Commentary – By Yan Christian Warinussy
The rights to freedom of expression and freedom of speech in the Land of Papua have worsened in the past 10 years as a result of the repressive situation caused by the government of the Republic of Indonesia, both systematically and well as structurally.
This is the result of the repressive activities of the security forces, the Polri (police) and the TNI (army).
This is what happened when the security forces attacked people after the closing session of the Third Papuan People’s Congress in October 2011 in Jayapura as well as the attacks by the security forces against peaceful demonstrators on 6 June 1998 near the Water Tower in Biak.
As for structural violations, the Indonesian government has made use of a number of regulations by force to prevent ordinary people from publicly expressing their opinions regarding the political situation and the injustices experienced by Papuans as a result of the developmental activities that are now occurring.
For example, the government used articles 106,108 and 110 of the law on procedural matters, that is to say the Penal Code, to punish every action undertaken peacefully by Papuans to draw attention to the lack of social justice being experienced by Papuan civilians.
Take for instance, the Aimas case on 30 April 2013 when Isak Kalaibin and six colleagues were charged with treason in Sorong as a result of which Apotos Sewa and a number of his colleagues were subjected to questioning non-stop for twelve hours without being accompanied by lawyers. and they were then ordered to report themselves regularly to the authorities.
There was also the case of the abuse by two women police officers of three women of the Mbaham Mata Tribe on 15 August 2013.
Lack of freedom
All these cases are evidence of the lack of freedom of expression which is being experienced structurally and systematically by Papuan people.
All this has been happening as the result of lack of information everywhere about the situation in Papua.
As a senior lawyer and defender of human rights in the Land of Papua, I call on the Indonesian government to recognise that the human rights situation in Papua is quite appalling.
And the longer this situation continues, political awareness will grow within the community as well as an awareness across the world that the Indonesian government should respect the rule of law and democracy – the basic rights that are universally recognised.
Yan Christian Warinussy, executive director of the human rights organisation LP3BH. Translated by Carmel Budiardjo of Tapol.