Jakarta – Home Affairs Ministry (Kemendagri) director general for politics and public administration, Soedarmo, has stated that the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) is not registered with the ministry as an ormas (social or mass organisation).
In addition to this, Soedarmo also said that the KNPB could not possibly be registered as an ormas with the ministry because the Kemendagri would definitely reject them.
"They're not registered. Even if they requested an SKT (document of registration) it would be impossible for us to give it to them because they are in conflict with existing laws", Soedarmo told CNN Indonesia via an SMS message on Monday December 31.
The reason for this is that KNPB is alleged to have a mission which aims to break West Papua away from the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI). Soedarmo said this in reference to materials found by security forces at the KNPB office in Mimika, West Papua, earlier in the day.
As has been reported, the Papua regional police took over the KNPB office in Timika on December 31. Later they plan to use it as a local TNI (Indonesian military) and police post.
The Antara state news agency refers to the KNPB as an organisation fighting for Papuan independence and separation from Indonesia. Police allege that the KNPB's activities threaten the existence of the NKRI and have therefore taken over the KNPB office.
The KNPB has spoken out in response to the police's claims. KNPB Secretary General Ones Nesta Suhuniap denies that his group is carrying out activities which indicate that they are seeking to separate Papua from Indonesia.
Suhuniap claims that the activities being conducted during the police and TNI raid were ceremonial activities which are indeed celebrated every December 30-31 at the KNPB offices in Timika.
"Every December 30 and 31 we hold a pilgrimage and office thanksgiving. But today our [the event] was broken up by force", said Suhuniap.
Soedarmo's statement, which closes the door on the KNPB being registered as an ormas with the Kemendagri, has been questioned by the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras).
Kontras activist Putri Kanesia believes that the Kemendagri is being highly subjective in not allowing the KNPB to register as an ormas.
"If such an ormas intends to register but the Kemendagri explicitly declares that it will 'definitely be rejected', this is of course subjective", said Kanesia.
Kanesia says that it would be better if the Kemendagri is transparent in its selection of an ormas wanting to be registered. The registration mechanism must be open so that the public can understand it clearly.
Kanesia acknowledges that the government has the legal authority to determine the requirements for an ormas to be registered. Nevertheless, Kanesia believes that the process must be clear and accountable.
"Now this must be done openly, allowed to be fair, not authoritarian or discriminative. What are the criteria for allowing an ormas to be registered or rejected", said Kanesia.
"In order to prevent potential arbitrary [decisions] and discrimination", she added. (bmw/end)
In October 2017 the House of Representatives (DPR) ratified the draconian Government Regulation in Lieu of Law Number 2/2017 (Perppu Ormas) which allows the government to arbitrarily declare a social or mass organisation (ormas) which is deemed to be in conflict with the state ideology of Pancasila as illegal. If such an ormas fails to disband or continues to operate openly, its members can be indicted and jailed.
Although so far the law has only been used against the hard-line Islamic group Hizbut Tahrit Indonesia (HTI) and many unregistered ormas are allowed to operate freely, an ormas whose registration has been rejected by the Home Affairs Ministry could potentially be declared illegal by default and subject to prosecution.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "KNPB Mustahil Jadi Ormas Terdaftar di Kemendagri".]