Press Release - #PapuanLivesMatter: West Papua Network and United Evangelical Mission urge the Indonesian government to end racism against indigenous Papuans

(Wuppertal, 23rd of June 2020). In the wake of the anti-racism demonstrations in the USA after the death of George Floyd caused by police violence and the current worldwide attention to this issue, the West Papua Network (WPN) and the United Evangelical Mission (UEM) express their concern about the continuing racism against indigenous Papuans and draw attention to the importance of the #PapuanLivesMatter campaign. The West Papua Network and the UEM call on the Indonesian government to take effective measures against racism in West Papua and to promote and protect the human rights of Papuans.

 

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#MakeWestPapuaSafe Campaign organizes webinar about Balikpapan 7 with Sarah Thompson

On 15 June 2020, the case of the seven anti-racism activists on trial for treason was discussed in a webinar organised by the #makewestpapuasafe. The panellists were Benny Giay (Moderator KINGMI Papua), Gustaf Kawer (lawyer for the Balikpapan 7 and director of PAHAM Papua), Usman Hamid (director and founder of Amnesty International Indonesia), Jacob Rumbiak (spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua), Sarah Thompson (Black Lives Matter organiser and West Papua solidarity activist), and Jason MacLeod (civil resistance lecturer).

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Pusaka Press Release: Urging the State and Corporations to Protect and Respect Environmental Human Rights Defenders in Papua

The Pusaka Bentala Rakyat Foundation has documented the situation in Papua from April 2020 to the present, June 2020, and has uncovered cases of violence, arrests, destruction of property, internal displacement, intimidation and death threats experienced by indigenous peoples and Environmental Human Rights Defenders, namely: the Moskona indigenous people in the Regency of Teluk Bintuni (April 2020), Aifat indigenous people in Maybrat Regency (April May 2020), Environmental Human Rights Defenders in Kampung Ikana, Kais Darat, South Sorong Regency (June 2020), and in Kali Kao, Jair District, Boven Digoel Regency (June 2020), Papua Province. Some cases involve recurring violence against Environmental Human Rights Defenders.

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Corona prevention policies increase violence – Security force members leave three indigenous Papuans injured in Paniai

On 25 May 2020, police officers killed Justinus Dimara in Jayapura as they dispersed a group of Papuans who had violated contact restrictions and distance requirements, which the local government imposed for the prevention of COVID-19. Now, the enforcement of Corona prevention policies has resulted in a further case of security force violence against indigenous Papuans in the regency of Paniai. The Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Office of the Papuan Tabernacle Church (JPIC Kingmi Papua) reported that joint security force members ill-treated 29-year old Sarah Yeimo and subsequently tortured Yosia Magai (24 years) and Yupen Magai (28 years) at a roadblock near the Uwibutu Hospital on 10 June 2020. All three victims sustained injuries and had to be hospitalised. The control post with a roadblock (see image below on the right) had been set up by the local government to prevent people that live outside of Paniai to enter the regency.

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Update on trial against 23 defendants in Fakfak arrested during 1st December Commemorations and accused of treason and criminal conspiracy

Multiple trials against 23 indigenous Papuans are ongoing at the Fakfak District Court since 18 June 2020. The defendants have been accused of committing crimes against state security. They are tried under various indictments, among them Article 106 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on treason, Article 110 KUHP on criminal conspiracy, Article 160 KUHP on incitement and Emergency Law No. 12/1951 on the possession or use of stabbing, striking and slashing weapons (see table below). The 23 defendants are represented in court by the Manokwari Institute for Research Study and Development of Legal Aid (LP3BH Manokwari), the Kaki Abu Legal Aid Institute in Sorong (LBH Kakia ABU), ELSHAM Papua as well as two additional local law offices.

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Police officers arrest four students during peaceful assembly in support of Balikpapan 7

On 15 June 2020, police officers arbitrarily arrested four students at the Jayapura University for Science and Technology (USTJ) during a peaceful open stage event in support of the seven political detainees in Balikpapan. One of the detainees, Alexander Gobay, is the incumbent USTJ student president – he was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment on 17 June 2020. The USTJ students had already set up a racism-protest post and the open stage on 13 June 2020 to make peaceful orations and express their aspirations for the release of the Balikpapan 7.

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TAPOL regrets Court sentencing of ‘Balikpapan Seven’ political prisoners

(London, 17 June 2020) TAPOL regrets the sentencing of seven West Papuan political prisoners today in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan province. The Seven were arrested in early September 2019 and accused of being the masterminds behind the ‘West Papua Uprising’, mass anti-racism protests in August and September last year. Prosecutors demanded that harsh prison sentences should be handed to the Seven, which has caused a rise in tensions in recent weeks in West Papua. However, judges took a different view and displayed more leniency:

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Papuan Parliament, MRP and religious leaders criticise injustice and demand release of ‘Balikpapan 7’

The Papuan Provincial Parliament (DPRP) and the Papuan Peoples Council (MRP) have raised concerns regarding the demanded sentences against seven political activists during a trial on 5 June 2020. They have been charged with treason and other vague legal provisions for their involvement in Anti-racism Protests in West Papua throughout August and September 2019. Both government institutions, as well as Papuan Catholic priests and other religious leaders of the interfaith network in West Papua, published statements. They wrote letters to President Jokowi asking him to stand up for the seven defendants. Politicians and religious leaders fear riots and outbreaks of violence in West Papua if the seven activists are sentenced to long prison terms.

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Update on trial against ‘Balikpapan 7’ – Judges sentence Papuan activists to ten and eleven months imprisonment

The trial against the seven political detainees Fery Gombo, Alexander Gobay, Hengki Hilapok, Buchtar Tabuni, Irwanus Uropmabin, Stevanus Itlay and Agus Kossay (see intro image, source: Jubi) has reached an end. On 17 June 2020, judges at the Balikpapan District Court sentenced Buchtar Tabuni, Agus Kossay and Stevanus Itlay to 11 months imprisonment. Ferry Gombo, Alexander Gobay, Hengky Hilapok and Irwanus Uropmabin were sentenced to 10 months imprisonment. Papuan human rights lawyer, Gustaf Kawer, thanked all stakeholders for the support throughout the trial. The seven activists have one week to appeal against the verdict – Kawer stated that his clients are still considering this option.

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Series of attacks against human rights defenders advocating for human rights in West Papua

The number of attacks and harassment against human rights defenders advocating for human rights in West Papua have significantly increased throughout the past weeks. A physical attack against human rights defender Yuliana Yabansabra (see intro image) occurred on 8 June 2020 in the Papuan regional capital of Jayapura. She is part of a team of lawyers providing legal support to the seven political detainees, who are currently being tried under treason charges at the District Court in Balikpapan, Kalimantan Timur province. Three days before the attack, Yulaina Yabansabra spoke out about the human rights situation in West Papua during a public Zoom conference organised by Amnesty International Indonesia. Activists from the Teknokra Student Press Activities Unit (UKPM) at the University of Lampung (Unila) in South Sumatra were reportedly intimidated before holding an online discussion on "Racial discrimination against Papuans" on 11 June 2020.

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More Articles...

  1. Theo Hesegem's views on the #BlackLivesMatter #PapuanLivesMatter Campaign
  2. Statement by Papua's religious leaders on the trial against 7 Papuan defendants at the Balikpapan District Court
  3. Yones Douw talks about the #BlackLivesMatter Campaign in West Papua
  4. Update: Trial on internet blockage in West Papua – Administrative Court rules President and Minister acted unlawfully
  5. Eighth update on trials and detentions after anti-racism riots in West Papua
  6. Attorney General rejects the Paniai Case files again for further processing
  7. Papua Police Chief presses charges against KNPB member in Mimika – suspect injured during arrest
  8. Police officers disperse residents with water cannon in Jayapura - one person dead
  9. CC TV records police officers torturing suspect in Mimika Regency
  10. Allegations of enforced disappearance in Intan Jaya - Two indigenous Papuans reported missing
  11. Papuan student arrested for Facebook post – Police press charges
  12. Freeport operating with reduced workforce due to increase of COVID-19 cases
  13. Korindo palm oil plantation calls police to settle land dispute – One indigenous Papuan dies as a result of torture
  14. Update, The Jakarta Six: Cancellation of release
  15. Police investigator in Sorong Selatan prevents lawyers from meeting with detainees
  16. Update: Number of Covid-19 cases in Papua rise to 301
  17. Residents reject construction of a military base in Tambrauw
  18. Human Rights Update West Papua - 1st Quarter 2020
  19. Govt fails to respect freedom of expression in West Papua – Police arrest students and summon church leader
  20. Human Rights Watch Indonesia: New Arrests for Peaceful Political Expression
  21. New IPAC Report available: COVID-19 and Conflict in West Papua
  22. Trade Minister revokes timber licensing for wood export – Papuan Forest under threat
  23. TAPOL denounces sentences handed to Jakarta Six
  24. Seventh update on trials and detentions after anti-racism riots in West Papua
  25. Police operation in Maybrat Regency accompanied by arrests and torture
  26. Three policemen died due to clashes with military members
  27. Amnesty Indonesia: Urge the Government to Immediately Protect the Rights of Health Workers!
  28. Update on Corona Pandemic in West Papua – Number of infections rise to 137
  29. Two Papuans shot dead in Mimika - Military members allegedly mistook victims for resistance fighters
  30. Urgent appeals filed with UN by 63 political prisoners in Indonesia amid the COVID-19 Pandemic