Tuesday, December 30, 2014

1) Human Rights Group Questions Impartiality of Paniai Shooting Investigation

2) Jokowi’s Christmas peace  for Papua: Will it last  long?  
1) Human Rights Group Questions Impartiality of Paniai Shooting Investigation  

Jakarta Globe on 04:08 pm Dec 30, 2014
Category Featured, Front Page, Human Rights, News
Tags: Papua, Papua human rights abuses, Papua violenceJakarta. A total of 53 people are being questioned over the fatal shootings of at least five young civilians by security forces in Papua earlier this month, police say, but there are doubts about the credibility and impartiality of the investigation.
Papua Police spokesman Adj. Sen. Cmr. Patridge Renwarin said the witnesses included civilians, members of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) and police.

He told Antara news agency that the National Police were questioning their officers and the TNI was conducting its own investigation into possible involvement of its soldiers.

The announcement comes just days after President Joko Widodo told a crowd in Papua that the civilian killings were deplorable and he wanted the case solved immediately.

Security forces opened fire on about 800 peaceful demonstrators, including women and children in Enarotali in Paniai district on Dec. 8. Five protesters were killed and at least 17 others — including elementary school students — were injured, according to a report from Human Rights Watch. Local media reported another died of gunshot wounds on Dec. 10.

Patridge said no suspects had been named and police had not figured out who was behind the shootings. A key part of the investigation seems to revolve around a bullet fragment found at the scene.

“We have to wait for the bullet fragment to be examined,” he said “the whole investigation depends on the result.”

Victims and activists have said the incident was prompted with the beating of a 12-year-old boy from Ipakiye village, five kilometers from Enarotali, when the boy confronted a group of men in an SUV for driving at night with their headlights off.

The beating resulted in villagers marching to the capital to demand an explanation the next day. At around 10 a.m. the crowd spotted the same SUV and began attacking it. Police then opened fire on the unarmed crowd, witnesses said.

But the National Police chief, Gen. Sutarman, gave a different account of what happened, claiming the victims were planning an attack against the local military base, where locals suspected the SUV driver was hiding. Police stopped the crowd from advancing by setting up a barricade.

Sutarman has previously suggested the shootings could be the work of gunmen affiliated with the Free Papua Movement (OPM).

‘Joint probe crucial’

Human Rights Watch Indonesia has called on Joko to form a joint fact-finding team to ensure a credible, impartial investigation into the deadly shootings.

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), police and military should all be involved, it said.

Komnas Ham is conducting its own enquiry into the incident, but the military has refused to cooperate and the Indonesia’s 1997 Law on Military Courts prevents civilian investigators from speaking with military personnel at the scene of crimes, Human Rights Watch said.

“The Papua inquiry has been stymied because civilian investigators can’t interview the soldiers who were at the scene,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at the organization said. “A joint probe with police, military, and human rights investigators is crucial to ensure that all information is collected and that the findings will be taken seriously.”

Human Rights Watch has also said numerous witnesses are afraid to speak out about the incident for fear or reprisals.

The Paniai shootings were one the worst acts of state violence in years. Hostilities between Papuan civilians and the security forces have frequently turned deadly since Indonesia annexed the region in 1969.



2) Jokowi’s Christmas peace  for Papua: Will it last  long?  
Dwi Atmanta, Jakarta | Opinion | Tue, December 30 2014, 10:25 AM
As has happened in the past, the public will be unable to expect a transparent investigation, let alone justice to be delivered.

Jokowi realizes the long-standing practice, but the existing criminal justice system gives him limited options. He can hope the rights body will declare the Paniai shooting a crime against humanity, which will then enable him to order the Attorney General’s Office to bring to justice whoever is held responsible for the killings. 

The human rights trial, however, will not materialize without the consent of the House of Representatives, which currently is controlled by the opposition.

Fair settlement of the Paniai case alone is a daunting job for Jokowi. In fact, Papuans have been waiting for a comprehensive solution to decades of being deprived of their rights in their own homeland, which ironically occurred after their official incorporation into Indonesia through the Act of Free Choice in 1969. For years Indonesia had fought for sovereignty over Papua from the Dutch only to throw the Papuans from misery into ordeal. 

Reform movements led to the granting of special autonomy for Papua, but no significant changes have happened to the lives of Papuans despite trillions of rupiah having been transferred from Jakarta. Poverty and poor access to healthcare and education for Papuans have continued to plague Papua nearly 14 years after the inception of the special autonomy, which the Jakarta elites believed was a decent retribution for Papua.

The generous special autonomy funds handed to Papua and later West Papua correlate with the increasing number of corruption cases involving local public officials in the two provinces. The naming of 44 West Papua legislative council members and the province’s regional secretary Marthen Luther Rumadas and former Papua governor Barnabas Suebu graft suspects recently is just proof that corruption thrives while supervision is lacking in Papua.

Papua is a paradox of Indonesian development. Blessed with abundant natural resources, Papua and West Papua are home to regencies that rank among the most impoverished and least developed regions in the country. Recurrent acts of violence in the territory, many of them allegedly perpetrated by separatist groups, only indicate that injustice, inequality and marginalization of local people remain unfinished business for Jakarta, no matter who is president.

 Then president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised a new deal for Papua after taking office 10 years ago, but his government’s approach in dealing with Papua was the same old story. Jakarta’s recipe to tackle the Papua issue has never departed from “divide and rule”, as was apparent in the forcible formation of West Papua province in 2004 and a plan to create two more provinces and a new military command there.

 Like his predecessor Yudhoyono, Jokowi made many promises to the Papuans, including his plan to visit the land three times a year. It seems exaggerated, even if Jokowi hopes his frequent trips to Papua will ensure the development agenda and improvement of public services to run in accordance with the plan.

To woo Papuan voters back in June, Jokowi underlined Papua’s importance. Now the country’s leader, he has to show why Papua matters to him and the whole nation and how he will translate his pledges into policies.

As happened when Indonesia solved the Aceh problem with dignity in 2005, the central government’s policies toward Papua should be based on respect for the local people, which will require a dialogue between two equal parties. A dignified settlement will need efforts on Indonesia’s part to heal Papua’s past wounds, which of course include a formal state’s apology to Papuans for atrocities and the government’s indifference that they have endured for a long time.

The most urgent measure is revising the 2001 law on special autonomy for Papua. Prior to the end of its term in October, the Yudhoyono administration submitted the draft revision, which offers Papuan rebels a part in local politics, reminiscent of the deal accepted by the then Aceh separatist group, or GAM, which formed the Aceh Party.

Without assurance of an all-inclusive solution, the long-lasting peace Jokowi will try to create in Papua will never come true.

The author is a staff writer at The Jakarta Post.

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