Police operation in Yapen Island causes displacement of 215 villagers

A police operation in the Sasawa village, Yapen Barat District, on 5 August 2021 has reportedly caused the internal displacement of 215 villagers, mostly women and children. According to the local police chief in Kepulauan Yapen Regency, the police came to Sasawa after receiving complaints about “illegal activities” by members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB).

The villagers fled into the forest in fear of reprisals. The media and human rights defenders continue to report human rights violations committed by security force members in West Papua during such operations. The internally displaced persons (IDPs) returned to Sasawa on 15 August, after members of the Papuan Representative Office of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) organised mediated talks with the IDPs (see photo, source: Jubi), local security forces and the local government. The Yapen police chief declared his men would refrain from further security force operations in Sasawa for the time being, allowing the IDPs to return to their homes.