Jayapura, Jubi – Director of the Democratic Alliance for Papua Latifah Anum Siregar said the desire for independence has always existed among the children of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) combatants and Free Papua Organization (OPM) figures. TPNPB combatants often carry their children to guerrilla warfare. On the other hand, violence and human rights violations by the security forces continue to occur.
In Papua, the trauma of conflict is not a story that is passed down from one generation to the next, but something that is directly experienced by Indigenous Papuans themselves.
“The understanding about the conflict is not just from information but their direct involvement in the incident. They saw how their parents fought back, how their families fell victims. Therefore, they internalize [the desire for independence]. Of course, it is much stronger [than just hearing stories],” Siregar said.
“There are painful memories in their minds that they felt they had to continue their parents’ struggle. This is what happened to Egianus Kogoya, Demianus Magai Yogi, and other TPNPB/OPM children,” she added.
Siregar said that the same thing happened to children victims of human rights violations, whose parents were shot dead and the perpetrators had never been brought to justice. Bad memories about Indonesia were formed into collective memory.
“Among children who are victims of human rights violations, there is also an internalization of trauma. The practice of impunity is a scourge for Papuans. The suffering they experienced was not only theirs, it is indeed a collective suffering, a common concern, especially since the Papuan people live with a communal culture,” said Siregar.
“When you look at the grim history of your family, you cannot help but reproduce thoughts for a better future. These children saw what happened to their parents as a crime they had to fight together. Back then, they could not fight and helplessly watched their family being killed. They grew up with anger, sadness, and disappointment,” she said.Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid said that up until now, there had been no significant progress on the human rights situation in Papua. Unresolved cases of past human rights violations have made Papuans more resistant to the State. The armed conflict in Papua is even more widespread.
Moreover, the conflicting parties, both the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police and the TPNPB, are equally ignorant of the norms of humanitarian law established to protect civilians in conflict situations.
“In terms of humanitarian law, there are many norms that have been ignored by both the government and armed groups. Humanitarian law norms, for example, do not allow conflicting parties to attack civilian objects, civilians, civil government offices, and civilian homes. But it just happened. In war, attacks can only be carried out against military objects or military targets and carried out proportionally. In most cases, this does not happen,” said Hamid.
Hamid said that there was no enforcement of humanitarian law in Papua. There was no policy from the government that stated to enforce humanitarian law in Papua.
“There were a number of cases in which pro-independence figures were arrested and tortured. Attacks and arrests under humanitarian law are only permitted against military targets or warring parties,” said Hamid.
Usman said a security approach would not end the conflict in Papua. The government should take non-violent means to prevent casualties from all parties especially civilians.
“The deployment of troops only ends in violence that is detrimental to all parties,” he said.
Meanwhile, Papuan Police Chief Insp. Gen. Mathius D Fakhiri claimed the government did not want to discriminate against the children of TPNPB and OPM members because they were a new generation that was different from their parents. However, Fakhiri said these children could serve as a “stimulus” for their family to leave the Papuan independence movement.
“I see them as a community that we must serve. Hopefully, they can become a means of enlightenment for their parents or their families who always think about leaving Indonesia,” he said.
“We never thought of ostracizing them. Instead, we have to approach them so that they can pull the other family members out of their beliefs [about free Papua] and become good citizens. I’m sure among them there are those who want to be part of the National Police. They can be a stimulus for their families to stop [from the Papuan independence movement],” he said.
Fakhiri said the police would pay special attention to them so they did not get influenced by a separatist idea. According to him, the children of the TPNPB and OPM figures have actually become a communication bridge between the security forces and the TPNPB.
“So far we have educated less than ten [children of the TPNPB members]. They are from mountainous areas, which have been the location for shootings between warring parties,” he said.
However, anti-Indonesian sentiments and the desire to liberate Papua remain alive among the younger generation of Papuan Indigenous People, and are even fueled by a series of violence that continues to occur in Papua. Many parties have warned, many have also emphasized that the government’s efforts to address the Papuan problem do not touch the root of the Papuan problem. Will the government listen this time? (*)
Reporter: Hengky Yeimo
Editor: Aryo Wisanggeni G