Update Anti-Racism Protests: 93 protestors and activists charged within the past two months

According to the spokesperson of the Papuan Regional Police, Commissioner Ahmad Mustofa Kamal, the police has pressed criminal charges against 93 protestors and activists due 10 October 2019. All prosecutions occurred within a timeframe of two months. The number excludes a series of arrests that occurred in Jakarta in early September 2019. The majority of prosecutions occurred in relation to the anti-racism riots in the Papuan cities of Jayapura,  Wamena and Waghete as well as the violent dispersal of a demonstration by Papuan students in Waena, a suburb of Jayapura.


Update Nduga Regency: Security force operation still ongoing – death toll estimated at 189

The death toll among civilians from the Nduga Regency keeps on rising. Human rights defenders counted a total number of 189 civilian fatalities between early December 2018 and 10 October 2019. According to a report published in Jakarta in mid-July 2019, the death toll was at 177 persons, while thousands of indigenous peoples from Nduga have been internally displaced.


West Papua conflict exacerbates after racist assaults against Papuan students - An analysis

This article provides a summary and analysis of important developments in West Papua between mid-August and end of September 2019. A series of incidents in the island of Java triggered protests and riots in multiple Papuan cities. The subsequent outbreaks of ethnic horizontal violence and human rights violations in relation to violent security force crackdowns mark the worst aggravation of the West Papua conflict since the downfall of president Suharto in 1998. The long-standing conflict has shaken Indonesia’s easternmost provinces Papua and Papua Barat for over 50 years, yet a sustainable solution for the conflict is out of sight. The Government continues to control the escalation with a security-based conflict approach.


Ecumenical Forum of Papuan Churches further appeal to President Joko Widodo

In addition to the pastoral appeal for solidarity and action and the second appeal to withdraw army and police from Papua among other requests, the Church Leaders and from GKI Tanah Papua, GIDI, Fellowship of Baptist Churches and KINGMI Papua have signed on 1 October 2019 an open letter to President Joko Widodo.. Through this Letter the Ecumenical Forum of Churches in the Land of Papua: Pastor Andirkus Mofu, Pastor Dorman Wandikbo, Pastor Socrates Yoman and Pastor Benny Giay, faced with the reality of the problems explained above make the following recommendations:

a. In order for the Papuan problem to be solved there should be peaceful negotiations as the Indonesian Government did with GAM from Aceh which ended with the Helsinky Agreement. In this spirit we submitted our Pastoral Letter on August 26, 2019 to the National Police Chief and the Army Commander; Point 6 of the Pastoral Letter urges the Government of Indonesia to act fairly towards Papua by negotiating with ULMWP and OPM that would give birth to a new Treaty in whichever location was agreed with ULMWP and the Government of Indonesia (eg. Sydney, New York, Washington or Amsterdam).

b. Stop all efforts to divert the issue of racism to other matters (point 2 and 3 above) and free the prisoners that are held by the Papuan Police which we see as part of b.1. Direct talks to tackle the roots of the problem should not give rise to new problems such as the decentralization or break up of the Province or the building of a Palace etc. and does not serve those who continue to scapegoat those who they consider "separatists", accusing Benny Wenda or ULMWP as provocateurs.



Human Rights Update West Papua - 3rd Quarter 2019

The 3rd quarter of 2019 was characterized by a significant and rapid escalation of the conflict in West Papua since mid-August with riots, horizontal violence and human rights violations taking place in several Papuan cities. The outbreaks of violence were triggered by acts of racial discrimination and assault against Papuan students in multiple Javanese cities. They constitute the worst escalations of violence in West Papua since the downfall of the military dictatorship under President Suharto. Long-growing tensions between indigenous Papuans and Indonesian migrants have for the first time manifested in outbreaks of horizontal violence against particular ethnic groups causing deaths among the non-indigenous and the indigenous population. The Indonesian police reportedly neglected attacks against indigenous residents while non-Papuans militant groups enjoy impunity.


Papua Church Leaders urge the Indonesian Government to withdraw army and police from Papua

In addition to the appeal for solidarity and action to the international community on the deteriorating security situation in the land of Papua, the Church Leaders from GKI Tanah Papua, GIDI, Fellowship of Baptist Churches and KINGMI Papua have signed on 13 September 2019 another Pastoral Appeal. Through this Letter of Appeal, the four Church Leaders and members of the Ecumenical Forum of Churches in Papua: Pastor Andirkus Mofu, Pastor Dorman Wandikbo, Pastor Socrates Yoman and Pastor Benny Giay call for the presence of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, as well as independent Human Rights Organisations and foreign journalists to investigate the crimes. They also urge the Government of Indonesia to release imprisoned protesters, withdraw the army and police from Nduga and all of Papua and agree to dialogue with the ULMWP. Moreover, this last appeal provides a detailed account of victims killed and wounded in Jayapura and Deiyai Regencies between 29 August and 1 September 2019.

Download the Pastoral Letter of Appeal as PDF here


President Jokowi willing to meet with representatives of independence movement

Multiple news outlets reported that President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is willing to meet with representatives of the Papuan independence movement. A journalist had asked President Jokowi in front of the presidential palace on 30 September 2019 whether he was ready for a dialogue with pro-independence groups. “I will meet anyone who wants to meet me”, Jokowi replied. Jokowi’s statement contrasts the position expressed by several ministers of his cabinet. On 5 September 2019, the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, Wiranto, stated in another interview there was clear evidence for the involvement of two local organizations in the 'foreign conspiracy', namely ULMWP (United Liberation Movement West Papua) and KNPB (Komisi Nasional Papua Barat) under coordination of Benny Wenda.


Police officers obstruct Papuan journalists covering student rally in Jayapura

Members of the police have obstructed three local journalists who covered a protest of Papuan students in front of the Cenderawasih University Auditorium in Jayapura on 23 September 2019. The chairman of the Independent Journalist Alliance in Jayapura, Lucky Ireeuw, stated that the intimidation and obstruction against Hengky Yeimo (Jubi), Benny Mawel (contributor for The Jakarta Post and Jubi) and Ardi Bayage (SuaraPapua.com) were a violation of media freedom as guaranteed under Law 40/1999 on press. The case is also emblematic for the discrimination which ethnic Papuan journalists face, particularly when they cover demonstrations on sensitive issues.


Amnesty International deeply concerned about increasing use of “makar” against Papuans - Open Letter to President Joko Widodo

In relation to the mass arrests and prosecution of activists in Papua in the last weeks, Amnesty International has released on 2 October 2019 an open letter on the increasing use of makar charges against Papuan activists to stifle freedom of expression. AI calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Papuan activists facing treason charges. The letter, adressed to the President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo, reads as follows:

Your Excellency:
Amnesty International is writing to express our deep concern about the sudden surge in the use of makar charges against at least 22 Papuan activists in Jakarta and Papua over the past few weeks based on their peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. The activists are being charged and detained under Articles 106 and 110 of Indonesia's Criminal Code (KUHP), which cover crimes against the security of the state and impose life imprisonment as a maximum punishment.



Series of arrests continues after Papua-wide rallies against racism

One month after the first anti-racism demonstrations took place across West Papua, the police launched a series of arrests and criminalisation. Authorities have targeted political activists, human rights defenders and students. Two further arrests of students have been reported from Manokwari, Papua Barat Province. On 19 September 2019, police officers arrested Erik Aliknoe in the Gunung Salju Road for his involvement in demonstrations on 3, 6 and 11 September 2019 (see intro image). The police pressed criminal charges against him for incitement and conspiracy. Two days later police officers arrested another student named Yunus Alitnoe in his house in Manokwari without showing a warrant or providing a reason for the arrest. The parents speculated that the arrest is related to the ant-racism demonstrations in Manokwari.


More Articles...

  1. More extra-judicial killings reported during security force operation in Puncak Regency
  2. Update on situation in Wamena and Jayapura after the riots
  3. Violence escalates in West Papua - ULMWP Chairman calls for urgent UN visit to West Papua
  4. NGOs call on CGF members to take immediate action against deforestation
  5. Outbreaks of violence in Wamena and Jayapura – first counts estimate 31 civilian fatalities, 87 persons injured
  6. 3 indigenous Papuans killed, 4 wounded during security force operation in the Regency of Puncak
  7. Update Anti-Racism Demonstrations: Government responds with mass arrests and prosecution of activists
  8. Full response - Veronica Koman published press statement on Facebook
  9. UN experts request Indonesia to protect rights of Veronica Koman and others reporting on Papua protests
  10. Jayapura Police alleged of neglect – Nationalist militant groups attack indigenous Papuans
  11. Military members alleged of killing indigenous Papuan in Wouma District, Jayawijaya Regency
  12. Update on IDP situation in Gome, Puncak Regency – number of IDPs raise to 1.500
  13. YouTube blocks West Papua satirical video on request of the Indonesian Government
  14. Human Rights Watch urges Indonesia to investigate deaths of Papuan protesters
  15. Papua Church Leaders call for the involvement of the international community
  16. Amnesty International Press Release - Attempted criminalisation of human rights Lawyer Veronica Koman
  17. Amnesty International urges police to drop treason charges against six Papuan activists in Java
  18. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expresses concern about the situation in West Papua
  19. West Papua-wide anti-racism protests accompanied by violence – eight protesters killed, 50 injured during crackdown in Waghete
  20. Security force operation in Puncak Regency – about 800 indigenous IDPs flee their homes
  21. Leading ULMWP activist arrested and charged with document forgery
  22. Government imposes internet blockade after anti-racism riots in West Papua
  23. Police prevents peaceful commemoration of the ‘International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples’
  24. Commemorations of New York Agreement accompanied by arrests, violence and racism - Papuan students subjected to harassment and assaults
  25. Update trial: JUT sentenced to five months imprisonment
  26. New law allows prosecution of foreign researchers – academics fear restrictions of academic freedom
  27. Constitutional court reviews law on the formation of Papua Province
  28. Update Armed Conflict in Nduga Regency: CSOs estimate a total number of 177 fatalities and more than 5.000 IDPs
  29. Joint Submission to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Inquiry - Media Freedom in West Papua
  30. The Salim Group builds palm oil empire in West Papua