West Papuans face human rights violations – Church group says

Rights Violations

After a visit to Indonesian-controlled West Papua, the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) says the indigenous West Papuans face “grave human rights violations and repression….in their own homeland”.

A three-member pastoral solidarity team spent four days in West Papua with an “intensive” programme of visits and meetings.

“Indigenous West Papuans shared with the CCA delegation about the on-going repression and systematic human rights violations in West Papua, including the passing of laws that suppress freedom of speech and freedom of association,” the CCA said.

They spoke of the growing concern at the impunity for human rights abuses enjoyed by the police and the military.

They described the Special Autonomy Law as a failure.

This law is supposed to enshrine respect for local socio-cultural expressions, including:

  • the restoration of the Papua name over the Indonesia-preferred Irian Jaya,
  • the freedom to fly the Papuan flag and sing the community’s national anthem.

The CCA report says the Indonesian government systematically restricts the right to freedom of the press as well as the initiatives of West Papuans who come forward to monitor human rights violations.

  • Many indigenous West Papuans are being arrested and detained for non-violent expressions of their political opinion.
  • The indigenous West Papuans constantly face discrimination as well as violent attacks.
  • Peaceful demonstrations are often dispersed by force.
  • In many instances, non-violent participants have been arrested, detained and tortured, while others have been killed.
  • Many prisoners and human rights activists have died while in detention.
  • Reports of torture and ill-treatment of political detainees have been increasing.
  • Civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are being violated.
  • The Christian Conference of Asia includes 17 national councils and more than 100 churches in 21 countries.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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