Yance Wenda, Jayapura, Jubi – Head of the Papuan People's Assembly Women's Working Group Ciska Abugau said that the safety of women in Papua was threatened by three things, namely armed conflict, high cases of HIV/AIDS, and violence led by alcohol abuse due to easy accessibility of alcohol in Papua.
Abugau said HIV infection and alcohol abuse had long been a problem in Papua but never taken seriously. "We have discussed the matter with the government and other stakeholders but [the condition] is still the same," she said during a workshop on encouraging policy protecting women living with HIV/AIDS in Jayapura City on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021.
According to her, the consumption of alcoholic beverages is one of the factors leading to the high cases of violence against women in Papua.
While these problems have yet to be resolved, Papuan women in various areas experience a more serious problem, the armed conflict. Since 2018, armed conflicts have occurred in Nduga, Puncak, Intan Jaya, Bintang Mountains, and have caused civilian casualties including women and children.
Abugau said that the security forces' duty to protect was clearly absent in how they work in Papua. "Protecting who? In Intan Jaya, a 2-year-old child was shot dead, a mother was shot, they are innocent," said Abugau.
She went on mentioning the case of TNI soldiers allegedly torturing two Papuan young adults identified as Zanambani brothers, Luther Zanambani and Apinus Zanambani, to death and burning their bodies to hide their crime.
"They burned our children and disposed of the ashes in the river. But the TNI and police keep their mouths shut. We asked the TNI, they told us to ask the police, no one takes responsibility," Abugau said.
Though the issue of violence by security forces and its opponent, the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), is more dangerous than the rest of the problems, Abugau said that the circulation of alcoholic beverages remained a serious problem in areas that are not conflict zones.
"Protecting women and children in non-conflict areas is also important," she said.