Urgent need for Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Human Rights Court in Papua

Press Release from LP3BHLaw 21/2001 on Special Autonomy for Papua as amended by Law 35/2008 states the following in article 46, para (1): ‘In order to strengthen unity of the people in the province of Papua, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission should be set up while Article 46 reads as follows: ‘ Within the framework of strengthening unity and unanimity, a Trth and Reconciliation shall be set up.’

‘The task of the Commission (KKR) shall be (a) to reach a clarification of Papuan history to solidify unity and unanimity of the nation within the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia and (b) to draft measures towards reconciliation.’

In further elucidation of Article 46, it states the need for reconciliation which shall include the acknowledgement of errors, the need for apology, the offer of forgiveness, peace, the rule of law, amnesty, rehabilitation or other alternatives  necessary to upholding the sense of justice with the community in order to uphold unity and unanimity.

In the opinion of LP3BH-Manokwari, the Association for Research, Advocacy and Development of Legal Aid,  a Commission for Truth and Reconciliation is an integral  part of the implementation of special autonomy that should as a matter of urgency be implemented the Indonesian Government and the regional government in the Land of Papua, namely the governments of Papua and West Papua.

The formation of the KKR is very urgent. There are four issues that need to be dealt with: first, the marginalisation and effective discrimination against the indigenous Papua people as a result of economic developments; political conflicts; and the mass in-migration into Papua since the 1970s.Affirmative action needs to be taken in order to empower the indigenous Papuan people.

The second problem is the failure of development, especially in education, health and economic empowerment. This requires  new paradigms directed towards development that is focussed on improving public services so as to advance the welfare of indigenous Papuans living in the kampungs.

The third issue is the contradiction between the history and political identities of Papua and Indonesia. This problem can only be resolved by means of dialogue such such happened in Aceh.

The fourth issue is the responsibility for state violence committed against Indonesian citizens in Papua. This needs reconciliation between  a human rights court and the truth; to uphold the rule of law and justice for the victims, their families and all Indonesian citizens now living in Papua.

The way to resolve the third and fourth issues  means, according LP3BH, the formation of a truth and reconciliation commission and the setting up of a human rights court in Papua. This is very urgent and pressing and requires the support both of the Indonesian Government and and the governments of the provinces of Papua and West Papua and the various legislative assemblies (DPRP and DRP PB) Why is this so? Because the  historic contradictions and the political identities between Papua and Jakarta all too frequently become the trigger for social-political conflicts  in the Land of Papua. It frequently happens that  when Papuans take action to express their political aspirations in the form of peaceful demonstrations or events held to mark the anniversary of Papuan independence day on 1 December or the anniversary of  the independence of the West Melanesian Republic on 14 December, these incidents become politicised by the state and treaed as criminal acts by the security forces (POLRI) with the arrest of activists of peaceful demonstrators who are then accused of MAKAR or of disturbing the public order and treated as a criminal act in accordance with the criminal code (KUHP).

The security forces frequently use violence amounting to human rights abuses  towards victims either in the form of physical violence or violation of their rights as guaranteed in the KUHAP – the criminal procedural code.

On the other hand, ever since the Act of Free Choice (PEPERA), gross violations of human rights  have been committed by the military against Papuan civilians who are killed, tortured or forcibly disappeared.  Anything between 500 and 1,000 Papuan civilians have been murdered, tortured, forcibly disappeared, and subjected to other forms of violence by members f the military forces (TNI) in virtually all the towns and cities  such as Jayapura, Merauke, Fakfak, Sorong, Manokwari and Biak. In Biak, a number of Papuans who work in the civil service as teachers, nurses, as well as people working for private enterprises, as well as those who worked during the Dutch period  in Serui, Nabire and Biak have been arrested and imprisoned for more than two years at the TNI naval base in Biak.

In addition, properties have been unlawfully and forcibly seized from homes and shops belonging to Chinese inhabitants by members of the armed forces, it being alleged that  they are assets owned by the OPM, which is used as justification. The civilian community in the Land of Papua have themselves felt how  the Indonesian military security forces  entered people’s homes and seized people’s belongings such as transistor radios, tinned food and drinks from The Netherlands All these things were confiscated by the Indonesian military apparatus in 1969 and taken off to Java.

All this has left feelings of bitterness and hatred among the civilian population in the Land of Papua going back many years, which are still being felt today. This is what the Rev. Benny Giay calls Memoria Pasionis.

According to the LP3BH, these matters should have been settled many years ago in accordace with international standards and basic human rights principles.

The LP3BH therefore makes the following demands:

1.    The Indonesian Government should pay attention to the political need to immediately set up a Commission of Truth and Reconciliation in implementation of Law 21/2001, as well as set up a human rights court in Papua.

2.   The provincial governments in Papua and West Papua  should immediately introduce regulations with regard to  the creation of the KKR, its composition, location, and its mode of operation as well as its funding.

3. The DPRP and the DPR PB should take the initiative and play a key role in efforts to set up the KKR and the human rights court in Papua as the  way to solve the social-political conflicts which have continued to persist  from 1969 up to the present day., which should be continued into the future but which have until now been regarded as matters of no importance, and about which nothing has at yet been done to comply with universal legal standards  and basic human rights.

Manokwari, 27 May 2011

Yan Christian Warinussy, SH

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