woensdag 30 september 2020 08:27


London, 30 September 2020

TAPOL, in collaboration with human rights lawyer Veronica Koman, has today published an extensive report on the 2019 West Papua Uprising ('the Uprising') on the anniversary of its last day in 2019. The written report is supplemented with a short video.

The report, summarised in an executive summary, is a compilation of analyses and stories focusing on the human rights violations committed during the Uprising, including the racism which triggered it and the impunity which its perpetrators have enjoyed. The report shows that following the trigger events, a series of spontaneous protests broke out in West Papua. The authorities also used different strategies in an attempt to contain, then crack down on the same protests.

Among other issues, this report provides further detail on issues of racism, impunity, extrajudicial killings, press freedom, internet shutdown, treason charges, excessive use of force against protestors, and the use of civilian militias. All such issues are the subject of inquiries about West Papua by the UN Human Rights Committee, with a "list of issues prior to submission of the second periodic report of Indonesia" issued to the Indonesian government on 2 September 2020. The Committee is an expert body appointed by the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

TAPOL released a summary of events on 19 August 2020 to coincide with the first anniversary of the beginning of the Uprising. Since this date, we have made minor changes to the report because some political prisoners have been released in the interim and for other technical reasons. This report provides further verifiable information on incidents.

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FULL REPORT kun je hier downloaden



  • Acknowledgments 4
  • Introduction 5
  • Executive Summary 7
  • Chapter 1. Six Turning Points of the Uprising 9
    • Introduction 10
    • The trigger of the Uprising 10
    • First day of the Uprising 11
    • First appearance of the Morning Star flag – the Fakfak incident 12
    • The unlawful killings in Deiyai 12
    • The beginning of the crackdown 13
    • The deadliest day of the Uprising 15
    • Summary 17
  • Chapter 2. The Crackdown 18
    • Militarisation of the Uprising 19
    • Attacks against press freedom 21
    • Attacks against human rights defenders 22
    • Reaction from the international community 25
  • Chapter 3. Analysis 26
    • The time-bomb exploded 27
    • Indonesia is racist towards West Papuan people 28
    • Human rights violations during the Uprising 31
    • The movement is getting stronger 32
  • Annex 1. The Trigger 34
  • Annex 2. The Uprising 43
  • Annex 3. List of Indonesians prosecuted 112
  • Annex 4. List of West Papuan Political Prisoners 115

The West Papua Uprising swept across 23 towns in West Papua, 17 cities in Indonesia, and 3 cities overseas during the period of 19 August to 30 September 2019. The three main demands of the Uprising were to condemn racism, to prosecute perpetrators of racist incidents in Java which triggered the Uprising, and to demand West Papuan people’s right to self-determination through an independence referendum.
The trigger of the Uprising was racist persecution against West Papuan students in the Indonesian cities of Malang on 15 August, in Surabaya on 16 and 17 August, and in Semarang on 18 August 2019. It was largely, however, due to the incidents in Surabaya where Indonesian soldiers shouted ‘monkey’ repeatedly at the students. ‘Monkey’ was reclaimed by the movement and became a resistance symbol of the Uprising and is still widely used to this day. In 2020,many West Papuans commemorated 17 August, Indonesian Independence Day, as National Anti-Racism Day.
At least an extra 6,500 police (mainly Brimob) and military (TNI) personnel were deployed into West Papua to crush the Uprising. The civilian death toll during this period reached 61 people, including 35 indigenous West Papuans. Of those 35 people who died, 30 had sustained bullet wounds, suggesting that they were killed by the Indonesian security forces. Three other deaths were from stab wounds inflicted by militias, while the cause of two other deaths are unclear.
Militias were used by the security forces on two of the three occasions when the Morning Star flag, representing West Papuan independence, was raised on public buildings.
At least 284 civilians were known to be injured. The actual number will be higher because many West Papuans were reported to be avoiding going to hospital. Using security forces to surround hospitals after each incident deterred many West Papuans from seeking treatment, due to trauma and fear of reprisals. Three deaths from shootings in Deiyai on 28 August could have been prevented if those victims had obtained medical help. Fourteen patients in Deiyai and four patients in Wamena were taken into police custody while still being treated in hospital, further confirming the fears of West Papuans. Similar cases took place in Jayapura.
In total, at least 22,800 civilians were displaced during the Uprising period. Following the shootings that killed eight civilians in Deiyai on 28 August 2019, at least 300 people were
displaced. A further 11,000 people were displaced by violence between local communities in Wamena and 4,000 in Jayapura. Around 6,000 West Papuan students in Java and elsewhere returned to their homeland. A fresh operation taking place in Puncak regency during the Uprising had displaced 1,500 civilians.
During the Uprising, there were 13 cases of attacks against press freedom including internet shutdown, and 23 cases of attacks against human rights defenders including one case of physical attack and nine cases of judicial harassment. The internet shutdown was ruled as unlawful by the state administrative court in Jakarta in June 2020.
In response to the harsh crackdown and escalating violence, the UN Human Rights Office put out two statements of concern and sent two formal communications to the Indonesian Government.
Indonesia denied all allegations.
A total of 1,017 arrests resulting in 157 number of political prisoners took place during this period. Of those cases, 22 were charged with treason. Their sentences ranged from 3 months and 14 days to 10 years.