December 2, 2020 Topics, Human Rights and Humanitarian Issues

The Government of Indonesia would like to take this opportunity to respond to the commentary made by the UN Human Rights Office Spokesperson, Mrs. Ravina Shamdasarni, on the 30th of November 2020 regarding the situation in the provinces of Papua and West Papua. Furthermore, the Government of Indonesia wishes to reiterate the following:

  • The well-being of all Indonesians, including those who live in the provinces of Papua and West Papua, has always been on the top of the Government’s national priorities, with the emphasis on promoting development for the two provinces in addressing economic, social and political challenges on the ground. This includes by ensuring the promotion and protection of human rights.
  • Amidst the progress that have been made in securing the livelihoods and safety of the people in Papua and West Papua, including during the pandemic, the intensity of conflicts in both provinces have escalated rapidly in the past year due to the rising activities of separatist armed groups with ill-intended agenda.  They have killed local citizens as well as others, such as teachers and medical officers, and destroyed public facilities, causing harm and public disturbance.
  • Against this backdrop, the Government of Indonesia is deeply disturbed by the patterns delivered by many parties through the presentation of erroneous statements every year prior to the false independence day celebrated by separatist groups. We believe the Office of the UN Human Rights will take all the necessary efforts to avoid such abuse and misuse by particular groups promoting the separatist agenda, which is runs in contravention of the UN Charter.
  • It is well known that armed groups in Papua have been traditionally using 1 December as a moment to escalate violence and tension in the two provinces with the purpose of disturbing the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Indonesia. In this regard, the Government of Indonesia fully agrees with the Office that violence must be avoided.
  • The Government of Indonesia is also concerned with the accuracy of information in the statement delivered by the UN Human Rights Office Spokesperson. The information was not delivered comprehensively and also contain biases. The statement did not cover other necessary information, such as that:
  1. A transparent and impartial legal process has been conducted on all the cases mentioned in the statement.
  2. The UN Human Rights Office Spokesperson mentioned that there were 84 people arrested on 17 November 2020. It is important to highlight, that first, there were 54 and not 84 people who were arrested; second, the arrest were legally conducted according to the law; and third, that all persons who were arrested has been released.
  3. The on-going violence conducted by armed groups in Papua and West Papua is a  separatist movement that runs in contravention with the UN Charter and the principles of international law.
  4. While noting the recent incidents, which are now being investigated by the authorities, we are deeply disappointed that the killings of innocent citizens as well as members of the Indonesian security and police forces by armed groups in Papua and West Papua, are not presented in the Spokesperson’s statement.
  5. As a full-fledged democracy that upholds the rule of law, Indonesia’s legal system provides for complaint mechanisms for citizens whenever they feel that their rights have been violated by law enforcement personnel. Indonesia is also very well equipped with the Indonesian National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas HAM), an A+ internationally accredited national human rights institution, that is mandated to receive complaints and to conduct investigations on allegations of human rights violation cases.
  6. As a country that upholds the supremacy of law, the Government of Indonesia continues to take necessary efforts to uphold prevailing laws and regulations, including to end impunity in Indonesia. The recent Intan Jaya case, was a concrete example. Following the death of Reverend Yeremias Canambani in Intan Jaya, the Government of Indonesia quickly established an independent fact-finding team to investigate the case. In less than a month, the fact-finding team concluded that 8 Indonesian military personnel might be involved, and are now suspects in the case.
  7. It is also important to highlight that the fact-finding team’s investigation is similar and in line with the investigation conducted by the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM). These findings were also nowhere to be found in the media statement of the Office. It is very unfortunate that the UN Human Rights Office failed to note and cite the efforts taken by the Government of Indonesia in this issue.
  8. Furthermore, as one of the largest democratic countries in the world, check and balance mechanisms as well as many forms of domestic remedies run accordingly in Indonesia. For example, in the case of the limitation/blocking of internet access in Papua, the Administrative Court of Jakarta rule that the limitation/blocking policy in Papua in August-September 2019 was illegal. This reflects that the Government is open to democratic and accountable processes related to the exercise of the freedom of expression and of opinion in the country.
  • The Government of the of Indonesia remains committed and determined to continue its unwavering efforts in the field of human rights, including through constructive dialogue with the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.
  • The Government of Indonesia once again calls on the Office of High Commissioner of Human Rights to avoid any efforts to politicize the domestic issues of states. The Government of Indonesia remains open for the Office to directly discuss the development of human rights in Indonesia.