The Jakarta Post
The government will establish a joint team involving officials and members of the public to probe the recent killings in Papua’s Intan Jaya regency, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD said on Thursday.
Mahfud added that the team’s members would include government officials, academics as well as religious, community and customary leaders. The team would report its findings to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo through the coordinating minister.
“The government will form [this] joint investigation team that can be more objective in exploring [the killings], so as not to cause controversy,” Mahfud said during a press conference on Thursday.
In the last few weeks, authorities and the press have reported several killings in the regency. Mahfud confirmed the deaths of one pastor, one civilian and two Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel, saying that an armed criminal group (KKB) was responsible.
The Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) has alleged that the slain pastor, Yeremia Zanambani, was killed by a TNI soldier. The military has denied that.
Mahfud also called on the police to continue investigating the cases. “We have ordered the police to continue to uncover these cases in a professional manner following the applicable law.”
Mahfud also commented on the recent United Nations General Assembly, where Vanuatu Prime Minister Bob Loughman said that Jakarta had been selective in addressing alleged human rights violations in Papua and West Papua while abuses continue in the country’s easternmost region.
Mahfud said Vanuatu’s persistence with the claims was “no longer interesting”, claiming that similar allegations from other countries had been decreasing since 2016.
“For Indonesia, Vanuatu is making things up. [...] Vanuatu is not the people of Papua and does not represent the people of Papua, because Papua is Indonesia and Indonesia is Papua,” he said, adding that the government would continue law enforcement and human rights protection efforts in Papua.
In the UN General Assembly, the second secretary at the Indonesian mission to the UN, Silvany Austin Pasaribu, said countries had to respect other countries' sovereignty and the principle of noninterference in domestic affairs, citing the UN charter.
However, Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid said that issues of human rights abuse were universal affairs. He added that the occurrence of many extrajudicial killings in Papua still painted a bleak picture of human rights protection in the region, noting five unlawful deaths in the previous three months alone.
“None of the cases of extrajudicial killings have been completely resolved. This is the task for Indonesia,” Usman said in Wednesday’s statement. “If Indonesia stayed true to its human rights commitment, there would be no critical questions from anywhere, from the UN Human Rights Council or from other countries, such as Vanuatu.”