Huwula Indigenous Care Team asks for customary land regulations

Customary Land
The work team caring for the land and the Huwula indigenous peoples during a media conference at the Customs Council Office in Wamena, Monday (25/7/2022), regarding the agenda of saving land and the people of Lapago. – Jubi/Special

Wamena, Jubi – As the law on the formation of new Papua provinces was passed, one of which was the establishment of the Mountainous Papua Province with its capital in Wamena, the Huwula Indigenous Care Team asked the local government to make regulations on customary land. The Mountainous Papua Province has never been the desire of the Huwula Indigenous People and the community rejects the stipulation of Wamena as the capital of the Mountainous Papua.

The group plans to convey its aspirations through a peaceful demonstration at the Jayawijaya Regional Legislative Council on Monday, July 25, 2022. However, they were not permitted by the police, even though the police in Indonesia, according to law, had no authority to permit or prohibit protests. The Huwula Care Team then held a media meeting in the Customary Council Office in Wamena, Jayawijaya Regency.

General action coordinator Welis Doga told Jubi that in the notice he sent to the police, he only stated that his party wanted to encourage the local government and lawmakers to make some kind of regional regulation regarding the protection of indigenous peoples’ lands in the Baliem Valley.

According to him, the Huwula Indigenous Care Team itself was established in order to protect customary lands due to massive land grabbing, as witnessed in Papua’s capital city of Jayapura today, wherein the indigenous people of Jayapura were marginalized or even eliminated.

“Therefore, we don’t want the same thing to happen again in Wamena, especially because the land in this valley is small,” he said.

Welis Doga hoped if there was regulation on customary land, the land would not necessarily be traded every time a new province was formed. “Those authorities can bring home the new autonomous region, we do not need it here, not in Wamena. The people in this valley do not want a new autonomous region,” he said.

He further expressed his disappointment with the security forces who limited people’s rights to protest, even when they had delivered the notification letter telling that the protest intended to convey nothing more than the call to protect customary lands.

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Meanwhile, Jayawijaya Police Chief Adj. Sr. Come. Hesman Napitupulu confirmed that his party did not allow the protest. He said the police were worried about the protest turning into chaos as in previous demonstrations.

“We all know there was an incident in Jayawijaya where a flagpole was broken during a protest, we don’t want things like that to happen again. That’s why we don’t allow this action to be carried out. If the people want to express their aspirations, please convey them in an orderly manner, maybe write letters? So that the situation in our area can remain safe,” said the Jayawijaya Police Chief. (*)

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