Trial against 11 political activists in Sorong – Prosecutor demands 16 months for alleged treason

The eleven political activists, Daniel Jitmau, Paulus Syama, Lukas Nauw, Simon Aifat, Berto Tomow, Frengky Nauw, Lukas Smass, Marlinda Mangko, Silvester Nauw, Wilson Kofias and Jhosua Kingho, are standing trial at the Sorong District Court since 16 July 2020. The Papuan activists were charged with Article 106 of the Indonesian Penal Code (KUHP) on treason and Article 110 KUHP on criminal conspiracy because they had prepared a peaceful protest for the commemoration of 1st December, which many indigenous Papuans regard as the ‘Papuan Independence Day’. The public prosecutor demanded a sentence of one year and four months for the defendants. According to the prosecutor, the activists had been proven guilty of committing treasonous acts by preparing a public event through which they allegedly attempted to establish the separate state ‘West Papua New Guinea’.

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UN requests Indonesian govt to report on civil and political issues in West Papua

The UN Committee for Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) has adopted the List of Issues prior to Reporting (LOIPR) of Indonesia at its 129th session (29 June to 24 July). The Indonesian government is now requested to respond to this list of issues prior to submission of the country's second periodic report with its state report instead of choosing its own structure and issues for reporting.

While covering a much larger area of civil and political issues in Indonesia, the 6-page document does specifically ask Indonesia about Papua/West Papua in relation to violence against women, right to life, IDPs, peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, the establishment of local parties in the context of Special Autonomy, and authorities responses to self-determination/referendum calls. It finally asks about measures to end racial discrimination against indigenous Papuans in the context of protection of minority rights. The Committee specifically asks for the publication of updated census data disaggregated by indigenous/ethnic background.

The document is available on the UN OHCHR website.

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TAPOL Press Release: West Papua 2019 Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Assembly Report

(London, 12th August 2020) Surveillance, intimidation and harassment, protest dispersals, torture, arbitrary arrests and extra-judicial killings continued in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua, and in Indonesia more broadly, as the state tried to crack down on the contentious issue of West Papua’s self-determination in 2019. Alarmingly, the Indonesian Government also used new tactics such as internet shutdown and cyber-attacks during the anti-racism protests and riots which culminated in the ‘West Papuan Uprising’ in August and September 2019.

Last year, the Indonesian security forces arrested more than 1300 in demonstrations, peaceful rallies and gatherings that were related to West Papua. The majority of arrests took place in West Papua (Papua and West Papua Provinces) totalling 1175 people. The largest mass arrest was 756 which took place in September in West Papua during the Uprising. Outside West Papua, there were a total of 173 people arrested across the provinces of Bali, Maluku, North Maluku, East and West Java, North Sulawesi and Jakarta. By the end of 2019, 120 people had been charged of which 86 were charged with treason. These arrests were part of the police and authorities tactics to crack-down on political activities related to West Papua’s self-determination.  

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View Press Release on TAPOL's website

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Indigenous Papuans allegedly subjected to intimidation and torture since establishment of new military bases in Tambrauw

Human rights defenders have raised allegations on multiple cases of intimidation and violence against indigenous Papuans since two military bases are being built in the regency of Tambrauw, Papua Barat Province. A bystander recorded a video in the village of Orwen, Kwoor district, showing four military members of the Kwoor Sub-District Command (KORAMIL) intimidating and shouting at four indigenous Papuans. Some of the villagers appear not to speak Indonesian. Even though the video does not show acts of physical violence, human rights defenders claim that the military members repeatedly kicked the villagers during the incident. The Head of the Information Department of XVIII Kasuari Military Command, Colonel Andi Gus Wulandri, downplayed the acts as coaching (Bhs Indonesia: ‘pembinaan’). He claimed in an interview with media outlet Jubi that indigenous leaders had asked the soldiers to discipline the four men.

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Democracy Index in West Papua worst in Indonesia

According to a research by the Indonesian Centre for Statistics (BPS), Papua and Papua Barat are the provinces with the lowest democracy index in Indonesia. The province of Papua Barat only reached an index of 57,62 in 2019. The score even decreased in comparison to the previous year, in which the democracy index was calculated at 58.29. Papua Barat is the only province in Indonesia where the democracy index remains below 60, which the BPS categorized as ‘bad democracy’. The province of Papua reached the penultimate place with a democracy index of 65.25, categorized as ‘moderate democracy’ Both provinces are still far below the national average with an index of 74.93 points. The highest index was reached in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta with a score of 88.29 points.

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Student in Ternate under investigation for participating in peaceful rally for Papuan independence

On 2 December 2019, the Director of Khairun University expelled four students for participating in a peaceful demonstration in commemoration of the ‘Papuan Independence Day’. The protest took place in front of the Muhammadiyah University Campus in Ternate, Maluku Utara Province. The Ternate police are now investigating one of the students named Arbi M. Nur. The authorities accuse the student of violating Article 106 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on treason and Article 160 KUHP on incitement. According to CNN Indonesia, the Ternate District Police informed the public prosecution in Ternate about the investigation on 13 July 2020.

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Deforestation in West Papua – 1,488 hectares forest logged down between January and May 2020

According to data published by the Centre for Study, Documentation and Advocacy on Peoples’ Rights (Pusaka), 1,488 hectares of forest area in West Papua have been logged down between January and May 2020. This equals a size of 2,084 soccer fields. The majority of logging activities were related to the expansion of palm oil plantations. Pusaka has compiled the data based on field reports and satellite imagery analysis.

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Allegations of fatal military violence in Boven Digoel Regency

The Justice and Peace Department (SKP KAME) of the Archdiocese Merauke has received credible information regarding the alleged torture of sixteen-year-old Oktovianus Warip Betere in the Asiki District of Boven Digoel Regency, Papua Province. According to the head of the SKP KAME, Anselmus Amo, members of the 561 Caraka Yudha Kodam Brawijaya border control unit arrested Oktavianus Betere and subsequently tortured him inside a military post. The military members admitted him shortly after to a local community health centre (Puskesmas). A post-mortem examination at a local clinic confirmed that the victim’s body was bruised and wounded.

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Public discourse about prolongation of Papuan Special Autonomy intensifies

The period for the special autonomy in the provinces Papua and Papua Barat will be over in 2021. While the Government of Indonesia promotes the prolongation of the special autonomy, the discussion about a “second special autonomy” is polarizing the society in West Papua. Many indigenous Papuans argue that the special autonomy has failed to bring upon prosperity for indigenous Papuans and boost development, while a small political elite has benefited from the large special autonomy funds. The inconsistent implementation of the special autonomy law over a time span of 20 years has created disappointment among many indigenous Papuans and re-fueled demands for self-determination as the special autonomy period is coming to an end.

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New Release: The humanitarian crisis in West Papua: Internal conflict, the displacement of people, and the coronavirus pandemic

The ICP, together with the Foundation for Justice and Integrity of the Papuan People (YKKMP), the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Desk of the Papuan Tabernacle Church (JPIC Kingmi Papua) and the Papuan Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (ELSHAM Papua) has published a new special report on the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the central highlands of West Papua. The majority of IDPs in West Papua remain unreached by fundamental public healthcare and education services. Thousands of IDPs are forced to live in overcrowded conditions in temporary shelters or in households of relatives, facilitating the quick spreading of COVID-19 in the provinces of Papua and Papua Barat.

Download full report here

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More Articles...

  1. Udeido art group launches „Tonawi Mana” virtual exhibition on human rights situation in West Papua
  2. Military members reportedly killed two indigenous Papuans during routine inspection in Nduga Regency
  3. Police in Wasior alleged of using excessive force and torturing a suspect
  4. Political prisoner Surya Anta Ginting talks about inhuman conditions at detention centres in Jakarta
  5. Corruption allegations against Korindo palm oil conglomerate
  6. Labour Union files lawsuit against Freeport Indonesia and Department of Manpower and Transmigration
  7. Police officers arbitrarily arrest and torture suspect in Keerom Regency
  8. Students in Malang, Makassar and Bali demand the investigation of human rights violations in WP – two demonstrations dispersed
  9. KNPB Chairman in Maybrat and minor arbitrarily arrested
  10. At least 33 victims of extra-judicial killings in West Papua throughout 2019
  11. Papuan Council of Churches: the heart of the Papuan problem is racism and injustice
  12. Merdeka Secretariat's Solidarity Month for West Papua
  13. Human Rights Update West Papua - 2nd Quarter 2020
  14. NTB Regional Police allegedly forced a student to make false video statement about West Papua
  15. #MakeWestPapuaSafe aims to stop foreign government support for Indonesian police
  16. Sign ETAN's Petition: Free West Papua Political Prisoners
  17. Ninth update on trials and detentions after anti-racism riots in West Papua
  18. Press Release - #PapuanLivesMatter: West Papua Network and United Evangelical Mission urge the Indonesian government to end racism against indigenous Papuans
  19. #MakeWestPapuaSafe Campaign organizes webinar about Balikpapan 7 with Sarah Thompson
  20. Pusaka Press Release: Urging the State and Corporations to Protect and Respect Environmental Human Rights Defenders in Papua
  21. Update on trial against 23 defendants in Fakfak arrested during 1st December Commemorations and accused of treason and criminal conspiracy
  22. TAPOL regrets Court sentencing of ‘Balikpapan Seven’ political prisoners
  23. Update on trial against ‘Balikpapan 7’ – Judges sentence Papuan activists to ten and eleven months imprisonment
  24. Corona prevention policies increase violence – Security force members leave three indigenous Papuans injured in Paniai
  25. Police officers arrest four students during peaceful assembly in support of Balikpapan 7
  26. Papuan Parliament, MRP and religious leaders criticise injustice and demand release of ‘Balikpapan 7’
  27. Series of attacks against human rights defenders advocating for human rights in West Papua
  28. Theo Hesegem's views on the #BlackLivesMatter #PapuanLivesMatter Campaign
  29. Statement by Papua's religious leaders on the trial against 7 Papuan defendants at the Balikpapan District Court
  30. Yones Douw talks about the #BlackLivesMatter Campaign in West Papua

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