Violence is being perpetrated to reinforce merdeka aspirations

Bintang Papua, 2 June 2011 Much abridged in translation by TAPOL


NII actions were clearly subversive but were not handled with violence as was happening in Papua

According to the three Papuan church leaders, Rev. Benny Giay of the GKI, Rev Socrates Sofyan Yoman of the Papuan Alliance of Baptist Churches and Pastor Elly Doirebo, the acts of violence being continually committed by the security forces are a deliberate tactic to radicalise Papuan people and reinforce the freedom aspirations of the Papuan people.

They mentioned several recent incidents such as the raising of a banner with the words ‘Papua, a Land of Peace’, by the TNI/Polri (army and police) on 1 June. Things like this are happening time and again. ‘It’s as if the security forces have been given a blank cheque, for these actions that are completely outside our control.’ they said in a press conference.

Yet, when there was a meeting attended by the bishops and all the church leaders, to launch the book ‘Mission of the Church and the Culture of Violence in Papua’, in 2006, some good ideas were formulated about giving space to our congregations, to our flock, to discuss Papua as a Land of Peace, they have never responded to these ideas.

Pastor Elly Doirebo said they were discussing these matters because conditions in Papua have indeed been peaceful for many years.. The indigenous Papuan community was living peacefully. ‘We Papuans are living within the framework of the special autonomy law, OTSUS, but Indonesians see us in a different light,’ he said.

At Easter time, we ask all people to think about these acts of violence.

From 30 May – 2 June, three Papuans, Anggen Pugu, Tunaliwor Kiwo and Telengga Gire were tortured by members of the TNI at Kwanggok Nalime in the district of Tingginambut.

On 15 September 2010, a member of Brimob shot two civilians, Naftali Kwan, 50 yrs, and Sapinus Kwan, 40 yrs who were injured when they fell into a ditch while fleeing from the security forces.

Then there was themurder of Derek Adii in Nabire on 14 May, 2011, and the stabbing of Gerald Pangkali outside the korem command by two members of the army, and acts of violence in Abepura and the unfurling of the banners referred to above, with many false public statements.being made by the authorities.

‘We see all these actions as an attempt by the state apparatus to radicalise the Papuan people and inflame the Papuan people’s aspirations, which they can then use to arrest or murder our people. They inflame these actions and then they are the ones to reap the harvest. They are sowing the seeds of hatred so as to be able to give themselves licence to conduct security operations , as well as to promote themselves and raise their ranks.

When asked what the churches were doing to try to prevent such things from happening, Rev Benny Giay said they were trying hard to raise people’s consciousness because as things stand at present, we feel we are not in control of the situation. ‘These acts of violence foster yet more acts of violence.’

Rev Socrates said that the people want dialogue. Our problems cannot be solved with the use of arms and spreading violence was just a waste of energy.

He said that the Indonesian government was discriminating between different movements. Why for instance was the NII (an Islamic movement) which was clearly a subversive movement being allowed to continue with their activities without being handled with violence. He also said that Indonesia was pursuing economic interests and security interests, with the Papuan people being the victims.

The church leaders used the occasion of Easter to follow the call of Jesus Christ and his message of peace.

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