Haris Azhar Urges State Officials to Stop Criminalizing Activists

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Markus Wisnu Murti

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  • Lokataru director Haris Azhar speaks to journalists at the Jakarta Metro Police headquarters on Monday, November 22, 2021. TEMPO/M Yusuf Manurung

    Lokataru director Haris Azhar speaks to journalists at the Jakarta Metro Police headquarters on Monday, November 22, 2021. TEMPO/M Yusuf Manurung

    TEMPO.CO, JakartaLaw and human rights foundation Lokataru director Haris Azhar asked state officials to focus more on dealing with the persisting conflict in Papua instead of other matters, such as criminalizing activists.

    “Many officials in this republic are busy criminalizing, criticizing, and planning to audit NGOs, activists, and lawyers,” said Haris at the Jakarta Metro Police headquarters on Monday, November 22.

    He argued that the conditions in Papua are already worrisome. Many residents are displaced due to the conflicts that continues to take victims, including from the Indonesian Military (TNI), the National Police, and State Civil Apparatus or ASN. “Today's situation in Papua is getting worse,” he underlined.

    Haris made the statement before investigators as he provided clarifications on the police report filed by Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan. Haris and Fatia Maulida, the coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS), were reported to the police over alleged defamation.

    On the video uploaded on Haris’ YouTube channel, Haris Azhar and Fatia talked of the results of studies by a number of organizations, such as KontraS, Walhi, Jatam, YLBHI, and Pusaka, regarding the gold mining business or exploitation plans of Papua’s Wabu Block area belonging to state officials and retired soldiers, including Luhut.

    Other than filing a police report, Luhut Pandjaitan planned to audit NGOs. Luhut’s spokesman Jodi Mahardi argued that such audits are common at the international NGOs level and are part of public transparency. 

    Read: Luhut's Lawyer: Report against Haris Azhar Not Act of Silencing Activists

    M YUSUF MANURUNG | CAESAR AKBAR