Jayapura, Jubi – The clashes that led to the shooting of residents in Wamena on February 23, 2023, had a similar pattern to the shooting in Wamena on September 23, 2019. Police’s failure to prevent casualties shows that the security approach in handling the incident in September 2019 has never been evaluated.
This was stated by the public advocate of the Democracy Alliance for Papua, Helmi, when contacted by Jubi in a phone call on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. Helmi said the recent shooting killed at least nine civilians.
Helmi assessed that the police showed an excessive force in handling the masses. In fact, such an approach had failed many times and taken death tolls, including in 2019, wherein 42 people died and half of Wamena’s urban area was destroyed.
“The pattern shows that there is a wrong understanding among the security forces in solving the problem of violence in Papua,” said Helmi.
Helmi also criticized the government’s attitude in responding to several violent incidents in Papua as it only created various counterproductive policies. The central government, for example, forced the issuance of Law No. 2/2021 on the Second Amendment to Law No. 21/2001 concerning Papua Special Autonomy Papua Province. The central government also forced the formation of three new provinces, namely the provinces of South Papua, Central Papua, and Mountainous Papua.
“The people in Papua are actually not prepared for New Autonomous Regions, given the small number of residents in Papua, especially the Indigenous Papuans. Moreover, efforts to strengthen the capacity of human resources is still far from expectations,” he said.
Helmi said the New Autonomous Regions would actually open up opportunities for more population migration from outside Papua, which also had the potential to dominate economic activity in Papua and governance in the three new provinces. “Including those related to control of places that have abundant natural resource potential,” he said. (*)