TNI/Police and TPNPB must comply with 1949 Geneva Conventions and protect civilians: LBH Papua

Most of the Nduga refugees consist of children and women. Some mothers carrying their children during the visit of the MRP Humanitarian Committee team that brought a medical team to check their health conditions, on Saturday (4/6/2022). - Jubi/Yuliana Lantipo

Jayapura, Jubi – The Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua) calls on all conflicting parties in the armed conflict in Papua, including the Indonesian Military (TNI), the National Police, and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), to protect all civilians in the conflict area as obliged in the 1949 Geneva Convention.

LBH Papua Director Emanuel Gobay in a written statement on Thursday, December 15, 2022, said his party saw that armed conflicts between the TNI and police and TPNPB continued to occur. Civilians often fall victim to these conflicts, contrary to the principles of the 1949 Geneva Convention which demand conflicting parties to ensure that civilians do not fall victim.

Indonesia has ratified the 1949 Geneva Conventions through Law No. 59/1958 on the Participation of the Republic of Indonesia in All Geneva Conventions dated August 12, 1949. The Indonesian government has a legal obligation to apply the principles of the 1949 Geneva Convention in the armed conflict in Papua.

“The TNI, police, and the TPNPB must protect civilians in the conflict area as stipulated by Article 3 number 1 of the 1949 Geneva Convention 1949,” he said.

Based on data compiled by LBH Papua, from 2018 to date, armed conflict continued to occur and took civilians’ lives, as well as displaced civilians in Nduga Regency (2018), Intan Jaya Regency (2019 – 2020), Mimika Regency (2020), Maybrat Regency (2020), Puncak Regency (2021), Tambrauw Regency (2021), Bintang Mountains Regency (2021), and Yapen Waropen Regency (December 2022).

According to Gobay, by holding the principles in the 1949 Geneva Convention, the impact of conflict on civilians could be reduced. (*)

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