New TAPOL Report available - West Papua 2020: online and offline attacks against freedom of expression and assembly in the region

Press Release
London, 16th September 2021

Peaceful demonstrators, student activists, West Papuan and Indonesian political activist groups, human rights lawyers and defenders and individual civilians experienced extreme repression for their involvement in peaceful demonstrations and meetings which occurred in 2020 in West Papua and outside West Papua.

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Human rights coalition publishes report about situation of IDPs in Maybrat – at least 2,086 internally displaced

A human rights coalition consisting of Papuan faith-based organisations and NGOs has published a new report about internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Maybrat regency.  They have fled their homes in response to a widespread security force operation. According to the report, at least 2,086 indigenous Papuans from more than 36 villages (see photo) in the districts Aifat Selatan, Aifat Timur Selatan, Aifat Timur Tengah, Aifat Timur and Aifat have been internally displaced. Sixty-nine IDPs were reported to be below the age of five. Eleven IDPs became sick and stayed in refugee shelters without healthcare services (see table below).

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IDPs situation in Maybrat Regency – Observers estimate number of IDPs rises to 3,000

Local observers have estimated that the number of IDPs in the Maybrat Regency has risen to almost 3,000. Shortly after the killing of four military members on 2 September 2021 in the Kisor Village, an estimated number of 2,000 people from eight villages in the Aifat Selatan District and three neighbouring districts reportedly fled their homes in fear of military raids. Meanwhile, the number of affected villages in Aifat Selatan has reportedly grown to at least 16 villages (see list below) in Aifat Selatan alone. New displacements were reported from the Aitinyo District. Some IDPs sought shelter in the villages Susmuk, Aitinyo and Sabun, while most IDPs built temporary shelters in the jungle (see photos on bottom, source: independent human rights defenders).

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Security force operation in Dekai accompanied by arbitrary arrest and torture

Joint security forces reportedly conducted a raid in the town of Dekai, Yahukimo Regency, on 28 August 2021. According to Papuan media outlet Jubi, security force members arrested eight indigenous Papuans near the Kurima Kali Biro Road. One of the arrestees is the head of the Wusama District, Mr Etius Baye. He was allegedly tortured during the arrest. According to witness testimony, a security force member questioned Mr Baye at gunpoint and subsequently stroke him with the weapon into the face. Etius Baye sustained a bleeding wound on the forehead as a result of the torture.

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ACP's letter to OHCHR calls for independent human rights mission to West Papua

The Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS or ACP) has sent a letter to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). In the letter, the Solomon Islands Foreign Affairs Minister and President-in-Office of the OACPS Council of Ministers, Jeremiah Manele, called upon the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to push for "an urgent mission to West Papua to provide an evidence-based, informed report on the human rights situation". The ACP affirmed that it recognises Indonesia's sovereignty over West Papua but considers the request part of its commitment to human rights, the rule of law, and democratic principles.

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At least 4,862 indigenous Papuans internally displaced in Puncak Regency

A team consisting of humanitarian workers of the Evangelical Church in Indonesia (GIDI) and one member of the Papuan Provincial Parliament (DPRP) have compiled updated information about the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) during a field trip to the Puncak Regency between 6 and 12 July 2021. The humanitarian team brought 7 tons of rice to Puncak for distribution among IDPs in Ilaga and Gome districts. According to data from the Social Affairs Department in Puncak Regency, at least 4,862 persons from 5 districts have been internally displaced since April 2021. In addition, an unknown number of IDPs have sought shelter in the villages Paluga and Bogolobak, Ilaga Utara District. Two women and three minors IDPs have reportedly died since April 2021.

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Situation in Maybrat Regency – Army arrests two Papuans in Kisor

The military has started to conduct raids around the Kisor Village area following the killing of four military members on 2 September 2021. Shortly after the incident, the villagers in Kisor, Aifat Selatan District, fled their homes in fear of reprisals by security force members. On 2 September 2021, members of the 762/VYS military battalion and the 1809 Maybrat Military Command (Kodim 1809 Maybrat) reportedly arrested Simon Waymbewer, 26, and Maikel Yaam, 17 years (see photo on top, source: Suara Papua). They are reportedly detained at the Sorong Selatan District Police Station. The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB) spokesperson claims responsibility for the attack against the military post declared that Simon Waymbewer and Maikel Yaam are civilians and neither affiliated with the TPN-PB nor involved in the killings.

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New NGO report reveals relationships between military deployment and economic interests in West Papua

A new NGO report with the title “Ekonomi-Politik, Penempatan Militer Di Papua, Kasus Intan Jaya” has revealed the involvement of high-ranking police and military officials in various mining companies exploiting gold and other mineral resources in West Papua, with a focus on the Intan Jaya regency. The report is the result of joint research by the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI), WALHI Papua, Pusaka Bentala Rakyat, the Papua Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Papua), the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS), Greenpeace Indonesia, the Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM), and Trend Asia.

The armed conflict in Intan Jaya has significantly aggravated since December 2020. Security force operations throughout 2020 caused the widespread internal displacement of thousands of indigenous Papuans. They were accompanied by extra-judicial killings of civilians, including Papuan Pastor Rev Zanambani and catholic catechist Rufinus Tigau.

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Indigenous peoples flee their homes in fear of military raids in Maybrat Regency, Papua Barat Province

The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) has claimed responsibility for killing four soldiers (see photo, source: Suara Papua) in the Kisor Village, Maybrat Regency, on 2 September 2021. Two soldiers were seriously injured during the attack. According to the media outlet Suara Papua, villagers in Kisor fled their homes in fear of military raids in response to the armed attack against the military post in Kisor. According to the KODAM XVIII Military Command spokesperson, Hendra Pesireron, two additional platoons have already been deployed to Maybrat. They should find and arrest the perpetrators.

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Mongabay Article: UNESCO calls for closure of road running through World Heritage park in Papua

UNESCO has urged the Indonesian government to close a stretch of road that runs through the largest protected area in Southeast Asia, citing its negative environmental impact.

In its latest report on the state of conservation of World Heritage Sites, UNESCO highlighted several concerns related to the 190-kilometre (118-mile) road that dissects Lorentz National Park in Indonesia’s easternmost region of Papua.

Spanning 2.35 million hectares (5.81 million acres), an area a third the size of Ireland, the park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s known for being the only protected area in the world to range continuously from snowcapped mountain peaks down to tropical marine environment, with extensive lowland wetlands in between.

Read the article on Mongabay Website

 

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