2021-05-09 West Papua – Arrest of Mr. Victor YEIMO, International Spokesman of the West Papua National Committee ( KNPB ).

“The International Spokesperson for the West Papua National Committee,
Victor Yeimo, called for the Papuan and non-Papuan people who live side
by side not to be provoked by provocations that lead to horizontal conflicts.

Victor Yeimo said, nowadays there are efforts to divert the democratic actions of
the Papuan people against the Indonesian government, by bumping them against non-Papuans.

“Don’t lead us Papuans to collide with non-Papuans. We are not fighting to kill and hate
Indonesian citizens. We fight because independence is a right that must be fought for.”
said Victor Yeimo in a written statement (2/8/2019)

Geneva for Human Rights is alarmed by the arrest of our fellow trainee and former guest to the Human Rights Council, Mr. Victor Yeimo, former international spokesman for the West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB) in Jayapura on the 9th of May, 2021.

We urge the Indonesian authorities to ensure that the conditions of arrest and detention are in accordance with international law and to held to account any agent of the state or individual engaging in excessive use of force and extra-judicial behaviours.

GHR expresses its condolences to the victims of violence on both sides of the ongoing armed conflict. Our West Papuan Project team assesses that some of the root causes of the violence and human rights violations in Papua are stemming from the ‘colonial gaze’ with which Papua is often being looked at by Indonesian officials. The massive, systemic and systematic destruction of a Papuan identity with history including the burning of ethnohistoric and political writings on Papua in the past and the labelling of the OPM as a terrorist organisation in a context of impunity for gross human rights violations committed against the Papuan people. 

The Indonesian are massively conducting military operations in the Papua regions in response to more violent attacks by West Papua National Liberation Army (TLNPB) guerilla fighters who killed an Indonesian intelligence chief in an ambush two weeks ago.

Police charged him with treason for a 2019 statement, made during anti-racism protests and ensuing riots in Papua and West Papua, calling for a referendum on independence. Papua’s police chief, Mathius Fakhiri, said that the police are still “digging up” cases against Yeimo: “Let him get old in prison.”

“Indonesian police should investigate the deadly violence and arson attacks in Papua in 2019 but not use that as a pretext to crack down on peaceful activists,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “An independent investigation is still needed into the role of the security forces, and the authorities need to prosecute those responsible for wrongdoing.”

The national police have dispatched an additional 12 companies (about 1,200 officers) from Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and the Moluccas, while the military has sent 400 troops from the 315/Garuda Battalion from Bogor, south of Jakarta. Human rights groups in Indonesia have expressed concerns that the government’s labeling the armed group “terrorist” could encourage serious abuses by the security forces in Papua.