The number of arbitrary arrests has increased notably during this period. Mass arrests have taken place during security force operations in response to the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) attacks. This rise also relates to the dispersal of various protests against adopting the revised special autonomy law and supporting Papuan activist and human rights defender Victor Yeimo. The mass arrests have reportedly been accompanied by security force violence leading to a significant increase in cases of torture and ill-treatment. Simultaneously, the number of extra-judicial killings (EJKs) has decreased to two, both related to excessive use of force during law-enforcement operations. However, this decrease does not mean that the armed conflict in West Papua has lessened over the past three months. Conflict-related violence has spread to the Papuan regencies Yahukimo and Pegunungan Bintang. Before, all three regencies had hardly been affected by the armed conflict. On 22 August 2021, TPN PB members killed and burned the bodies of two construction workers near the Kribun Village, Yahukimo Regency. On 2 September 2021, TPN PB members killed four and injured two army members in the Kisor Village, Maybrat Regency. The TPN PB also attacked a military post (Koramil) in the Kiwirok District, Pegunugan Bintang Regency, on 13 September 2021. One health worker died during the attack, and several public facilities were burned to the ground. Joint security forces responded by carrying out raids in the three regencies. Arbitrary arrests and torture reportedly accompanied the operations. Statistic figures indicate that the number of reported armed clashes will have tripled by the end of 2021 compared to 2017. The number rose from 24 in 2017 to 44 in 2018 and 64 in 2020. As of 30 September 2021, the ICP has documented at least 63 armed clashes across West Papua for the year.
The Indonesian Parliament officially revised the Special Autonomy Law for Papua on 15 July 2021. By doing so, the government ignored the voices of the Papuan provincial parliaments, the Papuan Peoples Assemblies (MRP & MRPB) and thousands of West Papuans protesting against the unilateral revision of the law. The draft bill suggested 19 amendments to the current special autonomy law, which concerned articles regulating the allocation of special autonomy funds and the formation of new autonomy regions. Others, such as establishing a Papuan human rights court and Truth & Reconciliation Commissions (KKR), were left aside. Security forces immediately dispersed protests against the revised law in various parts of Indonesia, claiming they violated COVID-19 health protocols. A new report on freedom of expression and assembly in West Papua published by TAPOL illustrate how these protests were repressed heavily by the Indonesian security forces, which used regulations against the spread of COVID-19 as a reason to do that.
Throughout the reporting period, many states expressed their support for a United Nations-steered fact-finding mission to investigate allegations of human rights violations in West Papua. In September 2021, the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS or ACP) sent a letter to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), calling for “an urgent mission to West Papua to provide an evidence-based, informed report on the human rights situation”. Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu also declared their support for such a mission during the 76th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA). On 17 September 2021, the UN published a new report on cooperation with its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights. The report was compiled by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and referenced five cases of criminalisation and intimidation against West Papuan human rights activists.