Mr. Setya Novanto
Chairperson of the House of Representative
Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (DPR)
Gedung Nusantara III DPR RI, Lt I
Jalan Jenderal Gatot Subroto, Jakarta,
Tel : +62 21 571 5311 / + 62 21 5715868
Fax : +62 21 573 1967 / +62 21 5715368
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr. Novanto,
INDONESIA: Time to release all political prisoners in Papua and West Papua provinces and revise the Penal Code
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), a Hong Kong-based regional human rights organization, expresses its concern regarding the rejection of the decision to grant amnesty to political prisoners in Papua and West Papua provinces.
The decision of the House of Representatives of Indonesia (DPR), in particular Commission I and Commission III, overseeing law, human rights and security, to reject the government’s proposal to grant amnesty to around 90 political prisoners in Papua and West Papua provinces is notable.
The government’s proposal follows the amnesty granted to five political prisoners recently by President Joko Widodo. The five political prisoners are: Mr. Apotnalogolit Lokobal, who was serving a 20 year sentence; Mr. Numbungga Telenggen, serving a life sentence; Mr. Kimanus Wenda, serving a 19 year sentence; Mr. Linus Hiluka, also serving a 19 year sentence; and Mr. Jefrai Murib, serving a life sentence.
AHRC believes that granting amnesty to political prisoners is a positive step forward to end conflict in Papua and West Papua provinces, and also to re-develop trust between indigenous Papuans and the Government of Indonesia. As a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), with the promulgation of Law No. 12 of 2005, the Government has an obligation, under Article 19 of ICCPR, to respect and protect the right to freedom of expression and opinion.
The AHRC has learned that the Parliament’s rejection of the government’s second proposal centers on the Parliament’s argument that the government has to provide a comprehensive roadmap for implementation in Papua and West Papua provinces. However, the Parliament does not explain further the scope of this comprehensive roadmap. This Parliament rejection is proof that the Parliament does not have serious concern about the problem of political prisoners in Papua. The Parliament also has not shown willingness to end the long-term conflict in Papua and West Papua.
To address the problem, the Government and Parliament should take into serious consideration the Papuan Roadmap, which had been issued by the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI), a government institution. AHRC has been informed that the result of the research has been submitted to the Government. Therefore, the Government, actually, already has a comprehensive solution to address the problem. AHRC has learned that the aim of the Papuan Road Map is to provide new insight to decision makers within the State institutions with regard to Papua and West Papua provinces. This Roadmap therefore actually provides comprehensive solution.
Furthermore, the Papuan Roadmap consists of four important elements, namely: recognition, dialogue, new paradigm of development path, and reconciliation. The four elements could be used to address the main problems in Papua: the unresolved status of Papua since its integration into Indonesia in 1962; political violence and human rights abuses; failed development in Papua, Jakarta’s inconsistent policies, and the marginalization of the Papuan people.
Beside the Roadmap, AHRC has also studied that the existence of Article 106 to 110 of the Indonesian Penal Code (KUHP). These Articles also create a problem, because they have been used to prosecute political conscience and peaceful expression, which actually fall within the scope of Article 19 of the ICCPR to which Indonesia is party. For instance, there is the case of Mr. Filep Karma, one of the political prisoners, who has been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for waving the Morning Star flag (a symbol of the Free Papua Movement).
The AHRC urges Parliament to play its role in solving the long-term problem that still remains unsolved in Papua and West Papua provinces. Therefore, AHRC wishes to draw parliament attention, in particular the attention of Commission I and III, to approve the government plan to grant amnesty to political prisoners that remain in detention. The AHRC believes that by releasing political prisoners, the government has taken a positive step to end violence and criminalization in Papua and West Papua provinces. In addition to this, the government also needs to proceed with its previous plan to set up a peaceful dialogue between Jakarta and Papua to solve the long-term conflict.
AHRC also respectfully requests Parliament to immediately revise the Indonesian Penal Code, in particular taking out of articles 106 to 110 of the Indonesian Penal Code which center on acts considered treasonous / rebellious”.
Lastly, it would help if the Parliament were to support all kind of efforts that can help bring Papua and West Papua provinces become the land of peace.
Thank you for your consideration.
We look forward to hearing back from you.
Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong