Following a civil society investigation into the Bloody Yotefa case on 2 July 2014, today TAPOL called on the UN Special Procedures to intervene to ensure an independent investigation, safety of the surviving victims, justice and the right to remedy for the victims. During the incident, which occured following the death of a police officer in Yotefa Market, Abepura police carried out sweeping raids which resulted in the torture of four indigenous farmers by police and by migrant mobs with state-sanctioned complicity, as well as the arbitrary arrests and detention of forty people. While the raids were occurring, three indigenous Papuan students were killed by masked assailants in the same area.
This incident is part of an ongoing pattern of discrimination in West Papua, where indigenous Papuans, and particularly those from the highlands, are targeted by police for arbitrary arrest and detention and are subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and in some cases, extrajudicial killings. Indigenous Papuans are targeted because of their ethnicity, blamed for crimes and stigmatized as separatists, with a blanket assumption that they are connection to the independence movement. The situation is exacerbated by tensions between indigenous Papuans and large communities of migrants from other parts of Indonesia living in Papua.
According to TAPOL, the arbitrary arrests of 40 people, the torture of four indigenous farmers, including the involvement of migrant mobs with police complicity, and the mysterious killings of three indigenous Papuan highlanders are part of a worsening pattern of arbitrary arrest, police violence, public torture and discrimination against indigenous Papuans, in particular those from the highlands. In its Urgent Appeal issued today, TAPOL called on the UN Special Procedures to expedite communications with the government of Indonesia, calling for a swift and independent investigation of the Yotefa incident and stressing the need for fulfillment of the right to remedy, reparation, restitution, compensation, non-repetition, and punishment of the perpetrators.