Death threats against Papuan Human Rights Defender

The chairman of the Human Rights Advocacy Network on Law Enforcement and Human Rights of the Papuan Central Highlands (JAPH-HAM), Mr. Theo Hesegem (see image on the left), reported that he has received death threats from the campaign team of Yahukimo's Regent Abock Busop. On 25 June 2018, several campaign members came to Theo Hesegem’s house, insulted him and acussed him of having misused government funds allocated to a village in the Kurima district of Yahukimo Regency. During the heated dispute, the campaigners allegedly threatened to kill Theo Hesegem.

According to Theo Hesegem, the threats are related to his commitment to support 199 former village leaders of Yahukimo Regency who were removed from their positions by Yahukimo's Regent Abock Busop and replace by new leaders in April 2018. Theo Hesegem assessed that the removal of the village leaders and the appointment of new village heads were not done according to the procedures described in Law 6 / 2014 on Villages. Theo Hesegem has tried to meet with the Regent to discuss the matter with him in person. The human rights defender has asked international human rights organisations to raise awareness of the death threats against him among inter-governmental and national government institutions.