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Joint Statement on Human Rights in West Papua

22 June 2016

Oral Statement of the 32nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Agenda Item 4: General Debate – Human Rights situations that require Council’s attention

22 June 2016

Delivered by Budi Tjahjono

Human Rights Situation in West Papua

Mr. President,

We would like to draw the Council’s attention to the human rights situation in West Papua. As one of the most isolated areas in the world, it remains one of the last conflict regions within Indonesia. Local activists continue to report cases of arbitrary arrests by Indonesian security forces of predominantly-indigenous Papuans participating in peaceful gatherings expressing their political opinions. In several cases, the arrests are followed by torture, reflecting the widespread impunity enjoyed by security forces and the lack of effective mechanisms to prosecute perpetrators.

The mass arrests have taken place in April, May and June 2016. Between May and June alone, more than 3’000 people were allegedly arrested during peaceful mass protests in all major Papuan cities (Jayapura, Merauke, Fakfak, Sorong and Wamena) and several other cities in Indonesia, such as Makassar (South Sulawesi), Manado (North Sulawesi), Yogyakarta, Malang (East Java Province) and Semarang (Central Java Province). Most of them were released and some were tortured during the detention. The demonstrations were held in support of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) to be recognized as a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), and to commemorate the accession of West Papua by Indonesia on 1 May 1963. The latest allegation was the mass arrest of 1400 West Papuans on 15 June last week.

Mr President,

We are aware that the Government of Indonesia take several steps to address the situation in West Papua. However, we experience that the violation of human rights against West Papuan still continues in daily basis and pass abused remains unresolved. Cases of arbitrary arrests, as mentioned earlier, restriction of freedom of expression and assembly are documented in daily bases. Most of them are committed by the Indonesian security forces. In addition, the international access is still very limited. This is clearly reflected on the invitation to the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to undertake a country visit to Indonesia which has been postponed in the last few years.

Therefore, we would like to Council to recommend to the Government of Indonesia to:

Conduct an impartial investigation into the cases of arbitrary arrest in West Papua, as well as in several other places in Indonesia.

Guarantee the rights to freedom of expression, and freedom of association and assembly, for all Papuans.

Open access of West Papua for the international community.

Decide on the dates for the visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and allow other mandate holders to visit West Papua.
Thank you.

This statement a joint statement of:

  • Franciscans International
  • VIVAT International
  • VIVAT Indonesia
  • International Coalition for West Papua
  • West Papua Netzwerk
  • The World Council of Churches (WCC)
  • Institution of Research, Analyzing, and Development for Legal Aid (LP3BH) Manokwari
  • JPIC Kalimantan
  • The Indonesia’s NGO Coalition for International Human Rights Advocacy (HRWG)
  • PUSAKA Jakarta
  • SKP KAME, Merauke, Papua
  • OSA Vikariat Papua
  • SKPKC/JPIC Franciscans Papua
  • ELSHAM Papua
  • Jaringan Kerja Rakyat Papua (JERAT Papua)
  • Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM)
  • KPKC Sinode Gereja Kristen Injili – Tanah Papua (GKI-TP)
  • The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KONTRAS) Indonesia
  • Minority Rights Groups International (MRG)