Human rights NGOs in Papua may seek international action about violations in Papua

Bintang Papua, 14 June 2011
Jayapura: On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Wasior
incident, which was described by Komnas HAM – the National Human Rights
Commission – as a gross violation of basic human rights, two leading
human rights organisations in West Papua, BUK – United for Truth – and
KontraS-Papua – Commission for the Disappeared and the Victims of
Violence, held a press conference in Jayapura.

They said that there has been a failure to show any serious concern
about the violation of basic human rights in Papua. In view of this,
they said that they now intend to bring these cases up before an
international mechanism. ‘There has as yet been no international move
to take action on these cases, but we intend to raise these issues by
waging a campaign in the hope that this will bring pressure to bear on
the Indonesian government to resolve these cases,’ said Selpius Bobii,
the BUK co-ordinator. who was accompanied as the press conference by
the co-ordinator of KontraS-Papua, Olga Hamadi.

He also said that they would make formal approaches by letter to a
number of government institutions as well as NGOs.

‘Immediately after this press conference, we will be sending letters to
Komnas HAM, to the attorney-general’s office, to Amnesty International ,
to the media in Papua as well as to NGOs in Germany and elsewhere.’

The organisations felt that such action was now called for as a way of
exerting pressure so as to ensure that these cases are recognised as
gross human rights violations and are brought before a court of law.

‘It seems that it is necessary to bring pressure to bear on the various
NGOs and on the government to persuade them to be more serious about
resolving a number of human rights cases in Papua,’ they said.

According to data that has been collected by BUK, these cases resulted
in the deaths of six people at the time of the incidents, while seven
others died subsequently as a result being subjected to torture. Seven
people are reported to have disappeared, while no fewer than 305 others
were subjected to sweeping operations known as ‘Tuntas Matoa’.

‘There has also been discrimination against the families of the victims
because their parents have been branded as separatists. This is apparent
from the way that /respect /funds have been distributed, bearing in mind
the fact that the families have been treated differently than others in
the community.’

With regard to the human rights violations that have been perpetrated in
Papua at the hands of members of the Indonesian army (TNI) and the
Indonesian police (POLRI), in all these cases, it has been virtually
impossible to bring them before a court of law. ‘In the case of those
incidents that were actually taken to court, nothing was done to side
with the victims; the perpetrators were protected with the argument that
whatever had been done was in the interest of the security of the state.
An example of this was the Abepura case where those who were found
guilty are no longer behind bars.

The Wasior incident occurred on 13 June 2001. It was triggered when a
person demanded compensation for the theft of his traditional land
rights but this failed to solicit any response. On the contrary, the
people concerned were accused of disrupting security and were arrested,
tortured, and in many cases killed or made to disappear.

‘Cases that have been identified by Komnas HAM as gross violations of
human rights have reached a stalemate.after disputes between Komnas HAM
and the attorney-general’s office, with the latter using formalistic

They went on to say that the Wasior case as well as the Wamena case (the
fatal shooting of Opinus Tabuni in August 2010) had been acknowledged by
Komnas HAM as gross violations of human rights but it had been virtually
impossible to deal with such cases because the administrations of the
provinces of Papua and West Papua which came into being following the
special autonomy law (OTSUS) had also failed to respond.

In view of all this, the representative of BUK made the following demands:

1. The president of Indonesia should immediately resolve the Wasior and
Wamena cases and in doing so recognise the fact that Papuans are
citizens of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia, NKRI which means that
their standing and dignity within the state is in keeping with the
values of the Papuan people as citizens of Indonesia.

2. The attorney-general’s office should end its machinations with regard
to the Wasior and Wamena cases and co-ordinate with other state
institutions so as stop their activities which have resulted in
reinforcing the cycle of impunity.

3. The administration of the province of Papua, along with the DPRP,
Komnas HAM-Papua and the MRP (Majelis Rakyat Papua ) should act together
as quickly as possible to ensure that the Wasior and Wamena incidents
are brought before a human rights court in the Land of Papua.

4. A Papuan Human Rights court should be set up immediately.

5. If the government fails to deal seriously with the Wasior and Wamena
cases, we as representives of all the victims of human rights
violations in the Land of Papua will bring these matters before an
international court of law.

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