Human Rights Update West Papua - 3rd Quarter 2017

In the third quarter of 2017, the number of torture and ill-treatment cases reported throughout the third quarter of 2017 have significantly increased from 17 to 135 victims. This is related to mass arrests in Nabire and a violent shooting in Deiyai Regency. Extra-judicial killings continue to occur in West Papua on frequent basis. One can also observe a significant increase of cases in which human rights defenders were obstructed, intimidated or attacked. Severe government negligence with regard to health services are a growing concern, particularly in the central highlands of West Papua. Local media and human rights defenders already reported two cases of epidemic outbreaks, which have cost the lives of 130 people since the beginning of 2017 – most of them children. While no political arrests occurred during the first quarter of 2017, the series of political arrests related to suppression of Papua-related political demonstrations - both in and outside of West Papua - continue. While most numbers indicate an aggravation of the general human rights situation in West Papua in comparison to previous quarters, one could observe a slight decrease with regard to assaults and obstruction of journalists. There are indications for a general trend since 2015 of the number of treason charges to have continuously decreased.

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Human Rights Update West Papua – 1st Quarter 2017

In the first quarter of 2017, security forces killed four indigenous Papuans while the perpetrators remain untouched by law. The killings occurred in the regencies Kepulauan Yapen, Jayawijaya and Dogiyai. These Papuan regencies continue to be classified as 'red zones', where security force members tend to label indigenous Papuans as supporters of separatist Assaults movements. Hence, security force operations are conducted with a high level of violence. The majority of violations were committed by police officers during arrest or detention, where victims are vulnerable to acts of torture. The period between January and March 2017 revealed a case pattern, comprising violations such as extra-judicial killings, torture, violations of indigenous peoples rights, limitations regarding media freedom and violations of the right to fair trial.

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Human Rights Update West Papua – 2nd Quarter 2017

In the second quarter of 2017, the number of torture and ill-treatment cases has significantly increased while the cases of extra-judicial killings have dropped in comparison to the previous quarter of 2017. While the months January to April 2017 were comparatively quiet in terms of political arrests, activists and human rights defenders reported at least 321 political arrests during the second quarter of 2017, which mainly occurred in May. One can observe a greater variety of violations during the reporting period covering also violations against human rights defenders, political arrests and violations of the right to health. The strategy to criminalize peaceful political activists with treason charges continues to be commonly applied by law enforcement agencies in West Papua. The violations during this reporting period were equally committed by members of police and military units. At least four cases with the involvement of police officers were brought to the attention of police-internal investigation body PROPAM between April and June.

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