NGOs in West Papua criticise Komnas HAM for lack of responsiveness

The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) has faced criticism for not completing its investigations into allegations of human rights violations in the Dogiyai Regency, Papua Tengah Province. Komnas HAM has been slow in investigating two separate shooting incidents, one on 21 January 2023 and another on 13 July 2023. Komnas HAM first indicated its intention to investigate the killings in Dogiyai on 13 July 2023.

In January, security force members reportedly shot dead Mr Yulianus Tebai and Mr Vincen Dogomo. Komnas HAM’s investigation has been delayed due to the incomplete questioning of witnesses, including former police officials, and a lack of information from the forensic doctor regarding Dogomo’s injuries. Concerns have been raised about the pace of these investigations, with some suggesting that delays could exacerbate conflicts and social tensions in the region.

Another shootout on 13 July 2023 resulted in the deaths of Mr Yosua Keiya (see photo on top, source: Kingmi Papua), Mr Yakobus Pekey, and Mr Stepanus Pigome. The delay in conducting an investigation has raised concerns about the widening of the conflict in the area, potentially leading to internal displacement, disruptions to the local governance, economic setbacks, and increased tensions between indigenous Papuans and non-Papuan communities. Critics argue that Komnas HAM should prioritise and expedite investigations in West Papua, given the complex and sensitive nature of the long-lasting armed conflict in the region. They call for greater transparency in providing preliminary findings to the public to counter the spread of unverified information.

The situation highlights the challenges faced by human rights institutions in addressing alleged human rights abuses in West Papua efficiently. The lack of responsiveness underscores the need for timely and thorough investigations to avoid conflict escalation and collect sufficient evidence and witness testimonies.