Papuan church leaders respond to Tolikara incident

Statement by Church Leaders

(Synod of GKI in the Land of Papua, KINGMI Synod, Body of United
Communion of Baptis Churches in Papua)

Responding to the latest incident in Tolikara on July 17, 2015, leading to a shooting against civilians and the burning of small stores, herewith we declare as follows:

1. We regret recent statements by mass media, which has jeopardized the Papuan people without seeking the actual facts behind the incident. Due to this, we call on all parties in and outside Papua, including the PGI and General Director for Public Counseling in the Religious Affairs Ministry, to wait first until an independent fact-finding team has investigated the incident and published their results, in order to reveal the actual cause which has lead to the incident in Tolikara.

2. According to us, the incident in Tolikara has to be regarded in a whole picture, and is just the peak of the iceberg as an attempt to politicize religion, which is has already been happening for long time in Papua; where certain parties utilize their position and public office to spread certain religions in Papua.

3. As mentioned in point 2. above, Papua seems to become a place, where the state seems to forcefully promote religious tolerance, whereas in several other places outside Papua, the state seems to take side of a certain religious group to suppress other religions. These acts have been closely followed by the Papuan people through various means of communication and have caused the perception that there is injustice in religious policies in Indonesia.

4. We, the religious leaders and heads of church synods in Papua have discussed this problem and will carry out an investigation to clarify the judicial facts of the Tolikara case, causing of the burning and shooting, which has lead to the death of Endi Wanimbo (15 year old) and injuries of 10 other people;

5. We demand that police and military forces should no longer use fire arms and excessive means of violence in handling conflicts in Papua, and must maintain a neutral stance in every conflict between people occurring in Papua;

6. We appreciate the fast reactions towards the Tolikara incident by all parties by government leaders. We hope for an equal commitment with regard to the killing of four students in Paniai, which took place in December 2014, the case in Yahukimo and other cases of violence Papua and Indonesia, which have not been

7. We pray that the almighty God may strengthen the families of all victims who were injured or killed, and for those who have lost valuables as a result of the violence in Tolikara. We will provide humanitarian and pastoral services, support and advocacy in order to accommodate the healing process and reestablish every day live.

God bless you.

Jayapura, July 18, 2015