Human Rights News

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

Human Rights in West Papua in 2022 – no improvement but further deterioration

Two major developments with a significant effect on the human rights situation in West Papua throughout 2022 were, firstly, Jakarta’s plans to amend the Papuan special autonomy law and establish new provinces in West Papua. This has caused widespread rejection among indigenous Papuans. In July 2021, the central government unilaterally amended the Papuan Special Autonomy (Otsus) Law without the participation of the Papuan Peoples Assembly (MRP) and the provincial government. Secondly, the ongoing armed conflict in West Papua causes a climate of persistent violence, particularly in the conflict areas. Papuan human rights defenders kept reporting cases of torture, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances – many of such cases are directly related to armed conflict.

Victims and relatives disappointed over settlement of serious human rights violations in Indonesia

In 2022, the Jokowi administration took initiative to address past human rights violations, these efforts were poorly planned, monitored, and implemented. Both the trial of the 2014 Panai Case and the presidential decree for the non-judicial settlement of past serious human rights violations gave the impression that the government wants to burnish its human rights image among the international community instead of making a serious effort to establish justice and eradicate impunity.

Military tribunal sentence army member to ten years for killing civilian

On 4 June 2022, a military member shot dead 16-year-old civilian, Rafael Ivan Balaweling in the Prafi District of Manokwari Regency, Papua Barat Province. The shooting occurred during a wedding ceremony in the Aimasi village. According to the military spokesperson, General Tatang Subarna, the shooting was triggered by an argument between Staff Sergeant AFTJ and Rafael Ivan Balaweling. A military tribunal in Manokwari later found Staff Seargeant AFTJ guilty. He was sentenced to ten years imprisonment with the recommendation to dishonourably dismiss the perpetrator from military service.

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.