Human Rights News

News on the human rights and conflict situation in the Indo-Pacific region.

Trenggalek People’s Alliance personally demand the government revoke PT Summer Mineral Nusantara’s mine permit in East Java

Thirty-nine Trenggalek People’s Alliance representatives arrived in Jakarta on 23 October 2022. They travelled from Trenggelek district in East Java province to Jakarta to convey the residents’ rejection of the PT Sumber Mineral Nusantara (SMN) gold mine due to environmental considerations and disasters, especially floods that are getting worse in Trenggalek. Most of the water comes from the mining area.

More than 4o people arbitrarily arrested by North Sulawesi Police during an eviction in Kalasey Dua village

On 7 November 2022, joint forces of Manado City Police and North Sulawesi Civil Service Police Unit (Satpol PP) forcibly evicted the people of Kalasey Village, Mandolang District, Minahasa Regency, North Sulawesi Province. The eviction was carried out under the escort of at least 100 members of Manado Police consisting of Sabhara, Polwan, Brimob and Resmob units, and at least 40 members of North Sulawesi Satpol PP.

Bima Polres arrest 10 students who were protesting and demanding a road repair

On 12 May 2022, ten demonstrators who were members of the Monta Student Alliance were allegedly arbitrarily arrested and detained by the Bima Resort Police (Polres). The protest, which lasted for four days, demanded repairing roads in Waro village, Monta district, in the southern coastal area of Bima Regency. The first protest took place on 9 May, and it caused no reaction from the government regarding road reparations. Therefore, the students protested on 10,11 and 12 May. On the last day, the demonstration was more significant, and police and TNI were present to forcibly dispersed the crowd.

Land conflict between Pantai Raja Kampar community and PTP Nusantara V – 38 years ongoing

On 21 October 2022, around 40 indigenous peoples of Pantai Raja Village, Kampar Regency, Riau, went to Jakarta with the blessing of the Malay Customary Institution of Riau Province (LAM Riau) to fight for their land, which has been controlled by the state-owned enterprise PTP Nusantara V (PTPN V) since 1984. PTPN V seized 1013 hectares of indigenous people’s land.

After 23 years Simpang KKA victims still wait for justice – Past serious human rights violations remain unsolved

The Communication Forum for Victims and Families of Victims of the Simpang KKA Tragedy (FK3T-SP.KKA), supported by Persatuan Pemuda Simpang KAA (the Simpang KKA Youth Association) and Lembaga El Mansur Peduli (the El Mansur Care Institute) commemorated the 23rd anniversary of the Simpang KKA (Junction KKA) Tragedy in Dewantara District, North Aceh Regency, Aceh Province on 3 May 2022. In addition to the grave pilgrimage of the martyrs of the Simpang KKA tragedy, they stood in silence at the Simpang KKA monument. A joint prayer was also held at the Ta’lim Assembly Hall in Simpang KKA Hamlet, Paloh Lada.

Violence and arrests in Wada village, Central Java – Residents are against government’s mining operations

On 8 February 2022, around 250 joint military and police officers surrounded Wadas Village, Bener District, Purworejo Regency, Central Java Province. Wadas is currently a controversial spot since the government has mining plans in the village, which the villagers oppose. The joint, military and police action soon led to a violent clash with the residents. The authorities ill-treated and arbitrarily arrested dozens.  They were detained at the Purworejo Resort Police Station until 9 February.

Company PTPN III tries to evict 250 families in Gurila village, Permatangsiantar – land conflict since 2004

In October 2022, the company PT Perkebunan Nusantara III (PTPN III), represented by 300 people and 500 police officers, tried to evict 250 peasant families with a land area of 126 hectares in Gurila Village, Siantar Sitalasari District, Pamatangsiantar City, North Sumatra Province. From 2004 until 2020, PTPN III abandoned its concession land. Peasants who are members of the Forum Tani Sejahtera Indonesia (FUTASI), which is a member of the Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA), have been reclaiming the former HGU (right to cultivate) land of PTPN III since 2004.

Human cage in Langkat Regent’s home in North Sumatra – at least 656 victims of slavery and torture

The existence of a human cage in the Regent of Langkat, Terbit Rencana Perangin Angin, was revealed to the public when the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on 19 January 2022 raided the Regent’s house in connection with an alleged bribery case. During the raid, the KPK discovered the existence of a human cage and saw people in the cages. There were 65 people detained in human cages. Some had been there for one year, some for more years. The longest time was five years. All of them had their hair shaved off. Some of them were injured.

Civil Society Coalition criticises Indonesia’s report on Papua at the UPR Session of the UN

On 9 November 2022, Indonesia passed the periodic monitoring of the promotion of human rights at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The Civil Society Coalition for UPR Reporting consisting of Amnesty International Indonesia, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, KontraS, KIKA, FreeToBeMe Coalition (FTBM) Indonesia, SAFEnet, and Transmen Indonesia, held a press conference to share their joint analysis and monitoring of the Indonesian government’s report in the UPR session.

Dozens poisoned with hydrogen sulfide gas due to PT SMGP’s operations in North Sumatra

On 27 September 2022, dozens of people in Sibanggor Julu Village, Puncak Sorik Marapi District, Mandailing Natal Regency (Madina), North Sumatra Province, were again poisoned with Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) gas due to the activities of the company PT Sorik Marapi Geothermal Power (PT SMGP). The Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM) reported that up to 28 September 2022, 87 victims were hospitalised. This is the second mass poisoning in a month and the sixth incident since 2021. Since 2021, at least 214 people have been poisoned, and five have died consequently. 

Pabubu Basipae indigenous community evicted by government in East Nusa Tenggara – 23 homeless families live in the forest

On 20 October 2022, the East Nusa Tenggara provincial government evicted the residents of 19 Pabubu Basipae indigenous community houses in Linamutu village, South Central Timor Regency, East Nusa Tenggara Province (Nusa Tenggara Timur – NTT). The area in question is known as the Basipae area. The Head of Assets, accompanied by POL PP, BRIMOB and policed from POLRES Kab. TTS led the eviction. The 19 houses that were demolished included 12 that the NTT Provincial Government had built for the community as compensation for evictions in 2020.

Criminalisation and discrimination of Nagari Aia Gadang indigenous farmers – Conflict with PT Anam Koto

Five Minangkabau indigenous farmers in Nagari Aia Gadang (Aia Gadang Village), Pasaman District, West Pasaman Regency, West Sumatra Province, were sentenced to prison by the West Pasaman District Court on 19 September 2022. The court found them guilty of mistreating employees of the oil palm plantation company PT Anam Koto, as referred to in Article 351 paragraph (1) in conjunction with Article 55 paragraph (1) 1 of the Criminal Code. The court sentenced Ms Wisnawati, 32, to one month and 15 days. The other four, Mr Idamri, 39, Mr Safridin, 41, Mr Rudi, 31, and Mr Jasman, 45, were sentenced to two months and 15 days in prison.

Awyu indigenous community sue Papua DPMPTSP Office over right to information about palm oil company’s permit

The Investment and One-Stop Integrated Service Office (DPMPTSP) in Papua seems to be restricting and blocking access to information by the indigenous community of Awyu regarding the company PT Indo Asiana Letari (PT IAL), specifically information related to the PT IAL’s Plantation Business license. The palm oil company operates in the Awyu’s customary land around Digoel and Mappi Rivers in Boven Digoel Regency, Papua Province. It is planning to replace customary forests with palm oil plantations. According to the community, the DPMPTSP is issuing permits without the knowledge of the public.

Leading Papuan Independence Activist Filep Karma died allegedly in a diving accident

Filep Karma, one of the most prominent pro-independence West Papuan activists was found dead on 1 November 2022 at 7 am on a beach in Jayapura city. Initially, the police confirmed that a body has been found by a resident on the beach at Base G and identification was pending. Later on, Filep Karma’s family confirmed that the body belong to Filep and that he drowned in a diving accident. Reportedly, Filep had been on a diving trip with his brother-in-law and nephew but went diving alone after the two left the beach.

President Jokowi establishes team to investigate the tragedy in Kajuruan and Komnas HAM plans to take case to the UN

To unearth the Kanjuruhan tragedy that killed 131 people, President Jokowi, on 4 October 2022, signed Presidential Decree Number 19 of 2022 concerning establishing an Independent Joint Fact-Finding Team for the Malang Kanjuruhan Stadium incident. TGIPF is formed by the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs as Chairman, the Deputy Chairman of the Minister of Youth and Sports, a secretary Nur Rochmad and nine members. The TGIPF was tasked with searching, finding, and revealing facts supported by reliable data and information on the Malang Kanjuruhan Stadium incident.

Criminalisation of environmental activists – Fight against mining operations of PT TMS in Sangihe Islands

Mr Robison Saul, a fisherman and an islander of Sangihe Island, North Sulawesi Province, is allegedly being criminalised for being vocal against the operations of the company PT Tambang Mas Sangihe (PT TMS). Robison participated in community actions against the mining activities, including blocking PT TMS’s transportation of heavy equipment on 14 June 2022. Robison was accused of carrying sharp weapons during the action on that date. The case is currently before the Tahuna District Court. Fourteen other mining resisters are currently threatened with criminalisation. The police have begun summoning them on charges of alleged criminal acts of violence against goods,

Police officer kills man in Manado, North Sulawesi – victim’s family demands justice

On 23 July 2022, two police officers, Bripka SR and Bripka WL shot a man named Raymond Londok (RL) dead in Pandu Village, Bunaken District, Manado City. The police answered the call of a community resident concerned by a drunk man holding a dagger/ white object and screaming. The resident expected the police to calm down the drunken man, but allegedly the officers used excessive force and killed the victim. The police stated it was self-defence and tried to dissuade the family from reporting the victim’s death. On 18 August 2022, the North Sulawesi Regional Police held a press conference led by the Head of Public Relations of the North Sulawesi Police, Kombes Pol. Jules Abraham Abast.