Level of human rights violations in Papua still high

Kompas – January 8, 2004
West Papua regional parliament speaker Dr John Ibo (Jubi)
West Papua regional parliament speaker Dr John Ibo (Jubi)

Jayapura – Two years after the implementation of the Law on Special Autonomy in West Papua, the level of human rights violations remains high. There has been no commitment from any parties to apply the Law on Special Autonomy consistently. Rather, this law is seen as disrupting the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

This issue was raised by the chairperson of the West Papua regional parliament, Dr John Ibo, in Jayapura on Wednesday January 7. The level of human rights violation over the period of two years since special autonomy was implemented in Papua has not changed. Moreover, terror and coercion against local people has been increasing and is linked with the implementation of this law.

“There are particular parties which consider this law as a part of the effort to separate Papua from KNRI, so they have coerced and terrorised civilians. In reality, this law as it was discussed and ratified by the NKRI government, was [passed] in order accelerate development, uphold human rights in Papua, and give an opportunity to the Papuan people to develop themselves”, said Ibo.

Over the year 2003, around 50 civilians have been killed needlessly. The worst human rights violations, according to Ibo, have occurred in the Jayawijaya regency, that is in the villages of Kuyawage and Yale. The National Human Rights commission (Komnas HAM) has already visited the area but to this day there has been no follow-up. Komnas found strong evidence of human rights violation in the area linked with a theft from an armory at the Jayawijaya regional military command headquarters on April 4, 2003.

Each year, continued Ibo, there are Papuan people who have become casualties because they struggled for their self-esteem, dignity and honor. This struggle will continue for as long as their self-esteem, the basic rights of the Papuan people, and efforts to have the Papuan people become the lords of their own nation, as contained in the Law on Special Autonomy, are not realised.

The needless death of civilian each years is further reducing the total population of indigenous Papuans. Not only that, energy which should be directed towards local development is continuing to decline. Their deaths have brought prolonged suffering to members of their families, especially the children.

Ibo hopes that the central government will immediately put into place the regulation for the establishment of a Papua People’s Assembly (MRP) which has the authority to implement all forms of legislation in Papua. Special autonomy has not been able to be implemented as was hoped because the MRP has not been ratified.

“If the MRP is ratified, the Papuan regional government will immediately issue a regulation on the implementation of the Law on Special Autonomy in the form of special regional and provincial decrees. (kor)

[Translated by James Balowski.]