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Comment by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

September 5, 2019

Comment by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet

on Indonesia (Papua and West Papua)

Geneva, 4 September 2019

“I have been disturbed by escalating violence in
the past two weeks in the Indonesian provinces of
Papua and West Papua, and especially the deaths
of some protestors and security forces personnel.
This is part of a trend we have observed since
December 2018, and we have been discussing our
concerns with the Indonesian authorities. There
should be no place for such violence in a
democratic and diverse Indonesia, and I encourage
the authorities to engage in dialogue with the
people of Papua and West Papua on their
aspirations and concerns, as well as to restore
internet services and refrain from any excessive
use of force. Blanket internet shutdowns are
likely to contravene freedom of expression and
limiting communications may exacerbate tensions”.

“I welcome the appeals made by President Widodo
and other high-level figures against racism and
discrimination – a long-standing, serious issue
in Papua and West Papua provinces – and their
calls for dialogue and calm. I note that some
arrests have been made and some members of
security forces have been suspended in relation
to the original violent attacks on Papuan
students in Surabaya and Malang, but I am
concerned about reports that nationalist militias
and groups are also actively involved in the
violence. Local human rights defenders, students
and journalists have been facing intimidation and
threats and should be protected”. ENDS

For more information and media requests, please
contact: Rupert Colville – + 41 22 917 9767 /
rcolville or Marta Hurtado – + 41 22 917 9466 / mhurtado

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