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Civil Coalition urges Jokowi to end combat operation in Papua

Tempo - April 19, 2023

M Julnis Firmansyah, Jakarta – The Civil Coalition for Security Reform urged President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to cease the military combat operation being implemented by the Indonesian Military Commander Admiral Yudo Margono. This increase in status was carried out following an attack from the West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Movement (TPNPB-OPM) which killed a soldier.

According to the coalition, the death of the soldier left deep sorrow for many parties. However, he hoped that the incident would become a valuable lesson for the President and the House of Representatives (DPR) to evaluate the militaristic security approach that has been executed by far in Papua.

"This is not the only incident. Previously, the National Police (Polri) Chief released data that 22 personnel of TNI-Polri died from 2022 until now," said the coalition's press release that Tempo received on Tuesday, April 18.

The Civil Coalition for Security Reform consists of various NGOs, viz. KontraS, Imparsial, LBH Pers, ICW, LBH Masyarakat, ELSAM, HRWG, PBHI Nasional, ICJR, YLBHI, LBH Jakarta, LBH Malang, WALHI, Setara Institute, Forum Defacto, AJI Jakarta, Public Virtue Institute, Centra Initiative, Amnesty International Indonesia, LBH Keadilan Papua Nabire, and LBH Papua.

According to the Coalition, the militaristic security approach has thus far presented a direct and indirect impact on the occurrence of violence and human rights violations against the people in the region. In fact, violence involving security forces ends up in the practice of impunity, meaning that they cannot be punished.

"Law enforcement to break the chain of impunity is crucial to prevent the recurrence of violence by security forces against civilians in Papua," the Coalition underlined.

The Coalition thus encouraged an evaluation of the militaristic security approach to begin immediately with efforts to reorganize the military troop's strength levels. The Coalition found indications that the hike in the number of soldiers deployed in the region was increasingly disproportionate, in line with the continued expansion of organic structures and the sending of non-organic troops from outside the province.

According to Imparsial, the number of soldiers in Papua, both from organic and non-organic elements, was estimated at 16,900, consisting of 13,900 organic soldiers and 3,000 non-organic soldiers or units with combat qualifications.

In terms of legality and accountability, the TNI's involvement in handling Papua also has many problems and is not in line with the TNI Law Article 7 Paragraph (3). "Based on Imparsial's investigation, the government has never issued a written policy related to the deployment of TNI troops to Papua until now. Thus, from a legal perspective, the involvement of the military can be said to be illegal," the Coalition argued.

The Civil Coalition also asked Jokowi's government and TPNPB-OPM to open equal and dignified dialogue spaces, conduct a ceasefire and immediate cessation of hostilities to prevent further casualties, as well as explore humanitarian pauses to allow for the handling of refugees and political prisoners.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1716678/civil-coalition-urges-jokowi-to-end-combat-operation-in-papu