A three-member pastoral solidarity team of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), visited West Papua from 4 to 8 December 2017. The visit served the purpose of receiving first hand information regarding the allegations of on-going human rights violations and repressive acts against the indigenous Papuans. The CCA team met with church delegations, members of the Papuan Parliament, local government officials and civil society representatives.
The visit was part of CCA’s commitment to provide pastoral accompaniment to Asian churches and people living in vulnerable situations. The CCA committee member Bishop Dr. Daniel S. Thiagarajah from Sri Lanka stated that “CCA’s visit to West Papua was an opportunity to express solidarity with the struggling West Papuan indigenous people and listening to their grievances on behalf of CCA’s member constituencies and the Asian ecumenical movement”.
During the meetings, West Papuan community leaders expressed their hopes that the international community would come forward to implore the Indonesian government to stop human rights abuses in West Papua. The government continues to systematically limits the right to freedom of the press and restricts access for international human rights organisations and journalists. Many indigenous West Papuans have been arrested and detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression and opinion through peaceful ways. There are many cases known, in which Papuans have been unlawfully been detained, tortured, while others have been killed, while economic, social and cultural rights are threatened by the economic-driven government agenda.
The CCA delegation was further asked to support the appeal of West Papuans to the government of Indonesia to open the door for a just and dignified political solution through an all-inclusive Papua-Indonesia national dialogue. “Having seen and heard the stories of the dire oppression of the indigenous people in West Papua, the CCA delegation learned first-hand about the pains of the suffering indigenous West Papuan people, and we share their pain and agony”, said Dr. Rey Ty, CCA programme coordinator for Building Peace and Moving Beyond Conflict.