Police impede public human rights event in Jayapura

Police forces in Jayapura have prevented a public panel discussion at the Ekspo Waena Complex on 27 March 2021. The event carried the title “West Papua National Seminar – Searching for a way out of human rights violations in West Papua”. Human rights activists, student representatives and academics (see photo, source: Jubi) had been invited to share their views on the human rights situation in West Papua. The police blocked access to the event location at Ekspo Waena and prevented participants from entering the complex, where the panel discussion was supposed to take place.

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Man shot down as police disperse crowd in Timika – Relatives demand compensation

Joint security forces have shot down twenty-year-old Andres Bewarmo as they dispersed a crowd of approximately 200 people in the Pomako Village in Mimika Regency on 7 March 2021. Before the incident, a group of drivers had attacked an intoxicated resident. Multiple residents in Pomako witnessed the beating. Shortly after the brawl, people gathered about 200 meters near the crime site and tried to chase down the attackers. They demanded the police to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators immediately. Joint security members forcefully dispersed the crowd with firearms after the people refused to leave.

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Police carry out nine political arrests in Timika and Jayapura

Human rights defenders have documented nine further political arrests in West Papua throughout the past three weeks. Four indigenous Papuans were arrested in Timika Mimika Regency because the police suspected them of supplying members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB). In Jayapura, police officers arrested five students for launching a peaceful protest at the Jayapura University for Science and Technology (USTJ). The students expressed their support for a UN High Commissioner visit for Human Rights to West Papua.

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Police investigates 13 palm oil investors in Papua Barat Province

The Papua Barat Regional police has launched investigations against 13 palm oil investors holding plantation licenses in the Papua Barat Province. The companies had arranged licenses (HGU, Hak Guna Usaha) to establish oil palm plantations in the province but never launched their field operations. The investigations follow-up on a previous evaluation by the local government and the Commission for Eradication of Corruption (KPK). The assessment also revealed that more than 2,224 hectares of land were outside the concession areas.

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Jokowi takes palm oil waste off toxic waste list

President Joko Widodo has removed palm oil refining waste - or what is commonly referred to as spent bleaching earth (SBE) - from the category of hazardous and toxic waste (Bahan Berbahaya dan Beracun or B3). Previously, discussions about amendments to the B3 category focused on fly ash and bottom ash (FABA), which emerges during coal production and is no longer included in the B3 category. Both substances' repeal is listed in Government Regulation No 22/2021 regarding the Implementation of Environmental Protection and Management dated 2 February 2021.

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Jakarta deploys new troops to West Papua whilst turning a blind eye on IDPs – civil society groups try to compensate Government neglect

Thousands of indigenous people in the Intan Jaya Regency, Papua Province, have been internally displaced since ongoing military operations against the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) have been launched in December 2019. People have fled their homes and sought shelter in Intan Jaya’s largest town Bilogai or other regencies like Mimika, Puncak, Paniai and Nabire.

The IDPs fled their homes in fear of being killed or tortured by security force members. Military members have reportedly killed five indigenous Papuans since January 2021, alone. Despite isolated humanitarian aid initiatives by local Governments, the Central Government continues to turn a blind eye on the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in West Papua. Civil society groups in West Papua have taken action to substitute the absence of responsible Government institutions.

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Indonesia offers Elon Musk Papuan Island Biak for SpaceX launchpad causing rage among its residents

In December 2020, the Indonesian government offered SpaceX CEO Elon Musk a rocket launch site on Biak in Papua Province. But Papuans on Biak are fiercely opposed, arguing a space launchpad will drive deforestation, increase Indonesian military presence, and threaten their future on the island, The Guardian reported.

Residents of Biak Island in Papua are worried that a new SpaceX launchpad on their land will cost them their traditional hunting grounds, damaging the nature their way of life depends on. A tribal chief on the island, Manfun Sroyer, said he feared Papuans would be forced from their homes. But, if they protest, they will be arrested immediately.

This isn't the only rocket launch site that may be built on Biak. Meanwhile, media sources reported that the Indonesian Aerospace Agency LAPAN will start building a launchpad near the Saukobye Village in the Biak Utara District this year. According to local informants, LAPAN and the local Government had repeatedly organized meetings with local communities throughout the past years but never reached an agreement regarding the release and compensation of customary land for the space project. The space port shall be operational by 2024. Russia's aerospace agency, Roscosmos, also wants to develop a launchpad on the island by 2024. "In 2002, Russians wanted our land for satellite launches. We protested, and many were arrested and interrogated ... now they've brought it back, and this harassment and intimidation is still going on," Sroyer told The Guardian.

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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.

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Commemoration of International Women’s Day accompanied by repressive acts against Papuans – Malang police chief accused of racism

Media outlets have reported repressive acts against protesters in multiple cities across Indonesia during the International Women’s Day commemoration on 8 March 2021. In the Javanese city of Malang, police officers arrested 17 protesters, among them Papuan students, after protesters had allegedly damaged a police car. The Malang Police Chief gave the order to shoot down Papuan students who had come to the police station to demand protesters' release. In Makassar, two protesters were reportedly arrested after being accused of promoting Papua-related political issues. The police dispersed a peaceful commemoration in the Papuan city of Jayapura. Nine protesters were arrested. The police in Malang and Jayapura argued that the protests were violating COVID-19 health protocols.

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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.

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More Articles...

  1. Bloodshed in Intan Jaya continues - Military members kill high school student
  2. Military members shoot dead a Papuan with disability in Intan Jaya
  3. Update on criminalisation of KNPB activists in Merauke – Kristian Yandum dies during police detention
  4. Papuan couple arbitrarily arrested, beaten and detained – both victims demand strict sanctions against police and public prosecutor
  5. Protests against formation of Papua Tengah Province continue – Thousands of people in Dogiyai go to the streets
  6. Deforestation cause floods in the Keerom Regency
  7. Government plans to establish Papua Tengah Province - Military members create manipulated video to promote administrative partition
  8. Update on situation of IDPs from Mimika – IDPs face challenges after return to their villages
  9. Police violence in Jayapura - Internal police investigation body accused of negligence
  10. Three Papuans tortured and killed by security forces in Intan Jaya
  11. Update on law enforcement process in killing of Rev Yeremia Zanambani – Relatives agree on autopsy under conditions
  12. IDPs from Nduga need urgent medical care – Many children suffer scabies
  13. Merauke Police accused of hampering access to medical treatment during detention
  14. More than 600 IDPs seek shelter in Catholic church facilities in Intan Jaya
  15. West Papua Council of Churches calls for solidarity with WP
  16. Update on trial against KNPB leader – Adam Sorry sentenced to six years imprisonment
  17. Land rights conflicts in Boven Digoel – Military members intimidate indigenous land rights holders
  18. Update on trials in relation to Maybrat Police Raid – All three defendants acquitted
  19. Update on law enforcement process against KNPB leader Adam Sorry – Public prosecutor seeks a sentence of 11 years
  20. More IDPs in Intan Jaya - Residents fled violence in Ndugusiga
  21. Update on pre-trial against Merauke Police Chief - Judge rejects release of 13 political activists
  22. Update on IDP situation in Mimika – First IDPs return to their villages
  23. Update on arbitrary detention and torture of 14 activists in Merauke – Pre-trial against Merauke Police Chief
  24. Eighteen IDPs died in Jayawijaya due to lack of medical attention
  25. Extensive public support for indigenous Papuans againts the Tambrauw Military Base
  26. Top Indonesian palm oil developments in 2020
  27. Cooperation between the Archdiocese of Merauke and palm oil company causes outrage
  28. Human Rights Update West Papua - 4th Quarter 2020
  29. Attorney General establishes special team to settle 13 cases of gross human rights violations
  30. KNPB activist arrested and detained – LBH Papua condemn procedural violations

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