Hengky Yeimo, Jayapura – The executive director of the Institute for Research, Assessment, and Development of Legal Aid (LP3BH) Manokwari, Yan Christian Warinussy, says that during the 25 years of the LP3BH's establishment, his party has not found any real efforts by the Indonesian government to address the two root causes of Papua's problems, which are, the disputes over political identity and prolonged violence against Papuans.
Warinussy said that the government had been ignoring various cases of human rights violations in Papua land for far too long. The government, said Warinussy, had also been ignoring the contradiction between the government's and the people's version of Papua's history, leading to the emergence of many other conflicts.
Indeed, a lot of Indigenous Papuans have been arrested and criminalized for standing their ground regarding the history of Papua.
"The dispute over political identity is very real and continues to take its toll to date. Recently, Papuan women are forbidden from selling bracelets and nokens [woven bag] with the Morning Star pattern in the National Games," Warinussy told Jubi in a phone call on Monday, October 11, 2021.
According to Warinussy, there were even athletes and officials from West Papua Province who were banned from wearing their costumes, because the costumes allegedly had the Morning Star pattern on them.
"There was even a spectator of a football match who was 'arrested' because he was caught wearing a shirt with the Morning Star flag on it. Such unnecessary reaction by the security forces is common throughout the Papua land. Meanwhile, the state has never resolved the differences in historical understanding through peaceful means such as dialogue," he said.
Further, the government has also yet to take concrete steps to resolve various cases of human rights violations in Papua. These cases remain unsolved while the alleged perpetrators enjoying impunity as the government does not give it adequate attention and handling according to law.
"The 2001 Wasior case, the 2003 Wamena case, and the 2014 Paniai case have never been legally resolved. [In fact,] Indonesia already has a set of laws and regulations that stipulate the procedures and mechanisms for resolving human rights violation cases legally, such as Law No. 39/1999 on Human Rights and Law No. 26/2000 about the Human Rights Court," said Warinussy.
The initial investigation into the three cases aforementioned had been carried out by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM). However, the state seems to have fostered practices of impunity by allowing the case to remain unsolved. Such an irony given the fact that Indonesia was the fourth-largest democracy in the world today, Warinussy said.
"We urge President Joko Widodo to take concrete steps by appointing a key figure to engage in a peaceful dialogue in Papua. The person [must be able to] have direct contact with President Jokowi, as well as having access to meet all important parties in Papua and Jakarta," he said.
Warinussy suggested Jokowi issued a presidential regulation regarding the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as stipulated in Article 45 of Law No. 21/2001 on Papua's Special Autonomy (Otsus).
"President Jokowi should also work with the governors of Papua and West Papua to amend Article 45 of the Papua Otsus Law, making both Papua and West Papua's offices of Komnas HAM as the commission's representative," he said. "So that the commission works directly under the two governors to initiate strategic steps to resolve allegations of human rights violations in Papua," he added. (*)