Bandarlampung, Lampung (ANTARA) - Association of Papuan Students in Lampung (Ikmapal) urged President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to divert more focus on Papuans’ welfare and social justice and bring to book those passing racist slurs against Papuan students in Surabaya.

Speaking, here, Thursday, in connection with riots that recently broke out in several cities in the provinces of Papua and West Papua, Ikmapal Head Isaskar Bisbin noted that the Papuan people yet perceived the central government as having underestimated them and their homeland.

With PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI), a mining company conducting exploration for ore containing copper, gold, and silver in the Grasberg minerals district in Papua Province, the Papuan people believe that their homeland has contributed significantly to the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia over the past decades.

"We have Freeport, whose gold is absorbed by the United States and Indonesia every day, but prosperity and justice continue to elude our people," Bisbin, a student of Lampung University's Civil Engineering Department, stated.

Resentment ran deep among Papuans over the perpetrators yet to be brought to court for their alleged racist behavior against the Papuan students in the East Java cities of Surabaya and Malang, he pointed out.

In restoring a sense of justice for the Papuans, Bisbin suggested that the central government take firm action against those, who had racially treated the Papuan students by bringing them to court. Saying sorry is not sufficient," he stated.

"As the head of state, President Jokowi must immediately win over the hearts and minds of the Papuan people by also resolving past cases of human rights abuse," he remarked.

He also appealed to Presidential Special Staff for Papua Lenis Kogoya to choose his words carefully while giving statements on the Surabaya racism case, as it could hurt the sentiments of his fellow Papuans.

Bisbin also appealed to his fellow Indonesians nationwide to laud and respect their Papuan brothers and sisters akin to the fair treatment given to them by community members in Lampung Province in their day-to-day social interactions.

"Lampung is good, and we, Papuan students, have no problems here," he stated.

On August 19, several thousand people in Manokwari, West Papua Province, and Jayapura, Papua Province, demonstrated to voice their discontent over alleged racist action against Papuan students in Surabaya and Malang, East Java.

Related news: Police Chief confirms situation placated in West Papua

During the rally in Manokwari, a local parliamentary building was set on fire. The demonstrators also torched tires in several parts of the city and main streets.

However, National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian stated that the situation was normalized in Manokwari. He also ordered the police chiefs of Papua and West Papua to adopt security measures and avoid the use of excessive force. Related news: 200 Brimob personnel reach Timika to ensure conducive atmosphere

Related news: Indonesian soldier shot by separatist succumbs to injuries


Translator: Dian Hadiyatna, Rahmad Nasutio
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2019