New report by UN Secretary-General addresses intimidation and criminalisation of 5 West Papua activists

On 17 September 2021, the United Nations (UN) published its annual report on the Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights. The report was compiled by UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, and contains information on reported allegations of intimidation and reprisals between 1 May 2020 and 30 April 2021.

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The Indonesia section of the report contains references to five cases of criminalisation and intimidation against human rights defenders working in or about West Papua, “including Mr. Wensislaus Fatubun, adviser of the Papuan People’s Assembly, who regularly provides documentation, testimony and analyses to the UN.  They also addressed the case of Mr. Yones Douw, a member of the indigenous Me tribe, who documents alleged violations in West Papua (IDN 2/2020), and who was targeted for reporting to OHCHR.

72.    It was reported to OHCHR that journalist Mr. Victor Mambor and human rights lawyer Ms. Veronica Koman (IDN 7/2019) faced threats, harassment and intimidation for their reporting on West Papua and Papua provinces, including to UN human rights mechanisms, and for attending UN meetings for which they were questioned by security forces.

73.    It was reported to OHCHR that Mr. Victor Yeimo, spokesperson of the West Papua National Committee, was arrested in May 2021 and accused of inciting riots and treason following, inter alia, his call for self-determination of the Papuan people at the Human Rights Council in March 2019“. (A/HRC/48/28, p.11)

All cases had been addressed by UN special procedures through written communications to the Indonesian Government.

The Presidential Staff Office (KSP) criticized the UN for the report. KSP representative, Jaleswari Pramodhawardani, declared in an interview that the UN report did not provide a balanced view on the cases against the human rights defenders. He said the UN had failed to verify information on violations with the Indonesian government. Jaleswari emphasized that his government was managing the security situation in the provinces Papua and Papua Barat in accordance with laws and regulations.