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Authorities use excessive force against Papuan protesters again: Amnesty

June 7, 2022

Authorities use excessive force against Papuan protesters again: Amnesty

Nur Janti (The Jakarta Post) PREMIUM Jakarta ● Tue, June 7, 2022

Amnesty International Indonesia has called out the government for excessive use of force in Papua last week against protesters who were rallying against Jakarta’s plan to create new provinces in the country’s easternmost region. People took to the streets on Friday in areas across Papua, such as Yahukimo, Paniai, Nabire and Jayapura, to once again oppose the plan.

At least 25 people were injured when the police dispersed demonstrations in the four towns and arrested 44 protesters, according to Amnesty International Indonesia. “Indigenous Papuans have a right to peacefully protest against government policies without running the risk of being arrested or beaten,” Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid said in a statement on Friday.

“These repeated incidents show that the state has no respect for the voices of indigenous Papuans.” Indigenous Papuans and activists have repeatedly raised concerns over Jakarta’s plan to establish new provinces, fearing it would be used as a pretext to tighten government control over Papua.

Over the past months, representatives from Papua have also been meeting with government agencies, human rights groups and other stakeholders to voice their concerns over new policies and demanded the resolution of human rights cases.

But Jakarta remains unmoved and continues excluding Papuans in the plan to form new provinces, which it says is necessary due to Papua’s vast size and to accelerate development.

Read also: Listen to Papuans, residents say, as govt pushes for security buildup

Friday was not the first time law-enforcement authorities have used excessive force to handle protests in Papua.

In mid-May, the police used water cannons and batons against protesters in Jayapura who opposed the plan for the major redistricting. In March, two people were killed and several others injured when a protest against the same plan turned violent in Yahukimo.

Read also: At least two killed in Papua protest clashes

Police violence against demonstrators in Papua was also recorded last year when people protested against the amendment of the Papuan Special Autonomy Law, which became the basis for the creation of the new provinces. A peaceful rally in Jayapura turned violent on July 14, 2021, during which four students were injured.

A day later in Jakarta, the police arrested at least 50 people and injured one during a protest in front of the House of Representatives complex. Amnesty said that one protester had been beaten, punched, stamped on and racially abused by members of the security forces before being taken to the Jakarta Police headquarters.

The amended law includes a provision that allows the House and the government to create new provinces, cities and regencies without the approval of the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP) or the existing provincial-level legislative councils (DPRP). In the previous version of the law, the creation of new administrative areas could go ahead only after being approved by the MRP and DPRP.

Read also: House pushes for three new provinces in Papua

“The government claims that it wants to ‘develop’ Papua and create prosperity for Papuans,” Usman said. “But how can Papuans be prosperous if their attempts to express their opinions and aspirations are met with violence?” Jaleswari Pramodhawardani, the Executive Office of the President’s undersecretary for politics, law, security and human rights affairs, said the government would accommodate Papuan voices regarding the establishment of new provinces in Papua, reported.

Her statement came two days before President Joko “Jokowi”’ Widodo sent out a letter to continue deliberations of the plan at the House.


2) Statistics Indonesia hopes Papuan people accept and answer to census officer
Follow-Up 2020 Population Census – News Desk 7 June 2022

Jayapura, Jubi – The Papua Office of Statistics Indonesia (BPS) hoped that people in 29 regencies and cities in Papua would be willing to open up and accept 2020 Population Census officers who come to collect their data, Head of BPS Papua Adriana Robaha said in a press statement in Jayapura City on Thursday, June 2, 2022.

“Hopefully, the data collection process can run without a hitch. We would like to ask the people to accept the officers and answer the questions that are given by them, “said Adriana.

She said that currently, her party was conducting a long-form follow-up census for 2020 Population data collection, as it could not be carried out in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adriana said data collection for the census had started in May 2022. “For Papua, data collection has started in May, and will end in June,” she said.

She explained that the long-form follow-up census was part of the national data collection, collected from 5 percent of the total population of the census block in Indonesia, namely 4,294,896 families. In Papua, further data collection will be collected from 12 percent of the total population of the Papua census block, which is 121,200 households.

In the follow-up data collection in Jayapura City, the census officer will not bring any paper and will collect data using a device or gadget. However, further data collection in other areas still uses paper forms due to poor internet connection or lack of internet access.

“Later on, each selected respondent will be asked 83 questions related to individuals, migration, mobility, disability, education, as well as communication, housing, and employment,” said Adriana.

The data obtained from the follow-up data collection of the 2020 Population Census will be processed and the results will be published in January 2023. (*)


3) Merauke Archbishop says education services in rural areas not running
Teacher Shortages In Papua – News Desk 7 June 2022

Merauke, Jubi – The Archbishop of Merauke, Petrus Canisius Mandagi, revealed that education services in the interior of Papua’s Merauke Regency were not running, partly because teachers did not carry out their duties properly.

Mandagi heard the people’s complaints himself during his Canonical Visit to Kimaam and Ilwayab Districts two weeks ago.

“On May 16-20, 2022, I made an official visit to Kimaam and Ilwayab. I met and talked with the community, and saw many things,” Mandagi told Jubi on Saturday, June 4, 2022.

He said the social, economic, educational, and health conditions in the interior of Merauke were very ironic given its rich natural resources.

“Education there was ignored. Where are the teachers? They live in Merauke, receive a salary, and do not teach. People say there are one or two teachers but they only manage fishing nets,” said the Archbishop.

Mandagi criticized the Merauke Education Agency for rarely visiting and supervising schools in rural areas. “I will ask the Regent, how is the head of the service here? There is no supervision of the teachers,” he said.

According to Mandagi, education is the key to a better future. He said we could not expect a future in Papua without proper and well-organized education.

“Education is destroyed here because of teacher shortages. Well, there are teachers, but they’re lazy even though they receive a salary. How will the children be educated?” he criticism.

He further asked the Vicar General of the Merauke Archdiocese to list the teachers serving in Catholic foundation schools, and check whether the teachers were carrying out their duties or not. “If there are Catholic teachers who do not do their job, we will fire them. We need teachers who are truly devoted,” he added.

Merauke Regent Romanus Mbaraka admitted that the teaching and learning process in villages had not been optimal yet. The Merauke Regency Administration has made efforts to improve education management and activate the control function of teaching and learning activities in rural areas.

“The community has always complained about this problem of teachers being absent. We will prepare an integrated control, as well as improve education management,” said Mbaraka.

“Almost all elementary schools in the interior are not running as they should. The control function must be reapplied. District heads, village heads, and other leaders can work together to monitor schools in their area,” said Mbaraka. (*)

Writer: News DeskEditor: News Desk

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