Government urged to stop hiding violence in Papua from international community

Source – September 19, 2022
Journalists and activists call for press freedom in Papua – May 3, 2017 (Berita Bena)

Singgih Wiryono, Jakarta – Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) Coordinator Fatia Maulidiyanti is asking the government to open access to information on the violence happening in Papua, and that the government stop hiding up this information, especially from the international community.

Maulidiyanti conveyed this in relation to the recent cases of violence which have been occurring in Papua, in particular the murder and mutilation of four civilians which has become the subject of public discussion.

"Rather than continuing to cover up the violence which is actually happening in Papua with various narratives, the Indonesian government should provide the greatest possible access to the international community", said Maulidiyanti in a press release on Monday September 19.

Maulidiyanti said that Indonesia appears to be covering up information about violence in Papua, including at the United Nations Human Rights Council. Access is being prevented by the continued obstruction to a visit by the UN human rights council.

"Access must also be opened for international journalists, bearing in mind that access to Papua for the international community has progressively shrunk over the last few years", said Maulidiyanti.

The government should also provide transparent information about the dialogue which is being promoted to resolve the conflict in Papua. "And also the full participation of Papuans in this dialogue", she said.

Violence in Papua

Incidents of violence are again on the rise in Papua such as those revealed by Papua Student Front for Victims of Violence Chairperson Rudi Kogoya.

Kogoya says that there have been three cases of murder which were allegedly committed by TNI (Indonesian military) personnel in Papua over the last month or so.

Two of these incidents, said Kogoya, occurred in late August and the other murder was reported on the evening of Tuesday September 6.

"So just in the month of August there were two incidents, in Mimika, and also in Mappi, recently, last night, we heard there was another in Paniai, the information was only sent last night", said Kogoya at the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) offices in Menteng, Central Jakarta, on Wednesday September 7.

The first incident was the murder and mutilation of four people in Mimika on August 27. This case is known to involve six TNI personnel and four civilians.

Not long after, on August 29, a number of TNI personnel allegedly tortured several civilians in Bade sub-district, Mappi regency. One person named Bruno Amenim Kimko died from the abuse and two others suffered serious injuries.

"Even though the TNI members paid an amount of money to the families of the victims to resolve it through traditional means, this does not automatically eliminate the state's responsibility and obligation to process the case legally, to process the alleged perpetrators under the law which is valid in the pubic judicial system", said Kogoya.

The final case was reported to have occurred in Paniai and involved a civilian who suffered head injuries on Tuesday. "From what I saw their head had a hole in it, we don't know whether it was torture or a shooting. It's possible it was done by TNI personnel as well", said Kogoya.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Pemerintah Diminta Buka Akses Informasi di Papua kepada Masyarakat Internasional".]