Unraveling the Issues of Human Rights in Papua

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UNAIR NEWS – As a legal state, Indonesia certainly committed in taking action for an immediate settlement of human rights cases in Papua. This commitment proven by Decree of the People’s Representative Assembly (MPR) Number XVII / MPR / 1998 concerning in Human Rights and Law Number 39 of 1999 concerning in Human Rights, supported by its instruments, National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM).

Furthermore, Indonesia has allegedly committed human rights violations in Papua. In fact, an independent West Papua campaign in 2004 also briefly encouraged United Nations to hold an independence referendum in West Papua.

Besides, the campaign gained support from international community. On 2012, the issue regarding to arrest warrant request of president of the Republic of Indonesia widespread during his visit to London on October – November of that year.

Iman Prihandono, S.H., M.H., LL.M., Ph.D, Head of International Law Department, and International Human Rights Law lecturer at Faculty of Law UNAIR, familiarly called Dr. Iman explained that human rights are basic human rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, which guarantees our position as human beings.

“Human rights exist because of our existence as humans,” said Dr. Iman.

In addition, the government obliged to fulfill, respect and uphold human rights in Indonesia. Even so, Dr. Iman does not deny the fact that there have been several incidents in human rights violations against Papua community.

The human right violations  related to economic, social, and cultural sector regarding their right to get decent life and it even led to serious violations. Thus, the emergence of movements carried out by the community in Papua are unavoidable.

“People were not satisfied with the government performance, both central and local goverment. So, conflicts against the government often occured in here.” explained Dr. Iman

According to him, the root problem was the existence of social inequality that was left too long. Compared to other regions, economic development, health, education, infrastructure and other things were handled slowly by the government.

On the other hand, the community in Papua did not react positively towards the results of the presence of foreign corporations that utilize their natural resources (SDA). Moreover, they received negative impact from foreign corporation. For example, damaging the environment and several people have to move from their origin place.

However, Dr. Iman also appreciates the affirmative policies made by the government to handle the conditions in Papua. Specifically, special autonomy for Papua, greater natural resource sharing (SDA) for Papua, the split into two  provinces: Papua and West Papua in facilitating communication and community service with the government.

“Other government affirmative policies in making an equal price and infrastructure development will help the community in there. Even though, it’s still not enough, “explained Dr. Iman.

Other problems are related to culture, social, and human resources. The government need to improve the facilities and education quality in there. In addition, it is also necessary to increase local communities’ economy by utilizing natural resources in Papua. Economic development is expected to grow.

“The policy will not make Papua as industrialized region but more into economic development that preserves natural wealth, respects local wisdom such as tourism, the use of sea products, traditional agriculture and plantations to raise its economy, “explained Dr. Iman.

The government also needs to take decisive steps in overcoming the high logistics costs in Papua, which resulted into a high prices of basic necessities. Among other things, the government can build production centers in Papua. So, it will reduce the price rather than importing production materials from other regions.

In addition, the government also need to pay more attention to public aspirations, and be transparent in local government administration. The development acceleration aims for people to access health, education and employment easier.

Infrastructure development and the welfare of community in Papua are important, considering people are quite sensitive in dealing with these problems and issues. The government must ensure the welfare of the community in Papua.

“Currently, the government working on solving the problem and convincing international community regarding to the domestic problem of Papua” said Dr. Iman.

Obviously, the community in Papua has the same rights and guaranteed by the constitution. In addition, Dr. Iman hoped that these kind of problem will not happen again in the future.

Author: Galuh Mega Kurnia

Editor: Khefti Al Mawalia

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