Indonesian president calls for calm after violent protests in West Papua

22-Aug-2019 Intellasia | The Guardian | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Joko Widodo tells residents it’s ‘better to be forgiving’ after anger over mass arrests of Papuan students in Surabaya

The Indonesian president has called for calm after days of violent protests against and by ethnic West Papuans.

President Joko Widodo urged people to forgive each other “as fellow countrymen” instead of getting angry, while pledging to look after the “honour and welfare of all people in Papua and West Papua”.

“My brothers and sisters in Papua and West Papua, I know you feel offended,” he said. “It’s okay to be emotional, but it’s better to be forgiving. Patience is also better.”

Widodo’s comments came after thousands of people took to the streets of the West Papuan provincial capital, Manokwari, on Monday, setting fire to a legislative council building, in protest against racist abuse and mass arrests of Papuan students in the Indonesian city of Surabaya.

A separatist movement has simmered for decades in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces, Papua and West Papua, while Indonesian security forces have been frequently accused of human rights abuses.

On Saturday, Indonesia’s Independence Day, more than 40 Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, were arrested over the alleged damage to an Indonesian flag in front of a dormitory, according to Papuan activists.

Widodo’s comments came after thousands of people took to the streets of the West Papuan provincial capital, Manokwari, on Monday, setting fire to a legislative council building, in protest against racist abuse and mass arrests of Papuan students in the Indonesian city of Surabaya.

A separatist movement has simmered for decades in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces, Papua and West Papua, while Indonesian security forces have been frequently accused of human rights abuses.

On Saturday, Indonesia’s Independence Day, more than 40 Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, were arrested over the alleged damage to an Indonesian flag in front of a dormitory, according to Papuan activists.

The governor of Papua province, Lukas Enembe, demanded an end to the racist treatment of Papuans across Indonesia, and called for all provincial leaders to protect Papuan students.

” This is our common effort to prevent similar incidents in the future as well as to uphold nationalism and unity as fellow Indonesians,” he said.

“We hope that all non-Papuan people in all parts in Indonesia will maintain harmony by not taking any unconstitutional actions such as persecution, vigilante violence, selfishness, racism, discrimination and intolerance, as well as any other actions that can hurt Papuan people’s feelings or undermine harmony,” he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/20/indonesian-president-calls-for-calm-after-violent-protests-in-west-papua

 


Category: Indonesia

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