Papua NGO coalition opposes military candidates

Source – May 19, 2004
Elsham Papua Secretary General Aloysius Renwarin (Tabloid Jubi)
Elsham Papua Secretary General Aloysius Renwarin (Tabloid Jubi)

Suwarjono, Jakarta – Opposition to presidential and vice-presidential candidates from the military are surfacing again. A coalition of West Papuan non-government organisations (NGOs) say that presidential candidates with a military background will make it difficult to uphold values of human rights in Indonesia.

“We don’t want a future president or vice-president who was involved in bloody incidents which have slaughtered thousands of people in the territory of Indonesia. The people of Papua have already experienced the bitterness of confronting the military”.

This was related by the secretary general of the Institute for the Study and Advocacy of Human Rights (Elsham) Papua, Aloysius Renwarin, at the offices of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) on Jalan Cisadane in Menteng, Central Jakarta, on Friday May 14. Also present was the coordinator of Kontras Papua, Pieter Ell and the chairperson of the Papuan Legal Aid Foundation, Paskalis L.

Renwarin added that the next president must open up a dialogue with the Papuan people. “Many Papuan people have been the victims of human rights violations, the law. And there has been no respect for the values of humanity. It is time for the presidency to be held by a civilian who can accommodate the desires and interests of the Papuan people. In our assessment, the Papuan people are still being treated like illegitimate children”, he explained.

The coalition also called on the next president to take real action and not just make promises. “We do not just need a symbolic gesture of placing a Papuan in the next cabinet but actions which are far more concrete [and real]”, said Renwarin. (ton)

[Translated by James Balowski.]