Papua Situation

Aug 28th, 2006, in News, by

Human rights violations in Papua have increased in recent times, says one observer.

The Reverend Dora Balubun said at the Jayapura diocese office last week:

Systematic human rights violations continue taking place in Papua every year.

Dora said the latest example occurred in Abepura in March, when security officers allegedly assaulted students. The incident he referred to followed a clash between security officers and protesters demanding the closure of the PT Freeport Indonesia gold and copper mine. In that clash three policemen and a member of the Air Force were beaten to death.


Reverend Dora attributed some of the rights violations in Papua to the unclear political status of the province, and the manner in which Papua became part of Indonesia, (see West Papuan History Timeline).

He said while the government insisted that Papua was an integral part of the country many Papuans would feel that their land had been stolen by Indonesia through a rigged referendum.

That’s why many Papuans feel as if they are not part of Indonesia. And as long as the problem of the political status of Papua is not comprehensively settled, human rights violations will continue to take place.

Each time Papuans demand their rights, Dora alleged, they are branded as separatists who must be dealt with.

A number of human rights violations have started with Papuans demanding their rights, like the Wasior case where people demanded their customary right to manage their natural resources.

Instead of responding to the demand, paramilitary police officers silenced the people by accusing them of questioning the state’s sovereignty, Dora said. He added that the incident in Abepura also began with a demand by Papuans for their rights.

The authorities’ effort to silence any demand by the people for their rights constitutes an effort to kill the country’s blossoming democracy, Dora claimed.

Meanwhile, Chris Sidoti, an Australian human rights activist, said the issue of human rights violations in Papua attracted little attention internationally because it was perceived that the violations were not on the same level as what was seen in Aceh for decades. To force the international community to respond to events in Papua rights campaigners should keep raising the issue, he said.

However, Papua Police chief Inspector General Tommy Yacobus denied the human rights situation in the province was worsening. He said claims about an increase in the level of rights violations were the result of misunderstandings about what constituted a violation.

Due to different perceptions, what is classified as a human rights violation here is not classified as one in the international world.

Citing an example, he said hitting someone was considered to be a human rights violation in Papua, but in reality it was a normal crime.

How come human rights campaigners here classify the Abepura incident, in which four of my men were killed, as a human rights violation?

The officer brushed off the critics and rights campaigners, saying they first had to understand what constituted a rights violation and what did not.

Meanwhile there are reports that citizens of the Papua New Guinea are being paid by the Indonesian military to hunt down members of the Free West Papua movement. A spokesman for the PNG government however said the claim is propaganda by individuals who want to the put the Papuan refugee issue back in the political spotlight.

2 Comments on “Papua Situation”

  1. Karlira Kanakahuko says:

    Indonesia is the “Japan” in the new millenium. I hope, we launch war against the “Japanese” of Southeast Asia to be label “U.N.-Indonesia War”. I’m so pity that Papau is still under Indonesian conquest. In fact, Indonesia is “Japan” while Papua and East Timor are the countries of Asia-Pacific region during World War II.

  2. Cahriady says:

    Situation in papua was very complicated. Why I say that, because as the country with the wealth but very poor. I think our government didn’t have care to papua. Many of people there life in poverty and many of people always in hungry. I think they have much natural resources, but they never enjoy it, just the foreinger that can utilize that gold, and other materials. I just want to suggest our government not to let this case be continue, it will effect our integration.

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