Nauru faces media, security pressure ahead of Pacific Islands Forum

Nauru President Baron Waqa addressing the media before opening the Pacific Islands Forum. Video: PI Forum Secretariat

By Gia Garrick, Political Reporter of RNZ National

Regional security and other pressing issues like climate change will top the formal agenda at the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru this week.

But leaders will also be confronted with the situation facing refugees in Australian-run camps on the tiny island, living just kilometres from forum events.

The Nauru government has already started a pre-emptive PR campaign, with its president blaming Australian advocates for the plight of refugee children.

New Zealand says it is an issue that will be raised at the forum. However, Australia’s new Prime Minister Scott Morrison will not be there to hear it. He has decided not to attend, and has sent newly appointed Foreign Minister Marise Payne in his place.

Winston Peters plans to meet with Payne while in Nauru, and it will be the first time the pair have sat down together in their respective foreign minister roles.

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The Pacific Island Forum comes just months after Peters launched the new government’s so-called “Pacific reset”.

He and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited Samoa, Niue, Tonga and the Cook Islands in March, announcing a raft of increases to aid and development funding.

Broader region
But this forum is an opportunity for the pair to meet with leaders from around the broader region.

“Well I’ll have a chance to meet a lot of them on the way over, and some of them I’ve been talking to very recently. So that’ll be more than half of them. And I’ll get the bilateral with Marise Payne,” Peters said.

Ardern had initially indicated she would like to meet with some of the refugees, but said it was something she had since thought long and hard about.

“I’ve given a lot of thought to this,” she said. “I do have a short amount of time there, but I do want a perspective from those who are residents on Nauru.”

She plans to reiterate New Zealand’s offer to take 150 refugees from across Nauru and Manus Islands.

“But if I meet with individual refugees, how do we decide who they would be? Does that raise an expectation that I then can’t fulfill for them as an individual?

“So those are some of the things weighing on my mind.”

One day visit
Ardern will be there for one day only, flying to Nauru early Wednesday morning for the leaders’ retreat, which is considered the most important day of the forum.

Leaders are expected to sign a new regional security declaration at the conclusion of these talks, which Peters said would cover off a number of emerging challenges facing the Pacific.

“There’s human security, there’s environmental and resource security, transnational crime and cyber-security challenges – all of which are part of this declaration.”

National’s foreign affairs spokesperson Todd McClay said he hoped the cohesive nature of the Pacific Island countries was addressed first and foremost by Peters.

“It’s very important that he talks to Fiji and gets them to withdraw their claim from a year or two ago that Australia and New Zealand should leave or be thrown out of the Pacific Island Forum, with the view that we are not really Pacific countries.

“We are, we’re good neighbours, and for us all to move forward there needs to be a clear dialogue around that.”

When it comes to any plans to meet with refugees or raising issues of human rights, McClay said New Zealand could stand firm on its independent foreign policy.

But he warned against any moves that may destabilise its relationship with Australia.

Australian ‘protection’
“Fundamentally when it comes to refugees, the Australian border does provide some protection to New Zealand. So that refugees on boats don’t make the arduous journey down to New Zealand which is very, very risky.

“So ultimately he must be very diplomatic in this.”

But the pressure is already on Nauru, even before the leaders arrive.

Refugee advocates have been increasingly vocal in their criticisms of the conditions the refugees continue to live in and about the way they are treated.

They also say the government there is cynically trying to pretty up the place, with mouldy tents which have housed refugees for years being pulled down just last week.

Media coverage has also been a contentious topic ahead of the forum, with limits put on the number of journalists attending and guidelines around reporting in place.

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

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Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Indonesia prone to cyber attacks up to the 2025, says digital expert

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Indonesia prone to cyber attacks up to the 2025, says digital expert

Anonymous Indonesia … cybersecurity in the country is regarded as being “in its infancy”. Image: Tech In Asia

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

Indonesia is predicted to be prone to cyber attacks from this year until 2025, says a media communication and technology consultant.

A.T. Kearney’s media communication and technology researcher Germaine Hoe Yen Yi says ASEAN countries, especially Indonesia, face this problem because of the shortage of digital experts.

“The low policy supervision, the lack of experts in the digital field, high susceptibility and low investments,” said Yen Yi during the Southeast Asia emergency security presentation in Jakarta last week.

A.T. Kearney is a global management consulting firm with offices in more than 40 countries.

From 10 ASEAN countries, only Singapore and Malaysia are considered among the most digitally advanced countries.

However, Philippines and Thailand are in their “development stage” regarding cybersecurity.

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Indonesia’s cybersecurity is considered to be in its infancy, which includes its regulations, national strategy development, governance, and international partnership.

“Malaysia is expected to need more than 4000 cybersecurity experts by the year 2020 to fight against cybersecurity issues,” said Yen Yi.

Meanwhile, in investments, ASEAN countries still provides limited funding for cyber securities with an average of 0.07 percent from their gross domestic product.

Yen Yi said the number must be increased to 0.35 percent and 0.61 percent compared to their GDP in 2025.

Cisco ASEAN president Naveen Menon said that a county’s success in digitisation depended on its ability to resist cyber attack threats. He also urged stakeholders to unite and help build cybersecurity abilities.

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Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

Australia, Indonesia strengthen cyber-security ties but West Papua ignored

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Australia, Indonesia strengthen cyber-security ties but West Papua ignored

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

Cyber-security main topic in the Australian, Indonesian consultation … but not “the elephant in the room” – West Papua. Image: AWPA

Australia and Indonesia have agreed to focus on cyber-security in their fight against terrorism and transnational crimes after a meeting in Jakarta but West Papua insecurity as an issue was apparently ignored.

The agreement was reached at the third ministerial council meeting on security and law on Thursday despite the ongoing suspension of military cooperation between the two countries.

Liza Yosephine of The Jakarta Post reports that the meeting highlighted an array of issues related to counterterrorism, such as deradicalisation, cyber intrusion, as well as tracing and stopping those funding terrorism online.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto, who led the Indonesian delegation, noted that both countries had openly exchanged views on the development of regional security dynamics and the importance of maintaining stability in the region.

“The meeting today [Thursday] was held in an open, constructive and friendly atmosphere, so we expect that it will result in tighter and stronger cooperation in law and security,” Wiranto told a press conference at the conclusion of the meeting.

Australian Attorney-General George Brandis, who led his country’s delegation, said it was the first time cyber security had been included as a topic of the meeting.

Brandis said both countries were working closely together in response to increasing cyber security threats .

He added that cyber security had been the subject of long discussion during the meeting and was the focus of several agreements reached between the two countries.

Concrete measures
Although the topic has been discussed since the inaugural ministerial council meeting in Jakarta in December 2015, concrete measures have only been initiated this year, signifying the growing importance of the matter to both nations.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry’s East Asia and Pacific director, Edi Yusup, said Indonesia was confirmed to attend a workshop on cyber security in Australia in the coming months.

“The workshop in Australia will be an opportunity to learn how the country develops cyber-security policies and strategies,” he told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the meeting, adding that the place and date of the meeting was yet to be determined.

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (AUSTRAC) and its Indonesian counterpart centre (PPATK) announced on Wednesday that they would launch a new project later this year to enhance Indonesia’s ability to face the increasing number of online threats, especially those related to detecting and cutting flows of funds related to terrorism and crime.

The cooperation is part of the agencies’ efforts to cut the financial lifelines of terrorism in an agreement signed ahead of the meeting.

Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan emphasized the importance of continued cooperation between the two agencies, especially on intelligence sharing to monitor financial flows, prevent terrorism and halting the funding of organized crime.

“We will increasingly share the intelligence that we need to tackle illegal money flows,” Keenan said.

Brandis stressed that focusing on the flow of money was one of the most effective ways to combat growing terrorism.

‘Elephant in the room’
Before the meeting, Joe Collins of the Australia West Papua Association declared in a statement that once again “West Papua will be the elephant in the room”.

“As usual we can expect the issues of  counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and maritime security to be on the agenda but no doubt West Papua will be the elephant in the room again,” he said.

“The human rights situation in West Papua should be raised not only at this meeting but raised by Australian officials at all bilateral talks between Australian and Indonesian officials.”

Collins was commenting on a statement from the Australian side in the negotiations saying “Australia and Indonesia share a steadfast commitment to a stable and prosperous Indo‑Pacific region”.

Collins said: “West Papua is the one issue of great concern in our region and Australia should be doing all it can to encourage Jakarta to sit down and dialogue with West Papuan representatives to discuss all the issues of concern they have.

“It is now 54 years since Indonesia took over the administration of West Papua and the courageous West Papuan people  are still marching in the streets risking arrest and torture and calling for their right to self-determination.

“The West Papuan people and their representatives have achieved great victories in the past few years and as support continues to grow for West Papua not only in our region but world wide, Australia and Indonesian must realize that West Papua is truly back on the agenda and won’t be going away,” Collins said.