Joint Security forces torture three indigenous Papuans in Sorong Selatan

According to the independent media outlet ‘Suara Papua’, joint security forces tortured three indigenous Papuans who were on their way to the town of Teminabuan, the largest city in the regency of Sorong Selatan. On 16 August 2020, Saulus Melkior Wugaje, Dominggus Aifufu and Chiko Momot removed a fallen tree that was blocking the road. While doing this, one of them collected donations from drivers passing through. Such actions are common in West Papua where government services are passive and unreliable. Instead, local community members often take the initiative to clean or fix public roads against public donations.


PT Freeport Indonesia conducts Environmental Impact Analysis – Indigenous communities fear expansion of mining area

PT Freeport Indonesia (PT FI), which operates one of the world's largest gold and copper mines, the Grasberg mine, in the highlands of West Papua, has invited indigenous community representatives, environmental and indigenous organisations to a first public consultation meeting on 13 August 2020. The meeting was held in the context of a new Environmental Impact Analysis (EIA). Many indigenous community representatives refused to attend the meeting out of fear that their participation would be nothing more than a symbolic act without taking their claims and aspirations into consideration. Several community leaders criticized Freeport’s EIA process for its lack of transparency and expressed concerns that PT FI conducts the EIA for the expansion of their current mining area (WIUPK) with a total size of 9.946 hectares.


Papuan prisoners neglected – Govt fails to arrange return to West Papua

Human rights defenders have criticised Indonesian law enforcement institutions for their lack of commitment in arranging the return of Papuan defendants from detention facilities outside of West Papua. In the past year, law enforcement institutions in the province of Papua transferred eight defendants to detention centres in Balikpapan and Jakarta. The public prosecutors and the Papua Regional Police (Polda Papua) argued that the trials would pose a considerable risk to the security situation in West Papua.


UN requests Indonesian govt to report on civil and political issues in West Papua

The Human Rights Committee (CCPR), the body that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), has adopted the List of Issues prior to Reporting (LOIPR) of Indonesia at its 129th session (29 June to 24 July). The Indonesian government is now requested to respond to this list of issues prior to submission of the country's second periodic report with its state report instead of choosing its own structure and issues for reporting.

While covering a much larger area of civil and political issues in Indonesia, the 6-page document does specifically ask Indonesia about Papua/West Papua in relation to violence against women, right to life, IDPs, peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, the establishment of local parties in the context of Special Autonomy, and authorities responses to self-determination/referendum calls. It finally asks about measures to end racial discrimination against indigenous Papuans in the context of protection of minority rights. The Committee specifically asks for the publication of updated census data disaggregated by indigenous/ethnic background.

The document is available on the UN OHCHR website.



Police disperse NY Agreement commemorations in Jayapura – 32 protesters arrested, one ill-treated during arrest

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI WP) launched demonstrations in multiple Indonesian cities on 15 August 2020. The protests were held in commemoration of the ‘New York Agreement’, an agreement signed by the Netherlands and Indonesia under the mediation of the United States of America. The New York Agreement and its consequences are considered one of the root causes for the West Papua conflict. Four protests in Jayapura were forcefully dispersed. Police officers arrested 32 protesters. At least one protester sustained injuries as police officers used excessive force to disperse the crowd. In the Javanese city of Semarang, approximately 50 protesters were intimidated by police forces. A demonstration in front of the American Embassy in Jakarta took place without interference.


TAPOL Press Release: West Papua 2019 Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Assembly Report

(London, 12th August 2020) Surveillance, intimidation and harassment, protest dispersals, torture, arbitrary arrests and extra-judicial killings continued in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua, and in Indonesia more broadly, as the state tried to crack down on the contentious issue of West Papua’s self-determination in 2019. Alarmingly, the Indonesian Government also used new tactics such as internet shutdown and cyber-attacks during the anti-racism protests and riots which culminated in the ‘West Papuan Uprising’ in August and September 2019.

Last year, the Indonesian security forces arrested more than 1300 in demonstrations, peaceful rallies and gatherings that were related to West Papua. The majority of arrests took place in West Papua (Papua and West Papua Provinces) totalling 1175 people. The largest mass arrest was 756 which took place in September in West Papua during the Uprising. Outside West Papua, there were a total of 173 people arrested across the provinces of Bali, Maluku, North Maluku, East and West Java, North Sulawesi and Jakarta. By the end of 2019, 120 people had been charged of which 86 were charged with treason. These arrests were part of the police and authorities tactics to crack-down on political activities related to West Papua’s self-determination.  

Download full report

View Press Release on TAPOL's website


Indo govt continues to pressure human rights defender Veronica Koman

The Indonesian Education Fund Management Institution (LPDP) is demanding the Indonesian human rights lawyer, Veronica Koman (see intro image), to reimburse funds that she received as part of a scholarship program for her studies abroad. Veronica Koman understood the claim as a new attempt by the Indonesian government to discourage her from advocacy activities on the human rights situation in West Papua. In the past years, unknown perpetrators launched smear campaigns on the internet against Koman. She decided to go into exile in Australia in 2019 after repeatedly receiving death threats and other forms of intimidation.


West Papua has the worst democracy index in Indonesia

According to a research by the Indonesian Centre for Statistics (BPS), Papua and Papua Barat are the provinces with the lowest democracy index in Indonesia. The province of Papua Barat only reached an index of 57,62 in 2019. The score even decreased in comparison to the previous year, in which the democracy index was calculated at 58.29. Papua Barat is the only province in Indonesia where the democracy index remains below 60, which the BPS categorized as ‘bad democracy’. The province of Papua reached the penultimate place with a democracy index of 65.25, categorized as ‘moderate democracy’. Both provinces are still far below the national average of 74.93 points. The highest index was reached in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta with a score of 88.29 points.



Trial against 11 political activists in Sorong – Prosecutor demands 16 months for alleged treason

The eleven political activists, Daniel Jitmau, Paulus Syama, Lukas Nauw, Simon Aifat, Berto Tomow, Frengky Nauw, Lukas Smass, Marlinda Mangko, Silvester Nauw, Wilson Kofias and Jhosua Kingho, are standing trial in the Sorong District Court since 16 July 2020. The Papuan activists were charged with Article 106 of the Indonesian Penal Code (KUHP) on treason and Article 110 KUHP on criminal conspiracy because they organised a peaceful protest for the commemoration of 1st December, which many indigenous Papuans regard as the ‘Papuan Independence Day’. The public prosecutor demanded a sentence of one year and four months for the defendants. According to the prosecutor, the activists had been proven guilty of committing treasonous acts by organising a public event through which they allegedly support the establishment of the separate state ‘West Papua New Guinea’.


Deforestation in West Papua – 1,488 hectares forest logged down between January and May 2020

According to data published by the Centre for Study, Documentation and Advocacy on Peoples’ Rights (Pusaka), 1,488 hectares of forest area in West Papua have been logged down between January and May 2020. This equals a size of 2,084 soccer fields. The majority of logging activities were related to the expansion of palm oil plantations. Pusaka has compiled the data based on field reports and satellite imagery analysis.


More Articles...

  1. Public discourse about prolongation of Papuan Special Autonomy intensifies
  2. Multiple indigenous Papuans subjected to intimidation and torture since establishment of new military bases in Tambrauw
  3. Student in Ternate under investigation for participating in peaceful rally for Papuan independence
  4. Allegations of fatal military violence in Boven Digoel Regency
  5. New Release: The humanitarian crisis in West Papua: Internal conflict, the displacement of people, and the coronavirus pandemic
  6. Udeido art group launches „Tonawi Mana” virtual exhibition on human rights situation in West Papua
  7. Military members kill two indigenous Papuans during routine inspection in Nduga Regency
  8. Police in Wasior alleged of using excessive force and torturing a suspect
  9. Political prisoner Surya Anta Ginting talks about inhuman conditions at detention centres in Jakarta
  10. Corruption allegations against Korindo palm oil conglomerate
  11. Labour Union files lawsuit against Freeport Indonesia and Department of Manpower and Transmigration
  12. Police officers arbitrarily arrest and torture suspect in Keerom Regency
  13. Students in Malang, Makassar and Bali demand the investigation of human rights violations in WP – two demonstrations dispersed
  14. KNPB Chairman and minor arbitrarily arrested in Maybrat
  15. At least 33 victims of extra-judicial killings in West Papua throughout 2019
  16. Papuan Council of Churches: the heart of the Papuan problem is racism and injustice
  17. Merdeka Secretariat's Solidarity Month for West Papua
  18. Human Rights Update West Papua - 2nd Quarter 2020
  19. NTB Regional Police allegedly forced a student to make false video statement about West Papua
  20. #MakeWestPapuaSafe aims to stop foreign government support for Indonesian police
  21. Sign ETAN's Petition: Free West Papua Political Prisoners
  22. Ninth update on trials and detentions after anti-racism riots in West Papua
  23. Press Release - #PapuanLivesMatter: West Papua Network and United Evangelical Mission urge the Indonesian government to end racism against indigenous Papuans
  24. #MakeWestPapuaSafe Campaign organizes webinar about Balikpapan 7 with Sarah Thompson
  25. Pusaka Press Release: Urging the State and Corporations to Protect and Respect Environmental Human Rights Defenders in Papua
  26. Update on trial against 23 defendants in Fakfak arrested during 1st December Commemorations and accused of treason and criminal conspiracy
  27. TAPOL regrets Court sentencing of ‘Balikpapan Seven’ political prisoners
  28. Update on trial against ‘Balikpapan 7’ – Judges sentence Papuan activists to ten and eleven months imprisonment
  29. Corona prevention policies increase violence – Security force members leave three indigenous Papuans injured in Paniai
  30. Police officers arrest four students during peaceful assembly in support of Balikpapan 7