Jayapura, Jubi – On November 20 every year, the world community celebrates World Children’s Day. The theme for this year’s World Children’s Day is “A Better Future for Every Child”. Sadly, such a beautiful theme is far from what Papuan children are experiencing today. Papuan children living in conflict zones have been denied the right to security, food, shelter, health, and education, as well as the right to worship and other constitutional rights.
“The Papuan children in Nduga Regency have been living in fear in refugee camps since 2018. The same goes for children in Intan Jaya Regency since 2019, while children in Puncak Regency, Maybrat Regency, and Bintang Mountains Regency experienced the same terror in 2021,” said the Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua) in a written statement received by Jubi on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.
Even the more gruesome, two children were shot in a crossfire between the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) in Intan Jaya on Oct. 26, one of them died. Such a fact clearly shows both parties’ failure to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect the civilians in armed conflict.
Commissioner of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) Beka Ulung Hapsara said his party had met directly with refugees in Aitinyo and Aiwasi districts, gathering information about their conditions and hopes. The commission has also received on Nov. 8 a report on the alleged violation of human rights in the shooting of the two Papuan children, Nopelius Sondegau and Yoakim Mazau.
Director of LBH Papua Emanuel Gobay hoped that the state, through the Papua and West Papua Women Empowerment and Child Protection Agencies, could protect and respect Papuan children’s rights as stipulated in Article 21 Paragraph 2 of Law No. 35/2014 on Child Protection.
Gobay also hoped that the Indonesian Commission for Child Protection (KPAI) could carry out its duties in supervising the implementation of the protection and fulfillment of children’s rights, as well as reporting to the authorities about alleged violations of the law, as stipulated in Article 76 Letters A and G of the same law.
In encouraging the creation of a better future for every child, just as the theme of the 2021 World Children’s Day, the LBH Papua calls on (1) the Indonesian President and Vice President to immediately enforce “protection for children in armed conflict zones in Papua”, (2) the Papua Provincial Government to form a special team to protect children in Papua, (3) the Komnas HAM chair to investigate the alleged murder of two-year-old Nopelinus Sondegau, and (4) the KPAI chair to carry out its duties in supervising and reporting on the protection and fulfillment of children’s rights in Papua. (*)
Editor: Syam Terrajana