Papuan prisoners neglected – Govt fails to arrange return to West Papua

Human rights defenders have criticised Indonesian law enforcement institutions for their lack of commitment in arranging the return of Papuan defendants from detention facilities outside of West Papua. In the past year, law enforcement institutions in the province of Papua transferred eight defendants to detention centres in Balikpapan and Jakarta. The public prosecutors and the Papua Regional Police (Polda Papua) argued that the trials would pose a considerable risk to the security situation in West Papua.


Police disperse NY Agreement commemorations in Jayapura – 32 protesters arrested, one ill-treated during arrest

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI WP) launched demonstrations in multiple Indonesian cities on 15 August 2020. The protests were held in commemoration of the ‘New York Agreement’, an agreement signed by the Netherlands and Indonesia under the mediation of the United States of America. The New York Agreement and its consequences are considered one of the root causes for the West Papua conflict. Four protests in Jayapura were forcefully dispersed. Police officers arrested 32 protesters. At least one protester sustained injuries as police officers used excessive force to disperse the crowd. In the Javanese city of Semarang, approximately 50 protesters were intimidated by police forces. A demonstration in front of the American Embassy in Jakarta took place without interference.


Indo govt continues to pressure human rights defender Veronica Koman

The Indonesian Education Fund Management Institution (LPDP) is demanding the Indonesian human rights lawyer, Veronica Koman (see intro image), to reimburse funds that she received as part of a scholarship program for her studies abroad. Veronica Koman understood the claim as a new attempt by the Indonesian government to discourage her from advocacy activities on the human rights situation in West Papua. In the past years, unknown perpetrators launched smear campaigns on the internet against Koman. She decided to go into exile in Australia in 2019 after repeatedly receiving death threats and other forms of intimidation.


West Papua has the worst democracy index in Indonesia

According to a research by the Indonesian Centre for Statistics (BPS), Papua and Papua Barat are the provinces with the lowest democracy index in Indonesia. The province of Papua Barat only reached an index of 57,62 in 2019. The score even decreased in comparison to the previous year, in which the democracy index was calculated at 58.29. Papua Barat is the only province in Indonesia where the democracy index remains below 60, which the BPS categorized as ‘bad democracy’. The province of Papua reached the penultimate place with a democracy index of 65.25, categorized as ‘moderate democracy’. Both provinces are still far below the national average of 74.93 points. The highest index was reached in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta with a score of 88.29 points.



Trial against 11 political activists in Sorong – Prosecutor demands 16 months for alleged treason

The eleven political activists, Daniel Jitmau, Paulus Syama, Lukas Nauw, Simon Aifat, Berto Tomow, Frengky Nauw, Lukas Smass, Marlinda Mangko, Silvester Nauw, Wilson Kofias and Jhosua Kingho, are standing trial in the Sorong District Court since 16 July 2020. The Papuan activists were charged with Article 106 of the Indonesian Penal Code (KUHP) on treason and Article 110 KUHP on criminal conspiracy because they organised a peaceful protest for the commemoration of 1st December, which many indigenous Papuans regard as the ‘Papuan Independence Day’. The public prosecutor demanded a sentence of one year and four months for the defendants. According to the prosecutor, the activists had been proven guilty of committing treasonous acts by organising a public event through which they allegedly support the establishment of the separate state ‘West Papua New Guinea’.


Deforestation in West Papua – 1,488 hectares forest logged down between January and May 2020

According to data published by the Centre for Study, Documentation and Advocacy on Peoples’ Rights (Pusaka), 1,488 hectares of forest area in West Papua have been logged down between January and May 2020. This equals a size of 2,084 soccer fields. The majority of logging activities were related to the expansion of palm oil plantations. Pusaka has compiled the data based on field reports and satellite imagery analysis.


UN requests Indonesian govt to report on civil and political issues in West Papua

The Human Rights Committee (CCPR), the body that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), has adopted the List of Issues prior to Reporting (LOIPR) of Indonesia at its 129th session (29 June to 24 July). The Indonesian government is now requested to respond to this list of issues prior to submission of the country's second periodic report with its state report instead of choosing its own structure and issues for reporting.

While covering a much larger area of civil and political issues in Indonesia, the 6-page document does specifically ask Indonesia about Papua/West Papua in relation to violence against women, right to life, IDPs, peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, the establishment of local parties in the context of Special Autonomy, and authorities responses to self-determination/referendum calls. It finally asks about measures to end racial discrimination against indigenous Papuans in the context of protection of minority rights. The Committee specifically asks for the publication of updated census data disaggregated by indigenous/ethnic background.

The document is available on the UN OHCHR website.



Public discourse about prolongation of Papuan Special Autonomy intensifies

The period for the special autonomy in the provinces Papua and Papua Barat will be over in 2021. While the Government of Indonesia promotes the prolongation of the special autonomy, the discussion about a “second special autonomy” is polarizing the society in West Papua. Many indigenous Papuans argue that the special autonomy has failed to bring upon prosperity for indigenous Papuans and boost development, while a small political elite has benefited from the large special autonomy funds. The inconsistent implementation of the special autonomy law over a time span of 20 years has created disappointment among many indigenous Papuans and re-fueled demands for self-determination as the special autonomy period is coming to an end.


TAPOL Press Release: West Papua 2019 Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Assembly Report

(London, 12th August 2020) Surveillance, intimidation and harassment, protest dispersals, torture, arbitrary arrests and extra-judicial killings continued in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua, and in Indonesia more broadly, as the state tried to crack down on the contentious issue of West Papua’s self-determination in 2019. Alarmingly, the Indonesian Government also used new tactics such as internet shutdown and cyber-attacks during the anti-racism protests and riots which culminated in the ‘West Papuan Uprising’ in August and September 2019.

Last year, the Indonesian security forces arrested more than 1300 in demonstrations, peaceful rallies and gatherings that were related to West Papua. The majority of arrests took place in West Papua (Papua and West Papua Provinces) totalling 1175 people. The largest mass arrest was 756 which took place in September in West Papua during the Uprising. Outside West Papua, there were a total of 173 people arrested across the provinces of Bali, Maluku, North Maluku, East and West Java, North Sulawesi and Jakarta. By the end of 2019, 120 people had been charged of which 86 were charged with treason. These arrests were part of the police and authorities tactics to crack-down on political activities related to West Papua’s self-determination.  

Download full report

View Press Release on TAPOL's website


Indigenous Papuans allegedly subjected to intimidation and torture since establishment of new military bases in Tambrauw

Human rights defenders have raised allegations on multiple cases of intimidation and violence against indigenous Papuans since two military bases are being built in the regency of Tambrauw, Papua Barat Province. A bystander recorded a video in the village of Orwen, Kwoor district, showing four military members of the Kwoor Sub-District Command (KORAMIL) intimidating and shouting at four indigenous Papuans. Some of the villagers appear not to speak Indonesian. Even though the video does not show acts of physical violence, human rights defenders claim that the military members repeatedly kicked the villagers during the incident. The Head of the Information Department of XVIII Kasuari Military Command, Colonel Andi Gus Wulandri, downplayed the acts as coaching (Bhs Indonesia: ‘pembinaan’). He claimed in an interview with media outlet Jubi that indigenous leaders had asked the soldiers to discipline the four men.


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  2. Allegations of fatal military violence in Boven Digoel Regency
  3. New Release: The humanitarian crisis in West Papua: Internal conflict, the displacement of people, and the coronavirus pandemic
  4. Udeido art group launches „Tonawi Mana” virtual exhibition on human rights situation in West Papua
  5. Military members reportedly killed two indigenous Papuans during routine inspection in Nduga Regency
  6. Police in Wasior alleged of using excessive force and torturing a suspect
  7. Political prisoner Surya Anta Ginting talks about inhuman conditions at detention centres in Jakarta
  8. Corruption allegations against Korindo palm oil conglomerate
  9. Labour Union files lawsuit against Freeport Indonesia and Department of Manpower and Transmigration
  10. Police officers arbitrarily arrest and torture suspect in Keerom Regency
  11. Students in Malang, Makassar and Bali demand the investigation of human rights violations in WP – two demonstrations dispersed
  12. KNPB Chairman in Maybrat and minor arbitrarily arrested
  13. At least 33 victims of extra-judicial killings in West Papua throughout 2019
  14. Papuan Council of Churches: the heart of the Papuan problem is racism and injustice
  15. Merdeka Secretariat's Solidarity Month for West Papua
  16. Human Rights Update West Papua - 2nd Quarter 2020
  17. NTB Regional Police allegedly forced a student to make false video statement about West Papua
  18. #MakeWestPapuaSafe aims to stop foreign government support for Indonesian police
  19. Sign ETAN's Petition: Free West Papua Political Prisoners
  20. Ninth update on trials and detentions after anti-racism riots in West Papua
  21. Press Release - #PapuanLivesMatter: West Papua Network and United Evangelical Mission urge the Indonesian government to end racism against indigenous Papuans
  22. #MakeWestPapuaSafe Campaign organizes webinar about Balikpapan 7 with Sarah Thompson
  23. Pusaka Press Release: Urging the State and Corporations to Protect and Respect Environmental Human Rights Defenders in Papua
  24. Update on trial against 23 defendants in Fakfak arrested during 1st December Commemorations and accused of treason and criminal conspiracy
  25. TAPOL regrets Court sentencing of ‘Balikpapan Seven’ political prisoners
  26. Update on trial against ‘Balikpapan 7’ – Judges sentence Papuan activists to ten and eleven months imprisonment
  27. Corona prevention policies increase violence – Security force members leave three indigenous Papuans injured in Paniai
  28. Police officers arrest four students during peaceful assembly in support of Balikpapan 7
  29. Papuan Parliament, MRP and religious leaders criticise injustice and demand release of ‘Balikpapan 7’
  30. Series of attacks against human rights defenders advocating for human rights in West Papua