Papua Council of Churches calls for dialogue, UN human rights council visit

CNN Indonesia – November 26, 2021
Indonesian military watch over protest action at Timika Indah airport in Mimika – August 21, 2019 (Antara)

Jakarta – The Papua Council of Churches says that the Indonesian government is still choosing the path of violence in dealing with the armed conflict in Papua.

Council member Pastor Benny Giay says that this conclusion is derived from the experience of how conflicts in Papua have been handled in the past and the recent situation, including the armed conflicts taking place in six regencies in Papua.

"Based on past experience and the most recent facts, we concluded that the Indonesian government is still choosing the path of violence in dealing with the Papua conflict", said Giay is a Moral Call by the Papua Council of Churches which CNN Indonesia received on Friday November 26.

Giay said that as a consequence of years and years of armed conflict, at least 60,000 Papuans have fled to the forests or to neighboring regencies.

Giay and three other pastors view this as part of what cannot be separated from the politics of systematic racism. They suspect that Buzzers are being used by Indonesian intelligence and pro-government groups.

These buzzers, said Giay, continue to spread hoaxes and news containing views which are anti-Papuan and are based on racist sentiments against the Papuan people.

The Papua Council of Churches is calling for the United Nations Human Rights Council (Dewan HAM PBB) to visit Papua to see the situation in Papua for themselves.

"(The Papua Council of Churches) is asking the Dewan HAM PBB to visit the land of Papua to see the situation for themselves, the prolonged suffering of Papuans for the last 58 years", said Giay.

They also said that it is time for the Indonesian government to put an end to racist policies.

Giay and the three other pastors also demanded that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo be consistent in realising the statement he made on September 30, 2019, namely a willingness to hold a dialogue with the pro-independence United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).

"Mediated by a third party as took place between the Indonesian government and the GAM (Free Aceh Movement) on August 15, 2005", said Giay.

Earlier, the Council said that at least 60,000 Papuans have sought shelter in the forests or neighboring regencies as a consequence of the armed conflict between the TNI (Indonesian military), the Polri (Indonesian police) and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB).

Armed confects are taking place in six regencies, namely Intan Jaya, the Bintang Mountains, Nduga, Yahukimo, Maybrat and Puncak Papua. "Around 60,000 people or more of Gods congregations have been displaced", said Giay.

Deputy Presidential Chief of Staff Jaleswari Pramodhawardani meanwhile has said that the government is managing the security situation in Papua and West Papua provinces in accordance with the law.

This was conveyed in response to a United Nations report in intimidation and violence against human rights activists in Papua.

"The government emphasis that the management of the security situation in Papua and West Papua provinces is being conducted in the framework of measured law enforcement and in accordance with the stipulations of Indonesian law", said Pramodhawardani in an SMS sent to CNN Indonesia on Wednesday September 29. (iam/pmg)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Gereja: Pemerintah Masih Ambil Jalan Kekerasan Atasi Konflik Papua".]