Jayapura – Papua Legal Aid Institute has called on the Papua and West Papua administration, as well as the Indonesian Red Cross, to immediately save civilians who were displaced due to armed conflict in a number of areas in Papua.
Emanuel Gobay of the Papua Legal Aid Institute said that the obligation for the government and the red cross to handle displaced people during conflicts had been stipulated in Government Regulation No. 7/2019 on Red Cross.
"Displaced people are all over the place in Papua, in Nduga Regency (2018), Intan Jaya Regency (2019-2020), Mimika Regency (2020), Maybrat Regency (2020), Puncak Regency (2021),, Tambrauw Regency (2021) and the Bintang Mountains Regency (2021). The Papua and West Papua Administrations must create a regulation to protect Papuan civilians who are displaced due to conflict or natural disasters," Gobay said in a writing statement received by Jubi on Monday, Oct. 25. 2021.
Both administrations, according to Gobay, must immediately carry out their duties to find, accommodate, protect, and monitor displaced people in various areas. "As well as forming a regional regulation on the red cross. The red cross is [given a mandate] for emergency management, health services, and social services," said Gobay.
Gobay emphasized that the government and the red cross must immediately handle the displaced people from four districts in the Bintang Mountains Regency, namely Kiwirok District, Oklib District, Okyob District, and Okika District. Residents in the four districts were reported to have fled after the security forces operation that occurred in the area on Oct. 10.
The operation took place following the attack on a health center and a crossfire between the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) in Kiwirok on Sept. 13. Civilians reportedly fled to a number of places, including Oksibil, the capital of the Bintang Mountains Regency, and to the border of Papua New Guinea.
Gobay said that the government and the Indonesian Red Cross were obliged to treat people not involved in the conflict humanely, including combatants who had stopped fighting, as regulated in Law No. 59/1958 on Indonesia's Participation in All Geneva Conferences on Aug. 12, 1949.
"They must be treated with humanity and without any adverse distinction based on race, color, religion, belief, sex, ancestry, or wealth. The Red Cross Law should apply in all of Papua and West Papua where armed conflicts between the TNI and police and the TPNPB occur, such is currently happening in the Bintang Mountains Regency," Gobay said.
He added that the situation experienced by displaced people from four districts in the Bintang Mountains indicated the suspicion of widespread and systematic attacks directed against the civilians in the form of forced displacement and deprivation of liberty.
Further, Gobay said that the National Commission on Human Rights must carry out the duties of observing the implementation of human rights in Papua, investigating alleged violations of human rights, and reporting the results to the public.