Dubious website alleges human rights defenders of disseminating false information

The head of the Foundation for Justice and Integrity of the Papuan People (YKKMP), Theo Hesegem, has been subjected to intimidation by security force members. The intimidation occurred after the dubious website “Kitorangpapuanews.com” discredited the human rights defenders Theo Hesegem and Pastor John Jongga, publishing an article with the title “Theo Hesegem spreads false news to cover-up OPM brutality”. The article accuses both human rights defenders of having disseminated false information on the killing of civilians during the ongoing security force operation in the regency of Nduga. The intro image shows two pictures of Theo Hesegem in front of a devil-like creature and the morning star flag (see into image). The article refers to Theo Hesegem and Pastor John Jongga as “member of the separatist movement OPM, wearing a neck tie”. This stigma particularly often used by members of the military and right-wing nationalist groups in Indonesia.

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Papuan Regional Police investigates acts of vandalism - Radical Islamic leader summoned

The leader of the Islamic militant group Laskar Jihat, Jafar Umar Thalib (JUT), and seven of his followers are under criminal investigation by the Papuan Regional Police. According to police chief  Martuani Sormin, the investigation was launched in relation to acts of vandalism on the 27 February 2019. JUT and his men had allegedly damaged several houses in the Muara Tami District of Jayapura Municipality. Local residents reacted angrily, burning tires and blocking roads in response to the incident. The police and the inter-religious forum in Jayapura reacted promptly to calm down the protesters in order to avoid an escalations of the conflict. Sormin did not make statements elaborating the involvement of JUT in the incident.

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Indonesia: UN experts condemn racism and police violence against Papuans, and use of snake against arrested boy

GENEVA (21 February 2019) - Prompt and impartial investigations must be carried out into numerous cases of alleged killings, unlawful arrests, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of indigenous Papuans by the Indonesian police and military in West Papua and Papua provinces, say a group of UN human rights experts*.

In the latest reported case, a video was circulated online of a handcuffed indigenous Papuan boy being interrogated by Indonesian police with a snake wrapped around his body. The boy, who was arrested on 6 February for allegedly having stolen a mobile phone, is heard screaming in fear while the laughing police officers push the snake’s head towards his face.

“This case reflects a widespread pattern of violence, alleged arbitrary arrests and detention as well as methods amounting to torture used by the Indonesian police and military in Papua,” the experts said.

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Treason trial against Polish citizen and Papuan defendant launched in Wamena

The trial against Polish citizen Jakub Fabian Skrzypski and the Papuan defendant Simon Magal has started on 14 January 2019 at the District Court in Wamena, Jayawijaya Regency of Papua Province. Both men have been charged with the articles 106 and 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code KUHP on treason, article 53 KUHP regarding the attempt to commit a criminal offense and article 55 KUHP on committing, ordering or participating in a criminal offense. The trial was postponed twice because Jakub Skrzypski refused to attend the court hearing. His lawyers stated that he had gone into a hunger strike, criticizing the bad conditions during detention at the Jayawijaya District police station. Skrzypski’s requests to move the trial to Jayapura city and to have a Polish interpreter were both rejected by the panel of judges.

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Papua human rights situation, religious freedom, focuses of WCC delegation visit to Indonesia

An ecumenical delegation coordinated by the World Council of Churches (WCC) visited Indonesia on 15-22 February. The visit included the provinces of Papua and Papua Barat - where increasing violence and discrimination against indigenous Papuan people was recently highlighted in a joint statement by five UN human rights mandate-holders.

The purpose of the ecumenical delegation’s visit was to express solidarity and encourage member churches and related organisations in their efforts for justice and peace in Indonesia. Organised as part of the WCC’s ‘Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace’, the visit focused on issues concerning religious freedom and inter-religious harmony in Indonesia, and the human rights situation in Papua. The delegation was hosted by the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI) and the Evangelical Christian Church in Tanah Papua (GKI-TP).

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Video of Papuan suspect being tortured with snake goes viral

A video showing two police officers torturing a Papuan man with a snake during detention has gone viral after being published on the online platform YouTube. The video received more than 83.000 views after Indonesian human rights lawyer Veronica Koman shared the video on her Twitter account, claiming that Sam Lokon, a member of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) faced a similar torture technique after being arrested last month. The video shows a handcuffed Papuan man sitting on the floor in front of a wall while two police officers try to force a confession from him. The officers threaten to put the reptile in the suspect's mouth and trousers if he does not confess the alleged theft of a mobile phone. Multiple international media outlets published articles about the abuse.

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Heavy police presence during pre-trial against the Mimika district police chief - two KNPB activists allegedly ill-treated

The West Papua National Committee (KNPB) has initiated pre-trial against the against Mimika Resort Police Chiefs to examine the legality of a police operation at the KNPB Branch office in Timika on the 31 December 2018. Since the first court session on 11 February 2019, the pre-trial is secured by a disproportionate large number of fully armed police officers and armored vehicles. The lawyers of KNPB understood this act as an act of intimidation against themselves, the judges and KNPB supporters who want to attend the pre-trial hearings.  

 

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Half Hearted Recognition - A Study on Customary Forest Concession License in Papua

The Indonesian NGOs Auriga, Jerat Papua (Papuan Peoples' Network) and ELSAM (Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy) have published a new report on Customary Forest Concession License (IUPHHK-MHA) and its implementation in the Indonesian Provinces of Papua and Papua Barat. The report describes the latest condition of forest management policy faced by the Papuan indigenous peoples and the competition between the central government and Papua regional administrations resulting from the regulation over forest management. This competition is found in the implementation of forest and indigenous peoples-related laws and regulations.

 

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Police officers kill suspected drug dealer in Sorong

Members of the Sorong District Police Anti Drug Unit have shot dead Indra Wijaya Taran, a student of Unikom University in Yogyakarta (see intro image). Several Indonesian media outlets published articles on the incident which occurred on 21 January 2019, at 10.00 pm, in Pramuka Road, Sorong City. According to the police, Indra Wijayah Taran was dealing drugs and attacked several police officers trying to arrest him. Indra allegedly pulled out a knife. The officers claim they used their fire arms in an act of self defense. Indra Wijaya Taran died due to blood loss shortly after his admission to the Mutiara Hospital.

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ULMWP Chairman hands independence petition to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

The chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Beni Wenda, has delivered a petition on self-determination to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet. On 25 January 2019, Beni Wenda met the high commissioner in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of a delegation representing the Pacific island state of Vanuatu. According to the ULMWP, the petition was signed by more than 1.8 million West Papuans and expresses their wish for decolonization of the Indonesian Provinces of Papua and Papua Barat.

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