World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Indonesia: Lift Restrictions on Reporting, Access to Papua

Indonesia: Lift Restrictions on Reporting, Access to Papua

Invite UN Rights Experts to Increasingly Violent Eastern Provinces

June 13, 2012

(New York) – The Indonesian government should allow foreign media and civil society groups access to Papua to report on violence and rights violations since May that have left at least 14 dead.

Human Rights Watch urged Indonesia to accept calls made at the United Nations Human Rights Council to permit access to the province and to issue standing invitations to UN human rights experts.

“By keeping Papua behind a curtain, the Indonesian government is fostering impunity among military forces and resentment among Papuans,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “It needs to let the media and civil society shine a light on conditions in the province.”

Human Rights Watch said that the Indonesian government has failed to hold to account those responsible for recent violence in Papua. On June 6, 2012, a crowd stabbed one Indonesian soldier to death and seriously injured another after their motorcycle struck a Papuan child in Honai Lama District in Wamena, a city in Papua’s Central Highlands.

In retaliation, hundreds of soldiers from the 756th battalion swept through Honai Lama and elsewhere in Wamena, beating and stabbing residents and burning homes. A Papuan civil servant, Elianus Yoman, reportedly died from bayonet wounds. Seven other Papuans were injured and hospitalized. The soldiers set numerous buildings and motor vehicles on fire, causing many villagers to flee into surrounding forest.

An Indonesian military spokesman in Jayapura, Papua’s capital, initially denied that soldiers had injured any Papuans. But Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, later conceded [4] that the Indonesian security forces overreacted in their response.

There have been a number of other violent incidents reported recently in Papua’s capital. Since May 23, unknown gunmen shot dead several non-Papuan migrants. A German tourist was shot on May 29 and was sent for treatment to a hospital in Singapore. The police forcibly broke up a protest on June 4 by the National Committee for West Papua (Komite Nasional Papua Barat or KNPB), a militant Papuan independence group, reportedly killing three student members. A KNPB member was also reported shot to death earlier on May 1.

The response of the national government to the growing violence in Papua has been inadequate, Human Rights Watch said. Yudhoyono told reporters on June 12, “The action [attacks in Papua] can be said to have happened on a small scale with limited victims.… The figure is far [lower] than the violence in the Middle East, [where] we can witnesses, every day, attacks and violence with huge numbers of deaths.”

“President Yudhoyono should stop making excuses for his government’s failure to investigate the violence,” said Pearson. “Allowing full access to the province for UN rights experts, the press, and other monitors could curtail the rumors and misinformation that often fuel abuses.”

The Indonesia government sharply restricts access to its easternmost provinces, Papua and West Papua. Military forces have been deployed there since 1963 to counter a long-simmering independence movement. Foreigners are required to obtain a special permit to visit the areas. Such permits are routinely denied or the processing delayed, hampering efforts by journalists and civil society groups to report on breaking events.

During the Universal Periodic Review of Indonesia at the UN Human Rights Council on May 23, France called on Indonesia to ensure free access for civil society and journalists to Papua and West Papua. The United Kingdom noted the “increase in violence” in Papua and “encouraged Indonesia to tackle violence against minority faiths and accept visit requests by Special Rapporteurs.” Austria, Chile, the Maldives, and South Korea called on Indonesia to accept standing invitations to the UN rights experts and groups known as special procedures. Mexico specifically asked the Indonesian government to invite the special rapporteurs to Papua.

The previous UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston, made a request to visit Indonesia in 2004 and again in 2008, to which he never received a response.

“Several states registered concerns at the UN Human Rights Council about Indonesia’s failure to invite UN experts to the country,” said Pearson. “If Indonesia wants to be taken seriously in Geneva, it shouldn’t continue to ignore this request.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Peace Deal ‘first Step’ In Resolving South Sudan Crisis

Children at a protection of civilians site in Juba, South Sudan, run by the UN Mission, perform at a special cultural event in March 2015. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine More>>

Yemen: Killing Or Maiming An Average Of Eight Children A Day

Killing or maiming an average of eight children a day, ‘brutal’ Yemen conflict must end – UNICEF More>>

Changing Habits/behaviours Key To Overcome Vaccine Hesitancy

Vaccine hesitancy can be caused by factors such as negative beliefs based on myths, misinformation. Fear of needles can be a factor for refusal. Photo: PAHO/WHO More>>

Burundi: Ban Condemns Assassination Of Senior Army Officer

Refugees from Burundi in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Photo: OCHA/Naomi Frerotte United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the assassination Burundi’s former Army Chief of Staff, Colonel Jean Bikomagu, who ... More>>

Deadly Industrial Explosions In Northern China

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and the injuries to scores of people as a result of deadly explosions in Tianjin, China. More>>

UN Urges Action To Tackle Deepening Refugee Crisis In Greece

A group of Syrian refugees arrive on the island of Lesbos after travelling in an inflatable raft from Turkey, near Skala Sykaminias, Greece. Photo: UNHCR/A. McConnell More>>

Probe Into Those Responsible For Chemical Weapons In Syria

The US Vessel Cape Ray, on which all 581 metric tonnes of a precursor chemical for sarin gas were removed from Syria and safely destroyed as the ship sailed in international waters in 2014. Photo: US Dept. of Transportation More>>

Myanmar Election: UNICEF Urges Prioritisation Of Children

With 99 days to go before Myanmar elections, UNICEF urges candidates make children the clear winner More>>

Liberia Thousands Of Unregistered Children Born During Ebola Crisis

Thousands of unregistered children born in Liberia during Ebola crisis at risk of exploitation – UNICEF More>>

UN Refugee Agency Envoy Angelina Jolie Visits Myanmar

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt (left) in Myitkyina township, Kachin State, Myanmar, meeting with some of the 100,000 displaced people who currently live there. Photo: UNHCR/T.Stoddart More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news