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March 18 - April 26, 2002
Palais des Nations, Geneva

Introduction

I speak on behalf of Franciscans International and Dominicans for Justice and Peace on the issue of long-standing and ongoing human rights violations in Papua.

Papua, formerly called Irian Jaya, is the easternmost province of Indonesia. The indigenous Papuans are among the most marginalized and victimized people in Indonesia.

As a Dutch-born, Indonesian missionary living and working in Papua for the past 27 years, I wish to give testimony on the situation of the Papuan people.

Concerns

Although there have been political changes in the last few years, human rights violations have actually increased in Papua. I draw your attention to two specific fields of concern:

1.     The denial of freedom of expression of the Papuan people of their rightful demands and aspirations, including the right of self-determination, that have been voiced peacefully but are systematically met by the Indonesian authorities with violence [1] , detention and torture [2] ,

2.     The spreading of fear and intimidation caused by:

a.     Covert actions by members of the security forces to paralyse the movement for freedom in Papua, including killings (such as the slaying of the Papuan leader, Theys Eluay) and the egregious accusation of “subversion” aimed at members of the Papuan Presidium Council [3] ;

b.     Government-sanctioned stigmatisation of special groups of the population [4] , while treating them as enemies of the State (as in the Abepura Case of 2000);

c.     Inaction towards the increasing presence of Laskar Jihad in Papua [5] .

d.     Impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations, such as those committed in Abepura (2000) that constitute a “crime against humanity” [6] .

Recommendations

Considering the aforementioned challenges we call on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to urge the Government of Indonesia to:

1.     Fulfil its obligation to respect and protect human dignity by ceasing the use of violence in dealing with peacefully expressed demands and involve itself in an open dialogue with the Papuan people.

2.     Deliver justice to the Papuan people by bringing the perpetrators of human rights violations committed against them and their representatives to trial in an open and transparent manner in line with international standards.

3.     Invite the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous People to Papua with complete and unhindered access to individuals and communities and to fully co-operate with all the relevant thematic procedures of the Commission on Human Rights.

Mexico

We also remain concerned about another human rights situation, that of the indigenous people in Mexico. In his January 2002 report the Special Rapporteur on Independence of the Judges and Lawyers with regard to indigenous people and communities expressed his concern about the general lack of access to justice, interpreters and sensitivity within the Mexican legal system to their legal traditions.



[1] One hundred thirty-six people have been killed by security forces over the last 4 years (ELSHAM Annual Report 2001).

[2] Eight hundred thirty-eight people have been incarcerated and or tortured over the last 4 years (ELSHAM Annual Report 2001).

[3] The main leading body representing the Papuan people that actively seeks a peaceful dialogue to achieve genuine self-determination.

[4] The group stigmatised mainly originates from the highland areas of the interior, especially the Dani-people.

[5] Recent reports prove the threatening presence of the Laskar Jihad in Fakfak, Sorong, Manokwari and Biak. This group is involved in training and organising armed militias, spreading propaganda materials inciting hatred against Christians and publicly targeting Papua as an area for action. Since 1999, Laskar Jihad have been implicated in wide-scale, violent campaigns in Maluku and Sulawesi. It is active in other islands throughout the Indonesian Archipelago.

[6] On 7 December 2000, Indonesian security forces raided the dormitory of university students from the highland area of Papua, murdering 2 and wounding others, seriously and even critically. KPP HAM Papua, the ad hoc investigative team of the National Human Rights Commission of Indonesia (KOMNAS HAM) deemed this vicious attack a “crime against humanity”, a finding not refuted by Indonesian government representatives.

Oral, Written or Summary: 
Meeting: 

co02

UN Commission on Human Rights: Fifty-eighth Session
Meeting Year: 
2002
Meeting Name: 
UN Commission on Human Rights: Fifty-eighth Session