Security approach triggering widespread rights violations in Papua

Kompas – June 3, 2011
Imparsial Executive Director Poengky Indarti (IST)
Imparsial Executive Director Poengky Indarti (IST)

Jakarta – The government is still dealing with problems by military means (securitisation, use of extraordinary means in the name of security) in attempting to overcome problems in Papua. But instead of resolving the Papua problem, securitisation is instead the trigger for even more widespread human rights violations. Ironically, despite the securitisation that is taking place in Papua, its status is not one of martial law or civil or civil emergency.

Securitisation is an assessment of a situation or problem where the state uses the military to resolve a problem. “There is a bias towards using the military. As if by using the military, the Papua problem will be resolved”, said Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) Program Director Al Araf in Jakarta on Thursday June 2.

According to Al Araf, the indications of securitisation taking place in the handling of the Papua problems can be seen, at the very least, from several issues including the continued use of the security policies that involve the military in Papua, the continuation of military operations such as in the case of Puncak Jaya, and the continued dispatch of non-organic troops to Papua. Securitisation can also be clearly seen from the military’s policy of establishing posts in civilian population settlements and the use of military operational budgets that originate from state, regional and private sector budgets.

Imparsial Executive Director Poengky Indarti said that Imparsial has conducted eight months of research on the implication of security policies in Papua on human rights. According to Poengky, the government’s policy towards Papuan has not changed significantly. The government still tends to use the security approach in resolving the Papua problem.

Poengky also said that the central government in Jakarta is reproducing the threat of separatism as a legitimisation for the TNI’s (Indonesian military) continued role in Papua. Yet if compared with other military forces that have rebelled against the government, such as Fretilin in East Timor or the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in Aceh, the force identified as the Free Papua Movement (OPM) is far smaller.

“The weapons they are using are World War II leftovers. Their forces are small, thinly spread and unorganised. One OPM leaders do not have a chain of coordination with each other”, said Poengky.

Because of this, said Poengky, the question is why does the government always prioritise a military approach in dealing with the Papuan problem. “The Papuan people actually want to hold a dialogue with Jakarta”, he said. (BIL)

Source: Papua: Penanganan Militer Picu Pelanggaran HAM Marak – Kompas. Jumat, 03 Juni 2011

 [Translated by James Balowski.]