Neles Tebay calls for an end to repression and suppo

Bintang Papua, 26 October 2011The head of the Theology and Philosophy College, STFT, Pastor Neles Tebay, speaking after the acts of violence which occurred during the Third Papuan Peoples’ Congress, said that the violence had had a significant impact on the victims of the incident. He said that the security forces had entered the residences of the priests as well as the campus without prior permission and started looking for the Congress participants. This had resulted in material and psychological damage for all those who were staying at the STFT campus.

Speaking at a press conference after the event, he said that they were not concerned about the material damage which had been done but were concerned about the use of physical violence against people who had attended the Congress, which had also impacted on the broader community. He said that every effort should be made to ensure that such acts of violence do not occur again any time in the future. He stressed that the entire faculty of the STFT rejects the use of all kinds of repression in dealing with the problems. Using violence undermines the dignity of all concerned, above all the dignity of the victims as well as the perpetrators.

He said that it was very regrettable that the security forces appear to believe that they have the monopoly of the truth about what happened  and believe that the brothers and fathers residing on the STFT complex had acted wrongfully simply because they provided protection  to people who were fleeing and who were in need of protection, in accordance with universal principles in a situation where people’s personal safety was under threat. ‘It is the duty of the brothers and fathers to provide protection to people who are being chased and under threat from the security forces, in accordance with the principle of humanitarianism, and is not in any way connected with political issues.’

Pastor Neles called on Komnas HAM, the National Human Rights Commission, to investigate the acts of violence that occurred at the end of the Third Papuan People’s Congress in order to determine the extent to which basic human rights had been violated.

Recalling the commitment of the SBY government expressed on 16 August 2011 when the President said that  Papua should be handled with the heart, he fully supported  the call for dialogue between Jakarta and Papua. He said that dialogue would  be of tremendous importance not only as a way of ending the violence but so as to ensure that there would be no further repetition of violence in the  Land of Papua.

He called  on all people of goodwill to jointly  press for dialogue, for the sake of peace in Papua. Dialogue would make it possible to identify the problems and reach an agreement on the way to solve the problems in Papua in a way that is free of violence and bloodshed.

He also admitted that he was the one who had given the Congress permission to use the Zakheus Soccer Pitch as the venue of the Congress. He had done so because the Congress had been refused permission to hold the event either in the UNCEN Auditorium or in the Sports Stadium, GOR.

[Translated by TAPOL]

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