Mass arrests during commemorations of International Human Rights Day in West Papua

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Every year, people around the world commemorate the 10th December as the International Human Rights Day. Commemorations in West Papua this year were organised in multiple cities: Timika, Merauke, Jayapura, Manokwari and Oksibil. In Merauke and Timika, police forces arrested a total number of 137 protesters. In Jayapura, approximately 700 police officers and additional military members blocked roads and dispersed crowds in multiple locations. Several KNPB activists, including the protest coordinator Hosea Yeimo, were allegedly ill-treated at BUPER, Waena.

In Merauke, people gathered at 7.40 am at Lingkaran Brawijaya and started a peaceful protest March to the local parliament. At 8.30, police forces blocked the road to the parliament building and arrested 41 protesters, among them two toddlers aged one and three years old. Furthermore, police forces in Timika arrested 96 protestors at around 8.00 am at the Timika Indah roundabout, as the crowd was heading towards the local parliament building. In Jayapura, the masses gathered at multiple places and tried to walk towards the roundabout in Abepura. Joint security forces blocked roads but did not conduct arrests (see intro image). Police officers forcefully dispersed a group of KNPB supporters at BUPER in Waena. Several protesters including the protest coordinator,  Hosea Yeimo, were allegedly subjected to ill-treatments.

The chief of the Jayapra Municipality Police (POLRESTA Jayapura), officer Gustaf Urbinas, justified the crowd control operations in Jayapura, arguing that the protests were organised by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), which is not officially registered and whose political agenda goes against the Indonesian ideology of a unitary state. He claimed that KNPB organizers did not receive a police permission for the protest and used the human rights commemoration to voice their political objective of a referendum.

Repressive acts during commemorations of International Human Rights Day in West Papua

Nr Place of arrest (City, Regency) Number of arrests Additional Information
1 Merauke Town (Merauke Regency) 41 Arrestees consisted of 2 toddlers as well as 3 female and 36 male protesters
2 Timika Town (Mimika Regency) 96 Police seized banners, flags and clothes with KNPB symbols and morning star emblems, arrests were allegedly accompanied by ill-treatments
3 Jayapura Town (Jayapura Municipality) - Approximately 700 police officers and additional military members blocked roads and dispersed the crowd in multiple places, several KNPB activists were allegedly ill-treated at BUPER, Waena
T O T A L 137  

 

 

Nr
Place of arrest (City, Regency)
Number of arrests
Additional Information
1
Merauke Town (Merauke Regency)
41
Arrestees consisted of 2 toddlers as well as 3 female and 36 male protesters
2
Timika Town (Mimika Regency)
96
Police seized banners, flags and clothes with KNPB symbols  and morning star emblems, arrests were allegedly accompanied by ill-treatments
3
Jayapura Town (Jayapura Municipality)
-
Approximately 700 police officers and additional military members blocked roads and dispersed the crowd in multiple places, several KNPB activists were allegedly ill-treated at BUPER, Waena
T O T A L
137