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11.02.2020

New focal point in the Asia-Pacific region

Street scene in Wamena, the highlands of West Papua. (Photo: M.Pauly/UEM)

The International Coalition for Papua (ICP) and the West Papua Network (WPN) have published a new report entitled "Human Rights and Conflict Escalation in West Papua". The report provides a comprehensive overview of the human rights, conflict and development situation in an often forgotten conflict region of the world. The joint report shows how human rights violations and armed conflicts in West Papua have reached a previously unseen scale. West Papua is thus becoming a new focal point in Indonesia and the Asia-Pacific region.

 

The report addresses the human rights, conflict and development situation in the eastern Indonesian provinces of Papua and Papua Barat. The International Coalition for Papua and the West Papua Network publish this joint report after more than two years of extensive documentation and research in close cooperation with local groups in West Papua and Indonesia's capital Jakarta. 27 actors from local, national and international non-governmental organizations, religious organizations and international experts have contributed to the report. Thus it was possible to publish a comprehensive and precise compilation of events of the last years.

 

"The pattern of human rights violations is very different from that of other regions of the archipelago due to the unresolved political conflict and serious developmental deficits," said Peter Prove, director of international affairs of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

 

Continuing security force deployments in the West Papuan highlands and outbreaks of ethnic violence in response to attacks on students from West Papua in 2019 cast dark shadows on the image of 'cultural diversity and economic progress' that the Indonesian government of West Papua is promoting to the outside world. Using indicators, the report describes progress and regression in West Papua and examines the changes the Indonesian government has achieved in addressing existing provincial deficits.

 

Stigma and racial discrimination against indigenous Papuans

 

Stigma and racial discrimination against indigenous Papuans continue to have a profound impact in many areas of public life, particularly on vulnerable groups such as indigenous communities and women. While the government continues to fail to implement lasting solutions to the long-running political conflict in West Papua, the cycle of violence continues.

 

"The increasing number of deaths among civilians and members of both armed groups in the conflict indicates that the conflict situation in West Papua has worsened considerably since 2018," said Adrien-Claude Zoller, President of Geneva for Human Rights (GHI).

 

This observation is supported by numerous reports in 2019 in which non-governmental organisations report on the increasing number of displaced persons from the conflict areas. Despite growing tensions between indigenous Papuans and migrants from other parts of Indonesia and the escalation of the violent conflict, the Indonesian government continues to maintain that the problems in West Papua are purely economic. The new report brings together recommendations from states, intergovernmental organizations and internationally recognized experts on various thematic aspects. "These recommendations should help to combat human rights violations, strengthen people-centred development and break the cycle of armed conflict," said Norman Voss, coordinator of the ICP Secretariat. The report can be downloaded here.

 

About the International Coalition for Papua

 

The International Coalition for Papua is a coalition of religious and civil society organizations working to improve the difficult human rights situation in West Papua and support a peaceful resolution of the conflict there. Further information is available at www.westpapuanetz.de and www.humanrightspapua.org.

UEM is a member of the International Coalition for Papua and the West Papua Network and supports member churches in Indonesia/Papua, the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Botswana in protecting the rights of indigenous people.

 

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