Veronica Koman: My scholarship has been paid for by the Papuan people

CNN Indonesia – September 16, 2020
Papua Solidarity Team holds money to be symbolically handed over to the LPDP – September 16, 2020 (CNN)

Jakarta – Human rights activist Veronica Koman feels that her scholarship has been paid for by the Papuan people. This is because the scholarship funds she received from the Finance Ministry’s Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP) – which they demanded she pay back – have been repaid in full by the Papuan People’s Solidarity Team.

The scholarship money amounting to 773,876,918 rupiah (US$52,760) has been returned though a bank transfer. This afternoon the Solidarity Team also planned to symbolically return 3 million rupiah in cash, but the LPDP offices were closed because Large Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB) to curb the spread of the corona virus which have been in force in Jakarta since Monday.

Vero – as she is known – said that the return of the money means that her scholarship was not paid for by the Indonesian government.

“I am very moved and thankful. With this I want to emphasise that it means that my scholarship was not paid for by the Indonesian government but rather by the Papuan people”, Koman told CNN Indonesia in a text message on Wednesday September 16.

Today, the Solidarity Team had planned to handover 3 million rupiah in cash to the LPDP. This did not take place as the LPDP offices were closed.

Papua human rights lawyer Michael Himan, who also went to the LPDP offices, admitted to feeling disappointed by the closure of the LPDP office.

“I feel disappointed with the LPDP office, we already sent a letter dated September 15. (The LPDP) has not responded to us when we arrived on the grounds that the office is closed”, Himan told journalists on Wednesday.

Meanwhile a LPDP security guard said that the decision to close the office was taken in accordance with the enforcement of PSBB.

“This is the situation right now, Jakarta is currently under PSBB, understand that PSBB is in force, essentially our office [staff] are WFH [working from home], a full holiday so there are no workers here today just security guards”, they told Solidarity Team representatives. (yoa/sur)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Veronica Koman: Kuliah Saya Dibiayai Rakyat Papua”.]