Komnas HAM is gathering data about the 15 arrests in Skyline

Bintang Papua. 8 September 2011Although thirteen of the fifteen Papuans who were arrested on 31 August have since been released, the National Human Rights Commission’s  (Komnas HAM) Papua branch is continuing to pay serious attention to what happened, said Mathius Murib, deputy chairman of the commission. ‘We have been paying close attention to what has happened from the start up to the present moment,’ he said.

‘The proper procedures were not followed and the people who were detained were subjected to mal-treatment, and what is even more disturbing is that a child of 7 or 8 years old was kidnapped at the same time,’ he said.

After receiving complaints from the families of the victims, Komnas HAM decided to investigate the case.’Since receiving these complaints we have been conducting investigations which are still on-going.’

Commenting on allegations by the KNPB – National Committee for West   Papua –  that the events in Papua that preceded the arrests had been deliberately set up, especially the incidents in Jayapura, he said that we would need to have evidence that this was true. ‘People can express their opinion about this but everything needs to be based on careful investigations which can be properly accounted for.’

‘We need to know who was responsible, what the motivation was and whether the incidents were deliberately set up or not.’ When asked whether the incidents were being comprehensively investigated, he said  he said that a number of incidents had occurred one after the other, almost daily, cases that need to be handled by the police.Moreover, some people were involved in several of the incidents. ‘Is this a matter for the police or for the NGOs or for the Komnas HAM? Whatever the case, they must be dealt with, and it is mainly the responsibility of the police to do so.’

Asked whether the Komnas HAM was conducting its own investigations, he said that this would depend on whether it falls within its authority to do so. The procedure requires that there should be an official request. Komnas HAM could make recommendations but that is all. But basically it is the responsibility of the police.’

As yet, the government and the legislature have said nothing.  ‘Up until now, those who have been expressing their concern about the cases are the NGOs, the churches and Komnas HAM. But issuing statements is not enough; bodies need to do whatever  is within their authority in order to change things for the better.  This is a matter for the legislature which should exercise its powers to do so.’

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