Benny Mawel, Jayapura – During a meeting about the fate of Papuan migrant students after last year's racial abuse incidents in East Java, the Papuan People's Assembly (MRP) asked Jember Regent Faida to ensure the safety of the Papuan students in her regency.
MRP chairman Timotius Murib said during the meeting that took place at the office of the special representatives for indigenous Papuans on Jan. 27 he had asked the regent to take care of the Papuan student community currently in Jember."We left a message [for Faida] to protect the Papuan people, especially the 200 students who are studying in Jember," he told The Jakarta Post.
Timotius said that he relayed the message on behalf of the students' parents, with the hope that there would be security guarantees for students in Jember.
"We communicated the message so that [the students] can be [treated] like the regent's children, as well as the Forkopimda's [Regional Leadership Communication Forum] children and the people of Jember's children," he said.
The meeting with the regent was a follow-up to a discussion with Papuan migrant students the week before, during which the students asked the MRP, the Papuan Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) and the Papua Governor to pay more attention to their future, Timotius said.
He said that many Papuan students who were studying in different cities outside the region have returned to Papua because they felt unsafe in their cities of study.
"We are victims of racism. The government must talk about it seriously. We want a solution," Eko Pilipus Kogoya, one of the migrant students who moved back to Papua, told the Post.
In response to the message, Jember Regent Faida said she promised to take care of the Papuan people in her regency.
"We promise to protect the bright generation who will develop Papua in the future," she said in a statement released by the MRP.
Last year, racial abuse incidents against Papuan students living in Malang and Surabaya, East Java, triggered widespread and prolonged protests, some turning violent, in Papua and West Papua.