Intimidation of Papuan human rights defender in Nabire Town

Mr Yones Douw (see photo on top) is leading the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Desk of the Papuan Tabernacle Church (JPIC Kingmi Papua) and has been actively involved in dozens of investigations into allegations of human rights violations in West Papua, including cases of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture. He has been supporting victims and their relatives of the 2014 Paniai Case.

On the evening of 27 January 2024, Papuan human rights defender, Mr Yones Douw observed unusual lights coming from a flying object above his house. He identified the device as a spy drone. It continued to hover over Mr Douw’s house until approximately 12:10 am. Since then, the drone has monitored the house every evening around the same time. Mr Douw believes that security forces used the drone to monitor him, both inside and outside their home. Mr Douw noted regularities in the monitoring schedule. The drone either came between 9 pm to 11 pm, or from 11 pm to 12 pm, suggesting a deliberate intention behind the surveillance.

Feeling vulnerable and threatened by the presence of the drone, Mr Douw expressed concern for the safety of his family. He emphasised the gravity of the situation, highlighting that his and his family’s privacy has been compromised, leaving them exposed and defenseless. Mr Douw urgently appealed to national and international human rights activists, as well as the UN Human Rights Council, to monitor this situation, emphasising their unwavering commitment to advocating for justice and truth in West Papua despite the risks.

Mr Douw has been subjected to acts of intimidation before the incident. On 7 July 2022, two members of the military intelligence unit in Nabire (Intel Kodim Nabire) were questioning residents in Nabire to collect information about Papuan human rights defender Mr Douw. The military members were explicitly asking for his mobile phone number and address. Mr Douw understood this action as an attempt to intimidate and prevent him from carrying out his work as a human rights defender and advocating for human rights in West Papua. The soldiers randomly questioned members of the indigenous Me community in Mr Douw’s neighbourhood. Another previous case of intimidation was brought to the attention of UN Special Procedures in 2020, followed up by communication IDN 2/2020.