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YAPIKBI - (Biak Youth Foundation)


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History/Background

Who We Are and the Problems

I. BACKGROUND

The Foundation of Biak Youth (Yayasan Pemuda Insos Kabor Biak), abbreviated to Yapikbi, was established on the 14th of December 2000 as a reaction to long suffering from the Indonesian repressive systems.
Yapikbi considers the West Papuan young people of today as a lost generation. This is as result of the transfering of power in West Papua by the Dutch Government to the United Nations in October 1962 and the following transfering of power by the UN to the Republic of Indonesia in May 1963. (The West Papuan people still reject the transfer of power due to its undemocratic procedures).

Yapikbi's studies revealed that the human capacity of the Papuan next generation through these coming 25 years will remain alarming as to the past 25 years as an implication of the Indonesian rule over the Papuans. To support the development of human empowerment of the lost generation of the Papuan youth, Yapikbi was established and it has been conducting various activities as described further on this website.

II. PROBLEMS AND NEEDS IN BIAK

Problem analysis

1. General data on Biak: demographics and statistics

Demographics

Population: 106,554 people

 

Indigenous people:

55,422 male

51,132 female

(73,163 adults, 33,391 children)

 

Migrants:

32% x 106,554 = 34,097 people

 

Annual Mortality rate: 301

 

Annual Birth rate: 2,254

Health

 

2 military hospitals (1 army, 1 navy)

14 clinics

Major cause of death: malaria

Education

 

 

185 elementary schools with 1,500 teachers

29 SLTP (Junior secondary School) with 288 teachers

13 SMM (General Senior Secondary School) with 299 teachers

1 School for fishing industry

1 School for Tourism

1 Technical college

1 Business Administration College

1 College for Economics

Employment

Local income is mainly gained from tax, fishery and tourism

Civil servants: 3,613 people

As from January 2002 the total number of unemployed persons is estimated at 11,327 (6.627 male, 4,700 female)

 

Annual budget of local government (2000): Rp 84,803,792,100 (1 US$ is approx. Rp 10.000.00)

Source: Kantor Statistik Kantor dan BKKBN, December 2000; Kantor Bupati Biak-Numfor: Kantor Perindustrian dan Perdagangan; Kantor Dinas Pendidikan Dasar dan Menengah.

2. Education

Education is not Indonesia's top priority, and it is certainly not given any priority in West Papua. West Papua has long been the neglected province of Indonesia and still is one of the most underdeveloped provinces of Indonesia. The level of human resources is therefore stunningly low.

Though its natural resources are enormous, the Papuan people hardly benefit from these revenues. The bulk of the profits are bagged off to Jakarta. Quality of education in West Papua is poor, and the situation in Biak unfortunately is no different. As from 1 January 2002, West Papua was given a special autonomy status (Otsus), which should promote human resource development for the indigenous Papuans. However, nothing in the past has shown the Indonesian government to follow up on their plans, consequently the people are wary of these new government plans.

Apart from the fact that there are simply too few schools in Biak (both elementary, secondary and vocational studies), they almost all lack good teachers and the financial means to buy the necessary books and other learning materials. Consequently, the level of knowledge of children who have completed elementary and secondary schools is very low. Since most parents have no money to have their children follow vocational education, the number of dropouts is increasing at a worrying speed. At primary school level for example, many children (especially in villages/kampongs) do not attend school. What is even more upsetting though, is that less than half of those who completed primary school can actually read and write properly. Moreover, teachers are often not skilled and poorly motivated for a number of reasons, one of them being the suspension of salary or not being paid at all (and as a consequence take on different work and do not show up in class).

Unfortunately, there are no indicators available at the Municipal Statistic Department in Biak. The table below therefore shows the indicators presented by the Provincial Statistic Department in Jayapura based on its direct field study.

EDUCATION

NUMBER (PEOPLE)

%

  1. Never attend school

  2. Not completed Elementary School
    1. Elementary School
    2. General Junior High School
    3. Junior Vocational High School
    4. General Senior High School
    5. Vocation Senior High School
    6. University Graduates

307,395

143,571

300,156

107,904

9,180

61,620

51,585

13,803

31

14

30

11

1

6

5

1

Total

995,214

100

Source: YYPWI in its Report on the Development in the Province of Papua, 2001

As a result, unemployment among the indigenous Papuans is growing, Indonesian migrants are still dominating the job market and young Papuans often feel discriminated against (which is true, but can also be explained partly from the low level of education). The number of school-aged children who do not attend school has increased.

In Papua in general, and Biak is no exception, human resources development is absolutely imperative. Although the prospects of Otsus (special autonomy) are promising, the aspects of human resource development are not explained in detail in the autonomy package and actual implementation by the government remains to be seen.

3. Ethnic Conflict

The people of West Papua are not a homogenous population: there is thousands of Indonesian migrants (1 million) spread all over West Papua. Conflicts between the Papuans and Indonesians are on the rise.

Almost outnumbering the indigenous Papuans, Indonesian migrants dominate Papuans in almost every layer of society: politically, economically, socially and culturally. This could lead to a mass outbreak of violence, which, in turn, would justify brutal crackdowns by the Indonesian military against the indigenous Papuans in its effort to defend the migrants in West Papua. Statistics show that in 2000, 32% of the Biak population was non-Papuan. Moreover, one look at the personnel in shops, banks, Garuda offices, etc. in Biak shows that the majority of the personnel are Indonesian (non-Papuan). Discrimination and frustration could easily spark ethnic conflicts and violent outbursts as were the case in Wamena (6 October, 2000), Bonggo (September 2001), where Papuans and Indonesian migrants clashed and migrants fled, leaving the military to make random arrests and torture innocent civilians.

4. Unemployment

Biak has just a few companies, from the private sector as well as state enterprises, and the few that are based in Biak hardly employ Papuans. As mentioned above, the labour market in West Papua (and thus Biak as well) is dominated by the Indonesians (migrants). The official number of unemployed person as from January 2002 is estimated at 11,327 (6,627 male, 4,700 female). Unemployment among the indigenous Papuans causes many social problems such as criminal activities, alcoholism, surreptitious (undercover) prostitution, women's rights abuse, divorce, children's rights abuse, robbery, forced labour, etc.  Source: Kepala Seksi Penempatan dan Perluasan Lapangan Kerja Dinas Tenaga Kerja Kabupaten Biak Numfor

5. Human Rights Violations

Exploitation of natural resources with consequences for environmental destruction; ethnic and tribal differences as possible source for conflict; lack of good governance; military control over the civilian rule, incapacity of the local NGOs and the poverty among indigenous communities clearly depict the complexity of the existing problems.

There seems to be more space for democratic process in Indonesia, since the fall of the Indonesian dictator, Soeharto (retired general), in 1998. Unfortunately, West Papua and Aceh as richest provinces have worst paths to walk over. Annual reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, State Department of United States, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and other HR bodies have regularly revealed gross human rights abuse in West Papua. For Biak in particular, a number of human rights organizations have reported on the Biak massacre of 1998. During the 1 July flag raising (which in fact took place from 1 July up to and including the 5th of July) some 60 demonstrators were killed during a peaceful rally of innocent citizens led by Philip Karma. Eyewitness reports state that victims (including women and children) were forced into an Indonesian marine ship and killed on board, after which their bodies were bagged and thrown into the sea.

6. Destruction of Nature

While the government of Indonesia does not seem seriously interested in developing education, health care, agriculture, infrastructure and tourism in West Papua, it does back mining, logging and fishing companies to exploit Papuas natural resources. The state and its apparatus (including military) back large logging and mining companies who wish to operate in West Papua. It is not uncommon for military officers and governmental officials to have stocks or shares in those companies. There is no good administration/rule to resolve and protect the nature from further destruction. Land or areas owned by the indigenous people for traditional agriculture, fishing and hunting have been constitutionally claimed as state property by the government. Various reports by different NGOs repeatedly revealed the destruction of the nature by mining, logging and fishing companies. (as reported by Down to Earth, Friends of the Earth, etc.).

As far as Biak is concerned, its population has always been able to provide for food by fishery. Biak has beautiful white beaches and blue seas, its corals are regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world, but this is also under serious threat. Fishermen are increasingly using cyanide and bombs (on a daily basis!) to get a large catch at the same time destroying large coral reefs and the underwater habitat. This ongoing destruction means endangering the very existence of the people.

7. Position of NGOs

Most of the NGOs in Biak are newly established organizations that have arisen from dissatisfaction with government policy on the issues as described in this chapter. It is necessary to support (both materially and morally) the alternatives and initiatives proposed and taken by the local NGOs to assist disadvantaged people towards the process of "Civil Society Building".

8. Trade Union

There is no independent local trade union in Biak, except the state run trade union called Korpri (Korps Pegawai Republik Indonesia). Korpri was established during Soeharto dictatorial regime to support the governmental policies for the benefit of the state and the multinationals. Most members of Korpri also face problems in their own trade union due to corruption, mismanagement, bureaucratic complexity and political abuse of the right to freedom of movement and expression.

Initials efforts have been made by Jayapura-based activists for an independent trade union for West Papua, called the West Papua Interest Association that is led by Karel Waromi and has approximately 20,000 members. Though no official statistics are available to corroborate the information, Biak is said to have approx. 1,000 members. Thus far though, its representation in Biak lacks structure, leaders and organization (its members do not pay contribution).

Workers in Biak are not yet fully aware of the importance of an independent trade union, especially for the workers from the private sector, such as street cleaners, taxi drivers, tailors, shop workers, harbour workers, factory workers, etc. Salary and social securities for these workers are mostly below the minimum and they can even be easily dismissed without any compensation.

9. International Solidarity

NGOs in Biak have not been able to set up a wide international solidarity network because their members are not familiar with the English language, which is a necessary medium for international communication. Many activists in Biak have shown a lack of knowledge of computer programmes (word processing skills). SP2 (Papuan Women Solidarity) in Biak for example, has an uneasy communication with some funding agencies in the Netherlands and Germany because of their lack of knowledge of English. In addition, its members lack knowledge of computer programs to write analyses, evaluation, reports and proposals to attract the support from the international community.