On 15 November 2021, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) published its concluding observations (CEDAW/C/IDN/CO/8). During its 80th session on 28-29 October 2021, the CEDAW held a constructive dialogue with the Indonesian Delegation to discuss the 8th periodic report on the implementation of Indonesia’s commitment to eliminating all forms of discrimination against women. The session was also attended by representatives of the local governments in the provinces of Papua and Papua Barat.
In its concluding observations, the committee made multiple references to the situation of women in West Papua. One of the concerns raised by the committee was “the heightened risk of gender-based violence and intersecting forms of discrimination faced by women and girls in the context of the compounded ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, especially for disadvantaged and marginalized groups of women across the State party, including the Provinces of Papua and West Papua.” (p. 2f).
The CEDAW experts expressed particular concerns for women living in conflict-affected areas such as East Java and West Papua. The committee stated that women in conflict areas face a “continuing climate of insecurity and allegations of gender-based violence being committed against women residing in conflict-affected areas, such as East Java and Papua Provinces.“ (p. 7).
Women in West Papua continue to live with a high risk of maternal mortality. Many women, particularly those living in rural areas, struggle with malnutrition. In this regard, the committee noted the “high maternal mortality and malnutrition rates, especially in rural areas, including Papua, Sulawesi, Maluku and Nusa Tenggara Provinces” (p. 11).