International affairs, peace
and human security
HUMAN RIGHTS AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM:
The situation of human rights in Papua, Indonesia
Civil and political rights
We acknowledge also the fact that more Papuans have become legislators both at the district and provincial levels. Nonetheless, we noted in Mimika, Jayawijaya, Manokwari and Nabire, the tendency on the part of some candidates and political parties to use any means at their disposal to push the Regional Election Commission (Komisi Pemilihan Umum Daerah/ KPUD) to secure their seats in the district parliaments. Their lack of success does not exonerate their behaviour. This situation has not only led to continuing political conflict in several districts but has also prevented the district and provincial parliaments serving the people’s interests.
In other areas, we are deeply concerned at reports from our partners of the on-going practice of torture, arbitrary arrest and detention and displacement reportedly committed by the security apparatus in spite of the adoption by Indonesia during the 60th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights of Resolutions no. 39 , 41 , 55 . The cases of extra-judicial killings reported in the villages of Mariedi, Bintuni District where BP Tangguh Gas project is located, and in Mulia, District of Puncak Jaya also cause us deep concern. In Mariedi, five people were shot dead by the police and two were injured and charged with treason and membership of the Free Papua Movement (OPM). These people were in fact asking for fair compensation for their land rights from the Djayanti timber company . In Mulia, the situation remains unclear following the killing of a local priest, Elisa Tabuni, by the security forces that caused displacement, fear and terror. The religious leaders have repeatedly urged the Provincial Parliament (DPRD) to request the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM) to conduct a thorough investigation but to date, no action has been taken.
Puncak Jaya exemplifies the gravity of the general situation. We must also emphasise that the human rights situation in Western Wamena has not improved since the large-scale military operation conducted two years ago.
In the last twelve months, the stigma of separatism is regularly imposed on individuals or institutions that the security forces consider to be suspicious. The judicial system has proved its inability to convene fair trials owing to the pervasive influence of the security apparatus. This was illustrated by the trials of the suspects of the Wamena case and the Bolakme case where the court tried and sentenced the suspects to the fullest extent possible, despite weak evidence and irregularities during the trial.
Human rights defenders in Papua are also under threat. The Institute for Human Rights and Advocacy (ELSHAM), Aliansi Demokrasi Papua (ALDP) , TRITON Foundation and the Office for Justice and Peace Sorong are among those who have been criminalised or arbitrarily arrested and detained due to their work to protect and promote human rights in different parts of Papua.
From the many reported human rights cases, to date it is only the Abepura case of 2000 which has been brought to the Permanent Human Rights Court in Makassar, having been pending for more than three years in the Attorney General’s office. Whilst this is progress, it should be noted that the Attorney General brought only two suspects to trial, whereas KOMNAS HAM had listed 25 suspects in its investigation. Moreover, during the legal proceedings, the panel of judges dismissed the victims’ claim for compensation arguing that such a claim is not regulated by Law 26/2000 of the Human Rights Court . Therefore, despite Indonesian support to CHR Resolution 2004/33 , we are worried that this court runs the risk of perpetuating what appears to be an unbreakable cycle of impunity in Indonesia. We base our concerns upon the fact that ad hoc human rights tribunals (Tanjung Priok and Timor Leste) eventually acquitted the key perpetrators. Without strong political will on the part of the new government, the dossiers of Wasior (13 June 2001) and Wamena (4 April 2003) as the result of KOMNAS HAM investigation which have been submitted to the Attorney General for prosecution seem likely to meet a similar fate.
Economic, social and cultural rights
Despite the Constitutional Court Decision No. 018/PUU-I/2003 of 11 November 2004, the conflict of the division of the province continues to exist since the Court annulled the legal basis of Western Irian Jaya but at the same time recognised the existence of this particular province along with the Province of Papua. This confusion around the implementation of the Special Autonomy Law remains unresolved since the government regulation 54/2004 on the Papuan People’s Council (Majelis Rakyat Papua/MRP) stipulates that the MRP, the provincial government and the provincial parliament have to solve the problem in conjunction with the central government. . It does not appear that the central government wants to deal with the problem.
Given the low rank of HDI, the 2004 UNDP report clearly identifies that available income is not adequately invested in public services . Our partners are asking for explanations for this severe neglect. The government admits that corruption is a major problem in Indonesia and it is part of the new government’s commitment to combat corruption. However, action undertaken to investigate such allegations (for example, corruption at the provincial level of Papua, in the Provincial Parliament of Papua and in the District office of Jayawijaya) is slow in coming.
In relation to the revenues generated from natural resources, we note that the rights of indigenous peoples to benefit from the income secured are often violated. Conflict between the indigenous peoples and the business sector is perpetuated by the non-existence of a legal framework to protect the indigenous people’s entitlements. In practice, while the business sector appeals to state law, the indigenous peoples rely on customary law. This mismatch frequently leads to human rights violations. Examples are cases in Mariedi-Bintuni (2004) and Assue-Mappi (2004) .
It is also common that the business development of these regions lead to the encouragement of prostitution and growing cases of trafficking in human beings, especially women and children. This in turn feeds the rapid spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Papua. A related social problem is the growth of alcoholism that in turn significantly impacts on the number of cases of violence against women and children, as well as declining standards of health in general. This situation remains neglected by the government.
We believe this to be a corrosive and degenerative process that is gradually but systematically destroying an entire people. There is an urgent need for the government to put in place locally legal mechanisms, which can guarantee the economic, social and cultural rights of Papuans. Signing and ratifying without delay the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, would be a welcome development in remedying this egregious situation. This would go some way to beginning the implementation of the Special Autonomy Law 21 of 2001.
As non-governmental organizations with partners in Papua, we call upon the Commission on Human Rights:
1. To urge the Indonesian government to apply a rights-based approach to development in implementing the Special Autonomy Law;