Indonesia not resolving grievances in Papua – UN

Recent violence in Papua is the result of grievances in the region that Indonesia is failing to address, the UN human rights office says.

The bodies of 16 people were retrieved from the Highlands region last week, after a group of Indonesian construction workers were massacred.

The West Papua Liberation Army, which has claimed responsibility for the killings, has claimed the workers were Indonesian military in disguise.

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said the violence was unacceptable.

But she said the root causes of the simmering conflict in Papua were not understood or addressed by Jakarta.

“There are many grievances, and we’ve seen this in many parts of the world, where grievances are unaddressed, or there is a suppression of descent, and then people take the law into their own hands because they feel they are not being heard,” she said.

Ravina Shamdasani

Ravina Shamdasani Photo: OHCHR

“This is actually happening at a very low level in Papua at the moment.”

Although massive construction projects in Papua funded by Indonesia were improving well being in the region, they were not necessarily involving Papuans in consultations, she said.

“If they cannot voice their concerns and if they can’t participate in these decisions, the resulting development may not really increase their welfare because it doesn’t really address the problems that they have.”

Ms Shamdasani also said the OHCHR was concerned about the large number of arrests in Indonesia during peaceful demonstrations held to commemorate West Papuan National Day on December the 1st.

More than 500 arrests took place, including hundreds detained in searches of student dormitories, as security forces prevented demonstrators from conducting peaceful rallies. All of those detained have since been released without charge.

In the city of Surabaya in East Java, where the largest demonstrations took place, security forces were reported to have used excessive force during a demonstration.

Ms Shamdasani called on Indonesian authorities to ensure that security forces exercise restraint when policing demonstrations, and that the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are respected.

Source: RadioNZ

Human Rights Watch calls for end to killings in Papua

Human Rights Watch is calling on Papuan militants to stop unlawful killings, after a massacre of Indonesians took place in the Highlands region.

The West Papua Liberation Army has claimed resposibility for the murders of at least 16 construction workers and a soldier this month.

The West Papua Liberation Army has claimed resposibility for the murders of at least 16 construction workers and a soldier this month.

The Liberation Army said the workers were Indonesian military in disguise.

Military and police have deployed a joint operation in Nduga regency, calling for the fighters to surrender.

Human Rights Watch’s Australia director Elaine Pearson said the attack raised grave concerns and must be investigated.

But security forces should be transparent and not commit abuses in retaliation, Ms Pearson said.

Journalists should also be allowed to operate independently in the area, she said.

“The situation in Nduga is muddled in large part because no journalists can independently go into the area to interview witnesses and verify what happened,” Ms Pearson said.


“Having independent monitors on the ground will help deter abuses by both the militants and security forces, which would benefit all Papuans.”

Source: RadioNZ

TNI gives Papua Liberation Army ultimatum to surrender

The Liberation Army claimed responsibility for killing up to 31 Indonesians, mainly road construction workers, this month in the Highlands of Papua province.

TNI and police have retrieved 16 bodies from Nduga regency, having deployed a major joint operation there in response to the massacre.

A TNI spokesperson Mohammed Aidi said that the Liberation Army should immediately surrender or be finished.

Colonel Aidi has denied media reports that the military is using aerial bombing against Papuan communities in the Liberation Army’s stronghold area.

He said at present the joint forces have captured and occupied Nduga’s Yigi and Mbua districts, and that villagers who fled from fighting to the bush are starting to return.

The TNI’s response to the massacre has reportedly caused four fatalities among civilians, according to local media.

However, Colonel Aidi said that given the area where casualties were reported, it was unlikely they were pure civilians but rather those linked to the perpetrators of the massacre.

Colonel Aidi disputed claims by a Liberation Army spokesman that the TNI has breached an agreed combat zone in this escalating conflict.

Colonel Aidi disputed claims by a Liberation Army spokesman that the TNI has breached an agreed combat zone in this escalating conflict.

Referring to the Liberation Army as an armed criminal group, he said its style is guerilla fighting which knows no limits, accusing it of cowardice.

The TNI has also urged Papua’s provincial and district governments to not be silent about the conflict.

Colonel Aidi said it was the duty of such office holders to honour their commitment to the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia based on Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution.

Source: RadioNZ