Human rights violations in Papua are very high, according to a three-year survey

JUBI, 20 January 2012

[A photograph at the beginning of the article shows three little boys squatting in the street and inhaling aibon.]

The Papuan branch of Komnas HAM, the National Commission  on Human Rights, believes that violations of economic, social and cultural rights  in Papua are very serious  and can be described as gross human rights violations.

The commission’s chairman for co-ordination, Adriana S. Walli, has drawn together a great deal of information in her review of the prospects for economic, social and cultural rights in Papua which she presented at a Focus Group Discussion which was held in Jayapura on 20 January.

According to Adriana, repression and ECOSOC violations have been perpetrated on a vast scale during the past three years .’These violations are occurring on a daily basis and can be identified as gross violations. However, she said, they are brushed aside as being nothing more than trivia.

She went on to say that there were two indicators for why these violations continue to occur. The first was the prevailing view that these violations were trivial, and the second was the lack of commitment of the government and various related agencies.

While presenting her data, Adriana  said that when she was carrying out her investigations during the past three years, she had come across  a great number of ECOSOC violations, especially in health, economic rights and children’s rights.

She drew attention to the fact that in the various hospitals, little had been done to improve the facilities. Many of the personnel were harking back to Dutch times. The supply of clean water is inadequate while there has been a big increase in the number of street children. Many of these youngsters consume alcohol and sniff dangerous substances such as aibon; they also participate in free sex practices, take drugs and so on.

Small indigenous Papuan traders have great difficulty obtaining credit to grow their businesses while they still use traditional methods to handle their finances.

The chairman of the Papuan branch of Komnas HAM, the National Commission on Human Rights, Julius Ongge, told the gathering that the  government of the province of Papua  must be held responsible for the implementation of ECOSOC rights. When local people call for  their basic rights such as customary rights and their rights to education and health, it is obligatory for the government to respond but what in fact happens is that they come face to face with the security forces.

‘Whenever people make demands for their rights, they confront many alarming accusations  and often have to face lengthy legal processes even they have done nothing wrong,’ he said.

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