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

 

Police officers obstruct Papuan journalists covering student rally in Jayapura

Members of the police have obstructed three local journalists who covered a protest of Papuan students in front of the Cenderawasih University Auditorium in Jayapura on 23 September 2019. The chairman of the Independent Journalist Alliance in Jayapura, Lucky Ireeuw, stated that the intimidation and obstruction against Hengky Yeimo (Jubi), Benny Mawel (contributor for The Jakarta Post and Jubi) and Ardi Bayage (SuaraPapua.com) were a violation of media freedom as guaranteed under Law 40/1999 on press. The case is also emblematic for the discrimination which ethnic Papuan journalists face, particularly when they cover demonstrations on sensitive issues.

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Series of arrests continues after Papua-wide rallies against racism

One month after the first anti-racism demonstrations took place across West Papua, the police launched a series of arrests and criminalisation. Authorities have targeted political activists, human rights defenders and students. Two further arrests of students have been reported from Manokwari, Papua Barat Province. On 19 September 2019, police officers arrested Erik Aliknoe in the Gunung Salju Road for his involvement in demonstrations on 3, 6 and 11 September 2019 (see intro image). The police pressed criminal charges against him for incitement and conspiracy. Two days later police officers arrested another student named Yunus Alitnoe in his house in Manokwari without showing a warrant or providing a reason for the arrest. The parents speculated that the arrest is related to the ant-racism demonstrations in Manokwari.

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NGOs call on CGF members to take immediate action against deforestation

Ten years ago, the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) made a commitment to end deforestation in member companies’ supply chains by 2020, with an emphasis on high-risk commodities such as soy, beef, palm oil, and pulp and paper. In 2014, additional companies joined this pledge as part of the New York Declaration on Forests. These commitments represented a recognition that deforestation is a serious environmental and social concern, and a major contributor to the climate crisis – the greatest existential threat to humanity and the planet. As 2020 approaches, it is apparent that CGF companies will fail to achieve their goal of Zero Net Deforestation.

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More extra-judicial killings reported during security force operation in Puncak Regency

Further extra-judicial killings have been reported from the remote highland regency of Puncak, where a security force operation is taking place since 24 August 2019. The most recent incident occurred in the Olenki Village on 17 September 2019, in which joint security forces shot dead an indigenous villager and two children. According to the Papuan news outlet ‘Tabloid Jubi’, a sixty-year old man named Ginobinok Tabuni died inside his house. The hut was set on fire during the security force raid in the village of Tegelobak on 24 August 2019. The family was not able to rescue Ginobinok Tabuni as they fled their house in panic. It was reported that twenty houses in the villages of Tegelobak, Mitimaga and Kelanunggin were burned to the ground.

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Outbreaks of violence in Wamena and Jayapura – first counts estimate 31 civilian fatalities, 87 persons injured

Papuan human rights activists and Indonesian media sources have reported two further outbreaks of violence in the cities of Wamena and Jayapura on 23 September 2019. They seem to be related to ongoing protests against racial discrimination of indigenous Papuans in Indonesia. According to the Head of the Papuan Regional Police Public Relations Desk, AM Kamal, 28 civilians have died and 77 others were injured during the riots in Wamena, Jayawijaya Regency. In Jayapura city, a security force crackdown on Papuan students resulted in the death of three protesters and injuries among ten students. One military member was killed during the operation.

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Update on situation in Wamena and Jayapura after the riots

The recent outbreaks of violence in relation to anti-racism protests in the Papuan cities of Jayapura and Wamena have resulted in the largest number of fatalities in single incidents since the beginning of the ‘Reformasi Period’ in 1998. Statements regarding the death toll in Wamena have varied between Government officials. According to the Head of the Papuan Regional Police Public Relations Desk, Ahmad Mustafa Kamal, the police documented 29 civilian fatalities and 76 injured persons in Wamena. Moreover, 80 cars, 30 motorcycles, 150 shops and houses, a power plant and four government offices were set on fire or severely damaged. The Indonesian Police Chief, Tito Karnavian, mentioned a total number of 26 fatalities and 66 injured persons in a public interview one day later. The fatalities consist of 22 Non-Papuans and four ethnic Papuans, said Karnavian.

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3 indigenous Papuans killed, 4 wounded during security force operation in the Regency of Puncak

Human rights defenders have reported further extra-judicial killing in relation to an ongoing security force operation against the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) in the highland regency of Puncak, Papua Province. According to information received, the incident occurred on 17 September 2019 in the Olenki Village of the Mabugi District and resulted in three fatalities, among them a one-year-old baby and a ten-year-old boy (see intro image). Four indigenous women were injured during the shooting (see table below). The three women and a sixteen-year old girl were flown to Timika were they received medical treatment at the General Hospital.

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Violence escalates in West Papua - ULMWP Chairman calls for urgent UN visit to West Papua

West Papua is experiencing the worst wave of violence since decades after various protests against racial discrimination, which started in mid-August 2019, have resulted in security force crackdowns and outbreaks of horizontal violence. Two further outbreaks of violence have been reported in the cities of Wamena and Jayapura on 23 September 2019, resulting in at least 31 civilian fatalities, while 87 persons were injured. The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) has now called for an urgent UN visit to West Papua. ULMWP chairperson, Benny Wenda, said in an pressing statement on 24 September 2019 that "the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights must visit West Papua now, and the Pacific Islands Forum must help to secure this".

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Update Anti-Racism Demonstrations: Government responds with mass arrests and prosecution of activists

Almost one month has passed since the first anti-racism demonstrations in response to racist assaults against Papuan students in the Javanese cities of Malang and Surabaya took place in all cities across West Papua. The Indonesian Government has responded with mass arrests and a widespread criminalisation campaign against political activists and human rights defenders. Statistic data suggests that Indonesian police officers conducted 205 arrests and pressed criminal charges against 88 suspects between 20 August and 19 September 2019 (see table below).

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More Articles...

  1. Full response - Veronica Koman published press statement on Facebook
  2. UN experts request Indonesia to protect rights of Veronica Koman and others reporting on Papua protests
  3. Jayapura Police alleged of neglect – Nationalist militant groups attack indigenous Papuans
  4. Military members alleged of killing indigenous Papuan in Wouma District, Jayawijaya Regency
  5. Update on IDP situation in Gome, Puncak Regency – number of IDPs raise to 1.500
  6. YouTube blocks West Papua satirical video on request of the Indonesian Government
  7. Human Rights Watch urges Indonesia to investigate deaths of Papuan protesters
  8. Papua Church Leaders call for the involvement of the international community
  9. Amnesty International Press Release - Attempted criminalisation of human rights Lawyer Veronica Koman
  10. Amnesty International urges police to drop treason charges against six Papuan activists in Java
  11. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expresses concern about the situation in West Papua
  12. West Papua-wide anti-racism protests accompanied by violence – eight protesters killed, 50 injured during crackdown in Waghete
  13. Security force operation in Puncak Regency – about 800 indigenous IDPs flee their homes
  14. Leading ULMWP activist arrested and charged with document forgery
  15. Government imposes internet blockade after anti-racism riots in West Papua
  16. Police prevents peaceful commemoration of the ‘International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples’
  17. Commemorations of New York Agreement accompanied by arrests, violence and racism - Papuan students subjected to harassment and assaults
  18. Update trial: JUT sentenced to five months imprisonment
  19. New law allows prosecution of foreign researchers – academics fear restrictions of academic freedom
  20. Constitutional court reviews law on the formation of Papua Province
  21. Update Armed Conflict in Nduga Regency: CSOs estimate a total number of 177 fatalities and more than 5.000 IDPs
  22. Joint Submission to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Inquiry - Media Freedom in West Papua
  23. The Salim Group builds palm oil empire in West Papua
  24. New Caledonia rejects independence from France – Next referendum possible in 2020
  25. Papuan church congregation under police surveillance – Church members prevented from attending worship in Jayapura
  26. Commemorations of Papuan independence Proclamation – Protesters face intimidation and restrictions on freedom of assembly
  27. Update armed conflict in Nduga Regency – security force members kill indigenous woman and take her baby
  28. Human rights defenders reveal illegal gold mining operation at Siriwo River, Nabire Regency
  29. Human Rights Update West Papua - 2nd Quarter 2019
  30. 23 victims of extra-judicial killings in West Papua throughout 2018

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