Since late-2018, conflict has increased in intensity in West Papua. It is also spreading northwards and eastwards, beyond the usual conflict theatre in the Central Highlands. Attempts by actors associated with the Indonesian government and pro-independence groups to broker a ‘humanitarian pause’, have failed. Meanwhile the security forces are planning to establish four new regional commands in Papua’s newly created provinces. Indeed, the military is seeking to strengthen its role in counter-terrorism operations which relates mainly to West Papua.
This report asks several questions about the spread of conflict: what is driving ongoing conflict and displacement? Why have displaced people not returned to their homes? What prospects are there for stopping conflict from spreading further? Addressing these questions the report shows how conflict has spread at the border and Bird's Head regencies of Pegunungan Bintang and Maybrat, and looks at conflict in Nduga and Intan Jaya. The report identifies the drivers of militarisation including increasing numbers of security force posts and bases allowing access to business opportunities, a deepening military role in ‘counter-terror’ operations, and looks at recent initiatives to stop conflict.