Papuan church congregation under police surveillance – Church members prevented from attending worship in Jayapura

The International Coalition for Papua (ICP) is concerned about the intimidation of members of a Papuan Tabernacle church (KINGMI Papua) congregation on 14 July 2019 in Jayapura. Human rights defenders claim that members of the Pauan regional police (POLDA Papua) and the Jayapura Municipality police parked a police truck, a mini bus (Toyota Avanza) and several motorcycles in front of the Anugerah Church at Lembah Bahari Street. The police officers intercepted congregation members who came to attend the Sunday morning worship at 9.00 am and checked their identity cards. Many KINGMI church members who saw the police operation were afraid to enter the church building and attend the worship.

The reason for the police operation remains unknown. However, the operation may be related to the stigma as ‘separatist church’ which the KINGMI Papua church is facing. The majority of its members consist of indigenous Papuans, originating from West Papuan regencies where the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB) has repeatedly launched attacks against Indonesian security forces throughout the past decade, such as Nduga, Paniai and Puncak Jaya. Many indigenous Papuans originating from these regencies are traumatized by presence of security forces due to human rights violations which continue to occur during security force operations.