Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Indonesia has arrested 2,282 Papuans staging non-violent rallies

The Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) has issued a statement condemning the Indonesian government’s “denial of reports of human rights violations in Papua” during the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 26. The legal rights defender, which has previously advocated on behalf of several Papuan groups, says that the violations really took place.

LBH Jakarta data show that between April and Sept. 16 this year, the government has arrested 2,282 Papuans staging non-violent rallies. Most of these arrests took place from May 28 to July 27, in which 1,889 protesters were arrested, LBH Jakarta said in a release made available Monday.

“Indonesia, through its representative, Nara Masista, said problems in Papua were related to separatists seeking to disrupt public order. She also said Indonesia’s commitment to human rights was solid,” the release said. “But the reality begs to differ. LBH Jakarta and our network has recorded human rights violations from arrests, murders and dispersal of rallies,” the statement said.

The data show that from 2012 until June 2016, 4,198 Papuans were arrested. “The arrests were made in different places and involved intimidation,” it said.

The violations continued with the Papua Police chief’s order on July 1 this year, which limited freedom of expression by stigmatizing rallies with the label of separatism, LBH claimed, adding that since then, every rally had been dispersed and the protesters arrested.           

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