Human rights lawyer Veronica Koman has been consistent in defending West Papuan activists, and Free West Papua activist Surya Anta has been consistent in fighting for the right to self-determination for the indigenous West Papuan population. Veronica Koman protects activists who speak about West Papua across Indonesia, and Surya Anta has supported the right to self-determination with various groups and networks. This is extremely rare, as there are very few non-Papuan Indonesian lawyers and pro-democracy activists who are ready to take on this kind of work. Both Vero and Surya Anta have been threatened and harassed. However, this has never prevented them from continuing their incredible advocacy work in fighting for the rights of West Papuan people.
In August 2019, Surya Anta bravely supported the self-determination agenda announced by Papuan Pro-Democracy activists across all areas of Indonesia, and Veronica Koman has defended those arrested, detained, persecuted and racially discriminated against by reactionary mass organizations backed by unscrupulous members of the Indonesian military and police. The situation peaked on 19 August 2019 at the Surabaya Student Hostel. Surya Anta is currently detained at the Brimob Command Headquarters in Kelapa Dua, Depok, Greater Jakarta, together with his friends, accused of treason because of their activities, whereas Veronika Koman is currently on the police Wanted List (Daftar Pencarian Orang, DPO), following accusations of provoking conflict in Papua following the incident of racial discrimination in Surabaya. Veronica Koman and Surya Anta are victims of a state conspiracy to divert attention away from the root problem of West Papuan self-determination and human rights violations, including RACISM, which peaked this August.
The presence of human rights lawyer Veronika Koman and Free West Papua activist Surya Anta in advocating and working to support West Papua gives hope to West Papuan activists and the wider community, that there is still hope in the struggle for truth and justice in this country.
As a human rights lawyer who has received the Lawyers for Lawyers Award from Amsterdam, Netherlands, I urge the Indonesian National Police to stop all forms of criminalization towards Veronica Koman, Surya Anta and their friends. To struggle for the Papuan people is a human right, as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, The Indonesian Constitution, National Laws on Human Rights, and National Laws on Freedom of Expression. It is critical that this State RESOLVE THE PROBLEM OF PAPUA’S PAST HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND END THE ONGOING RACISM IN THIS COUNTRY.
Jayapura 09 September 2019
Gustaf R.Kawer, S,H.M.Si
Chair of PAHAM Papua