Thursday, May 5, 2016

1) Arrest of Papuans showcases paradox in democracy, human rights: Activist

2) Komnas HAM to investigate shutdown of World Press Day event in Yogyakarta
1) Arrest of Papuans showcases paradox in democracy, human rights: Activist
Nether Dharma Somba Posted: Thu, May 5 2016 | 07:15 pm

In formation – Dozens of Papuan activists sit in lines under police watch in the yard of the Mobile Brigade (Brimob) Kotaraja, Jayapura, on Monday. They were arrested for staging a rally in support of Papuan independence.( Dharma Somba)

Rights activists in Papua have slammed the arrest of 1,888 students and activists who were carrying out a peaceful rally on Monday to support the United Liberation Movement for West Papua's campaign to gain full membership of the Melanesia Spearhead Group.
They said the arrests revealed Indonesia's paradoxical democracy and attitude toward human rights.
“During his visit to Papua to release five political prisoners in 2015, President Jokowi said he would open democracy up as widely as possible in Papua. However, the stifling of that aspiration has been continuous. Indonesia is widely acclaimed as Asia's biggest democratic country, but in Papua, voicing your aspirations is prohibited,” Ferdinand Marisan, the director of rights group Elsham Papua, said in Jayapura on Wednesday.
According to Elsham Papua, the difference between what the government has stated and what it has done reveals the paradox in Indonesia’s democracy and its upholding of human rights. “Efforts by the government to uphold human rights, and its statements on freedom of expression, are aimed at merely creating a good image because the silencing of [opinions] has continued to happen,” Ferdinand said.
Gustaf Kawer, a law practitioner in Papua who often gives legal assistance in cases involving separatism, said the stifling of voices in the province, where many want to separate from the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia ( NKRI ), was getting stronger and continued to affect more and more Papua residents and youths.
“Last year, only hundreds of Papuan people were arrested for [protesting] for freedom, or separation from Indonesia. Now more and more people are being arrested and recently, around 1,000 people were arrested and taken to the Mobile Brigade [Brimob] Kotaraja headquarters,” said Gustaf.
“People’s aspirations cannot be silenced. The harder they try to silence us, the stronger we will voice our aspirations,” he said.
The arrest of 1,888 Papuan residents, he continued, was in violation of human rights and various laws that ensured freedom of expression.
As reported earlier, during the commemoration ceremony for National Education Day on Monday, West Papua National Committee members staged a rally, rejecting the integration of Papua into Indonesia, a move which was was formalized on May 1, 1963. Security  arrested the protesters and took them all to the local Brimob headquarters in Kotaraja, Jayapura, where they were held in a field at the headquarters from 9 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. local time.
Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw said the activists were arrested because the police had not issued a permit for the rally, adding that they were prohibited from staging any rally in support of separation from Indonesia.
Several demonstrators were reportedly beaten and journalists were not allowed to cover the arrest.
Papua Legislative Council Speaker Yunus Wonda regretted the repressive measures used by security officers.
“The police should have taken a persuasive approach in guarding the [rally]. If the arrests happened because they were voicing their aspirations, democracy in Papua is being silenced,” said Yunus.
Elsham Papua considers the government not serious about resolving human rights violations in Papua. Though many rights violations have occurred in Papua, only one case has been brought before the human rights tribunal, and the perpetrator in that case released.
“Human rights violations in Papua have continued to occur and none of them have been resolved. There is no government willingness to properly resolve the cases, which leads the people to lose their trust in the government because there is no justice for victims,” said Ferdinand.
Elsham Papua has made three recommendations following the incident. First, it has called on the Pacific Islands Forum to dispatch a fact-finding team to Papua to meet with victims of human rights violations, which have been occurring since May 1, 1963, and continue today.
Second, it calls on UN member countries, international human rights organizations and all networks in support of upholding human rights to also establish a fact-finding team. Elsham Papua expects this team to visit Papua before the UN Human Rights Council conducts its Universal Periodic Review in 2017.
Third, Elsham Papua calls on the government to be ready and willing to cooperate with neutral third parties in carrying out an investigation on human rights violations in Papua. The investigation, the rights groups states, should not involve the Indonesian Military or the National Police, two institutions that it claims have often committed human rights violations in Papua. ( afr/ebf )
2) Komnas HAM to investigate shutdown of World Press Day event in Yogyakarta
Bambang Muryanto -  Posted: Thu, May 5 2016 | 11:05 pm
The National Commission on Human Rights ( Komnas HAM ) will investigate alleged human rights violations in the recent shutting down of World Press Day celebrations by the police and various conservative social organizations in Yogyakarta.
“Our monitoring sub-commission members will go to Yogyakarta to gather information and facts. We will meet all parties, including police personnel,” Komnas HAM chairman M. Imdadun Rahmat said in Yogyakarta early on Thursday.
He made the statement after receiving a report of the incident from the Yogyakarta chapter of the Alliance of Independent Journalists ( AJI ).
It was earlier reported that police personnel and members of the Communication Forum of Indonesian Veterans' Children ( FKPPI ), an association of families of retired military and police personnel, dispersed an event that was celebrating World Press Day, held by AJI Yogyakarta on Tuesday.
The police and FKPPI members said a movie titled “Pulau Buru Tanah Air Beta” ( Buru Island: My Homeland ), by Rahung Nasution, was screening at the event and had the potential to ignite conflict as it contained communist teachings.
The police insisted the event had no permit although AJI Yogyakarta claimed it had sent an invitation to Yogyakarta Police chief Brig. Gen. Prasta Wahyu Hidayat and Yogyakarta City Police chief Sr. Comr. Pri Hartono Eling Lelakon.
“The Yogyakarta Police chief has ordered that this activity be stopped,” Yogyakarta City Police head of operations Comr. Sigit Haryadi said on Tuesday.
Imdadun said two serious human rights violations had taken place. First, the shutting down of the event, and second, the expulsion of AJI Yogyakarta members and activists who insisted on staying at the AJI office after the event had been shut down on Tuesday evening.
“We will also see what rights have been violated in terms of violence. The result of our investigation will form the basis for recommendations we will submit to several government institutions,” he said.
If there was an ethics violation, the commissioner said, Komnas HAM would push the National Police to hold an ethics hearing. Or, it will bring the case to the general court if the violation could be categorized as a crime.
“The state must protect its citizens who want to meet or work anywhere they like. There should be no expulsion. It seems this country has no rules,” said Imdadun.
In an official statement, AJI Yogyakarta secretary Bhekti Suryani asked the government to be serious in handling the case and the violations perpetrated by the police officers. The police, Bhekti said, tended to take sides with intolerant groups.
“We urge the National Police chief [Gen. Badrodin Haiti] and the National Police Commission to evaluate the work performance of the Yogyakarta Police and all of their divisions, which have allied themselves with intolerant groups,” said Bhekti.
Yogyakarta-based Indonesian Islamic University Center for Human Rights Studies ( Pusham UII ) director Eko Riyadi symbolically expressed his condolences for the death of press freedom in Indonesia. He said the repression perpetrated by security authorities had exceeded the limits of what could be tolerated in a democratic country.
"The shutdown has marked a new era where the police are very actively limiting human rights," Eko said.
He called on Komnas HAM to investigate the case seriously because cases of intolerance were continuing to happen in Yogyakarta. In the city, known as a “city of tolerance”, Eko said he had witnessed state apparatus instead form an evil axis with intolerant groups.
“The result [of the investigation] is not only aimed at dismissing either the Yogyakarta Police chief or the Yogyakarta City Police chief but also at improving the situation in Yogyakarta,” said Eko.
Meanwhile, a researcher from the Institution of Social and Islamic Study ( LKIS ), Hairus Salim, said the shutdown of the commemoration of World Press Day was really frightening and tense.
“There were many fully armed police personnel. They actually would've been quite strong enough to fight against the intolerant groups,” said Hairus.
He said he regretted that the police officers had refused to function as they should and protect the citizens being threatened with violence by the FKPPI. ( afr/ebf )

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