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Rights commission discusses Papua peace talks with UN human rights commissioner

June 19, 2022

Rights commission discusses Papua peace talks with UN human rights commissioner
By APR editor – June 20, 2022

Asia Pacific Report newsdesk

Indonesia’s National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) has discussed the plan to hold a peaceful dialogue to resolve the problems in Papua during its visit to the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

During the meeting, the Komnas HAM was represented by commission chairperson Taufan Damanik and two commissioners, Beka Ulung Hapsara and Mochamad Choirul Anam. They met with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.

“Komnas HAM conveyed the initiative for a peaceful dialogue on Papua,” said Damanik in a media statement, reports CNN Indonesia.

Damanik said that the peaceful dialogue was initiated by Komnas HAM as an approach to resolve the various human rights problems in Papua. He claimed that the UN has welcomed the plan.

“Michelle Bachelet conveyed her appreciation for the move by Komnas HAM,” he said.

The commission is confident that a peaceful dialogue on Papua can be realised and Damanik hopes that all parties will support the effort.

“[We] hope that more and more parties will lend their support to the initiative that exists so that a Papua which is just, peaceful and prosperous can be quickly achieved,” he said.

Rights violations of concern
Damanik said that they also took the opportunity to explain to the UN about various human rights developments and challenges in Indonesia, including resolving cases of rights violations which are of concern to the public.

“Including within this were changes related to progress in human rights policies and the obstacles which still exist,” he said.

Komnas HAM has visited Papua on several occasions to discuss the planned peace dialogue.

It claims that many different parties have welcomed the peaceful dialogue it has initiated.

The West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organisation (TPNPB-OPM) however has rejected peace talks with the government if it is only mediated by Komnas HAM.

They have also called on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to be prepared to sit down together with them at the negotiating table.

Earlier this year TPNPB-OPM spokesperson Sebby Sambom said that they wanted any peace dialogue or negotiations to be mediated by the UN because the armed conflict in Papua was already on an international scale.

“In principle we will agree if the negotiations are in accordance UN mechanisms, but we are not interested in Indonesia’s methods,” said Sambom in a press release on Friday February 23.

Translated by James Balowski of IndoLeft News. The original title of the article was Komnas HAM Bahas Dialog Damai Papua dengan Komisioner Tinggi HAM PBB.


2) Papua hospitals asked to stay alert for Omicron subvariants: official
18th June 2022

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) – The Papuan administration has appealed to hospitals across the province to remain alert following an increase in cases of BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants in Indonesia.

The provincial government has also urged residents to comply with the health protocols, assistant for people’s economy and welfare to the Papua administration’s regional secretary, Muhammad Musa’ad, said.

"We also appeal to our residents to get vaccinated for the sake of their health," he said, adding that going by the provincial COVID-19 Task Force’s data, Papua’s vaccination rate has remained relatively low.

As of June 15, 2022, the number of Papuan residents who have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has been recorded at 33.81 percent, while the number of second dose and booster recipients has been pegged at 25.49 percent and 6.15 percent, respectively, he said.

Despite their rapid spread, the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants are not expected to be deadly. Hospitals in Papua, however, need to take precautionary measures to prevent any unexpected eventuality, he added.

Related news: Indonesia braces for infection spike as Omicron subvariants emerge

Meanwhile, taking note of the spread of BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, the Health Ministry has intensified whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to check their presence in 1,242 patients confirmed positive for COVID-19 nationally as of June 15.

“Currently, the Ministry of Health is still collecting reports on WGS research results from five provinces that are experiencing an upward trend in cases," Health Ministry spokesperson Mohammad Syahril said at a dialogue entitled “Beware, Omicron is back in Indonesia,” which was broadcast online from Jakarta on Thursday.

He informed that as of June 14, the total number of BA.4 and BA.5 cases identified in Indonesia has reached 20, consisting of two BA.4 cases and 18 BA.5 cases, with all patients declared as recovered.

The WGS has been conducted to provide inputs to the relevant authorities for making policies for handling the increase in cases based on scientific data, Syahril said.

He reminded the public to remain calm amid the increase in cases due to the emergence of the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.

"The increase and decline in cases is a part of the pandemic," Syahril said.

Indonesia has recorded an uptick in COVID-19 cases after the Eid al-Fitr holiday. Since June 7, positive cases of COVID-19 have remained above 500 on a daily basis.

Related news: Indonesia intensifies genome sequencing to trace BA.4, BA.5 cases
Related news: All 20 patients infected with BA.4, BA.5 subvariants recovered

Reporter: Qadri P, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto

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