Papuans Skeptic about New Human Rights Team

Tuesday, 21 June 2016 , 14:30:00 WIB - Law

Members of the United Papuans Movement (GRPB) are demonstrating at Zero Kilometer in Yogyakarta, Thursday (16/6). (ANTARA)

JAKARTA, GRES.NEWS – Locals are skeptical about the government’s plan to form a Human Rights Violations Allegations Investigations Integrated Team in Papua and Papua Barat Provinces. Some are even against the plan, which was initiated by Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan.

Over the skepticism, the government is working hard to explain to the public the team’s working mechanism and that the team will work transparently and independently or without the governmental intervention.

"They will work transparently. Anyone can monitor the process," said Luhut, after a meeting with local public and religious figures in Wamena, Papua, Friday (17/6), quoted by setkab.go.id.

Luhut explained that the team will comprise representatives of the people from various backgrounds, such as the Human Rights National Commission (Komnas HAM), Human Rights activists and people who will represent the People of Papua.

Theo Hesegem, one of the representatives for Papua, also assures that the team will work without governmental intervention. "There will be no intervention whatsoever. We are currently collecting data," Hesegem said.

In fact, the government has recently invited ambassadors of Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands to act as observers.

"So, if anyone claims that the team is a scheme, it would be an accusation without grounds. When an ambassador (the Ambassador of Papua New Guinea for Indonesia, Peter Ilau) asked for data, I allowed him [to collect the data]. The data has been sent to his address," Luhut said.

The ministry must indeed work hard to convince the public, especially the public of Papua.

The Papuan Women’s Solidarity for Human Rights Advocacy states that the team does not represent the aspirations and does not represent the people of Papua. They explained that the members of the team have no track record in advocating the human rights in Papua.

The organization also claims that the team does not work based on the acknowledged human rights mechanism. "We already have Komnas HAM, who works based on Law on Human Rights No.39/1999 and the Law on the Court of Human Rights No.26/2000, so the establishment of the team must be to support a certain political interest in Indonesia," the organization wrote in a press release, Friday (10/6).

Rejection is also coming from the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), an organization that listens to the aspirations of the Free Papua Movement that was established by Luhut. ULMWP claims the new team will only ruin its diplomatic efforts and slowdown the fact-finding team from Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).

ULMWP further accuses that the team’s establishment was only a scheme from Jakarta to avoid questions from the international community in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations Human Rights Council. "The establishment also aims to shape opinions and avoid questions from nations who are members of the Pacific Islands Forum," ULMWP said in a press release. The organization became more suspicious when the team only concluded that there were only 14 human rights cases in Papua.

Simeon Alua from the West Papua National Parliament added that the conflict in Papua can never be settled by playing cat and mouse. The conflict can only be settled through the right process based on existing international mechanism.

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