Yance Wenda, Jayapura, Jubi – The West Papuan Council of Churches (WPCC) appreciates the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council for sending a letter to the Indonesian government requesting clarification on the human rights situation in Papua. The WPCC asks the Indonesian government to stop denying various human rights violations in Papua, internationally known as West Papua.
"We appreciate the letter requesting clarification to the Indonesian government submitted by the UN Special Rapporteurs on Enforced Disappearances, Torture, and Refugees, as well as the UN Human Rights Council's statement in February regarding the torture of seven children in Puncak Regency," said head of the Papua Baptist Church Sinode Rev. Socratez Sofyan Yoman at a press conference in Sentani, the capital of Jayapura Regency, on Monday, March 21, 2022.
Yoman said the WPCC hoped that the UN Human Rights Council would follow up the clarification efforts by visiting Papua. "We urge the UN Human Rights Council to visit Papua and conduct a direct and thorough investigation on the human rights situation here," said Yoman.
The WPCC condemned the Indonesian government's continued denial of various cases of human rights violations in Papua, which only exacerbates Papua's dire human rights situation.
"For 59 years, we have expressed our disappointment, sadness, and anger at the Indonesian government's dishonesty in responding to questions from the UN Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights regarding the situation in Papua. We condemn the Foreign Affairs Ministry for continuing to deny the facts of the killings, torture, displacement, and disappearances carried out by the Indonesian Military (TNI) and Police against Papuan people," said Yoman.
The WPCC expressed deepest condolences to the families of seven children victims of torture in Puncak's Sinak District. On February 22, the security forces allegedly tortured seven Papuan children, resulting in one child, Makilon Tabuni, died. The council also expressed condolences for the families of two protesters who died during a protest against the expansion of Papua Province in Dekai, the capital of Yahukimo Regency, on March 15, namely Yakob Meklok and Esron Weipsa.
The WPCC also expressed condolences to the families of eight workers of PT Palapa Timur Telematika who were shot dead by the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) in Beoga District on March 2.
Regarding the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) plan to hold a dialogue in Papua, the WPCC assessed that prior to the dialogue, there must be withdrawal of additional TNI and police troops in Papua, as well as the reinstatement of tens of thousands of civilians who were displaced due to the armed conflict in Papua.
"We believe that [dialogue] must begin with withdrawing the military from Papua and stop deploying more troops. To resolve the prolonged conflict in Papua, we remain consistent in urging dialogue between the Indonesian government and the United Liberation Movement for West Papua or ULMWP, just as what the government has done with the Free Aceh Movement in resolving the Aceh conflict," said Yoman.
Further, The WPCC expressed gratitude to various parties who continue to voice the human rights situation and conflict in Papua Land. The council believes that the Papuan problem can only be solved with the help and support of various parties who care about the fate of the Indigenous Papuans.
"We express our gratitude to all the people and Church leaders, politicians, traditional leaders, academics, Indonesian media, Melanesia, Asia-Pacific, Australia, Aotearoa-New Zealand, African Union, Caribbean, European Union, and the United States of America who has become Simon from Cyrene, walked with us carrying the cross of the Papuan Nation. The cross that we carry is still heavy. Therefore, we still need as much solidarity and support," said Yoman.
In the same forum, head of the Evangelical Church in Indonesia (GIDI) Rev. Dorman Wandikbo questioned the role of the Komnas HAM in the human rights situation in Papua. Wandikbo also questioned the Komnas HAM's sudden act of planning to launch a dialogue to resolve the Papuan problem.
Wandikbo said that if the Komnas HAM truly cared about the Papuan people, they should as well speak out against the government's plan to expand the province in Papua, and the various plans by the TNI/Police to add more territorial units in Papua.