Human Rights in Papua 2011

Since 2003, the Faith-based Network on West Papua (FBN) has supported the religious leaders of Papua in their campaign “Papua, land of peace”.

The project aims to create a peaceful and just Papua where its indigenous population lives without fear and experiences social equality, economic prosperity and the rule of law. In other words, a place where human rights are guaranteed for all people regardless of their religious and ethnic background. For decades, the indigenous people of Papua have been suffering under militarization, human rights violations, exploitation and discrimination. In 1998, Indonesia entered a reform and democratisation process which improved the human rights legislation and the development of institutions. However, in Indonesia’s easternmost province the in digenous people of Papua remain subject to severe human rights violations committed by Indonesian security forces and state authorities.


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To date, the Indonesian Government barely provides access for international journalists, humanitarian aid and human rights organisations to Papua. Due to isolation from the outside world, the human rights situation in Papua has remained undocumented for decades. Indigenous human rights defenders still face intimidation and harassment in their work for justice and accountability. With the alleged killing in 2010 of the critical journalist Ardiansyah Matra’is, the situation of human rights defenders deteriorated further.

In 2010, hundreds of indigenous people participated in peaceful demonstrations in the cities of Papua demanding human rights, justice and accountability for human rights violations. In July, the indigenous community returned Law No. 21/2001 on Special Autonomy for Papua to the Indonesian Government as its regulations had barely been implemented by the state. Despite improved legislation, a Human Rights Court and a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Papua have never become a reality. While the perpetrators of torture and extrajudicial killings enjoy impunity, indigenous Papuans making use of their civil and political rights are facing detention and conviction. To date, the Indonesian Authorities in Papua employ the articles of the Indonesian Criminal Code that deal with subversion and incitement against indigenous Papuans who peacefully express their opinion in demonstrations, protests and publications. In 2010, critical Papuan voices were again put behind bars.

Economic and political interests in Papua remain the driving force behind the human rights violations in Indonesia’s easternmost region. In August 2010, the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) was launched in the Merauke Regency, Papua Province, with the view to developing a plantation of 1.2 million hectares for cash-crops. This development poses a threat to the economic, social and cultural survival of the indigenous people in southern Papua. Violations of land rights and violations of Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) are reported from numerous indigenous villages affected by MIFEE and other areas of natural resources exploitation.

The Human Rights Report 2010/2011 by the Faith-based Network on West Papua (FBN) documents social, political, economic, and cultural human rights violations against the indigenous people of Papua in 2010/2011. It does not claim to be exhaustive as many human rights violations in Papua remain unreported to date. The report aims at documenting what we know is happening in Papua at present. Local, national and international organizations and individuals provided their expertise on the human rights situation in Papua and made this compilation of articles possible. May it strengthen the cause of the religious leaders in Papua to create a “Papua, land of peace.”

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