Update on situation of IDPs in West Papua throughout November 2021

Since its aggravation in December 2018, the armed conflict in West Papua has spread over the seven regencies Intan Jaya, Pegunungan Bintang, Mimika, Nduga, Maybrat, Yahukimo and Puncak. Security force operations accompanied by human rights violations have resulted in a great number of internal displacements over the past three years. The total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) vary between 50,000 and 60,000 IDPs, as of November 2021. The Papuan People's Solidarity Rejecting State Violence (SORAKPATOK) documented a total number of 13,687 new displacements between January and November 2021, alone.

 

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Constitutional Court rules Omnibus Law contradicts constitution

In their verdict announced on 25 November 2021, judges of the Indonesian constitutional court ruled that the Omnibus Law for Job Creation or Law No 11/2020 on Job Creation contradicts the 1945 constitution. The panel of judges did not revoke the law but gave the government and the Indonesian parliament two years to amend the law. However, the law will still be in effect for two years. The judges elaborated that the Government may not issue new implementing regulations for the Omnibus Law until the law has been revised.

Human rights observers considered the decision as a “legal compromise” because the judges did not immediately revoke the law. This compromise was also mirrored by the judges’ poll for the verdict. Four of the nine judges represented the view that the law did not contradict the constitution. They argued that the Omnibus Law is really needed. Otherwise, the parliament would have to adopt 78 laws through a lengthy process.

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West Papua Council of Churches issues moral call as human rights and conflict situation in West Papua deteriorates

On 21 November 2021, the West Papua Council of Churches (WPCC) published a moral call in which Papuan church leaders (see photo, source: Jubi) expressed concerns about the deteriorating armed conflict and human rights situation in West Papua. The WPCC observe an aggravation of the armed conflict in West Papua which has caused the internal displacement of more than 60,000 persons in six regencies. The vast majority of them are indigenous Papuans. The security operations against the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) have been accompanied by human rights violations against the local residents and church workers. The church leaders understand these abuses as an integral part of systemic racism imposed through central government politics.

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Human rights observers concerned about constitutional court verdict on internet shut down in West Papua

Seven out of nine judges at the Indonesian constitutional court ruled on 27 October, that the Government acted lawful by imposing an internet shutdown during the ‘West Papua Uprising’. The Uprising was triggered by the racist persecution of Papuan students in Java and later swept across 23 towns in West Papua and 17 cities in Indonesia between 19 August and 30 September 2019. Human rights observers are concerned that the ruling has set a precedent which will enable the Government to stifle the media freedom and may even threaten the democracy in Indonesia.

 

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Press Release by UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner - Indonesia: Stop judicial harassment of human rights defenders – UN expert

GENEVA (26 November 2021) –  Indonesia must immediately stop using criminal laws to harass four human rights defenders who have spoken out against alleged corruption, Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, said today.

“I am extremely concerned at the way defamation laws are being used in Indonesia to undermine the right to freedom of opinion and expression,” said Lawlor. “Civil society organisations are being targeted for performing what should be seen as a valuable role in society: ensuring that government and company projects are carried out with good governance in a transparent way, free from corruption, collusion and nepotism.

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Police raid student dormitory in Manokwari and arrest ten residents

Members of the Papua Barat Regional Police (Polda Papua Barat) conducted a raid at the Mimika student dormitory in Manokwari on 22 November 2021. According to the residents, the police searched the dormitory without showing a search warrant. The officers seized traditional weapons, gardening tools and clothes with morning star symbols. Residents witnessed how the police officers devastated the rooms and broke a door during the raid. 

Ten dormitory residents were reportedly arrested and temporarily detained at the police headquarters, some of whome were participating in a virtual meeting in relation to their graduation at the Papuan University (Unipa) in Manokwari (see table below, source: local HRDs). The officers questioned the students about the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), a civil resistance movement promoting the right to self-determination through non-violent means.

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WPCC demands to stop the criminalisation of human rights defenders

The West Papua Council of Churches (WPCC) has released on 21 November 2021 a moral call regarding the conflict between the TPN PB and the TNI/Police, the unilateral approval of Special Autonomy, the increasing Islamisation of Papua, and the criminalisation of leaders and human rights activists, among others. Currently, there are still conflicts ongoing between the TPN PB and the Indonesian Army and Police in Intan Jaya Regency, Star Mountains Regency, Nduga Regency, Maybrat Regency, Yahukimo Regency and Puncak Papua Regency. The combined army and police security forces are still conducting sweeping exercises in civilian settlements with the argument that they are looking for TPNPB members. As a result, many Papuans have taken and continue to take refuge in the forest or in neighbouring districts.

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Police officers arrest and torture eight school students in Serambakon District, Pegunungan Bintang

A group of Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) members reportedly tortured a group of eight minors (see table below, source: independent HRD) in the Serambakon district of Pegunungan Bintang regency on 12 November 2021. The students were on the way home from their school in the Seramkatop Village as they encountered a group of Brimob officers in the forest around 11:00 am. According to information received, the officers arrested the eight students and repeatedly punched them during the subsequent interrogation. Thereupon, the police members forced the eight students to come with them through the forest. Around 2:30 pm the village chief of Seramkatop Village, Mr Yance Asemki, saw the Brimob officers and the students walking through the forest towards the Seramkatop Village.

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Police increases surveillance on West Papua National Committee

The police increase surveillance operations against members and supporters of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), a civil resistance organisation promoting the right to self-determination through peaceful means. According to KNPB spokesperson, Ones Suhuniap, police officers repeatedly visited the KNPB headquarters in Jayapura since 9 November 2021 to meet with KNPB chairman Agus Kossay (see photo, source: KNPB). The police officers questioned the activist about plans to hold a demonstration in Jayapura during a visit by President Joko Widodo to close the National Paralympic Games in Jayapura on 13 November 2021. KNPB members understood the visits as act of intimidation.

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Attacks against journalists in West Papua on the rise – Media activists establish Press Legal Aid Association in Jayapura

Journalists and press organisations in Jayapura (see photo, source: Jubi) have established the Press Legal Aid Association (PBH Pers) in response to the raising number of cases involving intimidation, obstruction and physical attacks as well as cyber-attacks against journalists in West Papua. The Indonesian Alliance of Independent Journalist (AJI Indonesia) documented a total number of 114 cases of violence against journalists in West Papua during the past 20 years. 90 of these cases reportedly occurred between May 2020 and May 2021, alone. The violations included acts of verbal intimidation, destruction of work equipment and coverage, as well as physical violence.

 

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More Articles...

  1. Another indigenous Papuan allegedly killed during armed clash in Intan Jaya
  2. Update on armed violence in Kiwirok – Komnas HAM delegates investigation team
  3. Police and military officials open for non-violent solutions to armed conflict in West Papua
  4. Update on IDP situation in Maybrat – 6-year-old girl dies without access to medical treatment
  5. New Shootings in Intan Jaya – two indigenous Papuans reportedly wounded by bullets
  6. Multiple attacks on Veronica Koman’s relatives in Jakarta – Observers believe attacks related to Papua human rights advocacy
  7. More than 5,000 IDPs reportedly seek shelter in churches after new armed clashes erupt in Intan Jaya
  8. Papuan students attacked by nationalist group during demonstration in Makassar
  9. Two-year-old killed during armed clashes in Sugapa, Intan Jaya – another minor seriously injured
  10. Indonesian military alleged of bombing villages in Pegunungan Bintang
  11. Update on criminalisation of Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidyanti – Police mediation failed
  12. Update on situation of IDPs in Maybrat Regency – 861 IDPs from thirteen villages fled to Aitinyo District
  13. Update on IDP situation in Pegunungan Bintang – Video shows conditions in IDP shelters
  14. Police officers shoot dead Papuan man in Wamena – Two others injured by bullets
  15. Papuan man shot down during conflict between security forces and gold miners at Freeport Mine, Mimika Regency
  16. Regent issues legal recognition of indigenous peoples' rights in Sorong
  17. New case of enforced disappearance in Intan Jaya Regency – Relatives call upon the police to find Sem Kobogau
  18. Update on situation in Maybrat – more than 2,768 indigenous peoples from 50 villages displaced as security operation goes on
  19. New links between New Zealand investor and deforestation in West Papua revealed
  20. More than 10,000 security forces deployed to secure national sports event in West Papua – Authorities ban Morning Star symbol
  21. Police disperse peaceful West Papua rally in front of US Embassy in Jakarta - at least 15 protesters arrested
  22. Security force officers arrest six IDPs in Maybrat, among them four minors
  23. About 1,000 indigenous Papuans in Pegunungan Bintang Regency flee their homes
  24. New report by UN Secretary-General addresses intimidation and criminalisation of five West Papua activists
  25. Update on arrest of six Papuans in Dekai – Ananias Yalak dies during custody
  26. Update on treason trial in Sorong – All defendants acquitted
  27. Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea refer to human rights situation in West Papua during UN General Assembly
  28. Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment files lawsuit against human rights defenders
  29. UN Special Rapporteur calls upon Indo Govt to provide sufficient medical treatment to Victor Yeimo
  30. Series of arbitrary arrests in response to armed clashes throughout September 2021