Papuans oppose plan to move murdered independence hero Theys Eluay's grave

Suara Papua – May 11, 2024
Theys Eluay's grave at Sere Sentai Park in Jayapura, Papua – Undated (Istimewa)

Jayapura – The Papuan people reject a plan by the acting Jayapura regent Purnomo Triwarno to move the grave of Papuan independence leader and national hero Dortheys Hiyo Eluay.

Theys Eluay's grave, which is located at the Sere Sentani field in front of the traffic lights at the entrance to Sentani airport, is slated to be moved to Obhe Heleybhey Wabouw in Sere Village, Sentani sub-district, Jayapura regency.

Eluay is the former Chairperson of the Papuan Presidium Council (PDP) who was found dead near the border in Skouw in November 2001 after being murdered by the Army's Special Forces (Kopassus).

West Papua National Committee (KNPB) spokesperson Ones Suhuniap said he rejects the relocation of Eluay's grave saying that Eluay does not just belong to the Eluay family clan, nor does he just belong to the Sentani people, but he belongs to all Papuans from Raja Ampat to Merauke.

According to Ones, Eluay's was buried in the Sere Sentani field with the approval of the Papuan people as a form of respect for his services in defending and fighting for the rights of the Papuan people, but also as the great Ondofolo – the highest customary leader of the indigenous people of Sentani.

“His struggle ideologically was for Papua to be independent in terms of economic rights, customs and the cultural rights of the Papuan people. Meanwhile, one of the outcomes of his struggle was Special Autonomy for Papua which today is enjoyed by the Papuan people, both indigenous Papuan people as well as non-Papuan people in this land", said Suhuniap in a statement in Jayapura on Saturday May 11.

Therefore said Suhuniap, the Papuan people reject the relocation of Eluay's gave from the Sere Sentani field to Obhe Heleybhey Wabouw.

“We the Papuan people reject the plan to move Dortheys Eluay's grave for any reason. We know very well that on November 10, 2021, Dortheys was abducted along with his driver by Kopassus led by [Major General] Hartomo, and 11 days after the murder then President Megawati [Sukarnoputri] signed the 2021 Papua Special Autonomy Law."

This means, said Suhuniap, the murder was orchestrated and planned. Because of this therefore, regional officials must understand this and not arbitrary move the grave of the deceased to another place.

Thus the Papuan people reject this plan and for whatever reason.

  • The Papuan people reject the plan to move Eluay's grave for any reason.
  • As a form of respect for developments, including Papuan Special Autonomy that is enjoyed by Papuans and non-Papuans and was paid for with his blood. Therefore, before any relocation it must first obtain approval from the Papua People's Council (MRP), the House of Representatives (DPR), all Ondoafi and Ondofolo in the land of Tabi and the Papuan Traditional Council (DAP).
  • Referring to points one and two, as a form of respect for Dortheys Eluay, the Jayapura regency government must immediately built a monument or statue of Eluay in front of the grave using Special Autonomy funds, because he was a fighter for Special Autonomy.
  • The reason for moving the grave of hero Theys Eluay by the Jayapura regency government does not make sense. It is as if Eluay's grave is a trash can that has to be cleaned up. The Jayapura regency government should repair damaged roads and build shop houses in various places that damage the face of the city of Sentani, instead of moving Eluay's grave.
  • The relocation of Dortheys Eluay's grave is not just an insult to the dignity of the Papuan people, but also a form of harassment against the social structure of the Sentani community. Because he is one of the great figures, including the great Ondofolo of the Sentani community.
  • Eluay's grave does not belong to the families of his biological children alone, but to the entire Papuan people. Therefore, it needs to be questioned by all Papuan people.
  • A call to the Papuan people to consolidate and mobilise to reject the plan to move Theys Eluay's grave.

Earlier, Papua Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) Director Emanuel Gobay condemned the plan to move Eluay's grave saying that the basis for the plan needs to be questioned. Moreover they will not hesitate to legally challenge the move if the Jayapura regency government goes ahead with the plan.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Rakyat Papua Menolak Pemindahan Makam Tokoh Besar Papua Dortheys Eluay".]