Police dismiss harassment of Papuan Komnas HAM representative as ‘subjective’

Kompas – September 26, 2007
Student protest outside Komnas HAM office in Papua (Radio Dogiyai)
Student protest outside Komnas HAM office in Papua (Radio Dogiyai)

Jakarta – In relation to his duties and responsibilities as a representative of the National Human Rights Commission or Komnas HAM in Papua, Albert Rumbekwan is a state official and cannot be harassed when carrying out his duties.

This was raised by Komnas HAM coordinator of Yosep Adhi Prasetyo on Tuesday September 25 when contacted from Jakarta. Prasetyo, who is currently in Aceh, said that Komnas HAM is concerned about the intimidation against Rumbekwan. “Albert Rumbekwan is a state official executing the mandate of Law No. 39/1999 on Human Rights. He cannot be harassed [like this]”, said Prasetyo.

As has been reported, last Sunday Rumbekwan’s resident in the Papuan capital of Jayapura was broken into by unidentified individuals. In addition to this, Rumbekwan has frequently received threats and been terrorised over the last four months (Kompas, 24/9).

Prasetyo suspects that the intimidation began after Rumbekwan met with United National Special Representative for Human Rights Hina Jilani. Because of this therefore, Komnas HAM will be sending a letter to the police in Papua and be meeting with the national police chief in Jakarta.

In Jayapura, Papua regional police chief Inspector General Max Donald Aer said he regretted that Rumbekwan had not reported the incidents that have befell him directly to the police. “For the last four months, we have assigned police officers to guard Rumbekwan. Why didn’t he immediately contact the nearest police [office]?”, said Aer.

Rumbekwan felt terrorised during a blackout when unidentified individuals entered his house. “According to testimonies, his neighbours said that there was a person in the vicinity of the house. This a subjective feeling right, feeling terrorised. If there were people in the vicinity of Rumbekwan’s house, what were they doing? We’re speaking in legal terms here, is there is there not evidence of a (criminal) act”, said Aer.

Aer said that the police are still investigating the incident last Sunday. (JOS/ROW)

[Translated by James Balowski.]