Papuan student arrested for Facebook post – Police press charges

Members of the Papuan Regional Police Criminal Investigation Unit (Reskrim Polda Papua) have arrested a 25-year-old Papuan student with the initials GM in his house in North Jayapura on 1 May 2020 for posting an image of Indonesia's President Joko Widodo wearing a hat with the Morning Star symbol on his Facebook account and YouTube channel. GM is a student enrolled in a university in Yogyakarta. The police charged the student with article 28 (2) in conjunction with article 45A (2) of Law No. 19 /2016 about the amendment of Law No. 11/2008 on Electronic Information and Transaction on hate speech.


Freeport operating with reduced workforce due to increase of COVID-19 cases

COVID-19 infections in the Mimika Regency, where Freeport operates the Grasberg mine, reached 150 cases as of 17 May, including 102 cases in Tembagapura, the living quarters built to house Freeport workers and their families. This has led Freeport to cut his workforce and operate the mine with only an essential team. The ICP reported on 7 May that despite 85 Freeport employees testing positive for COVID-19, the Grasberg Mine kept operating at full capacity as before.


Korindo palm oil plantation calls police to settle land dispute – One indigenous Papuan dies as a result of torture

The ‘Office for Justice and Peace of the Archdiocese of Merauke’ (SKP Keuskupan Agung Merauke) has documented the killing of an indigenous Papuan from the Asiki district in the regency of Boven Digoel. Witnesses saw how a police officer severely tortured Marius Betera in front of the office building of palm oil company PT. Tunas Sawa Erma POP Block A (PT. TSE POP A) after he complained about the clearing of his garden by one of the company’s excavators. The victim died at the company’s clinic approximately three hours after the incident as a result of the injuries he sustained during the beating. Local human rights organisations demand that the alleged perpetrator should be held responsible in a police-internal code of conduct trial and a criminal trial in a public court. PT. TSE POP A is a subsidiary of the Korindo Group, which operates multiple palm oil and timber companies in West Papua.


Residents reject construction of a military base in Tambrauw

The Indonesian military (TNI) is building a military base in the regency of Tambrauw, Papua Barat Province. Local residents claim that military members have pressured them to release 5 hectares of customary land for the construction of a Military District Command (KODIM) and a Military Sub-District Command (KORAMIL) in the Kwoor District. They demanded the local Government to build adequate health and education facilities instead of military facilities.  The residents fear that the presence of the military in the regency will lead to cases of military violence against local residents. Especially the elder generation of indigenous Papuans in Tambrauw has still experienced the violent military operations under Indonesia’s former president Suharto, which were accompanied by gross human rights violations against the indigenous population of West Papua.


Update, The Jakarta Six: Cancellation of release

(London, 12 May 2020) TAPOL condemns the political decision to cancel the early release of five political prisoners that were arrested in Jakarta for demonstrating in favour of the self-determination of West Papua.

On 24 April 2020, the Central Court of Jakarta sentenced Paulus Suryanta Ginting, Ambrosius Mulait, Dano Tabuni, Charles Kossay, and Ariana Elopere to nine months’ imprisonment; while Isay Wenda was sentenced to eight months. Isay Wenda was released on 29th April 2020 having served his full sentence.


Human Rights Update West Papua - 1st Quarter 2020

The first quarter of 2020 was marked by the outbreaks of armed clashes in multiple regencies of West Papua and multiple trials in relation to the Papua-wide anti-racism riots throughout August and September 2019, which resulted in imprisonment sentences for protesters. Lawyers deplored that the trials failed to meet the principles of a fair trial. Many defendants were found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment, although witness testimonies and evidence presented in court did not prove the involvement of the defendants in any criminal acts. Hence, many of the sentenced defendants have appealed against the verdicts. Moreover, human rights observers raised the concern that judges applied double standards. The verdicts for three non-Papuans who had been found guilty of hate speech against indigenous Papuans, and four migrants who collectively killed a Papuan during outbreaks of ethnic violence in Jayapura, were considered mild.


Police investigator in Sorong Selatan prevents lawyers from meeting with detainees

The Manokwari Institute for Research Study and Development of Legal Aid (LP3BH Manokwari) reported another case of obstruction against three lawyers in the regency of Sorong Selatan. According to LP3BH Director, Yan Christian Warinussy, the lawyers of the Legal Aid Institute (LBH) Kaki Abu wanted to visit the four suspects who were arrested in multiple locations during a police raid in the regency of Maybrat between 15 and 23 April 2020. The police suspect them of being involved in the killing of a police officer in the regency of Bintuni.


Govt fails to respect freedom of expression in West Papua – Police arrest students and summon church leader

The Government continues to subject the freedom of expression in West Papua to heavy restrictions. The Papuan police severely limit the democratic space and political rights since late August 2019, when people all over Papua went to the streets to protest against racial discrimination against indigenous Papuans. Human rights defenders reported two recent incidents in which the police took action against pupils and a church leader for peacefully expressing their opinion or views.

On 2 May 2020, the police in Nabire arrested five school students and temporarily detained them at the Nabire district police station because they had painted the morning star flag with spray paint on their shirts (see intro image). It is a common practice in West Papua that senior high school students colour their school uniforms on the graduation day as a sign that they have completed their school education.


Update: Number of Covid-19 cases in Papua rise to 301

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in West Papua has risen from 137, as reported on 23 April, to 301 cases as of 6 May 2020. In Papua province a total of 248 cases had been reported. So far, 63 patients have recovered while 178 are been treated. Although the death toll has remained the same, seven have died from COVID-19 in Papua province, the number of cases is increasing fast. The majority of Covid-19 cases were found in Jayapura and Mimika Regency. On 5 May 2020, the Provincial Government of Papua renewed its emergency response status for 28 days, from 7 May to 4 June 2020.

In Papua Barat 53 persons have tested positive as of 7 May 2020, most of these COVID-19 cases are concentrated in the Regencies of Sorong (12), Raja Ampat (14), Teluk Bintuni (11), and Manokwari (6), and the city of Sorong (9). A total of ten have died due to the virus, most of them in Sorong city.


Human Rights Watch Indonesia: New Arrests for Peaceful Political Expression

More Than 70 Papuan, Moluccan Activists Jailed for Nonviolent Protests

The Indonesian government should immediately release at least 70 Papuan and Moluccan activists imprisoned for peacefully voicing their political views, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should adopt measures to ensure that police and prosecutors, especially in the eastern provinces, protect free expression rights in accordance with a 2018 constitutional court ruling. 

From April 25 to 27, 2020, the police in Maluku arrested 23 activists, including at least two children, who allegedly participated in flag-raising ceremonies commemorating the 70th anniversary of the declaration of independence of the Republic of South Moluccas (Republik Maluku Selatan, RMS) in 1950. The police indicated that seven of the activists will be charged with treason under article 106 of the criminal code, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.


More Articles...

  1. New IPAC Report available: COVID-19 and Conflict in West Papua
  2. Trade Minister revokes timber licensing for wood export – Papuan Forest under threat
  3. TAPOL denounces sentences handed to Jakarta Six
  4. Seventh update on trials and detentions after anti-racism riots in West Papua
  5. Police operation in Maybrat Regency accompanied by arrests and torture
  6. Three policemen died due to clashes with military members
  7. Amnesty Indonesia: Urge the Government to Immediately Protect the Rights of Health Workers!
  8. Update on Corona Pandemic in West Papua – Number of infections rise to 137
  9. Two Papuans shot dead in Mimika - Military members allegedly mistook victims for resistance fighters
  10. Urgent appeals filed with UN by 63 political prisoners in Indonesia amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
  11. Police officers arrest Papuan human rights activist and relatives in Mimika Regency – five allegedly beaten during custody
  12. Trial update on killing of Govt contractors in Nduga Regency – Mispo Gwijangge released
  13. One employee killed and six injured during TPN PB attack on Freeport office
  14. Sixth update on trials and detentions after anti-racism riots in West Papua
  15. Jokowi’s Omnibus Bill for job creation – Observers fear far-reaching consequences for West Papua
  16. Coronavirus has reached West Papua
  17. Papuan student arrested in Ambon for wearing a net bag with Morning Star symbol
  18. CSO demands access for Indonesian Red Cross to West Papua
  19. Armed conflict in West Papua aggravates throughout past weeks – over 1,500 IDPs flee to Timika
  20. Public worship in Nduga overshadowed by armed clash – Security forces kill one indigenous woman, at least three others injured
  21. Police officers fail to protect truck driver during mob attack in Dogiyai Regency
  22. Fifth Update on trials and detentions after anti-racism riots in West Papua
  23. Unrest throughout August and September 2019 results in 59 fatalities
  24. Joint security forces kill indigenous community leader and minor during raid in Intan Jaya
  25. Wamena after the September-Riots – Freedom of assembly still subjected to limitations
  26. Komnas HAM categorises Paniai incident as serious human rights violation – Case submitted to Attorney General
  27. Laporan Baru ICP tentang Papua Barat: hak asasi manusia, konflik dan situasi pembangunan
  28. Press release: New Report on the West Papua Human Rights and Conflict Situation published by the ICP
  29. Fourth Update on trials and detentions after Anti-Racism Riots in West Papua
  30. Trial update on killing of Govt contractors in Nduga Regency – Lawyers request forensic examination of defendant’s teeth