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Pusaka reports 26 cases of violations to freedom of expression in Papua

May 5, 2023
Pusaka reports 26 cases of violations to freedom of expression in Papua
News Desk – Freedom Of Speech
5 May 2023

Timika, Jubi – The Pusaka Bentala Rakyat Foundation (Pusaka) has released a report titled “Dong Penjarakan Tong Pu Suara dan Pikiran” (They Silence Us), highlighting 26 cases of alleged violations of freedom of expression in Papuathroughout 2022.

Pusaka’s director, Franky Samperante, revealed that the violations occurred during protests against the Papua Special Autonomy policy and the formation of the New Autonomous Region, as well as other efforts to voice injustices in Papua.

The violations were reportedly committed in Jayapura, Nabire, Merauke, Wamena, Jayawijaya, Manokwari, Kaimana, and Sorong, and involved the dispersal, violence, arrest, and criminalization by the Indonesian Military (TNI) and Police.

The report claims that these violations resulted in three deaths and 72 injuries, with 361 people arbitrarily arrested. Of those arrested, 26 are currently undergoing legal proceedings, with 18 of them charged with treason and facing life imprisonment.

Samperante criticized the administration of President Joko Widodo, stating that the most serious and repeated violations against freedom of expression have occurred during his tenure. The report has been widely covered by local media outlets and has sparked discussions on the state of freedom of expression in Papua.

“The most serious and repeated violations to freedom of expression have occurred in Papua during the administration of President Joko Widodo,” Samperante said in a written statement received by Jubi on Wednesday, May 3, 2023.

Samperante said the suppression of the right to freedom of expression in Papua could deprive people of their right to life. He added that such restrictions also violate Indonesian law, including the guarantee of human rights as stipulated in Law No. 39/1999 on Human Rights, Law No. 9/1998 on Freedom of Expression in Public, Law No. 34/2004 on Indonesian Army, and National Police Chief Regulation No. 1/2009 on the Use of Force in Police Actions.

Pusaka called on the Indonesian government and state security forces to respect and protect the right to peacefully assemble and express opinions, including those who voice their right to self-determination, civil and political rights, socio-economic and cultural rights, and express their disagreement with national government policies in Papua.

The foundation also asked the government to evaluate its security approach in handling and controlling protests in Papua.

In addition, Pusaka urged the government to enforce the law on alleged human rights violations, restore the rights of victims, and conduct effective peaceful dialogue.

Samperante said that the security approach and military operations currently used to handle armed conflicts in Papua have led to the loss of lives, the right to security as well as the right to economic welfare. “The government has the responsibility to fulfill and promote human rights in Papua,” he added. (*)


2) Release of Susi Air pilot hinges on agreement among Indonesia, TPNPB, and NZ
News Desk – Release Of Susi Air Pilot
5 May 2023

Jayapura, Jubi – Director of the Papuan Justice and Human Integrity Foundation Theo Hesegem assessed that negotiations aimed at securing the freedom of Philip Mark Mehrtens, a Susi Air pilot held captive by the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) since February, require independent negotiating team.

He believes that an entirely impartial group must be assigned by three entities, namely the Indonesian government, TPNPB, and the New Zealand government, in order to negotiate.

He observes that typically, the negotiation team would only be assigned a mandate from one party. However, when it comes to negotiating with the group responsible for the kidnapping, they may not accept the participation of a negotiation team unilaterally appointed by one party. As a result, it is essential to obtain an official mandate from both conflicting parties in order to negotiate successfully.

The absence of a negotiation team that can effectively communicate their demands through official channels has led to numerous casualties, victims of torture, arrests, and detentions within the civil society. Furthermore, people are forced to flee their villages, often finding themselves living in refugee camps.

“We must think about how to end violence in Papua. Like it or not, the aspirations of TPNPB must be conveyed to the central government and be heard,” said Hesegem on Wednesday, May 3, 2023.

“As a human rights defender, I really hope that the security forces and TPNPB stop committing repeated violence, especially after the status of Papua is raised to a combat alert operation,” he said. (*)

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