President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has finally spoken out against the racial abuse suffered by Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, following days of protests in Papua and West Papua.
"I have followed the developments in Papua and alhamdulillah [praise God], the situation has returned to normal," he said at a press conference at the Bogor Palace on Thursday.
"I have also ordered the National Police chief to take stern, legal action against acts of racial and ethnic discrimination."
Jokowi added that he would invite public, cultural and religious figures from Papua and West Papua to the palace to talk about "accelerating prosperity in the land of Papua".
Jokowi's statement came after four consecutive days of protests in Papua and West Papua triggered by physical and verbal attacks aimed at Papuan students in East Java.
In Surabaya, members of mass organizations as well as some security personnel were reportedly heard calling Papuan university students “monkeys”, “pigs” and “dogs” on Friday, while police also stormed the city’s Papuan student dormitory with tear gas on Saturday.
In a previous statement made on Monday, Jokowi called on Papuans to forgive their fellow citizens while declining to comment on the racial abuse, drawing criticism from Papuans and rights groups. (kmt)