Press release: New Report on the West Papua Human Rights and Conflict Situation published by the ICP

The International Coalition for Papua together with the Westpapua-Netzwerk has published in February 2020 a new report called "Human Rights and Conflict Escalation in West Papua". The report, which gives a comprehensive overview of the human rights, conflict and development situation in one of the most forgotten conflict regions of the world, was presented in a press conference earlier today in Geneva. The joint report shows how West Papua became more than before a hot spot for human rights violations and armed conflict in Indonesia and in the Asia-Pacific region.

The report covers the human rights, conflict and development situation in Indonesia's easternmost provinces of Papua and Papua Barat. The International Coalition for Papua (ICP) and the Westpapua-Netzwerk (WPN) are publishing this joint report after more than two years of extensive documentation and research work in close collaboration with local groups in West Papua and in Jakarta. Twenty-seven stakeholders - consisting of local, national and international NGOs, faith-based organisations and international experts - have contributed to the publication, making it a comprehensive and accurate compilation of events throughout the past years.

"The pattern of human rights violations differs markedly from other regions in the archipelago, due to the unresolved political conflict and serious development deficits", said Peter Prove, Director for International Affairs of the World Council of Churches.

Ongoing security force operations in the Papuan highlands and the outbreaks of racial violence in response to assaults against Papuan students throughout 2019, have caused deep cracks in the image of the 'cultural diverse and quickly progressing Papua' which the Indonesian Government tries to promote to the outside world.

The report uses verifiable indicators to assess regress and progress in West Papua and observes to what extend the Indonesian Government has addressed persistent shortcomings in the provinces. Stigmatisation and racial discrimination against ethnic Papuans in many areas of public live continue to have profound impacts, especially on particularly vulnerable groups such as indigenous communities and women.

While the Government still fails to address the long-lasting political conflict in West Papua, the circle of violence remains. "Increasing numbers of fatalities among civilians and members of the armed groups in relation to the armed conflict indicates that the conflict situation in West Papua has severely aggravated since 2018", Adrien-Claude Zoller, President of Geneva for Human Rights, explains.This observation is supported by multiple civil society reports on the increasing number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the conflict zones throughout 2019.

Turning a blind eye on the growing racial tensions and escalation of armed conflict in West Papua, the Indonesian Government still represents the view that the problems in West Papua are of a purely economic nature. The new report compiled recommendations by States, intergovernmental organisations and internationally respected experts on different thematic aspects.

"These recommendations aim to tackle human rights violations, strengthen people-oriented development and break through the cycle of an escalating armed conflict" said Norman Voß, Coordinator of the ICP's Secretariat.

Download the Report in English HERE