14 March 2019
The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, and the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.
The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Special Rapporteur on minority issues and the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
Indonesia: Security force operations in the regency of Nduga cause the displacement of thousands of indigenous peoples
Issues: internally displacement, right to food, indigenous peoples rights, minority issues, right to health, right to education, racism
Dear Sir or Madam,
the International Coalition for Papua (ICP), the Evangelical Christian Church in the Land of Papua (GKI-TP), the Foundation for Justice and Integrity of the Papuan People (YKKMP), Papuan Tabernacle Church (KINGMI Papua), Geneva for Human Rights (GHR), Franciscans International (FI), TAPOL, Vivat International and the World Council of Churches have received credible information on the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in various regencies of Papua province, Indonesia. Ongoing security force operations in multiple districts of the Nduga regency have caused the displacement of thousands of indigenous people. Human rights defenders claim that the displaced people originate from thirteen districts in the Nduga Regency which have been affected by the military operation, namely the districts Mbuwa, Dal, Mbulmu Yalma, Mapenduma, Yigi, Nirkuri, Kageam, Paro, Mebarok, Gesekema, Jengelo, Amala and Kilimid. 407 IDPs had sought shelter in the neighboring district Kwiyawagi after the first security force attacks in early December.1 As the armed attacks continued, many IDPs fled towards the regencies Jayawijaya, Mimika and Lani Jaya. Media sources reported in early March 2019, that approximately 2000 IDPs from Nduga are estimated to have sought refuge in the regency of Jayawijaya alone.2 The IDPs live with families from the Nduga Regency who have built temporary accommodations, mostly in the areas Wouma, Ilekma, Hom-Hom and Welesi.
A group of teachers, volunteers and civil society organisations have formed a solidarity group to support IDPs in Wamena, Jayawijaya Regency. On 8 February 2019, the group established a temporary school for 613 internally displaced children from the Nduga Regency.3 The school also functions as a distribution point for lunch for internally displaced children. The Education Department of Nduga Regency is currently trying to arrange the permission for the temporary school. Representatives of the local government in the Jayawijaya regency have only visited the school, but have not taken any initiative to support the IDPs in Wamena. The solidarity movement stated that they need food, equipment for hygiene and water purification, medication and clothing.4
Members of the solidarity group have been subjected to intimidation by security force personnel. Between 10 and 14 February 2019, members of the police and military repeatedly tried to access the temporary school premises. However, the volunteers were able to prevent the security force members from entering, arguing that the children were severely traumatized due to security force attacks in their home villages. On 15 February 2019, the chief of the Jayawijaya 1702 Military Command called the members of the solidarity initiative and scolded them for having established the temporary school. He argued that the Nduga Regency is safe and that such a school would only draw public attention on the situation in the Nduga Regency. He suggested that the children should be brought to the Kenyam District of Nduga regency or attend existing schools in the Jayawijaya District.5
Members of an ecumenical delegation coordinated by the World Council of Churches (WCC) visited IDPs from the Nduga Regency in Wamena, the main city of the Jayawijaya Regency, on 18 February 2019.6 The Foundation for Justice and Integrity of the Papuan People took the initiative to meet with affected villagers from the Nduga Regency. A petition, signed by 906 villagers and IDPs7 was handed over to the WCC delegation during their visit to Wamena. (see separately attached to this submission “Petition in Relation to the Security Force Operation in Nduga”, some numberings are repeated)
IDPs from Nduga regency have stated that many displaced villagers continue to hide in the jungle, where they live in small groups in improvised huts. The men leave the shelter during the night and walk far distances to the gardens to collect sweet potatoes and taro. The harsh climate and food scarcity in the central Papuan highlands have particularly affected women and children. According to local human rights defenders, at least thirteen IDPs died due to exhaustion, starvation and hypothermia after fleeing their villages. Among them were women and at least seven children under the age of nine years. A mother and her two newborn babies reportedly died, as the woman gave birth in the jungle.8 Human rights defenders reported that the military occupied a clinic in the Mapenduma district to establish a military outpost, after the military expanded its operations on 19 December 2018. The presence of military in health facilities prevent sick and injured indigenous people from accessing urgently needed health services – many IDPs are traumatized and afraid of security forces.9 (see Appendix I & Appendix II to this submission)
We kindly ask you to raise the case with the Indonesian Government.
On 4 December 2018, security forces launched an operation in various districts of the Nduga Regency after members of the armed separatist organization TPN-PB (West Papua National Liberation Army) reportedly killed at least 17 government contractors, who were working on the construction of the Trans Papua Road. Indonesian security forces allegedly fired large caliber machine guns and dropped grenades from helicopters in areas inhabited by indigenous local communities. While the Indonesian military continues to deny access for humanitarian organisations, journalists, human rights defenders and observers to the Nduga Regency, a rescue team consisting of local government and civil society representatives was able to collect data in some of the affected areas. According to the recent reports, security forces killed at least nine indigenous Papuans, while at least five indigenous Papuans – among them two minors – have been reported missing since the commencement of the military operations, which have been ongoing since 4 December 2018 (see Appendix III and Appendix IV to this submission).10
We urge you to enter into communication with the Indonesian Government, asking the Government through its responsible agencies to
- immediately open access to the Nduga Regency for humanitarian organisations to provide food and health services for affected indigenous communities and IDPs in the neighboring regencies.
- immediately open access to the Nduga Regency for journalists, human rights defenders and international observers to ensure compliance with human rights principles in the combat area.
- Enter into negotiations with the TPN-PB to seek a peaceful solution of the armed conflict in order to enable IDPs from the Nduga regency to return to their villages.
1 Benar News (31.12.2018): Ratusan Warga Nduga yang Mengungsi Butuh Makanan, available at https://www.benarnews.org/indonesian/berita/warga-nduga-kelaparan-123120...
2 BBC Indonesia (01.03. 2019): Buntut penembakan pekerja di Nduga, 2.000 orang mengungsi ke Wamena, Papua, available at https://www.bbc.com/indonesia/indonesia-47411590 3 YouTube Video of the school activities available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwsgzjpFuXE and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiya2hHuUBQ
4 Voluntary Solidarity Team for Refugees from Nduga (04.03.2019): Sekolah Darurat untuk Pengungsi Nduga: Update Situasi dan Harapan Solidaritas
6 World Council of Churches (25.02.2019): Papua human rights situation, religious freedom, focuses of WCC delegation visit to Indonesia, available at https://www.oikoumene.org/en/presscentre/ news/papua-human-rights-situation-religious-freedom-focuses-of-wcc-delegation-visit-toindonesia
7 Foundation for Justice and Integrity of the Papuan People (22.12.2018): Petition in Relation to the Security Force Operation in the Regency of Nduga, Papua Province
8 Reports by the Nduga Humanitarian Evacuation Team and Papuan Lotus Heart Foundation on the ongoung military Raids in the regency of Nduga
9 Information received by the Foundation for Justice and Integrity of the Papuan People