader of SODELPA, the second largest political party after the ruling FijiFirst Party.

Voting is on Wednesday.

Vandhana Bhan from Radio Tarana, who got close to Rabuka’s white SUV, asked him the age-old question “how are you feeling?”

Rabuka replied, “great and getting better.”

She asked Rabuka if he had anything to say to the people? “Thank you to all of them for their prayers,” he said before being whisked away.

Sri Krishnamurthi is a journalist and Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies student at Auckland University of Technology. He is attached to the University of the South Pacific’s Journalism Programme, filing for USP’s Wansolwara News and the AUT Pacific Media Centre’s Asia Pacific Report.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Rabuka acquitted on assets charge, free to contest 2018 general election

SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka in court today. He has been acquitted and will be free to contest the 2018 general election on November 14. Image: Litia Cava/Fiji Times

By Litia Cava in Suva

Former Prime Minister and Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) leader Sitiveni Rabuka is now sure to contest the 2018 general election next month.

The Suva Magistrates Court acquitted him today on a charge of failing to declare his assets, liabilities and income.

Magistrate Jioji Boseiwaqa ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove the elements of the alleged offence.

READ MORE: Asia Pacific Report special pre-election reports

Rabuka, the original coup leader who staged two military coups in 1987, was charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICA) in relation to his alleged failure to declare his assets, liabilities, and income contrary to the Political Party Act.

In the second matter, Rabuka was charged for allegedly interfering with a prosecution witness.

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Defence lawyer Filimoni Vosarogo informed the court that he would be liaising with FICAC on whether they would proceed with the matter.

The case has been adjourned to November 23, 2018 – more than a week after the general election.

Litia Cava is a Fiji Times journalist.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Opposition MP files criminal complaint over PNG election

By RNZ Pacific

A Papua New Guinea opposition MP has filed a criminal complaint against the Electoral Commissioner for alleged misdeeds in last year’s general election.

Madang Open’s Bryan Kramer yesterday filed a formal complaint about Commissioner Patilias Gamato with the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate.

Kramer’s complaint focuses on the election in the provincial seat of Southern Highlands.

He said Gamato’s premature declaration of a result was an act of electoral fraud that must not be allowed to be “swept under the carpet”.

One of the most controversial results in an election hampered with irregularities, it sparked deadly violence among supporters of rival candidates in the province.

Tensions have lingered, and a court ruling in June which upheld Southern Highlands provincial governor William Powi’s election triggered a rampage by protesters who torched an airplane, courthouse and the governor’s residence.

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Kramer has filed a similar complaint with the Ombudsman Commission.

This article is republished under the Pacific Media Centre’s content partnership with Radio New Zealand.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Indonesian anti-corruption watchdog arrests nine, including House member

A masked supporter of Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) holds up a poster declaring “I am KPK” during a 2015 protest in support of the commission. Image: VOA file

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators have arrested nine people during a raid in Jakarta, including a member of the House of Representatives, an expert staffer, a driver and a businessman, reports the Jakarta Post.

The KPK also seized Rp 500 million (US$34,692) as evidence, the newspaper said.

KPK chairman Agus Rahardjo alleged the evidence confiscated was related to a transaction involving the House’s Commission VII overseeing energy, mineral, research and technology and the environment.

Reports circulated that the lawmaker in question was Eni Saragih, the deputy leader of Commission VII, and that she was arrested in the residence of Social Affairs Minister Idrus Marham. Both are Golkar Party politicians.

Agus said the arrests were conducted of Friday following anonymous tip-offs, reports the Post.

Golkar politician Maman Abdurahman immediately dismissed the report of the arrest, saying that the KPK had merely “picked up” his colleague “ES” from Idrus’ residence while the minister was throwing a birthday party for his youngest child.

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Maman was also present at the party.

“I didn’t know what reason the KPK had for picking her up. We should wait for the KPK to release an official statement. I hope she stays strong,” he said in a statement.

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Watchdog role of media highlighted in USP journalism talk

Dr Shailendra Singh … “news media is an important and a crucial pillar of democracy.” Image: Solomon Star

By Ronald Tito’ona in Honiara

Local journalists in the Solomon Islands have been again reminded of their watchdog role by keeping the government accountable in the fight against corruption.

Head of the University of South Pacific journalism strand Dr Shailendra Singh spoke to a group of journalists in a four-day anti-corruption reporting workshop in Honiara yesterday.

He said the role of a journalist was important in order to keep people informed and to keep the government accountable.

“The priority is scrutinising the government,” said the regional media specialist.

Dr Singh added that the private sector and civil society organisations were also prone to corruption.

Informing public
“People need to be informed to be able to analyse government’s performance, because we have elections every 4 to 5 years.

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“And, people need to be fairly informed, to be able to make a right choice,” he said.

Dr Singh explained that if people were informed of the government’s conduct or policy, they could choose to either vote the government out or keep it in power.

“That is why it is so important that we, the media, scrutinise both the government conduct and policy on a regular basis.

“This is something we do constantly, but it is good to revisit and be reminded of our roles because we do this all the time, it can become a routine,” Dr Singh told the journalists.

Dr Singh said that this was how the news media performed its Fourth Estate role and upheld a country’s democratic system.

‘Very important role’
“So the news media is an important and a crucial pillar of democracy in any country. Without it, the government is no longer as accountable to the people.

“Without the news media, the government does not feel as accountable to the people. The government can act with impunity, and indulge in corruption more freely.”

Local journalists were also told to be vigilant and with a priority placed on reporting corruption.

“So do not underestimate your role. You will get a lot of criticism in the course of your work.

“People you question will criticise you, and they will also try to belittle you.

“So do not let them detract you, from this very important role,” said Dr Singh.

He reminded participants that they were representatives of the public, and without the media the public was handicapped in choices they made.

Ronald Tito’ona is a journalist on the Solomon Star.

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Indonesia to probe murder ‘involving ex-president’ claim by former anti-graft head

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Indonesia to probe murder ‘involving ex-president’ claim by former anti-graft head

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

Former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman Antasari Azhar attending a recent election debate in Jakarta. Image: Hafidz Mubarak/Antara

By Ainur Rohmah in Jakarta

Police will investigate the allegations made by a former head of an Indonesian anti-corruption body who has accused an ex-president of being involved in the murder of a businessman in 2009, police have announced.

Police spokesman Martinus Sitompul said authorities would investigate whether there were any criminal grounds in the claims.

In 2010, Corruption Eradication Commission Chairman Antasari Azhar was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in prison for killing a businessman in 2009.

However, Azhar was released from prison last year after he received a pardon from President Joko Widodo.

Following his release, Azhar accused former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of being the mastermind behind the killing.

The murder took place when authorities were investigating alleged corruption of Yudhoyono’s in-laws.

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Speaking at a press conference in the capital Jakarta, Azhar said: “I beg him [Yudhoyono] to explain what he did, if he ordered anyone to do anything, I beg Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to be honest and be open to the public,” according to local media metrotvnews.com.

Question more people
Azhar urged police to question more people in the case and clear his name.

“To clear my name, I ask the police to seriously deal with this. I ask everyone involved to be held responsible,” he said.

Yudhoyono has denied all allegations, saying he was going to take legal action to defend himself.

“Antasari’s accusation that seemed to me as the initiator of the case, is clearly not true. I would definitely take legal action against Antasari,” the former president tweeted via his account @SBYudhoyono.

He also said the allegations were an attempt to destroy the credibility of his son Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, who was running for in the elections for Jakarta’s governorship.

Azhar claimed that Yudhoyono had instructed tycoon Hary Tanoesoedibjo to visit him a few weeks before his arrest to ask him not to detain former Bank Indonesia deputy governor Aulia Pohan, who had been implemented in corruption, reports The Jakarta Post.

At the press conference at the National Police Criminal Investigation Department in Jakarta, Antasari added that Yudhoyono and Aulia Pohan were related through the marriage of their children.

Azhar spoke up after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo granted clemency to him, saying there were irregularities in the case.

Azhar was released on parole after serving eight years of his sentence. The President granted him clemency not long after.

Duma, Pok step aside in PNG’s Manumanu defence land probe

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Duma, Pok step aside in PNG’s Manumanu defence land probe

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

Heads roll and investigations begin over the Manumanu defence land deal. Video: EMTV

By Gynnie Kero in Port Moresby

Two Papua New Guinea cabinet ministers have stepped aside pending a Commission of Inquiry into the Manumanu defence ministry land deal in Central province.

Public Enterprise and State Investment Minister William Duma and Defence Minister Dr Fabian Pok voluntarily relinquished their portfolios to allow the commission to probe alleged illegal transactions of millions of kina in state funds.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announcing the Manumanu land deal inquiry … 2 ministers, 6 government and agency heads implicated. Image: The National

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday announced the setting up of the inquiry to assess the allegations against senior ministers and senior members of departments.

O’Neill told a media conference that he had recommended the suspensions of the Defence Secretary Vali Asi, Lands and Physical Planning Secretary Luther Sipison, Valuer-General Gabriel Michael, Kumul Consolidated Holdings managing director Garry Hersey, Central Supply and Tenders Board chairman Philip Eludeme and Motor Vehicles Insurance Limited chief executive officer Joe Wemin pending the inquiry’s outcome.

The National Executive Council was expected to meet today to decide on the proposed suspensions.

“As of today (yesterday), I am also announcing that Minister for Defence Fabian Pok and Minister for State Enterprises William Duma will step aside from their ministerial responsibilities pending the conclusion and outcomes of the commission of inquiry,” O’Neill said.

“In the interim, the Ministry for State Enterprises will be taken care of by Charles Abel, Minister for National Planning, and the Ministry for Defence will be taken care of by Mao Zeming, Minister for Fisheries.

‘Best interests’
“It was the intention of the government to do this properly and fairly, and ensure NEC decisions, including the relocation of Murray Barracks and Taurama Barracks, are done in the best interests of the public.

“The people want to know the outcomes of these investigations and they will be given the opportunity to provide information to various investigations – through the Commission of Inquiry, Police Fraud Squad and the Ombudsman Commission.

“It is only proper that these allegations against senior members of the government and the public service, that they be afforded the principles of natural justice and be given the opportunity to answer these allegations.”

Gynnie Kero is a journalist with The National newspaper.

Peter S. Kinjap: Only a ‘scrub up’, fresh MPs can save PNG’s future

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Peter S. Kinjap: Only a ‘scrub up’, fresh MPs can save PNG’s future

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

A cartoon about the lack of action in reversing the huge Special Agricultural and Business Leases (SABL) land grab, or to stop illegal logging in SABL areas. Cartoon: PNGExposed

OPINION: By Peter S. Kinjap in Port Moresby.

The current Papua New Guinea government is being accused of being the most corrupt in the short history of Papua New Guinea. It has tampered with the national constitution, bent it, or even created new laws to escape being held responsible and avoided passing tougher legislation to fight corruption.

It’s so sad — a sad scenario for Papua New Guinea indeed.

Before going into the 2012 general election, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill promised the nation that he would curb corruption. He set up the Investigation Task Force Sweep (ITFS) which has done an excellent job exposing and prosecuting corruption.

But why did O’Neill disband it? Why did Police Commissioner Garry Baki put a “vetting” on the high-profile investigations cases that include accusations against O’Neill?

At the 2012 Alotau Accord, the governing coalition partners pledged to table in the Parliament the Anti-money Laundering Legislation, Whistleblowers Legislation, Freedom of Information Legislation and Independent Commission against Corruption Act (ICAC).

But during the People’s National Congress (PNC) reign from 2012 to 2017 with its coalition partners, none of these laws have got passed in the Parliament as promised during the election pledges to fight corruption.

Instead, O’Neill sees fit to legislate a Cyber-Crime Law and even proposing amendments to change election dates and nomination fees.

‘Sitting’ on whistleblowers law
Several times the Opposition have blasted the government for “sitting” on the Whistleblowers Protection Act and not tabling it in Parliament.

Even National Court Justice Martin Ipang spoke of the need for the Whistleblowers Act in the courtroom when ruling on Western Governor Ati Wobiro’s case.

Citizens needed to be protected if they have heard about corruption, or if they seen it, or if they become victim of corruption and want to report this.

Papua New Guinea needs the Whistleblowers Act. This is a very important law for PNG together with the ICAC. But the PNC-led government has failed and fooled the nation.

A new government that will be formed after the 2017 elections must see to ensure these laws are enacted.

People would be asking why time and again “most corrupt” politicians are not exposed and brought to justice.

Here is an answer from one politician with his observation. Samuel Basil, a two-term Bulolo MP says: “PNC’s best bet (if they lose government) is to have another veteran MP’s political party to take reign.

“Why? Because it’s like having partners in crime taking control over once again, or simply put it, it is corruption changing hands.

“If they bring their brothers down they will all go down together, it’s like they all have been closely knitted together.”

Only fresh new MPs without any connections with the current and past regimes can clean this country up — there is no other way.

There has to be a “scrubbing” period. Citizens from all walks of life need to face the judiciary to “clear” anything against them.

Your vote in 2017 means, “save PNG, or destroy it”. Over to you.

Peter S. Kinjap: Only a ‘scrub up’, new MPs can save PNG’s future

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Peter S. Kinjap: Only a ‘scrub up’, new MPs can save PNG’s future

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

A cartoon about the lack of action in reversing the huge Special Agricultural and Business Leases (SABL) land grab, or to stop illegal logging in SABL areas. Cartoon: PNGExposed

OPINION: By Peter S. Kinjap in Port Moresby.

The current Papua New Guinea government is being accused of being the most corrupt in the short history of Papua New Guinea. It has tampered with the national constitution, bent it, or even created new laws to escape being held responsible and avoided passing tougher legislation to fight corruption.

It’s so sad — a sad scenario for Papua New Guinea indeed.

Before going into the 2012 general election, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill promised the nation that he would curb corruption. He set up the Investigation Task Force Sweep (ITFS) which has done an excellent job exposing and prosecuting corruption.

But why did O’Neill disband it? Why did Police Commissioner Garry Baki put a “vetting” on the high-profile investigations cases that include accusations against O’Neill?

At the 2012 Alotau Accord, the governing coalition partners pledged to table in the Parliament the Anti-money Laundering Legislation, Whistleblowers Legislation, Freedom of Information Legislation and Independent Commission against Corruption Act (ICAC).

But during the People’s National Congress (PNC) reign from 2012 to 2017 with its coalition partners, none of these laws have got passed in the Parliament as promised during the election pledges to fight corruption.

Instead, O’Neill sees fit to legislate a Cyber-Crime Law and even proposing amendments to change election dates and nomination fees.

‘Sitting’ on whistleblowers law
Several times the Opposition have blasted the government for “sitting” on the Whistleblowers Protection Act and not tabling it in Parliament.

Even National Court Justice Martin Ipang spoke of the need for the Whistleblowers Act in the courtroom when ruling on Western Governor Ati Wobiro’s case.

Citizens needed to be protected if they have heard about corruption, or if they seen it, or if they become victim of corruption and want to report this.

Papua New Guinea needs the Whistleblowers Act. This is a very important law for PNG together with the ICAC. But the PNC-led government has failed and fooled the nation.

A new government that will be formed after the 2017 elections must see to ensure these laws are enacted.

People would be asking why time and again “most corrupt” politicians are not exposed and brought to justice.

Here is an answer from one politician with his observation. Samuel Basil, a two-term Bulolo MP says: “PNC’s best bet (if they lose government) is to have another veteran MP’s political party to take reign.

“Why? Because it’s like having partners in crime taking control over once again, or simply put it, it is corruption changing hands.

“If they bring their brothers down they will all go down together, it’s like they all have been closely knitted together.”

Only fresh new MPs without any connections with the current and past regimes can clean this country up — there is no other way.

There has to be a scrubbing period. Citizens from all walks of life need to face the judiciary to “clear” anything against them.

Your vote in 2017 means, “save PNG, or destroy it”. Over to you.