Leaders of two of the main churches in Papua, the Kingmi Church and the Alliance of Baptist Churches in Papua, say that many of their church members are now afraid to leave their homes in the evening.
The chairman of the Baptist Alliance, the Revd Socratez Sofyan Yoman said that the efforts by the Papuan people to transform West Papua into a zone of peace are being obstructed by certain forces. The recent series of shootings is turning Papua into an Emergency Zone.
According to the Rev. Socrates, the core of the conflict in Papua is greed on the part of those who violate human rights. The Indonesian government is dealing with the situation in Papua by strengthening the repressive security forces, the TNI and the police, while paying no attention to the health and educational needs of the Papuan people.
‘The government continues to split the province up into more districts in order to be able to increase the number of the security forces,’ he said.
The actions of the government could result in the emergence of youth groups who will fight for the aspirations of the Papuan people by peaceful means. Rev Socrates urged the Indonesian government to enter into discussions as soon as possible with representatives of the Papuan people in order to create a permanent state of peace in Papua as a way of reducing the the process of radicalisation of the young people which is further promoted by acts of violence and the neglect of human rights abuses.
He also called upon the international human rights institution of the United Nations to do what it can to help reduce the crimes being committed in Papua. He called upon his own congregation to remain vigilant and do everything they can to preserve an atmosphere of peace and prevent the actions of those who are trying to make the conditions worse.
The Rev. Benny Giay said that the people live in a sate of fear because of the situation in Jayapura that has developed in the past two months and said that the there is no end to the shootings even though the city of Jayapura is more controllable than mountainous regions such as Puncak Jaya and Timika
With regard to the recent statement by the chief of the intelligence agency BIN that the people doing the shooting have come from the mountains, the Rev. Giay said that the BIN agency chief should take action to arrest the people responsible for the shooting instead of raising new issues which do nothing help to clarify the situation.
He also said that the policies being pursued by the government such as setting up the UP4B (development unit) are not rooted among the Papuan people. ‘The Papuan people cannot understand the policies that the govrnment is pursuing. The central and provincial governments should respond to what the Papuan people have been yearning for for years. ‘Only the Papuan people can know what conditions are necessary for the sustenance of their lives.
[Translated by TAPOL]
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- Violence reinforces Papua’s independence aspirations, say church leaders (westpapuamedia.info)
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