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Government 'must stop Papua violence'

Worsening situation is stoking further human rights abuses, Jakarta forum says

Elias Petege (right) urges government to mitigate conflicts in Papua Elias Petege (right) urges government to mitigate conflicts in Papua
  • Konradus Epa, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • July 21, 2011
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The Independent Papuan University Students Forum has urged the government to immediately put a stop to worsening violence in Papua which it says is encouraging more human rights violations.

“The government must immediately change its approach from what appears to be a military one to one of dialogue which is more dignified,” the forum’s chairman Elias Petege said at a press conference yesterday at the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence headquarters in Jakarta.

Petege cited a series of armed clashes in Papua in the past couple of months that have injured civilians and members of the security forces.

The most recent was on July 13, when five soldiers were wounded in a firefight with suspected members of the Free Papua Movement in Monia, in Tingginambut sub-district.

Petege, who is also a volunteer for Jayapura diocese’s Commission for Justice and Peace, said the incidents proved the military approach is not working and allows human rights abuses to continue.

“The military’s presence is worsening the human rights situation in Papua,” he continued.

He urged the government and lawmakers to immediately seek ways of resolving grievances through peaceful dialogue which can be accepted by all Papuans and asked the National Commission on Human Rights to immediately submit the results of its investigation into violations so that they can be legally processed.

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