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Papuan students demand apology from Yogyakarta sultan

Jakarta Post - July 27, 2016

Bambang Muryanto, Yogyakarta – The Association of Papuan Students in Java and Bali has demanded Yogyakarta Sultan Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X apologize from statement he made that accused Papuan students studying in Yogyakarta, Central Java, of embracing separatism.

"If within the next two days he [Hamengkubuwono X] does not do so [apologize], we, the Papuan students, will return to Papua," said Ruben C. Frasa, the chairman of the Association of Papuan Students (IKPMD Papua) in Yogyakarta on Tuesday, while reading out the students' joint statement.

The statement was read before a hundred Papuan students studying in Java and Bali, who held a meeting with a Papua provincial government delegation. The five-member delegation was led by chairman of the Papua Legislative Council's Commission I, Elifis Tabuni.

Also present at the meeting were deputy chief for intelligence of the Papua Police Adj. Sr. Comr. Alfred Papare and a staffer from the province's National Unity and Political Department, Helen Waromi. Beside demanding an apology from the sultan, the students also demanded proper democracy in Yogyakarta.

The Papuan government delegation came to Yogyakarta to verify the alleged repressive acts by the Yogyakarta Police in response to a planned rally by Papuan students in their dormitory compound in Kamasan, Yogyakarta, on July 15.

The rally was meant to express their support for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua's (ULMWP) bid for membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). The delegation members heard testimonies of witnesses and watched the recorded moments of the Yogyakarta Police's actions.

During the meeting, student representatives in West, Central and East Java also told their stories on the conditions in their respective regions, where most of them said they experienced discrimination and repressive acts by police officers.

One of the delegation members, Laurensius Kadepa, expressed his concern of the police's approach toward the students. He said he personally could not interfere with the plans of the students to return to Papua because only the they themselves knew the conditions in Yogyakarta.

Lawmaker of the Papua Legislative Council Matea Mamoyo criticized the central government's failure to accelerate development programs in Papua in order to catch up with other provinces.

"There has been discrimination between us [Papuans] and other Indonesians, while the only difference is that our skin is darker if compared with the rest of the country," she said.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/07/27/papuan-students-demand-apology-yogyakarta-sultan.html