Papuan Parliament, MRP and religious leaders criticise injustice and demand release of ‘Balikpapan 7’

The Papuan Provincial Parliament (DPRP) and the Papuan Peoples Council (MRP) have raised concerns regarding the demanded sentences against seven political activists during a trial on 5 June 2020. They have been charged with treason and other vague legal provisions for their involvement in Anti-racism Protests in West Papua throughout August and September 2019. Both government institutions, as well as Papuan Catholic priests and other religious leaders of the interfaith network in West Papua, published statements. They wrote letters to President Jokowi asking him to stand up for the seven defendants. Politicians and religious leaders fear riots and outbreaks of violence in West Papua if the seven activists are sentenced to long prison terms.


Series of attacks against human rights defenders advocating for human rights in West Papua

The number of attacks and harassment against human rights defenders advocating for human rights in West Papua have significantly increased throughout the past weeks. A physical attack against human rights defender Yuliana Yabansabra (see intro image) occurred on 8 June 2020 in the Papuan regional capital of Jayapura. She is part of a team of lawyers providing legal support to the seven political detainees, who are currently being tried under treason charges at the District Court in Balikpapan, Kalimantan Timur province. Three days before the attack, Yulaina Yabansabra spoke out about the human rights situation in West Papua during a public Zoom conference organised by Amnesty International Indonesia. Activists from the Teknokra Student Press Activities Unit (UKPM) at the University of Lampung (Unila) in South Sumatra were reportedly intimidated before holding an online discussion on "Racial discrimination against Papuans" on 11 June 2020.


Theo Hesegem's views on the #BlackLivesMatter #PapuanLivesMatter Campaign

#BlackLivesMatter #PapuanLivesMatter Campaign: About the Indonesian government's attitude towards indigenous Papuans and the difficulties to enforce the law in West Papua, written by Theo Hesegem and translated by the ICP

Since the integration of West Papua into Indonesia, the country has considered indigenous Papuans, particularly those demanding justice, law enforcement and respect for human rights, as second-class citizens. The Indonesian government seems to support the idea that indigenous Papuans are Indonesian citizens who do not have the right to live.

As Indonesian citizens, indigenous Papuans must have the same rights as other Indonesians. However, there are still government representatives and Indonesian citizens who see Papuans as people with dark skin and curly hair who are not worthy of being part of the Indonesian nation.  Indigenous Papuans continue to be labelled as monkeys and the Papuan victims of human rights violations are considered trash. Until today, the victims and their families in West Papua keep waiting for justice in the law enforcement system.


Eighth update on trials and detentions after anti-racism riots in West Papua

This article provides an overview of the trials related to Papua-wide anti-racism protests between late August and late September 2019 as well as the subsequent wave of criminalisation against human rights defenders and political activists. The International Coalition for Papua summarised earlier stages of the legal proceedings and detentions in previous articles (first update, second update, third update, fourth update, fifth update, sixth update, seventh update). The following article covers the developments throughout May 2020 and early June 2020s concerning the riots.

Regional authorities have released inmates early from penitentiaries across Indonesia following a regulation issued in April by the Law and Human Rights Ministry to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in overcrowded correctional facilities. The Ministry has provided a legal basis for the release through Human Rights Ministerial Regulation No. 10/2020 on the terms and conditions of assimilation and integration of prisoners and juvenile inmates to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and Human Rights Ministerial Decree No. 19/2020 on the release of prisoners and juvenile inmates through assimilation and integration to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The pandemic and the implementation of these regulations is affecting the conditions of the Papuan and pro-Papua detainees.


Statement by Papua's religious leaders on the trial against 7 Papuan defendants at the Balikpapan District Court

Shalom, Assalamuallaikum Wr. Wb., Om Swastiastu, Namo Buddhaya, Salam Kebajikan

Mr. President of the Republic of Indonesia that we respect and love. As the leaders of interfaith religious leaders in Papua, we express our appreciation to the President of the Republic of Indonesia for his high commitment for us in Papua Province. We see that previous presidents did not have a heart and do real work for Papua like you as President of the Republic of Indonesia Ir. H. Joko Widodo; this is not only proven through ongoing visits but also the progression of infrastructure development that continues to grow in Papuato reach remote areas of Papua on land. Unfortunately, infrastructure development only opens isolation between regions but the hearts and lives of indigenous Papuans have not been touched.


Attorney General rejects the Paniai Case files again for further processing

In late May 2020, the Attorney General returned the case files of the Panai Case of 2014 again. Komnas HAM had submitted a reviewed version of the investigation dossier on 14 April 2020 to be processed by a human rights court. According to the Attorney General, Komnas HAM failed to follow instructions to meet all requirements for further processing the case. Multiple NGOs in Indonesia criticised that the Attorney General was not willing to prosecute past gross human rights violations and was blocking the prosecution process. They called on President Joko Widodo to act as a mediator between both government institutions to avoid further delays in the prosecution process.


Yones Douw talks about the #BlackLivesMatter Campaign in West Papua

Papuan human rights defender, Yones Douw (see intro image), has closely followed the riots in the United States of America in response to the tragic killing of George Floyd by police officers.

“As a human rights activist, I see no difference between black Americans and black indigenous Papuans given the colour. The violations by security force officers which black Americans and indigenous Papuans have to face are the same. The discrimination which indigenous Papuans experienced is even crueller: They are insulted as monkeys, pigs, dogs or gorillas, being persecuted, intimidated, looted, killed, shot dead, hacked as well as discriminated against the law and in law enforcement.

However, the problem in the United States is the ill-treatment of black Americans during police operations. In West Papua, the root cause of the problem is closely linked to opposing views on the historical integration of West Papua into Indonesia. As Papuans, we have to underline that the conflict in West Papua is not a matter of development disparities or economic issues.”


Papua Police Chief presses charges against KNPB member in Mimika – suspect injured during arrest

Police officers arrested two members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) on 26 May 2020 in the district of Kuala Kencana, Mimika Regency. One of the arrestees is the spokesperson of the KNPB branch in Mimika regency, with the initials ST. Police officers shot ST in the leg because he allegedly tried to escape the arrest. The police accused ST of posting content of hate speech against the Papuan Police Chief, Paulus Waterpauw on his Facebook account. They charged ST with article 28 (2) in conjunction with article 54A (2) of Law No. 19 /2016 about the amendment of Law No. 11/2008 on Electronic Information and Transaction on hate speech and article 36 in conjunction with 52 (2) of the same law on ‘deliberately causing disadvantage to other persons’.


Update: Trial on internet blockage in West Papua – Administrative Court rules President and Minister acted unlawfully

On 3 June 2020, the panel of judges at the Jakarta State Administrative Court ruled that the internet ban imposed by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and the Minister for Communication and Informatics was against the principle of governance. The Indonesian government blocked or throttled the internet services in 54 cities and regencies across Papua and West Papua, from Aug. 21 through Sept. 4, 2019, during the widespread riots and demonstrations against racism. The judges ruled that the defendant party has to pay the court fee of IDR 457,000 (about € 28.85). The verdict did not make any clear statement as to whether President Jokowi and his minister have to make a public apology as the plaintiffs had initially demanded. On 12 June 2020, the Government appealed against the verdict. However, one of the President's staff later said that Jokowi gave the order to withdraw the appeal.


Police officers disperse residents with water cannon in Jayapura - one person dead

A Papuan man identified as Justinus Silas Dimara (35 years old) died as members of the police forcefully dispersed a group of residents in Hamadi, Jayapura city, on 25 May 2020 (see intro image, source: Jubi). Previously, the Governor of Papua and the Jayapura Municipal Government announced a lockdown due to the growing number of COVID-19 infections, calling upon the residents in Jayapura to stay at home between 2.00 pm and 6.00 am. However, the group of local residents gathered in front of a closed restaurant to drink alcoholic beverages as the police arrived around 5.30 pm. The police officers claim that the group refused to follow the instructions to return to their homes. Hence they dispersed the group using the water cannon of the police vehicle.


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