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September 2014: Culture of impunity in Papua threatens human rights and democracy

October 9, 2014

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

New reports of attacks against lawyers in Papua indicate that the
situation is becoming worse for those involved in human rights work. A
public attack on Latifah Anum Siregar, a lawyer with the Democracy
Alliance for Papua (Aliansi Demokrasi untuk Papua, ALDP) and the failure
of Indonesian authorities to end legal intimidation towards Gustaf Kawer,
as reported in our previous update, demonstrates the dangers faced by
lawyers involved in politically sensitive cases.

Reports from the Advocacy Network for Upholding Law and Human Rights
(Jaringan Advokasi Penegakan Hukum dan HAM Pegunungan Tengah Papua,
JAPH&HAM), based in Wamena, described police complicity in allowing
violence to continue during a fight that broke out between two groups in
Lanny Jaya. Two traditional honai houses belonging to tribal leader and
political detainee Areki Wanimbo were burned down by an opposing group
during the violence, whilst Jayawijaya Regional police reportedly watched
and failed to stop the incident from occuring. Another incident involving
police complicity in allowing violence reportedly took place in Youtefa
Market in Abepura. David Boleba, an indigenous Papuan, was publically
tortured, mutilated and murdered by a group of non-Papuan youths,
reportedly in the presence of an Abepura District police officer. Again,
the police officer took no action against the perpetrators.

There were several reports of random acts of police brutality against
indigenous Papuans. A 15-year-old boy was shot in the leg three times by
members of the police Mobile Brigades (Brigades Mobil, Brimob) for simply
blocking their vehicle. In another case, a student of Cenderawasih
University (Universitas Cenderawasih, UNCEN) and activist with the West
Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB) Rigo Wenda
was publically tortured in Waena by Indonesian army officers with bayonet
blades in a random act of violence.

Information received by ALDP detailed the torture and cruel and degrading
treatment faced by 18 men arrested in Wamena in the Boycott Presidential
Elections case. Despite the fact that they were initially arrested for
peacefully calling for an election boycott, they were instead charged for
reportedly making and using explosives. The criminalisation of the freedom
to not participate in a democratic process is an undemocratic step
backwards for Indonesia.

Indigenous Papuans from the highlands, such as areas like Wamena, are
often automatically deemed to be separatists by Indonesian authorities.
Because of this stigmatisation, security forces often take a heavy handed
approach with highlanders and single them out for arrests, intimidation
and torture. Reports received this month described continued violent
reprisals against indigenous communities in Wamena. Security forces
continued to burn down houses as they hunt for members of armed
pro-independence movements.

Indonesian authorities have so far failed to investigate into the murder
of KNPB Sorong leader Martinus Yohame. It remains to be seen if steps will
be taken towards accountability and justice, or if like previous cases of
murder of Papuan activists, it will go uninvestigated and unpunished. The
entrenched culture of impunity that currently runs throughout police and
military units in Papua poses a serious threat to human rights and
democracy in Indonesia.

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 September 2014.docx

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 9, 2014 11:49 pm

    Reblogged this on .

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