03 Mei 2013

UN rights chief asks RI to open Papua to int’l journalists

Papuan Protest
The latest violence carried out by the security forces in Papua and West Papua provinces on April 30 and May 1, 2013, have been met with a strong response from the United Nations. Among other things, the UN has asked Indonesia to allow international journalists to enter the country’s easternmost province.

The UN's high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, expressed deep concern on Thursday over a police crackdown on demonstrators in Papua and West Papua in recent days that reportedly left several people dead.

"These latest incidents are unfortunate examples of the ongoing suppression of freedom of expression and the excessive use of force in Papua," Pillay said in a statement received by tabloidjubi.com.

Media reports state that police shot and killed two protesters in the city of Sorong, West Papua, who were preparing to mark the 50th anniversary of Papua becoming part of Indonesia, while at least 20 demonstrators were arrested in the cities of Biak and Timika on May 1, the statement said.

"There has not been sufficient transparency in addressing serious human rights violations in Papua," Pillay said, urging Indonesia to allow international journalists and UN observers into the province. 

Head of the Papua branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), Victor Mambor, said earlier that there was no judicial regulation to prevent foreign journalists from entering Papua.

In practice, however, they are always refused entry by a number of ministries, such as the Foreign Ministry and the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Ministry.

“This is strange. There is no judicial regulation, but the government prevents them [foreign journalists] entry with a variety of reasons, like visa and security issues,” Victor said.

“If a few happen to enter Papua, they go undercover as tourists or with a tight escort from the security apparatus, such as BIN” he said, referring to the National Intelligence Agency.

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