Government imposes internet blockade after anti-racism riots in West Papua

The Government has blocked the internet in the Provinces of Papua and Papua Barat since 19 August 2019 after large scale demonstrations and several riots in multiple Papuan cities. Several media outlets reported that the blockade was eased on 5 September 2019, after the Government assessed that the situation in West Papua had 'calmed down'. Other sources claimed that the internet was still down in multiple Papuan cities. The rallies were carried out in response to acts of racial discrimination against Papuan students in the Javanese cities of Malang, Surabaya and Semarang in mid-August. The Government justified the measure, arguing that the blockade would prevent the spreading of false information and assist law enforcement personnel to calm down ongoing tensions. The head of the Papuan branch of Indonesian telecommunication provider PT. Telkom Indonesia, Mr. Charles Aronggear, confirmed that the internet restrictions were imposed by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. He stated in an interview on 26 August 2019 that it is not clear when the restrictions will be lifted again.

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Police prevents peaceful commemoration of the ‘International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples’

Members of the Lanny Jaya district police have prevented Papuan indigenous leaders to peacefully commemorate the ‘International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples’ in the highland town of Tiom. According to the chairman of the Papuan Customary Council (Dewan Adat Papua, DAP), Dominikus Sorabut, police members stopped him and 200 other DAP members on 9 August 2019 (see intro image) in front of the district police station as they were on the way to a large field in Tiom where the commemoration was supposed to take place. Police officers intercepted the group and did not allow them to go continue to Tiom. The group finally returned to Wamena.

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Commemorations of New York Agreement accompanied by arrests, violence and racism - Papuan students subjected to harassment and assaults

On 15 August 2019, the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and the Indonesian Peoples’ Front for West Papua (FRI West Papua) organised peaceful protests in multiple Indonesian cities in commemoration of the 57. Anniversary of the ‘New York Agreement’ . Simultaneously, a large-scale demonstration took place in Jayapura, Papua Province. While the peaceful demonstrations in Salatiga and Yogyakarta proceeded smoothly, security forces and members of nationalist mass organisations (ORMAS) in the Indonesian cities of Malang and Ternate dispersed the peaceful assemblies. The police responded with mass arrests which were allegedly accompanied by violent acts against the protesters.

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Update Armed Conflict in Nduga Regency: CSOs estimate a total number of 177 fatalities and more than 5.000 IDPs

The solidarity team for Nduga released a report and fact sheet on 18 July 2019 in Jakarta. According to the latest information, the armed conflict in Nduga has resulted in the deaths of 177 persons, 5 cases of disappearances and 5.201 internally displaced persons between early December 2018 and end of June 2019. The team emphasized that the figures are preliminary because the geographical conditions and the ongoing armed conflict still prevent journalists and observers from covering in the Nduga Regency. Many indigenous families continue to hide in the forest, where they live under extreme difficult conditions, facing malnutrition, hypothermia and no access to healthcare. An attempt by the head of the Papuan representative office of the national human rights commission (KOMNAS HAM Perwakilan Papua) to meet with IDPs in Nduga was aborted after members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB) opened fire at his helicopter.

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Update trial: JUT sentenced to five months imprisonment

The radical Islamic leader Jafar Umar Thalib (JUT) has been sentenced to five months imprisonment. The judge at the Makassar District court laso sentenced six of his followers to six months imprisonment. Jafar Umar Thalib and his men were charged with article 170 (1) regarding vandalism after they broke the property of a Papuan man in February 2019 – allegedly because he played Christian worship songs aloud in his front yard. After the verdict on 17.07.2019, JUT had to serve eleven more days before he was finally released.

 

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Joint Submission to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Inquiry - Media Freedom in West Papua

In June 2019, TAPOL and Jubi made a written submission to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. The Commons Select Committee has opened up an inquiry into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Global Media Freedom. TAPOL and Jubi's submission highlighted the current state of media freedom particularly in West Papua. Over the last 10 years, journalists and news organisations have faced serious threats to their personal security and have also been targeted by digital disinformation campaigns that aimed to disrupt the work of legitimate news sources and news reporting. The death of two local journalists, assaults on multiple others and several cases of international journalists being deported from Indonesia for reporting on or in West Papua underscores the lack of media freedom in West Papua.

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New law allows prosecution of foreign researchers – academics fear restrictions of academic freedom

On 16 July 2019, the Indonesian house of representatives adopted a new science and technology bill. Indonesian researchers criticized the new bill. They fear that the law may restrict academic freedom, impede collaboration with foreign research institutions and hamper scientific development in the country. The new bill allows the prosecution of foreigners conducting research without a valid permit. The violation of the law may result in a fine of IDR 4 billion [US$287,418]. According to the bill, the damage of invaluable objects or harming of people during research may be prosecuted with criminal charges carrying a maximum prison term of seven years and a fine, ranging from three to seven billion rupiahs.

 

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The Salim Group builds palm oil empire in West Papua

A coalition of Papuan civil society organisations have expressed concerns over the expansion of palm oil companies owned by the Salim Group (logo on the left). According to a fact sheet published by the NGOs WALHI Papua, Belantara, Pusaka and Vali Papua, many SALIM subsidiaries reportedly committed violations against local indigenous communities and national regulations. The Salim Group owns ten palm oil companies in the provinces of Papua and Papua Barat. However, this is just a small share of the Salim Group’s business empire. The family-run company owns investments in food, banking and telecommunications in and outside of Indonesia. Anthoni Salim, the CEO of the Salim Group, is considered the fifth richest person in Indonesia, with an estimated wealth of 5.3 billion US$.

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Constitutional court reviews law on the formation of Papua Province

A team of 15 lawyers (see intro image) representing the ‘Coalition for Advocacy and Justice of the Papuan People’ has filed a judicial review of Law 12/1969 regarding the formation of the ‘Autonomy Province of Irian Barat’. The law is the legal foundation for the acknowledgment of the 1996 Act of Free Choice and the subsequent integration of West Papua into the Indonesian Republic – at that time still referred to as Irian Barat. The coalition claims that multiple formulations in the law are representing a false view of Papuan history because they contradict historic facts regarding the implementation of the Act of Free Choice. Various international historic researches on the integration of West Papua into Indonesia came to the result that the act of free choice was not implemented in accordance with the ‘New York Agreement’ of August 1962.

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New Caledonia rejects independence from France – Next referendum possible in 2020

A referendum held in the French Pacific island territory of New Caledonia on 4 November 2018 came to the result that New Caledonia will stay a part of France. The results were not a surprise – various polls prior to the referendum had shown results of 63 to 65 per cent voting for a rejection of political independence. Still, they were by far tighter than the polls had predicted, with 56.4 per cent voting for status quo, while 43.6 per cent favouring separation from France. Observers stated that the turnout rate of over 80 per cent was exceptionally high, surpassing those of 2014 election for the territorial Congress and the 2017 French presidential election.

 

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More Articles...

  1. Papuan church congregation under police surveillance – Church members prevented from attending worship in Jayapura
  2. Commemorations of Papuan independence Proclamation – Protesters face intimidation and restrictions on freedom of assembly
  3. Update armed conflict in Nduga Regency – security force members kill indigenous woman and take her baby
  4. Human rights defenders reveal illegal gold mining operation at Siriwo River, Nabire Regency
  5. Human Rights Update West Papua - 2nd Quarter 2019
  6. 23 victims of extra-judicial killings in West Papua throughout 2018
  7. Update on ongoing military operation in Nduga Regency – death toll higher than expected
  8. Ronaldo Yawan dies during detention at police station in Biak – relatives raise allegations of torture
  9. Two prisoners die after attempted escape from Abepura Detention Facility – KOMNAS HAM suspects prison negligence
  10. Second extra-judicial killing in Wogikel Village within ten months
  11. Political detainee’s physical condition deteriorates during detention – relatives request adequate medical treatment
  12. The Mairasi Tribe protests against prolongation of logging concession
  13. Terrorist organization allegedly established training camps in West Papua
  14. Military member opens fire at group of protesters in Asmath regency – four protesters killed, another four injured
  15. AHRC on Indonesia: A Review of the Indonesian Government’s Obligation under International Human Rights Instruments in Regard to the Truth, Remedy and Justice of Gross Violations of Human Rights
  16. The WCC Executive Committee Statement: Concern and Solidarity for West Papua
  17. Government keeps restrictive policy for foreign journalists covering in West Papua
  18. Papuan provincial parliament is drafting local regulation on the settlement of human rights violations
  19. Police officers shoot two indigenous Papuans in Deiyai Regency – one victim dead another injured
  20. Update treason trials: Imprisonment sentences for five KNPB activists
  21. Amnesty International proposes human rights agenda to Indonesia's election candidates
  22. Peaceful protest in Malang attacked and dispersed - Asian Human Rights Commission launches Urgent Appeal
  23. Upset police officer pulls gun and opens fire in Asei Village, Jayapura Regency
  24. Update treason trial - Polish citizen sentenced to five years imprisonment and four years for his Papuan companion
  25. In Memoriam Father Neles Kebadabi Tebay - ‘a pioneer’
  26. Law enforcement institutions in West Papua continue to use treason for criminalization of political activists
  27. Police cracks down on peaceful West Papua demonstrations in Bali and Malang
  28. AJAR publishes new report on female victims of violence in West Papua - I am here
  29. Human rights defenders raise allegations of torture and discrimination against Nabire Police
  30. Police officers arbitrarily arrest two Papuans and a baby in Sentani – both men subjected to torture during detention

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