The United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has initiated an early warning and urgent action procedure regarding the human rights situation in West Papua. Non-governmental organisations had drawn the committees attention to a growing number of human rights violations and injustice during its 90th session between August 2nd and 26, 2016. The civil society reports describe allegations of excessive use of force, arrests, killings, torture, arbitrary arrests and strong limitations on the freedom of assembly and association towards indigenous Papuans.
The Committee mentions the ongoing “repression by security forces of the State party during Papuan flag-raising ceremonies and demonstrations” and the killing of more than 22 persons by security forces since April 2013. “It is alleged that, in May 2014, more than 470 persons belonging to the Papuan indigenous people were arrested in cities of West Papua during demonstrations against extraction and plantation activities. Such arrests have reportedly increased since the beginning of 2016 amounting to 4000 between April and June 2016 and have included human rights activists and journalists.”
Furthermore, the UN CERD letter states that the Indonesian Government “has implemented a policy consisting of favouring the migration of non-indigenous persons from other parts of Indonesia to West Papua, which leads to the decline in representation of the population of Papuans in comparison to the general population in their territory. Further, the submission alleges that Papuan indigenous people in West Papua face the poorest educational standards in the country resulting in very low rates of literacy, as low as 20 per cent in remote villages.”
The full document may be read in the ICP Article on “International Observations on West Papua”. The article also contains a reference with a link to the official CERD document, from where the letter may be downloaded ad PDF file.