Indius Sambom sentenced to 20 months imprisonment – Lawyers say verdict not based on facts

Judges at the North Jakarta District Court have sentenced the Papuan defendant Indius Sambom (see photo, source: Jubi) to 20 months imprisonment for violating Article 1 of Emergency Law No 12/1951 on the illegal possession of firearms and explosives on 10 March 2021. They argued that Ivan Sambom allowed members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB) to stay overnight inside his house. Previously, the public prosecutor had sought a sentence of three years for Sambom. According to Indius Sambom’s lawyer, facts at court showed that the police had neither found TPN PB members nor ammunition inside Sambom’s house during the arrest. She demanded her client to be acquitted. Indius Samabom has 14 days to appeal against the verdict.


Two Papuan students arrested and detained in Jakarta

In the early morning hours of 3 March 2021, police officers entered the Papuan student dormitory in Jakarta and arrested Roland Levy, a member of the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) Central Committee and Kelvin Molama, the Secretary of the AMP Committee in Jakarta (see photo, source: Facebook). Both are currently detained at the Jakarta Police headquarters. The police investigates against both activists for involvement in alleged violence against people and property and theft using force, as regulated in Articles 170 and Article 365 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP). Human rights observers are concerned that the police try to criminalise the students for their engagement in peaceful political and human rights activities. The criminalisation should scare off other students from organising public protests about West Papua. They demand the immediate release of Kelvin Molama and Roland Levy.


Bloodshed in Intan Jaya continues - Military members kill high school student

Military members have again killed a young Papuan in the Intan Jaya Regency. According to media information, members of the Raider 715/MTL Infantry Battalion shot dead 17-year-old Melianus Nayagau in the village of Puyagia, Sugapa District, on 6 March 2020. The body was brought to Bilogai Town on 7 March 2021 (see photo, source: Suara Papua). Shortly after the incident, an unknown number of indigenous families in Puyagia reportedly fled their homes and sought shelter in the surrounding forests. Three internally displaced persons (IDPs) reportedly sustained injuries because they fell during the escape.

A military representative declared that Melianus Nayagau was associated with the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) and claimed that people in Puyagia did not know Melianus. The Head of the Joint Regional Defense Command III (Kogabwilhan III) public relations department, Colonel Suriastawa, alleged that his men encountered four TPN PB members carrying weapons near Puyagia. Melianus was allegedly killed during a subsequent exchange of fire. The victim’s parents and Intan Jaya parliament member, Oktovianus Wandikbo, declared that Melianus was not associated with the TPN PB and was still enrolled to the SMP Negeri 1 Sugapa junior high school.


Protests against formation of Papua Tengah Province continue – Thousands of people in Dogiyai go to the streets

Thousands of people from 11 districts in the Dogiyai Regency have peacefully protested against establishing a new Province in West Papua on 22 February 2021 (see photos, source: Yamoye 'Ab). The protesters also rejected building a district police headquarter (Polres Dogiyai) in Dogiyai. The formation of the new 'Papua Tengah Province' is championed by a handful of people under the Meepago Regent Association's lead, while the majority of West Papuans is against the administrative partition. The regents from Nabire, Dogiyai, Deiyai, Paniai, Intan Jaya, Mimika and Puncak support the administrative partition as it opens up a wide range of opportunities for a small political elite in West Papua.


Military members shoot dead a Papuan with disability in Intan Jaya

The Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Desk of the Papuan Tabernacle Church (JPIC Kingmi Papua) has documented the killing of Donatus Kiliki Mirib, a Papuan with a disability. Members of the military had allegedly shot dead 36-year-old Donatus Mirib in the village of Ndugusiga, Sugapa District, on 27 February 2021. Military representatives claimed that Donatus Mirib was associated with the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB). His body was buried in Titigi on 28 February 2021, about 300 meters from the catholic church in Titigi.


Deforestation cause floods in the Keerom Regency

Floods once again struck the Papuan Regency of Keerom in early February 2021 after heavy rainfalls had lasted for more than a day (see photo, source: Jubi). The water level reached up to 1.5 meters and caused damages to 1,155 houses and 4,500 hectares of agricultural land. About 4,400 residents, mainly from Arso and Arso Barat's districts, were reportedly displaced and sought temporary shelter in public facilities. The Arso area used to be a natural water reservoir but was closed with buildings and settlements over the past decades. The water originated from the three rivers Tami, Bewani and Skamto, which flow through the Keerom Regency.


Update on criminalisation of KNPB activists in Merauke – Kristian Yandun dies during police detention

Kristian Yandun (see photo, source: Jubi), one of 13 members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) who had been arrested in December 2020, has passed away at the Bunda Pengharapan Hospital in Merauke on 27 February 2021. The news about his death came only three weeks after his lawyers had expressed concerns regarding police officers’ negligent behaviour. They didn’t process Kristian Yandun’s request for medical attention during detention at the Merauke District Police Headquarters for almost one month. The ICP has not yet received any verified information about the cause of death.


Government plans to establish Papua Tengah Province - Military members create manipulated video to promote administrative partition

The Government of Indonesia is planning to establish a new province in West Papua. The plan has triggered rejection among many civil society groups and the Papuan Peoples’ Assembly (MRP). Many Papuans argue that the formation of the new province only serves the interests of a small political elite and ignores the aspirations of the majority of the Papuan people who do not support the administrative partition.

In January 2021, people in Biak, Jayapura, Sorong and other cities across West Papua repeatedly launched peaceful protests against the Government’s plan to push through amendments to the Law No 21/2001 on the Special Autonomy for the Province of Papua (UU Otsus Papua) to path the way for the establishment of a new ‘Papua Tengah Province’. Article 76 of the law stipulates that the MRP and the provincial parliament (DPRP) must approve new autonomy areas. The central Governments wants to amend the article, making the agreement by the MRP and DPRP no longer necessary. The MRP is opposing the Government's plan and has announced it will appeal against the UU Otsus Papua's unilateral revision to the Constitutional Court.



Papuan couple arbitrarily arrested, beaten and detained – both victims demand strict sanctions against police and public prosecutor

A panel of judges acquitted Agustinus Bebe and Adolfina Sarce Nari on 22 February 2021. The verdict set an end to 148 days of arbitrary detention. The couple was unlawfully arrested due to extortion allegations on 17 July 2020 after they had requested the payment of outstanding debts. The Papuan Association of Human Rights Lawyers (PAHAM Papua) explained that the police officers had violated multiple criminal procedure provisions the law enforcement operation. The officers failed to show a warrant during the arrest. They tortured Agustinus Bebe and his wife during detention at the Papua Regional Police (Polda Papua Headquarters), forcing them to sign a confession letter. The public prosecutor submitted the case to the Jayapura District Court despite the lack of evidence collected during the police investigation. Agustinus Bebe and Adolfina Sarce Nari demand strict sentences for the police officers and the public prosecutor.


Update on situation of IDPs from Mimika – IDPs face challenges after return to their villages

In late January 2021, the first internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the villages Waa, Arwanop, Opitawak and Banti in the Mimika Regency returned to the Tembagapura District after spending almost eleven months in the town of Timika. Human rights observers have expressed concern over the current situation of the IDPs. According to information received, the IDPs cannot access health services and continue to be prevented from returning to their villages.


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