The Armed Separatist-Terrorist Groups (KST) in Papua are Not Human Rights Defenders at All
Annalia Bahar — October 2021
The recent heinous act of the armed separatist-terrorist groups (KST) in Papua, which killed and abused health workers, commonly called nakes (tenaga kesehatan) in Indonesian, in Kiwirok District, Bintang Mountains Regency, last Monday (13/9/2021) was indeed a crime against humanity.
The murder and abuse of health workers was a series of brutality that previously damaged some public facilities in the Kiwirok district. One of the public facilities that were burned was the Kiwirok Health Center. There were nine health workers at the health center.
In the last few months, various KST actions have tended to be more brutal. They had previously reportedly shot dead two teachers and burned down several houses and schools. Even a helicopter parked at the airport did not escape the brutality of this anarchist group.
Summarizing from previous data published by the mass media, throughout 2018 in Papua, 26 shooting cases were recorded to be undertaken by this KST, which resulted in 29 deaths. Then in 2019, it was reported that at least 20 people died as a result of a gun shooting carried out by this group. Throughout 2020, there have been 46 acts of terror that resulted in nine deaths and dozens of casualties. This heinous action resulted in widespread unrest and fear for the people living near the KST operation location (cnnindonesia.com)
It is then hard to disagree that these actions taken by the KST were not crimes that violated human values. The group that has been shouting freedom and the fulfillment of rights has blindly harmed the rights of other human beings and even consciously damaged public facilities that should support the welfare of the community.
We all know that every citizen has the same position, rights, and obligations within a state. The rights of other citizens limit rights owned by citizens in its implementation. Instead of defending and upholding such a value, as they have and have been campaigned, the KST is disturbing the peace of social life, spreading fear, killing other human beings, and destroying public facilities is an act that violates human values.
In this case, the Indonesian government must take a firm stance, imposing penalties on the KST group that committed these criminals acts. This will be a valuable lesson that if it violates other human rights, anything that is fought for is a crime.
Time to End The Conflict in Papua
One of the root causes of problems in Papua is some arguably improper approach to state security. The government often uses a ‘conventional’ military approach to solve every problem in Papua. We remember that armed conflict has occurred for more than 50 years in Eastern Indonesia, especially Papua and West Papua. Involving the security is indeed necessary considering that the region is part of Indonesia. However, the conventional approach, meaning simply ‘the more security personnel deployment the better’, is indeed obsolete, if not detrimental.
Various approaches have been tried to defuse the turmoil in Papua. However, most use a security approach to support policies. During the leadership period of president Habibie, Gus Dur, Megawati, and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, they tried a peaceful approach. But they all did not materialize. Previously, the period of presidents Soekarno started a military approach.
During the period of President Jokowi, there has been a considerable improvement. There is an increasing effort to undertake a quite humanist model of conflict resolution. In addition to the development approach, several times, there were dialogs between the government and many Papuan traditional leaders. They are indeed a better step to build an emotional relationship with the Papuan. The government must be present as a way out of the complaints of the Papuan, provide a sense of security, and most importantly, provide welfare for all Papuans.
We have often seen videos and photos circulating that show the security forces’ solid togetherness in every activity of the Papuan people. It is appropriate for the government through the security forces to try to fill the vacant space that has not been touched because of the difficult geographical conditions of Papua, especially in remote areas. Such an approach is what many believe in developing the nation from the periphery. This effort is necessary since the national mandate wants an actual acceleration of development across the country, especially in Papua. (*)