UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expresses concern about the situation in West Papua

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said her office was "disturbed" by the escalating violence in Papua and West Papua in the past two weeks, especially the deaths of some protestors and security forces. The OHCHR released the following Comment earlier today:

(Geneva, 4 Septermber 2019) "I have been disturbed by escalating violence in the past two weeks in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua, and especially the deaths of some protestors and security forces personnel. This is part of a trend we have observed since December 2018, and we have been discussing our concerns with the Indonesian authorities. There should be no place for such violence in a democratic and diverse Indonesia, and I encourage the authorities to engage in dialogue with the people of Papua and West Papua on their aspirations and concerns, as well as to restore internet services and refrain from any excessive use of force. Blanket internet shutdowns are likely to contravene freedom of expression and limiting communications may exacerbate tensions".

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West Papua-wide anti-racism protests accompanied by violence – eight protesters killed, 50 injured during crackdown in Waghete

Last week, anti-racism rallies in West Papua were accompanied by riots, chaos and violent crackdowns by security forces. The protests occurred in response to acts of racial discrimination and assault by security forces and nationalist mass organisations against Papuan students in the Javanese cities of Malang, Surabaya and Semarang in mid-August. The protesters also expressed their aspirations for political self-determination, arguing that Papuans are treated as ‘second-class’ citizens in Indonesia. The government deployed additional security forces in various Papuan regions and has blocked the internet across in the Provinces of Papua and Papua Barat since 19 August 2019 to prevent the spreading of information through social media and hamper media coverage on the current situation in West Papua. The worst outbreak of violence was reported from the regency of Deiyai, where the forceful dispersal of demonstrations resulted in the deaths of eight protesters. Fifty protesters were injured during the crackdown.

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Security force operation in Puncak Regency – about 800 indigenous IDPs flee their homes

According to multiple Papuan media outlets, a security force operation in the Gome District of the highland regency Puncak has resulted in the displacement of several hundred indigenous peoples, mainly women and children. Between 24 and 26 August 2019, joint security forces have conducted raids in the villages Tegelobak, Mitimaga, Kelanungin, Upaga and Ninggabuma with the goal to arrest Goliat Tabuni and Anton Tabuni, two commanders of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) controlling some areas in the regencies of Puncak and Puncak Jaya. An exchange of fire between the security forces and the TPN PB was reported from Mitimaga on 24.08.2018 around 3.00 pm.

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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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Leading ULMWP activist arrested and charged with document forgery

Members of the Jayapura municipality police have arrested the head of the politics desk of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Bazoka Logo (see intro image). The police pressed charges against Logo for alleged violation of article 266 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on document forgery. Bazoka Logo’s lawyers from the Papuan Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua), the Association of Human Rights Lawyers for Papua (PAHAM Papua) and Posbakum Madim stated that the arrest was not conducted in accordance with law enforcement procedures. They regard the arrest as an attempt to criminalize the ULMWP activist, who had organised a peaceful demonstration in commemoration of the ‘New York Agreement’ on 15 August 2019.

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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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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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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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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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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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More Articles...

  1. Update Armed Conflict in Nduga Regency: CSOs estimate a total number of 177 fatalities and more than 5.000 IDPs
  2. Joint Submission to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Inquiry - Media Freedom in West Papua
  3. The Salim Group builds palm oil empire in West Papua
  4. New Caledonia rejects independence from France – Next referendum possible in 2020
  5. Papuan church congregation under police surveillance – Church members prevented from attending worship in Jayapura
  6. Commemorations of Papuan independence Proclamation – Protesters face intimidation and restrictions on freedom of assembly
  7. Update armed conflict in Nduga Regency – security force members kill indigenous woman and take her baby
  8. Human rights defenders reveal illegal gold mining operation at Siriwo River, Nabire Regency
  9. Human Rights Update West Papua - 2nd Quarter 2019
  10. 23 victims of extra-judicial killings in West Papua throughout 2018
  11. Update on ongoing military operation in Nduga Regency – death toll higher than expected
  12. Ronaldo Yawan dies during detention at police station in Biak – relatives raise allegations of torture
  13. Two prisoners die after attempted escape from Abepura Detention Facility – KOMNAS HAM suspects prison negligence
  14. Second extra-judicial killing in Wogikel Village within ten months
  15. Political detainee’s physical condition deteriorates during detention – relatives request adequate medical treatment
  16. The Mairasi Tribe protests against prolongation of logging concession
  17. Terrorist organization allegedly established training camps in West Papua
  18. Military member opens fire at group of protesters in Asmath regency – four protesters killed, another four injured
  19. 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
  20. The WCC Executive Committee Statement: Concern and Solidarity for West Papua
  21. Government keeps restrictive policy for foreign journalists covering in West Papua
  22. Papuan provincial parliament is drafting local regulation on the settlement of human rights violations
  23. Police officers shoot two indigenous Papuans in Deiyai Regency – one victim dead another injured
  24. Update treason trials: Imprisonment sentences for five KNPB activists
  25. Amnesty International proposes human rights agenda to Indonesia's election candidates
  26. Peaceful protest in Malang attacked and dispersed - Asian Human Rights Commission launches Urgent Appeal
  27. Upset police officer pulls gun and opens fire in Asei Village, Jayapura Regency
  28. Update treason trial - Polish citizen sentenced to five years imprisonment and four years for his Papuan companion
  29. In Memoriam Father Neles Kebadabi Tebay - ‘a pioneer’
  30. Law enforcement institutions in West Papua continue to use treason for criminalization of political activists

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