The Jakarta Post
A human rights group has condemned the banning of a protest by Jayapura Police in Papua on Thursday. The so-called kamisan is a peaceful, silent protest held every Thursday to call on the government to resolve cases of past human rights abuses.
The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) said the ban reflected the state’s repression of the freedom of expression.
“We warn [the police] that every citizen’s right to express their opinion is guaranteed by the Constitution,” Kontras coordinator Yati Andriyani said, citing Article 28E of the Constitution and the 2005 law on the international covenant of civil rights.
She added that the police’s decision to ban the kamisan also contradicted the government’s promise to resolve cases of right abuses in Papua, such as the Wamena case of 2001 and the Wasior case of 2003 by the police and the military, as well as the December 2014 shooting by security forces in Paniai that killed four Papuan students.
The kamisan usually takes place in front of Merdeka Palace and is occassionally attended by noted figures, including Catholic priest and philosopher Franz Magnis Suseno.
Kontras pushed the government and all stakeholders to show more concern for the protest and protect the people’s freedom of expression.
“That includes to guarantee that people in Papua can hold the kamisan safely,” Yati said.
The commission also called on the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the National Police Commission (Kompolnas) to immediately evaluate the Papua Police chief’s actions and to refrain from issuing any policies that would restrict peaceful protests.
Yati also demanded that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo use his authority to ensure that all police forces, including those in Papua, upheld principals of human rights and democracy and instruct the National Police to protect people who participate in protests.
The police have yet to comment on the ban.