Press Release – SDSP
Extremely high infant mortality in West Papua result of discrimination Amsterdam, 12 November 2012 – New research on the position of the native population of West Papua reveals that systematic discrimination of Papuans in Indonesian society has …
Extremely high infant mortality in West Papua result of discrimination
Amsterdam, 12 November 2012 – New research on the position of the native population of West Papua reveals that systematic discrimination of Papuans in Indonesian society has resulted in extremely high child mortality. The differences between Papuans and non-Papuans on the Indonesian island are devastating; whereas the rural Papuans have an infant mortality rate of 18,4% non-Papuans have a rate of 3,6%. These statistics indicate a society where Papuans are structurally disadvantaged and discriminated against. As a result of years of Indonesian transmigration politics 50% of the population of West Papua consists of non-Papuans. Interviews held with both population groups confirm that discrimination is deeply rooted into society. Decades of the harrowing Indonesian regime has reduced Papuans to being second-class citizens in their own land.
“The way they treat us, it feels like we don’t even have a government.” Papuan woman, 30 years old
“When my grandson fell ill we took him to the hospital in the city, but they kept asking questions and weren’t helping us. He was very sick. When we finally got some help it was too late.” Papuan woman, 48 years old
“ We can only watch from a distance. We don’t belong, we are the others in our own land.” Papuan man, 32 years
Invisible victims The research report ‘Invisible Victims: The effects of structural violence on Infant and Child mortality in Papua Barat, Indonesia in the context of Human Rights’ demonstrates that the Indonesian government is in violation of the Rights of the Child and the Maastricht Guidelines. Observations show that medical care in the cities is better equipped than the remote inland populated almost entirely by Papuans. The Indonesian government has not taken sufficient steps to improve the dire situation, which has led to the appalling infant mortality rate of 18,4% among rural Papuans. Health centers are often vacant or even abandoned; there is not enough medical personnel or equipment and there is an insufficient, unvaried stock of medicine that is often past the expiration date. This despite the fact that Indonesia has ratified the Rights of the Child on September 5, 1990 which obligates the state to uphold the special rights accorded to children. Additionally the situation is in violation with the Maastricht Guidelines, a document which is used within international law as a guideline for prevention of the violation of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that enumerates the judicially required minimum standard of healthcare. The Indonesian state has ratified the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 2006 and is thus obligated to adhere to these guidelines. Nevertheless despite the legal obligations both treaties have been violated in the province West Papua. Papuans are a vulnerable group and within the current system created by the Indonesian government as a result of the transmigration policy they have no chance of a decent future.
“The discrimination of Papuans in their own land has affected me deeply. The lack of opportunities for a brighter future for the native population of West Papua is heart wrenching, especially compared to the non-Papuans who have a better life. The fact is; Papuans are badly discriminated against and there is little concern for their predicament in the media. Hopefully this research will contribute to generating more attention for West Papua resulting in action being taken by politicians and Human Rights organizations to give these forgotten people a proper chance for a future’ Stella Peters, Master student Conflict Studies & Human Rights
About the research:
The research report ‘Invisible Victims: The effects of structural violence on Infant and Child mortality in Papua Barat, Indonesia in the context of Human Rights’ has been conducted for the master Conflict Studies & Human Rights at Utrecht University. The thesis was written by Stella Peters in collaboration with the NGO Stichting Duurzame Samenleving Papua Barat (SDSP). To explore discrimination in West Papua three groups were investigated; the Papuans in rural areas, the Papuans in urban areas and non-Papuans. More information at: www.sdsp.nl.
Stichting Duurzame Samenleving Papua Barat http://www.sdsp.nl/