Between 27th February and 24th March 2017, the 34th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council United Nations Human Rights Council has taken place in Geneva. During an open session named “Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention” on 15th March 2017, several NGOs, namely VIVAT International, Franciscans International, World Council of Churches, Geneva for Human Rights, TAPOL, ICP and the West Papua Netzwerk delivered a joint statement.
The statement focused on the situation of indigenous peoples’ rights in West Papua, in particular the alarmingly low standard of physical and mental health in both provinces, which remain not addressed by the state. The NGOs stressed the importance of the a visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health to Indonesia which was scheduled for March 2017. Moreover the NGOs expressed their concerns over latest demographic figures, showing that the number of West Papuans has decreased from 96% in 1971 to 48% in 2010, with estimates being less than 42%. The NGOs made recommendations to the government of Indonesia to protect indigenous Papuans through strong policies and appropriate measures which would control migration to both Papuan provinces and reverse the depopulation of indigenous Melanesians in West Papua. A second recommendation asked the Indonesian government to monitor and ensure effective implementation of health services in remote areas, and stop the involvement of military personnel health care programs.
Watch the Video of joint NGO statement [67. VIVAT International, Mr. Andrej Owca (01:47:43)]: http://webtv.un.org/watch/item4-general-debate-contd-37th-meeting-34th-regular-session-human-rights-council-/5359444063001
The Indonesian delegation to the Human Rights Council used its Right of Reply to respond to the joint NGO statement, underlining the presence of national human rights institutions, media freedom and civil society organizations to address human rights violations. Indonesia argued that its government under President Joko Widodo had implemented multiple programs ensuring economic empowerment, improvement of infrastructure and the provision of government social and health services. The delegation also made references to a recent case in which the Government of Indonesia officially handed over customary land rights of more than 3500 hectares of forest to the indigenous Naseimos community in Sorong, West Papua.
Watch the Video of Indonesia’s Right of Reply [32. Indonesia, Right of Reply (01:47:43)]: