Solidarity action in Semarang demands investigation into Papua violence

Kompas – June 13, 2012
Napas protest at State Palace in Jakarta - July 3, 2012 (Merdeka).jpg
Napas protest at State Palace in Jakarta - July 3, 2012 (Merdeka).jpg

Puji Utami, Semarang – Scores of Papuan students from National Papua Solidarity (Nasional Papua Solidaritas, Napas) held a protest action in front of the regional police headquarters (Mapolda) in the Central Java provincial capital of Semarang on Wednesday June 13.

The protesters, who held a long-march along Jl. Pahlawan towards the Mapolda under tight police security, demanded that the government fully resolve the conflict taking place in Papua.

In addition to giving speeches, they also distributed leaflets containing their demands to pedestrians in the area and sung Papuan traditional songs. Action coordinator Ottis Tipagau said that the government must be held responsible for all of the victims of the mysterious shootings that have been taking place in Papua.

“The government must immediately form an independent national investigation team and allow room for an international investigation team to investigate the cases of mysterious shootings that are creating uneasiness”, he said.

The protesters also called on the government to evaluate and rationalise the presence of both organic and non-organic troops throughout Papua. The Indonesian government, they said, must also open up democratic space in order to fully resolve cases of violence that have taken place.

“For more than 50 years Papua has been part of NKRI [the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia] but the government has been incapable of empowering the Papuan people, on the contrary the Papuan people have been given policies that are very much identical with militarism so the people are still intimidated to this day and the economy controlled by people from outside Papua”, said Tipagau.

This he said has resulted in an increase in discrimination in the lives of the Papuan people. “Seventy-two percent of Papuans live below the poverty line, will the government remain silent and ignore all this by sacrificing the Papuan people? We are simply demanding the realisation of peace in the land of Papua”, he asserted.

[Mahasiswa Papua di Semarang Turun ke Jalan – Rabu, 13 Juni 2012. Translated by James Balowski.]