Amnesty International publishes new report – Human rights situation in West Papua shows no improvement

On 7 April 2021, Amnesty International published its new report 2020/2021. The report contains information on the human rights situation in 149 countries throughout 2020. The section on Indonesia contains a sub-section with particular focus on the pattern of human rights violations in West Papua. According to Amnesty International, at least 47 cases of suspected unlawful killings by security forces were recorded between February 2018 and August 2020, resulting in 96 fatalities. The cases were almost equally committed by members of the police, the military and joined security forces.

The director of Amnesty International Indonesia (AII), Usman Hamid, commented that the figures illustrate the Government’s lack of commitment for the enforcement and protection of human rights. AII documented 19 cases and 30 victims of extra-judicial killings in West Papua throughout 2020. The occurrence of four unlawful killing cases with six victims between January and March 2021 indicate that such violations are likely to continue throughout 2021.

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Students launch peaceful protest against Freeport mine in Jayapura – Police disperse crowd and arrest three protesters

On 7 April 2021, Cenderawasih University students in Jayapura launched a peaceful demonstration (see photo, source: Jubi) against the giant gold and copper mine owned by PT Freeport Indonesia (PT FI), a subsidiary of transnational mining company Freeport McMoRan. The protesters demanded the government to ban PT FI from operating in West Papua, as the presence of the company has been a driver of armed violence, land rights abuses and environmental destruction for more than five decades.

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12 KNPB Activists in Merauke provisionally released from police detention

The Merauke police provisionally released 12 activists of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) on 2 April 2021 (see photo, source: KNPB Merauke). According to multiple media sources, the local police claimed that the suspects were released to celebrate Easter with their families. Lawyers argued that the statement was just a pretext to distract the public from the remaining period of detention, which will expire on 12 April 2021 if the police do not come up with sufficient evidence for further processing of the case. They also demanded the police to issue a letter confirming that the police will not continue the criminal investigation (Bhs Indonesia: Surat Penetapan Penghentian Penyidikan or SP3) in the case once the detention period has expired.

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Police impede public human rights event in Jayapura

Police forces in Jayapura have prevented a public panel discussion at the Ekspo Waena Complex on 27 March 2021. The event carried the title “West Papua National Seminar – Searching for a way out of human rights violations in West Papua”. Human rights activists, student representatives and academics (see photo, source: Jubi) had been invited to share their views on the human rights situation in West Papua. The police blocked access to the event location at Ekspo Waena and prevented participants from entering the complex, where the panel discussion was supposed to take place.

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Temianus Wandikbo sentenced to 16 months for alleged involvement in Freeport shooting

On 30 March 2021, a panel of judges at the Timika District Court sentenced Temianus Wandikbo (see photo, source: Jubi) to 16 months imprisonment for his alleged involvement in the killing of a foreign employee as regulated under Article 338 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) in conjunction with Article 56 (1) KUHP. Members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) attacked the office of mining company PT Freeport Indonesia in Kuala Kencana on 30 March 2020, killed one employee and injured two others with firearms during the incident. Temianus Wandikbo claims that the TPN PB members forced him to carry a bag with unknown content up the hill to a location near the crime site before he was allowed to return to his village. All witnesses testified at court that they did not see him during the shooting at the Freeport office.

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Man shot down as police disperse crowd in Timika – Relatives demand compensation

Joint security forces have shot down twenty-year-old Andres Bewarmo as they dispersed a crowd of approximately 200 people in the Pomako Village in Mimika Regency on 7 March 2021. Before the incident, a group of drivers had attacked an intoxicated resident. Multiple residents in Pomako witnessed the beating. Shortly after the brawl, people gathered about 200 meters near the crime site and tried to chase down the attackers. They demanded the police to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators immediately. Joint security members forcefully dispersed the crowd with fire arms after the people refused to leave.

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Further case of enforced disappearance causes ethnic tensions in Nduga

Human rights defenders have revealed a further case of enforced disappearance in the Nduga Regency, where the armed conflict between the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) and Indonesian security forces has been ongoing since December 2018. According to information received, Yeremias Serera (The victim`s ID card states that the victim's name is Yeremias Nagen) was arrested by military members on 29 March 2021 near his garden. His wife witnessed a group of soldiers bringing him into the forest. A team of residents and relatives found traces of blood near the Kenyam river but no clues pointing at Yeremias Serera. Shortly after the incident, people in the town of Kenyam went on the streets, demanding the police to find the perpetrators. Several protesters reportedly broke a store owned by migrants in response to the incident. The relatives confirmed that Yeremias Serera was not affiliated with the TPN PB.

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Police carry out nine political arrests in Timika and Jayapura

Human rights defenders have documented nine further political arrests in West Papua throughout the past three weeks. Four indigenous Papuans were arrested in Timika, Mimika Regency, because the police suspected them of supplying members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) with food. In Jayapura, police officers arrested five students for launching a peaceful protest at the Jayapura University for Science and Technology (USTJ). The students expressed their support for a UN High Commissioner visit for Human Rights to West Papua.

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Update on situation of IDPs from Nduga and Intan Jaya – Activists confirm further fatalities

Human rights defenders have exposed updated information on the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the regencies Nduga and Intan Jaya. Humanitarian helpers working with IDPs from Intan Jaya confirmed the deaths of at least nine IDPs. The majority of fatalities were reported from the town of Nabire, where about 3,000 IDPs from Intan Jaya have sought temporary shelter. Children are particularly affected by the displacement situation. Many internally displaced children (IDCs) do not go to school since they fled their homes. Besides, they are highly vulnerable to health issues, a common problem among many IDPs due to malnutrition and bad hygienic conditions in refugee shelters.

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Jokowi takes palm oil waste off toxic waste list

President Joko Widodo has removed palm oil refining waste - or what is commonly referred to as spent bleaching earth (SBE) - from the category of hazardous and toxic waste (Bahan Berbahaya dan Beracun or B3). Previously, discussions about amendments to the B3 category focused on fly ash and bottom ash (FABA), which emerges during coal production and is no longer included in the B3 category. Both substances' repeal is listed in Government Regulation No 22/2021 regarding the Implementation of Environmental Protection and Management dated 2 February 2021.

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More Articles...

  1. Indonesia offers Elon Musk Papuan Island Biak for SpaceX launchpad causing rage among its residents
  2. Commemoration of International Women’s Day accompanied by repressive acts against Papuans – Malang police chief accused of racism
  3. Police investigates 13 palm oil investors in Papua Barat Province
  4. Jakarta deploys new troops to West Papua whilst turning a blind eye on IDPs – civil society groups try to compensate Government neglect
  5. Indius Sambom sentenced to 20 months imprisonment – Lawyers say verdict not based on facts
  6. Two Papuan students arrested and detained in Jakarta
  7. Bloodshed in Intan Jaya continues - Military members kill high school student
  8. Military members shoot dead disabled Papuan in Intan Jaya
  9. Update on criminalisation of KNPB activists in Merauke – Kristian Yandum dies during police detention
  10. Papuan couple arbitrarily arrested, beaten and detained – both victims demand strict sanctions against police and public prosecutor
  11. Protests against formation of Papua Tengah Province continue – Thousands of people in Dogiyai go to the streets
  12. Deforestation cause floods in the Keerom Regency
  13. Government plans to establish Papua Tengah Province - Military members create manipulated video to promote administrative partition
  14. Update on situation of IDPs from Mimika – IDPs face challenges after return to their villages
  15. Police violence in Jayapura - Internal police investigation body accused of negligence
  16. Three Papuans tortured and killed by security forces in Intan Jaya
  17. Update on law enforcement process in killing of Rev Yeremia Zanambani – Relatives agree on autopsy under conditions
  18. IDPs from Nduga need urgent medical care – Many children suffer scabies
  19. Merauke Police accused of hampering access to medical treatment during detention
  20. More than 600 IDPs seek shelter in Catholic church facilities in Intan Jaya
  21. West Papua Council of Churches calls for solidarity with WP
  22. Update on trial against KNPB leader – Adam Sorry sentenced to six years imprisonment
  23. Land rights conflicts in Boven Digoel – Military members intimidate indigenous land rights holders
  24. Update on trials in relation to Maybrat Police Raid – All three defendants acquitted
  25. Update on law enforcement process against KNPB leader Adam Sorry – Public prosecutor seeks a sentence of 11 years
  26. More IDPs in Intan Jaya - Residents fled violence in Ndugusiga
  27. Update on pre-trial against Merauke Police Chief - Judge rejects release of 13 political activists
  28. Update on IDP situation in Mimika – First IDPs return to their villages
  29. Update on arbitrary detention and torture of 14 activists in Merauke – Pre-trial against Merauke Police Chief
  30. Eighteen IDPs died in Jayawijaya due to lack of medical attention

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