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USGov: 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – Indonesia

March 24, 2023

2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices:

2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices:


Indonesia is a multiparty democracy. In 2019 Joko Widodo (popularly
known as Jokowi) won a second five-year term as president. Voters also
elected new members of the House of Representatives and the Regional
Representative Council, as well as provincial and local legislatures.
Domestic and international observers deemed the elections to be free and

The Indonesian National Police is responsible for internal security and
reports directly to the president. The Indonesian National Armed Forces,
which also report directly to the president, are responsible for
external defense and combatting separatism, and in certain conditions
may provide operational support to police, such as for counterterrorism
operations, maintaining public order, and addressing communal conflicts.
Civilian authorities maintained control over security forces. There were
reports that members of the security forces committed abuses.

Significant human rights issues included credible reports of: unlawful
or arbitrary killings by government security forces; torture by police;
harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest or
detention; political prisoners; serious problems with the independence
of the judiciary; serious abuses in the conflict in Papua, Central
Papua, Highland Papua, South Papua, and West Papua Provinces (the Papua
region), including unlawful civilian deaths or harm, torture, and
physical abuses; serious restrictions on free expression and media,
including unjustified arrests or prosecutions of journalists,
censorship, and the use of criminal libel laws; serious restrictions on
internet freedom; substantial interference with the freedom of peaceful
assembly and freedom of association; serious government corruption; lack
of investigation of and accountability for gender-based violence; the
practice of female genital mutilation/cutting; crimes involving violence
or threats of violence targeting members of racial, ethnic, and
religious minority groups; crimes involving violence or threats of
violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersex
persons; and laws in Aceh Province criminalizing consensual same-sex
sexual conduct between adults.

While the government took steps to investigate and prosecute some
officials who committed human rights abuses and engaged in corruption,
impunity for historic and recent serious human rights abuses and
corruption remained a significant concern.

Armed conflict between government forces and separatist groups continued
in the Papua region. There were numerous reports of abuses against
civilians including unlawful or arbitrary killings, physical abuse, and
destruction of property. The government investigated and persecuted some
of these, but civil society reported instances of impunity. The conflict
caused the displacement of thousands of residents. Outside the Papua
region, there were numerous reports of unknown actors using digital
harassment and intimidation against human rights activists and academics
who criticized government officials, discussed government corruption, or
covered issues related to the conflict in the Papua region.

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person


There were numerous reports that security officials committed arbitrary
or unlawful killings. Many of these reports related to security forces’
counterinsurgency operations against armed separatist groups in the
Papua region (see section 1.g.).

In cases of alleged extrajudicial killings by government officials,
police and the military often did not conduct investigations and when
they did, failed to disclose the findings of these internal
investigations. Official statements related to abuse allegations
sometimes contradicted nongovernmental organization (NGO) accounts, and
inaccessibility of areas where violence took place made confirming facts

The Commission for Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS, an
NGO), counted 16 deaths in the 50 cases of alleged torture and other
abuse by security forces it investigated from May 2021 to June 2022.

On August 12, General Ferdy Sambo, former head of Internal Affairs in
the Indonesian National Police, admitted to authorities that he
masterminded a plot to kill his aide, Brigadier Nofriansyah Yosua
Hutabara, and disguise the murder as a shootout. Yosua’s autopsy
revealed evidence of torture and execution-style gunshot wounds. While a
motive for the July 8 murder remained unclear, multiple media outlets
reported that Yosua was planning to leak Sambo’s alleged illegal
activities, including running gambling rings. The internal police
investigation broadened to include nearly three dozen police officers
and one- and two-star generals. NGOs and academics expressed doubt,
however, that the investigation would include all of Sambo’s illegal
activity, which they believed must have been approved at higher levels.

KontraS alleged police used excessive force in at least 118 instances.
In October police fired at least 11 rounds of tear gas at fans in
Kanjuruhan Stadium as a form of crowd control following a soccer match,
prompting a fatal crush that resulted in 135 deaths, including of 43
children. As a result, six suspects were arrested (including three
police officers), 10 police officers were dismissed, and another 18 were
under investigation.


The government and NGOs reported little progress in accounting for
persons who previously disappeared, including disappearances that
occurred during the country’s occupation of Timor-Leste. NGOs reported
little progress in prosecuting those responsible for such disappearances
and noted many officials suspected of being involved in disappearances
continued to serve in the government (see section 1.c.).


The constitution prohibits such practices. The law criminalizes the use
of violence or force by officials to elicit a confession, but no law
specifies or defines “torture.” Other laws, such as on witness and
victim protection, include antitorture provisions. Officials face
imprisonment for a maximum of four years if they use violence or force

NGOs made numerous reports of police and security forces using excessive
force during detention and interrogation, with some cases resulting in
death (see section 1.a.).

National police and the military usually upheld procedures to address
alleged torture. All police recruits undergo training on the
proportional use of force and human rights standards. In cases of
alleged torture and other abuse, police and the military typically
conducted investigations but often did not publicly disclose either the
fact or the findings of these internal investigations. Official
statements related to abuse allegations sometimes contradicted NGO
accounts, and the frequent inaccessibility of areas where violence took
place made confirming facts difficult. NGOs and other observers
criticized the short prison sentences often imposed by military courts
in abuse cases involving civilians or actions by off-duty soldiers.

KontraS reported 677 injuries from alleged torture and other abuse by
security forces between July 2021 and June 2022.

On September 20, four police officers allegedly tortured Yulius Yatu at
his home, the day after he had used WhatsApp to publicly criticize the
police response to a recent protest against rising fuel prices in North
Maluku. According to the victim’s official report, four men arrived at
his home, confirmed his identity, dragged him to the North Halmahera
Police station, and proceeded to beat and choke him until he lost
consciousness. KontraS and Press Legal Aid urged the North Maluku
Police to investigate the crime and called for the removal of the North
Halmahera police chief. Police Commissioner M Arinta Fauzi stated the
agency promised to investigate the alleged abuse, although as of October
the case remained unresolved.

Aceh Province has special authority to implement sharia regulations.
Authorities there carried out public canings for violations of sharia in
cases of sexual abuse, gambling, adultery, alcohol consumption, and
sexual relations outside of marriage. Same-sex sexual conduct is a
criminal offense in Aceh, punishable by caning; there were no known
cases of punishment for this crime during the year. Sharia should not
be applied to non-Muslims, foreigners, or Muslims not resident in Aceh;
however, it sometimes was. Non-Muslims in Aceh occasionally chose
punishment under sharia because it was more expeditious and less
expensive than secular procedures. In February, for example, media
reported three individuals convicted of facilitating online gambling
were forced to choose between being whipped or paying the cash
equivalent of one pound of gold.

Canings continued to occur in public spaces despite the Aceh governor’s
2018 order that they should occur only in prison facilities.
Individuals sentenced to caning may receive up to 100 lashes for each
crime for which they were convicted, depending on the crime and prison
time served.

Security force impunity remained a problem. Members of the army special
forces’ Rose Team, which was involved in the kidnapping, torture, and
killing of students in 1997-98, continued to serve as senior officials
in the government despite being convicted and serving prison sentences
for their involvement in these abuses. Some of those implicated in past
abuses also received promotions or were given public awards and honors.

In September an ad hoc human rights court began the trial of a former
army commander accused of crimes against humanity in the fatal shooting
of five persons, including four teenagers, in Paniai, Papua Province, in
2014. NGOs, however, criticized the government for naming a single
defendant in the case, despite a National Human Rights Commission
investigation that identified additional suspects. Family members of
the victims refused to attend the initial hearing, according to media
reports. The judges found evidence of gross violations of human rights
but determined the defendant was not responsible and should not be held
accountable. In December he was cleared of all charges.

Internal investigations undertaken by security forces were often opaque,
making it difficult to know which units and actors were involved,
especially if they occurred in the Papua region. Internal investigations
were sometimes conducted by the unit accused of the abuses or, in
high-profile cases, by a team sent from police or military headquarters
in Jakarta. Cases involving military personnel could be forwarded to a
military tribunal for prosecution or, in the case of police, to public
prosecutors. These trials lacked transparency and the results were not
always made public. Victims or their families may file complaints with
the National Police Commission, National Commission on Human Rights, or
National Ombudsman to seek an independent inquiry into the incident.
The lack of transparent investigations and judicial processes continued
to hamper accountability in multiple past cases involving security
forces. NGOs continued to advocate for investigations and judicial
resolution of historical cases of security force involvement in
killings, disappearances, and atrocities that dated back to 1965.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Conditions in the country’s 526 prisons and detention centers were often
harsh and sometimes life threatening, due especially to overcrowding.

Abusive Physical Conditions: Overcrowding was a serious problem,
including at immigration detention centers. According to the Ministry
of Law and Human Rights, as of September there were more than 276,000
prisoners and detainees in prisons and detention centers designed to
hold a maximum of 132,107. Overcrowding posed hygiene and ventilation
problems. The degree of overcrowding varied at different facilities.
Minimum- and medium-security prisons were often the most overcrowded;
maximum-security prisons tended to be at or below capacity.

By law prisons are supposed to hold those convicted by courts, while
detention centers hold those awaiting trial. Most prisons have two
facilities on the same compound, one designed for pretrial detainees and
one for convicted prisoners. Persons held at the two facilities did not
normally mix. At times, however, officials held pretrial detainees
together with convicted prisoners due to overcrowding.

By law children convicted of serious crimes serve their sentences in
juvenile prison, although some convicted juveniles remained in the adult
prison system despite efforts to end this practice.

According to NGO observers, conditions in prisons for women tended to be
significantly better than in those for men. Women’s cellblocks within
prisons that held prisoners of both genders, however, did not always
grant women prisoners access to the same amenities, such as exercise
facilities, as their male counterparts.

NGOs noted authorities sometimes did not provide prisoners adequate
medical care. Human rights activists attributed this to a lack of

International and local NGOs reported that in some cases prisoners did
not have ready access to clean drinking water. There were widespread
reports the government did not supply sufficient food to prisoners, and
family members often brought food to supplement prisoners’ diets.

Guards in detention facilities and prisons regularly extorted money from
inmates, and prisoners reported physical abuse by guards. Inmates with
access to money often bribed or paid corrections officers for favors,
food, telephones, or narcotics. The use and production of illicit drugs
in prisons were serious problems, with some drug networks basing
operations within prisons.

In March the National Human Rights Commission announced it was
investigating allegations of torture by prison officials at the Class 2A
narcotics prison in Yogyakarta. The allegations included beatings with
bare hands and with tools.

Administration: The law allows prisoners and detainees to submit
complaints to authorities without censorship and to request
investigation of alleged deficiencies. Complaints are submitted to the
Ministry of Law and Human Rights where they were investigated and were
subject to independent judicial review.

Independent Monitoring: Some NGOs received access to prisons but were
required to obtain permission, including approval from police, attorneys
general, courts, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and other agencies. NGOs
reported authorities rarely permitted direct access to prisoners for
interviews. There was no regular independent monitoring of prisons.


The law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention and provides for the
right of any person to challenge the lawfulness of his or her arrest or
detention in court. The government generally observed these
requirements, but there were notable exceptions.

Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees
Security forces must produce warrants during an arrest. Exceptions
apply, for example, if a suspect is caught in the act of committing a
crime. The law allows investigators to issue warrants, but at times
authorities, especially police from the Criminal Investigation
Department, made questionable arrests without warrants.

By law suspects or defendants have the right to contact family promptly
after arrest and to legal counsel of their choice at every stage of an
investigation. Legal aid organizations reported numerous cases in which
they had difficulty accessing detainees, especially if physical or other
abuse during or after the arrest was discovered or alleged when access
was granted.

Court officials are supposed to provide free legal counsel to all
persons charged with offenses that carry the death penalty or
imprisonment for 15 years or more, and to destitute defendants facing
charges that carry a penalty of imprisonment for five years or more.
Such legal resources were limited, however, and free counsel was seldom
provided. NGOs reported that some police and prosecutors maintained a
“pocket lawyer” who could be called in to provide a pro forma defense
for their clients.

There is no system of bail; however, detainees may request a suspension
of detention, which may be granted by investigators, prosecutors, or
judges. Additionally, detainees may challenge their arrest and
detention by petitioning for a pretrial hearing. According to the law, a
judge must begin the pretrial hearing within three days of receipt of
the application and render a decision within seven days after the
beginning of the hearing. Some defense lawyers indicated reluctance to
request these suspensions, since sometimes the paperwork their clients
must sign as a condition of release included language that could be
interpreted as an admission of guilt.

Lack of legal resources was particularly problematic for persons
involved in land disputes. Local government officials and large
landowners involved in land grabs reportedly accused community activists
of crimes, hoping the resulting detentions or arrests and the
community’s lack of legal and financial resources would hamper efforts
to oppose the land grab.

Arbitrary Arrest: There were reports of arbitrary arrests by police,
primarily by the Criminal Investigation Department and the Mobile
Brigade Corps, a police tactical unit tasked with counterterrorism, riot
control, and high-risk law enforcement. There were multiple media and
NGO reports of police temporarily detaining persons for criticizing the
government, participating in peaceful demonstrations, and other
nonviolent activities.

On February 22 in South Sumatra, three North Lubuklinggau resort police
arrested Hermanto (no last name) without a warrant for alleged theft.
Hermanto died in custody after 11 hours’ detention. KontraS reported
that there were signs of excessive force during the arrest and
detainment as evidenced by family testimony about wounds, bruises, and
broken bones. Lubuklinggau district police chief Toni Harmanto named
four police officers suspected of committing torture and promised to
bring them to the court. As of November, the suspects were awaiting trial.

NGOs reported numerous cases of arbitrary arrest across the country,
many in connection with political protests and property disputes, and
many in the Papua region (see section 1.g.). Most of those detained in
such cases were released within 24 hours.

Pretrial Detention: If convicted, time in pretrial detention is counted
against the sentence. Media reported, however, cases in which suspects
were detained longer than allowed by law, in some cases – especially of
low-level crimes with sentences less than a year – resulting in
immediate release of persons found guilty because the time served in
pretrial detention equaled or exceeded their sentence. Terrorism
suspects are governed by special rules. The government did not report
the number of individuals in pretrial detention.


The law provides for an independent judiciary and the right to a fair
public trial, but the judiciary remained deeply and broadly corrupt (see
section 5) and subject to influence from outside parties, including
business interests, politicians, the security forces, and officials of
the executive branch.

Decentralization created difficulties for the enforcement of court
orders, and at times local officials ignored them.

Four district courts are authorized to adjudicate cases of systemic
gross human rights violations upon recommendation of the National Human
Rights Commission. Such trials were rare (see section 1.c., for
information on the first such trial since 2005, for the 2014 killing of
five persons in Paniai, Papua Province).

Under the sharia court system in Aceh, 23 district religious courts and
one court of appeals hear cases. The courts usually heard cases
involving Muslims and based their judgments on decrees formulated by the
local government rather than the national penal code.

In December 2021, NGOs called for the release of an individual, age 14,
designated LK, who was sentenced to eight years in prison after being
detained following a September 2021 attack on a military post in Kisor,
Maybrat, West Papua Province, that resulted in the deaths of four
soldiers. NGOs said the suspect was tortured during detention and did
not receive a fair trial. Police allegedly used a doctored video to
charge the suspect’s lawyer with blasphemy and “causing religious and
racial hatred.” As of November, LK’s case was unresolved.

Trial Procedures
The constitution provides for the right to a fair and public trial, but
judicial corruption and misconduct hindered the enforcement of this
right. The presumption of innocence was not always respected; some
courts, for example, allowed the admission of forced confessions.
Trials were not always timely; sharia court proceedings in Aceh and some
military trials were not public.

The law gives defendants the right to an attorney from the time of
arrest and at every stage of investigation and trial. By law indigent
defendants have the right to public legal assistance, although they must
prove they have no funds for private legal assistance. NGOs reported,
however, that defendants in many areas of the country did not have
access to legal assistance due to the lack of legal aid organizations in
those areas. Where they existed, their legal staffs were often too
small to represent all indigent defendants. There were consequently
numerous cases in which defendants faced trial without counsel.
Defendants facing offenses that carry the death penalty or imprisonment
for 15 years or more are required to have legal counsel; however, NGOs
reported cases in which the legal counsel provided to these defendants
was associated with the prosecution.

Although suspects have the right to confront witnesses and call
witnesses in their defense, judges may allow sworn affidavits when
distance is excessive or the cost of transporting witnesses to the court
is too expensive, hindering the possibility of cross-examination. Some
courts limited the presentation of defense evidence.

Political Prisoners and Detainees

NGOs estimated that as of September, 14 political prisoners from the
Papua region were incarcerated, either awaiting trial or after being
convicted under treason and conspiracy statutes, including for the
display of banned separatist symbols. Additionally, three Moluccan
political prisoners remained in prison, according to NGOs.

According to Amnesty International, authorities detained at least 300
Papuans between January and September for participating in peaceful
protests; many were released without charges.

In February the trial of Victor Yeimo, spokesperson for the
proindependence National Committee for West Papua, began in Jayapura,
Papua Province. Arrested in May 2021, he was charged with criminal
conspiracy, incitement, and treason for his alleged involvement in
violent antiracism protests in Papua and West Papua Provinces in 2019.
His lawyers reported he was arrested without a warrant and moved to the
Mobile Brigade Corps’ detention center without notification to them. In
August 2021 the Jayapura court rejected a challenge to his detention
based on these irregularities. NGOs alleged that the charges against
Yeimo were a baseless attempt to silence nonviolent advocacy for Papuan
separatism. Yeimo’s trial was underway as of September.

Local activists and family members generally were permitted to visit
political prisoners, but authorities held some prisoners on islands far
from their families.

Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies

Victims of human rights abuses may seek damages in the civil court
system, but widespread corruption and political influence limited
victims’ access to justice.

Property Seizure and Restitution
An eminent domain law allows the government to expropriate land for the
public good, provided the government properly compensates owners. NGOs
accused the government of abusing its authority to expropriate or
facilitate private acquisition of land for development projects, often
without fair compensation.

Land access and ownership were major sources of conflict. Police
sometimes evicted those involved in land disputes without due process,
often siding with business-related claimants over individuals or local

In February a large police force was deployed in response to protests in
Wadas, Central Java, opposing the construction of the Bener Dam and
mining activities in their community. Media reported thousands of
police officers arrived in the village, entering homes and intimidating
residents, including detaining children and the elderly. Sixty-seven
villagers were detained by authorities; most were released without
charges after a short detention. Activists accused police of trying to
intimidate the residents of the village to facilitate the construction

Contested administrative boundaries, especially in Kalimantan and the
Papua regions where new provinces were created, contributed to
overlapping licenses, ownership disputes, unmanaged extractive
industries, and corruption.


On December 6, parliament unanimously passed a new criminal code
criminalizing sexual intercourse outside of marriage and living together
as husband and wife outside of marriage. Complaints may only be filed by
a parent, spouse, or child of the accused. The government has two years
to prepare implementation guidelines, which may determine how the law is
enforced and to whom it applies. The code was not in effect as of
December 31 and could take up to another three years before coming into

The law requires judicial warrants for searches except in cases
involving subversion, economic crimes, and corruption. Authorities
generally respected these requirements. The law also provides for
searches without warrants when circumstances are “urgent and
compelling.” Police throughout the country occasionally took actions
without proper authority or violated individuals’ privacy.

NGOs claimed security officials occasionally conducted warrantless
surveillance on individuals and their residences and monitored telephone


The Papua region is home to separatist movements advocating the creation
of an independent state. The most well-known armed separatist group is
the Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka), which acknowledged
that it carried out hundreds of attacks on government officials and
civilians since the 1970s. The government attempted to suppress these
separatist movements primarily through a large military and police
presence, and through a “special autonomy” status granted to the region
in 2002 and revised in 2021.

On March 1, three UN special rapporteurs released a joint statement
expressing serious concern about the deteriorating human rights
situation in the Papua region. The statement cited the killing of a
high-ranking military officer in April 2021 by the West Papuan National
Liberation Army as resulting in a dramatic deterioration in human
rights, including reports of enforced disappearances, the killing of
children, and the forced displacement of an estimated 5,000 Indigenous
Papuans since April. The special rapporteurs called on the government to
allow unhindered humanitarian access to the region and to conduct full
and independent investigations into abuses to ensure those responsible,
including military officials, are held accountable.

In June the legislature passed a bill without local consent, creating
three new provinces from districts originally in Papua Province. The
revision also provided for increased budgetary support for the Papua
region, but critics claimed these provisions strengthened central
government control of development. Analysts believed the creation of new
provinces would accelerate the issuance of licenses for resource
extraction and could foster greater inequality, leading to increased
conflict. During a protest against the proposed legislation on March 15,
police shot and killed two Papuan protesters and injured at least two

In July a video circulated of an alleged member of an armed group
executing a man in the Bintang Mountains regency in Papua. The alleged
armed group member claimed the execution demonstrated the group’s
opposition to the government’s creation of new provinces in the region.
The month following the new province legislation (July) saw a 300
percent increase in violence in Papua compared with the month (May)
previous, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project.

Killings: Restrictions on independent press and NGOs in the area, and on
visits by international investigators, made it difficult to determine
the authenticity of reports of, or to attribute responsibility for,
killings in the Papua region. The government and separatist groups often
provided conflicting accounts about responsibility for a killing and
whether the victim was a civilian or a combatant. The Armed Conflict
Location and Event Data Project, a disaggregated international research
NGO, reported 82 fatalities throughout the country from clashes and
violence against civilians from January 1 to September 16; the majority
of the incidents occurred in the Papua region. Rights group KontraS
reported at least seven deaths from January to August at the hands of
the military. Separately, Human Rights Monitor, a Papua-based NGO,
reported four civilian deaths at the hands of security forces and 32
civilian deaths at the hands of armed separatist groups from January to
October. In July an armed criminal group allegedly led by Egianus Kogoya
attacked civilians in Papua’s Nduga District, killing 10 and injuring
two others, according to media and government reports. The National
Human Rights Commission condemned the attacks, and Amnesty Indonesia
called for a full investigation. The same armed group targeted security
forces and civilians in the past, including multiple attacks against
construction and other workers in recent years. Social media accounts
claiming to represent the armed group threatened migrants and
non-Papuans who settled in the region.

On August 22, military officers and local allies reportedly killed and
mutilated four Papuans in Mimika Regency, Papua Province; the four were
allegedly involved in weapons trafficking. Police claimed one victim was
also associated with a rebel group; the victim’s family denied the
claim. The president ordered the military to investigate the incident.
An army commander told press the involved soldiers would be subject to a
military tribunal, but the actions did not constitute a violation of
human rights. As of October, the case was unresolved.

In August the president signed a decree establishing a team to pursue
nonjudicial settlements for past violations or abuses of human rights in
the Papua region, although activists warned this could lead to legal
impunity for perpetrators. The members of the team began work in September.

There were reports of alleged government use of armed force that did not
take adequate precautions to avoid civilian casualties. For example, in
October 2021, eight villages in Papua Province were allegedly bombed by
government forces using foreign-sourced mortar shells acquired for the
civilian state intelligence agency, according to the London-based
Conflict Armament Research organization.

Physical Abuse, Punishment, and Torture: Human rights organizations and
media reported security forces in the Papua region often used excessive
force on civilians and physically abused persons in detention.

Separatist forces publicly called for nonindigenous Papuans to leave the
Papua region and targeted civilians deemed nonindigenous. Armed groups
used social media to threaten migrants from other areas of the country
who moved to parts of Papua. In September posts on social media by an
individual claiming to represent a separatist group accused members of
the Papua Secretariat of the Human Rights Commission of being
intelligence officers and threatened to kill them if they traveled to
the group’s “territories.”

Although transparent investigations of alleged abuses by government
forces were uncommon, in September the Papua office of the National
Commission on Human Rights released the results of its investigation of
18 soldiers from the Raider 600/Modang infantry battalion who allegedly
tortured two civilians in Mappi Regency, South Papua Province, in
August. The commission said the soldiers forcibly detained Bruno Kimko
and Yohanis Kanggun and brought them to a military post after reports
that the two had harassed a local woman and submitted their case files
to the military prosecutor. According to the accusations, the soldiers
tortured the two for eight hours, leading to the death of Kimbo and
severely injuring Kanggun. As of October, none of the 18 personnel was

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties


The constitution provides for freedom of expression, including for
members of the press and other media. The law places various
restrictions on its exercise, including criminal penalties for
defamation, hate speech, blasphemy, obscenity, and spreading false
information. There were numerous reports of the law being used to limit
criticism of the government. The truth of a statement is not a defense.

Freedom of Expression: The law criminalizes speech deemed defaming of a
person’s character or reputation (see Libel/Slander Laws below);
insulting a religion; spreading hate speech; spreading false
information; obscenity; or advocating separatism. The updated criminal
code passed by parliament on December 6 criminalizes insulting state
institutions and criticizing the president and vice president.
Moreover, anyone found guilty of causing another person to lose his or
her religion may be punished with up to two years imprisonment. The
government has two years to prepare implementation guidelines, which may
determine how the law is enforced and to whom it applies. The code was
not in effect as of December 31 and could take up to another three years
before coming into force.

The Attorney General’s Office has authority to monitor written material
and to request a court order to ban written material. Spreading hate
speech or false information is punishable by up to six years in prison.
Language in the law regulating pornography has been broadly applied to
restrict content deemed as offending local morals. Blasphemy is
punishable for up to five years in prison. Blasphemy cases, however,
were usually prosecuted under the Electronic Information and
Transactions law, which was often used to regulate online speech and
carries a maximum six-year prison sentence. NGOs reported this law was
also often used to prosecute critics of the government.

In June six employees of the bar chain Holywings were charged with
blasphemy after creating an ad campaign offering a free bottle of gin to
men named Muhammad and women named Maria every Thursday. According to
media reports, at least two religious organizations had reported the
chain to the authorities. The business issued an apology and claimed
management was unaware of the promotion. If convicted, the employees
face up to five years’ imprisonment.

Violence and Harassment: From January to September, the Alliance of
Independent Journalists reported 30 cases of violence against
journalists that included doxing, physical assaults, and verbal
intimidation and threats perpetrated by various actors, including
government officials, police and security personnel, members of mass
organizations, and the public.

In January the Surabaya State Court gave a 10-month sentence (reduced to
eight months on appeal) to two police officers found guilty of
assaulting Tempo journalist Nurhadi (no last name) in March 2021. In
May East Java’s regional police disciplinary tribunal sentenced one of
the officers to 14 days’ imprisonment. The attack came after the
journalist investigated corruption involving local officials. The case
marked a rare conviction of police officers for assaulting a journalist,
but NGOs criticized the light punishments.

In August Vice Mayor Muhammad Sinen of Tidore City in North Maluku was
accused of intimidating Nurkholis Lamau, editor of the news site
Cermat. Sinen asked Lamau to take down an article entitled “Breathe
Coal Get Religious Reward” because it stated that pollution from a coal
mine operating under a license sanctioned by the vice mayor ran counter
to Sinen’s claims of support for moving towards environmentally friendly
energy sources. The vice mayor’s nephew reportedly assaulted and
threatened Lamau in front of his family. On September 8, the Soasiu
Court in Tidore sentenced the nephew to one month in prison with three
months’ probation for minor abuses.

In September employees of the media company Narasi were victims of
cyberattacks that aimed to take control of their Telegram, Instagram,
Facebook, and Twitter accounts. Over the same weekend, the editors of
Narasi received threats by mail that said “keep silent or die.” In
October the NGOs Independence Journalist Alliance, Press Legal Aid, and
SAFEnet presented an online petition with more than 16,000 signatures to
the Presidential Staff Office demanding an investigation into the

Members of the press occasionally faced harassment and threats when
investigating cases involving the government or police. In September
two journalists were assaulted by three men while gathering information
related to a high-profile killing committed by former Police Chief
Inspector General Ferdy Sambo. The assailants took their mobile phones,
deleted images and recordings, and searched their bags. The government
took legal action against one of the assailants, who was Sambo’s former
driver, while the details on the other two were unknown.

Censorship or Content Restrictions for Members of the Press and Other
Media, Including Online Media: The government sometimes used regional
and national regulations, including those on blasphemy, hate speech,
defamation, false information, and separatism, to restrict media.
Obtaining permits for travel to the Papua region was difficult for
foreign journalists, who reported bureaucratic delays or denials,
ostensibly for safety reasons.

NGOs reported that journalists’ self-censorship on controversial school
regulations requiring young women to wear the hijab concealed the number
of students who wore the hijab only because of social pressure.
According to NGOs, journalists feared professional ostracism.

Libel/Slander Laws: Criminal defamation provisions prohibit libel and
slander, which are punishable with five-year prison terms. NGOs alleged
that government officials, including police and the judiciary,
selectively used criminal defamation to intimidate individuals and
restrict freedom of expression.

In March Andi Dharmawansyah was sentenced to six months in jail for
defaming Andi Suryanto Asapa, the former district head of health for
Sinjai Regency, South Sulawesi Province. The Makassar High Court
rejected Dharmawansya’s appeal in August. In February 2021,
Dharmawansyah posted an accusation online that Asapa was the mastermind
behind cuts to a compensation fund intended for the heirs of health
workers who died from COVID-19.

For example, in March police formally named Fatia Maulidiyanti,
coordinator for KontraS, and Haris Azhar, executive director of the
Lokataru Foundation, as suspects in September 2021 criminal and civil
defamation complaints filed against them by Coordinating Minister of
Maritime and Investment Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan using the Electronic
Information and Transactions law. Pandjaitan’s complaints arose from
Maulidiyanti’s August 2021 interview with Azhar, posted on YouTube,
during which the two discussed NGO reports that government officials had
an economic interest in the conflict in Papua. Azhar and Maulidiyanti
were named suspects by police but were not charged with any crimes as of
October. They faced a potential sentence of four years if found guilty
of defamation and six years if found guilty of disseminating fake news.

National Security: The government used legal provisions barring
advocacy of separatism to restrict the ability of individuals and media
to advocate peacefully for self-determination or independence in
different parts of the country.

Although the law permits flying a flag symbolizing Papua’s cultural
identity generally, a government regulation barring separatism
specifically prohibits the display of the Morning Star flag in Papua,
the Republic of South Maluku flag in Maluku, and the Free Aceh Movement
Crescent Moon flag in Aceh.

Nongovernmental Impact: Hardline Muslim groups sometimes intimidated
perceived critics of Islam or groups considered heretical. For example,
as of November, 37 Ahmadiyya families were still being sheltered in
Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, 16 years after being forced to leave their
village of Gegerung, West Lombok, because of threats and violence.

Internet Freedom

The law bans online crime broadly, including pornography, gambling,
blackmail, false information, threats, hate speech, racist content, and
defamation, and the government prosecuted individuals for online
statements. The law carries maximum penalties of six years in prison, a
substantial fine, or both. NGOs criticized the law’s vague and ambiguous
provisions, which they noted had been misused by authorities and private
individuals to silence and punish critics, leading to increased
self-censorship by journalists and activists.

NGOs continued to report that government officials used direct pressure
on internet service providers to degrade perceived opponents’ online
communications. In August SAFEnet, an NGO focused on internet freedom,
said the government was increasingly using its power to shut down the
internet to restrict the open flow of information. The NGO reported
suspicions that the government had restricted internet service 12 times
from April and May and 15 times in June in the Papua region to render
the internet effectively unusable. Human rights activists claimed the
slowdowns may have been designed to disrupt reporting on government
human rights abuses in Papua Province. The Jakarta State Administrative
Court ruled that the government may block internet access during periods
of social unrest.

Human rights organizations reported that progovernment hackers often
used doxing, disruptions to online events, and hacking of social media
accounts to threaten and intimidate government critics. Activists also
reported “food bombing,” in which online apps for ordering food were
hacked and numerous orders attributed to NGOs, journalists, and others
placed with payment selected as cash on delivery. SAFEnet reported that
in 2021 activists experienced 193 digital attacks, a 38 percent increase
from the previous year.

NGOs and media reported that paid groups of cyber troops, colloquially
called “buzzers,” used bots and fake social media accounts to shape
political discourse online. Researchers reported that buzzers were
frequently used by both pro- and antigovernment groups. Media reported
that the government directly financed some buzzer operations.

In addition to requesting that internet service providers block access
to content containing “prohibited electronic information,” such as
pornography, radical religious content, extortion, “hoax news,” and hate
speech, NGOs reported that the Ministry of Communication and Information
Technology also sometimes requested removal of content critical of the
government or containing information related to lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender, queer, or intersex (LGBTQI+) issues. The government
sometimes intervened with social media, search engines, app stores, and
other websites to remove offensive and extremist content and revoked the
licenses of those that did not promptly comply with government demands.
In July the government temporarily blocked several platforms, including
PayPal and Yahoo, and gaming sites such as Counter-Strike, for failing
to meet the deadline for joining the government’s licensing system.

Restrictions on Academic Freedom and Cultural Events

The government generally did not place restrictions on cultural events
or academic freedom but occasionally disrupted sensitive cultural events
or activities or failed to prevent nongovernmental groups from doing so.

NGOs reported academic sanctions against students perceived as
criticizing the government or discussing sensitive topics and noted that
professors at government universities sometimes faced threats of
professional retaliation for political criticism of the government or
involvement in events and studies related to sensitive topics, such as
the conflict in Papua. Universities and other academic institutions
also sometimes succumbed to pressure from Islamist groups seeking to
restrict sensitive events and activities.

For example, according to Amnesty International, in June police forced
the University of National Development of East Java to cancel a planned
public discussion on Papua. Police said they feared the event would
provide a platform for those advocating Papuan independence. Amnesty
International said the action amounted to the restriction of the right
to free expression and assembly.

The government-supervised Film Censorship Institute censored domestic
and imported movies for content deemed religiously or otherwise
offensive. One such movie included Disney’s Lightyear because it
depicts a same-sex relationship that could violate the pornography law
banning deviant sexual behavior.

The Broadcasting Commission has the power to restrict content broadcast
on television and radio and used that authority to restrict content
deemed offensive. Provisions prohibited television programs from
showing physical intimacy such as kissing or cuddling and from having
LGBTQI+ content.


The constitution and law provide for the freedoms of peaceful assembly
and association, but the government sometimes restricted these freedoms.

Freedom of Peaceful Assembly

The law provides for freedom of assembly, and outside the Papua region
the government generally respected this right. The law requires
demonstrators to provide police with written notice three days before
any planned demonstration and requires police to issue a receipt for the
written notification. This receipt acts as a de facto license for the

Police in the Papua region routinely refused to issue demonstration
receipts, claiming the demonstrations would include calls for
independence, an act prohibited by law. A Papua provincial police
decree prohibits rallies by seven organizations labeled as
pro-independence, including the National Committee of West Papua, United
Liberation Movement for West Papua, and Free Papua Movement.

In May demonstrations triggered by rumors that the 2024 election could
be postponed and President Jokowi’s term extended drew thousands of
students and other protesters around the country. Police responded with
water cannons and tear gas.

In June demonstrators protesting legislation to create new provinces in
the Papua region were detained; most were released without charges,
according to reports. NGOs reported that protests related to Papua
across the country were routinely disrupted by police and protesters
were arrested.

Freedom of Association

The constitution and law provide for freedom of association, which the
government generally respected. The regulations on registration of
organizations were generally not onerous.

To register officially, foreign NGOs must have a memorandum of
understanding with a government ministry. Some organizations reported
difficulties obtaining these memoranda and claimed the government
withheld them to block their registration; they also blamed cumbersome
bureaucracy within the Ministry of Law and Human Rights. Foreign NGOs
could continue to operate in the country without registration, but those
lacking registration were unable to work directly with government
programs. Moreover, some foreign NGOs reported intrusive monitoring and
intervention in their activities by authorities despite being officially

The Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs banned some
religious organizations, such as the Islamic Defenders Front (a hardline
Islamic organization with a history of attacks on nightclubs), for being
“nonregistered.” The ministry said such organizations’ articles of
association must be consistent with the law, specifically the national
ideology of Pancasila. Human rights organizations contended this was an
unjust restriction on the right of association and expression.


See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.


The law provides for freedom of internal movement and generally allows
for travel outside of the country. The law gives the military broad
powers, in a declared state of emergency, to limit land, air, and sea
traffic. The government did not use these powers during the year.

In-country Movement: The government continued to impose administrative
hurdles for travel by NGOs, journalists, foreign diplomats, and others
to the Papua region.


The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in providing
protection and assistance to refugees, returning refugees, or asylum
seekers, as well as other persons of concern.

Access to Asylum: The country is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee
Convention and does not allow permanent local settlement or
naturalization of asylum seekers or persons judged to be refugees. The
government allows refugees to settle temporarily while awaiting
permanent resettlement. The law acknowledges UNHCR’s role in processing
all refugee status determinations in the country. Regulations establish
a detailed refugee management process, outlining the specific
responsibilities of national and subnational agencies from the time of
refugee arrival to departure for resettlement or repatriation. UNHCR
officials reported 12,993 known refugees and asylum seekers were in the
country as of August. A majority of refugees were reportedly from
Afghanistan. In January Afghan refugees rallied in front of UNHCR
offices in Surabaya calling for either citizenship or resettlement to
another country.

Refoulement: In July the government released a Uyghur man in custody on
terrorism charges since 2015 and processed him for deportation to China.

Abuse of Migrants and Refugees: Migrant workers were often subjected to
police extortion and societal discrimination.

Rohingya Muslims were a small but growing segment of the refugee and
asylum-seeker population. Members of the community claimed they were
often denied proper medical treatment, alleged the government
aggressively monitored them, and said they faced difficulties finding
work and severe restrictions on their freedom of movement. For example,
Rohingya who married locals were not permitted to leave refugee housing.

Employment: The government prohibits refugees from working, although it
did not strictly enforce this prohibition.

Access to Basic Services: The government did not prohibit refugees from
accessing public elementary education, although many barriers prevented
enrollment of more than a small number of refugee children, including
lack of access to government-issued student identification numbers. A
small number of refugees enrolled in language and other classes in
private, refugee-run schools or in NGO-sponsored programs. Refugees had
access to basic public health services through local health clinics,
which the government subsidized. Treatment for more serious conditions
or hospitalization, however, was not covered. Some local governments
provided vaccines to refugees, and UNHCR coordinated the delivery of
vaccines to others.

The government collects data on displacement caused by natural hazards
and conflict through the National Disaster Management Authority,
although the lack of systematic monitoring of return and resettlement
conditions made it difficult to estimate reliably the total number of
internally displaced persons (IDPs). The Internal Displacement
Monitoring Center reported there were 155,000 IDPs due to disasters and
73,000 IDPs due to conflict and violence as of December 2021.

The law stipulates the government must provide for “the fulfillment of
the rights of … displaced persons affected by disaster in a manner that
is fair and in line with the minimum service standards.” IDPs in towns
and villages were not abused or deprived of services or other rights and
protections, but resource and access constraints delayed or hindered the
provision of services to IDPs in some cases, notably for those who fled
to the countryside and forests to escape conflict in the Papua region.

The return of persons displaced by conflict in the Papua region was slow
and difficult. As of August residents displaced by the military’s
response to a 2021 attack on an army checkpoint in Sorong, West Papua,
continued to face problems returning to their homes or enrolling their
children in schools. More than 600 children in the area were not able to
return to school after the attack, according to IDPs from the region.

Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process


Recent Elections: In 2019 President Jokowi won a second five-year term
as president. Voters also elected new members of the House of
Representatives and the Regional Representative Council, as well as
provincial and local legislatures. Domestic and international observers
deemed the elections free and fair.

As of October, seven governors, 18 mayors, 76 regents, and 101 district
heads were serving in an unelected, acting capacity. Their terms in
office were extended by legislation in September 2021 until 2024, at
which time presidential, legislative, and local elections were scheduled.

Participation of Women and Members of Minority Groups: No law limits
participation of women and members of historically marginalized or
minority groups in the political process, and they did participate. The
law on political parties mandates that women comprise a minimum of 30
percent of the founding membership of a new political party and 30
percent of legislative seats; however, there are no penalties or fines
for failure to comply. As of November, women comprised 20 percent of
federal legislators.

Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government

The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, but
government efforts to enforce the law were insufficient. There were
numerous reports of government corruption during the year. Despite the
arrest and conviction of many high-profile and high-ranking officials,
including multiple district heads and heads of state-owned enterprises,
there was a widespread perception that corruption remained endemic.
NGOs claimed that endemic corruption was one cause of human rights
abuses, with economically powerful interests using corrupt government
officials to harass and intimidate activists and groups that impeded
their businesses.

The Corruption Eradication Commission, national police, the armed
forces’ Special Economics Crime Unit, and the Attorney General’s Office
may all investigate and prosecute corruption cases. Coordination between
these offices, however, was inconsistent and coordination with the armed
forces unit was nonexistent. The Corruption Eradication Commission does
not have authority to investigate members of the military, nor does it
have jurisdiction in cases where state losses are valued at less than
one billion rupiah ($65,000).

In April the NGO Indonesian Corruption Watch reported 2019 revisions to
the Corruption Eradication Commission law weakening the body’s
independence had resulted in a decline in its pursuit of corruption
cases. Many NGOs and activists maintained that the Corruption
Eradication Commission’s ability to investigate corruption was limited
because its supervisory body was selected and appointed by the president
and because the commission was part of the executive branch. Commission
investigators were sometimes harassed, intimidated, or attacked because
of their work.

In July Corruption Eradication Commission commissioner Lili Pintauli
Siregar resigned amid allegations that she received benefits from the
state-owned oil company Pertamina. Her resignation resulted in the
cancellation of an ethics probe, and no other investigations were conducted.

Corruption: The Corruption Eradication Commission investigated and
prosecuted officials suspected of corruption at all levels of
government. Several high-profile corruption cases involved large-scale
government procurement or construction programs and implicated
legislators, governors, regents, judges, police, and civil servants. In
the year to September, the commission recovered state assets worth
approximately 352 billion rupiah ($22.7 million); it conducted 67
investigations, initiated 22 prosecutions, and completed 29 cases
resulting in convictions. The Attorney General Office’s Corruption
Taskforce was also active in the investigation and prosecution of
high-profile corruption cases. Despite such efforts, most observers
believed corruption remained widespread.

On September 19, the Corruption Eradication Commission reported that by
that date 310 members of parliament, 154 mayors and district-level
leaders, and 22 governors were implicated in corruption cases.

For example, in February the Jakarta Corruption Court found former
Parliament Deputy Speaker Azis Syamusuddin guilty of bribing Corruption
Eradication Commission officials Stepanus Robin Pattuju and Maskur
Hussain. The court sentenced him to a 3.5-year prison term and barred
him from running for office and participating in elections for four years.

In September the Corruption Eradication Commission announced it was
investigating Papua Province Governor Lukas Enembe for corruption
related to the construction of a church in the Mimika Regency. A court
froze financial assets of the governor worth 71 billion rupiah ($4.62
million). Accusations included channelling large amounts of Special
Autonomy funds to the construction of the church in exchange for
kickbacks, the transfer of funds totalling tens of millions of dollars
to overseas casinos, and other misuses of public funds.

On November 28, the Corruption Eradication Commission officially named
Supreme Court Justice Galzaba Saleh as a suspect. Saleh was the second
Supreme Court judge charged with corruption by the commission following
the arrest of Chief Justice Sudrajad Dimyati on September 22. Saleh
allegedly received bribes worth more than $146,000 to influence a civil
case against a company.

According to NGOs and media reports, police commonly demanded bribes
ranging from minor payoffs in traffic cases to large amounts in criminal
investigations. Corrupt officials sometimes subjected Indonesian
migrants returning from abroad, primarily women, to arbitrary strip
searches, theft, and extortion.

Bribes and extortion influenced prosecution, conviction, and sentencing
in civil and criminal cases. Anticorruption NGOs accused key
individuals in the justice system of accepting bribes and condoning
suspected corruption. Legal aid organizations reported cases often
moved very slowly unless a bribe was paid, and in some cases,
prosecutors demanded payments from defendants to ensure a less zealous
prosecution or to make a case disappear.

Section 5. Governmental Posture Towards International and
Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Abuses of Human Rights
Domestic and international human rights organizations generally operated
without government restriction, except in the Papua region,
investigating and publishing findings on human rights cases and
advocating improvements to the government’s human rights performance.
Government representatives met with local NGOs, responded to their
inquiries, and took some actions in response to NGO concerns.

The United Nations or Other International Bodies: The government
generally permitted UN officials to monitor the human rights situation
in the country, except in the Papua region. Security forces and
intelligence agencies, however, tended to regard foreign human rights
observers with suspicion, especially those in the Papua region, where
their operations were restricted. NGOs continued to press the
government to allow representatives of the Office of the UN High
Commissioner on Human Rights to visit the region to assess the human
rights situation there.

Government Human Rights Bodies: Many independent agencies addressed
human rights problems, including the Office of the National Ombudsman,
the National Commission on Violence against Women, and the National
Human Rights Commission. The government is not required to adopt their
recommendations and at times avoided doing so. Some agencies, including
the human rights and violence against women commissions, may refer cases
to police or prosecutors.

The Aceh Truth and Reconciliation Commission, established to investigate
human rights violations perpetrated by the government and the then
active Free Aceh Movement between 1976 and 2005, took statements from
victims, former separatists, and witnesses between 2016 and 2020. As of
September, no report was released to the public.

Section 6. Discrimination and Societal Abuses


Rape and Domestic Violence: The law prohibits rape, domestic abuse, and
other forms of sexual or gender-based violence. The legal definition of
rape covers only forced penetration of sexual organs, and filing a case
requires a witness or other corroboration, such as medical evidence to
support a survivor’s testimony. Rape is punishable by four to 14 years
in prison and a substantial fine. In April the government enacted the
Sexual Violence Crime Law, strengthening the legal framework to address
violence against women, including improving survivors’ ability to report
crimes to authorities and seek justice. The law also establishes rights
for survivors of sexual violence, including the rights to respectful
treatment during investigation and court proceedings, to protection from
alleged perpetrators, and to restitution and rehabilitation services.

While the government imprisoned some perpetrators of rape and attempted
rape, it did not enforce the law effectively; sentences were often
light, and many convicted rapists received the minimum sentence. Marital
rape is not a specific criminal offense in law but is covered under
“forced sexual intercourse” in national legislation on domestic violence
and may be punished with criminal penalties.

The National Commission on Violence against Women reported receiving
3,838 complaints of violence against women in 2021, up from 2,300 in
2020. The commission attributed the increase in part to social and
economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to more
willingness by victims to report incidents. In September the Ministry of
Women Empowerment and Child Protection, the National Commission on
Violence Against Women, and Service Provide Forum reported that 127,335
women were victims of violence in 2021. The ministry stated that sexual
and physical violence were the two most common abuses. Civil society
activists underscored that many cases went unreported, as many victims
did not report abuse because of fear of social stigma, shame, and lack
of support from friends and family.

Civil society organizations operated integrated service centers for
women and children in all 34 provinces and approximately 440 districts
and provided counseling and support services of varying quality to
victims of violence. Larger provincial service centers provided more
comprehensive psychosocial services. Women living in rural areas or
districts with no such center had difficulty receiving support services,
and some centers were only open for six hours a day, not the required 24
hours. Nationwide, police operated “special crisis rooms” or “women’s
desks” where women officers received reports from women and child
survivors of sexual assault and trafficking and where survivors found
temporary shelter. It was unclear how many individuals utilized these

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): FGM/C reportedly occurred
regularly. There were no recent reliable data on FGM/C. Using 2013 data,
UNICEF estimated that 49 percent of girls age 11 and younger underwent
some form of FGM/C, with most girls subjected to the procedure before
they were six months old. NGOs noted that the much of the FGM/C
practiced in the country would be categorized as UNICEF’s “less
invasive” type IV FGM/C. National law prohibiting this practice had
never been tested in court, as no one had ever been charged for
performing FGM/C. The Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child
Protection continued to lead official efforts to prevent FGM/C.

Sexual Harassment: The law prohibiting indecent public acts serves as
the basis for criminal complaints stemming from sexual harassment and
was effectively enforced. Violations are punishable by imprisonment of
up to two years and eight months and a small fine. The law recognizes
and details punishments for a variety of crimes, including physical and
nonphysical sexual harassment, online gender-based violence, forced
contraception, forced marriage, sexual exploitation, and online sexual
violence. Civil society and NGOs reported sexual harassment was a
problem countrywide. In February the Coalition of Safe Public Space
released a survey indicating four out of five women in the country
experienced sexual harassment in public spaces.

Reproductive Rights: There were no reports of coerced abortion or
involuntary sterilization on the part of government authorities.

NGOs reported that social stigma and bullying of girl students related
to menstruation occurred, and that girl students had inadequate access
to menstrual education, hygiene products, and hygienic facilities at
schools. Such inadequacy prevented girls from appropriately managing
menstruation, frequently resulting in absenteeism from school during

The law recognizes the basic right of couples and individuals to decide
the number, spacing, and timing of their children, but various
regulations undercut its effective implementation for women. By law the
government must provide information and education on reproductive health
that do not conflict with religious or moral norms. NGOs reported that
government officials attempted to restrict the provision of reproductive
health information related to contraceptives and other services deemed
as conflicting with religious or moral norms.

While condoms were widely available, regulations require husbands’
permission for married women to obtain other forms of birth control. The
new criminal code approved unanimously by parliament on December 6 would
make it illegal for anyone other than an “authorized officer” how to use
or obtain birth control. The government has two years to prepare
implementation guidelines, which may determine how the law is enforced
and to whom it applies. The code was not in effect as of December 31 and
could take up to another three years before coming into force.

Local NGOs reported that unmarried women found it difficult to obtain
contraceptives through health-care systems. Media and NGOs reported such
women were stigmatized, including by health-care staff who repeatedly
asked about marital status and sometimes turned away unmarried women
seeking routine procedures such as pap smears.

NGOs reported that reproductive health services were not consistently
provided to survivors of sexual violence. NGOs reported rape survivors
sometimes experienced difficulties obtaining emergency contraceptives
from medical providers.

According to 2017 World Health Organization data, the maternal mortality
rate was 177 per 100,000 live births, down from 184 in 2016. The
Ministry of Health and NGOs identified several factors contributing to
the high maternal mortality rate, including lack of training for
midwives and traditional birth attendants, continued lack of access to
basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric care, and limited
availability of essential maternal and neonatal medications. Hospitals
and health centers did not always properly manage complicated
procedures, and financial barriers and the limited availability of
qualified health personnel caused problems for referrals in case of
complications. A woman’s economic status, level of education, and age at
marriage also affected maternal mortality.

Discrimination: The law provides the same legal status and rights for
women and men in family, labor, property, and nationality law, but it
does not grant widows equal inheritance rights. The law was generally
enforced effectively. The law, however, also states that women’s work
outside the home must not conflict with their role in improving family
welfare and educating the younger generation and designates the man as
the head of the household.

Divorce is available to both men and women. Many divorced women received
no alimony, since there is no system to enforce such payments. The law
requires a divorced woman to wait 40 days before remarrying; a man may
remarry immediately.

The National Commission on Violence against Women viewed many local laws
and policies as discriminatory. These included “morality laws” and
antiprostitution regulations.

In October the Ministry of Education issued a new regulation on state
school uniforms stressing the freedom of students to choose whether to
wear or not to wear a hijab. Prior to the October regulation, increasing
numbers of schools and local governments forced girls to wear the hijab
in schools. In August media reported one student in Bantul, Yogyakarta,
was forced to wear a hijab, traumatizing her and leading to depression.
A March report by Human Rights Watch detailed widespread and intense
social pressure for women to wear hijabs in schools and government
offices, in addition to requirements in official regulations. Women
faced discrimination in the workplace, both in hiring and in gaining
fair compensation (see section 7.d.).


The law contains provisions specifically aimed at eliminating racial and
ethnic discrimination, providing criminal penalties for individuals who
discriminate on ethnic/racial grounds, as well as sentencing
enhancements for violent actions that include a racial or ethnic
motivation. The government did not always enforce the law effectively.
Public officials frequently spoke to the importance of tolerance and
diversity in a multiethnic country, but discriminatory practices often
went unpunished. The law defines hate speech as spreading hate against a
race, tribe, religion, or group. The government generally applied hate
speech law in cases related to race.

NGOs reported that persons of Melanesian descent, predominantly from the
Papua region, faced widespread discrimination throughout the country.
Persons of Melanesian descent often faced police abuse. In January a
teacher in Jember, East Java, was punished for using derogatory language
toward an ethnic Papuan student.

Papuan activists emphasized that although the Papua region is rich in
natural resources, the local Melanesian population has historically not
fully benefitted from these resources and much of the local economy has
long been controlled by non-Melanesians. Statistics Indonesia, a
government agency, reported that in 2021 the provinces of the Papua
region had the lowest Human Development Index and highest poverty rate
of the country’s 34 provinces. In 2021 the House of Representatives
extended special autonomy for the then provinces of Papua and West
Papua, which included an increase in the yearly allocation of government
funds to Papua from 2 to 2.25 percent of the national budget intended to
address this inequality. Opponents claimed the economic benefits of this
increase would disproportionately benefit non-Melanesians. In June the
House of Representatives divided Papua Province to create three
additional provinces. The government claimed this would speed up
development and enhance the delivery of public services in the region.


The government viewed most citizens as “indigenous” but recognized the
existence of several “isolated communities” and their right to
participate fully in political and social life. The Indigenous Peoples’
Alliance of the Archipelago estimated that between 50 and 70 million
Indigenous persons were in the country. These communities include the
Dayak tribes of Kalimantan, families living as sea nomads, and the 312
officially recognized Indigenous groups in Papua. Indigenous persons,
most notably those from the Papua region, were subjected to discrimination.

There was little improvement in respect for Indigenous persons’
traditional land rights, and access to ancestral lands remained a major
source of tension throughout the country. The government, often in
collusion with local military and police units, failed to prevent
companies from encroaching on Indigenous groups’ land. Central and local
government officials were also alleged to have extracted kickbacks from
mining and plantation companies in exchange for land access at the
expense of Indigenous groups.

Mining and logging activities, many of them illegal, posed significant
social, economic, and legal problems for Indigenous communities.
Melanesians in Papua cited racism and discrimination as drivers of
violence and economic inequality in the region.

NGOs reported that as of 2021, only approximately 220 of a proposed
42,471 square miles was granted to local Indigenous groups, with the
government occupying 927 square miles of this land. These hutan adat
(customary forest) land grants are specifically designated for
Indigenous groups. Nevertheless, large corporations and the government
continued to displace individuals from ancestral lands. NGOs reported
that security forces and police sometimes became involved in disputes
between corporations and Indigenous communities, often taking the side
of the businesses.

Amnesty International reported that in 2021, 44 Indigenous rights
defenders and environmental activists were arrested, physically
attacked, and intimidated. According to the NGO AMAN, as of September
there were 13 cases of Indigenous land being allocated by the government
to other purposes, affecting more than 103,000 individuals. NGOs
described systematic efforts to undermine Indigenous communities’
customary rights.

In 2021 the West Papua government rescinded 12 licenses held by
companies operating palm oil plantations in the province after
collaborating with the Corruption Eradication Commission and the NGO
EcoNusa. As of September, the status of the 1,034 square miles of land
remained unresolved, leaving it open to encroachment and illegal
exploitation, NGOs said.

In 2021 security personnel from PT Toba Pulp Lestari clashed with
thousands of residents in Toba Regency, North Sumatra, who protested the
company’s activities on what they claimed was Indigenous land. In August
police forced their way through a barricade erected by protesters and
opened fire using rubber bullets.


Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived through the citizenship of
one’s parents. If citizenship of the parents cannot be determined, or
the parents lack citizenship, citizenship can be acquired by birth in
national territory.

The law prohibits fees for legal identity documents issued by the civil
registry. Nevertheless, NGOs reported that in some districts local
authorities did not provide free birth certificates.

Education: Although the constitution states that the government must
provide tuition-free education up to grade nine; it does not cover fees
charged for schoolbooks, uniforms, transportation, and other nontuition
costs. The Ministry of Education and Culture, representing public and
private schools, and the Ministry of Religious Affairs for Islamic
schools and madrassahs, operated a system giving students from
low-income families a financial grant for their educational needs.
Nonetheless, high poverty rates nationwide put education out of reach
for many children.

According to the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection’s
2020 Children Profile Report, approximately 10.3 million children ages
five to 17 had not attended school and 3.03 million children had dropped
out of school.

Child Abuse: The law prohibits child abuse, but NGOs criticized the slow
police response to such allegations. The law also addresses economic and
sexual exploitation of children.

Child, Early, and Forced Marriage: The minimum marriage age for women
and men is 19. Exceptions to the minimum age requirements are allowed
with court approval. The courts officially permitted more than 59,000
child marriages with parental consent in 2021.

The National Statistics Agency reported in 2018 that approximately 11
percent of girls in the country married before the age of 18. Provinces
with the highest rates of early marriage include West Sulawesi, Central
Kalimantan, Southeast Sulawesi, South Kalimantan, and West Kalimantan.
The main drivers of early marriage were poverty, cultural tradition,
religious norms, and lack of sexual reproductive health education. The
National Commission on Women’s Rights reported that some of these child
marriages involved the victims of sexual abuse marrying their abusers.

In April Bandung High Court handed down a death sentence to a former
religious teacher and founder of an Islamic boarding school, Heru
Wirawan, who was convicted of raping 13 schoolgirls between 2016 and
2021. In July media reported on a rape survivor, age 14, at a religious
school in Tuban, East Java, who gave birth to a child after she was
forced to marry her rapist. The victim’s parents agreed to legalize the
underage marriage, to the son of a prominent local figure, through a
marriage dispensation. The accused had allegedly groomed the victim for
more than a year while she lived at the school.

The reduction of child marriage was one of the targets set in the
National Mid-Term Development Plan 2020-2024. The government aimed to
reduce new child marriages to 8.7 percent of all marriages by 2024.

Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law forbids consensual sex outside
of marriage with girls younger than 15. It does not address heterosexual
conduct between women and boys, but it prohibits same-sex sexual conduct
between adults and minors.

The law prohibits the commercial sexual exploitation of children and the
use of children in illicit activities and is enforced. It also prohibits
child pornography and prescribes a maximum sentence of 12 years and a
substantial fine for producing or trading in child pornography.

According to 2016 data, the most recent available from the Ministry of
Social Affairs, there were 56,000 underage sex workers in the country;
UNICEF estimated that nationwide 40,000 to 70,000 children were victims
of sexual exploitation, and that 30 percent of female commercial sex
workers were children.

Displaced Children: Ministry of Social Affairs data from December 2020
estimated there were 67,368 street children in the country. The
government continued to fund shelters administered by local NGOs and
paid for the education of some street children.

Institutionalized Children: The Ministry of Social Affairs reported that
in 2019 183,104 children were registered in its Integrated Social
Welfare Data system, of whom 106,406 were residing in 4,864 child
welfare institutions; 76,698 were in family placement.


The country’s Jewish population was extremely small, estimated at
approximately 200. There were no significant reports of antisemitism,
but studies in recent years indicated a high level of antisemitic
sentiment, often linked with strong anti-Israel sentiment.


See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report.


Criminalization: No national law criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual
conduct between adults; however, NGOs reported several cases where
vaguely defined laws related to pornography and facilitation of
prostitution were used to criminalize LGBTQI+ individuals. NGOs reported
numerous local government regulations that define same-sex sexual
conduct as a form of sexual deviance. Aceh’s sharia makes consensual
same-sex sexual conduct illegal and punishable by a maximum of 100
lashes, a considerable fine, or a 100-month prison term. According to
Aceh’s sharia agency chief, at least four witnesses must observe
individuals engaging in consensual same-sex sexual conduct for them to
be charged. NGOs reported that fear of prosecution under Aceh’s sharia
at times caused LGBTQI+ activists to flee the province, sometimes

In September a military tribunal in Jakarta dismissed five soldiers and
sentenced them to prison for having same-sex intercourse. Two were
sentenced to six months, the other three to five months in prison. The
judges stated that same-sex sexual activity was harmful to the service
and went against religious and decency norms.

Violence against LGBTQI+ Persons: Police corruption, bias, and violence
caused LGBTQI+ persons to avoid interaction with police. Officials often
ignored formal complaints by victims and affected persons, including
refusing to investigate bullying directed at LGBTQI+ individuals. In
criminal cases with LGBTQI+ victims, police investigated the cases
reasonably well. According to media and NGO reports, local authorities
harassed transgender persons, including by forcing them to conform to
cultural standards of behavior associated with their biological sex or
to pay bribes following detention. In many cases, officials failed to
protect LGBTQI+ persons from societal abuse.

Discrimination: Antidiscrimination law does not protect LGBTQI+
individuals, and discrimination against LGBTQI+ persons continued.
Transgender persons faced discrimination in employment and access to
public services and health care. NGOs documented government officials’
refusal to issue identity cards to transgender persons.

On May 13, an official from the Ministry of Health characterized
homosexuals and bisexuals as persons with mental challenges. In July
Jakarta Deputy Governor Ahmad Riza Patria warned against an “LGBT
tendency” after observing a fashion show, remarks civil society groups
called discriminatory.

In December Anwar Abbas, the Deputy Chairman of the Indonesian Council
of Ulama, told the press that LGBTQI+ ideas posed a threat to the
country’s religious and cultural values. The Indonesian Middle East
Alumni Association Chairperson KH Muhyiddin Junaidi said, “LGBT is a
mental illness that must be treated, because it is very dangerous for
the survival of humanity.” House member Nasyirul Falah Amru stated that
as a nation firmly committed to Pancasila, the country could not accept
the “LGBT” movement. Meanwhile, the hashtag #UsirLGBTDariIndonesia (Kick
out LGBT from Indonesia) emerged on Twitter.

Involuntary or Coercive Medical or Psychological Practices Specifically
Targeting LGBTQI+ Individuals: No law or regulation prohibits or
otherwise restricts so-called conversion therapy practices. According to
activists, transgender individuals were at times subjected to “therapy”
such as exorcism practices, religious camps, and other traumatic
practices. Families often put LGBTQI+ minors into therapy, confined them
to their homes, or pressured them to marry persons of the opposite sex.

NGOs criticized a law in the city of Bogor, West Java, aimed at
“rehabilitating” those perceived to suffer from abnormal sexual
behavior, saying it violated rights and targeted sexual and gender
minority communities.

Availability of Legal Gender Recognition: Updating gender markers on
legal documents is possible but requires completed medical interventions
including surgery, attested to by court order, regardless of whether
surgery is desired by the individual.

Restrictions of Freedom of Expression, Association, or Peaceful
Assembly: Some LGBTQI+ advocacy groups reported that when attempting to
register their organizations, they were unable to state explicitly that
they were LGBTQI+ advocacy groups on their registration certificate.
LGBTQI+ NGOs operated but frequently held low-key public events because
the licenses or permits required for holding registered events were
difficult to obtain or they were pressured by police not to hold such
events to avoid creating “social unrest.” The federal government had not
acted to address local laws that criminalize LGBTQI+ groups despite
their non-conformance with national legislation, according to NGOs.

Producing media depicting consensual same-sex sexual conduct – vaguely
and broadly defined in the law – may be prosecuted as a crime. Penalties
include potentially extremely large fines and imprisonment from six
months to 15 years, with heavier penalties for crimes involving minors.
NGOs reported that the Ministry of Communication and Information
Technology sometimes requested removal from internet sites of
information related to LGBTQI+ issues. Government bodies censored
domestic and imported movies for depicting same-sex relationships and
prohibited television programs from having LGBTQI+ content.

In August social media influencer Dimas Adipati in Makassar was
sentenced to 18 months in prison (reduced to 12 months on appeal) for
posting LGBTQI+-related content on social media.


Persons with disabilities were not able to access education, health
services, public buildings, and transportation on an equal basis with
others. The law mandates accessibility to public facilities for persons
with disabilities. The law applies to education, employment, health
services, transportation, and other state services but was seldom
enforced. Comprehensive disability rights law provisions impose criminal
sanctions for violators of the rights of persons with disabilities.
Persons with disabilities were disproportionately affected by the
COVID-19 crisis. They had difficulties accessing information on the
pandemic and virus-related public health strategies and receiving health
care from service providers.

There was no reliable data on the access of children with disabilities
to education, but observers believed their attendance rate was lower
than that of other children.

Despite a government ban, NGOs reported that families, traditional
healers, and staff in institutions continued to shackle individuals with
psychosocial disabilities, in some cases for years. The government
continued to prioritize elimination of this practice. The Ministry of
Social Affairs reported a steep reduction in 2021, estimating that more
than 4,700 persons with psychosocial disorders had been freed that year.


Stigmatization of and discrimination against persons with HIV or AIDS
were pervasive, despite government efforts to encourage tolerance.
Societal tolerance varied widely and official fear of a backlash from
religious conservatives often resulted in muted prevention efforts.
Societal barriers to accessing antiretroviral drugs and their expense
put these drugs beyond the reach of many. Persons with HIV or AIDS
reportedly continued to face employment discrimination. Closer
collaboration between the Ministry of Health and civil society
organizations increased the reach of the government’s awareness
campaign; however, some clinics refused to provide services to persons
with HIV or AIDS.

Individuals suspected of using black magic were often targets of
violence. In 2021 prisoners in Merauke, Papua, killed two ethnic Marind
prisoners accused of using magic to curse other prisoners.

Section 7. Worker Rights


The law, with restrictions, provides for the rights of workers to join
independent unions, conduct legal strikes, and bargain collectively. The
law prohibits antiunion discrimination.

Workers in the private sector have, in law, broad rights of association
and formed and joined unions of their choice without previous
authorization or excessive requirements. The law places restrictions on
organizing among public-sector workers. Civil servants may only form
employee associations with limitations on certain rights, such as the
right to strike. Employees of state-owned enterprises may form unions,
but because the government treats most such enterprises as essential
national interest entities, their right to strike is limited.

The law stipulates that 10 or more workers have the right to form a
union, with membership open to all workers, regardless of political
affiliation, religion, ethnicity, or gender. The Ministry of Manpower
records, rather than approves, the formation of a union, federation, or
confederation, and provides it with a registration number.

The law allows the government to petition the courts to dissolve a union
if it conflicts with the constitution or the national ideology of
Pancasila, which encompasses the principles of belief in one God,
justice, unity, democracy, and social justice. Authorities may compel a
union to dissolve if its leaders or members, in the name of the union,
commit crimes against the security of the state, and they may receive a
minimum of five years in prison. Once a union is dissolved, its leaders
and members may not form another union for at least three years. The
International Labor Organization remained concerned that dissolving a
union could be disproportionate to the seriousness of the violation.

The law includes some restrictions on collective bargaining, including a
requirement that a union or unions represent more than 50 percent of the
company workforce or receive a vote of more than 50 percent of all
workers to negotiate a collective labor agreement. Workers and employers
have 30 days to conclude a collective labor agreement. Such agreements
have a two-year lifespan that the parties may extend for one year.
Unions noted the law allows employers to delay the negotiation of
collective labor agreements with few legal repercussions.

The right to strike is legally restricted. By law workers must give
written notification that includes the location and start and end time
to authorities and employer seven days in advance for a strike to be
legal. Before striking, workers must engage in mediation with the
employer and then proceed to a government mediator or risk having the
strike declared illegal. In the case of an illegal strike, an employer
may make two written requests within a period of seven days for workers
to return. Workers who do not return to work after these requests are
considered to have resigned.

All strikes at “enterprises that cater to the interests of the general
public or at enterprises whose activities would endanger the safety of
human life if discontinued” are deemed illegal. Regulations do not
specify the types of enterprises affected, leaving this determination to
the government’s discretion. Presidential and ministerial decrees enable
companies or industrial areas to request assistance from police and the
military in the event of disruption of or threat to “national vital
objects” in their jurisdiction. The International Labor Organization
reported that the regulatory definition of “national vital objects”
imposed overly broad restrictions on legitimate trade union activity,
including in export processing zones. Human rights activists and unions
alleged that the government continued to label companies and economic
areas as “national vital objects” to justify the use of security forces
to restrict strike activity.

The government did not always effectively enforce provisions of the law
protecting freedom of association or preventing antiunion
discrimination. Antiunion discrimination cases moved excessively slowly
through the court system. Bribery and judicial corruption in workers’
disputes continued, and unions claimed that courts rarely decided cases <

South Papuan youths voice the dangers and threats of deforestation

March 23, 2023

South Papuan youths voice the dangers and threats of deforestation

News Desk – Deforestation

23 March 2023

Merauke, Jubi – South Papua Youth Movement for Indigenous Land Care (GPPSPTA), a group of young people in South Papua Province’s Merauke Regency, voiced the dangers and threats of deforestation to the community and local government.

GPPSPTA Coordinator Mario Mere in a written statement received by Jubi on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, said that in commemorating the World Forest Day on March 21, his party held a discussion on deforestation in the South Papua region.

“We held the discussion at LBH Papua Pos Merauke and it was supported by the Pusaka Foundation. In the discussion, we agreed that forests had a very important role in the climate crisis and global warming,” said Mere.

In general, Mere said, the natural forest in the southern part of Papua has been widely cleared for oil palm plantation, namely in Merauke Regency (Bupul, Muting District) and partly in Boven Digoel Regency (Asiki and surrounding areas).

Deforestation was caused by, among others, conversion of forest areas especially for state agendas such as the National Strategic Program, National Economic Recovery, Special Economic Zones, and food security.

“Conservation and protected forest areas in Indonesia are currently under threat. The level of seriousness of the government in this matter is questionable because there are still policies that do not favor the protection and sustainability of natural ecosystems including peatlands,” he said.

The threat of deforestation in Merauke in particular, said Mere, began in 2007. The Merauke Administration at that time proclaimed that year as the year of investment. Merauke was used as a rice barn to meet the needs of rice in Papua under the program MIRE (Merauke Integrated Rice Estate).

Furthermore, in 2010, the central government through the Ministry of Agriculture launched the MIFEE (Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate) in Sirapuh hamlet, Semangga District. The birth of this mega project stems from MIRE.

“The presence of this large-scale investment has led to degradation of natural resources and the environment because it is accompanied by an uncontrolled conversion of forests to agricultural land,” he said.

“The Minister of Environment and Forestry has indeed issued Decree 168 of 2022 on the 2030 Indonesia’s Forest and Other Land Use Net Carbon Sink Operation Plan for climate change control. The goal is to reduce the rate of deforestation and forest degradation. But in our opinion the Ministry’s steps will have no impact to inhibit the rate of deforestation, especially in Papua,” he added.

Mere said forests were very meaningful to the people of Papua. In the southern region, the people are still very dependent on nature and treat the forest as a “supermarket”.

“We ask the government to immediately curb companies that have had their concession licenses revoked, so that forests can be restored to their former glory. The state must also respect and protect the rights of indigenous peoples to control, regulate, manage and utilize customary forests, by producing and implementing policies and programs for indigenous peoples and fair and sustainable management of customary forests,” added Mere. (*)

ULMWP calls on international community to seek conflict resolution in Papua

March 20, 2023

ULMWP calls on international community to seek conflict resolution in Papua

News Desk – Susi Air Pilot Hostage

20 March 2023

Jayapura, Jubi – The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) has called on the international community to pay serious attention to the escalated violence that continued to occur in Papua, or internationally known as West Papua.

Head of ULMWP’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau Daniel Randongkir said that ever since the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) took hostage New Zealand Susi Air pilot Philip Mark Mehrtens on February 7, 2023, tensions in Papua’s central mountainous region have escalated. The New Zealand government is pushing for Mehrtens’ peaceful release but the Indonesian Military (TNI) is preparing a military operation to free the pilot.

Randongkir said the TPNPB action was an effort to draw world attention to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Papua, and to ask the international community to recognize the political independence of West Papua, which has been occupied by Indonesia since May 1, 1963. Negotiations for the release of the Susi Air pilot are ongoing but TPNPB does not want the Indonesian government to intervene in the negotiations.

Randongkir said that in the past week, there had been armed conflict between TPNPB and TNI in Puncak Papua, Intan Jaya, Jayawijaya, and Yahukimo regencies. This shows the escalation of armed conflict in Papua.

According to Randongkir, since 2018 there have been more than 67,000 civilians displaced from conflict areas such as Intan Jaya, Nduga, Puncak, Puncak Jaya, Yahukimo, Bintang Mountains, and Maybrat regencies. They left their hometowns to seek refuge in other areas.

On March 16, 2023 the local government and the military began evacuating non-Papuans in Dekai, the capital of Yahukimo Regency, using military cargo planes. “Meanwhile, the indigenous people of Yahukimo were not evacuated from the city of Dekai,” Randongkir said in a press release received by Jubi on Saturday, March 18, 2023.

ULMWP assessed that the evacuation of non-Papuans was part of the TNI’s preparation to carry out full military operations. This has the potential to cause human rights violations. Past experience showed that TNI, when conducting military operations in Papua, did not pay attention to international humanitarian law.

“They will destroy civilian facilities such as churches, schools, and health clinics, burn people’s houses, damage gardens, and kill livestocks belonging to the community. They will arrest civilians, even kill civilians suspected of being TPNPB members,” he said.

Markus Haluk, the executive director of ULMWP in West Papua, said that regional organizations such as the Pacific Islands Forum and the African Caribbean Pacific, have called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to immediately send the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to West Papua.

ULMWP hopes the international community can urge the Indonesian government to immediately stop all forms of crimes against humanity committed in West Papua, and bring about a resolution of the West Papua conflict through international mechanisms that respect humanitarian principles.

In addition, Haluk said that ULMWP also called on the Melanesian, Pacific, African, Caribbean and international communities to take concrete action through prayer and solidarity actions in resolving the conflict that has been going on for the past six decades, in order to realize justice, peace, independence and political sovereignty of the West Papuan Nation. (*)


2) TPNPB calls on govt to protect Yahukimo citizens from security forces
News Desk – Civilian Protection
20 March 2023

Jayapura, Jubi – The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) asked the Yahukimo Regency Government to pay attention to Papuan civilians in the Yahukimo war zone and protect them from Indonesian security forces who were hunting down the TPNPB.

“The government should not be picky in evacuating civilians, do not evacuate non-Papuan civilians while leaving behind the Papuan civilians in Yahukimo,” TPNPB spokesman Sebby Sambom told Jubi via WhatsApp service on Friday, March 17, 2023.

Sambom said the government must have the right concept to protect all civilians, both Indigenous Papuans and non-Papuans in Yahukimo.

“If the regent protects only non-Papuan people, the regent deserves to be tried if many people become victims in the war between the Indonesian Military [TNI] and police andTPNPB” he said.

“The government should not show an unfair attitude. There must be no favoritism. The government should not sacrifice the people in the operations carried out by Indonesian security forces to pursue TPNPB,” he said.

Sambom added that the government must understand how to handle displaced people in conflict areas. “Do not discriminate against indigenous Papuans in situations like this,” he said. (*)


3) President Wenda: Mourning the loss of Gerardus Thommey, West Papuan liberation fighter

March 20, 2023 in Statement

West Papuans are today mourning the sad loss of Gerardus Thommey, an elder and leader of our struggle.

Thommey’s leadership and courage was evident from an early age. A regional commander of the West Papuan liberation movement in Merauke, he lived from his early twenties as a guerilla, fighting an oppressive occupying power. It takes amazing commitment to live all this time in the bush, without modern communications or conveniences, in the pursuit of liberation for his people. Thommey was captured near the PNG border with four other liberation leaders and deported to Ghana – like many of our leaders, he lived the rest of his life in exile. After five years there, he was able to join the West Papuan diaspora in the Netherlands, where he helped found the Free West Papua Netherlands Campaign.

I knew Gerardus as a leader in Parliament and in the streets. He was a source of constant wisdom since I arrived in the UK almost twenty years ago; a mentor and advisor on how to fight for West Papuan freedom from exile, while staying focused and keeping a humble spirit. He was also totally dedicated to the cause: as well as Free West Papua Netherlands, he also helped found the International Parliamentarians for West Papua, and would always be present at pro-independence events and offer encouragement to young activists.

I was honoured that both Thommey and Jacob Prai – another freedom fighter, and one of the founding fathers of the OPM – gave the ULMWP their blessing and mandated us to carry out their mission. Both were elders from the early days of our anti-colonial struggle, and understood the importance of unity to achieving our goals.

Even though he was exiled from his land, his commitment to a liberated West Papua never wavered. This is a great lesson to all West Papuans, whether in exile, in the cities, in the refugee camps or in the bush. It is now up to the new generations to carry on his legacy by continuing his fight for freedom.

On behalf of the ULMWP and the people of West Papua, I send my sympathies to Thommey’s family and friends. He leaves behind an inspiring legacy of leadership and commitment to our cause, and will continue to inspire West Papuans until we are once again free.

Benny Wenda
Interim President
ULMWP Provisional Government


Lobby Team from West Papua assures Dalesa of same focus for full MSG Membership

March 18, 2023

Lobby Team from West Papua assures Dalesa of same focus for full MSG Membership

  • By Len Garae
  • Mar 18, 2023

Papua Merderka — Leaders of Chiefs Councils of Port Vila Town, Silae Vanua and Tabumamele, Chairman Dalesa’s Executive and Mr. Rumakiek
By Len Garae

The highest ranking lobby team from all regions of West Papua made up of high chiefs say they and their people support United Liberation Movement of West Papua’s (ULMWP) sole application for full membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

The team has delivered an assurance to the Chiefs, Government, Civil Society and people of Vanuatu that their people support ULMWP’s application word for word.

The confirmation was made in its first discussions with the Chairman of Vanuatu Free West Papua Association (VFWPA), Mr. Job Dalesa and his Executive in Port Vila this week.

They delivered the message following a similar extensive tour of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji with the same appeal seeking all forms of support from each Melanesian country to support ULMWP’s application for full membership of MSG this year.

The assurance by the team that it is carrying the wishes of the people of Mainland West Papua has been welcomed by Chairman Dalesa and his group since it has erased any rumour of disunity by different groups concerning the ULMWP application for full membership of MSG, at this time of the countdown towards the MSG Summit in Port Vila by mid-year.

This was the “thorn” which was understood to have continued to deny all ULMWP’s applications in the past.

Now what this amounts to is a heart throbbing desire for all chiefs backed by a prayer by all churches throughout Melanesia, for all member countries of MSG to grant ULMWP full membership of its God given right to claim its empty chair in the Melanesian body.

The team from West Papua is led by ULMWP Secretary General, Rex Rumakiek, who is based in Australia.

Mr. Rumakiek has been a constant campaigner for West Papua freedom since the 1970s when Vanuatu was still a British/French colony.



2) Fiji shines on ULMWP
By Len Garae Mar 18, 2023

Mr. Morris Kaloran, the Interim Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), has been praised by Fijians for his successful intervention techniques during the latest Lobby Team efforts.

Mr. Kaloran urged Vanuatu to “pull up its socks” or Fiji would score (a goal) in the next Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Summit in Port Vila.

After listening attentively to the Interim President of ULMWP Benny Wenda deliver his appeal, Prime Minister (PM) Sitiveni Rabuka was reported to have said, “In 1989 before Fiji became a full member of MSG, as the Prime Minister at the time, I applied for Fiji to become an Observer and from there, we became a full member”.

Mr. Kaloran encouraged him to use Fiji’s approach to push ULMWP’s Application to enter MSG, which PM Rabuka found impressive. He suggested to the Lobby Team to start by talking to the Paramount Chiefs of Fiji, only to find out that they had already met with them. The Paramount Chiefs have already invited the Lobby Team to attend their Great Council of Chiefs Meeting in May.

Mr. Kaloran explained to PM Rabuka how the Prime Minister of Vanuatu will be petitioned by the chiefs through custom to contribute towards the culmination of their request to enter MSG.

The Interim Deputy Minister, who is married to a Fijian woman from the vicinity of Rewa, returned to Port Vila after a week of lobbying the three pillars of Fiji Society: the Paramount Chiefs of the three Regions of Fiji, the Suva-based Pacific Council of Churches, and the Fiji Government. The Fijians treated them well, and even their political parties have youth representatives who met with them during their lobbying efforts.

The Interim Deputy Foreign Minister praised how the Fijians treated them and their thorough preparations for ULMWP across the board.

The Fijians met them at the airport with relevant Government Officials, provided official transport to all their venues based on their itinerary, and paid for all their meals.

Though the Prime Minister was too busy with the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) in Suva, he still made time to meet with them in Nadi.

The Interim Deputy Foreign Minister stated, “Perhaps what we in Vanuatu should learn from Fiji is that when such leaders come to meet certain leaders in Government, the Ministry responsible should immediately connect with the relevant Ministries to cater for such meetings”.

He suggested more practical support for ULMWP, including fundraising activities such as in Australia, Holland, and elsewhere.

Mr. Kaloran suggested that the Vanuatu Government provide diplomatic passports for Mr. Wenda’s team, as they carry Australian and British passports. He said that Vanuatu provided funding for uniting the major factions of West Papua to form ULMWP in 2014.

Papua 2019 anti-racism rally planned as peaceful protest

March 17, 2023

Papua 2019 anti-racism rally planned as peaceful protest
News Desk – Viktor Yeimo’s Treason Trial
17 March 2023

Jayapura, Jubi – The Jayapura District Court on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, continued the trial of treason against Viktor Yeimo, the international spokesperson of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB). In Wednesday’s hearing, activists Alexander Gobai and Ones Busop, who were presented as mitigating witnesses, said that the 2019 anti-racism protest which dragged Yeimo to court, was planned as a peaceful action.

Both also said that Viktor Yeimo and KNPB were not the ones who planned or mobilized the mass in Jayapura City on August 19 and 29, 2019. The protest was a response to racial slurs directed at Papuan students at the Kamasan III Papuan Student Dormitory in Surabaya on August 16, 2019.

Yeimo’s trial is now led by a panel of judges chaired by chief judge Mathius with member judges Andi Asmuruf and Linn Carol Hamadi.

Alexander Gobai was the field coordinator of the anti-racism protest on August 19 and August 29, 2019. At the time, he was the Student President of the University of Science and Technology Jayapura (USTJ). While Ones Busop was involved in a meeting to plan the protest on August 29, 2019. Busop was then one of the USTJ Student Executive Board (BEM) administrators.

Gobai said that in the meeting, everybody agreed to hold a peaceful and dignified protest. He said the planning was carried out at the Cenderawasih University Big Family Building in Perumnas 3 Waena on August 18, 2019.

Gobai said the meeting was coordinated by the Student Executive Board (BEM) of Cenderawasih University and attended by BEM USTJ, BEM STIKOM, BEM Umel Mandiri, BEM Ottow and Geissler, and BEM Yapis University.

A number of activists of Cipayung Group organizations such as the Islamic Student Association (HMI), the Indonesian Catholic Student Association (PMKRI), the Indonesian Christian Student Movement (GMKI) were also present. Gobai testified that neither KNPB nor Viktor Yeimo was involved in planning the action.

According to Gobai, all representatives who attended the meeting on August 18, 2019 agreed to hold a peaceful long march to the office of the Papua Governor. The meeting also agreed to voice a number of demands, such as calling for prosecution against racist perpetrators in Surabaya and asking all parties to stop racism against Papuan people.

He said that a notification letter was submitted to the Jayapura City Police prior to the protest. “The notification letter was delivered by BEM Uncen chair Ferry Kombo,” Gobai said in court on Wednesday.

Gobai said at that time, protesters gathered at Abepura Circle in Jayapura City before doing a long march to the Papua Legislative Council (DPRP) and the Papua Governor’s Office. Gobai said the long march was escorted by the police.

Gobai said many residents joined the students’ rally and that it was beyond their control. He said he saw Viktor Yeimo giving speeches and urging the crowd to rally in a peaceful manner.

According to Gobai, from Abepura Circle they moved towards the Papua Governor’s Office. On the way, the crowd chanted ‘Long live the people’ and ‘Papua Merdeka’ (Free Papua).

Arriving at the Papua Governor’s Office, Gobai said they were received directly by the Governor of Papua, Lukas Enembe. In addition, some members of the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP), DPRP, religious leaders, traditional leaders, women leaders and police also received representatives of the protesters.

Gobai said that each representative of the protesters, including students, youth organizations, religious leaders, traditional leaders, women leaders, and the Indonesian Youth National Committee, made speeches in turn. Gobai said the masses also asked Viktor Yeimo to also make speeches.

“Let him [Viktor Yeimo] speak,” said Gobai, imitating the request of the crowd at that time. Gobai said Yeimo’s speech talked about racism, and asked the people not to harass the dignity of Papuans.

Gobai explained that the field coordinators then submitted a demand letter containing six points on the case of racism in Surabaya. The demands were submitted to Governor Lukas Enembe. After submitting the letter, the mass dispersed in an orderly manner.

Regarding the next protest on August 29, 2019, Gobai said he was not involved in planning the rally. He only learned about it from a leaflet circulated on the internet saying BEM USTJ was organizing the rally.

He said he was surprised because there was no coordination with him as the student leader at USTJ. However, Gobai said he joined the rally on August 29, 2019.

Gobai said he did not see Viktor Yeimo during the second anti-racism protest on August 29, 2019. Nor did he see any KNPB flag being raised. He also stated that he did not know about the burning of a number of shops in Jayapura City that day.

“We don’t know who burned those shops,” Gobai said.

Gobai said the masses who had just arrived in front of the DPRP office were dispersed by police with tear gas. However, the crowd eventually arrived at the Papua Governor’s Office at around 7 p.m. Papua time. The protesters were received by DPRD lawmaker Laurenz Kadepa.

That night, around 700 people slept in the yard of the Papua Governor’s Office. The next morning they returned to their homes escorted by the police.

Another witness, Ones Busop, said he was involved in planning the second anti-racism protest. He said the action plan meeting was held at the USTJ hall on August 28, 2019. During the meeting, all participants agreed that in the next day’s rally, they would collect promises made by the government during the first rally to fulfill their demands regarding racism problems.

Busop said neither KNPB nor Viktor Yeimo were involved in planning the protest on August 29, 2019. He also did not see Yeimo during the protest this time. (*)


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Why Indonesia fails to address the West Papua conflict

March 14, 2023

Why Indonesia fails to address the West Papua conflict

The country’s government has focused on containing, rather than resolving, a crisis with roots in a dubious referendum.
Hipolitus Wangge
Hipolitus Wangge Researcher,
Australian National University.
Published On 14 Mar 2023 14 Mar 2023

It has been over a month since an armed group abducted Phillip Merthens, a New Zealand-born pilot, on February 7, 2023, in Indonesia’s Nduga, West Papua. The group is the West Papua Liberation Army. Known by the acronym TPNPB, it’s an armed wing of the Papua Liberation Movement (OPM).

As local media reported, TPNPB, led by Egianus Kogoya, a local commander, stormed the Susi Air small plane after it landed, set it afire and took the pilot hostage. TPNPB then brought him to its stronghold area where it would use him as its “political leverage”. The military and police still have no clue where TPNPB is hiding the pilot, mostly due to terrain difficulties.

However, the military has swept into villages to gain information about the armed group’s whereabouts. Intimidated, some Papuans have fled their villages in Nduga and Lanny Jaya regencies. Following the kidnapping, a deadly riot erupted, and most recently, armed confrontations between the group and the security forces have killed both civilians and soldiers in Yahukimo and Puncak regencies.

It’s clear from all of this that there is no end in sight for the intensified hostilities that have plagued West Papua over the past six years. Yet the reality is that none of this is surprising.

To understand this increasing escalation, it’s vital to look at the failures of successive Indonesian governments in responding to the crisis.

The central government focuses more on addressing the effects than the causes of the conflict. Its counterinsurgency policies — whether development programs, a special autonomy for the region or out-and-out military operations — are aimed at reducing Indigenous discontent and violent attacks from the TPNPB to controllable levels. There has not been a sincere political process between the central government, Indigenous Papuans, and nationalist groups in West Papua.

That’s why these policies have met with distrust among Indigenous Papuans, even as the TPNPB armed group has developed more deadly capacity to attack civilians and security forces.

It is worth remembering that the roots of the conflict aren’t new and have been building up since the 1960s.

Since becoming part of Indonesia through a widely criticised referendum called the Act of Free Choice in 1969, the western half of the island of New Guinea and Indonesia’s easternmost region, commonly referred to as West Papua, has barely enjoyed stability. This disputed referendum — when the military handpicked less than one per cent of the West Papuan population to vote for integration with Indonesia under the threat of violence — set a precedent for how the Indonesian state disregards Papuans’ interests.

From the 1970s to the 1990s, the Indonesian government settled hundreds of thousands of people from other parts of the country in West Papua through the transmigration program, aiming to forcibly change the region’s demography and control the region, even as the government also embarked on military operations. The result: A decline in the number of Indigenous Papuans on their own land, numerous deaths, and massive displacement.

Because of these measures, Papuan identity — as distinct from Indonesia — emerged not from cultural, religious and physical differences but rather from racial discrimination by the state, combined with Indigenous Papuans’ past and contemporary grievances.

The conflict has led to both a non-violent movement and an armed struggle to defend Papuans’ identity and rights.

When Joko Widodo became Indonesia’s president in 2014, there was hope for a resolution to the crisis. He released a handful of Papuan political prisoners and vowed to address the 2014 Paniai human rights abuse case, relating to an incident where the Indonesian army fired on hundreds of Papuan protesters, killed four teenagers, and wounded more than a dozen others in highland Papua. A promise to open West Papua to foreign journalists was seen by many as another sign of Widodo’s goodwill.

However, the commitment to address the conflict fell apart in the waning days of his first administration.

Under Widodo’s second administration since 2019, Papuan grievances have intensified. Instead of the root causes of the conflict, the state has focused chiefly on development and infrastructure programmes, including the Trans Papua highway that’s under construction in some regencies in West Papua, a food estate, a special economic zone, strategic tourism areas and palm oil plantations.

The main beneficiaries of these initiatives are mostly nonindigenous Papuans residing in coastal and urban areas. Indigenous Papuans, particularly those living in highland areas, barely reap the benefits of development projects. Instead, they live in constant fear and trauma due to escalated violence. Hundreds to thousands of civilians are caught in the crossfire and suffer displacement and other human rights violations every time armed confrontation breaks out between security forces and TPNPB.

In 2019, racial slurs directed at Papuan students triggered peaceful demonstrations that then turned violent across Papua. Rather than acknowledging and resolving such deep-seated racism and discrimination towards Papuans, Indonesia in 2021 revised the special autonomy for the region first introduced in 2001, for another 20 years. It has also divided the region into six provinces. This top-down set of policies — implemented without wide-ranging consultations with Papuans and their representatives — reflects a desperate strategy aimed at containing the conflict rather than resolving it and exposes the failures of the central government.

Meanwhile, TPNPB has consistently rejected state policies, including economic activities, in highland Papua. The group has warned against the continuing operations of commercial flights and has even shot a handful of planes flying across highland areas. It has demanded that non-Papuan civilians leave conflict zones. The recent kidnapping of the pilot suggests that the TPNPB believes its previous warnings have fallen on deaf ears.

But the conflict and its escalation also highlight the unresolved transgenerational trauma that Papuans continue to endure. This, reinforced by the availability of relatively sophisticated weapons — accessed by TPNPB from illegal trade with the military and police as well as illicit supplies from Papua New Guinea, Thailand, and the Philippines — has facilitated armed campaigns since 2018 in Nduga, the poorest regency in Indonesia.

Indeed, TPNPB has recruited its members mostly by capitalising on the deep grievances of Papuan youth. I know, because as a local volunteer in 2019, I spoke to a handful of Nduga’s displaced children interested in joining the armed group because of deep-seated trauma and hardships living in uncertain conditions. They were barely receiving a proper education in their districts and were enthusiastic about meeting teachers and studying at an emergency school built by local humanitarian volunteers. Yet the Indonesian government has systematically failed to recognise and address transgenerational trauma among armed conflict-affected victims in Papua, particularly the children. This contrasts starkly with its massive deradicalisation programmes elsewhere in the country.

At the same time, TPNPB has modified its fighting capacity to intensify armed attacks against the state and civilians. Financial support from its sympathisers has also increased. Its organisational structure has been modernised, with Papuan youth occupying key positions. Lastly, its use of social media to counter government narratives by exposing the state’s power abuses has grown more sophisticated.

In short, Indonesia’s relationship with Papuans appears set to only get worse.

It doesn’t have to be that way. A lesson from armed conflicts in the deep south of Thailand and in Mindanao in the southern Philippines is that the presence of credible and trusted individuals or groups is crucial to initiate peace talks. That’s an element missing in the Papua conflict.

The capture of the pilot is only symptomatic of this trust gap. It’s a deficit that is only deepening, and the Indonesian government has no one but itself to blame.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

Hipolitus Wangge
Researcher, Australian National University.
Hipolitus Wangge is a researcher at the Australian National University. Hipolitus’ research centres on ethno-political conflicts in Southeast Asia and the Indonesian foreign policy in the Pacific region. His work has appeared in Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Pacific Review, Contemporary Southeast Asia, the Journal of Current Southeast Asia Affairs, Middle East-Asia Project, the Diplomat, East Asia Forum, New Mandala, Radio New Zealand, and the Jakarta Post.


2) U.K.’s murky entanglement in Papua independence conflict

A Southeast Asia Globe investigation reveals a quiet defence collaboration between the British government and the Indonesian military, with British guns and training surfacing in the restive province


One month ago extraordinary scenes emerged from the remote province of West Papua, Indonesia.

Images showed New Zealand pilot Phil Mehrtens in the rainforest, surrounded by rarely seen Papuan independence fighters wielding rifles and bows and arrows. Their commander Egianus Kogoya, just 24 years old, filmed himself in the cockpit of Mehrtens’s plane railing against foreign nations’ support for Indonesia, which has occupied Papua since invading in 1962, demanding Indonesia withdraw and grant Papua its independence. He then burnt the plane before disappearing with Mehrtens into the jungle……………………………

Amnesty International Indonesia urges security forces to investigate mutilation in Yugumoak

March 12, 2023

Amnesty International Indonesia urges security forces to investigate mutilation in Yugumoak
News Desk – Mutilation Victim
11 March 2023

Jayapura, Jubi – Executive Director of Amnesty International Indonesia Usman Hamid has called on the security forces to immediately investigate the reported case of a mother, Tarina Murib, who was shot dead and mutilated after a firefight between the security forces and a pro-independence Papuan group on March 3, 2023 in Yugumoak District, Puncak Regency.

“Do not draw conclusions before a thorough investigation according to the procedures,” he told Jubi via WhatsApp message service on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.

Hamid also condemned violent acts and attacks on civilians in Central Papua that took the lives of women and children.

“Acts of violence involving the security forces and Papuan pro-independence group will not bring any results other than increasing casualties, including among civilians,” he said.

He expressed his deepest condolences to the family of Tarina Murib.

“We also sympathize with other civilians who were injured after a firefight between members of the Indonesian Military [TNI] and pro-independence group in Puncak Regency, Central Papua,” he said. (*)


Papuan separatists attack another civilian aircraft: Police
6 hours ago

Agats, Papua (ANTARA) – A Trigana Air plane was shot at by members of an armed Papuan separatist group on Saturday, according to Jayapura Police chief, Adjunct Senior Commissioner Fredrickus W.A. Maclarimboen.

The shooting occurred shortly after the plane took off from Dekai Airport in Yahukimo district, Papua Pegunungan province, Maclarimboen told ANTARA.

He, however, did not provide any details on the impact of the shooting on the aircraft.

ANTARA has reported earlier that over the past few years, armed Papuan groups have often employed hit-and-run tactics against Indonesian security personnel and mounted acts of terror against civilians in the districts of Intan Jaya, Nduga, and Puncak to trigger fear among the people.

The targets of such acts of terror have included construction workers, motorcycle taxi (ojek) drivers, teachers, students, street food vendors, and also civilian aircraft.

On December 2, 2018, a group of armed Papuan rebels brutally killed 31 workers from PT Istaka Karya who were engaged in the Trans Papua project in Kali Yigi and Kali Aurak in Yigi sub-district, Nduga district.

The same day, armed attackers also killed a soldier, identified as Handoko, and injured two other security personnel, Sugeng and Wahyu.

Such acts of violence continued to occur in 2021, 2022, and 2023.

On January 6, 2021, at least 10 armed separatists vandalized and torched a Quest Kodiak aircraft belonging to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) on the Pagamba village airstrip.

On February 8, 2021, a 32-year-old man was shot at close range in Bilogai village, Sugapa sub-district.

The victim, identified by his initials as RNR, sustained gunshot wounds on the face and right shoulder and was taken to Timika Public Hospital in Mimika district on February 9.

In a separate incident on February 9, a motorcycle taxi (ojek) driver was fatally stabbed by 6 armed Papuans.

On April 8, 2021, several armed Papuan separatists opened fire at a kiosk in Julukoma village, Beoga sub-district, Puncak district.

The shooting resulted in the death of a Beoga public elementary school teacher, identified as Oktovianus Rayo.

After killing Rayo, the armed attackers torched 3 classrooms at Beoga public senior high school.

On April 9, 2021, armed separatists fatally shot another teacher, Yonatan Randen, in the chest.

On April 25, 2021, Papuan separatists operating in Beoga ambushed State Intelligence Agency (Papua) chief, I Gusti Putu Danny Karya Nugraha, and several security personnel during their visit to Dambet village.

On March 2, 2022, several members of an armed Papuan group operating in Beoga sub-district, Puncak district, killed 8 Palaparing Timur Telematika (PTT) workers, who were repairing a base transceiver station (BTS) tower belonging to state-owned telecommunications operator Telkomsel.

The workers were identified as B, R, BN, BT, J, E, S, and PD, while another worker, identified by his initials as NS, survived the deadly assault, according to Papua Police spokesperson, Senior Commissioner Ahmad Kamal.

This year, a group of armed Papuan separatists attacked a civilian aircraft owned by Susi Air on February 7.

They burned the plane at Paro Airfield, Nduga district, and captured its pilot, Captain Philip Mark Marthens, according to the National Police’s (Polri’s) public relations division head, Inspector General Dedi Prasetyo.

Related news: Armed Papuan separatist terrorists again assault workers in Papua
Related news: Armed Papuan terrorists’ victims in Ilaga evacuated to Mimika Hospital
Related news: Mimika police’s probe ongoing on criminal group ammunition finding

Reporter: Evarukdijati, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Azis Kurmala


President Wenda: West Papua victim of new humanitarian crisis
March 10, 2023 in Statement

The Indonesian state is causing a renewed humanitarian crisis in occupied West Papua. A 35-year-old woman has been murdered and mutilated by the Indonesian military in Puncak Regency, and villages and churches have been emptied as thousands more soldiers have been deployed in the area. Indonesia must urgently draw back their troops to allow civilians to return home in peace.

The murdered woman, Ms Tarina Murib, was found by local residents on March 4th. She was naked and her head was cut off and missing. A number of civilians, including a baby, were also shot during the military raid. A bullet hit one-year-old Aniton Kulua in the head, while his mother Daisina Alom was shot in the shoulder.

My people are terrified and traumatised by years of military operations. Fearing more violence, many have been forced to leave their homes and flee into the bush, adding to the 60,000-100,000 West Papuans who have been displaced by Indonesian military buildup since 2018. Those displaced have largely been unable to return home due to soldiers’ continued occupation of their villages, churches, and schools. They have little access to healthcare. They cannot tend their crops or gardens. Displacement is ethnic cleansing, the gradual eradication of the West Papuan way of life. As the Indonesian occupation forces my people to flee, they exploit their ancestral lands to build mega-projects like the Trans Papua Highway and the Wabu Block gold mine.

The situation in West Papua is escalating dramatically due to Indonesia’s response to the TPNPB’s abduction of pilot Phillip Mehrtens. Indonesian troops have already massacred ten indigenous Papuan civilians in Wamena. Now, they have committed crimes against humanity in Puncak. I have stated clearly that Mr. Mehrtens must be immediately and unconditionally released, and the ULMWP are working in the background with local people to try and secure his safe return. But the world must understand that he is being used as propaganda by Indonesia to strengthen their military control over West Papua.

Tarina Murib’s brutal murder is reminiscient of the four West Papuans that were tortured, murdered, and dismembered by Indonesian soldiers last August. But Murib was not a combatant, not even a male: she was a mother. Indonesia is clearly demonstrating the brutal and racist character of their occupation.

The abduction of pilot Phillip Mehrtens has focused the attention of the international community on West Papua. They must not look away now, as we are massacred, mutilated, and displaced by Indonesia’s genocidal occupation.

Benny Wenda
ULMWP Provisional Government

AWPA letter to Aust. Foreign Minister

March 9, 2023

Senator the Hon Penny Wong

PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

9 March 2023

Dear Foreign Minister,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Australia West Papua Association in Sydney concerning the issue of West Papua. Tragically, the human rights situation in West Papua is seriously deteriorating.

There are ongoing clashes between the Indonesian security forces (TNI) and the Free Papua Movement (TPNPB), resulting in casualties on both sides. The security forces continue to conduct military operations particularly in the highlands resulting in civilian deaths and people fleeing in fear for their lives . The security force operations have created a large number of internal refugees.

The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has recorded that as of December 2022 , that as many as 60,642 civilians have been displaced and 732 of these had died as a result of the armed conflict between the Indonesian military and the Free Papua Movement.

In an article in the local media in West Papua (Jubi, 7 March 2023), it was reported that

in the past week, the security forces conducted a military operation in Yahukimo Regency during which they seized property and arrested a number of civilians. The security operation was instigated by the military after a clash between the TNI and the TPNPB which occurred in the Dekai District . A student community group reported (to the local media) that “the security forces confiscated property belonging to civilians and the community. There were several civilians arrested by the authorities during the sweeping,”.

The Student Community also reported that because of the military operation the local people were in a state of fear and unable to carry out their normal daily activities. The students also condemned the authorities and urged them to stop sending the military to Yahukimo. They also urged the Yahukimo Police chief to stop arresting civilians, and to immediately release all civilians who are detained and urged the government to withdraw the TNI and police from the District.

A number of Governments’ seem to believe that the human rights situation has improved under the present Indonesian President , but the governor of the Indonesian government’s policy think-tank , the National Resilience Institute (Lemhannas) said that the violence in Papua has tended to increase under the leadership of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

We are sure you are aware of the situation in West Papua and we won’t go into great detail of all the human rights abuses that have occurred recently because of military operations in the territory.

However, we would like to bring your attention to the extract below from a UN media release.

GENEVA (1 March 2022) – UN human rights experts* today expressed serious concerns about the deteriorating human rights situation in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua, citing shocking abuses against indigenous Papuans, including child killings, disappearances, torture and mass displacement of people.

The experts called for urgent humanitarian access to the region, and urged the Indonesian Government to conduct full and independent investigations into abuses against the indigenous peoples.

"Between April and November 2021, we have received allegations indicating several instances of extrajudicial killings, including of young children, enforced disappearance, torture and inhuman treatment and the forced displacement of at least 5,000 indigenous Papuans by security forces," the experts said.

They said estimates put the overall number of displaced, since the escalation of violence in December 2018, at between 60,000 to 100,000 people.

We urge you to use your good offices with the Indonesian government to urge Jakarta to control its military in the territory, urging a halt to all military operations and to release all political prisoners as a sign of good faith to the West Papuan people.

We also urge a rethink of military aid to the Indonesian forces until there is an improvement in the human rights situation in the territory.

Yours sincerely

Joe Collins

AWPA (Sydney)

Protest in Jakarta calls on rights commission to declare position on violence in Papua

March 6, 2023

Protest in Jakarta calls on rights commission to declare position on

violence in Papua – March 3, 2023

Singgih Wiryono, Jakarta — The Papua Student Front (FMP) held a protest
action in front of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM)
offices in Jakarta on Friday March 3.

The action began at 1.17 pm with protesters demanding that the Komnas
HAM commissioner come outside and directly declare their position on the
incidents of violence occurring in Papua.

Despite the pouring rain, the protesters continued to stand in front of
the Komnas HAM offices.

"We here will perhaps get a bit of a cold, but this is nothing compared
with the suffering of our sisters and brothers in Papua", said one of
the speakers.

FMP Coordinator Rudi Kogoya said that they are firmly asking that the
Komnas HAM commissioner to come out of her office, as was done by the
previous Komnas HAM commissioner who met with them outside the building.

"We want the commissioner to come out and convey their position in front
of everyone, not just a representative. Also in front of the media",
said Kogoya.

A Komnas HAM official then came out, but not the commissioner. The
official asked if there was a representative of the protesters who could
come in and convey their wishes inside.

The FMP however refused because they felt exhausted after making a
report and seeing that there was no result of their report in Papua.

The official then said that the commissioner would receive them had
special needs so they could not attend while it was raining.

At 2.07 pm the Papua students gave in and went into the complaints area
and were met by Komnas HAM commissioner for complaints, Hari Kurniawan.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was
"Front Mahasiswa Papua Bertahan Diguyur Hujan, Minta Komnas HAM Nyatakan
Sikap atas Kekerasan di Papua".]


Negotiation still the best policy

March 2, 2023

Negotiation still the best policy
Editorial board (The Jakarta Post)
Jakarta ● Thu, March 2, 2023

A graph shows the location where a Susi Air plane was set on fire by rebels on Feb. 7 on a landing strip in Paro, Nduga, a restive regency in the Papua Highlands. (Various sources/JP/Swi Handono)

After more than three weeks, efforts to release Susi Air pilot Phillip Mark Mehrtens from members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), the armed wing of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), have so far borne no fruits.

The faster the drama ends the better for everyone, but the fact that the negotiations with the group have hardly seen a breakthrough only shows how tough the process is.

For the government, the hostage-taking is testing its endurance in dealing with the rebels, in which any miscalculation will put the life of the New Zealand national at stake.

The Indonesian Military’s (TNI) option to put any use of force on hold is therefore the best policy, regardless of chief security minister Mahfud MD’s claim that security troops have located, or perhaps encircled, the group.

In fact, Wellington has asked Jakarta to refrain from violence in the operation to free its citizen. On the other hand, the pilot’s captors have continued to offer a deal that the Indonesian government cannot afford to accept. Mahfud said the armed group had asked for weapons and ammunition in exchange for Mehrtens’ release, after previously demanding the withdrawal of TNI troops from Papua and Jakarta’s recognition of Papuan independence.

Mahfud said the government was preparing a strategy to rescue the pilot from captivity, taking into account his safety. The foreigner is reportedly in good health, according to Mahfud. The armed rebels, led by Egianus Kogoya, have been holding Mehrtens after burning his aircraft upon landing at the airport in the remote district of Paro, Nduga regency in the newly formed province of Papua Highlands on Feb. 7.

The group released the plane’s five passengers, including a baby. Back in 1996, the group held captive 26 Indonesian and foreign researchers in Mapenduma district, also in Nduga. Some of the hostages were held for 130 days, until the government commissioned the Army’s elite unit to launch a military operation.

Two Indonesian researchers were killed in the rescue mission. Indonesia has several times resorted to a military operation to release hostages, most notably the deployment of Army’s commandos to rescue Garuda Indonesia passengers in Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok in March 1981.

The Garuda plane had been hijacked by a Muslim extremist group called Komando Jihad on its way from Jakarta to Medan. All the hijackers and the pilot were killed, while all passengers left the aircraft safely.

About 30 years later, then-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered a military operation to free 20 Indonesian nationals aboard a Sinar Kudus vessel that had been hijacked by Somalian pirates in the waters 350 miles off Oman in March 2011. A planned attack was eventually aborted after the pirates accepted a ransom and released the cargo ship.

The choice of military approach this time around does not seem to bode well for Indonesia given the rampant human rights abuses allegedly involving the military and police in Papua. Not only will a military operation prolong the cycle of violence, but also spread fear and resentment among indigenous Papuans toward the government.

The best the government can do is to entrust the negotiating team, spearheaded by acting Nduga regent Namia Gwijangge and comprising community and religious figures, in persuading the armed group to release Mehrtens alive. No other parties can understand the separatist rebels better than local people like Namia.

The government can also seek assistance from credible organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to mediate a dialog with the armed group if the issue of trust is all that keeps the negotiations from positive results. The ICRC helped facilitate the hostages’ release in Mapenduma until the rebels broke the agreement that led to the military operation.

The success of the dialog to free Mehrtens will certainly restore hopes to bring peace back to Papua.