Jayapura, Jubi – Indonesia will celebrate its 77th Independence Day on Wednesday, August 17, 2022. The Papua Peace Network (JDP) believes that today, even after 77 years, the Indonesian government has not been able to resolve the Papua conflict, resulting in prolonged armed conflict in Papua.
The JDP urges the Indonesian government to make a humanitarian pause as a precursor to holding a peace talk. JDP said armed conflicts continue to occur in Nduga, Intan Jaya, Dogiyai, Deiyai, Paniai, Yahukimo, Tolikara, Puncak, and Bintang Mountains.
JDP spokesperson Yan Cristian Warinussy said that armed conflicts between the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) and the Indonesian Military (TNI) and Police had made civilians targets or victims.
“The civilians I am referring to include indigenous Papuans in the conflict area, as well as medical workers, teachers, workers in road construction or telecommunications tower, traders, and motorcycle taxi drivers. There are also victims among the warring parties, both from the security forces and TPNPB,” Warinussy told Jubi via WhatsApp message on Sunday, August 14, 2022.
Warinussy criticized that various cases of human rights violations were not handled properly so that the motives behind such incidents were never revealed while the perpetrators were not held accountable. The warring parties tend to accuse each other.
“What happens is throwing statements at each other and playing victim. This includes the shooting of the Papua Intelligence head and the recent death of mobile brigade member Diego Rumaropen in Jayawijaya Regency,” said Warinussy.
JDP noted that the Papua conflict, which has lasted for approximately 50 years, was also encouraged by the practice of illegal firearms and ammunition trade, some of which involving members of the TNI and police. This practice has brought hundreds of manufactured and assembled firearms to Papua, which is later owned by the TPNPB armed group.
Warinussy said that the TNI and police had started a softer step by approaching village officials and community leaders in conflict areas. However, lately, these parties approached by the security forces have allegedly become targets of violence by the TPNPB.
“It is not even uncommon for members of the TNI and police who are trying to make social contact with the people to end up becoming targets of the TPNPB. Such situations have repeatedly occurred and continue to occur in Papua,” he said.
In welcoming the 77th Independence Day of Indonesia, the Papua Peace Network called for a humanitarian pause as a first step in starting a peaceful dialogue between the conflicting parties.
“President Joko Widodo can immediately take important steps to resolve and end the armed conflict in Papua right now. Every day the number of victims keeps increasing including the civilians,” he said.
Warinussy said his party believed that violence would never end the conflict. “We want the armed conflict in Papua to end right now, in order to provide peace for all Papuans and Indonesians who live and work on this land,” he said. (*)