by John Pakage for West Papua Media
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held a bilateral meeting at the presidential palace in Bogor, West Java, on Tuesday (20/03/2012). In the meeting, human rights abuses in Papua were also discussed.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon certainly knows in detail about the development of human rights abuses in Papua because he sought a diplomatic answer from the President of Indonesia.
“Papua is Indonesia and we are obliged to maintain its security, but if there are violations of human rights then there is law enforcement action,” said SBY.
Of course with this kind of diplomatic answer, SBY wants to hide the number of cases of gross human rights that have occurred, and are continuing to occur now in Papua. Only at few days before the arrival of Ban Ki-Moon to Indonesia, Forkorus Yoboisembut, Gladius Waromi Edison, Augustine M. Sananay Kraar, Selpius Bobii and Dominic Sorabut were sentenced 3 years in prison on Friday (16/3) with charges of treason for forming the state of West Papua.
The implementation of the Third Papuan People’s Congress went ahead with official permission from the Indonesian government, both from the central government and the police to hold a congress in Jayapura. But Indonesia’s military attacked and captured civilians at the Congress without first showing any arrest warrant, in accordance with Indonesian regulation.
Again and again, military and police forces shot live ammunition at civilians at the Congress, inconsistent with legal process, in stark contrast with Yudhoyono’s promises to Ban Ki-Moon at the Bogor Palace.
The multitude of human rights abuses in Papua, which is tightly closed by state policy that prohibits foreign media and international NGOs from entering Papua, gave rise to human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson (lawyer for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange) calling on new Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, to immediately urge Indonesia to open Papua up, and allow incoming international NGOs into Papua to conduct human rights investigations independently (see Radio Australia, March 20, 2012).
Indonesia’s policy to cover up human rights abuses in Papua has been harshly rebuked by Human Rights institutions around the world; (see for instance a press release by Franciscans International, TAPOL, the Asian Human Rights Commission, Faith Based Network on West Papua (FBN) and West Papua Network.)
Legal rights agencies lament the unjust decision facing the five civilians who were detained while organising the Papuan Congress, sentenced to three years in prison. According to these institutions, the Congress was a form of free expression and a fundamental tenet of democracy for communicating opinions.
In addition, humanitarian agencies deplore the attitude of the Indonesian military who with full weaponry arsenal stormed and attacked the Congress participants. This Indonesian Military attack and killed several Papuan civilians. (See: Franciscans International, Release March 16, 2012.)
Ban Ki-Moon is certainly more aware now of what has happened in Papua since 1969 when Indonesia invaded Papua. So SBY’s diplomatic answer of “SBY diplomacy” might make the number one person in the world confused.
Ban Ki-Moon also mentioned that South Sudan is an example of an area of extended conflict that has embraced the process of ending its fighting. The UN successfully held a referendum for citizens to determine their aspirations – and they chose independence from the Sudan.
Of course the conditions of ongoing human rights abuses in Papua, covered up by the state policy of denying access to foreign media and international NGOs to Papua, could by its very nature invite a humanitarian intervention to end the conflict in Papua, with (or without) the Indonesian government.
- Pulling together: Solidarity Work and western aid to the Indonesian police and military (westpapuamedia.info)
- Forkorus’ and Four Others’ Sentence Violates Human Rights Law (westpapuamedia.info)
- Detachment 88 and counter-terrorism in Indonesia: The Wire (westpapuamedia.info)
- Open Letter from Forkorus and Edison Waromi to International Community (westpapuamedia.info)
- Rallies calling on Ban Ki-Moon to protect Papuans to be held across Papua and Australia, on March 19 (westpapuamedia.info)