Call for medical treatment and release of West Papuan prisoner, Filep Karma

24 Apr 2012

Your Excellency,

I am writing on behalf of TAPOL to express our deep concern at the continued imprisonment of Mr Filep Karma who is now in his eighth year of detention simply for having peacefully raised the Morning Star Flag, the symbol of the Papuan people.

Six months ago, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention described Mr Karma’s detention as being ‘in direct violation of Indonesia’s human rights obligations as well as being in breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights’.

Our concern is all the greater having been informed that Mr Karma is now seriously ill and requires immediate specialist attention. We fear that his continued detention will only exacerbate his condition and place his life in danger.

We are moreover deeply concerned that the State of Indonesia has refused to pay for Mr Karma to be provided with adequate medical treatment.

May we remind you, Mr President, that Article 22 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners makes clear the obligations of the State towards ailing prisoners in their detention:

‘Sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals. Where hospital facilities are provided in an institution, their equipment, furnishings and pharmaceutical supplies shall be proper for the medical care and treatment of sick prisoners, and there shall be a staff of suitable trained officers.’

Despite these clearly stated obligations of the Indonesian State towards Mr Karma, the authorities who now hold Mr Karma have refused to cover the costs of Mr Karma’s treatment which can only be seriously detrimental to his physical wellbeing

His continued detention is on both legal and humanitarian grounds a shameless violation of Mr Karma’s basic human rights and his dignity as a human being.

On behalf of TAPOL, I urgently call upon you to immediately and unconditionally release Mr Karma while at the same time fully providing to his medical needs.

Yours respectfully,

Carmel Budiardjo,
Director, TAPOL