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human rights defenders

TAPOL mourns loss of Max Stahl, legendary filmmaker who committed his life to East Timor

TAPOL is sad to report the death of Max Stahl, the legendary journalist and filmmaker who will be remembered, above all, for filming the Santa Cruz massacre in East Timor on November 12, 1991. The massacre of 271 people happened in the Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili, where Indonesian security forces opened fire on graveside mourners. It was a turning point in the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. Max’s footage came about whilst he was preparing material for the television documentary ‘In Cold Blood: the Massacre of East Timor’.

TAPOL mourns the passing of our inspirational founder Carmel Budiardjo

Carmel Budiardjo, TAPOL’s founder and driving force for many decades, passed away peacefully on the morning of Saturday 10th July. 

She will be greatly missed by all of us in TAPOL and in the wider TAPOL family, the extensive network of people whose lives were touched - and sometimes transformed - by her passionate and determined campaigning for human rights, justice and democracy in Indonesia, East Timor, Aceh and West Papua. For many of us she was a great mentor as well as a beloved friend.

Tribute for Ganius Wenda by TAPOL and PBB

(Monday, August 3, 2020) TAPOL and Papuans Behind Bars were deeply saddened to hear that our dear friend and colleague, Ganius Wenda, passed away today, August 3rd 2020 in Jayapura, West Papua. 

Ganius Wenda was a young lawyer and a highly valued member of the West Papuan legal community. At the time of his death, he had been working as a legal advocate for West Papuan Political Prisoners for two years. In his final case, Ganius Wenda was part of the legal team that defended the West Papuan Political Prisoners, known as the ‘Balikpapan Seven’ earlier this year. 

OHCHR Statement to the Indonesian Government on the Protection of Rights and Freedom of Expression in the Current West Papua Situation

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have expressed their concern at the Indonesian government increasing the presence of police and military personnel in West Papua and continued crack down on human rights defenders using criminal law  over reporting on West Papua.


Human rights lawyer Veronica Koman has been consistent in defending West Papuan activists, and Free West Papua activist Surya Anta has been consistent in fighting for the right to self-determination for the indigenous West Papuan population. Veronica Koman protects activists who speak about West Papua across Indonesia, and Surya Anta has supported the right to self-determination with various groups and networks. This is extremely rare, as there are very few non-Papuan Indonesian lawyers and pro-democracy activists who are ready to take on this kind of work.