Police officers arbitrarily arrest two Papuans and a baby in Sentani – both men subjected to torture during detention

The Association of Human Rights Lawyers for Papua (PAHAM Papua) has documented another case of arbitrary arrest and torture in the town of Sentani, Jayapura Regency. Police officers of the Sentani District Police arrested Atison Bahabol (20 years), Eki Balingga (20 years) and his 13-months-old son Namu Balingga on 5 April 2019, at 7.13 pm, at the Soloikma Dormitory, which is located in the Ceria residential area of Sentani. Prior to the arrest, a political activist named Basoka Logo had posted pictures of Atison Bahabol and Eki Balingga with his family holding a leaflet with the slogan ‘Mobilisation for Referendum – Rally for Referendum - Boycott the elections on 17 April 2019’ on Facebook (see top image). According to PAHAM Papua, the police officer did not show arrest warrants as they conducted the arrests.


Joint Conference by the International Coalition for Papua, the Westpapua-Netzwerk, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International

The International Coalition for Papua (ICP) together with the Westpapua-Netzwerk (WPN), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) will host a conference on the human rights situation in West Papua. The conference carries the title `Indonesia after Elections: Prospects for Human Rights Reforms and Conflict Resolution?´ and will take place in Berlin (Kleinmachnow) on the 14 and 15 May 2019. Among the speakers will be Andreas Harsono (HRW), Papang Hidayat (AI Indonesia) as well as human rights defenders and journalists from West Papua. The ICP has also invited German politicians, lawyers and legal experts who will share their analysis on recent human rights developments in West Papua in several panel discussions.

A program and registration information of the event can be downloaded here

Human Rights Update West Papua – April 2019, covering January – March 2019

The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) due to either armed conflict or natural disasters continued to increase during the first quarter of 2019. The ongoing armed conflict in the Nduga regency has reportedly led to the displacement of more than 36.000 people between December 2018 and March 2019. President Joko Widodo has ordered strong military measures against the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) in order to continue with the implementation of large-scale infrastructure projects in the provinces of Papua and Papua Barat, making a withdrawal of security forces from the Nduga Regency highly unlikely. In addition, a flash flood and landslides in the Jayapura area on 16 March 2019 caused the displacement of further estimated 5.000 people.


Devastating flash flood and landslides hit Jayapura

Heavy rains have caused a devastating flash flood on 16 March 2019. Landslides and floods have mainly affected the city of Sentani in the regency of Jayapura, Papua Province. The flash flood reportedly hit the city around 9.30 pm (East Indonesia Time). A few hours later around 0.15 am, a large landslide also came down in Jayapura City (see map below). The heavy rainfalls also lead to the raise of water level in the Sentani lake, causing the displacement of many people from the Sentani tribe, whose houses are located on the lakeside. . A government report estimates that at least 105 persons died during the natural disasters, 82 persons are reported missing, 915 persons were injured and more than 5000 persons were displaced. Apart from the destruction of houses, the flood also severely damaged the infrastructure in Jayapura Regency, such as bridges, schools and places of worship.


Police officers arbitrarily arrest market women in Wamena – one person sustains bullet injury

Human rights defenders have reported another case of ill-treatment in Wamena, the main city of the Jayawijaya Regency, Papua Province. The case occurred on 26 March 2019 at 1.00 pm, as four plain cloth officers of the Jayawijaya District Police were monitoring a local store in Trikora Road, in front of the local military command, where they suspected illegal gambling activities. Twenty-three-year-old Vinsen Kosay sustained a bullet injury in the right foot as he was standing next to the store while the officers arbitrarily arrested three indigenous women, named Kalina Tabuni, Mia Dabi and Mama Rumbewas. The bullet pierced his foot from the outside to the sole (see intro image). The women were selling betel nuts and vegetables in front of the store.


Police raise criminal charges against radical Islamic leader Jafar Umar Thalib and followers

The police has raised criminal charges against the radical Islamic leader Jafar Umar Thalib (JUT) and six of his followers. The seven men allegedly damaged the loudspeakers in front of a private house in the Muara Tami District of Jayapura Regency and physically ill-treated a minor on the 27 February 2019. JUT and his followers allegedly felt disturbed because the owner of the house often played loud Christian worship songs. The police charged the suspects with article 170, paragraph (2),1 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) about the use of physical violence against objects or people and emergency law 12/1951 on carrying, mastering and possessing sharp weapons without permission.


Allegations on violence against visitors and negligence at the Siriwini General Hospital in Nabire

The ICP received credible information on various cases of human rights violations at the Siriwini General Hospital in the city of Nabire, Papua Province. The Papuan Tabernacle Church has raised concerns over new policies at the public hospital which have resulted in multiple civil rights violations. In addition, human rights defenders raised a case indicating the neglect of minimum health quality standards. An alleged neglect caused the death of a four-year-old child in June 2018.

The director of Siriwini General Hospital, Dr. Johni Ribo Tandasau, has introduced visitor cards (see image on the left) for relatives and friends who come to the hospital to visit the patients. Visitors have to purchase the cards for IDR 50.000, approximately € 3,30. The director has justified the policy, claiming that too many visitors and repeated confrontation under the influence of alcohol disturb the recovery of patients and have allegedly resulted in an increased mortality rate at the Siriwini hospital.


Update on security force operation in Nduga: Approximately 2000 indigenous Papuans displaced, 13 IDPs reported dead

Ongoing security force operations in multiple districts of the Nduga regency have caused the displacement of thousands of indigenous people. Human rights defenders claim that the internally displaced people (IDPs) originate from thirteen districts in the Nduga Regency which have been affected by the military operation, namely the districts Mbuwa, Dal, Mbulmu Yalma, Mapenduma, Yigi, Nirkuri, Kageam, Paro, Mebarok, Gesekema, Jengelo, Amala and Kilimid. 407 IDPs had sought shelter in the neighboring district Kwiyawagi after the first security force attacks in early December. As the armed attacks continued, many IDPs fled towards the regencies Jayawijaya, Mimika and Lani Jaya. The media outlet BBC Indonesia reported in early March 2019, that approximately 2000 IDPs from Nduga are estimated to have sought refuge in the regency of Jayawijaya alone. The IDPs live with families from the Nduga Regency who have built temporary accommodations, mostly in the areas Wouma, Ilekma, Hom-Hom and Welesi.


Update on armed conflict in Nduga: Number of casualties on the rise as armed clashes continue

The Foundation for Justice and the Integrity of Papuan Peoples (YKKMP) has published a new report with updated information on the current situation in the regency of Nduga. Since the beginning of a widespread security force operation on 4 December 2018, journalists, human rights defenders and observers are restricted from going to the Nduga Regency. The number of civilian casualties is rising as the armed clashes between Indonesian security forces and the West Papua Liberation Army continues. Local human rights organisations have documented the cases of at least eleven indigenous Papuans, who have been killed by security force members since the commencement of the military operations (see table below), which have been ongoing since 4 December 2018.


Nine KNPB activists unlawfully arrested in Merauke – one activist subjected to physical ill-treatment

Three members of the Indonesian special forces (KOPASSUS) intercepted nine activists of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and a five-year-old girl on 24 February 2019 around at 4.30 pm in Kelapa Lima, an area in the Papuan town of Merauke. The soldiers started to argue with the KNPB members because they wore shirts with emblems of the morning start flag – a symbol of Papuan cultural identity which is also used by the separatist movement. Subsequently, the special force members called a police patrol car, which upon the police officers arrested the nine KNPB members and 5-year-old Martina Yawon. The security forces brought the activists to the Merauke District Police station.