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Disbandment of Human Rights Day rally in Papua threat to freedom of expression: Activist

Tabloid Jubi - December 14, 2023

Jayapura, Jubi – Thomas Ch Syufi, the Executive Director of the Papuan Observatory for Human Rights (POHR), has condemned the dispersal of the World Human Rights Day rally in Papua on December 10 as a threat to democracy and freedom of expression.

"The restriction and suppression of expression in Papua by the police represent a serious threat to democracy, almost indicating a democracy emergency in Papua," Syufi told Jubi on Tuesday, December 12, 2023.

The rally organized by students ended with clashes. Five people were hit by the police, two were arrested, and two police officers were hit by objects thrown by the people.

Syufi highlighted that freedom of expression is governed by Law No. 9/1998 on Freedom of Speech, which should serve as a guideline for law enforcement authorities, especially the police, in dealing with issues regarding freedom of expression.

Syufi emphasized that police repression of freedom of expression is diminishing the growth of human rights principles. He pointed out that the expression of opinions is part of the universal principles of human rights explicitly stated in Article 28 of the 1945 Constitution, Article 25 of Human Rights Law No. 39/1999, Article 19 of Law No. 12/2005 concerning the Ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Freedom of Speech Law.

"I believe this is an act that is not commendable and a form of power arrogance displayed by the police towards freedom of expression," he remarked.

Syufi suggested that the police should instead assist and support students by overseeing peaceful actions from start to finish. He argued that students are merely voicing concerns about human rights violations in Papua. (*)

Source: https://en.jubi.id/disbandment-of-human-rights-day-rally-in-papua-threat-to-freedom-of-expression-activist