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Selasa, 03 September 2013

Freedom of Expression is Continuing to Deteriorate in Papua

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Statement by Senior Human Rights Lawyer, Yan Christian Warinussy.

This has taken the form of repressive actions by the security forces which have resulted in many casualties among the civilian population.

This was the case when the security forces (POLRI and TNI) took action on the occasion of the closing Session of he Third Papuan People's Congress in October 2011 in Jayapura, as well as the case when the security forces attacked peaceful demonstrators on 6 June 2011 in the vicinity of the Water Tower in Biak.

As regards structural measures, the Indonesian Government has made use of certain legal provisions to restrict the space availabe to the civilian population in the Land of Papua when they seek to give expression to their opinions about the lack of justice which they experience as a result of developmental activities .

This is the case when the security forces use Government Regulation 77/2011 regarding the use of regional attributes and symbols which prohibits the use of the Morning Star flag by Papuan people with such things as the noken (string bags) and other traditional objects.

In addition, there is the use of Articles 106, 108 and 110 of the Criminal Code to punish anyone involved in peaceful demonstrations which are held to draw attention to the lack of social justice which is currently being experienced by the civilian population in the Land of Papua.

One example is the Aimas Case on 30 August 2013 when Isak Kalaibana and six colleagues, all of them civilians, were charged under the Treason Law at a court in Sorong, or the press conference held by the leadership of DAP (Papuan Customary Council) in Sorong in August 2013. Apolos Sewa and his colleagues were subjected to interrogation non-stop for twelve hours, without being accompanied by lawyers and were ordered to report themselves to the authorities.

Another case was the abuse perpetrated by two police women from Fak Fak police command against three women members of the Mbaham Mata Clan on 15 August 2013.

All these cases are a reflection of the lack of freedom of expression in the Land of Papua which is heavily relied on by the Indonesian Government, structurally as well as systematically.

Such things happen because of the lack of information available about the situation in the Land of Papua because for many years, foreign journalists have been unable to go to Papua as a way of getting to know the actual situation which prevails there.

As a senior Human Rights Lawyer in the Land of Papua, I call on the Indonesian Government to seriously take account of the human rights situation in Papua and to recognise that if this situation is allowed to continue, it will lead to a greater awareness by the international community and sympathy from abroad pressing for a just and dignified solution which is in accordance with universal standards of law, democracy and basic human rights.

[Translated by TAPOL]
The lack of Freedom of Expression and the freedom to give voice to one's opinions in the Land of Papua has continued to deteriorate in the Land of Papua in the past ten years as a result of the repressive measures taken structurally and systematically by the Indonesian Government.

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