News on Human Rights and Conflict in Indonesia

  • Jokowi issues Presidential Decree 17/2022 on the formation of a team for non-judicial settlement of past serious human rights violations

     On 26 August 2022, the Indonesian President, Mr Joko Widodo (‘Jokowi’), issued Presidential Decree No 17/2022 on the formation of a team for non-judicial settlement of past serious human rights violations.

  • Police officer beats indigenous Papuan unconscious in Wamena

    Police officers tortured indigenous Papuan youth, Brayen Renaldy Gombo, inside a police patrol car in the highland town of Wamena, Jayawijaya Regency, on 14 September 2022.

  • Eleven Students arrested for removing name board of new government office in Wamena – three students remain in custody

    Officers of the Jayawijaya District Police (Polres Jayawijaya) arrested eleven university students in the highland town of Wamena on 7 September 2022.

  • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the World Council of Churches express concern over the aggravation of violence in West Papua

    Two international organisations, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the World Council of Churches (WCC), have voiced concerns regarding the aggravating human rights situation in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces Papua and Papua Barat.

  • Update: Law enforcement process on 2014 Paniai Massacre – Human rights court trial scheduled for 21 September 2022

    The human rights court trial in relation to the Paniai Massacre of 2014 will be launched at the Makassar District Court on 21 September 2022

  • Military members torture two Papuans in Mappi Regency – One victim dead, the other wounded

    On 30 August 2022, military personnel tortured Mr Bruno Anonim Kimko and Mr Yohanes Kanggum inside a military post in the Bade Village, Mappi regency

  • Regulation of the Minister of Communication and Informatics Nr. 5 of 2020 will aggravate restrictions on freedom of expression and data privacy protection in Indonesia

    Since its inception in November 2020, the Regulation issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (Kominfo), Regulation Number 5 of 2020 on Private Electronic System Operators (PSEs), has been predicted to become a repressive policy instrument that violates human rights. This Regulation Number 5/2020 (Perkominfo) adds to the long list of threats to freedom of expression, the right to information, and privacy from the Indonesian government. Based on the Perkominfo 5/2020, the government announced in June 2022 that it would block tech companies that do not officially register as PSEs in the country until 20 July 2022, sparking public concern and criticism across the country.

  • Police arrest eight students for opening book stall at Cenderawasih University Campus, Jayapura

    On 1 September 2022, police officers arrested eight Papuan student activsist inside the Cenderawasih University Campus in Jayapura,

  • Constitutional Court rejects application for judicial review of New Papuan Special Autonomy Law

    On 31 August 2022, the Constitutional Court rejected the application for judicial review of the new Papuan Special Autonomy Law No 2/2021.

  • Five Papuan activists arrested in Jayapura after protesting against the New York Agreement

    Police officers arrested five Papuan activists of the movement organization Kunume Numbay in Jayapura, Papua Province, on 15 August 2022.

  • Six soldiers and four civilians arrested for alleged killing and mutilation of four Papuans in Timika

    Joint military and civilian perpetrators killed and subsequently mutilated four indigenous Papuans in Timika on 22 Auguts 2022

  • Eight Papuan activists found guilty of treason and sentenced to ten months for raising Morning Star Flag

    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 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. The trial started at the Jayapura District Court in April 2022 but the first court hearing was adjourned. The trial has finally started on 17 May 2022. On 29 August 2022, judges at the Jayapura District Court found Mr Melvin Yobe, 29, Mr Melvin Fernando Waine, 25, Mr Zode Hilapok, 27, Mr Devion Tekege, 23, Mr Yosep Ernesto Matuan, 19, Mr Maksimus Simon Petrus You, 18, Mr Lius Kitok Uropmabin, 21, and Mr Ambrosius Fransiskus Elopere, 21, guilty of treason as regulated under Article 106 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) (see photo on top, source: Jubi). Previously, the public prosecutor demanded a sentence of one year while the lawyers had pleaded for acquittal for the defendants.

  • Two indigenous women from Sihaporas Lamtoras injured due to joint forces intervention in customary land dispute in North Sumatra

    On August 22, 2022, hundreds of members of the Police from the Simalungun Police and members of the TNI from Kodim 0207 Simalungun carried out repressive actions against the Sihaporas indigenous community in Pematang Sidamanik district, Simalungun Regency, North Sumatra Province. The indigenous people of Sihaporas Lamtoras were protesting the business activities of PT Toba Pulp Lestari (PT TPL) in their ancestral territory and aimed to stop them until the land dispute is settled. The brutality of the joint security forces in Simalungun resulted in a woman being injured by a rubber bullet.

  • Police disperse protest in tourist town Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara Province – many protesters arrested

    On 1 August 2022, the police repressively dispersed a peaceful demonstration by mostly members of the Tourism Care Community Forum (Formapp) in Labuan Bajo against the government’s tourism management policies for Komodo National Park (KNP). For Formapp, the policies are unilateral and detrimental to residents, and the main issue is the increased entrance fees for the KNP. Labuan Bajo is a gateway town to the KNP, it is located in Komodo, West Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara Province.

  • Joint security forces kill IDP in Yahukimo Regency

    On 5 July 2022, security force members of the Damai Cartenz shot dead indigenous Papuan, Mr Uakhele Giban in the Suru Suru District, Yahukimo Regency.

  • Military members intimidate Papuan human rights defender in Nabire

    On 7 July 2022, two military members were questioning residents and journalists in Nabire to collect information about Papuan human rights defender Mr. Yones Douw. Mr Douw understood this action as an attempt to intimidate and prevent him from carrying out his work as human rights defender.

  • Hailstorms and frost cause famine in the Lanny Jaya Regency

    Hailstorms and frost in mid-July 2022 have caused the destruction of gardens and livestock in the Lanny Jaya Regency, Papu Province.

  • Papuan journalist Victor Mambor wins Udin Award

    The co-founder of Tabloid Jubi, Victor Mambor received the 2022 Udin Award from the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) on 7 August on AJI’s 28th-anniversary celebration. Victor Mambor is a native Papuan journalist who has dedicated his life for decades to the field of journalism. The Udin Award is AJI’s annual award to promote press …

    Papuan journalist Victor Mambor wins Udin Award Read More »

  • Conflict between palm oil company PT FPIL and community of Sumber Jaya Village in Jambi Province leads to the criminalisation of small farmers

    On August 4, 2022, hundreds of peasants from Sumber Jaya Village, Kumpeh Ulu District, Muaro Jambi Regency demonstrated in front of the ATR/BPN office. The peasants voiced their rights regarding the 322 hectares of land currently claimed by the palm oil company PT Fajar Pematang Indah Lestari (PT FPIL) and protest the criminalisation of peasants in Sumber Jaya Village. PT FPIL accuses peasants of starting to occupy land legally included in the company’s Cultivation Rights Title (HGU) area and stealing their palm fruit in that area. Meanwhile, peasants feel they are entitled to the land because it was always their land, passed down for generations until a plantation company named PT Purnama Tausar Putra sized it in 1998 before being taken over by PT FPIL in 2015.

  • Armed conflict in West Papua reaches new level of escalation in 2022

    Armed violence statistics and a series of recent attacks indicate that the conflict in West Papua has reached a new level of escalation throughout 2022

  • The controversy and secrecy around the changes in the Indonesian criminal code

    The latest draft of the Indonesian Criminal Code consists of several articles that discriminate against non-Muslims, including religious minorities; women and girls, and LGBT people; that potentially criminalise individuals who organise peaceful protests; among many other human rights issues.

  • Police disperse new protests against formation of new Provinces in West Papua – at least six protesters injured in Jayapura and Kaimana

    On 14 July 2022, police forces blocked protesters in various cities across West Papua. Officers beat protesters in Jayapura and Kaimana

  • Kaimana: protest dispersed on 14 July 2022, 2 injured

    A crowd of several hundred protesters gathered in various locations in Kaimana on 14 July 2022. Police officers blocked the roads to the local parliament. The local police chief, I Ketut Widiarta, called upon the crowd to enter police trucks which would bring them to the local parliament. However, the crowd rejected this proposal. Thereupon, Mr Nyai was able to convince the protesters to enter trucks which he organised by himself, while the other protesters followed on motorcycles. According to information received, police officers beat two protesters with wooden batons. The police dragged them off the bike and forced them to enter one of the trucks. One of the victims, Mr Aser Bary, was beaten with a wooden baton and sustained bruises on his chest and back as a result of the excessive force applied against him.

  • Jayapura: protest against formation of new provinces dispersed on 14 July 2022, four injured

    The PRP submitted a formal registration letter for a peaceful protest march from provincial parliament on 11 July 20 Police Chief Mackbon publicly declared that he will not allow the protest march but would facilitate a group of PRP representatives to meet with parliament members. The PRP rejected this proposal, insisting the police respect and protect the freedom of peaceful assembly and their rights as Indonesian citizens. According to media sources, the Jayapura police chief mobilized 2,000 police officers to prevent the protest. Police officers and crowd control vehicles too were positioned in strategic locations across Jayapura City (see photos below) since 6.00 am. Dozens of police officers dispersed a group of about 30 students at the entrance gate to the Cenderawasih University campus in Waena, Jayapura. A video of the crowd control operation shows police officers wearing helmets and heavy gear beating the protesters with wooden batons. They pushed back the protesters into the university campus after they insisted on walking towards the parliament building in Jayapura. Four protesters were injured as a result of police violence.

  • What’s wrong with the Indonesian justice system? Trials in Maybrat provide an insight

    Insight in a case if torture and violation of the right to a fair trial of seven indigenous Papuans in the Maybrat Regency, Papua Barat Province. The indigenous Papuans were arrested and prosecuted for their alleged involvement in the attack on a military post in Kisor Village on 2 September 2021. The majority of the defendants were internally displaced shortly after the attack. All of them have been subjected to torture during police detention. Four of the defendants are believed to be below the age of 18 years, but only one of them was tried under the juvenile justice system. While 14-year-old Lukas Ky was found guilty of murder and sentenced to eight years imprisonment by the juvenile court, Robianus Yaam, Maklon Same and Yakobus Worait continue to be processed under the adult criminal justice system. All defendants deny any wrong-doing or involvement in the attack.

  • Palm oil company PT Tandan Sawita Papua allegedly ignored labour rights – Workers report to Komnas HAM

    Labour-representatives of Indonesian palm oil company PT Tandan Sawita Papua (PT TSP) have filed a complaint regarding unfair labour conditions to the Papuan Representative Office of the National Human Rights Commission.

  • Soldiers found guilty of killing two Papuans in Timika and dismissed from military service

    Human rights defenders and media outlets reported the killing of two Papuan young men by members of the Indonesian military on 13 April 2020. According to relatives, Eden Armando Bebari and Ronny Wandik went at 8am to a river at Mile 34 inside the Freeport concession area to catch fish. In the evening, relatives looked for Eden and Ronny because they had not returned to their homes. Their relatives only found the motorcycles at Mile 34. Around 11.30 pm, rumors spread in the town of Timika that soldiers of the military mobile border security unit Gab YR 712 and YR 900 had shot dead two members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB). The following day, the relatives were informed that the bodies of Eden and Ronny had been brought to the public hospital in Mimika. More than two years later judges at the III-17 Military Court in Manado have found Lieutenant Gabriel Bowie Wijaya and Private Sugi Harnoto guilty of killing two Papuans in Timika.

  • Police officers kill Papuan man in Paniai Regency – Relatives demand an independent investigation

    Police officers dispersed civil unrest in the town of Enarotali, Panaiai Regency, using tear gas and live ammunition on 5 July 2022. The police justified the forceful intervention by claiming that protesters were damaging buildings at the Paniai Regent’s Office. A Papuan man named Donatus Nawipa (see photo, source: Suara Papua) was killed during the …

    Police officers kill Papuan man in Paniai Regency – Relatives demand an independent investigation Read More »

  • Indonesian parliament passes law for the formation of three new provinces in West Papua

    On 30 June 2022, the Indonesian parliament passed a controversial law for the formation of three new provinces in West Papua. The law makers agreed to the legislation regardless of ongoing protests against the Governments plan to establish three new provinces

  • Jayapura: assembly forcefully dispersed on 14 June

    On 14 June 2022, police officers again dispersed a peaceful assembly in the Perumnas III residential area in Waena, Jayapura City, with teargas, wooden batons and rubber bullets. Eleven protesters were injured and 5 others arrested.