Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Group calls for protection of rights defenders in Papua



Group calls for protection of rights defenders in Papua

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Papuan students protest against the Indonesian government's plan to develop new administrative areas in the country's easternmost Papua province, in Malang, East Java on March 21. AFP

Group calls for protection of rights defenders in Papua

Activists have condemned alleged terror and intimidation against Papuan human rights activists and called the police to thoroughly investigate an alleged arson attack at Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua) on May 9.

The Foundation of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) and Papua Humanitarian Coalition condemned the alleged attack of burning a motorcycle in the garage of the LBH Papua office on Monday morning in Abepura district, Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia.

The Papua Humanitarian Coalition, which comprises a number of human rights organisations and activists, including Amnesty International Indonesia, Kontras and Public Virtue Research Institute, called on the police to thoroughly investigate the incidents and prevent similar attacks from recurring.

YLBHI is also calling on the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) to carry out investigations and provide protection to human rights defenders.

“The incident should be seen as an attack on human rights defenders,” YLBHI said in a statement on Monday, adding that LBH Papua recently advocated civil liberties to indigenous Papuans, victims of violence committed by the state and victims of land grabbing.

“This is part of terror against the democratic movement. It’s very dangerous for democracy,” YLBHI chairman Muhamad Isnur told the Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

LBH Papua director Emanuel Gobay suspected someone deliberately set the motorbike on fire. The institute had reported the incidents to the Papua Police on Monday.

Early on Monday morning, a motorbike parked at the institute’s office garage was found burned.

According to the LBH Papua statement, a wick smelling of kerosene and a plastic bag with remains of gasoline were found near the office. LBH Papua members also gathered information from two local residents, who saw someone wearing a black sweater, hat and mask had run out of the LBH Papua office before the incident.

Papua Police said they had visited the alleged crime scene and were carrying out an investigation into the alleged attack.

“The Abepura Police have visited the crime scene for an initial investigation, but the crime scene had been cleared,” Papua Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Ahmad Musthofa Kamal said on Monday night as quoted by Kompas.

It is the latest incident in a series of attacks against Papuans or those voicing human rights in the easternmost provinces of the country.

In November last year, the family of human rights lawyer Veronica Koman, who has long been vocal in speaking up against alleged human rights abuses in Papua, became a target of intimidation.

In March 2021, at least two protesters were killed and several others were wounded during protests against the plan to form new provinces that turned into a clash between protesters and security forces in Yahukimo.

In August-October 2019 in Malang and Surabaya, Papuans were subjected to repression, violence and racial discrimination during a series of rallies.

THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • First Cambodian woman graduates from Japan’s NDA military academy

    A few years ago, Meach Sithyka Jessica became the first-ever Cambodian woman to graduate from the US Military Academy at West Point, and since then her courage and determination has served as an inspiration for other Cambodian women. Similarly, Ly Chansocheata became the first Cambodian

  • Construction begins on $1.5B Kampot seaport

    The International Multi-Purpose Logistics and Port Centre, principally invested by Kampot Logistics and Port Co Ltd and projected to cost $1.5 billion, has officially broken ground in Bokor town, Kampot province. The multi-purpose logistics and port centre, located in Prek Tnaot commune, will be built on

  • Cambodia eyes key role in electronics, auto hubs in SEA

    Two roadmaps, part of the LDC’s economic diversification plan, were designed to see it through its migration process, but experts say the journey might be arduous, particularly in the presence of two established hubs in the region By 2028, Cambodia hopes to have exited the

  • Hun Neng, lawmaker and PM’s brother, passes away aged 72

    Hun Neng, chairman of the 4th Commission of the National Assembly, has passed away from heart disease at the age of 72 on the afternoon of May 5, according to the Ministry of Information. Hun Neng is the older brother of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and was

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM meets with US business giants

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has met with a number of major US companies who have expressed interest in investing in Cambodia, in a meeting convened by the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC). A delegation of companies – including Amazon, Meta, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Ford, Visa and Pernod