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Amnesty calls on President Widodo honor pledge to solve rights violations in Papua

Kompas.com - September 12, 2018

Kristian Erdianto, Jakarta – Amnesty International Indonesia is calling in President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's pledge to fully investigate cases of alleged human rights violations that have taken place in Papua.

This was conveyed by Amnesty International Indonesia director Usman Hamid during a public hearing with the House of Representatives (DPR) Commission III at the parliamentary complex in Senayan, Jakarta, on Wednesday September 12.

Hamid said that Widodo one declared a commitment to fully investigate cases of alleged human rights violations in Papua. This was expressed by Widodo not long after the shooting of civilians in Paniai in 2014.

"We are underlining one pledge, the one commitment conveyed by Bapak [Mr] President Joko Widodo following the Paniai incident that the president wants the case resolved as quickly as possible so it will not happen again in the future", said Hamid.

Based on a report by Amnesty International, there were 69 cases of extrajudicial killings by security forces in Papua between January 2010 and February 2018.

The majority of perpetrators were police with 34 cases followed by TNI (Indonesian military) personnel with 23 cases. Meanwhile 11 other cases were committed jointly by Polri (Indonesian police) and the TNI and one case was committed by civil service police (pamong praja).

As a result of violence by security personnel, as many as 85 ethnic Papuans died.

Meanwhile it was found that the majority of cases of violence which took place were not related to calls for independence or demands for a referendum. Meaning that cases of violence in Papua by security forces were generally triggered by minor incidents.

Out of the 69 cases of violence over the last eight years, only 28 extrajudicial killings were related to political activities while as many as 41 cases were not related to calls for independence.

In addition to this, continued Hamid, investigations into reports of extrajudicial killings rarely happened. According to Hamid, there are no independent, effective or impartial mechanisms to deal with local people's complaints about human rights violations by security forces.

Hamid explained that out of the 69 cases of extrajudicial killings, only six cases were ever tried in court.

In as many as 25 cases no investigation was carried out at all, 26 cases were investigated but the results never published and eight cases were resolved through traditional mechanisms.

Hamid said that he hoped that the government would acknowledge the serious human rights violations in the form of extrajudicial killings that have taken place in Papua. He also called on the government to draft guidelines for security personnel to prevent incidents of violence in Papua.

"The president [said he] wants the land of Papua to become a land of peace", said Hamid.

Earlier, Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Wiranto asserted that the government is committed to resolving alleged human rights violations in Papua.

He claimed however that the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) as the investigating party and the Attorney General's Offices as the party prosecuting the cases have had difficulties finding evidence. This, said Wiranto, is what has delayed the process of fully resolving the cases.

"Because [finding] evidence is indeed difficult. The initial investigation was by Komnas HAM and when the investigation was completed it was handed over to the AGO. But when it was handed over to the AGO it was deemed inadequate", said Wiranto at the parliamentary complex in Senayan, Jakarta, on Wednesday September 5.

"For example in Paniai, it is unclear who committed the alleged killings, but it was deemed a human rights violation. In order to find evidence autopsies are needed, but there [in Papua] autopsies are taboo, so the evidence is lacking. This still demands a resolution", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Amnesty International Tagih Janji Jokowi soal Pelanggaran HAM di Papua.]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2018/09/12/18013451/amnesty-international-tagih-janji-jokowi-soal-pelanggaran-ham-di-papua.

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