M. Julnis Firmansyah, Jakarta – Chairman of Central Initiative and Senior Researcher of Imparsial, Al Araf, criticized President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's statement calling the situation in Papua a "small conflict, no need to exaggerate". The statement was spoken after his visit to Keerom, South Papua last Saturday.
"President Jokowi's statement, we assess, is far from reality. The president's statement is difficult to understand, acknowledge, and even hurtful to all the victims of violence and violation of human rights," said Araf in his statement on Monday, July 10, 2023.
According to Imparsial and Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) data, the conflict in Papua is still ongoing and continues to take the lives of civilians, military personnel, and national police members. "Not to mention from the previous conflicts, there are a lot of victims of violence and violations of human rights in Papua," said Araf.
Further, the conflict in Papua caused a rise in refugees and impunity cases involving the perpetrators of violations of human rights. The pilot of Susi Air, Captain Phillip Mark Mehrtens is still held hostage by the National Liberation Army of West Papua-Papua Liberation Movement (TPNPB-OPM). There are also cases of arbitrary arrest of democracy activists in Papua. Thus, Imparsial and HRWG asked Jokowi to reflect, understand, and dive deep into the present conflict in Papua.
"The president thinking civilians being killed with the perpetrators roaming free is a small problem is hurtful for the general public, not only the victims. Impunity is not a small problem in state law, it is pitiful that the President implied otherwise," said Araf.
Previously, Jokowi assessed that the overall condition in Papua presently is safe. The President asked everyone to not only see the negative side but also the positive side. "The youth involved in the creative industry, the creative young people, this is a positive side," said Jokowi in his live-streamed statement on the Presidential Secretariat Youtube channel, Saturday, July 8, 2023.
Jokowi stated that generally, after following several activities in Papua and did not experience any sort of disturbance, 99% of Papua did not experience any huge problems. He then asked all parties to not exaggerate. "We were safe at the carnival, no problem whatsoever. We had dinner a ta restaurant safely," said Jokowi.