Ten members of the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) are deeply concerned about the worsening human rights situation in Papua. This is the result of the Indonesian government’s militarized response and measures that criminalize and target protesters, limit the work of media workers and human rights NGOs, and hinder processes of transparency and accountability.
The conflict between the Indonesian government and the Free Papua Movement has been ongoing for several decades but has escalated in the last months according to INCLO member organization, KontraS. The deployment of unconfirmed numbers of police and military forces to Papua, as well as the designation of several pro-independence groups as terrorist groups in April 2021 has exacerbated the situation in the provinces of West Papua and Papua where there have been increased reports of extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary detention, and a growing concern of large numbers of internally displaced persons. Additionally, ongoing internet throttling and shutdowns continue to affect all Papuans and make it difficult for journalists, activists and NGOs to monitor and report on the human rights situation on the ground.
Monitoring conducted by KontraS indicates that the extremely militarized response by the government of Indonesia to the region and its use of broad counter-terrorism laws (the most recent being Undang-Undang Anti-Terorisme No.5/2018) that give police extraordinary powers to use force when conducting raids or interrogating, has led to numerous human rights violations, including:
The current approach by the Indonesian government is contributing to a further entrenchment of the conflict in the region of Papua and to an increase in human rights violations. We fully agree with the recent statement from UN experts urging Indonesia to “protect the rights of all people to peaceful protest, ensure access to the internet and protect the rights of human rights defender(s).”
INCLO members call on Indonesian authorities to withdraw all military apparatus in Papua and ensure that alleged human rights violations, including excessive use of force, torture, and death by police and military personnel are fully investigated.
INCLO members call for Indonesian authorities to abide by the Jakarta State Administrative Court decision 230/G/TF/2019/PTUN-JKT of June 30, 2020, that indicated that the Ministry of Information and Communication had acted unlawfully when slowing down and blocking internet access in the provinces of West Papua and Papua. The UN Special Rapporteur on Peaceful Assembly and Association issued a report published on June 15, 2021, highlighting the negative impact of Internet shutdowns on peaceful protests. The Indonesian government should also ensure free access to journalists as committed by President Joko Widodo in 2015 and human rights NGOs monitoring the situation in Papua.
INCLO members advocate for better respect and protection of all Papuans’ human rights in compliance with the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, especially those related to the right to freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and freedom from arbitrary arrest and torture.
INCLO members urge the Indonesian government to engage in dialogue with Papuan civil society and groups in respect of their concerns regarding the region’s governance and the socio-cultural and economic issues derived from the ongoing conflict.
INCLO members urge the Indonesian government to follow the UN recommendations regarding the use of counter-terrorism legislation and to avoid over-broad definitions that lead to human rights violations.
INCLO is a network of 15 independent, national human rights organizations. Learn more at inclo.net
-Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS- Argentina)
-Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU)
-Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC- Australia)
-Human RIghts Law Network (HRLN- India)
-Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL)
-Kenyan Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
-Legal Resourcer Centre (LRC- South Africa)