The Indonesia office of international human rights organisation Amnesty International has concluded that the year 2021 marked a particularly dangerous year for human rights defenders (HRDs) in Indonesia. The observation is based on national statistics on attacks, intimidation, obstruction, criminalisation and discreditation of HRDs. Amnesty International Indonesia documented 95 cases in which 297 HRDs in Indonesia faced repressive acts or criminalisation throughout 2021. Fifty-five of the cases involved state actors.
Amnesty International’s observation correspond with observations of United Nations (UN) experts. On 17 September 2021, the UN published its annual report on the Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights. The report was compiled by the UN Secretary-General himself, Mr António Guterres. The Indonesia section contains references to five cases of criminalisation and intimidation against HRDs working in or about West Papua, including Mr Wensislaus Fatubun, Mr Victor Mambor, Mrs Veronica Koman (see photo, source: Jubi), Mr Yones Douw and Mr Victor Yeimo.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Mrs Mary Lawlor, twice issued a press release against the criminalisation and harassment of human rights advocates Mrs Veronica Koman, Mrs Fatia Maulidyanti and Mr Haris Azhar in November and December 2021.
Unknown perpetrators launched multiple attacks against Mrs Koman’s relatives in November 2021. An explosive detonated outside Veronica Koman’s parents’ house in Jakarta on 7 November 2021. Another of Mrs Koman’s relatives received a package on the same day containing a dead chicken and a threat letter.
The former military general and incumbent Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, filed a lawsuit against KontraS (Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence) coordinator, Mrs Fatia Maulidianti, and executive director of human rights NGO Lokataru, Mr Haris Azhar, on 22 September 2021. The human rights activists discussed joint research findings of possible relations between security force deployments and economic interests behind gold mining operations in the Papuan regency Intan Jaya in a video that was uploaded on Azhar’s YouTube Channel on 20 August 2021. Multiple attempts to settle the dispute outside of the court failed.