Human Rights Update West Papua – 1st Quarter of 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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The majority of reported violations occurred in January 2017. A large scale police operation in Dogiyai caused the death of two Papuan men, while dozens of victims were allegedly tortured and ill-treated during the sweepings. In Berap village of Jayapura regency, members of local police heavily tortured David Tarkuo during the arrest and detention. Police officers tortured 21-year-old Edison Hesegem to death during detention at a police post and the Jayawijaya General Hospital. In Dogiyai regency, at least three men were tortured by members of Moanemani sub-district police as a group of villagers demanded the release of Ferdinand Tebai, who had previously been arrested while trying to file a complaint against a traffic offender. In February, a team of human rights lawyers expressed their concern over three defendants who were undergoing trial at the Nabire District Court of Papua Province. The men did not receive sufficient medical treatment during detention. In the same month, the customary council in Paniai regency reported growing tensions in Nifasi village caused by a long-lasting conflict over concessions between two competing mining companies. One mining company was backed up by members of the military, leading to heavy military presence in Nifasi. In March, the Indonesian migration department deported two French journalists after filming media coverage in West Papua, similar to a case in 2014. On 27 March 2017, Yapen District Police allegedly executed the head of the local armed independence group Maikel Marani (28 years) in the early morning hours in Kontinuai Village, of Yapen Islands Regency.

Download Report covering the 1st Quarter 2017 as PDF File here