Warinussy: Poor Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Indonesia

by Yan Christian Warinussy


October 25, 2012

The Government of Indonesia is lacking political commitment and has failed to take a clear stand in providing a safe, comfortable working environment for human rights defenders in Indonesia. They are not protected while carrying out their professional activities in various areas in Indonesia, particularly in conflict areas such as the Land of Papua (Papua and West Papua).

This has been proved by various types of physical intimidation towards human rights workers in the Land of Papua such as Theo Hesegem (an activist from the Papua Peace Network in Wamena), Peneas Lokbere (Coordinator of BUK in Jayapura), lawyer Olga Helen Hamadi (Coordinator of KontraS Papua in Jayapura), Fanny Kogoya (Coordinator of Walhi Papua in Jayapura) and most recently Octovianus Pogau (an online media journalist for Papuan Voice and contributor for an English language media outlet based in Jakarta), who was intimidated by members of the Manokwari police force last Tuesday (23/10).

Theo Hesegem received the same threats as those received by Peneas Lokbere and Olga Hamadi; they were visited and threatened with violence, as they undertook advocacy in relation to various cases where human rights violations have been indicated in Jayapura and Wamena. Fanny Kogoya has received some extremely brutal threats; her house has been ransacked, and it was suspected that this was carried out by police intelligence agents, in complete disregard of the law and human rights principles laid out in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Oktovianus Pogau in Manokwari was attacked by police forces from Manokwari Police District Command as he carried out his journalistic work following the KNPB demo on Tuesday (23/10) in front of the UNIPA campus in Amban, Manokwari.

As a Papuan human rights defender myself, I want to emphasise that the state is responsible for providing protection to all citizens of the country – in particular human rights defenders – from terror, threats and intimidation. The responsibility of the State is clearly laid out in article 28)4 of the 1945 Constitution which says “protection, promotion, enforcement and fulfilment of human rights is the responsibility of the state, primarily the Government.” The state is therefore responsible for fulfilling the right to freedom from fear, and this is not restricted for human rights defenders.

In connection with this, Papuan human rights defenders and all activists from non-governmental organisations who carry out humanitarian, human rights and justice work for civil society in Papua and West Papua will be undertaking consolidation work together. We will resist, legally, those actions of the state which are being used by unprofessional members of the security forces.

In particular, as regards the case of Octovianus Pogau in Manokwari, I urge the Head of Manokwari District Police force to receive the young Papuan journalist in question to file a police report, and carry out a prompt investigation in accordance with the mechanisms and legal procedure laid out in the Code of Criminal Procedure (Law 8, 1981), so that the perpetrator can be punished in accordance with his actions.

Yan Christian Warinussy

Executive Director of LP3Bh Manokwari/Human Rights Defender in the Land of Papua/ Member of the Steering Committee of FOKER in the Land of Papua
Translated by TAPOL


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