The Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (Komisi Nasional HAM/Komnas HAM) acknowledges that some acts of violence that occur in Papua are perpetrated by the Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka/OPM).
Komnas HAM chairman Ahmad Taufan Damanik considered that these acts of violence are very brutal.
“Sometimes they are very brutal, like the incidents in Wamena and other cities where demonstrations occurred following the case of racial discrimination in Surabaya. We have noted that there have been many brutal acts of violence by the OPM,” said Ahmad in his presentation at the Indonesian Military and National Police (TNI-Polri) Leaders Meeting on Monday, February 15, 2021.
Ahmad asked the government to allow Komnas HAM to have a dialogue with certain parties or local figures. This measure is to prevent more violent incidents from occurring.
“We are proposing leniency, a little more flexibility for Komnas HAM to initiate dialogues with certain parties,” said Ahmad.
For three days, on 15-17 February 2021, TNI-Polri held the 2021 Leaders Meeting. On the first day, the two agencies discussed a number of issues including economic growth, Covid-19 handling, and strategies in handling human rights issues. Komnas HAM was invited to provide input.
In addition, the Head of Komnas HAM also said that he does not agree to any proposals that are aimed at weakening the strength of the TNI and Polri in protecting the sovereignty of the Indonesian nation, including the withdrawal of military and police personnel assigned to Papua.
“In various speeches and seminars, I always say that our country’s democracy is developing. In its development, there are extraordinary dynamics, where sometimes it would go awry. I usually call these situations a turbulence,” said Ahmad.
The reason why the National Military and National Police must remain in Papua, Ahmad said, is that the they are the guardians of the democratic principles, so long human rights norms are maintained. He stated that the proposed withdrawal of military and police force from Papua was not approved by his institution, because it would weaken the two institutions in the region.
“If withdrawn, the region will get more dangerous. Thus, whenever someone came to us with such proposal, Komnas HAM has never agreed. How can they be withdrawn if there are still many problems there,” he said.
“Because we want discipline and operations to be carried out. Therefore, the reduction of military forces and other similar things, in my opinion, are absurd,” he added.
According to him, Indonesia is a sovereign country, and it is the duty of the TNI-Polri to resolve any disturbances to the sovereignty in accordance with human rights principles. Ahmad emphasized that, as two institutions that protect human rights, the TNI and Polri must be strengthened, as many people were attacked by the Armed Criminal Group (KKB) in Papua.
“Two of the protectors of human rights in Indonesia are the TNI and Polri. Without them, our society will certainly become victims of various acts of violent persecution,” he added.