KNPB wants police to retract claim they plan to disrupt Papua national games

Suara Papua – September 6, 2021
KNPB national spokesperson Ones Suhuniap giving press conference – Undated (SP)

Jayapura – West Papua National Committee (KNPB) spokesperson Ones Suhuniap is asking the Papua regional police to retract a statement that the KNPB are planning to disrupt the 20th National Gamers (PON XX) in Papua next month. According to the KNPB, this is a public lie and intended to shape public opinion.

This was in response to a statement by Papua regional police spokesperson Commissioner Ahmad Musthofa Kamal in a press release on Saturday September 5 which was quoted by CNN Indonesia.

Kamal said that the Papua regional police are anticipating demonstrations that will be taken advantage of by the KNPB to thwart or create rights during the Papua National Games in October.

Suhuniap explained that organisationally the KNPB has no plans to hold protest actions to thwart the games and that Kamal's statement is actually nothing more than a pretext.

"The Papua regional police should not scapegoat the KNPB for the sake of money, as if the KNPB are rioters or carry out anarchic acts in Papua. The KNPB has been around for a long time, for 13 years together with the Papuan people it has simply been asking the Indonesian government to give us our political rights through a democratic and peaceful act of self-determination", said Suhuniap.

Suhuniap said that what the KNPB has been doing up until now is holding peaceful actions. Any violence has in fact been committed by the authorities against mass actions though incitement and baseless arrests.

"At peaceful actions the authorities always create violence against demonstrators. The KNPB mediates the struggle of the ordinary Papuan people through peaceful [means]", said Suhuniap.

Suhuniap said that the KNPB has no plans to hold peaceful demonstrations or actions to thwart the games next month. Although he believes there is an effort to shape public opinion to stigmatise, criminalise and damage the KNPB's image by saying the KNPB carries out riots in Papua.

"But none of this is true. We also ask the regional police not to link the KNPB with the TPNPB [West Papua National Liberation Army]. We carry out activities and struggle peacefully as urban civilians in accordance with the law", said Suhuniap.

The one that violate the law are in fact the authorities who block or even use violence against mass actions peacefully conveying their views in public.

"Demonstrations are part of the civil and political rights guaranteed by law. Indonesia itself has already ratified the International Convent on Social and Political Rights", added Suhuniap.

Because of this, Suhuniap is asking the Papuan regional police and authorities in Papua to differentiate between the peaceful struggle by the KNPB and the armed struggle by the TPNPB. "There is no link between the TPNPB's activities and us as urban civilians", he said in conclusion.

Earlier, Kamal stated that the principle threat in Papua province was disturbances by armed criminal groups (KKB) and criminal political groups (KKP) and that they were anticipating demonstrations by the KNPB.

"The principle threat that exists in Papua province is disruption by KKB and KKP, what also needs to be anticipated is demonstrations taken advantage of by the KNPB to thwart [the games] or create riots during the PON XX Papua", Kamal said on Saturday as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

[Translated by James Balowski. Abridged slightly due to repetition. The original title of the article was "KNPB Tidak Memiliki Agenda Gagalkan PON XX Papua".]