UNCEN students call for an end to stigmatisation

24 October, 2012A number of students from Cenderawasih University (UNCEN) took  part in a rally outside the office of the DPRP, the Legislative Assembly of Papua, calling for an end to the stigma of makar (treason), separatism and terrorism against indigenous Papuans. One speaker, Yason Ngelia  said he was very concerned about the crackdown on the demonstration held on the previous day in Manokwari.

‘Is this how you treat a demonstration in this country, using firearms  as a result of which some people have been injured? We demand justice for our friends who became victims of terror and intimidation during the rally in Manokwari,’ he said

The chairman of BEM (?) at the Faculty of Law at UNCEN said that the military command post at Waena should be closed down because there is already a security group in the university. ‘Troops frequently  maltreat  people who are found drunk. This is in violation of the law  although the soldiers say that  they are here to protect the community, said Musa Sama.

‘We call for the release of the eleven student activists. some of whom were shot.’

The army post is not inside the university campus  but in a public place, near shops along Jalan  Kampwolker.

Another speaker said that there is no  democratic space for students to give expression to their aspirations. ‘The military should not be searching our dormitories  on the pretext that the they are searching for people who are on the wanted list.’ He said that all their belongings such as the eleven laptops  that were seized should be handed back

Another UNCEN activist  said that the demo was intended as  an action against corruption and to commemorate the Third Papuan Congress in 2011, yet these actions were banned by the security forces. According to Law 9/1998 about freedom of expression, the police do not have the right to issue permits but only to regulate the traffic.

‘The stigmas of separatism, treason and terrorism were used by the police to refuse to grant a permit for the rally, but this is against the law. We are being denied any space for democracy by the security forces. This can only lead to an accumulation of disappoinments  which could explode into the open during the forthcoming elections. ‘The lack of democratic space will become a boomerang for the government,’ said Benyamin Gurik.

In  response to the calls being made by the students, a member of the DPRP, John Rustam said that he would raise these issues at the next meeting of Commission A which handles these matters.

He said that the demands of the students were for an end to the abuse of human rights and for their right to express their aspirations publicly which until now has been silenced. The army is continually intervening as a result of which there is no security on campus while many students are being hunted down

Another official said that the students had now been released but they were being interrogated.

[Translated by TAPOL]


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