On 14 November 2022, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) published in a press release the success of a joint humanitarian pause in certain areas of Papua. One objective of the agreed humanitarian pause was to allow humanitarian assistance to internally displaced indigenous Papuans in one specific region. The second objective was to ensure the fulfilment of basic human rights for political prisoners in Papua. The specific region to receive humanitarian assistance was not mentioned in the press release, but later communications referred to the Maybrat Regency.
In the next days in February 2023, the mentioned agreement known as JKB (Joint Humanitarian Pause), dated 11 November 2022, signed by Komnas HAM together with Papuan representatives from the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) and the Papua People’s Assembly (MRP) will come to an end without being implemented. The ULMWP criticises the Indonesian government, including relevant governmental agencies, for their lack of commitment to the agreement. “The real reason the JKB has not been implemented is the lack of seriousness and sincerity of the Government of Indonesia, which is evident in the lack of implementation or follow-up of any of their commitments under the agreement”.
In its press release, the ULMWP expressed disappointment that “unfortunately, Komnas HAM and relevant agencies have not shown any commitment to the agreement”. Komnas HAM, on the other hand, has issued a letter addressed to the ULMWP, the West Papua Council of Churches (WPCC) and the Papua People’s Assembly (MRP) explaining that “based on the documents received, Komnas HAM for the 2022-2027 period internally traced the decision-making process of the Humanitarian Pause MoU and found that the decision was not an official decision of Komnas HAM, because it was decided outside the decision of the Plenary Session of Komnas HAM for the 2017-2022 period”. It also mentions that “Komnas HAM is not a party to the conflict in Papua. Therefore, it is not appropriate for Komnas HAM to sign the Humanitarian Pause MoU as one of the parties”.
The full text of the ULMWP’s press release of 7 February 2023 reads as follows:
MEDIA RELEASE ULMWP
“The End of the Humanitarian Pause in Maybrat Regency Without Implementation and Joint Commitment of the Parties”
*Praise be to You, Lord!
This week the Memorandum of Understanding or “MoU” known as JKB (Joint Humanitarian Pause) dated 11 November 2022, signed by Komnas HAM together with Papuan representatives from the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) and the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP) will end without any result.
For us, the Joint Humanitarian Pause Memorandum of Understanding (MoU JKB) sets out a series of measures with the sincere intention of creating conditions conducive to paving the way for a peace process by providing guarantees of safety and impunity as well as confidence-building measures between the parties. These confidence-building measures included a conditional cessation of hostilities, addressing human rights issues, assistance to the humanitarian situation of Papuan refugees and political prisoners, engagement of actors in the exploratory process, and socialization efforts to promote the peace process.
We are now deeply disappointed that despite our consistent efforts and adherence to the JKB MoU, unfortunately, Komnas HAM and relevant agencies within the Government of Indonesia have not shown any commitment to this agreement.
The establishment of a Humanitarian Pause Team has not been implemented, despite the ULMWP, the Papuan Council of Churches and the Papuan People’s Assembly submitting proposed lists of names to be included as members of this team. Komnas HAM did not provide security and immunity for the people on this list, nor did it extend its protection guarantees previously given to Papuan delegates involved in the exploratory process towards active peace talks throughout 2022.
No single prisoner or detainee was included or included in the Humanitarian Pause Team as stipulated in the JKB MoU.
A mutual cessation of hostilities and suspension of military operations in the Maybrat District has not occurred as the preconditions in the JKB MoU have not been met by Komnas HAM and relevant GoI agencies.
There have been no meetings or survey activities by the Humanitarian Pause Team on the refugee situation in the Maybrat District, including the conditions of vulnerability and humanitarian needs experienced by refugees. Although ULMWP is ready to cooperate in this activity, all of this has not been followed up by Komnas HAM and relevant agencies of the Government of Indonesia. The above are all facts. If there is a complaint, we are ready to prove it following the contents of the JKB MoU.
We have read several statements in the media from high-ranking public officials and security forces attempting to blame the ULMWP, TPN-PB-OPM, and other Papuan actors. We believe such actions are an attempt at distortion and fabrication to corner the Papuan side. Expiration
The real reason the JKB MoU has not been implemented is the lack of seriousness and sincerity of the Government of Indonesia, which is evident in the lack of implementation or follow-up of any of their commitments under the MoU signed on 11 November 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland.
We urge the National Human Rights Commission and relevant agencies of the Government of Indonesia not to turn their backs on the peaceful struggle and to stick to their commitments to paving the way for peace talks and justice in the Land of Papua.
We also appreciate the World Council of Churches and Nadlathul Ulama Indonesia for being willing to facilitate the implementation of the JKB, even though Indonesia has not yet shown seriousness in implementing the JKB MoU. Thus, we issue this Media Release to be known by the public. Thank you.
Jayapura, West Papua, 7 February 2023
Executive Director of ULMWP
The full text of Komnas HAM letter of 8 February 2023 reads as follows:
Komnas HAM Letter about humanitarian Pause and peace negotiations with the ULMWP, WPCC and MRP
Issue: Views of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) regarding the MoU on a Humanitarian Pause, 11 Nov. 2022
1) West Papuan Council of Churches (WCC)
2) Papua People’s Assembly (MRP)
3) United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP)
Dear Sir or Madam,
We are writing this letter in relation to the initiative to set up an MoU on a Humanitarian Pause, which took place between the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) of the period between 2017 and 2022 with the Papuan Council of Churches WPCC), the Papua People’s Assembly (MRP), and the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) in 2022. As the Komnas HAM for 2022-2027 only started its work in November 2022, we apologise for the delay in responding to communications regarding the Humanitarian Pause MoU initiative. The delay in this process is a consequence of the principle of caution and respect for the human rights situation in Papua.
After learning more about the situation, the members of Komnas HAM RI for the period 2022-2027 noted the following:
1. Komnas HAM Republic of Indonesia aims to develop conditions conducive to the implementation of human rights following the Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution and the Charter of the United Nations, as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and to improve the protection and enforcement of human rights for the personal development of all Indonesian people and the ability to participate in various fields of life (Law of the Republic of Indonesia No. 39 the Year 1999 on Human Rights).
2. To achieve its objectives, Komnas HAM carries out the functions of assessment, research, counselling, monitoring, and mediation on human rights.
3. To carry out the mediation function, Komnas HAM can encourage peace between parties, as well as the settlement of cases through consultation, negotiation, mediation, conciliation, and expert judgement.
4. Promoting humanitarian dialogue in Papua is one of Komnas HAM RI’s national priorities, and therefore Komnas HAM supports dialogue efforts aimed at promoting a more conducive human rights situation in Papua.
We have learnt about the Humanitarian Pause initiative through Komnas HAM’s internal documents and studied Komnas HAM’s programmes and policies related to the human rights situation in Papua. In addition, we held discussions with various parties to obtain a comprehensive picture of the human rights situation in Papua. Concerning the Humanitarian Pause initiative, Komnas HAM notes the following:
1. The Humanitarian Pause initiative by the Commissioners of the National Human Rights Commission for the 2017-2022 period was carried out in the last year of the term of office, which dates 12 November 2022.
2. Presidential Decree No. 113/P of 2022, on the Inauguration, Dismissal, and Appointment of Commissioners of the National Human Rights Commission, was issued on 2 November 2022.
3. On 11 November 2022, the handover of office from Komnas HAM for the period 2017-2022 to Komnas HAM for the period 2022-2027 was held in Jakarta at 2 pm West Indonesian Time (WIB).
4. The signing of the Humanitarian Pause MoU by Ahmad Taufan Damanik (Komnas HAM chairperson for the period 2017-2022) with the ULWMP, DGP, and MRP; held on 11 November 2022, at night in Geneva, conducted after the handover of office from Komnas HAM period 2017-2022 to Komnas HAM period 2022-2027.
5. Information about the signing of the Humanitarian Pause MoU and the new MoU document was submitted by Komnas HAM for the 2017-2022 period to Komnas HAM for the 2022-2027 period on 23 November 2022 in Jakarta.
6. Based on the documents received, Komnas HAM for the 2022-2027 period internally traced the decision-making process of the Humanitarian Pause MoU and found that the decision was not an official decision of Komnas HAM because it was decided outside the decision of the Plenary Session of Komnas HAM for the 2017-2022 period.
7. Komnas HAM has received several communications in the form of letters as follows:
a. United Liberation Movement For West Papua -ULMWP to Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue; copy: Komnas HAM (Hi: ULMWP’s proposal regarding the list of names of representatives and individuals deemed suitable to join the Humanitarian Pause Team), dated 1 December 2022.
b. West Papuan Council of Churches No. 01/JK/DGP/1/23 (Hi: Humanitarian Pause), dated 18 January 2023.
c. United Liberation Movement For West Papua -ULMWP No.001/D-ExULMWP/1/23, (Issue: Requesting Affirmation of Komnas HAM RI’s stance regarding Humanitarian Pause), dated 25 January 2023.
8. Komnas HAM RI for 2022-2027 understands the human rights situation in Papua as one of its priority issues. In the priority programs related to the human rights situation in Papua, Komnas HAM has included issues of concern in the Humanitarian Pause MoU, such as refugee issues, monitoring of violence and human rights violations, and efforts to continue to encourage humanitarian dialogue in Papua.
Based on the above explanation, Komnas HAM draws the following conclusions:
1) Komnas HAM is not a party to the conflict in Papua. Therefore, it is not appropriate for Komnas HAM to sign the Humanitarian Pause MoU as one of the parties.
2) The process of initiating the Humanitarian Pause MoU carried out by Komnas HAM for the 2017-2022 period was not per the procedures and decision-making mechanisms at Komnas HAM.
3) Komnas HAM remains open to humanitarian dialogue efforts to encourage a more conducive human rights situation in Papua by promoting the principles of human rights, transparency, accountability, and mutual respect, following the authority, functions, and duties of Komnas HAM.
4) Komnas HAM cannot continue the agreement contained in the Humanitarian Pause MoU.
Thus, we submit this letter with high hopes for further cooperation and efforts from all parties to encourage the promotion and protection of human rights.
Thank you for your attention and cooperation.
Signed by the Komnas HAM Chairperson,
Mrs Atnike Nova Sigiro