Jayapura, 7/7 (Jubi) – Two months after the fall of the New Order regime in 1998, a massacre occurred over the Papua on the island of Biak, Papua. Many have forgotten the tragedy but the victims still remember it vividly.

The Advocacy and Human Rights Studies (Elsham), Kontras Papua, KPKC of GKI Synod and United for Truth (BUK) in Papua commemorated the tragic events triggered by the raising of the Morning Star flag in the Water Tower in Biak,16 years ago.
“Leaders after leaders in Indonesia but no one spoke about justice for the victims of human rights violations in Papua. The state may forget and be indifferent but we can not forget,” Thineke Rumkambu said in his testimony at the office of Elsham Papua in Padangbulan, Jayapura on Sunday (6/7).

The Bloody Biak Tragedy on July 6, 1998 has been engraved in the hearts of Papuans. It is a human tragedy in which the local people were the victims simply for peacefully unfurling the Morning Star Flag at the top of a 35 meter water tower near the Biak Harbour. This peaceful actions in which between 500 to 1000 people took part ended in arbitrary arrest, maltreatment, torture and other dreadful things.

Morning Star flag-raising action is considered as an act of unlawful violence to be dealt with by military / police. Hundreds of unarmed civilian demonstrators who lingered around the water tower were surrounded and shot at dawn on July 6, 1998.


The civilians from Pna, Waupnor, and Saramom villages at Biak city district were escorted by officers to Biak seaport and persecuted.
“Some victims were transported by Mobile Brigade truck and also a container car to Biak Public Hospital and Naval Hospital but they did not get serious medical service,” she explained

She continued, there were about 6 people dead which were transported to the Naval Hospital, yet the bodies have not been returned to the hands of the family yet.

Some time after the incident, dozens of bodies were found in Biak waters (coastal). Ironically, without an investigation, officials stated that the bodies were victims of the Tsunami disaster in Aitape, PNG on July 17, 1998, although among the corpses, there were bodies wrapped in scout uniform and Golkar costumes.
“From this incident, recorded 230 casualties of whom eight people were killed, three disappeared and many seriously injured casualties were taken to Makassar for treatment, while 33 people were taken into custody, 150 people were maltreated and 32 mysterious bodies were found, ” Sandra Mambrasar, the Women’s division of Elsham Papua said.

For a variety of human rights abuses worsened in Papua, the components of the civil society urged the Republic of Indonesia to be responsible for all cases of human rights violations in Papua. The government must investigate and prosecute perpetrators of human rights violations on the incident of Bloody Biak 1998 via Ad-hoc Human Rights Court by reopening the report of Joint Fact Finding Team that coordinated by the National Commission on Human Rights.
“In the framework of a legal settlement, the state must provide protection and security of the victims and their families, as well as provide rehabilitation and restitution to the victims,” ​she said. (Jubi / Aprila/ Tina)

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