IPAC publishes new report - Numbers matter, The 2020 census and conflict in Papua

The Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) has published a new report discussing conflict-related issues and challenges in West Papua for the implementation of the upcoming census  in 2020. Increasing polarization of West Papua's civil society have resulted in high potential for horizontal conflicts. As tensions keep growing in the provinces of Papua and Papua Barat, provincial and local government institutions have failed to produce valid demographic data on West Papua's population.

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1,200 Papuan students return to Meepago area - Police arrests 19 protesters during peaceful assembly in Nabire

The Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Desk (JPIC) of the Papuan Tabernacle Church (KINGMI Papua) have reported further arrests of students in the Papuan town of Nabire. According to JPIC Kingmi Papua, 1,200 students from Meepago, one of the seven customary regions in West Papua, have interrupted their studies in other Indonesian cities and returned to their homes because they feared further racism-motivated attacks like the ones that took place in the Javanese cities of Malang and Surabaya in mid-August 2019. The students built a refugee post in Nabire in early September. Around 720 students gathered at the refugee post for almost two months. The students sent letters to the regents in Meepago and requested an audience in order to discuss their situation with the local government representatives.

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2019 Press Freedom Index in Papua Province lowest in Indonesia

A national survey on press freedom came to the result that the province of Papua has the lowest Press Freedom Index (PFI) in Indonesia for 2019. The PFI was determined based on 20 indicators. Four-hundred-eight specialists from 34 Indonesian provinces participated in the survey. According to the survey, the highest level of press freedom exists in the province of Central Sulawesi with a PFI of 84.84 out of a maximum score of 100. The PFI in the province of Papua raised from 59.3 in 2018 to 66.56 in 2019. However, this score marks the lowest among all 34 provinces in Indonesia.

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Update: Crackdown on student protest in Jayapura – four killed victims confirmed

One month has passed since security forces cracked down on a peaceful student protest in the Papuan city of Jayapura, on 23 September 2019. While early information regarding the circumstances of the incident and the number of victims varied among different sources, the identities of the killed protesters have now been confirmed. The four students Ason Mujizau, Jery Murib, Otier Wenda and Eremanus Wesareak, were killed as security forces opened fire at the crowd in Waena, Jayapura. Human rights organisations are still investigating the tragic incident, which occurred almost simultaneously with anti-racism riots in Wamena. According to information received, the four students died as a result of bullet injuries. Ason Mijizau sustained two bleeding injuries to the right thigh, a bleeding wound to the right leg (10 cm long), a bleeding wound at the right side of the lower ribs (5 cm long) and a fractured leg.

Human rights defenders find grave in Nduga Regency – Evidence points to involvement of Indonesian military members

The Foundation for Justice and Integrity of the Papuan People (YKKMP) reported that a team of helpers have found a grave near Iniye Village, in the Regency of Nduga, where a security force operation has been taking place since early December 2018. On 9 October 2019, the team went to the Nduga regency in search for a group of five persons who had been missing since 20 September 2019. The grave was found at the Kanbobo mountain. According to YKKMP, the grave had been camouflaged with tree branches, moss, grass and leaves (see image below). The excavation team found outdoor stoves, socks and canned food as used by the Indonesian army in an abandoned camp near the grave. Furthermore, the team found two bullet casings next to the grave.

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Mysterious death of student in Enarotali – Police excludes murder as cause of death

The body of senior high school student, A. Mote (17 years), was found on 25.09.2019 in Ekeitadi Village, Enarotali, Paniai Regency. Villagers found the body – the clothes were broken and had presumable blood stains. The victim's trousers were partly ripped off the body. The alleged cause of death was a deep injury on the backside of the neck (see image) which appeared to be caused by external violence. The local police brought the body to the Madi General hospital for an autopsy. According to the police, the autopsy indicates that A. Mote died as a result of a traffic accident. However, the autopsy results were not shared with the victim’s family. Relatives suspect that the police are trying to avoid a criminal investigation into the case. They believe that A. Mote was killed in a different location and the body was later dumped in Ekaitadi Village.

Anti-racism riot in Wamena affects education and medical services in the regencies Jayawijaya and Yahukimo

The anti-racism riot in Wamena continues to affect education and medical services in the central highlands. Many non-Papuans who work in the central highlands of West Papua - among them many teachers, doctors and health workers - left in fear of ethnic violence. In the regency of Jayawijaya, the riot has caused the demolition of 25 education facilities including kindergartens, primary schools and high schools. Although schools in Wamena re-opened on 7 October 2019, many students and teachers are still traumatised after the riot and stay away from class. More than 8,000 persons in the Jayawijaya regency living with HIV/AIDS reportedly face difficulties to access health services and antiretroviral medication because 27 health centres (Puskesmas) in the areas around Wamena closed due to lack of medical staff. Medical services and education facilities in Wamena have resumed work after deployment of additional security forces.

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Amnesty International - Papua visit shows President Widodo still neglecting human rights

The following press statement was released by Amnesty International on 28.10.2019:

Papua visit shows President Widodo still neglecting human rights

As President Joko Widodo concludes a three-day visit to Papua, Usman Hamid, Amnesty International Indonesia's Executive Director said:

"Time and time again, President Widodo has made grand promises to appease Papuans. As he embarks on his second term, his government still fails to recognize that there is still a human rights crisis in Papua. A few photo opportunities and speeches about infrastructure and economic incentives will not paper over it.

"President Widodo visited Wamena today, but his government has yet to initiate a thorough, impartial, independent and effective investigation into last month's tragedy there– one of Indonesia's bloodiest days in 20 years. Security forces suspected to be responsible for human rights violations including cases of excessive use of force and criminal offences must be brought to justice in fair trials.

 

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Update on Biak police detention suicide case – Victim’s family demand transparency and justice

The national human rights mechanisms in Indonesia remain highly ‘unattractive’ for victims of human rights violations and their relatives, contributing to conditions in which perpetrators of security forces enjoy impunity while the victims fail to access justice and restitution. The case of Ronaldo Yawan (21 years) is emblematic for the shortcomings of Indonesia’s national human rights system. Ronaldo was found dead on 15 June 2018 in his detention cell in Biak, tow days after police officers arrested and detained him. The officers claimed that Ronaldo Yawan hung himself using his belt. For four months, Ronaldo’s relatives have in vain requested a transparent investigation into his death.

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Update: Riot in Wamena – Chronology of events and consequences of the riot

The riot in Wamena must be understood as part of a series of anti-racism protests in all major cities across West Papua. The protests occurred in response to racist acts against Papuan students in the Javanese cities of Malang, Surabaya and Semerang between 16 and 18 August 2019. In contrast to previous riots in Jayapura, Waghete, Manokwari, Sorong, Timika and others, the riot in Wamena was reportedly triggered by a specific incident that occurred in a public school in Wamena several days prior to the other riots. The riot in Wamena marked the worst outbreak of violence in a single incident since the end of the military dictatorship under President Suharto. This article was compiled based on information from independent human rights defenders and news articles published by multiple media outlets.

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  1. Appointment of Prabowo as Defense Minister met with criticism by human rights activists
  2. Update Anti-Racism Protests: 93 protestors and activists charged within the past two months
  3. Update Nduga Regency: Security force operation still ongoing – death toll estimated at 189
  4. West Papua conflict exacerbates after racist assaults against Papuan students - An analysis
  5. Human Rights Update West Papua - 3rd Quarter 2019
  6. President Jokowi willing to meet with representatives of independence movement
  7. Amnesty International deeply concerned about increasing use of “makar” against Papuans - Open Letter to President Joko Widodo
  8. Ecumenical Forum of Papuan Churches further appeal to President Joko Widodo
  9. Papua Church Leaders urge the Indonesian Government to withdraw army and police from Papua
  10. Police officers obstruct Papuan journalists covering student rally in Jayapura
  11. Series of arrests continues after Papua-wide rallies against racism
  12. More extra-judicial killings reported during security force operation in Puncak Regency
  13. Update on situation in Wamena and Jayapura after the riots
  14. Violence escalates in West Papua - ULMWP Chairman calls for urgent UN visit to West Papua
  15. NGOs call on CGF members to take immediate action against deforestation
  16. Outbreaks of violence in Wamena and Jayapura – first counts estimate 31 civilian fatalities, 87 persons injured
  17. 3 indigenous Papuans killed, 4 wounded during security force operation in the Regency of Puncak
  18. Update Anti-Racism Demonstrations: Government responds with mass arrests and prosecution of activists
  19. Full response - Veronica Koman published press statement on Facebook
  20. UN experts request Indonesia to protect rights of Veronica Koman and others reporting on Papua protests
  21. Jayapura Police alleged of neglect – Nationalist militant groups attack indigenous Papuans
  22. Military members alleged of killing indigenous Papuan in Wouma District, Jayawijaya Regency
  23. Update on IDP situation in Gome, Puncak Regency – number of IDPs raise to 1.500
  24. YouTube blocks West Papua satirical video on request of the Indonesian Government
  25. Human Rights Watch urges Indonesia to investigate deaths of Papuan protesters
  26. Papua Church Leaders call for the involvement of the international community
  27. Amnesty International Press Release - Attempted criminalisation of human rights Lawyer Veronica Koman
  28. Amnesty International urges police to drop treason charges against six Papuan activists in Java
  29. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expresses concern about the situation in West Papua
  30. West Papua-wide anti-racism protests accompanied by violence – eight protesters killed, 50 injured during crackdown in Waghete