UN Migration Agency, Netherlands Promote Human Rights, Community Policing in Indonesia’s Papua, Maluku Islands

Capacity Building, Migrants Rights

Indonesia - Conflict prevention and grassroots access to justice are crucial for the protection of human rights, according to Netherlands’ Human Rights Ambassador, Kees van Baar, who this week visited the community policing projects in Papua and Maluku of the UN Migration Agency (IOM)’s mission in Indonesia.

"It is great to see the villages being empowered, learning about their rights, developing the tools to prevent and resolve conflicts and to find solutions by themselves, as well as their fruitful cooperation with the local police," said van Baar.

“Human rights belong to everybody; justice is justice for all. The Netherlands considers this a major priority globally. Open and constructive communication between police and the community is one strategy to ensure the protection of these rights,” he added.

IOM Indonesia and the Indonesian National Police (INP) have collaborated on human rights training and community policing around the country for the past 14 years, supporting the INP’s transition from a militarized force into a civil security organization.

With funding from the Dutch Embassy, IOM has trained over 5,800 front-line officers in Papua, Papua Barat and Maluku provinces in human rights protection and community communication techniques since 2013.

Community Policing Forums (CPFs) have been established in 28 villages in 12 districts, providing a platform for a variety of community stakeholders, NGOs, government and police to discuss potential and current security and social issues.

“This programme is just as much about the community as it is about the police; one of the most important objectives is to make sure the voices of people in the community are heard,” said IOM Indonesia Deputy Chief of Mission, George Gigauri. “With this collaboration, conflict can be prevented and social development plans can be created, paving the way forward for a harmonious society.”

Ambassador van Baar discussed the human rights situation in Papua, West Papua and Maluku with security and government officials, civil society organizations and village CPFs. Communal violence, access to justice, domestic violence, conflict prevention, and freedom of expression and of religion were among the topics raised. He also noted the use of community policing strategies to anticipate and defuse situations that might lead to potential human rights issues.

“Before (this programme), our community was uncomfortable communicating with the police, but now we can approach them without fear. We now have a way to make our community safer,” a woman CPF member told the delegation in Amahusu village in Maluku. At the request of the CPF, police have been disseminating information in the village about domestic violence and mechanisms in order to address it.

For further information, please contact Paul Dillon at IOM Indonesia, Tel: +62 811 944 4612, Email: pdillon@iom.int