Devastating flash flood and landslides hit Jayapura

Heavy rains have caused a devastating flash flood on 16 March 2019. Landslides and floods have mainly affected the city of Sentani in the regency of Jayapura, Papua Province. The flash flood reportedly hit the city around 9.30 pm (East Indonesia Time). A few hours later around 0.15 am, a large landslide also came down in Jayapura City (see map below). The heavy rainfalls also lead to the raise of water level in the Sentani lake, causing the displacement of many people from the Sentani tribe, whose houses are located on the lakeside. . A government report estimates that at least 105 persons died during the natural disasters, 82 persons are reported missing, 915 persons were injured and more than 5000 persons were displaced. Apart from the destruction of houses, the flood also severely damaged the infrastructure in Jayapura Regency, such as bridges, schools and places of worship.

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Police raise criminal charges against radical Islamic leader Jafar Umar Thalib and followers

The police has raised criminal charges against the radical Islamic leader Jafar Umar Thalib (JUT) and six of his followers. The seven men allegedly damaged the loudspeakers in front of a private house in the Muara Tami District of Jayapura Regency and physically ill-treated a minor on the 27 February 2019. JUT and his followers allegedly felt disturbed because the owner of the house often played loud Christian worship songs. The police charged the suspects with article 170, paragraph (2),1 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) about the use of physical violence against objects or people and emergency law 12/1951 on carrying, mastering and possessing sharp weapons without permission.

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Update on security force operation in Nduga: Approximately 2000 indigenous Papuans displaced, 13 IDPs reported dead

Ongoing security force operations in multiple districts of the Nduga regency have caused the displacement of thousands of indigenous people. Human rights defenders claim that the internally displaced people (IDPs) originate from thirteen districts in the Nduga Regency which have been affected by the military operation, namely the districts Mbuwa, Dal, Mbulmu Yalma, Mapenduma, Yigi, Nirkuri, Kageam, Paro, Mebarok, Gesekema, Jengelo, Amala and Kilimid. 407 IDPs had sought shelter in the neighboring district Kwiyawagi after the first security force attacks in early December. As the armed attacks continued, many IDPs fled towards the regencies Jayawijaya, Mimika and Lani Jaya. The media outlet BBC Indonesia reported in early March 2019, that approximately 2000 IDPs from Nduga are estimated to have sought refuge in the regency of Jayawijaya alone. The IDPs live with families from the Nduga Regency who have built temporary accommodations, mostly in the areas Wouma, Ilekma, Hom-Hom and Welesi.

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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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Nine KNPB activists unlawfully arrested in Merauke – one activist subjected to physical ill-treatment

Three members of the Indonesian special forces (KOPASSUS) intercepted nine activists of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and a five-year-old girl on 24 February 2019 around at 4.30 pm in Kelapa Lima, an area in the Papuan town of Merauke. The soldiers started to argue with the KNPB members because they wore shirts with emblems of the morning start flag – a symbol of Papuan cultural identity which is also used by the separatist movement. Subsequently, the special force members called a police patrol car, which upon the police officers arrested the nine KNPB members and 5-year-old Martina Yawon. The security forces brought the activists to the Merauke District Police station.

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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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Special Rapporteur on the right to food presents report on Indonesia Mission to Human Rights Council

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Ms Hilal Elver visited Indonesia between 9 and 18 April 2018. During her visit, she travelled to various provinces of the island state and met with government representatives, agencies and civil society actors. Human rights defenders and victims from Papua met with the special rapporteur in the Province of Maluku. On 18 April 2018, Ms Hilal Elver gave a press conference in which she shared preliminary observation and seven recommendations. The special rapporteur has presented her report on the official visit to Indonesia to the Human Rights Council during its 40th session. Several observations refer to the right to food situation in West Papua or have a strong relevance in the context of West Papua.

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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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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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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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More Articles...

  1. Police officers kill suspected drug dealer in Sorong
  2. Treason trial against Polish citizen and Papuan defendant launched in Wamena
  3. Video of Papuan suspect being tortured with snake goes viral
  4. Half Hearted Recognition - A Study on Customary Forest Concession License in Papua
  5. ULMWP Chairman hands independence petition to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
  6. Three KNPB activists charged with treason – Human rights lawyers file pre-trial
  7. Human Rights Update West Papua – January 2019, covering October - December 2018
  8. Indonesia not capable to deal with its dark past - Attorney General’s office returns inquiry reports to KOMNAS HAM
  9. Update on military operation in Nduga – Number of refugees and reported fatalities among indigenous civilians rising
  10. Attempted criminalisation and intimidation of Papuan human rights defender
  11. Joint security forces arrest six activists and disperse worship ceremony at KNPB office in Timika
  12. Indonesian Govt denies alleged use of chemical weapons during military operation in Nduga Regency
  13. Update on Nduga Case – Rescue team publishes first report on massacre and military raids
  14. The Trans Papua Road - Scientists assess environmental and socio-economic challenges
  15. Update on military raid in Nduga Regency - Local Govt launches rescue mission
  16. Indonesian-wide ‘Trikora’ Commemorations accompanied by mass arrests – at least 107 peaceful protesters arrested, many ill-treated
  17. Make West Papua Safe Campaign – Activists raise awareness on security force violence and foreign funding
  18. Military Raid in the Tsinga District of Mimika Regency – two villagers arbitrarily arrested and detained
  19. UN’s OHCHR spokesperson concerned about mass arrests and longstanding structural issues in West Papua
  20. Human Rights Watch press release on Nduga Case
  21. How long is killing still used to settle problems in Papua?
  22. Update on mass arrests during commemoration of 1st December – at least 5 protesters ill-treated during arrests in Jayapura
  23. Mass arrests during commemorations of International Human Rights Day in West Papua
  24. Violence escalates in the highland regency of Nduga – at least 24 people killed in armed conflict
  25. Documentary shows fathers of murdered children and their struggle for justice
  26. Brimob officers collectively torture 3 bystanders witnessing mass arrests in Jayapura
  27. Police officers obstruct Papuan journalist in Tomohon City, North Sulawesi
  28. Commemoration of “Papuan Independence Day” - Police responds with mass arrests and ill-treatment
  29. Failed crowd control operation in Merauke – Three residents ill-treated, 27 arrested
  30. Dispersal of peaceful assembly in Jayapura – Police arrests 107 KNPB supporters and ill-treats four activists

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