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Home » » On The Situation In The Papuan Provinces Of Indonesia: Pax Christi International, 15th Session Human Rights Council

On The Situation In The Papuan Provinces Of Indonesia: Pax Christi International, 15th Session Human Rights Council

Written By Voice Of Baptist Papua on September 16, 2010 | 10:14 PM

Human Rights Council

15th Session

13 September – 1 October 2010 Item 3

Pax Christi, the International Catholic peace movement urges the Human Rights Council’s attention to the tenuous situation relating to human rights in the Papuan provinces of Indonesia. SOURCE

Recently, political tension in the Papuan provinces of Indonesia has increased, particularly over the past two months as Papuan people across all sectors have openly rejected the 2001 Special Autonomy Law (OTSUS). The high hopes for greater self governance brought about by the autonomy law, have withered away as its implementation is obstructed by the Indonesian authorities. From the start OTSUS has been hamstrung by delays in the Central Government’s empowering regulations and systematic interference by Indonesia’s political and military bureaucracies. Money allocated to the provincial government for development, education and health is being absorbed by a vastly increased bureaucracy as regencies grew from nine to thirty, each with its own military, police and intelligence agencies. Because these funds are depleted by corruption, the maintenance of buildings, public servants’ wages and military operations, healthcare and education are in serious decline. The hopes for greater self governance have also been swamped by the persistent migration from other parts of Indonesia which rendered the Papuans a minority in their own country. The ever growing numbers of police and military personnel, countering any form of Papuan opposition with severe and sometimes deadly force as well as the central government’s plans for clear-felling millions of hectares of rainforest can only confirm the fears of the Papuans for their very survival as a people.

The rejection of OTSUS has been accompanied by public demonstrations, including one of more than 20,000 indigenous people in Jayapura on 8 July. Pax Christi International fears that such demonstrations of discontent by indigenous people will lead to increasingly violent suppression by the Indonesian authorities. Recent reports speak of “sweeping” operations in the regency of Punkak Jaya, the central highlands area in the vicinity of major mining operations. This practice, where military units focus on a particular area to “sweep” out any real or suspected resistance to the takeover of land or resources, was already a feature of the early years of Indonesian occupation of West Papua, resulting in extensive loss of life and destruction of indigenous infrastructure.

An excerpt from a 18 June 2010 report by the West Papua Advocacy Team in Washington DC stated:

“[Punkak Jaya’s] civilians, in particular those who have fled to the forest, [a common response to military incursion] face health and possibly life-threatening conditions including lack of access to food, adequate shelter and medical services. In … past such “sweeping operations”, Indonesian security forces prevented provision of humanitarian assistance to these besieged populations.”

In addition to the revival of indiscriminate “sweeps” in Pukak Jaya, there are numerous other well documented cases of Human rights violations by the Indonesian authorities in 2010:

  • a church in Kayogwebur district Tingginambut has been taken over as headquarters for the BRIMOB [mobile police]. Local people [are]unable to worship there;
  • local people are forced to do labour tasks for Indonesian military;
  • in the district of Kampong Tingginambut, a pregnant woman was raped by BRIMOB personnel in the first half of June;
  • 12 houses and 2 churches have been burned by security forces in Gwenggu Pilia; in Pos Nalime Tingginambut District residents have been forced to clear their gardens and prepare landing positions for military helicopters;
  • on June 11, BRIMOB conducted a residential sweep search of all houses on the road between Ilu and Mulia, detaining anyone without identification, putting them in army trucks. (Most local people do not have ID and [are] now afraid to leave their homes). As a result, gardens are untended and local commerce is crippled.

The leadership of representative Papuan bodies, including the Majelis Rakyat Papua – MRP, the all-Papuan upper house of the Papuan parliament in Jayapura, and leading Papuan intellectuals and theologians, which on 18 June rejected Special Autonomy have been calling for a mediated dialogue on continuing critical issues.

After a comprehensive review of OTSUS, these leaders found that it had:

… been a failure because the law had not been implemented in such a way as to deal with urgent and substantive problems in the socio-economic, political and cultural aspects of the lives of the indigenous Papuan people. The reason for this is that no regulations have been enacted to provide the political back-up of OTSUS regarding initiatives by the provincial government while the government in Jakarta has failed to provide any political support for the implementation of OTSUS (Institute for the Study, Advocacy and Development of Legal Aid in Jayapura “Towards a New Papua” June 2010).

They developed the following 11 recommendations as a positive way forward:

  1. That the Special Autonomy Law should be handed back to the Government of the Republic of Indonesia;
  2. That the Papuan people demand that dialogue be held [and] mediated by a neutral international mediator;
  3. That the Papuan people demand the holding of a referendum directed towards political independence;
  4. That the Papuan people demand that the Government of the Republic of Indonesia recognise the restoration of the sovereignty of the people of West Papua which was proclaimed on 1 December 1961;
  5. That the Papuan people urge the international community to impose an embargo on international aid being provided for the implementation of Special Autonomy in the land of Papua;
  6. That there is no need for revisions to be made to Law 21/2001 on Special Autonomy for the Province of Papua and West Papua with reference to Law 35/2008 on Revision of Law 21/2001 bearing in mind that the said law is proven to have failed;
  7. That all proceedings for the election of heads of district throughout the land of Papua should be halted and call on the Governor of Papua and Governor of West Papua, the DPRP (Papuan People’s Representative Council), the DPRP-West Papua and district heads and mayors throughout the land of Papua [to] immediately discontinue the provision of funds for the holding of these elections;
  8. That the central government, the Province of Papua and the Province of West Papua as well as districts and municipalities in the land of Papua impose strict supervision on the flow of migration by people from outside the land of Papua;
  9. That the Papuan people urge the Central Government, the Government of the Province of Papua and the DPRP and the DPRP-West Papua to release all Papuan political prisoners being held in prison everywhere in Indonesia;
  10. That the Central Government immediately carry out demilitarisation throughout the whole land of Papua;
  11. That the consultation held by the MRP and Papuan indigenous groups calls for the Freeport Indonesia company to be closed down immediately.

Although we are aware of the sensitivity of the Indonesian government regarding demands for independence (items 3 and 4 above), Pax Christi sees peaceful dialogue and negotiation under international mediation as a vastly preferable approach to military suppression. Despite isolated cases of armed or violent resistance the Papuans are still overwhelmingly committed to achieving their goals through peaceful dialogue and negotiation.

The failure of OTSUS and continuing decline of the Papuan people in terms of their social, cultural, economic and political rights is an embarrassment to the Indonesian government. This situation will only get worse under military solutions and will damage Indonesia’s aspirations and impressive growth towards success as an open, free and multicultural democracy. Any move to counter legitimate demands by Papuan people could not only threaten the peace of the Indonesian nation and its growing democracy but could also damage peaceful relations among the nations making up the Asia-Pacific region.

We therefore urge the Indonesian Government to enter meaningful negotiations with the leadership of the representative Papuan bodies without pre-conditions and under international mediation.

We urge the Human Rights Council to call upon the Indonesian Government:

  • That the Government of the Republic of Indonesia accept the failure of law 21/2001 as a solution to Papuan people’s demands for self-determination as a fundamental human right.
  • That new negotiations begin within the guidance of the 2008 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • That the Government of the Republic of Indonesia give serious consideration to the 11 recommendations of the Papuan People’s Consultative Assembly and Indigenous People of Papua’s (“Recommendations” June 14 2010) as a starting point for new negotiations.
  • That immediate implementation of items 8, 9 and 10 of these recommendations is seen as an assurance that new negotiations can be carried out in freedom and mutual respect. We affirm our good will towards the government and people of the Republic of Indonesia and make these recommendations in the hope that they will enhance their hopes for democracy and peace in their nation and region.
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