Students call on government to resolve human rights violation in West Papua

Selangkah Magazine – December 10, 2014
West Papuan protesters scuffle with police during rally in Jakarta - December 1, 2014 (Tribune)
West Papuan protesters scuffle with police during rally in Jakarta - December 1, 2014 (Tribune)

Admin MS, Jakarta – Commemorating International Human Rights Day, peaceful actions were held in several Indonesian cities calling on the administration of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla (Jokowi-JK) to fully investigate the human rights violations that have taken place in the land of Papua.

In Jayapura, West Papua for example, the Cenderawasih University Student Community (Kabesma, Uncen) and Papuan People (Rakyat Papua) held a protest action at the Papuan governor’s offices.

Action coordinator Maikel Yerisetou said that the socio-political dynamic that has been taking place between 1961 and 2014 is one where the Papuan people are confuted by numerous threats such as murder and rape in all regencies and cities in Papua and West Papua.

The state has never respected the rights of the Papuan people in terms of having a nation and a country, because it did not fit with the ideals of nation’s founders in accordance with prevailing laws.

During the action they also urged the Papuan governor, the military commander (Pangdam), the regional police chief (Kapolda), the Papuan Regional House of Representatives (DPRP) along with the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) and church groups to go to Paniai regency immediately to conduct an investigation into cases of human rights violations and try the perpetrators in a civil court.

Kabesma also called on President Widodo to fully investigate the human rights problem in Papua. “Students and the Papuan people are very disappointed with President Jokowi, over the human rights violations in Paniai regency that took the lives of employees and civilians in the lead up to Christmas”.

The protesters were received by the Papua Provincial 1st Assistant who said that the Paniai incident is mutual problem and an investigation team would soon visit Papua. The 1st Assistant said that as an indigenous son of Papua, he and the governor do not want any more blood to be shed and will push for the formation of a special institution to focus on the killings. The institution, he said, would involve all non-government and religious organisation with the aim of ensuring the safety of the Papuan people.

In Manokwari regency the Regional People’s Parliament (PRD) and the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) mediated with the Papuan community to hold a press conference at the KNPB secretariat.

During the press conference, KNPB Manokwari chairperson Alexander Nekenem and the Papuan community strongly condemned the crimes committed by the Indonesian state in the land of Papua. They said that the violence in the land of Papua has been going on since 1960 until now in 2014 with the violence by the Indonesian state through the Indonesian military and national police (TNI/Polri) that occurred in Paniai.

The KNPB and the PRD urged the Indonesian government to take responsibility for the injustice that occurred in Paniai on December 7-8. PRD secretary general Rafael Natkime said that this December is a month of sorrow for the Papuan people. “The truth may be killed but it cannot be defeated”, he said.

In the West Java provincial capital of Bandung, West Papuan student from Solidarity for Papua (SUP) held a protest action at the West Java governor’s office.

In a speech, one of the speakers said that coinciding with International Human Rights Day, Papuan student have again taken to the streets to convey their anger against the brutality of the Indonesian military in the land of Papua, particularly the brutal shooting by a joint unit of military and police in Paniai that resulted in the death of six [sic] civilians and scores of other being treated in hospital.

“We condemn the actions by Indonesian military personnel against civilians in Paniai, Papua, who shot dead five civilians an injured scores of others. They were totally unprofessional in carrying out their duties, as a state institution”, said spokesperson Markus Medlama.

In the Central Java city of Yogyakarta, a peaceful action was held at the zero kilometre point in front of the central post office by the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP), the Papuan Students Association (IPMAPA), Papua and Aceh Solidarity (PAP), Free Women (Perempuan Mahardika), Indonesian Student Horizon (CMI), Archipelago Studio (SN), the Aceh Student Garden (TPA), the Bima Student Community (KEPMA BIMA) and the Sulawesi Student Forum (FMS) Yogyakarta, demanding a full investigation into human rights violations in Papua.

In a speech, action coordinator Dede from Ternate, North Maluku, called for accountability from the Indonesian state which claims to respect human rights. (See: Hari HAM Dunia: AMP, Ipmapa, PAP, PM, CMI, SN, TPA, KEPMA BIMA, dan FMS Tuntut Usut Tuntas Pelanggaran HAM di Papua)

The FMS, which is part of SUP, also held a long march to commemorate International Human Rights Day from the Abu Bakar Ali parking area north of the Malioboro shopping district to the zero kilometre point.

Meanwhile one of the representatives of the Papuan students, Sony Dogopia, called on Yogyakarta Sultan Hamengkubuwono X to forward their demands urging the administration of President Widodo and Komnas HAM to look into human rights violations in Papua.

Similar actions were held in Jakarta, the Central Java city of Solo, the Central Java provincial capital of Semarang and several other cities in Indonesia. (HY/JI/JK/AY/Admin/MS)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the report was Peringati Hari HAM Sedunia: Mahasiswa Tuntut Usut Tuntas Kasus Pelanggaran HAM di Papua.]