The Past That Has Not Passed: Human Rights Violations in Papua Before and After Reformasi

June 28, 2012

joint report released today by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (ELSHAM-Papua) provides important insight into the ongoing debate on steps required to achieve a sustainable peace in Papua.

Based on more than 100 interviews carried out in 2011 in the districts of Sorong, Manokwari, Biak, and Paniai, the report reviews Papua’s recent history, including the Special Autonomy Law governing the relationship between the Papua province and Indonesia, within a transitional justice framework. It also reveals new information provided in testimonies by victims and witnesses who experienced human rights violations going back to the earliest days of Indonesia’s history as a nation.

“Even as we were conducting this research, new outbreaks of violence and cases of gross human rights violations continued to take place,” said Ferry Marisan, director of ELSHAM. “We interviewed more than 100 victims, many of whom have deep feelings of distrust that are deeply rooted in the past and present experiences of human rights abuse. Official acknowledgement of this violent past is a prerequisite to building peace in Papua,” he added.

“Unless these grievances are not only recognized, but also addressed in a practical way, reconciliation will remain elusive”
Unless these grievances are not only recognized, but also addressed in a practical way, reconciliation will remain elusive. A comprehensive transitional justice strategy could provide effective redress, and should include truth-seeking, criminal accountability, reparations, institutional reform to prevent recurrence of human rights violations, and a focus on the rights of indigenous women.

“The Indonesian government must urgently develop a comprehensive policy for dealing with this legacy of past violations. We are at risk of repeating the past through using force to deal with unrest, instead of opening a process of genuine dialogue. The first step is acknowledgment,” said Galuh Wandita, ICTJ’s senior associate.

Download the full publication here

This joint report by ICTJ and the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (ELSHAM-Papua) provides important insight into the ongoing debate on steps required to achieve a sustainable peace in Papua. The report reviews Papua’s recent history within a transitional justice framework, and provides expert recommendations on truth seeking, justice, reparations, institutional reform, and enforcing the rights of women victims. Based on more than 100 interviews carried out in 2011 in the districts of Sorong, Manokwari, Biak, and Paniai, the report reviews Papua’s recent history, including the Special Autonomy Law governing the relationship between the Papua province and Indonesia, within a transitional justice framework.

Date published:
6/28/2012

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