West papua human rights
Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights.

West Papua human rights: 11 international NGOs deliver joint statement in UN council


West Papua No. 1 News Portal | Jubi


Eleven international NGOs delivered a statement to raise concerns about the West Papua human rights situation to the 46th regular session, questioning Indonesian government’s seriousness in finding peaceful resolutions and the truth about alleged violations.


The eleven NGOs are: Franciscans International, Geneva for Human Rights, VIVAT International, Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches, CIVICUS and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development with the support of the International Coalition for Papua, Westpapua Netzwerk, TAPOL, the Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation of the Franciscans in Papua and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS).



Sandra Epal-Ratjen from Fransiscans International, read the joint statement. “(We) would like to express our ongoing concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua, Indonesia,” she said.


Read also: Pacific Islands Forum raises concerns for human rights condition in West Papua in UN session


The statement mentioned a special team formed by Indonesia’s Attorney General in December 2020 to deal with 13 cases of alleged gross human rights violations, including three cases in West Papua: alleged violations in Wasior (2001), Wamena (2001), and Paniai (2014).


“While the decision and efforts of the Government of Indonesia are to be acknowledged, its effectiveness remains to be seen, as this Special Team has no time frame. The West Papuan cases had already been qualified and listed for attention by the Attorney General’s office in the last few years by the Indonesian National Commission for Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM). However, those cases are yet to be translated into court actions,” Epal-Ratjen said, addressing Nazhat Shameem Khan, the Human Rights Council president for 2021.



“We are also concerned about the escalating violence and shrinking space for civil society in West Papua as highlighted by the OHCHR. We continue to receive information on new cases of human rights violations. In Nduga, Intan Jaya, Puncak and Timika, hundreds of indigenous Papuans have been displaced due to the armed conflict between the Indonesian security forces and members of the West Papua National Liberation Army,” the statement went on.


The NGOs also pointed out church workers who were being “targeted and killed”.


“Other Church workers, health personnel, and human rights defenders working with the internally displaced people fear for their safety. Between October 2020 and January 2021, at least 41 politically motivated arrests against indigenous Papuans were documented as well as convictions for peaceful protests,” the statement said.


The NGOs also raised concerns about the central government and the House of Representatives’ plan to establish new provinces in Papua and to extend the provisions of the special autonomy fund. They noted that the protests against the two plans had arisen in Papua Land, or internationally known as West Papua, and they also took notes that protesters were getting arrested.


“As a member of the Council, Indonesia should uphold the highest standards of human rights. Therefore, Indonesia should guarantee respect and protection of human rights, and a prompt and effective investigation, prosecution, and remedy the cases of gross human rights violations in West Papua, in conformity with its obligations under international human rights law. We also urge the Council to continue to give due attention to the general human rights situation in West Papua,” said Epal-Ratjen, closing the statement.


In February, Pacific Islands Forum, an intergovernmental organization consisting of 18 members, delivered a statement in a high-level meeting at the Human Rights Council of the United Nations on Feb. 24, highlighting three concerns: Covid-19, climate change, and human rights conditions in West Papua.


The Forum called on Council Members to encourage all relevant parties to urgently facilitate a mission to West Papua by the High Commissioner for Human Rights,” Taylor said.


In January, the Dutch government had said they deemed it “important” for the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights to visit West Papua.


Editor: Evi Mariani

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