Survivors commemorate Bloody Wasior, demand govt action for justice

Bloody Wasior
Screenshot of a video commemorating the 22nd anniversary of the Bloody Wasior Tragedy in Wondiboy District, Wondama Bay Regency, West Papua on Tuesday (13/6/2023). - IST

Manokwari, Jubi – In a solemn gathering held at the Secretariat of the Papua Customary Council in Wondiboy District, 20 individuals including 15 survivors and their families commemorated the Bloody Wasior Tragedy. It was to honor those whose lives were lost 22 years ago due to the alleged sweeping, arrest, torture, and killing by state apparatus.

Recalling the horrifying experience, Frans Saba (30) shared the cruelty he endured. At that time, he was unaware of the circumstances that led to his arrest and subsequent burial that left only his head exposed. Frans further expressed the ongoing anguish of not having found some of his missing family members.

During the ceremony, the survivors and their families drew strength from one another, emphasizing the need for unity and solidarity in their pursuit of justice.

The event was attended by Frans Saba, Yakob Bokwai, Yulianus Bokwai, Otniel Sarumi, Elly Ayomi, Nehemia Urus, Yan Ataribaba, Peki Kubiari, Marthapina Bokwai, Oktovina Ataribaba, David Wosiri, Agus Urbon, Mikha Wamati, and Yohanes Nusowi.

Govt’s commitment to non-judicial settlement falls short

Saba revealed that in late 2022, the government established a team to address human rights violations through non-judicial means. The team approached them with promises to provide educational support, health insurance, and rehabilitation for the victims’ children. However, Saba emphasized that accepting these offers did not mean abandoning the pursuit of justice through the judicial process.

Unfortunately, despite 22 years having passed since the tragedy,  the government has yet to fulfil its promises of non-judicial settlement. Saba expressed his disappointment, stating that the team merely collected information but failed to follow through with any substantial actions.

During the commemoration, several demands and statements were read as follows:

  1. The government must immediately establish a monitoring team to ensure the implementation of recommendations for non-judicial settlement of human rights violations in the 2001 Wasior case, prioritizing the recognition of citizens’ rights as human beings.

  2. The Central Government, the West Papua Provincial Government, and the Wondama Bay Regency Administration must take proactive measures to prevent any recurrence of human rights violations in the future.

  3. The victims demand concrete proof of rehabilitation assistance.

  4. The judicial process must be carried out in accordance with Law No. 26/2000 on Human Rights Court.

  5. The Wondama Papuan Customary Council actively supports the reconciliation efforts for the victims of the Wasior tragedy.

Despite the state’s promises of non-judicial settlement, the lack of action has left the victims and their families disillusioned and reinforces the need for continued advocacy for justice and reconciliation. (*)

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