UEM Prayer Alert: Situation in Papua

Dear Sisters and Brothers,
We are sending you this prayer alert about the situation in Papua,  
which has deteriorated severely in recent weeks and days. In the  
latter part of August, protests flared in Papua and by Papuans  
elsewhere in Indonesia, sparked by an incident in Surabaya where  
military officers and nationalist militia allegedly taunted Papuans  
with racist slurs, calling them “monkeys”, “pigs” and “dogs”. There  
were demonstrations in many places in Papua, particularly in Jayapura,  
Manokwari and Sentani. According to reports that we received,  
Indonesia has responded to these protests by substantial military and  
police reinforcements in Papua and by shutting down the internet in  
the territory, severely restricting communications. The situation has  
reportedly led to killings and mass arrests.
We have also received a pastoral appeal from the Ecumenical Forum of  
Churches in the Land of Papua, of which UEM member GKI-TP is a member.  
This appeal demands that the Indonesian government

Punish those who carried out acts of persecution and racism  
against Papuan students in Java, and to stop the stigmatization and  
repression of Papuas;

Withdraw the extra military troops and national police which  
have been brought in;

Immediately release civilians who are being detained by the  
national police in connection with mass actions against racism;

Immediately restore internet connection in Tanah Papua;

Address that Papua problem in a just way by engaging in a  
dialogue, mediated by neutral third parties, with the United  
Liberation Movement of West Papua.
In February 2019 a delegation of the World Council of Churches in  
co-operation with UEM visited Papua and expressed concern on human  
rights violations and the marginalization and discrimination of the  
indigenous people. Five Council members of UEM were part of this visit  
to the Protestant Church in Papua.
UEM in co-operation with WCC and other ecumenical partners will  
continue to call upon the government of Indonesia to end impunity of  
perpetrators of human rights violations, to take concrete action to  
stop discrimination of Papuans, to ensure that human rights of the  
Papuans are respected and to enter into a genuine dialogue with the  
Papuans in order to seek peaceful solutions for the conflict.
We ask you to keep the situation in Papua in your thoughts and  
prayers. Please pray for justice and peace for the Papuan people.

Shalom,

Rev. Dr Claudia Währisch-Oblau
Leiterin der Abteilung / Executive Secretary for Evangelism

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