Freedom of Expression in being Repressed in Papua
Statement by the Executive-Director of the LP3BH
The action taken by the Army and the Police Force in ‘forcibly’
closing down a one-day seminar being held by the United Liberation
Movement for est Papua has shown to the world that the right to
freedom of expression and freedom of speech is seriously restricted
here in Papua by the Government of Indonesia.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the Covenant
on Civil Political Rights firmly support these basic rights.
This means that all those countries that are members of the United
Nations should respect these rights and make possible their
implementation. This is particularly so in the Land of Papua where
these rights are severely restricted and in many cases violated by the
Government of Indonesia.
There are a number of occasions when the violation of these rights
occurred such as the Act of Free Choice in 1969.
Ever since that time, indigenous Papuan children have been
prohibited from singing a song composed by the Rev. Dr Isaac Semuel
Kijne entitled Hai Tanahku Papua, saying that this is an act of
separatism although it is simply a song praising God Almighty for
having given the people of Papua a land of their own.
On the second occasion in 1984, members of the security force,
Kopassandha (now known as Kopassus) tragically murdered the curator
of the Anthropological Museum of the Cenderawasih University, Arnold
Ap and his colleague Eduard Mofu whose bodies were thrown into the sea
near Pemandian Base G Jayapura. These two cultural workers were
brutally murdered in violation of the provisions of Pancasila.
The security forces claimed that the reason they were killed was
they were allegedly trying to develop a Melanesian culture with
traditional Papuan songs which would lead to the separation of Papua
from the 15-year old Republic of Indonesia.
A third occasion was in 1984 when the Mambesak Group headed by the
late Arnold Ap and Eduard Mofu had produced a number of cassettes
containing Papuan music that were banned from being sold in the
markets and even prohibiting the holding of a Cultural Fair that was
being organised by the Cenderawasih University on the orders of the
Fourthly, all actions to convey opinions peacefully in the Land of
Papua are regarded by the security forces as actions to oppose the
state forces in violation of the provisions in Articles 106, 108 and
110 of the Legal Code. As a result, many political activists such as
for instance Filep Karma, Edison Waromi, Forkorus Yabiosembut,
Melkianus Bleskadit, Dominikus Sorbat and others have been thrown into
jail in Indonesia.
On many other occasions, people from civil society including
church leaders, humanitarian activists and a number of law
enforcement activists have been classified as separatists as
stipulated in the data collected by the intelligence agencies such as
BAIS TNI as well as Kodam xvii Cenderawasih.
Others included in this category are members of parliament, the
MRP, the regional legislative assemblies as well as the Governor of
the Province. Lawyers as well as the attorney-general were also
regarded as people who should be removed from membership of the
legislative agencies .
The incident that occurred on Monday (2/3) in Waena, Jayapura
shows that violations of Basic Human Rights Violations have continued
to occur here in the Land of Papua since 1963.
This is particularly the case with the violation of
the right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech.
The dissolution of the Seminar and the arrest of three of its
organisers – Benu Rumbiak, Simeon Alua and Yus Wena – should not have
occurred; their rights should be respected in accordance with the laws
in force in this country.
The right of the three activists to have legal assistance as
provided for in articles 54, 55 and 56 of the Legal Code should be
recognised by the police interrogation forces.
On behalf of the LP3BH, the Institute for Research, Investigation
and Development of Human Rights – Manokwari, we call on the United
Nations via the intermediary of the Secretary-General of the UN to
send a Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression to the
Land of Papua to undertake an investigation into this situation as
soon as possible.
Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive-Director of LP3BH.
[Translated by Carmel Budiardjo]