Human rights defenders face intimidation and discreditation after press release on security force raids in Nduga Regency

Two human rights defenders have been intimidated after the Papuan advocacy network 'JAPH-HAM' has published a press release about raids by Indonesian security forces, which allegedly  occurred between 12 and 15 December 2017 in the Papuan central highlands regency Nduga. The Papua human rights defender Theo Hesegem was visited by member of the Indonesian State Intelligence Body (BIN), received phone calls from military representatives and a threat sms, stating that he should stop slandering the Indonesian military (TNI). A questionable website attempted to discredit Veronica Koman, a human rights lawyer and activist from Jakarta in response to the press release.

On 19 December 2017 Theo Hesegem was intercepted by an intelligence member named Ardi after he attended an interview on the security force raids in Nduga at the the RRI radio station in Wamena. The intelligence member asked Theo to provide information about his and his wife's identity. When Theo asked why his wife's identity was needed, the intelligence member did not reply. On 21 December 2017 a member of the Cenderawasih Military Command called Theo Hesegem, stating that the information in the press release was not true. Three days later, on 24 December 2017, Theo Hesegem received a threat sms stating ”... Let alone just being fired for alleged human rights violations, our bodies are ready to be sacrificed... But Please !!! Stop slandering us... because slander is more painful than death!!!!”

Likewise, the Indonesian website started an attempt to discredit Veronica Koman. Veronica Koman had shared information regarding the raid through her Twitter account and in an interview with the Indonesian news magazine 'TEMPO'. The website called the information hoax news, and accused Veronica that she had spread unconfirmed information from unknown sources.     

In an interview with 'TEMPO', the head of the information unit of XVII Cenderawasih Military Unit, infantry colonel Aidi, denied that the military had carried out raids and attacks against civilians in Nduga regency. Aidi claimed that the coalition had received one-sided information from members of the separatist Papuan Liberation Army (TPN) and suggested that the TNI together with JAPH-HAM should establish a joint team to investigate the allegations.