Rights commission says labeling Papua armed groups terrorists won't solve problem

Kompas.com – April 29, 2021
Komnas HAM Commissioner Amiruddin Al-Rahab at press conference in Jakarta – September 25, 2019 (Kompas)

Rahel Narda Chaterine, Jakarta – National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) Deputy Commissioner Amiruddin Al-Rahab said he is disappointed with the government's decision to pin the terrorist label on armed criminal groups (KKB) in Papua.

"I today Pak Menko [Mr Security Chief] announced that the solution is to add the terrorist label, speaking frankly I feel disappointed with this", said Al-Rahab as quoted by the Antara state news agency on Thursday April 29.

Al-Rahab believes that it is more important to prioritise transparent, just and accountable law enforcement as the way to resolve the Papua problem rather than labeling armed groups in Papua terrorist. "It is far more important to prioritise this rather then transforming labels", he said.

According to Al-Rahab, the labels used for armed groups in Papua have often been changed but this not brought about any change whatsoever in Papua.

Armed groups in Papua, according to Al-Rahab, were once called separatist groups, then armed separatist criminal groups (KKSB), and now terrorists. "There's been no change the situation [in Papua] is just the same", he said.

Furthermore, he is also concerned that there will be an escalation of violence in the field after the armed groups have been categorised as terrorists.

He also then questioned the legal process that will be pursued and the reaction from parties in Papua over the terrorist labeling of armed groups.

Because of this, according to Al-Rahab, Komnas HAM believes that it is more important to prioritise transparent law enforcement rather than labeling armed groups.

"I say all this because KKBs are something that is unclear. What is a KKB. Where do the KKB reside. The KKBs are not an organisation", he said.

Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Menko Polhukam) Mahfud MD announced earlier that armed groups in Papua have been included in the category of terrorist organisations.

Mahfud said that the labeling of armed groups as terrorists is in accordance with Law Number 5/2018 on Revisions to Law Number 15/2003 on enacting into law Government Regulation in Lieu of Law Number 1/2002 on the Eradication of Terrorism.

"The government considers that organisations and people in Papua that commit widespread violence are categorised as terrorists", said Mahfud during a press conference broadcast on the Ministry's YouTube channel on Thursday.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Wakil Ketua Komnas HAM Kecewa Pemerintah Tetapkan KKB di Papua sebagai Teroris".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2021/04/29/18353051/wakil-ketua-komnas-ham-kecewa-pemerintah-tetapkan-kkb-di-papua-sebagai