INDONESIA: Government must earnestly address human rights violation in Papua

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned about six Pacific countries raising the subject of human rights violations in Papua in the General Debate of the Assembly’s 71st Session, on 26 September 2016. The video can be accessed here.

The six Pacific countries are Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, and Tonga. The six Pacific countries called for the Indonesian government to address human rights violations in Papua; they have also called for West Papuan self-determination rights to be respected.

The AHRC deeply appreciates the point raised by the six Pacific countries, because human rights violations in Papua have occurred for decades and there is no serious effort by the Indonesian government to address the violations. The AHRC notes that ever since Papua integrated into Indonesian territory, many cases of human rights violations have occurred. The AHRC has reported and documented cases of human rights violations, for instance the Wasior and Wamena case, the Theys Hiyo Eluay murder case, enforced disappearance of Mr. Aristoteles Masoka, 1977 Puncak jaya case (allegation of Genocide), the Paniai case of 2014, and the Tolikara case.

The AHRC notes that the government has addressed none of the human rights violations in Papua. Furthermore, the judicial system does not function; the police have become party to the perpetrators that have committed violations; and there is no investigation into the involved Indonesian troops. We do not know the names of the units and the numbers of personnel involved. Such questions remain unanswered because the government has not earnestly sought to resolve the cases of these violations.

Of course, the AHRC is aware that there are some initiatives undertaken by the government to deal with Papua, for instance the Accelerated Development Unit for Papua and West Papua (UP4B). This unit was established under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyo’s administration (SBY). There is also the establishment of the human rights team under the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) to address human right cases in Papua, the government policy of releasing political prisoners in Papua (under President Joko Widodo’s administration), and what took place when President Widodo started his presidential campaign from Papua.

However, all efforts undertaken by the government have yielded no result for Papua. On the contrary, human rights violations are still ongoing; military personnel who killed Mr. They Hiyo Eluay have been promoted to the head of Intelligence Strategic Body (BAIS), and, in general, no justice and remedy for victims is to be found.

Therefore, considering the above situation, the AHRC calls upon the government of Indonesia to seriously accept all points raised and recommendations made by the six Pacific countries; the government must open access for an independent body to monitor human rights protection in Papua.

The government must make earnest and immediate efforts to start peaceful dialogue with the Papuans and a credible and independent third party that is supported by the UN should facilitate the dialogue.