Papuans behind bars 2021
This page provides all the updates for West Papuan political prisoners in 2021
This page provides all the latest information on West Papuan political prisoners in 2021 as we are working on updating the old Papuans Behind Bars website. Since the 2019 West Papua Uprising, the Indonesian Government has increased the use of treason charges and other criminal charges against West Papuan political activists. As many as 1017 people were arrested in 2019, with 22 treason charges made against arrestees who were participating in organised protests throughout 2019, with other charges made against protestors including incitement, public disorder, destruction of property and other charges under the Information and Electronic Transaction (ITE) Law.
Following the 2019 Uprising, the same pattern continued into 2020, with COVID-19 regulations used to criminalise protestors. As many as 18 people have been charged with treason.
In 2021 the Indonesian Government declared the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB-OPM) a terrorist organisation. This had a significant impact in West Papua for several reasons. First, it gives the Indonesian police and military more power to conduct arrests, detain suspects and use force against alleged terrorists in West Papua. Secondly, this declaration poses threats to peaceful political groups such as KNPB, AMP and other grassroots political organisations which mainly conduct peaceful rallies, and protests for self-determination. Lastly, we are also seeing increased threats from the security forces against independent human rights activists and lawyers who provide assistance to political prisoners.
Given a limitation of resources, these activists and lawyers are facing additional challenges of identifying and registering all political prisoners in West Papua. We therefore see the role of Papuans Behind Bars as more significant than ever in order to provide accurate data for advocacy groups inside Indonesia and abroad, and to help to protect political prisoners from further abuses of their rights by raising awareness of their cases. Examples of PBB’s work of drawing up profiles of political prisoners are provided below. These profiles show one prominent prisoner from the peaceful civil resistance movement and another from the armed resistance movement, including information on their personal stories.
Prisoners in focus
Charges: Treason, incitement and arson
Status: Currently on trial
Place of Detention: Mako Brimob Jayapura
Charges: murder, violence, shooting, theft
Status: Life imprisonment
Place of Detention: Gunung Sari Class I Prison in Makasar
Papuans Behind Bars, launched in April 2013, is an online resource which aims to draw attention to and campaign for the release of West Papua’s political prisoners. Many political prisoners have suffered arbitrary arrest, violence, abuse, torture, unfair trials, intimidation and neglect. Several organisations are involved in compiling documentation on Papuan political prisoners. The site is currently managed by TAPOL. Visit Papuans Behind Bars and TAPOL websites to find out more information.
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