Fresh wave of mass arrests to intimidate West Papuans

By   /   June 17, 2016  /   2 Comments

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“The biggest human rights disaster in the Pacific is happening [just north-west of New Zealand] and we West Papuans are worried that if this genocide and illegal occupation continues to be ignored, in the next few decades we will be completely wiped out from our own country.” – Benny Wenda

West Papua National Committee members facing Indonesian police in the Jayapura demonstration. Image: Yuliana Lantipo/Jubi

West Papua National Committee members facing Indonesian police in the Jayapura demonstration. Image: Yuliana Lantipo/Jubi/Asia Pacific Report

David Robie also blogs at Cafe Pacific

Quote from West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda: “West Papuan people continue to be arrested, continue to be tortured and continued to be murdered by the Indonesian military and police. The world needs to see this truly desperate situation in occupied West Papua. West Papua is a militarised emergency zone with more and more Indonesian soldiers coming and killing innocent people. The biggest human rights disaster in the Pacific is happening today just 250km north of Australia and we West Papuans are worried that if this genocide and illegal occupation continues to be ignored, in the next few decades we will be completely wiped out from our own country.” Read Benny’s full plea on Asia Pacific Report. Read on in Asia Pacific Report:

JAYAPURA POLICE ARREST 1004 ACTIVISTS, SAYS KNPB

By Benny Mawel in Jayapura

The West Papua National Committee claimed that more than 1000 of its members have were detained by Indonesian police during a rally on Wednesday to oppose a Human Rights Investigation Team set up by the Ministry of Political, Legal and Security Affairs.

“All were detained. We are now at the Jayapura Police Station. There are 1004 activists. They are still being questioned at the police station,” chairman of KNPB Sentani Region Alan Halitopo told Jubi.

He said the police had arrested them because they did not have a permit for the rally.

But KNPB said they were likely to be released after being questioned.

Solomon Islanders in Honiara protesting for West Papuan membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Image: Free West Papua Campaign FB/ Asia Pacific Report

Solomon Islanders in Honiara protesting for West Papuan membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Image: Free West Papua Campaign FB/ Asia Pacific Report

Bazoka Logo, Central KNPB spokesperson, said the police broke its record of arrests against Papuans.

“The colonial government made a record for the highest number of detentions,” he said. These mass arrests detention proved Indonesia was no longer a democratic State.

Separately, Jayapura police spokesperson Imam Rubianto said they had questioned 600 people and released them shortly after.

“They have been released this afternoon, at five o’clock. Cellphones that were seized by the police have been returned as well,” he said.

Papua police spokesman Patridge Renwarin said police localised the demonstrators to limit their movements. He added no one was arrested.

The police action was backed by Atmadji Sumarkdijo, an aide of Chief Security Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, who is visiting the province today.

Spanish student arrested
Edo Karensa of the Jakarta Post reports that a Spanish national was among the “hundreds of people” detained for attempting to stage a rally in Jayapura to support West Papua’s independence and reject a reconciliation plan prepared by the Indonesian government.

Thousands of protesters from pro-independence group West Papua National Committee, or KNPB, had descended from neighboring districts into Jayapura but were intercepted by the police before they could reach the Papua Provincial Council office in Jayapura.

The KNPB has rejected a reconciliation plan prepared by Chief Security Minister Luhut Panjaitan, arguing that the Indonesian government is still pursuing repressive tactics toward pro-independence Papuans.

Among the detained protesters was Andreu Arino I Prats, a Spanish national and a student at Fisica University in Barcelona.

Benny Mawel is a Tabloid Jubi journalist writing for Asia Pacific Report.

Image gallery for the June 15 protests

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About the author

Dr David Robie

Professor at AUT University

Dr David Robie is professor of journalism and director of AUT University’s Pacific Media Centre. He is a strong advocate of independent media at the country’s journalism schools. David has published the media transparency blog Café Pacific since 2006. - See More

2 Comments

  1. Jack Ramaka says:

    Not much coverage or critical analysis in NZ Mainstream Media.

  2. Mike in Auckland says:

    This is not good to hear, and it appears Indonesia has not changed much in treating West Papuans in an appalling, neo-colonial manner.

    Of course our media will do all to not upset the Indonesian government. There are those trade deals, you know.