Jubi TV – Peter Prove, the director of International Affairs of the World Council of Churches (WCC), has spoken about the human rights situation in Papua, internationally known as West Papua. In a recent broadcast by the council, Prove said the Indonesian government had failed to address and improve the humanitarian crisis in Papua.
The land of Papua – the two Indonesian provinces on the western part of the island of New Guinea – has become the focus of WCC for a long time. In a recent interview, Prove said that concern for Indigenous Papuans by the international community was increasing as a result of the ongoing serious human rights violations in the region, which the Indonesian government had apparently failed to address and remedy.
Recalling the history of the so-called “Act of Free Choice”, which is still a matter of debate to date, by which West Papua was integrated into Indonesia in 1969, Prove notes that the government’s failure to fulfill its promises to the Papuan people has resulted in increased opposition to Indonesia by the citizen of Papua.
“What we have seen for decades is a very high level of human rights violations. This includes extrajudicial killings, denial of freedom of expression and assembly, and many other offences,” Prove said.
Prove also emphasized that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the incidence of serious human rights violations increased.
The World Council of Churches and its partners work together to monitor civil and political rights as well as economic, social, and cultural rights in West Papua.
The increasing militarization in response to the armed group’s activity in Papua has exacerbated the situation, despite promises of dialogue with Indigenous Papuans. According to Prove, these are promises that have been made at the political level but have not been fulfilled.
Prove said that based on his observation on the actions of the military and police in Papua, violence against peaceful protesters had increased. Many killings, beatings, and enforced disappearances occurred in the peaceful protests by the Papuans.
In addition, the internally displaced people from conflict zones do not receive the assistance they need from national authorities. Moreover, international humanitarian agencies are given little or no access to these areas by the Indonesian government.
“The Indonesian government certainly needs to address the long-standing, ongoing, and escalating human rights crisis in the region,” Prove said. (*)