Lawyers oppose criminalisation of the nurses in Papua

JUBI, 17 March 2011

A team of ten lawyers acting on behalf of the eight nurses from DokII General Hospital in Jayapura [who are now under arrest] have told the Papuan Provincial Administration that it is not right for the nurses to have been criminalised by the police. It would be far better to enter into dialogue as the way of solving the case.

‘We dont agree with the decision to criminalise the nurses, and we also dont agree with the disruption in healthcare services. We believe that there is space for a dialogue between the governor of Papua, the hospital director and the nurses at the hospital to seek a solution to the case, said Yusman Conoras, one of the ten lawyers.

Another lawyer, Olga Helena Hamadi, said that the nurses had indeed held a demonstration and a strike. These actions had given voice to the feelings of many people. ‘But the issue should be carefully examined in order to understand why they had done these things,’ she said. She said they had taken action because they had not been paid. They had been working hard but their rights had not been respected. She said that the matter should not be handled by the police because it relates to an internal matter which should be resolved with the government and the Papuan legislative assembly.

She warned that the continued detention of the nurses could only further complicate matters and trigger a major problem..

A press release issued by the lawyers expresed deep concern that the issue of the nurses had not yet been resolved. They were also concerned about two decisions taken by the provincial government, namely Decision No 125 concerning the payment of incentives, and then the subsequent decision to cancel the incentive payments.

The lawyers acting for the nurses include Lativa Anum Sireger, Dominggus Frans, Pieter Ell, Olga Helena Hamadi, Corry Silpa, Simon Patirajawane, Eliezer Murafer, Jimm Ell, and Yusman Conoras.


Bintang Papua, 16 March 2011


The director of the Institute to Strengthen Civil Society in Papua, Budi Setyanto said that the police should have avoided taking excessive action which has cast suspicions on the nurses who took part in a demonstration and went on strike and were eventually detained and arrested.

The actions that they took were their spontaneous response, based on a sense of solidarity among members of the nursing profession. When approached by Bintang Papua for his reaction to the arrest of the nurses, Budi Setyanto said that the nurses should not have to face criminal charges. ‘If they did indeed take strike action which led to an interruption in the delivery of public services as DokII General Hospital, they should only face administrative sanctions, not criminal charges.’

Instruction no. 125 issued by the governor that was subsequently withdrawn happened because the policy had not been properly socialised. He said that the issue concerning the nurses need not have been taken to such an extreme.

Setyanto suggested that the initial approach to the case should be ‘to give guidance to the nurses which I am sure they will be able to understand. If they stand firm by what they have done and don’t want to go on providing their services to the public, they should be asked whether they would like to resign. If they don’t want to continue with their duties, that would be an end to the matter,’ he said.

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