Jayapura, Jubi – The ongoing armed conflict in Papua continues to claim lives among civilians, armed groups, and security forces. According to human rights advocate Theo Hesegem, President Joko Widodo seems to have disregarded this conflict while focusing on international affairs.
"As a human rights defender, I am deeply troubled by the President's apparent neglect of the escalating armed conflict in Papua. There are constant casualties, including indigenous Papuans, non-Papuans, and the Indonesian Military (TNI) and Police, as well as the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB)," Hesegem expressed his concern in a written statement on November 29, 2023.
Hesegem criticized the President and the Indonesian Government who put attention to the Palestine genocide by Israel but dismissed domestic issues such as the Papua conflict. Despite the mounting problems and casualties within the country, Hesegem believes that the President and his administration have failed to address the prolonged conflict in Papua.
He cited incidents such as the attack on non-Papuans at a mine in Mountainous Papua Province on October 16, 2023, the clash resulting in casualties from the East Nusa Tenggara Police on November 22, 2023, and the assault on workers constructing a health center in Central Papua Province on November 24, 2023.
Furthermore, Hesegem highlighted the recent confrontations between the TPNPB and the TNI that led to casualties on both sides. He criticized Jokowi for seemingly overlooking the escalating violence within the country while dealing with international matters, an action deemed as hypocrisy. (*)