Papuan students in Mataram face intimidation and racial discrimination at Mataram University

Three Papuan students reportedly faced intimidation and racial discrimination during the Judicium event at the university in Mataram, Nusa Tenggara Barat Province, on 1 August 2023. Campus security guards and intelligence members reportedly monitored the students and forced them to pack away a poster and bracelets with the Morning Star symbol. Security personnel implicated the Dean of the Law Faculty had given the orders to monitor and control Papuan students.

Mr Nyamuk Karunggu met with the Papuan students, Mr Naldo, and Mr Tombol, after the graduation outside the Cultural Centre. They realised campus security guards were taking photos of the three Papuan students. Seeing this, the friends approached the guards, asking them why they had taken the photos without their permission. Thereupon, the guards threatened the students and told them to leave (see photos below, source: independent HRDs).

After the incident, Mr Karunggu, Mr Naldo, and Mr Tombol went to the Faculty of Law, where they wanted to take a photo holding a poster with the Morning Star Symbol as a sign of protest against ongoing intimidation and racial discrimination of indigenous Papuans at the University. According to Karunggu, security guards again approached the students before they could take the picture. The three students were then escorted off campus.

“We wanted to take pictures with our fellow students. I took a poster with a Morning Star symbol. When I was holding the poster, they [security guards] forbade us, they wanted to hit us too. They said, ‘Don’t fly the Morning Star flag’. I said, ‘This is not a flag; this is a poster’. They said, ‘Your studies are funded by the state, so don’t fight against the state. You are migrants, so you have to follow the people here,” said Mr Karunggu.

The Vice Chancellor III of Mataram University, Dr Sujita, stated that the University did not prohibit taking pictures or expel Mr Karunggu, Mr Naldo, and Mr Tombol from the Mataram University campus. He underlined that the University of Mataram respects and appreciates Papuans coming to Mataram to study.

On 1 February 2022, police officers arrested and tortured Mr Nyamuk Karunggu at the university campus in Mataram. The torture appeared to be a punishment for raising the Morning Star flag at the Mataram University campus. Mr Karunggu said he raised the flag in commemoration of the anniversary of the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) branch in Mataram.

Security guards approaching Mr Karunggu, Mr Naldo, and Mr Tompol at the university campus in Mataram on 1 August

Detailed Case Data
name of the location: Mataram University (-8.586502440417458, 116.09213764575925)
administrative region: Indonesia, Nusa Tenggara Barat Province, Mataram City
total number of victims: three
period of incident: 01.08.2023
perpetrator: other
perpetrator details: university security guards
Issues: freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, indigenous peoples, racism, intimidation
Further HRM News:

NumberName, DetailsGenderAgeGroup AffiliationViolations
1Nyamuk Karunggu, studentmaleunknown indigenous, activistfreedom of expression, intimidation
1Naldo, student maleunknownindigenous, activistfreedom of expression, intimidation
1Tombol, student maleunknown indigenous, activistfreedom of expression, intimidation