Chandra Iswinarno – Marking 21 years since the still unresolved Wasior Tragedy in Wasior district, Papua, in 2001, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) notes that incidents of violence in Papua continue to increase.
The Wasior incident was triggered by the killing of five Mobile Brigade (Brimob) para-military police officers and a civilian at the CV Vatika Papuana Perkasa company base camp in Wondiboi village, Wasior district, on June 13, 2001.
The aftermath of this was that police were deployed to hunt down the perpetrators who had also taken six firearms from the Brimob officers that were killed.
Referring to records by the Papua Ad Hoc Team, this ended with four people being killed, 39 others being tortured, one person being raped and five people forcibly disappeared.
"Twenty-one years have passed, but the fate of the victims has been left hanging in the air without any kind of legal certainty", said Kontras Deputy Coordinator Rivanlee Anandar in a press release on Monday June 13.
Anandar said that in 2002 the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) finished its investigation into the Wasior incident and handed the results over the Attorney General's Office (AGO).
At the time however, the AGO stuck to its often repeated argument that the Komnas HAM investigation was incomplete or it lacks the formal or material requirements for a case to be raised to a criminal investigation.
Referring to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Session in Geneva on May 3, Anandar noted that the Indonesian government said that the AGO was currently preparing for a trial process at the Human Rights Court in Makassar, South Sulawesi, to process the Wasior and Wamena cases.
"Only a few months remain before the UPR hearing at the end of 2022 but the Wasior-Wamena cases are still stagnating and no progress at all can be seen in these cases being taken before a Human Rights Court in accordance with the mandate of Law Number 26/2000 a Human Rights Court or under the Special Autonomy Law for Papua", he explained.
Kontras believes that the Indonesian government has failed to fulfill the mandate of the Special Autonomy Law (Otsus) on Papua. It has been dozens of years since the Otsus Law came into force but only one mandate has been realised, namely the establishment of a National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) representative office in Papua.
Anandar said that a Papua Truth and Reconciliation Commission (KKR) has yet to be formed, and likewise, a Human Rights Court in Papua has also not been realised.
Anandar said that this problem shows the government's lack of seriousness, which ends up as just political promises, yet the government uses the resolution of gross human rights violations in Papua as a diplomatic tool to counter international attention on the situation there.
Out of the cases of gross human rights violations in Papua which have been investigated by Komnas HAM, namely the Abepura cases (2000), the Wasior-Wamena cases (2001 and 2003) and the Paniai case (2014), only one case was tried in 2004 – and that took place at the Human Rights Court in Makassar.
"This is despite the fact that the mandate of the Human Rights Court in Papua was ordered in 2001. Likewise with the discourse on the formation of a Human Rights Court for the 2014 Paniai case which will be tried in Makassar, not in Papua", he said.
In the midst of deep rooted impunity and repeated human rights violations, continued Anandar, civil society, survivors and the families of victims of gross human rights violations in Papua are left to live with the trauma. Moreover the injustices of these bloody incidents are never resolved by the state.
"Meanwhile the central government, for the sake of political and economic interests, and with a spirit of ultra-nationalism, continues to push through the creation of new autonomous regions in Papua", he said.
Anandar explained that the creation of new provinces in Papua has the potential to add to the long list of human rights violations in Papua. This is because when new autonomous regions are created, there is an increase in regional military and police commands which tend towards a security approach being used against the Papuan people.
Based on Kontras' monitoring results over the period January-May, there were 23 incidents of violence committed by the Polri (Indonesian police) and the TNI (Indonesian military). This was dominated by shootings, mistreatment and arbitrary arrest.
The scores of incidents document by Kontras resulted in around 67 people being injured, killed or arrested.
In relation to the momentum of 21 years since the Wasior Tragedy, Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence is urging President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to:
- Order the Attorney General to form an ad hoc investigation team to follow up on the investigation dossiers on the Wasior incident along with other gross human rights violations which have already been investigated by Komnas HAM in accordance with the mandate of Article 21 Paragraph 3 of Law Number 28/2000 on Human Rights Courts.
- Establish a Human Rights Court in Papua
- End the discourse on the creation of new provinces in Papua, halt all military operations and reevaluate the security approach in Papua as an initial step towards building dialogue and resolving the conflict in Papua peacefully.
- Guarantee human rights for indigenous Papuans, including the right to life, the right to freedom of express and the right to gather peacefully.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Catatan 21 Tahun Tragedi Wasior, KontraS Desak Pemerintah Bentuk Pengadilan HAM di Papua dan Hentikan Praktik Impunitas".]