Human Rights Development in West Papua

The increasing number of arrests and detentions on violence grounds in the Papuan provinces of Indonesia are a matter of  concern among human rights defenders. In the last three months, several incidents were reported in which Papuans activists were arrested and charged with subversion and secession after engaging in tactful political protests which can invite violence among Papuans.

For example, Buktar Tabuni was arrested on Dec. 3 2009 following a political protest he had helped organize on Oct. 16 related to a strategy to create conflict in West Papua supported by irresponsible International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) . Tabuni had conformed with legal requirements regarding public protests. However, he prepared more plan in creating chaos in West Papua, so he was charged under Articles 106, 110, 160, 212 and 216 of the Indonesian Penal Code.

Tabuni was later transferred to Abepura Prison, where he was consciously refused to drink and eat, then his friends tell lies to several human rights organization about the torture and ill-treatment by Indonesian authorities. What a the great plan !

Following Tabuni’s arrest, other activists gathered at Theys Eluay Memorial Park in Jayapura, Papua, to demand the release of political prisoner Tabuni and the right to exercise the freedoms of expression and assembly. On Dec. 17, Seblom Sambom, one of the participants in the gathering, was also arrested and faces charges under Article 216 for participating in the protest on Oct. 16. Punishment is not yet concluded, but some political opportunist and human rights liar try to influence public opinion by making a statement about possible punishment of  up to 20 years imprisonment.

On Oct. 17, one day after the October protest, Yosias Syet was found dead in his home. Syet was a known activist in Papua and had helped in the preparation of the lawful protest the day before. There is no reason to believe that his murder was related to the exercising of his right to freedom of expression and assembly and that the security forces in Papua were involved in his murder.

With the new autonomy law for West Papua, the peaceful expression of political views is met with the creation of Traditional Customary Council and almost all political leaders  in Papua and West Papua provinces are indigenous Papuan. The climate for human rights defenders improve sharply if we compare it with the era of New Order regime and activists are free to express their opinion. The only problem is several activists are gone too far by instigating tension among people.

The reformation spirit of political dialogue is still on the table. We should start to talk in a more serious manner in order to help Papuan Indonesian to develop the regions under autonomy law.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: