A West Papuan Franciscan, Br Budi Hernawan, who used to head the Catholic Church’s office of Justice and Peace in Jayapura says Jakarta and the international community must take a different approach to the troubled region.
Last week police violently broke up a Congress of indigenous leaders in Jayapura with unconfirmed reports of at least seven deaths and many injured. An activist from the Secretariat of Justice and Peace of the Catholic Church, was one of about about 300 people arrested.
Hernawan says there are three key steps Jakarta should take:
- Use the legal system rather than relying on excessive force.
- Engage in real and genuine negotiations with Papuan leaders.
- Pay more attention to the problems in the region rather than treating them as a domestic matter, because under international law Jakarta has a responsibility to provide protection.
Budi Hernawan, a Franciscan brother from Indonesia, has been involved in monitoring human rights in West Papua and promoting the Papua Land of Peace interfaith movement. Currently he is completing a PhD on human rights in Papua, through the Australian National University in Canberra. Prior to that, he worked in Papua from 1997 to 2009, primarily at the Office forJustice and Peace (SKP/Sekretariat Keadilan dan Perdamaian)
News category: Pacific.