Protesters arrested in Sorong at rally against Papuan special autonomy

Suara Papua – July 19, 2021
Protesters being taken to Sorong district police headquarters – July 19, 2021 (Istimewa)

Jayapura – A number of demonstrators from the People's Front Against Special Autonomy Chapter II were reportedly arrested and taken to the Sorong city municipal police headquarters when they wanted to hold a peaceful demonstration in front of the Sorong Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) on Monday July 19.

Some of those arrested and taken away were reportedly in the process of giving speeches.

Earlier, the liaison officer for the group told Suara Papua that in the 20 years of special autonomy (Otsus) in Papua it has not brought any significant changes, whether it be in terms of education, the economy or healthcare.

Moreover, under special autonomy there has been no protection or empowerment for the people in Papua.

"Otsus has been unable to protect the human rights of the Papuan people who are said to be the object of Otsus itself. If we look at the era of special autonomy, it has been proved that many human rights violations have been committed by the Indonesian state through its military, such as killings, rapes, coercion, shootings and sexual harassment against Papuan women", wrote the group in a release received by Suara Papua on Sunday July 18.

Then, the group continued, racial discrimination in the legal, political and social sectors still often occurs in a way that is structured and massive. But all of these problems are born out of special autonomy which has been covered up by the government by development masked as welfare in Papua.

"The government always lies to the Papuan people about the success of Otsus through the government media which is specifically used for propaganda in order to convince the Papuan people about Otsus which has actually failed", they asserted.

Special autonomy was given to the Papuan people as a sweetener to contain the real wishes being articulated by the Papuan people. Then the ones who enjoy the substance of special autonomy are the Jakarta elite and the national bourgeois and oligarchy with interests in Papua.

"The new revisions to the Otsus Law in Papua represent the wishes of the national bourgeois to pursue their economic and political interests in the land of Papua. If we were to agree with Otsus Chapter Two, then we ourselves would carry the future of the nation, our grandchildren and [next] generation towards to the precipice", they said in conclusion.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Polisi Angkut Sejumlah Demonstran dari FRP Tolak Otsus di Sorong".]