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West Papua 2017 Year in Review

January 25, 2018

This report details incidents of human rights abuses and events that occurred in West Papua during 2017. It is by no means exhaustive.

In the report AWPA uses the name “West Papua” to refer to the whole of the western half of the Island of New Guinea. However, “West Papua” at this time is divided into two provinces, Papua and West Papua.

There was no improvement in the human rights situation in West Papua in 2017. Human rights abuses and incidents of intimidation and torture of West Papuan activists and human rights defenders continued to be committed by the Indonesian security forces throughout the year. A number of military operations “sweeps’ took place in response to alleged attacks on the security forces or on vehicles operated by the Freeport copper and gold mine. There are many actors involved in these attacks and the security forces use various names for the assailants from the Free Papua Movement (OPM), armed gangs, armed criminal groups, unknown assailants, separatists, and unidentified gunmen. However, these operations leave the local people traumatised and in fear for the lives. The security forces also seem to have great difficulty in distinguishing between what they term separatists and the general public.

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