UN writes to Jakarta seeking clarification on recent rights violations, access to Papua

CNN Indonesia – February 12, 2022
Armed vehicle deployed during unrest in Mimika – August 2017 (BBC)

Jakarta – The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council has written to the Indonesian government asking for data and clarification related to alleged forced disappearances, the use of excessive force, torture and forced relocation in Papua and West Papua provinces for the period 2021.

The UN document which was received by CNN Indonesia from a source has been confirmed by the Coordinating Ministry for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs.

In the letter dated December 22, the UN Special Procedures Mandate Holders (SPMH) submited a request for data, information and clarification on 11 points, including the number of people who have died, including civilians in clashes between the Free Papua Organisation (OPM) and the Indonesian military, how many indigenous Papuans have been arrested, information on the killing of civilian Patianus Kogoya along with his wife and family members, and an explanation about restrictions on access to Papua for the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), the International Red Cross and church workers.

Deputy for Foreign Policy Coordination Rina P. Soemarno has confirmed the UN's request.

"This is a normal process. We as a UN member state do receive questions such as this and the government needs to respond to them", Soemarno told CNN Indonesia in an SMS message on Saturday February 12.

Soemarno explained that communication from the UN's SPMH is not just sent to Indonesia but that the UN can request information from any member states.

The SPMH itself is a special procedure under the UN Human Rights Council which can receive reports from any person and request information and clarification on an incident or policy which is suspected or has the potential to be a human rights violation.

"This is not the first communication with the Indonesian government, and it's been frequent, repeated, the Indonesian government has answered these requests for information and clarification", she said.

Soemarno also said that the government will put together some facts to respond to the UN during a coordinating meeting between the ministry and related institutions under the Coordinating Ministry for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs.

"This is to obtain accurate information and facts on what has occurred in the field. Of course Indonesia's response needs to convey information and facts which are accurate", she said.

The coordinating meeting was to be held on Monday February 14. Soemarno said however that the meeting had to be postponed because many attendees were unable to be present in person or virtually.

"The meeting has been postponed to another time", she said. (tst/vws)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "PBB Surati RI Minta Klarifikasi Dugaan Penghilangan Paksa di Papua".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/internasional/20220212145049-106-758362/pbb-surati-ri-minta-klarifikasi-dugaan-penghilangan-paksa-di-papua