Benny Mawel, Jayapura, Jubi – The Papuan Church Council on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, for the umpteenth time, asked President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to fulfill his promise to seek a peaceful Papua.
The church said that the armed conflict between the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) had resulted in a humanitarian crisis in six regions, namely Yahukimo Regency, Bintang Mountains Regency, Intan Jaya Regency, Maybrat Regency, Nduga Regency, and Puncak Regency.
"We have received reports from our congregation that at least 60,000 people have fled to various areas, including to Papua New Guinea," moderator of the Papuan Church Council rev. Benny Giay said in a written statement on Wednesday.
He said that the armed conflict had caused casualties on both the civilians, the TNI and police, and the TPNPB. The central government, however, continued to deploy troops in Papua, without ever declaring the status of Papua as a military operation area.
"The government under President Joko Widodo is obliged to convey the status of Papua, whether it is a military operation area or not. The government must explain it to the public," said the church council.
The council also highlighted the statement of TNI Commander Gen. Andika Perkasa regarding the need for the addition of a new military command in Papua, which contradicted his promise to use a peaceful approach in resolving the Papua conflict.
The council further criticized Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD and Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian, who planned the expansion of Papua Province and a number of cities and regencies in Papua. The council considered the expansion to actually intensify the conflict in Papua land, and make Indigenous Papuans the victims.
The Papuan Church Council conveyed eight calls. First, asking the government to allow the United Nation Human Rights Council to come to Papua and conduct an independent investigation into the prolonged conflict in Papua.
Second, urging Jokowi to engage in a dialogue with the pro-referendum group, United Liberations Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), as he had promised the public on September 30, 2019, in Jakarta.
Third, asking the government to stop military operations, by stopping sending troops and adding military infrastructure in Papua.
Fourth, asking the government to stop all plans for the expansion of provinces, cities, and regencies in Papua.
Fifth, urging the government to stop racial discrimination against Papuans and release a number of people who have been criminalized for their peaceful political activities, including Victor Yeimo, Malvin Yobe, Fernando Waine, Zode Hilapok, Defio Tekege, Maksimus Simon Petrus You, Lius Kitok Urupmabin, Yosep Ernesto Matuan, and Ambros Fransiskus Elopere.
Sixth, the Papuan Church Council requests the support of the international community in resolving the prolonged conflict and human rights violations in Papua.
Seventh, requesting an independent investigation by the UN Human Rights Council on the Bloody Paniai incident that occurred on December 8, 2014, in Papua's Paniai Regency.
Eighth, the Papuan Church Council expresses its appreciation, respect, and gratitude to cultural leaders, church leaders, media, state leaders, communities, and scholars in Melanesian countries, the Pacific Region, and to all parties involved in international solidarity for the Papuan people.
"From Africa to Australia, the European Union, the United States, as well as Indonesian civil society have taken part in the commemoration of December 1 (the first raising of the Morning Star Flag), and have long shown true solidarity in alleviating the suffering of God's people in Papua," the Papuan Church Council said.