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Central goveernment is allowing the violence in Papua to continue

March 7, 2013

Bintang Papua, 7 March 2013

Jayapura:

[Illustration at the top of the item is a photo of Socratez Sofyan Yoman and Rev. Benny Giay

Speaking at a press conference in Jayapura, the chairman of the Alliance of Baptists Churches in Papua, Socratez Sofyan Yoman, said he was concerned about the fact that the central government is doing nothing to stop  all the acts of violence that  continue to occur  in the Land of Papua, leading to the loss of many lives among the indigenous Papuan people for political reasons.'

'These acts of violence have been occurring since 2004 and are continuing to the present day, which means that the situation is never peaceful. This is not the fault of the regional government or the legislative bodies but is because it is the central government which is allowing the violence to continue in Papua.'

Socratez Yoman, accompanied by Rev Benny Giay, was speaking at a press conference held at the bookshop 'Sofyan Ninom', to launch his latest book.

He went on the say that the provincial government or regional administrations are powerless because the situation is subject to remote control from the central government which is simply allowing all this violence to occur and this must not be allowed to continue.'

'I wish to state that there will be no end to this violence until the central government takes measures  to restore peace  by humane efforts and without perpetrated acts of violence. This violence is continuing to take a heavy toll in Papuan lives,' he said.

He spoke about recent acts of  violence in Sinak, district of Puncak Jaya  and in Tingginambut in the district of Puncak Jaya. 'Is it true that the perpetraters are members of the TPN/OPM or  groups led by Goliat Tabuni, or not? What is urgent, he said, is that all this violence must stop in the Land of Papua, from Sorong to Merauke. 'These things have been happening since 2004 and nothing has been done to find the culprits . It is surely time for the central government to take a humane  and peaceful approach to the  problems of the Papuan people,' he said.

Widespread availability of  weapons poses threat to all civilians

The chairman of the Synod of the  KINGMI Church, Rev Benny Giay, said that the chief of police in Papua must conduct thorough investigations to find out who it is who is selling firearms in Papua, particularly in the mountainous interior. He said that he raised this issue with the chief of police, Tito Kaarnavian at a meeting in the office of the Synod on 3 March. 'You should arrest anyone who is selling weapons,' he told the chief of police.'

He said he was concerned about the availability of firearms and ammunition, particularly in the mountainous area because these weapons had been used to shoot civilians a few days earlier  in the Puncak Highlands, in Tinggnambut and in Sinak.

This is a serious matter for  church leaders because people are now feeling very afraid  and think that anyone can own a firearm and ammunition.which is the cause of all the instability in Papua.

According to Rev. Giay, weapons are being used in land disputes as well as in disagreements between neighbours which shows how wide is the impact of all these weapons which is maintaining a situation of instability in Papua. 'When for example  an indigenous Papuan shoots one of the newcomers to Papua, it is then alleged that the OPM was responsible.What we think is so important is that the people responsible for these actions should be taken into custody.'

He said that the need to deal with people who are responsible for all these shootings was mentioned a while ago when Bekto was the chief of police. He said at the time that he would deal with all the shooting incidents as well as dealing with those people who are bringing weapons into Papua, but to this day, nothing has been done. The widespread circulation of weapons and ammunition is what has led to the shooting of indigenous Papuans as well as other civilians.The authorities say that there needs to be an increase in the number of police  or army command posts in Papua but he doubts whether that will make any difference because the police have not carried the crucial work of investigating who it is who is bringing in all these weapons and who is responsible for the widespread availability of firearms and ammunition.

Rev Benny Giay recalled the words of the president, SBY, some time ago when he said at a meeting of the Church Leadeship Forum that he would take measures to resolve the problems in Papua by taking a humanitarian approach. 'If the chief of police is not able to carry this out, he should say so.'

'We said at the time that  this was precisely what we also wanted, but the fact is that there is no sign that what SBY said is happening  while acts of violence simply go on occurring. On that occasion too, SBY said that there were two main groups in Papua,, those who want to take the humanitarian approach and those who commit acts of violence.

Rev Giay said that there appears to be another group of people, a third party which persists in taking the path of violence. This means that there are people in Jakarta who want the violence in Papua to continue.'In other words, it means that there are state institutions or other groups who what to continue along the path of violence.'

[Translated by TAPOL]

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