Police urged to investigate arson attack on Legal Aid office in Papua

CNN Indonesia – May 9, 2022
Burnt motorbike in front of Papua LBH office in Jayapura – May 8, 2022 (LBH Papua)

Jakarta – The Humanitarian Coalition for Papua is urging the authorities to immediately and fully investigate an attack on the Papua Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) offices in Jayapura. According to the Coalition, police must also take steps to anticipate and prevent similar attacks from taking place.

"Because of this, the Humanitarian Coalition for Papua is urging the Indonesian police to immediately and fully investigate the alleged attack on the LBH Papua office", said the Coalition in a press release on Monday May 9.

The Coalition is also urging the police to quickly arrest and bring the alleged perpetrators of the attack to the courts to be tried in a fair and open manner. Not only that, they are also asking the government to take firm measures to prevent similar attacks against human rights defenders.

Early on Monday morning, a motorbike parked in the garage of the LBH Papua office in Jayapura was set on fire. Based on an initial examination, LBH Papua staff found a fuse smelling of kerosene and a plastic bottle containing left over petrol.

According to the Coalition, this is not the first incident of its kind to occur against human rights defenders, both in Papua as well as other parts of Indonesia.

Looking at the pattern of these incidents, it is reasonable to suspect that the attack was related to LBH Papua's work handling cases of human rights violations and assisting victims of these violations, ranging from students to workers, traditional communities and activists.

Earlier on November 2021, the Jakarta home belonging to the parents of exiled human rights lawyer Veronica Koman, who has been active in speaking out about human rights violations in Papua, was attacked by two unidentified individuals who threw a packet containing explosive materials into their garage.

In September of the same year meanwhile, the LBH office in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta was attacked by a Molotov cocktail bomb. "To this day, no one has been declared [a suspect] in these two cases", said the Coalition.

"Attacks against Papuan human rights defenders also represent an attack on democracy. So the government cannot be allowed to view this problem lightly, especially since the government has repeatedly pledged to immediately resolve the Papua problem, including the problem of human rights", the Coalition said in conclusion. (dmi/isn)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Polisi Didesak Usut Kasus Dugaan Penyerangan Kantor LBH Papua".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20220509175950-12-794687/polisi-didesak-usut-kasus-dugaan-penyerangan-kantor-lbh-papua