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World Council of Churches concerned about human rights violations in Papua

March 7, 2012

Bintang Papua, 6 March 2011

Photo at head of article: Rev. Dr Sae Nababan, President of the World Council of Churches

Jayapura: The World Council of Churches is very concerned about the violation of human rights in Papua , said the Rev. Nababan in a discussion with Bintang Papua on Tuesday, 6 March. He said that the WCC was very concerned about the many injustices being suffered by the Papuan people.

The World Council of Churches has registered its concerns and has informed the Indonesian government of this as well as churches around the world.

The Rev. Nababan said that he was not interested in political developments but was concerned about the fate of its congregation in Papua. ‘We are not following the political developments but what we are concerned about is the fate of the Papuan people who are suffering suppression, who feel that they are a colonised people and are being marginalised. This is what we are concerned about,’ he said.

‘We are not discussing the basis of the state but we are very concerned about the Papuan peoples lack of freedom,that their dignity must be respected and an end to the discrimination that they suffer.’

Asked whether the WCC supports the idea of a referendum news of which has been circulating here, he said that people should not be confused about things like this but the fact is that the Council had received a great deal of information about the situation, not only from Papua and Indonesia but also from organisations around the world and when they had looked at the situation, they were very aware that human rights were repeatedly being violated in West Papua.

Rev Nababan said that the WCC which has been able to visit Papua had indeed found that human rights violations have been repeatedly occurring there.

In statement issued by the WCC at its meeting in Geneva, Switzerland from 14 – 17 February, they issued a statement in which they also said that the Papuan people are not benefiting from the rich natural resources in Papua, that there is widespread poverty as well as a lack of facilities to for health care and for a decent education for the children. Multi-national corporations were exploiting its natural resources and the activities of these corporations had seriously damaged the environment.

The special autonomy law was not being properly implemented by the government which resulted in the Papuan people feeling that they were being badly treated by the security forces.

The statement also called on the United Nations to set up a Permanent Observer Mission in Papua to supervise a referendum.

The statement issued by the WCC at the end of its four-day meeting made the following points:

a) Expressed deep concern about the worsening human rights situation in the Land of Papua.
b) Called upon the Indonesian government to take the necessary steps to free its political prisoners and lift regulations banning people from gathering peacefully and to demilitarise West Papua.
c) The government was urged to take the necessary steps for a dialogue with the indigenous Papuan people and to protect the rights of the people to live according to their basic rights.
d) To ensure that the security forces halt the killings and injuries inflicted on Papuan people and the damage done to their mental health.
e) Called upon churches and their partners to get involved in advocacy for peace and security n Papua.
f) Ensure that the member churches of the WCC should work on advocating peace and security for the Papuan people.
g) To pray for the people and the churches in the Land of Papua to continue to give witness for peace, reconciliation and hope.

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