PNG MP condemns arrest of West Papua governor

Governor Enembe seeks medical attention.
Governor Enembe seeks medical attention.

Papua New Guinea’s Vanimo-Green River MP Belden Namah has condemned the manner in which West Papua Governor Lucas Enembe was arrested and detained by the Indonesian government.

Namah, whose electorate borders the West Papua province of Indonesia, raised concerns at what he described as an ‘apparent inhumane treatment of Governor Enembe’.

He said the manner of Gov Enembe’s arrest and detention is reprehensible, inhumane and symptomatic of the historic maltreatment of the indigenous Melanesian people of West Papua by Indonesia.

“Honourable Enembe is an indigenous West Papuan leader who has been the governor of the province since 2013.

“He has brought incredible social, economic and infrastructure development to the people of Papua province.

“The changes in the provincial capital Jayapura alone, is incredible. Recently Governor Enembe has been in ill health and bound to a wheelchair and the manner in which the Indonesian police has gone about arresting him is utterly disrespectful and unacceptable.

“This is not the first-time indigenous West Papuan leaders have been treated in this manner,” Namah, who is also the chairman of the PNG Permanent Parliamentary Committee of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defence, added.

“Why are Indonesian authorities always targeting West Papuan leaders using threats and intimidation and suppression tactics such as arrests and constant surveillance?

“I call on the Indonesian Government to stop these acts of intimidation and suppression on West Papuan leaders. Let them be free to express themselves and lead their people.

“I further call upon the Papua New Guinea Government to make a strong stand against the treatment of Governor Lucas Enembe on humanitarian grounds and in Melanesian solidarity,” Namah said.

The Indonesian police arrested Governor Lucas Enembe on 10 January at a restaurant in Jayapura on corruption-related investigations before flying him the same day to Jakarta.

Governor Enembe is very ill and despite pleas by his Singapore-based doctors, he has been denied access to his doctors despite his request for Indonesian authorities to accompany him.

He has been outspoken on racial issues in recent times in West Papua, especially concerning the Javanese race, and has been under constant watch from the Indonesian authorities, according to Namah.

He also expressed alarm at reports that a member of the Enembe family protesting the arrest at a police station where he was held and was shot dead in clashes with police.

Namah said: “It is hard for me to turn a blind eye on this issue because of my people’s traditional and family ties that extends beyond Vanimo Green into the West Papua province.

“I am raising this issue also as a Member of Parliament for Vanimo-Green River electorate and as Chairman of the Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Foreign Affairs and as a concerned Melanesian leader.

“I call on the Indonesian authorities to immediately release Governor Enembe from the confines of the prison cells and allow him access to urgent medical attention.”

“l am also calling on the United Nations and International Human Rights Commission to look into this matter, and especially the manner in which Honourable Lucas Enembe, Governor for West Papua province, is being treated by Indonesian Government. “We must ensure the Human Rights of the West Papuan Leaders and her people are preserved and respected at all times and at all costs by the Indonesian authorities,” he said.

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