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Jakarta Post

Activists hand details on West Papua civilian death toll to Jokowi

  • Gisela Swaragita
    Gisela Swaragita

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, February 10, 2020   /   02:09 pm
Activists hand details on West Papua civilian death toll to Jokowi An Indonesian military ambulance evacuates the body of a soldier in Wamena, Papua province, on Dec. 5, 2018. He was killed after coming under rebel gunfire while investigating reports that construction workers had been shot dead by separatist rebels in Nduga. (AFP/Joseph Situmorang)

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has been urged to discuss human rights violations in West Papua during his visit with Australian government officials in Canberra.

Jokowi is in Australia this week on a bilateral visit.

According to a media release made available to The Jakarta Post, the president has been handed details on West Papua’s civilian death toll and political prisoners by activists in a bid to urge an end to the political and humanitarian crisis in the easternmost part of Indonesia.

“Our team in Canberra has managed to hand over letters to President Jokowi directly. The letters include names and locations of 57 political prisoners charged with treason and held behind bars in seven cities across Indonesia. We also listed the names and ages of 243 civilians who have died during the Nduga military operation since December 2018,” Indonesian human rights lawyer Veronica Koman said.

“At the beginning of his first term in 2015, President Jokowi released five West Papuan political prisoners. Indonesians and West Papuans alike saw the move as a new hope for West Papua. But now at the beginning of his second term, there are 57 people awaiting trial for treason, facing life imprisonment. This route will only fuel further conflict,” she continued.

Veronica said that the West Papuan governor, regents, church leaders, customary leaders, academics, activists and students have begged President Jokowi to withdraw troops from Nduga regency since December 2018, but the request has been ignored. 

She said she hoped that Jokowi would halt the humanitarian crisis in the region as he now had the data, including names of 110 dead children among the 243-person total. (gis)