Rights activists in Papua urge govt to offer comprehensive solution

Rights activists in Papua urge govt to offer comprehensive solution

Coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras)-Papua Chapter Sem Awom and activists of the Papuan Civil Society Coalition (KMSP) briefed journalists on Sept 17, 2019 (ANTARA News Papua / Alfian Rumagit)

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - The Papuan Civil Society Coalition (KMSP) has appealed to the Indonesian Government to find a comprehensive and dignified way to resolve problems arising in Papua and West Papua Provinces in the aftermath of the recent acts of racism in Surabaya, East Java.

The government must not resolve the Papuan issues partially, Coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras)-Papua Chapter Sem Awom told a press conference on behalf of the KMSP members in Jayapura on Tuesday (Sept 17).

The related authorities and police were also urged to publish valid data of fatalities of August 29, 2019's violent protest, and to guarantee those demanding for trials against those responsible for the alleged crimes against civilians, he said.

"The rights of suspects currently under the police investigation must also be respected, and the government immediately stops all forms of intimidation and criminalization against lawyers, activists, journalists, and human rights activists," he said.

In solving the Papuan issues, Awom suggested that the roles of civil government need to be strengthened and the law and social order must also be restored in the aftermath of rioting and violent protests that recently erupted in Papua and West Papua.

"Journalists and humanitarian workers need also be given a greater access in Papua Province. The government is also responsible for fulfilling the rights of more than a thousand students who have returned to Papua for continuing their education," he said.

In connection with its efforts to assist victims of acts of violence and human rights abuses that occurred during the recent protests in Papua and West Papua Provinces, the KMSP opened its command post in Jayapura on Sept 9.

Located at the AHIMSA Law Firm secretariat on the Sentani-Padang Bulan Road of Abepura, Jayapura city, community members whose families might have been victims of violence and human rights abuses can contact 081247940004.

In August, a spate of violence erupted in several parts of Papua and West Papua in the upshot of the Surabaya incident that had triggered public ire among native Papuans.

Native Papuans in several parts of the provinces of Papua and West Papua held demonstrations protesting alleged racist slurs against the Papuan students in Surabaya on August 16.

On August 29, the indigenous Papuan residents of Jayapura again staged protests, venting their anger over the alleged racist behavior against their Papuan compatriots in Surabaya, but their rally then turned violent.

The brutal demonstrators went on a rampage, vandalizing and setting ablaze several government buildings. The office of Antara, Indonesia's national news agency, in the city was also intentionally damaged by the demonstrators.

On August 28, a circle of violence also broke out in Deiyai District, some 500 kilometers away from Jayapura, resulting in the deaths of an army soldier and two civilians.

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