Jayapura, Jubi – The Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua) says the rector of Cenderawasih University, Apolo Safanpo, has violated human rights for clearing the student dormitory in Perumnas 3 Waena, Jayapura City with security forces and without prior deliberation.
On Friday, May 21, 2021, as many as 800 joint personnel of the Indonesian Military (TNI), police, and the Papua Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) broke into the student dorm.
Jayapura Police chief Sr. Comr. Gustaf Urbinas confirmed that the rector asked the Papua Police to deploy forces to clear the dorm alleged of housing many squatters, who are not students of the Cenderawasih University, and becoming a site of crime. Urbinas said the university wanted to renovate and rearrange the facility.
“Squatters are obliged to leave the dorm. We also ask the students to come out of the place. The university will provide the students a temporary place to stay,” said Urbinas.
Urbinas said the police had secured 18 stolen motorbikes and a number of sharp weapons such as machetes and bows and arrows during the evacuation. “I myself have taken more than 200 stolen motorbikes from here,” he added. He hoped that with the evacuation process, the place would again become an exclusive place for students, as to how a student dormitory should be.
Dormitory head of Unit 1 Depanus Siep regretted there was no deliberation prior to the evacuation. “There should have been a deliberation with the students and parents before, so we can find the solution together and prepare to move to another place. The rector only notified us with a letter and then suddenly the security forces broke into our place,” Siep said.
According to Siep, the TNI and police forcibly entered the dorm. “At 8 a.m., they tried to come in but we refused because we have yet to discuss the matter with the rector. But they forced to get in using violence, pushing and kicking the doors,” he said.
For the time being, Siep and his friends would stay in the Kabesma (student family of Cenderawasih University) building. He hoped the rector would soon fulfill his promise in providing the students living quarters during the renovation of the dorm. “We have no place to live. We come from various villages and our parents’ are financially weak,” said the engineering student.
LBH Papua director Emanuel Gobay considered the rector’s action a forced eviction and had violated human rights. “It has failed to adhere to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, which requires a deliberation process before the evacuation of people. The evictees are also entitled to compensation and a new place,” he said.
Gobay said he had written a summons to the rector, asking for clarity about the temporary relocation. He said the rector had answered and said he would accommodate students but still failed to mention where.
According to Gobay, it was the second time the rector tried to clear the student dorm. “The first one occurred on May 10 dan 11. The TNI and police destroyed the roof of the Unit Sakura at that time. We have reported the event to the Papua Police,” he said.
The LBH Papua have also reported the eviction to the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) Papua, asking for assistance so that the student’s rights to education and living quarters, which have been taken by the eviction, can be restored.
Further, the LBH Papua said it would file a civil suit against the Cenderawasih University rector to the Jayapura District Court. Ivonia Tetcuari of the university’s legal counsel said her party was ready to assist the rector at the court.
“We also assist the evacuation process of the student dormitory. Only 25 percent of the evicted residents are students, or around 200 students. The rest are squatters, there are grandmothers, mothers, fathers, babies, even pigpen inside. It is very risky if the student dorm is managed like rent rooms,” Tetcuari said.
Reporter: Theo Kelen
Editor: Aryo Wisanggeni G