A Joint Statement by the Faith Based Network on West Papua (FBN), Franciscans International (FI), and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
Geneva, 3 November 2011
Following last month's violent dispersal by Indonesian security forces of the Third Papuan Peoples' Congress in Jayapura, Indonesia has been confronted with the full scale of human rights problems in Papua by the new Report 'Human Rights in Papua 2010/2011'. This was launched yesterday in Geneva, by the Faith Based Network on West Papua (FBN), Franciscans International (FI), and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).
The Report portrays the bleak reality of the abuse of civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights in Papua in 2010 and 2011. The aim of the Report is to raise awareness of the human rights situation in Papua and to create in Papua a ‘land of peace’.
More specifically, the Report draws attention to the hardship faced by national and international civil society as well as by local human rights defenders who are too often victims of intimidation, harassment and arbitrary detention on the charge of makar (treason) while exercising their right to freedom of expression in their struggle for justice and accountability. The Report further denounces the policy of the Government of Indonesia aimed at discrediting, limiting and jeopardizing the work of international human rights organizations working in Papua, including denied access to international media through the manipulation of bureaucracy. As a result, certain international organizations are directly or indirectly forced to withdraw from the country, as was the case of the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) and Peace Brigades International (PBI).
With a view to presenting the Report and raising awareness on the recent tragic events, Franciscans International organised a round table discussion. This was attended by representatives of the Faith Based Network on West Papua, Geneva for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Papua Peace Network (JDP - Jaringan Damai Papua), Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders TAPOL, World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), and the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations.
In response to the numerous issues and concerns raised during the discussion, the representative of the Permanent Mission of Indonesia made an official statement asserting that “human rights protection is a national priority”. Despite the appreciation for the participation of the Permanent Mission of Indonesia, this statement was visibly met with strong disagreement by NGOs. They attested that “Political statements are not enough to address human rights violations in Papua, since – the reality is - a climate of fear prevails in Papua”.
The NGOs present concluded by calling upon the Government of Indonesia to: Immediately release all political prisoners; Immediately cease intimidation, harassment and physical violence against human rights defenders, journalists, and religious leaders in Papua; to criminalise torture and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture; ratify the International Convention on Enforced Disappearances; and to Start a genuine dialogue with national and international civil society.
For more information on the report Human Rights in Papua 2010/2011, please contact: Kristina Neubaeur –Faith Based Network on West Papua, Coordinator Francesca Restifo – Franciscans International, International Advocacy Director Paul Barber – TAPOL, Coordinator Wong Kai Shing – Asian Human Rights Commission, Executive Director