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Saturday, 14 June 2014 - 09:50 WIB

FRANK LA RUE : I UNDERSTAND THE ISSUE OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN PAPUA

A meeting on Freedom of Expression at UN Council in Geneva (Jubi)

A meeting on Freedom of Expression at UN Council in Geneva (Jubi)

A meeting on Freedom of Expression at UN Council in Geneva (Jubi)

A meeting on Freedom of Expression at UN Council in Geneva (Jubi)

Jenewa, 13/6 (Jubi) – The International Coalition for Papua (ICP) stated its concern about the restriction of freedom of expression in Papua in the 26th session of annual conference of the UN Human Right Council in Geneva on June 11.   

The ICP asked the UN Human Right Council to review restrictions on the freedom of expression and peaceful gathering in Papua, the international human rights observers, foreign journalists and researchers.

According to the ICP, in 2013, the number of political prisoners has doubled, while the violence and mistreatment cases were reported four times increase, and some cases related to the denial of access to legal attorney and fair trial has doubled compare to the previous year.

“The increase of coordination on the peaceful political activities in West Papua has triggered the repressive response of the police who represented the consistently and anxious attacks towards the right of gathering peacefully. Within 2013, at least 19 detention cases have been conducted to prevent, arrest or punish the protestors. Data showed an increase of mass arrest frequencies,” Budi Thjahjono, the ICP member from the International Franciscan when reading the statement in front of the members of the UN Human Rights Council.

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Further, according to ICP, the possession of Morning Star flag are increasingly used as the reason behind the arrest and intimidation. The latest data showed the implementation of the Emergency Law 12/1951 of the possession of weapons, firearms and ammunitions sometimes has been used to convince the Court if the prosecutor had no enough reliable evidence for treason accused.
“On 2 April 2014, two students Alfares Kapissa and Yali Wenda was arrested and tortured by the police when they voiced the release of political prisoners and the open democracy in Papua in the peaceful protest. They have been beaten, given electric shocks, trampled and not get the sufficient medical treatment. The police also harassed them by calling them “monkey”, said Thjahjono.

ICP said up to the late of May 2014, at least 79 political prisoners were prisoned in Papua Prison. At least 42 cases of intimidation towards the prisoners have been reported within 2013. ICP further said the journalists in Papua also encounter the risk of detention, threats and intimidation. According to the Alliance of Independent Journalist Indonesia (AJI) Jayapura, within 2013, there were 20 violence and intimidation cases towards journalists in Papua. It increased from 12 reported cases in 2012.

The restriction on the freedom of expression is encouraging ICP to recommend the Government of Indonesia to finalize the amendment of the Indonesia Criminal Code of Conduct to comply with the human rights treaties, in particularly the criminalization and the prohibition of violence and the cancelation of Article 106 and 110. Further, the Government of Indonesia is expected to observe the police’s policy in Papua and the security force training to ensure the respect on the right of freedom of expression and gathering. ICP also recommend the unconditional release of political prisoners in Papua as part of comprehensive policy to end the charge on the freedom of expression.

Frank La Rue, the UN Special Rapporteur for the Freedom of Expression said the issue on the freedom of expression in Papua gained his attention, especially because he got an access denial to visit Papua some years ago.
“I understand about this issue. Thank you for bringin the very strong statement. I might be not reelected as Special Rapporteur for this year, but the issue on the freedom of expression in Papua would be a concern of the next Special Rapporteur,” Frank La Rue said to Jubi. (Jubi/Victor Mambor/rom)

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