12 KNPB Activists in Merauke provisionally released from police detention

The Merauke police provisionally released 12 activists of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) on 2 April 2021 (see photo, source: KNPB Merauke). According to multiple media sources, the local police claimed that the suspects were released to celebrate Easter with their families. Lawyers argued that the statement was just a pretext to distract the public from the remaining period of detention, which will expire on 12 April 2021 if the police do not come up with sufficient evidence for further processing of the case. They also demanded the police to issue a letter confirming that the police will not continue the criminal investigation (Bhs Indonesia: Surat Penetapan Penghentian Penyidikan or SP3) in the case once the detention period has expired.

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Temianus Wandikbo sentenced to 16 months for alleged involvement in Freeport shooting

On 30 March 2021, a panel of judges at the Timika District Court sentenced Temianus Wandikbo (see photo, source: Jubi) to 16 months imprisonment for his alleged involvement in the killing of a foreign employee as regulated under Article 338 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) in conjunction with Article 56 (1) KUHP. Members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) attacked the office of mining company PT Freeport Indonesia in Kuala Kencana on 30 March 2020, killed one employee and injured two others with firearms during the incident. Temianus Wandikbo claims that the TPN PB members forced him to carry a bag with unknown content up the hill to a location near the crime site before he was allowed to return to his village. All witnesses testified at court that they did not see him during the shooting at the Freeport office.

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Further case of enforced disappearance causes ethnic tensions in Nduga

Human rights defenders have revealed a further case of enforced disappearance in the Nduga Regency, where the armed conflict between the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) and Indonesian security forces has been ongoing since December 2018. According to information received, Yermias Nagen was arrested by military members on 29 March 2021 near his garden. His wife witnessed a group of soldiers bringing him into the forest. A team of police investigators found traces of human blood but no clues pointing at Yermias Nagen. Shortly after the incident, people in the town of Kenyam went on the streets, demanding the police to find the perpetrators. Several protesters reportedly broke a store owned by migrants in response to the incident. The relatives confirmed that Yermias Nagen was not affiliated with the TPN PB.

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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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Update on the situation of IDPs from Nduga and Intan Jaya – Activists confirm further fatalities

Human rights defenders have exposed updated information on the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the regencies Nduga and Intan Jaya. Humanitarian helpers working with IDPs from Intan Jaya confirmed the deaths of at least nine IDPs. The majority of fatalities were reported from the town of Nabire, where about 3,000 IDPs from Intan Jaya have sought temporary shelter. Children are particularly affected by the displacement situation. Many internally displaced children (IDCs) do not go to school since they fled their homes. Besides, they are highly vulnerable to health issues, a common problem among many IDPs due to malnutrition and bad hygienic conditions in refugee shelters.

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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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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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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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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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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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More Articles...

  1. Police investigates 13 palm oil investors in Papua Barat Province
  2. Jakarta deploys new troops to West Papua whilst turning a blind eye on IDPs – civil society groups try to compensate Government neglect
  3. Indius Sambom sentenced to 20 months imprisonment – Lawyers say verdict not based on facts
  4. Two Papuan students arrested and detained in Jakarta
  5. Bloodshed in Intan Jaya continues - Military members kill high school student
  6. Military members shoot dead a Papuan with disability in Intan Jaya
  7. Update on criminalisation of KNPB activists in Merauke – Kristian Yandum dies during police detention
  8. Papuan couple arbitrarily arrested, beaten and detained – both victims demand strict sanctions against police and public prosecutor
  9. Protests against formation of Papua Tengah Province continue – Thousands of people in Dogiyai go to the streets
  10. Deforestation cause floods in the Keerom Regency
  11. Government plans to establish Papua Tengah Province - Military members create manipulated video to promote administrative partition
  12. Update on situation of IDPs from Mimika – IDPs face challenges after return to their villages
  13. Police violence in Jayapura - Internal police investigation body accused of negligence
  14. Three Papuans tortured and killed by security forces in Intan Jaya
  15. Update on law enforcement process in killing of Rev Yeremia Zanambani – Relatives agree on autopsy under conditions
  16. IDPs from Nduga need urgent medical care – Many children suffer scabies
  17. Merauke Police accused of hampering access to medical treatment during detention
  18. More than 600 IDPs seek shelter in Catholic church facilities in Intan Jaya
  19. West Papua Council of Churches calls for solidarity with WP
  20. Update on trial against KNPB leader – Adam Sorry sentenced to six years imprisonment
  21. Land rights conflicts in Boven Digoel – Military members intimidate indigenous land rights holders
  22. Update on trials in relation to Maybrat Police Raid – All three defendants acquitted
  23. Update on law enforcement process against KNPB leader Adam Sorry – Public prosecutor seeks a sentence of 11 years
  24. More IDPs in Intan Jaya - Residents fled violence in Ndugusiga
  25. Update on pre-trial against Merauke Police Chief - Judge rejects release of 13 political activists
  26. Update on IDP situation in Mimika – First IDPs return to their villages
  27. Update on arbitrary detention and torture of 14 activists in Merauke – Pre-trial against Merauke Police Chief
  28. Eighteen IDPs died in Jayawijaya due to lack of medical attention
  29. Extensive public support for indigenous Papuans againts the Tambrauw Military Base
  30. Top Indonesian palm oil developments in 2020

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