Human rights situation raised with US diplomat visiting Papua

Bintang Papua, 16 February 2011


Biak: The traditional Papuan community in Biak reported the current
social and political situation in Papua to the first secretary for
political affairs at the US embassy, Melanie Higgins, when she visited
the office of DAP (Dewan Adat Papua) in Biak. Their representatives drew attention in particular to the human rights situation and the
deteriorating welfare since the enactment of the Special Autonomy Law (OTSUS) which had led to the failure of OTSUS.

The issue that came to the fore was that for the Papuan people the
solution was merdeka – independence. ‘This poured forth from the hearts of the indigenous people during their meeting with the US diplomat on Wednesday. They said that this would be the best solution for the accumulation of problems in Papua,’ said Yan Pieter Yarangga, chairman of DAP in Biak-Supiori, following his meeting with Higgins.

He said that the visit by Melanie Higgins was consistence with the US
decision to evaluate OTSUS in Papua. She was able to hear how OTSUS had been implemented in the ten years since its enactment.

Besides talking about the failure of OTSUS, they raised some specific
cases, such as the beating of a civilian by a member of the security
forces (TNI) over a land dispute regarding land being held by the Air

They also talked about such matters as history, the development process and the growing number of poor Papuans. Women who were present spoke about the growing number of HIV/AIDS victims in Biak and everywhere in Papua.

‘We talked about many serious problems which were an indication of
genocide. ‘But we very much regret the fact that according to the US
there is no genocide in Papua,’ said the chairman of the local DAP.

He said that the indigenous people of Papua nevertheless warmly
appreciated the visit by Melanie Higgins and the present position of the US, and understood their US support for NKRI (Unitary State of the
Republic of Indonesia.).

‘But they should realise that we will not retreat and will continue to
struggle until we reach a solution for the political status for the
people of Papua and hope that Melanie Higgins will pass on the views of the indigenous Papuan people to the US government, in so that they would be passed on to the central government in Jakarta for them to take steps in favour of a comprehensive solution of the Papuan problem.’

‘Actually, there were many problems to raise with her but time was
short, so we came to the conclusion that we should raise a number of
basic indicators about problems of a very substantial nature.’

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