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AWPA Update No 1/ 2022 15 January 2022

January 14, 2022

AWPA Update No 1/ 2022 15 January 2022

Welcome to our first update in 2022. Happy New Year to all.
There has being no improvement in the situation in West Papua. In fact, the situation is deteriorating with security force operations over the past years creating large numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs). The media in Indonesia usually blame the OPM for all armed attacks but it should be remembered that the mainstream media are quoting official security force spokespeople in reference to these attacks. There are many actors involved in West Papua but the truth will always come out through local media and the people in the territory. However, these attacks lead to military operations causing local people to flee in fear of their lives. Incidents of intimidation and torture of Papuan activists and human rights defenders have occurred and the Papuan people face racism and discrimination on a daily basis. The resources of West Papua continue to be exploited by Jakarta……..

World Council of Churches video interview describes human rights crisis in West Papua

January 13, 2022

WCC video interview describes human rights crisis in West Papua
January 13, 2022 by World Council of Churches

During a World Council of Churches (WCC) video interview, Peter Prove, WCC director of International Affairs, talks about the human rights and humanitarian situation in West Papua.


(WCC) West Papua – the Indonesian provinces comprising the western half of the island of New Guinea – has been a longstanding focus of WCC’s concern. In the recent interview, Prove indicates that concern for the indigenous Papuan population of these provinces is increasing “as a result of the persistent and quite serious human rights and humanitarian situation in the region, which the Indonesian government has frankly failed to address and correct.”

Recalling the history of the so-called – and still disputed – “Act of Free Choice” whereby West Papua was integrated into Indonesia in 1969, Prove notes that Jakarta’s failure to fulfil its promises to the Papuan people has resulted in increased local opposition to Indonesian rule. “What we have seen over decades is a very high level of human rights violations,” including extrajudicial killings, denial of the freedoms of expression and assembly and many other violations, says Prove.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, “the incidences of serious human rights violations have actually increased,” says Prove.

The WCC and its partners work together to monitor civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights in the region.

The increased militarization of the Indonesian government’s response has exacerbated the situation, despite promises of dialogue with the indigenous Papuan people, says Prove “These are promises that have been made at the political level but have been unfilled,” he says.

Violence against peaceful protestors has escalated, he says. “Many of the killings, many of the beatings, many of the forced disappearances take place in the form of that sort of response to such protests,” Prove observed, describing heavy-handed military and police actions in West Papua.

Moreover, people fleeing from conflict-affected areas are not receiving the help they need from national authorities, and international humanitarian agencies are allowed little or no access to the territory, Prove adds.

“The Indonesian authorities most certainly need to address the longstanding, continuing and escalating human rights crisis in the region,” concludes Prove.

by the World Council of Churches

Papuan People’s Petition calls for release of advocate Victor Yeimo By APR editor –

January 7, 2022

Papuan People’s Petition calls for release of advocate Victor Yeimo By APR editor –
January 7, 2022

Asia Pacific Report newsdesk

Arrested Papuan human rights activist Victor Yeimo … troubled by declining health.

The Papuan People’s Petition — “Petisi Rakyat Papua” — has called on the Indonesian government to release detained human rights advocate Victor Yeimo and to revoke the special autonomy law (version 2).

Yeimo, international spokesperson of the National Committee of West Papua (KNPB), was arrested by the Indonesian police in Tanah Hitam, Abupura-Jayapura. He was serving as spokesperson of the Papuan People’s Petition.

Yeimo is a prisoner of the Papua High Prosecutor’s Office and is currently being treated at the Jayapura Regional General Hospital Dok II.

Previously, he was detained in the detention cell of the Mobile Brigade Headquarters in Kota Raja Jayapura, Papua.

Yeimo has been receiving treatment at the hospital because of public pressure both nationally and internationally over serious concerns for his declining health.

The Petisi Rakyak Papua (PRP) is aimed to call upon the central government of Indonesia in Jakarta to revoke the special autonomy law (Otsus) that was passed prematurely by Jakarta in November 2021 without public hearings and considering the voices and demands of the Papuan people brought by 113 organisations.

The call of rejecting the extension of the special autonomy law which expired last year was echoed a few years ago.

No benefit for Papuans
The petition says that since the central government granted the special autonomy law, the indigenous people of West Papua have not benefited. The law itself has become controversial.

The national spokesperson for the petition, Jefry Wenda, said that apart from the 113 organisations making submissions, 718,179 votes of grassroots people opposed support for extension of the special autonomy law. However, the central government of Indonesia has refused to listen.

Before the widespread rejection of the law from the grassroots level, the provincial government of Papua had tried to negotiate with the central government many times, but Jakarta has been reluctant to consider the provincial government’s aspirations.

This year, the Papuan People’s Petition reaffirms the call by stating:

1. PRP is a manifestation of the political stance of the West Papuan people who reject the existence and sustainability of Otsus in West Papua;
2. The PRP will oversee the attitude of the people of West Papua in fighting for the right to self-determination peacefully and democratically;
3. PRP rejected Otsus and agreed to continue raising the Papuan People’s Petition (PRP) for the third stage;
4. The PRP rejects all forms of compromise and political representation outside of the attitude of the West Papuan people;
5. The PRP is committed to promoting democratic unity in the struggle for the national liberation of West Papua; and
6. PRP urges the release of international spokesman Victor Yeimo and all West Papuan political prisoners without conditions!


January 5, 2022


News Desk January 4, 2022 3:01 pm

Felisa (center) with students of SD Inpres Suntamon, Yahukimo Regency. – Jubi/Doc. Personal.

Jayapura, Jubi – The number of active teachers in Papua is very lacking, especially in areas where the population is predominantly Indigenous Papuan.

Agriculture lecturer of University of Papua Agus Sumule said the distribution of teachers in Papua was not equal, with fewer teachers in areas where Indigenous Papuan lived, compared to areas inhabited by non-Papuan people.

In Papua Province, the shortage of teachers includes 7,038 elementary school teachers, 3,973 junior high school teachers, 1,217 high school teachers, and 1,162 vocational teachers. This shortage is aggravated by the number of teachers who will retire, which is 1,250 people.

Meanwhile, in West Papua Province, there is a shortage of 2,313 elementary teachers, 1,429 junior high teachers, 747 high school teachers, 514 vocational school teachers, while 504 teachers will retire.

“It is estimated that the shortage of teachers is more than 30,000,” said Sumule.

Sumule said that until 2019, the number of teachers actively teaching were the least in Jayawijaya, Cental Mamberamo, Yahukimo, Yalimo, Nduga, Tolikara, Lanny Jaya, Bintang Mountains, Paniai, Deiyai, Dogiyai, Intan Jaya, Puncak Jaya, and Puncak. In these areas, there is a shortage of 427 kindergarten teachers, 4,076 elementary teachers, 1,916 junior high teachers, 917 high school teachers, and 430 vocational school teachers.

“Such a phenomenon shows that many teachers who are placed by the government in these areas are absent from their assignments. A UNICEF study in 2012 showed that 30 percent of teachers in Papua and West Papua were absent from teaching,” said Sumule.

He went on to say that teacher education programs were needed more than ever to address the shortage of teachers in Papua.

“On the other hand, the government must also attend the need of other functions such as administrative staff, librarians, information technology specialists, and improve school infrastructures such as school buildings, offices, electricity, toilets, clean water, and internet networks,” he said.

According to Sumule, those who are trained to become professional teachers should be young Indigenous Papuans who meet the requirements and recruited from areas that lack teachers. The recruitment process must also involve religious and traditional institutions. Thus, teachers are truly the people who have a calling to teach, and they will feel at home working in the field as classroom teachers, community teachers, and “congregational” teachers.

A teacher named Felisa said there were actually many people willing to teach in the interior of Papua. However, there must be security guarantees for the teacher.

“Actually, many people want it but sometimes our efforts are not appreciated. We want to be present in the interior but who can survive the terror? We don’t want to return to our hometown with only names,” she said.

Felisa told a story of when she taught at Inpres Suntamon Elementary School in Yahukimo Regency in 2018. She was contracted through the Smart Indonesia Foundation program. She and her other five friends only lasted a year teaching there.

“At that time, suddenly there was a group of people who plotted to expel us when the leader in the area was not there,” she said.

According to Felisa, during the year she served to teach in Yahukimo, the people were very kind and friendly. The people often brought them vegetables and sweet potatoes. However, due to security reasons, Felisa and her friends decided not to return to teaching at the school.

Felisa currently teaches Counseling Guidance at YPPK Teruna Bakti Junior High School in Waena.

“They (the community in Yahukimo) asked us to come back but we did not because we were afraid something bad would happen to us,” she said. (*)

Reporter: Theo Kelen

Editor: Syofiardi

TAPOL releases video on torture and prosecution of displaced minor from Maybrat

January 1, 2022

TAPOL releases video on torture and prosecution of displaced minor from Maybrat
"LK and Systematic State Violence in Papua" 30.12.2021 in 2021


TAPOL and Kaki Abu Legal Aid Institute (LBH Kaki Abu) released a video entitled “LK dan Pusaran Kerasan di Papua (LK and Systemic State Violence in Papua)” on 29 December 2021. The campaign video calls for the release of 14-year-old LK, a child accused of having broken the law (ABH) in Maybrat, #WestPapua. LK was subjected to torture and forced to undergo an unfair trial. TAPOL encourages viewers and human rights observers to call on the court to free LK unconditionally and call on the Indonesian Government to provide justice for all victims of violence in West Papua.

Watch Video

LK himself testified he was staying in the village of Susumuk as the attack against the Kisor military post occurred. LK, YA and MS deny any wrong doing or involvement in the attack. The three minors were arrested in the Kokas Village along with three (2 adults, 1 minors) other internally displaced Papuans on 28 September 2021. The lawyers argue that the arrest, prosecution and sentencing of LK also resulted from many criminal procedure breaches during the law enforcement process. Police officers reportedly tortured the arrestees. Their hands were tied, and their eyes blindfolded with tape. Police officers beat and electrocuted the detainees, stapled their ears and forced them to lick their blood from the floor.

On 3 December 2021, judges of the Sorong district court found LK, guilty of murder and sentenced him to eight years imprisonment. The lawyers have appealed against the verdict. Two other minors, YA and MS, will still have to stand trial in relation to the attack against the Kisor military post, where four soldiers were killed. Lawyers representing the defendants in court called upon the Indonesian Judicial Commission and Child Protection Commission to monitor the trials and ensure that all state actors follow criminal procedure and juvenile justice provisions.

West Papua: An Island in Peril

December 29, 2021

West Papua: An Island in Peril
The Struggle Continues as the Government Uses COVID to Isolate the Island

By Craig Harris
Fri Dec 24, 2021 | 3:12pm

West Papua occupies the Indonesian half of New Guinea, the second largest island in the world after Greenland.

Indonesia unilaterally annexed the former Dutch colony in 1969 with the United Nations referendum “Act of Free Choice.” What should have been a one-person one-vote consultation of the Papuans about the future status of their nation became an Indonesian-controlled mockery of the UN policy on decolonization and self-determination.

The indigenous people declared their jungle-clad province to be an independent state. Armed with arrows and spears as well as a few guns — the obsolete booty of the Dutch — they founded the Organisi Papua Merdeka (OPM), or Free Papua Movement.

For the Indonesians it seemed to matter little that the people of Papua belong to a different culture of the South Seas, that they have animist beliefs, praying to the Gods of the water and sun, an economy based on pigs rather than money, and hardly anything in common with the Asian, predominantly Muslim culture that abhors pork.

The year was 1988, my third visit to West Papua. Three porters, Tepi, Nadius, Lyndie, and I were on our way to the village of Waniyok, a five-day trek from Wamena, the major outpost of the central highlands. On our fourth day we were approaching Mt Elit, twisting and turning on a path no wider than my foot. The heavy rains had continued throughout the night and into the morning. Papua averages 300 inches of rain annually. We tarped all our gear we were carrying on our backs to keep it dry.

The thick jungle canopy echoed the sound of birds that took refuge from the rain. Waterfalls started to appear on the steep mountain slopes. It was difficult to keep my footing in the thick mud. At times I found myself on all fours sliding down a trail that at times seemed more like a river. The challenge was to stay upright on both feet until we reached higher ground. By late afternoon I was exhausted as we reached the village of Pileam.

Much of West Papua still remains unmapped and, as a result, untouched tribes hold a part of its mystique, living as they do in an area of rain forest, swamps, and cloud-snagged mountains reaching to heights of 16,000 feet, the highest elevation between the Himalayas and the Andes.

I have built lifelong friendships with many of the indigenous people and have learned much about my inner self through their wisdom. They have taught me the importance of humility and patience, two concepts which are so vital to a fulfilling life.

Why would Indonesia even be interested in this area 3,000 miles from the capital Jakarta? Simple, natural resources — the world’s largest gold and copper mine, vast amounts of timber and oil. Geologists call Papua “elephant country,” a term used for a region with an abundance of natural resources.

What first brought me to this far away land was an article I had read in National Geographic. The Indonesian government, in trying to so-called modernize this ancient culture, had an idea. With a population of roughly two million indigenous people wearing traditional attire consisting of penis gourds and grass skirts, the government decided to drop thousands of jogging shorts via small Cessna planes onto villagers in hopes they would replace their novel attire. When the same planes flew back a few weeks later the pilots saw the villagers were wearing the shorts on top of their heads to protect themselves from the rain. Within months of reading the article I was on my way to Papua and have continued to return over the last thirty years.

For awhile I was leading treks for a company out of Virginia. Taking small groups of people who wanted a glimpse into this remote culture, I worked my way from the highlands to the coastal swamp lands exploring regions few outsiders have ever seen. Looking back, those were amazing times. I was fortunate to learn about a people firsthand, about a culture that grabbed my heart and continues to do so to this day.

The Indonesian government forces its policy of no foreign journalists or UN members allowed in the area. Sealed off from the outside world news and events remain hidden from the outside world.

In 1971 Papuans comprised over 96 percent of the population. Now Papuans make up less than half of the population due to the inward migration of non-Papuan settlers. Many indigenous believe they are facing a slow-motion genocide as they are progressively marginalized and their lands are forcibly expropriated for military-backed logging, oil palm, and mining operations.

The president of Indonesia, Jokowi, believes economic development will trump Papuan nationalism. The UN has turned a blind eye.

The COVID pandemic has hit Papua hard. Access to the area is closed to all outsiders. Villagers are not allowing anyone within their compounds. The few medical facilities that exist are overwhelmed with patients. Most Papuans are being treated within their village.

The moderator of the Papuan council of churches, Reverend Benny Giay, said many West Papuans were resisting the vaccine rollout chiefly because of the role of Indonesian security forces, which he said indigenous Papuans mistrust. In most districts it is the military and police who accompany medical teams to promote the vaccines. But villagers turn them away. Given the on-going violent conflict between Indonesian security forces and West Papuans, as well as decades of human rights abuses and racism against Papuans, Reverend Giay said the resistance was understandable.

Reports in Papua indicate 27,000 cases of COVID with totals rising. However these numbers may only be a fraction of the truth. Only seven respiratory doctors and 73 ventilators are available for 45 hospitals and clinics.

The Indonesian government has used the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to crack down on West Papuan street protests and impose on-line censorship according to Human Rights Watch.

The doctor in charge of the capital Jayapura’s Covid 19 response team stated, “I know this might sound harsh; if you don’t want to die, don’t come to Papua.”

While Papua remains in the grips of COVID, statements like this only support the government’s policy: “Stay out of Papua. It’s our secret war to be determined by our policies.”

Only time will tell if Papua will survive these tumultuous times. Their future is in serious jeopardy as they cry out for help hoping someone will listen.


2) Update on situation of IDPs from Suru-Suru, Yahukimo Regency – Human rights defenders say 4,695 indigenous Papuans displaced, seven dead
27.12.2021 in 2021 Reading Time: 3 mins read

Human rights defenders have collected first-hand information on the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Yahukimo regency. They fled their villages after members of the West Papuan National Liberation Army (TPNPB) killed one military member and injured another one during an attack on the military post in the Suru-Suru district on 20 November 2021. According to information received, 4,695 indigenous Papuans from 13 villages in the Yahukimo regency have fled their homes. The IDPs have sought shelter in 15 temporary camps in the forest where they have no access to sufficient food, healthcare and education services (see photos below). Seven IDPs have reportedly died since being displaced (see table on bottom), while sixteen women have given birth without medical attention.

Many healthcare and education facilities in the Suru-Suru district closed since the attack on the military post. Observers declared that two primary schools, two secondary schools and two health centres in Suru-Suru have been abandoned. The health workers and teachers have left the district.

Most of the IDPs are members of the Papuan Tabernacle Church (Kingmi Papua). Kingmi Papua called upon the central and local Government to provide relief goods, healthcare services to the IDPs and open access for humanitarian organisations and United Nations Human Rights observers to the conflict-affected regencies Yahukimo, Maybrat, Pegunungan Bintang, Nduga, Intan Jaya and Puncak.

More than 60,000 indigenous Papuans have reportedly been internally displaced over the past three years, most of which have not returned to their homes due to the ongoing heavy security force presence in the conflict areas. The central Government continues to deploy security forces to West Papua whilst turning a blind eye on the civilians affected by the security force operations. Human rights organisations have repeatedly called upon President Jokowi to enter into dialogue with the independence movement to seek a peaceful solution to the long-standing conflict in West Papua.

Photos of IDPs in multiple camps in the forest, taken by human rights defenders in the Yahukimo Regency

Table with IDPs who died during displacement in the Yahukimo regency since 20 November 2021

No Name Age Sex
1 Sepria Bayage 5 years female
2 Ekelana Heluka 35 years female
3 Marten Heluka 26 years male
4 Isak Bonge 36 years male
5 Yosua Bonge 24 years male
6 Dogohuru Weak 50 years male
7 Bare Mone 24 years male


December 26, 2021


News Desk December 24, 2021 7:26 pm

Jayapura, Jubi – It is time for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (KKR) Law to be revived in Indonesia, senior diplomat Makarim Wibisono says. He mentioned that for the last 15 years, gross human rights violation cases in the country had been suspended ever since the Constitutional Court revoked the KKR Law in 2006. Currently, the KKR Bill is being deliberated by the Ministry of Law and Human Rights.

“We have seen how the Komnas HAM (National Commission on Human Rights) worked hard to report back and forth to the Attorney General, only to have its files returned. It’s as if it was just a play. And this has not happened for one month or two months but for years,” said Wibisono in a public discussion titled “The KKR suitable for Indonesia” held by the Komnas HAM online on Wednesday, December 22, 2021.

Wibisono, who was the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations for the 2004-2007 period, said that the problem of past human rights violations could be resolved properly through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

He said members of the KKR should involve various elements other than representatives from law enforcement agencies, including representatives of KOMNAS HAM, representatives of victims, academicians, NGOs, and human rights activists. This is so that there is no mutual suspicion that someone is made a scapegoat in the occurrence of human rights violations.

According to Wibisono, the commission could, at least, complete its task within a year and a half, which is discussing the issue of gross human rights violations and resolving it in a way that is acceptable to everyone. However, all of these processes require patience and transparency as the alleged violations occurred in the past. “This problem must be resolved under President Jokowi’s leadership because this is in accordance with his promise,” he added.

“The KKR Bill which is being discussed by the Ministry of Law and Human Rights needs to be opened so the public can scrutiny. Don’t let the quality of this KKR Law be lower than the one that was canceled in the past,” he said. (*)

Reporter: Theo Kelen

Editor: Dewi Wulandari

Support legal advocacy for West Papuan Customary Landowners

December 23, 2021

Support legal advocacy for West Papuan Customary Landowners


West Papua Land Rights Fund User
By Matthew Jamieson Australia

West Papua is currently embroiled in civil and military conflict as the Indonesian government seeks to enforce its authority over local independence forces. The fighting is particularly heavy along the road being built from the coast into the mineral rich central highlands.Many villages in the mountain areas are being depopulated as tribespeople there are forced to flee the conflict. The land they are leaving is highly vulnerable to a rush of mineral exploration and logging.

How can we help?

The West Papua Land Rights Fund will support local lawyers and advocates seeking to enforce traditional and customary land rights in the territory of West Papua. This initiative will seek to document and protect the land rights of indigenous people in this hostile environment and other vulnerable places in West Papua. It is complex and difficult work. Apart from formulating the legal strategies it requires arduous field consultation and documentation. The law firm Xenophon Davis will administer the ‘West Papua Land Rights Fund’. The West Papua Land Rights Fund will only engage in lawful legal proceedings and advocacy. It will seek to protect customary land rights as recognised under Indonesian law, the Indonesian Constitution and international charters.

Please support this fund to protect the rights of indigenous people to retain the wealth of their land for generations to come.

Papuan rebel fights a war without weapons from a land without food

December 20, 2021

Papuan rebel fights a war without weapons from a land without food

Papuan students demonstrate for the independence of Papua province, at the police headquarters in Surabaya on Dec. 1, 2021, to coincide with the anniversary of the Free Papua Movement (OPM). (AFP/Juni Kriswanto)

Chris McCall (Agence France-Presse) Yapsi, Papua New Guinea
Mon, December 20, 2021

Wiro Nongganop says he commands a battalion of West Papua independence fighters, but he has no guns, only bows and arrows, and lives in exile in a bark hut, sometimes surviving on potato leaves.

Nongganop and a few members of his Muyu tribe fled their homeland in 2019, crossing the poorly marked Indonesian border for the relative safety of remote western Papua New Guinea.

He says 700 men now live under his command, surviving by growing crops on muddy land gifted by the government while dreaming of an independent West Papua. “If there were weapons we would make war,” Nongganop, a battalion commander in the OPM, or Free Papua Movement, told AFP, as he sat cross-legged in a hut alongside his deputy. “But there are no weapons.

If we use an arrow one time, they use a machine gun.” Papuan rebels have waged a low-level insurgency against Indonesia’s better-armed and better-trained forces for decades while struggling to gain international support.

Today, frustration, grinding poverty and alleged Indonesian rights violations have emboldened hardliners in the fragmented independence movement who want more direct military action.

Rebels have escalated their fight, targeting road contractors, as well as schools and clinics that they say have links to the military. In April, they killed Indonesia’s intelligence chief in Papua, dramatically escalating tensions. Jakarta responded by designating all separatists as “terrorists”, pouring more troops into the area and launching a series of bloody reprisal attacks.

United Nations envoys have expressed “serious concern” that Indonesia’s response has been excessive and appears “to reflect a broader pattern of racism” targeting indigenous Papuans. Last year, they cited allegations of torture, the killing of Papuan civilians and the displacement of tens of thousands more.
They also expressed concern that Jakarta has sporadically cut internet access and de facto banned almost all foreign journalists from the area, making independent verification difficult. The government did not respond to requests for comment, but chief security minister Mahfud MD said this month that Papuans were equal citizens of Indonesia. “Papuans are brothers to us the same like Javanese people, Sumatrans, Buginese and Acehnese people,” he said. ‘One-sided system’ Nongganop may be lucky to be alive. He fled following signs he was about to be taken in by Indonesia’s feared security forces, known as Kopassus, who regularly patrol the border villages.

He and his deputy cite the names and details of several ethnic Papuans who died or disappeared from their home area in suspicious circumstances in recent years. “They carried out secret killings,” he said, blaming Indonesian security forces. “It is a one-sided system.

They don’t care about the people. Three Kopassus people came with a car and an armored truck to take me from my house. So we ran away.” He wishes someone would give them arms so they could fight back, but no one has in decades of conflict, leaving them with only traditional homemade weapons used for hunting: bows, arrows and spears. And for people like Nongganop, life in Papua New Guinea’s poor Western Province has been tough, with survival a battle in itself.

‘There is no food’ Yapsi, also called ‘New Location’, is a hard place to be a subsistence farmer. The land is poor, plants do not grow well and malnutrition and tuberculosis are common. Children cannot easily go to school and are forced to play among tarpaulins bearing the names of various UN agencies that offer modest help. Many of those who arrived in 2019 have already crossed the border back to Indonesia, despite the risks. “It is difficult to find enough to eat. There is no food,” said Nongganop, adding the situation was too much for some. “They were hungry. They could not stand it.”

Nongganop admits the road home is closed for him, at least for now. Indonesian security forces know who he is, he says, and he would be in danger if he went back.

“I am scared to go back,” he said. I will wait here for independence and then I will go back.”

Marking Human Rights Day, AJI launches press legal aid association

December 13, 2021

Marking Human Rights Day, AJI launches press legal aid association

Suara Papua – December 10, 2021

Arnold Belau, Jayapura — Coinciding with the commemoration of
International Human Rights Day on December 10, the Jayapura city
Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) have launched the Papua Legal
Aid Association for the Press (Perkumpulan Bantuan Hukum Pers Tanah
Papua, PBHPTP).

In opening the launch, AJI Jayapura Chairperson Lucky Ireeuw said that
Law Number 40/1999 on the Press was established based on the
consideration that press freedom represents one of the concrete forms of
the people’s sovereignty and is an important element in realising a
democratic social and national life, so the freedom to express ideas and
views as contained in Article 28 of the 1945 Constitution must be

One of the biggest jobs in Indonesia since 1969 has been related to the
state of press freedom in Papua. According to AJI Indonesia’s data,
there were as many as 114 cases of violence against journalists in Papua
over the last 20 years, or between 2000 and 2021.

"It is these cases of violence against the press which have become a big
problem for the world of journalism in Indonesia, including Papua, said

The editor of the daily Cenderawasih Post continued saying the national
Press Freedom Index (IKP) survey conducted by the Press Council over the
last four years (2017-2020) found that Papua consistently scored last
with a press freedom category of rather or quite free.

"One of the reasons is because of the frequent cases of violence against
journalists in Papua", he said.

The violence referred to is not just in the form of physical violence,
but also psychological violence in the form of threats, intimidation,
prohibitions, various kinds of digital attacks both against journalists
as well as media outlets, and terror which threatens journalistic work
and press freedom in Papua and West Papua provinces.

Of the many cases of violence against journalists in Papua, many are not
dealt with properly or resolutions in the case are unclear.

"This situation indicates that there are no guarantees, legal certainty
or sense of justice for journalists who become victims of violence", he

In such as situation, continued Ireeuw, an organisation or institution
is needed which of course can focus on advocacy for Papuan journalists.

"Coinciding with International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2021, the
AJI has initiated and officially established the Papua Legal Aid
Association for the Press (PBHPTP), as an institution which has a legal
standing and which can play a role in defending the rights of
journalists who suffer violence in the land of Papua", he said.

The PBHPTP will not just provide benefits for all print and electronic
journalists in Papua, but will also indirectly benefit the central and
regional governments, as well as elements of the legislative, judiciary,
the TNI (Indonesian military), Polri (Indonesian police), civil society
organisations, traditional communities and society in general in the
land of Papua.

"The final aim of having this institution is the realisation of justice
for journalists and press freedom in the land of Papua", he said.

The launch of the PBHTP, which was held at a hotel in Jayapura city on
Friday, was attended by the commander of the Cenderawasih XVII military
command, the Papua regional police chief, the Papua provincial
government legal bureau and representatives from other government
institutions such as the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM)
as well as journalists and journalist organisations.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was
"Hari HAM Sedunia, AJI Jayapura Launching PBH Pers – Suara Papua".]