The Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM), a Jakarta-based human rights NGO, has launched a documentary with the title “Papuan Lives Matter” on 15 November 2020. The documentary was produced in cooperation with Nalar TV, and it describes the background as well as the aftermaths of the Papua-wide protests against racial discrimination of indigenous Papuans (see top image). The demonstrations and the subsequent criminalisation campaign against protesters, human rights defenders and political activists must be regarded as one of the most significant events in Indonesia throughout 2019.
The documentary provides a deeper insight into the experiences of Assa Asso (Stracky Yally), a Papuan filmmaker who was beaten and imprisoned for documenting the anti-racism and pro-independence protests of 2019. Assa Asso’s story is just one out of many similar cases in which law enforcement agencies used vague legal provisions to silence government critics and restrict the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms on Papua-related issues in Indonesia. The restrictions are particularly enforced if promoted views are regarded as too critical and not in line with the government’s perspective and Indonesia’s state doctrine.
“Papuan Lives Matter” uses the anti-racism protests to illustrate how the democratic system of checks and balances in Indonesia is currently under threat. The pattern of cases and verdicts concerning these protests as well as various court rulings on vague legal provisions about treason by the Indonesian Constitutional Court indicate that the judiciary does no longer act as an independent entity but appears to protect the cause of the current Indonesian government as the executive branch.
*Make sure subtitles in the video settings are turned on.