State accused of failing to protect women in Papua following shooting of mama

Suara Papua – November 11, 2021
Mama Agustina Undou being treated at Yokatapa community healthcare centre – November 10, 2021 (Istimewa)

Jayapura – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has strongly condemned the shooting of a mama (traditional women trader) allegedly committed by a TNI (Indonesian military) member in Mamba Village, Intan Jaya, Papua.

The mama who was shot, Agustina Ondou (24), is currently being treated for gunshot wounds by medical staff at a community healthcare centre (Puskesmas).

In a press release received by Suara Papua on Wednesday November 10, Kontras Coordinator Fatia Maulidiyanti said that the shooting of the mama has of course implications for the continuing humanitarian crisis in Papua.

Maulidiyanti explained that based on testimonies and information that they received, the shooting occurred when Ondou was returning home from shopping at Yokatapa. Upon arriving at the Mamba village, midway between the Amaesiga Village and the White Catholic Land Church (Mbai Bilitagipa), Ondou was shot in the right temple and right side by a bullet which pierced her stomach.

"We also see this incident as part of a series of illegal military operations in Intan Jaya which have caused the safety of Intan Jaya residents to increasingly come under threat", asserted Maulidiyanti.

Maulidiyanti continued saying that the shooting of Ondou adds to the string of evidence that illegal military operations in Intan Jaya in the context of a militaristic approach to handling the conflict are ineffective and only give rise to civilian casualties.

"With the frequent shooting of civilians by TNI members, in our view there is no political will from the government to withdraw security forces from the land of the Cendrawasih", she said.

As reported by Suara Papua, just in the period October 26 to November 9, conflicts in Intan Jaya have resulted in 10 people falling victim, two of which died. Others meanwhile have fled their homes.

This further confirms that the state has failed to guarantee the right to a sense of security as stipulated under Article 30 of Law Number 39/1999 on Human Rights.

The shooting of Ondou should be enough for the state to halt the militaristic and security approach to resolving the conflict in Papua. This approach has been proven to ineffective and failed to address the roots of the existing problems, because it only gives rise to continued civilian casualties.

"In our view this shooting violates several human rights stipulations at the national and international level such as the UNCAT [United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment] and the Human Rights Law which stipulates that all people have the right to freedom from torture, degrading punishment or treatment which is inhuman and demeans their human dignity. In addition to this, this incident also reflects the minimum protection for women from all forms of violence. In the context of this case, state officials moreover are the alleged perpetrators", she said.

Furthermore, it is not just the right to a sense of security and freedom from torture which continued to be violated by the conflict in Papua. The right to justice also continues to be violated because there has never been a legal mechanism which is transparent and accountable in resolving similar problems in the past.

Incidents such as this will of course continue because impunity is deeply rooted and there is no deterrent effect for the perpetrators of violence. In addition to this, the victim's rights to decent and effective rehabilitation are also ignored.

The shooting of Ondou, allegedly by a TNI member, also of course adds to a long series of bad incidents involving the TNI in the conflict in Papua. Yet the operations being carried out are not based upon a clear political decision by the state in the framework of military operations other than war (OMSP) as stipulated under the law on the TNI.

According to Maulidiyanti, this also contradicts the commitment made by the new TNI commander Andika Perkasa during his fit and proper test at the House of Representatives (DPR) on November 6, The new commander make a commitment to use a soft approach, not a war approach. In addition to this, Perkasa also pledged to prioritise communication in resolving the Papua conflict.

But only one week after this pledge was made before lawmakers, a TNI member allegedly shot an innocent civilian.

Based on the above, Kontras is therefore making the following demands:

First, that the police, in this case the Papua regional police, fully investigate the shooting of the mama in Intan Jaya through mechanisms which are just and accountable and to punish the perpetrator of the shooting.

Second, that the Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK) restore the rights of victims of shootings.

Three, that local government guarantees the right to a sense of security for civilians in Mamba Village, including refugees.

Forth, that the president and the DPR order a halt to and conduct a serious evaluation of the approach to resolving the conflict in Papua which is ridden with violence. A security and militaristic approach has been proven to have added to the number of victims, especially civilians.

Fifth, for the TNI to punish the alleged perpetrator in accordance with prevailing laws if they are proven to have carried out the shooting of civilians.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "KontraS: Negara Gagal Lindungi Hak Atas Rasa Aman Perempuan di Papua".]