Update: Riot in Wamena – Chronology of events and consequences of the riot

The riot in Wamena must be understood as part of a series of anti-racism protests in all major cities across West Papua. The protests occurred in response to racist acts against Papuan students in the Javanese cities of Malang, Surabaya and Semerang between 16 and 18 August 2019. In contrast to previous riots in Jayapura, Waghete, Manokwari, Sorong, Timika and others, the riot in Wamena was reportedly triggered by a specific incident that occurred in a public school in Wamena several days prior to the other riots. The riot in Wamena marked the worst outbreak of violence in a single incident since the end of the military dictatorship under President Suharto. This article was compiled based on information from independent human rights defenders and news articles published by multiple media outlets.

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Appointment of Prabowo as Defense Minister met with criticism by human rights activists

Mr. Prabowo Subianto lost the April election to Joko Widodo by around 17 million votes, accused the government of electoral fraud and urged supporters to take the streets to oppose the electoral outcome, which resulted extreme political violence. However, in a twist of events, Mr. Subianto expressed his support to President Jokowi and his willingness to unite and help.

Now, some months after the two men took selfies together at the presidential palace and were apparently in discussions about joining forces in a coalition, President Jokowi has officially appointed his former opponent as Defense Ministry as he inaugurated his new Cabinet.

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Update Anti-Racism Protests: 93 protestors and activists charged within the past two months

According to the spokesperson of the Papuan Regional Police, Commissioner Ahmad Mustofa Kamal, the police has pressed criminal charges against 93 protestors and activists due 10 October 2019. All prosecutions occurred within a timeframe of two months. The number excludes a series of arrests that occurred in Jakarta in early September 2019. The majority of prosecutions occurred in relation to the anti-racism riots in the Papuan cities of Jayapura,  Wamena and Waghete as well as the violent dispersal of a demonstration by Papuan students in Waena, a suburb of Jayapura.

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President Jokowi willing to meet with representatives of independence movement

Multiple news outlets reported that President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is willing to meet with representatives of the Papuan independence movement. A journalist had asked President Jokowi in front of the presidential palace on 30 September 2019 whether he was ready for a dialogue with pro-independence groups. “I will meet anyone who wants to meet me”, Jokowi replied. Jokowi’s statement contrasts the position expressed by several ministers of his cabinet. On 5 September 2019, the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, Wiranto, stated in another interview there was clear evidence for the involvement of two local organizations in the 'foreign conspiracy', namely ULMWP (United Liberation Movement West Papua) and KNPB (Komisi Nasional Papua Barat) under coordination of Benny Wenda.

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Update Nduga Regency: Security force operation still ongoing – death toll estimated at 189

The death toll among civilians from the Nduga Regency keeps on rising. Human rights defenders counted a total number of 189 civilian fatalities between early December 2018 and 10 October 2019. According to a report published in Jakarta in mid-July 2019, the death toll was at 177 persons, while thousands of indigenous peoples from Nduga have been internally displaced.

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Amnesty International deeply concerned about increasing use of “makar” against Papuans - Open Letter to President Joko Widodo

In relation to the mass arrests and prosecution of activists in Papua in the last weeks, Amnesty International has released on 2 October 2019 an open letter on the increasing use of makar charges against Papuan activists to stifle freedom of expression. AI calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Papuan activists facing treason charges. The letter, adressed to the President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo, reads as follows:

Your Excellency:
Amnesty International is writing to express our deep concern about the sudden surge in the use of makar charges against at least 22 Papuan activists in Jakarta and Papua over the past few weeks based on their peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. The activists are being charged and detained under Articles 106 and 110 of Indonesia's Criminal Code (KUHP), which cover crimes against the security of the state and impose life imprisonment as a maximum punishment.

 

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West Papua conflict exacerbates after racist assaults against Papuan students - An analysis

This article provides a summary and analysis of important developments in West Papua between mid-August and end of September 2019. A series of incidents in the island of Java triggered protests and riots in multiple Papuan cities. The subsequent outbreaks of ethnic horizontal violence and human rights violations in relation to violent security force crackdowns mark the worst aggravation of the West Papua conflict since the downfall of president Suharto in 1998. The long-standing conflict has shaken Indonesia’s easternmost provinces Papua and Papua Barat for over 50 years, yet a sustainable solution for the conflict is out of sight. The Government continues to control the escalation with a security-based conflict approach.

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Ecumenical Forum of Papuan Churches further appeal to President Joko Widodo

In addition to the pastoral appeal for solidarity and action and the second appeal to withdraw army and police from Papua among other requests, the Church Leaders and from GKI Tanah Papua, GIDI, Fellowship of Baptist Churches and KINGMI Papua have signed on 1 October 2019 an open letter to President Joko Widodo.. Through this Letter the Ecumenical Forum of Churches in the Land of Papua: Pastor Andirkus Mofu, Pastor Dorman Wandikbo, Pastor Socrates Yoman and Pastor Benny Giay, faced with the reality of the problems explained above make the following recommendations:

a. In order for the Papuan problem to be solved there should be peaceful negotiations as the Indonesian Government did with GAM from Aceh which ended with the Helsinky Agreement. In this spirit we submitted our Pastoral Letter on August 26, 2019 to the National Police Chief and the Army Commander; Point 6 of the Pastoral Letter urges the Government of Indonesia to act fairly towards Papua by negotiating with ULMWP and OPM that would give birth to a new Treaty in whichever location was agreed with ULMWP and the Government of Indonesia (eg. Sydney, New York, Washington or Amsterdam).

b. Stop all efforts to divert the issue of racism to other matters (point 2 and 3 above) and free the prisoners that are held by the Papuan Police which we see as part of b.1. Direct talks to tackle the roots of the problem should not give rise to new problems such as the decentralization or break up of the Province or the building of a Palace etc. and does not serve those who continue to scapegoat those who they consider "separatists", accusing Benny Wenda or ULMWP as provocateurs.

 

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Human Rights Update West Papua - 3rd Quarter 2019

The 3rd quarter of 2019 was characterized by a significant and rapid escalation of the conflict in West Papua since mid-August with riots, horizontal violence and human rights violations taking place in several Papuan cities. The outbreaks of violence were triggered by acts of racial discrimination and assault against Papuan students in multiple Javanese cities. They constitute the worst escalations of violence in West Papua since the downfall of the military dictatorship under President Suharto. Long-growing tensions between indigenous Papuans and Indonesian migrants have for the first time manifested in outbreaks of horizontal violence against particular ethnic groups causing deaths among the non-indigenous and the indigenous population. The Indonesian police reportedly neglected attacks against indigenous residents while non-Papuans militant groups enjoy impunity.

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Papua Church Leaders urge the Indonesian Government to withdraw army and police from Papua

In addition to the appeal for solidarity and action to the international community on the deteriorating security situation in the land of Papua, the Church Leaders from GKI Tanah Papua, GIDI, Fellowship of Baptist Churches and KINGMI Papua have signed on 13 September 2019 another Pastoral Appeal. Through this Letter of Appeal, the four Church Leaders and members of the Ecumenical Forum of Churches in Papua: Pastor Andirkus Mofu, Pastor Dorman Wandikbo, Pastor Socrates Yoman and Pastor Benny Giay call for the presence of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, as well as independent Human Rights Organisations and foreign journalists to investigate the crimes. They also urge the Government of Indonesia to release imprisoned protesters, withdraw the army and police from Nduga and all of Papua and agree to dialogue with the ULMWP. Moreover, this last appeal provides a detailed account of victims killed and wounded in Jayapura and Deiyai Regencies between 29 August and 1 September 2019.

Download the Pastoral Letter of Appeal as PDF here

 

More Articles...

  1. Police officers obstruct Papuan journalists covering student rally in Jayapura
  2. Series of arrests continues after Papua-wide rallies against racism
  3. More extra-judicial killings reported during security force operation in Puncak Regency
  4. Update on situation in Wamena and Jayapura after the riots
  5. Violence escalates in West Papua - ULMWP Chairman calls for urgent UN visit to West Papua
  6. NGOs call on CGF members to take immediate action against deforestation
  7. Outbreaks of violence in Wamena and Jayapura – first counts estimate 31 civilian fatalities, 87 persons injured
  8. 3 indigenous Papuans killed, 4 wounded during security force operation in the Regency of Puncak
  9. Update Anti-Racism Demonstrations: Government responds with mass arrests and prosecution of activists
  10. Full response - Veronica Koman published press statement on Facebook
  11. UN experts request Indonesia to protect rights of Veronica Koman and others reporting on Papua protests
  12. Jayapura Police alleged of neglect – Nationalist militant groups attack indigenous Papuans
  13. Military members alleged of killing indigenous Papuan in Wouma District, Jayawijaya Regency
  14. Update on IDP situation in Gome, Puncak Regency – number of IDPs raise to 1.500
  15. YouTube blocks West Papua satirical video on request of the Indonesian Government
  16. Human Rights Watch urges Indonesia to investigate deaths of Papuan protesters
  17. Papua Church Leaders call for the involvement of the international community
  18. Amnesty International Press Release - Attempted criminalisation of human rights Lawyer Veronica Koman
  19. Amnesty International urges police to drop treason charges against six Papuan activists in Java
  20. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expresses concern about the situation in West Papua
  21. West Papua-wide anti-racism protests accompanied by violence – eight protesters killed, 50 injured during crackdown in Waghete
  22. Security force operation in Puncak Regency – about 800 indigenous IDPs flee their homes
  23. Leading ULMWP activist arrested and charged with document forgery
  24. Government imposes internet blockade after anti-racism riots in West Papua
  25. Police prevents peaceful commemoration of the ‘International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples’
  26. Commemorations of New York Agreement accompanied by arrests, violence and racism - Papuan students subjected to harassment and assaults
  27. Update trial: JUT sentenced to five months imprisonment
  28. New law allows prosecution of foreign researchers – academics fear restrictions of academic freedom
  29. Constitutional court reviews law on the formation of Papua Province
  30. Update Armed Conflict in Nduga Regency: CSOs estimate a total number of 177 fatalities and more than 5.000 IDPs

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