This written statement not only summarizes the deteriorating human rights situation in West Papua (Indonesia), but more importantly outlines the urgency for the international community to take action to find a peaceful solution to the longest unresolved conflict in the Pacific. The main argument of this statement is that under the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) framework, the international community should take an immediate action to stop the ongoing crimes against humanity in West Papua. This argument will be summarized to frame this statement.
The ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P) recognizes that ‘the primary responsibility for the protection of its people lies with the state itself’, but it also assumes that the international community has a responsibility to protect populations which are suffering serious harm either at the hands of the state itself, or where the state is ‘unwilling or unable to halt or avert’ the harm. In upholding its responsibility to protect, the international community recognizes not only the possibility of taking collective action under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, but has also committed itself ( A/RES/60/1, para. 138-140) ‘to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means…to help to protect populations’, and to ‘helping States build capacity to protect their populations.’
Indonesia is a signatory to the major international human rights treaties and conventions, and the Indonesian House of Representatives have passed a number of important human rights laws which protects Indonesian citizens. The international conventions Indonesia is party to include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Convention Against Torture (CAT), the Convention of Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC). Important domestic laws include Law 39/1999 on Human Rights and Law 26/2000 on Human Rights Courts. Just like the US, so too Indonesia prefers to be assessed based on its own laws. For our purposes this legal framework provides us with clear sets of criteria to assess the status of human rights in West Papua.
We can easily find a similar story from the public health sector. A recent outbreak of malnutrition has caused at least 95 lives in the newly establish district of Tambrauw and 61 lives from the District of Yahukimo. Both local and national media presented the figures which met a strong denial from the Minister of Health. This approach illustrates the ways the government deals with life-threatening situation which constitutes one of the major priorities of the Special Autonomy.
This above description provides us with a good representation of a worrying situation of Papuans who are at risk of extinction. This picture requires an immediate action to stop the crimes against humanity, but there is enormous reluctance from the international community to become involved in lasting solutions. Perhaps as a feasible alternative, the following discussion will offer ideas which requires further follow-up.
There are a number of promising signals that need international supports to be able to pave the way to a more concrete step towards a peaceful solution. Early in 2012 the President of Indonesia, Dr Yudhoyono, publicly expressed his willingness to engage in serious dialogue with Papuans when he met with Papuan church leaders in Jakarta. He expressed this on two separate occasions, suggesting that he was committed to ending conflicts in Papua once for all. However, it has been a year now and we have yet to see any follow up to this commitment. Instead, the Indonesian police and military continue to conduct intensive and destructive operations in West Papua.
Therefore, we present you the following recommendations to consider:
- To pass a U.S. Congress resolution urging the U.S. government to exercise its responsibility to protect in order to end crimes against humanity against West Papuan people;
- The same resolution should urge the Indonesia government to begin good faith negotiations with the Papua peace team with mediation by an international party;
- To support the Papuan peace team with logistical and research support through U.S.-based research and think tank institutes in order to develop its capacity to represent Papuans at peace negotiations;
- To request the U.S. administration to provide moral, political and necessary logistical support to the Yudhoyono administration to initiate peace negotiations with the Papuan peace team;
- To condition U.S. security assistance to Indonesia on ending human rights violations in West Papua and on whether the Indonesian government is negotiating in good faith with the people of West Papua.
The Papua Peace Negotiation Team
 Faith-based Network for West Papua, “Human Rights in Papua 2010/2011” see