Telly Nathalia, Jakarta – Papuan students studying in Jakarta have urged their fellow Papuans to return to their places of study across Indonesia, claiming that the government guarantees their safety.
Hundreds of Papuan students currently enrolled at colleges and universities in various parts of the archipelago returned to their hometowns after racial incidents in cities on Java Island last month, which led to unrest in several cities in Papua and West Papua.
Most of the students returned home over safety concerns and to avoid a repeat of the racial incidents.
The Papua and West Papua provincial governments have also encouraged the students to return to their places of study. The central government has meanwhile also given assurances that as citizens of Indonesia, they would be protected and that they may live freely everywhere in the country.
"We, students from Papua and West Papua who are in the greater Jakarta area, urge all Papuan students who have returned home to come back and continue their studies all over Indonesia," Rajit Patitan, secretary general of the Papua Students Alliance, said in Jakarta on Thursday evening.
The group said the security situation in Papua and West Papua had also returned to normal. The students also urged the news media to exercise caution when reporting information related to the situation in Papua.
"To all Papuan students still enrolled at institutions across Indonesia, continue to focus on your studies, because the government guarantees [our] safety and security," Rajit said.
The students also expressed their commitment to be part of the unitary state of Indonesia.
In the afternoon, the students handed out flowers to passers-by at the National Monument in Central Jakarta to send a message of peace from the people of Papua to their fellow Indonesians.
Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, head of the Indonesian Military (TNI), earlier announced that the military would deploy cargo planes to help Papuan students return to their study locations across the country.