Father John Quigley has written as follows to General Sutanto,the National Chief of Police, Jakarta, Indonesia:
"I am writing to express my concern for the general situation of human rights in Papua Province, especially with reference to the recent student protests and the torture of many of the 73 detained students during processing by Brimob, as confirmed by lawyers who were finally allowed access to them in Jayapura’s jail, three days after they had been taken into custody.
Franciscans International, which works for peace and human rights, is hopeful that the violence, casualties and loss of life that took place due to the events on 16 March 2006, including the 5 members of the security services who died as a result of wounds received, never happens again. Only through peaceful dialogue, the rule of law, respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights can Papua Province become again a bastion of stability. We are seized of the situation, monitoring it in coordination with our Franciscan brothers at SKP Jayapura.
I urge you to provide without interruption access of lawyers, medical care and humane treatment in accordance to Indonesian law – as well as the international human rights norms and standards that the Republic of Indonesia has committed itself to, including the Convention against Torture and most recently the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – to the detained student protestors and others in Jayapura’s main jail and elsewhere.
I urge you also to strongly support human rights workers, such as the Office for Justice and Peace (SKP), to continue independently investigating and fact-finding human rights abuses such as those that occurred on 16 March 2006, to continue their important civil society role.
For four years, Franciscans International has worked in partnership with the Franciscan Friars and the Office for Justice and Peace (SKP) of Jayapura on the human rights situation in Papua Province. Our organization represents the human rights interests of over 1 million participants in the Franciscan Movement worldwide, including over 400,000 Secular Franciscans, over 200,000 Third Order Franciscan Sisters and Brothers, 16,000 Friars Minor and 14,000 Capuchin Friars, 4,500 Conventual Friars as well as thousands of Franciscans associated with the Anglican Church. Our members live and work with those who are poor and vulnerable in over 100 countries worldwide, including Indonesia.
Fr John Quigley, OFM