TAPOL expresses its concern and deep sorrow at the numerous events that have occured recently in West Papua, which have led to the deaths of several people. Firstly, the destruction and repressive actions of the security forces at the Paniai Regent’s Office (Kantor Bupati Paniai) that caused the death of one person and the injury of others on Tuesday 5th July 2022; and secondly, shootings and unlawful killings of at least 11 civilians, carried out by armed groups in Nduga on Saturday 16th July 2022.
Acts of violence against civilians, when they lead to deaths whoever is responsible, should be condemned. We call on these two incidents to be investigated in an impartial, independent, appropriate and comprehensive manner by those who have the authority and competency to do so.
It is important that these cases are handled with measures which are legal and proportional and according to human rights principles. If the perpetrators are caught and detained, they must be judged in a fair judicial framework. Experience says that, in Papua at the present time, security operations conducted by the TNI and Polri in response to attacks by armed groups lead to situations where human rights violations are felt by the civilian population.
Security operations and the vengeful pursuit of perpetrators are not able to stop the cycle of violence in West Papua, especially when it results in civilian casualties. The government must ensure that the search and pursuit of perpetrators by the security apparatus will not be done in an arbitrary or high-handed way, as this will increase feelings of fear in other civilians and also repeatedly force them to flee.