Arjuna Pademme, Jayapura – The Civil Society Coalition has challenged newly appointed Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Gen. Andika Perkasa to fulfill his promise to use a humane approach in dealing with conflicts in Papua.
Andika Perkasa, who previously served as Army Chief of Staff, has been approved by the House of Representatives as the TNI Commander chosen by President Joko Widodo in a plenary on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. Perkasa passed a fit and proper test prior.
When delivering his vision and mission to the House last weekend, Perkasa ensured the TNI would win the hearts and minds of the Papuan people as an approach to secure Papua.
Rights watchdogs, however, are not impressed. Instead, they voice their pessimist take on Perkasa's pledge.
"We are hesitant with [Andika Perkasa's promise to take] a humanist approach," said the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence's (Kontras) head of the Legal Division, Andi Muhammad Rezaldy, during an online press conference on Monday.
Rezaldy said his party doubted Perkasa's standpoint as the general was suspected of his involvement in alleged human rights violation, although such allegations require further investigation. Andika Perkasa was allegedly involved in the murder of Papuan independence leader Theys Hiyo Eluay in 2001.
"Therefore, we urge the newly appointed TNI commander to truly carry out a humanist approach and dialogue in Papua," he said.
Meanwhile, commissioner of the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) Theresia Iswarini mentioned that during the military operations carried out in Papua since the New Order era, many women in Papua have fallen victims.
For this reason, Andika Perkasa's commitment to adopting a humanist approach, Iswarini said, needed to be followed up with real action. "The pledge to use a humane approach in Papua needs to be tested," she said.
Chairman of the Public Virtue Institute Tamrin Amal Tomagola and deputy director of Amnesty International Indonesia Wirya Adiwena echoed Iswarini.
"We believe in actions more than words. So, prove it. Prove that there will be a humanist approach [carried out by the TNI] in Papua," said Tomagola.