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UN Commission on Human Rights: WCC addresses serious human rights situation in Papua, Indonesia

17 avril 2002

UN Commission on Human Rights: WCC addresses serious human rights situation in Papua, Indonesia

The following is the full text of the oral intervention by Martin Doolard on behalf of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches (WCC/CCIA) to the 58th Session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on Tuesday, 16 April. The Intervention came under Item 11. - Civil and Political Rights:

On behalf of the Commission of Churches of International Affairs of the World Council of Churches, I wish to address this Commission on the growing environment of repression in Papua, also known in Indonesia as Irian Jaya.

Last year, I drew the attention of this Forum to the serious human rights situation in Papua. On the contrary as I speak here today, nothing has changed. According to the information received by the churches, as well as local and international human rights NGOs, the situation has worsened. Since the much-proclaimed reform period (1998-2001), the number of reported cases of extra-judicial killings have reached an all time high of 136; there have been 838 cases of arbitrary detention, and torture; also there is an increase in the number of cases of human rights defenders receiving death threats and destruction and burning of property by sections of the Indonesian Security Forces.(1)The Indonesian Authorities have not responded favourably to the call for dialogue by the people of Papua.

The repressive measures adopted by the Indonesian Government include a crackdown on the peaceful demands of the Papuans to exercise their right to self-determination, mistreatment, torture and killings of civilians. The abduction and murder on 10 November 2001, of Theys Eluay, a moderate Papuan leader, is evidence of the methods used by the Indonesian government to suppress the people.

The abduction and killing of Mr. Eluay was a well-planned politically motivated action. His assassination has to be viewed in light of several documents and statements (2)issued by Jakarta that outline strategies for a brutal crackdown on the people's demand to exercise their right of self-determination. This policy has resulted in widespread human rights violations, systematically planned and executed, targeting civilians, and group leaders in the entire region of Papua.

The Indonesian Government despite repeated assurances has failed to establish a legally constituted and credible enquiry team to carry out the investigation. The official National Enquiry Commission (KPN) established by the Indonesian President is not legal and does not have the authority to investigate the state institutions involved in this incident. The military enquiry team (PUSPOM TNI) was established as part of the strategy to get rid of the evidence and to protect military's involvement in the murder of Theys Eluay. The findings of both the enquiry commissions have determined that the killing of Theys Eluay was an ordinary crime.

They refuse to acknowledge that it was an extra-ordinary crime that has implications for the institutions of the state. The churches and the NGO community in Papua as well as in Indonesia have raised the concern that they apprehend the actual perpetrators of this crime may never be brought to justice.

Mr Chairman, the large majority of the people in Papua view the assassination of Mr Eluay as a deliberate act of the state authorities to silence him and to be a warning to others who subscribe to similar viewpoints.

We urge this Commission to use its influence on the Indonesian Government to stop the repression against the Papuan people and not to suppress their demand to exercise their right to self-determination. We also urge the Commission to call on the Indonesian Government to establish a credible, legal, independent enquiry team, that includes international human rights experts, to investigate the involvement of state institutions in the assassination of Theys Elauy and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Finally, we appeal to the Commission to call on the Indonesian Government to invite Special Rapporteurs on Summary Executions and on Torture to visit Papua.

(1) These figures were obtained from the 2001-Year report of the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (Elsham-Papua), Jayapura, West Papua.

(2) These documents include the following: - on 9 June 2000, a secret document was issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs / Department of the Interior in Jakarta, outlining the strategy of the Indonesian Government, concerning their intention to crack down on independence movement in Papua; - on 16 August 2001, in a speech, the President of Indonesia ordered the Minister of social and political affairs to crack down on separatist movements in West Papua.