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Repeated use of excessive force against peaceful protests demonstrates disregard for OAP’s voice

June 3, 2022

Below is a google translate from Amnesty Indonesia in regard to demonstrations in West Papua on the 3 June

Original Bahasa link at
https://www.amnesty.id/penggunaan-kekuatan-berlebihan-berulang-kali-terhadap-protes-damai-tunjukkan-pengabaian-terhadap-suara-oap/

Juni 3, 2022 11:58 am

Repeated use of excessive force against peaceful protests demonstrates disregard for OAP’s voice

Indigenous Papuans (OAP) who express their opinions in peaceful protests are, again, subject to repression, violence and excessive use of police force, Amnesty International Indonesia and Amnesty International Australia said today.
“Indigenous Papuans have the right to peacefully protest government policies without fear of being arrested or receiving violence,” said Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director, Usman Hamid. “These repeated incidents show that the state does not respect the voice of indigenous Papuans.”

On Friday, June 3, peaceful demonstrations protesting the central government’s plan to split the provinces of Papua and West Papua into new autonomous regions (DOB) were held in various cities in Papua including Yahukimo, Paniai, Nabire, and Jayapura. Activists, human rights defenders and indigenous Papuans have voiced their concern that the new province will be an excuse for the central government to send more troops to Papua as each province in Indonesia is required to have its own regional military and police command areas.
According to information from local human rights defenders, at least 11 protesters in Jayapura were injured after the police forcibly dispersed a demonstration in Waena Village, including two students who were bleeding allegedly by the beating of rattan sticks by the police. At the time this article was written, dozens of protesters in Jayapura and at least 22 protesters in Nabire were detained by the police.

Previously, on May 10, 2022, protesters who were holding a similar demonstration against the DOB were confronted by the police using batons and water cannons. Seven Papuan activists, including KontraS Papua staff, were also arrested on the same day. They were later released without charge, but police said they were being investigated for alleged violations of the Electronic Information and Transactions Law (ITE) for spreading online invitations to participate in demonstrations.
On March 15, two protesters in Yahukimo were shot dead by police.
"Today’s demonstrations and the treatment of the police are just one of many other incidents that show how the voices and concerns of indigenous Papuans are not being heard, let alone accommodated," said Amnesty International Australia National Director Sam Klintworth.

Last year, peaceful protests against the revision of the Special Autonomy Law for Papua and West Papua, which became the basis for the formation of the new autonomous regions, were also met with disproportionate force from the security forces.
On July 14, 2021, at least four students were injured in Jayapura after clashes with security forces. Police reportedly beat protesters with their hands, firearms and rubber batons.
On July 15, police forcibly dispersed protesters in front of the House of Representatives building in Jakarta. At least 50 people were arrested. One protester recounted that he was beaten, stepped on, and received racist insults from security forces, before being pulled into a truck and taken to the Polda Metro Jaya office. On August 16, during another demonstration in Jayapura, protesters used water cannons and rubber batons to disperse protesters.
"The Indonesian government claims to want to ‘build’ Papua and provide welfare for Papuans," said Usman. "But how can Papuans prosper if their efforts to express their opinions and aspirations are responded to with violence."

"We urge the Indonesian authorities to release all those detained simply for demonstrating peacefully," Klintworth said. "Police must also carry out prompt, independent and impartial investigations into allegations of excessive use of force and take steps to ensure that similar incidents do not recur."
Amnesty International recognizes that law enforcement officials often face complex situations in the performance of their duties, but they must ensure full respect for the rights to life, liberty and security of all people, including those suspected of committing crimes.

The use of violence and firearms has a direct impact on the right to life, which is protected by Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Indonesia as a state party is obliged to comply with. Therefore, the use of force must be in accordance with strict human rights protections as provided for in the United Nations Code of Ethics for Law Enforcement Officials (1979) and the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (1990). The use of force by law enforcement officials in Indonesia is further regulated by the National Police Chief Regulation on the Use of Force in Police Actions (No. 1/2009). Article 19 of the ICCPR also protects the right to freedom of expression, including the right to protest.

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