25 May 2021

In this briefing we describe how the law has failed to achieve its objectives in two ways. First, despite promising to ‘protect’ West Papuan culture, and to economically empower indigenous West Papuans, many important aspects of the law have been only partly implemented or ignored altogether. Second, instead of implementing the law, the authorities have resorted to governing through a programme of development projects from abundant funds. While some see existing efforts as having failed because they are not based on principles of ‘inclusive’ development, alternatives of creating new provinces and districts, supposedly to ensure equitable participation, have often led to the enrichment and empowerment of the security forces in remote areas, leading to further conflict.

Tagged: Special Autonomy
25 May 2021

TAPOL has today launched a briefing aimed at informing the international community about why West Papuan people are rejecting the extension and revision of the special autonomy law. In support of a call by West Papuan grassroots organisations, we have become part of the movement of civil society organisations associated with the Papuan People’s Petition (Petisi Rakyat Papua, PRP) as its 111th member.


Tagged: Special Autonomy
14 May 2021

An urgent appeal on behalf of West Papuan pro-independence leader Victor Yeimo has been submitted by human rights organization TAPOL and lawyer Veronica Koman to the United Nations Special Procedures mechanisms of the Human Rights Council.

Victor Yeimo (37) was arrested on 9 May 2021 in Jayapura. He faces eleven charges including treason over his peaceful role in the 2019 West Papua Uprising. He had been living in exile in PNG since the crackdown against the Uprising and recently returned to his homeland. 

Tagged: Freedom of Expression, Political Prisoners, West Papua
7 May 2021
Aelex Flor in 2007

London, 7 May 2021

Yesterday we lost a dear colleague in Berlin, Alex Flor, the co-founder of Watch Indonesia! and its leader until 2019, after a short but serious illness. 

Tagged: Obituary
31 Mar 2021

TAPOL strongly denounces the proposal put forward by the Indonesian National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT/Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Terorisme) to categorise the Free Papua Organisation (OPM/Organisasi Papua Merdeka) as a terrorist organisation. Such a move will lead to more serious human rights abuses in West Papua.

Detachment 88, the anti-terrorism unit in Indonesia, which receives training and equipment from the United States and Australia, has been widely criticized by human rights groups for its notorious and disproportionate actions and being allowed to act with impunity. 

Tagged: Densus 88, Impunity, Security Sector Reform, West Papua
22 Mar 2021

TAPOL condemns the coup d’etat and violence against protestors by the Myanmar military, also known as the Tatmadaw. While we appreciate the work of the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Myanmar on this crisis, we regret the inaction of many United Nations (UN) member states which for the most part have done little despite the deteriorating situation. 

There are historical parallels between the involvement of the militaries of Myanmar and Indonesia in politics. After overthrowing civilian governments within a three year period (1962 in Myanmar, 1965 in Indonesia), each military portrayed itself as the only force able to unify very diverse nations. In Myanmar and Indonesia this often meant putting down pro-independence movements in areas distant from the centres of power. After 1998, the Indonesian military continued to commit human rights abuses to enforce the inclusion of West Papua, Aceh and East Timor in Indonesia with campaigns continuing in West Papua. In Myanmar, the military has forcibly excluded and committed atrocities against the Rohingya, and until the signing of ceasefire accords, fought wars against other ethnic groups. When a transition to democracy came in Indonesia, the military clung on to its business interests because civilian politicians were unwilling to enact reform; the Tatmadaw has also profited from extensive business interests. Many officers in Indonesia continue to be involved in political parties. After electoral defeat in 2015 to the National League for Democracy (NLD), current coup leader Min Aung Hlaing focussed on securing continued military influence in state institutions.


Tagged: Crimes Against Humanity