Amnesty International Expresses Concern over Criminalization of Papuan Activists

JAYAPURA CITY - Amnesty International is expressing concern about the charges against five members of the Federal Republic of West Papua (NRFPB), a Papuan pro-independence group.

The five – Don Flassy, Lawrence Mehue, Mas Jhon Ebied Suebu, Onesimus Banundi and Elias Ayakeding – were arrested on their return to Papua after meeting Indonesia’s Minister of Defense Ryamizard Ryacudu on April 10 and have been charged with “rebellion” (makar) under Article 106 of Indonesia’s Criminal Code, Amnesty International said in a statement on Friday.

The Indonesian authorities have used this article, along with Article 110 of the Criminal Code, to criminalize dozens of peaceful pro-independence political activists over the last decade. Amnesty International continues to call for their immediate and unconditional release.

Amnesty International does not take a position on the political status of Papua, or of any other province of Indonesia. The organization believes that the right to freedom of expression includes the right to peacefully advocate for referendums, independence or any other political solution that do not involve discrimination, hostility or violence.

Amnesty said the visit of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to Papua on May 8 presented a real opportunity for him to show that his government will be shifting away from the repressive policies of the past and will seek a credible solution to address the human rights violations faced by Papuans.

Amnesty said the President should begin by publicly instructing the security forces to respect and protect the right of all Papuans to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience. [Antara]
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