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An investigation of past human rights violations in West Papua must begin soon in West Papua

March 24, 2014

Statement by human rights lawyer, Yan Christian Warinussy on 16 March 2014

Recent developments have shown that violations of human rights in the Land of Papua have continued to occur systematically for the past fifty years, that is to say since 1963. This makes it even more crucial for investigations to take place as stipulated in Articles 18 and 19 of Law 26/2000 on Human Rights Courts.

Similar investigations have been undertaken by the National Human Rights Commission in accordance with Article 44, paras (1) and (2) of Law 21/2001 on Special Autonomy for the Province of West Papua.

However, although investigations have been carried out by the National Human Rights Commission, it does not mean that such an investigation should not be carried out throughout the whole of the territory of West Papua by a special rapporteur of the United Nations.

This is clearly required bearing in mind the speech delivered by the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Moana Carcassess at the UN General Assembly in September last year, as well as statements that were made in the presence of the Secretary-General of the UN and the chairperson of the UN Human Rights Council on 4 March this year. In his speech, the Vanuatu Prime Minister called on the UN to appoint a special mission to undertake an investigation of the systematic human rights violations that have occurred in West Papua in the past fifty years, which have become even more systematic in the recent past.

Speaking as a human rights defender who is active in the Land of Papua, I strongly urge the UN Secretary-General and the UN Human Rights Council to carry out an investigation into human rights violations which have occurred in West Papua during the past fifty years and call on the UN Secretary-General and the UN Human Rights Council to draft a resolution calling for an investigation of human rights violations in the Land of Papua over the past fifty years.

The National Human Rights Commission should also be able to undertake such in investigation as an independent agency, which should also involve civil society organisations which operate in the Land of Papua.

Speaking also as a recipient of the John Humprey Freedom Award in Canada in 2005, I would like to call upon President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to guarantee unfettered access for such an investigation throughout the Land of Papua. This should also include giving access to organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and TAPOL to carry out such an investigation in accordance with international standards that are acceptable in accordance with the rule of law around the world.

I strongly believe that with the goodwill of the SBY government and support from the indigenous Papuan people, a decision taken by the Indonesian government along these lines would help restore social and political reconciliation. This can only be achieved if it is done within the context of the Special Autonomy Law of 2001 and its stipulations on human rights and if undertaken in accordance with basic human rights values that are applicable both nationally and internationally.

[Translation by Carmel Budiardjo]

Note: A earlier translation of this statement by another source failed to give a clear understanding of the statement made by Yan Christian Warinussy.]

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