Call for the release of all political prisoners in West Papua
Statement by Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive Director of LP3BH-Merauke
As a lawyer and defender of human rights in the Land of Papua, I
want to draw attention to two very important issues that need to be
dealt with in order to end the appalling human rights situation in the
Land of Papua.
The first is that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) as he
comes to the end of his term as President of Indonesia, will order the
release of all political prisoners in the Land of Papua and secondly,
he should allow access to foreign journalists and human right NGOs and
activists to the Land f Papua.
In my opinion, these are very pressing problems that should be
dealt with before the end of the President’s term. This would provide
a positive view for the Papuan people and for Indonesia and would
ensure that the international community acknowledges the credibility
and quality of the democratic views of the Indonesian government.
I am certain that the international community will be impressed by
the achievements of SBY, the first president of the country to be
democratically elected and who gained the support of the Indonesian
people in leading this huge democracy for ten years.
SBY should be regarded as the president who decided to release
all the political prisoners in Papua which according to the latest
figures amount to altogether 72 prisoners. who have spent many years
in prison simply because they hold different opinions about the
situation there than the government.
Giving access to foreign journalists and international human
rights activists to enter West Papua will mean that more balanced
information will be available to counter the negative views that are
held about a country which is currently seen as one of the worst
violators of human rights in the world.
The necessary mechanisms and procedures are all in place, namely
Law 39/1999 on Human Rights and Law 28/2000 on Human Rights Courts, as
well as articles 44, 45 and 46 of Law 21/2001 which grants special
autonomy to the Province of Papua, as amended by Law 35/2001.
Looking into the future and the forthcoming presidential elections
on 9 July this year, I hope that especially with regard to the
provinces of Papua and West Papua, the problem of human rights
violations which have lasted for fifty years will be brought to an
end, as well as allowing access to foreign journalists and human
rights activists, which I hope will be part of the programme of the
candidates standing for president and vice president.
Translated by Carmel Budiardjo