Another church worker killed in Intan Jaya – Security force members accuse victim of being TPN PB member

Human rights organisations have documented the extra-judicial killing of a church worker in the regency of Intan Jaya. Mr Rufinus Tigau, 28, was shot dead by members of the Nemangkawi Joint Security Force Unit in the village of Jalae, Sugapa District on 26 October 2020. During the operation, twelve-year-old Meinus Bagubau sustained a bullet wound to the hip. Security force representatives claim that Rufinus Tigau was associated with the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB). A representative of the Catholic Diocese in Timika confirmed that Rufinus Tigau was officially appointed as a catechist in the Catholic Jalae congregation.


Verdict in treason trial against 23 Papuan political detainees in Fakfak

On 1 December 2019, members of the Police Mobile Brigade Special Unit (Brimob) and 1803 Fakfak District Military Command arrested 54 indigenous Papuans (see photo, source: independent human rights defenders) in multiple villages located in the districts Kayauni and Kramonmongga, Fakfak Regency. The Fakfak police pressed charges against 23 of them. The trials against the 23 defendants began on 18 June 2020. On 22 and 23 October 2020, judges of the Fakfak District court found the 23 defendants guilty in the sense of the indictment. The sentences varied between eleven and 24 months, to be reduced by the period of detention (see table below).


Allegations of enforced disappearance in Nduga Regency – Two indigenous leaders missing after military operation

The Foundation for Justice and Integrity of the Papuan People (YKKMP) has documented a further case of enforced disappearance in the village of Kiyabikma, Mbulmu Yalma District of Nduga Regency. Tepania Wasiangge, 44, and Anle Gwijangge, 28, both village leaders in Kiyabikma, were arrested on 28 September 2020 in Gurukwarak Hamlet, as military members ambushed a house that they suspected was a hide-out for members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB). Multiple witnesses saw that the military members arrested and gagged both men, handcuffed them and repeatedly hit them with a wooden stick. Subsequently, the soldiers brought them to the forest, where the military members had established a temporary camp at the Bigam Mountain near the Gunmo River.


Indonesian Government plans to establish new plantations in Papua Province

According to the news outlet Mongabay, the Indonesian government is planning to establish new large-scale agricultural plantations across the country. The plans are threatening Indonesia’s last untouched tropical rain forests. Observers fear that the project will also result in the disenfranchisement of indigenous peoples and small farmers.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) announced on 23 September 2020 that the government’s "food estate program" would be expanded to the provinces of North and South Sumatra in the west of the country as well as East Nusa Tenggara and Papua in the east. However, Jokowi underlined that the government would focus on the plantations in Central Kalimantan and North Sumatra first, before expanding the program to the other regions. The food estate program follows the objective to secure national food supplies and end Indonesia's dependence on imported food crops.


Police fail to respect freedom of peaceful assembly in West Papua – 13 protesters arrested, one injured by bullet during demonstration against Otsus II

The controversial discussion about the continuation of special autonomy funding in West Papua remains unabated. On 27 October 2020, hundreds of protesters again gathered in Jayapura to peacefully voice their opposition to the government’s plan to prolong the special autonomy funding for the Indonesian provinces of Papua and Papua Barat. The protesters gathered at Expo Waena and near the Cenderawasih University campus in Perumnas III Waena residential area.


Update on armed conflict in Intan Jaya – Government plans exploitation of gold reserves while residents face displacement and education crisis

The armed conflict in Intan Jaya has significantly aggravated since December 2020. Shootings in January and February 2020 resulted in multiple civilian fatalities while at least 15 villages were reportedly affected by internal displacement. The recent killing of a Papuan Pastor, the armed assault on a Catholic catechist and the attack on an investigation team seconded by the central government illustrate that the armed conflict in Intan Jaya has never been more serious. In the midstof the humanitarian crisis, the Indonesian Minister of State-owned Enterprises, Mr Erick Thorir, announced in late September 2020 that he is planning to endorse the Indonesian mining company PT Aneka Tambang Tbk (ANTAM) to exploit large gold resources under the Wabu Mountain in the Intan Jaya Regency.


Update on killing of Rev Zanambani in Intan Jaya – Fact finding team submits report to Minister Mahfud MD

The joint fact-finding team (Tim Gabungan Pencari Fakta or TGPF) which was endorsed by the Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Human Rights, Mahfud MD, to investigate the killings of Rev Yeremia Zanambani, another civilian and two military members in the regency of Intan Jaya, has submitted its report on 21 October 2020. According to the report, there were indications that military members or another third party was involved in the killing of Rev Zanambani. The other three victims were killed by members of “armed criminal groups”, said Mahfud MD. The military spokesperson, Colonel Suriastawa, said in an interview on 22 October that the military will not cover-up this case. He announced that the perpetrators will be brought to justice through the existing internal military procedures.


Three Papuans shot down as police disperses unrest in Keerom

On 2 October 2020 local police in the Papuan town of Arso in Keerom Regency forcefully dispersed a protest. Shortly before the riot, the results of a civil servant recruitment test was announced and triggered anger among a crowd of residents leading to a spontaneous protest. About 250 protesters complained that the percentage of indigenous Papuans in the recruitment process was below 80% as promoted by the Papuan Governor, Lukas Enembe.

The police officers dispersed the crowd with tear gas and firearms as the protesters were throwing stones at the regent’s office. Witnesses stated that the situation went out of control when the police officers released multiple warning shots. One government office was set on fire during the incident (see photo, source: Jubi). Three protesters sustained bullet injuries during the crowd control operation while police members allegedly beat three other protesters.



Military members show up in church during ordination of new priests

On 18 October 2020 a dozen military members suddenly entered the St Michael Church, causing fear among those present. This took place in the village of Waris, Keerom Regency. Catholics in the surrounding area had come to the church to witness the ordination of four new catholic priests. The congregational priest was able to calm down the congregation as fully armed military members with assault rifles (see photo) entered the church premises without warning. The motive for the military action remains unclear. After examining the interior and the front yard of the church, the military members left again without providing a clear reason for the operation. Local observers understood the visit as an attempt to intimidate the residents in Waris.

Human Rights Update West Papua - 3rd Quarter 2020

In the third quarter of 2020, several human rights indicators show a considerable deterioration of the situation, notably the significant increase in the number of extra-judicial killings (EJK) and the number of victims of torture and ill-treatment. The number of political arrests has risen sharply, mainly due to the increase in public demonstrations.

Six of the reported EJKs took place during security force operations in the regencies Mimika, Intan Jaya and Nduga, which have become the hotspots of armed conflict. Military and police representatives have repeatedly justified such killings by publicly claiming that the victims were members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) without providing any evidence. Those killings are then neither further investigated, nor are the cases transferred to the police or military internal investigation units.

Download full report


More Articles...

  1. PAHAM Papua Media Release - Stop the transfer and processing of defendants outside of Papua with the argument Papua is not safe
  2. Pacific Islands Forum reaffirms support for open and constructive dialogue on the human rights situation in West Papua
  3. West Papua Council of Churches demands the Govt to stop the remilitarisation of Papua
  4. Military member sentenced to 1 year 10 months for killing four Papuans in 2019
  5. Press release by the Civil Society Coalition against Food Estate in Papua: Stop Food Estate Plans in Papua
  6. Military member allegedly shot down Catholic church worker in Intan Jaya
  7. Minister seconds team to investigate shooting in Intan Jaya – Papuan civil society rejects team
  8. The 2019 West Papua Uprising - TAPOL's publication
  9. Raid in Wuluagaima village – Security forces torture three indigenous Papuans, two arbitrarily arrested
  10. Youth Forum concerned about the shrinking space for democracy in West Papua
  11. Police crackdown on peaceful student protest in Jayapura – at least two students injured
  12. Mysterious death of pastor in Nabire raises questions – Relatives allege police is covering facts
  13. UN Experts question Indonesia regarding security operation in Nduga
  14. Papuan students in Makassar attacked during peaceful protest against prolongation of Papuan Special Autonomy
  15. Three KNPB activists currently tried under treason charges at Sorong District Court
  16. Peaceful protests against prolongation of Papuan Special Autonomy in Nabire and Timika – Police responds with mass arrests
  17. Papuan Youth Church Leaders condemn actions of military regarding the killing of Pastor Zanambani
  18. Students launch petition against prolongation of Papuan special autonomy in Manado – Police reacts with roadblocks and tear gas
  19. Police officer in Manokwari prevents lawyers from meeting with defendants
  20. Indonesia must inform on allegations of extra-judicial killings in West Papua #PapuanLivesMatter
  21. Indigenous Papuan allegedly tortured during police custody in Merauke – Suspect dies in health centre
  22. Papuan Pastor Yerimia Zanambani killed in Intan Jaya
  23. Verdict in treason trial in Sorong - Ten months imprisonment for eleven Papuan activists
  24. Papuan activists reimburse Veronica Koman's scholarship funds to the Indo govt
  25. Joint security forces kill three indigenous Papuans near Freeport Mine in Mimika
  26. Conflict tension increases in Intan Jaya Regency
  27. Armed conflict in West Papua continues: Government deploys 500 soldiers to the central highlands
  28. East Timor - 16 people on trial for peacefully protesting in solidarity with West Papua
  29. Joint security force members torture three indigenous Papuans in Boven Digoel for not using face masks
  30. Papuan Youth Church Leaders raise their voices regarding racism, injustice and Special Autonomy