Press Release on the Arbitrary Arrests of Papuan Activists

Bebaskan Surya Anta

On Saturday, August 31, 2019 around 20.30, Surya Anta was arrested by plain-clothed police officers at Plaza Indonesia. He was then taken to Polda Metro Jaya (Greater Jakarta Metropolitan Regional Police). One of the officers mentioned that Anta was accused of subversive act in relation to his activities in advocating the issues of Papua.

The arrest of Anta was the fourth such occurrence. The first one was the arrest of two Papuan students at a student dorm, in Depok on August 30th, 2019. The arrest was carried out by authorities who forcibly broke into the dorm and pointed guns at the people inside the dorm.

The second arrest took place during the solidarity protest in front the Greater Jakarta Metropolitan Regional Police station on the afternoon of August 31th, 2019.

The third arrest, which was conducted by joint security forces (comprising of Army and Police personnel), was of three Papuan women, and took place in South Jakarta on August 31st, 2019, at the residence of some Papuan students originally from Nduga, Papua. The joint security forces threatened everyone at the site not to take any documentation (photo and video), although they themselves were doing so. One of the women, was beaten while wriggling. All of the arrests were conducted without any arrest warrants.

So far 8 people have been arrested. Below are their names:
1. Carles Kossay
2. Dano Tabuni
3. Ambrosius Mulait
4. Isay Wenda
5. Naliana Wasiangge
6. Wenebita Wasiangge
7. Norince Kogoya
8. Surya Anta

As of the time of writing of this release, those who were arrested have been moved to Police Mobile Brigade Detention (Mako Brimob).

Besides the arrests, police have also been surrounding Papuan students’ dorms, and conducting sweeps without any clear grounds for doing so.

The aforementioned incidents demonstrate that attempts being made to target Papuans, especially Papuan students. This kind of action threatens our democracy, which Indonesians have fought for since the reformation. Besides leading to further race discrimination, such actions may also exacerbate existing tensions and lead to an escalation which could put the safety of civilians in Papua and elsewhere further at stake.

We hereby call for:

  1. A stop to the sweeps and similar operations against Papuan students’ dormitories.
  2. A stop to arbitrary arrests, and instead support initiatives for continuous dialogue in an effort to end the conflict peacefully.
  3. We urge security forces, especially the police, to act professionally as mandated by the law, by upholding human rights principles in dealing with the current situation. We are concerned that the exaggerated measures being taken by the police will only worsen the ongoing situation regarding Papua.

Jakarta, September 1st, 2019
Civil Society Coalition for Democracy

Contact Persons:
1. Asep Komarudin : +62 813 1072 8770
2. Tigor Hutapea : +62 812 8729 6684
3. Nelson N. Simamora : +62 813 9682 0400
4. Suarbudaya Rahardian : +62 877 8056 2593
5. Arif Nurfikir : +62 815 1319 0363

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