Franciscans and Dominicans Urge Respect for Human Rights in Papua

Religious Group Asks U.N. to Pressure Indonesia

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

GENEVA, APRIL 16, 2002 ( Franciscans and Dominicans International for Justice and Peace, an organization present at the U.N. headquarters here, appealed for an end to the prolonged human-rights violations in Papua, Indonesia.

Addressing the 58th session of the U.N. Commission for Human Rights, Father Theo van den Broek, Dutch Franciscan missionary who has lived in Papua for the past 27 years, reminded his listeners that the people of this province are the «most neglected and the ones who suffer most in Indonesia.»

Father van den Broek reviewed Papua´s main problems, among which is the lack of freedom of expression, especially in regard to the right of self-determination.

«It has been requested in a peaceful way, but the Indonesian authorities have systematically responded with violence, detentions and tortures,» the spokesman of the delegation of religious said, according to report by the Misna missionary agency.

According to these sources, over the past four years the security forces have killed 136 people. The Franciscan called attention to «the secret maneuvers of the members of the security forces to block the movement for Papua´s freedom,» and the lack of action against Muslim extremists such as the Laskar Jihad, in Papua (formerly Irian Jaya).

Given the above, the Franciscan urged the U.N. Commission for Human Rights to appeal to the Indonesian government to cease using violence in response to the peaceful petitions of the people of Papua. He also called on Indonesia to engage in dialogue with the local population and to prosecute human-rights violators.

Papua continues to be the theater of guerrilla warfare unleashed by the Movement for a Free Papua. Papua is a former Dutch colony that became part of Indonesia in 1969, following a controversial referendum. The name Papua was adopted Jan. 1 under a special law for autonomy.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation