After 15 years of reformasi, repression in Papua is putting more people behind bars

Press Statement  from NAPAS

May 13, 2013

SPP-HAM  – Solidarity for Upholding Human Rights – organised an action today in Jayapura Town in order to call upon the State to accept responsibility  for the death of three civilians in Aimas, Sorong district and for the arbitrary arrest of three civilians in Sorong, Biak, Mimika and Jayapura.on 30 April and 1 May this year.The action began at 8.30am outside the Cenderawasih University (UNCEN) in Waena and the UNCEN Campus  in Abepura as well as outside the Cultural Expo  in Waena district of Heram, Jayapura Town.The action was forcibly disbanded by units of the Police  (Brimob Dalmas Polresta and Polda Papua) and four people who were taking tpart n the action were arrested..They also tortured a student from UNCEN. The arrests and torture occurred in front of the UNCEN bus station.

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The four people who were arrested and tortured were:

1) Victor Yeimo, 30 years old (Responsible for the action)
2) Marthen Manggaprouw, 30 years old (Responsible for the action)
3.) Yongky Ulimpa 23 years old, a participant in the action.
4)  Elly Kobak 17 years old, a participant in the action.
5) Markus Giban, a student at UNCEN, 19 years old who was beaten with a rifle butt which broke his right hand and who is now being treated in the Abepura General Hospital.

The participants were forcibly dispersed for  not having permission from the police. On the previous day, 8 May, the committee of SPP-HAM had sent a request to the  police stating that the action would be peaceful  (00/SP/PAN-SPHAM-UTSN/V/2013) but the request was turned down on the grounds that the Solidarity Movement has no statutes of association (AD/ART) and has been registered at the Kesbangpol Agency of the Province of Papua.

We regard this reason as being groundless because the SPP-HAM is not a permanent organisation but simply a humanitarian solidarity group which was set up by human rights activists in response to the 1 May Tragedy when three civilians were killed, so there was no need to  register with the Police (Kesbangpol). Furthermore, the police action was a restriction of people’s rights of assembly and expression which are guaranteed in the 1945 Constitution Article 28, para E sub 3 and sub 8, and which are also regulated in Law 9/1998 on the freedom of expression to state one’s opinion in public, in particular Articles 1 and 2.

The forcible dispersal of the action on that day and the arrest of 4  human rights activists is but a small portrayal of the clamp down on democracy by the repressive and oppressive government. This is not the first time that such a thing has happened; it has become a regular feature of police behaviour. This proves that there is no space for democracy  in Papua.

The reality of democracy  represents a setback in the fifteen years of reformasi in Indonesia. Reformasi in Indonesia cannot progress if the space for democracy in Papua is closed. Out of respect for basic human rights and the advancement of democracy in Papua and in Indonesia, we members of NAPAS (National Papuan Solidarity) call upon and urge the government:

1:    To end the forcible dispersal and arbitrary arrest of human rights activists and students.

2:    To release the four civilians who were arrested today.

3.     To open up the space for democracy for the Papuan people to grant permission for a special rapporteur from the United Nations  to carry out investigations in Papua  as well as giving access to national and foreign journalists.

NAPAS also strongly condemns the abysmal commitment of the government and State to the principles of Basic Human Rights , especially to the Papuan people. Papua is today  the face of democracy in Indonesia , as well as the face of the Indonesian Government  towards the Papuan peope.

Jakarta, 1 May 2013

National Papua Solidarity (NAPA)

Zely Ariane. Co-ordinator

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