Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea refer to human rights situation in West Papua during UN General Assembly

Two states have addressed the human rights situation in West Papua at the 76th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA). The UNGA has taken place at the UN headquarters in New York between 21 and 27 September 2021. Many states did not physically attend the UNGA but joined the assembly online, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hamper international travel.

On 26 September 2021, Bob Loughman, Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu, expressed his concerns regarding the human rights situation in West Papua during his online speech at the general debate.

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Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment files lawsuit against human rights defenders

The former military general and incumbent Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan (see photo), filed a lawsuit against KontraS (Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence) coordinator, Fatia Maulidianti, and executive director of human rights NGO Lokataru, Haris Azhar, on 22 September 2021. The human rights activists discussed joint research findings of possible relations between security force deployments and economic interests behind gold mining operations in the Papuan regency Intan Jaya in a video that was uploaded on Azhar’s YouTube Channel on 20 August 2021. Previously, Panjaitan had twice sent a subpoena to the activists, asking them to apologize for the allegations raised against him publicly.

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UN Special Rapporteur calls upon Indo Govt to provide sufficient medical treatment to Victor Yeimo

Indonesia: Life of jailed West Papuan activist in danger without urgent medical care – UN expert

 

GENEVA (20 September 2021) – Indonesia must provide West Papuan human rights defender Victor Yeimo (see photo below) with proper medical care to keep him from dying in prison, a UN human rights expert said today.

Despite repeated requests from his lawyers for a delay on medical grounds, Mr Yeimo went on trial in a Jayapura court at the end of August on charges of treason and incitement related to his peaceful involvement in anti-racism and self-determination protests in 2019.

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School in Jayawijaya alleged of receiving government funds despite not operating for 5 years

The Papuan media outlet Suara Papua has revealed another example of alleged misappropriation of education funds. The Taela Primary School in the Tealarek District of Jayawijaya Regency (see photo, source: Suara Papua), Papua Province, has not been operational since 2016. According to local observers, the school continues to receive government education funds. Multiple attempts to report the alleged misappropriation to the education department in Jayawijaya have failed.

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Series of arbitrary arrests in response to armed clashes throughout September 2021

Media outlets and human rights defenders have documented the arrest of 29 persons in the Papuan regencies Yahukimo and Sorong throughout September 2021. Among them were seven children between 7 and 12 years and four other minors. In most of the cases, the police officers conducted the arrests without showing a warrant. The series of arrests are believed to be part of countermeasures in response to multiple attacks by the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) against military posts in Yahukimo and Maybrat.

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New TAPOL Report available - West Papua 2020: online and offline attacks against freedom of expression and assembly in the region

Press Release
London, 16th September 2021

Peaceful demonstrators, student activists, West Papuan and Indonesian political activist groups, human rights lawyers and defenders and individual civilians experienced extreme repression for their involvement in peaceful demonstrations and meetings in 2020 in West Papua and outside West Papua.

Download full report

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Armed conflict in West Papua spreads across new regencies - Indo Govt still rejects peace dialogue

The armed conflict in West Papua has continuously aggravated since December 2018. In the past months, the conflict has spread to the Papuan regencies Yahukimo and Pegunungan Bintang. An armed attack on a military post was also reported from the Maybrat Regency in the Papua Barat Province, which has been almost unaffected by such attacks. Multiple new incidents involving civilian casualties indicate that the armed conflict in the three regencies will deteriorate in the coming weeks. First indications for the spreading of the armed conflict to Yahukimo, Pegunungan Bintang and Maybrat were already observed in May 2021.

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Human rights coalition publishes report about situation of IDPs in Maybrat – at least 2,086 internally displaced

A human rights coalition consisting of Papuan faith-based organisations and NGOs has published a new report about internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Maybrat regency.  They have fled their homes in response to a widespread security force operation. According to the report, at least 2,086 indigenous Papuans from more than 36 villages (see photo) in the districts Aifat Selatan, Aifat Timur Selatan, Aifat Timur Tengah, Aifat Timur and Aifat have been internally displaced. Sixty-nine IDPs were reported to be below the age of five. Eleven IDPs became sick and stayed in refugee shelters without healthcare services (see table below).

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18 September 2021 marks end of palm oil moratorium in Indonesia – NGOs demand extension

On 19 September 2018, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) signed presidential instruction No 8/2018 concerning Suspension and Evaluation of Oil Palm Plantation Permits and Increase of Oil Palm Plantation Productivity, also known as the “Oil Palm Moratorium”. The moratorium officially ended on 18 September 2021. Environmental observers and NGOs have called upon President Jokowi to extend the moratorium, arguing that the Government has not yet achieved the given targets stipulated in the moratorium. The Palm Oil Moratorium Coalition has launched a petition for the extension of the Oil Palm Moratorium on Change.org.

Sign Change.org petition for an extension of palm oil moratorium

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IDPs situation in Maybrat Regency – Observers estimate number of IDPs rises to 3,000

Local observers have estimated that the number of IDPs in the Maybrat Regency has risen to almost 3,000. Shortly after the killing of four military members on 2 September 2021 in the Kisor Village, an estimated number of 2,000 people from eight villages in the Aifat Selatan District and three neighbouring districts reportedly fled their homes in fear of military raids. Meanwhile, the number of affected villages in Aifat Selatan has reportedly grown to at least 16 villages (see list below) in Aifat Selatan alone. New displacements were reported from the Aitinyo District. Some IDPs sought shelter in the villages Susmuk, Aitinyo and Sabun, while most IDPs built temporary shelters in the jungle (see photos on bottom, source: independent human rights defenders).

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More Articles...

  1. ACP's letter to OHCHR calls for independent human rights mission to West Papua
  2. Situation in Maybrat Regency – Army arrests two Papuans in Kisor
  3. Indigenous peoples flee their homes in fear of military raids in Maybrat Regency, Papua Barat Province
  4. Security force operation in Dekai accompanied by arbitrary arrest and torture
  5. At least 4,862 indigenous Papuans internally displaced in Puncak Regency
  6. New NGO report reveals relationships between military deployment and economic interests in West Papua
  7. Mongabay: UNESCO calls for closure of road running through World Heritage park in Papua
  8. Health condition of Victor Yeimo – Judge allows Yeimo's access to medical treatment
  9. UN Special Rapporteurs initiate communication with Indonesian Govt in relation to prosecution of Victor Yeimo
  10. Update on trials against Papuan human rights activist Victor Yeimo – Public Prosecutor again hampers access to medical treatment
  11. Papuan protestor dies in hospital after being shot by security force members in Yahukimo
  12. Police operation in Yapen Island causes displacement of 215 villagers
  13. Papuan Govt recommends withdrawal of 35 palm oil licenses
  14. Security forces crack-down on peaceful protests for release of Victor Yeimo – 49 protesters arrested, 19 tortured, one shot
  15. Call for Solidarity Action: Free Victor Yeimo
  16. Update on prosecution of Papuan human rights activist - Victor Yeimo’s health worsened during detention
  17. Chairperson of journalist association in Jayapura intimidated
  18. Protests for release of Victor Yeimo – 14 students arrested and temporarily detained
  19. Event Notice: Pacific Education and Advocacy Festival
  20. The Guardian: Merauke Police chief alleged of torture was trained in Australia funded law enforcement facility
  21. Nationalist organisation reports Bali Legal Aid Institute and four Papuan students to police
  22. The Oneibo Shooting – Another example of widespread impunity among security forces in West Papua
  23. Police officer opens fire at Papuan villager – Angry mob burn down Nimboran police station
  24. New YLBHI research on police misconduct in Indonesia
  25. Police officer opens fire at indigenous villager in Sorong Selatan
  26. Military members arrest 12 Papuans in Skofro – 9 arrestees alleged of affiliation with the TPN PB
  27. Torture of Papuan man in Nabire again captured on video – Security force violence is rampant in West Papua
  28. Two military members torture disabled Papuan in Merauke – Video goes viral on social media
  29. Paham Papua calls upon military to be transparent about prosecution of perpetrators
  30. Trial against 2 AMP members in Jakarta – Activists sentenced to 5 months imprisonment