Singgih Wiryono, Jakarta – The Civil Society Coalition for Security Sector Reform and Humanity for Papua is urging President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to abandon the security approach in Papua following the riot in Wamena on February 23.
Coalition member from the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI), Julius Ibrani, said that the security approach must stop in order to break the cycle of violence that is occurring in places like Wamena.
"We urge the president to stop the security approach that has been pursued up until now by the government in Papua, so as to break the cycle of violence that is occurring", said Ibrani in a press release on Friday March 3.
In addition to this, the Coalition also urged Widodo to order National Police Chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo and TNI (Indonesian military) Commander Marshal Yudo Margono to conduct a professional investigation into the officers alleged to have been involved in the Wamena riot.
Not only that, the investigation must also be done transparently and accountably. "We (are also) calling for an independent state institution to actively conduct an investigation into this case in accordance with the scope of their authority", said
The group also urged the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to conduct an investigation into alleged gross human rights violations that occurred during the incident.
A call was also directed at General Prabowo to conduct a total evaluation on the use of force when police are carrying out their duties. The Coalition also asked Widodo to form and independent team with civil society representatives to conduct an evaluation of the use of force by police.
"Finally, we urge the president and the DPR [the House of Representatives] to immediately promote a concrete agenda of sustainable police reform that is structural, instrumental and cultural for the sake of ensuring that the work of police is professional", said Ibrani.
Speaking in relation to the Wamena riot, Papua Regional Police Chief Inspector General Marhius D. Fakhiri said that the riot was triggered by the abduction of a child.
"The riot in Wamena was triggered by a hoax or an issue that was untrue about the abduction of an underage child", said Fakhiri in Mimika, Central Papua, on Friday February 24.
"It was this that the Jayawijaya Polres [district police] responded to, to stop people taking the law into their own hands in accordance with my instructions to follow up on an issue that was untrue and was circulating among the public. But the situation that occurred was instead the reverse". He said.
According to Fakhiri, initially the police only wanted to stop a group of residents – who had accused two traders of abducting the children – from taking the law into their own hands.
However there was a group of people who suddenly arrived and caused the situation to get out of control so security forces were forced to take firm action.
Fakhiri said that officers in the field were overwhelmed in the face of a crowd who were furious, out of control and acting in an anarchic way.
So in the end a riot broke out resulting in the death of 12 people. Eighteen security personnel and 32 civilians were also injured.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Koalisi Masyarakat Sipil Desak Presiden Hentikan Pendekatan Keamanan di Papua Usai Peristiwa Wamena".]