Abeth You, Jayapura – The Indonesian government's decision to categorize the West Papua National Liberation Army as a terrorist group is deemed subjective and reckless, says Papua conflict expert and leading church figure Okto Marko Pekei.
"It is subjective and reckless as it is not based on any study. There must be a study involving many parties to review whether or not the group's actions have fulfilled the element of terrorism as stipulated in Article 1 Paragraph 2 of Law No. 5/2018 on terrorism," Pekei told Jubi on Sunday, May 2, 2021
Article 1 Paragraph 2 of Law No. 5/2018 on terrorism says terrorism is any action that uses violence or threats of violence that creates an atmosphere of terror or pervasive fear, which can cause mass casualties, and/or damage or destruction to vital strategic objects, the environment, public facilities, or international facilities with the motive ideological, political or security disturbances motive.
Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD earlier claimed that the government decided to stamp the terrorist label upon receiving reports from Papuan Provincial Council (DPRD) leaders and traditional and religious leaders. However, Pekei questioned whether those reports were true."For example, one element of terrorism is that it creates terror or pervasive fear. It's true that many residents have taken refuge and living in fear but we must investigate whether this situation was caused by the TPNPB's activity or because of the firefight between the TPNPB and security forces," Pekei said.
Pekei mentioned another element of terrorism which was the destruction of vital objects. He questioned how many public or private facilities have been damaged by the TPNPB that it was legitimate to call the group a terrorist. "There's a fact that the group burned a plane. But again, we must probe the reason why they burned the plane. These kinds of questions need to be answered first before calling one group a terrorist," he said.
According to Pekei, many experts and rights organizations in Indonesia were against the labeling of the TPNPB as a terrorist group because the TPNPB did not fulfill the criteria of terrorism.
West Papua National Committee (KNPB) general secretary Mecky Yeimo asked President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to retract the terrorist label off the TPNPB.
"Because it is considered very militaristic, warmongering, emotional, racist, and not prioritizing fair and civilized human values, only responding to the death of Papua spy chief," Yeimo told Jubi.
Papua spy chief Maj. Gen. Anumerta IGP Danny got shot by the TPNPB last week, which triggered Jokowi to order the TNI and police to chase all members of the TPNPB. The government later announced the TPNPB as a terrorist group.