Release Papuan Political Prisoners & Stop All Forms of Violence and Violence Against Human Rights Defenders

Press Release

Civil Society Coalition for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

The securitization policy that is still ongoing in Papua has resulted in human rights violations and persistent humanitarian casualties. One of them is experienced by human rights defenders who advocate for the Papua issue, they face various forms of threats ranging from intimidation, persecution, arbitrary arrests, persecution (physical violence), criminalization, and even murder. The Coalition of Civil Society for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders noted that during the era of President Joko Widodo's administration, there were at least 72 cases of violations and violence against Papuan Human Rights Defenders with the number of victims of human rights defenders reaching thousands.

One of the cases that is currently getting public attention, both nationally and internationally, is the criminalization of 7 (seven) Papuan political prisoners. They are currently facing a sentence of 10 to 15 years in prison at the Balikpapan District Court. In fact, 5 of the 7 political prisoners are still students, one of whom is the chairman of the Cenderawasih University Student Executive Board (BEM), Ferry Kombo. We consider that in the case of the 7 Papuan political prisoners, the legal process they received was far from fulfilling the element of justice. The demands given to the political prisoners show that there is a gap in the treatment of law enforcement officers in Indonesia towards Papuan human rights defenders. This gap even leads to racial bias, where the seven political prisoners seem to deserve a heavier sentence than other similar cases.

The Coalition for Human Rights Defenders believe that violations of the rights of human rights defenders in Papua originate from stigmatization as supporters of separatism/rebels. As a result of this stigmatization, treatment that degrades human dignity and violates various legal provisions seems to be justified for political prisoners and Papuan human rights defenders, whether carried out by the apparatus or by civilians. One of the practices of violence and stigmatization is discrimination and racism against the Papuan people. Discrimination and racism are crimes against humanity which are ideologically and constitutionally a violation of the constitution and the most fundamental crime, that is the crime against humanity.

In the past two years, many human rights defenders, civil society, and student groups in Papua who have held peaceful protests have been arrested and imprisoned on charges of treason. In fact, it is a form of expression that is protected by the Indonesian constitution. This discriminatory treatment, or even racial bias, is increasingly emphasized by the government with the ongoing practice of impunity for cases of violence against human rights defenders in Papua.

Based on the above, the Civil Society Coalition for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders urges:

  1. The Balikpapan District Court freed all Papuan political prisoners because the legal process they experienced was racially biased and destroyed the dignity of the law in Indonesia, both in the eyes of the Indonesian people themselves and in the eyes of the international community. In addition, the seven political prisoners are human rights defenders who are voicing a protest against acts of racism that have previously occurred against Papuan ethnic groups.
  2. President Joko Widodo to grant amnesty and abolition to all other Papuan political prisoners, namely those who were charged with the previous article on treason and rehabilitate the good name of Papuan political prisoners/human rights defenders because what they are doing is actually a form of freedom of expression which is protected by the Indonesian constitution. , the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia.
  3. Law enforcement officers in Indonesia, especially the Police, Prosecutors, and Courts should not be racist in responding to the situation in Papua, because it will only confuse the atmosphere and perpetuate conflict in Papua.
  4. All Indonesian government officials, both at the central and regional levels, as well as other civil society groups to stop all forms of discrimination and racism against Papuans and Papuan political prisoners.

Jakarta, June 16th, 2020

Civil Society Coalition for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

(ELSAM, YLBHI, Imparsial, WALHI, YPII, KRuHA, HRW, Kemitraan, LBH Pers, KontraS, LBH Jakarta, ICW, PBHI, HRWG)

 Contact person:

  1. Era Purnamasari (YLBHI): 0812-1032-2745
  2. Totok Yulianto (PBHI): 0822-9777-1782
  3. Andreas Harsono (Human Rights Watch): 0815-9509-000
  4. Ardi Manto (Imparsial): 0812-6194-4069
  5. Tioria Pretty (KontraS): 0813-8254-41213
  6. Sekar Banjaran Aji (ELSAM): 0812-1370-8265

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