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International affairs, peace
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  • UN Commission on Human Rights
    - 2005
    - 2004
    - 2003
    - 2002

    61st session of the
    UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR)

    12 March - 22 April 2005

    Item 10 of the Provisional Agenda

    Oral Statement submitted by the Commission of Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches


    Mr Chairman,

    The people of West Papua have suffered for long under the Indonesian government, since 1963. The Indonesian army has a history of human rights violations against the Papuans. Since November 2004, the attacks by the security forces have continued. Those who visited the area of Puncak Jaya in the highlands of West Papua in December 2004, reported that a military operation was conducted there against alleged guerrilla-fighters. It resulted in thousands of people fleeing their homes though they were not involved in the conflict.

    Papuans who protest against the militaristic policies of the Indonesian government are harassed by the security forces. International human rights monitors are denied access to some parts of West Papua.

    In the Abepura case – December 2000, a student was shot dead, two others were tortured to death in prison and at least 15 others were severely tortured. This case is being tried before the Human Rights Court in Makassar; the first permanent Human Rights Court outside Jakarta. We welcome the trial but urge the UN Commission on Human Rights to closely monitor this case.

    In addition to violations of civil and political rights, there is evidence which shows a systematic denial of economic, social and cultural rights; though these are guaranteed in the Indonesian Constitution (Articles 28, 31 and 34). Statistics and surveys related to health care, education, housing, employment or income in rural areas of Papua are significantly different to the average rates in other parts of Indonesia. A study has been prepared that reveals this situation in a blatant manner. Taking into consideration that the Special Autonomy Law gives high priority to economic and social rights (i.e. education and health) and provides with a remarkable portion of Indonesia’s annual budget, the situation is even more alarming.

    Mr Chairman,

    Exploitation of natural resources in West Papua is another major problem of the people. The notorious Grasberg mine in the South Central highlands region, exploited by the American company Freeport McMoRan and the British company Rio Tinto, has a devastating impact particularly on the communities of Amungme (highland) people and the Kamoro (lowland) people. They suffer the effects of mining in terms of wastes but do not receive an adequate compensation for the loss of their lands and their traditional income generating initiatives; not to mention the use of their sacred places and mountains.

    The Honourable President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has pledged good governance and announced that he would give high priority to the resolution of the conflicts in Aceh and Papua. Mr Chairman, in your opening statement to the 61st session of the Commission, it was stated that the Indonesian government remains committed to Human Rights. The Indonesian Government should take note of these public pronouncements and come up with decisive steps for promotion and protection of human rights. The people of Papua expect policies will be implemented that will lead to an effective human rights protection system, as well as result in peaceful resolution of the conflict.

    Mr Chairman,
    To support Indonesia’s implementation of a human rights orientated policy in the country, we urge the Commission on Human Rights:

    • to mandate an independent expert to visit West Papua and Indonesia as a whole in 2005. The expert should give particular attention to the region of Puncak Jaya, and report to the 62nd session of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the country;
    • to play an active role and provide technical co-operation for the dialogue between Indonesian government with the Papuan people;
    • to grant the new government of Indonesia technical assistance for a constructive policy on economic, social and cultural rights, the ratification of the covenant and its implementation as well.

    Thank you, Mr Chairman, for your attention.








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