Veronica Koman dismisses accusations of 'creating instability' as slander

Source – May 27, 2021
Papua activist and lawyer Veronica Koman speaking to reporters – Undated (minews)

Rahel Narda Chaterine, Jakarta – Human rights activist and lawyer Veronica Koman has refuted accusations by State Intelligence Agency (BIN) Deputy Chief Lieutenant General Teddy Lhaksmana Widya Kusuma who said that Koman is taking advantage of the 2021 National Sports Week (PON) to create instability in Papua.

Koman says that the remarks are slander. "This is slander", said Koman when sought for confirmation by on Thursday May 27.

In addition to this, Koman also asked for an explanation on the 2021 PON, which is to be held in Papua, because armed conflicts have occurred repeatedly since late 2018.

Koman also believes that BIN is incompetent because it is using her as a scapegoat.

"There have been repeated armed conflicts in Papua since late 2018, right, this isn't something new. So I'm tossing the question back to BIN. If BIN has intelligence data, then what is it", said Koman.

"This then is BIN, which is incompetent and continues to blame other people like me, who have been victims of propaganda, so I continue being scapegoated by this incompetent government", she said.

Koman then stated that she has almost never raised the issue of the 2021 PON in Papua. According to Koman, it is in fact the TNI (Indonesian military) and the Polri (Indonesian police) who often raise the PON narrative in relation to the unrest in Papua.

"I have only ever mentioned the word PON once, namely early last year. Since then I have never brought up the PON at any time, if there is anyone creating unrest in Papua by raising the PON [issue] then it's actually the TNI and Polri", said Koman.

Moreover, Koman is also of the view that pro-referendum activists in Papua have never taken up the PON 2021 narrative and she is asking BIN not invent new issues about Papua.

"So BIN shouldn't make things up, what's more make up new issues like that, inventing new issues like that, yet no one's making an issue over PON", she said.

Earlier, during a meeting to discuss revisions to the Papua Special Autonomy (Otsus) Law, Kusuma said that Papuan separatist groups (KSP) have been detected that are taking advantage of the 2021 PON to create instability in Papua.

Kusuma said that several parties are alleged to be involved in creating this issue, two of which are Koman and United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) Chairperson Benny Wenda.

"It has been detected that KSP intend to take advantage of the holding of the 20th PON in 2021 to create instability, to attract international attention, among others there's Veronica Koman and Benny Wenda from overseas", said Kusuma at a House of Representatives (DPR) special committee meeting at the DPR building in Jakarta on Thursday May 27.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Bantah Pernyataan Waka BIN soal Instabilitas Papua, Veronica Koman: Itu Fitnah!".]