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August 2014: Widespread crackdown on civil society intensifies

September 8, 2014

At the end of August 2014, there were at least 74 political prisoners in
Papuan jails.

The situation in Papua deteriorated this month, as Indonesian security
forces intensified their crackdown on Papuan civil society. Lawyers,
activists, human rights defenders, priests, tribal leaders and journalists
were targeted for arrests, intimidation, beatings and murder. The arrest
and continued detention of two French journalists in Papua and a Papuan
tribal leader highlighted the ongoing restrictions on access to Papua.

While the West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat,
KNPB) has consistently been targeted since their formation in November
2008, there has been an observably increased crackdown on them since April
2014. In the past five months, a total of 81 KNPB members were arrested.
Data collected by Papuans Behind Bars shows that in April, there were six
KNPB-affiliated arrests and in May, there were three further arrests. The
number of KNPB arrests in June rose to 24 as Indonesian authorities aimed
to prevent peaceful events commemorating 1 July, a date Papuans consider
to be their national day. In July, there were 36 KNPB arrests in relation
to a planned boycott of the Indonesian Presidential elections, the highest
recorded number of KNPB arrests in 2014. This pattern continues in August
with the arrests of 12 further KNPB members. One of the 12 arrested was a
16-year-old boy, who faced ill-treatment by Navy officers in Manokwari.
Martinus Yohame, leader of the KNPB Sorong branchs, was kidnapped,
tortured and murdered. Human rights NGO Amnesty International issued a
statement condemning the murder and called on Indonesian authorities to
carry out a prompt, thorough, competent, and impartial investigation into
the killing.

In June and July 2014, mass arrests were recorded in Boven Digoel, Wamena
and Timika. The pattern of mass arrests continued this month with the
arrests of 20 people including women and children, in Nimbokrang district
on the basis of alleged affiliations with the Papuan National Army/Free
Papua Organisation (Tentera Papua Nasional/Organisasi Papua Merdeka,
TPN/OPM). They were detained without arrest warrants and were beaten on
arrest. Human rights lawyers were continuously obstructed in their
attempts to gain access to the detainees in this case who remain in

The humanitarian situation in Lanny Jaya is of particular concern
following the reported burning down of traditional honai houses by the
Indonesian military and police forces. Information received from the
Advocacy Network for Upholding Law and Human Rights (Jaringan Advokasi
Penegakan Hukum dan HAM Pegunungan Tengah Papua, JAPH&HAM) and the
Fellowship of Baptist Churches of Papua (Persekutuan Gereja-Gereja Baptis
Papua), among others, described reprisal attacks on civilians in Pirime
district in Lanny Jaya regency. An unconfirmed number of people remain
internally displaced, as they are unable to return to their villages due
to destabilising military activity in Pirime district.

You can read the full update here:

The full Update is also attached – we hope you find this information useful.

With best wishes,

Papuans Behind Bars team

Papuans Behind Bars August 2014.doc

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