Update on killing of Rev. Zanambani in Intan Jaya – Fact finding team submits report to Minister Mahfud MD

The joint fact-finding team (Tim Gabungan Pencari Fakta or TGPF) which was seconded by the coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Human Rights, Mahfud MD, to investigate the killing of Rev. Yeremia Zanambani, another civilian and two military members in the regency of Intan Jaya has submitted its report on 21 October 2020. The TGPF concluded in its report that there were indications that Rev Zanambani was killed with the involvement of military members or another third party. The other three victims were killed by members of “armed criminal groups”, said Mahfud MD. The military spokesperson, Colonel Suriastawa, explained in an interview on 22 October that the military will not cover-up this case and announced that the perpetrators will be brought to justice through the existing internal military procedures.


Military members enter church during ordination of new priests

People in the village of Waris, Keerom Regency, were scared as a dozen military members came to the St. Michael Church on 18 October 2020. Catholics in the surrounding area had come to the church to witness the ordination of four new catholic priests. The congregational priest was able to calm down the congregation as fully armed military members with assault rifles (see photo) suddenly entered the church premises. The motive for the military operation remains unclear. After examining the interior and the front yard of the church, the military members left again without providing a clear reason for the operation. Local observers understood the visit as an attempt to intimidate the residents in Waris.

Indonesian Government plans to establish new plantations in Papua Province

According to the news outlet Mongabay, the Indonesian Government is planning to establish new large-scale agricultural plantations across the country. The plans are threatening Indonesia’s last untouched tropical rain forests. Observers fear that the project will also result in the disenfranchisement of indigenous peoples and small farmers.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) announced on 23 September 2020 that the government’s "food estate program" would be expanded to the provinces of North and South Sumatra in the west of the country as well as East Nusa Tenggara and Papua in the east. However, Jokowi underlined that the government would focus on the plantations in Central Kalimantan and North Sumatra first, before expanding the program to the other regions. The food estate program follows the objective to secure national food supplies and end Indonesia's dependence on imported food crops.


PAHAM Papua Media Release - Stop the transfer and processing of defendants outside of Papua with the argument Papua is not safe

PAHAM Papua has released the following statement on 12 October 2020 (originally in Bahasa Indonesia):

The transfer of defendants for trial outside of Papua with the argument that the security situation in Papua is not conducive is a judicial policy that contradicts the current security policy in Papua. The security in Papua is currently maintained by more than 13,000 military personnel with complete combat facilities (Imparsial research 2011). This number excludes thousands of members of the national police, which also fulfil their security duties in Timika. We estimate that more than 15,000 security force members are currently deployed in Papua. Again, this number does not include thousands of military members who are being mobilised and will be seconded to Papua; part of them will be deployed to Timika.



Update on armed conflict in Intan Jaya – Government plans exploitation of gold reserves while residents face displacement and education crisis

The armed conflict in Intan Jaya has significantly aggravated since December 2020. Shootings in January and February 2020 resulted in multiple civilian fatalities while at least 15 villages were reportedly affected by internal displacement. The recent killing of a Papuan pastor, the armed assault on a catholic catechist and the attack on an investigation team seconded by the central Government illustrate that the armed conflict in Intan Jaya is serious as never before. In midst the humanitarian crisis, the Indonesian Minister of State-owned Enterprises, Erick Thorir, announced in late September 2020 that he is planning to second the Indonesian mining company PT Aneka Tambang Tbk (ANTAM) to exploit large gold resources under the Wabu Mountain in the Intan Jaya Regency.


Pacific Islands Forum reaffirms support for open and constructive dialogue on the human rights situation in West Papua

Through a press release on 8 October 2020, the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum and Prime Minister of Tuvalu, the Honourable Kausea Natano, has reaffirmed the importance of open and constructive dialogue on the human rights situation in West Papua. Following the intervention of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu in the general debate of the 75th Session of the General Assembly of the UN, in which he brought up the human rights situation in West Papua, the Pacific Islands Forum is requesting an update on the consultations with the Government of Indonesia concerning the invitation for a UN mission to West Papua. The press release reads as follows:


Three Papuans shot down as police disperses unrest in Keerom

A spontaneous unrest in the Papuan town of Arso was dispersed with force by the local police on 2 October 2020. Shortly before the riot, the announcement of results of a civil servant recruitment test triggered anger among a crowd of local residents. About 250 protesters complained that the percentage of indigenous Papuans in the recruitment process was below 80% as promoted by the Papuan Governor, Lukas Enembe.

The police officers dispersed the crowd with tear gas and fire arms as the protesters were throwing stones at the regent’s office. Witnesses stated that the situation went out of control when the police officers released multiple warning shots. One government office was set on fire during the incident (see photo, source: Jubi). Three protesters sustained bullet injuries during the crowd control operation while three other protesters were allegedly beaten by police members.


West Papua Council of Churches demands the Govt to stop the remilitarisation of Papua

Through its latest open letter, the West Papuan Council of Churches (WPCC) is calling President Widodo to terminate the status of remilitarisation of the Land of Papua and to follow up on his promise to meet the Papua pro-referendum group. The letter was released on 8 October 2020 in a press conference (see intro image, taken by Rode Wanimbo). The content of the letter reads as follows:

(Together Fighting for the 'Dream of a Generation of Church Change Pioneers for the entire Land of Papua')

OPEN LETTER To President Joko Widodo As the Supreme Commander of the Army and Police Papuan people are not enemies of the Republic of Indonesia, Stop the REMILITERIZATION of the Land of Papua and follow up on the President's promise to meet with Papuan Pro-Referendum groups. His eyes are on the ways of mortals; he sees their every step (Job 34:21). Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account (Hebrews:4:13)


Human Rights Update West Papua - 3rd Quarter 2020

In the third quarter of 2020, several human rights indicators show a considerable deterioration of the situation, notably the significant increase in the number of extra-judicial killings (EJK) and the number of victims of torture and ill-treatment. The number of political arrests has risen sharply, mainly due to the increase in public demonstrations.

Six of the reported EJKs took place during security force operations in the regencies Mimika, Intan Jaya and Nduga, which have become the hotspots of armed conflict. Military and police representatives have repeatedly justified such killings by publicly claiming that the victims were members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) without providing any evidence. Those killings are then neither further investigated, nor are the cases transferred to the police or military internal investigation units.

Download full report


Military member sentenced to 1 year 10 months for killing four Papuans in 2019

A military court has sentenced first sergeant Fajar to one year and ten months imprisonment for his involvement in the death of four Papuans in 2019. Sergeant Fajar was actively involved in the forceful dispersal of political supporters during a protest in the village of Basim, district of Fayit in Asmath regency, on 27 May 2019. The violent dispersal resulted in the killing of four indigenous Papuans. A fifth victim, John Tatai, remained handicapped for life as a result of the bullet injuries sustained during the incident (see intro image). Human rights observers assessed the sentence as disproportionately low. The sentence fails to bring justice for the victims and is a further example of the lack of accountability for perpetrators among the police and military. 

The Head of the Papuan Representative Office of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), Frits Ramandey, declared in an interview with media outlet Wartaplus that Komnas HAM's duty is not to comment on the sentence but to ensure that cases of human rights violations are being processed through national human rights mechanisms. He explained that Komnas HAM would ensure that the perpetrator serves his sentence. Komnas HAM considers the case as closed once the verdict has been shared with the victims’ relatives.

More Articles...

  1. Press release by the Civil Society Coalition against Food Estate in Papua: Stop Food Estate Plans in Papua
  2. Military member allegedly shot down Catholic church worker in Intan Jaya
  3. Minister seconds team to investigate shooting in Intan Jaya – Papuan civil society rejects team
  4. The 2019 West Papua Uprising - TAPOL's publication
  5. Raid in Wuluagaima village – Security forces torture three indigenous Papuans, two arbitrarily arrested
  6. Youth Forum concerned about the shrinking space for democracy in West Papua
  7. Police crackdown on peaceful student protest in Jayapura – at least two students injured
  8. Mysterious death of pastor in Nabire raises questions – Relatives allege police is covering facts
  9. UN Experts question Indonesia regarding security operation in Nduga
  10. Papuan students in Makassar attacked during peaceful protest against prolongation of Papuan Special Autonomy
  11. Three KNPB activists currently tried under treason charges at Sorong District Court
  12. Peaceful protests against prolongation of Papuan Special Autonomy in Nabire and Timika – Police responds with mass arrests
  13. Papuan Youth Church Leaders condemn actions of military regarding the killing of Pastor Zanambani
  14. Students launch petition against prolongation of Papuan special autonomy in Manado – Police reacts with roadblocks and tear gas
  15. Police officer in Manokwari prevents lawyers from meeting with defendants
  16. Indonesia must inform on allegations of extra-judicial killings in West Papua #PapuanLivesMatter
  17. Indigenous Papuan allegedly tortured during police custody in Merauke – Suspect dies in health centre
  18. Papuan Pastor Yerimia Zanambani killed in Intan Jaya
  19. Verdict in treason trial in Sorong - Ten months imprisonment for eleven Papuan activists
  20. Papuan activists reimburse Veronica Koman's scholarship funds to the Indo govt
  21. Joint security forces kill three indigenous Papuans near Freeport Mine in Mimika
  22. Conflict tension increases in Intan Jaya Regency
  23. Armed conflict in West Papua continues: Government deploys 500 soldiers to the central highlands
  24. East Timor - 16 people on trial for peacefully protesting in solidarity with West Papua
  25. Joint security force members torture three indigenous Papuans in Boven Digoel for not using face masks
  26. Papuan Youth Church Leaders raise their voices regarding racism, injustice and Special Autonomy
  27. Police officers obstruct journalists at the district police station in Yahukimo
  28. Raids, mass arrests and torture by security forces in Yahukimo
  29. Police officers open fire at 16-year-old Papuan in Dogiyai Regency
  30. Papuan suspect killed during police detention in Sorong – Police Chief blames detainee