Rights commission discusses Papua peace talks with UN human rights commissioner

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A Papuan protest in Jakarta with a banner reading
A Papuan protest in Jakarta with a banner reading "RIP Indonesian human rights". Image: CNN Indonesia/File

Asia Pacific Report newsdesk

Indonesia’s National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) has discussed the plan to hold a peaceful dialogue to resolve the problems in Papua during its visit to the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

During the meeting, the Komnas HAM was represented by commission chairperson Taufan Damanik and two commissioners, Beka Ulung Hapsara and Mochamad Choirul Anam. They met with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.

“Komnas HAM conveyed the initiative for a peaceful dialogue on Papua,” said Damanik in a media statement, reports CNN Indonesia.

Damanik said that the peaceful dialogue was initiated by Komnas HAM as an approach to resolve the various human rights problems in Papua. He claimed that the UN has welcomed the plan.

“Michelle Bachelet conveyed her appreciation for the move by Komnas HAM,” he said.

The commission is confident that a peaceful dialogue on Papua can be realised and Damanik hopes that all parties will support the effort.

“[We] hope that more and more parties will lend their support to the initiative that exists so that a Papua which is just, peaceful and prosperous can be quickly achieved,” he said.

Rights violations of concern
Damanik said that they also took the opportunity to explain to the UN about various human rights developments and challenges in Indonesia, including resolving cases of rights violations which are of concern to the public.

“Including within this were changes related to progress in human rights policies and the obstacles which still exist,” he said.

Komnas HAM has visited Papua on several occasions to discuss the planned peace dialogue.

It claims that many different parties have welcomed the peaceful dialogue it has initiated.

The West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organisation (TPNPB-OPM) however has rejected peace talks with the government if it is only mediated by Komnas HAM.

They have also called on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to be prepared to sit down together with them at the negotiating table.

Earlier this year TPNPB-OPM spokesperson Sebby Sambom said that they wanted any peace dialogue or negotiations to be mediated by the UN because the armed conflict in Papua was already on an international scale.

“In principle we will agree if the negotiations are in accordance UN mechanisms, but we are not interested in Indonesia’s methods,” said Sambom in a press release on Friday February 23.

Translated by James Balowski of IndoLeft News. The original title of the article was Komnas HAM Bahas Dialog Damai Papua dengan Komisioner Tinggi HAM PBB.

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