Civil Society Coalition: Reflections on Human Rights in the Papuan Special Autonomy era

Press Release issued by the Coalition of Civil Society to Uphold Human Rights in the Land of Papua

Special Autonomy – OTSUS – came into being at a time of struggle when the Papuan people had become the objects of development, resulting in  many incidents of violence and human rights violations over many years. This was acknowledged in the introductory paragraphs of the OTSUS law and Articles 45- 47 of OTSUS,   in which the State acknowledged that mistakes had been made. There were hopes that an era of truth would emerge by means of creating peace and the right to life for the people of Papua. At the same time, however, there were groups who were against the enactment of OTSUS.

After being in force for nine years, these hopes have not been realised in accordance with expectations. There have been a numebr of  very serious  cases, such as Warior, Wamenda, Puncak Jaya, Tingginambu, Serui, Abepura and UNCEN, Mamberamo, Nabire, Manokwari and the arrest of a number of pro-democracy activists, the most recent of which being threats against journalists that have occurred with increasing intensity during the course of 2010. During 2010, there were at least five acts of violence against journalists . In July 2010, Ardiansyah Matrais who worked for Merauke TV and the JUBI tabloid was found dead after having received threats and being followed in Keerom, a typical example of cases that have occurred during the OTSUS era.

None of these cases have been properly resolved by legal procedures as required by the law, meaning that the people of Papua have no sense that the perpetrators have been brought to justice by the State.

The situation had been made even worse because the civil authorities in Papua have created the impression that they exert no authority or are too weak to handle cases of human rights violations. None of the civil authorities, the DPRP, the MRP or the Governor, have raised their voices or offered to mediate with institutions in power  whenever violence has been  experienced by civil society, meaning that there has been a virtual absence of control by the civil authorities. Even worse is the fact that the human rights agendas of OTSUS have been completely neglected and have been given no place whatever in the policy of development in Papua.

We members of the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations feel deeply concerned at and mourn the death of the enforcement of human rights and peace in the Land of Papua. We therefore propose the following to all those who have an interest in the Land of Papua.

1.  The Central Government

Should promotee and foster dialogue between Papua and Jakarta for a compehensive solution to all the problems in Papua that have occurred since Papua was integrated into the Republic of Indonesia/NKRI because OTSUS has been incapable of becoming the final solution in restoring relations between Jakarta and Papua.

The central government should, starting now, change its view  of Papua as an  area of conflict because such an attitude  can only cause continuing political crises in Papua because of the security approach and the use of the law. Experience has shown that such an approach has failed to end resistance  by the Papuan people, even causing the emergence of new Papuan movements.

End all forms of stigmatisation of the Papuan people because this is deeply humiliating for the Papuan people who have ceased to have any confidence in development undertaken by the central government in Papua.

Evaluate and reconsider that policy of dispatching non-organic troops to Papua because  many cases have occurred as a result of the presence of these troops and have resulted in new problems within society, while revealing a lack of sensitivity for the local values of the people.

The government should make public the size of the defence budget for the deployment of troops to Papua because these funds are extracted from the state budget, while the public in Papua, especially the Papuan people, should know what are the objectives of all this, how many personnel are involved, the locations where they are deployed and the amount of the funds being used for all this during the course of a single year.

To enhance human rights policies that take sides with the victims in the Land of Papua. This is because there is the erroneous view that the problems in Papua are only about the economy. As long as the central government persists in holding this view, disturbances will continue to occur in Papua.

The police force must act professionally in the performance of their duties and not discriminate against the Papuan people when they uphold their basic rights as citizens, while at the same time striving to restore confidence in the police.

Treat all prisoners in accordance with the procedures in force and the rule of law, so as to safeguard dignity and humanitarianism while steering clear of all arbitrary treatment, in particular ending the practice of torture.

The use of military courts as has recently occurred in Jayapura is proof that these military tribunals are incapable of creating a sense of justice for the victims and among  the public and are far removed from the basic human rights standards adopted by the Indonesian Government with its ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by the adoption of law 5/1998 which established the basis for fair trials.

2. The Government of Papua.

It should never forget or neglect  the human rights agenda in policies pursued in the Land of Papua, because up until now, more  emphasis has been placed on the economy and welfare. There must be a balance between these two agendas.

Treat all prisoners in accordance with the rule of law, guaranteeing people’s sense of dignity and humanitarianism  and avoid all arbitrary actions, in particular the practice of torture.

The Governor, the DPRP and the MRP  should coordinate with each other and respond quickly to cases of violence  and human rights violations in the Land of Papua. The absence of such an attitude  is proof that these civil institutions have no commitment to upholding human rights in Papua and will only intensify public mistrust of these institutions in the eyes of the Papuan people.

All programmes regarding the economy and welfare should be gender specific  and take the side of the victims of human rights violations, in particular taking due regard for the education and health of the victims and their families including the granting of reparations.

To immediately set up a team to draft a special regulation  (Perdasus) for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Human Rights Court as provided for in OTSUS, bearing in mind that these matters have not been dealt with during the nine years since OTSUS was enacted, and have been forgotten altogether.

Jayapura, 9 December 2010

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