Lawyer Koman calls for investigation into tragic death of health worker in Papua
Asia-Pacific Report Press Office
Papua human rights activist and lawyer Veronica Koman has called for an independent investigation into the attack on health workers in Kiwirok district, Star Highlands, Papua, saying there are two versions of how tragedy happened.
Health care worker Gabriella Maelani, 22, was killed in the attack by the West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organization (TPNPB-OPM) resistance movement.
“There is one version that is clearly shared a lot in the media. And there is a second version circulating among the Papuan people, ”Koman told CNN Indonesia.
Koman said the timeline of events broadcast by most of the news media portrays the alleged brutality of TPNPB-OPM during the attack.
In the second version, the attack was reportedly triggered when a person wearing a doctor’s uniform shot the TPNPB, causing a shootout inside the health building, Koman said.
She said that in Papua, many members of the TNI (Indonesian military) held the dual posts of teacher and doctor. She believed that this caused a lot of suspicion in Papua.
Nonetheless, she was saddened by the news of the death of a healthcare worker, although she said the truth about the timeline of events has yet to be investigated.
Death of a healthcare worker
According to the information she had received, the death of the health worker was not due to the fact that he had been tortured by the TPNPB as alleged.
“The version of the Papuan people is that it is not true that there was torture. Gabriella jumped [into a ravine] by escaping, she was not thrown into the ravine by the OPM, ”she said.
Koman called for an independent investigation. According to Koman, finding out which timeline was correct would influence several factors, especially the racism against the Papuan people.
“If for example the alleged barbaric actions are not true, it will influence the stigma and racism against the Papuan people. And it’s very barbaric, ”she said.
“By looking for examples of human rights issues, we can separate them. The injured parties should be the OPM, not the ordinary Papuan people.
“In general, with minority groups, including the Chinese, when one person does wrong, everyone is negatively affected. Lgbt [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] for example, if a gay person does something, the whole community is negatively affected. It is therefore important to rectify the situation.
Koman also said that you have to be careful with testimonials.
Information under constraint
She asked if the witnesses provided information under duress.
“There would have been a lot of soldiers around them… So they could have been pressured,” she said.
Previously, the TPNPB-OPM had admitted responsibility for attacking public facilities such as a community health center and a school building in Kiwirok district on September 13 and 14.
They claimed the attack was a form of resistance demanding Papuan independence from Indonesia.
The presidential personnel office said the “armed criminal groups” (KKB) – as officials typically describe the Papuan armed independence fighters – violated human rights law after the healthcare worker died during the attack of September 13.
Vice President of Personnel V Jaleswari Pramodhawardani said the armed group violated several laws such as the Health Care Law, Nurses Law, Hospitals Law and Health Care Quarantine Law .
Translated by James Balowski for IndoLeft News. The original title of the article was “Veronica Koman Klaim Ada 2 Versi Penembakan Nakes di Papua”.