The Humanitarian Crisis in West Papua: internal conflict, the displacement of people and the coronavirus pandemic

The ICP, together with the Foundation for Justice and Integrity of the Papuan People (YKKMP), the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Desk of the Papuan Tabernacle Church (JPIC Kingmi Papua) and the Papuan Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (ELSHAM Papua) has published a new special report on the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the central highlands of West Papua. The majority of IDPs in West Papua remain unreached by fundamental public healthcare and education services. Thousands of IDPs are forced to live in overcrowded conditions in temporary shelters or in households of relatives, facilitating the quick spreading of COVID-19 in the provinces of Papua and Papua Barat.

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Numerous cases of internal displacement due to security force operations in West Papua were reported from the regencies of Mimika, Intan Jaya, Puncak, Lanny Jaya, and Nduga between 2019 and April 2020. These operations against the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) began on 4 December 2018 in Nduga in response to the killing of 19 government contractors and resulted in further armed clashes. Data collected by the ICP show that more than 41,851 indigenous Papuans from these five regencies were internally displaced between 2019 and April 2020. In 2019, 214 of these Papuans reportedly died as a result of sickness, malnutrition, exhaustion, and hypothermia.

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Human Rights and Conflict Escalation in West Papua (2019)

Throughout 2017 to 2019 West Papua1 continued to be the hot spot of human rights violations and conflict in Indonesia. The patterns of human rights violations strongly differ from other regions in the archipelago due to the unresolved political conflict, racism and serious development deficits. On the one hand the human rights situation over the past two years was characterised by stagnant, re-occurring patterns of violations - an indication of the government’s lack of affirmative action in respecting, protecting and ensuring human rights. On the other hand, the human rights situation for particular groups has significantly deteriorated. These developments are related to growing aspirations for self-determination among indigenous Papuans and the aggravation of armed conflict in West Papua, which peaked in the killing of 19 government contractors and subsequent security force operations in the regency of Nduga since early December 2018.

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(An indonesian version is coming soon.)

Statistical data on civil and political rights for 2017 and 2018 indicates that - despite a few positive trends – fundamental rights and freedoms in West Papua are still subjected to severe restrictions. Impunity for perpetrators of the security forces continues to be among the key issues, creating an environment in which the right to life and prohibition of torture is not respected by security force members.

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Right to Food in West Papua - Special Report

The International Coalition for Papua (ICP), together with AwasMIFEE!; the Centre for Study, Documentation and Advocacy on People's Rights (PUSAKA); James Elmslie (Convener, West Papua Project, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney); Dr Remco van de Pas (Maastricht Centre for Global Health, University of Maastricht); Papuan Peoples Network for Natural Resources and ECOSOC Rights (JERAT) has compiled a report on the right to food situation in West Papua. Violations of the right to food relate mainly to large scale agriculture and mining activities driven by government programs. Palm oil plantations are a growing threat to tropical rain forests which provide local indigenous communities with livestock.

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The conversion of forest into plantations has led to the destruction of sago stocks and hunting grounds. Palm oil plantations and mining operations reportedly caused pollution or desiccation of drinking water resources in various places. In areas where traditional food sources are no longer available and the quality of water is not adequate for consumption, indigenous communities are forced to change their food habits and develop dependencies on commercial food products instead of preserving traditional sustainable ways of local food production.

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Human Rights In West Papua 2017

The years 2015 and 2016 were characterized by a significant aggravation of the human rights situation in West Papua compared to previous years. The term West Papua refers to the Indonesian easternmost provinces of ‘Papua’ and ‘Papua Barat’. Reports by local human rights defenders describe an alarming shrinking of democratic space. Although Indonesian President Joko Widodo pushed economic development and granted clemency to five long-term political prisoners, the police strictly limited even the most peaceful dissident political activities.

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Indigenous Papuans, particularly women, continued to have a high risk of becoming victims of human rights violations. Racist attitudes toward West Papuans among the police and military, insufficient legal protection, the lack of proper law enforcement, inconsistent policy implementation and corruptive practices amongst government officials contributed to the impunity of security forces.

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Human Rights in West Papua 2015

In its latest report, the ICP brings together the research of 25 organisations and experts from in- and outside West Papua on the situation of human rights, indigenous peoples' rights and the conflict situation there. It details in particular the demographic development and its causes as well as the ongoing violence by security forces that targets indigenous Papuans.

The development of the human rights situation in West Papua during 2013 and 2014 shows a deterioration compared to the period covered by the ICP’s previous report. West Papua on the Guinea island bordering Asia and the Pacific and comprising the two east Indonesian provinces of Papua and Papua Barat continues to be one of the regions of Asia most seriously affected by human rights violations and an unresolved long standing political conflict. The living conditions of the indigenous Papuan peoples are in stark contrast to those of the trans-migrants from other parts of Indonesia.

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The Neglected Genocide - Genosida Yang Diabaikan

Decades of conflict in Papua, Indonesia, continue to cost the lives of civilians, soldiers and resistance group members. Ongoing human rights violations range from extrajudicial killings and intimidation of journalists to discrimination in health care, education and access to conomic opportunities. These are just the tip of the iceberg where violations of indigenous Papuans are concerned and these violations shape current Papuan perspectives on Indonesia. In this context, a solution for both indigenous Papuans and Indonesian national interests has so far remained out of reach.

Responding to the uprisings which surrounded the 1977 general elections in Papua, several military operations were launched in the Papuan highlands around Wamena. The response caused a further breakdown in the Papuan–Indonesian relations which had fallen apart at that time. The operations resulted in mass killings of, as well as violence against civilians. The stories of survivors recall unspeakable atrocities including rape, torture and mass executions. Estimations of the number of persons killed range from 5,000 up to tens of thousands. The research done for this report is consistent with these numbers, although restricted access to the area and ongoing intimidation of witnesses makes it difficult to confirm an upper limit of the number of victims.

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Human Rights in West Papua 2013

50 years ago, on May 1, 1963, Indonesia took over control of Papua from the UN. Since then Papuans’ lives have been marked by violence, the lack of access to effective remedies concerning right violations, as well as marginalisation and discrimination. As a result, Papuans are deeply disappointed by the Indonesian Government’s administration of Papua and regularly voice their disapproval. The government often resorts to the excessive use of force to silence such protests, however. The call for a dialogue to take place between stakeholders in Papua and Jakarta, as a peaceful means to discuss the problems in Papua and find solutions to these, have not led to the required action by the government.

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Human Rights in Papua 2011

Since 2003, the Faith-based Network on West Papua (FBN) has supported the religious leaders of Papua in their campaign “Papua, land of peace”.

The project aims to create a peaceful and just Papua where its indigenous population lives without fear and experiences social equality, economic prosperity and the rule of law. In other words, a place where human rights are guaranteed for all people regardless of their religious and ethnic background. For decades, the indigenous people of Papua have been suffering under militarization, human rights violations, exploitation and discrimination. In 1998, Indonesia entered a reform and democratisation process which improved the human rights legislation and the development of institutions. However, in Indonesia’s easternmost province the in digenous people of Papua remain subject to severe human rights violations committed by Indonesian security forces and state authorities.

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Human Rights in Papua 2009

This report provides readers with an overview of the situation in Papua and West Papua (Indonesia) throughout 2009, concentrating on issues related to the impact of the 2009 general elections, freedom of expression, security instability and human rights violations. Detailed attention is given to the prolonged violent incidents in the Freeport Grasberg mine in Timika, as an indicator of the general tense situation affecting the provinces, as well as the internal tensions within the security services apparatus. The third section of this report provides an overview of long-standing issues affecting the welfare and the security of indigenous Papuans, including the lack of a well-structure education policy; the effects of palm oil plantations on indigenous communities; and the increased military presence in the provinces that affects Papuan livelihoods.

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