Freedom of Expression

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The fundamental right to freedom of expression is the cornerstone of our work in promoting human rights, peace and democracy in Indonesia. It is strategically important to improving the overall human rights environment in Indonesia, and to ensuring that Human Rights Defenders can carry out their vital work free from intimidation and violence.

The appalling plight of political prisoners during the 1965 anti-Communist purges in Indonesia prompted the establishment of TAPOL in 1973, and our support for the right of all people to freely express their political views and aspirations has been a recurrent theme of our advocacy ever since. Our Papuans Behind Bars project continues that tradition, and supports the admirable work being undertaken by local and national civil society groups to challenge repressive policies and practices that are used to restrict free expression in West Papua, Maluku and elsewhere in Indonesia.

The Papuans Behind Bars project focuses on the routine use of Indonesia’s treason laws to punish peaceful actions in West Papua, such as raising the Papuan Morning Star flag, expressing political aspirations and holding demonstrations. The comprehensive database on Papuan political prisoners provides evidence of the arbitrary detention, torture and maltreatment, and the systematic denial of the right to free expression in West Papua. This information enables campaigners and policymakers to monitor of trends and the impact of policy change over time.