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Amnesty slams Prabowo's response to presidential debate question on Papua

Kompas.com - December 13, 2023

Sabrina Asril, Jakarta – Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid has criticised the response by presidential candidate number 2. Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, on his solution to resolving violence in Papua during the inaugural presidential election debate at the General Elections Commission (KPU) office yesterday.

In his answer to a question on the conflict in Papua, Prabowo in fact alluded to the issue of "foreign interference" and offered a security approach and economic development as a way to overcome the violence.

"It is precisely views such as this that have caused violence and conflict there to never stop", said Hamid in a statement on Tuesday December 12.

"The latest Lemhanas [National Resilience Institute] study shows that economic growth has failed to reduce violence and conflict", he continued.

In other places moreover, pro-investment development has in fact been proven to sacrifice civilians and open the door to human rights violations, such as in Rempang, Nagari Air Bangis, Rembang, Wadas, Halmahera and Flores.

Hamid also said he regretted that the issue of development that sacrifices civilians was not discussed in the debate, even though the candidates were challenged to explain how they would advance social welfare through development without sacrificing citizen's rights.

Returning to the issue of Papua, the other two presidential candidates, former Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo and former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan, were given the opportunity to respond to Prabowo's remarks.

They alluded to the importance of efforts at dialogue and providing a sense of justice as a way to end the violence in Papua.

Prabowo then expressed his agreement with this view. Hamid believes however that the presidential candidates' answers were still not specific enough.

"The solution of dialogue is needed to end the trend of violence, conflict and human rights violations in Papua. That's the wish of indigenous Papuans. Unfortunately, there was nothing heard about internal refugee policies, the release of the New Zealand pilot hostage [Philip Mehrtens], strengthening the MRP (Papuan People's Assembly) and human rights courts in Papua", said Hamid.

"This is urgent", he reiterated.

Hamid highlighted that all presidential candidates made a commitment to upholding human rights, which he believes is something positive.

"But how about their concrete policies going forward? Don't let the people be disappointed again, especially those who are victims of human rights violations. The presidential candidates must make real policies", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Amnesty International: Jawaban Prabowo soal Papua Justru Penyebab Kekerasan".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2023/12/13/18243871/amnesty-international-jawaban-prabowo-soal-papua-justru-penyebab-kekerasa