Human Rights News

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

Jakarta declares openness for peaceful dialogue as armed conflict in West Papua costs further lives

The number of victims in the violent conflict in West Papua rises while human rights organisations, churches and intellectuals keep calling for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Human Rights Monitor documented at least twelve armed clashes between Indonesian security forces and TPNPB fighters in the regencies Pegunungan Bintang, Maybrat, Intan Jaya and Puncak between …

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Police officers ill-treat protesters in Jayapura during a peaceful demonstration against new autonomy regions in West Papua

Police officers forcefully dispersed a peaceful protest by students of the Cenderawasih University (UNCEN) in Jayapura on 8 March 2022. The students voiced their aspirations against Jakarta’s plan to establish four additional provinces in West Papua, and also demanded the withdrawal of non-organic military personnel from West Papua.
According to information received from Jayapura student groups, police officers ill-treated at least 14 students. dispersed the crowd. Ten protesters were arrested and detained at the Abepura sub-district police station.

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Human Rights in West Papua brought up at the EU

In December 2021 three Members of the European Parliament requested the Vice-President of the EU Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to provide a written answer regarding the human rights situation in West Papua. MPs Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó (NI), Antoni Comín i Oliveres (NI), and Clara Ponsatí …

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Security force members torture five minors in Puncak Regency – One victim dies two days later

Security force personnel reportedly tortured five minors in the Sinak District, Puncak Regency, on 22 February 2022. One of the children succumbed to his injuries, while the others were brought to the Mimika regency for medical treatment. Security forces accused the children of stealing a firearm belonging to a military officer. They tortured them before and duting detention at the local police station. Thirteen-year-old Makilon Tabuni died on 24 February 2022 due the injuries sustained during the torture.

Indonesia: UN experts sound alarm on serious Papua abuses, call for urgent aid

GENEVA (1 March 2022) – UN human rights experts* today expressed serious concerns about the deteriorating human rights situation in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua, citing shocking abuses against indigenous Papuans, including child killings, disappearances, torture and mass displacement of people. The experts called for urgent humanitarian access to the region and …

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Trial against Papuan human rights activist Victor Yeimo continues despite ongoing medical treatment

On 21 February 2021, Indonesian law enforcement institutions continued the trial against Papuan human rights defender and activist Mr Victor Yeimo. He is the international spokesperson of the West Papua National Coalition (KNPB), a civil resistance movement promoting the right to political self-determination in West Papua through peaceful means. The trial against Mr Yeimo was …

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Papuan Legal Aid Institute is concerned about the health condition of political detainees in Jayapura

Eight Papuan activists: Malvin Yobe, Devio Tekege, Ambros Elopere, Maksi You, Paul Sode Hilapok, Luis Sitok, Ernesto Matuan, and Melvin Waine were arrested for raising the Morning Star flag in front of the sports hall (GOR) in Jayapura on 1 December 2021. The police charged the activists with Articles 106 KUHP on treason and Article 110 KUHP on criminal conspiracy against the state. Allegedly the police is unnecessarily prolonging the detention because the y prolonging the detention because the evidence against the eight activists is not sufficient to submit the case to the public prosecutor. On 30 January 2022, the police extended the period of detention for another 30 days. Prior to the arrest, Melvin Yobe was undergoing a pulmonary treatment program, while Sode Hilapok was suffering from hemorrhoids. Their health condition of Mr Malvin Yobe and Mr Paul Sode reportedly deteriorated in late January 2022. Mr Hilapok was once permitted to see a doctor while Mr Yobe has not yet received any medical treatment.

New IPAC Report: How a pro-ISIS cell emerged in Papua

Between late May and early June 2021, more than a dozen suspected ISIS supporters were arrested in Merauke. They were suspected of planning a bombing in this easternmost city of Indonesia, on the southern coast of Papua. The May-June arrests were not the first evidence of pro-ISIS cells in Papua but they were a more …

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Series of arrests and torture of West Papua activists – 10 arrested, 2 tortured

Human rights defenders condemned the arrest of ten West Papua activists in three cities across Indonesia throughout early February 2020. Police personnel reportedly tortured two arrestees, both students, during two separate incidents in the cities of Manokwari, Papua Barat province, and Mataram, Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB) Province. The Indonesian Government continues to restrict human rights …

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West Papua Council of Churches laments displacement and killing of Papuans

On the 167th Anniversary of the Gospel Entering the Land of Papua, the West Papua Council of Churches (WPCC) has released a open letter praying for the safety of the Papuan people. “Lord, right now the lives of Papuans are being messed with by the interests of the State, encouraged by the fervor of racism, …

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Jakarta paths the way for the formation of new provinces in West Papua

On 27 January 2021, the National Parliament (DPR RI) held a first discussion about the formation of new autonomy regions in various parts of Indonesia, including West Papua. The government has announced plans to establish four additional provinces on its territory in the western half of New Guinea Island (see table below). The Papua Barat …

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Military members torture fisherman in Mappi Regency, West Papua

On 7 January 2022, military members allegedly tortured a fisherman for seven hours in a post at the Sumuraman Village, in the Minyamur District of Mappi Regency. The following day, AMS was admitted to the local health centre and later transferred to the Mappi public hospital because he had difficulties breathing. Relatives filed a complaint to the Mappi District Police against the military personnel on 11 January.

West Papua: Police mobile brigade occupy schools in Yahukimo regency – Students protest peacefully

Papuan students are protesting against the occupation of three schools in the Yahukimo Regency. Members of the police mobile brigade (Brimob) have been using the school facilities since October 2021, which reportedly led to a breakdown of school activities in the affected areas. On 20 January 2022, about 300 protesters walked to the Yahukimo education department in Dekai and demanded the immediate withdrawal of Brimob members from the schools.

Criminalisation of human rights defenders Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidyanti: Jakarta police alleged to be biased

On 20 August 2021, activists Fatia Maulidyanti and Haris Azhar openly discussed the relations between Indonesian security forces deployments and economic interests behind gold mining operations in the Papuan regency Intan Jaya in a YouTube video. The former military general and incumbent Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Mr Luhut Panjaitan, was named in the video. Mr Panjaitan sent two subpoena to the activists demanding a public apology. On 22 September 2021, Mr Panjaitan reported the activists for the alleged violation of the Indonesian Electronic Information and Transactions Law (ITE Law) and the Indonesian Penal Code (KUHP) to the police. He also announced filing a civil lawsuit against Mrs Maulidyanti and Mr Azhar, demanding the activists pay 100 billion rupiahs (about six million Euro) compensation for alleged defamation.

Military members ill-treat civilians inside karaoke bar in Merauke

Military personnel allegedly ill-treated a group of civilians inside a karaoke bar in the Samkai village, Merauke regency, on 15 January 2022. According to CNN Indonesia, one officer was intoxicated and attacked a guest who allegedly recorded him with his mobile phone. Other bar clients dragged the military officer outside. As retaliation, four other officers ill-treated multiple guests inside the bar. The spokesperson of the XVII Cenderawasih military command stated that the conflict parties agreed to settle the case outside of the law.

West Papua: Enforced disappearance of a Pastor in the Pegunungan Bintang Regency

Papuan pastor, Rev Elisa Kalakmabin has allegedly been missing since 12 January 2022. He was arbitrarily arrested and detained at the Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) port in the Serambakon District on 12 January. Police officers reportedly found 20 million rupiahs (around 1200 EUR) and airgun bullets on him. The police claim he escaped from the post. However, a witness claims that he heard multiple gunshots coming from the post. So far, neither the sub-district police in Serambakon nor the Pegunungan Bintang district police has provided further information about Rev Kalamabin’s whereabouts.

Administrative court rules against palm oil companies in Sorong

In September 2021, three palm oil companies files a lawsuit against the Regent of Sorong Mr Johnny Kamuru for revoking their operational licenses in April 2021. The court ruled on 12 January 2022 that the regent acted according to law and that 34,400 hectares of customary land must be returned to the indigenous land rights holders in the districts Salawati, Klamono, and Segun.

At least 17 victims killed and 5 forcefully disappeared in West Papua throughout 2021

Human Rights Monitor (HRM) has compiled a list of victims of enforced disappearance and extra-judicial killings between January and December 2021. The chronology of events and witness testimonies allege members of the Indonesian police or military of committing these atrocities. All victims are indigenous Papuans – a finding which reflects the continuing pattern of state …

At least 17 victims killed and 5 forcefully disappeared in West Papua throughout 2021 Read More »

Myanmar’s civil leader sentenced to four more years imprisonment

A court found Myanmar’s state counsellor, Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, guilty of illegal possession of walkie-talkies and breaching Covid-19 rules. The judges sentenced her to another four years imprisonment on 3 January 2021. The verdict is part of a series of trials against Myanmar’s toppled civilian government leader. She has been facing 11 charges, …

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Military members accused of raping woman in Jayapura

Two members of the military are suspected of raping a woman in a hotel in Abepura, Jayapura, Papua Province. The spokesperson of the XVII/Cenderawasih military command, Kolonel Inf Aqsha Erlangga, declared on 31.12.2021 that the two suspects were arrested by the military police on 20.12.2021 and that the icase is being investigated. The complete chronology and motive for the rape case are not yet known and the identities of the two TNI personnel have not been disclosed.