Indonesian police have arrested over 140 West Papuans calling for Pacific leaders to make a strong statement on human rights abuses in the territory. Several Papuans have been beaten and injured during police attacks on demonstrations in Jayapura, Malang, Ternate and Sentani, and one person has been reported missing.
The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), which co-organised the protests, recorded the names of 65 people held in police custody in Jayapura and 76 in Sentani, including a seven-year old child. Solidarity demonstrations held in the Indonesian city of Malang were met with a severe police response, with five people injured in police attacks, and one activist, Niko Jigibalom, reportedely missing following the dispersal.
The demonstrations, held by the ULMWP, West Papua National Committee (KNPB), FRI-WP and Papuan Student Alliance (AMP), coincided with the leaders’ summit of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) currently taking place in Tuvalu. Demonstrations in Indonesia (Malang, Ternate, Ambon and Yogyakarta) and West Papua (Port Numbay [Jayapura], Abepura, Sentani, Yapen, Doberay, Manokwari and Merauke) called on Pacific leaders to maintain strong language on West Papuan human rights abuses in their final communique. The demonstrations also coincided with the 57th anniversary of the signing of the New York Agreement, which laid the basis for control of West Papua to transfer from the Netherlands to Indonesia.
In late July, PIF foreign ministers called for Indonesia to grant access to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights by September 2020, but the text must be agreed by the PIF Leaders Summit this week. Pacific civil society groups have issued a statement during the Summit expressing ‘concern about the escalating human rights violations and abuses in West Papua’ and calling for stronger action on the issue.
Ronny Kareni of the ULMWP said, ‘This brutality at the hands of the Indonesian occupation is further evidence of the urgent need for Pacific leaders to take a stand on West Papua. When Papuans peacefully exercise their right to freedom of expression, the Indonesian colonial state administers beatings and arrests. This is only the latest incident in nearly 60 years of mass killings, torture and repression by Indonesia.’
Ronny Kareni: +61 401 222 177