May 24, 2016

West Papua: Police and Military Responsible for Human Rights Violations

According to a report published in March 2016 by the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Indonesian police and military are perpetrating violence and repression of West Papuans. The report highlights the human rights violations committed since President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo took office in 2014. Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister stated that the government would resolve twelve human rights cases by the end of the year; however, Kontras expressed its doubts, as there could be police and military officials opposing the process.


Photo courtesy of The Jakarta Post

Below is an article published by The Jakarta Post:

To resolve human rights cases in Papua, the biggest challenge for the government comes from the police and military, activists say, citing that both institutions are alleged to have been involved as perpetrators.

“It has been a major problem for us, because the state — especially the police and the military — is [allegedly] involved in those cases,” said Feri Kusuma, the impunity monitoring division head of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), on Monday.

According to a report released by Komnas HAM in March, rampant human rights violations occurred in Papua during the first year of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration, which started in 2014, including the arrest, torture and murder of at least 700 civilians. Cited cases include shootings in Yahukimo, Dogiyai, Tolikara and Timika regency.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan recently said that the government would resolve 12 human rights cases in Papua by the end of this year, cooperating with both the National Police and the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM).

Feri, however, said the government is likely to face serious problems, internally, because many people from the police and the military now serve as government officials. “People [from those institutions] have considerable authority. This is our biggest challenge,” he added.

Komnas HAM chairman Imdadun Rahmat said last week that its team had begun to investigate the 2014 Paniai case, while the 2001 Wasior and the 2003 Wamena case had been investigated and investigation results had been submitted to the Attorney General’s Office.

The Paniai case involves a shooting incident on Dec. 8, 2014, that left five civilians dead. The death of five Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) members and one civilian in Wasior on June 13, 2001, led to the torture and murder of civilians, allegedly carried out by the police and the military.

In 2003, a raid on Military District Command (Kodim) arsenal in Wamena led to a number of human rights violations, allegedly carried out by the military, including torture, murder, and the burning of civilian houses.

Feri said that all rights abuse cases committed after the year 2000 should be resolved through the human rights court, as stipulated by the 2000 Human Rights Trials Law.

“However, cases that occurred before 2000, could be resolved through an ad-hoc human rights court legitimized by a Presidential Decree [Keppres],” he said.