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Rights groups criticise security chief's plan to send more troops to Papua

Kompas.com - October 22, 2020

Achmad Nasrudin Yahya, Jakarta – Amnesty International Indonesia investigator Ari Pramuditya has criticised a recommendation by Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD to deploy more troops in Papua.

Mahfud's recommendation was to add more troops to areas in Papua which do not yet have pockets of military troops.

"At least from the statement (Mahfud's recommendation) we see that the approach on the ground is a security approach, but it can't be denied that this security approach is one of the reasons for the death of civilians", said Pramuditya during a virtual press conference on Thursday October 22.

According to Pramuditya, instead of evaluating the security approach, the government instead wants to deploy more troops in Papua. Yet, he said, to date the security approach applied by the government has in fact often given rise to violence.

Pramuditya said that the government should address the Papua problem comprehensively so it can trace the roots of the problem.

"The approach should not just be connected to this case, let alone on partial information, but must comprehensively look at the problems in Papua in a holistic way by finding the roots of the problem", he said.

Meanwhile Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) human rights defenses division head Arif Nur Fikri says that the government and the House of Representatives should immediately reevaluate the situation so cases of violence in Papua do not continue.

So far, said Fikri, the government and the DPR's evaluations have only been when there are successes in overcoming armed criminal groups (KKB) – the government's term for the Free Papua Movement (OPM). However the government and the DPR fail to understand as a whole the cycle of violence which impacts directly on the Papuan people.

"At least this momentum can [be used] start a process of evaluation by the government and the DPR to look at the military presence in Papua", he said.

Earlier, Mahfud issued a recommendation that additional troops be sent to regions in Papua which still do not have an organic military presence.

The recommendation was issued following the findings of a government sanctioned Joint Fact Finding Team (TGPF) which is looking into the alleged involvement of security personnel in the September 19 fatal shooting of Pastor Yeremia Zanambani in Intan Jaya, Papua.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Rekomendasi Mahfud MD Tambah Pasukan di Papua Dikritik".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2020/10/22/17202101/rekomendasi-mahfud-md-tambah-pasukan-di-papua-dikriti