Report – By the Pacific Media Centre news desk
The Papua Peace Negotiator Team has condemned the deadly shootings of Papuans who marked the 50th anniversary of the transfer of administration of West Papua (previously West New Guinea) from United Nations responsibility to Indonesian rule 50 years ago.
The Indonesian government’s celebration of the integration of Papua anniversary on May 1 was overshadowed by pro-independence flags being raised across the region and reports of deadly shootings of pro-independence activists by police.
Police allegedly killed two activists and arrested six others after reporters witnessed them raising the banned Free Papua Organisation’s Morning Star flag on Jalan Raya Adibay, Biak, on Wednesday morning. Some unconfirmed reports said up to 10 people had been killed in incidents across the region of West Papua.
The Papua Peace team statement said:
We, the Papuan Peace Negotiating Team, condemn the brutal act of the Indonesian army against the civilian Papuans who marked the 50th anniversary [of 1 May 1963] in the cities of Sorong, Biak and the Papua provincial capital of Jayapura.
Following the ban to mark the anniversary imposed by the Papua Chief of Police and endorsed by the Governor of Papua, the joint operation of the police and the Indonesian army deployed harsh measures to prevent any Papuans to exercise their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly. In Sorong on the eve of the commemoration, the joint operation shot dead two Papuans: Mr Abner Malagawak (22) and Mr Thomas Blesia (22).
Three others were seriously injured and now are in critical condition in the local hospital: Ms Salomina Klaibin (31), Mr Herman Lokmen (18), and Mr Andreas Safisa (24).
In Jayapura, a similar joint operation dispersed the people who gathered around the grave of the Papuan leader They Eluay by force. Nobody was reportedly injured but the shooting did spark fear and intensify anger among our people towards the Indonesian authorities. In Biak, however, the police arrested and detained 10 Papuan civilians because they raised the Papuan symbol, the Morning Star flag but the police [have] not laid charge against them. Fortunately, the commemoration held in Nabire went peacefully.
Reflecting on these violent incidents, we are reminded of similar incidents 50 years ago when our forefathers and mothers were mistreated when they expressed their dissention [sic] to the decision of transferring Papua from the Dutch to UNTEA and eventually to Indonesia under the 1962 New York Agreement. During the formulation and the implementation of this agreement, our forefathers and mothers had never been consulted.
While the transfer of administration is a history, some world-renowned historians and legal scholars have proved that the transfer was flawed. Therefore, we believe that under Indonesian democracy and the rule of law, Papuans should be entitled to remember their own history as part of their identity. The recent incidents, however, reveal to us the opposite reality. Papuans remains treated as inhabitants, not as citizens.
Therefore, we appeal to the Indonesian authorities:
1. To hold accountable both the perpetrators of the shootings as well as the commandant in charge, including the Papua Chief of Police, the Commander of the Army and the Governor of Papua;
2. To demand public apologies from the Papua Chief of Police, the Commander of the Army and the Governor of Papua for their unconstitutional conduct in suppressing the civil and political rights of Papuans;
3. To demand compensation and reparation for the victim families because of the the tragedy they suffer from the joint police and army operation;
4. To request the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights to undertake a sub-poena investigation and to report its results to the public;
5. To take concrete actions to start peace negotiation with Papuans as represented by the Papuan Peace Negotiating Team.
While we greatly appreciate the serious concerns of the recent incidents expressed by the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Madame Pillay, we continue to appeal to the international community:
1. To put pressure on the Yudhoyono government to hold accountable the soldiers, the Papua Chief of Police, the Commander of the Army and the Governor of Papua for their public brutality and their policy;
2. To monitor the human security of Papuans; and
3. To endorse peace negotiations as publicly already expressed by President Yudhoyono as the way to find a peaceful solution for the longest unresolved conflict in the Pacific as he already did with Aceh.