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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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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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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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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Three KNPB activists charged with treason – Human rights lawyers file pre-trial

A coalition of Papuan human rights organisations and human rights lawyers have filed a pre-trial to the District court in Timika in response to the unlawful arrest and subsequent criminalisation of three  activists of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB). On 31 December 2018, joint security forces raided the KNPB office in Timika and arrested the six KNPB activists who had organised a worship ceremony (see image on the left). On 7 January 2019, three KNPB activists: Mr. Yanto Awerkion, Mr. Sem Asso, and Mr. Edo Dogopia were called for further questioning. The three activists were then arrested and transferred to the city of Jayapura on 8 January 2019, where they were charged with treason. They remain in detention awaiting trial.

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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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Human Rights Update West Papua – January 2019, covering October - December 2018

The last quarter of 2018 was characterized by a significant increase in reported political arrests and cases of torture and illtreatment. Police forces conducted mass arrests during various peaceful assemblies. Commemorations were organised in different areas of Indonesia, including Sulawesi Island, Java, Bali and the Moluccans. This indicates that peaceful political activity among civil society not only in West Papua but also in other parts of Indonesia was on the rise by the end of 2018, while police forces continued to severely limit freedom of assembly and freedom of expression for groups that challenge Indonesia’s unitary state doctrine. The increase in cases of torture and ill-treatment should be observed in direct correlation to the growing number of reported political arrests. Police forces continue to use excessive force against protesters and people documenting the abuses. The ICP is so far not aware of any of these cases being further investigated.

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More Articles...

  1. Indonesia not capable to deal with its dark past - Attorney General’s office returns inquiry reports to KOMNAS HAM
  2. Update on military operation in Nduga – Number of refugees and reported fatalities among indigenous civilians rising
  3. Attempted criminalisation and intimidation of Papuan human rights defender
  4. Joint security forces arrest six activists and disperse worship ceremony at KNPB office in Timika
  5. Indonesian Govt denies alleged use of chemical weapons during military operation in Nduga Regency
  6. Update on Nduga Case – Rescue team publishes first report on massacre and military raids
  7. The Trans Papua Road - Scientists assess environmental and socio-economic challenges
  8. Update on military raid in Nduga Regency - Local Govt launches rescue mission
  9. Indonesian-wide ‘Trikora’ Commemorations accompanied by mass arrests – at least 107 peaceful protesters arrested, many ill-treated
  10. Make West Papua Safe Campaign – Activists raise awareness on security force violence and foreign funding
  11. Military Raid in the Tsinga District of Mimika Regency – two villagers arbitrarily arrested and detained
  12. UN’s OHCHR spokesperson concerned about mass arrests and longstanding structural issues in West Papua
  13. Human Rights Watch press release on Nduga Case
  14. How long is killing still used to settle problems in Papua?
  15. Update on mass arrests during commemoration of 1st December – at least 5 protesters ill-treated during arrests in Jayapura
  16. Mass arrests during commemorations of International Human Rights Day in West Papua
  17. Violence escalates in the highland regency of Nduga – at least 24 people killed in armed conflict
  18. Documentary shows fathers of murdered children and their struggle for justice
  19. Brimob officers collectively torture 3 bystanders witnessing mass arrests in Jayapura
  20. Police officers obstruct Papuan journalist in Tomohon City, North Sulawesi
  21. Commemoration of “Papuan Independence Day” - Police responds with mass arrests and ill-treatment
  22. Failed crowd control operation in Merauke – Three residents ill-treated, 27 arrested
  23. Dispersal of peaceful assembly in Jayapura – Police arrests 107 KNPB supporters and ill-treats four activists
  24. Security force operation in Lanny Jaya Regency
  25. Case update: Law enforcement process and detention conditions of arrested Polish citizen
  26. Military member kills Papuan stundent in Waroki Village, Nabire Regency
  27. Torture and killing of Ishak Dewayekua - Disappointing verdict in military trial
  28. Military members allegedly kill Anekanus Komarigi in Nduga Regency
  29. Police ill-treat five participants after peaceful event on human rights at the Papuan student dormitory in Makassar, South Sulawesi Province
  30. Human Rights Update West Papua - 3rd Quarter 2018

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