With the ink now drying on the laws creating the new provinces in West Papua, claimed by Jakarta to have support from Papuans, TAPOL’s new report, 'West Papua 2022: Freedom Of Expression And Freedom Of Assembly', shows a picture of increasing incidents, including arrests, dispersals, intimidation and killings for expressing dissent. This belies a declining situation of Freedom of Assembly and Expression in West Papua. The report highlights that: “...the continued worsening trend, despite new initiatives, promises and approaches by the government, shows that it is not working to actively improve the state of Freedom of Expression and Assembly in West Papua”.
West Papua in 2022 has seen increasing clampdowns on freedom of assembly and expression, including increasing arrests, clamping down on demonstrations, and the harassment or worse of people seeking to uphold and defend rights, particularly human right defenders and the media. It has also been a year of big events which has given a high level of exposure to Indonesia: the much anticipated division of Papua into many more provinces, the signing off of the new criminal code and the Universal Periodic Review of Indonesia at the UN.
We report on the continuing power and influence of the security forces in Indonesia, as we have done since 1973. We monitor both security force actions and state policies which normalises the military, war and paramilitarism, advocating instead for demilitarisation and civilian power over the military.
From the early 2000s, terrorism in Indonesia was regarded as a matter of ‘security and order’, and dealt with by the police and its militarized anti-terror unit, Densus 88. However, in 2018, legislation was amended which marked a shift in that the Indonesian military was again given a key role in countering terrorism. In 2021, this legal provision was brought into play as the main West Papuan armed resistance, the TPNPB was designated as a ‘terrorist’ organisation by the Government.
TAPOL strongly condemns the conduct of two airforce personnel who severely beat a disabled man, Steven Yadohamang, in Merauke, West Papua province, on 27 July 2021. The incident, which has been widely shared on social media, shows the two personnel beating up a man and crushing his body into the ground and stamping on his head. It is clear from the footage that Yadohamang does not possess the capacity to defend himself against two individuals who appear to be unconcerned with possible consequences. A similar incident in Nabire took place the following day.
(London, 22 March 2021) TAPOL condemns the coup d’etat and violence against protestors by the Myanmar military, also known as the Tatmadaw. While we appreciate the work of the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Myanmar on this crisis, we regret the inaction of many United Nations (UN) member states which for the most part have done little despite the deteriorating situation.