24 Mar 2016

Papua government urges restraint from minister

2:24 pm on 24 March 2016

The Papua Provincial Government has urged Indonesia's Minister of Political, Legal and Security Affairs to stop making statements that provoke anxiety in Papua.

The minister, Luhut Panjaitan, has signalled increased security forces operations in a move to crush Papuan separatism.

This follows the recent shooting of three construction workers from the big Trans Papua Highway project in Puncak Jaya.

Luhut also recently downplayed human rights violations by security forces in Papua.

Tabloid Jubi reports that the Papua Regional Secretary Hery Dosinaen warned that the minister's responses run the risk of raising anxiety in Papua.

Jayapura Harbour, Papua Province, Indonesia.

Jayapura Harbour, Papua Province, Indonesia. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

He said that as a minister Luhut must think before making statements, because it could have a huge impact on the people.

According to Mr Dosinaen, the Central Government should sit together with all stakeholders in Papua before launching more security operations.

Papuan officials are concerned that Indonesian security operations often unfairly target the region's indigenous communities.

Earlier, Papuan councilor Laurenzus Kadepa reminded Minister Luhut Binsar Panjaitan that perpetrators of shooting deaths in Papua are rarely revealed.

He pointed out that Indonesian officials frequently blame shootings on insurgent groups like the Papua Free Movement or separatists, when there is little evidence backing this up.