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Security forces always exploit 1 December

December 3, 2013

Comment by Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive Director of LP3BH

In my many years of experience as an indigenous Papuan, the security forces always exploit the situation in the days leading up to 1 December at a time when everyone is making plans to celebrate Christmas, waiting for Santa Claus to visit our homes late at night to hang things on our Christmas trees.

In the old days, the security forces did not conduct special operations and the local government authorities which meant that they didn’t have to spend lots of money to pay for such operations because the army and the police remained in their command posts.

But ever since the 1990s, or to be more precise, from 1998 to 2000, the special atmosphere in the days leading up to Christmas have been used by the security forces to conduct operations in a period which, for the majority of the Papuan people, is sacred and peaceful.

On 1 December this year, we are again seeing heavily-armed members of the security forces standing on guard along the roads and on every corner.

It is as if these people know nothing about this being a period when people await the coming of Jesus Christ.

Is there anything special about 1 December which could undermine the State which would mean that the local authorities would need to spend millions of rupiahs to fund these activities by the security forces?

Is this legally accountable or is it not an indication that money is being spent corruptly and should be properly investigated? It could result in many unarmed civilians being injured just because there are people whose political aspirations are not in accord with the Indonesian government. Is this what people call democracy?

In my opinion, the government should stop these radical moves which always regard indigenous Papuans, including the youth and students, as enemies of the State who must be crushed in ways that infringe their basic human rights.

It would be much better for the State and the security force to use methods of persuasion when people express their aspirations publicly in ways that respect basic human rights and democracy, principles which are universally recognised.

It is my understanding that events that have been occurring on the occasion of 1 December began to emerge following the Second Papuan Peoples Congress in 2000, an occasion which Papuans commemorate every year. There is no need for the State and the security forces to fear this and exploit the situation so as to get support while at the same time violating the basic rights of the people.

The State should stop systematically exploiting Papuan people in the month of December which could lead to a national catastrophe in this Land of ours which we received by the Grace of God.


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