Students in Malang, Makassar and Bali demand the investigation of human rights violations in WP – two demonstrations dispersed

Members of the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and the Indonesian Peoples’ Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) organised peaceful protests in the Indonesian cities Denpasar (Bali), Makassar (South Sulawesi) and Malang (East Java). The demonstrations in Bali and Makassar were dispersed by local police forces. The protests were launched in commemoration of West Papua’s independence proclamation by the Free West Papua Organisation (OPM) on 1 July 1971 and the Biak massacre on 6 July 1998. The latter is one of many past gross human rights violations in West Papua, whose processing by a human rights court is still pending.

 

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KNPB Chairman in Maybrat and minor arbitrarily arrested

The Papuan news outlet Suara Papua reported that members of the Sorong Selatan District Police arbitrarily arrested the Chairman of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) branch office in Maybrat regency, Adam Sorry (see intro image, source: Suara Papua). Other KNPB members who witnessed the arrest claimed that the police officers tortured many KNPB members and released warning shots during the arrest. The police officers did not show a warrant or provided information regarding the reason for the arrest. The KNPB suspects that the police are attempting to criminalise the KNPB Chairman for the murder of a mobile brigade police officer in the regency of Bintuni. Previously, police officers targeted other KNPB branch offices during widespread raids in the Maybrat regency.

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At least 33 victims of extra-judicial killings in West Papua throughout 2019

The International Coalition for Papua (ICP) has documented the extra-judicial killings of 33 civilian victims by security force members throughout the year 2019. All victims were reportedly unarmed and – except for a single case – ethnic Papuans. This finding is an indication of the continuing pattern of state violence, violations of the right to life and the persistent racial discrimination which indigenous Papuans face in Indonesia. The list does not include victims of extra-judicial killings during the forceful dispersal of a protest against racism and the subsequent outbreak of ethnic violence in the town of Wamena on 23 September 2019. Investigations into the case are still ongoing. We demand Indonesian authorities to immediately conduct independent, impartial and effective investigations into these cases. All perpetrators should be brought to justice at civilian courts through fair and transparent trials, as stipulated in international human rights treaties.

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NTB Regional Police allegedly forced a student to make false video statement about West Papua

A video published on YouTube has revealed a further case of media manipulation in the context of West Papua. The video was published on 25 June 2020 and shows the statement of a boy introducing himself as Bertus from Wamena, who studies in the city of Mataram, Lombok, Nusa Tenggara Barat province. In the video message, Bertus encourages all Papuans to love the Unitary State of Indonesia (Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia, NKRI). The video was shared by the Public Relations Department of the Nusa Tenggara Barat Regional Police (Polda NTB) on Instagram to promote the Indonesian unitary state doctrine and counter media information in support of political self-determination for West Papua.

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Papuan Council of Churches: the heart of the Papuan problem is racism and injustice

On 5 July 2020, the Papuan Council Of Churches (WPCC) released the following statement titled:  "Indonesian Special Autonomy Development for the Welfare of the Papuan People is Dead". The press release reads as follows:

Observing Jakarta's recent activities, unilaterally designing Special Autonomy Papua Volume II in order to avoid public pressure related to the racism in the Surabaya Student Dormitory and the consequent reverberations in Papua which have begun to cause movements at the grassroots, we need to remember that the direction and framework of the development of the Indonesian State in Papua have been imbued with ethnic superiority from the beginning. Since 1963, the existence of the Indonesian State has been stimulated by racial discrimination and therefore the fall of the authoritarian regime of Suharto as president of the Republic of Indonesia in 1998 provided a good opportunity and a breath of fresh air for the awakening of all Papuans, the demanding of political rights to independence and to leave the Republic of Indonesia.

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#MakeWestPapuaSafe aims to stop foreign government support for Indonesian police

The Make West Papua Safe (MWPS) Campaign was launched in December 2018 with the aim to stop, or at least review, foreign government support to the Indonesian police and military, which the activists supporting the campaign believe to be creating more effective human rights abusers. Successive reports by the International Coalition for Papua, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Tapol, and their Papuan partners, all establish that the Indonesian security forces have become an obstacle to peace with justice in West Papua. Instead of protecting West Papuans – who ostensibly are Indonesian citizens with the same constitutional rights to freedom of speech as people in Java – the Indonesian police and military kill, jail, torture and beat ordinary Papuans, often for no other reason than being black and identifying as Papuan (Amnesty International Indonesia 2018).

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Merdeka Secretariat's Solidarity Month for West Papua

On July 1, the Merdeka Secretariat launched the solidarity month for West Papua which aims to intensify the online and offline information drive on the issues in West Papua. At the same time, according to the Merdeka Secretariat, the solidarity month will be used to explain the political as well as economic agenda behind the consistent criminalisation and repression of the Papuan people and their supporters. There are different educational activities lined up for the month, such as a webinar series and short video clips on current events in West Papua.

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Sign ETAN's Petition: Free West Papua Political Prisoners

The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) is calling for the immediate release of political prisoners in Indonesia. Sign the petition HERE.

Recently, Indonesian prosecutors demanded sentences of five to 17 years for seven high-profile West Papuan political prisoners detained in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan (Borneo). These activists were arrested during a wave of protest triggered by recorded incidents of racist police violence last year. Tens of thousands joined an uprising against racism and for self-determination for West Papua.

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Human Rights Update West Papua - 2nd Quarter 2020

The most significant events in the second quarter of 2020 were the outcomes in multiple trials against Papuan activists who had been prosecuted for the participation or the organisation of protests against racism in August and September 2019. Notably, the trial against the 'Balikpapan 7' drew the attention of Papuan civil society and international human rights observers as the public prosecutor demanded sentences of 5 to 17 years for the defendants. Religious leaders and other civil society actors in West Papua feared further outbreaks of riots if the seven activists had been sentenced with such high penalties. In comparison to other trials in Jayapura, Jakarta, Manokwari and Sorong, the demanded sentences for the defendants were disproportionately high. The lawyers representing the protesters at court stated that many of the hearings did not meet the standards of a fair and impartial trial. Fabricated evidence, prioritisation of police reports over court testimonies and deliberate changes in the established agenda were only a few shortcomings. Moreover, the lawyers claimed that the decision to conduct the trials via video conference turned out to affect the exercise of their mandate negatively. The public was excluded from trials.

The enforcement of measures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in human rights violations against West Papuans. Police officers have conducted arrests during sensitive political activities for allegedly violating social distancing policies. Furthermore, there are two reported cases between April and June 2020, where the unprofessional behaviour of police officers during the enforcement of those policies resulted in injuries and one fatality among civilians.
The number of cases of physical assault, obstruction and intimidation of human rights defenders (HRDs) in West Papua has significantly increased, with twelve reported cases. The majority are hacker attacks against the HRDs. Frequent internet advocacy events against racism in West Papua and in support of the 'Balikpapan 7' throughout June 2020 reached an international audience. They likely drew the discontent of loyal government supporters and nationalist groups. The perpetrators of the attacks could not be exposed. There continue to be more than 40.000 internally displaced Papuans as a result of various military operations in the Papuan highlands. The IDPs continue to be in need of aid, protection and the possibility to return to their homes safely.

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Ninth 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, eight update. The following text covers the developments throughout June 2020 concerning the riots.

The seven Papuan activists tried in Kalimantan were sentenced to ten and eleven months imprisonment. International human rights observers, as well as Papuan civil society members, raised serious concerns regarding the trial after the public prosecutor had sought sentences of up to 17 years imprisonment for the defendants. Meanwhile, the majority of trials concerning the anti-racism protests have been closed and the defendants were released. Several court cases against protesters who were during unrests in the towns of Oksibil, Wamena, Sorong and Waena continue.

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More Articles...

  1. Press Release - #PapuanLivesMatter: West Papua Network and United Evangelical Mission urge the Indonesian government to end racism against indigenous Papuans
  2. #MakeWestPapuaSafe Campaign organizes webinar about Balikpapan 7 with Sarah Thompson
  3. Pusaka Press Release: Urging the State and Corporations to Protect and Respect Environmental Human Rights Defenders in Papua
  4. Update on trial against 23 defendants in Fakfak arrested during 1st December Commemorations and accused of treason and criminal conspiracy
  5. TAPOL regrets Court sentencing of ‘Balikpapan Seven’ political prisoners
  6. Update on trial against ‘Balikpapan 7’ – Judges sentence Papuan activists to ten and eleven months imprisonment
  7. Corona prevention policies increase violence – Security force members leave three indigenous Papuans injured in Paniai
  8. Police officers arrest four students during peaceful assembly in support of Balikpapan 7
  9. Papuan Parliament, MRP and religious leaders criticise injustice and demand release of ‘Balikpapan 7’
  10. Series of attacks against human rights defenders advocating for human rights in West Papua
  11. Theo Hesegem's views on the #BlackLivesMatter #PapuanLivesMatter Campaign
  12. Statement by Papua's religious leaders on the trial against 7 Papuan defendants at the Balikpapan District Court
  13. Yones Douw talks about the #BlackLivesMatter Campaign in West Papua
  14. Update: Trial on internet blockage in West Papua – Administrative Court rules President and Minister acted unlawfully
  15. Eighth update on trials and detentions after anti-racism riots in West Papua
  16. Attorney General rejects the Paniai Case files again for further processing
  17. Papua Police Chief presses charges against KNPB member in Mimika – suspect injured during arrest
  18. Police officers disperse residents with water cannon in Jayapura - one person dead
  19. CC TV records police officers torturing suspect in Mimika Regency
  20. Allegations of enforced disappearance in Intan Jaya - Two indigenous Papuans reported missing
  21. Papuan student arrested for Facebook post – Police press charges
  22. Freeport operating with reduced workforce due to increase of COVID-19 cases
  23. Korindo palm oil plantation calls police to settle land dispute – One indigenous Papuan dies as a result of torture
  24. Update, The Jakarta Six: Cancellation of release
  25. Police investigator in Sorong Selatan prevents lawyers from meeting with detainees
  26. Update: Number of Covid-19 cases in Papua rise to 301
  27. Residents reject construction of a military base in Tambrauw
  28. Human Rights Update West Papua - 1st Quarter 2020
  29. Govt fails to respect freedom of expression in West Papua – Police arrest students and summon church leader
  30. Human Rights Watch Indonesia: New Arrests for Peaceful Political Expression

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