UNCEN students call for an end to stigmatisation


translated by TAPOL


A number of students from Cenderawasih University (UNCEN) took part in
a rally outside the office of the DPRP, the Legislative Assembly of
Papua, calling for an end to the stigma of makar (treason), separatism
and terrorism against indigenous Papuans. One speaker, Yason Ngelia
said he was very concerned about the crackdown on the demonstration held
on the previous day in Manokwari.

'Is this how you treat a demonstration in this country, using firearms
as a result of which some people have been injured? We demand justice
for our friends who became victims of terror and intimidation during the
rally in Manokwari,' he said

The chairman of BEM (?) at the Faculty of Law at UNCEN said that the
military command post at Waena should be closed down because there is
already a security group in the university. 'Troops frequently
maltreat people who are found drunk. This is in violation of the law
although the soldiers say that they are here to protect the community,
said Musa Sama.

'We call for the release of the eleven student activists. some of whom
were shot.'

The army post is not inside the university campus but in a public
place, near shops along Jalan Kampwolker.

Another speaker said that there is no democratic space for students to
give expression to their aspirations. 'The military should not be
searching our dormitories on the pretext that the they are searching
for people who are on the wanted list.' He said that all their
belongings such as the eleven laptops that were seized should be handed

Another UNCEN activist said that the demo was intended as an action
against corruption and to commemorate the Third Papuan Congress in 2011,
yet these actions were banned by the security forces. According to Law
9/1998 about freedom of expression, the police do not have the right to
issue permits but only to regulate the traffic.

'The stigmas of separatism, treason and terrorism were used by the
police to refuse to grant a permit for the rally, but this is against
the law. We are being denied any space for democracy by the security
forces. This can only lead to an accumulation of disappoinments which
could explode into the open during the forthcoming elections. 'The lack
of democratic space will become a boomerang for the government,' said
Benyamin Gurik.

In response to the calls being made by the students, a member of the
DPRP, John Rustam said that he would raise these issues at the next
meeting of Commission A which handles these matters.

He said that the demands of the students were for an end to the abuse of
human rights and for their right to express their aspirations publicly
which until now has been silenced. The army is continually intervening
as a result of which there is no security on campus while many students
are being hunted down

Another official said that the students had now been released but they
were being interrogated.