Skip to content

West Papua’s in the grip of an ‘unprecedented crisis’ — is Australia turning a blind eye?

October 6, 2019

West Papua’s in the grip of an ‘unprecedented crisis’ — is Australia turning a blind eye?

The World By Alan Weedon
Posted about 3 hours ago

West Papua — an Indonesian region with
closer cultural and ethnic ties to Melanesia — has been rocked by protests for more than a month, resulting in the deaths of dozens of people.

Tensions between Papuans and those ruling in Jakarta have simmered since it was formally incorporated into Indonesia from Dutch rule, following a disputed referendum in 1969.

In 2003, the province was split in two — becoming West Papua and Papua — but the region is often still referred to collectively as West Papua.

Over the decades since Indonesia’s takeover, calls for West Papuan independence have continued and at times resulted in deadly clashes.

In recent weeks, the region’s unrest has reportedly caused dozens of deaths and injuries, but obtaining verified information is difficult because of reporting restrictions placed on international journalists in the region — and the Government is also intentionally slowing the region’s internet.

When questioned on the province’s deteriorating security

situation in Canberra last week, Foreign Minister Marise Payne told reporters that all sides of the conflict should exercise "absolute restraint".

"We are obviously very concerned about the reports of violence in Papua [and] West Papua," Senator Payne said.
"They are matters which our post in Jakarta is following up with authorities there."

But considering the increasingly deadly nature of the unrest right on Australia’s doorstep, should Canberra be doing more than simply calling for restraint?

Indonesian relationship one ‘we can’t stuff up’

Jonathan Pryke, Pacific Islands program director at the Lowy Institute, told the ABC’s Signal podcast that Australia’s political leaders have tried to "dodge the issue as best as possible" by giving reporters "routine answers for calm on all sides", though West Papua’s deteriorating security situation presents Canberra with a complex "high-stakes game". Officially, both Indonesia and Australia are obligated to have "mutual respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, national unity and political independence and non-interference in the internal affairs of one another" as per the terms of the Lombok Treaty ratified in 2006. ‘Treated like animals’ in West Papua ‘Treated like animals’ in West Papua Why thousands of Papuans have taken to the streets, torching government buildings and violently clashing with police. This treaty came after a diplomatic row where Australia accepted 43 Papuan asylum seekers, which prompted Indonesia to withdraw its ambassador to Canberra.

He explained that this relationship is critical because of Indonesia’s growing economic and demographic importance, as the country of 260 million has a median age of 28 compared to Australia’s 38. Mr Pryke said this would push Indonesia into the top 10 largest economies and would "very quickly" leap over the size of Australia’s economy, which is currently the 13th-biggest in the world.

He added that diplomats had many factors to consider, including that if a high-ranking Australian official was to speak out about West Papua, they would have to ensure it had a material effect. "If all we’re going to do is piss off Indonesia, it could in fact make things worse [for West Papuan people]," Mr Pryke said.

‘Australia should be doing more’

Mr Pryke said West Papua’s situation had triggered calls particularly from Melanesian countries for Australia to step up. He said that in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, there were "constant demands" for Australia to start "saying more on the issue". "In the Pacific, particularly in Melanesia, there is a sense of solidarity and fraternity with the Melanesian people in West Papua," Mr Pryke said.

"Every Melanesian country has a colonial history that they vividly remember, and so there is this real sense of unity with the independence cause in West Papua."

Veronica Koman, a pro-Papuan Indonesian activist and lawyer, told the ABC’s The World program that "at a minimum", Australia should push Indonesia to grant the United Nation’s Human Rights office and international journalists access to West Papua.

"I think that human rights concerns is above any bilateral treaty," Ms Koman said.

"Australia should be doing more because we are seeing an unprecedented crisis right now."

She said that at least 55,000 residents of West Papua were displaced, however the ABC is unable to independently verify Ms Koman’s claims.

The human rights lawyer is currently taking refuge in Australia following threats to her safety.

Indonesia has also threatened to pursue her via Interpol.

Canberra has previously sided with Jakarta

In the immediate post-war period, Australia had initially supported the West Papuan bid for independence, but backtracked due to a Western Cold War strategy to minimise "the arc of instability".

And, in the decades since, Canberra has shown its willingness to side with Indonesia on questions of secession.

While former prime minister John Howard touted the "liberation" of Timor Leste being one of his proudest achievements, recently declassified US intelligence documents suggested it was Washington’s intervention — and not Canberra’s — that forced Indonesia to respect the territory’s 1999 independence vote and allow a peacekeeping mission.

Nowhere in the documents is there any sign that Australia actively pressured the US to take steps to protect the Timorese, despite the worsening violence and evidence that Indonesia’s armed forces were supporting, or even working alongside, the militia groups.

Professor Clinton Fernandes at the University of NSW was in 1999 the principal intelligence analyst for East Timor at the Australian Theatre Joint Intelligence Centre (ASTJIC) in Sydney.

He told the ABC that the declassified documents "essentially confirm that the Howard government’s policy was to keep Timor in Indonesia. And at the end it was forced to backflip".

Mr Howard’s foreign minister at the time, Alexander Downer, denied accusations of the government’s apathy toward Timor Leste’s independence in a response to the ABC.

Mr Pryke said that West Papua’s situation was "nowhere near" any red lines that may prompt the kinds of intervention that met Timor Leste in 1999, and said Canberra would not be the "first" to raise grievances over the situation with Jakarta.

"But if this issue gets so severe that we see a coalition of other countries led by Europe, the US —whomever may it be — [Australia] will definitely come to the table."
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) was contacted for further comment on its stance on West Papua.


2) Military Chief confirms Wamena schools reopening on Oct 7

12 hours ago
Jakarta (ANTARA) – Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Air Chief Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto confirmed that schools in Wamena, Papua, will be reopened on Monday (Oct 7) following the restoration of security in the region.

"According to information, starting from Monday (Oct 7), schooling will return to normal in Wamena," Tjahjanto remarked after a ceremony to mark TNI’s 74th anniversary here on Saturday.

According to Tjahjanto, the local residents were apprehensive over schooling being interrupted following unrest in Wamena and were keen to witness normalcy restored in the learning process for children from elementary and high schools.

The military chief pointed out that Papuans were not in favor of non-Papuans leaving Wamena, Ilaga, and Oksibil.

"Several Papuans do not want non-Papuans to return to their hometowns. They (Papuans) want the non-Papuans to remain in Wamena, Oksibil, and Ilaga," he pointed out.

Tjahjanto reiterated that the TNI had deployed its forces to support the Indonesian Police in securing some regions in Papua, including Jayapura and Wamena.

"The aim is to lend confidence to people in Wamena, Ilaga, and Oksibil that we will continue to maintain security, so that economic activities will run smoothly," he stated.

The ceremony, enlivened by a plethora of attractions, military parade, and convoy of TNI’s weaponry system, was attended by President Joko Widodo, Vice President Jusuf Kalla and high-ranking officials comprising Speaker of the House of Representatives Puan Maharani, Chief of the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) La Nyalla Mattalitti, Chief of the People’s Consultative Assembly Bambang Soesatyo, and Vice President-elect KH Ma’ruf Amin.

Attendees at the ceremony also comprised former presidents Megawati Soekarnoputri and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as well as ex-vice presidents: Try Sutrisno, Hamzah Haz, and Boediono.

Related news: Thousands of Jayawijaya refugees return home
Related news: Air Force’s Hercules aircraft evacuate 9,078 refugees from Wamena
Related news: Agam district govt raises funds to help Wamena riot survivors
Reporter: Zuhdiar Laeis, Sri Haryati
Editor: Maria D Andriana

3) Amplifying the Good News From Papua


Amplifying the Good News From Papua BY :MUHAMAD ROSYID JAZULI OCTOBER 04, 2019 Recent riots in West Papua and Papua, the two easternmost provinces in Indonesia collectively known as Papua, have put the spotlight of the international media on Indonesia in recent weeks. A prosperous Papua free from human rights abuses again seems like a pipedream.

Political activists such as the pro-Papua independence leader Benny Wenda and human rights lawyer Veronica Koman have gained worldwide media attention for their persistent effort to report abuse cases. Nevertheless, there are also good news coming out of Papua that unfortunately attract very little media coverage.

Racist taunts against Papuan students in Surabaya had stoked up violence across West Papua and Papua that has resulted in dozens of deaths. Some have seized the moment to bring back to the table the thorny issue of an independence referendum for the Papuans: will they stay with Indonesia or secede? Activists like Benny and Veronica are now highly sought after by the international media to give an account of what is really happening in Papua. Organizations like Amnesty International Indonesia is also in the spotlight for its consistent effort to expose human rights abuses in the region. Their criticism of Indonesia focuses on Special Autonomy in Question
Even with speedier development recently, Papua still has a lot of problems with nary a solution in sight.

The current special autonomy law was thought to be a "master cure" for lagging development in Papua.

According to the law, only native Papuans can become regional and local leaders. The law also secures a vast amount of government cash transfer to the region to boost development.

Nevertheless, the law has also come in for heavy criticism. the alleged failure of the government to deliver its promise to resolve human rights violations in Papua. But deeper than that, the Papuans’ protests are rooted in the historical dispute of whether or not Papua’s integration into Indonesia was carried out legally according to international law.

According to J. Kristadi, Papua still suffers from chronic overlapping of policies and regulations. The government cash transfer, for example, provides ample space for self-government and policy innovations, but regional policy initiatives are often not in line with central government policies. It is not rare for the Papuan administration to overrule regional policies set by the central government. The massive presence of military and police officers in Papua is also a huge problem.

Human resource development in Papua should be done by increasing opportunities for teachers and health workers to work in Papua, not by boosting the number of military and police officers stationed in the two provinces. Fortunately, individuals such as Sigit Arifianto, Amalia Usmaianti and Billy Mambrasar, and some charity organizations have taken initiatives to improve education, the health service and economy in Papua. Good News From Papua Sigit came to Papua in 2017 as a volunteer teacher under a program called Indonesia Mengajar (Indonesia Teaches). He ended up teaching Papuan kids at a local elementary school for a full year. There are many other volunteer teachers in Papua who came from different parts of Indonesia. Aside from Indonesia Mengajar, other programs such as SM3T, administered by the Education and Culture Ministry, also sends volunteer teachers to Papua.

Amalia is a doctor who served in Papua under a program called Nusantara Sehat organized by the Health Ministry. A story of Amalia walking for hours with one of her Papuan patients to reach the nearest hospital went viral last year. Billy is a native West Papuan who invented Kitong Bisa, a social enterprise with a focus on providing entrepreneurial training for young Papuans. The organization also provides information on scholarships and employment opportunities for them. Most recently, Kitong Bisa invited young leaders from around the world to share their experiences with Papuan youngsters. What Sigit, Amalia and Billy are doing complement the efforts of activists like Veronica and Benny. The social activists believe what Papua needs is to develop its human resources by improving education, economy and the health service. The human rights activists believe a better Papua can only be realized when past and present human rights abuses are resolved and Papua exists as an independent country.

Amplify the Good News These days the media seems to give more portion to human rights-based perspectives on Papua. We need to make the effort to amplify the good news from Papua, such as the stories of what happened to Billy, Sigit and Amalia. The objective of amplifying the good news is not to cover up the dark and complicated past of the region or the tumultuous relationship between Papua and Indonesia, but to give more options for people who want to help to develop Papua. Papua’s special autonomy law has so far failed to encourage Papuans to improve their skills. By amplifying the good news from the region, a more encouraging discourse on improving Papua’s human resources may become a new focus of the media. As one Papuan woman writer said, the region needs more teachers and medical workers than soldiers. Muhamad Rosyid Jazuli is a researcher at Paramadina Public Policy Institute


To unsubscribe: <mailto:wpan-unsubscribe>
List help: <>


Indonesia: Thousands evacuated after violent protests in Papua

October 4, 2019

Al Jazeera

Indonesia: Thousands evacuated after violent protests in Papua

At least 33 people were killed and dozens injured in Wamena town amid racially-charged violent protests last week.
by Raheela Mahomed 2 hours ago


Thousands of Indonesians have been evacuated from Papua province after racially-charged violent protests last week.

At least 33 people were killed and dozens injured in Wamena town.

Al Jazeera’s Raheela Mahomed reports from Jakarta, Indonesia.


Photos/video in article

2) One of Indonesia’s most wanted people says she won’t be silenced, despite daily death threats
EXCLUSIVE: As violence in the Papuan provinces of Indonesia reaches its "darkest" point in 20 years, Indonesian human rights lawyer Veronica Koman says she will continue to speak out despite daily death threats.



3) Indonesia says over 11,500 have fled violence-hit Papuan town


JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian authorities said on Thursday more than 11,500 people have been evacuated from the town of Wamena in the easternmost province of Papua since dozens died during clashes last month in the area.

Located on the western half of the island of New Guinea and long racked by a simmering separatist insurgency, Papua encompasses Indonesia’s two easternmost provinces and has a distinct ethnic Melanesian population.

There has been a spike in protests and unrest since late August after Papuan students in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second city on the island of Java, were taunted and attacked by a mob chanting racial epithets over accusations they had desecrated a national flag.

In some of the worst bloodshed in decades in Papua, 33 people died and scores were hurt during clashes in Wamena on Sept. 23.

Government offices and homes were burned down, and 250 cars and motorcycles destroyed, as indigenous Papuans and security forces clashed.

The government and some Papuan independence activists say 25 of the 33 who died there were migrants from elsewhere in the country.

Erizal, 42, a former resident of Wamena who had left, said his child and wife died during the unrest and he now felt too traumatized to consider returning to the town.

“I am in my village in Padang now, maybe I will not return back to Wamena,” he said by telephone from the Padang area on Sumatra island where he was originally from. He said his shop had also been burnt down in the unrest.

Between Sept. 23 and Oct. 2 Indonesia’s air force had flown 7,467 people out of Wamena on Hercules planes, while 4,179 people had left on commercial flights, said Harry Hikmat, an official at Indonesia’s social ministry.

Ahmad Musthofa Kamal, a spokesman for the Papuan police, said the situation in Wamane was now stable and that shops and markets were open again.

A former Dutch colony, Papua was formally incorporated into Indonesia in 1969, after a disputed vote of about 1,025 hand-picked tribal leaders. The result of the plebiscite was overseen and endorsed by the United Nations.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has opened the door to holding talks with separatists in Papua, a departure from the stance of previous governments and some of his cabinet ministers.

Reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa; Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Frances Kerry
4) Any talks with Jakarta must feature referendum – Papuan group
4:58 pm on 3 October 2019
Johnny Blades, RNZ Pacific Journalist johnny.blades
The West Papuan pro-independence movement is insisting that genuine talks with Indonesia’s government must address self-determination.

President Joko Widodo and his chief of staff have both told Indonesian media in recent days that they were prepared to meet anyone to discuss problems in Papua.

The president, known as Jokowi, was responding to a question from the press about whether he would hold a dialogue with pro-independence Papuan leaders.

Jokowi has appealed for calm in West Papua which has been gripped by weeks of large protests, a security forces crackdown and violent unrest that have left dozens of people dead.

While Indonesia has deployed over six thousand extra military and police to Papua, tensions in the region, as well as pro-independence sentiment, remain high.

It has added to pressure on a government also struggling to contain public discontent in Jakarta over several new laws which critics say undermine democracy.

In the interests of forging a way forward in Papua, the president’s office was urged by representatives of the Papua and West Papua regional legislatures to have talks with the leading pro-independence groups, the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).

The KNPB’s international spokesman, Victor Yeimo, said they had been seeking meaningful talks with Jakarta for years without getting a response. He was cautious over the prospect, expecting Jokowi’s usual emphasis on economic development in Papua to continue to be the focus.

After the widespread protests kicked off in late August, Jokowi invited a number of community and religious leaders from Papua to his palace. The meeting was billed as a way to discuss accelerating prosperity in Papua and West Papua provinces.

Mr Yeimo noted a discrepancy between the president’s words and the actions of his government in employing a security approach to the peaceful expression of Papuan independence aspirations.

According to the KNPB, while Jakarta sees Papua as strictly an internal issue, in reality it’s an international issue. Mr Yeimo said West Papuans seek intervention for a legitimate self-determination process under international law which they were denied in the 1960s when Indonesian took control of the former Dutch New Guinea.

"For us, we will not stop to demand the right of self-determination in West Papua," Mr Yeimo said.

"So, if Jokowi wants to dialogue, the main point for the dialogue is a referendum for the self-determination in West Papua, under the United Nations’ supervision, mediated by a neutral or third party."

Mr Yeimo’s comments echo those of the ULMWP’s UK-based chairman Benny Wenda, who said at the United Nations last week that a deepening humanitarian crisis in his homeland underlined the urgent need for UN intervention.

While Jakarta has repeatedly stated that the incorporation of Papua into the republic is final, demonstrations by Papuans are becoming harder to ignore, even when the government resorts to cutting the internet in Papua as a response.

Indonesian authorities have fingered the KNPB and the ULMWP as being provocateurs, alleging that the groups stirred the recent unrest in an attempt to disrupt the unitary republic by seeking independence.

Mr Yeimo denied this, saying the Papuan independence struggle belonged to neither group, but rather the people.

"The leaders, even KNPB and ULMWP, cannot determine the future of the people of West Papua. The only way is to give the people democratic space – hold a referendum so they can choose what they want for their future."

While Jokowi’s response to the press question did not single out any particular group who he might meet for talks, mistrust between Jakarta and Papuan leaders remains the main stumbling block.

A senior government source told RNZ Pacific that the president’s primary objective was to restore "full normalcy, stability and security" in Papua.


5 ) Agam district govt raises funds to help Wamena riot survivors
6 hours ago
Lubukbasung, W Sumatra (ANTARA) – The Agam District Administration has launched a fundraising program to assist the survivors of the recent deadly rioting in Wamena, the capital city of Jayawijaya District, Papua Province, since Wednesday (October 2).

"The donated money will soon be distributed to those in need," Head of the Social Security and Protection Affairs at the Agam District Administration, Arfi Yunanda, told journalists in Lubukbasung on Thursday.

The fundraising program would be conducted for several days through the district government’s internal organisations, he said.

Head of Social Welfare Affairs at the Agam District Administration, Syatria, added that he has no information about Agam’s residents in Wamena or the Agam people-based organisation in the capital city of the Jayawijaya District, Papua Province.

Related news: West Sumatrans raise funds for Wamena riot survivors
Related news: Papua Governor offers security assurance to native, non-native people

The fundraising program for helping the Wamena riot survivors had earlier been initiated by the West Sumatra provincial government.

According to West Sumatra Governor, Irwan Prayitno, the fundraising program recently held was able to collect Rp3.1 billion, which came from individuals, organizations, mosques, and regional administrations through a gathering called "Badoncek".

Badoncek is a tradition followed by the people of Minangkabau to make a donation for others as a token of togetherness.

Renowned singer, Elly Kasim; ex-minister, Andrinof Chaniago; and Solok City Mayor, Zul Elfian, were among those who donated at the fundraising program to help the West Sumatra migrants, who had survived the Wamena riot.

The donated funds were also channeled by organizations, mosques, and regional governments, such as "Gebu Minang", "Big Family of Solok District", "Fatahillah Mosque of Blok B Tanah Abang", Tanah Datar District, as well as the cities of Solok and Payokumbuah.

Deadly riots erupted in Wamena during a rally that native Papuan students staged on September 23.

A total of 33 people, including a doctor, were killed, while at least 77 others sustained injuries in the riot that also compelled several thousand residents, mostly non-native Papuans, to take shelter in the local military and police compounds.

The dead and wounded comprised non-native Papuans, who were assaulted by rioters brandishing machetes and arrows. Several of them had migrated to Papua from their hometowns in provinces, such as West Sumatra and South Sulawesi, to earn a living.

Related news: Banten governor vows evacuation of his people from Papua
Related news: Transportation ministry prepares ships to evacuate Wamena’s refugees
Reporter: Altas Maulana, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati


6) Papua provincial government guarantees working paramedics’ security
7 hours ago
Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) – The Papua provincial administration has pledged to guarantee the safety and security of working paramedics across the province after a senior medical doctor was killed following the riot and exodus of working paramedics in Wamena. The provincial government has coordinated with the commander of XVII Cenderawasih Regional Military Command and Papua police chief, Secretary of the Papua Provincial Administration Hery Dosinaen said in Jayapura Thursday.

"In this regard, the security scheme is an important matter for us. Therefore, we always coordinate with the regional military commander and Papua police chief to know how it has been implemented to avoid any unexpected feedback in public," he said.

Related news: Indonesian military confirms 17 deaths in Wamena’s rioting

Besides guaranteeing the safety and security of doctors and paramedics, Dosinaen also expressed the provincial government’s hope that all health centers in Jayawijaya District would soon resume their normal operations.

"In the aftermath of the Wamena rioting, only one health center has resumed its normal operations. We hope that other health centers in the district, including those at temporary shelters, will immediately begin operations," he said.

Related news: Paramedics working in Papua need security guarantee: IDI

The Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) had earlier appealed to security agencies and other related stakeholders, as well as community members, to guarantee the safety and security of the working paramedics across Papua.

Their safety and security are of importance to enable them to work optimally, Chairman of IDI-Papua Chapter, Dr. Donald Aronggear, told Antara in Jayapura September 26.

Related news: Papua enhances puskesmas’ role in patient handling following riots

Commenting on the death of the 53-year-old doctor, Soeko Marsetiyo, in Wamena’s deadly rioting that broke out early this week, Aronggear said all the paramedics in Papua were grieving his death.

Due to Soeko’s death, several doctors at the Wamena public hospital had requested leave from the hospital, which was understandable because doctors are also humans and need a sense of security, he said.

Wamena’s deadly rioting occurred during a rally that native Papuan students staged on September 23.

Thirty-three people, including a medical doctor, were killed, while at least 77 others sustained injuries due to the riot that had also forced several thousands of residents, mostly non-native Papuans, to take refuge.

The masterminds of this deadly riot are allegedly members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), according to National Police Spokesman, Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo.

Among the dead and the wounded were non-native Papuans who had been assaulted by rioters brandishing machetes and arrows.

On the day the rally took place, Commander of the 1702/Jayawijaya District Military Command Lt. Col. Candra Dianto said a gun battle between the Indonesian security personnel and a group of armed separatists also occurred around the Pasar Baru area. (INE)

Related news: Wamena riot survivors urged to not join exodus

Related news: MUI elicits governmental action for justice to Papua’s Indonesians


Reporter: Hendrina DK, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf


7) Papua enhances puskesmas’ role in patient handling following riots
10 hours ago

Jayapura (ANTARA) – The Papua Provincial Health Office is optimizing the role of community health centers (puskesmas) to tend to patients after riots broke out in Wamena, Jayawijaya District, on September 23, 2019.

"We will empower and utilize all community health centers and clinics at every refugee shelter," Secretary of the Papua Provincial Health Office Silwanus Sumule stated here on Thursday.

Sumule noted that the Papuan government has taken precautionary measures in the face of health cases, such as post-traumatic stress, injuries, and infections, which can possibly increase after riots in Wamena.

"Cases of infection due to wounds resulting from the riots can possibly increase. Hence, when conditions are safe, we have to be ready to provide health services required at the health centers," he remarked.

Sumule also forecast that cases of health problems in pregnant women are likely to spike since some of them at refugee shelters are at risk of ailing from psychological trauma after being displaced from their homes owing to riots.

"Hence, maternal and child healthcare — in the midst of this emergency response period — needs to be further intensified," he stated.

He also called for the need to maintain environmental health at refugee shelters in Papua to prevent outbreaks of certain diseases, including diarrhea, measles, and respiratory infections.

Related news: Wamena riot survivors ail from diarrhea, fever, skin itchiness
Related news: Jokowi dispatches humanitarian aid to Ambon, Wamena
Related news: 31 dead in Wamena rioting: Health Ministry
Reporter: Hendrina Dian Kandipi, Yuni Ar
Editor: Sri Haryati


To unsubscribe: <mailto:wpan-unsubscribe>
List help: <>

Australia urges restraint in West Papua amid ongoing violence

September 25, 2019

Australia urges restraint in West Papua amid ongoing violence

6:47 am today
Australia’s government has urged restraint by all relevant parties in West Papua amid ongoing unrest in the Indonesian ruled region.
The death toll from violence in the Papuan cities of Jayapura and Wamena on Monday hasrisen to 26.
Violence erupted in both cities as Indonesian security forces cracked down on student protests.
This follows weeks of unrest triggered by large protests in the region last month.
Outside the UN headquarters in New York, Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne told SBS that her government was seeking updates about the situation.
"Well we are obviously very concerned about the reports of violence in Papua and West Papua. And they are matters which our post in Jakarta is obviously following up with authorities there. We urge absolute restraint from both sides in actions that are happening on the ground there.”

Monday’s unrest in Jayapura led to the arrest of over 700 Papuan students.
Many of them had recently returned home early from study in Javanese cities, where racist attacks on Papuan students last month prompted widespread protests in the Papuan provinces, and also raised fears for the students’ safety.
An additional 6000 Indonesian police and military personnel were deployed to the heavily restricted region by early September as unrest sparked by the protests left at least ten people dead.

Since last year, Indonesian security forces in Papua have also been preoccupied in the Highlands region by a protracted armed conflict with a pro-independence guerilla unit named the West Papua Liberation Army.
The ongoing unrest, as well as issues of human rights abuses and self-determination in Papua, is expected to be raised by some Pacific Islands leaders at this week’s UN General Assembly.

At least 20 dead in protests in Indonesia’s West Papua

September 23, 2019

At least 20 dead in protests in Indonesia’s West Papua

Clashes between protesters and government forces in Jayapura have killed at least four people, including a policeman.
by Febriana Firdaus 5 hours ago

At least 20 people have been killed, including three shot by police, and dozens injured following a new wave of violent clashes between demonstrators and government forces in Indonesia’s West Papua region on Monday, prompting President Joko Widodo to call a security meeting.

Sixteen people were killed in Wamena city where hundreds demonstrated and burned down a government office and other buildings, authorities said.

Four of the other fatalities were from the clashes that took place on Monday in Jayapura, the provincial capital, Aloysius Giyai, head of Papua province’s health office, told the news website, Jubi.

Dedi Prasetyo, a spokesman of Indonesia’s national police, also confirmed to Al Jazeera that one police officer was killed. He could not confirm the number of fatalities among the demonstrators.

In a statement sent to the media, Lt Col Eko Daryanto, a military spokesman in Papua province, said members of the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) gathered at the Cenderawasih University.

Authorities later ordered the protesters to move the demonstration outside of the campus, which resulted in deadly clashes.

Albertho Rumsaur, a resident of Jayapura, said he witnessed the clashes between the joint police-military forces and the students.

"The students threw rocks and the police fired tear gas," he told Al Jazeera.

Siska Manam, a student, said she also saw civilian militia, who support the military, carrying wood and machetes, giving a chase to the students.

The AMP student alliance, however, denied that they have members in Jayapura, adding that they only have a local group in the restive region.

The AMP is a leading organisation of Papua students that has called for more freedom in the region.

Jhon Gobai, chairman of the alliance, told Al Jazeera that the government should "stop scape-goating" the student group for Monday’s protests.

Indonesia’s West Papua region is divided into two provinces: West Papua and Papua. Jayapura is the biggest city in Papua province, with a population of some 500,000 people.

Several people were killed during protests in Jayapura last month when the unrest erupted.

Since then, the government has deployed thousands of troops to the region and arrested activists to quell the protests.

West Papua was a Dutch colony until the early 1960s when Indonesia took control, cementing its rule with a controversial referendum.

The government in Jakarta maintains the West Papua region, which occupies the western half of the island of Papua New Guinea, is Indonesia’s because it was part of the Dutch East Indies that forms the basis of the country’s modern-day borders.

A low-level armed rebellion by indigenous Papuans, who now make up about half the population after years of migration by people from other parts of Indonesia, has been rumbling ever since.

West Papua is the poorest region in the country and there have been allegations of human rights violations.

At least 17 people were killed after violence erupted in December, which triggered a military crackdown.

Some 35,000 civilians have been forced from their homes as security forces attempt to flush out the rebels from the forested mountains.



2) Death Toll Rises to 20 in Papua Unrest; Hundreds Arrested


SEPTEMBER 23, 2019

Jakarta. Unrest that broke out in Jayapura and Wamena in Papua Province on Monday has claimed the lives of at least 20 people, while dozens more were injured, officials said.

National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo said four people – a soldier and three members of the Papuan Students Alliance (AMP) – have died in the incident in Jayapura. Seven policemen and 20 civilians were injured.

Dedi told journalist in Jakarta on Monday that Papuan students who returned from their places of study elsewhere in Indonesia held a rally outside Cendrawasih University in the morning, requesting the establishment of a coordinating office for them on the campus, which was denied.

The university called police to disperse the crowd of about 200 students after the discussions ended. The students then agreed to be transported to an area near the Expo Waena Cultural Park.

"We are investigating who provoked the students, because they suddenly brutally attacked security force members," Dedi said about what transpired after police and military personnel delivered the students to their destination.

He said the security forces fired warning shots to calm the situation after the soldier was killed and seven policemen were wounded. Police officers were also pelted with rocks, while some were attacked with sharp objects.

"It is suspected [that the three students] died after being struck by rubber bullets, but autopsies will be performed," the police spokesman said.

Police have arrested 318 students at the location and transferred them to the Papua Police headquarters for questioning, he added.

Cendrawasih Military Command spokesman Lt. Col. Eko Daryanto separately told the Jakarta Globe that 16 civilians had died in unrest in Wamena in Jayawijaya district on Monday. Some of them died after being trapped in burning buildings, which were set alight by rioters. About 65 people were wounded in the violence.

The riot in Wamena started after a brawl between students from two different high school spun out of control and turned into anarchy, when a crowd started to set fire to government buildings, public facilities and private houses. The city’s airport was also closed due to the unrest.

Benny Wenda

The police spokesman said Benny Wenda, leader of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), who now lives in Britain, was likely behind Monday’s violence in the two Papuan cities.

"From the start, these events cannot be separated from Benny Wenda, the ULMWP and its allies in the KNPB [West Papua National Committee]. The KNPB has infiltrated the AMP. The AMP was used to provoke members of the public and students during the incident at Cendrawasih University," Dedi said.

The Indonesian government previously also blamed Benny Wenda and the ULMWP and KNPB for the unrest in Papua and West Papua in August.

Indonesian troops will remain in Papua: Defense Minister

September 21, 2019 Indonesian troops will remain in Papua: Defense Minister
4 hours ago

Magelang, C Java (ANTARA) – Defending the presence of Indonesia’s military (TNI) and the police personnel in Papua, Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said they will not be withdrawn from the province because armed Papuan separatists continue firing at security forces. "I have repeatedly stated that the TNI and National Police will not be withdrawn from Papua because, once, they are pulled out, Papua will secede," he told journalists after speaking at a seminar on a state defense strategy for young Indonesians here Thursday.

Commenting on an exchange of fire that occurred in Olenki Village, Mabugi Subdistrict, Puncak District, on September 17 and killed three civilians, he said Papua’s problems should be resolved properly, and they are merely related to social welfare.

"So, we need to sit together. Let us sit and think about how to resolve the problems," the former army chief of staff said.

In connection with the firing in Olenki village between Indonesian troops and brutal armed Papuan separatists, Puncak District Head Willem Wandik said Wednesday that the armed rebels often use villagers as human shields.

Three civilians were killed and four others sustained injuries in the firing. The wounded had been evacuated to Timika’s public hospital while the dead would immediately be buried, he said.

To avoid civilian casualties in the future, he appealed to the TNI and police to carry out a persuasive approach which would compel the rebels to surrender and stop attacking security personnel and civilians.

Willem Wandik also urged all parties to maintain peace and end the conflict that could be used by others for their political ends.

Meanwhile, Spokesman of the XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Command Lt. Col. Eko Daryanto confirmed that there had been civilian casualties and expressed his condolences.

XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Commander Major General Herman Asaribab would coordinate with the Papua police chief in setting up a joint team to investigate the incident, he said.

Herman Asaribab would also conduct a comprehensive evaluation on how the operation to hunt down the armed rebels is to be carried out so that further civilian casualties are avoided, he said. (INE)
Related news: RI rebuts Vanuatu politicizing Papua issue at Human Rights Council
Related news: Rights activists in Papua urge govt to offer comprehensive solution


Reporter: Syaiful H, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto


2) Wiranto awaits report on exchange of fire in Papua

3 hours ago

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto said he was awaiting an official report on the recent exchange of fire between the Indonesian security personnel and a group of armed Papuan rebels which led to several casualties among civilians.

"Well, the official report is still awaited," he said here on Thursday in response to a question from journalists on the exchange of fire that broke out in Olenki Village, Mabugi Subdistrict, Puncak District, on September 17.

Wiranto said he would immediately brief the journalists once he received a comprehensive report on the incident.

In connection with the firing in Olenki village between Indonesian troops and brutal armed Papuan separatists, Puncak District Head, Willem Wandik, said on Wednesday that the armed rebels often use villagers as human shields.

Three civilians were killed and four others sustained injuries in the firing. The wounded had been evacuated to Timika’s public hospital, while those who succumbed to their injuries would immediately be buried, he said.

To avoid civilian casualties in the future, he appealed to the TNI and the police to carry out a persuasive approach, which would compel the rebels to surrender and stop attacking security personnel and civilians.

Willem Wandik also urged all the parties to maintain peace and end the conflict that could be used by others for their political gains.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu hinted earlier that Indonesia’s military (TNI) and the police personnel in Papua would not be withdrawn from the province because armed Papuan separatists continue firing at security forces.

"I have repeatedly stated that the TNI and the National Police will not be withdrawn from Papua because once they are pulled out, Papua will secede," he said in Magelang, Central Java.

Spokesman of the XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Command, Lt. Col. Eko Daryanto, confirmed that there had been civilian casualties and expressed his condolences.

XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Commander, Major General Herman Asaribab, will coordinate with the Papua police chief to set up a joint team to investigate the incident, he said.

Herman Asaribab would also conduct a comprehensive evaluation on how the operation to hunt down the armed rebels is to be carried out so that further civilian casualties are avoided, he said.
Related news: Indonesian troops will remain in Papua: Defense Minister


Reporter: Zuhdiar L, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto

3) Veronica Koman to Be Included in Police’s Fugitive List
Translator: Laila Afifa Editor: Laila Afifa 19 September 2019 19:18 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – East Java Regional Police will issue fugitive status for activist Veronica Komannext week.

"East Java Police Chief will announce [the matter] probably on Monday or Tuesday," said East Java Police chief of public relation Frans Barung Mangera on Thursday, September 19 September. Her name will be put in the fugitive list.

Veronica was named as a suspect for spreading hoaxes and fake information regarding the incident of Papuan students in Surabaya last August. She was allegedly active in conducting provocation by distributing information about Papua unrest through her Twitter account @VeronicaKoman.

Police issue the fugitive status due to Veronica’s absence in three summonses. "The deadline is over," Barung said.

Besides the fugitive list, the National Police and Interpol would issue red notice about Veronica Koman that would be held in France. The red notice would be distributed to 190 other countries.

Andita Rahma


4) TNI Says Three Killed in Shootout with Papua Separatists

19 September 2019 17:51 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Three civilians, including a toddler, have been killed and four wounded after a shootout between state security forces and armed separatists in Papua, a military (TNI) spokesman said on Thursday, September 19.

Tuesday’s incident comes after additional security forces were deployed to restore security in Papua, following a series of sometimes violent demonstrations since August, triggered by concerns over perceived racial and ethnic discrimination.

The shootout happened when security forces clashed with separatists in the West Papuan town of Ilaga, said Eko Daryanto, the spokesman.

"The separatists started shooting sporadically at joint security forces who were approaching them in front of a honai (traditional Papuan house)," he said in a statement.

"After they (security forces) responded with shots, the separatists ran for the woods while shooting indiscriminately."

A resident of the area, Noris Wakerwa, said some villagers had fled to the nearby forest when he arrived to help with the evacuation.

"We evacuated the dead and the wounded to the community health center," he said by telephone.

Daryanto said TNI and police would conduct a joint investigation into the shootout.

Protesters torched a market, a jail, and government offices in demonstrations that erupted when Papuan students in Surabaya on the main island of Java were hit by tear gas in their dormitory and detained on Aug. 17, Indonesia’s Independence Day, for allegedly desecrating a national flag.

A video was later circulated showing security forces using racial slurs to denigrate the students.

Some protesters are also demanding an independence vote – a move ruled out by Indonesia’s security minister.

Almost 6,000 additional military and police personnel have been dispatched to the region since the protests began and authorities for a time blocked internet access to prevent Papuans accessing social media.

The resource-rich area of Papua – which is home to the world’s biggest gold mine and second-biggest copper mine Grasberg – was a Dutch colony that was incorporated into Indonesia after a controversial U.N. backed referendum in 1969.

Since then, the region has endured decades of mostly low-level separatist conflict.



5) West Papuans rally calling Australia stands against human rights violations in West Papua

Published 10 hours ago on 19 September 2019
By pr9c6tr3_juben

Melbourne, Jubi – Dozens of people stands in solidarity with West Papuans in front of the State Library Victoria on Saturday (14/09/2019) for calling the Australian Government to against human rights violations occurred in West Papua.

Further, the Melbourne West Papua Community is also asking the Australian Government to urges the Indonesian Government to allow the UN Right Commissioner Michele Bachelet to conduct a fact finding mission into human rights violations.

Mr. Novenus Obamak, the Chairman of the Melbourne West Papua Community, through a press release told Ms Bachelet has been trying to gain access to West Papua since 2018, but until now she has been refused to entry by the Government of Indonesia. “Contrary to claims made in Australia that the Indonesian Government is facilitating Ms Bachelet’s visit to West Papua, the Indonesian Government has been blocking her access,” said Obamak.

He also urged the Indonesian Government to restore the internet access in West Papua and allow international journalists free access to West Papua. “On behalf of the Melbourne West Papua community and our brothers and sisters in West Papua, I strongly urge Indonesia to withdraw its more than 6000 non-local military forces from West Papua to allow the situation there to stabilize,” said Mr. Obamak.

He also said, “We need to see the end of the criminalization of human rights defenders and students in West Papua. Human rights defenders and concerned students should be supported from their stand against lawlessness rather than being made out to be the criminals.”

Meanwhile, the solidarity rally was opened with speeches from speakers representing the Australian first nation, local councilors, West Papuan leaders and students. Speakers called the Australian Government to pay more attention to what have been happening and West Papua and to take action to end oppression and human rights violations against West Papuans.

Moreland Councillor Sue Bolton said in her speech that Australia could do a lot to stop the oppressions and violations in West Papua. “What Australia does will going have to impact to West Papua. Australia through different government has tragically supported the Indonesian Government to violate West Papuans through training Indonesian military forces, mining companies that contribute to the killing and torture of many West Papuans. Meanwhile, Darebin Councillor Mark Riley in his speech emphasized the needs of open access for journalists to West Papua.

In the meantime, Papuan student Cyndi Makabori said as young West Papuan student who’s living in Australia, she is fortunate for not experiencing discrimination, torture, detention or mockery like other Papuan students in Indonesia. She also criticizes that during 57 years of integration, Indonesia has committed more than five hundred thousand of murders. It means Indonesia has failed to civilize and educate its citizens about the value of humanity and human rights. Finally, in her speech she thanks to non-Papuan supporters who stand in solidarity with West Papuans. She acknowledges the spokesperson of Free West Papua Surya Anta Ginting who’s the first Indonesian citizen arrested for treason.

After speeches, the crowd goes for a rally towards Federation Square. During the rally, they continuously chanted “Papua Merdeka,” “Free West Papua”, “Kami bukan merah putih” and “Indonesia Out”.
A supporter from Vanuatu who wish anonymous said she joined the rally to show her solidarity to West Papuans. “In solidarity as Pacific region. We are Melanesians; and all together we are strong. We support sovereignty as an obligation to the international laws.”

The West Papua solidarity rally in Melbourne marked a series of peaceful protests conducted in dispersed cities in Australia including Canberra, Darwin, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns. (*)

Reporter: Pipit Maizier

ILAGA Emergency Situation-Air Strikes & Ground Attacks by the Indonesian Military Were Killed 7 Civilians People in Ilaga Papua

September 18, 2019

Today September 18th 2019 KOMNAS TPNPB-OPM

Headquarters have received reports that the Indonesian Military and Police Forces has carried out airstrikes using helicopters as well as ground attacks using two vehicles on September 17th 2019 yesterday, and these attacks have destroyed villages and many fatalities.

The brutal attack was carried out in Mayugarik District, Puncak Papua Regency, by the Indonesian military and police.

Commander of the TPNPB-OPM Sinak Rgeion “Bridgen Militer Murib” has reported that this attack had been carried out while the community was preparing for tribal war peace in the region, and as a result the community fled to the forest and also there were many who had been victims of shooters by the Indonesian military and Police.

full report

West Papua unrest tests Indonesia’s Jokowi as second term begins

September 17, 2019

West Papua unrest tests Indonesia’s Jokowi as second term begins

President faces challenge of addressing Papuan demands and keeping country intact amid calls for independence.
by Febriana Firdaus 9 hours ago

Jakarta, Indonesia – Indonesia’s West Papua region has been mired in civil unrest since the middle of August, following police detentions and alleged racial slurs against ethnic Papuan students studying in the country’s most populous island of Java.

The protests, which at times turned deadly, have since evolved into calls for a referendum and independence in the country’s poorest region.

The violence is a major test of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who was returned to power in April’s election and will be officially installed for his second term in office on October 20. Having won 78 percent of the vote in Papua, he now faces the difficult task of delivering on his promises of economic growth and genuine autonomy to Papuans, while dampening calls for independence that threaten to carve out another part of the country.

"For West Papuans, Jokowi’s approach is all wrong," Made Supriatma, an Indonesia expert at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, a Singapore think-tank, told Al Jazeera.

"Jokowi always promises to boost economic growth under the special autonomy scheme and build the region using natural resources," Made said. "But he has neglected the people, so they feel left behind,"

At the same time, Jokowi, has to confront the issue of racism, which has left indigenous Papuans feeling like second-class citizens, further increasing demands to break away from Indonesia, political observers added.

Jokowi’s response

Jokowi, has tried to cultivate better relations with the Papuans.

Two months into his first term as president in 2014, he visited Jayapura, the capital and largest city in Papua province.

In the months leading to his re-election bid earlier this year, Jokowi visited parts of West Papua at least 12 times, according to the Jakarta Globe. He was later rewarded by Papuan voters, who gave him their overwhelming support in the election.

But the scale of the recent protests has left Jokowi scrambling to respond.

As the protests erupted, the president appealed for calm while declaring that the violence was under control, only to be confronted with more unrest.

On September 11, as the situation calmed, Jokowi finally welcomed Papuan representatives to the presidential palace for discussions, during which he promised to build a palace in West Papua and upgrade the region’s internet connection.

He also offered to engage in more dialogue with indigenous Papuans, and ordered the government to hire Papuan graduates to help build the proposed new Indonesian capital in Kalimantan.

He promised he would again visit several areas in Papua and celebrate the New Year in the region.

But he has remained mum on the growing demand for a Papua referendum.

Wiranto, Jokowi’s top security official and designated intermediary on the West Papua issue, has dismissed any talk of a referendum, offering only to talk to Papuans about their "basic rights".

At the back of the government’s mind is East Timor, which held a referendum in 1999, and eventually declared independence from Indonesia.

Rumblings for freedom

Like Indonesia, the West Papua region was once a Dutch colony.

Indonesia proclaimed its independence in 1945, ending 350 years of colonial rule and then claimed all territories of the former Dutch East Indies, including the West Papua region, which is now divided into two provinces – Papua and West Papua.

The Dutch retained control of the region until the early 1960s, but in 1969, after a controversial referendum backed by the United Nations, it became part of Indonesia

That vote, remains contested by Papuan nationalist groups including the Free Papua Movement and the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, which was formed in 2014.

For decades, rumblings for Papuan self-determination and independence have continued.

In 2001, the government granted West Papua special autonomy in response to demands for an independence.

But in December 2018, violence flared again after independence fighters attacked a road-building project leaving 17 people dead and triggering a military crackdown that forced 35,000 civilians to flee their homes.

Anger over racial slurs

Then, in mid-August, two incidents in Java involving Papuan students set off the most widespread and sustained protests the region has seen.

According to reports, the students were allegedly called "monkeys" and "pigs", as they were detained by police officers.

The students were eventually released, and the officers suspected of being involved either dismissed or suspended.

But by then, the uproar had spread across the West Papua region.

Despite facing threats of arrest, thousands of demonstrators waved the "Morning Star" flag, which is seen as a symbol of self-rule and banned.

Human Rights Watch in Indonesia reported that at least 10 people were killed in the latest violent protests.

In response, the government blocked the Internet in West Papua, making it difficult for independent verification of the incidents in the region. The block was later partially lifted.

Several activists and protesters accused of inciting protests were also detained, and police said they wanted to arrest prominent human rights lawyer, Veronica Koman.

‘Prolonging oppression’

Jokowi said he wanted to meet Papuans because he was confused about why they supported him, but were opposed to the administration in Jakarta.

"I want to find out why it has to be different," he told Indonesia’s Kompas daily.

But West Papuans note representatives from the Papuan People’s Assembly were excluded from the meeting with Jokowi.

The Papuan Student Alliance, which has led several protest in recent weeks, has also rejected the government’s offer for dialogue.

Jhon Gobai, chairman of the alliance, said the talks "only prolong the oppression" of the Papuans.

"Right now, the people in West Papua are joining to protest in the street to demand one thing: Referendum. That is exactly what we want," he said.

Vidhyandika Djati Perkasa, a researcher at the Jakarta-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said the president needed to speak to all Papuans; not only those who supported integration.

"President Jokowi needs to visit Papua soon and set dialogue in West Papua instead (of the palace in Jakarta)," he said.

"The dialogue can be done several times to make sure that every West Papuan feels they are being represented," he added.

Meanwhile, Alissa Wahid, of the Gusdurian organisation, which is dedicated to the legacy of former President Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid, urged Jokowi’s government to ensure that West Papuans are treated as equals in Indonesian.

Alissa said a "human approach" had to be prioritised to address the violence and racism.

The issue of racism is a sensitive topic for many Papuans, and they said that Jokowi needs to confront it if he wants to ease tensions.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Filep Karma, a pro-independence activist who was jailed for more than 10 years, said that many non-Papuans have repeatedly called him a "monkey".

Aprilia Wayar, a Papuan novelist, said, she had experienced similar racism.

"Just yesterday, I wanted to rent a house in Yogyakarta. But when I came to visit the house, the owner asked me where I came from? I said I am from West Papua. They immediately cancelled it," she said, recalling the incident.

Rosa Moiwend, a West Papuan activist, told Al Jazeera there would be no progress unless the issue of racism was addressed by the country and the president.

Above all, Jokowi must also look into the political history between Indonesia and West Papua, and clarify what happened during the 1969 referendum, she added.

"Otherwise, we are tired with another dialogue."


2) Australia refuses to rule out handing over Sydney lawyer who advocates for West Papuans to Indonesia

Marni Cordell and Ben Doherty Tue 17 Sep 2019 13.41 AEST

Dfat says Interpol red notice for arrest of Veronica Koman is a matter for Australian federal police

The Australian government has refused to rule out handing over a Sydney-based lawyer who advocates for West Papuans to Indonesian authorities.

Veronica Koman, an Indonesian human rights lawyer who currently lives in Australia, is being pursued by Indonesian police for disseminating evidence of police- and military-backed violence in West Papua.

Koman has been a credible source of eyewitness accounts, photos and footage of protests that have swept across West Papua and other Indonesian provinces in recent weeks.

Several people have reportedly died and dozens of others injured in violent clashes with Indonesian police, military and military-backed militia, which were sparked by the racist abuse of Papuan students in Java but have morphed into a demand for a referendum on West Papuan independence.

Koman faces charges under the country’s controversial electronic information and transactions law, and faces up to six years in jail if found guilty.

East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera told the Guardian that if Koman did not report to Indonesian authorities by 18 September, a red notice would be issued through Interpol for her arrest. “After that we will work with the international police,” he said.

When asked whether the Australian federal police would act on an Interpol red notice for the arrest of Koman, a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was a matter for the AFP. A spokesperson for the AFP said: “Any questions regarding this matter should be directed to Indonesian authorities.”

Koman said in a statement that there was a “surprisingly wide [Indonesian] government campaign to pressure me into silence”, including police intimidation of her family in Jakarta and threats to revoke her Indonesian passport and block her bank accounts.

“For years, the Indonesian government has allocated more time and energy to waging a propaganda war than it has to investigating and ending human rights abuses in West Papua,” she said. “Now we are seeing a clear example of ‘shoot the messenger’ in the state’s effort to persecute those, including me, who draw attention to abuses it is unwilling or unable to address.”

The Interpol “red notice” system – ostensibly used to “seek the location and arrest of wanted persons wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence” – is regularly abused by authoritarian governments to pursue dissidents or political opponents who have left the country’s territory.

Globally, there are about 58,000 current valid red notices, of which only about 7,000 are public.

Article 3 of Interpol’s constitution forbids Interpol from undertaking “any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character”.

Indonesia issued a red notice for West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda in 2011 but was forced to rescind it in 2012 after it was found to be politically motivated, and without genuine criminal basis.

Australia has detained at least one person on the basis of a flawed red notice.

Egypt issued a red notice for its national Sayed Abdellatif, who arrived in Australia by boat as an asylum seeker in 2012.

A Guardian investigation revealed that several charges listed against his name had never been brought against him at his trial-in-absentia and that other convictions were based on evidence obtained “under severe torture”. The Australian government had known for 18 months the red notice was invalid but had not acted to release him.

Abdellatif’s family members received visas and were released into the community. But he remains in high security at Sydney’s Villawood detention centre after more than seven years, despite recommendations from the United Nations human rights council that he be released and compensated for his “clearly disproportionate … deprivation of liberty”.

Fair Trials took up Abdellatif’s case, campaigning for the red notice to be withdrawn, and it was finally removed in 2018.

On Monday, a group of UN human rights experts issued a statement calling on Indonesia to protect the rights of Koman and others reporting on the West Papua protests.

“We call for immediate measures to ensure the protection of freedom of expression and address acts of harassment, intimidation, interference, undue restriction and threats against those reporting on the protests,” the experts said.

To unsubscribe: <mailto:wpan-unsubscribe>
List help: <>