HUMAN RIGHTS MONITOR, a partner organisation of the World Council of Churches (WCC), has expressed grave concern as Indonesian security forces intensify operations in West Papua.
In a recent report the Monitor notes that killings and torture of indigenous Papuans are on the rise, and security force members have raided villages and set homes on fire.
The raids reportedly occurred in conflict hotspots in West Papua, predominantly in the regencies of Puncak, Nduga, and Intan Jaya, but also in less conflict-affected places like the Elilim and Apahapsili districts in the Yalimo Regency on 1 and 2 April.
Indigenous Papuans, including women and children, have been arrested and tortured. Observers predicted an aggravation of the conflict weeks ago after the Indonesian military deployed more than 2,000 additional personnel to West Papua throughout March 2023.
The increased security force deployments are taking place alongside Indonesian government socialisation programmes, where military and police personnel interact directly with local communities, participating in collective work, visiting schools, and taking over or accompanying essential healthcare services. However, this has only increased the fear and sense of threat experienced by indigenous Papuan communities.
For decades, many Indigenous Papuans have been traumatised due to the history of violent military operations in West Papua. They fear becoming victims of arbitrary arrest, torture, killings, or enforced disappearance. The military presence in schools, health facilities, and churches limits Indigenous Papuans from accessing these essential public services.
“The WCC 11th Assembly urged all WCC member churches and partners to increase their awareness, accompaniment and support for the people and churches of West Papua in the midst of this longstanding and worsening crisis”, recalled WCC Director for International Affairs, Peter Prove, “and this report is a powerful reminder of the deteriorating situation in the region. We call for the international community’s solidarity and support for the indigenous people of Papua.”
Human Rights Monitor is an EU-based organisation promoting human rights through documentation and advocacy. Human Rights Monitor works in collaboration with the World Council of Churches on conflict and human rights issues in West Papua.
* Read the report from Human Rights Monitor here.
* Read the Minute on the Situation in West Papua from the 11th Assembly of the WCC here.
* Source: World Council of Churches