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More than 500 children displaced in Maybrat, unable to attend schools

Tabloid JUBI - November 29, 2021

Timoteus Marten, Jayapura, Jubi – A total of 3,121 people in the Maybrat Regency, West Papua, have been displaced following the attack on the Indonesian Military (TNI) post in Kisor by the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) on September 2. Of the total, 2,546 people are adults, toddlers, and infants, while 575 others are children aged 7-18 years, who have not been able to go to schools in the past three months.

The displaced people came from 50 villages in five districts in Maybrat, namely South Aifat, East Aifat, Far East Aifat, Middle East Aifat, and South East Aifat. Most of them evacuated to Sorong Regency and Sorong City. They stayed in their family homes or made huts in the forest. Some also took refuge in villages in Ayawasi, Kumurkek, Fategomi, South Sorong, as well as Bintuni Regency.

Lawyer of PAHAM Papua Yohanis Mambrasar, who is a member of the Coalition of Civil Society for Displaced People of Maybrat, said in a written statement received by Jubi on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, that the displaced people began to experience food shortages, health problems, and economic problems.

"Only in the first month they were able to fulfill their needs through family support and government assistance," said Mambrasar. However, he said, entering the third month, the condition of the displaced people was just getting worse.

Following the attack on the TNI post in Kisor, eight civilians were detained and prosecuted, four of whom were students. Meanwhile, eight people died and at least 55 people experienced violence in the form of persecution, torture, intimidation, shootings, and unlawful arrests. A man named Manfred Tamunete was shot by soldiers during a sweep in Fuog Village in October 25. The TNI and police, however, claimed they were unaware of Tamunete's whereabouts.

On the other hand, there are six companies that acquired concessions for 573,824.96 hectares of land in Maybrat. Two of them are logging companies, PT Bangun Kayu Irian (BKI) and PT Mitra Pembangunan Global (MPG), which operate along the Kamundan River and Kais River. Administratively, their area covers three of the five districts whose residents are now displaced: Aifat, East Aifat, and North Aifat. The security forces reportedly built posts at certain points and are suspected of restricting civilians from returning to their villages located near the companies.

Bernardus Baru of the Secretariat of Justice and Peace of the Integrity of Creation of the Order of Saint Augustine (SKPKC OSA), also spoke in the written statement, urging the central government, the TNI and police, and the TPNPB to immediately call a truce and resolve the conflict peacefully.

He also urged the TNI commander and National Police chief to immediately stop any operations in Maybrat and withdraw all organic and non-organic troops, as well as reveal the whereabouts of Manfred Tamunete and return him to his family.

Bernardus also asked The Maybrat Administration to immediately return 3,121 displaced people and provide them a guarantee of security. He demanded the West Papua Attorney General's Office, the Sorong Attorney General's Office, and the Jayapura High Court stop the legal process of eight Maybrat civilians who are victims of wrongful arrest and immediately release them.

The coalition also called on human rights institutions, church leaders, academics, human rights observers, and countries in the Pacific, Asia, Europe, Scandinavia, America, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa to join in solidarity in monitoring the human rights situation in Papua.

Source: https://en.jubi.co.id/more-than-500-children-displaced-in-maybrat-unable-to-attend-schools