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Amnesty continues campaigning for Papuan inclusion despite 'militia' protest

Jakarta Post - March 18, 2022

Jakarta – In the wake of a protest on Thursday by members of a militia who surrounded the Central Jakarta headquarters of Amnesty International Indonesia (AII), the human rights group continued its efforts in lobbying the government to conduct a full investigation into human rights abuses in Papua.

Amnesty also called on the administration of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to include Papuan people in any discussions on the easternmost province's special autonomy status.

AII executive director Usman Hamid has called on the Jokowi administration to postpone enacting the Special Autonomy Law on Papua, which the House of Representatives amended late last year.

"The Constitutional Court is reviewing the legality of the new law. So, it is better for the government to delay the implementation of the law until the court issues its final verdict," said Usman.

On Thursday, hundreds of protesters claiming to be members of Laskar Merah Putih (red-and-white paramilitary), staged a protest at Amnesty headquarters. Some protesters carried flyers bearing Usman's photo and called him a traitor, demanding that the government expel the international human rights group from the country.

"I am deeply concerned over this protest. It reminds me of militaristic [methods] of the New Order regime to silence human rights activists and groups," Usman told The Jakarta Post on Thursday afternoon.

Earlier in the week, at least two protesters were killed and several others were wounded in Papua on Tuesday, when a demonstration against a plan on administrative reforms turned violent.

The protesters accused the central government of excluding Papuans in its plan to create new provinces in the region, fearing that the planned reform would be used as a pretext to tighten the government's control over Papua.

Other protests opposing the plan have also sprung up across Papua and Jakarta.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/indonesia/2022/03/18/amnesty-continues-campaigning-for-papuan-inclusion-despite-militia-protest.htm