1,200 Papuan students return to Meepago area - Police arrests 19 protesters during peaceful assembly in Nabire

The Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Desk (JPIC) of the Papuan Tabernacle Church (KINGMI Papua) have reported further arrests of students in the Papuan town of Nabire. According to JPIC Kingmi Papua, 1,200 students from Meepago, one of the seven customary regions in West Papua, have interrupted their studies in other Indonesian cities and returned to their homes because they feared further racism-motivated attacks like the ones that took place in the Javanese cities of Malang and Surabaya in mid-August 2019. The students built a refugee post in Nabire in early September. Around 720 students gathered at the refugee post for almost two months. The students sent letters to the regents in Meepago and requested an audience in order to discuss their situation with the local government representatives.

As the students did not receive any response to their letters, they decided to organise a peaceful demonstration at the regent’s office in Nabire town, again demanding a meeting with the regents. According to the Vice Chief of Nabire District Police, Mr. Steven Manopo, the students did not submit the information letter three days prior to the demonstration as it is required under national law. Such interventions by authorities are common in West Papua. Human rights defenders frequently report cases in which police officers declare demonstrations illegal by refusing to issue an acknowledgement letter when being informed about a peaceful demonstration.

In the early morning of 4 November 2019, the students started gathering in multiple locations in Nabire. The police arrested a total number of 19 students in various parts of the city. All students were released at 12.20 pm without charges, after the chairwoman of the local parliament negotiated with the Nabire district police chief. Subsequently, a parliament member appealed to the students to prevent a further escalation of the security situation in Nabire (see intro image).

Students arrested in Nabire during peaceful assembly on 4 November 2019

No

Name

Regency of origin

Place of study

1

Yusni Iyowau

Dogiyai

Studying at Brawijaya University in Malang, East Java (coordinator of peaceful assembly)

2

Emil Wakei

Dogiyai

Studying at UKIP in Manado (North Sulawesi)

3

Nely Bagau

Intan Jaya

Studying at USWIM Nabire

4

Ansel Pokuwai

Dogiyai

Pupil of Nabire National Highschool 3 (SMA Negeri 3)

5

Yusiber Murib

Nabire

Studying at Papua University (UNIPA) in Manokwari

6

Tinus Makay

Dogiyai

Studying at Cenderawasih University (UNCEN) in Jayapura

7

Yeni Bunai

Dogiyai

Studying at UNIMA in Manado (North Sulawesi)

8

Deky Derek Pigai

Paniai

Studying in Yogyakarta, Central Java

9

Hengki Boma

Paniai

Studying at STIKES in Gorontalo, Sulawesi

10

Yanto Waine

Dogiyai

Studying at USWIM in Nabire

11

Yopi Mote

Dogiyai

N/A

12

Simon Douw

Deiyai

Studying at STIE in Semarang

13

Kris Mote

Deiyai

Studying at Cenderawasih University (UNCEN) in Jayapura

14

Yanto Kotouki

Deiyai

Studying at UNIBOS in Makasar, South Sulawesi

15

Yones Makai

Dogiyai

Studying at Cenderawasih University (UNCEN) in Jayapura

16

Yunus Obaipa

Nabire

Studying in Gorontalo, Sulawesi

17

Emani Mote

Dogiyai

Studying in Jakarta

18

Kris Agapa

Dogiyai

Studying in Yogyakarta

19

Kornelius Iyai

Dogiyai

Studying at Papua University (UNIPA) in Manokwari