ELSHAM Papua advocates human rights amid conflict in Papua, calls for resolution

Rev. Matheus Adadikam when met by Jubi at his office on Jl Kalibobo, Hedam, Heram District, Jayapura City, Papua, Thursday (19/10/2023). - Jubi/CR-11

Jayapura, Jubi – In 2023, according to ELSHAM Papua’s Director, Rev. Matheus Adadikam, there were numerous instances of arbitrary arrests conducted by the Indonesian Military (TNI) and Police across various regions in Papua. These incidents occurred in Boven Digoel in January; in Wamena in February; in Puncak Regency in March; and in Nduga in April.

Additionally, there were internal displacements in Paro, Nduga in February following the Susi Air pilot’s abduction, the West Papua National Liberation Army’s (TPNPB) shootings in Ilaga in March, and civilian property looting allegedly by the TNI in the Kuyawage area in April.

Adadikam stated to Jubi on the eve of the new year that there were still numerous armed clashes and sweeps throughout 2023 that claimed the lives of civilians.

Reflecting on the human rights situation in Papua, he mentioned that ELSHAM Papua observed a continuous stream of events violating human rights in the region, including persistent conflict without resolution, the perpetuation of militaristic policies, favoritism towards capitalist investors, and practices of impunity.

“Moreover, the criminalization of activists, stifling of expression, extrajudicial killings, internal displacements, racist rhetoric, and animosity persisted, highlighting the ongoing human rights issues in Papua,” said Adadikam.

ELSHAM Papua viewed the promises made by President Jokowi regarding the resolution of past human rights violations in Papua in December 2014 and the establishment of the  Human Rights Violation Settlement Team in 2022 and 2023, as merely gestures, and an insincere one.

Adadikam noted that these initiatives seemed more like attempts to improve Indonesia’s global image after scrutiny by the UN Human Rights Council, rather than genuine efforts to address human rights violations.

Considering the persistent conflict, ELSHAM Papua stressed the necessity for the state to earnestly work towards resolving ongoing conflicts in Papua, urging an end to militaristic approaches and the excessive use of force against civilians in conflict zones.

Furthermore, Adadikam highlighted the need for the state to ensure civilian safety in Papua and specifically appealed for the release of the Susi Air pilot, held captive since February 2023, as a humanitarian gesture. (*)

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