A Human Rights Tragedy 15 years ago is still Ignored by the Indonesian State


KontraS Papua, Bersatu untuk Kebenaran (BUK) and Elsham have issued a joint statement saying that the Indonesian State has shown no interest in the Tragic Bloody Incident which occurred in Biak fifteen years ago, on 6 July 1998.

The Bloody Biak Incident was a humanitarian tragedy in which the local people were the victims simply for peacefully unfurling the Morning Star Flag at the top of a 35 metre water tower near the Biak Harbour,' said Nehemia Yarinap, the secretary of BUK.at a press conference in the KontraS office in Jayapura.

He said that the peaceful action in which between 500 and 1,000 people
took part ended in arbitrary arrests, maltreatment, torture and other
dreadful things. The attack resulted in about 250 casualties, of whom eight were killed, three disappeared and many heavily wounded people were taken to Makassar for treatment, while 33 people were taken into custody, some 150 people were maltreated and 32 bodies were later found.

Every year since 1998 there have been significant developments in Indonesia with regard to human rights and human rights bodies have been set up such as under Law 39/1999 on Human Rights and Law 28/2000 on Human Rights Courts as well as Law 9/1998 on Freedom of Expression.'
Nehemia Yarinap said.

Olga Hamadi of KontraS also said that the government had ratified a number of international covenants such as the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Covenant Against Torture, and had agreed to the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission.

'However, the Biak Tragedy and other grave human rights violations have not been part of these developments because the state has done has done nothing to acknowledge the victims of that tragedy,' said Olga Hamadi, the Director of Komnas Ham - Papua.

Olga Hamadi said that the fact that the Indonesian State has failed to acknowledge the many victims of that bloody incident is clear proof of that.

Translated by TAPOL