Human Rights Update West Papua - 2nd Quarter 2021

Similar to previous reporting periods, human rights statistics between April and June 2021 continue to mirror the effects of the armed conflict and political tensions for Papuan civil society. The number of arbitrary arrests, political and non-political, continue to be high as the police firmly restrict the freedom of peaceful assembly and other civil-political rights. Nevertheless, Papuans voiced their discontent over the Papuan special autonomy and aspirations for self-determination in peaceful demonstrations. Papuan activist and human rights advocate, Victor Yeimo, was arrested in early May 2021 and charged with multiple criminal charges, among them treason. The police accused him of masterminding West Papua-wide protests against racism and civil unrest between August and September 2019. Three out of six reported victims of extra-judicial executions died in the context of security force raids in the Puncak Regency. All were indigenous Papuans. Observers estimate at least 31,833 indigenous Papuans internally displaced in the Puncak Regency due to the armed conflict between the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) and Indonesian security forces. Only a few of them have access to medical treatment and other humanitarian aid.

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Protest against revision of Papuan Otsus Law in Jakarta, Jayapura and Kaimana – 84 protesters reportedly arrested

Papuan students and solidarity groups launched peaceful protests against the revision of the Papuan Special Autonomy (Otsus) Law in the cities Jayapura, Papua Province, Kaimana (Papuan Barat Province) and Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta. The protesters argued that the revisions were forced by the Indonesian parliament and the Government without considering the aspirations of the Papuan people. The police forcefully dispersed the protests and carried out mass arrests.

The Jayapura police forcefully dispersed a peaceful demonstration at the Cenderawasih University campus on 14 July 2021 (see photo, source: independent HRDs) and arrested 24 protesters (see table below). At least five protesters were injured by security forces as a result of excessive force during the arrest (see photo below, source: independent human rights defenders). The protest in Jakarta took place in front of the Indonesian Parliament building in the Senayan area in Jakarta while the Indonesian house of representative passed 19 revisions to the Papuan Special Autonomy Law No 21/2001 during a parliament debate on 15 July 2021. The police reportedly arrested 40 protesters. The protest in Kaimana on 15 July 2021 was also dispersed by police forces. According to information received from local human rights defenders, 20 protesters were arrested (see table on bottom). All three demonstrations were forcefully dispersed under the pretext of violating COVID-19 health protocols.

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Parliament committee says revised Papuan Special Autonomy bill ready to be adopted

The chairman of the committee for the revision of the Papuan Special Autonomy Law (UU Otsus), Komarudin Watubun, declared on 12 July 2021 in Jakarta that the revised Special Autonomy Bill (RUU Otsus) is ready to be debated during a plenary meeting at the Indonesian parliament. The draft bill suggests 19 amendments to the current special autonomy law. The Indonesian Government proposed the amendments to Articles 1, 34 and 75. Particularly, the revision of articles related to the allocation of special autonomy funds and the formation of new autonomy regions had caused heated discussions and public outrage in West Papua.

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Papuan students commemorate 1st July and Biak Massacre in Surabaya, Bandung and Makassar

Papuan student movements in the Javanese cities Bandung and Surabaya organised peaceful assemblies in commemoration of the 1st July, which marks the day of the West Papuan independence proclamation in 1971, and the Biak Massacre, where security forces killed scores of people in the Papuan island of Biak on 6 July 1998. A discussion among students in a Papuan dormitory in Makassar, Sulawesi Selatan Province, was forcefully dispersed by a nationalist-militant group. Police officers failed to protect the students from the mob.

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Update on criminalisation of Victor Yeimo – Lawyers demand immediate release

Lawyers representing Papuan activist Victor Yeimo have called upon the police to release their client immediately. Mr Yeimo has been detained at the Police Mobile Brigade headquarters (see photo, source Jubi) for more than 60 days. According to Article 29 (1) b, of Law No. 8/1981 on the Criminal Procedure Code, suspects can only be detained longer than 60 days if their criminal charges carry a maximum penalty of nine years imprisonment. Victor Yeimo was charged with multiple criminal charges, including Article 106 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on treason. While Article 106 on treason authorises the courts to sentence a person to life imprisonment or a maximum of twenty years imprisonment, most charges against Victor Yeimo carry maximum penalties of less than nine years. The police recently extended the period of detention for another 30 days.

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Police in Biak alleged to have tortured suspect with boiling water

The Biak-based legal aid organisation LBH Kyadawun has raised allegations of torture against the Biak police. Imanuel Rumayom, lawyer and LBH Kyuduwun coordinator, explained that police officers had used physical force against Mr Yohan Ronsumbre, 20, during the police interrogation at the Biak-Numfor district police headquarters. On 21 June 2021, Mr Ronsumbre and two other suspects were arrested concerning the theft of a mobile phone.

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Leading Indonesian human rights defender Carmel Budiardjo passed away

Prominent Indonesian human rights defender, Carmel Budiardjo, passed away peacefully on 10 July 2021. She was the founder of London-based NGO TAPOL, which has campaigned to release political prisoners in Indonesia since 1973. Tapol is the abbreviation for 'tahanan politik' in Bahasa Indonesia, which means 'political prisoners'. Carmel Budiardjo was imprisoned for three years in Indonesia during the persecution of communists under former President Suharto. Later she helped to establish several environmental groups, such as the NGO ‘Down to Earth’ in 1988 and the ‘London Mining Network’ in 2007. In 1995, Carmel Budiardjo received the Right Livelihood Award after being nominated by the International Federation for East Timor.

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Update on situation of IDPs from Puncak and Nduga

The ICP has compiled the latest information from human rights observers and media sources regarding internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the regencies Puncak and Nduga. All information received indicates a lack of commitment from the local governments in Puncak and Nduga. The IDPs from Nduga already have to live under these uncertain conditions for more than two years without adequate healthcare, education, and humanitarian government services.

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Update on extra-judicial execution of four Papuans in Puncak Regency – Relatives demand prompt prosecution of perpetrators

More than eight months have passed since joint security forces killed four indigenous Papuans at the Limbaga Mountain in the Puncak Regency. The incident caused the death of two minors, while seventeen-year-old Manus Murib sustained multiple bullet injuries as he escaped the execution. Neither the police nor the military has published any investigation results about the case although the victim’s relatives raised their voices demanding the prompt prosecution of the perpetrators.

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Disagreement over temporary replacement of Governor between Papua and Jakarta

On 9 May 2021, the Papuan Governor, Lukas Enembe (see photo, source Jubi), left Jayapura and underwent medical treatment in Singapore. As of 30 June 2021, Lukas Enembe is still recovering from a sickness and has not returned to West Papua yet. Meanwhile, Papua’s vice-Governor, Klemen Tinal, passed away on 21 May 2021. The absence of Klemen Tinal and Lukas Enembe from their position as governor and vice-governor has caused a new conflict of interest between Jakarta and Papua.

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More Articles...

  1. Government says MIFEE should become food estate
  2. WPCC deplores appointment of Prov. Secretary Dance Flassy as Acting Governor of Papua
  3. Police officers forcefully disperse peaceful protest at Freeport Mine – at least one worker tortured
  4. Update on criminalisation of Victor Yeimo – Lawyers report police to Ombudsman office for disregarding Victor Yeimo’s rights during detention
  5. MRP challenges legality of unilateral revision of Papuan special autonomy law
  6. Thirty-two KNPB members arbitrarily arrested in Jayawijaya Regency
  7. Military member kills Papuan man during shooting at Jibama Market, Jayawijaya Regency
  8. Two indigenous Papuans disappeared in Pegunungan Bintang
  9. Police intimidate participants during book launch at P3W Padang Bulan, Jayapura
  10. Update on criminalisation of Victor Yeimo – Police submit case files to prosecutor
  11. Update on killing of Rev. Yeremia Zanambani in Intan Jaya – Forensic specialists conduct autopsy
  12. Joint security forces execute three indigenous Papuans in Puncak Regency – Three others injured by bullets
  13. Security force members torture indigenous villager and kill pastor in Puncak Regency
  14. Human Rights Commission visits internally displaced persons in Puncak
  15. Event notice: Papuan Voices Film Festival coming in August 2021
  16. At least 25 victims of extra-judicial killings in West Papua in 2020
  17. Update on armed conflict in Puncak Regency – TPN PB suggests armed combat shifts to designated area
  18. Indonesia votes against UN resolution on genocide and crimes against humanity
  19. New protests against special autonomy and for the release of Papuan political prisoners – 146 protesters arrested in Manokwari
  20. Update on Internet breakdown in Jayapura – Internet connection planned to be repaired in early June
  21. Six Papuan protesters standing trial in Sorong accused of treason
  22. New shootings indicate spreading of armed conflict in West Papua
  23. West Papua Council of Churches voices concern over the escalating situation in Papua
  24. Update on prosecution of Victor Yeimo – TAPOL reports case to UN Special Procedures
  25. Joint security forces arrest three IDPs in Puncak, among them one minor
  26. Update on situation of IDPs in Puncak Regency – Local government says thousands displaced due armed clashes
  27. Victim of torture dies in Tambrauw Regency – Observers demand independent investigation
  28. Again internet breakdown as armed conflict escalates – Coincidence or deliberate government measure?
  29. Westpapua-Netzwerk fears further violence in WP due to the "terrorist" categorisation
  30. KNPB Spokesperson Victor Yeimo arrested and charged with treason

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