Jakarta – The human rights based community Papua Is Us (Papua Itu Kita) has launched a fund raising campaign to assist human rights activists and lawyer Veronica Kaman who says that the Indonesian government has asked her to return scholarship money she was given amounting to 773 million rupiah (US$52,760).
Koman’s lawyer Michael Hilman said that the campaign was launched at the request of and because of pressure from Papuan civil society to assist Koman who has been active in advocating for Papuan issues.
“So the Papuan civil society initiative also wants to encourage and assist Veronica so she is free from this financial punishment”, he said when contacted by CNN Indonesia on Wednesday August 12.
According to Hilman, Koman already knows about the fund raising campaign and after the money has been collected it will be handed over the Finance Ministry (Kemenkeu). “Later we’ll hand it over. Me as Veronica Koman’s lawyer, we’ll hand it over directly to the Kemenkeu”, he said.
Hilman said that the fund raising campaign will start as of today and the results of the campaign will be reported regularly.
“Related to transparency and accountability, it will be reported regularly. The bank account being used is the Perkumpulan Jubi [Jubi Association} account, which as an organisation is financially audited”, he said.
Koman earlier said that the Indonesian government has asked her to return scholarship money amounting to 773 million rupiah which she received to study her master’s degree in Australia in 2016.
Koman said that this financial punishment was a form of pressure by the government so that she would stop speaking out about and advocating human rights (HAM) issues in Papua.
Koman is currently a suspect in a case of alleged incident to riot after she posted videos of a racist attack on a Papuan student dormitory in the provincial capital of Surabaya in August 2019.
“The Indonesian government is applying this financial punishment as the latest attempt to pressure me into stopping my advocacy for HAM in Papua”, she said in a written release received by CNN Indonesia on Tuesday August 11. (yoa/wis)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Komunitas HAM Galang Dana Solidaritas untuk Veronica Koman”.]