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Govt meetings on Wamena human rights case exclude victims' families, igniting criticism

Tabloid Jubi - November 21, 2023

Jayapura, Jubi – Efforts by the central government to address historical human rights violations, including the Wamena incident on April 4, 2003, persist through non-judicial means, evident in their recent meeting. However, this meeting excluded the involvement of the victims' families.

As per information gathered from families affected by the Wamena case and activists supporting them, the Non-Judicial Settlement Team for Past Gross Human Rights Violations (PPHAM) convened on November 13, 2023, at a Wamena hotel.

Notably, this marked the fourth meeting in Wamena by the PPHAM Team, yet it proceeded without engaging the victims' families or the coordinator for human rights violations in Wamena.

Theo Hesegem, a Papuan human rights advocate, highlighted that despite repeated meetings, the stance of the victims and their families, articulated through four demands, remains unchanged and unaddressed by the state.

The recent November 13 meeting was regarded as an informal gathering by Hesegem, conveying the government's oversight of the families' demands.

"The government, particularly the Ministry of Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, has neither responded nor clarified its position on the four demands presented by the victims' families," he emphasized.

Instead, the PPHAM Team persistently attempts to persuade the families to accept various compensations and aid packages.

Hesegem noted the team's claims of compensating other victim families despite clear refusals from Wamena's victims and their families. This persistent disregard for the victims' stance portrays a government attempt to coerce acceptance through the PPHAM Team.

Similarly, Linus Hiluka, the coordinator for victims of human rights violations in the Wamena case, alongside Pastor Hosea Murib, affirmed their clear rejection of both judicial and non-judicial settlements. They criticized the government's exclusion of their voices from the November 13 meeting and its insistence on imposing settlements without addressing their aspirations.

"It is important to be transparent in addressing the victims' concerns, wheteher or not they are willing to accept compensation. We urge the PPHAM Team to communicate openly with the victims' representatives," said Hiluka.

Pastor Hosea Murib echoed these sentiments, expressing confusion over the government's unilateral approach that disregards the victims' statements while pressuring them to comply with the government's terms. He highlighted the international community's interest in resolving such violations and urged the Indonesian government to consider international channels for settlement, emphasizing the victims' right to seek such resolutions. (*)

Source: https://en.jubi.id/govt-meetings-on-wamena-human-rights-case-exclude-victims-families-igniting-criticism