Organisations, human rights groups, and defenders are calling for the Indonesian Government to end its judicial harassment against prominent human rights defenders, Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar as well as to further protect all human rights defenders in the country.
Freedom of Expression & Association
SAFEnet and TAPOL together hosted a webinar, “Status and Trends of Freedom of Expression, Assembly, and Digital Rights in West Papua”, to share findings from our reports documenting Freedom of Expression and Assembly and Digital Rights in West Papua.
The Indonesian government continues to tread on the right to peaceful free expression in West Papua. This can be seen from arrests and treason charges against three members of the peaceful independence campaign group, the National Committee for West Papua (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB), in Tambrauw Regency, Southwest Papua province.
Three West Papuans have been charged with treason and face up to 4 years in prison for holding a peaceful religious service.
With the ink now drying on the laws creating the new provinces in West Papua, claimed by Jakarta to have support from Papuans, TAPOL’s new report, 'West Papua 2022: Freedom Of Expression And Freedom Of Assembly', shows a picture of increasing incidents, including arrests, dispersals, intimidation and killings for expressing dissent.
West Papua in 2022 has seen increasing clampdowns on freedom of assembly and expression, including increasing arrests, clamping down on demonstrations, and the harassment or worse of people seeking to uphold and defend rights, particularly human right defenders and the media.
On 9th November 2022, Indonesia’s 4th cycle of Indonesia's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) began at the UN in Geneva. A total of 108 Member States offered oral statements and recommendations on how Indonesia may be able to improve their human rights situation.
TAPOL expresses its sadness at the passing of Zode Hilapok, a West Papuan political prisoner, on 22nd October 2022. Zode was one of eight people accused of treason for raising the Morning Star flag above Cenderawasih Sports Centre in Jayapura on 1st December 2021.
Criminalisation, collusion and broken promises have been the main issues in regard to the state of freedom of expression and assembly in and related to West Papua in 2021. After an unusual year affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns across the world, there has been renewed pressure from the Indonesian government which has criminalised, imprisoned and intimidated activists who have spoken out on West Papua-related issues, with increasing numbers of arrests and increasing incidents of police and militias acting together.
“Reports of intensified violence… (have) result(ed) in unknown numbers of civilian casualties and fatalities and internal displacement” and shock at “reports of the dismembered bodies of four indigenous Papuan civilians found outside Timika in West Papua Province (sic) on 22 August”. These are the words of the UN Acting High Commissioner For Human Rights, Nada Al-Nashif, at the opening of the 51st Human Rights Council at the UN in Geneva last month. Al-Nashif’s inclusion of West Papua highlights further recognition of the worsening human rights situation on the ground by the UN.