Monday, May 25, 2020

1) Indonesia's unconscionable prisoner policy

2) Police Hunt Down Shooter of COVID-19 Task Force Members in Papua 
3) PNG health authorities worried about Covid-19 situation in West Papua

1) Indonesia's unconscionable prisoner policy 
Usman Hamid and Veronica Koman

Jakarta   /   Mon, May 25, 2020   /   04:23 pm
The United Nations is right: It’s impossible to practice physical distancing and self-isolation in an overcrowded prison. We therefore applaud the decision by Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly to release almost 40,000 prisoners at risk from the COVID-19 pandemic.
As this devastating virus sweeps across the globe, prisons are at risk of becoming a very dangerous hotspot for COVID-19 outbreaks. Minister Yasonna’s policy however falls crucially short: Prisoners of conscience are excluded from the policy, despite the UN urging that “political prisoners should be among the first released”.
It is more important than ever that states take urgent measures to protect all those who are deprived of their liberty, especially by releasing all individuals who are held simply for peacefully exercising their rights.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s government has detained 69 prisoners of conscience (PoCs) on treason charges, a record in recent times for Indonesia. The majority of them, 54, are indigenous Papuans. Five of the PoCs will be released Tuesday after completing their jail terms. 
One Indonesian of Batak ethnicity, Paulus Suryanta Ginting, is the first non-indigenous West Papuan to be charged with treason over the self-determination cause. Meanwhile, a Polish man, Jakub Skrzypski, is the first foreign national to be charged with treason under Indonesian law and has been recognized by the European Parliament as a political prisoner. His “crime” was having met with pro-independence Papuan activists while traveling. The 12 other PoCs are from Maluku.
All are peaceful activists who have been detained for political expression -- simply carrying flags, or organizing or participating in peaceful protests, or being members of political organizations. Eleven of them have been sentenced, 15 are on trial, and 40 others are awaiting trial. No one should ever be arrested or detained solely for exercising their human rights.
The majority of these PoCs, 54 people, were arrested during and in the immediate wake of the 2019 West Papua uprising that took place from Aug. 19 to Sept. 23 last year. These protests against racism and for self-determination, likened to an “earthquake” of anger and hope, took place in towns and villages throughout Papua. Demonstrations of solidarity broke out in cites all over Indonesia too, and garnered international attention for the Papuan situation.
Jakarta’s response was a crackdown so brutal that the UN human rights office issued not one but two statements of concern. Authorities made a series of mass arrests ahead of further protests on the Dec 1, 2019, when Papuans commemorate their national day.
By the end of the uprising, more than 10,000 extra police and military had been deployed to Papua. Armed paramilitary police patrolled universities and residential areas. No further public gatherings were allowed in the province. Self-determination protests have since abated, because almost all student leaders and key leaders of Papua’s civil movement were either detained or forced into hiding.
There are at least seven prominent PoCs currently on trial in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan. Two of them, Buchtar Tabuni and Stevanus Itlay, are imprisoned for their political activities for the third time. On Oct. 4 last year, they were transferred, in breach of criminal procedures law and without prior notice to their lawyers and families, from Papua to Kalimantan for “security reasons”. The defendants have been questioned in court as to who had shouted “Free West Papua” slogans and who had brought Morning Star flags to the protests. Their hearings, held online as the pandemic rages, showed they are on trial for expressing their political beliefs.
On May 11, the four PoCs in Jakarta were almost released by prison authorities implementing the COVID-19 safety policy, as more than two-thirds of their sentences had been served. All four had signed release letters confirming their assimilation, had tested negative for COVID-19 and were holding a package of rice and instant noodles to take home. As they awaited the door to freedom, a prison staffer arrived and apologized; a political decision had come from above canceling their release.
One can only imagine the mental anguish not only for the prisoners but also their families, arising from this cruel move by the Indonesian government to quash their release.
The PoCs are detained in different prisons and detention centers. Conditions vary, but they are all characterized by overcrowding, poor sanitation and extremely limited healthcare services. The government has been criticized for its COVID-19 handling.
Prisoners of conscience have not committed any crime and yet they continue to be arbitrarily detained, in conditions that are now becoming increasingly dangerous.  
As a sitting member of the UN Human Rights Council, Indonesia needs to respect international human rights law by releasing these prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally.
Usman Hamid is the director of Amnesty International Indonesia. Veronica Koman is a human rights lawyer representing 63 prisoners of conscience under the UN special procedures.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.

2) Police Hunt Down Shooter of COVID-19 Task Force Members in Papua 
Translator: TEMPO 
Editor: Markus Wisnu Murti 
25 May 2020 11:22 WIB
TEMPO.COJakarta - The government’s Nemangkawi Operation Task Unit is still hunting down the armed group that shot two members of the COVID-19 Task Force in Papua. One of the task force members was killed.
The Nemangkawi Operation Task Unit reported the incident occurred in Wandai district, Intan Jaya regency, Papua, Friday, May 22, 2020, at around 16:30 local time.
The attacked health workers were Amalek Bagau, 30 years old, and Eniko Somou, 39 years old. “They were shot while delivering medicines to avert the spread of COVID-19 in Intan Jaya regency,” the Namangkawi Operation Task Unit said in a written statement on Friday, May 22, 2020.
Personnel of the task unit and the Intan Jaya Police evacuated the victims to Nabire by Smart Air aircraft from the Sugapa Airport, Intan Jaya regency.
The plane touched down at the Douw Aturure Nabire Airport on Saturday, May 23, 2020, at 10:20 local time and the victims were rushed to the Nabire Regional General Hospital (RSUD) at 10:30 local time for further treatment.
Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. A.M. Kamal said one of the victims passed away while the other was in critical condition. He said the remoteness and the hard terrain of the crime scene were among the difficulties security personnel must face to reach the location.
“It took us around five hours to get to the crime scene,” Kamal said, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic had exacerbated the situation.


3) PNG health authorities worried about Covid-19 situation in West Papua
about 1 hour ago  

Papua New Guinea's acting Secretary of Health says the daily increase of Covid-19 cases in West Papua poses a great threat to his country.
The Papua Region of Indonesia has seen at least 65 new cases of the coronavirus over the past 36 hours bringing a total to some 686 confirmed cases.
Paison Dakulala, who is also the State of Emergency Deputy Controller, said the alarming increase means that PNG is still in the danger zone as far as the virus and its people must not be complacent.
"With the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in West Papua, the PNG Government is revisiting its strategies along the Western border with Indonesia," Paison Dakulala said.
"To ensure that the movement of people across the border is tightened to simply avoid possible transmission of COVID-19 in PNG," Dr Dakulala said.
"To date, there are no deaths in the country and therefore our Health team and the security forces are on the ground ensuring that this COVID-19 transmission must not take place," he said.

At this stage, PNG had only eight confirmed cases of Covid-19, the last case was reported about a month ago. All eight have recovered.
As of this week over 31,000 inbound passengers has been screened at the international airport and seaport in Port Moresby.
More than 8,500 travellers has been being monitored by health surveillance teams.

1 comment:

  1. I thank for your time of this wonderful blog read!!! I definitely enjoy every little bit of it and subscribed to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!

    BBQ cleaning Sydney
    End of lease cleaning ryde