News Room

Details

Indonesian Public and Human Rights Groups Decry West Papuan Arrests

Stanley Widianto 

Indonesian human rights groups decried the arrests made of West Papuan students and pro-independence activists after they staged peaceful rallies across Indonesian cities on Saturday.

Benny Wenda, chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), demanded accountability from the Indonesian law enforcers, writing, “in the strongest possible terms, the ULMWP condemns the Indonesian government for the arrest and brutal treatment of over 500 West Papuan people and Indonesians in solidarity, who were targeted on 1st December simply for peaceful commemorating West Papua National Day.”

Amnesty International Criticism

“These arbitrary arrests add to the long list of acts of harassment, intimidation and arrests faced by Papuans this year, not to mention the attacks they faced from hostile groups at yesterday’s rallies,” Amnesty International’s Usman Hamid said in a statement.

The most number of arrests — more than 200 — took place in the city of Surabaya, East Java, where demonstrators — from organizations such as the Alliance of Papuan Students (AMP) — staged a peaceful rally commemorating West Papua’s National Day. On December 1, 1961, the morning star flag — a symbol for its independence — was first raised under Dutch administrative rule.

December 1 has since been regarded as the day West Papua carved out its independence. In 1963, West Papua was formally absorbed into Indonesia; with the trails blazed by the UN and the West, Indonesia held a contentious referendum in 1969 in which only over a thousand were selected to agree, through bribery and threats, to the formal absorption.

Charges of Treason

The rally on Saturday, as human rights lawyer and the activists’ legal council Veronica Koman told VOA, was rife with accusations of treason and separatism of the West Papuans, lobbed by more than a dozen nationalist groups. “Because of the nature of our criminal code on treason is pretty broad, it’s used to persecute these students. During the Dutch rule, there would have to be an attack in order for an act to be considered treasonous. Now it’s not,” she said.

Anindya Shabrina, a student and activist with National Students Front (FMN) who was there to document the Surabaya rally, said that she saw the nationalist groups pelt rocks, glass shards and bamboo sticks at the dormitory where the rally took place. According to her, 16 people were injured, three of them required stitching for their injuries.

“The [state apparatus] always does this in the name of the Surabaya people, even though the working class over here perhaps doesn’t really care that much about this stuff. Sentiments against dark-skinned people exist, I’m sure, but they don’t themselves commit any acts of discrimination. They accept them,” she told VOA.

It was also reported that two people involved in the Surabaya rally were missing: university students Fachri Syahrazad and Arifin. They have since returned home. On the day of the rally, they were taken to the police crime investigation unit building to be interrogated. “I wasn’t given a chance to contact my family or a lawyer,” Fachri told VOA, adding that he was there to document the rally and that his phone and wallet were confiscated by officers. “The next day, I woke up at 7 only to be grilled again and the official report, along with further questioning, was made at 12. It was very intimidating.” Veronica said that it should have been illegal to deny someone who has just been arrested a chance to contact any form of legal council.

Surabaya police chief Rudi Kurniawan told VOA that no arrests have been made. “That was an effort at protection and repatriation because an order was disturbed,” he said.

Widespread Protests

The arrests were not the first for West Papuan activists or students.

Crackdowns on protests also took place in the special province of Yogyakarta in 2016. Security was also cited as the reason. The crackdown took place again the following year, when President Joko Widodo made a visit to Yogyakarta.

The provinces of Papua and West Papua have been plagued by intimidation and violence, with over 500,000 Papuans killed since the 1960s. It is also Indonesia’s poorest province, with 28 percent of its people living below the poverty line. A military presence, complicated by its involvement with Freeport McMora.pn (Papua houses the lucrative Grasberg gold mine), has also been cited as one of the sources of violence in the region. In 2014, four people of the Paniai regency were shot by security forces. In 2017 shootings between the Free Papua Movement and security forces were reported.

Febriana Firdaus, an investigative journalist who has written extensively on West Papua, said that what’s caused the rift is Indonesia’s treatment of Papuans. “They’re not transparent about what happened between Indonesia and Papua. Papuans feel suspicious that their freedom of expression is silenced. Indonesia never opens up to Papua, especially with regards to the [The Act of Free Choice] referendum, in which people were captured and killed,” she said.

“There’s no democracy for Papuan students to express their political aspirations as prescribed by Indonesia’s constitution,” said Dorlince Iyowau, spokesperson for the “Alliance of Papuan Students.” “There’s no good future for West Papuans because the only good future for West Papuans is independence from Indonesia’s colonialism.”(VOA)

0

Related Article

Posted on: Saturday, October 19, 2019 | By: crimeandmoreworld - Copy Editing Desk

Wife of Jailed Chinese Lawyer Concerned For His Health in Prison

Wang is currently serving a four-and-a-half year jail term handed down on Jan. 28 by the Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court, which found him guilty of “subversion of state power.”

Posted on: Tuesday, September 17, 2019 | By: crimeandmoreworld - Copy Editing Desk

Increasingly Regressive Climate Turns Human Rights Work into Minefield in Russia: Amnesty International

According to a new briefing released by Amnesty International on 17 September, Unfair Game:Persecution of Human Rights Defenders in Russia Intensifies , Since Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012, new repressive laws and policies, and reprisals against human rights defenders and activists….

Posted on: Friday, September 13, 2019 | By: crimeandmoreworld - Copy Editing Desk

10 Facts About Human Rights in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East and the home of Islam. While Saudi Arabia is known for its plentiful oil reserves, the country is also one of the most dangerous places to live in or travel to. Saudi Arabia is slowly improving in regards to women’s and children’s rights, but still has a lot of progress to make

Posted on: Thursday, September 12, 2019 | By: crimeandmoreworld - Copy Editing Desk

Indonesian Indigenous People Losing Their Forests: Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch examines how a patchwork of weak laws, exacerbated by poor government oversight, and the failure of oil palm plantation companies to fulfill their human rights responsibilities have adversely affected Indigenous peoples’ rights to their forests, livelihood, food, water, and culture in Bengkayang regency, West Kalimantan, and Sarolangun regency, Jambi

Posted on: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 | By: crimeandmoreworld - News Desk

Human Rights Situation Continues to Effect Millions of People in Venezuela: Michelle Bachelet

The High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said that since the presentation of her report to the Council on 5 July, “the human rights situation has continued to affect millions of people in Venezuela, with clear destabilizing impacts in the region.”

Top
1
För Any Comments/News~Story Updates/Suggestion/Story Submissions and Donations
Powered by

Privacy & Cookies: This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use.
To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Cookie Policy more information

Privacy & Cookies: This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use.
To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Cookie Policy

Close