Pacific Scoop

Papuans angry over President’s ‘no justice’ statement over murders

Mako Tabuni

Assassinated ... West Papua National Committee (KNPB) secretary-general Mako Tabuni. Angry scenes have reportedly erupted in Jayapura after officers from the Australian-funded and trained Detachment 88 counter-terror troops shot him dead during an arrest attempt at Abepura yesterday. Photo: West Papua Media.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Margareth S. Aritonang and Rabby Pramudatama in Jakarta

West Papuans have condemned President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for downplaying the escalating violence in the province of Papua and regarding the recent deaths from shooting incidents as “relatively minor” in comparison to conflicts in other parts of the world.

During a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Yudhoyono said: “The recent incidents in Papua can be considered small-scale, with a limited number of casualties.”

He added: “They are minor if we compare them to the violence in the Middle East, where deadly attacks with so many fatalities occur almost every day.”

Papuan activist John Djonga said the statements reflected Yudhoyono’s lack of commitment to promote and protect human rights, an issue that his administration had championed and promoted to the global community.

“It’s really sad for the President to disrespect all the victims of recent shootings. Violence is still painful regardless of how many victims there are,” Djonga said.

“So for me, it is now clear that the Yudhoyono [administration], and the Indonesian government in general, have no commitment to upholding justice and protecting human rights in Papua.”

He said all the international human rights covenants promoting human rights that Indonesia had ratified were useless as the government paid little respect to the lives of its people.

Call for apology
“Or maybe it’s only the lives of Papuans that don’t deserve the government’s respect,” he said.

Members of the House of Representatives from Papua, Pasakalis Kossay and Agustina Basik-basik, called on Yudhoyono to apologise for his statement.

“The President’s words really hurt Papuans, and the relatives of all victims, in particular those who have been shot dead in mysterious circumstances,” said Paskalis, who chairs the Caucus for Papua at the House.

At least 16 people have been killed in the past month alone in mysterious shootings.

The latest incident claimed the life of 44-year-old Surono, a security guard and part-time motorcycle taxi driver in Jayapura, who was shot dead near the campus of Cendrawasih University last Sunday.

The mysterious shootings in Papua escalated only a few days after the Indonesian government claimed that “Papua is stable” during the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) quadrennial human rights review on May 23.

Flag detainees
Diplomats in the review session inquired about human rights violations in Papua and the Indonesian government’s commitment to releasing Papuan political detainees such as Filep Karma, who was arrested for flying the banned Morning Star flag of the Papuan pro-independence movement.

Law and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsudin said authorities had followed proper procedures in detaining Papuans.

“We have never detained anybody for expressing their freedom of speech as has been accused by some parties. The Papuans who were detained, including Filep Karma, are those who have obviously violated the law on treason. Therefore, it’s misleading to address them as political detainees,” Amir told reporters.

The executive director of human rights watchdog Imparsial, Poengky Indarti said the treason charges were highly political and prone to abuse by the government.

“Karma, and many of his colleagues, was detained for flying the Morning Star flag.

“They are condemned as separatists, therefore they are political detainees,” Poengky said.

Source: The Jakarta Post

SBY ignores Papuan murders

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    […] editor’s note: Pacific Scoop reported last week that West Papuans have expressed condemnation of the Indonesian president for […]

  2. Dale Lanan, 18. June 2012, 21:59

    From my perspective here in the US,
    Sometimes it is polite sensitivity to people clear on the other side of the world that can have the most power to undo conflict and corruption on the largest of scales.. As though war is on the same playing field as politics and includes how money influences things around the world too in a game to try and keep Earth, our home below 2C temperature rise. (I’ve called game on to keep below 2C.)
    International Court of Justice needs to hear the appeal for justice made by the people of Papua for freedom and their right to good governance which protects the lands and peoples of Papua.
    But even as that is likely to run into a phalanx of closed minds I’d like to point out the power of persuasion is greater than hard power right now.
    -That is if We of Earth are to muster what’s needed to keep game alive..